At a time of great turmoil, every thing else can feel insignificant. Spending all your time listening and digesting music feels trivial. Writing about it even more so. But music, like all artforms, is a gateway to another place, to other people, to understanding, reflecting and solidarity. It’s also an outlet for anger and frustration which is ultimately cathartic. Just listen to Run The Jewels 3.
Music is the answer. But for threats like Trump to world affairs and the people in it, it just doesn’t feel like it. When President Trumpy signed an executive order banning visitors to the US from seven predominantly Muslim Nations for 90s days: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya, it caused immediate chaos at airports as people affected were literally in the air on their way here. Organisations like the ACLU and others have been resisting and winning small victories, but the closing of borders in such rash fashion of the “land of the free” is more than worrying, it’s unprecedented. The attempt to change the values of a country in such short time has been met with opposition but the US, a nation of immigrants, is entering uncharted waters by banning people blindly from its territory.
Trump’s ban on those specific seven countries raises questions about whether his own business affairs with countries not on the list like Saudi Arabia mean they’re not on the list. This ban isn’t nuanced, it’s discriminatory. It applies to too many people who can and do actually contribute to the idea of making America great again: people with better education than the average American, scientists of repute, people who have the right to be there. It’s an order than is ignorant of how difficult it is to get a green card, refugee status or a working visa. You can’t just rock up to an embassy and get those papers. It’s bewildering and troubling, the style of a dictator who fashions his own common sense and gets rid of anyone who doesn’t agree with him.
So as I often do, I turned to music. As Kieran Hebden also coincidentally did yesterday by adding 8 songs to his rolling Spotify playlist, I have put together a 32-track Spotify playlist featuring music of artists and immigrants of these banned nations. It’s a small way of showing solidarity, of recognising the common humanity between us all.
The playlist includes first and second generation immigrants and refugees like Sudanese New Yorker Sinkane, Syrian musician and dabke wedding singer Omar Souleyman, Chicago veteran and Iraqi-American Amir ElSaffar, Somalin pop star K’Naan, the Syrian singer Based in Lebanon & Sweden Faia Younan and the Yemen-inspired Bint El Funk.
Among the 32 are tracks from artists of the country who stayed put, folk songs and pop music of all eras from Iranian singer GooGooosh, Iranian classical and pop singer Simin Ghanem, Somali band Dur-Dur-Band, Iran’s Mehrpouya, Nubian musician Hamza El Din and more Syrian Dabke (which is really something else) from Sounds of the Syrian Houran compilation.
After a month’s hiatus hampered by illness and cancellations, Loose Joints is back. The new hosted by Nialler9 and Sally Cinnamon talking to people about the music they love: old and new.
On this episode, Aisling Rogerson, cofounder behind what I’d consider the best café in Dublin joins us. The Fumbally started a few years ago as a humble café in a post-recession space and it’s only grown to incorporate Wednesday night dinners, occasional events and the Fumbally Stables next door where they host workshops, yoga, dinners, events and talks.
Listen in as we pick some new music from all three of us and ask Aisling to pick out some special considerations. Inevitably, the chat turns to Simply Red once more.
So why not complete the circle? The brothers’ original band Soulwax is back with new music in the form of 8-minute song ‘Transient Program For Drums & Machinery’, which heralds Soulwax European dates. It’s their first Soulwax song in 11 years.
The live gigs to come sound like fun with a specially designed stage set and seven touring members, including original band member Stefaan Van Leuven on bass guitar & synth, three drummers – Victoria Smith (Jamie T), Iggor Cavalera (Sepultura, MIXHELL), Blake Davies (Turbowolf), and Laima Leyton (MIXHELL) on synth and backing vocals, it’ll be a studio on stage. Dublin date to come no doubt. They play Dublin as 2manjDJs on December 17th.
As premiered today in album form, the Russian producer’s new album The Aura is a fine collection of textured electronic beats informed by R&B, trip-hop, jazz and rap. Featuring guest turns from L.A. rapper BLU, Azari & III”s Starving Yet Full and Pavel’s friends Mujuice and Graciela Maria, The Aura is recommended for fans of the beat-driven electronic music of Brainfeeder, Bonobo, Gold Panda, live instrument samples, glitchy beats, and headnodding rhythms.
‘VHS’ reminds me of the kind of beat-heavy electronica that Nosaj Thing has excelled at.
Roosevelt – ‘Belong’
A reminder of a recent album of the week, ‘Belong’ is indicative of Marius Lauber’s M.O. – disco spun synth pop music. He’s playing London, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester this week.
Pharrell’s Compton protegé Buddy dropped this smooth R&B jam produced Mike & Keys and DJ Khalil this month. One to watch.
Horse Lords – ‘Towards The Omega Point’
Horse Lords are a Baltimore band that fuse post-punk, jazz, Afrobeat and Krautrock to make it sound weird. ‘Towards The Omega Point’ is a nine-minute sonic excursion of warped guitar lines, cowbells and shuffling rhythm that I’m happy to play over and over. Drone rock.
Sinkane – ‘U’huh’
Some sunshine on a wet Dublin day.
Ahmed Gallab’s Sinkane project has a new album Life & Livin’ It out in February 10th on City Slang. Lead single ‘U’Huh’ is a positive slice of William Onyeabor-esque African-leaning pop music with the lyrics “We’re all gonna be alright / Kulu shi tamaam,” central to the song’s message. “Kulu shi tamaam” is Arabic for “Everything is great”.
Ahmed Gallab’s Sinkane project which gave us 2014’s album highlight Mean Love has news of a followup. Life & Livin’ It is out in February 10th on City Slang.
Lead single ‘U’Huh’ is a positive slice of William Onyeabor-esque African-leaning pop music with the lyrics “We’re all gonna be alright / Kulu shi tamaam,” central to the song’s message. “Kulu shi tamaam” is Arabic for “Everything is great”.
“Times are tough. Struggles have always existed in our lives. But hope, love and the power of positivity help us stay alive. It is what inspires me to wake up in the morning, make music, and, ultimately, connect with people. To my sisters who ache, my brothers losing strength: we don’t need to be saved. We’ll make our own way. Kulu shi tamaam! As long as we try we’re all going to be alright!”
The video by Nick Bentgen is here:
Life & Livin’ It was recorded in El Paso, Texas with Greg Lofaro. Players include Gallab, Ish Montgomery (bass), Jason Trammell (drums), Jonny Lam (guitar), and now joined by Amanda Khiri (vocals) and Elenna Canlas (keys and vocals). Trammell contributed lyrics to ‘Theme from Life & Livin’ It’ and Lam helped with arrangements. Daptone recording artists Antibalas contributed horns.
Anyone who has witnessed one of Caribou’s incendiary live performances in recent years will dig this.
The Caribou Vibration Ensemble EP is a live three-track recording of Dan Snaith’s 2011 touring project which including the Caribou live band, Four Tet, James Holden, Ahmed Gallab of Sinkane and the quartet of horn players who helped record the album Swim: Kyle Brenders, Colin Fisher, Rob Piilonen and Steve Ward.
There are three tracks on it: a near-nine minute live version of ‘Bowls’, a 13-minute version of ‘Sun’ and an improv track. Two were recording in Ghent, Belgium and one was recorded at Scala in London.
The release is dedicated to sound engineer Julia Brightly who did sound for Caribou, Mogwai and Yeah Yeah Yeahs and who passed away in 2011 (a track on Caribou’s latest Our Love is named after her). As a result, all proceeds will go towards genderedintelligence.co.uk
How to enter ticket comp – Email [email protected] with the gig above in the Subject line you’re entering for along with your full name and phone number in the body of the message. Full info on each show below. Draw closes at 6pm the day before the gig or Friday 1pm latest for weekend gigs.
Good evening Ireland, and that’s an order. Jameson have teamed up with Nialler9 in the pursuit of a great night out. So if you have no plans, read on…
Here is a selection of some of the best music events happening before the end of the year, as picked by Nialler9.
All Tvvins @ Whelan’s (€12)
Thursday November 13
With Adebisi Shank now gone the way of the dodo and The Cast Of Cheers siding with an uncertain future, two of the prolific musicians of each band have found the time to get together and made tvvins, now called All Tvvins, a project which sees the pair bring their love of synthetic and treated vocals, 80s electro-pop and the sinewy rock they’re learned in. Now signed to a UK label, this Dublin date, as part of a small run of Irish dates, might be your last chance to see them in such small surroundings.
Sam Amidon @ Whelan’s (€18)
Friday November 14
Vermont’s Sam Amidon is one of the few American folk singers who equally at home delving into rich archive of folk music whether the song is of Appalachian origin or first sung in Ireland (he covered Streets Of Derry at Other Voices). His recently released Lily-O album, like his last album Bright Sunny South, will feature some reimagined folk songs but live, his sets are truly the work of an original and can feature a strong dose of weird humour, occasional screeching and stage antics among the beautiful noise.
The FMC tour is an opportunity to see some of the best Irish bands on the up in local venues. This year’s main bands are Sleep Thieves, Fight Like Apes and Kid Karate and after gigs together in Limerick, Galway, Cork, Dundalk and finally, Dublin with support from Plutonic Dust.
Chet Faker @ The Academy (€16.50)
Tuesday November 18
The popularity of Aussie Faker has come as a surprise to many but listening to those smooth R&B-style vocals and his crisp electronic soul productions, not to mention his collaborations with wonderkid Flume, his appeal is plain to hear. This gig is somewhat of a post Built on Glass album release victory lap as he sold out the Button Factory earlier this year.
Mos Def @ Vicar Street (€33.50)
Monday November 24
Mos Def, the New York rapper who goes under the name Yasiin Bey, released his seminal debut Black On Both Sides 15 years ago this year. It’s still a classic and contemporary so a good time to hear some of those songs along with others from the rapper’s illustrious career.
Little Dragon @ Vicar Street (€25)
Tuesday November 25
These electro-popping Swedes are only getting better as their latest album Nabuma Rubberband and its singles Klapp Klapp, Pretty Girls and Paris proves. Live though, is where they shine so buy tickets for this if you’ve not yet as it’s due to be a sell out.
Kygo @ Twisted Pepper (€19.90)
Thursday November 27
This one could go either way in terms of live performance but there’s no denying what a big impact the 23 year-old Norwegian producer Kygo has had with a handful of remixes and a Soundcloud account. His rework of The Weeknd is my favourite if you’re asking. Live he’ll be supported by DJ Amtrac.
Eglo Records night @ The Sugar Club (€22.90)
Friday November 28
One of the best labels in the UK takes over the Leeson Street venue. Co-founders Alex Nut and recent Samhain special guest Floating Points will be Djing on the night but the presence of Fatima, Eglo’s in-house soulful singer who released one of the best albums of the year in Yellow Memories, is most anticipated, particularly with a live band around her.
Woman’s Hour @ The Workman’s Club (€10)
Saturday November 29
The name might come from a BBC Radio 4 radio show about female news and culture show but the four-piece band’s music is much less academic: silky R&B pop music that’s sensual and emotional as heard on their Conversations debut album. They’ve only played here thus far as surprise guests at Other Voices’ Electric Picnic stage this year.
Sinkane @ Opium Rooms (€14.35)
Wednesday December 3
New York/Sudanese musician Ahmed Gallab’s third album under the Sinkane name is his best yet, a balmy release of stretchy basslines, guitar grooves, deep percussion and Gallab’s sweet vocals. It also has sounds from old soul music, Afro-funk, calypso, reggae and country.
Yule Hearts Run Free @ The Co-Op, Dublin 8
Saturday December 6
Their recent weekend-long festival No Idle Day typified Young Hearts Run Free’s ethos of interesting and unique cultural events, from The KLF’s Bill Drummond talking about selling his soul to the devil in Marsh’s Library to John Osborne performing his sweet spoken word show about his life in records John Peel’s Shed. There’s no lineup announced for this yet but you can be sure, as with previous years where guests like The Strypes and Villagers turned up among some fine lesser-celebrated local talent, that Newmarket Square, home of the Dublin Flea Market, will turn into a right old festive party once again.
Sleaford Mods @ Whelan’s (€16)
Saturday December 13
These dudes look like a cross between Liam Gallagher and fellahs you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley. Their music has a similar confrontational gait: working class Nottingham punk poetry, both scathing and sardonic. Live, it should be a heady sweaty affair with some serious substance.
Little Green Cars @ Vicar Street (€22)
Sunday December 14
The young Double harmonic indie-folk band have been on a two-year tour since before they released their hugely-successful debut album. In that time, they’ve gone on tour in North America and Europe and this December, they return for a last series of largely acoustic gigs on their current tour taking in Galway, Newbridge, Ennis, Kilkenny, Cork, Waterford and this big one in Dublin.
Brassland @ National Concert Hall, Dublin
Saturday December 13 – Sunday December 14
The collaborative group Brassland return with a host of international and local musicians this December from folk to rock to indie and more. This is The Kit, Matthew E. White, Megafaun and more will perform music collected by American folklorist Alan Lomax, Buke & Gase and Crash Ensemble wil play the music of The National’s Bryce Dessner and The Gloaming’s Thomas Barlett will be accompanied by Glen Hansard, Paul Noonan and Lisa O’Neill for his Doveman’s Burgundy Stain Sessions.
Lisa O’Neill @ Unitarian Church (€15)
Friday December 19
Over a year since the release of her latest album, Same Cloth Or Not, the Cavan folk singer’s personality and colloquial songs continue to find new ears. She’s been all quiet on the Irish front this year so this gig is your only chance to see her charming self in the flesh.
Run The Jewels @ Opium Rooms (€17.35)
Sunday December 21
Two near-forty year old rappers, with a near-lifetime of respectable success, got together last year and made one of the rap mixtapes of the year. This year, El-P and Killer Mike graduated to album format for RTJ2 and the result has been a rap album that bangs harder than any other. You’d be a fool to miss this. A Christmas fool.
Heading out this weekend? With Jameson you’ll be ready for whatever the weekend has in store.
Enjoy Jameson sensibly, visit drinkaware.ie
Ahmed Gallab has, until now been a musician who was never really in the spotlight. As a working one in other bands (Caribou, Yeasayer, Of Montreal) he quietly served the songs of others.
On his second Sinkane album in 2012, Mars (the first in 2009 was psychedelically experimental), he stepped out on his on own with a first collection of music that displayed his own Sudanese heritage and American-inspired ideas. At its best, on a track like ‘Jeeper Creeper’, Gallab created sturdy modern Afro-pop while much of the rest of the album also drew from African pop and funk music: Autotuned and vocodered vocals, deep percussion, band funk, brass and wind instruments.
For album three, Mean Love, Gallab brings the most pertinent elements of album two forward into a refined version that makes his Sudanese background more palpable but equally more pop-focused. These ten songs are written with more focus and less looseness. The album is brimming with stretchy basslines, guitar grooves, that deep percussion and Gallab’s increasingly confident and sweet vocals as most effectively capsuled on the first two tracks ‘How We Be’ and ‘New Name’ in particular.
It touches on old soul music, Afro-funk, calypso, reggae and country but always to the fore, is a sense of balminess in the music that brings you back to track one. Mean Love is the sound of a emigrant asserting his heritage into a new global identity.
The Nialler9 TXFM show airs every Thursday night at 10pm for two hours. You can listen live on 105.2FM, online, the TXFM app or if you missed it, on the listen back function on the site, as per below. The show starts six minutes in, right after the news in each hour. Last night’s show was heavy on The Knife because CRAI.
A man appears in an alternate reality inhabited by foreign terrain and populated by sirens. He attempts to avoid the sirens’ spell but ultimately fails and he submits to his primal desires and fantasies. Only when he finally submits, is he ultimately able to decode the strange world which surrounds him.
That’s the plot for Sinkane’s new video for one of the highlights from Ahmed Gallab’s Mars album, ‘Warm Spell’ for which Directors Philip Di Fiore and Christopher J. Lytwyn photographed “everyday fruits, vegetables and flowers with a macro lens in order to create the identity and terrain of the universe in the video”.
Mars is released through City Slang in Europe and DFA in the US. You can listen to it still on Soundcloud. Check out this smooth Larry Gus remix too: (more…)
We promise a podcast every month in 2013. It’s our new blog resolution. Here’s the first of the year and the forty-second Podcast in the series. Aoife Mc and I talk about, and play some of my favourite tunes of the last few months. Artwork inspired by Frank B’s ‘Chain Of Fools’ as heard on this episode.
Continuing the four part series this week, in no particular order, in which various artists, media and music fans I trust answer the question: “What are your five best new musical discoveries of the year?” Their answers were then rummaged through by me and I picked a cross-section list of 40 of the most interesting, diverse new artists from their choices.
Drone rock really is the best way to describe this lovely mess of noise, this psychedelic trail of music called Sinkane which turns out to be the brainchild of Sudanese dude Ahmed Gallab, be the drummer from Yeasayer according to his blog.
If you’re into the most ambient live-sounding parts of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized and dig a bit of experimental kraut-rock, you’ll fucking love this.
The self-titled Sinkane album is his third release after 2008’s Color Voice and he has drummed in the past for Of Montreal, Born Ruffians and Caribou.