Jul 23, 2007

Antibalas are sorta like the East Coast cousin of West Coast band Ozomatli. While the two share the same penchant for infusing politics into their tunes and find inspiration from much of the same music sources—including jazz, funk, and Latin percussion—Antibalas draw their primary influence not from Cuban son, like Ozomatli, but rather from “Afrobeat,” a hybrid style that takes equal parts of the above and adds musical strains from Nigeria and West Africa. The result is highly listenable music, heavy on the “jam.” Before you run away in anti-hippie horror, we’re talking more along the lines of Miles Davis than suffering through yet another helping of the Grateful Dead “Dark Star”—light on the lyrics and brimming with talent. It may not be something that easily fits within the confines of “Top 40” radio (and if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m frankly a little perplexed about why you’re reading this magazine, but I digress), but more often than not the best music doesn’t, and the groove this is built upon is so deep and so heavy that it’s hard not to pay attention.

 –jimmy (Epitaph/Anti)