Stumbled upon this Australian five-piece deep in the doldrums of last year’s pandemic waves when scratching past the veneer of the Spotify algorithm seemed like a nice way to keep sane. And boy, oh, boy! These lads come correct with some immaculate disco, funk and electro-pop grooves that deliver the perfect dose of nostalgia and positivity.
Last Time (Cover) – Karun & Kato Change
I never really paid close attention to Labrinth’s Last Time, let alone its rather disappointing music video IMO, until Karun and Kato Change decided to bless us with this gem of a cover back in the day. With the electronic production of the original track stripped away, the underrated songwriting begins to truly shine through in this cover. Perhaps the greatest journey we could take is that of self-discovery as we push past our comfort zones, bounce back from the lows and ride the highs.
This is probably the perfect soundtrack for these fourth wave pandemic times. Nothing like a mix of nostalgia and the anticipation of doing outside things properly.
Wishing a belated Happy Birthday to my good friend, @atetwee.
Batsumi – Lishonile
Settling in to this 11 minute gem off South African jazz band Batsumi’s 1974 debut album is quite the experience. The groove approaches innocently enough, but you will soon be unable to trace where and when it infected your motor functions. Banjuka tu.
Linton Kwesi Johnson – Inglan Is A Bitch
Johnny Vigeti (ft. Abbas x Sati) – Nairobi
Once certain planets are aligned, I am lucky enough to encounter a fellow Kenyan with similar size 47 wide feet to discuss the current state of retail ostracism (aka big foot apartheid) and other such heartening small talk. On the flipside, it is equally possible to stumble upon an unintended beef with an online seller off Facebook who, without shame, delivers a completely different item from what they advertised. When your city is one hellova dice roller, the thrill is in not knowing who’s around the next corner.
Sarathy Korwar – Mumbay (ft. MC Mawali)
Magsy – unimpressed
After 4 years of a relatively simplistic life at the edge of a three street town and returning to the city’s facades which conceal unforgiving steel and concrete underneath, some urgent character re-development is becoming necessary. Here goes nothing.
Shanah – Winner
The most likley setting for contextalising and showcasing young singing talent around here (apart from school) is religious spaces. What would church be without the occasional youth praise and worship sessions or the awww-cute Sunday School performances? What naturally flows from this phenomenon is that audiences tend to be very perceptive and accomodating to very young artists that crop up in the gospel music scene. What this also means is that these kids often have to operate within certain restrictive limits in terms of content, style, genre and presentation. You know what I mean, right?
That being said, Shanah Manjeru, rising gospel singer and host of KBC’s kids show Big Minds, certainly brings her own surprising twist to the predicatbile content expected from our child gospel stars. She follows up her chewy bubblegum debut single with Winner, an uplifiting rock song defined by bolder lyrics and an unexpectedly sharper edge. The music video also banishes the incredibly dull formats employed in most local gospel music videos in favour of an action packed storyline.
If the right stars aligned, there would have be no reason this song wouldn’t have been part of the Super Modo soundtrack. This track is the jolt the gospel industry needs. No wonder it has stayed at the top of XFM charts for weeks.
BABYMETAL – Road of Resistance
To me, Shanah’s single immediately brought to mind BABYMETAL, the group that has so successfully combined the kawaii features of Japanese pop/idol culture with heavy metal. For the first timer, experiencing BABYMETAL in their full audio-visual glory can feel like a bit of a trip. It might take a while to process what exactly is going on but once you let go mentally, it all makes sense. Definitely one band to see live, should you get the chance.
Sho Madjozi – Huku
I think, by now, everyone and their hip grandmother knows what gqom is, especially after Babes Wodumo’s Wololo graced the soundtrack to Black Panther. I have been digging that sound for quite a while now and have been half-praying that it sweeps into the Kenyan scene with something localized. Sure, I have sampled one half-hearted attempt at Swahili gqom on my Soundcloud stream recently ( I forget by whom), but it seems we have already been beaten to it by the owners down south. Gathering momentum from her feature in Omalumkoolkat’s Gqi and Dumi Hi Phone, Sho Madjozi has blessed us with Huku. I can’t even complain.
JHMJams – Slow Down (Lights Follow Cover)
Now, I’m not big on reality shows, the (scripted to death) American ones at least. I think I die a little inside when I have to look at a screen showing something from E! or Bravo. This SNL sketch summarizes them so well. That being said, the one reality show I’m REALLY into lately is Netflix/Fuji TV’s Terrace House.
The format is simple enough – six strangers move into a house and start living together. It can seem mundane at first but you’ll hardly notice how and when it becomes addictive. Watch this show, seriously!!
I was stoked to get wind of this orchestral version of the most popular opening theme song from the series by the talented folks at JHMJams. The original version is below.
My advice on the best order of consuming the 4 separate series so far:
- Start with Boys x Girls Next Door Week 1 – 44
- Boys x Girls in the City
- Aloha State
- Continue Boys x Girls Next Door at will
- Opening New Doors