- Staff Benda Bilili
Philip Montoro, Reader music editor, is obsessed with . . .
Ahab, "Further South," from The Giant This funereal German band's website bears the slogan "Doomwards let us row," and on their latest album, The Giant, their nautical obsession leads them to Antarctica—a voyage entangled with despair and madness. Beautiful, monstrous, and desolate, "Further South" magnifies private misery to the scale of an ancient saga: "Whither should I / Flee from myself / Further down / Further down / Further south."
Staff Benda Bilili, Bouger le Monde! For keeping private misery in proper perspective, though, I recommend this rumba-rooted Congolese band, formed by four homeless paraplegic guitarists who rehearsed in the half-abandoned Kinshasa zoo and filled out their rhythm section with street kids. Bouger le Monde! ("Shake the World!") is Staff Benda Bilili's second album, and the success of the first has changed them—they now have or are building houses, and they're opening a school for disabled people and homeless children—but they're still playing some of the most buoyant and indomitable dance music I've ever heard.
Peter Brötzmann, Jason Adasiewicz, Joshua Abrams, and Hamid Drake at Elastic on Sat 9/15 I'm glad I ended up sitting on the floor, behind the chairs, for the second set of this free-jazz blowout. I could see most of the rhythm section—they'd hit a rolling boil, glowing with the sound of Adasiewicz's vibraphone—but I couldn't see Brötzmann, so that when he came screaming in on tenor saxophone it was a genuine shock. For a moment it sounded like someone had let a mountain lion loose in the room.