Fit for almost any occasion, Gramatik's Street Bangers Vol. 2 combines soul, jazz, and hip-hop beats for a very listenable and consistent album. Over the past couple weeks, I've found myself playing this album over and over. Hailing from Slovenia, Gramatik was probably the only MC in the country for some time. According to his (fairly cheesy) biography, music invaded his life from a young age. The effect is obvious in the music, though, as each song employs influences from very diverse areas. Gramatik - Just Jammin' (YSI)
Delta Spirit is a group from San Diego. These sounds are off their last album, Ode to Sunshine. The vocals by Matt Vasquez are distinctive; reminds me at times of Alec Ounsworth from Clap your hands which makes sense since they've been touring together along with Dr. Dog and Cold War Kids. The mix of instruments really make this album especially their brass section. Trashcan is the popular tune but I'm more a fan of Parade. Let me know what you think.
Vetiver is a perennial grass of the Poaceae family, native to India. Mats made by weaving Vetiver roots and binding them with ropes/cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in the doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically. It acts like an air-cooler when wind from a fan or outside hits it. It also adds a pleasant aroma in the house which is commonly described as "cool" and "refreshing".
Vetiver is also an awesome folky offshoot of Andy Cabic based out of San Francisco. You might recognize Cabic from Devendra Banhart's Cripple Crow album, which he co-wrote and produced. Vetiver has been around for a while and often collaborates with Banhart and freak-folk sweetheart Joanna Newsom. I've posted a few songs from their latest effort "Tight Knit" on Sub Pop. Everyday is the most popular tune from the LP but its also the most sensitive. Through the Front Door is my favorite by far. If you can, definitely get this album. It's been perfect listening during Snowpocalypse 2010 and even better now that the Big Melt 2010 has started.
Some sinsemilla sounds to beat through your eardrums. Richie Spice is a contemporary reggae artist from Jamaica, currently making some waves in the UK's infamously gritty dub scene. He's got a melodic tone that makes him ripe for remixing and overlays, but original tracks maintain this vintage sound with throwback guitar riffs, and a multi-percusive rhythm section.
Isaac Brock -- known best for his singer/songwriter contribution to Modest Mouse -- developed somewhere down the line, a persona called Ugly Casanova. When Modest Mouse started touring heavily, Brock began to dress up under the pseudonym and do sideshows in order to dodge press sent by his record label. His acts weren't always musical, but more along the lines of an Andy Kaufman bit. Makes sense from a man who got hooked on meth while working cross-country as a truck driver. In 2002, when he wanted to record a side project, contractual agreements with his label necessitated him to release it under his Ugly Casanova moniker. It is a stripped-down treatment of his already idiosyncratic songwriting, but with a little more funk vibes (in the body of a skiffle band). Final product comes out sounding along the lines of Beck's demo album -- One Foot in the Grave.
It's been a while since I last posted on Highlife music, so I think something like this is in order. Unfortunately, the band's name is not listed on the recording of this "concert-party" from a dancehall show around the 1930's. The song was was pressed in Ghana on a shellac record, and the fact that it has survived at all is a miracle. Solid horns and base; really catchy chorus. Hope you enjoy.
It's been a while since I've put up some dance numbers. My listening in the last couple months has shifted away from house and into more organic sounds. Regardless, I always love my house jams and here are some recent standouts.
The final song is a bit of a darker tune, not meant for the dance floor. The production is as crisp as can be, though, and the song is definitely interesting enough to merit a few listens. Cirez D - Glow (YSI)
King Tuff is crazy music. King Tuff or Kyle Thomas is a musical recluse from Brattleboro, Vermont. He's just released his first full-length album called Was Dead on Colonel Records. After listening to the album, "Sun Medallion" immediately jumped out at me as the stand out track. Sun Medallion has the potential to reach a lot of people with its lo-fi sound and vintage revival guitar riffs. Connection and Freak When I'm Dead are great too. If anyone is interested VBS has a great interview. All I can say is Hail to the King.
Here's another old-time delta blues legend. Slim was an orphan from Baton-Rouge, born in 1924. Probably one of the most important pioneers of electric-blues, Slim was never a full-time musician. He ran his own trucking business. His songs are basically standards; you'll hear them covered six ways to Sunday. A notable example is The Rolling Stones cover of "I'm a King Bee." It's basically a note-for-note copy/rip-off/tribute whatever you wish to call it. I'm laying down two tracks which have received a little less play time in their old age. Killers none the less.