Oh! This is a soul record by Allen Stone!

2011/2012 was the year James Morrison got his big breakthrough – and he is now having a well-earned break.  Therefore it´s time to look and listen to a brand new talent! 

His name is Allen Stone, and this is going the year he and his music reaches out to the big masses. Allen Stone is one of these white american soul singers – that stick to the classic formula with great success. Through his sound and voice I feel I can draw a line from classic artists like Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and to “new” white soul men like Jay K from Jamiroquai, Jamie Lidell, Robin Ticke and James Morrison.

2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
Photo by Jason Tang http://www.jktang.com
2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
PHOTOS BY JASON TANG http://www.jktang.com
2011.10.07: Allen Stone @ Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
Photo by Jason Tang http://www.jktang.com

Allen Stone is a 25-year-old soul singer/song-writer from Washington, US. According to his Wikipedia profile – he has sung almost since he was born, and sung in church at the age of three. Church has been like his second home – and the place he developed his love for music. Soul music was discovered later on, when he became a teenager, and started collecting soul albums from the 60s and 70s. At 15 he discovered Stevie Wonders fantastic “Innervisions”. A classic soul album and a reference to his musical landscape.

But he decided to make music his living – after hearing his teenage friend, artists Stacie Orrico – and this is so good that I quote as is the Wikipedia article “She was traveling, singing everywhere, and recording,” Stone says, “She was just a year older than me and I was like, “Man that would be so much fun to do, sing and actually have people listen” (This quote is taken from an Erica Thompson interview with Allen Stone in Rolling Stone magazine October 2012)

61665_430948563033_4693280_nYou can even find Allen Stone on Facebook (This picture is from his FB profile)
If you´d like to twitter, you´ll find him at twitter/allen_stone

It´s tempting to do another quote, from the Rolling Stone article (link here) about what Allen Stones fans can expect from his second album “Allen Stone”; “Sonically, it’s a soul record” and continues “But it’s the music that I really love making. It’s not my attempt to cover all this soul music, it’s just really to fit in there and play the music that I love” and he ends it like this “People will listen to it and be like; Oh, this is a soul record”.

According to the Rolling Stone interview Allen Stone is working with Raphael Saadiqs backing band and one of the late jazz legend Miles Davis keyboard players. The album is being recorder with producer Lior Goldenberg from L.A who has also worked with big name artist like Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow,  and son of late reggae legend Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley!It must be so cool to work with big names like that – and that is only on the second album.

It makes me wonder; Whats next for Allen Stone?

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Back in 2009 he self-released his debut “Last To Speak” on his own label StickyStones records. His first album is a really soulful offering – containing 11 soulful singer/songwriter songs performed with mostly acoustic instruments and his fantastic voice – and he´s handling the guitar himself. I feel the album is representative with his self-confessed hippie with soul (link to Wikipedia) image and sound.

Allen Stones, new and second album – the self titled album “Allen Stone” – is ready for release at the end of february – and is already possible to pre-order in iTunes (which i off course have done). The original release of the album was back in 2011 – but it´s not available on iTunes until now in February. He has  already released the “Allen Stone EP” – a mini-album containing 4 tracks.

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You can hear Allen Stones second and self titled album here on Spotify – when it´s released

Since the only thing I have heard from Allen Stones upcoming album is his “Allen Stone EP” – I can’t tell too much about how his second album is going to sound, but if the EP is representative for that – it seems like the upcoming album is a bit more produced this time, more groovy – more classic sounding – and without taking off the loose feeling of his debut album.

The title of his debut album and last song on the same album is called “Last To Speak”. It´s tempting to use this as the final sentence of this blog post about the talented Allen Stone and answer it with “Ok, so you may be the last to speak – but make sure you’re not this is the last you sing” Because this is only the start of the amazing career of Allen Stone.

We need artist like Allen Stone! 
I need artists like Allen Stone!

Finally! Frank Ocean “Channel Orange”

I was so looking forward to R. Kellys new album “Write Me Back”! And then comes the long awaited “Channel Orange” Frank Ocean all of a sudden out on iTunes (nordic).

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You can download Frank Oceans “Channel Orange” from iTunes (nordic) by clicking this link!

I knew Frank Oceans debut was supposed to come out in the stores the 17th of july – but a random search on iTunes today and there it was – one whole week before I was expecting it!

I got freaking goosebumbs all over – because this was a album I was really looking forward too! It took me two seconds to hit the buy button. A few short minutes later I had it in my hand – or more correctly in my iTunes account!

Hit the PLAY button and as I knew – because I had the “Nostalgia Ultra” already – a album I really loved. The mixtape has already been played to death, if it was a real cassette mixtape – But thank God it was also digital download and it still sounds as fresh as it did the first time I heard it about a (long) year ago!

I write this blogpost as i listen to the album – have now listened to less than the half album – track 7 of 17 – and I can already say – R. Kellys made a great album – but Frank Ocean has made the soul album everyone should own! His voice is as amazing as ever, and the album has classic album written all over.

The album includes, just like the legendary mixtape, interludes and sound bits – samples and sounds like a concept piece. His voice I sounds like a mix of Stevie Wonder, Prince, the earlier mentioned R. Kelly, Al Green – but most of all – Frank Ocean! Soulful, laid-back, smooth, funky! And while writing this, when coming to track 9 “Crack Rock” a drum sample from Jimi Hendrix “Little Miss Lover” appears. A track that has also been sampled uncredited by Prince on his “Graffiti Bridge” album track “Tick, Tick, Bang” (this was released before they had to credit the samples I guess). Another Prince reference!

The 10th track – the first official single off the album, the track “Pyramids” a 9 minute 3 part epic song. The second track on the album “Thinking About You” has been released on youtube, featuring first song Frank Ocean sings in falsetto and his voice is really smooth and fluid.

On the 11th track even John Mayer does and appearance on guitar. A track called “White” and it´s a little piece on only 1:16 minute, other guests is Andre 3000 of OutKast fame, Pharell Williams of the Neptunes and N.E.R.D, Earl Sweatshirt from Frank Oceans crew The Odd Future Crew, and Tyler The Creator , Lala Hathaway (Daughter of late soul legend Donny Hathaway).

Samples used on the album is Mary J. Bliges “Real Love” is sampled and replayed and a sample from “Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas” and audio clips from “The Last Dragon”, and other samples.

I don´t think there is more I can say about this album exept It is not being released many albums of this really great quality! A full complete album that should be listened to from start to end!

I have heard the full album and can only say one thing; If you prefer digital downloads as i.e. iTunes, or the real thing such as CDs or on Vinyl (hope it comes in that format)

You should own it! I repeat YOU SHOULD OWN THIS!