RATING: 4 CHET BAKERS
I first met DJ Come of Age online years ago. I think we came into contact because I emailed him to let him know how much I loved his mixtape "Tish", and then we just sort of connected. Over the years I've come to know him a bit better, and one thing I've realized is that he definitely has an ear for good independent soul music. Formerly based in Germany, he often was able to connect to a lot of solid european soul artists that were under the radar of the average music fan.
Over the years I've been exposed to artists that I would never have even heard of, much less heard here in the states, due to his "Soul Music of the World" podcast. Whether it's Germany, France, Sweden, Spain or the United States, COA definitely has an ear for talent, and he shows that yet again on this new compilation entitled "Love, Music, Art: Volume 1" I would guess that most people hearing this for the first time, or reading this review, have probably not heard of any of these artists.
Some of you may have, if you have followed Naptural85's youtube series, which has featured some of the music from these artists in the past. However other than that, the chances of you hearing them, unless you're dialed in to the indie scene, are not great. They aren't on every blog and music website. They're not on the covers of the music magazines being touted as "The Next Big Thing!"
But they should.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
And once you hear this compilation, you'll understand why. Because these artists are a throwback to when you needed talent to make it in this business. It's kinda ironic that in the old days you needed talent to make it in the business. You may get your foot in the door with a gimmick, but you had to be able to back that up with actual talent. Now it's sort of the reverse. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't have that gimmick, if you don't have that hook that brings them in, then it doesn't matter. If you don't sell a ton of records out of the gate, then most labels are done with you.
Look at some of the artists over history that have put out an insane number of albums compared to today's artists. Artists aren't given the chance, really, to grow into their own style and develop. Everyone wants the artists ready to put out a hit song right out of the gate, and if not, they'll just drop you and find someone who will.
I mean, for pete's sake this girl Kreayshawn got a million dollar deal off of ONE YOUTUBE VIDEO! No singles, No mixtapes, no albums, no catalog, nothing. Kreayshawn does a video for Gucci Gucci, which gets a massive amount of hits on Youtube, and the label throws a million dollar contract her way. Meanwhile there are countless extremely talented artists out there who are never given a shot because they don't have the connections or a gimmick to them beyond their actual talent.
It's sad. Which makes the work that those like DJ Come of Age do, all that more important. To give the attention to these artists that wouldn't otherwise be heard. And the internet has allowed this to be much easier with the social media explosion on twitter or facebook and music sharing sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Coming into this project, I had only heard a few of these artists, mainly through DJ COA's podcasts.
Track number 4 is by an artist named Kafele with a remix of their track "Stone Crazy". I have to say I kinda dug this. It has a sort of house/trip hop type vibe to it that I'm usually not really into, although it reminded me of this British trip hop type of group called "Slow Train Soul" that I'm a fan of. Has that same hypnotic type feel to it that you'd find on STS' tracks like "Twisted Cupid" off their album Illegal Cargo. Was digging this a lot by the time it ended. A nice jazzy trance-ish track.
Track number 6, by Sista Soul, I admit I wasn't into when it first started. However as it kept going, and I listened, it really grew on me. Once it got going, I was totally grooving out to this song. It has a very positive upbeat India.Arie type vibe to it. Plus it has a nice mini piano solo in there, and everyone knows I'm a sucker for a piano solo.
I think my favorite track on the compilation though, has to be Brandee Younger's song "So Alive".I have to say I've never really listened to anyone who's played the Jazz Harp before, so this was a new experience. Man was this a cool track though. This is such a fantastic song and Younger's voice is stellar. The voice had me thinking of another artist and trying to remember who she sounds like and then couldn't place it. I know it'll come to me later, and I'll update this review if I ever do, but there's certain parts of the song where her voice sounds SO familiar and it's kind of driving me crazy.
That said, I'm definitely going to be listening to more of Younger's music. And once again DJ Come of Age has done his job. He's introduced listeners to artists that they would never hear if it was up to the powers that be that seem to dictate what gets played on the radio and what doesn't. What gets aired on the video stations and what doesn't.
The Internet has allowed us all to serve as the Radio Stations, making the Top 40 stations fairly obsolete. We are no longer at the mercy of the so-called "Hit Makers". We are able to make our own minds up on what is hot and what is not. What gets a passing mark and what gets simply passed on by.
I encourage everyone to check this compilation out and hear some good indie soul music. It beats the alternative out there where everyone sounds like a carbon copy of the next artist.