Interview with Ruby Jubilee

Music in this post:

Ruby Jubilee — Ruby Jubilee [spotify, cdbaby]

I’ve never listened to anything like Ruby Jubilee’s self-titled debut collaboration. The joint project from composer Tareq Abuissa and producer S.H2O is intricately composed, lushly produced, and so intentional about each artistic choice. Sitting somewhere between hallucinogenic musical and diary dreamscape, it’s truly difficult to choose a genre to describe it.

Fleshing out the project are musicians Phil McNeal on drums, Jacob Sunshine on electric guitar, Diana Flanagan on vocals, Maximillion Zooi on bass clarinet, Corey Dansereau on trumpet, and Andy Clausen on trombone. The album was recorded by Oliver Ignatius at Holy Fang Studios in Brooklyn, NY.

I knew I had to break the writing dry spell with a conversation about this album, so I recently caught up with Tareq and Spencer (S.H2O) about the songwriting and production process for the album. The duo live and work in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and I video chatted them from San Francisco. The following is an edited and condensed version of that conversation. Interview after the jump!

Tareq Abuissa and S.H2O

Marvin Gaye — I Want You [spotify]
The Beach Boys — Surf’s Up [spotify]
Animal Collective – Sung Tongs [spotify]
Grizzly Bear – Yellow House [spotify]
St. Vincent – Actor [spotify]

Listening to:
Janelle Monáe — Dirty Computer [spotify]
Oliver Ignatius — “Citys a Hell” [bandcamp]
Robert Glasper Experiment — ArtScience [spotify]
Chris Dave and the Drumhedz — Chris Dave and the Drumhedz [spotify]
Anna Wise — The Feminine: Act II [bandcamp]

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Jessica Lea Mayfield — Make My Head Sing…

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconnofuego Jessica Lea Mayfield — Make My Head Sing… [youtube, spotify]

I first heard Jessica Lea Mayfield through a captivating cover of “(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six” with Dan Auerbach. The coincidence with my earlier review of Brian Jonestown Massacre intrigued me.

Two thirds the BPM of a heartbeat throws you headfirst into a wall of warm overdrive crunch and relaxed femme fatale. Though the formula is classic (darker Speedy Ortiz), Jessica Lea Mayfield’s distinctive voice carries the listener through a surprising variety of soundscapes. More after the jump!

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Father – Back in the “A” Freestyle

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconnofuego Father— Back in the “A” Freestyle [youtube]

This post started as an album review, then promptly transitioned into a track review, because:

  1. Father’s album covers feature strippers and demonic genitalia, but not in an endearing Kool Keith kind of way.
  2. My mom might read this site some day (sorry mom, skip this post)
  3. Hyperbolic party music is hard to take literally or seriously, and
  4. It required too much caveating about misogyny to talk about anything.

So instead, I’ll leave you with a filthy track, and you know where to find the rest if that’s your thing. Despite every song being basically severely offensive, Father produces (always extra points) and raps on some incredibly catchy and innovative music with his unique drawl, and bottom line, I’ve listened to him for months so he deserves a mention.

Full thoughts after the jump.

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Balkan Music, Grief, & Grafting

My grandfather passed away on his farm in Bulgaria in late 2015; meanwhile, I was recovering from flu 11 time zones away. The funeral was scheduled immediately, and I decided against traveling, in part because I’d barely make it in time. Instead, disconnected, I watched the city of San Francisco, listened to music that made me feel closer in spirit, and attempted to mentally surround what had happened. Today I’m writing about that music, cultural grafting, and sweet Balkan vibes.

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconnofuego Various — Balkan Blues – Souffles de L’Ame (2013) [youtube]
balkan blues

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconnofuego Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir— Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares Vol. II (1988) [youtube, spotify]

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DJ Ponzi – Everybody’s Birthday Mix

Quick departure from reviews to bring you the first mix of 2016! This one’s an alternative world dance party. You can also download it here.

Track list:

Brandy & Monica – The Boy is Mine (Nguzunguzu edit)
Bomba Estéreo – Amanecer
Esma Redžepova – Chaje Shukarije
Jamie xx – I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)
Gogol Bordello vs. Tamir Muskat – Muskat (Slishal, No Ne Zapisal)
Ladytron – Seventeen
Balkan Beat Box – Sunday Arak
Mac Dre & Andre Nickatina – Outta Control
DJ Rashad – She a Go
Death Grips – I’ve Seen Footage
Lone – 2 is 8
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – High
MIA – Amazon (Diplo Mix)
Jeremih – Oui
Ginuwine – Pony
Kamaiyah – How Does It Feel
The Roots – Here I Come
Ciara – I Run It
Dan Deacon – Wham City
Father – Back In The “A” Freestyle/On Me
Kiiara – Gold
Kodomo – Concept 11
Animal Collective – Grass
Juicy J – Can’t
DJ Ghetto – Ghetto on the Cut

Waxahatchee — Cerulean Salt & Ivy Tripp

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconfavicon Waxahatchee — Cerulean Salt (2013) [youtube, spotify]

faviconfaviconfaviconnofuegonofuego Waxahatchee — Ivy Tripp (2015) [youtube, spotify]

Waxahatchee’s music transitions from a first album of can’t-put-down lower-fi incantations to more deliberate and mature but in my opinion less gripping melodies. What stylistic changes contributed to the different listening experience?

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Open Mike Eagle — Dark Comedy

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconnofuegonofuego Open Mike Eagle — Dark Comedy [youtube, spotify]

Dark Comedy starts extremely strong then loses a lot of momentum as it progresses. I tried to break down and understand exactly what pushed me out of sync with it. Full review after the jump!

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Pastor T. L. Barrett and the Youth For Christ Choir

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconfavicon Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth For Christ Choir— Like A Ship… (Without A Sail) [youtube, spotify]

I discovered this incredible album at, of all places, a beach house in the San Francisco Bay Area which mysteriously happened to have a vinyl collection rumored to belong to the founder of Amoeba Music. How’s that for an origin story? It gets better (statement by album reissuer):

To many on Chicago’s South Side, Barrett has been known for more than four decades as an activist and pastor (…). To record collectors, he’s known for recording the classic, much-sought gospel record Like A Ship…(Without A Sail). To the Illinois legal system, he’s the man who fronted a series of pyramid schemes that defrauded thousands of people (for which Barrett was ordered to pay restitution to avoid a prison sentence).

This album is a super hot fuego banger. Review after the jump.

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First post! clipping. & Brian Jonestown Massacre

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconnofuego clipping. — Work Work (feat. Cocc Pistol Cree) [youtube, spotify]

faviconfaviconfaviconfaviconnofuego Brian Jonestown Massacre — (David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six [youtube, spotify]

First post! Full review of these two tracks after the jump. Continue reading