Monday, 26 May 2014

Best song number deux

I was having one of those persistent headaches that are caused by a random mix of unfortunate events like stupidity on the internet, a workmate’s loud, green “dollars and Girls” t-shirt and the fact that it’s a Monday. 

I needed something soothing, so I went to YouTube to look for one of those 3 hour nature sound videos. Instead I saw this and had to have a listen because it is a remix of the other best song in the world. (Yes, in the universe of this blog there can be two best songs ever. That's because we almost never use superlatives, so when we do, we can go crazy.)

Hurry on now was the first song I ever heard by Alice Russell.

Yup...she's white.

Early on a Sunday morning in June 2010, I sat in a small living room of a studio atop an Indian-owned, bathroom appliance shop on Kijabe street. About six other people that I had only just met the night before were in the room with me as we sat silently smoking, listening to Ms. Russell and watching the sky turn pink. When the song came to an end, I picked my bag, said goodbye to my new friends and walked through an empty Nairobi CBD with cigarette smoke in my braids and that song in my heart. I was a changed person.
I can talk about all the great things about this song, but I don’t want to. Why analyze such a gift? I just want to listen again. And when you are done with that you can listen to this other one.

My headache is completely gone.
Thanks Alice.


Friday, 16 May 2014

This sh*t again...

To put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.
~Hunter S. Thompson~

I was wrong.

I still have a few more existential crises in me it seems.

This is why I have been missing for a couple of weeks. I can’t tell how much longer I’m gonna have these paralyzing “why do I suck at life?” moments but I am determined  to reduce my recovery time so that it doesn’t affect my work, cause, you know, the world keeps moving. So shetani ashindwe etc etc.

I did find a perfect depression soundtrack though, in the form of Mazzy Star.
I mean....Right?

This 90s alt-rock outfit made moody, moody, MOODY music. Wikipedia calls it Paisely Underground and describes it as “an early genre of alternative rock, based primarily in Los Angeles, California, which was at its most popular in the mid-1980s. Paisley Underground bands incorporated psychedelia, rich vocal harmonies and guitar interplay in a folk rock style”.

I describe it as hauntingly gorgeous.

You might know Mazzy star for their semi-succesful hit, Fade into you. It was in a ton of late 90s romcoms. Remember it?

Anyway, I stumbled upon it and subsequently upon their full albums. God bless the YouTubes.
Vocalist Hope Sandoval sings like it’s always a rainy, black and white afternoon in her world and the guitars slowly carry her gauzy, unaware voice like a motorcade of exquisite shiny black hearses. Sad as it all feels, it is weirdly soothing. It cradled me into a snug little ball of self-pity. If you are in the same state I am in, you have to be careful cause its beauty will trick you into thinking that your downers are somewhat artistic, and you could be there for days…just occupying space.

But never mind me and my identity crisis. Listened to objectively, the music is evocative and stunning. Get a piece.


Friday, 2 May 2014

As it turns out, Hip Hop is alive and well.

In Detroit, USA at least.

I read this tweet at around 1 pm today.
"My boy" here refers to the one and only Idris "Big Driis" Elba who isn't the best rapper but gets a pass on account of sex-bo-bombness. Sue me.

It’s 4.05pm now. I am still on Clear Soul Forces’ Soundcloud getting my mind blown.
Pretty too :)

These dudes are a refreshing revelation. If you doubted it, you can now be certain that hiphop is going through a revival. Praise!

Hailing from the embattled motor city aka The D (also home of the late, great Dilla, Eminem and swoon-inducer Black Milk), these four, young African-American men are bringing poetry back to rap. CSF feel like a weird hybrid of little brother and a young ATCQ but their vibe is way grittier. Understandably so.

The most remarkable thing about them is their hunger. It is palpable. They want it more than anything and as a consequence push themselves, with amazing results. Tracks like get no better and Beats, Rhymes and life are a lesson in lyrical dexterity. But these are the kinda cats who you are almost certain  will change once they blow up… a la Kendrick and them. You almost want them to keep bubbling under just so the texture of their work stays uncontaminated, but that would be selfish. Exciting, young talent like this needs to be shared far and wide.

Have a listen to and let me know your thoughts.
If you dig it, keep up with them on Facebook and twitter.

Let me get back to listening.