African music, both traditional and contemporary, seems to be having a moment this summer in New York City. Artists like Oumou Sanger, Rokia Traore, Asa, Amadou and Mariam, and Tinariwen have enlightened ears with stunning cultural cadences. And this past week while ivy leaguers Vampire Weekend emulated West African guitars for rain-soaked teens at All Points West, virtuosos Béla Fleck and Toumani Diabaté played to a decidedly more traditional, and erudite, crowd. They came not only for the hour of acoustic duets between Fleck’s banjo and Diabaté’s kora, but also to view Throw Down Your Heart, a documentary (directed by Fleck’s half-brother Sascha Paladino) about Fleck’s 2005 journey to Africa tracing the banjo’s musical roots.
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Releasing: 6 October (US)
Etienne Jaumet of Zombie Zombie fame releases his new Carl Craig-produced record this fall. Jaumet has a long resume in both electronic and indie circles, having worked with the likes of Lou Barlow, the Moldy Peaches, Herman Dune and other notables. His discography also includes six albums with the bands Flop and the Married Monk.
01 For Falling Asleep
02 Mental Vortex
04 Through the Strata
05 At the Crack of Dawn
Here you go, lovers of all things vampire and romance—15 seconds of footage from Twilight: Full Moon. Not sure what it means—guess you’ll have to wait until 20 November to find out.
Ad Boy is little more than a scrapbook, albeit a bright, shiny and reasonably well-organized one. This collection of images, depicting characters dreamed up to shill for everything from spark plugs to soft drinks, offers plenty of colorful eye candy, but little in the way of context, to say nothing of analysis.
Ad Boy is like a companion volume to Dotz and Husain’s earlier work, Meet Mr. Product, if not for the fact that the two books contain some of the very same characters. If anything, Mr. Product stands out as a stronger work, offering as it does more in the way of context and analysis.
The rear cover blurb suggests that “illustrators, graphic designers, advertising enthusiasts, and nostalgia buffs” are the book’s target audience, but the latter two categories may be disappointed by how little they learn about these mascots and the companies they represent. Each image is accompanied with a company name, a date and an indication of where the image appeared. For example, we’re told that a fellow named Quisp, who sports a propeller on top of his head and a goofy facial expression, was found on a “water decal” in 1972 to promote Quisp cereal.
Elsewhere on PopMatters I have a column that encorporates a review of Chris Anderson’s Free. It also touches on the jobless recovery, though I wonder whether I carried that line of thinking too far.
And on the off chance you were enticed by the title of this post because you thought it would lead to Paul Rogers, here you go.