Old Fellas New Music Episode 32

Our latest show

Our full playlist – 32 shows

This is our first show in about a month. Lots of things getting in the way of putting together a show, but we are back on Mixcloud Wednesday, October 26 at 4:00 pm.

Here are a few notes on this week’s music.

Week 32

Lenka Lichtenberg – What is this Place?

Kiwi Jr – Unspeakable Things

Alvvays – Very Online Guy

Dry Cleaning – Scratchcard Lanyard

Tanya Tagaq – Teeth Agape

Us Girls – So Typically Now

Peter Kwenders – Kilimanjaro

Jungle -Truth 

Rosalía & Tokischa – Linda

Lenka Lichtenberg – What is this Place?

Premiered Jun 26, 2022  The Czech poem ‘Chtěla jsem tě proklít, hořká zemi’ (I wanted to curse you, bitter land), here with English subtitles, was written by Anna Hana Friesová while she was imprisoned in the concentration camp Theresienstadt (1942-1945). The song is a part of the project ‘Thieves of Dreams‘. Truly beautifyl music – this video is not the track we are featuring, any song from this project would work.

ABOUT THE PROJECT ‘THIEVES of DREAMS,’ a “haunting set of musical gems” (The Bangkok Post, June 9, 2022)

This project is about women. Creative, strong, breaking social taboos, and in some ways… invisible. My maternal grandmother Anna Hana Friesova was a stunning, well-educated woman from an entirely assimilated Czech Jewish family: assimilation was fairly common; in her case, it was based on fears of pogroms witnessed by her husband. She was an accomplished artist both with a pen and a brush, and nobody took her seriously – I suspect not even herself: she never mentioned her art to me. Only when my mother recently passed, I discovered two worn notebooks among her possessions: poems Anna Hana wrote between the years 1940 and 1945, just before and during her two-and-a-half-year incarceration (1942-1945)  in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp during WW2. I was stunned by the intensity of her words, the erudite vocabulary, the raw and often disturbing honesty. I find her words just as poignant today as they were eighty years ago. 

Even more shocking were the details of the poems. “These were her dreams and nightmares from inside the concentration camp, the stories she never told me when I was growing up,” Lenka added. “Most of us, if we’re lucky enough, have a brief window with our grandparents. That time isn’t typically spent listening to their traumatic stories.”

Lenka Lichtenberg decided to embark on an ambitious project, to bring her grandmother’s voice back to life in the best way she knew how: as a music project, spanning eight decades and three generations. Anna Hana’s poems rarely mentioned the horrors of the camp explicitly. Perhaps this was self-censorship in case her writing was discovered.

(Roots Music Canada)

Lenka co-founded, with Isabel Fryszberg, the Yiddish swing all-female group Sisters of Sheynville, with whom she performed across Canada, in the U.S. and Europe. The band won the Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year in 2008 for its Sheynville Express disc. 

Kiwi Junior

Kiwi Jr – Unspeakable Things

Originally from Charlottetown, now based in Toronto these guys have not taken a misstep as demonstrated by this track lifted from their third album Chppoer. Pitchfork Magazine loved it.

https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/kiwi-jr-chopper/.   The video features goalie masks and several familiar faces!  

Rosalía & Tokischa – Linda

Great song. I can’t remember where I first heard this, but the track is full of great Dominican energy. This song introduces me to dembow and trap music – a new genre that is new to me. More below:

As Dominican dembow and trap continues to spread internationally, the rest of the industry would do well to pay attention to the label’s artful and off-the-wall concoctions. To better understand its place in the movement, check out some of the best Paulus Music releases below.(Guardian)

Dembow is a Dominican musical genre[1][2] that can be traced to a riddim that originated in Jamaican dancehall.[3] When Shabba Ranks released “Dem Bow” in 1990, it did not take long for the dembow genre to form. Riddims were built from the song and the sound became a popular part of reggaeton. From there it took off in Dominican Republic creating the sound UNDERWORLD (“Bajo Mundo” in Spanish). It hit the streets of New York and from there it made its way to all of Latin America. The Dominican Dembow sound keeps evolving and has been fusioned with Trap music since 2016 and it’s also fusioned with Bachata and Merengue from the Dominican Republic. Dembow artists are called “Dembowseros

Tanya Tagaq – Teeth Agape

I decided to play a Tanya Tagaq song after hearing here on the Strombo Show. I couldn’t play particular track – 2014, but this is great. Raw, dark energy. Polaris Prize winner in 2014.

More on Tanya Tagaq:

“I will never stop being surprised that people like my music,” Tanya Tagaq tells me seriously before roaring with laughter. “I can feed my children because people are freaks!”

Even down a bad phone line from her home in Canada, the singer is brilliant company; passionate, political and hilariously foul-mouthed – a world away from the earnest associations that spring to mind when she is described as an “Inuit throat-singer”. “When people hear that, they think my concerts are going to be ‘just darling’,” she agrees with another shout of laughter. (Guardian)

Instead, the 40-year-old wrests the indigenous female tradition – with origins in a vocal breathing game played when men were out hunting – into a medium for pure, unleashed emotion. Her ghostly chants, guttural growls, gasps and moans are enough to make Björk, her sometime collaborator, sound as demure as a choirgirl.

Her latest album, Animism (which fought off competition from Drake and Arcade Fire to win the Polaris prize (2014), Canada’s answer to the Mercury), fuses her musical roots with everything from punk to electronica: the result is sometimes haunting, sometimes orgiastic, and always extraordinary.

Us Girls – So Typically Now

U.S. Girls is a Toronto-based  American musician Meghan Remy.   

Pitchfork can explain the song better than I can. https://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/us-girls-so-typically-now/

Pierre Kwenders

Has Won The 2022 Polaris Music Prize For The Album ‘José Louis And The Paradox Of Love’’

This is Pierre Kwenders’ first Polaris Music Prize win. He is on a good deal now thanks to his Polaris win. Great music, hope to keep on hearing him.

More:

“This is crazy, I don’t even know what to think. This is for all the kids from the diaspora, the African diaspora, moving in Canada. Sometimes you feel like you don’t know what you’re running into, or what you’re coming into. But there is hope, there is a place to live and dream and be yourself. This album, especially, is about being yourself and telling your own story. José Louis And The Paradox Of Love is there for you, you know, if you feel you can connect, connect! Let’s talk! Let’s have fun! Let’s be ourselves! Let’s love each other, while we are alive. Bisou!” – Pierre Kwenders

Truth – Jungle

Jungle is a British duo founded in 2013 by producers Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland.  They have released three albums. In 2014,  Jungle was shortlisted for the prestigious 2014 Mercury Prize in the U.K. Their second album was 2018’s For Ever through XL Recordings.  The track Truth, is found on their third album, Loving in Stereo, released in 2021.

The song manages to sound contemporary and 80’s synth pop at the same time.  https://acidstag.com/2021/07/jungle-truth/

This is the second time we have featured Alvvays. It makes sense, they continue to come up with catchy energetic songs. This track is from their third album.

More on Alvvays:

Alvvays (pronounced “always”) is a Canadian indie pop band formed in 2011, originating from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and currently based in Toronto, Ontario. It consists of Molly Rankin (vocals and guitar), Kerri MacLellan (keyboards), Alec O’Hanley (guitars), Abbey Blackwell (bass), and Sheridan Riley (drums). Their self-titled debut album, released in 2014, topped the US college charts.[3] Their second studio album, Antisocialites, was released on September 8, 2017, and won the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2018. Both albums were short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. Their third album, Blue Rev, was released on October 7, 2022.

Dry Cleaning

Dry Cleaning are an English band that formed in 2018. They are unusual as they employ spoken word rather than sung vocals.  Their debut album New Long Leg was released in 2021

which contains the song Scratchcard Lanyard.  The words are odd, fun and fascinating.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SfOi6rIHeA&t=5s 

Can’t decipher the lyrics?  Check this out.

New Years Pop Up Old Fellas New Music

This week’s Promo

This week, we are getting out our blog early so you can read up on the bands we will be playing. Again, we will try to live stream through Mixcloud using OBS software this time – last week, the live stream dropped all the time so I am hoping this will work better. Here is the link to use if you want to hear and see the broadcast – https://www.mixcloud.com/live/paul-mcguire3/

here are our selections for this week – some of this year’s best songs

Kiwi Jr – Only Here For a haircut
Jenna Esposito – The Other Side of Forever  – Guardian
Quivers – Gutters of Love
Olivia Rodrigo – Good 4 U – Guardian – Best music of 2021  # 6
Wet Leg – Too Late Now

Low – Days Like These – Pitchfork # 3

James Clark institute – Little Powder Keg
Mitski:  Working for the Knife – Pitchfork # 7
Silk Sonic – leave the Door Open

Kiwi Jr – Only Here For a haircut


Kiwi Jr.
 is a Toronto-based band.  This is the third song from the album “Cooler Returns” that has been featured on this podcast twice already.  Released in Jan. 2021, this hasn’t left  Bob’s turntable since he bought the album.

   

More info on Kiwi Jr here from their website

Jenna Esposito – The Other Side of Forever

I thought this was a great song, but when you read the incredible story below from the Guardian, I think you will agree we needed to include this one.

The best songs of 2021 … that you haven’t heard

It’s the heartbreak and hopefulness of a turbulent 2021 from the mind of a songwriter who knows them all too well. Ernie Rossi, owner of century-old gift and music shop E Rossi and Company in New York City’s Little Italy, was sidelined by health problems after reopening following the long city-mandated shutdown. Margaret, his wife of 51 years, knew the neighborhood icon might not stay afloat if doors closed once again and solely took over duties with the couple’s best friend, Freddy. Then this past spring, both Margaret and Freddy caught and died of Covid-19. In the wake of their consecutive deaths, Rossi wrote The Other Side of Forever, a heartfelt tribute to the bond the trio shared and the immense loss he feels. Recorded by the New York indie artist Jenna Esposito, the earworm ballad with a momentous opening and climatic finale was produced in the Italian folk style the store was known for being a chief importer of nearly 100 years ago. And today, Rossi is continuing his fight to stay in business.

Rob LeDonne

Quivers

Quivers – Gutters of Love

This Australian band via Tasmania are an absolute delight.  We had to be satisfied in listening to this album on Spotify as it is darned near impossible to snag a physical copy unless one is willing to pay a ridiculous price.  The NME calls “Gutters of Love” an instant classic.

From NME

As the 2010s drew to a close, Quivers found themselves on the ascent. They’d established a new lineup, and permanently relocated to Melbourne from their native Tasmania. They’d released two acclaimed singles, ‘You’re Not Always On My Mind’ and ‘When It Breaks’, which balanced a summery jangle-pop exterior and melancholic inner turmoil. American broadcasters NPR and KEXP co-signed their music, while at home they crossed a rare divide by getting played on both Double and triple j.

Olivia Rodrigo – Good 4 U

This is another one from the Guardian. I hadn’t heard of Olivia Rodrigo, and this really isn’t my type of music, but this is a really great song. So, why not. More from The Guardian below. They rated her album Sour the 8th best album of the year.

Having essayed one end of heartbreak with the piano lament Drivers License, Rodrigo’s mood swung like a wrecking ball towards this equally massive hit (between them, they spent 14 weeks at UK No 1). From its sarcastic title downwards, Good 4 U’s recrimination has the kind of bitterness that softens with age and only a teenage palate can truly appreciate, as Rodrigo rages against her blithely happy ex. The ways the chords shift through different shades of hurt is riveting, as is Rodrigo’s delivery, as if writing in a journal with the nib piercing the paper. BBT

Released in January, Drivers License sprang (almost) out of nowhere like a heaved sob. Four days later, it broke Spotify records for the most single-day streams (Christmas songs exempted). The next day, it broke that record again. After 10 weeks at No 1 in the US and nine in the UK, it has been streamed 1.9bn times. Next Tuesday, the California-born songwriter makes her live debut at the Brits; the following weekend, she does Saturday Night Live; a week later she releases her debut album, Sour, a grippingly well written – all by her – collection of balladry, pop-punk, bitter diatribes and euphoric taunts that dwells on this romantic treachery. Even in an era when virality powers pop, Rodrigo’s is a fast rise.

The Drivers License singer reflects on turning her first big breakup into the year’s biggest hit – and how songwriting saved her from the anxieties of being a Disney star

My second source for the best music comes from Pitchfork Magazine. I chose their #3 and #7 choices – both great songs by artists that are new to me.

By Pitchfork

December 6, 2021

In another trying year, many of the best songs—from “Like I Used To” to “Pick Up Your Feelings” to “Hard Drive” to “Good Days”—were about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying again. These tracks gave us a shoulder to cry on, but also, crucially, a kick in the pants when we needed it most. They were the soundtrack to our 2021, and we have a feeling we’ll keep turning to them in better times yet to come. These are the 100 best songs of the year.

Wet Leg

Wet Leg – Too Late Now . 

Old Fellas featured Wet Leg’s catchy “Chaise Lounge” a while back which is one of four single releases in their small but impressive output.  An album released is anticipated for spring 2022 so listening to the last single release “ Too Late Now” will have to do until then.  Great bathrobes! 

Low – Days Like These

Alan Sparhawk spirals through a series of escalating horrors as he offers a summary of his mindset over the past five years: “Holy crap, this guy’s going to be our president. Oh crap, he’s our president. Wow, things have been horrible for a long time, and it’s getting worse. What, we’re sick? We’re all going to die now?” Eventually, the Low singer and guitarist shifts from a cartoonish hysteria into a gruff acceptance as he makes a broader point about American life in 2021 as well as his band’s combustible new album, HEY WHAT. “Look at where we are,” he says, zooming to the present tense. “We’re still looking in each other’s eyes and going, What the hell?”

Along with his bandmate and wife, Mimi Parker, Sparhawk has long found inspiration in this type of unlikely perseverance. Nearly three decades into their career, and on their 13th album, Low are making their strangest, strongest, and most fearless music to date. On HEY WHAT, the duo is once again joined by producer BJ Burton, known for his work with Bon Iver and Charli XCX, who helped them explore abrasive digital effects and alien vocal manipulation on 2018’s Double Negative. The new album presents these abstract textures with even more intensity, as Sparhawk and Parker’s gorgeous harmonies pierce through a vertiginous landscape of glitches and static that may make you wonder if your speakers are imploding while you listen.

“Days Like These” is a song in the form of an eclipse: the first half made of blinding light, the second an uncanny, disembodied stillness. Singing into a static blur that sounds like wind noise on video, or like someone’s sawing through the tape, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker describe a vast and subtle longing, a desire for a kind of transcendence not found on Earth. “Know that I would do anything,” they cry, their fried-out vocals taking on the call-and-response pattern of a hymn. But in this strange, desaturated grief, there’s no action to take. Even the song doesn’t end, really; it just stretches out, twinkling in the distance, a lone satellite pressing on toward the edge of space. –Anna Gaca

James Clark Institute

James Clark institute – Little Powder Keg

To quote The Pursuit of Happiness’ Moe Berg, ““James takes the power pop traditions of The Beatles, Jellyfish and Split Enz and combines them with the high IQ lyrics of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. The result makes him one of Canada’s greatest unsung songwriters”

Also, here’s great version of the Badfinger classic “Baby Blue”

Mitski: “Working for the Knife”  #7

The saying goes that if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Mitski would like to have a word on that. After a long and grueling world tour supporting her breakthrough album Be the Cowboy, the singer took time off in 2019, saying she needed a break from the “constant churn” of performance. “Working for the Knife” is her brooding, melancholic first major single back from this respite, and acts as an incisive warning about how much of our identity we give to our life’s greatest undertakings, and who we’re giving it up for. The song unfolds as a balancing act of vulnerability and expectation, of altruistic self-expression and the vanity of wanting to be seen, or even adored. There’s some humor to it all; forlorn, she recognizes that the world never stops turning, and that it’s fine to lie to ourselves if it helps pass the time. It’s a one-act play of existential malaise and a sardonic anthem for those who can’t help but seek out the spotlight. –Puja Patel

Pitchfork  

Silk Sonic

Silk Sonic – Leave the Door Open

Silk Sonic is an R&B superduo composed of singer Bruno Mars and rapper and singer Anderson .Paak. The duo released its debut single, “Leave the Door Open”, in March 2021, and its debut album, An Evening with Silk Sonic, in November 2021.  This song veers close to a parody of 70’s soul but it’s just too good to be considered so. 

 You can hear all our music right here on Spotify

Old Fellas New Music Episode 16 Notes

Our newest episode on Mixcloud!!

Episode 16 – our song list

Small Sins  – I Used to be a Better Man 

Lee Perry – Run Evil Spirit

Chvrches – How Not to Drown  

Edwyn Collins – I Guess We Were Still Young

Squirrel Flower – Flames and Flat Tires

P.P. Arnold – Baby Blue

Yola – Stand for Myself

Tinariwen – Amalouna

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds – Big Lies

I Used to be a Better Man – Small Sins – Album Volume II

This is the first album by Thomas D’Arcy in ten years. He is now mainly a producer (D’Arcy and Drew eventually founded the original Taurus near Cabbagetown. “We had this big huge control room, but I was still just using it for a writer space,” recalls D’Arcy. He quickly began working with friends like July Talk and Sheepdogs side project BROS.)in Toronto, but I think this is a great album, all tracks are pretty strong. One of a few musicians going strong again after a long career.

A few notes on Thomas D’Arcy

Yet, Volume II feels like the most personal work D’Arcy’s produced since, well, Small Sins’ debut. It inevitably fails to live up to it’s counterpart, but that hardly seems to have been the point. D’arcy clearly had some things he wanted to get off his chest that that record’s sound were uniquely suited to conveying.

Exclaim Magazine

Here is an interesting video that he self-produced in 2020 in Hyde Park on Christmas Day, featuring all the lyrics from his most recent album Volume II

Thomas D’Arcy
Filmed on Christmas day, 2020 at High Park in Toronto. This is one continuous shot.
From the Album Small Sins: Volume II, out Feb 12th 2021 via Thomas D’Arcy Music, distributed by Arts and Crafts. 
Self-shot. Directed, edited and titled by Ryan Gullen.

Lee Perry – Run Evil Spirit

Lee Perry is an international Reggae legend as a performer and producer for such artists as Bob Marley, The Clash, The Beastie Boys and dozens and dozens of Jamaican artists. In 2019 in his 83rd year , he produced the lp Rainford from which “Run Evil Spirit” hails. Vinyl Factory offers an excellent primer in Perry’s work.  

If jazz has Sun Ra and funk has George Clinton, then reggae has Lee “Scratch” Perry.

Also worth watching is this excellent documentary

The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry

How Not to Drown – Chvrches

CHVRCHES, Robert Smith – How Not To Drown (Official Video)

This is a great track by the Scottish Indy band Chvrches. I love the vocalist Lauren Mayberry and the video is made all that more interesting by the menacing presence of Robert Smith of the Cure. Here are a few notes about the song, I think from Pitchfork.

Earlier this week, Chvrches and Robert Smith released their collaborative single “How Not to Drown,” from the group’s upcoming album Screen Violence, and have now released a music video for the song directed by Scott Kiernan (who also helmed the band’s earlier “He Said She Said” clip).

“We’ve been working with Scott on all the visual aspects of Screen Violence and this video is the second installment in a connected trilogy,” Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry explains. The video builds off of the surreal, film noir-inspired imagery from “He Said She Said,” now with the addition of the Cure frontman appearing on a television screen.

Screen Violence, which derives its title from one of Chvrches’ original proposed band names, will be released August 27th via Glassnote Records, and was largely recorded remotely between Glasgow and Los Angeles during the pandemic. The album follows the band’s 2018 LP Love Is Dead.

And because Robert Smith is such an iconic figure, Bob suggested we add this video

Robert Smith (The Cure) in episode of South Park where he battles Barbara Streisand

Edwyn Collins – I Guess We Were Still Young

Edwyn Collins is a Scottish Musician.  Born in in 1959 , he became known in the early 80’s as the leader of post punk band Orange Juice.  Here is the “Sound of Young Scotland’ performing on TV in the early 80’s. 

orange juice flesh…

 

In 2005, Collins was hospitalised after 2 cerebral haemorrhages as detailed here. 

Edwyn Collins talks about his two strokes (Channel 4 News, 2.10.14)

I Guess We Were Young  

Squirrel Flower – Flames and Flat Tires Album Planet (i) 2021

I just had to add this pithy quote from the Guardian music page

We’re going to blame the trials of 2020 for Ella Williams – AKA Squirrel Flower – not being ranked up alongside the celestial likes of Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten. The songwriter released her debut album, I Was Born Swimming, at the exact moment everything changed for ever. Talk about timing. Flames and Flat Tires is a grunge-folk intoxicant that comes in at under three minutes but will stick with you for hours.

The Guardian

Squirrel Flower – Flames and Flat Tires [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Pitchfork likes Squirrel Flower (Ella Williams) too. They write about her tendency to write about roads and cars. All to say, it is a pretty fine track for a 24-year old.

On Planet (i), the road is a nexus of nostalgia and intimacy: “Iowa 146” uses a whisper-sing delivery and gorgeous, fingerpicked guitar melody to capture the sweetness of a night spent on top of a car with a love interest. But it’s also a site of disasters that haunt Williams’s imagination: the careening firestorms of “Flames and Flat Tires,” or the Missouri floods that inspired “Deluge in the South,” which has the openhearted, country-speckled quality of a Waxahatchee deep cut. Williams’ vivid songwriting and versatile voice bring both sides to life.

Pitchfork

P.P. Arnold – Baby Blue

Born 1946, Arnold sang backing vocals for Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the fall of 1966 after their tour with the Rolling Stones in the UK. She remained in London to establish a solo career, with the encouragement of Mick Jagger. This interview with PP Arnold gives her amazing story      

PP Arnold -Talks about T.Turner,M.Jagger,B.Gibb,Clapton,A.Franklin & more -Radio Broadcast 14/07/19

She released her first album in 1967 on Immediate records. This is a  promo video with the Small Faces for the single “If You Are Feeling Groovy”

SMALL FACES & P.P. ARNOLD – (If You Think You’re) Groovy RARE BEACH PROMO 1967

It took 51 years to see the release of her second album.  From “The New Adventures of…”, is the song “Baby Blue” 

P.P. Arnold “Baby Blue” Official Song Stream – Album out August 9th, 2019

Yola – Stand for Myself

Yolanda Quartey (born 31 July 1983[1]), known professionally as Yola or Yola Carter, is an English musician, singer and songwriter from Bristol, England. Yola received four nominations at the 62nd Grammy Awards, including the all-genre Best New Artist category.

Again, am going with the Guardian quote, but I don’t get the Banksy reference:

The best thing to come out of Bristol since the rumour that Banksy is actually the scrawny one out of Massive Attack, Yola’s powerhouse vocals will pin you against the wall and make you rethink everything you thought you knew about the modern diva. Stand for Myself is builder’s tea for the soul: strong, warm and a bit of a wake-up call.

The Guardian

Yola – “Stand For Myself” [Official Music Video]

When you read about Yola, it is obvious that this is an artist who has hit here stride. In a recent recording done for a benefit MusiCares and the National Bail Out Collective, she played with Sheryl Crow (piano), Jason Isbell (guitar) and Brandi Carlile (back-up vocals). Pretty good.

The statement she wrote about this song – Hold On is worth repeating here:

“Hold On” is a conversation between me and the next generation of young Black girls. My mother’s advice would always stress caution, that all that glitters isn’t gold, and that my Black female role models on TV are probably having a hard time. She warned me that I should rethink my calling to be a writer and a singer… but to me that was all the more reason I should take up this space. “Hold On” is asking the next gen to take up space, to be visible and to show what it looks to be young, gifted and Black.

So, I had to add a clip from one of here performances of Hold On

Yola performs “Hold On” with Supporting Vocals by The Highwomen for Play On: A Benefit Concert

One final note about Yola, on February 21, 2020, Variety announced that she has been cast to play the role of singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe — dubbed the Godmother of rock and roll — in Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s still untitled drama on the life of Elvis Presley.

I didn’t know who Sister Rosetta Tharpe was, but Bob mentioned a session where she played a great guitar session live. I found one here from 1964. I think might be a great movie!

Sister Rosetta Tharpe- “Didn’t It Rain?” Live 1964 (Reelin’ In The Years Archive)

Tinariwen – Amalouna

Tinariwen  Is a group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. which in the Tamashek language translates as The People of the Deserts or “The Desert Boys.  This rotating roster of musicians have been performing and recording since the eighties.  In 1980, Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi put out a decree inviting all young Tuareg men who were living illegally in Libya to receive full military training. Gaddafi dreamed of forming a Saharan regiment, made up of young Tuareg fighters, to further his territorial ambitions. Ag Alhabib and his bandmates answered the call and received nine months of training. Here, the band met additional Tuareg musicians and formed a loosely-organized collective, now known as Tinariwen, to create songs about the issues facing the Tuareg people. This NPR article explains Tinarwen in a nutshell.   

Mali’s ‘Guitar Gods’ Tinariwen Receive Racist Threats Ahead Of U.S. Tour

A guitar band from Mali called Tinariwen is famous worldwide. The group’s fans and collaborators have included Robert Plant, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Bono of U2 and Nels Cline of Wilco. The band has fought extremism in their home country of Mali, and been victims themselves. But ahead of a September show in Winston-Salem, N.C., social media commenters are leveling violent, racist attacks against the musicians.

A refresher on Tinariwen: This a group of Tuareg musicians from the north of Mali. The members have been hailed as guitar gods, playing rolling melodic lines and loping rhythms that evoke the desert sands of the Sahara — the band’s native home. The band’s name literally means “deserts” in their language, Tamasheq.

NPR

An interesting part of this article talks about The Festival in the Desert. When we broadcast yesterday we talked about the famous concernt and we wondered what had happened to it,.

Again from the NPR article:

The hope for a larger Festival in the Desert was that it could serve as an economic engine and encourage cultural tourism to northern Mali, a region that has often struggled, and to show cultural unity among Mali’s richly diverse peoples, in the years after the country suffered terrible and bloody conflict in the 1990s. To that end, the organizers invited some incredible Malian musicians who weren’t Tuareg to perform — artists like Ali Farka Touré and Oumou Sangare — along with Robert Plant. The 2003 Festival in the Desert became legendary — and it spurred Tinariwen to worldwide success. But the Festival in the Desert didn’t last. The political situation in Mali grew more precarious, and by 2012, Islamist extremists — many of them foreigners — fanned out across northern Mali, in hopes of gaining control. Musicians became a prime target. The Festival in the Desert went into exile, and transformed by necessity into an international touring collective.

NPR 2019
TINARIWEN – TAQKAL TARHA (feat. Micah Nelson)

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds – Big Lies

Yet another musician Bob and I didn’t know about, Alex Little comes from a pretty interesting famil;y line of musicians. This profile is from the local Vancouver Weekly:

Music has always been a big part of Alex Little’s life. Growing up she watched her father drum for bands around Vancouver, playing for bands like The Payola$ and the Bughouse Five. She was raised to be comfortable in a rock’n roll crowd. Looking up to her father, she would eventually become a drummer herself, playing in punk bands around Vancouver for many years. During that time she was writing her own material on the side, but was a bit shy about it.

It wasn’t until she met fellow Vancouver rocker Andy Bishop that she started down the path of becoming a front woman. Bishop has been a mainstay of the Vancouver music scene for some time, having played in bands like Twin Rivers, Red Cedar, and White Ash Falls. He and Little happened to work together at the Wallflower when they met.

“It was just a fun thing that we never necessarily saw a future in,” Little recalls. “He was very helpful in getting me going. We went to Long and McQuade and he helped me pick out a guitar because, as a drummer, I knew nothing about guitars. Then we just jammed for awhile and wrote together.”

Vancouver Weekly

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds – Big Lies (Official Visualizer)

a little more about here from her website

“My best songs are written when I’m having the worst time,” says Alex Little with a wry laugh. “There’s no songs about feeling good. It’s about connecting to that deep dark part of myself, which is the reason why I make music.” This blunt emotional honesty is the driving force behind Vancouver’s Alex Little & the Suspicious Minds, whose scorching garage-pop songs unflinchingly tackle drug addiction, mental health and heartbreak. And yet, despite the heavy subject matter, the group’s soaring choruses and loud guitars mean that the mood is cathartic rather than heavy.

Alex Little and the Suspicious Minds

Some of the lyrics that show a bit of that dark side:

Yeah you grew up fast in the city, you were always cool and ready for it all

you can walk real good in stilettos walk around all night til’ you fall

everyone in the place wants to know you

cause you seem like everything they wanna be

if I could take all the lights in the world and shine them in your eyes would you see?

A slight reflection in the glass is worth your time dear

worth your time dear

Our updated Playlist

Old Fellas New Music Episode 14 Notes

the artists for this weeksome of

Music for Week 14

Quivers- You Are Not Always on My Mind

Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen – Like I Used To

Coal Porters – The Day the Last Ramone Died

Bleachers – Chinatown 

Goon Sax – A Few Times Too Many

Japanese Breakfast – Paprika

Lambchop – A Chef’s Kiss

Mdou Moctar – Chismiten

James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg – Reel Around the Fountain

Our show on Mixcloud

Episode 14. You can find all our episodes here
And here is our ever-growing Spotify Playlist

Quivers- You Are Not Always on My Mind

The Quivers performing some pop perfection:

Quivers – You’re Not Always On My Mind (Live on KEXP)

Sharon Van Etten and Angel OlsenLike I Used To

I have to start with another fun quote from the Guardian

“I strongly believe that if Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen teamed up to sing anything up to and including Las Ketchup it would be a moment so emotional we’d all emerge three minutes later with dewy eyes and a strong urge to become better people. So you can imagine what they’ve done with this swirling eddy of a song. Exhaustingly amazing.”

Guardian

Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – Like I Used To (Official Video)

This is another artist(s) that seem to be really popular in the UK, but I have never heard them here. Not that this is any measure of note. But everything I read about this new single is really positive and the video is pretty good too. Last word goes to Pitchfork:

Their first collaborative single, “Like I Used To,” lives up to its potential, plays to their strengths, and still manages to pack a surprise.

Pitchfork

The Coal Porters

The Coal Porters was a long time Sid Griffin led band.  Sid  in the 80’s was in the band the Long Ryders .  This is a cut from their 1984 debut ep . 

The Long Ryders – 10-5-60

2016 brought the Coal Porters tribute to the Ramones, The Day the Last Ramone Died”   

The Coal Porters – The Day the Last Ramone Died (Official Video)

The “1234” used in the lyrics is of course reference to how many Ramones song began.  

 The “Gabba Gabba Hey”  references  Tod Browing’s 1932  disturbing horror classic, “Freaks” 

Freaks (1932) – Gooba Gabba Gooba Gobble

 Sid is also an accomplished author. 


Bleachers

Bleachers is an American indie pop act based in New York City. It is the official stage name of songwriter and record producer Jack Antonoff, who is also part of the bands Steel Train, Fun, and Red Hearse. Bleachers’ pop music is heavily influenced by the late ’80s, early ’90s and the high school-based films of John Hughes while still using modern production techniques. Their first single, “I Wanna Get Better“, was released February 18, 2014.

Panned on The Guardian with song – Stop Making This Hurt

The world’s premier Springsteen tribute act is back with producer extraordinaire Jack Antonoff channelling the Boss into a skittery break-up song. It feels as if it’s trying to say one thing and do another, with the gang vocals attempting to build to euphoria, but coming off a bit like a bunch of lads worse for wear on the train after a match.

Instead, we featured the song Chinatown  and there are several Youtube videos of this song, all with Bruce Springsteen. This is the one I liked

Bleachers – Chinatown (BLEACHERS ON THE ROOF live at electric lady) ft. Bruce Springsteen

How did Jack Antonoff get Bruce Springsteen to play on this song? You will have to listen to the broadcast to get Bob’s reasoning which makes lots of sense.

Another great song, but outside our timeline is Roller Coaster

Bleachers – Rollercoaster

Their upcoming album including Chinatown and Stop Making This Hurt will be Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night.


Goon Sax

The Goon Sax are indie pop trio from Brisbane, Australia. Formed in 2013, the band consists of Riley Jones, Louis Forster and James Harrison.

The Goon Sax – A few times too many

I think Robert Christgau, (the “ Dean of US Rock criticism “) hits the nail on the head,  

The Goon Sax

  • Up for Anything [Chapter Music, 2016] A-
  • We’re Not Talking [Wichita Recordings, 2018] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Up for Anything [Chapter Music, 2016]
My brilliant wife heard Go-Betweens in this high school band well before I learned that Robert Forster’s son Louis was a cofounder or that they were “driven” by a female drummer or even that they were Australian. Nah, I told her, though I liked them fine–too crude. And indeed, they’re cruder than even the earliest Go-Betweens, who were a university band after all, and somewhat static at their worst. Usually, however, they’re charming at least. When Louis fantasizes about a “Boyfriend” or James Harrison hates the “Telephone,” it just accentuates the specifically adolescent angst they pin down so much more candidly and affectingly than any other high school band that comes to mind. “If you don’t want to hold my sweaty hands / I completely understand”? Pretty mature, in its way. A-

We’re Not Talking [Wichita Recordings, 2018]
Although Louis Forster takes fewer leads on this young threesomes’s smoother and trickier follow-up, their unpretentious affect, plain guitar, and flat groove still recall the early years of his dad’s Go-Betweens. True, Louis reports that he’s barely heard them. But I doubt de facto frontman James Harrison was so cautious, and can imagine drummer Riley Jones learning that Lindy Morrison never stepped up to the mike and deciding she’d better: “I don’t want distance / When distance always seems to be the thing / That comes and hurts us.” In any case, a university art band they’re not. Instead they’re still reflecting on adolescence with a humility and concentration that hurts. No one’s calling but they’re not picking up the phone. Passing your bus stop hurts even though they know you need time to yourself. Come to think on it, they “never knew what love meant” anyway. Yet already mortality impends in the form of “piles of books I’ll never read / And a list of things I’ll never be.” Twelve songs in half an hour that say more than they pretend and plenty they may only intuit. A-

Robert Christgau

Comparisons to the Go- Betweens are unavoidable.  Here’s a neat little 5 minute bio  with Louis Forster’s dad Robert.  

The Go-Betweens: The 80s band that never conquered the world – BBC Newsnight

Japanese Breakfast – Paprika

This is the second act that Bob and I were both planning to feature for this show. Here are some selected quotes from Exclaim Magazine.

“When the world divides into two people / Those who have felt pain and those who have yet to,” Michelle Zauner sings during the aching ballad “Posing in Bondage.” It’s clear that she falls into the former camp, but Jubilee, her third album as Japanese Breakfast, dances the pain away. Whether it’s the fashionable funk of “Be Sweet” and “Slide Tackle,” the stately Beirut horns of “Paprika,” or the honeyed pop classicism of “Kokomo, IN” and “Tactics,” Jubilee is always tinged with melancholy but never defeated by it.

I couldn’t find a good version of Paprika on Youtube so instead here is her performance on the Tonight Show with Be Sweet from the same album.

Alex Hudson – Exclaim Magazine

Japanese Breakfast: Be Sweet | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

# 20 0n Exclaim!’s 31 Best Albums of 2021 So Far

Japanese Breakfast is an indie rock band headed by Korean-American musician, director, and author Michelle Zauner (born March 29, 1989). The band released its first studio album Psychopomp (2016) on Yellow K Records, followed by Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017) and Jubilee (2021) on Dead Oceans.

Zauner released her debut book, Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, via Alfred A. Knopf in 2021. The book is planned to be adapted into a feature film by Orion Pictures, with Zauner providing the soundtrack.


Lambchop –  A Chef’s Kiss

Lambchop – A Chef’s Kiss (Official Lyric Video)

Here is an interview with Lambchop’s head guy Kurt Wagner explaining the lp “Showtunes”

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner: “I was looking for something less structured, something I hadn’t done before” – Interview by Steven Johnson

On the background to new album Showtunes, converting guitar into piano sounds, continuing to embrace technology and broadening his range of collaboratorsLambchop's Kurt Wagner

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner (Photo: Angelina Castillo)

As frontman of Lambchop for the best part of the last 30 years, Kurt Wagner has pursued a long, satisfying musical journey where developments within the band’s sound have been gradual and considered. Yet, there have also been discreet nods to different genres along the way, pleasing embellishments and expansions to their core alt-country aesthetic. New album Showtunes provides another stylistic detour of sorts, building on the fresh direction put in place on 2019’s This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You) and 2016’s FLOTUS as Wagner takes indirect inspiration from showtunes, American standards from the first half of the 20th century.

These aren’t covers or close appropriations however, but rather typically impressionistic pieces that bring together Wagner’s songwriting strengths and his broader interest in musical experimentation. Given the sense of progression that has defined Lambchop’s recent releases it feels oddly apt that when we catch up with Wagner to talk about the album, the conversation begins on a travel-related note. “I’m out here in Las Vegas visiting my in-laws at the moment. We haven’t seen them in quite a while, so we just drove on out here. It feels weird to actually travel. I haven’t been on an interstate for over a year. It feels like things are transitioning with the pandemic. Having driven across the country, it feels like we’re on the cusp of a lot of people getting out and about.”

more here


Mdou Moctar – Chismiten

I read a few articles about this amazing musician from Niger the first one from Pitchfork. Their new album is listed as on of the top 6 you need to be listening to right now.

Some notes about who he is:

  • Mahamadou Souleymane,[1][2] known professionally as Mdou Moctar (also M.dou Mouktar; born c. 1986[3][1] or 1984[1]) is a Tuareg songwriter and musician based in Agadez, Niger, and is one of the first musicians to perform modern electronic adaptations of Tuareg guitar music.[4][5] He first became famous through a trading network of cellphones and memory cards in West Africa.[6]
  • Mdou Moctar is a popular wedding performer and sings about Islam, education, love, and peace in Tamasheq.[7][8][9] He plays a left-handed Fender Stratocaster guitar in a takamba and assouf style.

A little from the Pitchfork article:

If it were up to Mdou Moctar, the fiery, psychedelic rock music that has made him one of the most respected guitarists working today would be kept far away from professional recording studios. “With all due respect to all engineers,” the Tuareg virtuoso recently confessed to Reverb, “I find it much too square.” Late last year, the Nigerien musician gathered his bandmates outside a friend’s house in Niamey to test out material from Afrique Victime in a more comfortable environment. In the open air, the quartet quickly attracted an audience: adults dancing, children air-drumming, and others just watching in awe as Moctar’s songs ascended and burst in the desert sky like fireworks. As Sam Sodomsky writes in his Best New Music review: “You get the sense that when the lights go down and he looks out at his audience, he doesn’t just see his community: He sees the future.”

6 New Albums You Should Listen to Now: Mdou Moctar, CHAI, Erika de Casier, and More

and more from the Guardian

From the Guardian

‘We are modern slaves’: Mdou Moctar, the Hendrix of the Sahara

Kim Willsher

His first guitar was made from wood and bicycle parts and his first songs were shared via Bluetooth in the desert. But the Niger musician has become international – and is taking aim at France

How do you even dream of making music when your family and religious leaders disapprove, when you live at the edge of the Sahara desert, and you cannot afford an instrument?

It helps that the Tuareg musician Mdou Moctar, from Niger, is not easily discouraged. Unable to acquire a guitar, he made one out of a piece of wood with brake wires from an old bicycle for strings, and taught himself to play in secret. “I was from a religious family and music was not welcome, but I would go and listen to local musicians and dream of being like them,” the 32-year-old singer-songwriter says over the phone while on tour in the US.

“My parents didn’t have the means to buy me an instrument and wouldn’t have done so. To them, becoming a musician would mean I was a delinquent, a terrible person drinking beer and taking drugs. I never told them I wanted to play the guitar, I didn’t dare. So I made one.”

The next challenge was reaching an audience. Moctar, born in the village of Abalak in the Azawagh desert of northern Niger, began playing at weddings, singing in Tamasheq, the Tuareg language. His first album Anar – composed for a lost love – was recorded in Nigeria in 2008: it introduced Moctar’s simple, raw guitar sound and haunting lyrics, a style known locally as “assouf”, a word that does not easily translate, but evokes desert blues. Anar wasn’t officially released; instead, it spread across the continent via Bluetooth swaps between mobile phone data cards.

Mdou Moctar – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Mdou Moctar – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Mdou Moctar immediately stands out as one of the most innovative artists in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar and have pushed him to the forefront of a crowded scene. Mdou shreds with a relentless and frenetic energy that puts his contemporaries to shame.

(Bandcamp)


James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg – Reel Around the Fountain

James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg are an instrumental duo who play original compositions and a stunning diverse set of cover songs.  Who would think of covering The Smith’s, “Reel Around the Fountain”?

Reel Around the Fountain – James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg

Here’s the original version juxtaposed to scenes from the film, “Atonement.”  I guess both song and film have fountains?

The Smiths – Reel Around The Fountain

Nathan Salsburg is also the Curator of the Alan Lomax Archive at the Association for Cultural Equity. This is the website.  It is definitely worth diving into.

I mentioned Brador in passing.  In celebration of June 24th, here is a stubby of Brador!

Old Fellas New Music Episode 7 Notes

The promised video by Boy Wonder

Why this video? From Exclaim magazine:

As is Faist’s trademark, the new single comes with an accompanying video, shot on his trusty 16mm film camera. The “Hoodwink” clip features the dancing stylings of cowboy hat-clad Lee Kennedy, who busts some moves outside Toronto’s Dufferin Mall with her trusty scooter by her side. 

Said Faist about the video’s star, “The video features Lee Kennedy, who I met in Kensington Market on her scooter one day. She was dressed in pink head-to-toe, and I took her photo while we drank coffee. I remembered her enthusiasm and tracked her down because I wanted to put her in a video. She showed up to Dufferin Mall on her scooter, danced for a minute and a half, and then we went home.”

Songs this week

Bob’s songs

Dinosaur Jr. – I Ain’t 

Guided By Voices – Trust Them Now 

Yo Le Tengo – Shades of Blue 

Teenage Fanclub – The Sun Won’t Shine On Me

Paul McCartney – Winterbird /When Winter Comes

Paul’s songs

Alvvays – In Undertow

Groupie – Thick As Glue

Du Blonde – I’m Glad We Broke Up

Kobo Town – Scarborough Girl

Boy Wonder – Hoodwink

Our Spotify Playlist for this week
Here is this week’s episode!

Before we get started, we have to put in a note about John Peel, the legendary DJ we talk about at the beginning of the broadcast. If you want to listen to some, or many of his broadcasts your can download them off this great blog – The Perfumed Garden.

More about John Peel here:

Mairi McGuire has been asking for the Alvvays for a few weeks, so here they are! A great band with deep Maritime roots. I am including a full KEXP session here so you can listen to more of their great music.

Alvvays – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

The band consists of Molly Rankin (vocals and guitar), Kerri MacLellan (keyboards), Alec O’Hanley (guitars), Brian Murphy (bass) and Sheridan Riley (drums). Their second studio album, Antisocialites, was released on September 8, 2017 and would go on to win the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. Both albums have been short listed for the Polaris Music Prize.

From Wikipedia

I have to give a nod this week to Pitchfork for some of my stories this week. What a great resource for new music!

Yo La Tengo

Bob tells an mazing story about how the band got it’s name – you really need to listen to this on the show.

This is an excellent interview with Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo

This video from 2013 shows the band’s more heavy guitar “skronk”approach

Groupie

I like this song and the story from Pitchfork is really interesting. The song is Thick as Glue and you can read more about this new band below:

Groupie began when Ashley Kossakowski put out a call for bandmates on Craigslist, which was answered by guitarist Johanna Healy. Now a quartet, the Brooklyn band recently released a full-length debut, Ephemeral, an invigorating collection of post-punk leaning tracks about identity, nostalgia, and female empowerment. On the dreamy centerpiece, “Thick As Glue,” they interrogate the myth of the male artistic genius: “Young woman idolizing heroic men singing about heroin/Tried to keep it cool, now it’s my turn too. Who you think you’re looking up to?” –Quinn Moreland – Pitchfork

Guided By Voices

This best of Guided By Voices album is the best way for the uninitiated to approach the band.  Solid from beginning to end.

Ever the contrarian, Robert Pollard left their most “radio-friendly” and well known song off this collection. From the TV show Scrubs:

Du Blonde

Song: I’m Glad That We Broke Up from the album Homecoming

I really had to add this video – this really defines who Beth Jeans Houghton is all about.

More about Du Blonde from the Guardian:

If you want something done right, do it yourself: so Newcastle’s Beth Jeans Houghton resolved for her third record as Du Blonde. Tired of feeling limited by the industry, she wrote, recorded, produced and released Homecoming herself, right down to tie-dying her own merch. Despite this bravura show of self-reliance, she still makes space, in a record bursting and bouncing with fuzzy, pop-grunge hooks, for guests from Garbage’s Shirley Manson (on the heat-hazed, delirious Medicated) to Ezra Furman (the glam-punk scrap of I’m Glad That We Broke Up) and Andy Bell of Ride (the alternately dreamy and hard-rock-anthemic All the Way). Houghton is always centre stage, though, right from opener Pull the Plug, whose sweet, surfy melody and low, scuzzy riffs recall early Frank Black, as does the divinely nonchalant I Can’t Help You There.

The whole album conjures the catchiest moments of 90s Boston indie rock – Pixies, Belly, the Breeders. It’s a style appropriated by many, but invoked by a genuine, dedicated kook like Houghton, those dynamics live and breathe. Smoking Me Out, in particular, is a riot – a campy, monstrously distorted vocal on the verse contrasted with a blissfully sweet, sharp powerpop chorus: DIY at its wilful, weird finest.

Guardian

Teenage Fanclub

Here’s Teenage Fanclub playing at Reading 1992.  This was gig Nirvana blew open their popularity. Kurt Cobain is sometimes credited as calling Teenage Fanclub “the best band in the world”

The “Fannies” were often compared to 70’s cult heroes Big Star.  There is an excellent film on Netflix documenting Big Star’s unlucky foray into the music business .

Kobo Town

Scarborough Girl album – Where the Galleon Sank

Kobo Town was played on Frequencies on May 4th. A great song and an amazing episode!

Again from Exclaim Magazine:

Founded and fronted by émigré Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves, Kobo Town’s music has been variously described as “an intoxicating blend of lilting calypsonian wit, dancehall reggae and trombone-heavy brass” (Guardian) and a “unique, transnational composite of rhythm, poetry and activist journalism.”(Exclaim!) From their home in Toronto, the JUNO-nominated group has brought their distinct calypso-inspired sound to audiences across the world, from Port-of-Spain to Paris and from Montreal to Malaysia.

The wonderful Errol Nazareth from CBC Frequencies

Boy Wonder – Toronto

Song – Hoodwink – it was hard to get information on Boy Wonder, I went to Exclaim magazine to get this information. You can also go to Revibe Toronto to see a live version of his song – Smile Moma off his 2019 EP

And from Exclaim’s article by Matt Bobkin

Published Apr 30, 2021

Talented Torontonian Ryan Faist is a filmmaker by day, boy wonder by night. The garage rock project is set to drop a new album, Kinda Blue Too, on June 4 via his own Rainbow Land label, alongside a live concert film, Fear In Public. A month ahead of the album’s release, Faist has released new single “Hoodwink.”

The 95-second blast pairs sturdy rock chords with Faist’s reverbed-to-hell vocals, as he raspily howls about a mutually destructive relationship: “Would ya sell your soul for a buck or two? / ‘Cause if you’ve got me, then I’ve got you.”

In a statement, Faist told Exclaim!:”Hoodwink” is about the beginning of the end of compassion and kindness between us. It’s about the ugly parts of the world, the people who benefit off of people’s misery. I feel like that their wave is gonna rip-curl soon though. Kindness will shine.

The song is an ode to my dad’s old Brit garage rock records that I grew up listening to. Three chords. Less than two minutes. No bridge or breakdown. I love how those songs always trimmed the fat. In and out, like your favourite drive-thru.

This week we played an extra track to get us to 90 minutes

I read about Yasmin Williams first in the New York Times.

Yasmin Williams has described her approach to acoustic guitar as a kind of creative problem-solving. Drawn to the instrument after mastering Guitar Hero 2, she dreamed of tapping along the fretboard like rock virtuosos before her. Unable to replicate their style, she laid the guitar on her lap, tuned the strings in harmony with each other, and played it like a keyboard. Drawing from a love of hip-hop, she sought an underlying rhythm throughout her wordless, melodic compositions. Without an accompanist, she attached a kalimba—a type of thumb piano—at the bottom of her instrument, plucking it with her right hand while her left navigated the strings.

New York Times May 2

“I don’t want my music to be limited by being the ‘Black guitarist,’ but somebody had to start doing something,” Williams said. “With all the horrible stuff in 2020, it seemed like it was time.”

Credit…

Amr Alfiky/The New York Times