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Cubicle Vacations: New Music, Vol 7

Check out this list of some of the most exciting, newly purchased CDs from our circulating collections for your listening pleasure. Click on the album titles to be taken to the catalog and put the CDs on hold, and don't forget the provided PREVIEW tracks. Enjoy!


Petty's Peculiar Picks by various artists (1930s-1960s)

The recently departed and widely-beloved Tom Petty is not performing on this collection, rather he is playing DJ. It's just a fun little trip through Petty's record collection and the blues-leaning sounds of the 50s and 60s. Let's just mention one track, "Cherokee Dance" by Bob Landers with Willie Joe and his Unitar, from 1956. The gravel-voiced singer, Bob Landers, has to be heard to be believed. But the guitarist, Willie Joe, had a homemade Diddley Bo that was made out of a 7-ft tall porch post, one string, and an electric pick-up. He used to drive around town looking for a store with an outlet out front, and just plug in and start playing anywhere and everywhere.  And with a 7-ft tall one-stringed guitar, they say he usually could garner people's attention pretty well. Some say this track is the meanest guiar tone put to record up to that time. It is very hard to argue with that. To get a sense of the variety on this collection, now listen to another gem on this one, Mose Allison's "I Don't Worry About a Thing"! Perfect for a cross-country road trip!  PREVIEW

pollinatorPollinator by Blondie (2017)

If I could hang out with any legendary musician or band I wanted, I think it would be Debbie Harry of Blondie. She worked as a waitress in the back room of Max's Kansas City, serving the likes of Andy Warhol and his factory people while the Velvet Underground turned art into noise (or was it noise into art?) in the background. She helped early punk and hip-hop cross-pollinate, calling out the pioneers of hip-hop in her songs, and them returning the favor by calling her out in theirs. She was among the first "punks" to play CBGBs, hung out with Fab Five Freddy and Chic, worked with Georgio Moroder and is now a household name. If you are a Blondie fan, I am happy to inform you that their newest CD  is as good as you hoped it might be. Try, for instance, this great duet with Joan Jett! So retro-awesome in all the right ways! Still a great band! PREVIEW


Fake SugarFake Sugar by Beth Ditto (2017) 

Ms. Ditto really loves to sing. She just, clearly, loves it! You will know this as soon as you hear her voice; and if you ever get to see her perform live, you'll know it even more. She got her start in a band called Gossip that formed in the late 90s in a town that was overflowing with inpsiring, often very feminist (Riot Grrrl!), DIY punk bands: Olympia, Washington. Gossip was awesome.  

Through the years, she has been involved in several music projects (coincidentally including a Blondie song), and some time last year decided to focus on a solo project. Fake Sugar is her debut solo CD. When this song get to the lift, I mean, I get chills. I want to fly or something! I do in a way.  PREVIEW


jlinBlack Origami by Jlin (2017)

There is a genre of street dance that originated mostly in Chicago, called "Footwork". If you are unfamiliar, watch this. It's pretty mermerizing, and impressive, no?  And like many such labels (Salsa and Merengue come to mind), "Footwork" as a term is now used for both the dance style AND the music that best accompanies it. An inspired, tech-savy and musically-inclined steel worker from nearby Gary, Indiana, just wanted to make music that the kids would want to dance to. Jlin makes electronic music, combining identifiable elements from hip-hop, house, techno, drum and bass, and more into her sound. Footwork dancers like it eclectic, agro. It's got to be extreme, but has to remain danceable too. And Jlin delivers just that.The choreography alone on this preview track is enough to make it worth watching.  PREVIEW


SHORTWAVE NIGHTSShortwave Nights by Hiss Tracts (2017)

A dark and dreamy organic noise collage that sounds a lot like it would if it rained down beautiful drops of melody on a grey, autumn afternoon. The water, forming into streams, on its long journey back to the sea.   PREVIEW


Palenque palenquePalenque Palenque Champeta Criolla & Afro Roots in Colombia 1975-91 by Various (2010)

Travel to anywhere in South America, throw a rock, and you will make contact with one of a thousand different, awesomely colorful and unique subgenres of music. Any such genre has its own set of influences; its own history; its own set of elements that, when combined, make it sound so awesome. All great. All great. Yet, "Champeta" music of Colombia is a juggernaut among giants. Not only is its sound as fantastic and fun as anything any culture has produced, like, ever, its history is pretty amazing as well.  "Champeta" flourished in the 1970s and '80s along the Carribean-side coast of Colombia. To this day, you can visit cities like Cartagena, and Barranquilla and find clubs that cater to Champeta; but in the late '70s, it is more likely you would find it being blared out of loudspeakers at an outdoor dance party out in the backstreets and outlying villages. One of the nearby villages largely credited with inspiring Champeta music is Palenque de San Basilio, the namesake of this collection. "Palenques" (known as a "Quilombos" in Portuguese; similar to "Maroons" in English) were towns that were set up by enslaved Africans who escaped their captors and founded settlements of their own in the Americas. This was, mind you, on or around the early 1600s, long before slavery was outlawed. Many of those towns not only survived, extrajudicially and often in secrecy, for another 250 or so years of legalized slavery, but still exist to this day. The town that is credited with birthing the awesome music on this CD has been declared a "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. Founded by an escaped African King in the early 1600s, the town went through a few treaties, violations, executions, etc; but became most certainly the first town in the Americas where Africans were officially declared free: that is, the first town in the Americas to be home to free Africans. And eventually in 1691, this was even recognized in a treaty with the town and the Spanish Crown. That culture embodies a struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds (indeed, "champeta" comes from a word meaning "knife", similar to a machete), yet this struggle includes the fight to find enough goodness in the world to make you want to dance and make beautiful music in spite of it all.  All that is to say, this music is great! PREVIEW

Republique AmazoneRepublique Amazone by Les Amazones D'afrique (2017)

You need to support this ensemble, and I'm here to tell you why. Les Amazones D'afrique, an all-female group from Mali, wrote a song a couple years ago called "I Play the Kora". The song is a cool mix of traditional and modern sounds, but it is also a declaration. For years women in West Africa were not even allowed to play the kora; and the song encourages women to "rise up and fight injustice because we're all equal." Angelique Kidjo is the Kora player here. After having fought against social prejudices for the right to play the kora; she is now recognized as a 'Ngara', which is a title given only to those musicians in West Africa who are perceived to have an aura of greatness. And ALL the profits from the sale of that song went to a charity that helps victims of sexualized violence, an issue of grave concern in the war-torn regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And that is one of literally dozens of charities and causes with which this group is involved. More very interesting choreography in this video too!  PREVIEW

libraries on fireLibraries on Fire by Derek Gripper (2017)

A change of pace for you here, with some atmospheric solo classical guitar. If this can't relax you, man, I ain't got nothin' for you. Imagine if John Fahey played classical guitar. It has that free-flowing, inprovisational feel, even though it likely isn't. It's just very organic; soft and lilting yet technically impressive at the same time. Enjoy!   PREVIEW




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