With essentially just the one English-language radio station playing a whole mesh of different music, it’s difficult to find new music in Cairo. There’s only so much catchy-beat-with-crap-lyrics-music we can stand. So, having imparted the likes of Animal Collective and Joanna Newsom in the first part of musical re-education article, Cairo 360 wants to do its part in saving this great city from the Carly Jae Repsons of the world by expanding your music horizons with another five music acts that you should definitely get to know better.
Unique in how intricately simple their sound is, there’s something intangibly special about New Jersey indie band, Real Estate. Their trouble-free, sunshine infused songs are floaty, easy and welcoming. Two albums, 2009’s Real Estate and 2011’s Days, don’t stray far from the sound which has garnered them huge a cult following and critical acclaim, and could be two CDs of the same LP.
Discography: Real Estate (2009), Reality (EP, 2009), Days (2011)
Cairo 360 Tip: Several of Real Estate’s members are involved in other music projects and band; Matt Mondanile (Ducktails), bassist Alex Bleeker (of Alex Bleeker and the Freaks) and drummer Etienne Pierre Duguay (of Predator Vision).
Wild and unpredictable, this group’s witty raps and ability to make their own beats has drawn them special attention in the music world. Odd Future, short for ‘Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’ (OFWGKTA), have a different approach to hip-hop – no bling bling, no Crystal, no Bentleys. These young, skateboard-loving rappers have depth, creativity and an intriguing dark side - just watch the group’s leader Tyler, The Creator munch on a bug in his video ‘Yonkers’.
Discography: The Odd Future Tape (2008), Radical (2010), 12 Odd Future Songs (2011), The OF Tape Vol. 2 (2012)
Cairo 360 Tip: The youngest member, Earl Sweatshirt, is the son of poet Keorapetse William Kgositsile, part of the Last Poets group of 1968.
As a self-proclaimed ‘flower punk’ band from Atlanta, Black Lips formed in 1999 when the members were still in high school. Their early theatrical performances saw the members vomit, urinate, take off their clothes and set guitars on fire – apparently to distract from their lack of musical abilities. There is a peculiar beach-pop quality to their garage-punk-rock sound, one that might easily have you up and dancing around to.
Discography: Black Lips! (2003), We Did Not Know the Forest Made the Flower Grow(2004), Let it Bloom (2005), Good Bad Not Evil (2007), Two Million Thousand (2009), Arabia Mountain (2011)
Cairo 360 Tip: Black Lips are slated to perform in Cairo in September as part of the Middle East leg of their 2012 world tour.
Having begun his career as an electronic DJ before he was even old enough to legally be served in a bar, Chilean-American Nicolas Jaar electro style is highly instrumental; using drums, guitars and pianos extensively. Drawing inspiration from his studies in Comparative Literature, he creates tapestries of music that are unparalleled in beauty, complexity and sophistication. While his popularity is soaring, the artist insists on remaining humble, refusing to sign to a major label.
Discography: The Student (EP, 2008), Russian Dolls (EP, 2010), Marks and Angles (EP, 2010), Time for Us (EP, 2010), Love You Gotta Lose Again (EP, 2010), Nico’s Bluewave Edits (EP, 2011), Don’t Break my Love (EP, 2011), Darkside (EP, 2011), Space is Only Noise (2011)
Cairo 360 Tip: Nicolas Jaar has collaborated with Sasha Spielberg, Steven Spielberg’s daughter, on ‘Avalanche’; and with Scout LaRue Willis, Bruce Willis’ daughter, on ‘With Just One Glance’.
A Canadian folk trio originating from Ontario, the band’s name came from the fact that most of their early recordings were done in a timbre-framed cabin out in the woods. Although categorised primarily as folk, their sound has a strong blues element and is often quite creepy and spooky - Taylor Kirk’s voice playing the main role in that effect. Their fourth album Creep on Creepin’ On is the band’s best to date, and showcases their humour best.
Discography: Cedar Shakes (2006), Medicinals (2007), Timber Timbre (2009), Creep on Creepin’ On (2011)
Cairo 360 Tip: Timber Timbre have had two albums nominated for the Polaris Music Prize’s album of the year award.