Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of.
Week of 04/05/2014
WHO: Nathan East
The world, especially in pop music, isn't fair. You remember the music video for Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," where Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers and the Robots jam in shiny suits and under the setting sun. Daft's Thomas Bangalter lays down the bass line that, with Rodgers' essential riff, formed the the foundation for the song's neu-disco funk. In the music video, that is. In real life, bassist Nathan East provided the bass for "Get Lucky," as well as nine other songs on Random Access Memories, the Album of The Year Grammy winner.
East finally gets his with his solo debut, the subtly-titled East. The bassist, despite a lack name recognition from casual music listeners, is a well decorated veteran of the studio and smooth jazz scene. Although "Moodswing" lets the performer give a shout to his smooth jazz roots, the mood and mode swings across the album. He channels John Entwistle at times, playing the bass as an honest lead instrument on tracks such as "Sir Duke," and he plays strong funk for the less-subtly titled "Daft Funk."
Daft Punk does not, alas, make an appearance on the album (despite the auto-tuned voices on "Daft Funk"). East has toured and recorded for dozens of big names, and he did manage to lure a few of them onto East. For example: Stevie Wonder handles the harmonica during "Overjoyed," and Eric Clapton plays the guitar (understandably) on East's cover of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home." Perhaps the most enjoyable guest spot is reserved for East's 13 year-old son Noah, who plays piano alone with his father for a cover of "Yesterdays."