Mondo Times 2023 #4: May
Eddie Chacon, Death Valley Girls, Pigs x7, Bill Orcutt Guitar Quartet Live, Hipgnosis Docu, Julia Sabra & Fadi Tabbal, Black Milk and more..
IN HEAVY ROTATION
This is clearly one of the best albums I’ve listened to this year, and it was surely going to be this way, because it was produced by J.C. Kirby. Eddie recently said on IG, “After struggling in the music business for so many years. London / UK was the home of my first #1 hit in 1992. Then as you guys know it kind of all came crashing down. So last night in London, now 30 years later was a full circle moment for me that i'm so very grateful for. 🥲🙏🏼♥️ It's been a long climb back.” He’s 59 now and he finally gets what he’s deserved for years!
Eddie had not expected much from his previous album, but it gained him a new fanbase and reinvigorated his career. Now, at age 59, he has the life experience and confidence to create Sundown, which he never thought he would get to make. It's like building their dream house, expanding into new rooms with Pleasure, Joy, and Happiness as the foundation.
Out on Stones Throw!
Julia Sabra & Fadi Tabbal
This ambient album by Lebanese producer Fadi Tabbal and singer-songwriter Julia Sabra, part of the Corrosion Series by Beacon Sound and Ruptured, beautifully combines Julia's pop-inspired melodies with Fadi's affinity for minimalism and musique concrète.
Can’t say I knew much about the artist before and somehow chanced upon this one by Detroit native Black Milk on his latest instrumental beat tape, but a quick check reminded me he’s a wellknown collaborator to Slum Village, J Dilla, RZA et al. Huge earworm of a vocal sample this one!
I’ve mentioned this album on the last newsletter and if you’ve still been sleeping on it, Tiny Desk wants to give you a nudge. This is spiritual & cosmic music for the modern times, give in to it.
I stumbled upon this song while browsing Jah Shaka's sound system videos after his passing last month and I realised this song has got to be one of the “newer” roots reggae anthems in the last decade, because boy it was on like half of the videos. This is 4 and a half minute of total bliss + a rewind + a beautiful diverse crowd. I'm just bummed I wasn't there to experience it firsthand.
These sickos are back and the album is fantastic, if you are into stoner rock and sludge without the serious metal faces abound, I’m sure you are already a fan of them.
Despite my previous attempts, I have struggled to fully appreciate Bill Orcutt's work due to my limited understanding. However, I found this particular format to be more accessible. The combination of four guitars shredding on top of each other kinda reminded me of Marnie Stern's earlier pop-shred albums. Which led me to the question, where the hell is Marnie Stern?
UNDOMONDO DISCOVER WEEKLY
I’ve cooked up another diverse 20 song playlist last week.
New material from Berlin based space fusion / electro-pop combo Oy. Lord Echo’s new rarities album covering his 2010-2020 period, Eddie Chacon featured above, new singles from Bright & Findlay, Skinny Pelembe, Nabihah Iqbal, Death Valley Girls, Emiliana Torrini, Alela Diane, jazz vocalist Gabi Hartmann, some neopolitan and balearic love to Pellegrino and Lapa Dula and more. Don’t forget to check back, the playlist resets and changes every now and then! If you wanna check the Undomondo Discover Weekly archives here it is, 860 songs + 63 hours strong!!
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE NET
♩How the Streaming Era Turned Music Into Sludge (Wired)
Short recap of how iTunes’ killing of albums » streaming with algorithmic playlists » AI generated sludge.
I WOKE UP one day last year and realized I no longer listened to music. Instead I just listened to sludge—a blur of indistinguishable songs that imitated my music taste. My sludge addiction sprang from Spotify’s algorithmically curated playlists, which promised to help me focus or find music tailored to my tastes. The app’s design was always nudging me in that direction, so I dutifully followed. It was so easy! Searching for good music takes time. But at a tap, these playlists drip-fed me endless pap that dissolved into the background. Often, it was from artists I had never heard of before and—once the playlist refreshed—would never seek out again.
At some point last year, I decided: enough. I didn’t want sludge to soundtrack my life. Instead, I launched a one-woman backlash that has so far involved resisting Spotify’s call to “discover” new music weekly,
♩Steering clear from Spotify’s algorithmic playlists and following quality selectors/radio shows is still a good way to discover genuinely interesting new music and a cure to the above. One of these playlists I follow regularly for more singer-songwriter, CA valley folk and Americana is.
♩Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis (Eric Alper)
Whether you’re a fan of Pink Floyd or not, chances are you know exactly what the album covers of The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here look like. But you might not be familiar with the creative duo behind those iconic images: Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey “Po” Powell, aka the innovative design studio Hipgnosis.
Hipgnosis went from making covers for their mates (the likes of David Gilmour and Syd Barrett) to establishing themselves as the driving force behind visual identities of some of the most popular artists of the 1970s (think Led Zeppelin and Paul McCartney). Their methods were unconventional, their budgets often unreasonable, but they were fearless visionaries who artfully manipulated photographic images long before computer graphics became ubiquitous.
Cool and charismatic, Belafonte channeled his stardom into activism. He was a true people person, who knew how to reach, teach and challenge us. [NY Times obit]
This is a somehow overlooked masterpiece of a working man spiritual about a mule called Jerry. (or it might be a metaphor!)
Timber! Timber! Lord this timber’s got to roll!
Work, Love, Dignity and Play: 10 Key Harry Belafonte Songs
This silly short content was fed to me by algo, but did you realise the guy is Richard Barbieri from the band Japan?
That’s all from me folks! If you liked this, share with your friends.