I spent my New Year's Day putting together this list. It's not really a strict "top 40". I kinda fudged the numbers. My intent is to share some highlights of what hit my ears this past year. 2012 dead & gone. See ya! I hope you find something new to check out from the list:
40 The great Brasilian soul singer Tim Maia
gets a legit anthology available States-side for the first time ever. Nobody Can Live Forever (Luaka Bop) is a collection of various 1970s funky tunes by the Brasilian star.
His songs sound
great in Portuguese or English, with his accent giving a natural snarl
to tunes like the title cut. Much of this material is from Racional. There were two albums of this funk spiritual trip he
was on at the time (mid 70s) and they've been hard to grasp. The advertising for this should be easy to paint him as
the South American psych/funk/soul god that he is and the cuts
represented here are certainly true to all that good stuff, but let's
remember two crucial things about the Tim Maia catalogue: 1) He recorded
a lot of crap. 2) There are many, many great tunes not on this comp.
It's hard to put it all on one disk. And the consensus of our tribe wanted a box set.
considering it took ten years, this is much welcome. What the comp lacks, in my opinion, is the sweet soul he cut early on. The 12" has no
extras. If I were to purchase, I'd just go for the double LP vs the
39 It was a pleasant surprise to see a new recording from NYC hardcore favorites Citizens Arrest.
The Soaked In Others Blood 7" brings the classic (89-91) line-up back
together, along with Ted Leo (their original vocalist) on guitar. I've
heard every CA record and I gotta tell ya that this is a welcome
comeback because these guys sound as heavy as ever. I'd go see them
right now if they came thru my town. Fierce thrash hardcore with dark
lyrics. The vocalist sounds quite strong, given the twenty years that
have passed, and the overall intensity is high. The first and last
cuts, especially, of the four are totally pummeling. The sound here is
loud & proud. Derek Stukuls' cover art matches the aggression.
Released on Painkiller/Coextinction. Some of these guys went on
to Hell No, an underrated band in the early-Neurosis vein who's output
is highly recommended. Fond memories of Wardance Records...
Hoax, Boston Strangler and Limbs Bin, as well, all put out some records worth bouncing off a wall for.
38 Western Mass garage
rippers Walking Ghosts have some buzzing guitar action that is instantly
appealing on their self-released 7". "Not Today" is a Nuggets-ish garage monster packing
some heat. The B-side is
a bitter rocker with some 70s influence evident (heavy guitar/big
drums). A snarling band continuing the decades-long line of fun
fabulous New England garage rock. I love all the sleeve art. A few of these folks are responsible for the Original Cowards LP as well. It is nice to see Western Mass bands other than noise & hardcore putting out vinyl.
37 Lord Nelson of Tobago delivers "Shango" (Soundway), the kind
of afro-soca-funk jam that is just unreal. Orisha chants, sound effects,
driving rhythms and a sweet calypso voice is enough to unseat any ass.
The house mix on the B-side (courtesy D. Haaksman & DJ Beware) is another worthy take on the original's charm. I'll dance to both.
36 Horaflora and Bromp Treb each side up for a split 7" (Yeay!) of rhythmic noise bursts and beats. I couldn't tell ya what is going on with the Horaflora side but it sounds like the soundtrack to a bug march. Lots of sound processing here and an exciting listen at either speed. The Bromb Treb side brings in more of an
explicit dub influence, although without even a hint of reggae. Lots of
samples weaving in and out of the mix. While the rhythms are joyfully wild, the piece is fluid with some active knob action. This side coulda fit on the much-missed Broklyn Beats label. Fabulous die-cut Sightlab sleeves. Sightlab also put together some of the most eye-catching posters I've seen all year, often for my own events. Thanks!
35 One of the most exciting Motherland reissues of recent times has to be the Projection One album (Soundway) by Edzayawa,
a Togo-based band of young Ghanaians traveling to Nigeria for this '73
recording. They played at Fela's Shrine, enjoyed some away-from-home
experience and offered a left-field stunner of a creative (and early)
Afro-rock sound. Deep tribal polyrhythms, rock guitar and dark synth no doubt fueled by ganja.
A Jesus reference is spotted on the first cut. Regardless of the
spiritual concerns, the tune is totally ripping with mind-fuck synth and
psych guitar. Listening to the sounds all
over this album is blissful ear melting. Elements of hard rock,
afrobeat, psych and folk forms are all legitimately heard,
which makes this a masterpiece of West African art rock.
34 Like myself, Mike Pigott is a Western Mass native. I was first introduced to him thru mutual friend Chris Dooley. Mike is a guy who vacations in the Amazon digging up cumbia 45s. He's been releasing some of these on vinyl and cassette on his Masstrópicas label (some via Light In The Attic). Mike is a fan of LP/7" combo pack and so we get bonus records within the records. Who could argue with that concept? Well, one of these bonus singles was a fun platter from the huayauasca-sharing Sensación Shipibo. Exotic (to me) syn-drum cumbia with some reverb. Raw and spirited. This gem was found hidden within the also-fun Los Jharis LP. The Martín López LP just arrived and a review is forthcoming. Peruvian underground freaks may also want to note #20 on this list.
33 Who needs all the new blood when many great veteran bands can still rip it up live? I saw a few blast-from-the-past bands this year. It was great to hear groups like Fishbone and Mudhoney (pictured) and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (see #32) sound as great as ever, like they never lost a thing despite it being nearly 20 years since I heard any of them. Fishbone still proved to be one of the great party bands, while Mudhoney rocked out convincingly in front of a hometown Seattle crowd. Mark Arm's voice was still quite strong.
32 Jon Spencer Blues Explosion have been touring
and releasing new material. Here's a 90s band worth listening to. You
know, the kind of unit that could knock shitty grunge bands right on their asses, like they've proven to do over the course of that decade of safe shitbag "alternative" rock. A high-powered R&B inspired garage band with a motherfucker on the drumkit. These guys have lost no power. The Gadzooks! jukebox single may be slightly more frantic than the Bag of Bones 7" but both are as powerful as they were twenty years ago. "Black Mold" is an ode to record collecting ("Milton Babbitt, Ornette Coleman...going round and round and round..."). "Man, FUCK these blues!". Must-hear.
A soul explosion from down under invades my ears! Even a quick survey of the contemporary soul/funk/afrobeat landscape would show you that Australia is producing and exporting an excellent percentage of well-laid funk to the greater globe. Among some I've heard are Melbourne high school prodigies The Cactus Channel, Sydney funk & soul outfit Dojo Cuts (featuring captivating vocalist Roxie Ray), The Transatlantics and Melbourne-based Public Opinion Afro Orchestra. Hope Street Recordings and Italy's Record Kicks labels are good places to start for some of the above. I think The Bamboos' glorious cut "I Got Burned" (Tru Thoughts), with indy star Tim Rogers on lead vocal, is a candidate for catchiest tune of the year. It is nearly a perfect pop song. And the exploratory ensemble Shaolin Afronauts have dropped another tasty album, Quest Under Capricorn (Freestyle Records). Jazz-based with a good dose of afro-funk, these guys cite (in order, from their press release) Sun Ra, Mulatu, Fela & Coltrane as main inspiration. So they're starting on solid ground. The album plays like a long suite and is well-crafted. When I make it to the other side of the world I'll be sure to connect with all these folks.
30 Some completely rad album cover art was on display in 2012. For the most part people who put out vinyl are just as focused on the canvas of LP art as much as the sound. There are always many, many great disk covers every year. It's all part of the experience, something that is lost in the digital marketplace. A few of my favorites from the year are from the following albums. The envelopes please...Daphni (first image) or Paul Flaherty & co (2nd image, sleeve art by Joshua Burkett) Dead Capo (3rd, etc) or Los Miticos del Ritmo (see #6 in this list). Among the other contenders are Antibalas (#4), Souljazz Orch (#27), Horaflora and Bromp Treb split 7" (#36, design by Sightlab) and #38 Walking Ghosts. Which do you prefer of my selections?
29 Don Cherry is one of those artists that is so
mindblowingly fascinating that I need to get my hands on any recording,
video, story or anything by the noted musical (and other) nomad. Cherry
is one of those artists whose music cuts immediately to the heart. Often categorized as a jazz musician, his music sounds about as liberated as anything I've ever heard. This guy made a ton of wonderful records. A wide swath of folk sounds from around the world lift from the grooves of his albums. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM have a joyous adventurism, no matter what the musical context, and can be treasured as much for their imperfections as they can the obvious genius of the ideas. Organic Music Society was one of the rarer in DC's catalog and a reissue was nice (Thanks Caprice!). More material from his early 70s stay in Sweden, there are themes that the musicians will explore on all sorts of instruments, including many you've never heard of. Cherry's free jazz background certainly inspired the loose riffing on the various folk tunes. But this isn't a screaming blow out, it is a medley of ancient folk music even if the tunes are Cherry's (or Terry Riley's , Pharoah Sanders', and others). The other musicians come from Turkey, Brazil, Sweden and the sounds from much further along. This is elevation music.
28 The afrobeat revival continues: The Cactus Channel (Melbourne, Australia), Pyramid Blue (Madrid, Spain), Shokazoba (Northampton, MA USA--pictured), The Impellers (Brighton, UK), The Qualitons (Budapest, Hungary). All these bands incorporate a smart dose of afrobeat into their funk blends, (although none of them are strictly afrobeat in the true style). They
all released excellent records in 2012. I can only speculate more minor
key horns on the horizon from these and other large funk ensembles.
27 Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra took the world by storm in 2012, delivering the heat on a massive world tour and with a muscular new album in 2012 (Solidarity, Strut Records). These guys were apparently a hot item at every stop. And seeing them live and hearing their records, year in and year out, you get the sense that they are a special breed of messengers. Surely on many other year-end lists.
26 A very cool 60's sound from the West Coast outfit the Monophonics on their recent LP In Your Brain (Ubiquity). My favorite cut on the thing is from the 7","There's A Riot Going On", which gives a psychedelic soul vibe to some vaguely topical lyrics. The whole album is funky and kinda sounds like an episode of TV with all your favorites in one. Psych, funk, 60's, mod, soul power... Shit, I'll take it. These guys could probably clean up on the East Coast. Here's hoping they make it back soon.
25 Archie Shepp's The Magic of Juju (Impulse) finally gets an LP reissue. It ranks as one of the greatest of many great Shepp LPs, and is certainly one of my favorite album covers of his. Three horns wailing over a bed of polyrhythms on this '67 date (shorter form compositions on the B-side), sort of positioned between the classic early Impulse sessions and the loose jams of the America/Actuel eruption. Shepp is always a composer who looks forward and backward at the same time. A visionary who's music combines free improv screaming, blues exploration, jazz standards, gospel, poetry & theatre, revolutionary dreaming with lots and lots of spit (even venom at necessary times). But for the motherfucker's reputation that Shepp holds, the sweetness of much of his music is so direct that puny bores will bark at his proud "commie" stance while being too dumb to see the theatre of it all. Having had some excellent conversations with him a few times, I can see that he, like I, knows how to laugh in the face of fascism disguised
as left wing. And while this needed record is presently available, it
is so fucking off-the-radar to the sloths of the world that we can just
laugh together about it all. Shepp has since found a hustle in France. Hey, why bother with the States when you got something else happening?
24 Of course every year I hear lots of fun cover tunes...they are a staple of my existence. How about Charles Bradley's stoned-funk reading of Nirvana's "Stay Away"? Or the brass band take of "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This" by Soul Rebels? Other cool covers include versions by Kendra Morris (covering Metallica), Carolina Chocolate Drops (Run DMC), Jimmy Cliff ("Guns of Brixton"), Martha High & Speedometer ("I'd Rather Go Blind"), Sugarman 3 ("Dirty Water"), Hollie Cook ("Walking In The Sand") and many others mentioned elsewhere in this column. Keep them coming!
23 Vampisoul Records is one of the steadiest operations around, with a diverse catalog
of music and an eagerness to take on left-field projects that really
shine light on underdocumented artists and scenes. My mailbox had turned to gold each time I went to pick up a Vampi package in 2012. If this haul was meant for the apocalypse party, then we woulda gone out in style. But the world has survived another calendar year and we can hear the pulsing sounds of Colombia's Los Pirañas (reference #3), classic Peruvian joints via Cumbia Beat volume two and the 50's bomba explosion in Puerto Rico (Saoco!). And congratulations to homeboy DJ Bongohead for his outstanding Subway Salsa compilation documenting the wonderous NYC label Montuno. This indy operation was run out of a subway record store and produced many fantastic records by the likes of Manny Oquendo, Totico, Zaperoko, Airto (all artists who have been featured on my radio program Radio Clandestino). Montuno's documenting of several Haitian bands is a great reach. Overall the label presented són, charanga, salsa dura, Cuban rumba, funky Haitian compas, Brazilian jazz and even doo wop (!) all wrapped up in a delectable package with quite a hefty booklet. The presentation here is enormous and is likely the compilation of the year. Montuno/Vampisoul bonus beats come in the form of a special limited treat-for-DJs 12" of Yambú's disco-funk classic "Sunny"/"Hippopotamus", with Boston's Whiskey Barons on the re-work. Super limited 300 press. Bongohead's words about it here.
22 Colemine Records continued to put out some fun 45s. Lots of funky singles in the year, from the groovy On The Spot Trio, the Budos-related Il Carbonaro, Tee See Connection's afrobeat A-side and Top Gun cover B-side, and a hip single by the funky, funky Alan Evans Trio (featuring jazz-funk organ maestro Beau Sasser). That is quite a haul there. But when you add the short and HEAVY afrobeat blasts of Jungle Fire the whole damn turntable explodes! This funky Ohio label is capturing some of the grooviest outfits in the US.
21 I got turned onto this captivating band of Turkish origins via an interesting 45 on Sublime Frequencies. Hayvanlar Alemi's all-out garage punk assault on Mulatu's Ethio-classic "Yekero Sew" is just about all you could ask for if you were me. But to have some further catalog offered in hospitality by the band and WFMU's Free Music Archive was what just about anyone could use. Surf, dub, psych, improv, Middle East folk roots and more are all to be smoked together in a magical blend. The party's on the house. It's all right here. Except the 7". That you'll have to earn. Go for it.
20 I first heard the Cirriculum Mortis demo tape at Mike Pigott's house. That dude digs up mindblowing records from his many visits to Peru. After listening to chichas, cumbias and assorted regional cheese on 45 he cranked this 80s metal band's recording.
These guitars are as fierce as anything you could imagine. This is
obviously influenced by mid 80s Bay Area thrash, but more fuzzy and raw
and urgent. Freddy Alva (Wardance Records) notes that being a punk or metalhead in Peru was a
potentially dangerous association. This is a welcome vinyl debut of a
document of premier South American noise as you'll find available, thanks to Ultra Sonido. The CM folks later morphed into Novalima.
Note: At one point in a listening session I went to fill my cup and could hear the neighbor's Grateful Dead blasting thru the walls. You don't need to ask who won the sound clash.
19 My wish was granted and fabulous 45 (and more!) label Electric Cowbell had a healthy year and released more great records from Karthala '72 (heavy groove LP), Mucca Pazza (marching band madness on LP and remixes on 45), CSC Funk Band, Slavic Soul Party, Spanglish Fly (see #11), live dub band Super Hi Fi and the awesome salsa band Orq el Macabeo. Chico Trujillo's "Gran Pecador" was one of the hottest 45 cuts this DJ spun all year...dancers went beserk!
18 Fumaça Preta's debut single contains a searing hot
Portugese-language version of one of my favorite tunes, "The Witch" ("A
Bruxa") by The Sonics. This shit has funky drums powering it with
appropriately tortured (and reverbed) vocals. The B-side is a groovy
garage-psych number with a funky bassline and lots of sound effects and
excellent percussion. It appeals to me almost like a lost Lee Perry
session, except one that would involve an Am Rep band. (Look that one up
kids). The lock-groove (and there are always bonus points for a lock
groove) is a phone tone. And they built up more steam for the 2nd 7" they released in 2012. Some noise-organ garage funk madness. I wish more bands and recordings were as vicious and free-wheeling as these. Exciting enough to appeal to the punk/funk/free jazz/garage twisted minds. Joel from hip NYC record spot Trópicalia In Furs is the screamer in the band. Music With Soul put these things out. A fresh new label to keep an ear on.
We're thankful for more Lee "Scratch" Perry collections that dig properly into his best work! It is difficult enough for experts like myself to wade through the BS of the "Lee Perry" catalog (boots, exploitation, unfinished works, token appearances, and even stuff that he had little to do with),
that I can understand the frustration of many of my younger friends in
finding the goods. I'm sure the ITunes catalog of "Lee Perry" is largely garbage producers using his name to sell their crap. Records with bad industrial producers, porn stars, second-rate reggae bands and all around stinking garbage full of other people's shit have probably repelled people from looking deeper into his work. His best stuff ain't even sold as "Lee Perry". It's the classic mid 70s productions of great singers like Junior Murvin, Max Romeo, The Congos and others that reggae enthusiasts refer to when championing Scratch at his finest. All of those artists appear on the Disco Devil: The Jamaican Discomixes collection (Trojan). The set presents 18 extended-length roots reggae epics from the creative peak of Scratch's production out of his home studio, all of which were released in Jamiaca on 12" (as opposed to the dominant 7") when the format was briefly popular ca 77. Junior Delgado, The Heptones, the underheard Twin Roots and even Perry himself
on featured vocals, are just a few of the stellar cast. Trojan did
right on this, the selection is ace and it even has a cool cover.
Also noteworthy are the releases of precious Scratch dubplates, largely lo-fi and entirely unheard outside the "yard". The always-quality Pressure Sounds have recently featured them spread out over several releases. Some of them are so raw and weird that they become organically hallucinatory. Must have for Scratch followers.
16 William Parker keeps putting out a dozen releases an hour and they are all great. Especially exciting to me is the Essence of Ellington tribute. Also notable is his Altitude session (Aum Fidelity, with Joe Morris and Gerald Cleaver). One of the icons of the improvised arts world with more fresh ideas than I could possibly keep up with. I have been a huge fan since first seeing him in NYC back in 94. Since then I've seen his ensembles about 30-40 times and have amassed over three dozen of his albums. And I love them all.
15 Black Truth Rhythm Band hail from Trinidad and
sound like a lost Afro-rock band from Nigeria, but with a calypso bent. Soundway reissued the Ifetayo LP and I'd rank it as an absolutely essential purchase for those into pan-African funk
statements of the most musical order. A fantastic listen start to
finish, this is one of the best full length LPs I've ever heard out of
the Caribbean. I cannot recommend this enough. The cover shot reminds me
of Mandrill's Composite Truth.
14 Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra's Last Odyssey (Ubiquity) is a nice tasty album of dirty funk and heavy afro vibes
out of France. Some modal moves, some dub influence, this is all very
fun rhythmically and harmonically. This one snuck up on me, without any
previous knowledge of their existence. And I like it enough that I had to seek out earlier catalog. Cheers to Masta Conga and his group of funk explorers.
13 I had the pleasure of seeing the Debo Band twice this year (on two different coasts). That was a real treat, as well their new album on Sub Pop. Ethio-funk & jazz from a left-field perspective. Highly recommended energetic, creative music. And these guys are a huge dose of fun live.
12 We're hearing Getatchew Mekurya's final album (Y'anbessaw Tezeta) since the longtime Ethio sax warrior is reportedly retiring. The Ex are long one of my favorite bands and the guests they bring to the party all make up a spirited document. Released on Terp Records.
11 Spanglish Fly
are a NYC-based dance band bringing the boogaloo & shingaling back
into style. For so much love the bugalú has gotten through the recent
years we now finally have a live band on the East Coast (where it
originated) that we can go hear, see and dance to. They were one of the big hits at 2012's Green River Festival, and indeed they have been causing a stir all up & down the East Coast. They delivered a bicycle-riding theme 45 on Electric Cowbell and a new digital-only release with the legendary producer Harvey Averne ("Brooklyn Boogaloo" was one of the catchiest tunes of 2012. It offers delightful horns, funky rhythms and a boastful
tour of the boroughs). You can also get dance lessons
from one of the finest frontwomen in the game in Erica Ramos.The group are currently working to get a full length album finished for 2013. Also a good gang of folks, this is your favorite new party band.
10 Austin TX favorites Grupo Fantasma and the Brownout boys continued to keep themselves busy. Among the hardest-working bands in the biz, they released a dope new Brownout funk album (Oozy) with a 7" (Kept Records) of two of its best tunes on it. Some of the folks stayed busy with Level One Studios projects like The Echocentrics, Daniel Johnston, The Funk Ark and others. And I very much regret not seeing the Liquid Swords tour with our friends backing the GZA. I am positive that would have been a blast. Looking forward to new material from Grupo Fantasma next year!
09 Another joy of 2012: The never-ending reissues of golden era African music. Particular favorites this year include sounds by Edzayawa, Tunji Oyelana, Francis Bebey (African Electronic Music), Super Borgou de Parakou (on the consistently great Analog Africa label), Pazy & the Black Hippies, The Semi-Colon, BLO (Step Three), and others noted below.
08 Voodoo Funk is always on their game with releases of deep 70s West African funk on vinyl. Tex Soul & the Bayonets, The Apostles, Kelenkye Band (previously unreleased) and Gyedu-Blay Ambolley are all essential purchases from this year's goods. Voodoo Funk is a stamp of heavy Afro funk quality.
07 The Funkees were a heavy Nigerian funk-rock band in the 70s. I have been anxiously awaiting a retrospective of their work for many years. The Soundway collection Dancing Time has got all the tunes I knew and loved and many more that are new favorites. The record delivers everything you want in a hard afro-rock band. The music fit the name, and true to my favorite
stylings, featured driving afrobeat percussion, heavy keyboards and
sick guitar lines. This band featured notable
record producer Harry Mosco, percussionist Sonny Akpan (who appeared on a
Quantic record a few years back), and lead guitarist Jake Sollo. This
fully detailed release kicks off with the elusive "Ole", which somehow
ended up in the Chess Records holdings. I'm ecstatic to finally have a
good copy. "Akula" is a sick roots groover with impeccable rhythm and a
bassline to destroy. The heavy "Acid Rock" showed up on Soundway's Nigeria Rock Special
comp, while the version of "Slippin' Into Darkness" was also desired by a
covers freak like myself. "303" ventures into prog/funk territory.
"Break Through" is an awesome funk rock cover of an Atomic Rooster tune
with double-tracked vocals. I'm not sure why the album title mentions a
73-77 scope, since 6 of the 16 cuts are credited as being earlier than
those years. Nitpicking aside, this is a double vinyl set that I
wouldn't pass up. The grooves roll deep on this one here. And for those not into dancing you could call this Smoking Time, as it works well for that as well. Top Afro reissue of the year.
06 Quantic certainly had a big year with the Ondatrópica
project. Spearheaded by Will Quantic and Mario from Frente Cumbiero,
they took an all star, multi-generational, multi-genre big band of
Colombia's best and went into the Discos Fuentes studio to create a work
of art in fusing so many styles and eras into a coherent vision. As
great as the album was, they also decided to take it around the world.
The show at Lincoln Center was quite a scene. And the cover of "Iron
Man" is a definite highlight for me. On top of that major undertaking
Quantic had time to work out some good-time folk material mixed with
humorous cover tunes with an album credited to Los Miticos del Ritmo (fantastic LP art!). And let's certainly note the collaberation with Alice Russell
for an LP and some singles. My favorite is the "Look Around The Corner"
10", with an explicit Rotary Connection vibe and a vocal performance by
Alice that seems to elevate her as we listen. She is
amazingly expressive on this. The strings are featured in a strong,
driving melodic focus. Quantic is the gold standard for quality.
05 The Lost Tapes archival release is an essential addition to any Can freak's collection. Lots of live concert action, as well as raw recordings, heavy grooves and Damo Suzuki screaming. The material is from the classic era 68-77. The package is offered on a variety of formats. 40 years on and the Krautrock pioneers are still a fresh listen.
04 The year welcomed the return of Antibalas, with a world tour, a video for "Dirty Money" (with Muppets, see it here), and a great new LP on Daptone with one of the year's most memorable album cover shots. Nearly thirteen
years after first hearing them I remain a huge fan. When a band can
have their concept together and present their ideas with such
confidence as seen with Antibalas, we can all reap the vibrational
benefits. Protest music and party music are an effective combo and
Antibalas have consistently delivered high energy dance music with some
questions about human intent and power games. They remain giants in the field of afrobeat music and culture.
03 The diversity of quality music that continues to come out of Colombia is quite impressive on all counts. Let's take a look at the Bogotá scene: The orbit of Colombian avant-tropicalistas Frente Cumbiero offers up some tremedously creative music. Their own fantastic "Unconvention"/"Ika" 45 on NYC Trust comes with one of my favorite tunes of
the year. If your electro-cumbia party wants to get a bit tweaked then
your in luck because "Ika" will get the crowd dancing in new
directions. Killer techno bassline to a marching beat, with marvelous
melodies and dub echos. Rootsy and forward at the same. Guaranteed
floor-filler, check it out for yourself.
And the A-side is burning as well. Not to be content with a mere
floor-shaking platter, members of the group also released various other
mindblowing projects. If you like slowed-down drumkits, instruments
dropping in and out of the mix and latin rhythms with synths &
processed tapes, then you should try the Meridian Brothers 45 (also on NYC Trust,
must be a mafia thing). Spacey wigged-out narcodelic shit that is
unclassifiable and original contemporary music. The B-side evokes a
atmosphere, maybe a gangster heroin dealer playing a game of cards with
someone's life at stake. I
actually prefer this pitched way up to 6. Very creepy and fun. They
also had a Soundway LP in 2012. And beyond the narco-noir sounds of Meridien Brothers, there's the rousing live statement by Los Pirañas (with a post-punk feel in places), and if that wasn't enough, they had to figure prominently in the Ondatrópica project (see #6). Keep your ears tuned in.
02 The Thing...This Scandinavian free jazz trio blew me away at the Vision Fest (teamed with lifetime achievement award recipient Joe McPhee). Full bore awesome hard-blowing and they even snuck in a Black Sabbath lick. As if that wasn't enough they had to make a record with Nenah Cherry. And I really dug the Abet?! 7" a couple of those guys did in Ethiopia. The Mats Gustafsson solo bari honking got the Addis audience hot. By the way, I'd also like to recommend the McPhee/Corsano duo Scraps & Shadows. (Roaratorio)
#1... The ability to see, hear and play live music, as well as on vinyl. I am fortunate to be within a thriving music scene here in Western Mass, with a wealth of local talent and international acts coming through regularly. Thanks for the music.
Searching For Sugar Man movie: Having been a fan of Detroit songwriter Rodriguez I was aware of his story. Yet the flick was so well done that I was continually surprised at the glorious footage presented here and there was certainly all the info we needed to get us on track with the legend. This is a highly recommended documentary about as mythical cult artist as any from American music lore. (Shout out to George Myers and Amherst Cinema for running this flick.)
As far as what I have lined up for the future: I've started a record label with a couple of friends and we have some treats in the works. I'll be DJing a few select parties this year and will look to get out more internationally. I'll continue to accept your vinyl as payola. Hit me with your info at email@example.com.