Earth Wind & Fre

Cosmic Heights

That’s the handsome MC Perry Jones onstage. It’s 1974 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, and Jones is looking out…

February 5, 2016 | Ericka Blount Danois | Articles
David Bowie illustration by Andrew Spear.

So long, David Bowie

  So long, David Bowie! Since the dawn of the Space Age, several cosmic souls have too briefly graced our…

February 4, 2016 | Wax Poetics | Guest Blog/In Memoriam
equipe radio cidade

The New Year’s jams

  Equipe Rádio Cidade “Bons Tempos (Ano Novo)” Happy New Year, good readers of Wax Poetics! May 2016 bring better…

January 6, 2016 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Natalie Cole promo photo

Remembering R&B legend Natalie Cole

On December 31, 2015, a statuesque songbird flew away from her perch to the heavens above. Natalie Maria Cole was…

| Chris Williams | Guest Blog/In Memoriam
Natl Lampoon Kung Fu Christmas

National Lampoon Players “Kung Fu Christmas” & The Emotions “What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas”

  Apologies if these two get delivered quicker and more to the point, but, well it’s clear we’re a little…

January 4, 2016 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Salsoul Christmas

Salsoul Orchestra “You’re All I Want For Christmas (featuring Jocelyn Brown)”

  What y’all know about Christmas disco records? Most of them suck or maybe there’s a cool arrangement that lasts…

| Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
The Show, the After Party, the Hotel

Legendary engineer Jimmy Douglass on his role in constructing Jodeci’s The Show, the After Party, the Hotel on album’s 20th anniversary

By the mid-1990s, Donald “Devante Swing” DeGrate, Jr., Dalvin “Mr. Dalvin” DeGrate, Cedric “K-Ci” Hailey, and Joel “Jojo” Hailey—collectively known…

December 23, 2015 | Chris Williams | Guest Blog
Rotary Connection Peace

Rotary Connection “Peace at Least”

  Day 6 On a similar note from Day 5, we have a psych-rock story song that finally explains how…

December 22, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Joe Gibbs Christmas

Joe Gibbs Family Wish You a Merry Rockers Christmas

I love the incongruity of Christmas music, like this jamming version of “We Three Kings” from the Joe Gibbs Family…

December 21, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings It’s a Holiday Soul Party

As I mentioned on the first day of Christmas Jams, there are a few unwassailable classic Christmas albums that have…

December 18, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Guest Blog
Claudine Longet

Claudine Longet “I Don’t Intend to Spend Christmas Without You”

The impossibly lightweight Longet hit the American record-buying public like a barely smellable fart with an alluring foreign aroma, meaning…

December 17, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Paul Revere and the Raiders

Paul Revere and the Raiders “Rain Sleet or Snow”

On the second day of Christmas… Like Paul Revere and his Raiders, I hail from rainy, wet, and cold Portland,…

December 15, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery
Gerson King splash

Gerson King Combo “Jingle Black” (Polydor Records, Brazil) 1977

My partner in life and children has always been extremely understanding of my personal music obsession and vinyl acquisition habit,…

December 7, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Re:Discovery

Fela collaborator Eji Oyewole is African royalty

Fela Kuti collaborator, jazz legend, and highlife pioneer Prince Eji Oyewole is surely a member of African music’s royalty. But…

November 30, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Guest Blog

Joey Negro picks five Chic soundalikes and releases new compilation

Chic, the disco group led by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards, were so influential, both through their own…

November 10, 2015 | Andrew Mason | Record Rundown
Lee "Scratch" Perry

Going bananas for Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Super Ape

  Aside from his eccentricities, such as burning down his own Black Ark Studio to rid it of vampires and…

November 9, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Guest Blog
Ennio Morricone - Controfase cover 1

The bizarre, mythical, lost album of Ennio Morricone

Hidden deep within Ennio Morricone’s vast discography, far from his overground cinematic successes and accomplished pop dalliances, far from the…

November 6, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Guest Blog
Tuxedo by Piper Ferguson

As Tuxedo, Mayer Hawthorne and producer Jake One draw on G-funk and ’80s boogie to make you dance

    “Every time we got together and worked, it felt like summer camp,” recalls Seattle producer Jake One, half…

September 30, 2015 | Eric Luecking | Articles
Mr. Bongo Africa 45

Dave “Mr Bongo” Buttle discusses his new Africa 45s series featuring rare-groove Afro classics

Dave “Mr Bongo” Buttle has long been a distinguished part of the British music scene, keeping some of the country’s…

August 25, 2015 | Andrew Mason | Articles
Rocky Dawuni

Ghana-born, L.A.-based singer Rocky Dawuni spreads his positive message through Afro-roots music

An unusual Southern California overcast day, clouds pregnant with a much-needed rain blanket the Pacific Ocean. Though, muttering “April Showers…

August 24, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles

New Zealand duo Electric Wire Hustle recalibrate electronic R&B

Straight out of Wellington, New Zealand, hails the type of steam-sexed soul we all thought died in the ashtray of…

August 13, 2015 | Tamara P. Carter | Articles
Janelle Monae by Marc Baptiste

The mysterious Janelle Monáe would rather talk about her android alter ego

  The Myth Janelle Monáe is an electron; she is the Sphinx; she is Mona Lisa’s smile; she is something…

August 11, 2015 | Travis Atria | Articles
Photo by Henry Diltz

Ned Doheny went from the folky Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene to R&B heights

After an album on Asylum failed to make waves, Ned Doheny wrote a couple songs with Average White Band’s Hamish Stuart that would find great success in the R&B world. Teaming with Steve Cropper, Doheny embraced this new funky direction and recorded two albums that made him a star in England and Japan.

August 8, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Articles

Newcleus was at the center of the electro cosmos

  In the early 1980s, hip-hop was going through a change. With advancements in electronic music-making technology too tempting to…

August 4, 2015 | Wax Poetics | Articles
Bad Brains, H.R., Photo by Frank White © 1987

Band in D.C.:
Out of the nation’s capital,
Bad Brains came with extraordinary positivity

“What we discovered was PMA was really the Great Spirit,” says bassist and Bad Brains founding member Darryl Jenifer. “The…

July 28, 2015 | Jon Kirby | Articles
Swamp Dogg

Little Jerry Williams reinvented himself as Swamp Dogg, using Southern soul to tackle social issues, comedic parables, and once-taboo subjects

Jerry Williams Jr.’s life is the stuff of legend, yet he never became a legend. He hung out with Louis…

July 24, 2015 | Travis Atria | Articles

Kon’s Star Time label delivers stellar disco edits

“In 1978, my mother was pretty much a disco diva—a little queen—and would take me to the club on Saturdays,”…

July 17, 2015 | Alexander Speetzen | Articles
Ghostface Killah

In an arena where MCs seldom have longevity, Ghostface Killah has been a pillar of hip-hop since 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

  See this rap shit?  Came at a time that  was accurate.  Twenty years later,  I mastered it. –“In tha…

| David Ma | Articles
Ratatat by Timothy Saccenti

Melody Maestros: As Ratatat, Mike Stroud and Evan Mast have a penchant for making catchy yet cerebral instrumentals, featuring smart interplay between guitar, synthesizers, and crisp beats

“I was so into [Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass]. I had all of his records,” says multi-instrumentalist/producer Evan Mast,…

July 8, 2015 | Allen Thayer | Features
Debbie Harry by Chris Stein

Blondie rose to stardom out of New York City’s burgeoning downtown scene of punk rock and new wave

In 1970s New York City, photography student Chris Stein found his muse in singer Deborah Harry. The two became romantically…

July 1, 2015 | Andrew Mason | Features