158: Paul Simon, ‘Surfer Girl’

‘Surfer Girl’ is a schlocky, heartfelt ballad of unrequited teenage love, Brian Wilson clawing his way out of the gooey larva of his California pubescence. Paul Simon works his magic on it, tapping the genius that is Brian, elevating it to a work of great beauty.

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139: The Swingle Singers, ‘On the 4th of July’ (James Taylor)

This week we talk about the United States’ bar mitzvah, how we discovered Bach, the history of The Swingle Singers, the marvels of Scandinavian a cappella festivals, and older people falling in love.

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288: Accent, ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ (Vocalmente 2018)

I’ve just returned from the Aarhus Vocal Festival, the most moving musical gathering I’ve been at since Woodstock.

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105: The Boswell Sisters, ‘Crazy People’

The Boswell Sisters had 20 hits in the early 1930s, and are arguably THE best vocal jazz group ever. Their 3-part harmonies are tighter than Aunt Bertha’s girdle, and their arrangements are constantly chock full of unexpected shifts in tempo, major/minor mode, key, and tone, flipping cheekily from dead serious to insouciant comic and back. They have a wicked and sometimes rather racy sense of humor. Their vocals are so hot they were often thought to be black. They scat with the best of them, and do knock-out imitations of instruments and nonsense sounds. A pleasure and an education, 80 years on.

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273: The Necks, ‘Sex’

Jeff’s Top Ten from the last fortnight–surprises, non-surprises, and Rachael Price going ‘Ooh-ooh–ooh’.

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236: Jacob Collier, ‘Hideaway’

If you ever want to know what’s new in music, check out what Jacob Collier’s been doing for the previous couple of months.
Last night I had the rare privilege of seeing him perform in Tel Aviv.
People were saying “I’m going to be able to say to my children that I saw him when.”
I was saying, “This is not real. What I’m seeing and hearing can’t be real. It’s superhuman.”

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208: Vocalocity, ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’

Hi all you loyal readers!
Vocalocity is a 40-voice a cappella group I had the great fortune to co-found 4.5 years ago, and which I still sing in and manage.
It is the apple of my eye, the (musical) love of my life. I think we’re doing some pretty great and even groundbreaking music.
We’ve recently launched a headstart program to fund recording an EP. If you’re interested in taking part in making that happen, here’s how:

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Best regards,
Jeff Meshel’s World

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The Origins of The Real Group and Modern A Cappella — Interview with Peder Karlsson

An extensive interview with Peder Karlsson about the history of The Real Group and their impact on Modern A Cappella.

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