Resistance Mixtape: Indigenous Peoples’ Day


Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day so the mixtape celebrates the native people of North America and their continuing struggle against discrimination and elimination by European colonizers.

Buffy Sainte-Marie:: “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone”

Indigo Girls :: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”

A Tribe Called Red x Prolific The Rapper :: “Black Snakes (Remix)”

Peter Gabriel :: “San Jacinto” the culture clash between Native America and present-day America

Neil Young :: “Cortez the Killer”

 

Grant-Lee Phillips :: “Buffalo Hearts”

Robbie Robertson :: “Showdown at Big Sky”

 

I’m sure there are some knowledgeable people who can add to this mixtape with some terrific music, especially by Native American artists.  If so, post them in the comments.

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Concert Review: A Tribe Called Red


Artist: A Tribe Called Red
Opener: YVNG PAVL and DJ Big Bear of CLLCTV BOSTON
Venue: The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Date: 18 March 2017

It’s been a long time since I posted a concert review because it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a concert.  But I couldn’t miss A Tribe Called Red, one of my favorite musical acts to emerge in recent years.  The three DJs based in Ottawa, Ontario mix electronic music with First Nations’ chants and drums in a style called Electric Pow Wow.  Their music is danceable but lyrically is politically and socially charged with messages from contemporary native communities.

The opening act featured YVNG PAVL and DJ Big Bear of CLLCTV Boston who spun an eclectic mix of dance tracks that got people moving on the floor.  The two DJs worked together at a small soundboard often crossing one another’s hands in a surprisingly intimate manner.  CLLCTV is definitely something I’ll be checking out in the future.

DJ NDN,  Bear Witness, and 2oolman took the stage around 10 pm with a simple set-up on one long table.  Projected behind them were repeating clips of movies, cartoons, and perhaps performances on tv variety shows depicting clichéd and stereotypical Native American images in a way of reappropriation of the “Hollywood Indian.” Unlike A Tribe Called Red albums where the musical tracks are distinct pieces, in the live performance they ran as one long and highly infectious dance mix.  Periodically a pair of dancers would come on stage, received enthusiastically by the audience, performing a mix of native dances and breakdancing. Their clothing similarly mixed traditional native dress with African-American hip hop styles.

 

The set seemed to be over soon after it begun, but checking the time I realized that nearly two hours had passed.  I long wished to travel to Ottawa to experience the Electronic Pow Wow, but I’m glad that for one night it came closer to home.  It was definitely a performance worth seeing.

A side note, this is the first time I attended a concert at The Sinclair.  It’s an intimate venue, but while small it didn’t feel crushingly crowded despite a sizeable crowd.  There’s a large standing room only space on the floor in front of the stage with a smaller mezzanine with balconies on the sides.  Looking at the list of upcoming performances it looks like The Sinclair has taken over the dearly departed T.T. the Bear’s role of offering famed but not superstar performers from a diversity of genres a place to play in Cambridge.

2016 Year in Review: Favorite Albums


This is my second attempt at making an Albums of the Year least after my first try in 2014.  There aren’t any real surprises here as most of these albums are appearing on every other list, so I will have to seek out younger and more experimental musicians.  Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on five great albums from 2016.

Listed alphabetically by title, with links to my original reviews where possible.

David Bowie, Blackstar

Bowie’s final album, released days before his death, shows that he was an experimenter to the very last, incorporating jazz and electronic songs into richly textured songs about mortality.

Beyoncé, Lemonade

Confession: I never listened to anything by Beyoncé before this year.  But this album blew me away with it’s mix of genres and the blend of personal travails with the political aspirations of black women.  It seems appropriate that it comes 25 years after Nirvana’s Nevermind and The Beatle’s Revolver because each album created a new sound for its generation.

A Tribe Called Red, We Are the Halluci Nation

As the Water Protectors made their stand  against DAPL this year, it is appropriate that the Ottawa-based DJs of A Tribe Called Red released their most angry, political album yet.

The Avalanches, Wild Flowers

It wasn’t worth waiting 16 years, but it’s still a wild mix of sounds that feels like a back alley journey through American music.

Leonard Cohen, You Want it Darker

Another farewell album recorded by an artist in his dying days that shows that the power of creativity can persist into old age.

For an entirely different list of albums I’ve never heard before (but really want to now), check out this list on the Speed of Things by my friend Erik.

What are your favorite albums of the year?

 

 

 

 

Albums of the Month: October 2016


Ratings scale:

***** – An all-time classic album (highly recommended)
**** – Great album (recommended)
*** – Solid album (consider buying or streaming/downloading top tracks)
** – Weak album (only consider streaming/downloading top tracks)
* – Poor album (not recommended)


ARTIST: Warpaint
ALBUM: Heads Up
RELEASE DATE: 1 August 2016
RATING: **
FAVORITE TRACKS: “New Song”
COMMENTS: I enjoyed the band’s previous album, particularly the track “Disco // very” but there’s nothing that vital or energetic on this album.  It’s dream pop, but it’s more sleep inducing with bland musical arrangements and not much emotion in the vocals.  It’s getting good reviews, so your tastes may differ, but this one’s a bit too dry for me.


ARTIST: Against Me!
ALBUM: Shape Shift With Me
RELEASE DATE: 16 September 2016
RATING: ***1/2
FAVORITE TRACKS: “Boyfriend,” “Rebecca,” “Norse Truth,” and “All This (And More)”
COMMENTS:  A great package of melodic punk from the Florida band.  The lyrics rely heavily on the personal and intimate experience of singer/guitarist/songwriter Laura Jane Grace.  But the personal is political for Grace who has become an icon for the transgender community since coming out as a transgender woman in 2012.


ARTIST: A Tribe Called Red
ALBUM: We Are the Halluci Nation
RELEASE DATE: 16 Septemebr 2016
RATING: ****
FAVORITE TRACKS: “R.E.D,” “Sila,” “The Light,” and “Maima Koopi”
COMMENTS: The trio of DJs based in Ottawa combine traditional singing and rythmns with electronic dance sounds in what they call “Electric Pow Wow.”  Their third album is unapologetic in its political stance and call to activism for First Nations cause, but also shows an increasing musical confidence and willing to experiment with styles ranging from R&B to pop to rap to the Inuit throat singing of guest artist Tanya Tagaq.  This is an album at once good for the dance floor as it is for raising consciousness


Song of the Week: “Stadium Pow Wow” by A Tribe Called Red


I believe A Tribe Called Red becomes my first third time Song of the Week honoree with this post.  But I can’t resist the Ottawa, Ontario groups mix of electronic dance music with traditional First Nations chanting and drumming.  And on “Stadium Pow Wow” they’ve somehow turned this unique blend into a jock jam!  The video is spectacular as well.

2013 Year in Review: Favorite Songs


With the top ten or so songs listed for every year of my existence, it’s time for the year-end review of my favorite songs of 2013.

For previous year-end lists of previous years check out my lists for 2012,  2011,  2010  and  2009.

I’ve featured many of this songs in my Song of the Week posts this year.  If you see a link from a song title it will take you back to the Song of the Week post for that song.

San Francisco – Foxygen

That’s ok, I was bored anyway

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GMF – John Grant

You could be laughing 65% more of the time

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.Number 9 – Moon Hooch

Please stand away from the platform edge

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A Tattered Line of String – The Postal Service

In the glow of the nights golden hue

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Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins) – Shad

Now when you’re Third World born, but First World formed/
Sometimes you feel pride, sometimes you feel torn

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White Foxes – Susanne Sundfør 

For the gravy of your soul

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Indians From All Directions – A Tribe Called Red feat. Das Racist

To the L to the L to the L to the Ella

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Delicate Cycle – The Uncluded

And my heart started with a quarter

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Step – Vampire Weekend

The truth is she doesn’t need me to protect her

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Slyd – !!!

No, that’s weird

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Honorable Mentions:

Song Most Often Played at the Request of My 5 y.o. Son:

Feel this Moment – Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera

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Funniest Viral Song that You Can Dance To:

The Fox – Ylvis

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Best Boston History Lesson Set to Music:

The Great Boston Molasses Flood – The Dead Milkmen

[Listen on The Dead Milkmen website]

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Best Drunken Barroom Sing-a-Long of a Traditional American Folk Song:

Shenandoah – Tom Waits w/ Keith Richards

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Scariest Song You Can Dance To:

The Terror – Flaming Lips

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Best Song That I Was A Part Of Creating With a Video That’s Not Safe For Work:

The Wolf is on the Hill – Beck (arranged by Krissy Skare, performed by a 50 voice chorus, choreography by Sugar Dish)

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Let me know what you think of these songs in the comments, and of course, let me know you’re favorites for 2013

Ten Favorite Songs of 2012


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2012.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I originally covered 2012 with a Year in Review post.

Bright Whites – Kishi Bashi

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Caliban’s Dream –  Underworld

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Cartao Postal – Souljazz Orchestra

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Default – Django Django

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Dirty Money –  Antibalas

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Goatman – Goat

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Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It – Stars

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Look at This – A Tribe Called Red

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Oblivion – Grimes

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Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert

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And here are five songs from 2012 worthy of an honorable mention:

Akale Wube –  Debo Band

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Dog Physics – Plaid Dragon

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Gun Has No Trigger – Dirty Projectors

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Here Again – Quantic and Alice Russell

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Please Forgive My Heart – Bobby Womack

And there you have 40 years music and over 400 songs that helped define my life!

Stay tuned for the best songs of 2013.

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Song of the Week: “Electric Pow Wow Drum” by A Tribe Called Red


A Tribe Called Red is a group of DJ’s working out of Ottawa, Canada – Shub, Bear Witness and NDN – who mix aboriginal Pow Wow music with electronic dance music with amazing results.

I learned of A Tribe Called Red from NPR’s All Songs Considered coverage of their performance at globalFEST 2013, which you may listen to in entirety at NPR Music.

You may also download their FREE debut album, which I highly recommend.