Some of you might remember the music video rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" that Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield shot aboard the International Space Station. That was a year ago, and the YouTube video he made, which is now approaching 23 million views, is set to come down Tuesday as the licensing agreement on the iconic song expires.
Pegasus Warning is otherwise known as Guillermo E. Brown, a New York native and jazz percussionist whose soulful music mixes broken electronics, strange textures and pulsing rhythms. "Change" appears on his latest EP, Woof Ticket, from Plug Research.
For a brief moment, I imagined hearing Chvrches perform "Recover" or "Gun" with a couple of acoustic guitars and perhaps a shaker or two. And, though these songs would surely stand up well when broken down and bared, I'm thrilled that Chvrches came with a small arsenal of synthesizers to perform a few highlights from last year's album The Bones of What You Believe.
Only the Seattle band Tacocat could turn "that time of the month" into a surf party. With its second album, NVM (a nod to Nirvana's Nevermind), the palindromic group combines '90s nostalgia with a high-energy party vibe. With vocals as bright as her hair color, singer Emily Nokes makes menstruation sound manageable, singing, "Gonna head on down to the beach today / Surf all my girl probs away." Watch Tacocat surf away on KEXP's local music show, Audioasis.
In the '90s, Damon Albarn and his Blur bandmates were Britpop darlings, countering American grunge with cheeky brio. Restless, Albarn eventually formed three other bands, including Gorillaz. He exuberantly collaborated with Malian and Congolese musicians and delved into theater and opera. Surprisingly, though, Albarn waited until 2014 to release his "official" solo debut.
The music of Canada's Timber Timbre is often strange and unsettling. The band, led by Taylor Kirk â€” a crooner with a deceptively sweet voice â€” makes spare, evenly paced songs that sound like late-night echoes from a swampy woods.
As a teenager, I fell in love with two very different musical genres: punk rock and cumbia â€” that Caribbean-born music with a contagious two-beat shuffle.
To purists of either, my musical promiscuity might have seemed blasphemous, but to me, it was a logical combination. Cumbia is more punk than punk itself. And many years later, when I discovered Mexican DJ Ali Gua Gua, and her group Kumbia Queers, I was elated with their unique brand of "tropi punk." They got it.