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Hello again. Sorry it’s been so long, but Stealing Wax is finally back.

To make up for the recent lack of contact, here’s a little gem from the every expanding catalogue of J Dilla tribute work: currently one of my favourite things!


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Smoking in Heaven Album CoverFor an album created by three young siblings in their garage, Smoking in Heaven is a surprisingly accurate piece of rootsy, nostalgic Americana. The multi-talented, multi-instrumental trio have already garnered quite a celebrity following, including the likes of Amy Winehouse, Chris Martin, Eagles Of Death Metal, Dustin Hoffman and Ewan McGregor. It’s easy to see why. Lewis, an passionate DJ and collector of 78s, built the studio in which the entire album was recorded. The songs were all tracked on Lewis’ mid-century equipment. The result is a sound that’s analogue, crackly and warm, just like all the best old R&B records. The accuracy to which this young group captures the spirit of this music is as surprising as it is refreshing. Trombones, accordions, lap-steels, harmonicas and other instruments are all played with equal capability. This is a true nostalgic gem: an light-hearted, uplifting album for the summer.

For more info check out myspace.com/kittydaisyandlewis

Breaking new ground beyond the psychedelic synth/pop footsteps of his debut, Chaz Bundick’s latest release effortlessly hurdles second album syndrome. Rather than relying on studio techniques, Under The Pine gets its aesthetic from the introduction of live playing. This development appears to be a wise move, as the 23-year-old bedroom producer keenly dodges any pigeonholes that his first record may have sent him toward. A thinner but equally lovely production style now replaces the overly saturated electro production of his debut, Causers of This. There are now elements of J Dilla, Animal Collective and even Sly and The Family Stone where other influences, such as Daft Punk and French house, used to dominate. Reverb drenched vocals, picked bass, analogue synths and a refreshing retro-funk feel make Under The Pine a sure-fire underground hit.

For more info check out myspace.com/toroymoi

 

She’s already performed with Amy Winehouse’s backing band and landed numerous high-profile session jobs- such as singing in the backing band on X-Factor and in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage production, ‘Love Never Dies’- suffice to say, Frankie Young has a lot of potential. As with all young musicians though, potential can often amount to a lot less than what is initially expected. As a singer and talented pianist, Frankie is in the enviable position of being able to control her musical direction, which is why it would be a shame to see her slip down the generic “soul diva” road.

If you like that sound, there’s already Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blidge, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse and numerous others to choose from, not to mention the seemingly never-ending pool of amateur sound-alikes out there. To avoid becoming just another one of those Frankie Young might have to brave her way into some unfamiliar territory. Citing The Roots as one of her influences, Frankie does show an awareness of genres outside the usual R&B area. Perhaps bringing some more of this into her sound would make her a little more distinctive. At the moment her recorded music, check out her eponymous three-track EP, is a little on the generic side to pave her way to success. However, when you see her live, it’s a different kettle of fish. In three-piece format, her live sets occupy a nice middle ground between soul trio and pop band. The musicianship is spot on, as her drummer and bassist form a refreshingly tasteful rhythm section, and she gives off such confidence that you can imagine her holding the attention of any crowd.

If she were a jazz album, she’d be Kind Of Blue. The great thing though, is that with the requisite development and musical experimentation she could become Bitches Brew. A tedious metaphor perhaps but an exiting prospect nonetheless.

myspace.com/frankieyoungmusic

With their tasteful vocal harmonies, dynamic arrangements and undeniable pop appeal, the Common Tongues are definitely a band to keep a beady eye. However, with modern folk being so saturated, this Brighton five-piece might struggle to move beyond the inevitable associations with groups like Mumford and Sons. But if their recent performance at Brighton’s Concorde2 was anything to go by, they certainly have the potential.

Performing in aid of the Our Sansar charity, who are dedicated to fighting poverty around the world, The Common Tongues showed exactly what touring experience can do for a band. After a summer chock-full of shows, their live performance has clearly benefited. The rhythm section gelled smoothly and the various layers of each song seemed well considered. It was also nice to hear a group who aren’t afraid to throw in a few unexpected treats, such as their impromptu cover of Dizzee Rascal’s Dance With Me.

As always though, there was room for improvement. In the quieter moments of the set the instrumentation seemed to lack poignancy, as the two acoustics battled for frequency. Also, their mid-song banter seemed a little un-assured. All this is simply nit-picking though, as they’re an act with clear potential. If it’s clean, folk/pop that you like, Common Tongues do the job better than most.

myspace.com/thecommontongues