Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band

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I think the guys over at Mixtape Riot were the first to introduce me to the idea that Afro-pop and highlife music is the perfect fit for a summertime soundtrack. It makes so much sense looking back. The parts of Africa where highlife and Afro-pop thrive enjoy a summertime climate pretty much all year round, so of course they have a lot of experience with creating music to compliment summer.

Pat Thomas and his Kwashibu Area Band prove this theory true perfectly. And he’s been at it for decades. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t come across Pat Thomas earlier since he’s been producing music since the 70’s (I blame my ignorant western up-bringing). In deed, he is one of Ghana’s most famous musical exports.

The good news is that Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band have just released a new album which captures the soul of their earlier music. Thomas returned home to Accra to set up in an analog studio and recreate their earlier success with full-band arrangements and old-school afro-pop. Bandleader Kwame Yeboah said that their goal was to “continue the tradition of the late 70s and bring the roots back.” I think you’ll agree with the result.

Stream the first two tracks off the album below or buy the full album on iTunes. If you want to listen before you buy, check out the full album premiere on Hype Machine.

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Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band – Mewo Akoma

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Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band – Gyae Su


OMYO – Roam

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A home grown british duo, whose partnership sees two promising songwriters join forces to creating a contemporary blend of big production Pop/R&B/Acoustic sounds with a touch of Soul/Motown inspiration. Despite being relatively new ( they met in a pub a year ago and made a drunken bet to write a song) the pair have gone from being asked to create songs for jennifer Lopez & K-POP bands to performing their debut gig at the latest Wireless , and becoming muses for New Look. Thanks to their songs Heaven being featured in the upcoming New Look advertising campaign and new track Roam , 2015 is set to be a big year for the duo.


MDNT: Harder Feat. Jez Dior (Prod. YLXR)

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Last time I heard a song that involved both MDNT (pronounced Midnight) and the Prince of Grunge-Rap, Jez Dior, I was completely blown away. “Dreamcatcher” had to have been one of my favourite songs for a while which would explain my level of excitement when it was announced that the boys were back in the studio together. Unlike their debut collaboration which was produced by SmarterChild, the Silky-smooth-baby-making voice of Rochester’s MDNT and grunge style of Jez Dior is, this time, accompanied by a different method of production courtesy of YLXR. Luckily for us, the quality of music stayed the same as MDNT and Jezzy seem to be in their element.   Listen to “Harder” here:


XYLO: “Afterlife”

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I think I have the ability to do a lot of things, but I’ve come to the realization that disliking a XYLØ song is not one of those things. 2 days ago, Zane Lowe premiered the latest release by the duo and it is now available on Soundcloud, ready to bless the ears of individuals from the rest of the world. “Afterlife” is a plea to be saved–a plea for love in the most XYLØ way possible. Chase Duddy’s subtly-gritty production style sprinkled with bright samples of Paige’s soft and honest vocals is an approach to music that couldn’t possibly fail. Listen to “Afterlife” here:


A$AP Rocky – L$D (LOVE x $EX x DREAMS)

Saw this video premiere at Cannes a few weeks ago during the Saatchi New directors showcase and I was blown away. Director Dexter Navy does a fantastic job of complimenting the track with a brilliantly tasteful visual interpretation of being high on LSD. It’s so smooth and slightly trippy.

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A$AP Rocky – L$D (LOVE x $EX x DREAMS)


Harrison Brome

Harrison Brome has a lot to look forward to. He’s released two singles in the past month recieving support from at least 15 blogs. With poetic maturity and grounded lyrical conviction it’s hard to believe he’s only 18. Brome has an intense simplicity that carries through in both of his tracks but they balance each other out with hopefulness in Midnight Island and dreamy despair in Fill Your Brains. Take a listen and watch out for what’s to come!

 

 


OdderOtter – Corpus Callosum EP Review

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A generation reared with a Sega Genesis controller in both hands and a Sony discman nestled in the kangaroo pocket of a loose fitting hoody, what else could be the result? Ten years old worshiping Slim Shady, twelve years old looping the The Chronic 2001, and at fifteen waving Wu-Tang signs in family photos. The contradictory matrimony of hip-hop and suburban geek life was ceremoniously predicated by bleached blonde tweens reciting “Lose Yourself” ad nauseum, and years later actively engaged by the listless disengagement that saw stoner-loner Kid Cudi casually drop a handful of generational anthems. We grew up with hip-hop and gangster rap, but as our heroes aged well into their 40’s and blatant sadomasochistic forms of hegemonic masculinity began to fall out of favor, the kids who were raised on Mario Kart and anything with the black-and-white barcode “Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics” suddenly found themselves in front of synthetic drum machines and recording equipment.

Spiraling electronic 8-bit staircases, synthetic horns and percussions that multiply exponentially like bacteria, OdderOtter’s beats are part math-rap, part nerdcore, and full dizziness. Like a scribbled mosaic on a school notebook, lyrics twist and contort to form shapes, disfigured faces and acid drenched floral patterns, splashes of color and incomprehensible metaphors. The effect is disorienting at times, like a drug-fueled nightmare, but beneath the mish-mash of over-undertones there is an undeniable air of whimsicality. The nightmare is fun. “FUTURhyme” is the culmination of this sensation, a poisoned black and white cartoon dripping with bug-eyed anxiety; about an hour seems to pass but only the minute hand has jilted forward… then backward… then, downward? Odder screams to wake you up. Whoo..! What just happened?

If you wait a few moments without making a concerted effort to digest what had been said, you might just forget entirely. But that’s the point. Odder is perpetually moving, the dream has shifted. The strongest moment on the entire EP is just that, a moment. “Secretion” leaks down your hand like a cotton-candy ice cream cone. The taste is faint, and by the time you feel the cold sensation trickling up the veins of your wrist the whole thing has already melted. Odder laughs. Forget it! Check this out!

“Dying is not to be feared but rather to be studied and engineered”

There are moments of genius whirling around in the convoluted chaos, but there are also bits of broken furniture, a moldy mangled sandwich held together with a toothpick, “black maggots” and “bloated corpses”, and many other indistinguishable families of debris only present long enough for you to catch a passing whiff. “Hot Car Bee Bop” transfigures human into instrument. “Lollipop” is a wondrous experiment in sampling; like falling asleep at four AM to a TEDtalk, drifting in and out of reality. The big boss battle, however, is reserved for the last level, “Yucky Pharmaceutical”. The syncopating rhythm and horrorcore lyricism stirs up gruesome imagery, but our hero never seems to waver. Like Duke Nukem hellbent on stomping guts till his boots wear out, Odder explodes like pipebomb, twin devastators in-hand, spinning through time and space.

The carnival is over. You’re in your bed. Jesus Christ, what was the storyline of that dream? My friends were there briefly… I became a recluse… a rocket pointed to the sky? I was stepping to the left? I puked in my mouth at one point. There were corn husks, but I definitely wasn’t in Kansas. Goldust and moon-sand. I was in space at one point. Who was the British robot woman? Oh right! The kraken! Alligators! Elephants! Yeah, I definitely killed something. Or a lot of things. I’m hungry.


Nick Hakim

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Spreading the word about good music is usually a great feeling. But if we’re talking about music you’re truly connected to, it’s a little soul crushing. It’s like you form this intimate bond with a song and you selfishly don’t want anyone else to experience it. Nick Hakim’s absence on this blog is no coincidence. But after growing an immeasurable amount of love for him, I feel obligated to share his genius. All I can really hope for is that you appreciate these gems even half as much as I do. Prepare to get lost in a world of wildly beautiful melodies and layers upon layers of soul. These are not songs to skim through. Savor the full listen for when you’re ready…you’ll just know.