Sunday, October 14, 2012

Staff Benda Bilili-Osali Mabe

Staff Benda Bilili eclipse just being a great story; they make some pretty damn good music. The core of the band is four paraplegics who had polio when they were younger, leaving them without the use of their legs (check out their great public service announcement to remind parents to get their kids vaccinated against the disease here). Tired of being rejected by other bands in Kinshasa, the members joined forces, practicing and living in the city zoo while working as street performers across the sprawling Congolese capital. You can't make this stuff up. Discovered by a Belgian producer, the group have now made names for themselves on the World Music scene, recently having released their latest album. Two albums down, the band gained exposure due to their unique story but will be around for a long time due to their unique music. "Osali Mabe" is the perfect introduction to the band's sound: a great mixture of traditional Central Africa call and response backed up by some funky Caribbeanesque groove. The shrieking electric guitar is actually Roger Landu, a teenage street kid who was taken in by the band who made his guitar out of a tin can. The odds they had to go against for me to jam to their sounds were immense, the music even better. Check them out below. 

Buy Bouger Le Monde! here

Download Staff Benda Bilili Osali Mabe

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sam Lee-On Yonder Hill

Sam Lee is on a mission to save British folk music. Having traveled the country learning old folk songs, he recently released his debut album Ground of Its Own which is his take on these old ballads. The result is a striking mix of words and instruments that sometimes borders on jarring. With modern music largely eschewing any semblance of story, Lee's music puts the story front and center and surrounds it with a medley of sounds ranging from a didgeridoo to an old show tune that sounds like it was borrowed from Yann Tiersen. Both a homage to a music he loves and a distinctly unique musical experiment, Ground of Its Own and "On Yonder Hill" take us back a few years and shows us what we're missing today.

Buy Ground Of Its Own here

Download Sam Lee On Yonder Hill

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Matt & Kim-Now

After a few weeks in which I added a Master's to my "title," right after the BigLexiconMagic, I'm back to this beaut and will be churning out daily jamandahalfs for the near future. Do come again.  

In some ways, Matt & Kim have been trying to recreate "Daylight" (their debut single) for years now because in some ways, "Daylight" is the perfect Matt & Kim song. Even if they never again catch lightning in a bottle, they still are making some pretty dope music and on their recent release Lightning they are once again filling their unique groove. When you listen to the Brooklyn duo, you know exactly what you're going to get. For many of the mundane chores of life: long bus rides, walking to work in the rain, filling out endless job applications, the upbeat stylings of the two provide the perfect soundtrack. "Now" has, after years of being occupied largely by Southern crunk and Dutch house, taken the throne of my official pump-up jam and is a raucous reaffirmation of right now making the best out of a life that sometimes tries to get you down.

Download Matt & Kim Now