Gem of the Week: “The Glamorous Life”-Sheila E.

Song: “The Glamorous Life” Artist: Sheila E. Album The Glamorous Life (1984) 80’s pop singer-drummer goddess Sheila E.’s first album, The Glamorous Life remains a mesh-legginged, big-haired strut and a #throwbackthursday win. Released in ’84, at the height of Madonna-styled female independence, chunky bangles, and snappy radio hits, the singer’s freshman studio album bops with quirky synths, heavy dance…

Gem of the Week: “All the Things You Are”-Oscar Peterson Trio

Song: “All the Things You Are” Artist: The Oscar Peterson Trio Album: Another Day (1970) Sultry piano isn’t a genre, and it wasn’t in 1970, either. But if it was, late jazz artist Oscar Peterson could’ve been originator and gatekeeper. Coined as the “Maharaja of the keyboard”, the Canadian legend’s early training regimen was purely classical:…

Gem of the Week: “All About You”-Donell Jones

Song: “All About You” Artist: Donell Jones Album: My Heart (1996) For those of us whose souls melt with the play of any 90s R&B slow-jam staple, whether off the discogs of Xscape, Jodeci, Jagged Edge, or Mary J., ‘Throwback Thursday’ is a lifestyle. We yearn for Aaliyah-themed, Tommy Hilfiger-decked 90s DJ nights, the karaoke revival…

Gem of the Week: “Rain In My Heart”-Frank Sinatra

Song: “Rain in My Heart” Artist: Frank Sinatra Album: Cycles (1968) You wouldn’t think that cranking out an easy listening compilation in the height of dazed hippie takeover would be an easy task; especially for Frank Sinatra, the championed OG crooner whose American Standards/Songbook peak–[at least the period most agreed on as such]–was since long…

Gem of the Week: “Sweet and Sour”-Firefall

Song: “Sweet and Sour” Artist: Firefall Album: Elan (1978) Not only did the 1978 Elan studio album serve as a third, moody-bluesy succession to the Boulder, CO soft rock band’s prior installments, but it followed a key Firefall golden rule: laying all seething scorn–inflicted by the witchiest of women–on the line. Stylized by embittered tracks like “Cinderella”…

Gem of the Week: “Do You Feel Alright”-KC and the Sunshine Band

Song: “Do You Feel All Right” Artist: KC and the Sunshine Band Album: Who Do Ya (Love) (1978) Every KC and the Sunshine Band record is a take-home fiesta; a one-way portal to shameless disco-ball devotion, Bee Gees-esque falsetto, and glittering, 70s dance-floor funk. The theme of their 1978 LP Who Do Ya (Love) itself is total contentment…

Gem of the Week: “Between The Bars”-Elliott Smith

Song: “Between The Bars” Artist: Elliott Smith Album: Either/Or (1997) The mark Elliott Smith left on the world was an uncontested kind of sad; a medicinal one at that. Until his abrupt death in 2003, the singer-songwriter notoriously penned songs for the lonely and jaded demographic, stringing together delicate, alt rock riffs with poetic contemplation. His…

Gem of the Week: “Move On Up”-Curtis Mayfield

Song: “Move On Up” Artist: Curtis Mayfield Album: Curtis (1970) The legacy of Curtis Mayfield is one stamped with eternal coolness. In addition to lead-producing blaxploitation film scores, he mixed his own records, played the guitar, piano, and sang with a kind of velvety richness paralleled by few other than Marvin Gaye or Al Green.  His…

Gem of the Week: “Bra”-Cymande

Song: “Bra” Artist: Cymande Album: Cymande (1972) As far as Afro-Brit 70s funk goes, Cymande takes the cake for cuckoo rhythms and multi-cultural dimension. Flavored with vibrant, West Indies percussion, Jamaican tempos, Calypso-ed out vocals—and hollow, electric American familiarity to neutralize the bongo-heavy atmosphere—the free-flowing 9-piece, though now dissolved, brought all their roots to the surface…

Gem of the Week: “Squonk”-Genesis

Song: “Squonk” Artist: Genesis Album: A Trick of the Tail (1976) For criminal-themed macabre swaddled in art rock bizarro–with a young Phil Collins on vocals–try Genesis’ 1976 A Trick of the Tail on for size. The obscure LP hosts Collins’ first trial in Peter Gabriel lead vocal-succession; the spark of his pop-and-beyond relevance and perhaps the band’s best…