Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Postcard from Cali

That's Cali in Columbia, a city known as "the salsa capital of the world". After some successful experiments in 70's American funk, Jamaican dub, and Caribbean island music, British producer Quantic decided in 2007 to move there and start his musical career over, recruiting a band of regional musicians for a group he called "Combo Barbaro", adopting the endearing term Europeans use for people of the Americas.

"Tradition in Transition", his first record with the group, is interesting for the ways it engages with its surroundings. What continues to separate Quantic from, say, Buena Vista Social Club, is his refusal to be swallowed whole by his influences. Though the music here is shaded by different latin genres, it retains a definite North American groove and feel throughout. Rather than trying to be any realistic representation of Columbian music and Columbian life, it portrays his very skewed fantasy of it, and that proves to be far more intoxicating. This is so goddamn good, you guys.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ya'll Order the Pizza?

Please be forewarned, this is a bluegrass post perhaps like none ever before to the Bangers, so if you're turned off by harmony vocals, mandolin, upright bass and alot of lead guitar, skip above or below. If this kind of stuff switches you to on, prepare to ejaculate like Sting with Megan Fox after a session with the Maharishi. (If that made no sense, see here. If it still doesn't make sense, blame it on the east coast/west coast rap feud [or Suge Knight.])

As legend goes, at some point in the early 1990s, a pizza delivery man stole a cassette tape containing a momentous yet seemingly impromptu jam session between Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, his longtime mandolin player and muse David Grisman, and Garcia's friend, guitarist Tony Rice. The recordings were made in February of 1993, just over a year before Garcia's untimely death (Who could have seen that coming? He looked so healthy.)

All joking aside, this album is extremely unique in a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot kinda way. Basically, the album leaked, became fodder for Deadhead tape traders and then, over a decade after it was recorded, finally saw an official release and remastering by Grisman. There are mistakes amidst the conversations, but the most unbelievable thing about this recording, and please accept my apologies if I sound sappy, is its heart and soul. These are the intimate recordings of an incredibly epic, prolific guitarist playing the music he first fell in love with in the company of a few close friends. Truly incomparable.

Highlights include "Shady Grove," "House of the Rising Sun," Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," and Miles Davis' "So What." I think it's more than ironic that the trio covered Miles, given the fact that I consider this gem to be the closest to jazz that bluegrass music has ever come. Enjoy.

Hot Tracks

Here's a quick hit for you all. I posted about The Cool Kids way back when they were opening for MIA. Turns out they're a Chicago band (and now that I live here, I feel compelled to represent) and have teamed up with another local crew, Hey Champ who recently toured with Lupe Fiasco. Many of you know our own MW Levy, who may or may not know the Hey Champ boys. Anywho...this shit is smoothed out. It's pretty nice to see some local bands with a little bit of hype putting their heads together and helping each other out. Plus they both earn points for having great band names.

Fresh Out Da Pen

Gucci Mane just got out of jail and he is wasting NO time. He just released a 3-part mixtape series: The Cold Wars. The mixtapes are basically the tease for an upcoming 30-track album. And this is after an already released mixtape with Shawty Lo and another planned for around Halloween. This makes me tired just thinking about it. I can't say I've been pining for Gucci Mane's release, but he has a track with Big Boi that is worth your time. A friend passed it along, and I had to share.

This will get you to the mixtapes.

And in case that weren't enough...Big Boi has signed with Def Jam and will soon be releasing Sir Lucious Left Foot. A tease below.

Friday, October 16, 2009

If Nintendo Produced Albums...

This is what they would sound like. No joke though, this album is somewhere between house/funk and Asteroids. This should have been the soundtrack for that movie the Wizard starring Fred Savage. I posted a Neon Indian video a few weeks back. The song was a teaser for what is really a fine album. Full of oddities and geeked out little DJ tricks, the music is pretty damned fun.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It Came From Africa

You couldn't help but feel a little sorry for Vampire Weekend. Here they were, a bunch of 20 year olds from Columbia who listened to a couple Afrobeat records and were inspired to write a crossover pop album, and almost immediately they were cruxified for it. The accusations ranged from the ludicrous ("how dare smart white people play soweto") to the legitimate ("how dare smart white people retread the Talking Heads"), but beyond that the uproar raised a lot of interesting questions around authenticity and artistry, and which music belongs to who. That argument has only gotten more complex as we barrel through the internet age, and artists like M.I.A. and Bande do Role assert their regional identities at the same time as artists like Santigold and Diplo appropriate them.

With this ongoing battle as backdrop, The Very Best have arrived to provide an argument of their own. Formed in London when two DJs walked into a used furniture store and discovered the Malawian owner of the store could actually sing his ass off, they released a mixtape last year that was met with near-universal acclaim. The key to their success is an inversion of a well-worn formula: instead of cross-polinating African textures and rhythms with pop songs, ala Graceland or the aforementioned Vampires, they've lifted all the sounds of modern western music and molded them to fit traditional African song structures. Though the energy and originality of the music speaks for itself, the inclusion of both Ezra Koenig of VW and M.I.A. on their debut LP drives home the point: true music is boundless.


Similar in approach but totally different in genre, the BLK JKS are an indie rock band from Johannesburg that deserve way more ears than they're currently getting. Discovered by Diplo (who else?) on a 2008 trip to South Africa, they remind me either of TVotR covering Rusted Root, or Mars Volta backing up Santana, depending on the song. Which is to say: WTF.

BLK JKS enlisted our old friends the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble for their debut, and, like TVotR before them, the "wall of sound" school of production wails about as often as it wears. When they wail, like on opener "Molalatladi", the Afroelectric storm rains down with unopposible force and everything from the warble in the lead singer's voice to the ska-like guitar flicks seems to pulsate with the same rhythm. But unlike their Brooklyn brethren, BLK JKS haven't yet figured out how to maintain the tension while dialing down the tempo, as "Standby" blandly proves. Still, there seems to be something effortlessly natural about the Prog&Beats combination that the BLK JKS are advancing, and if they're given more time to refine it, they might arrive somewhere neither their home country nor their adopted one could've imagined.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dub Trio - Exploring the Dangers of

These dudes are a Brooklyn supergroup pounding out legit King Tubby style dub. The drummer toured with The Fugees, Stu Brooks is G Units bass player, and DP plays guitar for Mos and Common. Basically, they're highly coveted musicians. And its no wonder, cause the three of them make this shit sound silky smooth, staying true to the dub sound with nothing more than looping effects and their respective instruments. Its tight. This is their debut from 03, which is super laid back and just plain dope. Their last record with Mike Patton's label Ipecac is a metal/dub blend, which is in many ways more impressive, but probably a little harder to get into for most. That being said, this record is just silly good. If you get a chance to see these dudes live, do not miss it.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Lion in the Winter: New Animal Collective Album Scheduled to be Released this December

Another Animal Collective Post? Shocking!

Looks like these guys have been busy at work in the studio the last couple months and plan on releasing a new EP this December titled, "Fall Be Kind." Personally I can't think of a better way for these guys to cap off the year they had than by coming out with a freshly minted album. So far there hasn't been any track listings leaked, but it would be a safe to assume "Bleed," "Grace," and "What Would I Want Sky" to be on there. Release date is set for December 8th. Until then- here is a hot little collaboration between Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) and Atlas Sound titled, Walkabout.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Donnis - Diary Of An ATL Brave

Hello Team - I wanna introduce you all to Donnis, a rapper from Atlanta. I know, I know... you've heard them all before and decided that southern rap sucks. Well, as much as that might be true, this guy doesn't. He's been getting some nice attention in the blogosphere, so why should Bangers be any different?? Here is his 10-deep sponsored mixtape called Diary Of An ATL Brave...

Highlighted by the intro track 'The Beginnings', where he contemplates what it takes to become famous; 'Underdog' has a soulful-vibe that reminds me of the Isaac Hayes record from Kill Bill (fast forward to 01:10 here); and 'Gone', which could be the record that puts him on --

- Rollin up a swisher sweet fat as Mr. Winslow -

Oh yeah. He was complex mag's album of the week a few months ago. Don't be the last one to hear about this dude...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Return of the Super Group

Not since The Highway Men has there been a supergroup that has captured my attention such the way The Monsters of Folk have these last couple days. Comprised of Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes fame, and M. Ward, MOF has a lot of musical talent going for them. Formed in 2004 after playing backstage together on several tours, the MOF released their first album just a few weeks ago. Since then it has been critically acclaimed by damn near everyone and has been on a constant play rotation in my house.

Often times when supergroups form, they promise a lot but in reality deliver very little (see Audioslave & Velvet Revolver), fortunately this is not the case when it comes to MOF. This album is chalked full of heartfelt songs, sun drenched guitar riffs, and that wonderful Blonde on Blonde Bob Dylan piano sound. Definitely more rock than folk. Below is the music video to their first single off the album, The Right Place.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rounding out the season

Just wanted to post a couple of quick tunes that have had my head bobbing of late. First: Neon Indian is of the Washed Out vein - everything sounds like it's played off a warped record, but still fresh as can be. This track has gotten some play, but damn it's good. Second up: Dan Deacon is a DJ out of Baltimore that has been on the scene for some time and his latest album, Bromst, has had some buzz. Needless to say, I like this song. And third: Mr. Scruff's Sweet Smoke off Trouser Jazz. Great album, great tune, nothing new, but still delightful.

White Men Can Funk

This album is really excellent funk. Adam Gibbons is the main man behind Lack of Afro; a producer and multi-instrumentalist, he has combined some pre-existing songs with his own creations and the result is music that can make you tap down the street by yourself, or happily entertain some friends while eating dinner. There is of course a wonderful use of horns, essential to all that is funk, along with a steady rhythm in most of the tracks that keeps the head bobbing and the flow smooth. This album, called "Press On," was released in 2007 and he just came out with another called "My Groove, Your Move" that I haven't acquired just yet. I hope you enjoy the good times that derive from the good tunes.

Here is "Press On" by Lack of Afro.Add Image