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Tuesday Reviewsday: Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Diggs Duke and more

Taylor Swift 1989

taylorswift.com

Screen shot of taylorswift.com taken September 2, 2014 promotes Taylor Swift's new album 1989.

And, now, it's time for Tuesday Reviewsday, our weekly new music segment. Joining A Martinez in the studio this week is Oliver Wang and music supervisor, Morgan Rhodes.

Oliver Wang

Artist: Taylor Swift
Album: 1989
S
ong: "Shake It Off"

"Shake It Off"

Summary: Swift is mostly known for pop country but, with this, she’s making some power moves to become the new queen of pop. The song hasn’t drawn controversy but the video has, where Swift is the latest white artist to use black bottoms basically as props so that even when she’s poking fun at Miley Cyrus for doing the same thing. As Spin’s Carl Wilson put it, 2014 was the “summer of ass.” 

Artist: Nicki Minaj
Album: The Pinkprint
Song: "Anaconda"

"Anaconda"

Summary: Not to be outdone, we have Nicki Minaj. Molly Lambert at Grantland argues that this song - and also its video - basically "reclaims the twerk" from all these appropriating white women. That may be the case, but I’m also amazed at how much of Sir Mixx A Lot’s “Baby Got Back” is flipped here. Then again, couldn’t you make an entire album's worth of songs inspired by “Baby Got Back” snippets? “I’m Hooked and I Can’t Stop Staring” would be a slow-jam love ballad, “Wanna Get In My Benz?” is the baller’s anthem. And “I’m Tired of Magazines” could be a meta-commentary on the death of print. 

Artist: Superstructure
Album: 7”
Song: "Out At the Deep End"

Summary: I first met Todd Osborn back in the early 2000s - he used to run a record store out in Ypsilanti MI and produced really aggro drum and bass music under the name “Soundmurderer.” I had been curious about what happened to him and, as it turns out, his new alias is Superstructure. Now he’s making very groovy boogie jams for Brooklyn’s Names You can Trust label. This feels like a great, late summer dance jam, so it should go over big in L.A., which has its own deep boogie love affair going on. 

Morgan Rhodes

Artist: Diggs Duke
Album: The Upper Hand & Other Grand Illusions
Track: "Secrets Seem Rehearsed"

Summary: Gary, Indiana native Diggs Duke released several EP's on band camp which gained the attention of renowned tastemaker and music programmer Gilles Peterson, who later signed him to his label. Duke is the son of a trombone and french horn player who would sub for the Commodores and Barry White, when they'd come into town. Duke started playing piano at 3.  His love for jazz is evident in his song arrangements. "Secrets Seem Rehearsed," like the rest of the album, is about love and relationships. Part of a new school of artists truly blending jazz and soul with their own very compelling nuances. His name is an homage to Duke Ellington.

Artist:  The Dionne Farris Charlie Hunter Duo
Album: DionneDionne
Track: "Loneliness Remembers (What Happiness Forgets)"

Summary: She held her own in Atlanta's Grammy nominated experimental conscious soul group Arrested Development, but then successfully struck out on her own with a massive soul rock hit in the mid 90s called "I Know." That one was actually nominated for a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  This album is called Dionne/Dionne because she's covering the other Dionne. Very stripped down and acoustic, very thoughtful arrangements and phrasing.  The collaboration between she and jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter has been more than 25 years in the making. They first made plans to do it 1991 and finally connected through social media. "Stand by Me" is featured as part of a multi sampled track called "Stop," which is featured on the late great beatmaker Jay Dilla's album "Donuts." 

Artist: Tricky
Album: Adrian Thaws
Track: "Nicotine Love ft. Francesca Belmonte"

Summary: Trip hop innovator Tricky returns with a full-length studio album, his 11th, fresh from his 2013 project False Idols. Well-known for his sort of ethereal, stream of consciousness tracks with him alternating between singing and speaking, this album isn't a total departure from what we've come to expect from him style-wise; rather, it's a hybrid of styles: reggae, dance, glitch and alternative.  


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