Recently by kjorness

While Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig has said the band's latest release, Modern Vampires of The City, is the final installment in a trilogy, the record finds the band opening far more doors than they close. Sure, there are plenty of classic Vampire Weekend moments, where Ezra Koenig's falsetto warbles inscrutable lyrics over one of Rostam Batmanglij's dub-inspired soundscapes. But there is also a sense of something lurking on the horizon. Modern Vampires of The City feels like the kind of transitional album bands sometimes have to make. Thankfully, they have managed to turn their artistic wrangling into a thoroughly

Review: Bombino - "Nomad"

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Nigerian guitarist Omara "Bombino" Moctar is in fact, what many musicians wish to portray--a musical nomad. Born in northern Niger, he is the descendant of Tuareg nomads who have roamed the deserts of North Africa for centuries, and has spent much of his life moving from place to place as the Tuareg engaged in a long struggle against the Nigerian government. Inspired by the music of his youth, as well as videos of Jimi Hendrix and Marc Knopfler, Bombino perfected his guitar playing while working as a herder outside of Tripoli, Libya. A highly revered virtuoso in Tuareg Dessert Rock
A year ago, Islamic militants were seizing power in Northern Mali, sweeping through villages and threatening to cut of the fingers of some of the regions most renowned musicians. Meanwhile, Bassekou Kouyate was rehearsing with his band, Ngoni Ba, in his home in the capital Bamakou, dreaming of his new record, as the military was attempting to overthrow the government of president Amadou Toumani Toure. Recorded during Mali's civil war, Jama Ko, is a record that draws on the country's rich musical traditions to give voice to those living in a world of uncertainty. A master of the Malian Ngoni

Review: K'Naan Country, God or The Girl

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Three years of waiting are over for fans of Somali-born rapper K’Naan. Given the abundant media attention from his visit to his former country, the critical acclaim for his last record Troubadour, and the projected hopes of those who adopted his song “Waving Flag” as an anthem for the African continent during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the weight on his shoulders with the release of Country, God, or The Girl is substantial. Unfortunately, genius is notoriously fickle and great artists occasionally swing and miss. Fans of K’Naan will find plenty to like on this album. “70 Seconds” finds the

Preservation Hall: The First Fifty Years

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The HBO series Tremé began its third season this week. While the show has always treated viewers to an inside view of the world of New Orleans music - weaving in story lines about everything from zydeco to sissy-bounce – one style has been largely relegated to the background; traditional jazz. The occasional cameo by a local hero not withstanding, the major storylines in Tremé rarely revolve around the raucous ‘hot’ jazz that originally put the city on the musical map. Even trombonist Antoine Batiste (the most likely candidate for a ‘trad’ hit) spends the majority of his time chasing
So, Thelonious Monk, a Numbian prince, and a Hammond B3 Organ walk into a bar…it’s a terrible set up for a joke, but a wonderful concept for an album. Uwo in the Black is the second CD in organist Greg Lewis’ Organ Monk series, (Uwo being the number two in Nubian Dialect). Building on the success of his 2010 debut Organ Monk, Uwo in the Black features Lewis playing some more obscure Monk tunes along with his own original compositions. His thoughtful, theatrical and, occasionally humorous approach to the music, results in a thoroughly enjoyable album. While having studied piano
When you’re a living legend, your best moments can end up confining you. Once explaining why he never played the ballads that made him a legend Miles Davis said, "You know why I quit playing ballads? Cause I love playing ballads." Of course, the world is full of fans that "only like his/her/their old stuff" - an attitude deliciously mocked in the title of the recently released documentary of LCD Soundsystem’s swansong Shut Up and Play the Hits. If anyone knows about the precarious place between audience alienation and artistic stagnation it is Jimmy Cliff. As an active recording and