Wednesday, January 13, 2021

City of Gold: Leningrad 1974-91


Now playing on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio, three hours of DIY, studio, and live recordings from the birthplace of the Soviet rock and roll underground.

Listen to the show and join the conversation

Wednesday, January 6, 2021



Now playing: The Dark Nightingale of Egypt. Jamaica's first woman at the control. A Zamrock pioneer.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Hindsight 2020 | 7-10 PM EST


Now playing on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio: Bodega Pop spins three hours of our favorite tracks from reissues + compilations from the year of COVID-19

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Femmes du Maghreb | 7-10 PM EST


Now playing on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio, a century of recordings featuring women from Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020



Now playing on Bodega Pop on WFMU's Give the Drummer Radio: Cosmic emanations from Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Russia ... and beyond

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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Which One Is Pink?


Now Playing: assorted other responses from around the world to the most popular psychedelic rock band of all time

Listen to the show in the archives

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Maalam Soudani | Essoauira (1999) (FLAC re-up)

I've re-ripped this cassette in FLAC at correct speed. Get it here.

Original post:

Another cassette from the Algerian bodega here in Astoria, this time a terrific gnawa recording featuring vocals, tbal, and gimbri, the latter presumably plucked by our man decked out above, Maalam Soudani.

I mentioned this cassette on my show last week and, unless misunderstood him, Tim wrote in the comments that he knew Soudani back in the day in Essoauira.

If we're lucky, perhaps Tim will share with us what he knows about Soudani's life and work; I wasn't able to find anything about him online, but the music is [squeezes fingers together and presses them to lips] ... mmmwah!

Link to download [and Tim's reply!] in comments.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wild Thing


The obscure Japanese avant-gardist. A forgotten cumbia crooner. Egyptian entertainers of the eighties. The bridge from molam to luk thung. Nigeria's hardest, funkiest rockers. La Guarachera de Cuba.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Orchestre Jamal | Mazhariphone Cassette (FLAC reup)

Thrilled to have re-ripped this amazing cassette at true speed in FLAC. Details below. Thanks to Tim at Moroccan Tape Stash for transliterations and details.

Grab it here.

Original post:

Confession: I went *back* to Nassem Halal Meat and Mediterranean Grocery here in Astoria, and, after a long conversation with Houssain, found another 40 grime-encrusted cassettes hidden in Nassem's nooks and crannies. Well, technically 38, as two of them were duplicates of a Zehouani tape I'd already picked up, but which was too old and worn to play. These cassettes come from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. As you've already suspected: Today's offering is from that last haul.

Thanks to the supercollector known as Mehdi J Blige, we know this is by Orchestra Djamal (or Jamal). Thanks to the J-card, we know the publisher is Mazhariphone. Thanks to our ears, we believe this might be the single most psychedelic cassette we've ever heard from al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyah. 

It's possible that this is the same Orchestra Jamal as in this video:

The sound is vaguely similar and the lead vocal is in the same youthful ballpark as on the tape. Speaking of which, let's talk about the tape in depth.

Side 1 kicks off with a plaintive, haunting string solo, aching and bending upward, until it opens a window for the lead male's voice, and a guitar that lays down a soft-strummed, spider-web thin scaffolding reminiscent of Omar Korshid at his most subtle. The kid's voice, as you'd gather from the cover above, is youthful, almost feminine. He starts off reciting and, as the track develops, begins to sing. At which point, any concern I had that this might be some kind of novelty or vanity project evaporates. The kid has soul. Deep, lived soul.

Just shy of the two-minute mark, the percussion and some sort of barely perceptible keyboard kick in. The drums -- which are nearly isolated in the mid-to-left-hand channel -- sound like a Moroccan Jaki Liebezeit is taking them out for a test drive. I have never, never-ever, heard a kit being played like this on a Moroccan recording. (If we're lucky, Tim might let us know whether they strike his more acutely trained ears as unusual.) The guitar lopes along, breaking out into occasional fuzz-toned fills.

The second track is where things start to get mind-melty. I don't know the specific instrument that opens the track, but it's some form of keyboard or synthesizer, and very trippy. The strings and Jaki Liebezeit kit kick in, followed by a sudden trill of mechanized ululation that swooshes across the sonic landscape. The kid and an adult male chorus trade phrases. 

This is not psychedelic in the normative sense. The architecture feels rooted squarely in Moroccan chaabi; it's in the fills and trills where things get freaky. 

And it's on Side 2 that the psychedelia gets turned up, especially the second and final track. I'm not going to attempt to describe it, other than to note that the synthesizer and guitar do things in this 11+ minute scorcher -- and we're still *technically* talking fills -- that make my head spin. 

And perhaps, dear reader, your head as well?

Link to the cassette rip in comments. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Manora: Southern Thai Local Music (FLAC)


This is a remarkable--oddly remarkable--recording on a number of fronts. First of all, it purports to be a recording of music for manora (aka menora or nora), a classical dance drama practiced in southern Thailand and northern Malaysia. 

And, I assume, it is that. But it's more. Four bonus tracks more. At the end of each side of the cassette, we're treated to two tracks of electric Thai music. 

On Side A, the two end-tracks (6 and 7) feature electric guitar, bass, organ, and percussion. The style to my ears sounds morlam-ish, but not quite like any morlam that I've ever heard before. 

(Listen to track 6 here--click on "Phra Aphai" and hit Play.)

A very seasoned woman's voice leads track 6, with an male response? Chorus? A bunch of emphatic "Ah, ah, ah"s. It's exquisite. Track 7 reverses the roles, giving the lead to the male singer, the "Ah"s to the female.

Side B's electric tracks mirror the male-female switch-up, and sound more like what I would likely assume was morlam.

But it is worth emphasizing that, sonically, these four tracks have little obvious sonic relationship with the rest of the cassette, other than what sounds like the repetition of the word "menora" in the two electric end tracks on Side B. 

I'm hoping perhaps Peter Doolan of the legendary Monrakplengthai might be able to shed some light on what's going on.

UPDATE: Peter sends along the following information:

thanks so much for this, gary!

after a little research (thanks especially to the plengpakjai webboard archives) i have some findings to share:

this cassette is primarily of a re-release of a hat records LP from pricha amnuaisin and his troupe (A1-A5, B1-B5), which is classic manorah. tacked on the end of each side are manorah-style luk thung singles (and their b-sides) from thitthong nakhonsi and khwannapha ladawan, which seem to have had some degree of local popularity.

this is really extremely rare stuff! most of what i turned up was people asking if anyone had access to it, so i'll be hooking them up post-haste, thanks to you!

artist(s): various

album: เพลงพื้นเมืองภาคใต้ มโนราห์ (phleng phuen mueang phak tai: manorah)


01. ปรีชา อำนวยศิลป์ (pricha amnuaisin) - คำเตือนเพื่อนร่วมชาติ (kham tuean phuen ruam chat)

02. ปรีชา อำนวยศิลป์ (pricha amnuaisin) - กลอนเตือนหญิง (klon tuean ying)

03. ปรีชา อำนวยศิลป์ (pricha amnuaisin) - กลอนวอนพระอินทร์ (klon won phra in)

04. สังเวียน เอ็งเส้ง (sangwian engseng) - ทุกข์ร้อยแปด (thuk roi paet)

05. บำรุง จันทรศาล (bamrung chantharasan) - อวยพรปีใหม่ (uai phon pi mai)

06. ขวัญนภา ลดาวัลย์ (khwannapha ladawan) - พระอภัยเป่าปี่ (phra aphai pao pi)

07. ทิดทอง นครศรี (thitthong nakhonsi) - ปี่พระอภัย (pi phra aphai)

08. บำรุง จันทรศาล (bamrung chantharasan) - กลอนสอนเมีย (klon son mia)

09. บำรุง จันทรศาล (bamrung chantharasan) - กลอนสอนหญิง (klon son ying)

10. นกน้อย ปกาใส (noknoi pakasai) - กลอนสอนเพื่อนหญิง (klon son phuean ying)

11. สังเวียน เอ็งเส้ง (sangwian engseng) - ของแพง (khong phaeng)

12. สังเวียน เอ็งเส้ง (sangwian engseng) - อย่าหลงผิด (ya long phit)

13. ขวัญนภา ลดาวัลย์ (khwannapha ladawan) - มโนราห์-พระสุธน (manorah-phra suthon)

14. ทิดทอง นครศรี (thitthong nakhonsi) - พระสุธน-มโนราห์ (phra suthon-manorah)

Grab this one-of-a-kind treasure here.