Music

CD Shorts

Reviewed this week: Hot Funzzle, Various Artists (Bambara Mystic Soul), and Suitcase Junket

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Hot Funzzle
Hot Funzzle
(Ghost Dog)

A respectable assembly of pop-punk anthem writers in the vein of Green Day or the Dropkick Murphys, Hot Funzzle includes members of other Valley acts Andyhasaband and the Creepin' Cadavers. Though most of the songs use pretty standard chord progressions performed at double-espresso BPMs, the band pulls them off with great skill, nailing tight breaks and chuggity-chugs on nicely recorded guitars. Primary singer Andy Gould's vocals are perfectly suited for the tunes—breathy, sneering and vaguely anguished—and the band projects a catchy Sex Pistols or D Generation sort of sound. The cover (and the band name) are a take on the British comedy hit Hot Fuzz, starring Simon Pegg (now Star Trek prequel Scotty) and Martin Freeman (currently gluing hair to his Bilbo Baggins hobbit-feet in New Zealand). Not sure what the connection is. —Tom Sturm

*

Various Artists
Bambara Mystic Soul: The Raw Sound of Burkina Faso 1974-1979
(Analog Africa)

Analog Africa has set the gold standard for African reissues with superb track selections, careful remastering and 40-page booklets that tell stories of musical scenes which have received scant exposure in the West. Its 10th release focuses on groove music from Burkina Faso, and it's one of their very best. The set is anchored by six tracks from Amadou Ballake, whose alternately supple and booming voice navigates languid Cuban-inflected ballads and horn-driven funk tunes with equal aplomb. Other groups, such as Afro-Soul System and Orchestre CVD, are equally accomplished, moving from frenetic rave-ups to hypnotic psychedelia. The music is linked by richly textured arrangements, sinuous rhythms, and buzzing, smeary and iridescent guitar lines. These remarkable tunes—lost and neglected for decades—are more than ready to finally grab their moment in the spotlight. —Jeff Jackson

*

Suitcase Junket
Knock It Down
(Making What I Want)

There is no doubt that that the magic Matt Lorenz spins is potent stuff. Whether he's performing as a musician in the local band Rusty Belle or as an artist conjuring strange insects from found objects, Lorenz has a knack for finding poetry in unlikely places. On his second album as Suitcase Junket, with handmade instruments and make-shift percussion, Lorenz conjures the kinds of sounds and melodies you might hear late at night coming from a campfire in a junk yard: wild, brash and often beautiful, veering from one extreme to another. "Radio Flyer" is a gritty and raucous anthem celebrating a red wagon, but then there's "Bone," a sort of Gypsy waltz with a lovely lyric that seems to describe Lorenz's process precisely: "This song is a bone that I found in the woods/ It was buried alone, but I've done what I could/ to breath life into something which it had fled." —Mark Roessler

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