Luna Abu Nassar

Luna Abu Nassar: Dawame sounds like a dream both calming and sinister

Luna Abu Nassar

*

Dawame, Luna Abu Nassar’s second album, sounds like a dream on the banks of a Tel Aviv river, with echoes of different voices and instruments coming in and out as sounds of nature set a calming scene. Her extra touches add a somewhat sinister, deep blue feel that’s very compelling. She could easily be one of the musical artists at the end of the new Twin Peaks episodes.

Luna Abu Nassar: Facebook YouTube

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

ShellacHead

ShellacHead: dedicated to exploring world music from the 78 rpm era

ShellacHead

*

ShellacHead is an Oakland-based label that reissues world music via 45s and 78s from Albania, the Persian Gulf, Sardinia, and more. Learn more here. The label’s 2015 The Lost 45s of Sudan collection is especially good.

From Bandcamp:

“[This] world music blog dedicated to 78 and 45 rpm records, is happy to present this compilation of incredibly rare tracks from Sudan’s “Golden Age” of recording, the 1960s-70s. A hypnotic blend of traditional Sudanese sounds with influences from abroad, these legendary artists thrived during this brief period until authoritarian Islamists brought the Golden Age to an abrupt end in the 1980s.”

ShellacHead: Website Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

Trenga Records

Trenga Records: New noise from Morocco

Trenga Records

*

I couldn’t find much information on the mysterious Casablanca-based independent label Trenga Records, but everything I’ve heard has been fantastic. I’m especially drawn to The Afro Ninja, which reminds me at times of DJ Shadow. It’s just one of the many sounds of this eclectic label that you should be following.

Trenga Records: SoundCloud

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

Kabreet

Kabreet: hard rock riffs meet Arabic scales and rhythms.

kabreet

*

Kabreet is a Damascus-based indie band that combines hard rock riffs and Arabic scales and rhythms. You can hear a love for classic Western rock (think Rush, Guns & Roses, Led Zeppelin, etc) that’s blended with the traditional sound of its land and telling the stories of its own home.

From Bandcamp:

“[This is] an indie rock band from Syria, based in Damascus – capital of Syria. [they play] mainly alternative and indie rock sung in arabic lyrics. [The band] concentrates mainly on the daily life of the Syrian youth, while the music is a mixture of alternative / indie rock and middle eastern musical elements, scales and rhythms.”

Kabreet: Facebook Bandcamp

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

Afous D’Afous

Afous D’Afous: Because there’s more to Tuareg rock than Tinariwen

Afous D'Afous

*

The latest Sahelsounds release is a collection of songs by Tuareg rock band Afous D’Afous, one of the Sahara’s best guitar bands and a leading group of what we know as “desert blues” in the West. Based in Tamanrasset in southern Algeria, Afous D’Afous’ music is more upbeat and pop-sounding compared to the serious and heady grooves of Tinariwen, who are probably the most famous Tuareg rock group outside Africa.

From Bandcamp:

“In the past decade, there has been an explosion of ethnically Tuareg rock bands on the world music stage. Built around the electric guitar, the genre ranges from stripped down minimalist nostalgia filled ballads to distortion heavy tracks for dancing. Known collectively in the West as “desert blues” for its pentatonic scales and finger styles that recall Americana, in the Sahara it’s simply known as “guitar.” The style has emerged as contemporary pop music back home and today there are hundreds of bands, playing locally in weddings and public celebrations. The effect of the world music industry is not lost on the Sahara however, and the Western music market still maintains dominance over the Tuareg guitar scene. For the majority of Tuareg “guitar” bands, success still comes via the West. Artists travel abroad to record albums, and there are no shortage of indie-rock heavyweights anxious to jump into the role of producer.

An exception to the rule is Kader Tarhanine’s group “Afous D’Afous.” This six person rock outfit from Tamanrasset in southern Algeria is by all accounts unknown in world music circles. However, at home in the Tuareg community, they are without a doubt the most celebrated, famous, and in demand group, second only to Tinariwen. Kader Tarhanine rose to popularity in 2010, with his recording of a song “Tarhanine Tegla” (My Love is Gone). The track, a low-fi love ballad, recorded with a crunchy electric guitar over a pacing drum machine, went on to become an anthem throughout the diaspora (earning Kader the nickname “Kader Tarhanine”). In 2015, Kader formed his group “Afous D’Afous” and traveled to Algiers to record the full length debut “Tenere.” The 9 track album was released on CD in a limited run in-country, accompanied by a huge press rollout. The band appeared on Algerian national television, quickly becoming a country favorite and representative of the Tuareg ethnic minority. The album quickly disseminated throughout the diaspora, traded on cellphones in the conflicted Azawad, beamed through private WhatsApp pirate networks, and soundtracking smuggler’s routes, blasting from Land Cruisers at high speeds through the border zones of the open desert.

“Tenere” is a departure from the rest of the contemporary Tuareg rock albums. Of the myriad of Tuareg releases that have caught the ear of the West, only a tiny few are produced at home, sans Western producers. “Tenere” offers some of the most complex compositions in the genre to date, tightly arranged and polished. There is something sonically throwback, though Afous D’Afous crawled out of 70s rock studio album. It is long cited that Tuareg rock styles are largely inspired from heavyweights Dire Straits. This may be the most true to form rock album to date, and there is certainly a few riffs that recall Mark Knopfler. The electric guitar, front and center, drives the tracks with uptempo rhythms, all led by the soulful voice of Kader, measured and balanced with the chorus call and response. In addition to this classic rock aesthetic, the production adds some unlikely elements, reflective of contemporary globalism – layering pitch bending North African synthesizer, reverb saturated dub, and even Indian tabla and sitar!

While Tuareg guitar has become a commodity in the world music industry, Afous D’Afous has continued to in relative obscurity, all while remaining one of the most popular guitar outfits amongst Tuareg fans. They tour constantly throughout the Sahara to sold out crowds in Bamako, Niamey, and Agadez. They have yet to tour abroad. The irony is not lost on the band, and we’re excited for the opportunity to partner with them to correct this glaring oversight.

The remastered Sahel Sounds release of “Tenere” pulls together the complete recordings from their debut album, available for the first time outside of the diaspora. The vinyl edition of 1000 features old school 3-color offset printed jackets.”

Afous D’Afous: Website Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

Soraya Ksontini

Soraya Ksontini: Tunisian-born, Swiss-based songwriter crafts catchy Arabic-Frenchy pop

Soraya Ksontini

*

Want to make your coffeehouse playlist more interesting? Throw in some Soraya Ksontini, who at times sounds like a more interesting Norah Jones with her European pop taking inspiration from Arabic rhythms.

Soraya Ksontini: Bandcamp Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

Yasmine Hamdan

Yasmine Hamdan: Lebanese singer-songwriter brings a Western approach towards Arabic pop

Yasmine Hamdan

*

Yasmine Hamdan is a Lebanese singer-songwriter who approaches Arabic pop with a Western electronic, pop, and folk mindset, someone who has been immersed in enough styles to blend them all into something unexpected, something familiar, and something quite stunning.

From Bandcamp:

“With her debut solo album Ya Nass (2013), Hamdan introduced her personal, modern take on Arabic pop. In Al Jamilat (‘The Beautiful Ones’), she pursues her musical exploration, while taking a look at the mutations at work within the Arab world. While Yasmine’s vocals are definitely connected to traditions of Arabic music (to which she takes an unconventional and fresh approach), the structures and arrangements of the songs are very remote from its codes, and take in elements from contemporary Western electronic, pop and folk music.”

Yasmine Hamdan: Website Facebook Twitter Bandcamp

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

El Morabba3

El Morabba3: independent Arabic music from Jordan/Palestine

El Morabba3

*

An oldie but a goodie, El Morabba3 has been making some of the most consistently interesting alternative music in Jordan for a couple of years. “Asheek,” a personal highlight, wouldn’t sound too off on the new National album.

From Bandcamp:

“The more an artist attempts a truthful reflection of the human condition the more conflicts and paradoxes will appear in their work, that’s why the music of El-Morabba is euphoric and deliciously dark; it fills you with an acute sense of elation while the lyrics crash down on you with their intense reality and truth.

It is rebellious music that lends a voice to the thoughts, concerns and anger of the people towards the reality they are living today, yet most of all it lends a voice to a dream that is dormant within us all, nudges it sometimes, or shocks the hell out of it onto the surface in other instances of pure intensity. All of this is translated through music that is uniquely structured; the rhythm, while always holding a firm base of ergonomic structure with the simple yet efficient heartbeat of the bass, it manages to float within it’s own spheres alongside the heavily transformed guitar expressions like two astronauts floating individually away, or towards their shuttle, winking at each other in the realization that they will always reach their destination simultaneously because they’d timed it that way, and they’d done it a billion times before.

And during this dance of rhythm and atmosphere between the drums, percussion and guitar, the vocals of either Muhammad Abdullah or Tareq Abu Kwaik floats massively on the surface giving purpose and clarity to a dreamlike state without awakening the listeners, they come with the intensity of words half sung or half spoken, sweet and sour melodies doubled by indistinguishable screams of ecstasy and anguish.

The combination defies definition, yet is awash with purpose, it is also uniquely vulnerable and holistic, very human.”

El Morabba3: Website Facebook Twitter SoundCloud

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

TATRAN

TATRAN: Tel Aviv psychedelic instrumental power-trio previews new album with bizarre (and excellent) new music video

TATRAN

*

I have no idea what’s going on in TATRAN‘s latest music video, and I think that’s OK. From the jarring dancing to the masked people who look like Miyazaki extras, there’s a lot going on, and it’s all soundtracked to experimental and jazzy instrumental post-rock.

The video is for “Eyes,” the latest single from the group’s upcoming album ‘No Sides,’ out June 2nd.

From the press release:

“The latest video from Israel’s Tatran is a pulsating visual experience. Created for their latest single “Eyes”, which is also featured on the upcoming album. The work takes place in an ancient bell cave in Israel. As strange figures marvel with each frame, showcasing unique and eye catching abstractions. The lack of identity given to these characters allows them to move with fluidity, while being consumed by the distinctive space.

An incredibly tight production, the video progresses with quick pace mirroring with the unparalleled high notes and melody of the bass, and the deep low lines courtesy of the guitar. The result is a mesmerizing display of creativity that is difficult to ignore. As the video concludes, members of the obtuse pack join a deity, who utilizes a supernatural dance to communicate sweet vibrations to her troops.”

TATRAN: Website Facebook Twitter SoundCloud Bandcamp

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading

Oiseaux-Tempête

Oiseaux-Tempête: for fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and uplifting dread

Oiseaux-Tempête

*

You know that feeling when you listen to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and you sense that the world is about to fold onto you and crush you and everything you’ve ever known, but somehow this is OK and in tune with how the world should be? Parisian band Oiseaux-Tempête knows this feeling, and they add a Middle-Eastern flavor to their uplifting dread that takes its time with you. Stick around for all of ‘AL – ‘AN ! الآن (And your night is your shadow — a fairy – tale piece of land to make our dreams)’ and you won’t be disappointed.

From Bandcamp:

“These are some live epiphanies improvised between Middle-East and Europe during the year of chaos 2016…Field recordings shot in Lebanon between March and October 2016…Poems by Mahmoud Darwish extracts from ‘The Offering’ and ‘Red Indian’s Penultimate Speech to the White Man'”

Oiseaux-Tempête: website Bandcamp Facebook

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber
Continue Reading