Since the Finders Keepers crew typically seeks out the most obscure non-hit recordings for reissue, their latest release, a 19-track compilation of the popular 70s recordings by one of Hungary's most beloved pop icons, Zalatnay Sarolta, is a bit surprising. But within compiler Andy Votel's vinyl junkie circle, Eastern Europe is still largely uncharted territory.
When he heard the super-dope break that opens Hadd Mondjam El from Sarolta's hard-to-find 1973 album of the same name, he must've thought he'd stumbled onto another Michigan J. Frog. Only the prog-funky goodness of Sarolta's 70s Pepita sessions backed by Skorpio, Metro and Locomotiv GT have been well known for ages to record dealers, blogging diggers, sussed selectors and rival reissue houses. Finders Keepers just happened to make it to the CD plant first with a heavy load of thumping headnodders.
It'll be interesting to see whether the fact that Sarolta sings mostly in Hungarian will keep beat scroungers away from these gorgeous grooves and badass breaks.
If Los Shakers and Los Mockers were Uruguay's answer to the Beatles and Rolling Stones respectively, then El Kinto could be considered Montevideo's Os Mutantes. The brainchild of troubled genius singer/songwriter Eduardo Mateo, El Kinto - like their Tropicalista counterparts in Brazil - were clearly inspired by the British invasion bands of the mid-60s, only instead of trying to ape what they heard, they recontextualized it.
El Kinto's clever use of rootsy Afro-Uruguyan condombe rhythms makes their percussive-heavy 1968 debut sound completely unique, as you can hear on Lion Productions' deluxe 22-track El Kinto retrospective, which includes six obscure singles sides by related artists and a big booklet detailing their story.
Likewise, Mateo's freaky and folky solo debut, Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame, has also been released by Lion in an expanded version, adding eight bonus tracks and telling the whole twisted tale of how it came together. Imagine a liquored-up Caetano Veloso recording a Spanish-language version of Pink Moon in one take. Yep, that good.
When I heard that Rob Garza, the sharp-dressing knob-twiddler of Washington, DC, triphop duo Thievery Corporation, would soon be branching out with a side project, my first thought was that he might be opening a brokerage firm or a law practice. Somehow, the idea of Garza forming a trippy psych band with Primal Scream drummer Darren Mooney and keyboardist Martin Duffy was way down the list.
But Dust Galaxy's debut single, Come Hear the Trumpets (ViviColorSound), recorded with UK producer Brendan Lynch and involving Shawn Lee and Cornershop's Adam Blake is a smashingly great blast of throbbing neo-psych. Two of the three bonus remixes (by Shawn Lee and Fort Knox Five) that appear on the 12-inch are kinda lame, but the Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve "Re-Animation," with a bolstered drum thwack and a sweet acoustic coda, is the business. An unexpected delight. The touring version of Dust Galaxy features Garza joined by Make-Up guitarist James Canty, GoGoGo Airheart bassist Ashish Vyas and Fugazi drummer Jerry Busher.