The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt


Five Music Acts That Cairo Should Get to Know Better

Five Music Acts That Cairo Should Get to Know Better
written by
Haisam Awad

We all have our favourites, but there must
be more to music than Gaga and Kanye, right? Here’s our snobbish view of who
you should check out to expand your musical horizons.

Joanna Newsom

American Singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom is
from another planet. She made harps cool in 2004 with her weird and wonderful debut
album The Milk-Eyed Mender, before
releasing Ys; an orchestral EP of
five twelve-minute songs. Her latest three-part album Have One on Me, has focused her sound and seen her voice change
from an inimitable child-like shrill to a more mature one that has brought
comparisons to Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell. The album is her most successful,
and has evolved her sound to a much more mainstream-friendly one.

Discography: The Milk-Eyed Mender (2004) Ys (EP, 2006), Joanna Newsom and the Ys
Street Band (EP,2007), Have One on Me (2010)

Highlights: ‘Bridges and Balloons’, ‘This Side of the Blue’, ‘Emily’, ‘Good Intentions Paving Company’

Cairo 360 tip: Newsom is dating Saturday Night Live mainstay Andy

Animal Collective

Panda Bear, Geologist, Deakin and Avey Tare
make up Animal Collective; a group whose experimentalism has dipped into folk,
art-rock, electronica and pop-psychedelia. 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion is hailed as one of the best albums of
the last decade; a bouncy Afro-beat-inspired pop parade. Since then, members Avery Tare and Panda Bear have
released solo records into already
successful solo careers. Flicking through the AC back catalogue – which is so
big that we couldn’t list it all below – you won’t find any two albums alike as
they jump from style to style, and they seem to follow the mantra that
imperfection is perfection. Their setup on stage has been compared to a science
lab, and no performance of one song is ever the same.

Discography: Sung Tongs (2005), Feels (2005), Strawberry Jam (2007), Merriweather
Post Pavilion

Highlights: ‘My Girls’, ‘Brother Sport’, ‘Grass’, ‘On a Highway’

Cairo 360 Tip: The band can now claim to be
certified shoe designers. Each member designed sneakers for American company
Keep last year. All the profits went to charity.

Crystal Castles

If ever there were any two single people to
blow Canadian stereotypes out of the water, it would be Alice Glass and Ethan
Kath. The duo has broken out of the successful rock trend in their hometown of
Toronto, Canada and created their own blend of hardcore synth-pop. Two
self-titled albums have seen Kath – the engineer of the act – venture into
trance, dance and a brilliant use of 8-bit chip music; samples taken from the
chips of old video game consoles and computers. Glass is the face of the duo,
and has that perfect cool blend of precise bob-haircut and too much eyeliner that
keeps your eyes interested as she flexes her flexible vocals.

Discography: Crystal Castles (2008), Crystal
Castles II

Highlights: ‘Alice Practice’, ‘Celestia’, ‘Baptism’

Cairo 360 tip: In 2008, the group were sued
by artist Trevor Brown for using his famous black-eyed Madonna in their
merchandising without permission.

Tyler, The Creator

This twenty-year-old rapper has wasted no
time in ruffling feathers left, right and centre; but then what rapper hasn’t? Along
with his crew Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All – OFWGKTA or Odd Future for
short – his crude storytelling is on a par with a young Eminem; Tyler is a
rapper that doesn’t take himself or anyone else seriously. A twitter feud with
Chris Brown almost spilled onto the streets when a video of Brown’s cousins
following and threatening Odd Future member Frank Ocean emerged. A beef with
Wiz Khallifa, Twitter rows with fans and Tyler’s Tupac-ish predictions of an
early death ensure that the next ten years or so will be an interesting time
for him. 

Discography: Bastard (2009), Goblin (2011)

Highlights: ‘She’, ‘Yonkers’, ‘French’

Cairo 360 Tip: Tyler and other members of
Odd Future are collaborating with the producers of Jackass to create Loiter
; a comedy-sketch TV series.

Patrick Watson

His over-exuberance may annoy some; but
there’s no denying his voice and talent. Patrick Watson and his eponymous band
make up for the pretentiousness of using domestic objects as instruments – he
played a bike during the recording of ‘Beijing’ – and impromptu performances in
city streets by producing some pretty unique music. His fusion of jazz, folk
and classical music makes him as close to a male equivalent to Norah Jones as
you’ll find.

Discography: Just Another Ordinary Day (2003), Close To Paradise (2006), Wooden

Highlights: ‘Tracy’s Waters’, ‘Wooden
, ‘The Great Escape’

360 tip: Watson started his career with a ska band called Gangster Politics.