Boogarins: La Vem A Morte
Because it’s been a little while and because it’s so much fun (for me, at least), it’s time for another globetrot with the weekly RecommNeds, where I try to circumnavigate the musical world and see what I can find. This journey begins in Brazil with one of my favorite discoveries of the past few years, Boogarins. The quartet dropped a surprise record last month, and it’s another superb bit of dream-induced psych-rock. These guys are the real deal, and while their records are great, they’re even better live. Lucky for you, they also released a live album this past winter. Enjoy!
Songhoy Blues: Résistance
We leap continents to Africa, specifically to Mali. There has been a glut of amazing music coming out of Mali for the past, I dunno, forever number of years, many having been featured in this column. One of the better records of the region is the new album from Songhoy Blues. Résistance takes the traditional-sound-mixed-with-Western-themes (or vice versa) thing to some truly thrilling places. This music retains the powerful mood of Tuareg, one of both political anger and hope, but cross-pollinates it with a seriously, dark-funk’d rock ‘n’ roll. Irresistible.
Our Solar System: Världsliga Bekymmer
As we make our way toward Europe, I find myself trying to learn Swedish very quickly (in vain, of course), so I can learn more about the next pick. The band is Vårt Solsystem (or Our Solar System in English), and their new album is Världsliga Bekymmer. I don’t know how that translates, but it may as well be “blissful, mind-wander space jams,” because that is all you’re going to find on here. Last year’s rec from these guys was a two-track, 45-minute I’ve-fallen-and-can’t-get-up-affair, but this one has more manageable bits of psychedelic perfection. This is band-as-collective jamming at its best. I think you’ll dig.
Shugo Tokumaru: Toss
One more leg and we should have enough frequent flier miles to get us home safely. How about the long flight to Japan? Sure, why not, they’re always good for some weird excellence and/or excellent weirdness. Shugo Tokumaru has some of each on his new record Toss. Shugo had different musicians and ensembles — including Deerhoof/Big Walnuts Yonder drummer Greg Saunier and a full orchestra – record different pieces of music. Then he pasted them together into songs, like a ransom note from letters cut from a magazine, except way less creepy and way more jubilant, fun and even goofy at times. The music has a unique blend of sounds, you can hear bits of the orchestral Frank Zappa and Sufjan Stevens and the experimental artsy-ness of bands like, well, like Deerhoof. Some tracks are better than others, but when he nails it, it’s just pure musical joy.
Juana Molina: Halo
I said we were going back after that, but I lied. We’re actually landing back on the continent where we started, but now in Argentina for the latest and greatest from Buenos Aires’ Juana Molina. And I do mean greatest. Her new record Halo is one of my favorites of the year. Picking up where her previously-RecommNed’d Wed 21 leaves off, it is a masterpiece of experimental pop: deeply cerebral, dense and dizzy with ideas and yet incredibly groovy and accessible. Her music is unlike anything else and leaves you wanting more and more, hit the end, start again from the beginning and discover all new hidden secrets. Admit it, you’re glad we didn’t head straight home. Until next time … keep those passports up to date.