The Sampler: Leon Bridges, Algiers, Princess Chelsea
Leon Bridges. Photo supplied.
This week in The Sampler Jim Pinckney reviews the nostalgic r&b of Texan Lee Bridges, the post-punk gospel confusion of Algiers and Princess Chelsea’s sophomore epic The Great Cybernetic Depression.
Coming Home by Leon Bridges
Jim Pinckney reviews the nostalgic r&b of Texan Lee Bridges.
The name may be new, but the music Leon Bridges is making is anything but. Drawing heavily on the soul, gospel and doo wop of the 50s and 60s, Coming Home, his debut album is already attracting some serious attention. His voice often bears an uncanny resemblance to the honeyed holler of Sam Cooke, and it’s accompanied by a Southern slant on the sort of immaculately imagined and recreated, retro musical backings that you might normally expect to hear from outfits connected to New York’s Truth and Soul, or Daptone, labels. It’s a powerful introductory statement. The gorgeous, evocative sound was conjured up by Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block, from Texan major label rockers White Denim. With organs that unmistakably point towards the pulpit, reverb drenched guitar and a resolutely solid rhythm section, Jenkins and Block’s gamble of throwing together a bare bones studio, and inveigling the cream of Fort Worth’s jobbing musicians to get involved, has paid off in spades.
Songs featured: Pull Away, Smooth Sailin’, Better Man, Lisa Sawyer, Brown Skin Girl, Flowers, River,
Algiers by Algiers
Jim Pinckney finds haunted salvation in the post-punk gospel confusion of Algiers.
Algiers are a mixed race, three piece, originally from Atlanta, who have concocted a dramatic blend that incorporates gospel, post punk and a generous helping of other unlikely ingredients, into one almighty noise on their self titled debut. Signed to the US indie Matador Records on the strength of a couple of singles, and an impeccably curated website that catalogues their many political and musical inspirations, they are a refreshingly difficult and substantial listening experience - in times where that has increasingly become a rarity.
While America’s deep south is undoubtedly the reference point, none of the group’s members actually still live there, having all travelled overseas to pursue graduate degrees. Started as a trans-Atlantic file swapping project with no real intentions of ever playing live, they’ve never felt the need to have a permanent drummer. Instead the impressive combination of weighty programmed beats, and a lot of handicapping and footstomping, is generated by the three band members themselves.
Songs featured: Old Girl, Black Eunuch, Irony Utility Pretext, And When You Fall, Remain
The Great Cybernetic Drepression by Princess Chelsea
Jim Pinckney heads for the stars with Princess Chelsea's sophomore epic The Great Cybernetic Depression.
Princess Chelsea has headed to outer space on her second album The Great Cybernetic Depression, with cosmic, airbrushed nebular artwork and imagery that evokes a sense of the future viewed from the recent past. Accompanying that new look is an updated musical aesthetic, apparently inspired by artists like the Eurythmics, Ultravox, Human League and Soft Cell. While that may be true in the sense of instrumentation - this is an album steeped in shiny synthesizer tones and iconic 80’s drum machine sounds - it is still very much her own unique quirky concoction, and not nearly the radical departure that is hinted at. Working with a relatively minimal palette it is abundantly clear how much time and effort has gone into selecting just the right sounds and elements to furnish her baroque songs of disillusionment and anxiety.
Songs featured: Too Many People, Is It All OK?, We Are Strangers, Winston Crying On The Bathroom Floor, We Are Strangers, We’re So Lost, All The Stars,
- Princess Chelsea talks YouTube, Flying Nun and concept albums 2015
- Princess Chelsea live at the Kings Arms 2015
Coming Up on The Sampler
7:30 pm Tuesday 7 July: The Sampler
Jim Pinckney reviews Rickie Lee Jones’ first new songs in over a decade, the superlative spine-tingling soundtrack to A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and Carnation from twisted troubadour Daughn Gibson.