I like to think that, between my Internet addiction and the number of CDs I get sent to me every week, I'm pretty much up on everything coming out, but the fact is that some of the best records I've heard recently have come to my attention via friends saying, "Dude, you have to listen to this." In the past week this old-timey technique has turned me on to a couple of killer psyched-out records I probably would've missed otherwise.
I think it took maybe 20 seconds between my friend Kara putting the Finders Keepers reissue of Selda's 1976 self-titled album on the stereo the other night and everyone in the room scrambling for the liner notes to figure out what the hell we were listening to. Selda's described as an Anatolian folk singer, and I guess I can hear some of that in there -- although most of my exposure to Turkish music has been while watching schlocky Turkish action movies, so I'm not exactly an expert -- but this record is far from traditional. Unless of course insanely trippy analog synths are a traditional part of Anatolian folk that I don't know about. Selda is a serious skull fuck, produced with a flagrant disregard for any preconceived ideas about what constitutes "too much flange." I want to call the end result something like a Bollywood sound track recorded by Black Sabbath, but that's still not freaky enough.
Pop Levi's Blue Honey EP has been sitting on my desk for a couple of months now, but I didn't really give it a serious listen until my friend Krystal told me she was using it as part of her post-New Year's recovery regimen. Maybe it was the dude's look on the CD's cover -- the eyeliner-plus-facial-hair combo he rocks makes him look like he just failed a tryout for Turbonegro -- or the number of times the word "magick" appears in his bio, but for some reason I just didn't give him a chance. My bad. Levi's doing Zep-style blues swagger better than anyone else right now. Dude can write some catchy jams -- it's cool to see someone taking the concept of riffs seriously -- and the record has a cheap-sounding, homemade vibe that I've completely fallen in love with. He's got a new record coming out next month, and that thing's going straight onto my iTunes.