Little Thumper + S.E. Rogie + Sun = AWESOME

Some friends and I hit the beach yesterday with Little Thumper, my portable boombox / lovechild, blazing.  Little Thumper is his name, kicking fat beats is his game.  It seems everywhere you take Little Thumper the good times follow.  He has enough battery life to survive a day at the beach, or a night on a rooftop.  He fits in your carry on.  He plays NPR in the kitchen.  He rarely complains, even when you accidentally spill candle wax on him.  Women love him.  You can carry him like a lantern - if instead of light a lantern spread party.  

Here is a picture of little thumper chilling on cooler yesterday.  He's so laid back: 

And here's a picture of Little Thumper DJing a dinner party on top of a mountain in Wyoming last summer.  In this shot he is handling the job of boomboxes 10 times his size with grace and ease:

Yesterday little thumper was approached and propositioned by a number of bikini clad ladies while playing the great Sierra Leonean musician S.E. Rogie.  One described it as "perfect beach music", and I couldn't agree more.  Rogie's style, known as Palm Wine Guitar,is a genre evolved among the Kru people of Sierra Leone and Liberia, who used Portuguese guitars brought by sailors, combining local melodies and rhythms with Trinidadian calypso and soca music (thanks wikipedia!).  Ever since finding this stuff on Aquarium Drunkard last summer it's been my go-to music for fun in the sun.

Two samples, and the Spotify stream bellow.  (Must have spotify installed for that to work) 


Favorite records of the first half of 2012

We're just past the halfway mark of 2012, a chance to stop and take stock of what has already been a fantastic year in music.   It's all down hill from here, as the days get shorter and shorter, leading inevitably to the shortest day of the year, also the final day on the Mayan calendar (ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!), also my 31st birthday.  So we have that to look forward to.  

But for now, the city is hot, hot, hot.  My music taste seems to be seasonal, matching sounds to my surroundings like a waiter pairs wines to food.  It somehow just works better that way for me, allowing my life to feel like a its own personalized music video.  With that said, the records that I've spent the most time with are the ones that represented the rainy spring we had, a strange transition period that, for me, symbolized a time of anxiety as I finished my masters thesis and prepared to face the vast unknown of being overeducated and unemployed.  I like making lists at any milestone point in the calender year.  I know that this list will change, as the optimism and sense of unending possibility that comes with the start of summer infects my listening habits, we'll most likely find this list full of swetty electro jams by the end of August.  

So far 2012 has been a year that has been all about follow up albums.  The year has been less about discovering new acts for me and more about exploring new statements from acts who's catalogues sit firmly in my collection.  Perhaps this is because I no longer have access to the massive promo input I did as a radio music director.  Perhaps it's because, busy and distracted by school, I spent more time with bands I'm familiar with than I did scouring blogs for the hottest new thing.  Either way, for better or worse, these are the five records I like the most in the first half of 2012:


Kindness - World, You Need a Change of Mind

Kindness's debut is silky smooth funky-electro-disco, with enough indie influence to keep things weirdly interesting. This is the soundtrack to your next sexy pool party. You know, the one with the bikinis and the Budweiser, where everyone keeps coming up to you saying "great pool party brad!"  and you just smile and say "i know."  

That it fits so nicely next to the likes of the Cut Copy, The Rapture and Phoenix is no surprise, as "World, You Need a Change of Mind" was co-produced, recorded and mixed with the Grammy Award winning Phillipe Zdar, who shares credits with those bands as well as Kayne.  It's cool, those guys can come to the pool party too.  Buy the record here, you'll be happy, forever.    

It was the first week in June. . .

A little under a year ago, Robert Ellis released this little gem, and it being the first week of June it seems somewhat relevant. "Friends Like Those" is the track, the video is a Dickies live session, the studio cut can be heard here, and downloaded in exchange for an email address below.