May 23, 2010

Reviews and charts May 23, 2010

WRIR's #1 world music recording is Trans-Continental Hustle by Gogol Bordello.  It's reviewed inside (two thumbs way, way up, by the way), as are Absolute Belter on B-Music and African Pearls: Senegal, Echo Musical on Syllart.

Brand-New Reviews
ARTIST:  various artists
TITLE:  Absolute Belter

REVIEW:  Belter was a Spanish record label that pioneered the recording of local rock bands in the 60’s, back when Spain’s music market was dominated by American and British imports.  These Spanish bands took Anglo rock and translated into a Spanish model, so you get everything from British Invasion covers (track 13 is Wayne Fontana’s “The Game Of Love”) to funk-rock (6).  Then there are the truly special and inexplicable items that make these kinds of compilations so much fun: a cover of the bizarre French-Japanese hit “Yamasuke” (9) and a parody of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” by the comedians Hermanos Calatrava (22).  Finders Keepers/B-Music strike again with another from-the-bottom-of-the-crate nugget.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:   6   9   13   22

ARTIST:  various artists
TITLE:  African Pearls: Senegal, Echo Musical

REVIEW:  Another excellent compilation of music of the golden age of West African bands (roughly the early years of independence) from Syllart.  Senegalese bands of this era were primarily influenced by Latin music (salsa has always been hugely popular there) and were beginning to combine them with traditional Wolof rhythms to make the uniquely Senegalese style called mbalax.  There’s a great song here from the kings of salsa Sengalaise, Orchestra Baobab (CD2, track 2) and a very catchy one from the obscure Orchestre Gorom (2-1).  My favorites are the two (1-6 and 2-6) by Orchestre Guelewar of Banjul, a Wolof ensemble from Gambia (the small country that’s completely surrounded by Senegal) who add Western pysch-rock influences to the tasty Senegambian stew.  There’s no sign that we’re going to run out of interesting West African material to be anthologized – hard to believe almost all of us missed out on this music the first time around.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:   CD 1:   6          CD 2:   1   2   6

ARTIST:  Gogol Bordello
TITLE:  Trans-Continental Hustle

REVIEW:  Here’s the fifth album from Eugene Hutz’ theatrical gypsy-punk band, their first for a major label, and they have some big guns on their side: Rick Rubin (Run-DMC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash) produced and Coren Capshaw (Dave Mathews Band) is managing them.  Sounds like a recipe for selling out, but they’re buying in instead – the big budget has bought them the kind of crystal-clean production that allows you to hear all of Hutz’ words and how good this band has gotten from years of non-stop touring.  They’re still essentially a punk band, they’re still inspired by gypsies (this stuff isn’t real Balkan music, but nobody ever said it was), and Hutz is still wearing his influences right on his sleeve (Manu Chao, Emir Kusturica, Joe Strummer, the Pogues), so don’t be worrying about a sell-out.  This is easily their best album to date, with better songwriting and playing than ever, and literally every song here could be recommended.  A lock for my Top Ten of 2010.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:   2   5   7   9   13

New & Recommended At WRIR
Absolute Belter | (various artists) | B-Music
African Pearls : Cote D'Ivoire -- West African Crossroads | (various artists) | Syllart/Discograph
African Pearls: Senegal -- Echo Musical | (various artists) | Syllart/Discograph
Afrosound Of Colombia Volume 1, The | (various artists) | Vampisoul
Allen, Tony | Secret Agent | Nonesuch
Balkan Beat Box | Blue Eyed Black Boy | Nat Geo Music
Behilia, Oswin Chin | Liber | Otrabanda
Dagnon, Bako | Sidiba | Syllart/Discograph
Egypt Noir: Nubian Soul Treasures | (various artists) | Piranha
Gogol Bordello | Trans-Continental Hustle | American
Happy Lucky Combo | Carnival Of Sound | self-released
Hassan, Mariam | Shouka | Nubenegra
Juma, Issa & Super Wanyika Stars | World Defeats The Grandfathers: Swinging Swahili Rumba 1982-1986 | Sterns
Koes Bersaudara | To The So-Called "The Guilties" | Sublime Frequencies
Next Stop … Soweto: Township Sounds From The Golden Age Of Mbaqanga | (various artists) | Strut
Nigeria Special: Volume 2 | (various artists) | Soundway
Pomegranates: Persian Pop, Funk, Folk And Psych Of The 60s And 70's | (various artists) | B-Music
Santacruz, Rana | Chicavasco | self-released
Sierra Maestra | Sonando Ya | World Village
Velasquez, Anibal Y Su Conjunto | Mambo Loco | Analog Africa

CMJ New World Top Ten
1 GOGOL BORDELLO | Trans-Continental Hustle | American
2 KOES BERSAUDARA | To The So-Called "The Guilties" | Sublime Frequencies
3 BALKAN BEAT BOX | Blue Eyed Black Boy | Nat Geo
4 VARIOUS ARTISTS | African Pearls: Senegal, Echo Musical | Syllart/Discograph
5 OSWIN CHIN BEHILIA | Liber | Otrabanda
6 VARIOUS ARTISTS | The Afrosound Of Colombia, Volume 1 | Vampisoul
7 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Absolute Belter | B-Music
8 VARIOUS ARTISTS | African Pearls: Cote D'Ivoire, West African Crossroads | Syllart/Discograph
9 SIERRA MAESTRA | Sonando Ya | World Village
10 ANIBAL VELASQUEZ Y SU CONJUNTO | Mambo Loco | Analog Africa

CMJ New World Adds
1 CHICO TRUJILLO | Chico De Oro | Barbes
2 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Next Stop Soweto, Volume 2 | Strut
3 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Next Stop Soweto, Volume 3 | Strut
4 VARIOUS ARTISTS | South Africa | Putumayo
5 RACHID TAHA | Bonjour | Knitting Factory

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