Place In The Sun (CD)
Ozomatli’s eighth album is a truly uplifting affair. Their typically upbeat mix of rock, cumbia, hip-hop and just about every other genre continues to be updated and comes together remarkably well here. “Place in the Sun” is bright and cheery, pleasing enough to land on pretty much any radio station while still retaining their signature sound blend. “Brighter,” featuring The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, pulls reggae into the mix for a very SoCal song that makes you want to run outdoors and enjoy this early Summer weather we’re having. Those songs make for a great entry point for anyone new to the band, but longtime fans will be pleased to know they haven’t abandoned their strongly Latin roots, with the hip-shaking rhythms of “Paleta” and “Prendida” being clear album highlights, while their forays into party hip-hop are pretty irresistible, as on the Black Eyed Peas-ish “Ready to Go.” Place in the Sun once again proves Ozomatli are the rare band in which adding more and more ingredients to the stew don’t ruin it; rather, it’s a delicious blend of Southern California’s cultures and sounds. Read more
Wenu Wenu (CD)
The first time you hear Omar Souleyman, it might be tempting to say aloud, "what the f*ck am I hearing?" The Syrian artist doesn't quite sound like anyone on the planet, unleashing wild synthesizer solos and chanting in Kurdish and Arabic. His latest release ups the fidelity from some of his previous compilations (the man has released some 500 albums, so compilations are a godsend), allowing those gloriously distorted keyboard melodies to shine. The title track bounces on a dance beat with digital cheers that make it an awesome global party starter. "Ya Yumma" moves fast and funky on a simple beat and bassline, while Souleyman spouts like a wildman and the synthesizers go truly nuts, hitting stratospheric, impossible notes and sending your head spinning. Tired of only being exposed to BS fusiony world music that could put a coffee house to sleep? Let Omar Souleyman take your brain out for a joyride—you'll never be the same. Read more