Photo by Andy Goetz

Loyal reader, we ask you, what is one of the best things about funk? Well, obviously there are enough good things about funk that we devote an entire day to it. But if you ask us here at Incognito HQ, we’ll tell you that one of the best things about funk is that it gets you moving your backside.

That being said, what could possibly be a better celebration of Funk Friday than a song encouraging you to “shake your big ole booty.” And even if your booty isn’t that big…you get the idea. Big Sam used to play in The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, so you know the guy’s got some funk in his pedigree. Now he’s carrying the funk with Big Sam’s Funky Nation and this particular song should come with a warning. Listening to this will temporarily increase your heart rate and just may cause you to break a sweat. But hey, it beats working, right? Click the picture to visit Big Sam’s homepage.

Yes, I’m talking to you, Pink Floyd and Dave Matthews Band

You might think that this is a list of horrible bands that nobody would rather hear again. That is not the case. These aren’t even necessarily bands that I truly dislike. They are, however, bands I need not hear again. Let me put it another way. My quality of life would not suffer in the least if I never heard these bands again. And I’m not even going to include The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay, or any Morrissey project because those are givens.

  • Pink Floyd – Quite possibly a surprise entry right off the bat. I have to say that it’s not that I dislike this band. I recognize the guys in the band are talented. It’s just that the music of Pink Floyd puts me to sleep. If I ever suffer from insomnia, this will be my number two option. (A baseball game puts me to sleep faster than Pink Floyd.)
  • Wings – If you can tell me the point of Wings (aside from Paul McCartney making money after The Beatles broke up) I’d be happy to listen. Mind you, I’m not saying I’ll take the band off the list, but I will hear your case.
  • Steely Dan – Again, I realize these are talented guys. It’s not my fault that they made boring music for people who ride elevators to jobs that they hate.
  • Dave Matthews Band – Do I need to explain this? Dave Matthews writes songs for frat boys and the sorority girls who love them. I couldn’t tell you the difference between any two of this band’s songs and in addition to sounding similar, they are all similarly boring.
  • The Police – Yes seriously. I would not be bothered at all if you told me I had to live in a world without Sting.

What about you, loyal reader? In a comment, post the five bands (or solo artists) you could easily live without.

Loyal reader, it is a far-out Thursday and we want you to know that we take this very seriously. We want to find music that truly fits the theme of the day. We ask you, loyal reader, what is more far-out than a band called The Orange Alabaster Mushroom? Except maybe a song called “Tree Pie”? If you need something to get you in the right frame of mind for this, we won’t judge. If not, just roll this around in your old coconut: “I am the eggplant eggroll.” Far out indeed!

When you listen to I’mU, words like psychedelic and experimental definitely come to mind. While neither one of those terms is wrong, probably the best term to describe this instrumental trio is “far out.” I’mU is not interested in creating verse-chorus-verse songs and I’ll be honest with you. These songs are probably different than what you’re used to hearing. But there is an intensity (especially in the live shows) that is created in part by the way these guys play and also by the lack of lyrics. Do yourself a favor. Go to Soundcloud and listen to the songs of I’mU. While you’re listening, close your eyes and see where this music takes your mind. Frankly, it might take you to some pretty unexpected places and since when is the unexpected a bad thing?

Oh, and check out this interview with the band. These cats are not only creative, they’re also smart and well-spoken.

OK, so it’s the middle of your work (or school) week and you could probably use a little more music for the soul. We here at Incognito HQ are happy to oblige and give you another dose of Staff Benda Bilili.

Music for the soul

If I were to tell you that Staff Benda Bilili was started by a group of paraplegic musicians that formerly lived on the streets of Kinshasa, you might think I’m joking. Nope. And this band is certainly no joke. Staff Benda Bilili writes melodic songs that (like a lot of African music) will lift your spirits. I don’t understand the lyrics (aside from the title of the album Bouger le Monde, which means “to move the world”), but I don’t have to. The thing about music is that when you don’t understand the lyrics, you are forced to feel the music. Well, this band will get you to feel the music and they won’t even have to force you. This music will get right inside you and if it doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will. Some music is strictly for the ears. This is music for the soul. Bouger le Monde (Crammed Discs, 2012) will be available Tuesday 3 September. Click the picture to visit the band’s website.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has a thing for songs about women you should watch out for. For our trashy classic today, we present “Voodoo Mama” by Dixie Dee. This song has some classic trashy saxophone and some drums that are pretty much tribal. But then you don’t need me to explain the entire song for you. Just check out the song for yourself and “stay away from those swamps at night.”

Salvaje is available now

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. There is just something about Spanish-language garage rock that is wonderfully trashy. I don’t mean to imply that some bands are trashy because they sing in Spanish, but Spanish-speaking bands know how to do trashy garage rock just right. Los Infierno is one of those bands that makes trashy music to be relished.

Salvaje is full of ultra-fuzzy guitars, raspy vocals, and some excellent rock and roll screams. Let’s face it. Anyone can scream. But it takes a certain someone to get that rock and roll scream just right. It has to be primal and it has to be well-placed in the song. The vocalist for Los Infierno has both of those aspects down. This is as raw and energetic an album as you are likely to find. Not only that, this is an album that begs to blasted out your windows so everyone nearby can hear the savage rock and roll of Los Infierno. Click the picture to visit the band’s Facebook page.

Loyal reader, if you don’t like bluegrass, I guess this is not your day here at Incognito HQ. Maybe you can look past any hangups about bluegrass and look at this from a broader perspective. The fact that Japanese people play bluegrass just speaks to the fact that music is a universal language.

I have to give credit to Ewell Ferguson of the BPS podcast on this one. One day on his show, he mentioned that people in Japan are “playing bluegrass in the holler by Mt. Fuji” and encouraged listeners to Google Japanese bluegrass. Well, I did. Here is a sample. You’re welcome.


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