Pretty, Noisy

The last post featured pretty Brazilian music, so this time let’s bring da noise.

I was very late in coming around to Mission of Burma. Sure, I grew up in LA, so I liked X in the early 80s, but for Mission of Burma, I had seen their name here and there but never gave them a try. Their first go-round was short-lived, but fortunately they reformed for a few more albums. Even then, I didn’t catch their first album as a reformed band, but their second – The Obliterati. Ah, such delicious noise! And they can be catchy and even anthemic when they want to. Once I started playing that, I had to get everything. Now I love Mission of Burma. When I lived in the DC area for a year not long ago, I finally got to see them live at the Black Cat for short money – it was awesome.

So, if you need to kick out the jams a bit, give ’em a try:

Here’s the albums these songs come from:

Pretty, Funky

I love Brazilian music. Beleza Tropical, the record above, is what started it all. It was compiled by David Byrne and put out on his own label Luaka Bop (I’m not sure if he is still part of it). Damn you, David Byrne!!! Well, really, Thank you, David Byrne! (I just finished his Bicycle Diaries, which I really enjoyed, too.)

It took a while to come around to the prettier songs, but after listening to this with headphones in the early 90s while walking around Jamaica Pond in Boston, I finally started to catch all the percussive details (and the more-interesting-than-usual bass lines). A “pretty” song in America is often a bit shlocky, but in Brazil they are still free to do wonderful things with percussion – the song can be beautiful and funky at the same time. There are some groovier songs on this compilation, but please take a listen below to the pretty ones. These artists are the world’s foremost practitioners of pretty funk.

Here are the artists for the songs above:

  • “Sonho Meu” – Maria Bethania with Gal Costa
  • “Só Quero Um Xodó” – Gilberto Gil
  • “Caramba! … Galileu Da Galileia” – Jorge Ben
  • “Queixa” – Caetano Veloso
  • “Anima” – Milton Nascimento