Caleb Nichols, formerly of Oakland’s Port O’Brien has collaborated with Jameson Swanagon on and off for the past 15 years. It took Swanagon’s return to the Bay Area from Boston to solidify their musical partnership in Grand Lake. The band’s debut, Blood Sea Dream, came out this Tuesday. The band is planning a free, new supplemental release called Soft Lake, releasing soon, that will include more minimalistic takes on songs from Blood Sea Dream as well as few new tunes. “Louise (I Live in a Fantasy)” appears on the earlier album, but here we have the free download premiere of the new take on the tune that will soon appear on Soft Lake. The original is a rocking tune, while this new interpretation is pastoral and folky, a thorough re-working.
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Oh how I love pulling up Morning Becomes Eclectic on kcrw.com and seeing there’s a fave band for the scheduled session that day! Such was the case when The Gorillaz performed August 18th and it was nice to experience the fresh sounds of live performance. Layers of certain songs were more prominent, the sound of an engine for example, so it all felt new again. It was also nice to hear Damon Albarn be more forthcoming during the interview compared to the “Colbert Show” where he was clearly not in on the ruse that Stephen Colbert is acting out a persona, or maybe Albarn was just hungover.
Here’s the link in the KCRW archives to experience it yourself!
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Natacha Atlas returns next month with her latest album blending Middle Eastern, African and European sounds. Mounqaliba features new songs written in classical Arabic by Atlas and collaborator Samy Bishai, who learned violin from Russians and Armenians in Egypt. Atlas’ multicultural background—half Moroccan/Egyptian/Palestinian and half British and largely raised in Belgium—plays out in her genre bending music with its appreciation of Western electronic music and pop alongside a thorough grounding in Arabic musical traditions.
For the new record, Altas had ambitious intentions: “What I hope I have achieved is to match the lyricism of classical music with the inherent poetry of Arabic, I wanted to continue the exploration of grounds covered with Ana Hina. Through the juxtaposition of western classical string sections with traditional Arabic instruments, classical Arabic poetry against abstract impressionism, traditional Arabic percussion with smoky jazz kits… To create a melange of ideas and examined opposites. What I attempt to convey is a sense of reversal… Reversal of the state of society, reversal in our political and belief systems, reversal of spirituality in favour of materialism.”
Mounqaliba will release 21 September via Six Degrees Records and today we have the pleasure of premiering “Makaan”.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the simple joy of reading a book. But author & illustrator Lane Smith’s latest picture book, the aptly titled It’s a Book is a delightful reminder for all ages. Keep an eye out for It’s A Book later this month, and is definitely worth the trip to the bookstore.