Los Angeles’ WENS alights on our radar with a haunting brooder of an R&B pop aria named Bleed. From smoky ethereal vocals to dusky magnetic production, this one has it all. Bleed packs a punch yet it’s smoldering seductive, too. The song is only WENS second single, arriving after last year’s debut, Bones, an opulent whirring dazzler itself which you can stream, here. We may only be two songs into this new exciting sonic adventure, but it’s more than apparent this singer songwriter is one to pay heed to. Bleed is out now via nowucme. Alternate stream via Soundcloud can be found below.
On this day in music history: March 26, 1980 - “Naughty”, the second solo album by Chaka Khan is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City from Late 1979 - Early 1980. Following the Gold selling success of her debut album “Chaka” and completing the album “Masterjam” with her band Rufus, the singer returns to the studio with producer Arif Mardin in the Fall of 1979 to record her sophomore solo release. The album features many of the same musicians that played on Khan’s debut including Anthony Jackson (bass), Steve Ferrone (drums), Hamish Stuart (guitar, background vocals), Hiram Bullock, Phil Upchurch (guitars), and Richard Tee (keyboards). Several tracks feature background vocals by a then sixteen year old Whitney Houston, her mother Cissy Houston, Ullanda McCullough, and a pre-fame Luther Vandross who also arranges the background vocals parts on the project. It spins off three singles led by the Ashford & Simpson penned “Clouds” (#10 R&B, #103 Pop), “Get Ready, Get Set” (#48 R&B), and “Papillion (aka Hot Butterfly)” (#22 R&B). The album’s cover art features a photo of Chaka in the foreground, with her then six year old daughter Milini sitting on a couch in the background, with another shot of Milini on the back cover. Out of print in the US for many years, it is finally reissued on CD by Warner Bros in 1999. “Naughty” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number forty six on the Top 200.