I Went To See A Band...


And while I am Data Dumping, here is my pick hit list for the first 3 months of 2021, which for no particular reason, features a lot of stuff from London. England Swings, ya know.

Los Bitchos-
In the late 60s, and early 70s, there was an amazing mix of cumbia and garage rock that sprang up in Peruvian Amazonia. Mostly locally released 45s, it took years to filter out to the world- but in 2007, a label in NYC released a compilation album, the Roots of Chicha. Buy it, its incredible.
This band, 4 women who live in London, fell in love with that sound, and began to play their version of chicha. No drama, no gimmicks- they play it because they love it, and I, like most people who hear them, love their love. They have released a couple of singles, and I think they may have broken up now. So if you werent living in London in 2019, this is pretty much what you have to watch. You can buy their singles on bandcamp. But live, they just glow.

Goat Girl-
Another all female London band. Reminiscent of many great girl rock bands, from PJ Harvey to the Slits to Sleater Kinney, they calmly, modestly, and competently kick ass. A great band does not need leap around in their underwear to get their point across, they just rock. Again, they have albums out, but this short live set really shows them at their best. https://youtu.be/SSkDBojGowA
I am also a big fan of this remix of them done by Nigerian muscian Tony Njoku. He transforms their sound, without taking anything away from it. Additive drift. https://youtu.be/7uZXQgq7XhE

Escalator Over The Hill- Carla Bley-
I missed this when it came out, in 1972. Although I remember seeing the album cover at people's houses. I guess I just wasnt ready for it. But I sure am now.
Its an opera, a real one. Put together on basically no money, over the course of 3 years in multiple studios, it features an incredible range of musicians, all of whom, except for one professional opera singer, worked for free. Vocals by Don Preston, Linda Ronstadt, Jack Bruce, and Bley's 4 year old daughter, among others. Musicians that were, at the time, the best of the best- John Mclaughlin, Roswell Rudd, Paul Motian, Don Cherry- something like 50 in all.
And through it all, the overarching genius of Carla Bley, the goddess, bruja and denmother, who was constantly writing and rewriting parts, playing piano, composing and coordinating.
Its unique, and prescient in many many ways- it mixes global musics, classical, broadway, jazz, spoken word, rock, and several other genres we havent realized Bley invented yet, but we will.
It can be listened to chronologically, as one composition- but it works just as well as songs, or on shuffle. Its not stuffy, or weird- its just great, timeless music. This is a record you need to immerse yourself in, to listen to over weeks and months. It is wildly varied.
But here are a couple of little bits that show its majesty- a clip of Jeanne Lee https://youtu.be/8KPVlePkZeQ and a more recent performance of Why in europe- this is the song Ronstadt sang on the original album- https://youtu.be/cdTTxaSOLCE

Marilina Bertoldi- Argentine singer songwriter, rough and tumble rocker. Her sister is also an amazing musician, famed for her lead guitar work. A great album, gets a lot of airplay in South America, but, of course, not known much in the US. To their credit, KEXP has a live video of her on youtube as well. https://youtu.be/wy52odfr0AM

This music is the exact opposite of the recent Grammy winners. All of the recent Grammy winners. Sault doesnt credit individual contributors- they dont tell you their names. Its a collective, that play the music because they have to, and because they want to. No flashy videos of them dancing in couture, no twitter accounts, no expensive cars, bling, or red carpet interviews. No ego.
Its gospel and funk and soul and hip hop and jazz and spoken word. Its powerful and political and sweet and lovely, its nostalgic and futuristic. Its really a nice record- I get happy when I listen to it. But its also about everything BLM is about, in an aggressive and nonapologetic way. If Nina Simone was still around, and she was working with a dozen other great musicians and producers, she might make this record. Its an important record, completely out of step with commercial pop music, and extremely timely as well.

Siri- Its My Jam- I started listening to rap music when it started, with Rappers Delight- that was about 45 years ago. I still like it, when its good. And these days, I mostly listen to women, in any genre. I totally dig this southern India rapper, Siri, and her song, Its My Jam. It illustrates how, in the last 40 years, hiphop has been globalized, loved, adopted, and changed by practically every nation on earth. She raps in Kannada, English, Telugu, and Hindi, which, to her, is completely natural. She has certainly seen american rap videos, but this is totally an Indian record. https://youtu.be/BE7tsk2h6VMS

More in Part 2. (10,000 character limit for one post).


Part 2-

Scratchcard Lanyard by Dry Cleaning- I love the english mix of dub and punk from the 80s- and this new song refers back to those long loping bass lines and skittery guitars, and the powerful female vocals of bands like the Slits and Rip Rig and Panic. But its a very modern song too. And it rocks. You can dance to it. The lead vocalist has been gathering found dialog, writing down snippets of conversation, for years, arranging them into poems, assemblages of analog sampling that are obviously her own work as well. And the video is really great. Full album coming soon, right now all we have is this one song, but its a keeper. Do everything, and Feel Nothing. https://youtu.be/6PuqlOTyJt0

Wu Lu- South-
Wu Lu, whose real name is Miles Roman-Hopcraft, is what the world is now- conversant in a wide range of musical styles, a black Londoner who produces, writes, and creates music with a lot of different people, he made this song that is punk, and electronic, and hiphop, in a very old school rock kind of way, that represents Brixton today, a multicultural neighborhood in a city that is one of the top melting pots of the world these days. Its a really english song, in 21st century kinda way, and it makes me bop all over the room when I play it loud. https://youtu.be/ibE56gf0G4w

Sarathy Korwar-
Born in the USA, raised in India, lives in London, and makes music that spans them all. Technically, its probably Jazz, but nothing is one thing anymore. It all bleeds together. This is feisty, political, danceable, and impeccably performed music. Any Sarathy Korwar is great- from his more polished songs with poet and singer Zia Ahmed, to his long jazz improv pieces with the Upaj Collective, I love everything he does. This live set he did last year gives you an idea, he is well worth diving deeper into. https://youtu.be/U2ErPlt4358

Rosario Blefari-
Sometimes I just have to kick myself for my ignorance. Rosario Blefari died last summer, at 54, from cancer. She had a 30 year career as a musican and actress, and I could have gone and seen her live, but I was too dumb to know. But since her death, I have been listening to music from her entire career, starting with her punk/indie band Suarez, which she formed in the late 80s. At the time, it was one of the first bands in Argentina started and led by a woman. There were female singers, but the rock scene was very very male. She took no prisoners, she was fierce, and the music is great. Then, she embarked on a long career of solo records and other bands she formed, mostly less loud and aggressive, but all equally interesting. If she was from the US or England, we would have heard of her, but she was from Mar de Plata. Early favorite of mine- Nuestro Amigo Asiatico, from their 1994 album, Hora de no Ver. https://youtu.be/mVWSbDaypLw
and a later solo piece, haunting and mysterious- Partir and Renunciar, from 2001. https://youtu.be/Q6m8OhinVWQ

Reynols and Acid Mothers-
This is a Buenos Aires record, with a little help from Japan. Reynols is a band that is more famous outside of Argentina, with a lead singer who unapolgetically has Downs Syndrome. They made an album with the aging Japanese intellectual noise rockers Acid Mothers Temple. Its wierd. If you like wierd, you may like it. I do.

But for those of you who use spotify- The live sets I link to above are not on spotify, I added some album cuts instead.



Thanks for the links @Ries, good stuff. Instead of Spotify, maybe a youtube playlist is a good compromise.
Thanks, I appreciate it when people listen.
Being an old school cratedigger, I actually have physical copies of most music I listen to. Used to be vinyl albums, although I have been getting rid of those lately, gifting them to younger people who really appreciate them. Still have thousands of CD's, but lately, its been mostly digital. Hard drives full.
So I have playlists on my computers I use to listen to.
I did mostly link to youtube for these songs, but unfortunately, some of the most interesting music is harder to find- I find things on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and sometimes direct from small labels, or direct from bands. And I do buy CDs more in Argentina, where some bands are still putting them out.
Making an actual youtube playlist sounds like work, though.