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Music: March 2014 Archives

London Grammar

London Grammar is the name of the latest buzz band out of England. They released they debut album in North America on Tuesday and play a sold out show at the Phoenix on Monday, April 7. The band's lead singer, Hannah Reid, has a voice that envelops you and stops you in your tracks. Her range and intonation are outstanding and her big voice is the star of the band's CD which is titled "If You Wait". It perfectly complements the group's electronica-flavoured sound that's built from piano, guitar and subtle percussion. "Hey Now" is the name of the track that we played at the beginning of today's segment and the song that made everyone take notice of them. London Grammar is Hannah Reid, Dot Major and Dan Rothman. They began playing together at Nottingham University and say they had no intention of pursuing a career in music. The trio - all of whom are in their early 20s - were signed to a small label immediately after finishing university in 2012 and their debut album was released in the UK last year. With very little press, it went straight to number 2 in the charts and has sold more than 250,000 copies in England. It was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize, the band was also nominated as Best Breakthrough Act at The Brit Awards. They've opened for Coldplay and just played four nights at the huge South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. One review described their show as "an experience that transcends the boundaries of any one genre. Their music sends your mind into a flurry of bubbling emotions and old memories. It's \an experience no album could ever recreate".

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Errol's Pick

"Inner City Beat: Detective Themes, Spy Music and Imaginary Thrillers" is the title of a unique CD that our music columnist Errol Nazareth says appealed to him on a personal and musical level:

I fondly recall when my kids ran around the house playing good guys and bad guys, and I imagined how much more fun it would have been if the compilation I brought in was playing on the system. When listening to it, I pictured my boys chasing each other with imaginary swords and me keeping my sanity by blasting this perfect soundtrack to their games. The music on Inner City Beat is a mix of rare funky, jazzy instrumentals from the 60s and 70s. These tracks were sourced from British library music companies which supplied title themes and incidental music to television and films around the world during that time. Created as work for hire in anticipation of TV or film usage, many of these tunes were never broadcast and so have never been heard until now. Some of them, though, were used in long-forgotten detective and cult programs in the 60s. "Inner City Beat" was released by England's Soul Jazz Records, a hip label that was founded by Stuart Baker. He told me the first music he ever remembers hearing was music on television programs and he especially liked the music on detective or police dramas. He said (quote) "I like the aesthetics of large orchestras making dynamic action music but I have no wish to indulge my memories and inflict that on other people". Soul Jazz, Baker says, has always been about introducing us to unfamiliar music rather than indulging any kind of warm, cuddly feeling from looking backwards.

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Errol's Pick

Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra has been creating a name for itself with its infectious blend of music styles from all over the world since forming 12 years back. "Inner Fire" is the name of its brand new album from the funky bunch and you can catch them when they play The Garrison Friday night. Every record they've released features a wicked mix of jazz, funk, Afro-beat and Latin rhythms, and while those sounds pop up on this record, so do some Middle Eastern and Caribbean vibes. Before they formally became TSO, the six of them hung out at the same hip spots in downtown Ottawa, began jamming just for fun, and the band grew from there. Some of the members came from jazz backgrounds, some from soul or rhythm & blues, and others had played in Afro, Latin, or Caribbean groups. Over time, those different elements began seeping into their music and blending together, and the crew have been perfecting it since. Four years back, their brilliance was noticed by Strut Records, one of my favourite UK labels which focuses on dance music from every corner of the world. "Inner Fire" is the third record that Strut has released and the label calls them (quote) "one of the best live bands one could hope to see".

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