While this week marked the return of Missy Elliott to the music video universe with her red-hot Pharrell collaboration “WTF (Where They From),” the Portsmouth princess wasn’t the only one making waves this week with new music.
Nashville’s own JEFF the Brotherhood shakes off their major-label chains with a new psychedelic record on their family-owned label Infinity Cat, a New-York-by-way-of-Chicago DJ blows our minds at the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, the estate of Jeff Buckley exhumes his corpse for a covers record, and Jonny Greenwood’s Indian experiment bears fruit. But first, let’s dig in the dusty crates of the Wu-Tang vault with RZA for some unreleased bars from the rapper with no father to his style, the one and only Ol’ Dirty Bastard:
Ol’ Dirty Bastard — “Obey Me (Shash’U Remix)”
Not unlike the perennial king of kookiness, Prince, the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA has untold archives of material that is unlikely to ever see the light of day. This track is a remix of “Obey Me,” an unreleased track by the enigmatic late rapper that can only be heard through a speaker made by the company Boombotix. Like most things that feature Dirty’s son playing the ODB character, the video can be uncomfortable to watch, but his raps are vintage ODB, and the track captures the controlled madness that RZA wielded so well on Wu-Tang albums.
JEFF the Brotherhood — “Global Chakra Rhythms”
Nashville stalwarts JEFF the Brotherhood are fresh off the disintegration of their relationship with Warner Bros., who financed the duo’s last two loud, ambitious, and expensive albums. Global Chakra Rhythms heads in a different direction than 2012’s Hypnotic Nights and Wasted on the Dream, bringing oddball instrumentation and global influences to their brand of scuzzy punk rock. The brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall enlist the help of the Dead Weather’s Jack Lawrence and Bully’s Reece Lazarus, and work organ and saxophone sounds into their driving percussion and guitar finger-tapping. Wonderfully experimental and strangely familiar.
Honey Dijon — “Love From Japan Summer 2015 Mix”
We first heard Honey Dijon last weekend at the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, where she participated in a panel on gender diversity and packed the back room at Cameo with more half-naked dudes than a Russian bathhouse. The thoughts she shared on the panel were some of the most poignant words spoken at the event, but she’s most impressive on the 1’s and 2’s, making people dance. This two-hour Soundcloud mix works modern samples in with classic house rhythms for a non-stop dance party. Throw it on at your next house jam, and watch the energy flow through the room.
Jeff Buckley — “Everyday People (Sly & The Family Stone cover)”
I know, I know, another posthumous release from a dead artist from the ’90s? Why do we need this? Well, we might not, but there’s something to be said about the singular quality of Jeff Buckley’s voice, and an argument to be made that any unheard recordings deserve to be shared with his devotees. This acoustic cover of the Sly & The Family Stone classic is mostly unremarkable, until you hear Buckley’s angelic croon warble and you remember how easily he can give you chills. He’s still one of the rare white singers who can hang with the best of the best black vocalists (and in our opinion, still the only human who can respectably cover Nina Simone), and this track does nothing to disprove that notion.
Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, and the Rajasthan Express — “Roked”
We wrote at length earlier this week about the cultural implications of international collaborations such as Junun, an album by the Israeli Shye Ben Tzur, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and the Indian musicians that comprise the Rajasthan Express. But ignore the sociopolitical analysis for a second to focus on the music, and you’ll hear something so fresh and new that it justifies its existence all on its own. The distinct character of the Rajasthan Express’ percussion somehow feels at one with Greenwood’s bizarre synth sounds, and Shye Ben Tzur’s mastery of the intersection of Middle Eastern and Indian music is on full display.