So we're all broke but if you got any record store gift card thingees for the holidays, here are 4 of homegrown goodies from under the radar in ’08 which deserve a hearing. All available from your fave record store or directly from the websites.
Adam SolomonGenesis African Renaissance Blues 111
On this one, the reigning boss of Afro-fusion guitar roots around in the West African contributions to the blues. Then he places those foundations in a Canadian context connecting the Niger delta with the Muskoka sands and the soukous sounds percolating just below the surface of multi-culti Toronto.
The results can be startlingly original, as on “Your Love Drives Me Crazy” and the thematic variations of “Babe Show Me You Care” push the envelope in a jazzy direction. For the most part, Solomon’s meld sounds natural, easy, breezy, as befitting its unabashedly romantic nature.
So what we have here is a feel-good acoustic blues album, with chord changes all about Delta blues and lyrics heavy on romance and summer nights.
The album opener, the soukous charged “H.E. Barack Obama” is a high stepping, proudass shout out to one Kenyan from another and should win Solomon a spot on the inaugural show in D.C.
Featuring sparkling and deft finger picking throughout, this is perfect ambient music for fighting off the January grays. And February blues too.
http://www.myspace.com/adamsolomontikisaAndre EthierBorn of Blue Fog
Post-Deadly Snakes, former front guy Andre Ethier has been way busy establishing himself as a fine artist of increasing and international note. Every now and then Ethier drops the brushes to make a solo album, which is then released with as little promo as possible. Takes forever for the dude to upload new shit to his own site But the tunes are worth all the bother. Here’s why; the painting supports Ethier’s low-profile approach which in turn allows him to develop ideas at his own laid back pace.
Born of Blue Fog is Ethier’s departure album, with arrangements and vocals now a long way from his garage background.
Anger be gone from here.Either’s singing style is casual in the key of quiet, a good way to ensure the material gets the level of hearing it deserves. The flourishes are all musical, just so dabs of strings, keys and saxophone.
It’s not all downbeat and such as “Polynesian Beach.” swings with a casual self-assurance and Ethier gets his badass rock boy swagger on with the provocatively titled “Cop Killer”. Throughout the album, Ethier shows off as sharp a tongue as his eye for defining detail. Can-rock rarely gets this literate and Ethier’s already hearing the Dylan/Cohen mantra invoked. Here’s hoping he can shake that off and continue on his particular, hard won path.
http://www.myspace.com/andreethierFucked UpThe Chemistry Of Common Life
To say this venturesome Toronto crew have put out last year’s best hardcore album would be selling it short. As if that controversial name doesn’t cause them enough grief being taken seriously, this sprawling, ambitious epic is sure to piss off that part of the fan base which is biggest on the band’s raw, nose-bleeding thrash-outs.
Instead, the sprawling sophomore effort tackles large subjects on huge canvases. Spewing raw imagination and unfettered energy all over the map. And as LOUD as ever.
In scope and ambition, it fuses latter day Husker Du with rap pioneers N.W.A. Call it Fear Of A Hardcore Planet and we’re close. Or maybe it’s the thinking dude’s hardcore, a narrow vein largely unmined since Henry Rollins dropped the ball.
Thankfully, few of these referents will mean anything to the kidz, for whom Fucked Up’s interpretations will seem fresh as a front row fart in a packed club. While it’s great music to work up a white hot lather to, this is a crafty crew and the album’s dark raven’s nest is studded with enough sparkly, sharp=edged bits to keep you on point.
The title track, “Twice Born” and the savagely sublime “Son The Father” are spectacular constructs on an album with few false moves and many are the sounds of solid ground being broken wide open.
www.matadorrecords.comMachetesToo Dirty To Be A Rat
Machetes are go, Machetes are on top, Machetes are four feisty T.Dot femmes who stumbled on a stash of Seventies rock grrlz shit and set about mainlining Runaways and Siouxie Sioux joints. In one short year, they’ve put in the time playing the scuzzy joints for the down’n’dirty experience and emerged with sense of humour and enthusiasm intact. It’s all on the fierce stomp outs of debut EP, Too Dirty To Be A Rat, with Signal To Noise’s Rob Sanzo producing , a nice touch as he knows his way around a heavy sound without going all macho.
The song writing's none too shabby either, with lotsa payoff and future promise in “Ace” and the Bowiesque and picturesque “Schizo(The Young Undone)”