Ghanaian highlife artist Ata Kak was brought to light through ethnomusicologist Brian Shimkovitz’s Awesome Tapes From Africa blog when he posted the unstoppable “Daa Nyinaa.” Shimkovitz bought the Ata Kak tape more than a decade ago and finally found him living in Ghana. Only 50 copies of the original Obaa Sima tape were made, and though the original master DAT had disintegrated, Shimkovitz’s tape was used to reissue Obaa Sima. Details of Shimkovitz’s search for Ata Kak could likely fill a book (in fact, a documentary is being made), but it only serves to give the truly awesome Obaa Sima even more allure, as does the tape hiss from the transfer. Its seven tracks offer nothing but good times, a non-stop party that sounds removed from time, full of delightfully rinky-dink synths, instant-play beats and Ata Kak’s motormouth rap. The slightly off-time nature of the backups on “Agdaya,” the louder than necessary mix of the vocals—all things that could be construed as negative instead feel like happy accidents that make Obaa Sima sound so singular. One track flows into another across Obaa Sima, coming into centerpiece “Daa Nyinaa,” an Afro-house masterpiece of warehouse-party cool. But stick around for the slightly sinister “Yemmpa Aba” and head-bobbing vocal-less closer “Bome Nnwon,” which will have you replaying the entire album once its final handclap echoes into silence. When Ata Kak is on, you won’t want to listen to anything else. If you need me, I’ll be watching this video on repeat:
Best Coast – “California Nights” video
We only heard a taste of “California Nights” last week, so we couldn’t tell just how rad the song is. It’s an expansive shoegazer informed by influences like Chapterhouse, The Verve and Ride that sees Bethany Cosentino getting stoned, staring up into the big California sky as sunset and capturing a sense of infinity. We all know Cosentino likes singing about weed, but this is easily her stoneriest jam yet, and it’s great. The scenic video will have you packing your bags for Joshua Tree pronto. California Nights is out May 5 on Harvest.
Wand – “Reaper Invert”
Wand has just realeased another terrific song from their upcoming album, Golem, which is out March 17 on In the Red and is fucking badass. “Reaper Invert” is an ace piece of psychdelic rock ‘n’ roll, with massive fuzz, a dash of metal drone and Cory Hanson’s high-flying vocals adding up to a hollowed-out cave of sound where devilish solos fly out like bats. Get that Golem when it comes out! They'll be at the Echo March 13.
Colleen Green details major life upsets as she faces the end of her 30s on her new album, I Want to Grow Up. From breakups to digitally addled attention spans, Green’s power-pop panache makes quarterlife crises go down smoothly on hooky songs like “Pay Attention” and girl-groupish “Wild One.” “I’m so sick of being self-absorbed,” Green sings on the title track, yet she’s so good at communicating that sense of staring at the ceiling and chastising yourself that we can’t help but be hooked on her particular brand of sugary anxiety. She writes a catchy ode to getting clean and going to bed early with “Things That Are Bad for Me” and then follows it up with another track about wanting to get fucked up on the drone-rocking “part 2,” summing up a sentiment on this album we can all relate to: I’m gonna get it together, maybe tomorrow. Read more about I Want to Grow Up in our interview with Green here. See her live at Amoeba Hollywood today at 7 p.m.!
Much has been made of the mid-life crisis, but Colleen Green details the kind of quarter-life crisis that happens in your late 20s on her new album, I Want to Grow Up. Over fizzy power-pop chords and purring solos, Green’s girlish coo is so sweet you almost miss the hungover, self-flagellating lyrics that fill I Want to Grow Up—“I’m sick of being immature … I think I need a schedule,” she confesses on the title track. But I Want to Grow Up is also a lot of fun, as Green doesn’t take herself so seriously, writing odes to TV and her lack of an attention span that are as funny as they are self-critical. Even in the admonishing “Things That Are Bad For Me (Part 1),” Green admits in part two, “I wanna do drugs right now/I wanna get fucked up, I don’t care how.”
Green talked to us a bit about her new album before her show at Amoeba Hollywood Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.
The songs on I Want to Grow Up really hold together as an album because there’s an inward quality to them, for the most part. Did you write them kind of all at once in a certain frame of mind or were they written more slowly?
They were kind of written over the course of a few years. They started out primarily as ideas that I thought about for a long time before I tried to sit down and make music out of them. Once I got to that stage where I was like OK, I need to record this and get this done, it all kind of materialized as a set kind of well.
Best Coast Announce ‘California Nights’
Best Coast will release a new album called California Nights on May 5 via Harvest. Hard to believe this is actually their major-label debut. California Nights follows the SoCal duo’s two critically acclaimed albums, Crazy For You and The Only Place and the 2013 Fade Away EP. They played a surprise show at the Echo this week, but if you missed that, they’ll be back playing shows in their beloved California next month. Hear a snippet of a new song in the album trailer below:
Crocodiles – “Crybaby Demon”
SoCal’s Crocodiles have released four solid LPs of perfectly scuzzy shoegaze pop, and they’ve now got a new one on the way called Boys, due May 12 on Zoo Music. Boys was recorded in Mexico City, and they say the area influenced them in terms of adding certain aspects of Latin rhythms to their sound. You can certainly hear that bubbling underneath the din of “Crybaby Demon,” with swinging percussion underpinning the organ-and-guitar-based drone and Byrds-ian vocals. We’re definitely excited to hear the rest of Boys. Hear it below via Stereogum.