Top 10 World Albums, April 2014
Looking for something new to listen to? We got you covered with our newest roundup of the globe's latest and greatest. Start off with a little Cambodian psychedelic pop trip, then check out Brazilian grooves, Zimbabwean (by way of Seattle) hip-hop, Beijing (by way of Mongolia) punk, Sierra Leonean dubby Afro-pop and more!
1. Cambodian Space Project, Not Easy Rock and Roll: Your other favorite band of indie rockers who do neo-retro Cambodian psych-pop with a lilting female singer are back with a sophomore album that skews more long, strange trip than the raucous acid bender of their debut. Good stuff.
2. Thievery Corporation, Saudade: Long inspired by sounds like bossa nova, the electronic music duo put together their first album dedicated entirely to Brazilian music, featuring a host of ethereal guest vocalists. The results are gorgeous.
3. Chimurenga Renaissance, Rize Vadzimu Rize: This Shabazz Palaces' side project is inspired by Tendai ("Baba") Maraire's Shona Zimbabwean heritage. The second album interweaves Palaces' cerebral hip-hop with Southern African rhythms and elements and essences of the traditional mbira (a thumb piano from the marimba family). Fascinating stuff.
4. Hanggai, Baifang: Chinese punk meets Mongolian folk music (specifically, its galloping rhythms and throat singing) in this ear-boggling fusion-rock band. Album two emphasizes the rock over the fusion a bit.
5. Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars, Libation: Another bright, hopeful release from this globally beloved band with an amazing story. Named for a ritual involving liquid pouring, Libation has them returning to an acoustic sound and features production from Chris Velan, who helmed their debut.
6. Various Artists, Music from the Source: Pioneering world music label Riverboat Records celebrates 25 years in the biz with this sprawling, globe-trekking, lovingly curated compilation.
7. Caetano Veloso, Abraçaço: Two years after its release in Europe, the final installment of the legendary Brazilian artist's trilogy of collaborations with young Banda Cê finally drops in the US. The title means "big hug," and inside its warm embrace you'll find a stripped-down, delightfully playful collection of indie pop, rock and tropicalia.
8. Johnny Clegg, Best, Live and Unplugged at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town: Culled from a series of performances given at the Baxter in September 2013, this intimate greatest-hits comp shows the legendary South African rocker's still got it.
9. Ozomatli, Place in the Sun: The ebullient multi-culti band sounds a bit ... settled on their first release after their 2012 kids album. But you'll still find plenty of old-school effervescence on sonic smorgasbords like "Paleta" and "Prendida."
10. Malawi Mouse Boys, Dirt Is Good: Ready for this? Eight friends who started creating songs during down times on their day jobs: selling mouse kebabs to passing cars (hence the name). The sound is pleasant a capella gospel that's easy on the ears.