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Under The Radar: Kinny, Shawn Lee, Fitz & The Tantrums & Soulive



I have chosen 4 albums to highlight in this edition of ‘Under The Radar’, all of which have been recent additions to my collection but have made an impact one way or another.

Kinny – Idle Forest Of Chit Chat (2009)

I have been telling anyone who will listen what an AMAZING album this is. Kinny is a classicaly trained opera singer whose passion lies in the genres of jazz, soul and reggae. IFOCC combines all of her passions, which coupled with fantastic collaborations (Nostalgia 77, Quantic Soul Orchestra, TM Juke), gives rise to possibly my favourite album of the year so far. To compare her sound to anyone would be unfair, however if I was pushed i’d say that in some places, on some songs you can hear an Erykah Badu influence. Check out one of my favourite tracks below … I imagine this is what Nina Simone may sound like if she were around today.

Kinny – Water For Choclate ft Souldrop

Shawn Lee – Soul In The Hole (2009)

This is multi-instrumentalist, Shawn Lee’s 7th album on the Ubiquity label (home to Sa-Ra, Damon Aaron etc.) but this is the first time i’ve heard of him even though he hails from the UK. The majority of his previous 6 albums were purely instrumental tracks, however ths album features vocals from the man himself plus a few (extra) special guests. The album is straight up retro-soul (think Sharon Jones or Lee Fields) of the highest calibre. Authentic in every way, from the production, instrumentation through to the vocals, this is a must-have in any collection. Check out ‘Too Tired To Sleep’ below, featuring vocals from Fanny Franklin.

Shawn Lee – Too Tired To Sleep ft Fanny Franklin

Soulive – Up Here (2009)

Usually if I come across an album and it is described as an ‘instrumental’ album i walk on by. I know i’m probably missing out on some gems, however for me 9 times out of 10 it’s the vocal that grabs me … so an absence of vocals is a bit of a problem. However, I have heard good great things about Soulive so I thought i’d give it a shot. All but 2 of the tracks are instrumental (for me these are the 2 highlights) however every single track has you tapping your foot or nodding your head. Fantastic musicianship from a fantastic group … and i’m no longer biased against instrumental albums!

Soulive – Too Much ft Nigel Hall

Fitz & The Tantrums – Songs For Break Up Vol.1 (2009)

I came across Fitz & The Tantrums by complete accident while browsing artists on myspace. It is another retro-soul album, again done to a high standard … but I can’t make my mind up on it 100%. The whole ‘retro’ idea has been flogged, almost to death, over the last few years (Amy Winehouse, Solange, Raphael Saadiq etc etc.), some of the efforts are extremely successful, others not so. This kind of falls somewhere in the middle. Admittedly I havn’t listened to this one as much as the other 3 and maybe with repeated listens I might like it more. Check out a track below and head over to myspace where you can hear all 5 tracks.

Fitz & The Tantrums – Breakin’ The Chains Of Love

Let me know your opinions in the comments!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. 19/06/2009 11:38 pm

    Kinny is a dope artist, I think her sound is awesome. I have got to check more of her music out.

    Thanks for posting this.


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