Sunday, January 25, 2009

What's Been Rocking My Stereo Recently...

Mayer Hawthorne & The County - "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out"

Check out this funky white boy. Out through Stone's Throw Records, "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" has got the gentle hip-hop break thing happening (I believe that's Otis Redding's "Tramp" beat being sampled) and some nice, simple instrumentation; but the vocals really blew my mind. Not that Hawthorne is an amazing singer, but the layered falsetto harmonies evoke the best of 70s Philly soul vocal groups (the Delfonics, the Stylistics, etc). I'm loving the blend of old and new styles. Played this track about 7 times on my computer at work yesterday.

Nickodemus & Quantic featuring Tempo - "Mi Swing Es Tropical"
This is already at least 2 years old but I came upon it only recently. A truly cross cultural collaboration between NYC producer/keyboardist Nickodemus, UK producer/guitarist Quantic, and Puerto Rican vocalist Tempo, recorded in Puerto Rico. I'm not too proud to admit that I play this record at home and dance to it when no one else is around. If you can't get at least some pleasure from this song, check your pulse as you may just be clinically dead.

Dwele - "I'm Cheatin'"

Just copped Dwele's "Sketches of a Man" album, and while I'm not really feeling it as much as I did his earlier stuff - its got plenty of style but not much in the way of actual good songs - this song is probably the album highlight. It's nicely constructed lyric, not so much about cheating but about having a relationship with two sides of a woman's personality. As usual, Dwele's m.o. is all about the effortless smooth vocals and cool fender rhodes keyboards. Niiice.

Dave Pike Set - "Mathar"

This has got to be one of the great dancefloor monster tracks of all time. Not that you'd know it from the opening 40 seconds, when it sounds like the soundtrack to some documentary about Indian village life or something. And then the beat kicks in and - what a beat! I used to dance to this track back at the legendary Cocoa Butter club night in the mid 90s, thinking it was an example of the then-new psychedelic breakbeat style, but I had no idea that "Mathar" actually stems back to 1970. There are to my knowledge no Indians playing on the track either; bandleader Dave Pike was an American jazz vibraphonist, and the rest of the band is all German! The stupendously funky sitar playing is by a cat named Volker Kriegel. Who knew that the funkiest Indian music ever created was by a bunch of Germans?

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