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James Brown Live at the Apollo and Opinions on New Pornographers & FKA Twigs

As film audiences“Get On Up,”Jim and Greg look back at James Brown's classic album Live at the Apollo.

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classic album dissection

James Brown Live at the Apollo

Before he was America's Godfather of Soul, James Brown was the king of the South's segregated "Chitlin' Circuit". It took Live at the Apollo - an album recorded over fifty years ago on Brown's own dime - to catapult him onto the national stage. With the success of the Mick Jagger-produced biopic Get On Up, we decided to revisit our Classic Album Dissection of Brown's Live at the Apollo with help from music writer RJ Smith. He's the author of The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. As RJ explains, James Brown was all about the live experience. He knew if radio listeners could just hear his live show, he could be "Gary Cooper big." He was right. High-energy numbers like“Night Train”and“Think”propelled Brown onto the pop charts and super-charged his career. But, as Greg notes, Live at the Apollo wasn't just a turning point for Brown personally, it was a turning point for music. Suddenly doo-wop and soul was starting to sound…funky.

reviewBrill BruisersBrill Bruisers available on iTunes

The New Pornographers Brill Bruisers

The New Pornographers, a Canadian supergroup composed of folks like AC Newman, Neko Case, Dan Bejar and more, have a new album out called Brill Bruisers. The band, which always relies heavily on melody and hooks, have amped it up even more according to Greg, making this album their most energetic to date. Greg loves the fact that AC Newman shares the spotlight with Dan Bejar and has almost every member leading a song. He says, no doubt, Buy It. Jim agrees. He had been growing tired of The New Pornographers because of all the many offshoot solo albums. But, he found himself really loving the uptempo nature of this album, particularly the keyboards of Blaine Thurier and the singing of the band's unsung hero: Kathryn Calder. It's hard to be a vocalist next to Neko Case, but she more than holds her own and helps give this album a Buy It rating from Jim.

JimGreg
reviewLP1LP1 available on iTunes

FKA Twigs LP1

FKA Twigs is the debut album from Tahliah Debrett Barnett, an English singer-songwriter. Barnett started making music at 16, and at 17, she became a well-known backup dancer, appearing in videos by Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran, and Taio Cruz. Her first album, LP1, has garnered a great deal of attention from the likes of Pitchfork and The Fader for its mix of avant-garde soundscapes and R&B vocals. Greg thinks this album is a grower, but what it's growing into is one of his favorites of 2014. He says Buy It. Jim gave the album plenty of time to grow, and it really never kicked in. He calls FKA Twigs a poor Kate Bush imitation and complains about the music's lack of movement, emotion, soul and energy. Therefore, Jim says Trash It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. James Brown & The Famous Flames, I'll Go Crazy, Live at the Apollo, Polydor, 1963
  2. James Brown, God Is Good, James Brown A Family Affair, Brownstone Records, 2007
  3. James Brown, Bring It Up, Single, King, 1967
  4. Little Richard, Tutti Frutti, Here's Little Richard, Specialty Records, 1957
  5. Mary Wells, Bye Bye Baby, Recorded Live On Stage, Motown, 1963
  6. James Brown & The Famous Flames, Medley: Please, Please, Please/You've Got The Power/I Found Someone/Why Do You Do Me/I Want You So Bad/I Love You, Yes I Do/Strange Things Happen/Bewildered/Please, Please, Please, Live at the Apollo, Polydor, 1663
  7. James Brown & The Famous Flames, I Don't Mind, Live at the Apollo, Live at the Apollo, 1963
  8. James Brown & The Famous Flames, Try Me, Live at the Apollo, Polydor, 1963
  9. James Brown & The Famous Flames, Lost Someone, Live at the Apollo, Polydor, 1963
  10. James Brown & The Flames, Night Train, Live at the Apollo, Polydor, 1963
  11. James Brown & The Famous Flames, Introduction, Live at the Apollo, Polydor, 1963
  12. James Brown & The Famous Flames, Think, Live at the Apollo, Polydor, 1963
  13. The New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers, Brill Bruisers, Matador, 2014
  14. The New Pornographers, Dancehall Domine, Brill Bruisers, Matador, 2014
  15. FKA Twigs, Pendulum, LP1, Young Turks, 2014
  16. FKA Twigs, Two Weeks, LP1, Young Turks, 2014
  17. Aphex Twin, minipops 67 [120.2], Syro, Warp, 2014
  18. Chromeo, Call Me Up, Fancy Footwork, Turbo, 2007
  19. Lady Gaga, Speechless (Live At The VEVO Launch Event), The Fame Monster, Interscope, 2009
  20. Duran Duran, Rio, Rio, EMI, 1982
  21. Aesop Rock, 9-5er's Anthem, Labor Days, Definitive Jux, 2001
  22. Stephen Schwartz, What I Could've Been, Working, Fynsworth Alley / Varese, 2001

Footnotes

jamesbrown.com James Brown nytimes.com James Brown Biography by R J Smith matadorrecords.com New Pornographers youtube.com“Brill Bruisers”on The Late Show with David Letterman chicagotribune.com Greg reviews The New Pornographers tumblr.com FKA Twigs thefader.com FKA Twigs on the Fader youtube.com FKA Twigs“Two Weeks”Video