Music to Trot the Globe to…

Somehow we’ve found ourselves halfway though summer 2015.

I hope that some of you have had the chance to vacate your desk for more than a long lunch break to catch some well deserved and muy importante vacay time. And perhaps a few of you are gearing up to take off soon. Whether you’re headed to Paris, France or Paris, Texas, we’ve got some tunes to guide you on your journey.

1) We all need a trip, don’t we? Get ready with Vacationer –caitiebee

2)  Dengue Fever’s “Tiger Phone Card”, a call-and-response duet that beautifully chronicles the tribulations of a long-distance relationship, is a great travel companion for an Ambien-fueld flight across the globe to visit a significant other. —rye

3)  Speaking of Ambien-fueled plane rides, this cut from James Pants emulates the blissful experience of gazing over the ocean from the cabin window once your substance-of-choice kicks in. —rye

4) I’ve never met a city I couldn’t get lost in, loving this new cover of Frank Ocean’s “Lost” by Major Lazer and MØ –caitiebee

5) Have you ever taken a night boat? I did once, from Italy to Greece, let’s just say that there were pet chickens roaming around the top deck and a few people who may or may not have been gypsies. Madness knows the madness in “Night Boat to Cairo” (Make sure you watch this video!) –caitiebee

6)  If ridesharing is your preferred means of travel (like John Waters), ask your driver to throw on Marvin Gaye’s “Hitch Hike.” —rye

7) You might just meet someone to sing along to Elastica’s “Car Song” with… –rye

8) My preferred method of travel will always be walking, putting my own footprints all over a foreign land. A Tribe Called Quest knows what I’m talking about, not to mention that Stevie Wonder sample will always brighten my day. –caitiebee

9)  You’re bound to need a taxi/uber/pedicab/chariot at some point no matter where you end up. Let Bobby Benson’s “Taxi Driver (I Don’t Care)” tag along—rye

10) Culture clashes are inevitable, but sometimes they can be so beautiful. Like that one time that Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons toured India, met the Dharohar Project and made some pretty great music. Check out “Devil’s Spoke: Sneh Ko Marg” –caitiebee

11)  The Box Tops – The Letter: A classic about about the urgency of needing to see your lover. RIP Wayne Carson, one of the song’s writers who passed earlier this week.  —rye

You guessed it – Gongbanter’s 2014 faves!

I still only half believe it – but 2014 is just about over.

That means it’s the time of year again where we haphazardly judge all of the music that’s been filing our heads for the past 365 days and put our findings in list form.

Here are ours!

caitiebee top picks:

1) Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

I never thought that a punk album would make me cry. But man oh man, this one has made me sob. In case you were living under a rock in 2014 – this album is a BIG deal, and it’s incredible.

2) William Onyeabor – What?

Remixes of a Gongbanter favorite, by some other favorites. Word on the street is he will put out a new album about his new-found savior Jesus, that one will probably make it on the list next year.

3) Homeboy Sandman – Hallways

Most everything this man touches turns to gold. Every song on this album brings something new to the table, maybe because just about each song is produced by someone new – from the likes of Jonwayne and Oh No.

4) Iceage – Plowing Into The Field of Love

Iceage made an album that I could actually maybe show to my parents. It may have pissed of some fans, but it’s a welcomed change for me.

5)  Merchandise – After The End

I hate to repeat myself, but Merchandise made an album I could maybe show my parents, and it’s not a bad thing.

6) Hozier – Hozier

I LOVE THIS MAN AND EVERYTHING HE DOES. He has this talent to make us fall in love with his music, and there is no contest after you’ve seen him live. I’m excited to what more is to come with this shining star.

7) Glass AnimalsZaba or Silk Rhodes – Silk Rhodes

Sorry, I can’t decide which makes me want to dance in my chair more.

8) The Acid – Liminal

This album is beautiful.

9) Gardens & Villa – Dunes

Again another Gongbanter favorite with their second full length album. Word on the street is that they are already cooking some more tunes up in studio.

10) D’Angelo – Black Messiah

This one if for all of the suckers that posted their lists before it came out.

rye top picks:

1) Sharon Von Etten – Are We There

Very emotionally raw and intense album. She let’s it all bleed out on this one.

2) Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy

Another emotionally raw record, but in a different way. Makes the list mostly due to the lyrics “My ass is made of velvet and my hips are made of stone/ And if you really love me you will leave me alone.” Lyrical poetry

3) Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty

Power follow-up to the killer “Black Up.” As many have pointed out, the spirit of Sun Ra runs strong throughout, which no one seems to be complaining about.

4) Adult Jazz – Gist Is

In 2014, very few albums managed to challenge and disorient me while staying as insanely hooky as “Gist Is.”

5) William Onyeabor – What?!

Hats off to the folks at Luaka Bop for their persistence in making the initial compilation and remix album happen. I’ve gotten sucked into this hypnotic pop gem an embarrassing amount of times this year.

6) Spoon – They Want My Soul

In a landscape where the concept of the “album” slowly goes the way of the dodo, it’s particularly sweet to hear a crushing record from start to finish.

7) Aesop Waits – Tom Shall Pass

Most mashups these days seem lazy and uninspired, and seem to exist just because they can.  Enter “Tom Shall Pass”, an album that combines the works of Aesop Rock and Tom Waits. They complement each other so well it’s stupid.

8) Various ArtistsThe New Basement Tapes

Love when an idea delivers beyond sounding good on paper. Contemporary artists recording songs inspired by a collection of unearthed lyrics from Bob Dylan. Featuring an all-star team of T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Dawes and Jim James among others.

9) Hozier – Hozier

Jesus, this man rips. Did anyone actually dislike this album? If so, come at me, I’ll be posting up at the Cowboy Palace Saloon for the holidays.

10) Shintaro Sakamoto – Let’s Dance Raw

I’ll always be a sucker for albums that masterfully juggle genres. In this case, folk, funk, jazz and country elements come together in a record that aims to move and succeeds in a big way.

Jonwayne’s True Grit

It was a cool, summer night in Echo Park when I first laid eyes on the rapper, beatmaker, and Cthulhu-esque beast known as Jonwayne. After checking my ponytail at the door and sitting through a couple of lukewarm DJ sets, a figure emerged from the wings of the Echoplex stage with tiny square spectacles and a pizza box, which he’d proceed to eat slices from during his set, with renegade crumbs finding shelter in his scraggly beard. Throughout his performance, he’d often address the crowd with his mouth half-full, and when all was said and done (and eaten), sonically assaulted the crowd in ways that led me to the half-playful assertion that Jonwayne embodies the punk ethos and mentality more so than most these days.

Why? He makes his own beats, and when he performs, he’s his own DJ and “hype man” as he raps. His flows are nasty, witty, intelligent and occasionally socially conscious. Appearance is not high on his list of priorities, and often conveys a dgaf mentality. He verbally abuses his audience when it reacts like an El-Ey crowd often does: idle and uninterested. He raps with a viciousness and spits some impressive freestyles. His beats are heavy, disturbing. He’s a terrifying live presence.

But above all else, he subverts corporate logos in the spirit of true culture jammers. He and label Stones Throw had the chutzpah to release not one, but two cassettes with covers modeled after major corporate brand logos, namely Coca-Cola and Marlboro Cigarettes. In its newsletter, Stones Throw posted a copy of the cease-and-desist letter they received from Phillip Morris, which claimed that Stones Throw had infringed, among other things, the trademark of “the pyramid shape.”  You can read Jonwayne’s amusing response to the “grassroots company” here. Oh, and he released a mixtape called “Jonwayne Fucks Disney,” which reassembles classic Disney tunes into hard-hitting fever-dream beats. To me, moves like these make him ballsier than most who label themselves “punk” these days. It’s safe to say that Jonwayne does not play it safe.

Anyway, check out his music. His beats are as catchy and unique as they are demented, and his flows are dangerous. Also take the time to watch his most recent Boiler Room peformance, or any other live show for that matter on the youtubes. Here’s an instrumental off his Bowser album, titled “Bowser I (Sigma Head)” which takes its name from a certain video game villain we all adore.