January 3 2013
Thought we'd start this year's Sound Travels with some of the new music that never really got played in 2012. Not that this stuff is bad, far from it, I thought it'd be a travesty (of sorts) if I did not play it. Many of these acts I'm playing this week either released their music very late in the year, didn't release an album per se (ie. singles and EP's) or had such a low profile Stateside that left their brilliance largely unnoticed by me, until now...
You'd be forgiven, if upon hearing Karthala 72, you'd thought that it was another tasty West African funk re-issue. One that perhaps was hitting that hard, obscure and menacingly funky side of vintage Nigerian music from the 70's. Look deeper however, and it becomes quite apparent that this band out of Brooklyn has really locked down that afro-funk sound and is built to move dancefloors and seems set to destroy a few soundsystems along the way. Their new release Diable Du Feu just dropped in November and given my love of vintage African funk, rock and soul, it was just a matter of time before I tracked this one down. You should too!
Karthala 72 "Diable Du Feu" Diable Du Feu
When I heard 2000 Tons of TNT for the first time, I thought I'd stepped through time to the early days of ska, through space to Kingston Jamaica and straight into that extra-special dimension of sound that was perfected in the legendary Studio 1. In fact, I was steeping in the sound of SoCal's own 2000 Tons of TNT; straight outta San Diego! Intriguing band with good chops getting the vintage sound of golden-era ska just right; Don Drummond would be proud! Plus the single I played is free on their BandCamp page!
2000 Tons of TNT "Harvest Moon"
Soundcloud is a wonderful place to discover new, unheard, un-signed and amazingly creative music that may or may not ever find itself on a proper release. If there's any justice, more people will find artists like Athenian mash-up re-fixer Panama Cardoon, whose style is surprisingly Latin in its leanings and whose work revolves around re-inventing vintage Latin (and some reggae) sounds with a sensibility that's very 2012. Crafting new-school bangers out of old-school jams.
Chilean pop savant Gepe is actually not unknown to me, I just forgot him a little. No longer! Really, nobody who's a fan of good music and particularly, Chilean folk should sleep on this cat. Known in Chile as the "Guru of Chilean Folk," Gepe's music echoes the sound of the legendary Victor Jara in it's minimalism and stays relevant with an electro-poppiness that hard to deny. Gepe's new album is called Gp and is excellent; it gave me fits trying to pick just one song to share...
Gepe "En La Naturaleza (4-3-2-1-0)" Gp
I ended today's program with a hot hunk of Teutonic dancehall from Germany's Benjie. Aka Benjamin Kastner, but better known by his stage name Benjie, is a German reggae, dancehall and hip hop artist who apparently discovered his calling at 12, making beats on his Amiga computer. Since 2004 he has released two albums and dropped a new EP this year that you can get free on his bandcamp page, don't sleep!
Benjie "Volle Pulle" In Der Dancehall EP