Music

Kasai Allstars: In the 7th Moon, the Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy

Brendon Griffin

More amplified aracana as the third volume of Crammed’s Congotronics brings on the new new superheavy Afro-Psyche.


Kasai Allstars

In the 7th Moon, the Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy by Magic

Label: Crammed
US Release Date: 2008-07-15
Amazon
iTunes

In the age of the nanosecond soundbite, you have to admire an album with no less than twenty-six syllables in its title; after listening to the antediluvian drone-funk within, you’ll be hard pushed to mumble any of them. Wielding instruments “far easier to find.. in the museums of the northern hemisphere than in the Congolese cities or countryside”, Kasai Allstars chart a relentless course to glassy-eyed trancedom, shaking a headfeather at centuries of colonial and religious censure and ultimately leaving you wondering what day it is, never mind what track you’re listening to. It begins with the liquefied flub of ancient percussion, burbling away under spasms of aggravated thumb piano, a wasps’ nest wrestling with a Gatling gun. Rhythmic and harmonic tropes circle each other intently, endlessly, as voices intone in tandem and guitars spill flinty cataracts. In their multi-ethnic make-up, the face-painted, twenty-something strong Allstars chant a slightly more devolved game than fellow marimba manglers Konono No.1, but the cumulative effect is similar, a sustained concussion of sound, a kind of sonic vertigo that subverts the cliché of Congo as perpetual victim.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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