Thursday, April 30, 2009

help a fellow would-be hipster

I'm riding my bike to San Francisco to support AIDS research and treatment, but I need 3k monies to do it. Can you help?

AIDS/LifeCycle is a seven-day, 545 mile bicycle ride, from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  Proceeds from AIDS/LifeCycle benefit the HIV/AIDS services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

Confessions of a Would-Be Hipster loves a good cause, and our fellow would-be hipster L.A.R. has a great one: biking from Los Angeles to San Francisco to raise money for AIDS research.

We suspect if you're reading this, you might be much like us -- poor music lovers. But if between working for the "the man" and waiting for your Emusic to renew, you happen to have a few extra bucks to donate to L.A.R.'s mission, we hope you'll consider it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

black monk time by the monks

In their only full-length LP, Black Monk Time, the Monks proved to be amazingly ahead of their time. Recorded in 1965 by a group of American G.I.s living in Germany, the album was more abrasive than the Stones dreamed of being, its humor darker than the Who were managing; the only element of the Monks' music keeping the sound firmly tethered to the mid-sixties is the organ. The drums are pure beat with few fills and fewer cymbals. The guitars occasionally stumble on a melody, but they're mostly there to sustain the rhythm of the vocals and to freak out on feedback. There's also the occasional brilliant lead-bass line, and did I mention the six-stringed banjo? I don't know what they sound like, but it's not a mid-sixties skiffle group. It's shaved-head, cassock-wearing, 1960s punk rock. With a banjo.

The vocals are often screaming, angry rants and strange non sequiturs. This was before folk-rock protest songs like Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" were beginning to enter the mainstream. But the Monks were war vets, and they had a lot of protesting to do. A lot of angry protesting – none of that "everybody look what's going down" stuff. "I Hate You" is a three-and-a-half minute rant about hating commies "with a passion, baby!" with a minute of feedback-frenzied guitar wailing in the middle - just for good measure. Album opener "Monk Time" begins with lead singer Gary Burger enthusiastically bashing the army, the Vietcong, the atomic bomb, killing children…and something about James Bond? All to a totally danceable beat. "Shut Up" laments how the world is so worried / Shut up! Don't cry! There's also a healthy smattering of love songs (with varying sauciness-to-pop ratios), a song about a cuckoo, and of course, what album recorded by rockers with tonsures would be complete without the world's heaviest monk chant?

The point is, Black Monk Time has been around for awhile in CD and digital form, but it's coming out on vinyl today. If you like rock 'n' roll, punk rock, garage rock, or any kind of loud, good music, I suggest you buy yourself a copy and blow your mind. A DVD is apparently coming in May as well which, if this is anything to go by, should be just as awesome:

mp3: "I Hate You" by the Monks

Monday, April 27, 2009

polly scattergood by polly scattergood

I have a work playlist. It consists of sweet, lovable, but ultimately unchallenging music that I use to help me ignore my own issues, shut out distractions, and get down to business.

Polly Scattergood, with her idiosyncratic, Joanna Newsom-like vocal range, and lyrics ranging from insipid to inspired, is not on that list.

Her self-titled debut album (out in the US May 19th) is guaranteed to be a polarizing affair. Which is funny, since for the life of me I can't figure out how I feel about it. Of course, while I can't always say I "get" what she's going for, it's difficult to argue that it isn't a welcome break from safer musical trends -- even if the "quirky songstress" is starting to become a micro-trend in and of itself.

Simultaneously fragile and theatrical, Scattergood is best when playing close to her element: the self-aware, wry Bell Jar fan. While songs like the overtly confessional "I Am Strong" (sample lyric: ...I am not in a place where I can talk to you. Umm...pardon?) fall flat, her lighter, nearly humorous moments are tossed off with a certain lyrical ease, as in "Please Don't Touch" when amidst pontificating on the "sadness in the air" she confesses, ...there are lots of broken fingers in the dark parts of my room, or in indisputable album high-point "Nitrogen Pink" when, amidst several grandiose metaphors she mentions ...a pack of catsup that he spilt on his tie. After her little-girl delivery has the listener subconsciously preparing for an album of teenage-poetry, (hey I can't judge, everyone's got a volume or two shoved into a drawer somewhere), these little self-aware moments hint that there might be more to the little-girl-lost persona than meets the ear.

While the album might have benefited from a hair less lyrical melodrama, its highlights are all moments that veer toward the instrumentally over-indulgent. Centered around electronic textures ranging from "Bunny Club"'s deep-house leanings, to "Nitrogen Pink"'s Broadway-musical crescendo, melodrama wins hands down. Scattergood's mastery of drama easily overshadows the dragging organic moments of melodically unfocused "Poem Song" or plodding album-closer "Breathe In, Breathe Out."

But what does it all mean? Weird and fragile, after numerous spins I still don't always get it. And yet, I can't help but be curious to find out what Scattergood will be up to next. Judging by the her debut, her sophomore effort could bring us any number of singer-songwriter personae. It might be more polished. It might be more accessible. But the enigmatic character she's created here will never be as intriguing or honest as it is on first introduction.

mp3: "Please Don't Touch ( The Golden Filter Pop Mix)" by Polly Scattergood

Thursday, April 23, 2009

mini-reviews: under the radar and under-appreciated

Too much music, too few hours of the day, too many unread messages in the inbox. Dang, you Would-Be Hipster readers and press agents are a prolific bunch!

Mini-review theme: under the radar and under-appreciated. But let me tell you kid (pulls cigar from her teeth), don't worry kid, you'll be big one day, you'll be a star!

hot star maps by pam shaffer

Pam Shaffer, a sexy librarian with an enviable shoe collection, crafts sultry but sweet piano ballads. They're sweet, and it might take several listens before you realize that her wry Joanna Newsom-style honey-voiced persona is slyly pilfering from the Amanda Palmer playbook. Hollywood, in all its empty glitz, big promises, and yes, star maps, should be so sweet.

mp3: "Hot Star Maps" by Pam Shaffer

woah billy! by lucky soul

Somewhere in London, blood of Dusty Springfield and the Ronettes running through their veins, Lucky Soul are prepping their second album. "Whoa Billy!", the first demo-single to emerge from the yet-unnamed sophomore release, shows that retro girl-group melodies, handclaps, and non-ironic tunes about love never go out fashion. Never. They do however leave you craving a malt and a spin around the floor at the sockhop. Cool, daddy-o.

mp3: "Whoa Billy!" by Lucky Soul

in steps by letting up despite great faults

No matter how many candle-lit vigils we hold ( many I hold), Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello aren't going to make another album. (If they do, I owe you a Coke.) Then again, do we really want the electro-indie-pop Chinese Democracy? I mean, look what happened with, well...Chinese Democracy. Thankfully, we have Letting Up Despite Great Faults to fill that Postal Service-shaped hole in our hearts. As with previous release Movement, "In Steps," the first demo off the upcoming album, contains a charming, bittersweet quality. The production is sparse, wonderfully slick, and more complete sounding than the term "demo" implies. In short: proof positive that good things are on the way for electro-indie-pop fans everywhere.

mp3: "In Steps (demo)" by Letting Up Despite Great Faults
mp3: "I Hear You Drowning but I'm Tied" by Letting Up Despite Great Faults (from Movement)

bat in the blowhole by the jellyfish bandits

I'm kind of love with the Jellyfish Bandits, easily one of the most ridiculously named bands I've come across in awhile. The music is just as lighthearted as their name. The Pacific Northwest two-piece toy with the sound of Matt & Kim and Half-handed Cloud, while embodying the spirit of a stripped-down Architecture in Helsinki. Of course, the thing they're really out to toy with is your heart, as a protagonist who hopes if he dies he'll become a ghost and watch the woman he loves though her window but ...hope you don't think that's creepy, it's just that you complete me. Creepy, maybe a little. But cute. Would you expect any less from a band out to steal sealife and your heart?

mp3: "Ghostical Love" by The Jellyfish Bandits

Monday, April 20, 2009

skaizerkite by montt mardié

Montt Mardié, as m.a.b helpfully pointed out, has a sound that would not be out of place at a skating rink. As many of my happy childhood memories were centered around the roller skating rink, I can't help but see this as a compliment. My favorite moment of each skate night was when the lights would dim, the disco ball would drop, and something not unlike Montt Mardié would play. Who wouldn't want to experience that feeling of child-like wonder and fulfillment again? (Puberty on the other hand, I can pass.) Mardié's third album (fourth if you care to count last year's well-compiled Introducing the Best Of), Skaizerkite is a very good place to start recapturing that old feeling.

Back are the swelling crescendos, horn- and string-section accents, and clever wordplay. Anthemic opening track "Welcome to Stalingrad" name-drops Douglas Coupland, and it's off to the races, from the glam-heavy "Girls on Film" kissing-cousin "Click Click," to the disco-ready duet "Unknown Pleasures," to the introspective voice and guitar "Elisabeth By the Piano." In practice, this should result in a genre train wreck. But Mardié carries it off with the style and grace of a seasoned performer: no matter what the style, no matter the amount of truth each song may or may not contain, he's going to make you feel it. I'm not ashamed to say I fall for it every time.

Also back is Mardié's romantic fatalism, never more heartbreaking and real than the aforementioned narrative-rich ode to vacation romance, "Elisabeth by the Piano." Couple that with Annie, the reoccurring girl-who-got-away, who on Skaizerkite is getting married to someone else in "A Wedding in June" even as Mardié's still proclaiming his love for her in closing track "I Love You Annie," and you've got the stuff broken hearts and melodramas alike are made of. Of course, emo teens and soap actors only wish they had such an impressive falsetto.

Of course, when it comes to love songs, there is one track that deserves a special mention and special WBH adoration. A song which, without a doubt, is the best geek break-up song committed to tape, the gut-wrenching "Dungeons and Dragons": a tragic tale chronicling the torrid love affair between a too cool girl and a boy who ...know[s] every word Woody Allen wrote. By the last refrain of goodbye ...may the force be with you, I found myself a bit wistful and more that a little disturbed that Mardié seems to have joined the legions of musicians reading my diary1. A bit of a reality check? Maybe. But darn it...I'll skate to that!

Once again: No US release date. Seriously Sweden, must you hold out on us? Thankfully you can buy it via Hybris. Click the link, support the artist -- it's the great circle of life.

1. Gotta get a better lock for the thing.

mp3: "Dancing Shoes" by Montt Mardié

Friday, April 17, 2009

eden, how we miss you by the dandelion council

Friend, musician, Plastic Snow cohort, and occasional "guest hipster" The Dandelion Council's (a.k.a. Pip Craighead and assorted friends) newest EP, Eden, How We Miss You, is out now on iTunes.

Let me step out of my completely unbiased blogger persona for a moment: Yea!

After having previously admitted that his various musical incarnations (our friendship has endured though several mini-genre shifts, band name changes and lineups) are directly responsible for my ongoing interest in electronica1, I'm happy to say that The Dandelion Council's newest offering represents a continuing maturation and increased musical sensitivity. This is wonderfully peaceful ambient music, with cleverly placed tonal hues assuring it never grows monotonous or repetitive. With songs like the soothing "Atop Mount Wilson, 1978" or the echo-filled "Starlit Days and Nights" playing like lost breezes in the titular garden's summer days, this is the sound of quiet ambition realized. In short -- the sound of a mini auditory paradise.

1.And the majority of posts in March.

mp3: "Atop Mount Wilson, 1978" by The Dandelion Council

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

spring tides by jeniferever

Jeniferever represents another rare split decision. I hate split decisions: they ruin my blogging M.O., which consists of jumping up and down and screaming, "No really! This is awesome! Buy it!" (This statement may or may not be punctuated by a girly scream.) However, I suspect if I hadn't been infected with ako's shoegazing fever, thus requiring an almost constant stream of Mew and Silversun Pickups, I'd probably have let the Uppsala quartet's newest album, Spring Tides (out now) completely pass me by.

Instrumentally, I'm 100% behind this album. There's a delicate sensitivity, reminiscent of Sigur Ros by way of Explosions In the Sky. The vocal-free moments of the titular track almost match the pace of a beating heart. Neat. Even before I'd googled the cover art, the music had me dreaming of laying under the night sky with a loved one (tba). As far as tone poetry goes, this is a success.

The problem, of course, are the vocals. Sitting above the mix rather than in it, Kristofer Jönson's vocals come straight from the school of early 90s sensitive radio-friendly rock. At the best moments they remind me of a angst-free Conor Oberst, which, being a Bright Eyes fan, I'm more than willing to offer up as a compliment. And on songs like "Concrete and Glass" it works. Well, almost. However, I can't help but thinking if Jönson's voice were pulled back into the mix just a tiny bit more, acting as an additional instrumental element rather than a focal point, its haunting, transformative tone would have elevated Spring Tides to something really magical.

mp3: "Green Meadow Island" by Jeniferever

Monday, April 13, 2009

mythomania by cryptacize

If there's one thing I've come to grips with, it's that as I get older, life is not going to slow down. Ever. The treadmill is stuck on high. Lately, I've found myself resorting to the culinary crime against humanity of microwaving tea -- and finding myself trying to "hurry" it along. On bad days, the music of my mind isn't a Benny Hill soundtrack -- it's an experimental noise-rock trio. Emphasis on "experimental." All this to say, Mythomania (out April 21st) the new album from Asthmatic Kitty's Cryptacize, is unnerving. But not for the reasons you'd expect.

Embodying a languorous, yet bouncy charm, not unlike contemporaries Beach House or Ariel Pink, Mythomania is an appealing throwback to a simpler place and time; what you'd expect from a band that brags about recording in a cabin outside of Yosemite. Lead by the haunting innocent-voiced echo of vocalist Nedelle Torris, and ex-Deerhoof member Chris Cohen, their sound is folky, unnervingly sparse, and a bit sweet. Never once does their reach extend their grasp, thus making the exercise in restraint -- from the poppy "Mythomania" to the slow building "Gotta Get Into That Feeling" -- an understated success. They've taken the label "experimental" from a terrible description of the static in my head to a place of wonder, evoking faded, lens flare-filled images of the past. I, for one, am more than happy to knock back my ill-brewed tea, ignore my boss's e-mails, and join their musical daydream.

mp3: "Blue Tears" by Cryptacize

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

two suns by bat for lashes

It took me awhile to get my "grown-up" words around Bat For Lashes sophomore album Two Suns (out today). Even now, I think incessant chanting of the phrase "dude" might be a more articulate response than anything set to follow. I'm a Southern Californian.

After the strong debut Fur and Gold that, while enticing, seemed to work better in pieces than as a concept album, former film student Natasha Khan has called on every cinematic trick in the book for her follow up, and along the way blows your semester of film theory 101 out of the water.

While "Daniel," the least arresting cut of the album, is acting as the album's current "trailer", it feels like a gross misrepresentation. I love Khan's voice in almost every context, but still am not completely sure how the 80s drum machine is representative of an otherwise organic album. Album opener "Glass," on the other hand, is enough to make any listener sit up and take notice, from its whispered Song of Solomon opening to the soaring chorus, dripping with untapped longing. This, folks, is what we in the biz call, "opening with a bang."

Every screenwriter knows that by the end of the first act, you need to introduce a memorable villain. Aided by duet partner "Pearl," her "destructive, femme fatale persona," Khan gives us one of the best musical character introductions ever in duel album highlights: "Siren Song," a paean to a simple life of unconditional unobtainable love, and "Pearl's Dream," a pulsating battle call capturing what happens when the dark side takes over.

Of course, when the villain is internalized, can you ever win? Even with weary third-act denouncement, "Traveling Woman" we're given little indication that the battle will ever be won, only that, weary, the heroine must trudge on to fight again, making the same mistakes over and over.

The album is sent to a uncertain rest with closer ‘The Big Sleep," featuring Scott Walker: an uneasy duet that hauntingly pushes Khan to the edge of her vocal range. It's chilling two minutes and forty-two seconds composed of a single piano mixed so raw, to close your eyes is to bring yourself into the lament's inner circle. Of course, your "Pearl" isn't far behind.

Here's hoping for a sequel.

mp3: "Glass (live via RCRDL)" by Bat For Lashes
mp3: "I'm On Fire (live)" by Bat For Lashes

Saturday, April 4, 2009

the get up kids @ the troubadour

Y'know what's really awesome? When your favorite band does a gig at your favorite venue on a Friday night, and you're crammed up against the stage and the bassists' arsenal of effect pedals, and the music is brilliant and the crowd is amazing. This basically sums up the Get Up Kids' show last night at the Troubadour, and I could probably stop this review here by just saying, "Dude." But I think that might be a disservice to the band, so forgive me as I babble on.

The Get Up Kids broke up in 2005, but you'd never know it from the show. They're incredibly tight musically: even though lead singer Matt Pryor insisted we "listen for the fuckups," they were few, far between, and hardly noticeable. Apparently Ryan Pope was forgetting drum fills, but no one would've noticed if he hadn't announced the fact to his bassist brother, Rob. I tend to judge bands and concerts on the rhythm section, and the Get Up Kids won my heart long ago because of the Popes – no other band that I've ever heard has not only lead bass, but lead drums as well. Halfway through the show, Rob's bass was turned up, just to make sure everyone knew how brilliant his playing was. (More astute readers will know that I was okay with this.) The only moment of musical fail was when the crowd insisted on hearing "Off the Wagon," and neither guitar player could remember how to play it. Although admittedly, it was on their first EP released in '96, and they had a hard time remembering how to play it in '05 too.

The onstage banter between the band was sparse but hilarious. Apparently there was a $500 bet to get Rob to play the show shirtless, and he was teased appropriately. Guitarist Jim can always be counted on to say something slightly foolish that Matt can mock him for. The band also wasted no time teasing the crowd, too: when asked to clap along, the song had to be stopped, because we were "a really white show," and we couldn't keep the tempo.

It has to be said that a big part of the awesomeness of the show was the crowd. I've never seen the Troubadour so full, or so bouncy, or so willing to scream every lyric so enthusiastically. Even the stage-diving during an inappropriate song and the bruised pelvis I sustained by being slammed into the stage were beautiful things. The highlight, however, may have been when one particularly enthusiastic fan really wanted to crowd surf, and Matt helped out by directing the crowd. "He really wants it. Pick him up. Now move him that way! Back this way. Aaaand down!" This apparently gave him a real sense of control. Although really, the band had each and every one of us in the palm of their collective hand from the very first chord. And they totally knew it.

It should also be noted that the Miniature Tigers opened1, and were great. L.M.S described them as "cuddly Weezer," and they do indeed make wonderful, cute power-pop-type songs. They played the shortest opening set I've ever witnessed. Both of which I thank them for.

(photo Get Up Kids: MySpace)

1. We'd been told that Train the Dentist – a supergroup composed of members of Coalesce, the Anniversary, and Hot Rod Circuit covering Four Minute Mile, TGUK's first LP - would open. I'm kinda bummed that they didn't.

mp3: "Holiday" by the Get Up Kids, from Something to Write Home About
mp3: "Martyr Me" by the Get Up Kids, from Guilt Show
mp3: "No Love" by the Get Up Kids, from their "Final Show" in '05

gooseberries by sterling andrews

The intersection between art and music is an interesting place: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec got bored painting, wandered down to the Moulin Rouge for a break, and voila, the seeds for cover art were sown -- along with, if records are any indication, a whole lot of wild oats...or so I've heard. Even with the mp3 player shrinking our favorite album images down to smudgy squares in the corners of our iTunes, generations later artists and musicians are still teaming together finding new ways of co-sponsoring our flights of fancy.

In that proud tradition, LA-based rock photographer Sterling Andrews has captured music's power to transport and inspire in the whimsical lithograph collection Goosberries (available today).

The premise: LA-based bands (including WBH favorites: Silversun Pickups, Earlimart, and Great Northern) are photographed against bright, hand-painted backdrops. The result: punk fairy-tale images, far removed from traditional band lineup shots.

It's clear the musicians were more than willing to play Andrews' game. Natural storytellers, they become otherworldly characters inhabiting the dynamic backdrops -- The Happy Hollows pose as punk fortune tellers -- not a stretch by any means, but dang they look like they're having fun! Meanwhile, Afternoons stage a gothic family portrait, and Great Northern looks ready to conjure up magic, be it musical or otherwise...

A collection for musical/art completists alike, the limited edition book also comes with a behind-the-scenes DVD. 'Cause if there's one thing more intriguing than having your favorite artists inspire your daydreams, it's peeking behind the curtain to figure out how out how they do it.

mp3: "Lieutenant" by Happy Hollows
mp3: "Wanting Want" by Pity Party
mp3: "Song For" by Earlimart
mp3: "Houses" by Great Northern

Friday, April 3, 2009

fantasies by metric

I'm just going to come right out and say it -- I really like Fantasies (out April 14th). It's a little too early to use the other L-word; we only met a few weeks ago and haven't had the crucial relationship-defining moment. It's probably too early to say if we'll be spending weekends and holidays together...but it's decidedly a watershed moment. Fantasies is the first of Metric's albums that I've managed to not only listen to from start to finish, but really enjoy.

This isn't to say this love isn't completely unprecedented, even if it is surprising. Three years ago, Metric lead-woman Emily Haines released a solo album -- a collection of moody melancholic tunes that were simply stunning. (If you haven't yet experienced Knives Don't Have Your Back, go buy a copy. Don't worry, I'll wait here.) However, after extensively touring behind the album, Haines suddenly had the epiphany, mid-concert, that sad isn't the new happy, it's just sad. Thus, the gang is back together and the aggressive indie-electro rock is flying.

But will the album fly with hardcore fans? So far, reviews are somewhat mixed. My personal favorite is one user who likened Fantasies to a Gossip Girl soundtrack. Now, I don't know about that -- I've never seen the show. But due to m.a.b.'s insistence, I've recently become a die-hard Dr.Who fan. Since I've never thought of myself as that kind of geek before now1, I've since learned it's best to leave one's options open. Who knows, maybe cheesy shows about teens with too much money and time might actually be my kind of thing2.

Maybe Metric fans aren't ones for uniformity. (Feel free to correct and or rant at this assumption.) Unlike previous albums, which hopscotched across ideas and genres (thus lending to my personal assumption that Metric is hit-or-miss at best), Fantasies is neatly cohesive from the start -- any song could be pulled out as a single. While this does lend the album a homogeneous air, it's hard to argue with their collective abilities to start parties (nothing, but nothing, says good times and "Stadium Love" like pitting a "cougar vs. snake") ...or heated fan debate.

All this joy and energy, and yet I, emo child, still find myself attached to Knives Don't Have Your Back-referencing lyrics in album highlight "Twilight Galaxy": Thinking sorrow was perfection, I'd wallow till you told me, there's no glitter in the gutter there's no Twilight Galaxy.... No glitter in the gutter, maybe, but there's more than a fair share of sparkle to Fantasies.

1. Note from m.a.b.: I'm pretty sure I'm meant to be offended here. Doctor Who fans are the loveliest, smartest, and most agreeable sort. Until they get drunk and start tripping over their scarves.
2. Unlikely.

mp3: "Monster Hospital" by Metric (from the album Live it Out)
mp3: "Doctor Blind" by Emily Haines (from the album Knives Don't Have Your Back)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

welcome to mali by amadou & mariam

To quote the great Richie Havens, "We're all made of the same stuff. If you find someone made of something different let me know; it'll freak me out!" As a travel addict (I'd spoon with my passport at night if it didn't bend the pages), I'm always disproportionally gleeful when we can add a new "location" tag. Conversely, I abhor the phrase "world music" and everything it stands for. Let's face it, the phrase evokes inaccessible tribal beats -- stirring to action that dormant part of my1 Anglo-Saxon brain that screams, "this is not like me! Cannot compute! AHAHHAHA!" But, without tapping into the ultra-hippy side of my personality, aren't we all part of the same "world?" (I'll hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" if you will.) This internal struggle is probably why it's taken me so long to give Amadou & Mariam the respect they deserve.

The real question: isn't music just music? Every musician, be it five-year-olds in classical piano classes or the aforementioned tribal drummers, all start out with the same basic building blocks. Then, those five-year-olds grow up, start snarky music blogs, and spend years convincing themselves they have nothing in common with musicians a few continents over. That is, until a blind husband and wife team come along and shatter all their preconceived notions. Without sacrificing any of their cultural sensibilities, Amadou & Nariam have struck a universal chord. Welcome to Mali marries traditional beats to modern electronics and classic pop structures. It's infectious with a clear wide appeal. So much so in fact Coldplay (a.k.a. the whitest culturally sensitive guys since U2) have asked them to open their summer tour. And you know what? For once, I simply cannot mock Chris Martin and the gang. From the electro happy choruses of "Sabali" to the chant happy "Africa" to the down right joyful lyrics freely alternating between French and English -- it's hard not to feel engaged. Joyfully engaged.

World's all "world music." I'll let you know when we start getting blog submissions from intergalactic bands. Then I'll really freak out.

1. Ill-advised hyperbole for dramatic effect.