Catch the Worldbeat! Or, 5 Tracks You Should Know

worldbeat 00by Mark Anderson
Senior Editor

Ah, the blanket definition of the term “world music.”

I must start this article with some block text copy from Wikipedia that I find fascinating and hilarious so, if you’re not into that, go ahead and skip right down to the bands.

Still with me? Cool.

I’m sure your familiar with the term being “popularized in the 1980s as a marketing category for non-Western traditional music .” But I betcha’ didn’t know that “the term has been credited to ethnomusicologist Robert E. Brown, who coined it in the early 1960s at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he developed undergraduate through the doctoral programs in the discipline”? I didn’t anyway.

It reads on, “There are several conflicting definitions for world music. One is that it consists of ‘all the music in the world’, though such a broad definition renders the term virtually meaningless.”

Worldbeat more specifically “blends Western pop music or rock music with world music or folk music influences. It may include cutting edge pop music styles as well. Succinctly, it can be described as ‘local music from out there’ or ‘someone else’s local music’.” I like those.

I’ve covered world music before, but that was with an Arizona focus. Now that we’ve gone (inter?)national, I decided to extend the focus of this article on artists from around the country and globe.

Let’s explore the music of everyone’s backyard…

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra

Oppression Scatter

OK, I admit it, this was my first experience with a 360⁰ video on YouTube. Sure, the technology’s been available for a little over a year now but what can I say other than that I’m thoroughly happy that my “first time” was with Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and their beautiful tune, “Oppression Scatter.” One of the original songs the group has penned together, “Oppression Scatter” is a crowd favorite that keeps the body moving all while delivering a conscious message: “Can you see them suffer? Can you see?” And, you gotta love that bari sax. Make sure to check out the video below and go see them live for FREE when the play the Crescent Ballroom 5 Year Anniversary Party on Monday October 3rd!

Chanelle Gray ft. Rayvon

Nuff Tings

Chanelle Gray is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter from South London currently residing in New York while Rayvon is the Barbadian-born-Brooklyn-raised dancehall singer known for his work with Shaggy (“Angel” anyone?), as well as his own solo career. The two have teamed up to deliver us this modern reggae classic, “Nuff Tings”. Chanelle’s vocals are both silky and sultry, completely drawing you in with their melody. Rayvon offers the perfect counter-balance with lyrics delivered like wildfire: burning quick and hot one minute, smoldering the next. Make sure to rock “Nuff Tings” below.

RoseMary Fiki

I Got It

Damn RoseMary Fiki, where’d you come from?? This Nigerian-American singer-songwriter based out of Philadelphia has changed up her style and sound with the release of her latest single, “I Got It.” Though this song sounds more inline with someone like Azealia Banks, I actually enjoy RoseMary Fiki’s previous work as well (think more Bruce Springsteen and Erykah Badu… I know, dude), but “I Got It” is something else entirely. Clearly more pop, while at the same time embracing many Africana influences, especially in the vocal chants. “I Got It” has quickly become a favorite of mine. I certainly look forward to where RoseMary goes from here. Bump “I Got It” below.

Dreggae

Rum Days, Vodka Nights

You know how when something gets labeled and marketed as “cool” it doesn’t always get the projected outcome its creat0rs had in mind? I feel if anyone can live up to the moniker “The New School Ruler of Cool”, it’s Dreggae, the Jamaican bred, Atlanta- based dancehall/reggae songwriter. Being a descendant of the great dub master King Tubby certainly doesn’t hurt either. Although “Rum Days, Vodka Nights” appears to be a few years old, it’s the first track off Dreggae’s new Roots. Rock. Dreggae. album which for now is only available through his website (hey, collecting one’s singles and re-branding the material as an album never hurt anybody). The song is bouncy and playful, Dreggae’s smooth vocal delivery perfectly complimentary to the music. Although it contains many elements of classic reggae, it’s clearly something newly inspired by hip hop and pop, and definitely feel good. Listen to “Rum Days, Vodka Nights” below.

Congratulatinos

Caroline

“Even if someone (or something) breaks your heart, that is beautiful and incredibly valuable. You will forever carry a part of them with you. And you are more alive for letting yourself having gotten hurt like that.” So states the Congratulatinos with their new single “Caroline”, the first track off their new album Don’t Fade. Based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, you could almost never guess that hearing their spellbinding track and it’s worldly influences. Dropping out of a PhD program, splitting up with your girlfriend, and breaking up with your band led principle member Diego Ardila to startling revelations: “I learned to Salsa dance. I recorded on my own. I cried at night for no reason or sometimes because I missed her so badly but I found solace in West African rhythm and the heartbreak of Bachata music.” You can definitely hear all these influences in “Caroline”. And I’m certainly glad he teamed up again with member Marco DeLiso because, now that they’re the Congratulatinos, we’re all the better for it. Check out “Caroline” below.

 

Why You Should Listen: Gork

gork 01by Frank Ippolito
Associate Editor

Gork’s new four-track disc, Lonely Crowd, isn’t perfect. What record is? However, it’s surprisingly filled with terrific melodies and thoughtful, stirring lyrics. The music gets downright soulful. A very, very good first effort.

But first, the backstory…

You know, there have been a lot of musicians who have reinvented themselves before becoming the person and recording the music they are known best for.

Alanis Morissette was the Canadian Tiffany before becoming the famous Grrl rocker.

Katy Perry was a Christian singer.

Even Billy Joel was a proto-heavy metal rocker (can’t/don’t want to imagine that…).

And that brings us to Gork, aka, Andrew Gork. In the past few years, Gork had been primarily known for comedic/parody songs. And although he had plenty of originals in his set, the crowd would beckon for songs about ex-wives, sex trafficking, even a song about Big Foot’s dick.

And, while he entertained the crowds, the venues didn’t really appreciate the off-color humor (spoilsports).

So he ditched all of the comedic songs and focused on his originals and found that he couldn’t get as many gigs. But that didn’t deter him.

Reinvention is a tough thing to handle. There will always be the naysayers, the haters, and the people who will be clambering for Big Foot dick songs, but Gork shines on Lonely Crowd.

And after he gets a couple of spins by those reading here today, and after a couple of spins around Valley’s venues, I believe that in the end, Gork will have the last laugh.

Why you should listen: Because you’ll hear someone who has put his heart into the music. And, basically, that’s all anyone can ask for.

What you should listen for: His lyrics. They are wonderful. Gork has a nice touch with a turn of a phrase.

What he sounds like: Like someone who is climbing out of the hole of redemption.

Perfect listening for: That first coffee on a Sunday morning.

My favorite part: Just the mere fact that here’s a guy who has written well over 100 songs and has finally hit the record button and played them. I dig that. A lot.

Listen to Lonely Crowd by Gork below:

7 Super Feisty Music Videos

Alvie & The Breakfast Pigs
“Hey Bay”

Sunday at Noon
“Brain Damage”

Maadwest
“Skateboard”

Labor Party
“Underbelly”

Moovalya
“Flatline”

The Yeahtones
“A Real Song”

Joeseph Jaymes
“Dick in the Dirt”

The Tastemaker’s Ten: Amy Young

amy young 01
Photo courtesy of Amy Young

The stellar Amy Young – writer for too many publications to mention, drummer for French Girls, art aficionado & curator, and community builder who is also a Girls Rock! Phoenix staff member – took some time out of her busy schedule to assemble her list of ten favorite tracks that she feels every music lover should know. Check ’em out!

Death of Samantha
“Simple as That”

Built to Spill
“Made Up Dreams”

Tar
“Walking the King”

Superconductor
“Shaved Temple”

Guided by Voices
“Chicken Blows”

Sun City Girls
“Different Kind of Whore”

Velvet Crush
“This Life is Killing Me”

Diamanda Galás
“Gloomy Sunday”

Railroad Jerk
“Bang the Drum”

Fastbacks
“In the Summer”

As per usual, here is sample of our Tastemaker’s work:

French Girls
“Couples Skate”

7 Eclectic Singles

eclectic singles 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

FEMNY

“Duck Jesus”

I’m not sure what a “glam jock” sound is, but if FEMNY is a good representation of that genre, I’ll take it. I’m more inclined to say they put a lounge-spin on indie dreampop, but that’s me. This PHX act is just starting out, but I hope they’re here to stay. “Duck Jesus” is after-dinner mellow with an ironic twist. The single was tracked, mixed & mastered by Eamon Ford and you can give it a spin right below. The rest of the album comes out December so keep your ears open for that release.

Red Rosamond

“Looks Can Kill”

Artists often craft a persona before embarking on a musical endeavor. The artifice of new self can help shape a look or sound. Red Rosamond dares to ask, “What would happen if 007 was portrayed by a strong female lead, photographed by Helmut Newton, and adorned with a soundtrack of dark romantic soul?” This track is the result. Sultry and only slightly brooding, “Looks Can Kill” could easily appear on the soundtrack for a spy movie or something Noir. Think lipstick, cigarettes, and seedy bars populated by nefarious characters.

Wetbrain

“Filter Face”

What says summertime like some hiphop-infused funk-rock? Nothing. With in summer rearview, you better invite some friends over and get your last flannel-free BBQ in before the chill of Autumn takes over for good. Philly four-piece, Wetbrain, dropped this new single that is the perfect weekend road trips or jamming on the way home from work when you want to shake off the bad vibes. “Filter Face” combines alt-rock, funk, and hiphop for a get-down feel that will stay with you.

Tim Atlas

“Wander”

Tim Atlas creates a sound that bubbles through you with an uplifting energy. “Wander” starts off playfully before launching into a full on revival of the spirit. Originally from San Jose, Atlas recently relocated to L.A. which might have something to do with his impending appearance on a reality TV show. Really. Before he gets all kinds of famous, check out Tim Atlas’ single, “Wander”, below…

Pat Kennedy

“Morning Dress”

Beautiful, mellow, and meditative. “Morning Dress”, a new single from Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Pat Kennedy, is the perfect song for a quiet, cool Autumn morning. This track comes to us from Kennedy’s new EP, simply titled EP, which was released in August. Folk fans everywhere should check out Pat Kennedy. Listen to “Morning Dress” below and consider delving into the complete EP, available through Bandcamp.

Unlike Pluto

“Found You”

Combining abstracted pop with electronic instrumentation, Unlike Pluto crafts a radio-ready number with the track “Found You”. The Atlanta-based artist joined forces with Michelle Buzz for this song. Unlike Pluto used samples from some 1955-70 records, both jazz and psych, to achieve the cleverly textured sound on “Found You”. In fact, once you listen to the track, you’ll probably be surprised by the artist’s sources given the entirely modern style. The single appears on a complitation from Monstercat (Monstercat 028 – Uproar) which is available here, but you can preview “Found You” below first.

Macy Todd

“I’ve Got a Feelin'”

Macy Todd might describe her sound as “folk-tinged pop music” but this new single has a blues-band slink to it that will have you swaying your hips as you listen. “I’ve Got a Feelin'” is a promising start for this 19-year-old artist from Georgia. Todd has a rich, powerful voice and a timeless sense of style. Both can be heard on her debut single. Check out “I’ve Got a Feelin'” and, if you like it, you can add it to your personal collection here.

 

7 Seriously Stellar Music Videos

Sarah Klang
“Sleep”

Angel Olsen
“Sister”

Kishi Bashi
“Hey Big Star”

Skating Polly
“Picker of His Words”

The Handsome Family
“Tiny Tina”

Mass Gothic
“Nice Night”

La Lenguas
“Broken Heart Disease”

 

YabYum Seven: Koryn Woodward Wasson

koryn wasson 07
All photos courtesy of Koryn Wasson

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Koryn Woodward Wasson and I am an artist. I draw mostly, but I am currently riding the wave of mural painting.

How did you get your start?

I have always made and been encouraged to make art, but when I was 10, I officially started on a path to become an art educator. I went to ASU and got my BFA in Art Education, and I taught drawing, painting, and printmaking at the high school level for the last 10 years.

In 2014 my husband and artist, Roy Wasson Valle, and I made Camp Dreamtree for Scottsdale Public Art, and I caught the art-making bug. Now that I’m not teaching, I’m trying to make art everyday.

koryn wasson 01What inspires you?

All of it. I’m in a constant state of wonder and excitement. I am really inspired by the natural world, plants, animals, clouds, and specifically by birds. I spend most of my time in an ongoing day dream about our world and parallel worlds.

I’m inspired by the stories of other human beings’ experiences on this planet, and that we are making new discoveries about our world and how it works. I love thinking about scientific findings and how they can be represented by art, or how scientific facts can be altered and pondered in art. I’m trying to lessen my ignorance without flaunting it.

I find inspiration in pop culture as well: art, books, shows, movies, podcasts, and the like. Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore, William Gibson, Frida Kahlo, Jhumpa Lahiri, Wes Anderson, Guillermo del Toro, J.K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, Radiolab, Kevin Allison’s RISK!, and countless others.

I also have a 4 year old, and she can really show me a thing or two!!

koryn wasson 09What do you like about AZ?

I love living in Arizona. I should say, I’ve never lived anywhere else for an extended period, so this is very much “home” to me. I love that people assume that a desert is barren, that all of Arizona is filled with cacti and tumbleweeds, and this could not be further from the truth. On a survival trip in high school we had to spend 24 hours in the desert, building a water still, making a lean-to, building a fire, collecting information about our landscape. Part of the assignment was to document one square inch of landscape, then one square foot, then 10 square feet, and so on. When I looked at one square inch of desert and saw 1,000 small rocks, and unbelievably tiny bugs, and bits of decomposing seeds, and all of the colors that exist within a square inch, I was sold. This place is teeming with life. It is an ocean without water. I love it. My whole family lives here too, and I like being around them, they are good, fun people.

koryn wasson 04Where can we see you(r) work?

In my living room, on the orange coffee table, behind the couch, and under the big chair. You can also see it digitally on my Instagram  or at our Squarespace for Fireweather Studio.

I will have the Mantle show at Made in Phoenix for November. I have a piece at the airport in Terminal 4 as part of the Santo Press show, curated by Brent Bond, and I am currently working on a Mural at Redbird Elementary in Mesa, unveiling on November 10th. I also have an ongoing project at the Retreat Center at the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountain in Yarnell, if you want to take a drive.

koryn wasson 05What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I would like to visit every state and every National Park within the United States. I would like to make life more magical for my daughter and my husband. I would like to write, illustrate, and publish a book. I would really like to make a movie. I would love to hold on to my sanity, till the end.

What is your mantra?

Wander in wonder.

I also grind my teeth, and my dentist says, “lips together, teeth apart.” I say that to myself quite a bit, it’s a good reminder not to grind, and to shut up and listen.

~

koryn wasson 06

koryn wasson 03 koryn wasson 08

Radio Phoenix Podcast: Phantom Party

phantom party 00
Phantom Party and friends

We’re big fans of Phantom Party so we were excited to spend some time with the band at Radio Phoenix for another installment of Rise! Local music, dank memes, and the band’s anti-vowel stance were topics of discussion. And, as always, the band brought some great tracks from some of their fav bands. We also had our first live, in-studio performance ever on the show, which (for now) is brand new track available nowhere else! Check out the podcast and the complete playlist which can be found below….

Complete Playlist:

Phantom Party “Derby Daze”

Merit “You Can’t Even Crow”

Sunlaand “Idiot”

Dogbreth “New Friend”

Cheap Hotels “Wicked Witch of the West Coast”

Paper Foxes “Marz Attacks”

Troubled Minds “Silk Flowers”

Phantom Party “Charlie (live)”

Celebration Guns “The Volunteer”

Diners “Good Zone”

The Sink or Swim “Revolving Doors”

The Redemptions “Seventeen”

Frequency Within “Astrid”

Good Grief “It Doesn’t Take a Trucker to Drive This Point Home”

Recorded live on August 17, 2016

pp 01
Joshua Capati layin’ in that sweet “Charlie” riff