New York Music Daily

Love's the Only Engine of Survival

Category: chamber pop

The Best-Ever Playlist on This Page

Today’s playlist is a murderer’s row of singles. Just for starters: a deviously subtle new video for the best song of 2020, and a new electric recording of the best song of 2016. There’s about half an hour worth of music here, plus some funny visuals. If you know this blog, you know the drill: click artist names for their webpages, click titles for audio or video.

Karla Rose’s allusive, slinky serial killer parable Battery Park topped the charts here in what was a pretty nightmarish 2020. She’s got a new video for it: see if you can spot her!

Another noir-inspired artist, LJ Murphy earned the top spot for 2016 with his cruelly prophetic Panic City. It was mostly acoustic then; it’s an electric scorcher now.

We live in perilous times, and Grace Bergere offers a more metaphorical take in A Little Blood, one of the most offhandedly chilling songs of the past several years.

Mark Breyer made a name for himself as sort of the Elvis Costello of powerpop and janglerock with his long-running studio project, Skooshny. And he keeps cranking out sharp, jangly anthems as Son of Skooshny. His latest is Runs in the Family: imagine the Church at their lyrical peak in the 80s..

Atlanta band Faithless Town‘s roaring slide guitar-driven protest anthem New World Order has a great newsreel video: protestors battling SWAT teams in Europe in the summer of 2020, images of the Lockstep tabletop exercise and Event 201, and plenty of usual Davos suspects.

Amy Rigby was not idle during the lockdown here in New York. Here’s her hauntingly hazy cover of Bob Dylan classic Not Dark Yet

From the anonymous protest songwriter known as POTP – the same guy responsible for the viral video Bill Gates Sings – here’s Vaxx in the Cradle, sung to the tune of the old Harry Chapin hit. Beyond the snarky jokes, it’s amazingly well-crafted – it even follows the plotline of the original. “This song has Emergency Use Authorization to be deployed far and wide in the effort to stem the epidemic of infant experimentation.”

Loosie‘s No Future is the catchiest, most anthemic thing the band’s ever done, with a wistful Lynchian edge. A scruffier Sharon Van Etten, maybe?

You might know Mike Adams as the scientist in the lab coat who founded Brighteon, home to innumerable good censored videos. Want to know what video is at the very top of the search page today? The full stream of the Plandemic II documentary!. But believe it or not, Adams also has a history as a rapper. Check out his hauntingly prescient 2010 video Vaccine Zombie, which has resurfaced courtesy of the consistently brilliant and provocative Midwestern Doctor Substack page.

Moirai’s Völuspa is a starkly gorgeous recreation of an ancient Icelandic dragonslayer myth. Is this classical music? Folk music? 21st century minimalism? Maybe all of the above?

Let’s close with some funny stuff. First, click and scroll down the page for a 45-second tv ad for Oomph’s new “human meat plant based burger” via Jeff Childers’ indispensable Coffee & Covid. Reputedly the jury’s out on how it tastes compared to genuine human flesh.

And here’s a meme from cartoonist Anne Gibbons: a spot-on take on the FDA’s self-declared “future framework,”  where if they get their way there will be no more safety trials for any pharmaceutical products.

Playful Cosmopolitan Songs and a Falafel Hill Album Release Show From Eclectic Chanteuse Ourida

Algerian-French-American singer Ourida was making tracks in the small-club scene in New York before the 2020 lockdown crushed the arts here. The good news is that this irrepressible, genre-defying songwriter is back in action, with a new album, Wings, which hasn’t hit her Bandcamp page yet. She’s playing the album release show on June 21 at 7:30 at a new venue, Atlantic Brooklyn at 333 Atlantic Ave. just off Hoyt. Cover is $15; it’s about equidistant from the Atlantic Ave. station and the F at Bergen St.

On the album, she sings in expressive English and French, and plays both keys and ukulele, joined by Jonathan Levy on guitar and bass, Eli Crews (who also produced) on EWI, theremin and optigon, and Joe Hertenstein on drums.

The first song, simply titled Blues, is a more psychedelic, dubwise take on dark Amy Winehouse soul that draws a line straight back to Nina Simone. Ourida and band go for a cheerily minimalist trip-hop vibe in the second track, Don’t Talk. She sticks to a similar 90s groove, switching to French for track three, Deux Guitares, lightly spiced with violin from Ernesto Llorens.

Kane Mathis adds warily spare oud in Berlin, a surreal, shadowy rai-cabaret number with an unexpectedly towering, intense coda. Ourida returns to the piano for the hypnotically vampy Bees and follows that with G Train, a catchy, stomping uke-rock salute to the lure of deep-Brooklyn nightlife.

Siren Song, a coyly swaying nocturne, has two basses on it: that’s Panagiotis Andreou on electric and Or Bareket on acoustic. Levy’s film-noir reverb guitar trades off eerily with Mathis’ oud in Porte de la Chapelle, a shout-out to the Paris neighborhood. She stays in broodingly catchy North African/Parisian mode for the next track, Joker.

Ourida and the band rise from a brisk hip-hop groove to a whirling circus rock atmosphere in L’emeute (“Uprising”). The longest and trippiest number here is a mysteriously cut-and-pasted, dubby take of Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love. The album’s final cut is Home. a benedictory gospel tune that wouldn’t be out of place in the Rachelle Garniez catalog. This record grows on you: the arrangements are stark and imaginative and Ourida’s joie de vivre is infectious.

Singles, Useful Information and Cynical Jokes For 6/16

So much good short stuff has come over the transom in the last few days that it would be a crime not to share it. Today’s list is about half an hour worth of good jokes, some dead-serious stuff, and some great tunes. If you know this blog, you know the drill: click on artist or author names for their webpages, click on titles for audio, video or a quick read. Make sure you use Brave or another browser with an ad blocker so you don’t have to mute the intro to the youtube clips!

By now you’ve probably heard the news about a certain faulty doctor and how everything he said would work, didn’t work – in a very personal sense. The irreplaceable Jordan Schachtel has a suggestion for the protocol that Dr. Faulty should follow, now that he has a cold and failed the PCR test. About sixty seconds of laughs.

Another insightful Substack writer, attorney Michael Senger – author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World – has an irresistible parody of a New York Times article about the Shanghai lockdown: another one-minute read.

Today’s first song goes back a few months, but it’s no less timely. Here’s the Stone Roses’ Ian Brown doing Little Seed Big Tree, a solo electric anti-lockdown spacerock classic. The ending after the Bill Gates sample – “People think they have a choice, you don’t have a choice” – is priceless.

Travel further back in time, to the heyday of bands like Genesis in the mid-70s, with the tricky time signatures and baroque whirl of Pennies by the Pound playing Burning Wish: “Fools that we were, we ate up all the soothing lies.”

The latest angst-fueled art-rock single from A.A. Williams is Evaporate: it’s Erika Simonian with crunchy guitars

Moving from gloomy Europe to slightly less gloomy Nashville, here’s Rachel Sumner & Traveling Light playing Strangers Again, with an intricate lattice of acoustic fingerpicking and high lonesome steel guitar. “People change and sometimes not for the better.”

With gospel piano and wide-angle tremolo guitar, Abby Hamilton‘s Trailer Park Queen is an evocatively funny story: she’s hitting on the box wine and he’s on his second round of you-know-what.

This last piece is a little longer than what you usually see on a page worth of singles here, but hang with it. While the narrative itself is very troubling – Dr. Pam Popper offering a very concise overview of how deeply the grooming-industrial complex has infiltrated the American public education system – a miracle happens at the 10:30 mark. You can start the video at about two minutes in, but stick around for some badly needed comic relief. You don’t actually have to be watching to get it.. 

Singles for Early June: The Theme Is Laughter, More Or Less

Been a long time since there’s been a collection of singles on this page. In celebration of how we managed to make it through May without losing our collective sovereignty to the WHO, and that all the concentration camp proposals died in session in the New York State legislature, here’s a bunch of songs, a couple of snarky videos and a meme to keep our spirits up. Click on artist names for their webpages (a couple of these are anonymous), click on titles for audio or visuals.

This one just came over the transom today thanks to the irreplaceable Mark Crispin Miller’s News From Underground. Bill Gates Sings! At :41 “I identify as a medical doctor!”

Muzzleboy reads a book on German history in the 1930s! Sometimes a meme is really worth a thousand words.  Screenshot this and make it your screensaver maybe?

El Gato Malo reminds us, in a minute 41 seconds, how in the fall of 2020 all the Democratic candidates were railing against the “Trumpvax.”

Sage Hana offers a creepy, dystopic mini-movie about what bioweapons may be waiting for us this fall courtesy of the sinister Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Genius animator Ken Avidor has launched his Unjabbed short video series about freedom fighters in a postapocalyptic future, which have been banned from Vimeo. Thanks to Steve Kirsch for grabbing these and saving them for all of us

Here’s a real subtle one. In the stately chamber pop cadences of Matter of Time, Lydia Luce wants to know, “Who’s gonna grow food for the masses?”

Here’s another subtle, drifting pastoral pop number: Meadow, by Emily Tahlin. “The meadow stretches out for miles, I have come to hide.”

Let’s wind up today’s playlist on an upbeat note with Rebecca Day & the Crazy Daysies doing their Americana tune Old Jeans Blue. “A shot of Jim and a sixpack in and I can’t pretend.” Scroll down to the middle of the page for the video. Thanks to Tom Woods of the absolutely essential Tom Woods Show (a guy with great taste in music too) for the heads-up on this one

Martin Wind’s New York Bass Quartet Have Irresistible Fun Beyond the Low Registers

Bassist Martin Wind‘s new album Air with his New York Bass Quartet – streaming at Bandcamp – is sublimely ridiculous fun for those of us who gravitate to the low registers. Like most members of the four-string fraternity, Wind and his accomplices – Gregg August, Jordan Frazier and Sam Suggs – are heartily aware of the comedic possibilities that abound in the F clef. Yet Wind’s arrangements here are as erudite as they are irresistibly amusing. As party music, this is pretty hard to beat. And to Wind’s further credit, he uses pretty much the entirety of his axe’s sonic capability – there are places where these guys sound like a cello rock band or even a string quartet.

They open with a sotto-voce, tiptoeing four-bass arrangement that sticks pretty close to a famous Bach piece that a psychedelic group from the 1960s ripped off for the most-played radio single in British history. Then Wind and his merry band make low-register bluegrass out of it – and guest Gary Versace comes in on organ as the group pivot to a lowdown funk groove. The solo, of course, is for bass – that’s August doing the tongue-in-cheek pirouette.

The third track, a Beatles medley that starts with Long and Winding Road and continues with an emphasis on the chamber pop side of the Fab Four, is even funnier, considering how artfully Wind weaves the individual themes together.

They do Birdland as a clave tune, and then as funk, with Lenny White on drums and Versace on organ again: again, no spoilers. Matt Wilson’s suspenseful tom-toms and Versace’s misterioso organ simmer beneath a surprising plaintiveness and judicious solos all around in an epic arrangement of Charlie Haden’s Silence.

Wind’s first original here, I’d Rather Eat is a hypnotic, rhythmically pulsing, judiciously contrapuntal piece that brings to mind cellist Julia Kent’s more insistently minimalist work. The group’s gorgeously bittersweet take of Pat Metheny’s Tell Her You Saw Me has the bassists plucking out piano voicings, plus Versace on piano and accordion.

Wind’s other tune here, Iceland Romance is a tango with surprising poignancy but also several good jokes, They bring the album full circle by revisiting Procol Harum – woops, Bach. Whether you call this classical music, or the avant garde, or jazz, it’s an awful lot of fun.

Wind’s next gig is with Wilson’s great Honey and Salt quintet at the Saratoga Jazz Festival on June 25. And Verrsace is leading a trio, from the piano, at Mezzrow on June 15 with sets at 7:30 and 9. Cover is $25 cash at the door.

Bounce Away into the Ether with Night Palace

Night Palace play catchy, dreamy singalong tunes. Frontwoman/keyboardist Avery Leigh Draut’s songcraft is an individualistic blend of early zeros stadium rock and clever, bouncy, often psychedelic 60s pop with jaunty classical flourishes. Their debut album Diving Rings is streaming at Bandcamp.

The first track, one of a handful of diptychs, is Into the Wake/Mystified, a swooshy stadium-dance tune with some neat touches like a jagged reverb-guitar break and a ELO-pop chorus. That dynamic sets the stage for much of the rest of the record, starting with the second cut, Strange Powers, with an enveloping/biting contrast between Draut’s string synth, Zack Milster’s snappy bass and Dillon McCabe’s surreal, warpy guitar.

Enjoy the Moon is aptly titled, with Draut’s lush, bright, nocturnal sheets of keys and fluttery clarinet over drummer William Kissane’s skittish beat:

When the room is full of men in hats
Cardboard conversations
I talk to the cat

The band bail on what’s rapidly developing into a catchy, swaying anthem in the next track, Sleeptalk Interlude, then segue into Jessica Mystic, a bittersweet sunshine pop song which with more retro production would have been a big hit if this was 1978. They go back to drifting, spacy chamber pop for Fig Dream, awash in cleverly arranged baroque synth-and-clarinet orchestration.

They open Nightshade with a loopy, Vivaldiesque intro, then McCabe kicks off Nightshade with his tasty, reverbtoned, surfy lines before Draut brings in a balmy, bittersweet theme spiced with bright clarinet work. The album’s dreamiest track is Titania, floating on a cloud of alternately spacy and twinkly synth and spiky guitar fingerpicking.

They close the record with a final diptych: the brief music-box theme Fig Dream and then Silken Ilk, akin to a mashup of Chicano Batman and Sean Lennon, with a woman out front. Close your eyes, feel the warm twilight breeze and the stars smiling down on this comfortable, secluded sonic cove.

Martina Fiserova Brings Her Individualistic, Soulful Tunesmithing to the Lower East

From the mid-teens until the 2020 lockdown, Czech-born songwriter Martina Fiserova was a familiar presence and a distinctive voice in the New York small club scene. Her tunesmithing is sophisticated, purposeful and defies categorization, with elements of oldschool soul, chamber pop, 90s trip-hop and jazz. She plays electric rather than acoustic guitar, likes short songs and sings in strong English in an unselfconsciously direct, uncluttered voice. Since the lifting of restrictions, she’s back on the live circuit, with an early show tonight, May 22 at 5 PM at the small room at the Rockwood.

Like so many artists whose career was put on ice by the grim events of March 2020 and afterward, Fiserova hasn’t put out an album in awhile. Her most recent release, Shift, came out in 2015 and is still up at Bandcamp: it gives you a good idea of the many angles she comes from. She’s got a great band behind her: Brian Charette on organ and piano, and her fellow Czechs Tomáš Baroš on bass and Dano Šoltis on drums. In addition to guitar, Fiserova plays tone lyre, slate xylophone, bronze metallophone and keys.

She opens with Silver Streams, a slow, catchy, minimalist ballad awash in water imagery, that picks up with an unexpectedly funky pulse fueled by a cheery, blues-infused Charette piano solo. Track two, Crater is a hypnotically clustering number in 12/8: “The sleep is broken, tears are stuck in my throat… unseen forces, the pain spreads like white sheets…”

Song For Brian, a swaying, pensive number contrasts Charette’s strikingly direct piano with Fiserova’s more enigmatic guitar lines. “The sound of a breaking heart is stronger than a storm,” she muses in the intro to Cold, then the band leaps into a brisk, bracing offbeat shuffle, Charette on soul organ

She follows Misunderstanding, a slinky, low-key organ swing tune with Invisible Blood, the band slowly edging their way into waltz time as Charette adds iciness behind Fiserova’s elegant fingerpicking and more of that loaded water imagery.

An unlikely flock of pigeons serve as inspiration for the next track, And Fly!, Fiserova offering plainspoken, inspiring encouragement to leave fear behind. Little did she know when she recorded it how relevant this song would become five years later!

She keeps the fearless theme going in My Wind, with its rhythmic twists and turns. from jazz into oldschool soul and back on the wings of Charette’s organ. He blends organ and blippy Rhodes piano in Chasm, a brisk, twinkling, motorik soul tune that could be the album’s catchiest track. Then Fiserova completely flips the script with Silver Moon, rising from an understatedly dark, squirrelly free jazz intro to a big, soaring anthem. The final cut is the pensive, airily wary Closer. Since the album came out, Fiserova has pursued a more straightforward, guitar-driven sound: she is likely to take the volume up a notch at the Rockwood gig.

A Majestic Return For Harmony Rock Songwriter Aimee Van Dyne

Back in the mid-zeros, Aimee Van Dyne led the best harmony-rock band in New York. They were on the quiet, more immersive side, with a lushly distinctive, disarmingly sophisticated vocal counterpoint that was neither baroque nor high lonesome. Van Dyne was trained as an architect, which no doubt informs the durable beauty and often intricate craftsmanship of her songs. Her sound, which remains consistent to this day, is a blend of artsy pop, Americana and the more delicate acoustic styles that trace back to her formative years in the 90s, with a biting, knowing lyricism. Van Dyne has returned with a brand new album, Broken Love Songs – streaming at her music page -which includes both new material as well as concert favorites from that era..

Unsurprisingly, the most stunning aspect of the record is Van Dyne’s vocals. She was a strong singer in 2005, and since then her range has expanded even further, with a warmly mapled, crystalline delivery possibly inspired by her new digs in the Berkshire mountains. On the new album she sings all the parts that Kathleen Hunt and Nina Soka would have filled out during the band’s time playing around what was then a fertile crucible for music on the Lower East Side.

The loosely connecting thread between the songs is going into the wilderness and emerging intact. The opening track, Lonely Me is an old live standard from the New York days, reinvented with a brisk backbeat from bassist Paul Kochanski and drummer JJ O’Connell while Jon Graboff’s pedal steel floats solemnly overhead. Jim Henry, who helmed the instrumental side of the project, adds layers of acoustic and electric guitars: it is astonishing that an album recorded remotely during the lockdown could sound so cohesive.

Henry’s mandolin flickers amid Van Dyne’s anthemic vocal orchestration in the album’s title track, the interweave between the stringed instruments mirroring her vocal dexterity. Van Dyne paints a guardedly victorious lakeside tableau in I’m One, Ben Kohn’s spare piano lowlighting a tale of staring down a “tangled web of half-truths.”

“On the other side of all that sorrow brings, find your wings,” Van Dyne instructs in Hold On, a luscious blend of lushness and twang. There’s a soulful roots reggae tune hidden inside Lonely Boy, Kohn adding romping piano and slinky organ: it’s one of the album’s catchiest tunes.

Greg Snedeker’s cello soars over the bed of guitars in Why Should I Care, a rugged individualist’s anthem from Van Dyne’s earlier days: the harmonies are more tightly constructed this time around. The Story of Me is a disarmingly devastating tale of walking wounded, the self-deception and emotional workarounds that those who’ve been traumatized can fall back on (the song is way more poetic than that mundane description would suggest).

Craig Akin’s somber bowed bass and Kohn’s tersely Romantic piano anchor Unbroken Love, a resolute look at finding inner strength under duress. The new version of Owning Up – the title track to Van Dyne’s debut cd – has a welcome symphonic sweep: there are flying buttresses on this newly sturdy structure.

The edgiest song on the album is Not Even You, a defiant kiss-off number, Henry’s incisive fingerpicking underneath Graboff’s ominous washes of steel. Van Dyne winds up the record with the fondly soaring Together at Last, assembled around Henry’s mandolin and Jon Carroll’s accordion. Needless to say, it’s inspiring to see Van Dyne reasserting the understated power she first made a name for herself with in this city..

An Individualistic, Intriguing New Album and an Outdoor Afterwork Show From Singer Miriam Elhajli

Songwriter Miriam Elhajli has carved out a distinctive sound that draws equally on jazz, 70s South American nuevo cancion and levantine sounds, reflecting her Venezuelan-Moroccan heritage. She cuts loose with an expressive, constantly mutable voice, likes fingerpicking her acoustic guitar in odd tunings and writes intriguing, thoughtfully imagistic lyrics. Her latest album The Uncertainty of Signs is streaming at Bandcamp. She’s playing an outdoor show on May 19 at 6 PM at the secluded terrace at Pier 3, toward the southern tip of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s a good setting for her verdant, rustic yet original songs. When the park was first landscaped, there was a joke going around that it had been designed as a staging area for an invading guerilla army to hide in the shrubbery. Those in search of more peaceful pursuits here can take the A or C to High St., go down to the Fulton Landing and hang a left.

Interestingly, the first three songs on the record are in 6/8 time, more or less. When the Whirlwind Fades Out fades in with a whir from Cedric Easton’s drums, a growling drone from Ike Sturm’s bass and a brightly gorgeous, pointillistic solo from Firas Zreik’s kanun. Elhajli pulls the band into an elegant, anthemic sway with her steady fingerpicking and jazz-tinged vocals. “You should know better than to run toward that which falls,” she cautions.

There’s a subtle, conspiratorial mystery juxtaposed with a soaring angst in the second track, Tres Bocio, Elhajli’s voice rising from hints of the Middle East to a rousing, wordless crescendo, vibraphonist Chris Dingman adding lingering textures.

“I know the kingpin is an illusion, and I know we must not forget to sing in unison,” she asserts in Grayscale, which begins as a stark, Appalachian-tinged ballad and drifts further into an enigmatic contrast between dramatic vocals and a hazy backdrop. She revisits that same dichotomy a little later in Marble Staircase, Zreik’s rippling kanun setting up an otherworldly, tremoloing hulusi flute solo from Jake Rudin

Locusts Circumference is closer to Joanna Newsom-style freak-folk: it’s not clear what “quiet implosion” Elhajli is referring to. The strings of the Kasa Quartet waft and sail over Elhajli’s lattice of acoustic guitar and her full-throated, crescendoing vocals in Gold & God, an allusively jubilant salute to genuine human kindness.

The flute returns and flutters in Spiral Solutions, a brief, energetically circling number where Elhajli seeks to “recognize the unrecognizable.” Bracing, swooping strings permeate Bulk Flow: “Got two scissors and a match…I lost my spirit so I split to another land,” Elhajli relates over a lushly rustic, open-tuned, antique Britfolk-style melody.

She picks out a ringing web on electric guitar in Another Butterfly Ordeal. The next-to-last track, Cosmos is more of a jazz tone poem: “The unseen stays unseen,” Elhajli sings, “Pay attention, the cops encircle us, they don’t know what we’re up to.”

She winds up the record with In Your Arms, Familiar, a mutedly unsettled tableau reflecting a “state of utter hypnosis” where “everything is crushable” – sounds a lot like 2022, doesn’t it?

A Sophisticated, Cleverly Lyrical, Climactic Studio Album From Paris Combo

Paris Combo take care to explain that their latest and possibly final album Quesaco – streaming at Bandcamp – is Covid-free. Notwithstanding the record’s characteristically slinky good cheer, there’s a tragic backstory. Like so many albums recorded in 2019, it was scheduled for release the following year. But their tour fell victim to the totalitarian takeover, and frontwoman/accordionist Belle de Berry died s that fall, soon after a cancer diagnosis. Would she be alive today if there had been no lockdown and she could have received early treatment? We’ll never know.

At least she went out at the top of her game. The band open with the album’s title track, Provençal slang for “what’s up?” It’s a lush, Balkan-tinged swing nocturne packed with cynical rhymes, beginning with a sun, who as du Berry tells it, doesn’t give a fuck about the approaching nightfall. It aptly capsulizes her indomitable, deviously playful worldview.

Paris Combo first took shape as a Romany-tinged swing band but quickly developed a distinctively upbeat, often witheringly satirical blend of sophisticated art-rock, jazz manouche and cinematic pop. Including this one, they put out a grand total of seven albums: all of them are worth getting your hands on.

The second track on this one is Barre Espace, du Berry’s gently caustic commentary on the atomization that inevigtably awaits those who abandon the real world for the virtual one. Bassist Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac, drummer François Jeannin and percussionist Rémy Kaprielan lay down a pillowy. understated cumbia groove for pianist David Lewis and guitarist Potzi.

They stroll briskly through Seine de la vie parisienne, du Berry’s puns beginning with the title, Potzi taking a spiky, Djangoesque solo midway through. She reaches for a reggaeton-inspired delivery over Lewis’ organ and trumpet in Panic á bord (rough translation: Breaking Point), a bouncy but brooding Balkan/cumbia mashup.

Maudit money (Damn Money) is part hip-hop, part oldschool 70s disco, part Manu Chao, with a wry Nancy Sinatra reference. Du Berry holds off on the WWI references until the end of Premiére guerre as she contemplates a more psychological, interior battle, rising from balmy and lingering to a triumphant strut and then back.

Shivery strings and soaring trumpet interchange in Axe imaginaire (Imaginary Path, or close to it), a subtle battle-of-the-sexes metaphor. The band go back to a disco stroll in Cap ou pas cap (slang for “yes or no?”), Lewis’ trumpet sputtering and Potzi’s guitar spiraling over a sleek backdrop and du Berry’s coy enticement.

Guitar and trumpet reach for a simmering flamenco ambience over a suspenseful, cumbia-tinged groove in Tendre émoi (this one’s hard to translate: “tender confrontation” or “make a scene, tenderly” would work, prosaically). Du Berry takes a rare turn into English on track ten, Do you think, as the band go back to a bittersweet cumbia sway. They close the record with the low-key, reflective Romany swing shuffle Paresser par ici (rough translation: Hanging Around). Maybe someday if we’re lucky we can get a retrospective live album out of this fantastic and underappreciated band. And even if we don’t, this is one of the best of 2022 so far.