The economy is in the toilet, and it feels ever-worse waning days of summer. County Grind knows full well how great it is to get away, but since most of us lowly scribes can afford only an armchair and the local library's "travel" section, we bring you the stickiest days' first Musical Staycation Destination: Asia!
Ahh... Asia, the largest continent on the planet, is generally not known for its music. OK, call up your nearest fanboy or otaku and they'll tell you all about anime music and J-Pop shit, but truth be told, Asia is made up of Arabs, Israelis, Turks, Uzbeks, Georgians, Armenians, Chinese, Laotians, Cambodians, Mongolians, Russians, and so many more ethnic groups worth visiting -- via the interwebs, anyhow. Let's have some fun with their music via these five artists!
Up first, as the diligent Arab that I am, is a newerish Lebanese psych-pop/electric outfit named Soap Kills (and I beg you keep your dirty Arab comments to the "comments" section of this digital page) doing a nice and atmospheric ditty titled "Enta Fen" from their 2005 album of the same name.
Soap Kills - "Enta Fen"
What could be better than Oriental eye candy? Any kingdom that needs to take initiatives to monitor happiness levels can't possibly be an incubator for happy music. Maybe I'm a fool, maybe I read their pamphlets wrong, but it seems like the good people of Bhutan are subject to shit. And while I'm not trying to droop on the parade of labels like Norling Drayang and music producers and musicians like Neten Dorji, I figured this hard-on video would circumvent political strife. If not, remember, here at the New Times we offer "fluff," not solutions. How's your "happiness level" now?
Random Hot Bhutanese Babe - "Sa tha Ringsa"
As much as I would like to sit in on and weigh in on the whole Bin Laden debate, I'll say this much: The Pakistanis have not been our superduper global friends as of late, so I say in good punk-rock fashion, fuck 'em! We like their punk rock, but fuck their politics.
The Kominas - "Sharia Law in the USA"
When we buckle down and get serious about music and its many genres, we eventually touch upon overtone singing. Closely linked with Inuit throat singing, I can't think of anything creepier and as vast as Mongolian throat singing, especially if you're caught in the middle of the Gobi, without a camel or a fucking gourd, and moreover, let's be honest here: If you could throat it this good, you'd never leave home.
Huun Huur Tu - Live at the 2006 Philadelphia Folk Festival
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OK, so I have outted myself, and all y'all staycationers are keen on collecting Homeland Security rewards, so I'll finalize this first edition of armchair goodness with Lebanon's first lady of song, the one, the only, the dreamy, the svelte, the turquoise promise, the true key to the peace process: Fairouz! Oh yeah, and the babe is 75 years old. Take that, Amy W(h)inehouse!
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Fairouz - "Akher Eyam Al Sayfieh"
Join us next time when we hit up another continent, where I hopefully don't have any roots.