After years of making experimental rap magic in Dirty Paraffin, South African MC Okmalumkoolkat (AKA Simiso Zwane) is flying solo now and is full of surprises. As a follow-up to the first single off his debut EP, “Holy Oxygen,” the global rap innovator is back with “Allblackblackkat,” a sinister infusion of hip-hop, ambient electronica and maskandi.
Directed by Chris Saunders, the music video is a rather haunting work of art, incorporating the Afrofuturist aesthetics of jazz legend Sun Ra into Zulu cultural symbolism, culminating in a modern-day South African gothic. Saunders says:
“We enter a night ritual scene at an indoor swimming pool, the ritual based loosely on a Zulu cleansing ceremony, which is performed before a funeral to a male member of the family (A situation Smiso experienced as a child).”
Watch the video below, and check out the rest of his Holy Oxygen I EP on Affine Records.
Farewell to King Khan & BBQ as we know them. After allegedly getting “served” a “lawsuit” by German “historic” eatery, “KING KHAN UND BBQ,” the dastardly Canadian duo will release their upcoming 2015 album under their original 2003 moniker, Bad News Boys. But as their one last hurrah, you can still catch them as King Khan & BBQ on their North American tour with long-time friends Black Lips, starting September 10th. Check out their new video, “We Are The Champion,” followed by their tour dates below:
Mark Sultan solo:
09/04 – Hardware – Buffalo, NY
09/05 – Beachland – Cleveland, OH
09/08 – Wherehouse – Fort Worth, TX
The King Khan & BBQ Show:
9/10 – Tipitina’s – New Orleans, LA*
9/11 – Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX*
9/12 – Ghost Town – Manor, TX*
9/13 – Granada Theater – Dallas, TX*
9/15 – Ready Room – St Louis, MO*
9/16 – Blue Moose Tap House – Iowa City, IA*
9/17 – First Avenue (Mainroom) – Minneapolis, MN*
9/18 – The High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI*
9/19 – Logan Square Auditorium – Chicago, IL* SOLD OUT
9/20 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL*
9/21 – The A&R Music Bar – Columbus, OH*
9/23 – The Southgate House Revival – Newport, KY*
9/24 – Magic Stick – Detroit, MI*
9/25 – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, ON*
9/26 – Club Soda – Montreal, QC*
9/27 – Port City Music Hall – Portland, ME*
9/28 – Paradise – Boston, MA*
9/30 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY*
10/1 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY*
10/2 – Black Cat – Washington, DC*
10/3 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC*
10/4 – The Goat Farm – Atlanta, GA*
10/6 – The Casbah – San Diego, CA
10/7 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
10/8 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
10/10 – Dante’s – Portland, OR
10/11 – Crocodile Cafe – Seattle, WA
10/12 – Electric Owl – Vancouver, BC *
It definitely seems like a while since we heard from Blonde Redhead — they last graced us with their ethereal, beat-driven LP, Penny Sparkle, which dropped in 2010. So, of course we’ve been in a state of anticipation for new tunes from the New York-based dream pop band, since it was announced this June. And hearing their latest and ninth effort, titled Barragán, Blonde Redhead proves the trio still has what it takes to conquer yet another decade. When the band first began, it paralleled with noise bands like Sonic Youth and Soundgarden, but today Kazu Makino and twin brothers Simone and Amadeo Pace truly have developed their own unique brand of glittering ambient rock. You know it’s them when you hear them.
When we first met Marlene, it seemed the R&B princess-in-waiting was determined to take us back to the 1990s. But with the release of her debut EP Indian Summer, the Swedish chanteuse has effectively dragged the decade’s ethos into the new millennium. Her high-octane dance tune “Bon Voyage,” which seems both radio and club ready. But under its slick production and ear worm chorus chanting is a series of twisted beats that sit closer to countrywoman Fever Ray’s dark world than the Top 40 charts.
It’s been nearly a half-decade that Jah Vinci has been a regular presence on the Jamaican dancehall scene, but 2014 might be the year he becomes a star. Originally part of Vybz Kartel’s Portmore Empire/Gaza crew, the dancehall artist branched out on his own a few years ago after confessing to Jamaica’s IRIE FM that he felt stifled as an artist with Gaza. Now in 2014, all that hard work and traveling is finally starting to pay off with a pair of excellent new singles off his debut LP, Ghetto Born which hit the streets this past July.
Today cumbia infiltrates dance floors all over the Northern Hemisphere and keeps introducing the originally-Colombia-based genre to a whole new global audience. While for many it was just a passing fad — the exotic third-world rhythm du jour — for others, it was a doorway into the rich Afro-Colombian culture and its various genres and subgenres (vallenato, champeta, currulao, etc). For those who grew up in Colombia, like Palenke Soultribe, it was a chance to explore their own roots and display them with pride for the world to see — and dance to.
The Self Defense Family is quite a big one. Formerly known as End of a Year, the family’s grown to encompass about 16 members scattered across the United States, United Kingdom and Iceland, swapping out members for every recording and/or tour. (And there are many). Borrowing sounds and progressive concepts from the DC hardcore punks who brought you “Revolution Summer,” the Family shifts their station wagon into first gear and steers it into jangly post-hardcore territory, reversing into protopunk with some 1970s rock licks.
Daniel Riveros, formerly of the indie folk duo Taller Dejao — but most commonly known as Gepe — has teamed up with Chile’s prince of pop, Alex Anwandter, for the duet of your Iberoamerican pop fantasies. Thankfully for their off-stage friendship, the chemistry created between these two lovelies in the recording studio is all too worthwhile. Daniel’s well-crafted composition and sublime fusions of Andean folk with indie pop, along with Alex’s pristine production abilities combine for an effortless and remarkable team debut.
Joan as Police Woman’s (AKA Joan Wasser) new single “Shame” splits the difference between torch balladry and Diana Ross-style badassery. It takes some serious chutzpah to compare yourself to Jesus. This goes double when the proclamation is made in the same devil-may-care doo-wop style that may forever be haunted by Amy Winehouse’s tattoo-covered spirit. But playing dress-up in the genre works for her. While she probably won’t steal any crowns (of thrones or otherwise), “Shame” is a hip-swinging dance party in the making that’s impossible to resist. —Words by Laura Studarus
Joan as Police Woman’s fourth album The Classic is out now. “Shame” will see the light of day on September 1.
Who knew? Having spent the last several years cultivating his interest in house music, (including a flirtation with EDM in his 2010 album, Last Train To Paris), legendary rapper and entrepreneur Puff Daddy resolved to produce his first solely electronic album. He then recruited Israeli DJ/producer Guy Gerber to help carry out this mission, which culminated in the brand new album, 11 11. Puffy’s vocals are slick and understated beneath Gerber’s atmospheric synthesis of shoegaze with club-friendly deep house cuts. The full album is now available for free download via Beatport. Stream “My Heart” below:
As the resurgence of shoegaze grips Japan, Kinoko Teikoku are among its most thrilling practitioners. Kinoko Teikoku’s rise is due in part to the quartet’s intense live show, which has earned the band a spot on stages at some of Japan’s biggest festivals, including this month’s Rock In Japan, as well as two well-received tours in Canada. But their recordings are just as smoldering. Their next release will be the single “Tokyo,” due on September 9th.
Kiasmos’ debut album effortlessly unspools. A swelling synth. A light wash of strings. A glitchy beat fading in and out as if their haunting compositions were blessed by the ghosts of techno past. It’s almost hard to believe that the hectic schedules of bandmates Janus Rasmussen (Bloodgroup) and Ólafur Arnalds (of, well, Ólafur Arnalds) forced the duo to write and record together during a very short period in April. Then again, maybe genius doesn’t need time — just a well organized iCal.
Catfish and the Bottlemen opened for The 1975 on their UK tour last year, and it appears that they’re on the very same lightning-fast road to fame. Truthfully, though, that’s where the similarities end. The 1975 is all ’80s synth pop and wine-soaked tales of lust, while Catfish and the Bottlemen are churning out straight-up old-school rock n’ roll about breaking hearts and making out. After a stint opening for the Manchester rockers — and playing 100 shows in 18 months — they hit the road again to promote their recently-dropped debut EP, The Balcony.
It was over a year ago that Wannabe Jalva decided that it was high time for a hiatus. But in 2013 they crossed paths with Eddie Vedder, who greeted them after their amp-climbing, freewheeling performance at Lollapalooza Brazil. “Keep on stage guys,” he said warmly, “Keep making music.” It’s good to see that a year after their hiatus, the band is back in session. Frontman Rafael Rocha offered up his parents’ basement, where their upcoming album, Collecture, was born. There, they shed their previous inclinations towards penning infectious, punchy dance jams and embraced a more cosmic, Space Age energy.
Maybe they were aiming more for aberration than rarity with their name, but the latter is super applicable to punk trio The Anomalys. There are a bunch of blunders they could have made in meshing together their various motifs, and they didn’t. The Anomalys are true exceptions. The Dutch band oozes spookiness without sounding like a drugstore’s Halloween display, and fury without senseless anger. Their latest includes the cut “Deadline Blues,” which treads around like a gruesome ghoul in a swamp that belches hallucinogenic gas.
There’s still an air of mystery about the 23 year old Russian/English singer-songwriter, but after she got admiration from Dev Hynes, Jessie Ware and music blogs around the world, internet fans were calling for more tunes immediately. After six months, Shura just dropped her second single, “Just Once,” which still showcases her touches of r&b and ’80s pop-rock. Within a week, she’s gotten over 100k plays and like her previous release, Shura’s strength lies in her honest delivery of the devastating realities of heartache.
Indee Styla builds on tradition but gives it a fresh, new twist — a sort of “reawakening” as she calls it. She highlights bits and pieces of cultures from around the world via her lyrical prowess and while at it, gives history a breath of fresh air. An example of this is on her latest single “Nómada” off her same-titled 2014 EP, which celebrates ancient nomadic tribes across the globe.
Named after a cheeky term for non-Brits in the UK, Birmingham’s Johnny Foreigner have gone through many changes over the last 9 years, but seem right at home in moody math rock. (With additional real estate in the Isles of Indie. And a vacation spot in Emo-town for when they need time to process their feelings, or something.) And having recently been signed to Philadelphia’s Lame-O Records, it’s about time the Johnny Foreigners claimed a base across the pond.
Laura Jae is a mediator of music. The 23-year-old artist finds common ground between contradicting ideas: In content, knee-buckling heartache and personal fortitude and, in sound, an aesthetic that is simultaneously air-thin and full-bodied. Silver Lined Hearts, her debut EP released just last month, culls from emotionally robust soul tradition as much as it does contemporary ambient electronic.
If mannequins had feelings, what would they sing to us? “Kill the DJ,” “Let’s party all night,” and “I’m sick and tired of human boys,” apparently. Japan’s semi-animate dance duo FEMM (Far East Mention Mannequins) are suited up in latex, armed with rapid-fire electro bangers, and inching their way to global domination in precise, dimestop steps.