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FRESH CUTS: “nwts” Has Amindi Making Big Sounds Out Of Little Pieces

photo credit: vinny nolan

L.A.-based Alternative R&B singer/songwriter Amindi has released “nwts,” a track from her upcoming EP debut, nice, out July 28th through label Human Re-sources.

The track begins with muffled—but angelic—vocals slowly coming into focus, along with the lightest touch of bass, before a compressed, possibly sampled, drumbeat lands with assertive force, balanced by a more active bass line, a sprinkling of guitar (or keyboard?) ornamentation, and Amindi’s casually sung lead vocal. It’s an impressively minimal soundscape that still sounds full of activity, and sports a deadly, hypnotic groove.

Lyrically, the track appears to be a kiss-off to a relationship with someone who lacks the narrator’s self-motivated, “DIY” mindset (note the recurring lyrics: “I’m still me without you/You ain’t made shit/Self-made bitch/DIY, makeshift/Buzz so big I could sell a blank disc”) while also being a reminiscence of the artist’s aesthetic development from early school days to their current status as a formidable songwriter, oozing with talent and undeniable cool in their presentation (“And I paid my dues/Since them days in school/Since them payless shoes/I was way less cool/Now I done bossed up/“).

"nwts" comes alongside an announcement that Amindi will be presenting an innovative live album experience with OkiDoki on July 15th. During the event, fans will be able to see Amindi perform the EP for the first time and to interact with visual stories that bring her words to life via animations from artists behind novel works, such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gumby, and Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. Gabe Hernandez

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Yaya Bey releases The Things I Can't Take With Me

Queens-bred and Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/storyteller/poet/producer/multimedia artist and record cover artist Yaya Bey is a one-woman art-generating army whose EP The Things I Can’t Take With Me (released in April on Big Dada Recordings) is comprised of six songs of resilience, defiance, and solidarity with “Black women just like me” that addresses the relatable theme of “all this shit I gotta let go of, just the things I can’t take with me” quoting directly from Ms. Bey’s Bandcamp page—the things to be left behind ranging from childhood trauma to addictive-but-ultimately-unhealthy relationships to music industry fuckery. But most of all the record seems to be about gathering the strength to persevere and flourish.

This latter emphasis comes across not only in the lyrics but also in the sonic textures and warm enveloping production full of gently jazzy guitars and baselines and horn loops and funky drums played with a light touch, plus all sorts of no doubt lovingly assembled sonic details like the layers of mouth percussion and luminous self-harmonizing heard on “We’ll Skate Soon” or the snatches of studio chatter/laughter and the warm surface noise of vinyl records heard on other tracks. The EP’s advance single and mini-manifesto “Fxck It Then” is a perfect example of all of the above employed in support of its opening declaration: “Fxck being good now I’m a bad bitch / Fxck staying down now I’m a savage / I ain’t average.”

And in the unlikely event you should question Yaya Bey’s “bad bitch” credentials consider the album that launched her recording career and the circumstances around it, quoting again from the Bandcamp page: 

Yaya Bey’s 2016 debut, The Many Alter-Egos of Trill’eta Brown, was an ambitious project that included a dreamy, largely acoustic mixtape, book, and digital collage inspired by her front-line activism as a street medic in Ferguson. “You spend two years of your life protesting and getting assaulted and arrested—you got a lot of shit to say after that,” Bey said.

And if should you need some more Yaya you can check out the 2020 quarantine-recorded follow-up LP Madison Tapes, and we also recommend this recent in-depth interview and DJ set she performed, broadcast live on The Duane Train radio program which goes out weekly on WFMU a/k/a "The Freeform Station of the Nation”--a station based out of Jersey City, a/k/a "Chilltown"--hosted by legendary DJ/selector Duane Harriott who assembles some the grooviest mixes of vintage and brand new soul, funk, disco, electro, and hip hop anywhere that I’ve heard. And then finally, or perhaps first of all, you're also advised to check out Yaya Bey performing live (yes, that's right live!) tonight alongside some friends at a Juneteenth celebration being held at Brooklyn’s Sultan Room (the livestream will still be available for a couple days after the show) with guests including Boston Chery and Run P. (Jason Lee)





Sarah Jarosz' Roots Feel New and Polished At the Same Time

Four-time Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz is bringing new life to the Americana roots musical genre. Serious enough to win the Fresh Grass Foundation’s 2017 commission to write a thirty minute original piece featuring traditional bluegrass stringed instruments yet fun enough to share cocktail recipes during her two online after shows recently, Jarosz is full of surprises.


On her commissioned piece called The Blue Heron Suite, released on May 7, Sarah never fails to amaze even the most faithful Americana music fan with how versatile her octave mandolin, her acoustic guitar and her clawhammer banjo, joined by a bass guitar (Jeff Picker) and guitar (Jefferson Hamer) can truly be. Falling somewhere between classical music and folk rock, Blue Heron Suite will inspire mandolin and clawhammer banjo players for the foreseeable future.


The commission awarded to Jarosz by the Fresh Grass Foundation states the following on its website: “The FreshGrass Composition Commission is our flagship grant, given annually to an artist whose work reflects the FreshGrass mission to preserve and support innovative grassroots music. Composition Commission recipients write a new long-form piece of music for an ensemble that includes some elements of traditional string band instrumentation,” Blue Heron Suite therefore is not a traditional album of songs (unlike her 2020 Grammy winning World on the Ground album). 


This cohesive new album contains songs, interludes and reprises that are most satisfying to listen to in one sitting, preferably with headphones and with the high quality setting if you are using the Spotify app!


Jarosz has not only excelled at writing and performing a piece that fulfills the purpose of  her award. She has also written a testimony to the comforting and strengthening importance of family and friends at a time in one’s life when crummy circumstances are blindsiding a usually upbeat individual. Jarosz’s theme of experiencing her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis ( now in remission) and the devastation of Hurricane Harvey at a much-loved town near her Texas hometown of Wimmerley back in 2017 is proficiently reflected in the way the music finds strength after the suite’s turning point during Interlude Two. 


An example of how her music evokes the storyline of her experience is Interlude Two’s pleasing clawhammer banjo strumming, calling to mind her thinking over what her mother and friends have said. This interlude then leads to the appearance Jarosz’s trademark powerful vocals (rather than the higher-pitched vocals heard up to this point) for the first time on this album. 


For the remainder of Blue Heron Suite, the music becomes more upbeat —- not exactly her boisterous Little Satchel (a bluegrass standard she covered on World On The Ground in 2020) but that’s what makes Blue Heron Suite so beautifully and genuinely relatable to anyone that has come out on the other side of a crisis or a tragedy.


Sarah’s concert swag available online also will delight and surprise her fans new and old. In addition to some of the prettiest t-shirts and tank tops with artwork by her friend Taylor Ashton,  Jarosz offers imprinted kites (!) and bluebonnet seed packets in true Texas fashion. 


Don’t forget, there are imprinted Blue Heron tumblers for enjoying her cocktail recipes!


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Soul

Time: 
8pm
Band name: 
DAKOTA JONES
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
DakotaJonesBand
Venue name: 
The Bowery Electria
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Soul

Time: 
doors: 7:30pm; show: 8:30pm
Band name: 
Jennah Vox
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/jennah.vox/
Venue name: 
Rockwood Music Hall
Band email: 
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