Ryo Fukui – Early Summer
I chanced upon this last year after giving in to YouTube’s determined suggestion that I play it for weeks on end. Epic does not even come close to describing Ryo Fukui’s Early Summer, off his 1976 masterpiece debut Scenery. The album as a whole gets even more astonishing in its awesomeness once you learn that this was the product of someone who had only began teaching himself to play the piano six years earlier at the age of 22.
In the first half, Fukui plays with the joyfully frenetic energy and urgency of one experiencing his first proper artistic summer. The drum break in the middle acts as the bridge to a more laid back second half which puts the finishing touches to the scenery Fukui paints with his keys. RIP.
Walanguzi x Nonini x Lord Shiree – Bunge
I understand why many folks are still stuck on early 2000s Kenyan hip hop. Things were much more raw, creative and, honestly, much less industrial that the stuff dominating media today. Take this track by Lord Shiree, Nonini and Walanguzi for example. Just a bunch of guys taking it outside and rapping. No more, no less.
Wakimbizi – Hallo Hallo
Wakimbizi had a knack for out-of-the-box guerilla-style music videos, which was probably the only thing that could work for their equally zany lyrics. On Hallo Hallo, a forced blind date turns out to a sort of catfish situation, or something… What the devil was this song really about?
P-Unit vs. Linkin Park – In the KarEnd
I was really into mashups for a while, practically spending an hour or so on many a weekend checking out content on Mashstix and other more obscure forums. Combining that with the unbirdled enthusiasm of youth eventually led to some half-good stuff. Oh well.
GS Boyz vs. Beyoncé – Stanky Ego
Niniola – Sicker
To my ears, the strongest tracks from Niniola’s superb debut album (This Is Me) were mostly produced by Sarz, with the sole exception being Bale. The lead single Maradona just brings home the type of magic that Sarz can whip up: minimalist Afro-house beats spiced with a something-something that’s hard to put into actual words.
Sicker, the other Sarz banger on the album, sounds like he put some slowed down Mokassa, Tshala Muana and Oliver N’goma in a blender and sieved the mixture to remain with the best bits. Subtle awesomeness.
Sarz – Get Up ft. DJ Tunes x Flash
Sarz is just as nimble on his first solo release; choosing to keep his beats sparse but far from dull.
Passepied – Hyper Realist
One of my fave bands out of Japan at the moment. Really like how a bunch of J-Pop bands are reinvigorating them old school synth-pop and new wave sounds. Plus their shoe game is insanely tight. They don’t play around when it comes to music videos either.
Passepied – Nagasugita Haru
Demo Taped – Not Enough
Assumptions tend to ass bite in the long run. The first time I discovered Demo Taped through this video, I pictured a Mura Masa looking fellow behind the vocals and groovy electro synths. Apparently, he’s a (black) 19 year old from Atlanta.
Shy Girls – Without
And, of course, it would be easy to assume Shy Girls was black, until you discover his actual name is Dan Vidmar.
Mark Lanegan – I’m Not the Loving Kind
Mark Lanegan’s version of this John Cale ballad is paired with an equally badass music video. Think Sauti Sol’s Isabella and then think the direct opposite of that. Las Vegas provides a heartbreakingly perfect backdrop for broken dreams and the quiet resignation of being a perennial loser.
Beach Fossils – Saint Ivy
Despite losing to Donald Trump supporters in the 2016 US presidential elections, Beach Fossils decide to keep things hopeful on Saint Ivy, focusing on the stuff and people from their native New York City that make up the version of America they still believe in.