Artist: Saronde feat. Idd Aziz
An afrofunk dancehall barn-burner featuring a remarkable traditional vocal sample, “Firewood” is an exceptional cross-cultural offering from Kenyan dance duo Saronde. The hook is borrowed from a 50’s Kikuyu all female acapella sung by young unmarried girls as they collect firewood (hence the name) and is flanked by soulful guitar, warbling slap bass, and grounding hand-struck percussions. In short – it rips. Good luck not grooving to this one.
Artist: Squirrel Nut Zippers
Song: “Animule Ball”
Album/EP: Lost Songs of Doc Souchon
Comforting and familiar, Squirrel Nut Zippers’ newest is like sliding into an old Dixieland slipper. Fluttering brass stings, gravelly storytelling lyricism, and that hip ever-present kookiness anchors the New Orleans jazz outfit’s latest offering in “Animule Ball”.
Artist: Cold War Kids
Album/EP: New Age Norms 2
The voice may be familiar of early generation Cold War Kids offerings, but the maturation and calming presence of “Somewhere” sets this single apart. Slowly layering crescendos, widely spaced instrumentation, and that all-important sweeping stadium-filling sound build up in the organs and no frills guitars of the New Age Norms 2 single.
Song: “Silence in the Age of Apes”
Album/EP: Hunter Gatherer
Blistering lead guitar, dynamic polyrhythmic backings, and a cohesive melodic breakdown tie together AVATAR’s breakthrough “Silence in the Age of Apes”. Teeth-grinding guitar tones right off the top of the tone set the pace for the remainder of the tune – and an immediacy in its thrashing appeal quickly follows.
Artist: Matt Costa
Album/EP: Yellow Coat
A moody and shimmering Motown slow-rock sizzler, “Slow” lives up amicably to its namesake. Splashy tambourine keeps the beat alongside a sinewy melody plucked on the guitar and echoing ooh’s in the bittersweetly fleeting chorus.