4 excellent african music videos

May 4th, 2011

Ken’s Song – A Traditional Era from David Tree on Vimeo.

First is a video from Zambia. Traditional guitar and vocals with adorable kids and grandmas dancing and singing along. Take note that the (homemade?) guitar has bottle caps attached to give a buzzing quality to the sound. That buzzing timbre is common to African music, but it’s most common in West Africa.



Fool’s Gold
is possibly just another white American group using African idioms in their music, but I have to say they do it really well. I love the track, but not this particular video. Good thing there’s another video of a hot live version at KEXP. I love it when they put the song into overdrive at the end.

Ghanan-American MC m.anifest now lives in Minneapolis. I believe the above video, though, was filmed in his native Accra. Gorgeous visuals and solid rhymes over a laid back beat make for a really enjoyable video.

Tuks aka Tuks Senganga (previously mentioned) is my favorite South African rapper. I’d never seen the above video until today. Sweeping and bleak-but-yet-hopeful views of Johanesburg (or ‘Jozi’) mix well with the amalgamation of compelling English and Setswana vocals make for a great video.

the rural alberta advantage’s stunning acoustic ‘in the summertime’

November 7th, 2009

rural alberta advantage
Rural Alberta Advantage by ipickmynose

“Wow” “…wow. That was … great.”

I was backstage at the Bottom of the Hill for the ipickmynose presents show with the Rural Alberta Advantage. It was just me, Nils and a guy named Travis from KALX–Amy and Paul had gone back to their hotel to change. Travis had asked Nils to do a quick acoustic song to accompany the interview they just did and after a brief misstart Nils stunned me with a version of “In the Summertime.” He finished and after a long pause I could barely choke out a compliment.

the Rural Alberta Advantage – In the Summertime (acoustic) (mp3, for KALX)

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If you like this you should also check out the solo piano version of the song on the RAA’s daytrotter session. And, of course, I highly recommend buying the original version if you don’t have it yet.


Nils from the Rural Alberta Advantage at the Bottom of the Hill

IPMN KZSU: the ipickmynose sessions digital album. free!

August 1st, 2009

Starting with an impromptu invitation to John Vanderslice four years ago, I hosted a string of a dozen and an half bands on KZSU, including some of my favorite local bands. I’ve decided to compile some of my favorite songs from those sessions into a digital album that I’m offering here for free. I’m really excited about this and I hope you enjoy it half as much as I am.

The download includes mp3s of all the songs, the album art as a jpg and a special cut-out version of the album art* as a pdf that you can use to create your own album sleeve if you want to burn album to disc.

IPMN KZSU: the Ipickmynose sessions (zip file, mediafire link)

Here’s the tracklist:

  1. Joe Pug – Call It What You Will [recorded 11.20.2008]
  2. The Dodos – Fools [recorded 7.11.2007]
  3. The Ian Fays – Lemon Tree [recorded 5.28.2008]
  4. John Vanderslice – Dear Sarah Shu [recorded 8.25.2005]
  5. The Botticellis – Betrayed [recorded 5.14.2008]
  6. Beatbeat Whisper – Lulu [recorded 6.6.2007]
  7. The Light Footwork – Exit Row [recorded 12.13.2006]
  8. Two Sheds – You [recorded 5.21.2008]
  9. John Vanderslice – Dead Slate Pacific [recorded 7.25.2007]
  10. Geographer – Rushing In, Rushing Out [recorded 4.30.2008]
  11. The Morning Benders – Loose Change [recorded 6.6.2007]
  12. Or, the Whale – Crack a Smile [recorded 2.27.2008]
  13. Toromiro – Last Couple [recorded 2.25.2009]
  14. Winterbirds – Cold Hand Killer [recorded 8.20.2008]

Special thanks to: the bands, of course, for playing great sessions and creating some special music. To Smurph for engineering the sessions. To Andy and Dave for helping get together the album and make it much better than what it was in raw form.

* Astute observers will realize this album sleeve idea is influenced by the One AM Radio’s An Assembly CDr EP, which I recommend you download as well.

soul gospel 8 (plus two bonus tracks)

July 28th, 2009

If you listened to my radio show you almost definitely heard me play soul and you probably heard me play some soul gospel. There’s so compelling about some of it–fervor mixed with hard soul. I’ve pulled out some my favorites to share here.

Soul Gospel 8:

  • Shirley Ann Lee – There’s a Light (mp3) (buy)

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    This one is so simple: guitar, steady rim hits and voice, but it also succeeds by making all those work together so well. Her voice has so much depth to it.

  • The Wright Specials – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do (mp3) (buy)

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    Who doesn’t love a real rouser? This is an soul song that’s been done by everyone from Diana Ross to Wilson Pickett to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but there’s something about the energy in this one.

  • Sam Cooke – Were You There (mp3) (buy)

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    I had to include a song that brought soul from the church context to the secular. “Touch the Hem of His Garment” is amazing, but this version of the traditional song can’t be missed. Sam’s voice is top notch here but so are the backup vocals.

  • Trevor Dandy – Is There Any Love (mp3) (buy)

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    I think repetitive songs are just fine if what is repeating is completely awesome. I love the beat and the vocals and apparently so does Kid Cudi.

  • Aretha Franklin – People Get Ready (mp3) (buy)

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    There are so many good versions of People Get Ready. I love the original by Curtis Mayfield/ the Impressions and the live version by the Chamber Brothers is great too, but between the sweet production and Aretha’s unsurpassed voice on this one, I had to pick it.

  • Rev. Columbus Mann – They Shall Be Mine (mp3) (buy)

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    Motown (often on their sub-labels) actually put out some gospel, including the Wright Specials track above and this one. This one is very straightforward, but it’s just a really good example of this style.

  • Gospel Supremes – Sinner Man (mp3) (buy)

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    From the first notes of this song, I feel like it’s running away and all I can do is hold on. There’s something untamed and uncontrolled about it.

  • Universal Jubileers – Childhood Days (mp3) (buy)

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    This is a great soul funk song with some sweet pop sensibilities that happens to be about Jesus. The music definitely reminds me of another song, but the vocals are all original.

Bonus: pre-soul gems:

  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Didn’t It Rain (mp3) (buy)

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    I feel like no discussion of soul gospel would be complete without bringing up Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who mixes blues, driving guitar and distinctive vocals with gospel songs.

  • Rev. Sister Mary Nelson – Judgement (mp3) (buy)

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    This is a pretty old gospel recording but you can definitely hear some stylistic elements that carry over into the soul gospel tunes above.

If you want to hear more and better selections of music like this, hope Deep Fried and Sanctified comes back on the air at KZSU.

free/ super cheap releases from Joe Pug and Fanfarlo

June 28th, 2009

You should be saying yay.


Joe Pug at KZSU last November

Joe Pug (myspace) whose 2008 release, the Nation of Heat EP, hit me quite hard has released the outtakes from that session as a new EP, In the Meantime and it’s free on his website.

You should check it out because, well, it’s free and Pug makes good music. Pug operates solidly within the framework of “folk” music but he makes brilliant and gorgeous songs within that. The EP includes the track “A Thousand Men”, which Joe did an amazing version of when he came to KZSU. Unfortunately the first bit of that live version of the track was lost in a glitch, but I’ve included a fragment of it that still manages to blow me away anyway.

Joe Pug – A Thousand Men (mp3)

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Joe Pug – A Thousand Men (fragment, live at KZSU) (mp3)

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The blogs have been abuzz with this next bit of info that you’ve probably already seen and you’ve probably seen me talk about Fanfarlo on this blog one or twenty-three times, so I’ll keep this short.

Fanfarlo (myspace) is offering their full-length debut Reservoir, which already plugged, for $1 through July 4. Not only that but that but it include 4 bonus tracks (one of which, the acoustic version of “Drowning Men”, is below) which aren’t even on the import version I bought from them. I’m a sucker for Fanfarlo’s nicely orchestrated, dramatic pop songs and this is a great way to get into them. Get it at their website while you can.

Fanfarlo – Drowning Men (Acoustic Version) (mp3)

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Fanfarlo – I’m a Pilot (mp3)

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Fanfarlo at Central Presbyterian during SxSW 2009

reminder: last radio show 3-6pm today

June 23rd, 2009


cred: me

Just a reminder that my last radio show is this afternoon. I’m on the air on KZSU starting in a at 3pm PST doing my “I once was Canadian” radio show. I’m doing 3 hour of music, stories, special call-ins and more. Listen in from 3-6pm PST.

During either show you can listen online or at 90.1 FM. You can also follow along with my playlist online.

Update Show and playlist from my last show:

KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/23/09 [second hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/23/09 [second hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/23/09 [third hour] (mp3)

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  • Low – (That’s How You Sing) Amazing Grace
  • Unwed Sailor – Last Goodbyes [sound bed]
  • Iron & Wine – Waitin’ For A Superman
  • Jose Gonzalez – Hand On Your Heart
  • Crooked Fingers – Solitary Man
  • Cat Power – I Found a Reason
  • the Botticellis – I Feel Betrayed [Live at KZSU]
  • Belle And Sebastian – Sleep the Clock Around
  • Beirut – Scenic World
  • the Dodos – the Ball [Live at KZSU]
  • Candie Payne – By Tomorrow
  • Henry Lumpkin – Don’t Leave Me
  • Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Oh How I’d Miss You
  • The Wright Specials – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do
  • Sam Cooke – Having A Party
  • Shirley Ann Lee – There’s a Light
  • Ruby Andrews – You Made a Believer Out of Me
  • Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – The Tracks of My Tears
  • P:ano – All of November, Most of of
  • the Morning Benders – Loose Change [Live at KZSU]
  • Wooden Birds – Bad
  • Pinback – Loro
  • John Vanderslice – Up Above the Sea
  • Bon Iver – Skinny Love
  • Mountain Goats – Against Pollution
  • Magnolia Electric Co – Shiloh Temple Bell
  • Fionn Regan – Put A Penny In The Slot
  • Charles Wright and the 103rd St. Rhythm Band – Movin’ On Up/ I Can’t Turn You Loose
  • David Ruffin – Anything You Ask For
  • the Rural Alberta Advantage – Don’t Haunt this Place
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

second to last radio show on the air: african + old-timey music

June 16th, 2009

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cred: ipickmynose

As I mentioned last week, I won’t be applying for a radio show next quarter or in the foreseeable future. Last week’s show was a special, as is this week’s and next week’s. The show, which is called “I Once Was Canadian”, on KZSU 90.1FM will runs on Tuesdays from 3-6pm PST. Listen on the “radio” (remember those?) or online.

Last two shows:

  • Today: African and old-timey music. I’ll shed some light on some of my other favorite music.
  • June 23: Retrospective. Stories, call-ins and some of my favorite songs in my almost seven years in college radio.

You can follow along today’s playlist online during the show.

Update: Here’s the show and the playlist.

KZSU – I once was Canadan (African+Old-timey Special) [ hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadan (African+Old-timey Special) [ hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadan (African+Old-timey Special) [ hour] (mp3)

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    Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata
  • Toumani Diabate – Djelika [sound bed]
  • La Drivers Union Por Por Group – Otsokobila
  • Amadou & Mariam – Ce N’est Pas Bon
  • Konono No 1 – Paradiso
  • Johnny Clegg & Juluka – Umfazi Omdala
  • Kasai Allstars – Kafuulu Balu
  • Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds – Mbube
  • Prince Zulamkah – Ligiligi
  • Koernag Namadlanga – Ngiyalila
  • King Sunny Ade – Yoruba
  • [Group] – Amandla!
  • Miriam Makeba – Beware Verwoerd (Naants’ Indod’Emnyama)
  • Jabulisa Mkhize – Bakhuluma Ngathi
  • Mathula Home Singers – Bhula Wesangoma
  • Hip Hop Pantsula – Lefatshe Je
  • Mzwandile Qotyoi, Dizu Plaatjies, Jose Luis Quintana – Yontoni Nale Izange
  • Muungano National Choir, Kenya – Kyrie
  • Blanket Mkhize – Blanket’s Guitar solo
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo – How Long?
  • Laurie Lewis – The Maples Lament
  • New Lost City Ramblers – Cyclone of Rye Cove
  • Estil C. Ball – Pretty Polly
  • Hobart Smith – Railroad Bill
  • Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet – Golden Gate Gospel Train
  • Horton Barker – Two Sister
  • Tangle Eye – Katy Left Memphis
  • Lesley Riddle – John Henry
  • Henagar-Union Sacred Harp Convention – New Britain, 45t
  • Alabama Sacred Harp Singers – David’s Lamentation
  • Bob Dylan – House Carpenter
  • Roscoe Holcomb – Black Eyed Susie
  • Hobart Smith – Cindy
  • Kilby Snow – Home Sweet Home
  • Roosevelt Graves and Brother – Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind on Jesus)
  • Tommy Jarrell – The Drunken Hiccups
  • Almeda Riddle – Bury Me Beneath the Willow

last three radio shows: all specials!

June 9th, 2009

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cred: ipickmynose

With a bit of sadness, I won’t be applying for a radio show next quarter or in the foreseeable future. My last three shows will all be specials. The show, which is called “I Once Was Canadian”, on KZSU 90.1FM will runs on Tuesdays from 3-6pm PST. Listen on the “radio” (remember those?) or online.

Last three shows:

  • Today:All vinyl show. I’ll be playing indie rock and soul all off of 7″s, 12″s and at least one 10″. Hopefully better than my last attempt at this.
  • June 16: African and old-timey music. I’ll shed some light on some of my other favorite music.
  • June 23: Retrospective. Stories, call-ins and some of my favorite songs in my almost seven years in college radio.

You can follow along today’s playlist online during the show.

Update Here’s today show (well most of it–I went over about 10 minutes and the mp3s below don’t have that) and playlist. Click through to the playlist linked above to see what releases these tracks are off of. It wasn’t without mistakes, but it went pretty well.

KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/9/09 [first hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/9/09 [second hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/9/09 [third hour] (mp3)

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  • Neutral Milk Hotel – The King of Carrot Flowers Part 1
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – The King of Carrot Flowers Part 2 & 3
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  • Crooked Fingers – You Must Build a Fire (live)
  • Magnolia Electric Co. – It’s Made Me Cry
  • Ohbijou – Darcy
  • Johnny Flynn – Ghost of O’Donahue
  • My Brother, the Welder – Vanderhorst 1999
  • Two Sheds – Good Intentions
  • Pedro the Lion – Long Way Around the Sea
  • Mark Kozelek – Bad Boy Boogie (Version 1)
  • Elliott Smith – Angeles
  • Jason Molina – No Moon on the Water
  • Delorean – Ghost of David
  • Mountain Goats and Alastair Galbraith – Raja Vocative
  • Magnetic Fields – All the Umbrellas in London
  • American Analog Set – First of Four
  • Wooden Birds – Bad
  • Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart (10″ Mix)
  • John Vanderslice – Advancing Army Clip
  • the Mommyheads – (Waiting for A) Remedy
  • the Morning Benders – Waiting for a War
  • Modest Mouse – I’ve Got It All (Most)
  • BOAT – Topps
  • Fanfarlo – Harold T. Wilkins
  • the Notwist – Boneless
  • Mates of State – These Days
  • Camera Obscura – French Navy
  • Basia Bulat – Touch the Hem of His Garment
  • the Supremes – When the Love Light Starts Shining Through His Eyes
  • Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Tracks of My Tears
  • Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations – Ain’t Nothing like the Real Thing
  • Al Green – Lo and Behold
  • Aretha Franklin – People Get Ready
  • Beach Boys, the – Good Vibrations
  • the Beatles – The Night Before
  • Dion & the Belmonts – the Wanderer
  • Bill Haley & the Comets – What I’d Say
  • Cat Power – the Greatest
  • Archers of Loaf – Web in Front
  • Seam – Autopilot

I once was Canadian (that’s my radio show) on the air

June 2nd, 2009

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cred: ipickmynose

After a week off, I’m back on the air. My radio show, which is called “I Once Was Canadian”, on KZSU 90.1FM will run until 6pm PST. Listen on the “radio” (remember those?) or online. Maybe you want to listen?

You can follow along with my playlist online.

Update: Here’s my playlist and show. Unfortunately I missed the first hour.

KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/2/09 [second hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 6/2/09 [third hour] (mp3)

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  • Iron & Wine – The Trapeze Swinger
  • Mark Kozelek – Up to My Neck in You [sound bed]
  • Fionn Regan – Put a Penny in the Slot
  • Great Lake Swimmers – Concrete Heart
  • Elvis Perkins In Dearland – Shampoo
  • M. Ward – Rave On
  • Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Grave
  • Sufjan Stevens – Vito’s Ordination Song (acoustic version)
  • Alexi Murdoch – Breathe
  • Dawes – When My Time Comes
  • The Deep Dark Woods – All The Money I Had Is Gone
  • Anni Rossi – Wheelpushers
  • Dirty Three – Great Waves
  • Swim Party – Sunlight & Sprawl
  • Wooden Birds – Bad
  • Pinback – Anti-Hu
  • ms john soda – Solid Ground
  • Lightning Bug Situation – Message to Myself after Franny was Born
  • Laura Veirs – Where Gravity Is Dead
  • Bishop Allen – The Ancient Commonsense Of Things
  • Jake Shimabukuro – Thriller
  • John Vanderslice – Too Much Time
  • Mirah – Generosity
  • Adele – Best for Last
  • Candie Payne – By Tomorrow
  • Raphael Saadiq – Big Easy
  • James Hunter – Carina
  • Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens – What Have You Done?
  • Sam Cooke – Bring It on Home
  • David Ruffin – Anything You Ask For
  • Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Tears of a Clown
  • Henry Lumpkin – Don’t Leave Me
  • Alder Ray – A Little Love (Will Go a Long Way)
  • The Orchids (US) – That Boy is Messin’ Up My Mind
  • the Cadillacs – Speedo
  • The Ronettes – Be My Baby
  • Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career

I’m on the radio

May 19th, 2009

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cred: ipickmynose

Baseball is shortening my show again this week, so I’ll be on till 4:50pm PST. My radio show, which is called “I Once Was Canadian”, on KZSU 90.1FM will run until 6pm PST (or, actually, just before due to baseball again). Listen on the “radio” (remember those?) or online.

You can follow along with my playlist online.

Update: Here’s my show and playlist.

KZSU – I once was Canadian 5/19/09 [first hour] (mp3)

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KZSU – I once was Canadian 5/19/09 [second hour] (mp3)

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  • P:ano – All of November, Most of of
  • Matt Pond Pa – Summer Is Coming
  • Sufjan Stevens – No Man’s Land
  • Andrew Bird – Fake Palindromes
  • Laura Veirs – Where Gravity Is Dead
  • Apples in Stereo – Glowworm
  • Olivia Tremor Control – Hideaway
  • Beulah – Gene Autry
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945
  • The One Am Radio – Cast Away
  • Low – In the Drugs
  • The Low Anthem – Ticket Taker
  • Sun Kil Moon – Gentle Moon
  • Or, The Whale – Fight Song
  • Bruce Springsteen – The Last Carnival
  • Bonnie Prince Billy – Death Final
  • Great Lake Swimmers – Palmistry
  • Langhorne Slim – Restless
  • Booker T – Get Behind The Mule
  • Gospel Supremes – Sinner Man
  • Shirley Ann Lee – There’s a Light
  • Sam Cooke – Ain’t That Good News
  • Basia Bulat – Touch the Hem of his Garment