Mulele Matondo Afrika & friends – ‘Mali la Paix’ (February 7 2013)
By Marco Canepari
Despite the fact that it’s become such common-place news it’s no longer one of the top stories in the media, the war in Mali is still ferocious. In fact, the UK and Ireland have just sent, a new contingent to back the French forces.
That’s a clear sign that the war is far from over. Luckily someone is still moving to support. The music world, for example, is still lending its support to the civilian population trapped in a battlefield with no borders. After the tribute offered by Fatoumata Diawara and her project Voices United for Mali, another African artist has gathered together a group of friends and released a hymn to freedom, hopeful to promote the course of peace in the Azawad region.
Rilo Kiley – Rkives (Little Record Company/ April 2 2013)
By Iain Orkisz
Rarities compilations aren’t meant for the casual listener. This degree of lucky dip for the first time listener is reserved for ‘best of’ and ‘hits’ collections. Of course many venture no further than aforementioned easy-pickings discs, which is a shame. On the other hand, bands collating lesser known tracks (usually B-sides and obscure covers) can be judged as a hindrance in appealing solely to the hardcore followers. The Manic Street Preachers 2003 release Lipstick Traces is a fantastic example of one of the more imaginative collections of this nature, though in truth this was partly a response to criticisms from their turgid hits collection.
In the case of Rilo Kiley, this band were never destined to shell greatest hits collections by the bucketload, and thus have understandably hedged their bets and taken the more adventurous option of releasing Rkives, sifting through their back catalogue for less celebrated tracks. What this does represent is a reminder of Jenny Lewis and her edgier side before her more accessible efforts with the Watson Twins, whom feature on a small number of tracks.
Clinton Fearon – Heart and Soul (2012)
By Gary Lewis
The title says it all really. Clinton Fearon, of legendary roots reggae trio The Gladiators (bass/guitar), has dug deep into the archives and within himself, to pull out a collection of personal, beautiful tunes that crosses time, location and trends.
I want to be as happy and relaxed as the sexagenarian on the cover! And with songs such as ‘One Love’ and ‘Follow the Rainbow’ drifting out of your speakers and dropping Jah bombs on your consciousness, it shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.
Following last year’s critically eulogised Court the Storm LP, Portland’s Y La Bamba have crafted a fine amalgamation of smoky folk and hip-swaying Latino sensuality to produce Oh February, an EP that pours into the ears like a fine bottle of summer wine.
So far, the band have released two LP’s, the other being Lupon (2010), a touching record with a finespun spirit, and their latest jewel provides further evidence of their pleasantly softened talent.
Vinicio Capossela – KOKO, London, April 12 2013
By Marco Canepari
‘Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide… Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted.’ That’s the incipit of a three millennium old travel tale, a journey, a home-going, which has become the central theme of one of the most celebrated literary works ever written.
Homer, in his Odyssey, narrated the vicissitudes of Ulysses after his departure from Troy and through the Mediterranean, docking in Turkey, Crimea, Palestine, Greece, Italy, Spain… But the most important route which Ulysses sailed, the one guiding him back home, was across the Ionian Sea, reaching the island of Ithaca.
Squarepusher – Roundhouse, London, March 30 2013
By Gary Lewis
As Chuck D politely inquired: “Bass. How low can you go?” In the case of Tom Jenkinson as Squarepusher, the answer is lower than Frankie Boyle on Twitter; warped, nose-hair tickling, frenetic bass that was fully evident at his recent Roundhouse gig.
Much has been made of the rise of the AV spectacular: Amon Tobin, Deadmaus, Skrillex, going back to Chemical Brothers and Orbital. Yes, dance music is pretty boring just watching dudes behind a desk doing their knob twiddly thing, though Fatboy Slim does pack a lot of energy and some awesome Hawaiian shirts into the equation! But visuals and music obviously best work together when both are good.
Wolf People – Bedford Esquires, March 28 2013
By Iain Orkisz
‘Underrated’. Now there’s an overused term virtually stripped of any true meaning when referring to bands or musicians yet to gain wider media coverage or critical acclaim. If anything this usually leads to disproportionate exposure and proclamations about their value to their chosen art (Razorlight, anyone?)
Alas, in the spirit of such proclamations, Wolf People are the best pigeonhole-proof collective you’ve probably yet to discover, but with their second album Fain released on the April 29 for which writer and comedian Stewart Lee has provided a wonderful and imaginatively-titled ‘non press release’ (which can be viewed here, since you asked), and a session for BBC 6Music’s Marc Riley, the band’s stock is slowly but surely rising. Like the non-pantomime elements of progressive rock? This is for you. Like earthy folk-rooted lyrical melancholy akin to Led Zeppelin? Open your ears.
Bonobo – The North Borders (Ninja Tune/ April 1 2013)
By Christopher Oliver
Bonobo is an artist that has been around for some time, a name bandied around the subculture of not only dance culture but the beat generation of the noughties. His most recent work, The North Borders, released without perhaps the same fanfare that Black Sands was privy to; had in fact came late to the game in discovering its release. But no stranger to Simon Green’s work, being a latecomer has never really mattered.
Los Chinches – Fongo (Movimentos Records / April 1 2013)
By Jim Hickson
Where San Francisco-style psychedelic rock, funk and cumbia meet, that’s where Los Chinches reside.
It’s not your typical cumbia though, this is chicha – a style that evolved in 1960s Lima, Peru. It combines the Latin rhythms and brass of the Colombian genre with melodies inspired by Andean music and instrumentation taken from surf rock (it was the 60s, after all).