Monday, August 17, 2009

African Head Charge – Songs of Praise (1991)

I’m a pretty big fan of just about everything I've heard off of Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound record label, and this is probably my favourite so far. African Head Charge usually gets classified as a dub or reggae band, but there's a lot more to them than that. Bandleader Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah was supposedly inspired by the cultural cut-and-paste of Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts album, and by his vision of a psychedelic Africa. On this record he tried to reconcile the traditional with the modern; setting African, Jamaican and occasionally Western Asian religious chanting to multilayered and heavily effected rhythms that are informed by dub music.

Jorge Ben – África Brasil (1976)

Summer’s winding down, but it looks like we’ve still got plenty of hot smoggy days ahead of us (at least in my neck of the woods). So here’s an appropriate soundtrack, a steaming heap of Brazilian funk courtesy of Jorge Ben.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sibylle Baier – Colour Green (2006)

German songstress records a stunning collection of intimate acoustic ruminations in the early 70s and keeps them locked away in her closet for some 35 odd years, until they are compiled by her son and handed over to J. Mascis, who in turn passes them on to the people at Orange Twin Records.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

V/A-Take the Subway to Your Suburb (1993)

I have really been digging this compilation the past few days. To be honest I hadn't heard of the Subway Organization until a few weeks ago although I have been listening to a lot of their artists contemporaries for years like Primal Scream, the Jesus and Mary Chain and Felt. I guess the first time I heard anything from the Subway Organization was the Shop Assistants compilation "Will Anything Happen", even though they don't appear on this I would recommend checking them out. If you are into any of the bands earlier output I mentioned above than you will probably be kicking yourself as hard as I was for not finding out about the Subway Organization sooner. Apparently the label was active between the years of 1986 to 1989 releasing a bunch of great and underrated singles and full lengths by bands like the Shop Assistants, the Flatmates, the Rosehips and the Chesterfields. There is not a ton of information available about these bands or the label in general but anyone who takes the time to check them out will recognize a commitment to timeless pop songwriting as well as the incorporation of some of the best parts of modern Rock and Roll. From what I have read the Subway Organization kind of reminds me of Flying Nuns formative years, not just in sound but in the way it was run. If a certain track on this compilation stands out I would recommend keeping your eyes peeled because a lot of them are still in print on CD. Like a lot of my favorite musical phenomenon, it sounds like the Subway Organization was doomed from the get go to only exist a short time but from the looks of the amount of quality records they released they used their time wisely.