Free Download: The Shanghai Restoration Project ft. Di Johnston "Preface"


Producer Dave Liang introduces Western pop and electronica lovers to the sound of Asia by fusing traditional Chinese instrumentation with contemporary hip hop and electronic music with his Shangai Restoration Project. He just released his second digital album, titled "Story Of A City," which tells the story about Shanghai at the turn of the the 20th century.

The 15-track compilation features studio vocalists such as Amon Winbush and Heath Brandon who have worked with talents such as Moby, Kanye West, Wynton Marsalis, Erykah Badu, and Cirque du Soleil. It is the first album to be released under producer Dave Liang's new partnership with the Independent Label Group, a division of Warner Music.

Liang also collaborates with Di Johnston who added her dreamy vocals to Liang's "Preface." Johnston's global background and experience fits Liang's music well. The singer was born in Hong Kong as the daughter of two American diplomats. In her late teens, she moved to the U.S. to start a career as a voice-over actress in New York. She contributed her voice to many television commercials, including ads for Lincoln Mercury, Lenscrafters and Pantene.

Check out a totally guilt-free MP3 download of "Preface," which recently topped the Electronica chart on iTunes Japan.( Click here to download the entire album in MP3 format at

Download The Shanghai Restoration Project ft. Di Johnston "Preface" [MP3]

March 4, 2008 in Global Beats, MP3 | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Friday Punch: Goldfrapp, Temposhark, Hercules & Love Affair, Mika, Jordin Sparks, Hot Chip


Temposhark and Goldfrapp are featured on MySpace Music this week. On a related note, the photo above is a very, very rare photo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory together. So pretty. The group's new album "Seventh Tree" hits stores next week. Expect reviews to pour in this weekend.

J*Davey launched a new MySpace page with a pretty cool way to present themselves. All we need now is a release date of their debut album.

  Streetlab remixes Hot Chip's "One Pure Thought" from their brand-new album. Grab a free MP3 here.

Very cool: My pals over at NewNowNext score an exclusive interview with Mizz Janet Jackson.

The Bird & The Bee release a new digital EP. Check out some new tracks here.

My guilty pleasure track this week is Jordin Spark's duet with Chris Bown, "No Air." Such a feel-good and crisp pop track. I also received a copy of Sparks' debut album this week and I must say that with tracks produced by Cathy Dennis and Bloodshy & Avant this LP might have some longevity.

David Byrn's Luaka Bop's label will be releasing "Brazil Classics at 20: Anti-Aging Solutions Revealed," a 10-track vinyl compilation of music from the tropicalia, samba, forro and mangue beat scene. Get a taste by downloading a guilt-free MP3 of "Claustrofobia" by Martinho Da Silva.

Hottest performance at the Brits? Mika featuring Beth Ditto. This has campy gay goodness written all over it. Yum. Really curious to hear new Mika material soon.

Chester French introduced their drummer. Holy shit! Manny knows how to hit it.

Check out the video for Hercules & Love Affair's "Blind" that features vocals by the always amazing Antony. Definitely hot to hear Antony sing over a kicky disco beat. Single will be released on March 3 on EMI in the U.K.

And yes, I'm joining the hip crowd and will be getting an iPhone today. Any apps you suggest I should download. Other tips?

February 22, 2008 in American Idol, Beth Ditto, Chester French, GLBT Artists, Global Beats, Goldfrapp, Mika, MP3, Temposhark, The Punch | Permalink | Comments (1)

Free Download: Yael Naim "New Soul"


After I wrote about French music icon Zazie earlier, there's another French artist you should take note of.

Check out a totally guilt-free download of the gorgeous "New Soul" by emerging French songstress Yael Naim. The song It is currently featured on the new Macbook Air commercial so you will likely recognize it the moment you hear the opening notes. "New Soul" is taken from the Paris-based singer's upcoming self-titled debut that she recorded with collaborator West Indian multi-instrumentalist David Donatien. The album will be released on Atlanta Records on March 18.

Download Yael Naim "New Soul" [zipped MP3]

February 22, 2008 in Global Beats, MP3 | Permalink | Comments (75)

Listen to Zazie "Je Suis Un Homme"


Before I left France last week, I picked up a bunch of new CDs at Nice airport, including "Totem," the latest disc by French pop singer Zazie.

Zazie is an established singer/songwriter in France who also had success in Canada. "Totum" is her sixth studio album and follows 2004's very successful "Rodeo." Zazie has been one of the few mainstream artists in France who has addressed the importance of adopting proper gay rights, most noteably on the electro stomper "Adam & Yves" (clever word play) from her 2001 disc "La Zizanie" that is available on iTunes.

On "Totem," Zazie tackles a lot of personal topics including her thoughts about politics and the environment. My favorite song on the album is the epic and gorgeous pop-rock tune "Je Suis Un Homme," which translates to "I Am Human." (I'm glad my six years of studying French still comes in handy sometimes.)

The track is a very explicit statement about the state of world. Zazie sings about overpopulation, famine, the lack of proper drinking water and the ignorance of the "consumerist" Western world. Famed director Yvan Attal directed a fitting video to visualize that message. You can watch the video for "Je Suis Un Homme" here.

For some reason, I can totally hear Kelly Clarkson record a cover of this in English. It would fit her vocal range very well. Hopefully, Zazie's label Mercury France will make "Totem" available on iTunes in the States soon.

February 16, 2008 in Global Beats | Permalink | Comments (3)

Listen to Shenkar Ft. Natasha Bedingfield "End Of Time"


Finally, I had time this weekend to catch up with the entire first season of NBC's Heroes. I'm such a sucker for fantastical, supernatural storytelling, and this TV show does it very well.

The 7-disc DVD set includes an interesting mini documentary about the making of the music for the hit show. The composers behind the score are none other than Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. Prince aficionados among you will remember them as two old members of The Revolution, Prince's backing band. The duo also had some chart success on their own most notably with the song "Waterfall" in 1987. (Click here to see what they look like now.)

In the Heroes documentary, Wendy & Lisa talk about the process of producing the show's score. Important part of the Heroes sound is the voice of Shenkar, an Indian singer and multi-instrumentalist who has sold over 35 million records since he started his career in 1975.

Shankar's latest album is titled "Open The Door" and features collaborations with a slew of guests including pop singer Natasha Bedingfield, American Idol judge Randy Jackson, Madonna producer Patrick Leonard, Wendy & Lisa, Train's Pat Monahan, The Human Value's Turu and Blackalicious' Lateef.

Shankar's teaming with Natasha Bedingfield is one of the most striking pieces on the album. It is a mesmerizing fusion of Bedingfield's contemporary pop qualities with Shankar's atmospheric, traditional Indian sensibilities that results in something timeless and distinctly original. (Click here to download "End Of Time" on iTunes.)

Listen to Shankar ft. Natasha Bedingfield "End Of Time"

November 26, 2007 in Global Beats | Permalink | Comments (0)