Hinds, "Caribbean Moon" (Mom+Pop Music). One of the freshest Spanish rock bands covering Kevin Ayers's faux-calypso curio "Caribbean Moon" from his 1973 album, Bananamour? Sign me up. I don't normally go crazy for such cutesy tunesmithery, but Hinds transcend all notions of kitsch, and their charisma and skill can win over the saltiest curmudgeon. That they would choose to cover such an obscure gem and then imbue it with the sweet poptimism of the goddesses should make you a Hinds fan for life.
Tony Allen, “Push and Pull” (Decca France). When Fela Kuti's former musical director releases new music, you make it a priority to listen to it, understand? Now in his mid 70s, master drummer and Afrobeat deity Tony Allen has a new single called "Push and Pull" that does just that to your body. It transports you to that ineffable high-life feeling courtesy of an irresistible, intricate low-slung rhythm and manifestly exciting horn pyrotechnics. "Push and Pull" is grown-up dance music—untrendy yet totally necessary. (Allen will release The Source album—which will feature Gorillaz/Blur frontman Damon Albarn and many other guests—via Blue Note on September 8.)
Naomi Punk, "Cardboard" (Captured Tracks). Olympia's most compelling post-punk unit just dropped an epic double LP titled Yellow on New York's Captured Tracks, and "Cardboard" is a standout. The song displays Naomi Punk's mastery of mopey melodiousness, engrossing repetition, and the sort of churning Beefheartian/Pere Ubu-esque groove that creates a splendid tension. Disregard Pitchfork's recent lukewarm review of Yellow; this record's a slow-grower that accrues a barbed power over time.
Secret Drum Band, "Jazz (Timber Sale)" (XRAY). Secret Drum Band consist of Portland composers Lisa Schonberg, Allan Wilson, and Heather Treadway, who lead a five-drummer ensemble featuring members of Explode Into Colors, !!!, Typhoon, and Unwound. Fortuitously, they sound like a cross between Liquid Liquid and Pulsallama. As you may gather from these reference points, DSB are amazing, their mesmerizing, minimalist percussion workouts putting you in supremely heady zones. "Jazz (Timber Sale)" is a spectacular, nuanced timbral assault that gets down and dirty as well as music-conservatory cerebral. Secret Drum Band's Dynamics album is one of the best of 2017, and a Seattle promoter needs to book them posthaste.
Martin Jenkins, “Horror Hole” (Transfusions). Medical Records subsidiary Transfusions continues to pump out the quality techno, this time tapping Pye Corner Audio auteur Martin Jenkins for the excellent Dance Cave EP. It's hard to choose a favorite cut here amid Jenkins's deceptively strange minimal-techno workouts, but "Horror Hole" triumphs by a ticking hi-hat sample. It kind of recalls those ominous, late-night trance-inducers found on the Tresor II - (Berlin Detroit:A Techno Alliance) comp issued by NovaMute in 1993. Remarkably, "Horror Hole" combines both highway hypnosis and chase-scene suspense and thrills.
Noteworthy August 11 album releases: Frankie Rose, Cage Tropical (Slumberland); Oneohtrix Point Never, Good Time OST (Warp); Kesha, Rainbow (Kemosabe/RCA); Downtown Boys, Cost of Living (Sub Pop); 5 Billion in Diamonds, 5 Billion in Diamonds (100%); Guided by Voices, How Do You Spell Heaven (Guided by Voices); Kelley Stoltz, Que Aura (Castle Face); Lil' Peep, Come Over When You’re Sober (Part One) (no label)