Welcome back to another round-up of new music and other good stuff!
Each month we’ll be checking with staff and others in our circles to find out what has been catching their eyes, ears and hearts in the world of performance. Sit back, relax and prepare to broaden your entertainment horizons!
Sons of Kemet – Black to the Future
Selected by: Rich Hobby – Director of Marketing
This new album from Shabaka Hutchins earth rattling brass ensemble “Sons of Kemet” has been on constant rotation on my playlists since it was released late last month. SoK are a force of nature on this album with propulsive rhythms and melodies that are infectious to the ear and soul. The album also doesn’t shy away from critical conversations and features guest artists from both the UK and US and their insights on race issues and historic inequalities. The opening track “Field Negus” features poet Joshua Idehen, and is jarring at times, yet critical to starting the needed dialogue that is delivered throughout the album. My favorite tracks are “Pick Up Your Burning Cross”, “Hustle” and the hypnotic melodies of the instrumental “To Never Forget The Score”.
“Dear Chelsea” Podcast (ft. Chelsea Handler and Brandon Marlo)
Selected by: Abbey Aronica – Marketing Coordinator
I’ve been a Chelsea Handler superfan since I was 11 years old so it’s no surprise that I’ve recently become obsessed with her new podcast that she co-hosts with Brandon Marlo called “Dear Chelsea”. This is a weekly advice show that dives into some serious (and silly) topics as listeners are able to submit questions to the co-hosts. Chelsea manages to both be empathetic, helpful and HILARIOUS when listening to viewer’s questions and talking them through their issues. I’ve always been a huge fan of Chelsea Handler and her ability to be completely honest about her life and opinions, and this show further showcases her ability to do that with other people’s lives as well. They also bring on some celebrity guests, experts, etc. to further weigh in on the topics at hand to provide their perspectives. New episodes come out every Thursday, but I honestly wish they could release them daily; it’s THAT good.
Tobe Nwigwe – “Wake Up Everybody”
Selected by: Emeka Ogu – Box Office Assistant Manager
Tobe is short for “Tobechukwu”, the Igbo word for “Praise God”. Nwigwe is pronounced ‘nuh-wee-gweh’. While his name is the name on the songs, his wife, Fat, and his producer LaNell “Nell” Grant are fundamental to the finished body of work they have created. They operate outside the label system: designing their own outfits, booking their own gigs and watching each other’s children who are often featured in their videos. Their art has been tackling tough topics like Black men’s experiences with PTSD and raising children. The blend of their artistic vision and the phenomenal supporting cast such as David Michael Wyatt, you may find yourself bingeing their very easily watchable videos once you find out about them like I did recently.
Spirit of the Beehive – “ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH”
Selected by: Jen Cumberworth – Senior Administrative Specialist
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – “Texas Sun”
Selected by: Mike Hergenreter – Talent Buyer
I have been following Khruangbin (KRUNG-bin), which means “aeroplane” in Thai, for several years, since I was pitched to book them in town a few years back. Hailing from Houston, Texas, the trio (Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and “DJ” Johnson on drums) have been selling out theater’s around the country, and playing some of the most prolific festivals since 2015. With their shared love of Afghan and Middle Eastern music, they developed their unique bass-heavy, psychedelic and soulful sound practicing in a barn in Burton, Texas (between Austin and Houston), which would become the site to all future Khruangbin recording sessions. A noticeable part of the band’s visual style is the black wigs Lee and Speer currently wear on stage, which was originally used to help them move from the stage to the merch tables without being recognized in the early tours.
However, when I heard they put out a new track with Leon Bridges in early ’20 called, “Texas Sun”, I got excited, and had to take a listen. The bands haunting background vocals, psychedelic and soulful sound is highlighted by Leon’s smooth raspy vocals giving the song a hint into their future development as a band, with hopefully more collaborations with other artists. I often find myself kicking on one of their records in the office, and listening to it start to finish in the background while working. Give them a spin, and see if you find yourself with some chill background music to work to.