After a miraculous and drama-filled Lollapalooza weekend (read about the rainstorm if you haven’t yet), we’re pleased we haven’t floated away. And we bring you the following treats to warm your eyes and ears this week on YouTube’s music page.
You know Antibalas, even if you’ve never heard of them -- these are the guys behind the soundtrack to the Tony Award-winning Fela! The Musical. (They were also the musical’s house band during its Broadway run.) The band’s Afrobeat credentials run deep: back in the late ‘90s -- before Afrobeat was hip -- Antibalas crafted itself in Fela Kuti’s image, playing a 21st century take on Kuti’s potent mix of American soul, funk, jazz and Nigerian music. Over the years, the band has morphed an instrumental powerhouse, and its small army of musicians have spawned side projects galore. Today, as they release their new eponymous album, they introduce us to their universe.
Just when you thought you understood K-Pop, the genre’s latest phenom Psy breaks the mold. He’s everything K-Pop (as we’ve come to know it) is not: he’s not svelte, and his video is neither heavily produced nor glamorous. In fact, it’s funny, sly and self-mocking. At 17 million views and counting, it’s definitely gone viral -- and his “horse dance” has spawned myriad imitators and reaction videos.
Tom Waits has always inhabited characters in his music, painting stories of people on the edge in album after album. It’s a kind of musical theater that runs closer to Bertolt Brecht than anything else, and in “Hell Broke Luce,” he inhabits the character of a soldier returning from recent wars. The music is abrasive: it seems as if Waits thinks he could corrode the surface of the internet with just his voice. And he might be right. The video is a hallucinatory ride -- Waits drags a small home behind him, trudging through military minefields, hounded by explosions and singing body bags. It’s a profound statement by one of the United States’ most iconoclastic musicians.