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Various Artists

101 Things to Do in Bongolia

(Electric Cowbell; US: 28 Jun 2011; UK: 27 Jun 2011)

Their singles have really good artwork, too.

Though not as cool as owning all its constituent singles on 7-inch vinyl, 101 Things to Do in Bongolia is definitely a cheaper way to enjoy the output of Brooklyn boutique label Electric Cowbell. Easier to play in the car, too, where it sounds really good—one indelible driving rhythm after another, it’ll get you across the county with hooks and personality aplenty. MVPs are the horn-driven combo Superhuman Happiness, who deliver five songs full of catchy riffs and beats. Their “GMYL” (“God Makes You Live”—a fine sentiment) is super-catchy and chill New Wave; its warm synths evoke sweet and lonely teenage hearts.


Also nostalgic are electro-dudes Amazing Ghost, whose “Tiny Raindropz” quotes both “Band on the Run” and the early ’80s Genesis keyboard sound. LVPs are probably Virginia salsa band Bio Ritmo, whose tunes come across as limp and by-the-book. But NYC’s Spanglish Fly know how to bugalú; Boston’s Debo Band make free-swinging Ethiopian pop; and the two electro-scuzzballs in Talibam! fall apart all over the place but still pack a wallop. Most arresting may be “A Troll’s Soirée Troll” by label owner Jim Thomson and his CSC Funk Band. It’s seven minutes of mysterious gamelan groove, ripe for getting lost inside—just like Brooklyn!

Rating:

Josh Langhoff is a church musician. He's written about music for The Village Voice, The Singles Jukebox, two EMP Pop Conferences, his church newsletter, and his blogs NorteñoBlog and Surfing in Babylon.


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