Fellow Danes Tim Stahl and John Guldberg began working together back in the ‘70s when they met in the group the Starbox Band and quickly departed to work on their own electronic music as a duo under the moniker Laid Back. The group found success in Europe with their first #1 hit, “Maybe I’m Crazy”, released in 1981 and 1982’s “Sunshine Reggae”, which has sold more than 20 million if you count all the compilations inclusions the tune has racked up over the years. Laid Back were part of the first early wave of musicians creating electro-pop and their music has influenced countless others and been sampled often over the years. Cosyland, releasing this week on Brother Music, is a mini album featuring rarities from the duo’s 1981 creative sessions. The songs were improvised and created with brand-new equipment, such as a Roland TR-808 rhythm box, a SH-101, a Pro-One monophonic synthesizer and a GR-500 guitar controller-and-synth. Today we offer a free download of “Cocaine Cool Extended”, which is exclusive to PopMatters for the next seven days.
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PopMatters’ David Maine recently raved about the collaboration between Afrobeat’s Vieux Farka Toure and Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel, saying “it would be an understatement to say that The Tel Aviv Session is a good record, or even a great one. This is, simply put, one of the best Afro-pop collaborations you are likely to hear, rivaling the elder Toure’s 1994 effort with Ry Cooder, Talking Tuimbuktu.” The album is one of those genre-mashing blends that we at PopMatters can never resist. If our praise hasn’t been enough, then check out the mini documentary on the project below, featuring interviews with the musicians and just see if you can resist the power of this music. Admit it, you can’t.
Seattle’s Lindsay Fuller was raised in Alabama, a state that births more soulful singers per capita than anyplace else in the country. So, yeah, the woman can belt a tune and make you really feel the lyrics too, which matters a hell of a lot when you pen lines as heartfelt as “Oh libby, you take my breath away / Lure me to my grave / But our history remains.” Fuller’s latest album, You, Anniversary, released back in March and her music has been praised by both the Indigo Girls and Dave Matthews, but her sound belongs more in the Southern Gothic camp of artists as diverse as Gillian Welch and Nick Cave. “Libby” is the record’s latest single and the tune is a haunting number about the many people of Libby, Montana suffering from lung disease as a result of asbestos poisoning from vermiculite mining in the area. The music is dark and, yes, the subject is death, but Fuller manages to infuse passion for living in every nook of the song.
Rolling Stones’ singer, Mick Jagger, hosted Saturday Night Live’s season finale, and it wasn’t a downer at all. Jagger deftly participated in skits, but furthermore performed songs with Jeff Beck, Arcade Fire, and Foo Fighters. During his monologue he cheerfully poked fun at his own sense of pride; and he played “The Last Time” with Arcade Fire. But the best song of the evening, by far, had to be his bluesy take on the U.S. presidential election—which notably featured Jeff Beck on guitar.
James Apollo’s upcoming June 5th EP release, Little War, Little Less, features six tunes based on themes of the American West and was produced by none other than Damien Jurado. The album has an immediacy meant to capture the energy of Apollo’s live shows, so they recorded the songs in one to two takes in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Meanwhile the songs themselves were penned out in the Utah Canyons to achieve that authentic Western feel. “Big Dipper” is actually a tune by Built to Spill, but Apollo felt it fit so perfectly with the tone of Little War, Little Less that it’s covered on the album. Below, you can the actual live recording of “Big Dipper” from album sessions.