Clapping my hands and swaying from side to side, I enjoy listening to the sunny sounds of Habanot Nechama. Warming and comforting, as Hebrew word nechama indicates to consolation, the trio of experienced Israeli singers combines soothing and joyful tones in their music. The nechama girls’ soulful vocals, minimalist arrangements of acoustic guitars and drums, carrying reggae infusions, and the overall vibe of optimism, deliver more than a lovely reminiscence of fading summer. (Thanks dirkhaim!)
Jonathan Radford a.k.a. Diesler creates vibes that make you want to move. The sounds are warm and full of rhythm, hence the title of his previous album The Rhythm Station (on Freestyle Records). The warmness of Diesler’s sound is reflected by a clear influence of latin music, with some beats and twists added for good measure, all keeping a positive and fresh style, to which another album title is testament: Keepie Uppies (on Tru Throughts). He is also one of the masterminds behind retro-funk outfit Laura Vane & the Vipertones. There is certainly a lot of music out there by this producer, but let us first point our attention to this summer’s Tie Breakers, released on Social Beats / Unique Records. Check it out for yourself with album track “Deepest Cuba” and the reggae remix dub of “Samba Magic”, reworked by Grant Phabao.
I first heard Lhasa’s name spoken among the crumbling foundations of an old building in Lithuania. That was a year ago. But now, having finally heard her sing, heard those torpid words crawl from her throat, I’m right back there in that blown-out courtyard. And like last year, it’s filled with sunken faces disguised by smiles and with quiet, deferent chatter, as a woman sings atmosphere from a plastic chair on a rickety stage. The album’s called The Living Road, and it evokes just that; a series of beautifully alive places, linked by a single, winding thread. Beth Gibbons with an accent; intense and breathy.
Solemn sobriety. A boy of definite talent. At age 16, Matt Hales was awarded a scholarship at Winchester to study composition; by 17 he’d had his first symphony “Life Cycle” performed by a 60-piece orchestra, with Matt himself conducting. With “Strange & Beautiful”, Matt creates a mood — like a desolate and wet field with an overcast sky. You see her a quarter kilometer away, she looks warm, though you’re shivering. Take a couple steps towards her… Pick one or the other: the original for an incredible song; the rework to delve deeper.
Despite the absolute frigid temperatures this morning, my ride to work was warm because I had the sizzling island flavor of this tune to keep me moving. What at first intrigued my ears as odd spanish rap, soon matured its sonic sound as a dubbed-out dance track where you choose your level of involvement. You can let it be the backdrop for your utterly fascinating conversation of say, folksonomies; or conversely, you can crank it up, clap your hands, and make the other drivers on the road wish they had the CD, too. A squeeky clean tropical production of deliciously organic sounds.
Cruising toward widespread status, Asa Taccone & Matthew Compton are the scrumptious and charming Electric Guest from L.A. A Dangerous Mouse is the secret ingredient in their addictive confections; giving us a catchy, carefree, Motown-tinged strut on “This Head I Hold” followed by a 9-minute capsule of slow-release, pop ballad pleasure in “Troubleman” – morphing around curves on a summer’s coastal drive lending twilight to moonlight. Adding the uncanny trip-hop-esque “American Daydream” piques my interest for the unboxing of their Mondo debut on April 24th. (thx, Divya)
Contemplative pizazz. Electric Guest – This Head I Hold Electric Guest – Troubleman + Purchase/Visit
While post-rock fans have been enjoying El Ten Eleven‘s textured, atmospheric instrumentals since their 2004 self-titled debut album, it wasn’t until I saw Helvetica, which heavily features tracks from 2007’s Every Direction is North, that I discovered this creative duo. The music meanders and crescendos, calms and invigorates, adding layer after layer to an emotional journey. You can’t help but want to go along for the ride.
Yoko Kanno is the mind behind some of the finest anime music out there. Lucky for me, in college I lived down the hall from an anime fan. As the horns from the intro theme song to the popular Cowboy Bepop blared out, I crept down the hall to investigate. After falling in love with a dynamic and unpredictable arrangement, I delve deeper into the songwriter. I found a breadth of vocal and melodic writing in a wide span of genres. Below is a good sampling of her work:
Every song starts with a tuba. Not just your standard oom-pah oom-pah ploppy tuba, no sir – this comes at you ferocious. Following after the famed Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the ReBirth crew throws together a vivid concoction of loud, bright brass slamming you from all angles. You can immediately hear how much they love the music they’re making – the invigorating energy just streams right out of their horns. They don’t stress about slipping a clam, they just let it all hang out. Listen in on the New Orleans brass band jam session.
Word has it this duo met from a Craigslist ad. Now I bet you’ll be surprised of that fact when you listen. An indie rock group looking for a drummer—Craigslist, I’d expect; but this tasty concoction of classic spy film score, 50’s cha-cha, 60’s pop and modern electronica surprises. It’s the type of music you swear you’ve heard before; the production well-crafted by beatmaker Kiran Shahani, formerly of the Supreme Beings of Leisure. I’ll warn you in advance: this album will draw the passion-poised lover out of you.