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Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Italy's Late Guest at the Party bring us their latest single, “Electric Bongos", a tune about striving and facing obstacles along the path to achievement.

Italy’s Late Guest at the Party have been around since 2002 developing their blend of Britpop-esque rave beats. In 2007, they attracted the attention of the BBC’s Steve Lamacq who played their tune “We Were Young” on Radio BBC One and praised their demo as one of the year’s best. Fast forward to 2009 and their debut “Come Back Bobby Peru” got buzz notice again from the BBC. Now the group has descended on New York to record their follow-up album with Chuck Brody (Peter Bjorn and John, Shy Child, Bear Hands, Ra Ra Riot, Wu Tang Clan). The first single, “You Make Me Nervous”, dropped in August and today we have the pleasure of presenting the video for their latest single “Electric Bongos”, which all about striving and facing obstacles along the path to achievement. Vocalist Davide Diglio says, “this kind of struggle is somehow ironic, I guess, so we tried to transpose this kind of cruel irony in the video, exaggerating it. There we got grotesque invisible forces stopping the characters from killing each other and the result is a hilarious film noir.”



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Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Birmingham, Alabama’s the Great Book of John are a band that takes the paranoia and widescreen open spaces of Radiohead and pushes it directly and convincingly into straight Americana.

Recently, Zachary Houle praised Birmingham, Alabama’s the Great Book of John with words that likened them to the American Radiohead. “Have you ever wondered what Radiohead might sound like if they were a country-rock outfit? Now, sure, Wilco has already been called the American Radiohead, thanks in no large part to the experimental and sonically challenging Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but they have nothing on Birmingham, Alabama’s the Great Book of John – a band that takes the paranoia and widescreen open spaces of the British group and pushes it directly and convincingly into straight Americana.” That’s an especially high compliment given that the band’s self-titled August release is their second long-player and not an album number five in a lengthy career.


The band is led by guitarist and songwriter Taylor Shaw, who drapes these big tunes in wide sheathes of cinematic sound, while underpinning such expansive music with careful attention to lyrical detail. This new video of “Simple Things” directed by Robert Burroughs is a perfect case in point and send us back to Houle’s words to sum up the band’s work… “The Great Book of John is a staggeringly vital record, one that I would hope gets tongues wagging in music critic circles when it comes time to select the best records of the year. It might be an album out on a small label, but it’s scope and ambition deserves laurels of the highest order. Essential listening for anyone with even a casual interest in either Wilco or Radiohead.”



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Thursday, Nov 3, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Guitarist extraordinaire Keb Mo has made a bit of a shift in his career of late, taking up residence in Nashville and becoming celebrated on the Americana circuit. Today, we have the premiere of his Christmas tune, "We Call It Christmas".

Guitarist extraordinaire Keb Mo has made a bit of a shift in his career of late, taking up residence in Nashville and becoming celebrated on the Americana circuit. It’s truly a good home for him and offers up a wealth of new musical possibilities to the Compton born musician, steeped in the traditions of the Delta Blues. His recent performance at the Americana Music Festival brought the house down and was a breath of fresh air, breathing some blues grooves into the Americana mix. What Mo is up to at the moment is putting out a brand new Christmas record as a digital EP. We Call It Christmas is available now on iTunes and we’re pleased to present the online premiere of the title tune “We Call It Christmas” today to get you in the early holiday spirit.



Tagged as: keb mo, premieres
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Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011
by PopMatters Staff
Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Joni Haastrup may not be the household name Fela Kuti is, but he is as indelible a part of Afro-beat and Nigerian music as the Black President is.

Earlier this week in a review of the three new Joni Haastrup/MonoMono re-issues, PopMattersMatthew Fiander said, “Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Joni Haastrup may not be the household name Fela Kuti is, but he is as indelible a part of Afro-beat and Nigerian music as the Black President is.”


Late last month, Soundway and Tummy Touch and re-released Haastrup’s solo album, as well as two albums of his band MonoMono. Fiander describes the batch of three records as “brief—each clocks in under 40 minutes—but they show a heavier soul mix in Haastrup’s vision of Afro-funk and rock music. If James Brown was a huge influence on Afro-beat in general, then Haastrup is his closest musical student. These are tighter compositions than Kuti’s, but they still manage a similar dichotomy: they are dynamic and shifting and yet build tension and inertia on insistent repetition.”


Those three classic Afro-beat albums are all worth checking out. To celebrate their release, Soundway and Tummy Touch have provided us with an exclusive MP3 of “Adele” in the original 7-inch version to share with our readers. This tune was “cleaned up” for the vinyl re-release, but here you can enjoy the tune in its original glory with no modern varnishes applied.



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Thursday, Oct 20, 2011
In promotion of his recently released third album, Life Teachings, VP Records offers up a video to shed some light on exactly what I-Wayne means to his home country of Jamaica.

I-Wayne is one of those classic reggae personalities that feels wise beyond his years no matter what his actual age is. To most, he’s simply the guy behind “Can’t Satisfy Her”, a song about prostitution and general sexual promiscuity among women who struggle to find meaning in life outside of their bed sheets. But, as is often the case with most one-hit wonders of the reggae world, Wayne is a much more talented, soulful person than most have found the time to understand. In promotion of his recently released third album, Life Teachings, VP Records offers up this video to shed some light on exactly what I-Wayne means to his home country of Jamaica.


For a deeper taste of I Wayne, follow the jump for links to “Can’t Satisfy Her” as well as selected cuts from Life Teachings and further background on the thinking behind his latest batch of recordings reminiscent of pioneers like Burning Spear.


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