Blog

New World Adds: Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood & The Rajasthan Express, Benjamin Esterlis

Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood & The Rajasthan Express - Junun: I’m not sure where they met, but somehow Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) was part of this album which is by Shye Ben Tzur, an Indian/Israeli artist who became enamoured with Sufi Qawwali’s, or devotional music, which he writes in Hebrew, Urdu, and Hindi. Apparently Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice & The Master) shot a documentary on the making which could give me more insight than the limited Wikipedia article. Maybe Joaquin Phoenix makes an appearance. I don’t know if this album fits into the category of Sufi Qawalis, I’m sorry. It is however, a joyful sounding album with an upbeat, off-beat tempo. I really lack the lexicon and understanding to talk about this album so listen to the recommended tracks and the album and see what you think. It’s definitely a new sound that we haven’t covered in my knowledge. IAN

Recommended Tracks: RokedJunun

Benjamin Esterlis - The Blue Bay: Recorded on a 4-trak? Lo-fi? Vintage analog equipment? – That these were the promotional highlights and albeit majority of the body in the promo letter should tell you that this is some indie-darling, slacker rock shit that Mac Demarco or his enthusiasts, myself being an on-again-off-again member of the latter, could enjoy and I’m surprised that that was the case. I don’t want to hedge and contextualize it in the slowness of this weeks submissions, but then again I do: it is a slow album. However, this album sits right in the mix of Ariel Pink and Mac Demarco that I like. After reading “a dreamy soundtrack hued by the soft glow of an unknown episode of ‘The Love Boat’, played from a worn out VHS tape” in the opening of the promo, the cavity of my heart sunk into comfortable cynicism only to slowly be levied out by the deep, slow sounds more akin to Rock N Roll Nightclub than 2 (to continue the Mac Demarco comparison). In fact, as I listened, I happily realized I could compare it more to an artist I have no reservations about—Devendra Banhart—especially that What Will Be vibe. From me, that is a glowing review, and I do still want to hedge by saying that this has not gripped me in such a way. That finished, I’ll conclude by recommending what was I thought a pleasant surprise of a lo-fi, dream pop album by Israeli artist Benjamin Esterlis. You can find it in it’s shitty plastic sleeve on the New Wall this week. Update: Second listen an hour later and I’m immediately less sure of how I feel about this album. I just really had low expectations going in. Just letting you know in case you actually read all of that. IAN

Recommended Tracks: Blue BayI will RememberLight My Fire (cover)