On December 5, producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi will join together to release Amy Winehouse‘s upcoming posthumous album: Lioness: Hidden Treasures, a 12-track collection featuring unreleased demos, rarities, covers and session tracks recorded while working with the late singer.
“Like Smoke” is one of the first songs to spill from the record.
Originally recorded in 2008, the song features a newly recorded verse by rapper Nas, a close friend to Winehouse, whom he considered his own little sister. According to Billboard, the two artists were planning a joint birthday party before her death in July.
Along with the songstress’ inimitable soulful crooning throughout, “Like Smoke” is filled with gorgeous sweeps of strings and the same swinging ’60′s energy that colored much of Back to Black. It’s a stellar addition to her back catalogue and, although unfinished, clearly held much promise–an incredibly bittersweet metaphor for Winehouse’s own life.
A few days ago, NME‘s Dan Martin got a chance to listen to the upcoming album and wrote a rather in-depth review of the entire listening session. Definitely worth a read.
Lioness: Hidden Treasures will be released on December 5. (iTunes)
To honor what would have been Amy Winehouse‘s 28th birthday today, Columbia Records has released her duet with Tony Bennett: “Body & Soul,” Winehouse’s final recording. Some proceeds from the the song will be donated to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which is in the process of being established by Amy’s family.
Rest in peace, Amy.
“Heart & Soul” was released on September 14. (iTunes)
I’ve been to quite a few concerts this summer and looking back, it’s funny to think about the differences in the crowds.
At Britney Spears, there were gay men in glittery eyeshadow and booty shorts all around me. At Jack’s Mannequin and Guster, the audience consisted of suburban white kids with backwards baseball caps, flip-flops and far too many popped collars. And at Sara Bareilles’ sold out show last night at Central Park’s outdoor Rumsey Playfield venue, the crowd was comprised entirely of hipsters in thrift store-purchased 500 Days of Summer-inspired floral print dresses and PBR-stained moccasins.
“How many of you are you listening to the show outside of the venue?” Sara yelled into her microphone. “This one’s for you!” she proclaimed as she started beating her tambourine and eased into an immaculate cover of Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man.”
It’s a weird, awful phenomenon when an artist dies.
There’s the initial news reports, the disbelief, the outcry and sorrow from fans, the pandering by non-fans crawling out from the woodwork, the detractors, the well-intentioned wise words, the mean-spirited off-color jokes and everything else in between.
But with Amy Winehouse, it was different–for me at least–because there was a personal connection underneath it all. And while I don’t mean to discredit or devalue the loss of any pop culture figure, Amy was an invaluable part of my life–someone to whom I could readily point to as responsible for shaping my taste in music today.
Thereâ€™s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Alex Winston.
The Detroit native first appeared on my radar in January 2010 when buzz track â€œAnimal Babyâ€ started making the rounds on several blogs I like. Like much of Winstonâ€™s work, â€œAnimal Babyâ€ has a summery cheer that masks a darker emotional current; the songâ€™s real subject is weary disillusionment with an indecisive ex-lover, but when a songâ€™s spunky nonchalance is this effective, youâ€™d never even guess.
Her first single, â€œChoice Notes,â€ is a fuzzy, Spectorific slice of plucky piano pop that was infectious enough to merit inclusion in a European car commercial, but its B-side, â€œMedicine,â€ might be better still: Itâ€™s sad and stubborn, with an irresistible singalong chorus. Both tracks feature production from dance-pop duo The Knocks, who perfectly complement Winstonâ€™s distinctive, haunting vocals with the kind of subtle, quirky faux-Motown instrumentation that Amy Winehouse and Duffy would rather beat you over the head with. Winstonâ€™s retro-pop always sounds modern, never regressive.
So Iâ€™m more excited than ever with the release of â€œSister Wife,â€ the first single off of Winstonâ€™s forthcoming mini-album of the same name. Only Winston could do a song with a polygamy narrative and produce something winsome and charming, rather than clumsy and precious; there are layers of vocal â€œooh-ooohâ€s and aerobic drums and a big belter of a chorus (â€œHey there sister wife, get the hell out, itâ€™s my night!â€). Having already been championed by The Guardian and NME, Winstonâ€™s path to success seems obvious.
Download â€œSister Wifeâ€ for free via the reliably amazing Neon Gold Records.
The Sister Wife EP will be released via HeavyRoc Records on February 11. (iTunes)