Philip Montoro, Reader music editor, is obsessed with …
Abou El Leef, Super Leefa Egyptian singer Abou El Leef, born in 1968, released his first album in 2010 and Super Leefa last year. His music partakes of the populism of shaabi but not the aggressively cheap futuristic production of youthful subgenres such as mahragan. The playfully postmodern arrangements on Super Leefa collide decades of Arabic and Western pop: Auto-Tuned vocals overlap with raggedly soulful traditional singing, nasal folkloric reeds give way to sassy muted trumpet, and the rhythm tracks hop from jaunty hand drums to decadent dance beats to funky 80s synth bass. Thanks to Bodega Pop for the tip!
Usssy, Karpet Birch On this 2012 album, Moscow noise-rock outfit Usssy adapts folk songs from Ukraine, Yemen, Tuva, Cambodia, Iran, and elsewhere. I suspect the vocals are sampled, given the range of styles and the vast number of singers (in "Sacral War" I hear a Russian military choir), but the acoustic skeletons of the tracks wear musculatures that sound like an alternate-universe Lightning Bolt: headache-inducing kaleidoscopes of strings and synths, frenzied trap-set drumming, and blown-out, churning electric bass.
Ævangelist, De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis This mysterious band—split between Portland, Oregon, and Arlington Heights, Illinois—belongs to the "crawling chaos" school of death metal. Like a plague of insects, its formless dark is incalculably huge but moves with terrifying speed: layers of keening and buzzing converge like swarming wings, and guitars flash like faceted eyes from a murk of cavernous growling and serpentine bass.