“All I Got” – Earth Tones
This single is the first release by Earth Tones, an indie-soul band with four members:
- Karen White (lead vocals)
- Yamil Chain-Haddad (guitar)
- Sydney Tough (bass, backing vocals)
- Jamison Ko (drums)
They all wrote this song together. The well-planned harmonic movement in the intro sounds like a jazz school classroom, especially because it features only voices.
Then, we get R&B pop-rock chord progressions, real tambourine (it makes a difference!) to keep it moving, and drums holding tightly in the pocket.
Then you get the bridge, with a unison gang vocal and some Roland VK-8 licks coming off the floor of Anthony Cenerini’s New Westminster studio 12TH ST Sound.
Chain-Haddad’s Stratocaster is prominent. He mixed the song himself, too!
For fans of 60s soul and Lake Street Dive.
“Neon Afterglow” – Jonny Tobin
The prolific producer Tobin gets deep in his own jazztronica futurefunk bag to ring in the new year.
In the definitive 2000s video game for car racing, Gran Turismo 4, this kind of music plays in the background when I’m choosing my car.
But don’t ignore the backstory Tobin crafted for this single, which you can read through the Bandcamp link above.
The tambourine sample sits just right, and Shaquille Headley (aka: The Drum Temple) mastered the track warmly.
As a seasoned pro, Tobin knows that at two minutes in, it’s a great time to switch up the vibe. So, you get bouncier synths and handclaps starting then. There’s also a pitched-up vocal sample of Montreal artist Janette King.
And, we have another track with both Tobin and Headley’s work in this same Rundown!
“Season’s Change” (feat. Jonny Tobin, The Drum Temple, Cameron Formanczyk, & Sam Arnold)” – BrandonLee Cierley
Portland, Oregon saxophonist BrandonLee Cierley follows up on his recent album Here Comes a New Challenger. And with Tobin/Headley, he recently dropped a PNW hip hop “Odyssey” single that we covered a few months back.
Here, Cierley’s cast of characters is:
- Tobin (keyboard, co-writer), whose synth solo is the track’s liveliest element, and Headley
- Cameron Formanczyk (flugelhorn, co-writer)
- Elishama Weems (co-writer), a friend from Cierley’s hometown of Tacoma, Washington
- Sam Arnold (bass)
Cierley is a patient arranger, fitting his alto saxophone and bird sounds well with his trap hihat samples. The chromatic trumpet ‘B’ section melody is a surprise. I wish I was back in Portland at the 1905 jazz club, listening to this and sampling one IPA after another.