29 January 2009

Cities Part 2 - Africa

In Cities Part 2 we jump from Europe to Africa. So much incredible music has both come from, or has been inspired by, the continent-that´s a given. But what about songs about actual African cities? They´re a much rarer breed. I had two possible choices for a Tabu Ley song, as he also recorded "Nairobi". But I figured that since he hails from Congo (the one that was formerly Zaire) I should go with "Kinshasa", it´s capital, instead. Soukous is my favorite of all African music, and Tabu Ley is king. Here´s a guy that sells out 100,000-seat stadiums in France, yet Katrina & I were lucky enough to see in a small bar called Blind Melon´s in Pacific Beach, California, with literally a dozen other people. He probably fired his tour manager after that show, but it made for one of the most incredible concert experiences I´ve ever had. Kinshasa by Tabu Ley Rochereau, from Babeti Soukous (Plan 9/Caroline, 1989) Moving north from Zaire, we arrive in Nigeria. West Africa´s musical powerhouse was not to be denied, and it gives me a chance to shout out these freakin´ genius Soundway records releases. Comps like this are on the forefront of blowing the lid off a seething continent´s worth of hidden gems. Bring it on! Lagos City by Asiko Rock Group, from Nigeria Disco Funk Special: Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor (Soundway, 2008) With reggae´s strong links to Ethiopia, there were many Addis songs from which to choose. Willie Williams´ paean to the capital, former home of Ras Tafari Makonen-Emperor Haile Selassie, Selassie-I the First, Negus Negasti & Lion of the Tribe of Judah-made the final cut. Addis Ababa by Willie Williams & the All Stars, from Studio One Roots (Soul Jazz, 2001) Bonus Asia track: Hop on the plane out of Bole in Addis for the trip to Narita... Unlike Part 1, where I visited all but one theme city, Tokyo is the ONLY city I´ve been to from this post. That tells me I really need to get to Africa more... noted. Pizz5 mixes all-Japanese lyrics with a swingin´, breezy 1960s style. Here you get a remix from a low-circulated mid-90s EP.
Tokyo Mon Amour (Discotique 96 Mix) by Pizzicato Five, from Combinaison Spaciale EP (Matador, 1997)

Cities Part 1 - Europe

Theme time again... the rule being that the theme must appear in the song title. I like how this method links a disparate variety of musical types. There are wider regional rules in effect, though... this group is all part of the Western rock/pop school. Today we have part one of a two-parter on CITIES. I´m a happy man in the green of nature breathing the clear air, but I also love the electricity of the concrete jungle. Cities have often been the subject of songs by the bands who love them, and Part 1 focuses on Europe, my current home continent. The Deal sisters are by far the best thing to ever come out of Akron, Ohio (honorable mention to Chrissie Hynde)... but that´s not the city they chose to sing about. Instead, it´s London that gets the honor. Although the Pixies get most of the plaudits, I consider the Breeders the much superior band. Of course, Kim Deal´s Pixies songs are great, but you have to sit through the Black Francis stuff to get to them... luckily here at Soundbombing we get right to the good stuff. London Song by the Breeders, from Title TK (Elektra, 2002) This one is a real offbeat gem I discovered on my favorite podcast (other than my own), Not Your Usual Bollocks (NYUB). I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast, it´s easily found on iTunes. This is a snapshot of the touring life of a band, but don´t worry, it´s no horrendous Journey-style-self-indulgent-boo-hoo-being-famous-is-tough-whine-a-thon. No, in typical Scandinavian style it´s much more low-key, and several million magnitudes better than that crap. I don´t know how a whole album of this kind of stuff would be, but as a one-off it hits the sweet spot. Oh, and they´re not actually Norwegians themselves, hailing instead from Mälmo, Sweden. A Beautiful Night in Oslo by Billie the Vision & the Dancers, from Where the Ocean Meets My Hand (Love Will Pay Bills, 2007) Pereza means "laziness" in español, but these guys don´t seem to fit the bill too well. They´ve put out three albums so far and tour constantly. Pereza are hugely popular over here, and deservedly so, as I feel that they´re about the best band the country has to offer at the moment. Pereza is composed of two guys, Leiva & Ruben, and in almost all their videos they are beating the shit out of each other some way (even with samurai swords!). Don´t know if it´s a reflection of real-life animosity or just good fun, but it doesn´t really matter since the music itself is so tasty. Madrid by Pereza, from Animales (Sony BMG, 2005) Bonus North American track: This is another one I found in an audioblog, although I can´t quite recall which one... if forced to guess I´d say it was Said the Gramaphone. I´m glad you´re all reading my audioblog, but be aware that there are many, many great ones out there that can expose you to a ton of great music you´d miss otherwise. My favorites are listed at the right of this page, but they are really only the tip of the iceberg. Not much to say about this sweet little confection of reggae/pop. Moffat is a Québécoise chanteuse and this song reminds me a lot of LDN by Lily Allen, but en francais and about Montréal! The home of the Habs is also the only city from this post that I haven´t visited myself... I´ll have to make it up there one day. Montréal by Ariane Moffat, from Le Coeur dans la Tête (EMI, 2006)

Pure Insanity

Today´s subject: music by the apparently insane. There are some songs you hear that you call unusual, some strange, some downright bat-shit weird... then there ones like these, ones that convince you the artists that made them are several checkers short of a full set. First off is a hunk of early style boogie-woogie rockabilly from Hasil Adkins... except here the subject matter is decapitation and hot dogs, and much of the verse consists of a manic and not-a-little-creepy laugh. Hasil was a confirmed lunatic who labored in obscurity in West Virgina for most of his life. Maybe it was safer that way. No More Hot Dogs by Hasil Adkins, from Chicken Walk (Buffalo Bop, 1986) Next up is perhaps the wackier of the two, with the music as weird as the lyrics. At least the Adkins track is scored in a traditional matter, but this one sounds just like something you´d here by a motley group of dirt-streaked buskers in a piss-smelling city underpass. I must note that opinions expressed here do not reflect that of Gomek, as the world of Soundbombing is ALWAYS ALL-INCLUSIVE. That kind of thinking just proves how insane this guy really is. But you have to enjoy the craziness. Hello Lucille, Are You a Lesbian? by T. Valentine from Hello Lucille, Are You a Lesbian? (Norton, 2000)

12 January 2009

Truca barata

If you watch this space regularly you know that, for the most part, my musical loves are rhythmically based. But there is room for riffing too, as evidenced by my love for Weezer and the Foo Fighters. In a similar vein, I´ve just scratched a very strange musical itch of mine... so strange I had to share. I hadn´t gone looking for music for a few weeks because of the Christmas trip-slash-season, and once I had settled back here I tried to think waaaay back to things I´d had as a kid and should check out again. And that led me to Akron, Ohio... that´s right, Cheap Trick. As Mike Damone said, "Can you honestly tell me you forgot... forgot the magnetism of Robin Zander, or the charisma of Rick Nielsen?" You gonna argue with Damone, Ratner? I grabbed the first three albums from ´77-´78. I´d owned one of them back then, but even that one was buried so far back it was almost lost. But when I was listening again it all came back to me. Make no mistake, there´s plenty of prog-rock yucky-ness mixed with the punk/new wave stuff-the result is, I guess, a sort of glam-but I was able to cobble together a nice little time-capsule comp combining the three. Here´s the top two that I´ve been spinning, not surprisingly from the one I remember from my youth, In Color. You´ve all heard Surrender and I Want You to Want Me, so let´s dig a bit deeper. Love the slow build up on this one before it bursts forth... Downed by Cheap Trick, from In Color (Epic, 1977) Killer chorus, nice verse that even has echos of ´50s stuff in it... Come On, Come On by Cheap Trick, from In Color (Epic, 1977)

05 January 2009

Human Disco Ball

I was going to do another African post next (and will soon, Sean Bisch!) but I got caught up in the nu-disco matrix once again... First off is Cut Copy, with a straight 80s vibe on Hearts on Fire-thanks to Michael for this one. Hearts on Fire by Cut Copy, from In Ghost Colours (Modular, 2008) The next two will be featured on my soon-come podcast, BNYUB parts 1 & 2. But I can´t hold them back any longer... St. Albans, Hertfordshire based Friendly Fires followed by Ladyhawke-aka Pip Brown, the Kiwi with worldwide roots-with the absolute feel-good dance track of the whole damn year! And note that both Ladyhawke and Cut Copy are on the same label-Modular-so take notice, seen?! On Board by Friendly Fires, from Friendly Fires (WEA Japan, 2008) Paris is Burning by Ladyhawke, from Ladyhawke (Modular, 2008) And let´s bring it on back to the USA, birthplace of disco in the first damn place, with some current crazy shit, thanks to Plantlife. This guy´s stuff is killer start to finish, so savor this small taste and then go get more... Stardancer by Plantlife, from The Return of Jack Splash (Counterflow, 2004)

03 January 2009

Year Droppin´

Inspired by this, http://matthewafrica.blogspot.com/2009/01/reelin-in-years.html, here´s the same theme from me... songs with years in the title, with no comments- all styles represented. Just enjoy and Feliz Año Nuevo! 2002 Rap Up by Skillz, from Broadcast Beatz Ate (4Q, 2002) 2001 Beats by Luke Vibert, from Big Soup (Mo´Wax, 1997) 2001 by Sugarman Three, from Sweet Spot (Unique, 2001) 1990-A New Decade by Soul II Soul, from Vol. II-1990-A New Decade (Virgin, 1990) 1977 by the Clash, from Black Market Clash (Epic, 1980) 1972 Bronze Medalist by the Bad Plus, from These Are The Vistas (Columbia, 2003) 1970 by the Stooges, from Fun House (Elektra, 1970) 1969 by the Stooges, from The Stooges (Elektra, 1969)