#MusicMonday 82: Mayer Hawthorne, Dikembe, The Kinks & more

What the CL Music Team is jamming this week (w/audio & video)

Posted by Ray Roa, Gabe Echazabal, Deborah Ramos, Shae Krispinsky and Shannon Kelly on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

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Ray - Dikembe, Broad Shoulders (2012)
When fellow CL Music team member Nicole Kibert suggested that Orlando punks You Blew It! play an upcoming anniversary show for Suburban Apologist (another website that I contribute to), I was led down a punk-pop wormhole that I hadn't entered in more than a half-decade. It's not that I intentionally avoided listening to the crunchy guitars, double bass, and infectious melodies delivered in heart aching fashion - I'd just become entrenched in other genres. Enter Dikembe. The Gainesville-based outfit's Chicago Bowls EP developed enough of a following to be pressed to 7" vinyl by Carolina-based label Tiny Engines (song titles on Bowls included “Scottie Spliffen” and “Luc Bongley”), and their 2012 full-length debut, Broad Shoulders, was one the year's best.

Sure, frontman Steven Gray’s vocal has been compared to that of Kenny Vasoli from emo darlings The Starting Line, but Gray & Co. go places that TSL never even touched. There's a palpable passion running through the veins of songs like “We Could Become River Rats,” “Librarians Kill For That Kind Of Quiet,” and “Apology Not Fucking Accepted.” It’s a solid LP right from the quiet opener “Nothing. Stuff” all the way to the feedback-laden, half-time outro of album bookend “Sorry I Can’t Stick Around,” and the perfect jumpstart to the workweek.

Deborah - Young Magic, Melt (2012)
I was pretty blown away by Young Magic's opening set for Purity Ring at Orpheum this weekend. I'd never heard them and they instantly grabbed my attention. Tribal percussion, spacey vocals and uniquely global influences crash into each other to make some dizzyingly danceable stuff. I'm loving this synthy, reverby, trip-hoppy goodness. Below, check out "You With Air," the song sampled for Purity Ring's "Grandloves."

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Gabe - The Kinks, The Kinks at the BBC (2012)
I can’t stop reaching for this awesome box set that just seems to go on and on and get better with each listen. This is a whole lotta Kinks to enjoy; five discs of, for the most part, previously unreleased live sessions recorded for the BBC from the years of 1964 through 1994. This massive box set serves as the holy grail for Kinks fans worldwide, but would appeal to a casual listener as well; there’s also a more modest, truncated 2-CD edition culled from this box available as well. The charm and wit of mastermind and songwriter Ray Davies is evident through his cheeky lyrics and delivery, but there are plenty of interviews spread out over the discs to get a real feel for his humor and charisma. All the hits you’d expect to hear are featured but there’s also a wide variety of rarely-performed gems and rarities. There’s even a jam-packed DVD thrown in for good measure consisting of even more live performances and interviews. Add to this a detailed hardcover mini booklet that provides a wealth of information and interesting tidbits about the band and fits nicely into the classy box, and you’ve got yourself a very thorough overview of one of the greatest (and most underrated) British rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time.

Shae - Mayer Hawthorne, How Do You Do (2011)
In my search for more songs similar to John Legend’s “Who Did That to You,” I stumbled across Mayer Hawthorne, whose music sounds nothing like Legend’s, save for a proclivity for smooth beats and hints of yesteryear. Hawthorne, born Andrew Mayer Cohen, started out as a rap artist, so I’m not sure if his current foray into kitschy, falsetto-laced soul pop is an example of an at-first-I-lol’d-but-then-I-serious'ed side project, or if he considered this the real deal from its inception. Whichever, it’s catchy, dorky, and sometimes reminiscent of old Motown records, if those records had been doused in irony and cherry-red paint. If you want to see a nerdy guy with big guns, watch the video “The Walk” below.

Shannon - Dear and the Headlights, Small Steps, Heavy Hooves (2007)
My friend had me listen to this album on repeat last night and it was the first time I heard them. In July 2011, after releasing only two albums, Dear and the Headlights broke up. The guitar riffs throughout the entire album are addictive, some with a folk vibe, others with a '60s surf rock appeal, like “Skinned Knees & Gapped Teeth.” For fans of Manchester Orchestra, Kings of Leon, Kevin Devine, and Colour Revolt. I’ve been obsessing over “Paper Bag,” a sad, self-loathing tune with an awesome melody; listen below.

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