Live things: Kimbra at the Jack TV MAD Fest

Kimbra's headline set at the Jack TV MAD Fest was sheer unbridled joy.

I honestly thought I wouldn’t get to see Kimbra perform live. It’s not just because her songs aren’t really played here, nor because I assumed her following here isn’t big enough to justify a concert. I was clearly wrong on both fronts. No, it’s because of typhoon Ruby, which was being portrayed as a really strong one. The concert was to be held outdoors, and Kimbra was already in Manila for three days at that point, but it really looked like there will be a cancellation. I actually ended up asking folks from Solar about it.

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“The answer is simply on my lips.”

“Simply On My Lips” by Kimbra | Well, today’s the day. Technically, it’s tonight. Or is it tomorrow? The Jack TV MAD Fest runs from four in the afternoon today to four in the morning tomorrow. I don’t know if Kimbra’s performing past midnight. Anyway, you all know what’s likely to happen. Rainy and I are headed there. She’ll take the photographs and I’ll write the review, which should be live first thing tomorrow. It’s our first concert together as a couple – and the first concert we’re doing a review on together. I’m giddy, quite giddy. So I’m posting one of her earliest songs – by that, I mean a song that was released seven years ago, when she was just 17; this does not appear on either of her albums. Turns out she did go through that teen singer/songwriter phase. She was yet to be unleashed, but you can hear some of the scatting in there. But, well, isn’t this brill? If you’re at the MOA Concert Grounds tonight, we’ll see you there. [NB]

Review: The Golden Echo by Kimbra

The Golden Echo by KimbraKimbra’s first record, Vows, displayed her potential – and had a bunch of good pop songs too – but was stylistically all over the place. Not that it’s a bad thing, but a listen to her follow-up suggests that she’s finally found that sweet spot. The Golden Echo focuses squarely on the soul side of Kimbra’s music, but of course, the off-kilter production – layer after layer of things – pushes everything to a more psychedelic direction. For the most part, it works: the record shines because we know there’s a template to break, and when it does go off the track, in songs like “Carolina” and “Madhouse”, it all feels adventurous and ultimately satisfying. (The latter’s playful bass, oh good heavens.) At the same time, you hear Kimbra and her cohorts resort to the same tricks across the album – a breakdown here, a speed-up there – and the record feels predictable at times. That said, The Golden Echo still has a bunch of good pop songs, soul-flavored and sprinkled with crazy – “Miracle” remains one of the tastiest things I’ve heard this year. Should keep you shuffling for a while, especially if you’ve good headphones on. [NB]4/5

“Your love is like a revelator.”

“Miracle” by Kimbra | Yes, we’re committing ourselves to covering every inch of Kimbra’s upcoming record The Golden Echo before it hits stores next month. Well, this happens when you fall in love with someone… anyway, this is her new single, which premiered last night; it’s also the fourth taster we’ve had from the record. If “90s Music” worried you, and the pre-order tracks (including favorite “Nobody But You”) quelled some of those, then this should kill your doubts completely. This is all-out happy soul. All out happy soul. Not a surprise, really: many insist on calling her an electropopper but she’s always been jazzy deep inside (reference: this and this). And considering how big Ed Sheeran’s funky turn is becoming, and how Michael Jackson is still getting hits from the grave… please, please, please, please let this be Kimbra’s breakthrough. [Update: just heard on Linda Marigliano’s show that there’ll be a second version of the song. Hm.] [NB]

“Ain’t nobody who can take all my doubts and turn them upside down.”

“Nobody But You” by Kimbra | Earlier today Kimbra released two more songs from her upcoming sophomore record The Golden Echo, and if you panicked over the pop weirdness of “90s Music” then there’s no reason to worry. There’s the slinky “Love in High Places”, featuring Aussie bassist Thundercat somewhere in there. And then there’s this one, “Nobody But You”, co-written with John Legend (she also co-wrote one of his tracks) and, as a YouTube comment smartly points out, it’s a very Janelle Monáe-y track, the potential of the cancelled Janelle/Kimbra tour creeping in… ahhh, I just fucking love this. [NB]