Permanent Rotation: Black Angels, Michael Kiwanuka, Bombino, and Stereo Reform


You know them, the sad sorry souls out there who say that today’s music sucks. I dare you to look at their record collections. Seriously, go ahead.

You did. Good. Now, I’ll tell you what you found: dust and a fucking lot of it.

Yes, Black Flag was kick ass.

And so was R.E.M.

And pre-Black Album Metallica.

And the Beastie’s Paul Boutique.

And De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising.

And the Chronic.

And Nine Inch Nail’s The Downward Spiral.

And OutKast’s Stankonia.

And Wyclef Jean’s The Carnival.

And fucking Appetite for Destruction. That thing was the shit … for a 16-year-old boy in 1987 who had pickled his brains on Mad Dog 20/20, Coors Gold, and a coffin cooler of Purple Jesus.

The point is, those are all great bands and great fucking albums, but shit, man, things — you know —happened after that. Really good things. (And don’t even get me started on those ass junkets who are still drifting in the stagnant waters of the frat-boy friendly rock of Third Eye Blind, Sister Hazel, Edwin McCain, and, yes I’ve got to say it, Hootie and the Blowfish. Anyone who is still listening to that crap would gladly slip a manatee a roofie when they’re feeling hard up.)

Take this week for example. Right now, I’ve got four choice albums on constant rotation.

The first: The Black Angels’ Indigo Meadow. The latest from this Austin-based psychedelic act is the best kind of bad trip. One part 13th Floor Elevators, one part The Doors, and one part bongfest-in-a-pimped-out-van-with-an-air-brushed-picture-of-Conan-the-Barbarian-and-the-Silver-Surfer-fighting-Vampira on the side, Indigo Meadow is a groovy blast of bare-bones doom pop.

The second album I just can’t get enough of is Michael Kiwanuka’s Home Again. As some of you might know, I’ve been on a soul kick lately — seriously, if you haven’t discovered Charles Bradley and Lee Fields and the Dap Tones gang, I pity you — so Kiwanuka’s latest was right in my wheelhouse. The lead off track, “Tell Me A Tell,” is like a little bit of Van Morrison’s barefoot mysticism but with a little slice of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ sweet, good-time melodies. The rest of the disc isn’t quite so soulful. It ventures into Jack Johnson flip-flop rock territory, and frankly, that’s the perfect soundtrack to the spring time. Fire up the barbie and pop open a PBR. Good times await.

And if you’re a fan of world music, Bombino’s Nomad is a must listen. Produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Nomad is a groovy, other-worldly gem, you know, the kind that gives you the ability to see through thoughts and to read clothes. If you do the damn hippie shag to this, I won’t hate you for it. It’ll be difficult, but dammit if it doesn’t feel like the right fucking thing to do, so shag away, you beautiful bastards. Shag away.

Last but not least, Stereo Reform’s forthcoming album The Future Started Yesterday. We got an advanced copy of the Greenville band’s LP, and it’s primo dance rock, the kind that has made Adam Levine a motherfucking millionaire and a guy who gets more ass than George Clooney, John Mayer, and Oscar Mayer combined. Make no mistake, the lead off track “10 Miles From New York City” will get you laid. Reform’s guitarist Will Evans also plays in the Dead 27s, featuring Chucktown guitar god Wallace Mullinax.

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