Hot Mustard – Window Seat
Genre: Indietronica, Indie Electronic
Similar artists: Budos band, Antibalas, Daptone, Menahan street band, Dap Kings
The DJ culture has done more for the world of popular music than some of us might think. One of their greatest contributions was their anticipation of today’s playlist culture. Back in the late 90s, particularly, a new breed of musician was learning to create tunes by patiently assembling them from found sounds.
The sounds were, of course, found on other records. However, usually because of fear of legal hassles, and out of a sincere joy in discovering, new obscure artists, the DJ sampled the kind of music that few could quote back, or that presented little problems in terms of copyright.
The newest generation of musicians has soaked all of these things in. Few of them worship acts and bands anymore, but, rather sonic textures and the moods created by them. Hot Mustard’s Window Seat is an extraordinary example of this. It’s not so much a single as a beautiful musical construction that, in 2021, could just as well play inside a coffee, soundtrack a jeans commercial, or play inside the mind of a modern DJ waiting to take the bus.
Diablo Swing Orchestra – War Painted Valentine
Genre: Progressive Metal / Djent, Progressive Rock, Garage Rock
For fans of music, Bandcamp is not only a platform that allows musicians to share their work and receive compensation without having to negotiate with an intermediary. It’s also a virtual meme station for songs. We’re so used to finding the weirdest combination of styles on the platform, that we have to expect to hear Reggae-Death Metal and we’d be disappointed if this trend ever stopped.
Back when these types of musical experiments needed to be stalked out, people would sit one another down and with a big, stupid smile on their faces would proclaim that “You’re not gonna believe this band“. What would follow usually had the effect of leaving the new listener slack-jawed and questioning humanity. That’s how I learned of Diablo Swing Orchestra, at the time, one of the strangest, most extreme, and most hilarious groups I had ever heard.
Here was a group melding together styles existing on the very boundaries of modern musical experience, usually swing and metal. They were doing so, as far as I could gather, as a way to amuse themselves and others who shared their sense of humour, and, most importantly, as a way to show that, yes, they were the kind of musicians that would pass an audition for Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.
Years later, they are just as extreme in their ways, only that the edge has been moved. Metal has embraced the inevitable comedic aspects of the genre, and the sounds themselves have crept, occasionally into the mainstream. Diablo Swing Orchestra remain great musicians and just as devoted to merging styles as can be heard on War Painted Valentine. It’s a sonic pastiche of metal, South-American rhythms, Balkan brass section, played by a brilliantly gifted Swedish band. That should explain it.