No-No Boy - “Imperial Twist”
Portland-based songwriter (and Brown University doctoral student) Julian Saporiti has brilliantly adapted his Ph.D. dissertation on the exploration of the history and significance of Asian-American music and culture into an album with his band No-No Boy. “As a songwriter, I’m inspired by the mess of history,” said Saporiti. “Imperial Twist,” featuring Robert Vifian, is the first single from his Smithsonian Folkways album, “1975.” It’s a seamless fusion of the groovy vibes from the psychedelic past with a lesson for the present, which he partially gleamed from his family’s experience living through the Vietnam War.
Public Service Broadcasting - “People Let’s Dance”
This English group describes its fourth record, “Bright Magic,” as the “most ambitious undertaking yet.” It’s easy to see why. The record features the single “People Let’s Dance” which was recorded with Berlin-based singer EERA. With this song, the group has effectively recaptured the sounds of electronic and new wave bands like New Order and Kraftwerk, whose pioneering music presciently hinted at the future of music. “People Let’s Dance” is a definitive statement that the future is now.
Falle Nioke - “N’Kanu”
Falle Nioke is a singer and percussionist from Guinea-Conakry in West Africa who turned a chance meeting on a train with the Swedish producer sir Was (Joel Wästberg) into the EP “MARASI.” “Falle was singing and playing the Gongoma. His voice was powerful and at the same time very soft and fragile, rich and full of overtones. It filled the room.” Wästberg recalled of their first session together. To understand what he’s talking about, you need only listen to the stand-out track, “N’Kanu,” which highlights Nioke’s dreamy vocal essence. It’s all elevated by Wästberg’s delicate ambient instrumentation.
Pictured at top: English band Public Service Broadcasting.