Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

mySpace music trail – The Cat Empire, SiB, Questlove

In ben folds five, gwen stefani, muni shirts, music, music trail, myspace, pharrell williams, questlove, review, sib, the cat empire, walnotes, youtube on June 29, 2007 at 6:34 pm

I was in Australia in March and April of 2006. While I was there I ended up in Byron Bay, a little hippie town. There was a music festival going on while I was there. It’s called The East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, or Bluesfest, for short. I was able to get a 3 day ticket for the 5 day festival. It was such a great experience.

One of the bands I discoverd while I was there was Xavier Rudd. He’s crazy good! Another band I saw was The Cat Empire. This group is HUGE in Australia. They came through San Francisco in June of 2006. Then again in January or February of 2007. And one more time in April or May of 2007. I can’t wait for them to come back. They are so much fun to dance your ass off to.

Here’s a drum bit that should amaze you.

So without even more ado I’m going to start today’s mySpace music trail with none other than The Cat Empire.

Artist #1The Cat Empire

The first song that came up is (Hello). The group is finally getting a corporate push with this one. I was watching TV yesterday and a commercial for the new movie Ratatouille had (Hello) in the background. Hot damn!

The next song I listened to is (How To Explain). It starts out with a nice little trumpet solo to get you in the mood. And when the vocals and drums chime in you start to remember the last time you moved your hips when you danced. If you like music that can be jammed out with enthusiasm then you’ll dig this. “MUSIC IS THE LANGUAGE OF US ALL!” Remember that and we’ll all get along just fine.

Let me express something to you. I just searched YouTube for “Cat Empire How to Explain” and watched a few of the clips. Each one was different. These guys play the same songs differently every night. As they mentioned in their tour diary they want to give the crowd a good show. Playing album versions of songs just doesn’t cut it.

The next song is (The Car Song). They even have a traditional music video for it on their mySpace page. How do you describe this music? Maybe ska, jazz, jam band, groove music. Then add latin, funk and rock to other songs too. Admittedly I prefer seeing The Cat Empire play live rather than listen to them on disc or other medium. I don’t think the recordings capture there spirit completely.

The last song on their mySpace page is (Side to Side). This song is more of a classic soul/funk number. It’s a bit more refined than the other tracks. A little cleaner. A little more radio friendly I think. I prefer the other tunes.

If and when you get a chance do yourself a favor and go see The Cat Empire play live. It will make you a fan forever.

Moving on…from there top friend’s I’m going to pick SiB. It looks like a person rather than a music group.

Artist #2SiB

(In Love WiP) is first on the list. I’m assuming WiP means work in progress. There’s a slow groove to it. The artist describes his work as soul / psychedelic / rock. I’ll agree with that. (In Love) is sort of an R&B song. When you’re in the mood for something down tempo go ahead and listen to this one.

Next up is (Please Feel Free WiP). I’m guessing it’s another work in progress. It wouldn’t play for me. Maybe my connection is bad. I’ll try again later.

How about (If I Left You Baby). This one has thousands more plays than the other three tracks combined. Oh nice! It’s a good listen. SiB lists recording marvels like Cody Chesnutt, Curtis Mayfield and Al Green in his top friends. This track captures some of their magic for a few minutes. Good find!

The last track on offer is (Monsters). It’s starting out like an R&B, falsetto wonder. Then after a couple minutes of the slow pace it picks up like a Led Zeppelin track. It just kinda came out of nowhere. I was zoning out, surfing the web until the pace picked up and the punch kicked in. Interesting song. It’s cafe friendly for a hip neighborhood.

From SiB’s top friends I’ll pick Jules. Playing on Jules page is Questlove.

Artist #3Questlove

The track on Jules’ page is (Bilal and the WPP). This sounds like a Radiohead song. It is. I’m sure of it. I didn’t realize Questlove sang covers. I guest it makes sense. He’s good at it too. I don’t think of Radiohead as an easy cover but this is really good! I love the jazz freestyle between Bilal and WPP. I’m not familiar with what WPP stands for but I’m guessing it’s a Questlove original. This track is phat! There’s a reason he’s notorious.

Quick note here. One more reason I hate the mySpace interface. I clicked on the +view+ button and it stopped the track. I was easily 10 minutes into it and there seemed to be no end in sight. It’s as if the whole set was posted rather than just a song or two. Now I’m moving on to the next track rather than listening to 10 minutes of great music again. That’s right. mySpace doesn’t allow you to fast forward through a song either. Talk about 1980’s eight track technology. It’s as if they’re waiting for someone to sponsor additional functionality on the site.

The next song from Questlove’s page is (P and the Yessirs). It sounds like Pharrell Williams singing. This is a hip hop track with a quick pace and a fresh beat. It’s easy on the ears and potent too. Somewhere in the middle of the track Gwen Stefani jumps in with a couple lines. Very brief cameo on the chorus. This track is working for me.

I’m going with (It Don’t Feel Right) next. Funky R&B, hip hop. I love Questlove’s production abilities. His rap delivery is solid. The chorus is smooth and catchy. You can club dance to this one. Checkit!

(Go Get a Late Pass) is last. It starts out with a funk riff that sounds like David Bowie’s (Golden Years) backing vocals. Great work on that beat. Good use of the funky guitar too. Sweet! It ends after about 2 and a half minutes with a little studio talk. I bet this was just a studio recording that won’t fit onto a normal album. I love that kind of rawness.

Some people’s most creative or fun work doesn’t fit the needs of an album. Like the long track I have from Ben Fold’s Five where they’re just jammin’ away, talking bullshit and it’s incredible. The track is called (For Those of Yall Who Wear Fanny Packs). Fair warning: It’s vulgar. But it’s all meaningless.

I was thinking of going on to someone in Questlove’s top friends but I think you should check them out yourself. It’s a neat piece of art to see.

That’s it for today.

I started my mySpace music trail with The Cat Empire after I heard them in the background of a Ratatouille commercial yesterday. Good for them to push on through the glass ceilings.

I found SiB in The Cat Empire’s top friends. SiB’s alright. Quality music that’s worth a listen. I wouldn’t put it in my top tunes list though.

Then from SiB I found Questlove by way of Jules’ page. Questlove is the shit! I love his social consciousness. He comes across as very real, very aware of his place in the world.

Catch you next time.