These seven early-twenty-somethings are part of the same South London scene that produced Black Midi, Squid, and yes, Dry Cleaning. It's virtually impossible to categorize their music, (other than avant-garde), as they mix such disparate elements as post punk, math rock, klezmer and free jazz among their influences. From their 2021 debut album For the First Time. I was gonna play "Black Sunglasses" --the first song of theirs I was introduced to--it's brilliant! Unfortunately, the lyrics to that one are decidedly NSFW. However, if you’re intrigued by “Opus”, you really need to check it out. As one witty You Tube commenter said of "singer"/guitarist Issac Wood, "I like my vocalists to sound like they're standing on a window sill yelling at a police negotiator." Perfect.
I've started listening to a lot more classical music in the last year*, mainly by streaming MPR's classical station. By luck, I heard this flute piece by Yuko Uebayashi and was thoroughly hooked.
*It's interesting how technology can shape our listening habits. I had been working from home on my personal laptop since the pandemic hit, but the IT department was upgrading laptops, so I finally got one. It's a big improvement for doing work (larger screen, easier access to stuff on the server), but I don't have any sort of music streaming service on it, so my listening habits shifted accordingly.
Youssef’s grandfather was a muezzin in his native Tunisia, and that influence is a strong draw for me. For a couple of months, once upon a time, I would end my twelve hour night watches with one last Sumer, savored as the muezzin announced the adhan for Fajr about 75 meters away. Those were some of the most peaceful moments I’ve known.
Youssef’s vocals are incredible — the finesse of his phrasing, the extreme upper falsetto and how cleanly he accesses it, the warmth of his lower range.
Here he’s joined by a knockout trio of future legends — Matt Brewer on bass, Ferenc Nemeth on the kit, & Aaron Parks on the keys.
I’ve been introducing the Poissonnière to the greats. This is one of her favorite videos.
I first learned of Yissy García while reading Nate Chinen’s excellent Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century, and after an initial listen it was immediately clear I had some catching up to do. Her drumming is incredible.
Jimi Hendrix allegedly told Chicago sax player Walter Parazaider, “Your guitar player is better than me.” In addition to being one of Jimi’s favorites, Terry Kath could sing a little bit, too. This video appears to be from the band’s performance at Tanglewood ‘70.
Kath is a figure in a bit of local lore: On 10 December 1967, Otis Redding was set to play a show in the People’s Republic, at a downtown venue called The Factory. He never made it. Out on the Far East Side, a band formerly called “The Big Thing” was booked at a nightclub. Concertgoers who had intended to see Otis & the Bar-Kays instead turned up to hear this band, which had recently renamed itself “Chicago Transit Authority.”
I first encountered Khun Narin in 2016, when I somehow happened upon their just-released second album. They haven’t released anything in the US market since, which is a shame. Maybe it’s because they’re a live act (both albums were recorded at outdoor performances), maybe they prefer to play for their national audience, or maybe it’s because they are pigeonholed by the music industry’s expectations & marketing.
If you haven’t dipped into Thai rock before, you’re missing out on some funky, hooky, psychedelic tunes. As with the desert blues blowing out of Northern Africa, some of today’s best rock music is made with a blend of folk traditions & instruments, sung in languages other than English, for multi-ethnic national audiences. It’d be fun to do an international rock week sometime.
It seems like “shred” usually applies to performances on electric guitars, but I’m not sure there’s a better verb to describe the way these two draw music out of their acoustics.
Fall is also Halloween, and this is a nice Halloween song, what with it being about a mummy and all.
But it's also just so pretty, and Josh Ritter deserves more play too, right?