Well if this ain’t the musical equivalent of the Three Amigos. Three musical desperados gathered on the West Coast to create aural havoc and obviously had the time of their lives. The parties involved include: Money Mark, Tommy Guerrero, and Shawn Lee, three “sound scientists” who’ve all made their own marks flying below the mainstream radar, carving out a groove amidst all that is going to be cool tomorrow. Both Mark and Guerrero released music early on through Mo’ Wax and Shawn Lee recorded for Talking Loud and Wall of Sound early in his career. “Dirty Loco” is one of the two songs that serve as the dark heart of the record. The comparison is a bit ludicrous, but it sounds like a track off The Cure’s “Pornography” record if Robert Smith had grown up in Southern California, raised on funk and soul. The rest of the album is full of laid back, easy-listening funk tracks, improvised, trippy, and generally cheerful. Dare I say it, Lord Newborn is a rare-groove jam band that I’d be happy spending a summer or three trucking around the country following their wake.
Radio Citizen updates the big band concept for the hip hop generation. To be more precise, Radio Citizen is Niko Schabel, a one-man big band really, with a cast of players, including Indian-born vocalist Bajka. “The Hop’s” bluesy beats, grinding organ riffs, and seductively soulful vocals resurrect trip hop’s potential and tap hip hop’s power and promise—the ability to combine genres and moods to create a new work of art. Radio Citizen’s source genres are a potpourri of sixties jazz, funk 45s, soul, dub and reggae, afrobeat, electronica, trippy avantgarde, surf, Latin, boogaloo, and rocksteady just to name a few. Get in on this track now for an injection of soul into your usual, soul-sucking Monday.
Next up, Nino Moschella. More low-key than Bing Ji Ling, but all up in your groove nonetheless. Moschella offers up a smooth blend of electronic and acoustic elements while channeling the raw, gritty funkmasters of the ’60s. He keeps the instrumentation minimal which leaves more room for the soul, baby. The Fix, his debut album, is out next week on Ubiquity.