Music for 4/24/17!!! Forro in the Dark, Kondi Band, While She Sleeps

@@@ Forro in the Dark: Sandcastle (Nacional, 2017)  Some popping Brazilian music I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  This first tune features some great hand drumming, trippy melodic guitar work and an energetic singer.  I see from the GooglePimp that these are Brazilian expats in New York city.  Ooh, this second tune is starting out hot as well — excellent percussion with some wicked flute over the top.  Please don’t tease me, be an awesome record all the way through.  The third tune sports vocals and it’s a narrative about a lawyer in New York — it’s a sophisto cabaret kinda track.  The fourth tune is back to an instrumental, which I prefer and I will check this whole record when I have a chance.

@@@ Kondi Band: Tit Dem Doo Service (Strut, 2017)  A pre-release single I got to via the same WRIR playlist email.  This is a small ensemble track with some fairly furious thumb piano, a singer with some backup and simple drum accompaniment.  As the tune grooves towards the finish line there are some very light and tasteful synth accents and a more urgent floor drum/foot tap.  I would check out more of this record when it comes out.

@@@ While She Sleeps: You are We (Sharptone, 2017)  Some mainstream drama metal off the Apple Music metal section.  I think there are some Linkin Park records up in this band’s collection — they’re a tad rougher but it’s the same art school metal formula.  The singer is upset, I get that, but I much prefer the working class heavy metal.  This is the purdy boy business as far as I’m concerned.

YTD recordings listened to: 264
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 144
Not good music: 97

Buys: 5
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Forro in the Dark

Best of 2017 Pick 4

Orquestra Baobob: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng (World Circuit, 2017)

This band has been around for decades but this record introduces a kora player and brings a sweeter African salsa sound than some of their classic burning jams (and I do mean straight up, dome cracking burning).  Feel free to check out Pirate’s Choice and other classics, those are incredible records as well.

Midtempo jams with super flavorful horn lines and beautiful singing.

 

Music for 4/17/17!!! Las Cafeteras, Somi, Time is Fire

@@@ Las Cafeteras: Tastes Like L.A. (Las Cafeteras, 2017)  A self-released contemporary Latin record also off this week’s WRIR weekly playlist email.  Where the record below, which I listened to first, was about an African in New York City, this recording appears to be associated with Los Angeles.  It has some indie quirk to the vocal arrangements.  There is some classic Mexican folk stringed instrument playing and hand drumming going on here.  The second tune (clipped below) is an upbeat number with the continued theme of intricate and poppy vocals over a lot of traditional Mexican instrument playing.

@@@ Somi: Petite Afrique (Sony, 2017)  A pan-African record I got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  After a spoken word pastiche it gets into a world jazz piano-vocal vibe.  I skipped to the third tune and this is going to be a highbrow, meaningful African record with a lot of straight jazz influence and fusion-y production.  Not really for me, too polished.

@@@ Time is Fire: Angels EP (Electric Cowbell, 2017)  Also off this week’s WRIR playlist email.  A mash of world music influences (at least they namecheck various genres on their bandcamp page)  but this first tune is pretty Afrobeat, ah no there’s some psych rock guitar and drums there.  This second tune has more rock sounds to it but the rhythm section is definitely not rock (though they rock).  I’m on the third tune and it’s rocking more as it unfolds.  It’s all right, I don’t think I love the singer but that’s just me.

YTD recordings listened to: 248
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 135
Not good music: 92

Buys: 3
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

Honorable Mention 2017 Pick 2

Divanhana: Zukva: Sevdah from Bosnia’s Finest (ARC, 2016)

This is the kind of band that can play in the dark with one hand and it will sound great.  They have crazy playing skills.  The female singer has a strong and beautiful voice — she does none of the annoying things a bad singer can do.

The only reason this record is not in the best of year section is that after the first three songs it slows down.  I wanted it to be smoking all the way through.  I’ve clipped two of the first three tunes below so you get a sense of what these guys can do when they put the pedal to the metal.

The instrumentation is vocal, piano, accordion, bass guitar, drums, and percussion.  I hear some tuba, nylon string guitar and clarinet in some of the tunes so it’s not fixed.  I dig the accordion player and the singer the most.

 

Best of 2017 Pick 2

Tinariwen: Elwan (Anti-, 2017)

Is this the best Tinariwen record in their discography?  I don’t have the time to make that judgment.  Is it going to be one of the best African records of the year?  Definitely.  Nobody gets the hypnotic guitar/hand drumming groove going like these guys.  There are other indisputably great African bands working now but these guys have a slot and they work it hard.

Check out this slow jam below and tell me who does it better:

I like the slower jams the best.

If you’ve heard these guys before you’ll enjoy this record.  The guitar playing is top notch AND world class.  If you haven’t heard these guys before, shame on you.

Music for 4/10/17!!! Cilantro Boombox, Juana Molina, The New Pornographers

@@@ Cilantro Boombox: Shine (Self-released, 2017)  I got to this self-released record via this week’s WRIR playlist email.  The first tune opens up super Earth Wind and Fire and then moves into a chorus in Spanish.  Full horn sections, drummer, percussionist.  I like the horn arrangements here and these guys do bring a very funky vibe to their music with some old school MC rhyming and the falsetto vocals.  They even name check Maurice White from Earth Wind and Fire on the third tune so my comparison is confirmed.  There’s also more than a bit of Anthony Kiedis style lurking as well.

@@@ Juana Molina: Cosoco (Crammed Discs, 2017)  A single off an upcoming full length that I also got to via the WRIR weekly playlist email.  I try to check out Crammed releases due to their support of Konono No. 1.  This single is more a freaky Euro-indie kinda track but it’s got some vibe to it.  A fairly uptempo beat, a pretty strange female singer and the tune is freeze dried until it fully unfolds into a skittering beat with a liquid bass line and the same singer.  I see from the interwebz that Juana Molina is from Argentina

@@@ The New Pornographers: Whiteout Conditions (Concord, 2017)  Some mainstream indie music off the Apple Music new music section.  I put this band in the same column as Spoon — highly praised and often mentioned but not comprehensible to me.  This first tune is super bouncy and literate and frankly it makes me want to go buy blue jeans.  This second tune (clipped below) steps back in time for a 1980’s medium rocking romp.  I see that these guys can construct music but I don’t feel anything when I hear their music.  The singers are especially not to my liking.

YTD recordings listened to: 236
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 128
Not good music: 88

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab

Music for 4/5/17!!! Mamadou Kelly, Vieux Farka Toure

@@@ Mamadou Kelly: Djamila (Clermont, 2015) Kelly has a new album (I read on the WRIR review email) but his new one is not up on the Apple Music.  I was going to flip to another record but then the female singer came on in the first tune and she’s pretty jarring.  Upper register and contrasting strongly with Kelly’s low voice.  I assume Kelly is singing.  The other instrumentation is pretty standard save the electric organ which I dig and the guitar tones which I don’t love as much.  The band is firm and laidback at the same time.  I really like the female singer on this record and here’s a recent live clip.

@@@ Vieux Farka Toure: Homafu Wawa (Six Degrees, 2017)  A single off an upcoming full length and though I don’t really love the way Six Degrees records sound sometimes (too polished) there’s no doubt Ali Toure’s son can shred.  I thought it was a Rush tune at the opening.  The star here is the guitar playing, he drops a big fat solo in the middle of the track and takes out most classic rockers with the back of his African hand.

YTD recordings listened to: 224
Good music, not recommended for purchase: 120
Not good music: 84

Buys: 1
Honorable Mentions: 1

Possibles: Chris McGregor, Dave Arner Trio, Zomby, Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, The Ballantynes, Slidhr, The Chewers, Toxic Holocaust, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, Lenguas Largas, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Fofoulah, Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Leviathan, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Janelle Monae, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Gentleman Surfer, Satoko Fuji, Divanhana, Moken, Juan Atkins, Drone, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Magrudergrind, A Tribe Called Quest, Noname, Gouge Away, Anna Hogberg, Klara Lewis, Aethenor, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, James Brandon Lewis, Yotoco, Tinariwen, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Power Trip, Reverend Payton, J.I.D., Oddisee, Feral Ohms, Orquestra Baobab