Hey y’all. It’s a new year, which means we should be pumped about all the new music headed our way in the coming months. I welcomed 2017 in search of some seriously gritty, deliciously zesty funk, and I set out to see what I could uncover from the Internet troves. Not too far in, I discovered a band called Jungle Fire. And let me tell you: these guys have probably the most fitting name ever. Eleven members strong, Jungle Fire fuse Afrobeat and Latin elements with their LA funk roots. The result is red-hot and explosive and so, so funky. It’s the kind of music that gets you moving wherever you are.
The group was originally founded as a one-off project for a festival in LA’s Chinatown. That was six years ago. Since then, the band has released one full-length album, Tropicoso. “Comencemos”, a cover of Fela Kuti’s “Let’s Start” and the record’s second track, gives a nod to the band’s Afro-funk influences. Bold horns and a punchy rhythm section pull together a raw, cumbia interpretation of Fela’s original. The rest of the album expands on this beat-driven sound, drawing on Afro-Caribbean percussion instruments. My personal favorite is the title track, “Tropicoso”. The baritone sax in this is great. (Apparently this guy can also play the flute?!)
Next week, keep your ears peeled. Jungle Fire is dropping a new album, Jambu, on February 3rd. If you’re looking for more fireball funk, then this is for you. If you’re not, check it out anyway. I highly recommend.
Thundercathas been under the radar recently. He quietly released the single “Bus in These Streets” nearly half a year ago but since has made no hint of any new music. That changed today when he released the song “Show You the Way” featuring Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, as well as revealed that his new album Drunk would be available February 24. “Show You the Way” features Thundercat’s signature high-pitched singing and smooth instrumentation, and Loggins and McDonald both lend their voices to make the single even smoother than I thought was humanly possible. Along with the new song and album release date, Thundercat released the tracklist for Drunk. At 23 tracks long, the album is going to take time to fully digest. Check out the tracklist below (which includes some noteworthy features), and listen to “Show You the Way” here.
01. Rabbot Ho 02. Captain Stupido 03. Uh Uh 04. Bus in These Streets 05. A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II) 06. Lava Lamp 07. Jethro 08. Day & Night 09. Show You The Way [ft. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins] 10. Walk on By [ft. Kendrick Lamar] 11. Blackkk 12. Tokyo 13. Jameel’s Space Ride 14. Friend Zone 15. Them Changes 16. Where I’m Going 17. Drink Dat [ft. Wiz Khalifa] 18. Inferno 19. I Am Crazy 20. 3AM 21. Drunk 22. The Turn Down [ft. Pharrell] 23. DUI
Legendary 90s shoegaze band Slowdive has returned with their first new music since 1995’s Pygmalion. Although the group reformed in 2014 for some live performances, they have not released any new tracks until now.
I’ll admit, whenever an older band releases new music after long periods of inactivity, I’m usually not expecting much, but Slowdive has such a strong track record of excellent music that I was cautiously optimistic when I heard they had been in the studio.
“Star Roving” does not disappoint. While their last album had a more minimalist, ambient vibe to it, their newest track recalls the sound of their earlier releases with layers of fuzzy-sounding guitar and distorted vocals. The music in some places sounds reminiscent of the band’s old contemporaries Ride or Chapterhouse, although I was reminded on first listen of the more upbeat Yo La Tengo tracks. I had worried that any new music they put out would sound uninspired or derivative, as can sometimes happen with band reunions, but “Star Roving” shows the band hasn’t lost their songwriting abilities. Hopefully the quality of this track is reflective of any future music Slowdive may put out.