Melbourne’s Teskey Brothers Do Blue-Eyed Soul on “So Caught Up”

The Aussie duo that comprises the now-foursome Teskey Brothers, Sam and Josh, have mastered husky, rugged soul-rock since their teenaged Melbourne union in ’08. On the group’s newest single from the upcoming Run Home Slow, due August 2nd, Black Keys-esque rock piano licks, belter Josh’s gritty-soul pipes, and an irking fixation sustain cries for relief; [“Every…

Gem of the Week: “Smiling Faces Sometimes”-The Undisputed Truth

Song: “Smiling Faces Sometimes” Artist: The Undisputed Truth Album: The Undisputed Truth (1971) Long before mixtapes were a thing, Motown record producer Norman Whitfield was DJ’ing his own trip-funk soundtrack; getting his name out via his own collective of hippie soul singers on a succinct portfolio of R&B jams, entitled The Undisputed Truth. It was the handcrafted…

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: “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: “Apple Tree”-Erykah Badu

Song: “Apple Tree” Artist: Erykah Badu Album: Baduizm (1997) Neo-soul’s queen Erykah Badu, ever-decked out in headwrap and nasal-tinged funk vocals, entered the R&B scene during one of its most pivotal, female-dominated generations. From the mid-90s onward, the songstress’ beatnik presence, whiny tonal oddity–and preference for scratchy, old-school beats as her instrumental canvas–made her and her…

Ciara Returns; Releases New R&B Cut, “I Bet”

After a seven-month hiatus and delivery of her little one, mod-R&B princess CiCi’s back. A new single, “I Bet”, dropped today–and with very salty undertones, the slushy ballad makes a probable head-shake of distaste at now-ex Future over a Harmony Samuels-designed, acoustic-meets-percussive instrumental. In traditional Ciara smoothness, the singer croons, “I bet you start loving…

Gem of the Week: “Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky)”-Marvin Gaye

Song: “Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky)” Artist: Marvin Gaye Album: What’s Going On (1971) While Marvin Gaye’s soulful legacy can be traced back to short and sweet Motown hits with Tammi Terrell (“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “You’re All I Need To Get By”) or other snappy, mid-’60s radio classics (“I Heard It Through the…

New Track: The Weeknd-“Earned It”

XO’s The Weeknd surprise-released a track last night, “Earned It”, a new single and addition to the 50 Shades soundtrack upon the film’s theater release in mid-February. The classically-influenced track features Tesfaye’s nectarous, falsetto coos over an oscillating, violin-plucked beat. To enhance the instrumental’s already-aphrodisiac effect, each verse pairs his appreciation while a background piano flickers:…

Gem of the Week: “Use Me”-Bill Withers

Song: “Use Me” Artist: Bill Withers Album: Still Bill (1972) The dusky-voiced soul behind some of the sleekest R&B singles of the ’70s, Bill Withers should probably be known for more than just “Lean on Me”, the solo artist’s trademark ballad. Withers started up in 1970, his breakout studio album, Just As I Am, releasing in 1971….

Mary J. Blige Drops Piano-Heavy Ballad, “Not Loving You”

Longtime, man-slandering mother of R&B Mary J. Blige just dropped a new single, “Not Loving You”. The track, found on The London Sessions and likely a marketing move for another project to come, is loaded with simple, intimate piano and a lot of the chest-belting we’d expect from the veteran soulstress. Just over 3 minutes is all…