December Grapevine

December in the Northeast. Daily weather report: cloudy with a chance of more cloudy ending in rain.

The Kids – Mesmerized by an unusual sunny day

So we need new music to listen to. Again, in another interesting coincidence I came across a style of music I hadn’t really listened to before in two different magazines (one was not even a music magazine). It’s often known as ‘desert blues’ and is associated with the Tuareg people of northern Africa. Think of combining blues music with African drumming and time signatures. I’ve included a couple of examples. And of course we also have……..other stuff.

First Up: Tinariwan – ‘Kel Tinawen’

This song is from their recent album ‘Amajdar’. A lot to love here. First, the majority of this album was recorded live. In the middle of the desert. Using a mobile studio in a camper van. The video has some great clips from the recording. The rhythm underpinning of the song is absolutely hypnotic. All the instruments flow through the song – almost like listening to a waterfall. The first song I listened to put me in a trance and I ended up spending the night on my tablet listening to song after song. You can feel the blues in the song’s vocals. It’s so strong language doesn’t matter.

Next: Mdou Moctor – ‘Tarhatazed’

Mdou Moctor has a bit more familiar blues sound. The band’s instrumental makeup is kit drums, guitars and bass. Again, what sets it apart for me is the rhythm. A lot of 4/4 blues is stomp (and I do love a good headbanger). This just flows. I wanted to show a live video for this band. The lead guitar by Moctar is amazing. On top of the hypnotic flow is absolute shredding. I’d rather hand play guitar than use a pick, so watching him hand blaze through notes was cool. Supersonic index finger. And since it’s live performance, no overdubs or punch-ins, just nailing it. Watch the whole video. About half way through they push up the tempo and really roll. So delighted.

Finally: Bodega – ‘Truth’

What’s a good ‘chaser’ for hypnotic trance? Sharp, angular new wave. This takes me back to the early days of ‘punk’ or ‘new wave’ (or whatever you wish to call it). Bands like Television, Wire, Talking Heads. An insistent, rolling drum line. Crispy guitar lines that cut though the mix. Listen to the lyrics – the joyful snap of a great sarcastic observation. Sing along with middle finger held high. A lot of people found the great part of ‘punk’ – the primal scream of singing along to bands like The Clash. Guess what – it’s still out there if you want to find it. Pull up the lyrics to ‘Truth’ and shout along.

Retro: Sly And The Family Stone – ‘Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)’

This song (and band) pulled me body and soul in to the joy of funk along with performers like James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic, The Meters and Prince. It also made me pick up bass guitar. Spent hours trying to get the feel of players like Larry Graham, James Jamerson, Bootsy Collins and Victor Wooten. Playing bass let my turn off my brain and listen to my body. Sit back and enjoy the slap and pop on this song.

2 comments

  1. Mike Schlicher

    This kind of reminds me of Robbie Robbertson concert the underworld of Redboy . From track 2 kinda reminds me of real early Santana but your right this guy is Fawesome .3rd track reminds me of eairly kinks/sex pistols. And 4th track what can you say about Sly and the family stone I grew up listening to them and alot of Jazz/Funk .kinda like Parliment that’s kids how I hear it but that’s me awesome stuff.

    • churchhousepro

      Best part of doing posts on music just coming out is the wide variety of styles I get to hear. Music is and always will be subjective. I’m always trying to move beyond ‘good’ vs ‘bad’.

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