With this year's SXSW less than a day away, we at EARMILK have been discussing who we are hoping to catch at the two week interactive music, film, game, media extravaganza. With plenty emphasis on the "music" part, of course.
The obvious headliners like Bon Iver or Whiz Khalifa (or Dixie Chicks, if that's your thing) are sure to make a splash but for me personally, it's the lesser known, local bands and artists that I'm interested in hearing about. And preferably before they blow up after some major exposure in Austin.
This brings me to the Afro-Caribbean-Latin jazz producer, Quantic, his ear-pleasing orchestra, Combo Barbaro and British soul singer, Alice Russell. EARMILK has been a fan of Quantic for quite some time but when you add a powerhouse vocalist like Russell to the mix, it's time to post about them again. Whether you idolize Adele or enjoy anything that slightly resembles jazz and Latin music, you will no doubt enjoy the collaborative effort Quantic and Russell have put together on their forthcoming album, Look Around the Corner, set for release on April 3rd. The title track of the album had me hooked the instant I heard those colorful piano chords and soul-piercing vocals.
Will Holland or more recognizably Quantic, has been careening through the global music-scape for nearly a decade now. Drawing from inspiration found in his surroundings — he currently resides in Cali, Colombia but is originally from the UK — Quantic has found a niche he readily excels at. Whether composing salsa-infused jazz music or reinterpreting jams, like his cumbia-tempo version of Dr. Dre's "Ain't Nothing But A G Thang", it's clear Quantic has a well-trained ear for music. Check out 27:00 in DJ Rahdu's BambaSoul mix which includes Quantic's ingenious Dr. Dre mashup.
Through years of forming several successful projects including The Quantic Soul Orchestra (which also features prior work with Russell) and Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno, Quantic has satisfied listeners who covet Latin-inspired instrumentals with room for reggae, jazz and Afro-Caribbean notes. Russell and Quantic fans alike anticipate their coming album as the two have not worked together since 2002.
Russell, who is equally deserving of recognition, is no less talented than some of the best British female soul vocalists to have managed to achieve widespread fame (Adele, Amy Winehouse, Duffy are others who come to mind). A classically trained cellist and former choir singer, Russell has supported artists like Femi Kuti and De La Soul, as well as the late Winehouse. And similar to Quantic, she is invariably talented at covering other artists or songs but with her own unique sound. This was most notably seen in her powerful rendition of The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army."
All that to say, even if you aren't going to SXSW, the conference brings to light so many artists, like Quantic and Russell, who we might miss otherwise. We're looking forward to Look Around the Corner in April and footage of Quantic and Russell wowing audiences with their live performances.
SXSW annually hosts over 2000 artists and bands and it's likely there are some from your area (or iTunes) that we should know about. Which local or independent artists would you see at this year's SXSW?