The Grandfather of Rock & Roll in Cuba. LP Coming Soon

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Back when it was virtually banned by the government, Iván Fariñas took a stand to play the music he loved

 

In November 2014, Pablo ‘Bongohead’ Yglesias visited Cuba for the first time on a legal educational tour. The following month, in an unprecedented move, the United States eased some restrictions between the two countries after decades of frosty relations. Although the trip was for personal reasons, Yglesias – who has contributed music writing to the likes of Wax Poetics and co-manages the Peace & Rhythm record label – stumbled onto a story in the form of Ivan Fariñas, an aging Cuban rocker with a lasting legacy on the local scene.

The chance encounter has since inspired Yglesias to spread Fariñas’s music internationally, including releasing a compilation of unreleased songs by Fariñas and his band Viento Solar called “Bloomer Plastico”. With the LP set to come out as a collaboration between Peace & Rhythm and Feeding Tube Records later this year, Yglesias revisited his first interactions with Fariñas for RBMA Daily, exposing the guitarist’s unique place in the history of Cuban rock & roll.

Read the story at Red Bull Music Academy. http://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2016/08/ivan-farinas-feature

 Photo by Elizabeth Opalenik

Peace & Rhythm Presents a free-admission weekly music series at The Root Cellar

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“Peace & Rhythm Presents” is a weekly eclectic music series every Wednesday night at The Root Cellar, downtown Greenfield’s newest music venue. This premier season features bands and performers of various genres and styles, including funk, world music, jazz, reggae, rock, folk, DJs and more. Every Wednesday is FREE ADMISSION, 21+. Doors open at 8, music starts pumping at 9 and goes until 1230.

—Wed, July 27The Boogalistics (soul-jazz/funk) and Doctor Thing (freak-out psychedelic jazz-funk) –

The Boogalistics bring fresh energy to the classic sound of soul jazz. Boogaloo, soul-jazz, funk, this brand new group out of Northampton will satisfy your need for dancefloor-jazz. Justin Tomsevic (formerly of Melvin Sparks Trio)-drums, Nico D’Amico-guitar, Parker McQueeney-keyboards, Josh Owsley-bass, Adam Scotera-sax.

Doctor Thing play a groove based brand of freak out psych jazz. Joined by their nemesis, Doctor Ilya Kuryakyn, a cold war psychedelics researcher mysteriously turned into an elephant, they root their jazz improv sensibilities in grooves that will keep the dance floor pumping. The band consists of Parker McQueeney (keyboard), Andrew Atkin (guitar), Nico D’Amico (bass), Denny Ray Pellitier (drums).

—Wed, Aug 3I-Ganic Sound System – mobile reggae sound system, selecting the latest and classic sounds from the U.K. to Jamaica: Roots, Dub, Dancehall, Steppas… I-Ganic uses a series of effect processors, sirens and vibe enhancing sounds to produce a one of a kind, bass heavy, echo blurred dub mix, live on the sound system. http://iganicsoundsystem.com/home.htm

—Wed, Aug 10…Brook Batteau solo & band sets & DJ Afropanther – Brook Batteau is the demented frontman, the mad eponymous magician, who plays around with his voice so you get a little Roy Orbison, a little David Byrne, a little Antony & the Johnsons, a little Barry White, a little Rufus, both Wainwright and Chaka Khan. The band plays danceable neo-R&B/indy rock.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut and bred to be a hardcore musician; Afropanther is a Space Jungle Club DJ, Producer, and lyrical assassin. Afropanther provides MC skills, ground-breaking production, and DJ mixing techniques of one whose been on the 1’s and 2’s since the early 80s. https://afropanther.com/

—Wed, Aug 17…Studebaker Hawk & DJ Andujar’s “Rumba Psicodélica” – representing the Peace & Rhythm crew. Vinyl DJ dance party, funk, afrobeat, dub, cumbia, boogaloo, highlife, international jams.

—Wed, Aug 24…Rebirth – Citing influences ranging from Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Steel Pulse to The Beatles and The Police to Nina Simone and Bill Withers, the group folds “Afro-influenced folk,” funk, soul, reggae, jazz, Latin & hip-hop elements into its expansive sound, along with other elements from music throughout the globe. Rebirth write honest and heartfelt songs and are proud to stand by a message of love and unification through music.

—Wed, Aug 31…Vimana plus TBA – psychedelic funk-rock jazz that pays tribute to Zappa, Sun Ra, The Boredoms, and Yusef Lateef, among others.

—Wed, Sept 7Matt Valentine & PG Six – Matt Valentine, of MV/EE, plays a solo set. Cosmic psych-folk, magical country & blues, mountain ragas, blissful strings, open roads. One of the leading lights of the freak underground for decades. Child of Microtones.

PG Six’s music fuses an unlikely range of influences including 60s British folk, country rock, & experimental music. In his various musical incarnations, Pat has shared the stage with the aforementioned Robin Williamson & The Incredible String Band, Yo La Tengo, To Live and Shave in L.A., Alan Licht, Tony Conrad, Tono Bungay, Ghost, Bert Jansch, Slint, the Shadow Ring, Michael Hurley and others.

—Wed, Sept 14The Soul Magnets and DJ Bongohead – based in Northampton MA, Soul Magnets are an up & coming neo-soul/funk band. Kaliis Smith :: lead vocal Janra Roberts :: backing vocal Luke Jaeger :: guitar Chris Fournier :: bass J.J. O’Connell :: drums Dave Trenholm :: sax Fred Hooven :: trumpet Zippy Paige :: trombone
Check them out on Bandcamp: https://soulmagnets.bandcamp.com/

DJ Bongohead (Pablo Yglesias) is a co-founder of the Peace & Rhythm record label. His specialties: funk, latin, afro, soul. He is also a percussionist, artist, writer and designer.

—Wed, Sept 21Original Cowards & Rebel Base – Northampton-based, rock and some roll, soul, blues, punk from a distance, testifying… They have a full length LP and some brand new songs in the can to play for you. https://theoriginalcowards.bandcamp.com/

Greenfield MA’s own lovable stoner-space-metal sci-fi band Rebel Base will open the show.
https://www.facebook.com/Rebel-Base-205257219499228/

—Wed, Sept 28…Dave Noonan’s Green Island -featuring Jon Weeks, Chris Ball, and Dan Thomas, with special guests! Afrobeat, ska, jazz, reggae, a touch of funk, a bit of mariachi. Bring your dancing shoes!

—Wed, Oct 5Walking Ghosts & Beach Honey – Walking Ghosts are a four-piece garage rock band from Western Mass with a glow-in-the-dark vinyl 45! Beach Honey is a Kinks-inspired rock n’ roll quartet from the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. The DailyHampshire Gazette calls the group “part bubblegum, part Velvet Underground and totally catchy”. The Honeys are currently working on a 7″ single for Rub Wrongways Records.
Listen: www.beach-honey.com

—Wed, Oct 12…Peace & Rhythm DJs w/ special guests– Our DJ curators throw down a funky vinyl dance party on a Wednesday night! Studebaker Hawk returns from his third tour of Asia and will be ready to get down. Andujar and a special guest TBA will also DJ.

Peace & Rhythm is a vinyl record label founded by DJs Andujar, Bongohead and associates. Pressing glorious independent music on vinyl. Funk, world and jazz are the launchpoints. Peace & Rhythm are excited to partner with The Root Cellar on this weekly series. For more info visit www.peaceandrhythm.com

The Root Cellar brings downtown Greenfield fresh, quality music six nights a week, including funk, rock, jambands, jazz, reggae, afrobeat, latin, folk, DJs and anything else! Quality, diverse selection of beverages (including the namesake house Root Cellar Pale Ale by Stoneman), full bar, non-alcoholic options such as kombucha and cold-brewed coffee from the tap, outdoor seating, great art and a killer sound system! A beautiful spot for your dancing, listening and socializing pleasure! http://rootcellarbar.com/

10 Fiske Ave, below Mesa Verde. This venue is wheelchair accessable via elevator.

Brand New Release!: Los Terrificos – Go South / Vaya Pa’l Sur – double album

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Peace & Rhythm presents the brand new double 12” LP by Los Terrificos titled Go South/Vaya Pa’l Sur. Taking inspiration from Latin, African, Caribbean, North and South American sources as diverse as the “narco corridos” of Mexico and afrobeat, not to mention Cowboy Western film soundtracks, surf, psychedelic Amazonian cumbia, dub, electronica, funk, Andean folk, even disco, this record is wide ranging yet cohesive. Evocative of wild landscapes, dramas big and small, it’s also a concept story album, perhaps unlike anything in Latin-oriented music today. Order the album direct from the Peace & Rhythm webshop. 500 pressed, 160g vinyl, double album, 45rpm, gatefold. Cover art by Dr Alderete!
Jake Fader, one of the two principal members of the band, says the record “is a soundtrack that has no film (yet). It is a diverse album that is not a traditional representation of any of the many genres it is influenced by. The only real rules were that the songs had to be a little freaky and mysterious.” Go South spins an engaging if fanciful narrative through a series of musical vignettes and also via an extended story in the interior spread of the gatefold. According to the notes, the LP was made “in memory of victims of violence and greed, especially south of the border, and those that cross borders everywhere in order to pursue a better life.”
As the other primary member of Los Terrificos, Ray Lugo (Kokolo, The Boogaloo Destroyers), explains it, “it’s full of reflections on life and the triumphs and struggles of the central figure in the album, ‘El Gordo’, a character not unlike many in the Latin world who makes choices that affect people near and far.” ‘El Gordo’ is a drug kingpin who goes on a vision quest to try and come to terms with the destruction he has wrought, and the question at the end of the record is: does he find redemption, or oblivion? It’s an open-ended conclusion that is as intriguing as the music, and will leave fans craving more (stay tuned!).
Go South has a unique, dynamic hybrid ‘narco-delic’ sound that leaps out of the speakers (having the vinyl on 45 RPM helps). Ray Lugo sums it up thusly: We discussed how long the process of making an album can sometimes be and thought it would be fun to try to write, record and mix an album within 30 days. We chose the sounds of South America because we had been listening to a lot of super funky music from Peru, Colombia and Panama. Jake was working on the music score for [a] documentary…and this played a key role in the cinematic feel to the album. We wanted it to sound fresh, not over-planned and above all to share the fun we had making it with the listener.

The album is a double LP, 160g vinyl, 45rpm for extra boom. It features an original narrative story by Pablo Yglesias (in both Español and English) and a sturdy gatefold jacket with amazing artwork by Dr Jorge Alderete (Sonido Gallo Negro), as well as some interior art by Margot Glass. To listen to samples of the music visit Terrificos here

“Super new long-player from Los Terrificos on the Peace & Rhythm imprint. A cohesive trip on modern tropical influences, leaning on the succulent psychedelics of south american stylized electric guitars and fuzzed out keyboards, but with a decidedly funky and beat-driven approach. It’s the right dose of modern electrico and sonidero soundscapes to maintain a steady groove throughout. Not to be overlooked, the 45RPM pressing of the LP, for all your inevitable rebejada needs in the dance. Impressive gatefold package with extensive artwork and liner notes.”Independent Grand

Catalog: P&R-LP-002

Available: April 5, 2015

Artist: Terrificos

Album title: Go South / Vaya Pa’l Sur

Genres/styles: Latin Alternative / Psychedelic / Lounge / Narcodelica / Chicha / Funk / Electronica / Dub

Features: 45 rpm Double vinyl album, Color gatefold sleeve, 160 gram black vinyl, limited to 500

Cover art: Dr Jorge Alderete

2015 Year-End Round-Up (with guests!)

Among the many beautiful things about sound & music is that it can supplement your life’s routine in so many different ways. Whether you look at (or hear or make) music as artistic expression, ritual, relaxation, protest, celebration, dance release, mathematical composition, entertainment, fashion, comedy or even as background sound, there is no wrong way to appreciate music. It fills our lives with joy or aggression, songs about love and hate, constructions of rhythm and noise, harmony or disruption. Only a high-minded snob will pooh-pooh somebody’s artistic creation. (Although they are certainly out there, usually in the form of talentless snivelers.)

We feel so fortunate to have had a great year in working with lots of cool bands and people, put out a few vinyls to some positive response, take some risks with some projects and make a bunch of new friends along the way. It was very cool. We got to travel around, deliver our catalog, DIY-style, to every mom & pop store that would give us the time of day, and we had fun in doing so. So thank you for being here with us. We have a bunch of cool things in the works for Peace & Rhythm in 2016. But before we get there, we want to round up some stand-outs that found its way to our overflowing office.

Here are a few things we felt compelled to write about, all from 2015. We asked some friends to contribute their thoughts as well. There was a lot of good stuff to come our way, so we apologize for not getting to everything. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

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Golden Dawn Arkestra 12″ (self released)
Technically, this came out last year but most people didn’t get to hear it until 2015. A bunch of Austin freaks (including members of Brownout), this is a blast of nearly perfect haze. In January, I bought a few copies from them to sell on the P&R web shop, but all of them sold within days. This is a well-done record of heavy afrobeat/rock/jazz fusion that is extremely original. There’s a nice psychedelic disco track and some Ethio and Turkish elements as well. One of the best things I have heard in awhile and a great job all the way around. I eagerly await more from this outfit. – Andujar

EEK featuring Islam Chipsy Kahraba LP (Nashazphone)
Nasty keyboardist and two percussionists on a completely improvised exploration of electro chaabi grooves. This is fucking killer! Led by producer/keyboardist Islam Chipsy, this is some high energy, slam-danceable banger of a sound. I would love to see this Cairo-based group live. If you like Omar Souleyman/Rizan Said then this would be up your alley…yet it somehow feels a bit punker. 500 copies. His other job is as a hiphop producer. – Andujar

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Jane Weaver The Silver Globe LP (Bird)
A contemporary Brit-folk/rock artist has an impressive new album with some Kraut influence. I think it’s amazing how big she made this record sound, despite it mostly being just her and a bass player & drummer on the album. Mostly self-produced (although Andy Votel helps out on some). “Argent” has a distinct Can influence in the rhythm, with Jane’s vocals making an immediate statement of soulful delivery. Stereolab would be another reference point. “Mission Desire” is spooky as hell and a lot of fun to play with while DJing. No shit, this may very well be the best crafted album I heard all year. An absolutely incredible production, one for the ages. I hear there’s an extended version. Need to get my mitts on it. – Andujar

Ayauasca: Cumbias Psicodélicas vol 1 CD (Lion Productions)
This comp is a good starter-pack for those who are just getting into 60s/70s Peruvian sounds. Not quite the full-blown cumbia comp that the title claims, this is a cool record of guitar music from the region, a wide variety of rock and cumbia, inspired by surf music, Andean folk, Santana, chicha and even boogaloo (“Soul Finger”). Dig the garage rock guajira by Los Zheros, the funky psych of Radiante, proto-punk from Los Blancaguay. There’s a fun cover of “Love Potion #9” by Los Charles de Huaral. Juaneco gets two cuts on here, as he’s the most famous. Destellos are absent but there’s a comparably good amount of their records available than some of the obscure names on here. Ranil has an album available from Mass Tropicas. This here’s a dandy. – Andujar

Boomarm Nation releases
I have been following the other-wordly sounds of Boomarm Nation for a few years now. This Portland-based label cranks out cassettes, vinyl and digital releases of some pretty off-the-wall shit, from Arabic noise to grungy dubs to polyrhythmic pleasures. 2015 releases from the likes of Natural Magic, Elite Beat, iSkeletor and others keep the mystery fires burning. This is some delightfully warped shit for sure. One of the coolest labels in the US right now. – Andujar

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Downtown Boys Full Communism LP (Don Giovanni)
It’s hard to argue with the arrival of a band that has its shit together, conceptually, from the start and then proceeds to pay big dividends to a community that is all ears. Not a bad strategy to be employed, especially if you are winning the youth over with a ruckus that comes off like X-Ray Spex, Nation of Ulysses, The Contortions and Los Crudos all rolled into one. The urgency of the band’s delivery of message (social justice, racial and gender equality to touch on a drop) riding a blast of musical fury in the shape of danceable hardcore punk with horns. This is a band of young leaders, in the best sense of the word. Providence, Rhode Island should be proud of these messengers. – Andujar

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NYHC book by Tony Rettman (Bazillion Points Press)

The only music-related book I read in 2015 is about the NYC hardcore punk scene of the 80s. My entry into the music came around 1988 with albums by Sick Of It All, Youth of Today, Cro-Mags, etc. I also heard some (at the time) not-so-distant albums by Agnostic Front and Bad Brains, before gravitating to the likes of Born Against, Citizen Arrest & Nausea (all of whom are represented or mentioned within). What was lost on me was the early history, before AF and those guys. A new generation of kids after punk started up bands like The Stimulators and The Mad to get things going. Geographically, the book hangs out in the epicenter of the Lower East Side, but lots of territory is covered here, from discussions of outsiders reaction to NYHC, scene and neighborhood violence, to splitting factions, and the movers and shakers of record stores, labels and fanzines. The book is entirely constructed from quotes and makes reading a breeze. It is well edited and focused, as well a lot of subject matter is covered in a smooth flow. If you care about this music, then this book is a must-read. Thanks to Andy Crespo for flipping it my way. – Andujar

Surgeon Rare Tracks 95-96 12″ (SRX) and Unreleased Tracks 1995-96 2×12″ (SRX)
2015 was the year my ear started picking up on techno. The folks at Forced Exposure played so much of it that I started to recognize stuff when it would pop on. John Barera and Ali Berger (fine DJs and producers in their own right, as well as super-nice guys) turned me onto the work of 90s artist Surgeon. Two sets from 95 & 96 were released or re-released this year as Rare Tracks and Unreleased Tracks. This music is completely alien to me and that is part of why it sounds so fresh to me. The subtly shifting movements hold great appeal to my senses and the beats are steady and driving without being too noisy or too lame. There is a lot of well-constructed music in these pieces. We’re talking music that is 20 years old that I am hearing and enjoying for the first time. Much more relevant to have present on the market than another 25 retro-soul bands cashing in on plagiarism. There were a couple of other Surgeon reissues on SRX, but who can keep up with it all? Very cool sounds. – Andujar

Names You Can Trust releases
Alex Mendoza gets together with Max Weissenfeldt’s Poets of Rhythm for South American cumbia crossed with afro-funk on two banging tunes out on the NYC Trust imprint. Aside from the reviewed-below Mecánica Popular 45, another great recent batch from NYCT include Combo Chimbita (MAKU side project), disco & b-boy joints stamped “NY Hustlers”, Afro-Colombian pico transmitters Romperayo, a 10″ issue of some great Ticklah trax from a few years ago (including a dubby version of one of my fave Eddie Palmieri tunes, “Si Hecho Palante”) and a few other items I didn’t get to hear. Always a hot label, Names You Can Trust are just that. And they have a well-curated online distro (Independent Grand) you should be sure to spend some bones at. Swell guys too. – Andujar

La Mecánica Popular “Noche Triler”/”Montame En La Tormenta” 45 (Names You Can Trust)
This NYC band is another group mixing cumbia into salsa and delivering the sweet sounds to the new, hip audience that latin music has demanded (and has recently been unleashed). A lot of fun synth action and a noirish approach to the music is on display here, especially with a cumbia treatment of “Riders On The Storm” and the witty remake of “Thriller” that should have MJ wiggling around wherever he may be (likely North Korea). Dig on this puppy, an essential for your 45 box. – Andujar

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Spanglish Fly New York Boogaloo LP/CD (Chaco World Music)
Boogaloo revivalists Spanglish Fly deliver a quality album of latin soul for your dancing pleasure. “Bump & Let It Slide” is one of my fave groovy cuts of the year. There’s a revisiting of “Po-Po” (busted!), a tribute to the greatest Panamanian baseball pitcher of all time (“42”), a version of “This Land Is Your Land” and an ode to bicycle culture (“You wanna ride me?”). Some snazzy art by Mr Salsa Izzy Sanabria and fam, I am happy to finally see SF have a full length vinyl LP available to their retro-loving fans. – Andujar

Sun City Girls Torch of the Mystics reissue LP (Abduction)
Finally! A reissue of one of SCG’s best albums, a late 80s excursion into psychedelic punk, with a lot of Middle Eastern influence. This is shaman-core with highly irregular guitar stylings, vocals that sound like chant release therapy and some tricky rhythms. Some spaghetti western, gypsy and far east influences and the musical thrills add new dimensions. This is certainly a highlight of the underground rock scene of the time, yet there is a much bigger audience ready for it over 25 years later. It’s like opening a tomb and out flutters a butterfly, ready for a chance at another level of existence. Sun City Girls have always been the go-to jamband for punks and this re-release reminds us just how far advanced they were. – Andujar

Spiritual Jazz 6: Vocals 2xLP/CD (Jazzman)
I had spewed much about my disdain for the term “spiritual jazz”. I do, however, like the music associated. Generally it falls into the post-fire music, pre-fusion eras, with some overlap with both. So, civil rights, vegetarians, Motherland-consciousness, lots of electric piano, this music is often modal, with a revisionist appeal for people who come from the beathead generation. The so-called “spiritual jazz” may reflect deeply rare DIY productions or stuff from major labels when there was money going around by the bucketloads to record all types of things. It all started with Trane, Mingus, Roach and Pharaoh (basic reference points, mind you). The Jazzman series has generally been pretty cool, with a good mix of vibes from around the world. Personally, I have always been deep with my jazz and this series has turned me onto a good amount of material of which I was unfamiliar. For novices, the series is good stuff. Now about this vocally-themed edition. I don’t usually prefer vocals in my jazz, unless they really stand out in some particular way (think Patty Waters, Linda Sharrock, Jeanne Lee, Billie Holiday, June Tyson). Often times they annoy with some hippy-dippy bullshit or some sultry stuff that take away from vibe of the music. And a lot of times it almost feels like the vocals are inserted into the music for commercial appeal. Fortunately, this volume has some of the best vocalists of the movement represented here. Andy Bey is featured with Gary Bartz (on the rap-sampled “Celestial Blues”). Bey is a unique stylist and a fascinating and uplifting story with his own bio. Regardless of background, his quivering and commanding soulful voice adds a level of conviction to Bartz’ music that dare I say HELPS the sound. Of course, I like Bartz’ music but it is a case where Bey actually enhances everything overall. He can also be heard on a great Max Roach album called “Members Don’t Git Weary”, as well on his own productions. (And he is still active and engaging today.) Another very unique stylist comes in the name of Brother Leon Thomas, heard often with the likes of Pharoah Sanders, Santana and others. “Prince of Peace” is from Pharoah’s Izipho Zam album, recorded in the same brilliant stretch of time as his classic run on Impulse. Thomas’ stylings add a distinct yodel feature and travels along ancient songlines. He appears on many Pharoah albums in this style, as well as putting in a great performance on the Japanese recordings with Santana in the mid 70s. His own releases are also not to be missed. Another great vocalist featured here is Abbey Lincoln. Severely unfortunate editing has her down to a minute-and-a-half snippet. But even the power and command of her voice burst through in that short segment. Really, the album that it came from, Max Roach’s We Insist! Freedom Now Suite is one of the most crucial albums of both this “spiritual” jazz thing, as well as the soundtrack and attitude of the civil rights movement. The 1960 album combines explicit race politics, protest, pan-Africanism, the emotional ups & downs of the struggle and some fiercely swinging music. That incredible document shows Lincoln as a powerhouse, and a pioneer in such expressive pipe-blasting sounds. To give her such a short sample on this collection is a problem in my book. The Clifford Jordan track here is mostly a tenor feature with a chant vocal, but I’ll be damned if it ain’t a killer piece of classic music. The rest of the stuff ranges from an out-of-context and largely unnecessary Mingus cut, some empowered youth musicians, a bit of gospel/choir type stuff, all set to some decent to excellent 70s jazz background (although often times the music stands tall above the vocal contribution). All in all, it’s a cool effort to do a vocal theme on the Spiritual Jazz series. Hey Jazzman, let’s do an Arabesque themed one next! – Andujar

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Rizan Said King of Keyboard CD (Annihaya)
It’s a shame that American rednecks want to keep talent like this out of “their” country, ya know with Rizan being an evil Syrian and all, because this is some highly dexterous synth control. Apparently those chaw-chewin’, gun totin’, ‘Murica-defendin’, cousin-screwin’ honky illiterates see more artistic value in the likes of Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan blasting from their John Deere tractors or we woulda had a much easier time with intercultural relations ’round these here parts. This is the kind of nasty keyboard work that could set fire to a million barns within just one tune. Formerly with Omar Souleyman, word was that Said was fired for wanting to step out into his own career. But with some ear candy as this we can all be believers. Everything is Korg here, including the rhythms. Tell cousin Billy Bob his new sound has arrived in a package from Syria (via Seattle). Trust me, he will get excited right before your eyes. I hope there will be a vinyl edition. – Andujar

Psychedelic Cumbia CD (World Music Network)
Just what the doctor ordered! Bongohead did a great job on selecting the tunes for this, from deeper rare grooves of 70s Peru and Colombia, to a fine selection of not only some of the most well known cumbia bands around the world today, but a few more obscure ones. My personal faves of these newer ensembles are Chile’s Anarkia Tropikal (punk-infusion into their psych-cumbia), Sonido Gallo Negro (with theremin!), Money Chicha (members of Brownout coming through with a Turkish-inspired joint), Chicha Libre’s version of Love’s “Alone Again Or”, Frente Cumbiero’s collab with dub wizard Mad Professor. But, of course, MAKU SoundSystem bring the heaviest and craziest psychedelic jam with their take on the Colombian folkloric “Canto Negro”. This is some huayauasca-altered madness and an excellent selection! (CD and digi avail, LP out in 2016). – Andujar

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The Alchemystics For The Future… CD (self released)
The Alchemystics (what a fucking great band name, huh?!?) have long been one of the most popular bands on the East Coast. A mix of reggae, rock, soul and hiphop is the basis of this band’s music, a style that is easily digestible but not for the disappearance of any quality whatsoever. An exhilarating live band, they have rocked stages all over the place, put out a bunch of albums and through the years have committed themselves to a proper balance of activism and party-rocking. Indeed, the two ideas are merged perfectly on their recent album. The strength of the band lies in the versatility of musical concepts, including several vocalists complementing each other as a team. The music can be sweet or militant, the grooves always bouncing and the lyrics are well thought out. What makes this album difficult to consider, on a personal level, is due to the thoughts of mortality that surface within this band’s community. The founder/producer/drummer Demse Zullo (a friend of ours) never lived to see the album’s completion (so close, yet…) due to a van accident that claimed his (and another) life earlier this year. But listening to the album you can hear everything the band expresses and its a nice final piece to the active musical life of our fallen friend. Moving forward, this Massachusetts-based group continues to show a dedication to hard work and resilience. – Andujar

Brian Ellis “Peg”/”Dream Wave” 45 (Austin Boogie Crew)
What is this? Only another fabulous cover version. Synth and vocoder boogie action on a looney version of Steely Dan’s “Peg”. This is why I like 45s. Because you can drop a fun party platter like this to bring the attention up to a more inclusive appreciation of wigged-out shit on your dancefloor. Familiar songs help with that magic. The A-side alone is worth the price, which is good because the B-side does nothing for me. – Andujar

Fumaça Preta 45 (Soundway)
This band is one of the best and most fucked-up groups I’ve heard in the last ten years. Between the singles on Music With Soul and the fantastic album on Soundway last year, I have become a big fan and can’t wait to see them live. They seemingly have zero regard for convention, yet the stew is highly musical. This band proves to deliver a driving, raw energy to deliriously sick grooves. “La Trampa” is a stomper with some psych action. Black Sabbath-meets-70s Arab pop with a punk-funaná feel. “Apêlo” sounds like a grunge tune from an alternate universe with afro-latin percussion sections. The lead vocalist sounds demented and a harmony singer pops through the muck. One of the best bands operating out there. By every possible definition of tag, this is truly psychedelic music. It is kind-of low-brow, yet in the best possible way. This is highly original and nasty as fuck. – Andujar

The Bamboos The Best of the Tru Thoughts Years digital anthology (Tru Thoughts)
One of Australia’s coolest and grooviest outfits have provided so many great moments down the road and many of them are presented on this overview. A few highlights: the straight cover of The Winstons break classic “Amen”, the incredibly sublime indie pop/soul tune “I Got Burned” w/ Tim Rogers, tunes with some of the best soul singers in the game (such as Kylie Auldist and Alice Russell), a couple of remixes and this release makes for a nice catch. “Like Tears In Rain” is missing, but you can’t have every great moment twice I guess. – Andujar

Kamasi Washington The Epic 3xLP/3xCD (Brainfeeder)
Everybody has been talking up this record. When (serious) jazz heads are telling me it’s a good one, I take note. This guy, along with a village of an ensemble, has made a sprawling record of early 70s-inspired jazz with some gospel, afro and freer elements. The vibe reminds me of some Alice Coltrane records, the choir vocals remind me of period albums by Andrew Hill & Max Roach that employed the concept…and hell, it reminds me of a LOT of stuff from early in that decade. A must for all the so-called “spiritual jazz” fans looking for a fresh hit, a possible new reach for Kendrick Lamar fans (Kamasi was part of the crew on the 2015 Pimp hit) and an exciting addition to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label. All in all, I can say to my ears it’s very retro but it stacks up favorably to any new jazz release I heard this year. I enjoy this kind of music any day of the week, and while there’s not much new added to the game, it’s still an excellent record. It’s just so damn long…………………… – Andujar

Nicolas Jaar Nymphs 12″s (Other People)
Some of the most gorgeously weird ambient pop I’ve heard in some time. There was a series of Nymphs 12″ers (I have II & III), as well as a full length soundtrack work. This is very cool stuff, laid back yet still rhythmic. More for listening while stoned or maybe for a Balearic type set. A very interesting young man of Palestinian & Chilean background, making some relevant experimental music for millennial headnodders. Or whoever else enjoys it, I certainly do. Good stuff. But man, can these multi-RPM records cause confusion. – Andujar

Time Is Fire digital EP (Electric Cowbell)
Track one reminds me of Gang of Four’s brand of burning funk. “Joy brings joy, violence brings violence.” There is some cool phased, desert-informed guitar on “Fetneh”. “100 Pieces” reminds me of Fugazi in the rhythm dept. (Brendan Canty produced.) This is a cool EP, some fresh and spirited post-punk with African, Middle Eastern, dub and funk influences. I dig the Bowie-esque vocal delivery. Can’t wait to see this DC group live! – Andujar

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Koji Kondo 45 (Do Jo Music)
A 7″ reissue of the original Nintendo theme music to the Super Mario Brothers game from 1986. Nintendo took a chance on the young and completely unknown composer in ’83 for the Punch Out! game and he went on to create the music for some of the most popular games. This limited orange vinyl issue sold out weeks before arrival at the distributor and only because I was working there at the time did I get to acquire a copy. A blast from the past. If there is a Legend of Zelda album, I want it. – Andujar

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Mutamassik Symbols Follow LP (Discrepant)
Middle Eastern percussion bring some roots to the game, while the strings and electronics are creatively woven together, whether in a more rhythmic or a more abstract minimal piece. There is a lot of improvisation here with cello, bass, turntables, etc and the hiphop and noise influences can be heard as well as snatches of Egyptian orchestra music. It all plays like a poetic and experimental stew of sounds, be they hard and forceful or playfully dark. Mutamassik’s music may be highly original and personal, but it still reminds me in spots of Muslimgauze. I love the cover art. – Andujar

Tito Chicoma Guanguanco Con Tito Chicoma LP & 45 (Abanico)
Nice hard, raw salsa from Peru. A few cover tunes, a boogaloo, cool colored vinyl and a hip release overall. Good job! Also, check out the Los Kintos release on this label. – Andujar

Joshua Abrams Magnetoception 2xLP (Eremite)
Every release from Chicago improviser Abrams delivers music of cosmic ethnographic sublimity. Musically akin to the likes of Don Cherry and later William Parker (both of whom percussionist Hamid Drake is deeply connected to), this artist and his ensemble utilize various folk instruments (guimbri, harmonium, harp, frame drum and more) to create a river of improvised sound that travels the ancient songlines, picking up African and Asian elements along the way. There is some nice African desert-sounding guitar in the mix as well. Abrams is one of the key figures in the contemporary improvisers world. He’s traveled some distance since his days as bass player with The Roots. – Andujar

Orquesta el Macabeo 45/ LP/ live/ good guys!
This Puerto Rican big band plays a punk-inspired brand of salsa that doesn’t let up. Tight and brassy progressive sounds with a fun angle on everything. Aside from their 7″ on VampiSoul (covering a different Basque punk band on each side, salsa style), they also saw a first-time-on-vinyl issue of their awesome 2011 album El Entierro. But even better was doing two shows with these killers in Richmond and DC when they came Stateside in Sept. Not only are they fucking great live but they are helluva fun and hip dudes. – Andujar

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Shokazoba One Destiny CD (self released)
Shokazoba have released a killer funk record with well-written topical lyrics, excellent production (courtesy of Mark Alan Miller) and sweet cover art. Tight, extended hornlines to go with some searing guitar, polyrhythmic bliss and urgent subject matter. A blend of instrumentals and lead vocals from three different voices, everything here is well done. One of the best funk/afrobeat large ensembles out there. – Andujar

The Sword High Country 2xLP/CD (Razor & Tie)
This Austin TX stoner metal band has grown popular through the years, embarking on tours with Metallica and selling a lot of albums. The person who first turned me onto this band several years ago was none other than the man who produced this brand new album, Adrian Quesada (Brownout, ex-Grupo Fantasma). Their sound emits a sweetness, yet always hard rocking. One can detect some pretty classic influences, some Thin Lizzy here, some country there…and a shit ton of Sleep and Black Sabbath, of course. This feels rootsy and very accessible. Great sound! Yet another band I need to make a point of seeing live on stage. – Andujar

Hemlines All Your Homes CS/digital (DZ Tapes)
This DC band provides an enjoyable brand of punk, garagey and melodic, with some snarling delivery. “The Bear” is highly rocking and is probably my favorite from a musical perspective. The lyrics of “Agenda” (another excellent tune) submit a demand of rights to voice, a gender-politic statement of urgency. #cassettesmatterAndujar

Buyepongo Maestros 45 (Soul Fiesta)
Hip LA band with a nice 7″ here, mine with a cool screen-printed sleeve. Cumbia tribute to their heroes on side A, and a lovely afro-latin jazzy song for Mulatu (with a touch of funky Sun Ra spirit even?) on the B-side. Very good shit! – Andujar

Corrupt Leaders Grindmother digital EP (7″ out soon)
Because who doesn’t like a 67-year old female grindcore vocalist? – Andujar

Container LP (Spectrum Spools)
There are two major musical traits that draw me to techno: The first is the use of loops, and the unlimited amount of ways to speak minimally but say a lot through sound. The second is the possibility for acceptably aggressive sounds within that river of rhythm. In the last few years I started hearing some distorted techno shit that appeals to the noise freak in me. Container’s LP was a big seller for Spectrum Spools and the music is rudely fucking cool. This is more warped than noisy, although a playful “fuck you” spirit is along for the ride. I remember Ren Schofield when he hosted us on tour in Philly a few years ago, he was gracious enough to make pizza after pizza after pizza for the folks at the house party. With all the traveling he does now, we can only hope that people are making them for him. With this pleasingly nasty offering, he certainly deserves a slice. – Andujar

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Sello Regional releases
A nice discovery I made this year was that of the Sello Regional digimprint out of Santiago, Chile. They offer some bangin’ electronic music, with a lot of cumbias and moombahtons among the selections. Good stuff from Lascivio Bohemio, Dat Garcia, Andre Digital (digital bass collab with a plena musician), the folktronica of Vruno, and Barda (she also plays guitar in rock band Cumbia Penetrante). European duo Coconutah & KayGee’s Kaleidoscopio BHO offers up some cool stoner cumbia. The Accordion Bass album by Colombian artist Don Alex feels a lot less darker than some of the other vibes. His music brings some elements of funk (“Calidoso”), lounge-hop, dancehall, dubstep and pop to the cumbia and electro. Built around accordion and inspired by Los Tigres del Norte. There is a tuba present on a few tunes. There’s some interesting stuff on Sello Regional, although some of it leans very heavily toward hard electronica. It would be cool to see a vinyl comp of some of the best. – Andujar

Titfield Thunderbolt 2×7″ (Steady Sounds)
Some bizarre shit coming our way via the awesome record store Steady Sounds with this lovingly warped ensemble from Richmond, Virginia. This double 7″ includes original 1971 recordings of scuzzy (improvised?) stuff, as well as unreleased material. The package is quite deluxe for the proto-punk oddity that it is. The music? I don’t know, maybe kinda like The Fugs? It might be sold out by now (300 copies were pressed), but the only way to know would be to venture into Steady Sounds and peruse their tasteful selection and see if Marty’s got another one. – Andujar

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Polyversal Souls Invisible Joy 2xLP/CD (Philophon)
Your favorite new collectible 45 label has an inspired full length out now from producer Max Weissenfeldt (Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Bros). His Polyversal Souls music is Afro-temperature heat, with magic melted right into the grooves. A stanky hot mix of Ethiopian, reggae, afrobeat, organic hiphop, Sun Ra-inspired afro-jazz, and psychedelic funk in blissful excursions. All of the songs are fairly short but packed with polyrhythmic power. This producer has taken a world-informed inspirational base and made a powerful statement that is immediately recognizable to the senses as a Whitefield project. This makes a nice companion to go with The Whitefield Brothers fantastic Earthology album from a few years back. All killer, no filler. Hailu Mergia (who makes an appearance on the album) and Idris Ackamoor (Afro-funky space-jazz) had their own groovy 45s on Philophon as well. – Andujar

Fanfare Ciocarlia vs G-Flux Alili 45 (Electric Cowbell)
A jumping Balkan brass cumbia of the popular “Alilili”, given a work-over by G-Flux. This is a great 45 to have for the dancefloor, part psychedelic cumbia, part banda, with some fun dub effects. Great cover sleeve too. Have fun! – Andujar

Amanaz Africa 2015 RSD reissue with alternate mix (Now Again)
This dark afro-rock group released Africa around 75 or so, as the economy in Zambia was collapsing pretty quickly. I always get a kick out of “History Of Man”, as it sounds like proto-black metal. This is a double album version that came out for Record Store Day (Allah knows what an overblown collection of garbage these RSD sections have become). The alternate “reverb” mix is very cool and makes it sound like a totally different album. Good idea to release it this way. – Andujar

Rasputin’s Stash s/t CD reissue (Aurora)
The Rasputin’s Stash album is a classic and long a fave of mine. Surely it is due for a vinyl reissue ASAP. “Your Love Is Certified” is stone funky, “I’d Like To Know You Better” has a straight up be-bop sax solo, “Mr Cool” was sampled by Beck (“High Five In The Catskills”)…”you can’t see my eyes, unless my head is bent” and other great lyrics. The whole album is great, like the first Parliament album that it may remind you of. – Andujar

Ubiquity releases
The haul from Ubiquity this year included the second disco-toasted album by Bosq (reviewed elsewhere in this article), a way-cool 70s-Miles inspired jazz-funk album (Dimensions) by Baast, gritty funk/soul from Soul Surfers (purportedly from Russia), the Mighty Sceptres on a vinyl LP (“Siren Call” is one of the better tunes of the recent retro-soul universe), another nice Shawn Lee/Adrian Quesada collab (Electric Peanut Butter Co.), an afrobeat band from Poland (Warsaw Afrobeat Orchestra Wéndelu album) and a badly needed (again) repress of Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath. And that says nothing about some gorgeous soul sounds from the late Gloria Ann Taylor. The Taylor anthology, titled Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing, collects some rare private press gospel, soul and funk produced in the late 60s/70s. There’s an ultra-groovy version of Dolly’s “Jolene” in here that is a highlight for me. Totally worthy. – Andujar

Mamman Sani Abdoulaye Unreleased Tapes 1981-84 LP (Sahel Sounds)
The always intriguing Sahel Sounds returns with some unheard early 80s material of this organ music from Niger. This is very, very cool. Dude’s looking pretty fly on the cover. We get some eerie, dronish stuff with beats straight from the magic music box. Some of it almost reminds me of when Timmy Thomas and I took some acid and Jetson’d it to the Sahara for a sing-along version of “Why Can’t We Live Together” at a cannibal feast. But I don’t think that actually happened, gets hard to remember these things. This imprint also released, among other treats, a nice album by guitarist Mdou Moctar, a soundtrack to a film production. The cover to that one looks like a Purple Rain knock-off. Recommended grooves. – Andujar

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Peru Boom!: Bass, Beeps & Bumps from Peru’s Electronic Underground 2xLP/CD (Tiger’s Milk)
There’s a lot of cool futuristic tropical music coming from South America these days, and this comp showcases some of the Peruvian electro/bass business emanating from home studios and club sound systems. There’s a lot of cumbia, but also some dubstep, house, etc. Rolovo’s folk-infused house is very nice. The tecno-chicha of Chakruna’s “Sonidero Chichero” is spicy. Piraña Sound System has a samba rhythm and some lovely guitar. – Andujar

Henry Stone’s Miami Sound 2xLP/CD (Athens of the North)
WOW! Some amazing tracks pulled together here from the legendary Henry Stone and his Miami sound. A diverse crate of obscure 45s, spanning conscious funk, island-inflected soul, stone-to-the-bone raw R&B, sunny disco. It’s just mind-boggling to think this all came out of one storefront in Hialeah! Of special interest here are sick slabs of soul and funk from Little Beaver, Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne, Raphael Munnings (and his band, The Beginning of the End), Willie Johnson, and a stone classic from T-Connection. Essential for understanding one aspect of America’s regional funk scene in the 70s, and how it impacted musical culture worldwide in the coming decades. Required research, but also a great party tool. – DJ Bongohead

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The Soul Motivators Free To Believe LP (Do Right)
Wow! This is sick funk! Right from the git-go with Toronto’s The Soul Motivator’s first tune “Free To Believe” you know you’re on a psychedelic soul trip. Love Lydia Persaud’s vocals on this tune. Over all, vintage sounds pervade in an urban melting-pot style that reflects Toronto’s diversity and bountiful pockets of cultural richness. So we have positive vibes that espouse freedom all the while bouncing along to some dag nasty soul. My man Pierre Cretien of Canada’s Souljazz Orchestra is at the mixing helm, helping the band realize their full potential. We got everything here, from Blaxsploitation sounds and Funkadelia to sunny Caribbean afro-soul. Sure gets steamy way up North! If you like Monophonics, Brownout, Amy Winehouse, and Sharon Jones, this band will motivate your soul, and then some! – DJ Bongohead

Nat Birchall Invocations LP/CD (Jazzman)
Deep spiritual tunes from Birchall – transports you to another plane and another time when this type of composition and playing was the new vanguard. That’s not to say this is old-hat, quite the contrary, I’m so glad it never went away, and that there’s music like this being made today by someone who has been there, done that, and brings all his soul and spirit to bear at the proceedings. You can’t just pretend when you make this kind of music; you don’t mess with the spirits, you have a dialog and then let them work through you, and every tune here invokes this principle in a heady way. Top notch performances from all in the ensemble make for a special cohesiveness and power that makes this album a must have. Old free jazzers may say it’s derivative or brings nothing new to the table, but they’d be misguided in that particular assessment! Not something to listen to on the run; you need to sit down to this and experience it, like the best of the ‘Tranes (John and Alice), the preacher Albert Ayler and the Pharaoh. —DJ Bongohead

Buffalo Brothers Fresh From The Horn LP (self released)
Super hot party funk, fresh natural beats with a nice touch of afro feeling topped by tight horns and tasty guitar licks. A must for DJs and groov-a-delic party soundtracks. Fits right in with favorite like-minded outfits Jungle Fire, Antibalas, Kokolo, Breakestra, Daptones, Cactus Channel, and Orgone. – DJ Bongohead

Feeling Nice, vol 3 2xLP (Tramp)
Tramp has done it again with the latest offering in their always dope series of dusty raw 60s/70s funk and soul, Feeling Nice, Vol. 3. Super hard, tight underground should-be-classic cuts, the folks at Tramp do the digging for you! Watch out because “I Get My Kicks” is a MONSTER, as is a James Brown-meets-the-islands sounding burner “Stand Up (Baby)” by St. John and the sticky Jamaican-ized version of “It’s Your Thing” from Oladepo Ogomodede. And close to my heart, there’s a chicken song! Can’t go wrong with funk+chicken=head bobbin’ greasy goodness. Just when you thought the basements, flea markets and back rooms would not yield another buried treasure, the latest volume of Feeling Nice provides ample proof that there’s more out there! – DJ Bongohead

Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators Happiness In Every Style LP/CD (Timmion)
Aptly titled Happiness In Every Style the new Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators delivers handsomely on its promise of diverse flavors and good vibes. Classic natural analog soul/funk with a blues-inflected edge. Love Ms. Willis, always have, and it’s great to hear a whole album of new, mostly upbeat material, like the first track “One In A Million”. Sweet as a cinnamon bun, fresh as sunshine, uplifting and effortlessly soulful, and yet the darker side of things is always just under the surface, like Nicole’s predecessors, Ms. Nina or Aretha. Stand out tracks for me are “Let’s Communicate”,  “Together We Climb” and “Angel” – simply amazing. Make no mistake though, this is every bit as much an album about the music, as there are some nice down-tempo instrumentals from backing band The Soul Investigators – the slinky “Bad Vibrations” and the Joe Bataan Latin soul strutter “Vulture’s Prayer” and the humorous food-oriented “Hot Sauce” featuring what sounds like Nicole advertising her “home cooking” prowess (which I believe I’ve heard before?). – DJ Bongohead

Black Feeling, Volume 3 LP/CD (Freestyle)
Always a fan of groovy cover versions, so this new edition to the Black Feeling comp series from Freestyle is right up my alley, especially since most of the tunes here are lone time personal faves in the original (“Brothers On The Slide” being a case in point). One of my most beloved jams of all time is Bataan’s interpretation of Deodato’s “Latin Strut”, so it’s quite a fun experience to hear Esperanto’s version that subs in a vintage synth for the sax part. While most of these versions are great but don’t stray too far from the style of the original, it’s always cool to find a cover of something from another genre. Doing Bowie’s “Life On Mars” as a Latin Hustle is brilliant and no doubt if he were in his Thin White Duke phase still, Bowie would approve. Again with the sick vintage synths! Some of the tunes are a bit too acid jazz or fusion/smooth for my taste, but looking at it from another angle, it just makes the range and variety more appealing in that there’s something here for every head. – DJ Bongohead

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Cecilia Noel Havana Rocks LP (Compass)
Lima, Perú-born, L.A.-based Renaissance woman Cecilia Noël continues to push boundaries and delight fans with her original and ground-breaking take on Cuban-derived Latin dance music. On her latest release, Havana Rocks, she brings authentic, made-in-Havana instrumentation and arrangements to her own refreshing reading of classic 70s/80s rock, New Wave and pop tunes. However, unlike some Latin pop salsa romántica with English lyrics, Ms. Noël’s interpretation of how to cover gringo rock tunes differs from your Ricky Martins and J-Los in that Havana Rocks does just that: it rocks out! And way down in its soul, the record’s still resolutely Cuban too. Noël describes her style as “hard-core salsa” and feels she is more of a “punk salsa singer” so it’s quite fitting that she revisits the punk and New Wave era for this outing.
With Havana Rocks Noël and her fun-loving band make truly hybrid music that feels honest, real, and playful at the same time. At first glance, skeptics might balk at AC/DC done as salsa – is this some sort of hipster exercise in irony, a corny nostalgic gimmick to cash in on Buena Vista’s coattails, or just an embarrassing continuation of the Yankee Imperialist project to dilute “pure” Cuban music? One listen will silence critics as they start to move to the familiar melodies buoyed along by the infectious tropical grooves. The amazing thing is Ms. Noël fully integrates the contrasting elements of Latin and rock in a bi-cultural, organic union that is both pleasingly danceable and satisfyingly confident, where similarities and affinities are highlighted to cunning effect (it helps that the tunes are bi-lingual and that snippets of equally classic Cuban songs are melded seamlessly onto the Anglo tunes). A case in point is her imaginative re-working of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” that fits her hard-core son cubano treatment like a leather glove. Yet the question of cultural imperialism with Havana Rocks, if there is any, is more around an interesting reversal of sorts – the viewpoint is resolutely looking outward from the island at the larger “90 miles” world beyond the “Mango Curtain,” where the rock element is merely a jumping off point for something deeper (literally in the instance of her brilliant version of Van Halen’s “Jump”). When Brit synth-pop icon Gary Numan’s originally ennui-infused “Here In My Car” is done within the context of Cuban history, it takes on a whole other meaning, enriching the album with sociological layers that belie the notion that salsa is only for the feet. Perhaps it is Noël’s own outsider immigrant perspective that facilitates this richness. Whatever the case, her special blend goes together like Havana Club rum and Coca-Cola.
In a time of ever-warming relations between Cuba and the US, this release is indeed timely and hopefully is a harbinger of our putting a more positive, collaborative spin on our shared past history and future destinies. As a vinyl fan and DJ who only plays wax, my own desires were answered when Noël’s label heeded the public’s petitions and came out with this vinyl edition in October, 2015. In a way it’s only fitting since the tunes covered on the album originally came out in that very same timeless format. (Hey label folks, any chance Cecilia’s 2009 release, ¡A Gozár! will be reissued on vinyl?!?). My advice is snap Havana Rocks up while you can and shake all night long, or as we say in Cuba, ¡Sacúdanse toda la noche!--DJ Bongohead

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Bosq Celestial Strut 2xLP (Ubiquity)
The long awaited 2nd LP, from Boston’s Bosq! This came with a heavy helping of hype, since his first album (Bosq Y Orchestra De Madera) has been a constant fixture in my gig bag since it’s release in 2013. There isn’t a more versatile record in recent memory, than Bosq’s debut, with jams going down well for house heads, lovers of funky Afro-Cuban music, smooth jams for dinnertime at weddings, and even a dancehall monster that mainstream audiences stay in step to. So, when Bosq dropped his first single for the second album, expectations were enormous, and expectations were met. This was his collaboration with soul singer Nicole Willis, “Bad For Me”. “Bad For Me” is Bosq’s biggest dance floor jam to date, a catchy groover which blends comfortably with house, pop, or funk. He followed up with a two sided killer, riding the line between afrobeat and afrohouse, “Take Over” / “Bounce and Pull Up”. “Take Over” reunites with Nigerian singer and guitarist Kaleta, known for playing with Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, and Lauryn Hill, as well as his own records. “Bounce and Pull Up” marks the return of Evan LaFlamme and reminds us why we fell in love with LaFlamme’s Afro influenced saxophone on Bosq’s first album. Finally this 2xLP drops, bringing us eight more brand new songs, in addition to the three on the singles. Kaleta joins on two more cuts, the afrobeat banger “Pay The Price”, and the mid tempo groover ‘Liars & Thieves Dub”. Another exciting surprise is a return from Massachusetts salsa superstar Jesus Pagan for the song “Ella”, a mixable mid tempo salsa groover to work well for both salsa and funk crowds. Nu-disco and R&B fans will dig the driving “Found Your Love”, featuring vocals from Kuyen. Not a disappointing track on the 2xLP. A must have at the top of my 2015 list. – Studebaker Hawk

Sasac Talking God 12″ (Alliance Upholstery)
Another dose of balearic synth for Alliance Upholstery’s sophomore release. Sweden’s Sasac takes you back to the 80s for a leisurely drive at the bottom of the ocean. Clocking in at only 84BPM, this is a necessary addition for DJs seeking super slow mixable tracks. Featuring remixes by Eddie C, Benedek, and Alex Israel, and pressed on 180g vinyl. Special mention goes to Israel for giving it the transformation into mid tempo hypnotic Detroit techno. – Studebaker Hawk

Plastic Fantastic Balearic Beat digital EP (Miami Sundown)
Silky smooth vibes on the aptly named Balearic Beat EP from Norway’s Plastic Fantastic. The title track is a must spin for DJs digging deep house and balearic. Close your eyes and see the end titles scrolling by, while our heroes’ space ship glides past alien worlds on the way to their next adventure. On the flip we find “Computer Love”. Fans of Library synth will feel like this is the Bruton they must’ve missed. Gorgeous synth to feel like you’re suiting up for an 80s cop flick. – Studebaker Hawk

Will Martin and John Barera 1,2,3 (Feels Right) 12″ (Argot)
The Boston boys are back with 4 new house gems for the dance floor. My go-to is the killer jackin house of “Spin Cycle”. Chopping up acid stabs for a trip back to 1988, making you lose it on the dance floor. Smoothing things out, the title track “1,2,3 (Feels Right)” gives a nod to Mr. Fingers and the deep house of yesterday. Solid 12″ for the working house DJ and lovers of electronic music. – Studebaker Hawk

John Heckle Trema EP 12″ (Mathematics Recordings) – Four beautiful spaced-out tracks from one of my favorite active producers. This record has a light touch–even the pressing is quiet but it suits the music perfectly. Heckle creates his own harmonic language and expresses himself clearly in it. – Ali Berger

Frequency Adjustments Volume /1 CS/digital (Cerberus Future Technologies)
I just found this today but it’s so dope I had to include it. Ten off-the-cuff straight-to-VHS jams from Manchester’s Ste Spandex under several different names. Each track renders another cool idea in a friendly and fun way. – Ali Berger

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2AM/FM s/t 2xLP/digital (Bopside)
I wrote a really long review of this album that I’ll condense here. The record sounds like producers JTC and D’Marc Cantu decided to portray a pair of rich kids having a night out in the city in the future. It’s vivid and bright and you can watch it like a movie. – Ali Berger

Jamal Moss 4 This Is My Gherkin Life Vol 3 CDr (Mathematics Recordings)
Moss AKA Hieroglyphic Being comes beyond correct with this album. He turns chaos into meditation. His patience is heroic. Eight tracks of compelling contradiction. There is no substitute! – Ali Berger

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Rolando Bruno Bailazo LP/CD (Voodoo Rhythm Records)
Bailazo is a full blast psychedelic cumbia, chicha and Cumbia Amazónica.  Rolando Bruno is not messing around with his guitar sound, Enrique Delgado would be proud. The record sounds like it came straight out of the Peruvian jungle or LIMA in the 1970s. He brings it with style, class and respect to all the classic Peruvian cumbia and chicha bands of the golden era. Los Mirlos, Los Wemblers, Los Destellos, Los Shapis, & Grupo Celeste, you can hear it all. Best track: “Supermercado Chino”. – León City Sounds

The Lions Soul Riot 2×12″/CD (Stones Throw)
The Lions came together again to drop another classic platter of “dusty reggae soul” with Soul Riot. Classic roots reggae that you might think came out of Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle in the 1970s. The horn and rhythm sections are tight! Plus, the cover of The Clash “The Magnificent Seven” with Black Shakespeare is pure fire. Best Track: “Going Nowhere” ft Alex Désert”. – León City Sounds

Conjunto Papa Upa “El Jalabolismo”/”Apriétalo” 45 (Music With Soul)
Conjunto Papa Upa hit you with Venezuelan polyrhythmic grooves mixed with the psychedelic cumbia sounds of Colombia, Peru and Brazil. We played “Apriétalo” during our DJ set for Los Wemblers at Tropicalia. We looked over and Los Wemblers were getting down to “Apriétalo”. If the kings of cumbia amazónica like it, then you know, Conjunto Papa Upa are the real deal. – León City Sounds

Los Wemblers, La Inédita, and Viento Callejero live
The three best live bands León City saw in 2015: Los Wemblers at Tropicalia (Washington DC). What can you say?  They are the kings of cumbia amazónica. They blew the roof off the place for two hours and showed the crowd how it is done. Clip from the show at Tropicalia.
La Inédita at Bier Baron (Washington DC). La Inédita are a new band coming out of Lima, Peru.  They mix chicha with ragamuffin and dancehall. Peru meets Jamaica.  Check them out.
Viento Callejero at Haydees (Washington DC). They are coming out of LA with The drummer from Chicano Batman and they rolled into DC with a fury. They mix Peruvian chicha, cumbia Colombiana, son montuno, merengue, reggae, dancehall, funk, and rock. Here is a clip of them live at 2015 Smithsonian Folklife Festival for Peru. – León City Sounds

15 live music events I had a great time at in 2015:
Death/Downtown Boys at Middle East (Cambridge MA)
Orquesta el Macabeo/Bio Ritmo/Miramar at The Broadberry (Richmond VA)
Orquesta el Macabeo at Tropicalia (Washington DC)
Jungle Fire at Lincoln Center (NYC)
Shuggie Otis at The Sinclair (Cambridge MA)
MAKU/Red Baraat/Antibalas and others at Green River Festival (Greenfield MA)
Big Mean Sound Machine/Mosaic Foundation/Smackdab and others at Great Blue Heron (Sherman NY)
Dehli 2 Dublin and others at Clearwater Festival (Croton-on-Hudson NY)
Klezperanto at Arts Block (Greenfield MA)
Albino! at The Chapel (San Francisco CA)
Hailu Mergia and others at Secret Planet Drom (NYC)
Dan Friel/Davey Harms at Deep Thoughts (Boston MA)
Los Hacheros at Nublu (NYC)
Brooklyn Rumba AllStars at Picture Farm (Brooklyn NY)
Orquesta Broadway at Lincoln Center (NYC)
-and more!! – Andujar

Dan Friel – Favorite Shows Of 2015Tyondai Braxton @ The Kitchen (NYC) / Giant Claw @ Our Wicked Lady (Brooklyn) / EMA @ PS1 (Queens) / Death @ All Tomorrows Parties Fest (Wales) / Holly Herndon @ All Tomorrows Parties Fest (Wales) / Metz @ Mutations Fest (Brighton, UK) / Islam Chipsy @ Le Guess Who Fest (Utrecht, Netherlands) / Lightning Bolt @ Button Factory (Dublin) / Sunwatchers @ Secret Project Robot (Brooklyn) / Alice Cohen @ Baby’s All Right (Brooklyn)

Ray Lugo Top Ten Tunes – Some of the tunes that captured my ear in 2015, great compositions with lots of feel in them…1) Red Axes – Papa Sooma (ft. Abrão)…2) Karriem Riggins – Summer Madness…3) Moh Kouyaté – Ten Vas Pas Ça Va Pas…4) Congo Natty – Nu Beginningz (Jinx in Dub Steppa Remix)…5) Tunji Oyelana – It’s Not Your Fault (Niks Edit)…6) SBTRKT – The Light ft. Denai Moore…7) Isaac Delusion – Midnight Sun…8) Farhot – Represent Heart…9) Raphael Gualazzi – Reality & Fantasy (Gilles Peterson Remix)…10) Chiwoniso – Zvichapera

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Glenn Siegel – 10 Jazz Favorites of 2015
Makaya McCravenIn the Moment (International Anthem)
Barry Altschul’s 3Dom FactorTales of the Unforeseen (TUM)
Mostly Other People Do the KillingMauch Chunk (Hot Cup)
Amir ElSaffarCrisis (Pi)
Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth, Epicenter (Clean Feed)
Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls (ACT)
Kamasi Washington, The Epic (Brainfeeder)
Ochion Jewell, VOLK (Mythology)
Steve ColemanSynovial Joints (Pi)
Satoko Fujii Tobira, Yamiyo Ni Karasu (Libra)

Camilo Rodriguez Faves From 2015: / Metá Metá MetaL MetaL (Goma Gringa Discos): Awesome Brasilian band, saw them live at Roskilde Denmark. Led by Kiko Dinucci (guitar), Juçara Marçal (vocals), Thiago França (sax), Marcelo Cabral (bass),Sergio Machado (drum set), and Samba Sam (Percussion). / Kiko Bun: He’s got a sweet rocksteady melody. I think he is from England! / Los Toscos: They did a cool record with Carmelo Torres, an amazing accordionist, one of the main Andres Landero apprentices. I think they are all trying to sound like Frente Cumbiero or Meridian Brothers, hahaha, but I think that is cool that they did this album with Carmelo who has not recorded much. / The Frightners: Cool NYC rocksteady. I think some of them are from Queens, awesome singer! / Bixiga 70: / Ferro Gaita: Amazing old school funaná from Cabo Verde. Got to see them last year in Cape Verde and this year in Roskilde, Denmark. / Very Be Careful: Saw them couple of times this year and is always amazing to see this punk attitude energy and amazing original music.
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Alex Figueira – Fave Shows of 2015:
Baba Commandant @ OCCII (Amsterdam, NL) / Mdou Moctar @ OCCII (Amsterdam, NL) / Meridian Brothers @ Paradiso (Amsterdam, NL) / Los Pirañas @ Incubate Festival (Tilburg, NL) / Nddaga Rhythm Force @ Clandestino Festival (Gothenburg, SWE) / Jessica Pratt @ Latitude Festival (Suffolk, UK) / Chouk Bwá Libete @ Roots Festival (Amsterdam, NL) / Stuff @ Eurosonic Festival (Groningen, NL) / Pharmakon @ Primavera Sound Festival (Barcelona, SP) / Golden Teacher @ Kilbi Festival (SWI)
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Jeff Hartford – Fave Shows of 2015:
1. the Rita @ Machines with Magnets / 2. Crystalline Roses (on my birthday) @ Row House / 3. Black Dog @ Heco’s / 4. A T & the Birds of Paradise (3 sets) @ the Wheelhouse / 5. Urochromes @ Flywheel / 6. Börn @ Flywheel / 7. 1%er @ the Firehouse / 8. Taboo in Hyde Park, Ma. / 9. Body/Head, Matt Krefting @ 13th Floor / 10. Jake Meginsky @ the Pencil Factory / 11. Cube, Fyoelk, Form a Log, Davey Harms, Mariana & the Texas Deaths, Shredded Nerve, Frank Hurricane, Vvaqart, etc. During Savage Weekend @ the Nightlight / 12. Wolf Eyes @ the Low Beat / 13. Russian Tsarlag @ One Bar & Grill / 14. Blue Shift @ the Dirt Palace
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Jonny Cobra faves of 2015Kamasi WashingtonThe EpicKendrick LamarTo Pimp a ButterflySupreme JubileesIt’ll All Be Over (70s funky gospel 2015 reissue)…MariahUtakata No Hibi (1983 Japanese weird pop 2015 reissue)
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Bill Lupoletti: Global A Go-Go Top Ten New Releases of 2015…1) Dengue Fever The Deepest Lake (Tuk Tuk)…2) Bixiga 70 III (Glitterbeat)…3) Tiken Jah Fakily Racines (Barclay)…4) Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band s/t (Strut)…5) Chico Trujillo Reina De Todas Las Fiestas (Barbés)…6) Samba Touré Gandadiko (Glitterbeat)…7) Souljazz Orchestra Resistance (Strut)…8) Fat Freddy’s Drop Bays (The Drop)…9) The Bluebeaters Everybody Knows (Record Kicks)…10) Quanqwa Volume Two (FPE)
Top Ten Compilations, Reissues and Historic Recordings…1) Thomas Mapfumo Lion Songs: Essential Tracks In The Making Of Zimbabwe (Lion Songs)…2) v/a Senegal 70: Sonic Gems & Previously Unreleased Recordings From The 70s (Analog Africa)…3) v/a Rough Guide To Psychedelic Cumbia (World Music Network)…4) Letta Mbulu In The Music The Village Never Ends (Be With)…5) v/a Next Stop Soweto, vol 4: Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco & Mbaqanga 1975-85 (Strut)…6) Dieuf-Dieul De Thiés Aw Sa Yone vol 2 (Teranga Beat)…7) Zdob si Zdub 20 De Veri (MediaPro Music)…8) ET Mensah & the Tempos King of Highlife anthology (RetroAfric)…9) v/a Big Box of Afrosound (Vampisoul/Peace & Rhythm)…10) Amara Touré 1973-80 (Analog Africa)
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Our Honorable Mention section is also known as the Didn’t Write Anything In Time section, but we still want to make note of other great albums that came out this year like Problemas by Grupo Fantasma (Blue Corn Music), Nation II Nation by A Tribe Called Red (Pirates Blend), Life by Dan Friel (Thrill Jockey), Juguya by Baba Commandant & the Mandingo Band (Sublime Frequencies), the self-titled and self-released LP by Quitapenas, the expanded reissue of David Toop’s Lost Shadows: In Defence Of The Soul (Yanomami Shamanism, Songs, Ritual 1978) (Sub Rosa), Carne Latina by Macumbia (digital album on Bandcamp), Resistance by Souljazz Orchestra (Strut), Respect by Ali Berger (Sweat Equity), a Chilean CD reissue of the 1998 gem Gonzalo Martinez y Sus Congas Pensantes (Plaza Independencia), a reissue of the super-rare Sound Advice by Pat Patrick (Art Yard), Ten Years Of Jazz & Milk label celebration release (Jazz & Milk), Quarter Street’s debut album (Hope Street Recordings), Yellow Dust by Bruce Ditmas (Finders Keepers), Shift & Shadow 12″ by XIXA (Barbés), American Dreamers by People’s Champs (3rd Generation), the new St Germain (Warners), excellent 45s by Breakdown Brass (Kept), the funky Ohio label Colemine Records, the electro-cumbia 45s on Discos Más, the Alice Coltrane tribute 12″ by Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra (Gondwana), the Money Chicha 45 (Alphabet) and of course the Andy Crespo 12″ (Feeding Tube). Our apologies to people who sent us stuff and its not here, there were too many to keep track of. But keep ’em coming!!
About the contributors:
Andujar is co-founder of Peace & Rhythm.
DJ Bongohead is co-founder of Peace & Rhythm.
Studebaker Hawk is a DJ from Massachusetts, USA. Check out mixes at his radio show www.acapulconights.net
Ali Berger is a DJ, electronic music producer and writer based in Detroit. Check out his label Trackland Acid Dealerships Of Skillman, New Jersey. http://www.trackland.us/
León City Sounds are a tropical music DJ duo out of Washington DC. https://www.facebook.com/leoncitysounds/
Dan Friel is a Brooklyn-based composer of indie/electronic music and melodic noise. Formerly of the band Parts & Labor, he has a new solo album, Life, out on Thrill Jockey. http://danfriel.com/
Ray Lugo is bandleader for Kokolo and The Boogaloo Destroyers, as well as a solo artist and DJ. He has a forthcoming 2×12″ (collaboration with composer Jake Fader) on Peace & Rhythm, due early 2016. Ray is from NYC. http://raylugo.org/
Glenn Siegel is a Massachusetts-based presenter of contemporary jazz and world music concerts, including the renowned Magic Triangle Jazz Series. Recently, he launched Jazz Shares, a grassroots, volunteer-run concert series which is member-sustained/invested (similar to a “farm share” model for food distribution) to ensure the continuous flow of top level programming. http://jazzshares.org/
Camilo Rodriguez is a Colombian-born, NYC-based musician with MAKU SoundSystem and Combo Chimbita. http://www.makusoundsystem.com/
Jonny Cobra (aka Jonathan Bell) is part of the Peace & Rhythm illuminati brotherhood. He is a web designer and DJ based in Jamestown, NY.
Bill Lupoletti is host of the esteemed Global A Go-Go radio program on Richmond, VA’s fine station WRIR 97.3. http://www.globalagogo.com/
Jeff Hartford (Noise Nomads/Buddyship) travels the country in search of the anti-note. He also performs, publishes and punishes. http://paperjamcopyservice.storenvy.com/
Alex Figueira is a Venezuelan percussionist/producer/DJ/shop-owner/madman based in Amsterdam. Check out his groups Fumaça Preta & Conjunto Papa Upa, his label Music With Soul and his store Vintage Voudou. https://www.facebook.com/vintagevoudourecords/
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Check out our 2015 releases on Peace & Rhythm: Super Hi-Fi / Big Mean Sound Machine split 45, Ola Fresca Elixir LP, Orquesta El Macabeo El Entierro LP, Bio Ritmo “Oriza” b/w Whiskey Barons remix 45. We also have limited back catalog and t-shirts available. Looking forward to a great 2016! Thanks for your support.