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Beat Authority Best of 2013

Every year is a great year in music these days. Musicians take the global village and mash and mix and slice it up every which way, with influences going in every direction. The result - a great list of the best beats from all over the world. -- David Sommerstein, host of the Beat Authority

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David Sommerstein
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1.     A Tribe Called Red – Nation II Nation (Canada)

This trio of aboriginal DJs living the Ottawa area blew up in 2013. They mix traditional pow wow music with electronic dubstep wobble for an irresistible sound. Every time I play one of their songs when I DJ, the dance floor goes bonkers.

2.     Skip & Die – Riots in the Jungle (Amsterdam / South Africa)

South African choruses, Brazilian raps, dubstep beats, Klezmer horns, brassband marches, deeply funky rhythms – Skip & Die throws the kitchen sink into their surprising mixes. An absolute delight to listen to what’s next.

3.     La Yegros – Viene de mí (Argentina)

In her solo debut, Mariana Yegros channels the unique vocal sound of her home of Misiones, in the Argentinian Amazon region. And her band from Buenos Aires locks in deep electronic cumbia beats to complete the fusion of old and new.

4.     Kobo Town – Jumbie in the Jukebox (Canada / Trinidad)

Band-leader Drew Gonsalves is based in Toronto, where he draws on his Trinidadian roots to deliver the funkiest, chilliest set of calypso, reggae, and funk you’ll hear.

5.     La Santa Cecilia – Treinta Días (U.S.)

This group from Los Angeles features the powerful voice and ultra-bright presence of La Marisoul. Stories of the Mexican-American and immigrant experience on the West Coast, with latin grooves that plain old rock.

6.     Bombino – Nomad (Niger)

This young Tuareg guitar master offers a powerful take on the African desert blues sound. And he gets a fuzzed-out, wall-of-sound treatment from producer Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.

7.     Moon Hooch – Moon Hooch (U.S.)

They call it “cave music” – one drum kit and two saxophones wailing for all they’re worth. Moon Hooch lays down the groove and lets it crackle with experimental electricity.

8.     Ramy Essam – Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution (Egypt)

Ramy Essam and his guitar was one of the voices of liberation in Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Arab Spring of 2011. Essam’s voice and music transcend languages and reach you even if you don’t know what he’s singing about. His solo record is a bonus disc in the also terrific Rough Guide to Arabic Revolution compilation.

9.     Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (U.S.)

Sweet melodies and poetic lyrics fuse with percussive rhythms and experimental sounds on the third album from this post-collegiate quartet. Never mind the preppiness – it’s impossible not to be drawn into these songs.

10. Juana Molina – Wed 21 (Argentina)

This Argentine multi-instrumentalist uses loops and distortions to create a sonic dreamscape that makes you lean in to the speakers and turn the volume up to live what she’s living.


Top Five Hip Hop

1. Lizzo – Bangers (U.S.)

2. Myka 9 & Factor Sovereign Soul

3. Various artists - Khat Thaleth / Third Rail: Arab Hip Hop in the Wake of the Uprising

4. Soundsci – Soundsational

5. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

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