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(via Jo Tongo)

The latest Africa Seven release is a collection of old and new tracks from Parisian funk great Jo Tongo. Active for many decades, Tongo is apparently working on new music to come out soon. Give this new collection a spin to hold you over and get your daily fill of high-quality afro-funk.

From Bandcamp:

“Our hero, Jo Tongo (born Joseph Ekambi Tongo Mpondo) was born and raised in Douala Cameroon. In 1964 he headed off to Paris to begin Pharmaceutical studies. Somewhere along the way the music in his soul eventually won out and he embarked on a life of music. In the latest of our series of “Funk Experimentals” LPs we dig for the funk. Not necessarily the artists greatest hits but most definitely the funkiest ear benders. We proudly compile together tracks from 1968 to 3 new brand new exclusive tracks from present day 2017. And yes, they all have the funk. In spades.

The album opens up with stunningly catchy Jangolo. Jo’s awesomely funky bass and percussive “jangly” guitar. The track is underpinned by African drums, funky stabs and 70s nascent synthesiser string machines. Next up we take a trip to 1979 and “Funky Feeling” from Jo’s “Those Flowers” album. Here the beats are big, the strings are sweet and the clavi is into overdrive. We then jump back to 1976 for the evergreen, horn-puncher, funk stomper “Piani”. Before the sweet smooth funk of “Those Flowers”.

Next up is “American Lady” with the bright strings, jangly guitars and driving keys. All locked on to maximize the groove. We then take a trip back to 1968 for Jo’s second single the ever so funky and ever so ahead of its time, “Dig It Babe”. Soul, horns, groove and punch all in two perfect packages. Part 1 and Part 2. Next up it is the funk boogie afro swingers “Ewande”.

Bringing things up date we jump forward to 2017, present day. Jo has been making music more or less non-stop and here we are lucky to premier three brand new tracks. The drums are punchy, the guitars ooze the funk and the locked on keys tie the tracks together in one tight-as package. Jo is on the production and at the controls for the mix. “Lion Roar” is first with its driving clavinet and all-out-assault funky drums. The brass is big and this song is Bold with a capital “B”. “It’s The D Day” is next with swinging soul style groove before “Mystic Power” features a ballsy brass-laden beat and jazz funk overtones.

Many thanks Jo for choosing the music. Nearly 50 years at the top of the game.”

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(via Frida Sundemo)

I love everything about Frida Sundemo‘s “Gold.” I love how it starts out like Robyn singing Sigur Rós before turning into Charli XCX scoring a Christopher Nolan film. I love how everyone in Sweden knows how to write perfectly melancholy pop bangers. AND I love Sundemo’s voice and how little she needs to rely on a massive band, though “Gold” sounds big in the best way.

From Facebook:

“In between hope and despair stands Frida Sundemo. Wrapped in echoes and surrounded by pattering synths, the exquisite alt-pop songstress channels wide-eyed beauty and desolate melancholy with each spellbinding note and delicate breath, with each and every heartbeat.”

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(via EABS)

Polish jazz? Right away I’m hooked. But before you know it, EABS (Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions) quickly turns the corner into darker, jazz-influenced hip-hop a la BADBADNOTGOOD. Then it all gets violent and explodes in sound and then comes back all together again in a mesh of grooves. And it’s all dedicated to Krzysztof Komeda. And it’s only the first song. It’s so great.

Check out more music via Astigmatic Records.

From Bandcamp:

EABS debut album entitled “Repetitions (Letters To Krzysztof Komeda)” is a dedication to Polish Jazz legend Krzysztof Komeda. This album is an analysis of conscientiously selected compositions by Komeda between 1962-1967. EABS explores some of Komeda’s lesser-known compositions featured in ballet etudes, movies, short films, documentaries, animations and compositions illustrating Polish poems recited in German.

Carefully chosen compositions, the background of the movies for which the music had been written and Marek Pędziwiatr’s lyrics all add up to “Repetitions” being some kind of a concept album about the condition of the human soul in the 21st century. The questions one may ask might be similar to those which could have been asked by the artists witnessing post-war debris: will history come full circle? Lack of knowledge, flourishing idiocracy, aggression, aiming for conflicts, shortage of community spirit and love may lead to another doomsday. Perhaps we simply aren’t able to see the impending doom now… Just like in a poem by Czesław Miłosz, “A Song on the End of the World”, to which Krzysztof Komeda wrote “Waltzing Beyond”.

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(via Kukushai)

It sounds like insects marching towards war at first, and then Eva Poženel’s vocals come in and oh shit it’s a jazz thing but with a Fiona Apple-like stomp. Kukushai‘s explosion of sound could go off any minute, but Sun Mi Hong’s drumming keeps everything in check and Rok Zalokar’s keys move things along. It’s all theatrical, and it’s all quite beautiful and bizarre at times. Poženel, Hong, and Zalokar all met in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and they use their varying cultural heritages (Poženel and Zalokar from Slovenia, Hong from South Korea) to good use.

Fruitile is out now via Slovenian label ZARŠ Records.

From Facebook:

“Avantgarde pop trio with original music that’s flirting with jazz, rock and even punk, but don’t take these labels to heart, listen and decide for yourself”

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(via Mariesena)

There’s a video on YouTube where Mariesena, a screamo band from Ukraine, plays a cover of Orchid’s “…And The Cat Turned To Smoke” live in their hometown Odessa, on the Black Sea. The song is a classic that fans know, but the reaction of the crowd is not what an American or European screamo lover would expect: the audience sang, cried, desperately held their heads, and comforted each other while falling on their knees.

It’s not a parody nor a meme, but one way to show dedication to a genre that has developed quite a cult following in some ex-USSR countries. While foreign bands are rather worshiped here, the local scenes in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia are alive and well, delivering several interesting emo and screamo bands every year. Mariesena is one of them, and a great starting point for those who want to dig in these unexplored territories. Unlike many of the other bands they share the stage with, their lyrics are in English, exploring romantic and existentialist poetics in a personal style, especially on their full-length Ruth. The music is raw, violent and passionate, with reckless conjunctions between emoviolence chaos and staid moments of lo-fi clean arpeggios and abrupt screams.

The band, which broke up in 2014, has played a reunion show just last week in Odessa, with 200 people sweating and screaming all of their lyrics, but its members have also released a good quantity of material with other bands in the past couple of years. Yotsuya Kaidan, for example, are releasing these days what is one of the most poignant screamo EPs to ever come from Ukraine.

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(via Bankrupt)

There’s a lot to like in Hungarian punk rock band Bankrupt, from the driving beat of the drums and guitar to the English dub-like keys and horns. You can hear a lot of the Ramones, the Descendents, NOFX, and the Misfits in these melodies and lyrics. Long live hooks!

From Facebook:

“Inspired by the best moments of punk rock history, [this] Budapest based three-piece delivers a unique blend of old school and new school melodic punk rock, tinged with some punkabilly, rock and roll punk, and garage rock. Regardless of what hype is going on right now on what was earlier called the punk rock scene, [they] stick to the music they like, and continue writing songs that sound the way punk rock was meant to be. This is the sound of Riot City and it sweeps you away with the speed of a rocket.”

Bankrupt:

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(via Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih)

Another winner from Berlin’s Habibi Funk label is its Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih release from February. Omari’s psychedelic organ plays with Arabic strings and rhythms to excellent results, made better by Samih’s beautiful vocals.

From YouTube:

“First issue (LP+DL) of this previously unreleased Oriental psych monster from the organ king of Casablanca, combining traditional rhythms with spaced out modern sounds. Second part of Abdou El Omari’s Nuits-trilogy. This album contains heavenly compositions for the Moroccan diva Naima Samih and some moody instrumentals in a similar vein to the first album.”

Abdou El Omari & Naima Samih/ Habibi Funk:

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(via PAST)

You don’t need to speak Polish to understand the attitude and aesthetics of PAST, a post-punk band from Warsaw that started playing in 2011. Sure, their lyrics are a fundamental part of their work, focusing mostly on the current state of the world with a certain disillusionment – but with an ever present glimpse of hope. But all of this information can already be grasped by carefully listening to the powerful voice of Gosia, the band’s lead singer.

There’s something in her beautiful vocals that manages to bear the band’s spirit and captures the listener. Her strong harmonies stand above the ravenous and dystopian sound of their new record, Czarno/Biela (Black/White), while fitting perfectly in it at the same time.

On their Bandcamp page, PAST assert they play music “so that they can run away from norms and mediocrity.” Mediocrity in particular, or rather refusing it and fighting it, is central to their work, and that is not something to be underrated. While clearly fond of cold post-punk, the band renovates the the dark ’80s sound and modernizes it in a sparkling way.

Cutting synths often fill the space, invigorating the album with an unusually wide range of colors, while an omnipresent bass and blossoming guitars add a precious depth to the band’s compositions, pushing the band towards a roaring punk urgency with the help of fast-paced and never monotonous drums.

All of these elements turn Czarno/Biela into an exciting and epic ride, one that creates an atmosphere that owes a lot to the German post-punk of thirty years ago. It’s post-apocalyptic, but with a sizable dose of emotions and curiosity for all the possibilities that this type of music can offer.

Past:

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(via Aesthesys)

There’s a lot going on in the music of Aesthesys. Most of it on paper – Interpol-like driving guitars, pretty chimes and strings, your favorite prog drummer – shouldn’t work, yet everything blends so well here. The Moscow-based outfit knows exactly what it’s doing, for it’s had years to develop its chops from its earliest days as Nik Koniwzski’s one-man project to now being a fleshed-out band.

From Bandcamp:

“[we’re] an instrumental outfit hailing from Moscow, Russia, performing a mixture of post-rock, ambient, neoclassical and progressive music.”

Aesthesys:

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(via Molly)

The music video teasing Stay Above, the new album by Molly, is simple and irritatingly hilarious. It shows a phone reproducing their new song “All About” inside of an empty Tuborg glass, the track sounding muffled and distant, interrupted halfway by an abrupt phone call. Towards the end, though, the sound gets rid of the natural distortion and acquires its true powerful nature. At the same time, we see the band standing in front of some burning brushwood, creepily staring into the void.

A video like this already says a lot about Molly, a furious rock band from Copenhagen. It shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously, that they can have fun with their own music, but more than anything it shows how good their songwriting is, even when the music can be barely heard. The Danish trio is clearly influenced by Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du and Jawbreaker, but rework these influences in a personal way, assisted by some effective Social Distortion sounding vocals.

Reworking, though, does not mean modernizing, and Stay Above is obstinately anchored to the 90s sound. It is Molly’s third record, but it seems like it’s the one that can allow them to be noticed by many more people than before, also thanks to the hype of bands like Beach Slang, which turned punk-informed 90s rock into something more recognizable and accessible even to younger kids today. This way, Stay Above has all the potential to become one of the most loved albums of the year.

Molly:

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