Insect Hip Hop [pumps beats] Belonging to Kings of Venezuela [descended from] Native Indians of Australia

25 Apr

Danger Beach – Apache

De Reyes – 11.00PM

Man Mantis – Red Butterfly

Current Head-Tormentor Songs

18 Mar

Jali Bakary Conteh – Combination (Hat+Hoodie Remix)

 

 

 

 

The Jezabels – Mace Spray

Basketball – Andika

10 Mar

Welcome to the kaleidoscopic inner-ear of Basketball.

Some attempt at analysis to follow …

Mexicans With Guns

18 Feb

This video requires some explaining – it is very risqué, and there is almost nothing ‘normal’ about it. The whirlwind of colours and shocking scenes of violence and sex, as well as a healthy dose of surreal, mystical figures causes a sensory overload which is compounded by the mesmeric drum and bass/mexicano music rhythms.

The song title ‘Dame Lo’ means ‘give it to me’ – a statement that has multiple meanings. The ‘common’ interpretation of this phrase, especially in contemporary popular music genres, implies male ‘right’ to demand that a women should ‘give herself up’ to him. In this video there are frequent scenes portraying coercive macho attitudes and actions towards women. However, unlike the aforementioned musical genres, which use the phrase casually, this song seeks to criticise these attitudes.

There is a subversion of the norm in the form of women utilising violence, or the threat of violence (in the form of guns) for their own ends. This could be understood as an attempt to display the empowerment of women in Mexican society faced with continued ‘machismo’, or equally it could be a critique of the preponderance and normalisation of violence in everyday life in Mexico.  The fact that the heavily armed group of women use coercion to get ‘snow cones’ serves to reinforce the latter, in my opinion.

Other themes that this crazy video manages to squeeze into four minutes are drug killings, the prominence (but tackiness) of the Catholic faith in Mexico, the commodification and subsequent ‘cheapening’ of Mexican culture in general (the shot of ‘Mexican’ cuisine is unappetising to say the least), traditional Mexican cultures and spirituality, domestic abuse – and the solitude felt by its victims – , and hopelessness induced by involvement with, or increased influence of, drug cartels.

I am not certain, but at the three-minute mark, after having beaten his girlfriend, the man is confronted by another man who blows what is almost certainly cocaine into his face. This may capture the notion of ‘alternative’ forms of justice provided by drugs cartels who effectively control large swathes of the country. Whereas at the beginning of the video we think that the man has been shot, in fact he has killed himself because of the threat posed by the drugs boss.

The video begins with almost comic-strip animation and filming. In some respects the video uses a similar aesthetic to that used in ‘Sin City’ – another exceedingly violent film – perhaps as a way of conveying the almost surreal reality of contemporary Mexican society.  This is why I mentioned that the video has nothing ‘normal’ about it.

Playing on the legacy of exoticised images of the continent, as well as the success of literary ‘magical realism’, the ‘normal’ is precisely what we perceive as shocking, and unbelievable. Only when we get our get our heads around this paradox will we be able to understand Mexico’s predicament better.

¿Qué está pasándo en tu cabeza? – What is going on in your head? The question which appears twice on the screen resonates once we get this point. The video is ‘giving it to’ us. Dame Lo.

New Year. Reboost.

7 Feb

I haven’t posted anything in ages. Then again, I hadn’t written anything since my first review of ‘La Vida Boheme’. Seeing the dates of my posts in big blue blobs makes me feel bad so I’m going to sort that out by tweaking the design a little. Then I’m going to sit down and offer some subjective insight into the music that I am pushing forward into the tiny spotlight that is this blog of mine. Otherwise the blog is just a series of play buttons and nice photos. Clearly there is too much music to possibly be able to do justice to it all, but I’m making a vow, nae, a solemn promise, that I will make a big effort to push up the productivity and creativity going in to this exhibition of sound.

BG

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Said The Whale

2 Oct

Photo by Vanessa Heins

Said The Whale seem like the kind of band that you wish were your friends. Imagine hanging out lazily in a garden or a bar with a few beers and then nagging them until they take out their instruments and strum and hum a few tunes. But their cuddliness belies a serious ability to produce quality music, with lyrics that are witty, original and tender. The storytelling quality so often associated with lonely acoustic artists works perfectly in the higher tempo that Said The Whale prefer but loses none of its intensity. Black Day in December and Camillo (The Magician) are stand-out tracks on the album Islands Disappear. These guys remind us that in spite of the trendiness of dance and dubstep, there is a timelessness in well-crafted folk-pop. And for that I personally salute them.

BG

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Polarsets

22 Sep

Polarsets : how well do these guys merge, nae, melt the boundaries between tropical, dance and indie sounds?

‘Leave Argentina’ tugs you in all sorts of directions. It’s as if you went out for a night out in a cool rock venue in a drizzly UK city, jumped too much in the glorious mosh pit, felt light-headed and next thing you have woken up crowd-surfing in a club in Barcelona, dazed but delighted that the night is far from over.

Rob Howe’s vocals carry a frenetic energy that matches the catchy guitar riffs and synth lines and builds up parallel to the bouncing drum rhythm. The song accelerates like a sonic stallion and it feels like the band members have to keep it on a tight leash to stop it from flying clear off the stage and blasting out of the speakers into some kind of hyperactive orbit.

BG

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