Who was your favorite featured artist this week? You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote!
Fredy Massamba grew up listening to James Brown and Otis Redding as much as he did Congolese musical legends like Franco and Tabu Ley. He took those sounds with him when he escaped to Belgium in 1998, as the civil war at home worsened. Since then, through his 10-odd years touring with the likes of Zap Mama and Awadi, through his solo debut Ethnophony, to his lauded sophomore release Makasi, Fredy has remained close to his roots even as he pushes them into the modern-day.
Due to the vivaciousness of their garage/indie sound, Alkaloides topped our list of under-the-radar indie acts in Ecuador last year. Their early single “Ella Viene del Futuro” ensnares you in its grip and keeps you happily dancing and humming along. If we were radio programmer at an alternative rock station anywhere in the world, their songs would instantly make our rotation. You could hear new single “Degenerar” while driving on a long road trip and then not mind hearing it again if it was playing in the lobby of a rest stop. You’d go, “Oh, yeah. I love this song.”
What started out as a short film project by lead guitarist/vocalist Jessica Weiss became a full-fledged musical act. Joined by fellow guitarist Daniel Falvey and drummer Michael Miles, Weiss leads a poetic sojourn into the murky trenches of agonizing, obsessive love in their latest album, Loom. Their featherweight, surf pop sensibility combined with echoes of brassy noise underlines the dark, otherworldly lyrics. Weiss’ chilling admissions, wrapped in a silky vapor trail of reverb, add an ominous element to the beauty of her voice.
The teenage brother and sister team that make up Carbon Airways is one of the most fearless young acts in recent memory. Singing melodically over earthquake beats and industrial-fused synth is Eléonore Fernese, who periodically shares the mic with the passionate shouts from sibling Engus. They both command the stage like seasoned experts, while adding an urgent feel to such tracks as the synth-driven “Black Sun” and the trance-like “You Walk Away,” the title cut off the Airways’ latest EP.
With their unlikely blend of drums, live instrumental loops and aggressive rhymes, Uhnellys have become one of Tokyo’s coolest live bands. The duo’s recent album Chord is their best yet, squishing all that incendiary vitality into a lean nine cuts that demands repeated spins. Hip-hop, rock, jazz, funk — any genre with a strong beat is thrown into the mix and turned up loud.