Adriane Pontecorvo: Tinariwen’s Tuareg blues have never needed lyrical interpretation for the language-limited; the feeling always bleeds through. Here, the Sahara’s own rock stars lament the current state of their home desert, of the constant power struggles that stain the region. The desert night echoes through “Ténéré Tàqqàl” with warm breezes and the twang of incomparable guitars; Tinariwen continues to tell an unending story of struggle with that vast beauty, with the combined power of sand and string. Like everything the group does, this single sways and pulls at the heartstrings, pure expression through both music and lyrics. As always, no melancholy is more sincere and no tale more elegantly told than Tinariwen’s. [10/10]
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Andrew Paschal: An unrepentant reach for pure synth pleasure, “Closing Shot” succeeds on most all accounts. I was hooked from the first few seconds and Lindstrøm held my attention throughout the five-minute running time. It’s all here, from the playful bass line to the delectable electronic gradients to the game show synth-stabs. Lindstrøm isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here, he’s just trying to help us have a good time and not take things too seriously. [8/10]
Steve Horowitz: The sound of the future as brought to you by THE PAST—zoom, Elroy you’re all grown up! The vocals aren’t sung as much as mumbled clearly because even hearing the words makes one think one can’t understand them because they don’t fit together. And it is all fun. This is a love song and does a good job of capturing the silly, mixed up feeling. The distortions and effects reinforce the feelings of insecurity of needing someone else. In addition the video images: the purple pants, cool car, and desert scenery do the two performers justice as it makes their pretensions nerdy and human. [8/10]
Oakland’s Zion I is back with another great album of conscious hip-hop. The Labyrinth released back on October 27th via Mind Over Matter Records and features production turns from Ariano, Mikos the Gawd, Teeko and Decap as well as guest appearances from Deuce Eclipse and Codnay Holiday. The Labyrinth addresses the current state of Black America and ever-persistent racism that’s becoming more toxic and prevalent with every police shooting of a black man and every hate comment from the growing alt-right.
Nashville singer-songwriters Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough have worked together for years and became best friends in the process. Now, the duo is set to release their first album as an official duo. Mockingbird Soul, releasing January 27th, is an Americana album through and through as it brings in all the great roots genres that populate Americana, including blues, country, early jazz, gospel, folk and bluegrass. DeMeyer thinks of their sound as acoustic soul and that’s a fabulous description as you can here on their new single “Rainy Day”, a genuinely soulful number that has us eagerly awaiting the album’s release.