Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Things I Found While Looking for Something Else, #3

Time again to follow the yellow brick road and/or hop on the blue highways of the information superhighway:

In my current quest for some way to download or buy CDs of Tetine's music, I thought I'd check some of the places listed in Entertainment Weekly's indispensible "25 Best Music Sites" feature, I checked out (among other likely but sadly Tetine-free suspects) ...

the cool-looking Lemon-Red MP3 blog, one regular feature of which is monthly mixes by guest DJs; the current one (hurry or the download will disappear) is a doozy by ....

•this cutie pie by the name of DJ Gorky, whom we are told is 1/3 of ...

•the group Bonde do Role, who have risen rather quickly from the Brazilian underground to one of Rolling Stone's "10 Artists to Watch" for their Tetine-like approach to funk carioca/baile funk, "pairing the biggest, dumbest samples ever with comically dirty shout-rapped Portuguese lyrics." I found that story, and much, much more about BdR, from ...

this site for the label Mad Decent, run by DJ/producer Diplo, who signed BdR and describes them bluntly as "middle-class kids who’ve appropriated the vocabulary of baile funk," according to this interesting, MP3-and-link-accompanied story on Diplo and his latest discovery in The Boston Phoenix.The article continues, "What they’re doing, he explains, sounds more like a funk-infused parody of traditional Brazilian music than the really dirty favela stuff. They’re fourth-wave baile funk, fans, not pioneers, and their new single is all about having fun with the music they grew up with." Which, again, reminds me of Tetine and helps to put their work in a context that makes sense to me. (Hearing both acts, I think of the way the Beastie Boys, another group of arty white middle-class postmodern kids, transformed themselves early in their careers from a hardcore band into a punk-y parody of a rap group and then into an actual rap group.)

My little adventure ended with three exciting revelations:

•As luck would have it, the first stop on Bonde do Role's upcoming U.S. tour with Diplo and Cansei de Ser Sexy is right here in lovely Buffalo, NY on Thursday, July 13 at the Calumet. Small world, no? (Additional venues listed at the Mad Decent site above.)

Another Diplo collaboration, this one with Brazilian multimedia artist Leandro HBL, looks pretty cool. (They're planning to shoot a documentary on the funk carioca scene next.)

•And check out this amazing series of podcasts featuring the up-and-coming sounds of cities like New Orleans (post-Katrina), Baltimore, Buenos Aires, and Rio, curated by Diplo, who accurately tags the concept as "NPR for the streets" (in the best possible sense). In their mix of audio documentary and genre-crossing multiculti music clips, they fuel my hunch that Mr. Diplo is looking like the David Byrne of a new generation--arbiter of hipster taste, go-to guy for adventurous Americans who crave a relatively safe taste of The Other, and by extension somebody a white middle-class music obsessive like me is gonna be paying a lot of attention to.

Next stop: the Calumet.

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