This past Sunday at work, I was chatting with a couple who comes in for coffee on the weekends. I recognized them from a friend’s documentary about a concert at Slab City that was near shut down by the cops. (Pop open a beer and watch Open Mic Night After the Apocalypse when you have a free night. Mike James made a beautiful film). So I asked them if they’ve been to any good shows lately, and sure enough they’d been to see Tinariwen at Pappy and Harriet’s in Joshua Tree. They’re one of my favorite bands I’ve never seen.
So, to rid myself of my not-having-seen-this-great-band-in-the-desert-frustration, here are my 4 big ones that would be as good as two FYFs combined:
Straight from my ticking gypsy heart. I discovered Tinariwen when I was fresh off my semester abroad in Niger in West Africa, where many Touareg live. Their music inspires joy and dance, bolstered by their messages for political freedom. If you are new to African music, they are a great introduction. One of my favorite examples is the track “Mano Dayak” named for the leader of the 90’s Touareg rebellion. It’s a wonderful marriage of West African and Arabic styles, with electric guitar punching through the call and response vocals. Listen to it around a burning fire, with something to smoke and cups of hot, sweet black tea.
Man they’re so hot. They’re so cool and Swedish. I love it. When I bought “Machine Dreams” I turned to myself and said, “I fucking love electronic music!” Really uncommon and unexpected sounds and rhythms in my book. I just missed like five of their L.A. shows including a free one at a record store, but dammit I will see them. I heard from someone who used to volunteer at KCRW that Yukimi Nagano does semi-supine work in preparation for performance, so you know that live show has got to be good. Also, I sold her a cold-pressed almond milk once without realizing it before it was too late, so I have a feeling our paths will cross again someday.
Dramatic, dark, synth-heavy music is my jam. It’s my jam because it’s the type of music I secretly make in my apartment and am scared shitless to perform. So the likes of an ex opera singer Zola Jesus (aka Nika Roza Danilova), Chelsea Wolfe, and by lighter extension POLICA are for pure inspiration and expression. These ladies have pipes, and their classical training infiltrates their music to make it all so powerful.
And for a cutesy finish…
The Head and the Heart
Ahhh, I swoon to the likes of these kids, who remind us of classic American folk, and duos like the Civil Wars with the twang of a country heart. It’s great stuff to fall in love to. I close my eyes and listen to this song on repeat sometimes, fantasizing meeting the man of my dreams in a bar in Williamsburg, and when I go over to his apartment, he plays me a song like this on his guitar. Then it’s over. Babies R US here I come.
Ok universe, now send me the tickets.