Just can´t quit listening to Anderson East

It has to be said; you got a gift if you sound like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Joe Cocker and a young Rod Stewart plus a dash of Ryan Adams. Sometimes even in the same song.

Meet Anderson East, a soulful singer/songwriter from Athens, Alabama U.S. He got the gift!

Photo- Joshua Black Wilkins
Photo from the Anderson East Facebook page, photo by Joshua Black Wilkins (link)

Still Anderson East doesn’t rip-off the sound of the afore mentioned artists. On his major label debut “Delilah” he proves to the listener that he is the real deal. An artist and album filled with funk, soul, doo-woop, and country ballads, yes country ballads! And it sounds and feels authentic from start to the end. Out of your speakers pours music that blurs out the line between the genres. There’s even a raw blaxploitation feel here and there with  wah-wah guitar and horn stabs. He can be funky as hell in one song and sounds heartbroken to tears the next! Add a soulful female choir to lift a handful of the songs and you got just the right vibes.

It’s impressing how easy Anderson East switch between raw soul and country inspired ballads. His voice is the impressing and essential tool on the album. The the albums production is beautiful done by Dave Cobb.

FB album promo

Listen to Anderson East on Soundcloud or listen to Spotify or check out on iTunes (Click on music service to listen NOW!)


If we should sum up the sound of Anderson East to one genre it’s got to be progressive soul. A genre with stylistic orgins in Rhythm & Blues, Funk, Doo Wop and soul. Spice it up with some country and Americana and you´ve got the sound of “Delilah”. A record you just can’t quit listening to!


Q&A: Eddie Gomez – On a constant quest for knowledge and inspiration!

…And then there was fall!
This summer has gone too fast, but we have been happy to fill our ears with both new and old music. One of this years most played artists is a cool dude from Los Angeles. His name is Eddie Gomez. Eddie streams his songs through Soundcloud, and the song “Nothing Like This Love”, released by may 2014. Short time later it was followed by the Eddie Gomez EP “Retro-Fitted”

EG_NOTHING LIKE_ALBUM_04.11-2 (1)Check out “Nothing Like This Love” on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/eddie-gomez/nothing-like-this-love

If one should try to give Eddie Gomez a musical label, it would be singer-songwriter, with a dash of soul, a hint of Motown, mixed with hip hop. It was not to easy to give the artist just one label, so we decided to do a Q&A interview to get to know Eddie Gomez a little better.

When hearing your music, we hear younger soulful singer-songwriters like James Morrison, Jamie Cullum, Bernhoft, James Arthur, Allen Stone in your music. Who is your biggest musical influences?

– Wow…first of all, thank you for the compliment! Those are some really talented musicians. My Influences go back a little further and are all across the board. Bill Withers, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Boys ll Men, Lauren Hill,and John Legend. But that is only one aspect of my music. I truly believe that you can take something positive from all genres of music and use it to create something new and original.

When writing lyrics, are the lyrics inspired by your own experiences or is it just fiction?

– I think a good songwriter can take his/her emotions and turn it into a song, but the great ones can take the stories or emotions of others and create a timeless work of art, and I strive to be one of the greats.

What are your process when writing and recording a song?

– Before I write a song I sit in my studio and listen to old record and artists from previous generations. I’m always on a constant quest for knowledge and inspiration.  From there it really varies on the song, and like they say, ” there’s no right way to eat a Reeses”

When was the first time your really felt like, “Yes this – music – is what I´m going to do for a living!”

– Music never came easy to me.  It was always something I had to work hard at. If it wasn’t for my family’s encouragement I don’t think I would have looked to music as a creative outlet nor career.  It wasn’t until I wrote my first song when I knew that music was going to be a big part of my life.

Are there plans for a full album in the near future? When can we expect it?

– You can expect my next single very soon, along with my next body of work.

Skjermbilde 2015-09-05 kl. 23.36.39
Have a listen to “Retro-Fitted EP here https://soundcloud.com/eddie-gomez/sets/eddie-gomez-ep-1

The song «Someday” has a cool ambience that sounds like it was recorded in a café or if someone is speaking while you record the track – what is this sound?

– The whole vibe I wanted to portray in that song and the picture I wanted to paint was a bunch of friends on a front porch jamming out, talking about life, and having a good time. The sound that you hear in the background of that track is me trying to create that with layering my voice in different ways.

Do you do everything by yourself, instruments, productions…everything? What instruments are you playing

– I write and produce my own songs. But I will always ask for help when I need it. I also play a few instruments but my main one is guitar.

Could you (artists) reach their audience without social media today?

– Social media does not make you an artist. You are an artist with or without it. But I do believe that social media allows you to reach further than you ever could in the past.

What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media to reach out to your fans; discuss!

– I think the advantages of social media are again, reaching a bigger audience sooner and faster than ever amongst other great advantages, but one of the disadvantages I think, is that it makes artists and celebrities more accessible. I miss the days where celebrities had a sense of mystery, which made them feel like some sort of super hero.

Where do your see yourself in lets say, 5 years time?

– I honestly haven’t thought that far ahead, but I wish to still be creating and writing, but on a much bigger scale.

What is the biggest, as in coolest, thing you have experienced as a musician or with one (or more) of your songs

– Every opportunity that has come my way has been a blessing and equally as important to me and my career.

In all Read+Hear Q&As I do, the last questions always is; what albums /artists are your all time favorites?

– This is a hard question and will always change depending on my mood. But these are the albums I will always go back to.

* Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrel’s “Greatest Hits”
* Laruryn Hill “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”
* Amy Winehouse “Back To Black”
* Adele “21”

Eddie Gomez high res (1)

Tempted to check out even more music by Eddie Gomez? Make sure you check out his Soundcloud profile; https://soundcloud.com/eddie-gomez

H A P P Y    L I S T E N I N G !

Hey, it’s James Bay!

You might heard about James Bay by now, maybe on the radio – you might even have downloaded one or all of his three EPs. I swear you gonna hear a lot more from Mr Bay this year – and years to come!

Photo by Alex Shahmiri

The 25 year old English singer-songwriter, got a second place when BBC summed up “The Sound of 2015” – if you ask me James Bay´s gonna be the voice of 2015. Vocally James Bays passionate voice is the perfect link between Ray La Montagne, James Morrison, Hozier, John Mayer, and sprinkle a little James Blunt on some of the poppier songs. Where Hozier got the gospel feel om some of his best songs, John Mayer and Ray La Montagne got the blue-eyed soul blues/country, James Morrison got the soul, and James Blunt got the pop. Blend them all together and you´ll know what to expect from James Bay. Add that he’s got the look of a young John Mayer / Johnny Depp and sings and write the songs you´ll be hearing everywhere this spring and throughout the year!


I got hooked on James Bay while checking out his three EPs; “The Dark Of The Morning“, “Hold Back The River” and “Let It Go” and you´ll get blown away how great even his non-album tracks sound. Songs from the EPs are included on his forthcoming album, but even his “B-sides” or no-album-tracks shows what a great songwriter James Bay is.


Some of the songs off the EPs deserves and extra mention, and let’s start with “Move Together” is going be one of those songs that will be included in almost every romantic comedy and TV-series, in years to come. It´s actually his answer Ray La Montagnes “Hold You In My Arms”. The song “Running” makes me somehow hum on a ballad version of U2s “Still Haven´t Found What I´m Looking For”, the gospel feel of this song is beautiful. “Need The Sun To Brake” has a humming choir bridge that than draw a line to “Bonfire Heart” by James Blunt song. “Hold Back The River” is a song James Morrison could have released.

James Bays promising debut album “Chaos And The Calm” will be released the 23rd of March, and I´ll be surprised (and mighty disappointed) if this does not hold the same quality as his pre-released tracks off this album. Almost half of the album has been pre-released as tasters on Itunes, and damn they sounds just perfect – can´t wait till the whole thing is released.

Check out James Bays homepage here. All pictures is taken from James Bays Facebookpage

Did you know you can follow the Read+Hear page on Facebook and Twitter

Q&A: Mirel Wagner, tells it as it is!

Mirel Wagner is a well-kept secret, and her self titled debut album was one favorite album of this page back in 2012!

A great and folk, singer-songwriter album, with Mirels guitar plucking and dry and closely mixed vocals as main ingredient, released on a small record label. Feel free to revisit dark yet beautiful world of Mirel Wagner here!


Then all of a sudden a few weeks back I read that Mirel Wagner has signed to SubPop, and had to check out if she would like to do a Q&A interview, and she did answer me back.

Mirel Wagner
Photo taken from SubPop

Welcome to the Read & Hear Q&A and enter the dark secret world of Mirel Wagner

Q: What are your thoughts about the advantages of being signed to a major label like SubPop vs being a recording artist on a smaller indie label?

*A: I try not to think about things like that.

Q: Your self titled debut was a dark but still very beautiful recording. I tried to describe the sound of Mirel Wagner to my readers and ended up with fictional genres like; doom-soul, dark-folk, goth-blues, minimalist-folk. How would describe your own sound?

*A: I try not to describe my sound.

Q: The lyrics on your debut-album is quite dark and there is much death, suicide, even and a necrophilia love song. If we sum it up is it correct to say it’s a concept album about death? Why this obsession about death?

*A: I don’t know if I’m “obsessed” about darkness or death. I just find these aspects of life interesting.

Q: Your songs are recorded very intimate. When you sing we can hear every little sigh, the click of your tongue and every time your upper lip is separated from your lower lip before you sing. How do you record your vocal parts?

*A: I just sing into a microphone.

Q: I read somewhere that some artists record in the dark while laying in flat on the floor to get a true intimate authentic laid back sound. What is your trick?

*A: I don’t have one.

Q: Have you started working on your follow-up album? Or have you been waiting until you have larger company, like SubPop, to back you?

*A: The follow-up album has been recorded.

Q: What can we expect from a forthcoming album? Is there going to be a new sound? Or is it still as intimate and beautiful as before, just you and your acoustic guitar?

*A: I don’t like to describe my music. I find it pointless and possibly harmful. You’ll have to wait and listen it for yourself.

Q: I do compare your music to Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Nick Cave – and female artist like Hope Sandoval, PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. Feel free to arrest me if I´m all wrong here. Is there any artists you are influenced by?

*A: Not really, not anymore.

Q: What made you wanna pick up the guitar, and start recording your own songs? Made you think I can do this, I can sing, and I can write songs?

*A: I have always felt that I need, want and can write songs. As long as I remember I have done it and enjoyed it.

Q: As always in my Q&A / Interviews I love to take a sneak into the artists record collection. What are your favorite albums? Feel free to mention as many as you lik

*A: I can’t think of anything


Thanks for your answers Mirel Wagner, great speaking with you, and look forward to hearing from you again when your second album is out!

Classic: The smooth tones of “Aftertones”

Ever fallen in love with an album, even before hearing a single note of music? Just by looking at the cover. Janis Ian’s «Aftertones” was one of those albums for me.

The first thing I recognized was the picture of Janis Ian behind the broken glass.
But wait, theres something more to discover here. Her hands is outside of the glass, like she’s trying to get out of the frame. Like she has been placed there against her own will, has she cried? Is she sad? It´s kinda creepy at first, but still touching. It’s like she begs the album buyer for help.

I was pretty sure this was a Hiphnosis Design aka Storm Torgerson (off Pink Floyd fame) cover. It had all the characteristics. I became almost obsessed about the sleeve and had to find out more about it. Who was the artist behind it? I tried googling (my wife call me the king of googling), and it seemed more difficult than I first thought it would be, but I didn’t gave up. Then all of a sudden I found it.

To my surprise it wasn´t a Storm Torgerson design; The photo was taken by Peter Cunningham (link here!) and the Design and sleeve art by David L’Heureux aka disco icon D.C. LaRue

The other design elements on the «Aftertones» cover is half dead white and yellow flower, the pencils and the postcards. Lying there, like someone had to rush and forgotten to post them. Everything is kept natural colors.

The books lined up has titles like  «How To Stay Alive In The Woods» by Bradford Angier. A dairy biography called «Notebooks 1935-1942» by Albert Camus…, Greenwich Village «Bluebook», A telephone book and  «The Outsider» by Colin Wilson.

Janis Ian
Aha! This was how she made the cover!

The mood on the cover say a lot about the music, because Janis Ian’s «Aftertones» sounds like a diary from England’s folksy countryside, to the jazz and blues of New York City, boiling traffic and people everywhere. Janis voice is smooth as silk, and her stories is intimate and she sings to you with a voice that sounds like a cross between the late Karen Carpenter and Joni Mitchell to newer names like Rumer and the late Eva Cassidy. The album features guest artists Phoebe Snow and Odetta.

Janis Ians “Aftertones” album was the highest selling album by a female performer in Japan ever, and reached Top Twenty in US, England Ireland & Holland.

A perfect slice of a classic pop folk blues softrock crossover album if you like!

Q&A: Introducing Indie Soul by AHI

Ever heard about the musical genre indie soul. It´s a musical genre put together of the word independent and soul. Soul music released on a small record company – or released independently without any major recording company backing.

Indie Soul is also the title of the second EP by acoustic soul artist AHI. If any artist should own the title it´s the raspy voiced Afro-American singer and acoustic guitarist, who hides is full name behind the initials AHI, which has become his artist name.

AHIs characteristic, and recognisable raspy and soulful voice and his lyrics and melodies brings to mind thoughts like: What if Bobby Womack was a folk singer and Bob Dylan crossed paths with Led Zeppelin who lets Gil Scott Heron write the texts and letting John Martyn do the singing.

AHI_Day3_Head_Hand On Head
AHI has recorded two great EPs, his selftitled Ahi – EP back in october 2012 and now in february 2014 a brand new EP, the Indie Soul – EP! Both EPs contains 5 songs each, and that’s closely about 40 minutes of, what I would call raw indie soul from an exciting artist more people should get to know.

It´s time to get to know AHI a little better, so read on for the Read & Hear Q/A interview;

If you ask me, never has a genre fitted better than your self-proclaimed Indie Soul genre. I’m tempted to even push it a bit further and call it Raw Indie Soul, because you have a raspy soulful raw voice and a sound that really IS that genre.
What’s the story behind your sound? Describe the genre to some one who has never heard your music before?

As a musician in a sea of music it’s important to find something genuine about yourself that stands out and to identify that to your listener, and I would say that for me it’s probably my raspy, passionate voice.
When I was in London, UK, last summer it just hit me: “Indie Soul”. That’s what I should call my music because I’m influenced by the Indie song structure, melody and writing style, and I’m also heavily influenced by the feel and emotion of soul music. Also, I consider myself an independent soul, a man of my own heart. Indie Soul is just one of those things that people who appreciate my music will understand right away.

I think I hear bits of classing political singer-songwriters and wish to draw a line between your sound and Bob Dylan, Gil Scott Heron, Richie Havens and John Martyn even a dash of Led Zeppelin. You may have other references than me, so here’s your chance to share it with the readers.
Where do you find your musical inspiration; Which artists or bands made you wanna pick up a guitar and choose music as your life journey?

My top three of all time, in no particular order, are Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson. All three of these musicians have touched on socio-political topics. Then you’ve got Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”; Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”; Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddamn”; Curtis Mayfield, “People Get Ready”; Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”; and the list goes on. It’s embedded in black musical tradition. I started looking at Richie Havens and Bob Dylan a bit later, when people started comparing me to them. All this stuff comes from the blues, though, and that was the first music I really fell in love with. B.B. King is probably the most subconscious influence in my music career; “The Thrill Is Gone” – who writes like that anymore?

As for picking up the guitar, that just happened. I never wanted to play it, but I was in band that disbanded and the acoustic guitar seemed like the easiest tool to help me continue writing music. But I would have to give credit to local artists like K-os and Murray A. Lightburn (The Dears) for making black males with guitars seem commonplace. Where I’m from it wasn’t commonplace, but I was none the wiser because of them.

I’m getting curious about your name, AHI – it´s always written in capital letters
Is this your real name, or is it short for something. What’s the story?

A-H-I is the initials of my name, but it’s also a Hebrew word when read, which means “brother” or “kindred”. I’d like to believe that my music is brotherly, so for me the name fits.


Everyone seems to be able to make and release music in their own living room these days, and everyone can, or has to give away or share all music for “free” or a small amount of money through streaming services like Spotify and Last.fm to name a few services
How is it to try to break through in the music business today and live out of making music?

It’s chaos and destruction, total anarchy! Ha ha.

Nah, I think it’s cool. For better or for worse, musicians are able to make the most uncompromising music ever. As a result, there are a handful of courageous musicians doing some phenomenal things today. If you can capture your friends, then you’re good go. Otherwise it’s only getting tougher.

Being a lover of all sorts of music myself, from singer-songwriter to metal, to soul to club and jazz – from nu-stuff to old analogue music. There’s always great music to listen to.
What sort of music do you love to groove to? And what is your preferred format to listen to?

I don’t look at the genre so much because I really can listen to anything; however, not a lot of music inspires me. A good melody, a good message and a unique delivery are what catch my attention.
I love watching live sessions, on YouTube or otherwise; they are so raw and stripped down, and you can really see who has something beyond the studio magic and tricks.

I read on the blog on your homepage, that a top UK House producer would love to work with you. Is this secret?
If not, could you give us a teaser about who would love to collaborate with you?

I wouldn’t call it a secret, but we are still in the writing stages of the project and he hasn’t begun talking about himself so it’s probably better not to say. He sent me some tracks and it was a challenge to really position myself in the House music environment, but I’m pretty excited about what we’re doing and I’m looking forward to the outcome.

AHI EPsHear previews and download the AHIs EPs here: “AHI – EP” (left) and “Indie Soul – EP” (right)

In the liner notes of your latest EP I read that you write, perform, and produce most of your music yourself.
Is it easy for you to make music? What is your secret trick?

I write and perform all the songs, but I do have to give a lot of credit to Orin Isaacs who produced my last two EPs. On the Indie Soul EP, I created demos and brought them to the studio and we built the songs together from those demos.

Making music is easy; it’s making good music, remarkable music, that’s the challenge. So it’s more of a discipline than a secret trick. You really gotta start with a good song in its simplest form and try to get it as close to your idea of perfection as possible while still allowing it to retain its simplicity. From there you build it piece by piece with caution. You never want to take away from the essence of a great song, which can easily be done.

The EPs is a teaser for a forthcoming album I would guess, is there a plan about releasing this in a short time?
Are you seeing how the EPs are selling before you choose to release a full album or if you have a release plan, when will it be available for your audience and fans?

Ideally the Indie Soul EP is a platform for a full-length album of the same title presenting Indie Soul to the world. I would like to do an LP, but it has to make sense not only economically but just all around.

And as for the final question – here it’s up to you to empty your heart.
Tell your fans at least 3 words about why 2014 is going to be a fantastic year?

The Indie Soul EP drops on Feb 11th, which is fantastic, and that’s just a teaser. I’m writing some powerful songs that I’m really proud of, songs that I as a music consumer would be thirsty for. And that has always been my aim, since I first started out.

2014 is the year AHI introduces Indie Soul to the people, and I think the people have been waiting to hear this kind of music.

AHI_Day3_Head_Reflection_Look Away
You can read more about AHI on his homepage
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Ed Sheerans “I see fire!” – I see a classic

What a positive surprise! What a great song! What a future classic!

Ed Sheeran has a brand new song on the soundtrack to the latest part of Peter Jackson novel-goes-movie “The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug” called “I See Fire!” – which made me shout to myself  “I see a classic!”


For me Ed Sheerans debut album was this young ginger haired hobbit (sic) look-a-like who sings simple childish acoustic singer-songwriter / hip hop-light inspired songs about things like 80s TV-smash action comedy “A Team”, the joy of playing with Lego in…uh…”Lego House”.
While the other half of the album has titles “the king of one night stands” would love to have as his soundtrack, hence the song titles: “Wake Me Up”, “The City” “Drunk”, “Kiss Me”, “Give Me Love” and while sneaking out the next morning while whistling “You Need Me, I Don´t Need You”. You may arrest me here, because I haven´t heard the album in full – just some songs here and there and I haven´t give the lyrics too much thought.

Even the album cover scared me shitless! I had seen that picture somewhere…than I remembered; it´s a freakin´ rip-off of the movie poster to the movie “Dahmer” about real-life American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer!

Sheeran Dahmer

Where they aware of this when they made the album sleeve to Ed Sheerans self titled debut?

So what about “I See Fire” then? Why is this a future classic!
First, what has happened with his voice! It´s deeper, and way more adult sounding then I´ve ever heard before. The a capella intro with Eds voice on top and falsetto (multitrack?) vocal backups gives the song a celtic folk start, until the acoustic guitars starts. Strings and bass comes inn midway through the song. Then the refrain comes, and Ed lets his voice carry the song. It builds and builds into a really soulful nu-retro modern power ballad that ends with a full gospel choir! Amazing and it gives you goosebumps, unless your heartless!

Check the YouTube video to “I See Fire” here; 

Could Ed Sheerans “I See Fire” be the big ballad of 2014?
The one that can compete with Miley Cyrus massive ballad “Wreckingball”?

PS! I Love Stacy Barthe

If I say Stacy Barthe – does the name say you something? I guess your answer – sadly – is “No”
Unless I ask you if you know; Britney Spears, Rihanna, Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child, Kathy Perry, Cheryl Cole, Brandy and Miley Cyrus? I bet your answer is “Yes, I know those!”


If you know or/and love one or more of those artists, you´d probably have heard the songs of Stacy Barthe. She has written for all those and a bunch of others. To mention a few male artists she has even worked with Rick Ross, Akon and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

…This is why i love Stacy Barthe

The first time you hear the voice of Stacy Barthe, close your eyes. What you hear is a voice so smooth and soulful. Deep and lush and it sounds like she has sung all her life. A mixture of Sade, Rihanna (as when she sings on her slow jams), and Nneka maybe?
I´m tempted to call her a female Drake because she, just like Drake on his “Thank Me Later” album strips down the melodies down to drums, percussion, sometimes a piano and/or a acoustic guitar – naked and organic sounds and full of air and allowing quietness to be a part of the music. The quietness in the music is important to let her fantastic warm voice be the main ingredient in the songs. She flirts sometimes with reggae – and it´s not over-the-top – and it works! When she slows things down and do a spoken word at the end of a couple of her songs. I´m sold again!

She has under her own name released three fantastic EPs “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe” in 2011. “In The Inbetween” and “PS! I Love You” in 2012. These three albums all together contains 25 tracks – and over 90 minutes of music. And before you ask; Just marvelous tracks, no fillers! That’s a huge smile and two huge thumbs up from me!


All of the Stacy Barthe EPs can be bought on iTunes
You can stream parts of “PS! I Love You” , the complete “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe” and “In The InBetween” here through Spotify

On her first release under her own name, she even worked with one of 2012s best artists: Frank Ocean. He did vocals along with Stacy on the beautiful “Without You”, and Rick Ross joins her with a rap verse on “Hell Yeah!”. I could go into mention single songs, but with Stacy Barthe, it´s not any use to recommend some songs – because they´re all so damn good and by not mention anyone, no one is let out.

A few did-you-knows at the end:

  • Did you know it was Beyonce who made Stacy Barthe decide to release her debut EP, “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe”
  • Did you know Stacy Barthe is working with Miley Cyrus forthcoming album, which will (mark my word) be Mileys major mature breakthrough
  • Did you know she even knows and has worked with artists like Alicia Keys, Estelle, Andre 3000, Elle Warner, Brandy, Stephen Marley and T.I.

About the music of Stacy Barthe, she says it best on her own homepage
“You can find hurt and pain in my music while finding the light. It represents empowerment… I speak from a very truthful and sincere place…with love”

Oh! This is a soul record by Allen Stone!

2011/2012 was the year James Morrison got his big breakthrough – and he is now having a well-earned break.  Therefore it´s time to look and listen to a brand new talent! 

His name is Allen Stone, and this is going the year he and his music reaches out to the big masses. Allen Stone is one of these white american soul singers – that stick to the classic formula with great success. Through his sound and voice I feel I can draw a line from classic artists like Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and to “new” white soul men like Jay K from Jamiroquai, Jamie Lidell, Robin Ticke and James Morrison.

2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
Photo by Jason Tang http://www.jktang.com
2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
PHOTOS BY JASON TANG http://www.jktang.com
2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
Photo by Jason Tang http://www.jktang.com

Allen Stone is a 25-year-old soul singer/song-writer from Washington, US. According to his Wikipedia profile – he has sung almost since he was born, and sung in church at the age of three. Church has been like his second home – and the place he developed his love for music. Soul music was discovered later on, when he became a teenager, and started collecting soul albums from the 60s and 70s. At 15 he discovered Stevie Wonders fantastic “Innervisions”. A classic soul album and a reference to his musical landscape.

But he decided to make music his living – after hearing his teenage friend, artists Stacie Orrico – and this is so good that I quote as is the Wikipedia article “She was traveling, singing everywhere, and recording,” Stone says, “She was just a year older than me and I was like, “Man that would be so much fun to do, sing and actually have people listen” (This quote is taken from an Erica Thompson interview with Allen Stone in Rolling Stone magazine October 2012)

61665_430948563033_4693280_nYou can even find Allen Stone on Facebook (This picture is from his FB profile)
If you´d like to twitter, you´ll find him at twitter/allen_stone

It´s tempting to do another quote, from the Rolling Stone article (link here) about what Allen Stones fans can expect from his second album “Allen Stone”; “Sonically, it’s a soul record” and continues “But it’s the music that I really love making. It’s not my attempt to cover all this soul music, it’s just really to fit in there and play the music that I love” and he ends it like this “People will listen to it and be like; Oh, this is a soul record”.

According to the Rolling Stone interview Allen Stone is working with Raphael Saadiqs backing band and one of the late jazz legend Miles Davis keyboard players. The album is being recorder with producer Lior Goldenberg from L.A who has also worked with big name artist like Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow,  and son of late reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley!It must be so cool to work with big names like that – and that is only on the second album.

It makes me wonder; Whats next for Allen Stone?


Back in 2009 he self-released his debut “Last To Speak” on his own label StickyStones records. His first album is a really soulful offering – containing 11 soulful singer/songwriter songs performed with mostly acoustic instruments and his fantastic voice – and he´s handling the guitar himself. I feel the album is representative with his self-confessed hippie with soul (link to Wikipedia) image and sound.

Allen Stones, new and second album – the self titled album “Allen Stone” – is ready for release at the end of february – and is already possible to pre-order in iTunes (which i off course have done). The original release of the album was back in 2011 – but it´s not available on iTunes until now in February. He has  already released the “Allen Stone EP” – a mini-album containing 4 tracks.

You can hear Allen Stones second and self titled album here on Spotify – when it´s released

Since the only thing I have heard from Allen Stones upcoming album is his “Allen Stone EP” – I can’t tell too much about how his second album is going to sound, but if the EP is representative for that – it seems like the upcoming album is a bit more produced this time, more groovy – more classic sounding – and without taking off the loose feeling of his debut album.

The title of his debut album and last song on the same album is called “Last To Speak”. It´s tempting to use this as the final sentence of this blog post about the talented Allen Stone and answer it with “Ok, so you may be the last to speak – but make sure you’re not this is the last you sing” Because this is only the start of the amazing career of Allen Stone.

We need artist like Allen Stone! 
I need artists like Allen Stone!

How To Dress Well?!

To make it clear, this is NOT a blog post about neither clothes nor fashion or the hottest trends even if the title indicate something like it!

So, what is How To Dress Well?

Behind the sentence “how to dress well” is just another weird band name. I call it weird because the name could be the heading of a fashion magazine article, or maybe a blog post. The first thing that popped into my mind when I read the band name in a review of their latest album was something like; Was the name chosen to be found in search engines like Google? So I had to do a test and entered “how to dress well” in Google search field and pushed the search button…and too my big surprise the first thing I got up is the homepage of the band/artist – and other pages with articles about the group.

In other words; What a good choice of band name!

I found that How To Dress Well is not a band name, but the stage name of just one man, Tom Krell. He is also a graduate philosophy student and releases his music through small independent labels like Wierd World Records / Domino Records and Asephale Records.

Where can you listen to How To Dress Well?

Tom Krell has so far released two albums under his alter ego How To Dress Well.

The debut album “Love Remains” (left) was released back in 2010, his second and best album so far is out these days (released September 2012) and is named “Total Loss” (right).  Note: I focus on the latest album in this blogpost.

Buy or hear the album here:
On Itunes US here or Itunes (Nor) here, or listen to it on Spotify or LastFM

You´ll also find a great amount of mixtapes online that gives you a fine introduction to the music that inspires the sound of How To Dress Well. I’ll link to them at the bottom of this page.

How does How To Dress Well sound?

First of all – make sure you hear the album “Total Loss” on a stereo with a good pair of loudspeakers. Or sit down – even better lay down with a pair of headphones. Pump up the volume and let yourself be drawn into the soft and warm sound of “Total Loss”

Lurking in the shadows of soft dubstep and R&B names like James Blake and the soulful landscape of Jamie Woon – a line can also be drawn to The Weeknd. This is the easiest way to describe how How To Dress Well sounds.
The voice mostly falsetto – very soulful, multi-tracked voice, a bit like Bon Iver but with way better falsetto and airy piano not to far from the ambient, classical sounds of Craig Armstrong (the conductor of Massive Attacks “Protection” record and the original score to movies like Romeo & Juliet. Craig Armstrong has also released numerous records under his own name. All slow, orchestral, choral, ambient – soulful and soothing like trip hop at its best) But you also find danceable and funkier sounds on the “Total Loss” album. Even soul singers like the soft voice of Maxwell to more contemporary soul like Maria Carey can seem like a musical influence. Sometimes it sounds like a whole choir has entered the studio – other times it´s just one single voice singing in an empty church. The whole production is smoother, more open, maybe airy is the right description?! I can even hear inspiration from the orchestral part of Prince AOR ballad “Purple Rain” and some inspiration from “Nothing Compares To You” – but not the Sinead O´Connor version or Prince´ own version but the strings and almost a cappella original version by Prince protegé band The Family. If you happen love James Blakes cover of Feist “Limit To Your Love” and Jamie Woons stripped soulful productions; You´ll love to hear How To Dress Wells floating sounds, and their use of echoes, claps, soundscapes and beat boxing and throat voices layer upon layer to create this dream-like soul music.

Tom Krell and How To Dress Well should and could be this years Jamie Woon or Bon Iver. The record everyone should have!

His music might as well can be described as the best soundtrack to a film that has never been made! You wish never ends…until its over in just 46 minutes

Where can you hear more How To Dress Well?

As promised; The mixtapes! Instead of me writing page up and page down of references to the sound of Tom Krell and How To Dress Well listen to and/or download his mixes. Read more about the tracks and mixtapes here:

There is so many mixtapes out there online, and gives you, the reader and listener, a great insight into the world of How To Dress Well – search and you shall find!

You can follow and read more about How To Dress Well on his own pages!
Homepage http://howtodresswell.com
Twitter http://twitter.com/howtodresswell
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/howtodresswellmusic

I am so glad that How To Dress Well and Tom Krell don’t deal with style,
and instead he choose do steal and borrow with style!