1. Enrique Iglesias-Euphoria
2. V/A-Let’s A Go-Go
3. Seu Jorge- Seu Jorge & Almaz
5. V/A-Afrosound Of Colombia Vol.1
6. Sloepoke-Fiesta Tropical
7. V/A-Saigon Rock & Soul
8. V/A-World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970s Nigeria
10. Marc Anthony-Iconos
July’s top ten includes five retro world compilations, three releases by iconic Latin Pop stars, a release by one of the coolest Brazilian to ever walk on this earth and a local deejay who's got a Cumbia collection like no other.
Enrique Iglesias topped the chart this month, a slight surprise considering his last few releases didn’t do much in the store in the past. Two other iconic Latin Pop singers, Marc Anthony and Yuri, sold well enough to take the ninth and tenth spots.
A welcome change is the increase of retro releases from Southeast Asia. Saigon Rock & Soul is a vinyl only release from the Sublime Frequencies label that will soon be sold out, even before this blog is up. The funky psychedelic Vietnamese rock certainly has people willing to pay the almost thirty bucks for this double LP, but I’m sure there are not many complainers in the end. Don’t have a record player and/or don’t want to spend 30 bones? Another option is to go with the Let’s A-Go-Go compilation, which is from 1964-1969 and includes bands from Singapore as well as all over Southeast Asia.
Can’t get enough World Psyche? Well, there is The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria, put out by none other than Soundway Records. In the seventies, African music went through its own metamorphosis much like pop music did in the rest of the world. The guitars got fuzzed out, the organs overdriven and the vocals were shouted rather than sung. But at the core, these collections of songs are clearly African in style, with Highlife and Afrobeat dominating the selections. If you are a fan of seventies Afro Rock bands such as Blo, Witch and Ofege, this comp will more than fill your need for digging more African treasures.
Seriously, who is cooler than Seu Jorge? Singer/musician and actor (City Of God, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Escapist)'s first two solo albums, Carolina and Cru, were classic throwbacks to the days of Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil. He followed that up album of David Bowie covers done acoustic and sung in Portuguese. (The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions) and returned to his funky roots with América Brasil O Disco. On this latest release, Jorge has teamed up with former Nação Zumbi members Lucio Maia and Pupillo along with film composer and bassist Antonio Pinto to form Almaz. Seu Jorge & Almaz was released last week on Now Again/Stones Throw. It's an album consisting of “cooler than you” cover songs by the likes of Kraftwerk, Roy Ayers, Michael Jackson, Jorge Ben, Tim Maia and Martinho Da Vila, done by this unique ensemble of artists. While Jorge takes on every song with his classic laid back vocal style, it's Pullillo, Maia and Pinto that shine on this release, with every interpretation going through a deep layer of echo drenched guitar and reggae dub influenced drums and bass. A surprise is Jorge singing in English. It’s his ESL moment and even though he might struggle on some of these cuts, the soul in his voice still comes through, ready to charm the pants off of any unsuspecting listener.
Lately, many of the Cumbia compilations that have been coming out have been a bit academic for my tastes. A few great tracks here and there, but absolutely no flow to them. DJ Sloepoke, an L.A. based deejay, has flow, has been playing Cumbia for years and knows what’s up. So when I heard that he had a Cumbia mix CD, I had to hear it. Fiesta Tropical may look a little ‘chunti,” as some may say, like a pirated Cumbia CD you get at the swap meet, but on the disc is pure heat! Rare Cumbia tracks from South America, Central America and Mexico. Good luck trying to find out who these tracks are from, as this mix was created all from vinyl. The best part about Fiesta Tropical is that someone who understands the dance floor made it. No skipping tracks to keep your dance party going -- just let it roll and have a good time.