The first section of this article (found here) named the favorite albums around the P&R office(s). This time we check out singles, punk & noise, cover tunes, live shows and other fun stuff. Thanks for your support and for helping us make 2017 a great year. The following singles were selected by Andujar, Bongohead and Studebaker Hawk. Please support the bands and DIY labels direct!
Fave single of 2018, in no particular order:
-Bosq - Can't Seem To Hide 12" (Ubiquity) The golden touch of Bosq delivers a floor-burner of a poppy disco tune on the A-side with the soulful Megan Doherty (my first exposure to her). The powerful Nicole Willis is on the flip. A very strong '70s disco spirit here on this platter, the latest we've heard from the Ubiquity camp.
-Crowd Company 45s (Vintage League) Another fun soul/funk outfit, this one produced by Alan Evans. There's a solid album from 2017 out there (Stone & Sky) but frankly the best tunes are on the 45s, "Can't Get Enough" being particularly tasty. Some nice 'bone on "Getting The Groove". This isn't rule-bending music but it's quite sturdy if you are a soul 45 DJ.
-Junior Byron - Trying To Hold On 12" reissue (Cultures of Soul) This is the kind of hot & warped Caribbean boogie we like around here! This synth-disco jam from 1985 gets a reissue on Boston's fine Cultures of Soul imprint. This edition adds value on the B via a Gerd Jansen megamix. Funky, wiggy, dubby and a nighttime killer. I'm guessing he's from Trinidad but I'm not positive.
-Instigator Afrobeat Orchestra - Singapura Vibrations (self released) This afrobeat band from Singapore was brought to my attention by Kokolo's Ray Lugo, who lends his distinctive voice and touch to the opening track "Caburu". There are some nice dubby spots on this and several remixes bend the material in additional directions. Add some rap, a little disco and some Brazilian flavor and you've got a nice addition to the contemporary afrobeat scene.
-KXNGS - Air Sign digital single (Tru Thoughts) This is a pretty cool update on the West London broken-beat thing that was popular about 15 years ago, with a little dubstep thrown in. Witty, groovy house with interesting rhythm patterns and some Eastern flashes with subterranean bass tones at times. This complements the Earth Sign 12", which for some reason I didn't receive. "Haboobi" is just magical.
-Mugwisa International Xylophone Group - Iganga Embaire 12" (On The Corner) So many beautiful things going on in this music. Beginning with recording a dozen-person crew on the embaire (log xylophone) in Uganda, add some strings, percussion, hand claps & chants and finish with psychedelic remixes by Diabolical Liberties and you've got a bonafide winner in the folk-meets-electronica game. On The Corner has been putting out some pretty good shit the last few years.
-My Education - Open Marriages (digital single)
Check out this cool cinematic-psych jam by Austin-based septet My Education. I really dig the guitar and the viola and pedal steel add a good feeling. Kinda brings to mind a Texan take on Ghost Box Orchestra or Loop. Formed in '99, the band have released five albums and several experimental collaborations, as well as some soundtrack work (including Murnau's Sunrise). From the album, Schiphol.
-Raja Kassis's Humanbeing - Don't Leave (Doumala Baayi) (digital single)
Beirut-born guitarist Raja Kassis (a veteran of not only Antibalas, Seun Kuti, Angelique Kidjo & others, but also of several Senegalese touring ensembles) and his band HumanBeing deliver a new cut “Don’t Leave (Doumala Baayi)”. A gorgeous mbalax tune, it's an instrumental cover of a popular classic of Senegalese music originally recorded by N'dongo Lo. The tune was a favorite of the band's live set and was recorded back in 2014 but has finally seen release. The track features members of N'dongo Lo's band, as well as Daptone/Ikebe Shakedown horns. Roots percussion, sabar drum and marimba with stunning guitar, this is a dancer's tune. (If you'd like to hear the original, here it is).
Sweet soul, Chicano style! Thee Baby Cuffs, a harmony group out of San Jose's East Side, team with members of the Bay Area-based M-Tet backing them to make this cover of a 1970 soul tune "Where Did Peace Go" (by Larry Saunders). Retitled "Where Did Our Pride Go", this reworded cover includes a dig at Donald Trump within! There's some sweet voices and nice Hammond organ. Dig the vocal version, with an instrumental on the flip. Only 500 pressed from Raza del Soul, released on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo).
Ultra-hot disco-house jam with a star turn by Amy Douglas. Sometimes the simplest of concepts can bring so much passion. Great vocal cut! Bosq on the remix.
-West End Blend - Attitude & Say Hey! digital singles
Hartford's West End Blend are a critically-acclaimed ten-piece group who have toured all over the Eastern US. Fronted by the supremely talented vocalist Erica Bryan, the band's sound is rooted in '70s soul and funk, but still sounding fresh. If you are a fan of groups like Orgone, Diplomats of Solid Sounds, The Dap-Kings and the likes, then this band will be right up your alley.
-Klezperanto -Arroz Con Coco digital single/video
Back in Feb, Peace & Rhythm and Klezperanto teamed up to bring you the official world premiere of the brand new video for "Arroz Con Coco", a tribute to Colombia's great Lucho Bermúdez! Clarinetist Ilene Stahl is a veteran of the Klezmer Conservatory Band (often with violinist Itzhak Perlman) and she formed the Boston-based six-piece ensemble Klezperanto in 1999 to stretch into other styles of dance music. "We formed Klezperanto to play everything BUT traditional klezmer music!” she says. Indeed, the mix includes Balkan & Mediterranean styles, Eastern European, cumbia, danzas, ballads, zydeco, surf, samba, funk and "1970's cop show music", which is a fond memory of Ilene's childhood. The group displays a lot of "flash & dazzle" as she calls it. They often feature electric guitar as well. Stahl and I first met several years ago due to mutual love for cumbia, which she heard me blasting on a boombox from the back room of a natural foods co-op I used to slave in. She showed up at the door trying to listen in to the sound: “I really love Latin dance music, most particularly the cumbia tradition,” said Stahl. “There was a golden age of big band dance music from Colombia in the 1950s and 1960s, and those big bands often featured clarinet and the other instruments we have in Klezperanto, so it’s a really good fit.” This version was inspired by Lucho, who created the original recording of it as a gaita/cumbia.
Other recommended singles and EPs (digital or vinyl):
-Philophon 7" releases...
-Jose Marquez - Mali Blues digital single (Tribe)
-D Briggs - Dolphin Dance 12" (Stray Current)
-Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou - Bosq Meets Poly Rythmo Uptown 12" (Sol Power Sound)
-Ghetto Kumbé – Soy Selva 12" (Galletas Calientes)
-Buyepongo - Túmbalo 12" (self released)
-La Redada – Ábrete Sésamo 7" (Sonorama)
-Los Propios Bateros – Batazo Batero 7" (Names You Can Trust)
-Quitapenas – Ya Veran 7" (Names You Can Trust)
-Bulla en el Barrio - Rueda de Bullerengue 7" (Names You Can Trust)
-Prince of Queens - The Scene Over 12" (Ocean Parkway/Names You Can Trust)
-Los Daddys – La Cumbia Para El Pueblo 7" (Discos Más)
-Los Jalogüines – Trik-o-Tri 7" (Discos Más)
-Sister Mantos – Fin Del Mundo 7" (Discos Más)
-Gizelle Smith - Sweet Memories 7" (Jalapeño)
-Tribu Baharú - Made in Tribu Baharú 7" (Electric Cowbell)
-Super Hi-Fi - I'm Only Sleeping 7" (Electric Cowbell)
-Lemonade - Dancer On The Shore 12" (Alliance Upholstery)
-C Powers - All Right 12" (Alliance Upholstery)
-Javi Frías - Make It Happen 12" (Nightshift)
-Yuriy Morozov - Inexplicable 4 reissue 7" (Spasibo)
-Sunny & the Sunliners - Should I Take You Home reissue 7" (Big Crown)
-El Michels Affair (with Lee Fields & The Shacks) - Tearz 7" (Big Crown)
-Eládio, Robinho & Machado - Queimando Quente 7" (Music With Soul)
-Tony Allen - A Tribute to Art Blakey 10" (Blue Note)
-Tony Allen & Afrika 70 - Disco Afro Re-edits three 12"s (Comet)
-Harleighblu & J Felix - Tell 'Em (Starkiller re-imagining) digital single (Tru Thoughts)
-Dawn Drake & ZapOte - Wake Up (Chico Mann & Geoff Mann rmx) digital single
-The Eminent Stars - Brown Thing 45 (Tramp)
-The Apostles - Banko Woman 7" (Cultures of Soul)
-Body Music - Just One 12" (Razor & Tape Reserve)
-Jose Conde - Puente A Mi Gente (Bridge To My People) digital single/video
-Souleance - Bamboule 12" (First Word)
-Phibes - Virginia Swing 7" (Boogieburg)
Being the freaks that we are for left-field cover versions, we thought we'd share a few not discussed elsewhere in these two posts:
-Hot Border Special - "Thriller" digital single
-Cookin' On 3 Burners - "Enter Sandman" 7" (Soul Messin')
-Jephte Guillaume presents Sean Schulich - "World Is A Ghetto" 12" (Sacred Rhythm Music)
-Sonora Machaca - "I Won't Do What You Tell Me" digital (Sello Regional)
After checking out the mighty Brown Sabbath show, a side project of Grupo Fantasma side project Brownout (with Brownout side project Money Chicha opening the bill - that's a lot of side projects!), I remembered that amazing clave-rock version of the Led Zeppelin banger "Immigrant Song" that Grupo played on a live video session for KUTX. These Texas badboys rip and shred on anything they want! One of our favorite groups of musicians here at Peace & Rhythm.
-Anza De L'Ader - "Hey Joe" (on Agrim Agadez comp)
Here's a crazy version of "Hey Joe" from Niger that was brought to my attention via the new Agrim Agadez comp on the Sahel Sounds label. The record gathers raw recordings of guitar music from the Sahelian region of Niger, showcasing folks we'd likely never get to hear, playing entrancing and often gritty sounds.
Led by guitarist Abdoulaye Bouzou (better known as Mona), Anza de L'Ader are a top act of Niger, formed in the 1970s. They are one of the heaviest psychedelic orchestras in West Africa. Many Muslims in the region were not accustomed to producing music in the '70s, and there were no studios to record in. But the group has persisted for decades. Their brand of ecstatic rock has links to Anza ritual music, brought into Hendrix-inspired repertoire. '60s psych-rock in the desert of Niger? It's no so far fetched.
-Ambassa & Nichola Richards - Ride The Samples (Wakeditown) an album of cover tunes done in a reggae stylee, not unlike The Dynamics, Taggy Matcher or The Lions. Includes versions of "After Laughter", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Hard Times", "Ready Or Not" and others. Sweet pop-dub action, nice horns. Fun set of covers.
-Chuz Alfred & his Combo - "Caravan" (on Jukebox Mambo vol 3) Sleazy R&B/mambo grinder version of the classic originally out of the Ellington band's book. From the third volume of the awesome Jukebox Mambo series on Jazzman.
-Fantastic Virtues - "Tequila" (on Virtue Recording Studios compilation) (Tramp)
Another fine Tramp funk comp gifts us this unique take on the classic "Tequila". Not since Chicha Libre's version have I heard one this cool. It's a heavy rock riff underneath that well-known saxline (played straight). It sounds like half the band wants to do "Immigrant Song" while Dad shows he's still got those sax chops. And at no point does anyone shout "Tequila!".
-V/A - Disco Reggae vol 3 (Stix)
All kinds of cool stuff on this label, especially if you like reggaefied covers. I've always been a huge fan of The Dynamics reggae-funk version of The Stones' "Miss You", released about a decade ago and hard to find. Thanks to Stix and Favorite for bringing it out again.
"Here are some fantastic bands I was lucky enough to catch live" - Andujar
Lee "Scratch" Perry with Subatomic Sound
West End Blend
Brownout presents Brown Sabbath
Hurray For The Riff Raff
Big Mean Sound Machine
Tony Vacca, Massamba Diop, Jo Sallins and co.
A Tribe Called Red
Troker with Solange Prat
Pedrito Martinez Group
The Funky Meters with Charles & Khalif Neville
Orquesta El Macabeo
Dave Noonan's Green Island
Peace & Rhythm releases from 2017:
-Big Mean Sound Machine - Runnin' For The Ghost LP
-Locobeach - "The Devil Is A Charmer" & "Success On The Dancefloor" digi-singles
-M.A.K.U. Soundsystem - The Mix 12"
-Fulaso - La Rumba / My Little Baby 7"
-León Brothers - El Tigre/Candela 7"
-Spam Allstars - Trans-Oceanic LP
-Orquesta El Macabeo - La Maldición del Timbal LP (with CD)
-Dilemastronauta y La Tripulación Cósmica - En Orbita (vinyl coming in January)
Thanks for your time, support and good taste! Cheers!
Peace & Rhythm crew