Cilantro is one of the liveliest and most aromatic garnishes. Austin’s Cilantro Boombox doles out Latin-Caribbean-Texan freshness the same way the herb does. Today we’re premiering their newest track, “Fears Away,” a song about temporarily pushing your troubles aside and diving hips-first into a ska/reggae groove.
For four years, Venezuelan bassist/DJ/producer Félix Pacheco and saxophonist/flutist Joe Woullard have been reinterpreting the flavors of the city alongside bandmates Zumbi Richards, Andrés Villegas, Eduardo Torres, Joshua Thomson, and Nico Sanchez. For that reason, the city of Austin has proclaimed May 1 “Cilantro Boombox Day.” To celebrate, the band will also be performing in Austin on April 29 at Stubbs Indoors and May 2 at The Gypsy Lounge. Even if you can’t catch them live, you can still enjoy the sun-kissed flute, anxiety-easing horns, and uplifting lyrics of “Fears Away.”
Once in a while, a band catapults itself from the least likely (or really, more overlooked) corners of the world, shifting the gaze of punk fans and hocking a ginormous loogie into our eyes as if to say “It’s about time you noticed.” That pretty much sums up the entire essence of Charlotte’s own Brain F≠. The band runs through their latest LP, Empty Set, with a consistently raw power, combining the proto-punk rock ‘n’ roll stylings of Ann Arbor in 1969 and the hardcore fury of D.C. in 1981.
As most great origin stories go, the tale of how Fantasmes became such a force to be reckoned with is one with many twists and a short turn. It began as Mario Negrón’s project when he self-released his debut EP The Reveller. He recruited fellow scene musicians Darío Morales, Daniel Sierra and Juan Arroyo (ex-Dandy and the Walkers) for the live act and the rest is strange, psychedelic history.
There’s something to say about BFlechas’s unabashed flouting of genres. In her debut full-length, βeta, the galician songstress dabbles everywhere from synthwave to R&B, house and 2-step in a way that’s highly studied while dodging pretension. It is pop in the purest sense, rooted in Spain’s own rich tradition — namely ’80s-era new wave — yet poised and persistent in its resolve to push things forward.
After spending three years working on another musical project with her best friend, Majke Voss Romme gradually found herself as a solo artist, releasing her debut single last November. Self-produced and stitched together from hundreds of mini demos recorded over the past three years, her debut album, May,is a super minimalist collection of songs somehow filled by vast spaces between notes and Romme’s lonesome voice.
DIY punkers Household avoided the sophomore slump with Elaines, their acerbic follow-up to Items. These six songs sound off like a volley of eye-rolls at the mundanities of existence. Household utilized every crevice of this twelve minute EP. There is no room for filler, and each song is integral to the next, with things growing more tensely wound and jittery as it progresses. Talya Cooper’s pensive and sardonic lyrics bounce between the sturdy bass lines and taut, punchy drums, creating a muted minimalist punk soundscape.
Congratulations to Tokyo’s sweethearts, Taffy for winning this week’s Artist of the Week poll! They are a perfect marriage between crunchy ’90s fuzzpop and the crystal clarity of today. We’re practically gushing over their latest EP, including a cover of The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry,” which you can listen to below:
We’ll have less of that “old skool garage” talk around here! It’s a new day, and there’s a new school of UK garage stars who are waiting patiently in the wings. Based in Bristol, England, Conducta is a UKG 2.0 top-performing student; a producer whose punchy, percussive 2-step treats have been building up quite the momentum from the underground-up recently, he’ll drop his Let Go/Used To CareEP slap-bang in the middle of said buzz on April 28, via London’s DPM Records.
Today, MTV IGGY has the pleasure of premiering the lead cut off the beatsmith’s forthcoming three-track set. Using a delicate sample of Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count” (and an opening thirty-second vocal snippet of early Craig), Conducta’s whomping bassline, 2-step kicks, snares and subtle guitar plucks give “Let Go” the potential to slip into the roles of club heavy-hitter, and perfect-singalong-jam-for-the-spring-clean-sessions, quite easily. Stream “Let Go” here exclusively, until your heart’s content:
Premiered initially last November, the first season of MTV World’s Rebel Music documentary series is now available to watch on Netflix. Executive produced by artist/activist Shepard Fairey and head of MTV World Nusrat Durrani, Rebel Music is a critically acclaimed documentary film series about young, creative people igniting revolutionary political upheaval all over the world. Reporting from the front lines where impassioned youth are standing up against the powers that be, each episode delves into the lives of musicians who mobilize communities with their art, conviction, and raw courage in the face of oppression.
Many latter-day psych bands draw inspiration from The 13th Floor Elevators’s unhinged rumble, cutting their hallucinogen inspired joints with terrific noise. Others, such as Tame Impala, go for a stylized, obsessively produced sound. Kikagaku Moyo find a healthy middle ground, emotionally and sonically — recalling those recent findings that psychedelic drugs can ease anxiety and depression in terminally ill patients.
Jacqueline Mapei Cummings is a half-Liberian and half-Swedish singer who was born in the US but moved to Stockholm at age ten. As a teen, she had a soft spot for American rap and R&B that she would absorb on summer trips back to US. Four years ago, Downtown Records signed her to put out a rap EP, but it wasn’t quite the right sound or the right time for Mapei to make a proper debut. Now feeling more confident and excited about her raspy, soulful vocals than her raps, Mapei just put out a new EP on Downtown structured around the song “Don’t Wait.”
Stine Omar and Max Boss named their first collaborative project Euroshit. It encapsulates the duo perfectly: darkly funny, self-deprecating, and thinly-veiling a nuanced appreciation of Europe’s electronic music legacy. Their first EP under the name Easter, Ur A Great Babe, plays is full of simple, but pleasurable beats and emotional detachment conveyed through robotic vocals. Predating Beyoncé by a few years, “Surfboard” oddly has the same seaside love themes as “Drunk In Love,” but to enjoy it as much you have a high tolerance for irony.
Your grandfather would say that Lucy Love has gumption. Author Jane Austen would have described the Danish MC as plucky. But for us, Love is (and will always be) a musical spitfire. Over the course of three albums, she’s proven to be an absolutely fearless force, barreling down multiple musical avenues, including rap, R&B, and soul — often all at the same time. On her 2013 album Desperate Days of Dynamite, fast and furious rhymes punctuated with references to the likes of Fargo and Ricky Ricardo.
This troupe, based in and beloved by Tokyo, relies on the cutesy commercialism of J-pop only slightly less than it does the gravely gall of alt rock. But sandpaper-rough riffs and intricate pedal work push Taffy into legit shoegaze territory, melding a supremely irresistible mix of the super-sweet and sharply sour. Founding singer Iris and bassist Koichin, along with later-added guitarist Asano and drummer Ken, offer only their first names, but plenty of other personal info in their frequently updated individual blogs.
It’s been a few weeks since Kool A.D.’s WORD O.K. dropped and while we could let coverage about it go, we aren’t going to, because the album is very, very good. Expectations for the rapper (real name: Victor Vasquez) may not have been super high as a solo artist as he wasn’t the zaniest member of the zany-but-political group Das Racist. That award might have gone to hypeman Dapwell until Heems’ jingle for Japanese Vitamin Water was released yesterday.
Instead, he’s gone in a completely different direction from Das Racist, offering pristine hip-hop that combines heavenly production, distinguished collaborators, and his cynical yet meditative wordplay. We all knew that Vasquez had wry, cerebral bars, but WORD O.K. is a bit of an epiphany.
The exuberant mood-setter “Open Letter” sets up a thematic thread of him being completely comfortable within his skin (and/or thoughtfully stoned) alongside contemporaries like Toro Y Moi, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, and Lakutis. Standouts “Hickory” featuring Talib Kweli and Boots Riley and “Life & Time” featuring Sir DZL & Santos Vieira (aka Del the Funky Homosapien & DJ Ladybug Mecca from Digable Planets) make you want to play more mix-and-match in the rap industry, pairing living legends with forward-leaning beats. Gold stars also go to up-and-coming producers Mike Finito and Amaze 88 for their work throughout.
Word O.K. is a follow-up to December’s NOT O.K. Vasquez has certainly been steady on his hustle. Vasquez is an amazing visual artist as well from the look of the works he’s been selling on Instagram. He might not be the “World’s Greatest Rapper” like he boasts about on the album constantly, but he’s at least a disproportionately talented individual. Take a listen to WORD O.K. if you haven’t already yet:
For all those waiting with baited breath for a fresh record from garage-punk sentinels Los Vigilantes, you can now rest easy: Al Fin, the Puerto Rican group’s sophomore LP, is slated for a June 21 release. And we’ve got the first taste of that appropriately titled, mango-flavored rock ‘n’ roll romp right here: It’s a love-fail tale called “Ahí No Estoy.”
With the sway of a ’50s tune warped by a heat-wave mirage, the track suggests the new album takes a route similar to their tropically-tinged 2011 debut and the handful of 7-inches that surfaced since. Head honcho Jota Vigilante, who doubles as the band’s recording renaissance dude via his in-home El Dorado studio, confirms our guesses — but adds that Al Fin is “very varied; there’s 3-chord stomp goodness, girl group sweetness, dark echoing guitars, thunder, airplanes and all kinds of things.”
The Slovenly alums kept things close to home for this 11-track collection, enlisting storied and newly rejuvenated San Juan label ChaCho Records. While we await the delivery, some fans can catch them live, as they’ll be cavorting around Europe from April 25 until the end of May with likeminded North Carolina-based pals Paint Fumes. —Words by Jhoni Jackson