Michael Kabran raved about blue-eyed soulman Mayer Hawthorne’s debut last year saying “A Strange Arrangement, with its smoky retro aesthetic, is best viewed as a whole rather than a collection of individual songs. Listening to each track, you have the distinct feeling that you’ve heard it somewhere else, possibly long ago. None of these songs stands out, and each track’s purpose seems to be to contribute to the overall creation of a work that totally evokes ‘60s-era R&B.” In this short interview with ShockHound, the singer waxes on about his crate-digging ways and his big love for Motown.
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Indian Ocean turns 20 this year. Leaving Home, releasing this April, celebrates the life and journey of one of India’s most iconic bands.
Indian Ocean is one of very few Indian bands as old as its most ardent fans, and it is a band that has defined a generation. Young urban India is as discerning a rock audience as can be found anywhere, and it was bands like Indian Ocean that blazed the trail of homegrown rock. The story that this movie tells is thus not only about the evolution of a band, it is about the evolution of a kind of music that is today taking India by storm.
Equally inspired by rock riffs and Hindustani tradition, Indian Ocean’s music is a medley of instruments, harmonies, and languages. “Kandisa”, for instance, is lifted from an ancient Aramaic prayer of the Syrian Christian community.“Maa Rewa” is a song dedicated to the contested Narmada river and the Narmada Bachao Andolan’s heroic effort to save it, and draws heavily on local folklore, both for lyrics and melody. Indian Ocean is one of India’s most consistently political bands, and their music often reflects this. “Maa Rewa” is equal parts protest and elegy. The band’s willingness to stand by their convictions is exemplified by their decision to score Black Friday, a controversial 2004 movie about the 1993 Bombay riots.
“Bandeh”, the album’s chartbuster, is an angry, passionate lament about the folly of communal violence. It was perhaps the strongest condemnation of riots to emerge from the nascent rock scene, reaffirming the old compact between rock music and uncomfortable truths.
I love living in the age of the internet. It blows my mind that a band that regularly sells out stadiums around the world can post a little comment on its website about playing a secret show at a music festival in Texas, and that based on that, people buy plane tickets, probably online, to fly there. Then a handful of these folks get to watch Muse play at Stubb’s. MUSE. At STUBB’S. It’s like playing in a shoebox for a band of that stature. And then, somebody makes a tastefully-shot black-and-white mini-film about the whole affair. And finally, what occurred on March 19th is now available for your viewing pleasure (or teeth-gnashing envy, whichever the case may be) on April 5th. Amazing.
I don’t know about you, but I could stand to increase the amount of Portuguese music in my diet. Lisbon kente cloth enthusiasts Blasfemea sing in English and named all the songs on their new album Galaxia Tropicalia after girls. It’s clear they are not content to settle for the confines of the Iberian shores. Here’s the video for the first single, “Maria”.
Tired of looking at pretty people? Or rather, what movies, television, magazines and most music videos deem “pretty”, until that vacuous definition starts to feed on itself, becoming ever more plastic and generic and surgically enhanced, and we end up with things like Heidi Montag?
Milwaukee’s the New Loud have made a video for their new song, “Heaven”, which is refreshingly replete with real live people. It recalls Godley and Creme’s 1985 video “Cry”, except without the creepy shape-shifting effects. Isn’t it nice to see some crows feet and thin lips once in a while?