Blondage: Catchy, Minimalist Copenhagen Pop
I hear lots of Charli XCX in Blondage, a Copenhagen pop act that makes undeniable bangers with as little instrumentation and as minimalist of a sound as possible. Latest single “Call It Off” is undeniably great and I can’t wait to hear what comes next.
“Blondage is a Copenhagen-based pop-duo formed by Esben Andersen and Pernille Smith-Sivertsen where the two are making electronic pop music for fans of Flume, MØ and Nao.”
Mephistofeles: “An ode to terror, fear of the living”
Doooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmm *gasps* Dooooooooooooommmmmm
Just in time for Halloween too, check out great sluggish doom metal via Mephistofeles.
“Founded in 2010, has recorded 3 demo raw tapes (one as a one-man-band, and two others as a band). In May 2016 released the first full-lenght album called “Whore” which has been already edited in cassette (by Catarata Records, Pirámide Records, Golden Dawn Recordings) and CD format (by Black Noise Records). Soon on vinyl too via Black Farm Records. (An early 2017 production). Actually, the band finds itself mixing a second long play for mid-2017.”
Stormtrap: Beatmaker and Rapper from Palestine
Palestine rapper Stormtrap, also known as Asifeh, takes me to a Cowboy Bebop-like world with distorted beats carrying jazz-like grooves and asserted rapping. I’m especially drawn to 2012’s Iradeh, but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve heard so far.
“[A] beatmaker and rapper from Palestine. Experimenting with old samples, instruments, and field recordings, and combining all that with hip-hop beats. His lyrics deal with different themes inspired mainly by his personal experiences in Palestine. [He] played a fundamental role in forming the band Ramallah Underground, with which he has performed worldwide.”
Wukong the Monkey King: For Fans of King Lizard & The Gizzard Lizzard
Wukong the Monkey King is a five-piece fusion band based in Auckland, New Zealand that could be the more mellow spiritual sibling to Australia’s King Lizard & The Gizzard Lizzard. The music is all over the place, in the best way possible; jazzy freakouts, spoken word interludes, actual bass playing, those drums – all excellent. “Ode to Keen” is the most fun and “Blue Ball” is my favorite for being straight up soul. Check out more via their website.
Olvido Records: Preserving Kenyan “Omutibo” Acoustic Guitar Music
Olvido Records is a US-based label that restores and circulates obscure music from around the world – a dream label for anyone wanting to discover older sounds from cultures outside of America. A recent release of theirs that I’m really enjoying is Usiende Ukalale: Omutibo From Rural Kenya, a collection of acoustic guitar music from Kenya. To me it’s like listening to old John Prine or Mississippi John Hurt records – just a guitar and voice is all you need to tell a good story.
“‘Omutibo’, a uniquely Kenyan style of acoustic guitar music, was invented by George Mukabi in the late 1950s, and quickly adapted by his neighbors in a region that proved truly fertile for guitarists. In 2016, Cyrus Moussavi (Raw Music International) set out along the banks of the River Yala to document the songs of the old days. Recorded on location in homes and yards, these are the songs and stories of a golden era Kenya on the brink of Independence, beautifully resurrected by the songwriters themselves, over 50 years later. Featuring performances by, and interviews of: Johnstone Ouko Mukabi, Shem Tube, Fanuel Amimo, Jimmy Bongo, Sukuma Bin Ongaro, Peter Akwabi, Zachariah Omufumbwa, Omari Machio, and Johanias Kiunya.”
Westerman: West London Crooner Takes His Time
Westerman does not demand your attention – his songwriting does that for you. The West London crooner takes that pleasant Spring sun feeling Real Estate perfected and emphasizes the melancholy of feeling sad on a beautiful day. The delivery is understated and restrained, the kind of writing that rewards multiple listens. Very excited to see what Westerman does next. Check out more via Blue Flowers Music.
“Describing people’s incessant urge to document their everyday lives, Westmeran asks “is it right to lay it all out like that?” Questioning whether we’re recording our lives or just feeding into narcissistic performances, “Keep Track” is a thought provoking and poignantly delicate song.”
Bagual: Hard Desert Rock from Chile
Sometimes all you need are riffs. Bagual has plenty of riffs, and they sound like they’ve been hanging out in the desert with Queens of the Stone Age. Check out more music via South American Sludge Records.
Racha Rizk: “Diva of the Damascus Opera”
What a voice. Racha Rizk is a singer from Damascus now based in Paris. “Sakru Shababîk” is my current favorite Rizk track for that soulful, powerful voice and bonus electric guitar – something I don’t hear too often in Arabic pop. Check out her interview with Onorient from earlier this year, and check her out via Facebook.
From Onorient (translated):
“Passed far too unnoticed, the first album of the Syrian diva, “Malak” released early 2017, deserves to be widely presented on new scenes.
The compositions of Racha Rizk tell with troubling softness the destructive consequences of the war in Syria. Her past of prima donna at the Opera is guessed in the elegance of her phrasing and the amplitude of her melodies. With the freedom of the great artists, she sings in Arabic on oriental music tunes, tinged with jazz, pop suspicions, or a few rock riffs.
His enveloping voice has already charmed several generations of moviegoers in France. A few years ago, she had lent her voice to the films of the Lebanese director Nadine Labaki Caramel and And now we go where? From now on, its homage to Syria and the Syrians is a tribute to the web, beyond the borders.”
Black Letters: Indie Dream Pop from India
I don’t know what “Falter” is trying to do, and that’s a good thing. The latest song by Bengaluru’s Black Letters starts off like it’s going to build into a Portishead groove before stopping and taking a clearer, R&B-like turn. Now I hear romantic Mogwai. Now I see an endless horizon and a blood red sky going on and on and wanting to drive all through it. The song’s music video shares a similar dreamlike haze. It’s all quite lovely.
“Falter is the debut single from upcoming full-length album by Black Letters.
The new release via Overfeed Records is a follow-up to Petrichor, EP (2015) and Shapes On The Wall, LP (2014).”
Sal Dulu: Mysterious yet Excellent Electronic Grooves from Ireland
I love the mystery of Sal Dulu. I know nothing about this musician (except the Ireland connection) and that the music sounds like the back corner of my mind driving along an empty highway at night thinking about nothing and everything. The music is vast and sexy. It’s worth your time. I also love “Duluoz Dream.”