The best known Syrian dabke wedding singer, now based in Turkey due to the Syrian civil war, is back with his second studio recording following 147,692 (number approximate) tape releases in his native country. Souleyman, who uses electronics and his soulful voice to craft fun, incredibly danceable tunes, again worked with Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden on Bahdeni Nami and the album does not disappoint. Souleyman’s lyrics are, of course, in Arabic, so very few native English speakers will be able to understand them, but the sound of his voice blends so well the music’s high pitched keyboard sounds that their meaning is really irrelevant. All that matters is the music irresistibly makes hips shake and heads bob.
Thomas Arsenault, a/k/a Mas Ysa, is a Canadian electronic musician who uses keyboards and 80’s drum machine beats to create a stripped back new wave music updated for 2015. Alternately up tempo and vaguely droning, Seraph, his debut full length, doesn’t overwhelm the listener with sound, but instead plays with space and mellowness in a manner not common in the genre. This brings a darkness into the music that separates Seraph from its occasionally punch line inducing forebearers, and creates a fascinating and recommended listen.
Sub Pop made its name with bands from the Pacific Northwest playing aggressive rock, but over the years they’ve grown beyond that sound to include everything from Shabazz Palaces’ experimental hip hop to Luluc’s indie folk. Strange Wilds is a return to Sub Pop’s roots. A power trio from Olympia, Washington, Strange Wilds’ debut LP Subjective Concepts would fit in perfectly with the label’s 90’s roster (to the point where the guitar on “Lost and Found” sounds lifted directly from “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). Similar in feel to Metz, and made up of roaring guitars and vocals backed by heavy drums and bass, Subjective Concepts is a record made for headbanging and crowdsurfing and is highly recommended for all those lamenting the death of rock.
An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: www.last.fm/user/cafreema Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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