Monday, July 14, 2014

GrassRoots Fest 2014 - Who I'm Excited to See

It's that special time of the year again! The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance is fast approaching and this year's lineup is just as amazing as you'd expect. There are dozens amazing bands on the bill, but here are a few I'm looking forward to catching:

Lake Street Dive - If you haven't heard these guys yet, it's about time you have. I saw them for the first time a little over a year ago and they've been one of my favorite new bands ever since. Their recent release, Bad Self Portraits, has catapulted them towards mainstream fame with good reason. I love it when talented musicians get their due.

Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate - When musical powers from disparate worlds come together, it speaks to the true testament of how music unites us through a common language. These two musicians are as great an example of that phenomenon as you will find bridging the gap between the US and Conakry, Guinea with music as their only guide.

Locos Por Juana - I couldn't be more pumped to see Locos Por Juana back at GrassRoots again. These guys are a latin dance party explosion waiting to happen, and GrassRoots couldn't be a better place for them to do their thing.

John Brown's Body - These guys are a GrassRoots institution, and they kill it every year. Seeing them on such a big stage in such a great atmosphere really brings out their potential to shine. I look forward to seeing them every year without a doubt.

GrassRoots is a special event. Such a beautiful gathering of happy people to dance and play together. If you haven't been yourself, consider making this year your first!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Album from The Green

Coming all the way from the Hawaii, The Green are bringing a different type of Island Vibe with their new album Hawai'i '13 out August 20, 2013 on Easy-Star Records.  I've been doing a lot of road-trippin' this summer and this cd happened to make it into my car's cd player.  Listen after listen, it just keeps growing on me more and more.  Tight reggae rhythms behind slick vocals and an attitude of flavor and life make this album special.  There's a lot of reggae being played these days, but hardly any of it has the kind of attitude and flavor The Green bring to the table.  Stream my favorite track from the album, Something About It, below, and cop the album at your leisure.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Ikebe Shakedown Remixes

Just when you thought Ikebe Shakedown couldn't get any funkier, Ubiquity Records is putting out a new 12" of 4 dance-floor shaking tracks.  Brennan Green is putting his funky house twist on Tujunga, the Ikebe Shakedown jam that kicks off their self-titled album (a must have for any afro-funky fanatic).  Be careful before you hit play on this one.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Mixtape from Boddhi Satva

Boddhi Satva is part of a group of budding beatmakers blending organic African sounds with contemporary electronic mediums.  The end result is absolutely magical if you're like me and the raw soulful sounds of the continent speak to your core mixed with the produced electronic elements that make you dance.  Blending the best of both worlds is a task few producers pull off so seamlessly.  Dig the mixtape and see for yourself.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tasty Free Track from Bosq featured on Waxpoetics

This track is so delicious I absolutely had to share it.  The release from Bosq as featured on Waxpoetics is a link back to a bygone Tropicalia time.  The smooth sound of the rhodes, the gentle pattern of the drums, the beautiful glide of the vocals: pure heaven.  Dig it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Jungle Fire is back at it Again

Jungle Fire is back at it igniting the afrobeat flames on the west coast.  Their new 45 Firewalker b/w Chalupa are two afro-grooves sure to set any dance floor ablaze.  Dig it.

Delicious Peace

Every once in a while a project comes around that I just have to publicize.  Delicious Peace is exactly that kind of project.  The songs in this collection are written and performed by the coffee farmers of the Peace Kawomera (Delicious Peace) Fair Trade cooperative in Mbale, Uganda. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim farmers work together to overcome generations of conflict and poverty. Village guitar groups and women’s choirs sing to stress the transformative impact of Fair Trade prices and to encourage their neighbors to join the coffee cooperative. Accompanied with xylophone, drums, and other traditional instruments, these farmers sing of the benefits of interfaith cooperation and, through music, teach new cooperative members how to produce great coffee. J. J. Keki, the founder of the cooperative, says: “Use whatever you have to create peace! If you have music, use your music to create peace. For us, we have coffee. We are using coffee to bring peace to the world.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

John Brown's Body Returns to the Studio and The Stage with Kings and Queens

John Brown's Body, one of the dopest bands on the planet creating and representing contemporary roots reggae music is about to tour the USA in support of their new album, Kings and Queens, out April 16, 2013 on Easy-Star Records.  JBB has been working for years to build a solid reputation around their world-class musicianship and stage presence.  I've seen them perform several times in venues large and small, and they never neglect to put on an amazing show.  Lead singer Elliot Martin is the focal point on stage but the tight horn section and funky rhythm section keep things skanking along nicely throughout.  JBB is touring coast to coast, so find a way to catch them live.  You won't be disappointed.

4/26 Water Street Music Hall | Rochester, NY – BIG UPstate Reggae Fest  
4/27 Paradise Rock Club | Boston, MA  
5/17 The Jewish Mother | Virginia Beach, VA 
5/18 Electric Factory | Philadelphia, PA -with SOJA  
5/23 Tralf Music Hall | Buffalo, NY 
5/24 The Rex Theater | Pittsburgh, PA 
5/25 Dark Star Jubilee Festival | Thornville, OH  
5/26 Summer Camp Music Festival | Chillicothe, IL  
6/23 Onondaga Lake | Liverpool, NY –with Rusted Root
7/12 & 13 The Beachcomber | Wellfleet, MA
7/19 Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival | Trumansburg, NY
8/01 Horning’s Hideout | North Plains, OR 

Kobo Town Brings a Fresh Take on that Old Calypso Sound

Kobo Town re-introduces Calypso to a contemporary audience with their new album Jumbie in the Jukebox, out today on Cumbancha Records.  Light and flavorful like all good calypso, Kobo Town has something fresh going on.  Updating the sound with some Latin flavor, reggae skanking, and dynamic percussion, Kobo Town is something new and different to catch your ears.  Just like Trench Town in Jamaica, Kobo Town is a reference to the neighborhood in which Calypso was born.  From Kobo Town to the rest of the world, this album puts calypso back on the map.  Dig a free track from the album below.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Zongo Junction, Federator No. 1, Uhuru Afrika Bring the Afro-noise to The Middle East Tomorrow Night

Afrobeat returns to Cambridge, MA tomorrow night.  Zongo Junction, Federator No. 1, and Uhuru Afrika will be hitting the stage at The Middle East Upstairs tomorrow at 8pm.  It will be a night full of afro-flavor.  Mmm I can taste it already.  Delish.  Get tickets here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

ANerGy Afrobeat Ensemble EP and Tour

French Afrobeat group ANerGy Afrobeat Ensemble are about to embark on a tour across France in support of their new EP, Afrobeat for the World.  If you're across the pond and can make it to one of their shows, definitely check them out.  For the rest of us, dig the preview mix of their new EP.

6th May 13 : Saluting The Black President Fela Kuti w/Ginger Baker, Tony Allen/Inna Modja, ANerGy Afrobeat & more at "La Bellevilloise" 20PM Paris (France)
25th May 13 : Kiala invite Anergy Afrobeat at Chinois  20PM Montreuil (France)
15th June 13 : ANerGy Afrobeat at Chinois 20PM Montreuil (France)
06th july 13 : Peniche Cancale 20PM Dijon (France)

Charles Bradley - Victim of Love

Soul icon Charles Bradley is returning to the spotlight this spring with his new album and supporting tour.  Victim of Love, the second chapter in the soul saga of Charles Bradley was released April 2, 2013 on Dunham Records.  For those who fell in love with the soulful, sultry voice of Charles Bradley after No Time for Dreaming, you're in for a treat with Victim of Love.  

The pain, the hurt, the love, the attitude, all the things that make Charles Bradley who he is are all back in full force on Victim of Love.  That amazing combination of The Menehan Street Band backing up Charles Bradley is such a rare combination of musicianship and vocals.  If ever there was a match made in heaven when it comes to producers and frontmen, Tommy Brenneck and Charles Bradley are it.

I remember the first time I saw Charles Bradley perform I saw him open for Sharon Jones in Buffalo, NY in 2011.  He absolutely stole the show.  He came out in a 3-piece red velvet suit and lit up the stage.  The crowd went absolutely wild, and he soaked up every bit of it.  Knowing the story of how he struggled for years in soul obscurity, dealing with all kinds of trials and tribulations, I could see how much he was loving performing as the star he was born to be.

Be a part of the next chapter in Charles Bradley's incredible story.  Catch the documentary about his life, and definitely see him live when he comes to a town near you.

Apr 21 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
Apr 24 Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
Apr 25 Pensacola, FL - Vinyl Music Hall
Apr 26 Lafayette, LA - Festival International de Louisiane
Apr 27 New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Apr 28 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
May 01 Austin, TX - Ant one’s
May 02 Dallas, TX - Trees
May 04 Nashville, TN - Exit/In
May 05 St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House
May 07 Minneapolis, MN - The Cedar Cultural Center
May 08 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Ballroom
May 09 Chicago, IL - The Metro
May 10 Ferndale, MI - The Magic Bag
May 11 Toronto, ON - Phoenix Theatre
May 13 Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
May 16 New York, NY - Apollo Theater
May 17 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
May 18 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
Jun 12 Paris, France - La Maroquinerie
Jun 14 London, England - Islington Assembly Hall
Jun 15 Bergen, Norway - BergenFest
Jun 16 Oslo, Norway - Norwegian Wood
Jun 17 Copenhagen, Denmark - Vega
Jun 19 Hamburg, Germany - Grünspan
Jun 20 Dresden, Germany - Beatpol
Jun 22 Ballinlough Castle, Ireland - Body&Soul
Jun 23 Duisberg, Germany - Traumzeit Festival
Jun 25 Aarhus, Denmark - Posten
Jun 26 Berlin, Germany - Huxleys
Jun 28-30 Glastonbury, England - Glastonbury Festival
Jul 02 Vienna, Austria - Jazz Fest Wien
Jul 03 Karlsruhe, Germany - Zeltival - Tollhaus Karlsruhe
Jul 07 Arras, France - Main Square Festival
Jul 08 Argelès-sur-Mer, France - Les Déferlantes Festival
Jul 11 Bilbao, Spain - Bilbao BBK
Jul 13 Juan-les-Pins, France - Jazz à Juan
Jul 14 Rotterdam, The Netherlands – North Sea Jazz Festival
Aug 2 – 4 Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
Aug 10 Burnaby, BC, Canada - Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival

G&D Live in South Africa

I don't quite know how to describe Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins (G&D).  They've got old-school black power vibes mixed with futuristic hip-hop jazz modalities a la Madlib for days.  They truly are original.  Their new album, The Lighthouse, out May 21, 2013, is about as next level as it gets.  Wet your beak with a podcast of their live performance in South Africa from late 2010.

Friday, April 12, 2013

New Video from Nikhil P. Yerawadekar and Low Mentality

Nikhil P. Yerawadekar, one of the coolest cats on the scene, and his band Low Mentality have an awesome new video out for their single Run Fast.  It premiered on OkayAfrica a couple weeks ago, but I figured it couldn't hurt to post it here as well.  Nikhil is a veteran of afrobeat heavyweights like Antibalas and Akoya, with appearances along the way in bands like Superhuman Happiness and Ikebe Shakedown.  All that to say, Nikhil is down with some of my favorite musicians on the planet.  Dig the video and cop the 7" from Ubiquity Records when it drops.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Flying Lotus N. American Tour

Flying Lotus 'Layer 3' – A Red Bull Music Academy Film from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

Flying Lotus, possibly the world's dopest beatmaker, is set to embark on a N. American tour.  Check out this video where Fly-Lo breaks down his live set, and then catch him on tour this spring.

4/21: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Ballroom 
4/23: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Heaven Stage)
4/24: Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel 
4/25: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
4/26: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
5/5: New York, NY @ Terminal 5 (RBMA)
5/12: Boston, MA @ Paradise
5/13: Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
5/15: Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
5/16: Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues Cleveland
5/17: Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
5/18: Chicago, IL @ Metro
5/19: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
5/22: Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo
5/23: Vancouver, BC @ Vouge Theater
5/24: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
5/25: Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater

Afropop Ghana Kickstarter

There aren't a whole lot of people around doing more to promote and proliferate African music than Afropop Worldwide.  I know Sean Barlow and Banning Eyre personally.  They're great guys, and they absolutely love African music.  Do them a big favor and throw a few dollars towards their kickstarter campaign to do some field work in Ghana for their upcoming Hip Deep Series.  I can't think of anyone else on the planet doing such high quality work in different corners of the globe, especially Africa.  Do the right thing and throw them a few dollars.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Balkan Beat Box American Tour

Wailing horns, booming bass, winding guitar lines, thumping drums and screaming vocals all combine to make up a Balkan Beat Box live show. The crowd is dancing, if not jumping, rhythm is reverberating from all angles and directions as percussionists, horn players, vocalists, and dancers all rotate around the stage. Objects, substances and people fly on, off and around the stage as the show romps and raves from set to set. There are very few live musical experiences quite like a Balkan Beat Box concert.

BBB is bringing their world-class live show back to the USA starting this Thursday night in Boston.  I've had the privilege of catching them live four times before, and each time, they re-affirmed why they're one of the most dynamic live acts on the planet.  Check out their tour dates below and catch them live when they come to a city close to you.

Thursday - March 14 - Paradise Rock Club - Boston, MA
Friday - March 15 - Higher Ground - Burlington, VT
Saturday March 16 - MASS MOCA - North Adams, MA
Sunday March 17 - Webster Hall - New York, NY
Tuesday March 19 - 9:30 Club - Washington, D.C.
Wednesday March 20 - The Blockley - Philadelphia, PA
Saturday March 23 - The Summit Music Hall - Denver, CO

Monday, March 11, 2013

Turntables on las Ramblas

You may have heard of Turntables on the Hudson, the collective of dj's and beatmakers known to throw parties at destinations across New York led by NYC's own DJ Nickodemus, but have you ever wondered what would happen to that same party if it hopped across the pond to Barcelona, Spain?  It would probably sounds a lot like Turntables on las Ramblas, the new compilation out March 19, 2013 on Wonderwheel Records.  This comp is the first in River to River, City to City series curated by Nickodemus that will feature stops in Peru, the Caribbean and Egypt.  This album is one non-stop global dance party.  Need I say more?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wogdog Blues

If you're interested in staying up with the latest in African Hip-Hop, dig this: Wogdog Blues, the new album from Art Melody, the MC from Burkina Faso, out March 5, 2013 on Akwaaba Records, is pushing the envelope of African hip-hop the hardest out of almost anyone on the continent.  Imagine if MF Doom or Madvillian went to West Africa.  Throw in a few samples of assorted African musical sounds and you'll get close to Wogdog Blues.  

This is much more than just an African hip-hop album.  Produced by Redrum and Minimalkonstrunction, the beats draw from afrobeat, bass music, 1990s hip hop, African tradition and retro-futurism to best carry Art Melody’s unique flow. The album is mastered by Dave Cooley (Spoek Mathambo, J Dilla, Madvillain) in Los Angeles.

Art Melody will be touring throughout France over the coming month or two to promote the new album.  Check out his FB page to be up on the latest.  Cop the album via bandcamp.  This kind of thing doesn't come around often.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Album from Superhuman Happiness

Hands, the new album  from one of my favorite bands on the planet, Superhuman Happiness, out March 5, 2013 on Royal Potato Family Records, is finally available for mass consumption.  Led by Stuart Bogie (Antibalas, Sway Machinery, Iron and Wine, TV on the Radio, etc. etc.), Superhuman Happiness is a collage of sounds and colors all designed to move you physically and otherwise.  

I first saw Superhuman Happiness in 2007 at a crowded Zebulon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  A lot has changed about the band in that time (the personnel, the instrumentation) but that same rhythmic, danceable, universally resonant sound is still there.  

It's been extremely interesting to see SHH grow over the years, and this album definitely represents a major step forward in that growth.  The album is streamable on all the major providers, but if you're interested paying for the music in a way that will get back to the musicians, go to the label website and pick up the album on vinyl, CD, or digitally.  This music lives up to its name.  It is deeply human in the best way possible.