MADBOY/MINK, pimping the disco

MADBOY/MINK (if you know who took this photo, let me know)
MADBOY/MINK (if you know who took this photo, let me know)

2014 was the year I gave up on synths. (I know, it surprised me, too.) Five years ago, I lived for synthpop. I put an electronic record confidently at the top of my “best of the decade” list. (I went back and listened to that record again this week, it’s still firmly in the top two.) And yet, for whatever reason, in 2014, I decided I’d had my fill (too much terrestrial “alternative” radio perhaps). It’s ironic, then, that the best record I heard in 2014 was a disco record into which synths and laptops factor heavily. And it wasn’t even close.

For my part, MADBOY/MINK were a complete accident (Indian disco swing doesn’t often find its way into my inbox). Following one of the myriad rabbit holes that dot the internet landscape while reading up on a film featuring band member Imaad Shah, which I had screened as part of a film festival I was jurying at the time (M Cream, an Indian indie certainly worth two hours of your life if you can track down a screening), I came across a Bandcamp page featuring a single five-song EP called All Ball released about six weeks earlier. All Ball is the lone official release from the band, though a YouTube search would indicate that the Mumbai duo have a number of other tricks up their sleeve.

From the moment “Alley Cats” drops it’s first disco-shrouded Old Possum reference into the music hall mix to the bassy burlesque of “Taste Your Kiss”, All Ball swings unrelentingly, a godsend to all who, like me, still consider the Verve Remixed albums to be the greatest compilation project undertaken by a single label. Inject a healthy dose of funk into tracks like “Lemonade”, “Funkenstein” (self-explanatory), and “Pimp the Disco” and you have a debut that mines the best bits from a hundred years of popular music and combines them into something new, never dated, and always filthy (pimp the disco / bring it to its knees / I like my generator with a little bit of sleaze).

MADBOY/MINK are Saba Azad and Imaad Shah. They are based in Mumbai, India. They’re EP is called All Ball. It is on Bandcamp. It is also free (which is about infinity dollars below market value).


Sumer is icumen in

We haven’t posted in a couple of days, so here’s a quick one for you. I say “quick” because, if you act quickly, you can download lal meri’s “Dreams of 18” for free at Amazon. It’s only available today (3 May), but if you miss it, just head over to the band’s MySpace where there is a widget that will let you download it tomorrow or whenever. Also, I have a widget for you, no downloads, though. If you click it (which a lot of you won’t for some reason) and it works (which these things never seem to do), you will hear exactly what you’d expect from a Six Degrees band.

What’s that? You say you don’t know what to expect from San Francisco’s Six Degrees Records? You’d better click that button, then. And also, know that you’re missing out on one of my all-time favorite labels (Pacificka, CéU, Bebel Gilberto, and Cibelle once upon a time). Lal meri, like the others, has that trademark laid back sound but with a distinct Indian influences (sadly I can’t differentiate between North and South Indian influences anymore, but it’s good to hear a tabla outside of a World Music class). Add to that Nancy Kaye’s vocals (which have that sandy Fiona Apple quality) and the occasional guest spot from the lovely Pooja Lal and you’ve got a sort of Indian trip hop with a Brazillian flourish. It’s perfect for summer. Very sexy. Sexy is good.