What's Playing On My Stereo- Week 1

Over the past week or so, I've been battling a quite persistent flu bug. One thing I realized during this time is that I needed to break out the heavy artillery. I loaded up on orange juice, daytime herbal teas, Nyquil, Vitamin D, Airborne, Theraflu and so many fluids that I found myself running to the bathroom every twenty minutes. Ohhhhhhh, how great it tis to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.

While steadily fighting this sickness, I have thought up a new feature for Eclectic Grooves. It's called What's Playing On My Stereo and essentially it will feature a few artists that I am currently spinning in my car or home stereo. Hopefully this will be a fresh idea that will encourage more readers to participate in discussions about music.

This week I will be covering a couple records that I've been listening to in my car stereo over the past couple weeks.

Amadou and Mariam- Wallide and Mali Denou
From: Wati [ Circular Moves, 2003]

The first record that I think deserves to be mentioned is Amadou and Mariam's Wati. This one was puzzling to me, because it sounded like a mix of contemporary Malian music with repetitive, trancelike rhythms that recalled the early 70's recordings of King Sunny Ade.

Most of the time when an artist from a foreign country incorporates westernized influences in its music, the results are less than interesting. What Amadou and Mariam have done here is to effectively bridge the gap between cultures, providing a thoroughly engaging listening experience. On the opening track, "Wallide", Amadou and Mariam create a hybrid of psychedelic classic rock with Malian world music. As the track builds to its crescendo with spiraling guitars, funky organ and crashing drums, it makes you want to find out what other surprises are in store. The next track I'm featuring here, "Mali Denou", has a more traditional African beat with Mariam's entrancing vocals punctuated by a sublime mix of flute and rhythm guitar. Overall, this record will encourage you to give more crossover artists a chance before quickly dismissing them as unlistenable.

The Grifters- Boho/Alt and Pretty Notes
From: Ain't My Lookout [Sub Pop, 1996]

The Grifters have always been one of those bands that eluded my ears for most of the 90's, but I remember reading about this record in Alternative Press, back when that magazine was worth its salt. It sounds similar to that middle 90's boom of bands like Polvo, Superchunk and Archers of Loaf, but there is something especially weird about this record that makes it stand on its own as an important relic of the moment.

The oddly titled "Boho/Alt" features off kilter vocals that probably owe a great debt to the warbly stylings of Pavement's Steve Malkmus, while effectively using a dynamic combination of synthesizer and pianos to amplify the infectious chorus. "Pretty Notes" is a laid-back campfire strum-along that utilizes acoustic guitars, steel drums and mandolin to heightened effect. It gradually morphs into a gospel-tinged chorus that is impossible to shake from your memory. The rest of the record is as eclectic and interesting as these songs, so pick it up at your local record shop and see for yourself.

I have stopped using Boxstr to host my new files for now, because I can't afford to pay for extra bandwidth. So, I will be using Mediafire for the time being. It seems to be way more stable than Sharebee or Zshare, because it doesn't hit the downloader with a string of countless ads and pop-ups. Until next time...


icastico said…
You've got great stuff playing at your house.
Kevin said…
Thanks icastico. what kind of music do you like the most? What are you listening to right now? Are there any artists that you got into because of my roundup of best albums from 2008? I would love to hear more about the bands and artists you are into.

This goes for anyone else, too. Please send me your thoughts and ideas.

Best, Kevin

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