The Flavr Blue get moody on their latest single and video, “We Can Go Blind”, directed by Jon Jon Augustavo. Here the trio remain still — relatively for them if you’ve ever seen one of their live performances — and allow ballerina Kate Chamberlain to interpret the electronic ballad.
In partnership with Jae Change (whom you would recognize as Know Choice), 206UP.COM dips its pinkie toe into the wild waters of video interviews. Seattle’s The Flavr Blue sat down with us in the green room at NYC’s Mercury Lounge mere minutes before wheels up on stage. Thanks to them for the time!
You’ll see that I don’t appear in the video. That was by design. Jae and I are still developing my on-camera persona, which will likely end up being some combination of David Letterman, Nardwuar and Psy. It would’ve been wrong to subject Lace, Parker and Hollis to that kind of cult-of-personality just before performing.
Here’s what they shut Broadway down for a few weeks ago.
Hollis, Parker and Lace Cadence have formed like a disco ball-headed Voltron to bring you The Flavr Blue, everything you’ve been missing from an electro-pop/dance outfit based in Seattle. Their debut album, Pisces, is out today (read this blog’s thoughts on the project here) and they also dropped the first video from the project. Opening track “F x F” gets the high-def treatment by director Jon Augustavo: retaliation, revenge and get-back via girls’-night-out.
Go ahead, Seattle, you can dance now.
If you’re a frequent and obsessive Twitter user who is also a frequent and obsessive follower of all things Seattle hip-hop, you may have noticed a mysterious Twitter handle mentioned for the last month or so by members of the local rap community. @TheFlavrBlue is the moniker and — up until a few hours ago — when the accompanying URL was clicked, it directed you to a simple picture of three familiar SEA artists vamping stylishly on a dock somewhere in front of Lake Washington.
Nothing more was revealed, however. No music or other information to speak of other than the pictured identities of the principles at play: Lace Cadence, Hollis Wong-Wear and Parker Joe. Nary a tweet from the cryptic account was present, either.
Finally, all curiosity is quelled, as today the trio have released a musical preview of Pisces, the debut album from The Flavr Blue. Due July 31, the ten-track album is a departure from what you’ve come to expect from its participants. It’s an expertly produced and self-assured collection of electro-pop and dance tracks that range from undeniably body-moving to zoned-out meditative. There’s no hip-hop here to speak of, but all three members of the group have found natural lanes for themselves within a different genre that still takes a few cues from more familiar territory. Lace and Hollis meld easily with lush vocals that are emotive but unforced, and Parker expands his musical repertoire with electronic panache that compares favorably with more well known producers in the field.
Stay tuned next week for a video for “F x F,” visualized by local director extraordinaire Jon Augustavo.
Somewhere inside Chev’s 17-track debut album is an outstanding eight to ten song EP, dying to get out. That’s not to say the long-time coming Charles is a disappointment. Rather it’s a greater reflection of an MC who’s had much on his mind for a minute now, too much to adequately express on a few standout guest shots on tracks by more established Town artists (summarized well by the rapper himself, here).
The first time Chev really caught my ear was on “Certitude” (a joint from Common Market’s 2008 Tobacco Road). His deep, commanding delivery added weight to Sabzi’s synth-heavy composition and his reality rap point-of-view counterbalanced RA Scion’s philosophical wanderings. There’s much more of that grounded perspective on Charles. Chev’s preferred lyrical topic is observations on the hustle, and the fact that he’s in the midst of his own makes him an expert. “Simple Math” is an engaging opening track with commanding head-nod courtesy of Jester. “Beau” pays tribute to lost lives and features a dusty jazz-inflected beat by Def Dee. My favorite song here, though, is the Sabzi-produced “Yesterday” which takes Chev’s nostalgic reflections and Hollis Wong-Wear’s swirling guest vocals, and plants them firmly in early 90s R&B territory.
Charles does go on too long, and Chev over-extends himself with the number of verses on a few tracks, but it’s hard to fault him for putting in work. If you’re first hearing him on this album, it’s his vocal aesthetic that will immediately grab you: a low-pitched, technically proficient flow. Chev’s is a fairly new voice in the local scene that resonates much louder than those of many more well-established ones.
“Yesterday” indeed. This new joint by Chev is giving me Mossimo dreams and Silver Tab reveries. Hollis does her best T-Boz impression and Sabzi channels Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis behind the boards. I fell into first love on this type of sh-t right here.
Oh yeah, this is from Chev’s upcoming album, Charles. Prepare to wonder where this dude has been all your rap life.