Saturday, April 16, 2011

Midnight World Pop Scout-10: Jamie Woon; Hiatus; Dirty Beaches

This week's edition of our look at music around the world

This week British songwriter/performer Jamie Woon released Mirrowriting on Polydor. Woon, who is the son of Celtic folk singer Mae McKenna, previously mined the singer songwriter genre, but Mirrorwriting has a decidedly more urban, beat oriented feel that well-suits his vocals. So, it is a bit of dubstep, a bit of R&B, and a bit of indie pop. Purists from any of those genres may decry the compromises, but I think they would be missing the point. It seems to me that Woon's music is not consciously wed to any genre, but picks and chooses as needed. It is a good album.

"Lady Luck"

"Spiral" (live)

"Night Air" (2010)


Hiatus is the performing name used by Cyrus Shahrad. Shahrad's family fled Iran at the time of the revolution, and he was raised in the Brixton neighborhood of London. He has worked as a journalist as well as as a musician. The first video is "Save Yourself", which uses footage of pre-revolution Iraq.

In a trip to Iran in the last decade while on assignment for the Sunday Times of London, Shahrad discovered his father's old music collection in his grandmother's house. He started experimenting with mixing the music that reflected his London experiences with his father's middle eastern music. The result is his album Ghost Notes:

Ghost Notes LP by Hiatus

Here is another album track, "Insurrection" about the Brixton race riots in the early '80s, using vocals from reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson:

(Thanks to Ed at the 17 Seconds blog for exposing me to Hiatus' work.)

Dirty Beaches is the project of Taiwan-born, Canadian-based Alex Zhang Hungtai. The album Badlands was released in March. The style is dark-tinged late night roots rock.

"Lord Knows Best", from Badlands:

"True Blue"

The 2010 7" "IBB006 Golden Desert Sun"

Alex's blog which is a worthwhile read.

No comments: