John Andrews of Woods(keys) and Quilt(drums) and his imaginary backing band, The Yawns will release the first solo record, Bit By The Fang, April 14th via Woodsist. The record is a drop from the same psych/folk vein with a touch more playful wandering. Everything on Bit By The Fang was performed and recorded by Andrews in his Grandfathers living room in Yardville, NJ.
Shana Cleveland, leader of the ultra radical Seattle based all girl doo-wop surf band La Luz has had a side project in the works for going on 6 years and has finally prepped its debut. Shana Cleveland & The Sandwichesfeatures a steady rotation of musicians to assist in Cleveland’s acoustic folk wanderings. Oh Man, Cover The Ground gets a May 26th release via Suicide Squeeze Records.
22-year-old Anthony Naples first landed on the scene a few years back igniting New York’s nigh life with the track-y euphoric bump of his sublimely simple “Mad-Disrespect” 12”—a nod to the classic American garage/house sounds of the late ’80s and early ’90s. His production had a raw, impromptu kind of feel that was a perfect antidote to a glut of clinical and over-produced dance music. And on the strength of that, his first ever track, he was picked up by the esteemed club night/ record label Mister Saturday Night.
For his debut, he’s taken somewhat of an abrupt left turn. Body Pill, released last month via Four Tet’s Text Records imprint is an understated almost meditative offering—more after hours than peak time—that barely clears the 30 minute mark. It’s obvious pretty much right away, in fact, that things are going to be different as the first song “Ris” begins with a bleary elongated wash of synthesizer and slowly builds to something resembling melancholic indie synth-pop. When the thump does drop in “Abrazo” it’s backing a much more intricately melodic framework, something that is right in line with Four Tet or Caribou-style of dance music. Naples’ melodies always tended to veer toward the etherial, but they were very much relegated to minor supporting roles, here they splay out in all directions weaving in and out of his syncopated rhythmic concoctions.
Album closer “Miles” , with its cowbell, handclaps and subdued keys, is probably the closest thing to the classic Naples sound, but the rhythm is short lived as the track fades into contemplative ambiance that drifts across the final few minutes into a bleepy disembodied synthesizer line. It’s actually kind of a strange way to end a record, but who really cares, this guy can clearly do what the fuck he wants.
Psych rock gods, Thee Oh Sees will bring us their latest effort, Mutilator Defeated At Last, May 18th via their own Castle Face Records imprint. This time around the band is featuring a revised lineup with John Dwyer (mastermind), Tim Hellman, Nick Murray, Chris Woodhouse, and Brigid Dawson with Woodhouse recording and mixing the record. Stream the title track below.
Nathan Williams of Wavvesexplores the chiller side of his pop punk sensibilities with a new project Spirit Club featuring his brother Joel and Andrew Caddick of Jeans Wilder. Since forming in October they’ve released a handful of singles a couple videos and announced a self titled debut scheduled for a spring release on Williams’ own Ghost Ramp imprint.
Ibeyi—pronounced “ee-bey-ee”—is a Yoruban, Nigerian word that translates roughly to the concept of “sacred divinity of twins.” It is also the name that Lisa-Kaindé Diáz and Naomi Díaz have adopted for their self-titled debut album, released earlier this month on British record label XL Recordings. And what a debut it is.
These twin sisters—barely 20 years old—have managed to record an album that effortlessly weaves together the disparate strands of West African folk, Cuban jazz, soul, blues and contemporary R&B, into something greater than the sum of its parts.
One of the most striking features characterizing Ibeyi is its many apparent contradictions. Steeped in tradition and yet thoroughly modern, it is in many ways a reflection of the myriad influences that came to bear on the sister’s trans-Atlantic upbringing.
Ibeyi is out now on XL Recordings
Born in Cuba, the girls grew up mostly in Paris, though they made frequent visits to the Caribbean. Their father was the acclaimed Latin jazz percussionist Miguel “Angá” Díaz, who played with the famous Buena Vista Social Club, in Havana. His spirit is alive and embodied in their music, which relies heavily on traditional Cuban percussive instruments such as the cajón and the batá. Naomi has said in interviews that she learned many lessons from her dad, but one of the most important was a love of rhythm.
But “Ibeyi” gets the heft of its emotional impact by drawing back to a much older Cuban musical tradition—one that stretches all the way back to West Africa. The Yoruba language, in which much of the lyrics are sung, is from a culture and religion brought to the Caribbean through the slave trade in the 1700s.
Many of these songs such as “River” and “Yanira” are essentially 21st Century versions of ancient Yoruban folk songs, while songs like “Ghost” are odes to the spirits of ancestors. Both sisters sing, and both have a bluesy earthiness to their voices that suggests wisdom beyond their mere 20 years on earth. Their frequent use of call-and-response-style vocals recall the “spirituals” sung by slaves as they worked in the fields.
The sound of modern club music—both of European techno and of American hip-hop and R&B—is “Ibeyi’s” other guiding light. The songs are crafted using cutting-edge style production (complete with synthesizers and a heavy emphasis on sub bass) that would hold its weight in a club against any contemporary pop music.
Ibeyi is about opposing forces, and it is this interplay between yin and yang, mind and spirit, old world and new that makes it so remarkable.
“Afrofuturism carves out a space for black people to write ourselves into speculative pasts and futures, to reimagine our identities beyond and before human history and form.”
Black History Month is just about over, so I figured I better go ahead and show some love for the this mixtape that I came a across a little while back. Curated and programed by a music journalist and producer named Ian McQuade, it’s an accompaniment to a larger multi-media project created by the Irish-Nigerian writer/sociologist Emma Dabiri about the concept of Afrofuturism. (If you’re up for an intellectual treatise on race and culture and parallel histories you can Dibiri’s essay on Afrofuturismhere— it’s pretty heady stuff though so be warned.)
Anyway, the concept is dope, and perfectly articulated—I mean cutting up a Sun Ra lecture at Berkeley and using it to thread the line between Jimi Hendrix, Egyptian Lover, TV on the Radio, Shabazz Palaces, Deltron,Actress, LTJ Bukem, Missy Elliot can’t get with that?
Dowload/stream the mix and check the tracklist after the jump.
Hendrix – EXP // Actress – Uriel’s Black Harp // Roots Soundtrack
Sun Ra – Berkley Lecture snippet
A Number of Names – Share Vari
Dirty Paraffin – Papap! Papap!
Missy Elliott – Smooth Chick
Strafe – Set It Off
Laura Mvula – That’s Alright
Richard Pryor – 2001 Monologue
Freddie Hubbard – This Is Combat I Know
Shabazz Palaces – An Echo From the Hosts That Profess Infinitum
Deltron 3030 – Virus (acapella)
TV On The Radio – The Wrong Way
Jimi Hendrix – 1963 (A Merman I Shall Be)
London Lucumi Choir – Cantos Espirituales
James Stinson phone interview
The Other People Place – Eye Contact
Egyptian Lover – Egypt Egypt
Sun Ra – Berkley Lecture snippet
Nigga Fox – Ze Piqueno
Bryte – I Like Your Girlfriend
Azealia Banks – Fierce
Tyree – I’m Free
DJ Cndo – Terminator
Leif ft Spank Rock – Star Alliance
SupaNova Slom – Energy
LTJ Bukem – Atlantis
Sun Ra – Outerspaceways Incorporated
Sun Ra Berkley lecture snippet
I was cleaning out my hard drive over the week, and I found these dynamite rare soul mixes that San Francisco-based Deejay OM made a while back for the always excellent San Francisco Disco/Boogie/Funk blog The Beat Electric. Both of them were done the old-fashioned way: a box of 45s and two turntables. Neither have track lists, but trust, these are definitely the goods.
Los Angeles-based Mike Eagle, who raps as Open Mike Eagle, has been in the game for a minute, paying dues as a battle MC, and establishing himself with legendary open-mic workshop-turned-record-label Project Blowed. The Chicago transplant also has ties with Mush Records, and L.A.’s Hellfyre Club crew.
His cadence is measured and his delivery, spirited, and lyrically, he strikes just the right balance of clever and ridiculous. He also manages to do so without becoming irritating like so many other nerdy rappers who try to be “clever” and “funny.”
High Life before they sold out butcher Schlitz selfies… ahem. Let me try that one more time.
Happy new year everyone! We have a tradition at DECIBELity where we do our best-of/end-of-year lists at the beginning of the following year instead of the beginning of December like those other blogs. Perhaps you thought we negligent or maybe just really late—well, you thought wrong. We are right on schedule. You see, we do things a little bit different ’round here, it’s one of the many ways we set ourselves apart from the rest.
Each of us, as has become our custom, have chosen 15 or our favorite records and we each have created a mixtape including a single song from each of the aforementioned favorite recordings.
So, enjoy and we’ll be sure to continue to keep it DECIBEL’d for you all in ’15.