M.I.A., Sir. Richard Bishop, Sleigh Bells, and Other "New" Music Worth Discovering

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Sleigh Bells
Krist Novoselic writes about music and politics every Tuesday and Friday on Reverb.
I've always needed the thrill of discovering new music. The urge is alive and well today, and there are plenty of good sounds to feed it. When I say new music, I'm not necessarily talking about a recent recording by a current band. Plenty of rock from the ages is coming out of many corners of the world.

Lately, I've really been into M.I.A., specifically the tune "Boyz" from her 2007 album Kala. It's a grand and exciting song--a rush you want to keep going. M.I.A opened the doors for my appreciation of Sleigh Bells, the duo of Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss. Their album Treats, released earlier this month, is exciting and dynamic material that must be heard to be appreciated. Hearing a song like "A/B Machines" allows me to gauge our progression into the 21st century. We're definitely in a new musical era.

There's nothing like the gift of music. God bless Jack Endino for thinking of me when he came across some reissues of Turkish psych from the early '70s recently. Jack told me "the only person he knew into this" came to mind (me!). He bought the vinyl unheard and came over to my house. "Thanks, man!" We immediately put 3 Hür-El's Hürel Arsivi on the turntable.

It started out kind of sucky. "Uh-oh--schmaltz! This record might be a turkey." I think they were trying to sound pop and it didn't work. But after those first two songs, the music came around to be quite interesting, solid rock. Turkey is a place where East meets West. This record is a mix of ethnic music with Haight-Ashbury-style fuzz guitar. The band consists of the three Hürel brothers, hence the name 3 Hür-El.

Sir Richard Bishop's The Freak of Araby doesn't literally span the Bosporus--this music is from the shores of Puget Sound. Bishop lays a cool hand on the electric guitar. It's an Araby feel, all right--kind of like Dick Dale for the modern age, but laid back.

Bishop was in the Sun City Girls with his brother Alan and the late Charles Gocher. This is a band I got to see a couple of times. Nirvana opened for them in Phoenix in 1989. I got to see them again in Seattle opening for the Melvins later in the '90s. This was one of those full-circle moments, because it was Buzz from the Melvins who'd turned me on to the group years earlier. The band was way arty/esoteric. It worked because they were good players. For total weirdness, check out their eponymous 1984 release. My favorite tune on it is "Rapping Head."

 
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