Happy new year, everyone! Let's ring it in with some free music! Like my Facebook page so you can stay posted on this blog and get random tidbits. I'll also be creating a new "mixtape" every Monday (get it? Mixtape Monday?) to tide you over until the Wednesday update.
Also, check out the free Greenland is Melting/Jon Gaunt split -- especially if you like your music a little blue and grassy. ALSO:
Have you downloaded the new (FREE) Kominas album yet? Whyever not?
If you don't know who the Kominas are, then you're probably like most people. I first heard them two years ago when they came to perform at my college. They were a real breath of fresh air after three years of crappy hipster basement bands like Vampire Weekend, Beach Houses, and Neon Indians, who all skyrocketed to fame weeks after playing my school. Too bad the same isn't true of the Kominas. They're brash, they're loud, they play punk rock, and -- what seems to be a cardinal sin among cool kid bands these days -- they have fun and want to make sure you're having fun, too. In the past three years they've played my alma mater something like six times -- they even opened for Major Lazer. (Guess which band I stayed for.)
My background about the Kominas themselves is somewhat sketchy -- even though I've seen them play live a number of times now, I haven't scoured the Internet to learn every little detail about them. Frankly, that helps me appreciate the music more. However, if there's something I've gotten wrong, I welcome your corrections!
Here's what I know: the name is Urda for "scoundrel." They are basically the founders of a punk movement called taqwacore, which focuses on the issues Southeast Asians/Muslims face in a post-9/11 world. The band was featured prominently in the 2010 documentary Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam.
The new album represents a huge departure from their previous work. Their first album, Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay (2008) featured the band's caustic sarcasm with songs like "Suicide Bomb the Gap," "Rumi Was a Homo (But Wahhaj is a Fag)," and "Sharia Law in the U.S.A." Basically, the album was designed to strike fear into the hearts of conservative Americans everywhere. In case they needed a boost.
Their second album, the 2010 Escape to Blackout Beach was darker and more rap and sample-based. I have to admit that I don't listen to it often. However, like the first album, the band seamlessly incorporated Middle Eastern hooks into Western genres.
Their most recent effort, released on Christmas 2011, is a straight-up rock record. Unless "Disco Uncle" has some sort of subtext that I'm not picking up on, few of the songs have overtly political themes, and all of the songs are in English. I (like another reviewer) attribute this change to the addition of Sunny Ali and the Kid to the mix. The duo's mixture of what I can only call psychobilly and more traditional Middle Eastern music is most evident in "No One's Gonna Honor Kill My Baby (But Me)" which is about as Southern gothic as any song is gonna get. As I said before, it's very different from what I was expecting, and my ears need some more time to get used to it, but it's completely enjoyable and I can't wait to dance to these songs live.
So go download it. It's free.
Get more adobe and more teardrops on the Facebook page! Keep an eye out for Mixtape Mondays!
The Kominas official site, Facebook
Sunny Ali and the Kid on Myspace, Bandcamp, and Facebook