Friday, February 24, 2006

Of St. Louis, Jack Johnson and Antibalas...

A couple of quick updates today. I'm heading to St. Louis this weekend for the city's Mardi Gras celebration in Soulard. I'm not sure what to expect, except that it should be a good time and my cold will be worse the wear when I get back to KC...

Some quick reviews:

Jack Johnson - Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies From the Film Curious George

If you've listened to Jack Johnson before you know what to expect from his albums by now. For some people that's a detractor, but I think its fine. I like the vibe of Jack's music and really just enjoy listening to it, even if some of the songs tend to use the same chords or have a lazy strum-slap acoustic reggae vibe. That said, creating songs for the Curious George soundtrack did force him to approach his music from a slightly different angle, as one of the target audiences and main fans of the film is children. Jack (sometimes I feel like I should refer to people's last names and use 'Mr./Ms.' to lend some Wall Street Journal culture to the blog) does a great a pretty admirable job bridging the gap and his "kids" songs are among the album's best and most enjoyable tunes ("Sharing Song", "The 3 R's" - that's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by the way).

The prevailing reason to give the album a listen is for Jack's choice of cover songs, the White Stripes' "We're Going to Be Friends" and Ben Harper's "With My Own Two Hands." The retooled acoustic version of "Two Hands" is awesome, and is exactly the type of song kids, of all ages, should grow up with. The lead single "Upside Down" (a reworked version of the unreleased "Who's to Say [G.A.T.E.]") is among Jack's best; but if you tired of Jack's recent albums than you might want to grab a couple tracks and leave it at that.

Jack Johnson || Upside Down
Jack Johnson (with Ben Harper) || With My Own Two Hands

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra - Who Is This America?...

One of my best pulls from emusic last month was Antibalas' Who Is This America?... Antibalas plays African-influenced rhythmic funk music, that is equal parts James Brown and Fela Kuti. I first heard the band at the opening of Danny Clinch's doc of Bonnaroo 2003, "270 Miles to Graceland." After attending a set by Senor Oz at recordBar, where he did some pretty stellar things with reggae, afrobeat and Jay-Z songs, I decided I needed to have some more of this kind of music on the ready.

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra || Big Man

NOTE: You can hear more samples of Antibalas' music on their site, including the new EP "Government Music".

Have a great weeeknd everyone!

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1 comment:

Profilneurotiker said...

Antibalas is great, check their first album on Ninja Tune!