Today you can pick your own treats from an assortment of recent releases that tickled the Crotchety taste buds over the last week or so. Two of these songs came to my attention via Josh Gering’s Fortnightly Playlist; the other three appeared on my Release Radar on Spotify.
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First up we have In August by a singer, songwriter and synth player known as Half Waif. It’s a simple pop song but I like the textures of the electronic instruments and the video is rather nice.
This artist is completely new to me and the research gnomes have only been able to dig up one or two scraps of information. Half Waif is the stage name of Nandi Rose (born Ananda Rose Plunkett). She and her husband, Zack Levine, are both members of the indie rock band, Pinegrove. Nandi “was born to an Indian mother from Uganda”, which suggests a troubled life for her parents. Perhaps that is where the ‘half waif’ name comes from – half Indian and lost in a new world when her family came to America.
Nandi has made four albums as Half Waif to date; In August is from the latest, The Caretaker, which was released in March 2020.
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Next we have some good old fashioned blues from Dion, Van Morrison and Joe Louis Walker. I had assumed this ‘Dion’ was a relative newcomer who had appropriated the name of the pop singer of the late 50s and early 60s most famous for the hit single, Runaround Sue. But, no. That Dion is still alive and making music; he has a new album due for release in June called Blues With Friends.
I Got Nothin’ is one of four singles released to streaming channels ahead of the new album. If this is representative of the album as a whole Blues With Friends will bring a lot of enjoyment to fans of the blues. And, with guests like Bruce Springsteen and Joe Bonamassa, the signs look very promising.
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As with Half Waif, Richie Spice is a new name to me. They were both featured in the latest edition of The Fortnightly Playlist, which I follow precisely because it introduces me to artists from well outside my usual hunting grounds. Typically, those artists turn out to be well-known in other sections of the music listening fraternity, which makes old Crotchety Man feel very out of touch. The information in this YouTube video for example says, “With over 111 Million Streams across all platforms … Richie Spice has recorded 8 albums”. Well, whadda y’know …
The only interesting fact I’ve been able to turn up about Richie Spice is that he has brothers called Pliers, Spanner Banner and Snatcha Lion. If those are their real names their parents must have had a wicked sense of humour.
Valley of Jehoshaphat (Red Hot) is a stomping roots reggae song, something to get the pulse going in readiness for your daily workout. Although I don’t recommend a run in the Valley of Jehoshaphat right now – Richie tells me it’s red hot out there.
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So far we’ve had the yellow and orange colours of autumn, various shades of blues and some spicy pepper reds in our selection box. Now it’s time for some muddy browns as we return To The Earth with Dinosaur. This one doesn’t seem to be on YouTube, so here it is on bandcamp.
Dinosaur is the modern jazz quartet led by Laura Jurd that has featured in these pages before. Another colour, another genre of music. According to the Crotchety Cataloguers this belongs under “pretty cool” jazz. It strolls along with an irrepressible swagger, unselfconsciously enjoying life, quite oblivious to everything around it.
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And what better to follow that than a waddling penguin. It’s in black and white, of course, but it’s such a cute little thing – and the perfect morsel to round off this variety box of indulgences.
Regular readers will know that GoGo Penguin is my very favourite band at the moment. Chris Illingworth (piano), Nick Blacka (double bass) and Rob Turner (drums) create spellbinding jazz pieces. So, you can choose whatever you like from the box but, please, save that last one for me.
This selection is also available in a Spotify presentation pack: