Sure we all want to be The Clash and Sex Pistols, but how about actually sounding like them? To have that same sense of urgency and smirk? That’s the classic British punk sound and feel I hear from Istanbul’s Project Youth. I really enjoy all of Middle East for its politicalness and its desire to sound fun and alive. It feels like this group is on a mission to do something, even if that mission is just to destroy or declare that nothing matters. How punk.
Cats! Sunsets! The Ocean! Great moody electro-pop! Can’t go wrong with Taiwan duo Astro Bunny. The act is vocalist Lena Cha (formerly Cherry Boom) and producer Nu.
Cha via Taipei Times: “We named the group ‘bunny’ because I love bunnies and I forced him to like them too. I picked the word “astro” because I’m an anime and computer game geek.” Later in the interview, Cha talks about how the music is a juxtaposition of Chinese literary writing and electronic melodies – an interesting combination. “Because of the neutral nature of the synthesizer used to create electronica sounds, this seemingly lifeless music doesn’t feed you with predetermined themes. Rather, it allows you to interpret and imagine meanings according to your mood at the time.”
I like my trap music with as much sweet melody as possible, and Nigerian rapper and producerMobraibrahim delivers. The secret weapon here is that I hear a bit of R&B groove in a song that could otherwise just be in-your-face trap. The simple production and the new artist’s singing elevates the song into something I wish I could hear more of. New EP Capiche is out this Friday, October 27th.
“A rapper and R&B artist and a music producer who grew up on the beats of Michael Jackson, 2pac & Heartbreak, [he] came out from Nigeria with a relaxed style that connected the dots between Young Thug [and] Drake.”
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.
“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-length 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.”
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 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 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 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.”
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.