Spotlight: Aabaraki

Aabaraki pays tribute to two legendary postmortem singer/songwriters, covering a Classic cover of a classic on The Pre-Release EP, available for free download here.

The Hathaway cover:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/x7EsC1TMzrA" width="550" height="445" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

The John Lennon original:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/tPVhgFAoE5U" width="550" height="445" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Comprised of four talented working musicians: Brian Forbes (guitar), Ari Folman-Cohen (bass), Aaron “BLACKDATA” Steele (Drums), and Aamir “Akie” Bermiss (vocals/keys), Aabaraki has been playing their own brand of reduction-stutter-funk together as a unit since the spring of ’09. Separately, they have worked with an impressive range of musicians and producers including Roy Hargrove, Soulive, Patti Smith, The American Symphony Orchestra, Megahertz (Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, P. Diddy), and Jimmy Lenner (John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Donna Summer).

The current EP reveals a vulnerability (“Terrified,” “Save Me”) and predation (“Girl,” “Big Bad Wolf”) that’s quite common among us humanfolk. Vocalist Aamir “Akie” Bermiss accomplishes this with keys-in-hand, and tongue-in-cheek as he channels the American Everyman. A reflection of our culture, Akie’s creative use of satire is best exemplified halfway through the EP in the up-tempo “Big Bad Wolf:” ‘Haters hate, players play, girl don’t front on me just get undressed. Now you’re free, follow me, to the deepest depths of desire.’

The band is funky, harmonic, minimal, and is consistent throughout the EP, each musician sticking closely to the sound of his instrument without relying on heavy effects that might alter it beyond recognition. They are retro but not throwback, progressive but not cold. In other words, Reduction-stutter-funk at its best.

Aabaraki will be playing in NYC at Fontana’s on September 9th and Rockwood Music Hall every subsequent Thursday. They are also working on a follow-up to The Pre-Release EP to be released in the fall. In the meantime, make sure you download the current project here.

-L.E is a lower east side native, dedicated to engaging in and contributing to the advancement of culture from an objective NewYorkerCentric perspective. Follow L.E at twitter.com/discjockeyle

N.A.S.A. Covers Max Romeo’s “Chase The Devil”

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0DMw3dTQOjQ" width="550" height="445" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Dr. Martens is celebrating its 50th anniversary by enlisting ten contemporary bands and ten film directors to cover ten cult classic songs. The seventh and latest track in the series is N.A.S.A.‘s re-interpretation of Max Romeo and The Upsetters classic reggae anthem “I Chase the Devil.” Having collaborated with heads as diverse as M.I.A., Karen O and Tom Waits on their masterful debut LP The Spirit of Apollo, it was anyone’s guess as to what direction N.A.S.A. would take. After hours spent crunching real tape loops and experimenting with the dubbing to get exactly the right “stoned, spacey feel,” the production on the track sparkles. The animated video that accompanies is every inch as virtuoso with humor and imagination in excess. Don Letts has broken boundaries left, right and center in his film work and this video continues that spirit of exploration with extra-powerful visuals.

Get a free MP3 download of N.A.S.A.’s “Chase The Devil” from Dr. Martens

Check out more videos and downloads: 50.drmartens.com

Jesse Boykins III Covers “Closer” by Corinne Bailey Rae + MP3

A short while ago we brought you Corinne Bailey Rae’s seductive video for her song, “Closer,” off of her most recent album, The Sea. That’s why we’re excited about this new take on the song by soul singer and songwriter Jesse Boykins III. The Brooklyn based up-and-comer shows off his falsetto throughout the cover, which you can download at Soul Culture.

Also, if you’re a New Yorker or just in the area, you can catch Corinne Bailey Rae performing on The Beach at Governor’s Island on August 6th with Sondre Lerche.

“Closer” – Jesse Boykins III [MP3]

Cee-Lo Cover: “No One’s Gonna Love You” Video

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0HytmxLXxOQ" width="550" height="445" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

The incomparable Cee-Lo Green of Goodie Mob and Gnarles Barkley fame is another Giant Step favorite. Anything he touches is gold(schlager), including covers, a rare and valuable trait in an artist. So check out this cover of the Band Of Horses‘ song “No One’s Gonna Love You,” and get lost in the love story. Fair warning: the video is slightly NSFW – a bit of tasteful nudity.

Cee-Lo’s next full release is slated for the fall, with the early title: Cee Lo Green is The Lady Killer. You can get a free download of the single MP3, “Georgia” on his site.