Let’s catch up. Here are some useful discs released last spring/summer that’ve been gathering dust on the editor’s desk but getting spun plenty.
Detroit Grand PuBahs
Funk all Ya’ll
Funny, sexy, cheesy and nasty. The PuBahs rock silly lyrics over mid to fast tempo hip-hop with drum & bass breaks. There’s not enough intelligent lyrical or musical content on this 15-track, full-length disc to warrant an attentive, analytical listen, but we all like to have fun, right? They attempt to channel P-Funk and 2 Live style booty bass, but throw in enough of their own creativity to be original. Lyrics make you laugh in an “I can’t believe they’re saying ‘I want to hump it’ … ‘make your thighs like butter baby: easy to spread’ over and over!” kind of way.
Michael Franti & Spearhead
In confusing and increasingly violent and hate-filled times like these, it’s nice to find a positive truth speaker who can deliver a message while still being entertaining like great-voiced Michael Franti. This album would likely be filed under hip-hop, but should maybe be called neo-soul, social R&B or some other ambiguous attempt to classify such a great artist and album. Franti cares about political/social justice, but doesn’t preach, and knows how to have fun. The message is digestible for all, and no matter how serious and disheartening tales of our world can be, he keeps it on the positive and reminds us of the importance of love, not “who ya love, but do ya love.” He wants you to Listen to the Dalai Lama, or at least your mama. Many haters may dismiss the funky, bouncing, almost gospel-vibed sound as not hard or street enough, but hey, it’s from the heart, and if you listen hard it’ll touch yours.
Proxima Estacion: Esperanza
I use this one to annoy the rock fan in the car, sing gibberish and help with my foreign language. Someone told me Manu Chao was like a Latino Bob Marley. He writes catchy, soulful tunes and has that unexplainable magnetism. The grooves have a reggae, salsa and Latin pop or swing feel. The lyrics are life tales sung in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French. I only know English, and yet I find myself singing along.