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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Today's stream is sponsored by Maxie's

New World Monday | Rebelution, M.anifest, Baloji and More Ana Tijoux

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Every Monday, Sound Travels hits the court with a new uniform; making it different in that familiar way everyday. Steady dropping new music every Monday for a while now, this week was definitely no different. This week I was abuzz with these cuts...

The first time I heard Rebelution, a reggae four-peice from Santa Barbara, I scoffed at what I saw as another white band copping a reggae vibe and squeaking it clean of all the good grit I love in roots reggae. When I heard about their upcoming show at The Pabst Theater on March 22nd, I got curious as to why they booked them for that venue. Surely they're not really that good... Well, when I got wind of their latest album Peace of Mind, I thought I'd give the old college try. And I'm glad I did. While these guys aren't my favorites, I can appreciate the honesty they bring to their material. Though the sound is clean, almost too clean; it does have appeal. Their tunes are well written, and after playing them on the air, they sound decidedly good there, real good. The tune I played, "Good Vibes" features Lutan Fyah and is reggae sunshine like Ziggy Marley wishes he still wrote, and isn't the only good song on a pretty promising album. I think I'll peep them when they come to town, and you can get this song as well as others free on their site...

Rebelution "Good Vibes feat. Lutan Fyah" Peace Of Mind

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Many of you may remember Minneapolis-based MC M.anifest for his "Babylon Breakdown" song we play here. Well, I want to remind you this cat is Ghanaian, and hailing from Accra is good enough for Sound Travels. Fans of African pop and adventurous hip hop, like Amadou & Mariam or K'Naan, should not sleep on this talent. While I liked his last album, I love his new one. Immigrant Chronicles: Coming To America is not a spoof of Eddie Murphy's movie, but a more sober (and fresh) take on this man's experiences. For the most part it works really well; especially on the cut I played Monday.

Manifest "Blue" Immigrant Chronicles: Coming To America

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Along the same lines was the new one from Congolese rapper Baloji. Already a Sound Travels favorite, he scores extra points on his excellent new release Kinshasa Succursale. On it, he raps a lot about his sense of himself; his multi-layered sense of self and in the process connects with larger themes of identity and issues faced by those that leave their mother-cultures for Western lands. What he's got is an album of some complexity and more than a few songs worthy of bumping a little louder than your neighbors might prefer. But who cares, that's the music that's easy to love...

Baloji "Independence Cha-Cha" Kinshasa Succursale

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He also has dope-ass videos of a particular African exoticism...

I've already written a lot on the new album from Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. I'll spare some more for the excellence that is her latest. La Bala, is so fresh that there are more than a few tunes you'll be hearing on Sound Travels in the future. Though I started y'all out with the grand, cinematic-sounding  "Desclasificado," Nacional Records has decided they want "Shock" to be the lead single. I'm cool with that, not sure it's better than "Desclasificado," but pickin' gets tricky with albums this solid. And, I'll take any opportunity to play music from my favorite Latin(a) rapper...