Jesse Futerman

For years music critics have loved to handicap grown-folk-music-performed-by-young-folk. It’s as though the younger a musician is, the more forgiving we should be of their songwriting (remember Ben Lee?). With that, I won’t even mention Jesse Futerman’s age because his deep, soulful music speaks for itself. The Toronto-based producer has been building a following through his SoundCloud mixes and finally pulled together an EP you can download for free here. I can’t tell if it’s the seasoned groove or the painfully short playing time of these tracks that leaves me yearning for more. Either way, I hope to hear from Jesse again soon.

Driva’man from Super Basement (2011)


Now this is my cup of tea, or more appropriate, my cup of soup. An album named after food. Ya-ka-may is a type of New Orlean’s street food: a noodle soup typically made with shrimp, chicken, roast beef, and almost always a hard boiled egg. Galactic reproduces the multi-ethnic spirit of ya-ka-may on record. The band pulled in a not so disparate mix of artists and sounds from the New Orlean’s music scene into one steaming hot platter of bouncing funk. Everyone from such legends as Allen Touissant (The Meters) and the Rebirth Brass Band and up-and-comers Trombone Shorty and John Boutté plunk down their unique sound into Galactic’s oh so tasty stew. The band generously offers up three tracks from the album, so listen in and if you dig it, expand your palate and buy it.

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Jaga Jazzist

The name suggests a one-person show, a jazzist of the Jaga persuasion, whatever that might be, but in fact, this is a nine piece band from Norway formed 15 years ago by a then 14-year old, Lars Horntveth. The name also implies perhaps a certain musical sound, but unlike say, The Jazz Butcher, Jaga Jazzist is quite jazzy. Jazzy’s the wrong word though because that makes it sound as if the band uses jazz flourishes and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Jaga Jazzist is jazz. Jazz purists might disagree, but shame on them. Jaga Jazzist explores the boundaries of what jazz is and what jazz can be. More than that, Jaga Jazzist explores the boundaries of what music can be.

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It’s been almost four years since Bonobo (aka Simon Green) dropped a full-length on our ears, so pardon me if I get all giddy on you with this post. Bonobo gets heavy rotation in my mixes and iPod for their timeless, jazzy goodness. Like the right jacket, his music can class up any occasion. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been craving some new material. Two tracks from the forthcoming Black Sands album have been released so far, both featuring sultry guest vocalist Andreya Triana (whose pipes graced Flying Lotus’s Reset EP) and both have me salivating for more. If these two flavors any indication, we’ll see some interesting range from our man come the end of March.

Below you’ll find the video for “The Keeper” and both an album edit and a bumpin’ Warrior One remix of “Eyesdown” for your downloading pleasure.

Speaking of remixes, Bonobo is flipping the remix contest script and offering his remix talents to the song that gets the most votes. Get in on Bonobo’s own version of March Madness at (may the best bot, er…artist, win).

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On my radio show, Quantic (aka Will Holland) is my go-to guy, so when I realized we had not given him the proper props on these pages I did some music mining. Lo and behold, Holland himself provides a minor motherlode on his Quantic site. I use him as a staple on the show precisely because his catalog is extensive and diverse. Holland cut his teeth on an album of downtempo hip-hop and soul, recorded in his bedroom before he’d turned 21. He’s never looked back. Eight years and twelve full-lengths later, Quantic has proved himself a jack and master of all genres, at least the one’s he’s conquered thus far. Funk, soul, jazz, house, hip-hop, dub, electronic, and on his last few albums, reggae, salsa, tropical, and cumbia. His Combo Barbaro is made up of musicians from all over the globe, including Panamanian Singer Kabir on “Linda Morena.” I’ve not only learned to never underestimate Quantic, I’ve also learned to count on him for quality and an ever expanding sonic palette.

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Patrick & Eugene

Don’t hit the download link unless you adore:
1. Ukeleles
2. Banjos
3. Bongos
4. Slide whistles
5. Bells
6. Super cheery pop music
7. Trombones, clarinets and a variety of horns
Because those are the tools that Patrick & Eugene use to transform Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” into a bouncy klezmer romp. When left to their own songwriting devices P&E create equally breezy tracks, varied in tempo, but not tone. These are happy songs. Sunshine songs. Glass half full songs. Dixieland jazz songs. If you’re old and jaded, grumpy, too cool to smile, or maybe just mean you’ll want to hit someone after hearing the twin songs “Altogether Now” and “The Birds and the Bees,” but maybe, just maybe if you listen long enough you’ll offer a hand to the poor soul you just floored with your fist. Post Patrick & Eugene as the marching band to next month’s Afghanistan surge and Obama very well may start bringing troops home in 18 months. They’ve got that kind of feel-good power.

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The Mattson 2 (The Present Sndtrk)

I feel like a schlub because I missed the screenings of Thomas Campbell’s new surf film The Present. And I’m making a desperate, last chance effort at redeeming myself by inviting all my fellow Southern California wave riders to San Clemente today at dusk to the Surfing Heritage Foundation to catch the screening of Dear & Yonder, the new surf film by Tiffany Campbell. Now, back to today’s music: The Mattson 2 are twin brothers Jared and Jonathan on guitar and drums respectively. This song in particular captures the spirit and tone of Campbell’s films, soulful surf jazz. The frantic back-to-school preparation for me and the kids is already leaving me nostalgic for this summer and the Mattson 2 along with Campbell’s films are sweet, Zen-like reminders that fall doesn’t arrive until September 22nd. Don’t rush it. Don’t rush it. If you like this track (note: the track that begins playing with the trailer below is not The Mattson 2, nor is it on the soundtrack, hmmm), I highly suggest you pick up the entire album which features other artists from Campbell’s boutique label Galaxia, plus Vetiver, David Axelrod, and Cass McCombs.

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Karl Hector & The Malcouns

Stones Throw’s funk imprint, Now-Again, follows up the mind-blowing Heliocentrics album with this desert continent disc from neo-afro funk collective Karl Hector & The Malcouns. First, a quick who’s who of the principals: Karl Hector (vocals & percussion) has, up to this point, only recorded his skills on one 7-inch back in ’96 with the Funk Pilots; Between Jay Whitefield (Poets of Rhythm), Thomas Myland and Zdenko Curlija (The Malcouns) a wide swath of instrumental ground gets covered. Six more musicians round out the collective. “Nyx” stands out as a faithful sampling of Sahara Swing as a whole. Its gritty groove breaks down into raw african percussion about a minute and a half in, after which a fog of free jazz rolls past until the guitars resume their call and response riffs. It’s like overhearing a conversation that you can’t stop listening to because you want to hear the rest of the story. And the rest of the story about Sahara Swing goes like this: it’ll be one of the hottest additions to your summertime party playlist.

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Rae Davis

I so need this right now. Lately my brain has been swelling at the seams as I work through my first year of teaching (in the face of pending budget cuts that may very well force me into retirement decades too soon), grading (English teachers do too much), and, the really hard part: snowboarding, skateboarding, biking, legoing, and birthday-partying with my kids. Just as I’m about to lie down to sleep (quick usage lesson) I came across this chilly gem. How chill is it you ask? As chill as a stay-cold pillow my friend Mitch talks about developing. I’m gonna cozy up to these beats and deep, bone-shaking bass plucks, and pass out. Like this photo of Mr. Davis himself. You’re about to be schooled in the ways of quality downtempo and quality down time courtesy of this up and coming Texan.

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