If you reside outside of Los Angeles you may not know that the entertainment industry pretty much shuts down for a couple of weeks during the holidays. I know this may surprise you because it’s also awards season, but trust me, its a bit of a ghost town and it effects everything… including music. From late December to early January there is hardly any new music that comes out. Luckily, the start of 2018 brought a couple of new songs that I’m digging.
Khruangbin – “Friday Morning”
Many of us at KCRW have been charmed by this trio from Texas. Laura Lee, Mark Speer, & Donald Johnson began the Khruangbin project after collectively discovering Thai-funk cassettes from the 60s & 70s. Most of their music is instrumental and equal parts, dreamy, ethereal, and psychedelic. Infusing elements of funky bass lines, twangy and fuzzy wah-wah guitar riffs, 60s soul, and traditional Asian melodies, Khruangbin creates compositions that are simply infectious. Check out their latest single “Friday Morning” from their forth coming record Con Todo El Mundo (which drops next Friday). I also included a video of them performing one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Mr. White” when they stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic last week.
The Goods – “Make Your Move”
Have you noticed that over the last ten years Australia has come out with some incredible music?
Well, Badmandela, Rosario, and Black Tree, better known as The Goods, are a Sydney-based trio following in this recent tradition. The Goods are perfectly tailored for those moments when you’re listening to music while getting ready for a night on the town. Their sound is a mix of funk, deep bass, slightly psychedelic and sparse vocals, with elements of pop. I gotta admit, they are appropriately named. It’s simply The Goods. Take a listen and I dare you to disagree.
Various Artists – PANTSULA! – The Rise of Electronic Dance Music in South Africa, 1988-1990
Pantsula is a style of dance birthed out of protest practiced by older men; and roughly translates to “waddling like a duck.” It arose out of the townships of Alexandra and Sophiatown (right outside of Johannesburg) in the 1950s and 60s, as a response to the actions of the Apartheid government. Pantsula dancing proved to be an act of defiance that usually didn’t result in repercussions at the hand of authoritative figures. The dance gradually spread throughout South Africa and became synonymous with expressing resistance. By the 1980s pantsula was practiced by black South Africans of all ages and genders and was used to spread awareness of social issues like AIDS, as well as protesting the government. So it should surprise no one to discover that the dance completely took over the streets during the decade immediately proceeding the collapse of Apartheid. Legendary South African DJ Okapi put together a compilation that focuses on some of the key tracks during this era. Check out “Ayoba-Yo” by The Hard Workers and you’ll understand why they called the dance, “waddling like a duck”
(Khruangbin photos c/o Dustin Downing)