1. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM
2. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM (LP version)
3. Huun Huur Tu/ Carmen Rizzo - Eternal
4. Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia
5. Tinariwen - Imidiwan: Companions
6. Basseko Kouyate – I Speak Fula
7. V/A - Pomegranates (LP version)
8. Ali Faurka Toure/Toumani Diabete - Ali & Toumani
9. Mulatu Astatke - New York-Addis-London
10. Shakira - She Wolf
So far 2010 has been shaping up to be the year of the women. Amoeba’s three biggest releases this year have been from the likes of Sade, Joanna Newsom, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Ms. Gainsbourg tops the Amoeba Hollywood World Music chart once again in February and shows no signs of slowing down. The LP version of IRM also landed the second spot. At number three was Huun Huur Tu from Tuva, who had an amazing instore performance back on February 7th (Super Bowl Sunday). I managed to catch Huun Huur Tu once again a few weeks later opening for Tinariwen at Royce Hall at UCLA. The two groups combined were three and a half hours of musical bliss. I hope that perhaps both these groups would consider going on the road together. Tinariwen’s Imidiwan: Companions was at number five in the charts, up a few notches from last month.
Nacional Records seems to be the only choice these days for any Latin Alternative music these days. While releases by artists such as Mexican Institute Of Sound, The Nortec Collective and the Zizek crew show the electronic future of the genre, Banda De Turistas reaches back to 60’s era Kinks for inspiration. Magical Radiophonic Heart contains fifteen songs of garage/psyche/pop bliss that would please the kids discovering a past that they never knew. Those kids that look retro yet weren’t born when The Dukes Of Stratosphere first came out, let alone The Kinks! Banda De Turistas is available on CD only.
Speaking of retro, Vampi Soul just released a couple of reissues. Spiteri, a band of Venezuelan brothers (Charles & Jorge) who moved to England, hung out with the likes of Traffic, The Animals and Osibisa and, in 1973, released a gem of a debut album. Spiteri, or as it was known in Venezuela, Disco De La Culebra (The Snake Record…because the band logo was a cobra), which was their only proper album. They were supposed to be Venezuela’s answer to Santana. But like the band’s original press release stated, “Santana is a rock band influenced by Latin music…Spiteri are Latin musicians influenced by rock.” Within the heavy 70’s rock and onslaught of percussion, one can hear Spiteri’s Venezuelan roots. As Jorge Spiteri put it, the band played “With The Beatles and Traffic in our minds and Joe Cuba in our hearts.” Sadly, due to immigration problems, most of the band started to leave England and the brothers were left with a line-up that consisted of them with English musicians. The band soon broke up but not before recording a killer funk version of The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m A Man” that sounds like something Mandrill would have done. This release is available on CD and limited edition vinyl.
The other reissue Vampi Soul released this week is from El Gran Fellove, a totally underrated Cuban singer that made most of his career in Mexico. Born and raised in Cuba, he was a contemporary of the likes of Cachao, Perez Prado, Celia Cruz and Chano Pozo. He was known for his scatting, a style that he later dubbed the “Chua Chua.” El Gran Fellove could have been much bigger if it wasn’t for his loyalties. He was asked to play in both Machito and Tito Puente’s groups while performing in New York in the late fifties, but turned them down because he didn’t want to cause friction with the singers that those groups already had. On top of that, he had a career in Mexico. There, he starred in a few movies and released recordings on the RCA label. Vampi Soul's collection, Mango Mangue, focuses on the work he did in the 60’s on RCA, including the song “El Jamaiquino,” a Ska/Mambo fusion that has been the desires of deejays for many years. This release is available on CD and LP.
1. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM
3. Shakira-She Wolf
4. Mahssa-Oyun Havasi Vol. 1
5. Manu Chao-Baionarena
6. Charlotte Gainsbourg-IRM (LP version)
7. Tinariwen-Imidiwan: Companions
9. V/A-Tumbele! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-74
10. Buika-El Ultima Trago
Even though Charlotte Gainsbourg’s IRM has only been out for the last week, it has already sold well enough to take the top spot on Amoeba Hollywood’s World Music chart. IRM was produced by Beck and was the first anticipated release of the year. The vinyl version of IRM also took the sixth spot and probably could have sold more had we not sold out over the weekend. Last year, Charlotte's father, Serge Gainsbourg, was the only artist to also have the CD and vinyl version of a record in our top forty best sellers of the year, with the reissue of Histoire De Melody Nelson.
At number five is Manu Chao's second live album, Baionarena, which includes two CD’s and one DVD. Baionarena was recorded and filmed over the last couple of years while supporting the La Radiolina release. Having caught two shows during this tour, Baionarena triggers many great memories I had attending the shows. Baionarena is also available on vinyl, which also comes with the DVD.
1. V/A - African Boogaloo - Honest Jons
The best 70s African Latin comp I have ever heard. Stellar.
2. V/A - Panama! 2 - SoundWay
Outstanding collection of cumbia, funk and even calypso from Panama's golden years.
3. Edan - Echo Party - Five Day Weekend
Edan outdoes himself with this continuous mix of original party rocking beats. Killer.
4. Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves (expanded edition) - Island UK
One of reggae's greatest albums gets the deluxe treatment with a second disc of rare bonus material.
5. V/A - Light: On the South Side - Numero Group
Phenomenal compilation of rare, mostly funky blues 45s from 1970s Chicago. Comes packaged with an amazing photograph book that places you right back on the scene. Vinyl only.