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DABY TOURE/Amonafi: This cat can be just as pissed off as Sam Cooke or Curtis Mayfield but because he sings in his native West African languages you wouldn't know it from the West African instrumentation. Even though he thinks this is more of a pop record than he's made in the past, gringos will hear the gentle, engaging and enchanting West African sounds that do such a fantastic job of bewitching us when done right---like it is here. Fusing ‘folk' and Afropop, this is a heady concoction that world beaters will find plenty to rejoice over. Killer stuff that opens the ears in fine style.

TAKESHI ASAI/French Trio V. 2: Here's a killer cat that's been cruising under the radar for the last decade and making his mark at every stop. Turning in a set of very smart, modern piano trio work, this is simply dazzling listening music that'll have you looking forward to sitting down to take a break and really enjoy it. Sure to emerge as one of the leading lights of the form, Asai is cooking with gas and hitting on all eight. It might be low key but it burns with great intensity.

BEAT FUNKTION/Olympus: The Swede funk meisters turn their attention to Greek mythology? There's funk in that? Why not, once it becomes instrumental it's all conceptual anyway. And so, the Greek gods bring on the funk. The gang is up to their usual standards, continuing to push the envelop as they go. Fun stuff that finds them taking on some new moves and delivering the kind of heat to thaw out frozen climes. Fun stuff as always.

THE POP GROUP/Cabinet of Curiosities: Punks that were dissatisfied with punk and wanted to take it some place else, grabbing the attention of Mike Watt and Nick Cave in the process, dig deep into the archives to come up with mind blowing stuff that was to radical even for what they were doing back in real time. There's plenty to be dissatisfied over these days and this stuff can easily be the soundtrack for it. This is more than weird just for the sake of weird.

THE POP GROUP/We Are Time: Just when you thought streaming was coming in the front door because everything was already out on cd and the biz needed a new way to screw the consumer, here comes the first cd release of the first album by these post punk ravers that created a genre of their own when everything was mutating into a mass of no wave in every direction. A nugget from the golden age of pissed off English kids that were even more pissed off than Sex Pistols, this is just waiting to blow the mind of some college kid who'll think he can piss off his pop but might be in for a real surprise.

ANTHONY STRONG/On a Clear Day: Granted there's a bunch of Euro sensibilities to this new set by a Euro vocalist but the thing that translates over everything is that when he set out to floor plan this release, his destination was fun. He does more than amuse himself here. While there are some originals mixed in, the set list is mostly modern era chestnuts and war horses that he has a smoking big band on hand for to really add some new oomph. Smart and stylish throughout, this is a tasty sophisticated session that finds a way to mix Michael Jackson, Cole Porter and Elvis Costello on the same plane. This can easily turn any gathering into an up market cocktail soiree. Check it out.

FRANK STEINER JR./Momentum: A new age/very lite jazz set that puts motion into motion, this impressionistic outing sonically captures various forms of motion in flight nicely. Very much the kind of music that aids mellowing out, Steiner's music goes places other than in circles and this is music that won't embarrass you when it bleeds out of your headphones as you walk through a thicket of hipsters. Well done throughout with extra points for inherent thought and composition.

SONNY KNIGHT & THE LAKERS/Do It Live: Here's why the cool kids can go screw themselves. One minute something is dated, the next minute it old school. Meh. Good is good, it might not all be timeless, but good is good. Soul music from Minnesota in the classic show band mode that would make James Brown proud--that's what's going on here. This crew is modern and old school at the same time and this is soul as soulful as it gets. Killer stuff for anyone that had to replace their old Atlantic records with cds because they simply wore them out. Well done throughout.

SWAHILI BLONDE/Deities in Decline: Art chick with a new ep goes quasi Todd Rundgren as she does it all herself for the first time delivering affirmations for grrls that live outside the lines and need to be reassured it's ok.

PERU BOOM/various: House music will not die, even if it has to go to Lima, Peru to carry on. From South America's party headquarters comes this set showing who's who doing what to keep the young tastes captivated. You can hear the lineage from Chicago to Detroit to waaaaay down south with this being more than a trendy EDM sampler of wannabes that think they have it down. There's a bit of a musical language jump inherent here, but it certainly isn't surmountable by bip and bop fans.

Volume 38/Number 234
June 22, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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