Record of the Week — FORGE YOUR OWN CHAINS: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads and Dirges, 1968-1974

STOP SMILING presents the weekly mp3 blog, in which we showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumforge-cover +++ This week’s record is Forge Your Own Chains: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads and Dirges, 1968-1974 by Various Artists (Now-Again) +++ Now-Again Records, a Stones Throw subsidiary, presents a compendium of tracks that charts the spread of psychedelic music from the United States out into the world and back, in an effort to help hip hop heads, funk aficionados and vinyl diggers in general connect the dots between the superficially disparate genres that all similarly make us want to groove; the album’s thick and gorgeous liner notes contain an introduction by Egon that provides context for the reissue’s creation — a conversation with DJ Shadow, and J Rocc’s piqued curiosity upon overhearing Forge Your Own Chains‘ title track — plus artwork from the original albums, and thorough background on the artists, who come from all over the world, including Iran, Sweden, Korea, Columbia and Nigeria, the origin of this jam +++ Audio - “Two to Make a Pair” by The Strangers. - Post by Nate Martin

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Record of the Week — GHANA SPECIAL

STOP SMILING presents the weekly mp3 blog, in which we showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumghana-cover +++ This week’s record is Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Ghanaian Blues, 1968-81 by Various Artists (Soundway Records) +++ Weaving big-band jazz, Caribbean calypso, and traditional West African rhythms, early Ghanaian Highlife resonates the playfulness, joy, and optimism of a nation transitioning from colonial rule to self-reliance and independence; Soundway Records cherry-picked two discs worth of the choicest Highlife gems that capture the golden years of the Blackstar nation’s youthful sound; the two-CD hardback package comes with a meticulously designed 44-page book filled with original photographs and album cover art — a trademark of Soundway’s research and special attention to detail +++ Audio - “You Monopolise Me” by The Ogyatanna Show Band. - Post by Kris Rios

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Record of the Week — BRILLIANT COLORS

STOP SMILING presents the weekly mp3 blog, in which we showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumintroducing-cover +++ This week’s record is Introducing by Brilliant Colors (Slumberland) +++ Brilliant Colors’ releases to date exhibit the excellence a group can achieve with smallness — their first full-length, Introducing, is barely that, clocking in at less than half an hour, and it’s a follow up to two singles (on Make a Mess and Captured Tracks) that promptly sold out; still, their catchy brand of punk-laced pop has been passed around the Web with enough reach to make Introducing an anticipated release, and the album succeeds in carving out a niche of grittiness and prettiness that fulfills the promise of another small step forward +++ Audio - “Absolutely Anthing” by Brilliant Colors. - Post by Nate Martin

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Record of the Week — OOIOO

STOP SMILING presents the weekly mp3 blog, in which we showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumooioo_cover1 +++ This week’s record is Armonico Hewa by OOIOO (Thrill Jockey) +++ OOIOO is equal parts spasm and magic — the first record in three years from former Boredoms member Yoshimi and her three female counterparts exhibits their vast repertoire of sonic techniques that dazzle and delight; Armonico Hewa, the group’s sixth full-length, continues the group’s exploration of the simultaneous utterance, with layers of chants, rhythms and melodies falling like Tetris cubes into colorful synchronicity — it is a transcultural glimpse into the ecstatic future of pop +++ Audio - “O O I A H” by OOIOO. - Post by Nate Martin

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Record of the Week — LIGHTNING BOLT

STOP SMILING presents the weekly mp3 blog, in which we showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumlightningboltcover +++ This week’s record is Earthly Delights by Lightning Bolt (Load Records) +++ Earthly Delights is the first record from Lightning Bolt since 2005’s Hypermagic Mountain, and while the latter seemed to have lost a bit of the skull-splintering luster we’d come to expect from the creators of Wonderful Rainbow and Ride the Skies, the new album finds the bass-and-drum-destroying duo as exciting as ever, abiding by less spastic, maturer song structures — albeit with all the sweat and noise still at the forefront — affirming their place in contemporary music as the favorite straight-up rock band of Black Dice fans everywhere
+++ Audio - “Colossus” by Lightning Bolt. - Post by Nathan Martin

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Record of the Week — Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba (Vol. 2)

STOP SMILING presents the weekly mp3 blog, in which we showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumsi-para-cover +++ This week’s record is Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba (Vol. 2), Various Artists (Waxing Deep) +++ Refuse the urge to compare this to Buena Vista Social Club — each song on Waxing Deep’s second installment from post-revolution Cuba is distinct, unraveling the story of creativity inspired by the contradiction of state endorsement and censorship; special attention to “Tremendo Tremendo” by Group Monumental reveals the ingenuity and resourcefulness; groovy horns and a thick funk bass dance smoothly alongside a genuine Cuban son montuno; a beautiful blend of inconsistencies.
+++ Audio - “Tremendo Tremendo” by Grupo Monumental. - Post by Kris Rios

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Record of the Week — Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions

STOP SMILING presents the weekly mp3 blog, in which we showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumsandoval_cd_cvr +++ This week’s record is Through the Devil Softly by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions (Nettwerk Music Group) +++ Sandoval, the Mazzy Star chanteuse, and My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O Ciosoig played Chicago last night and will tour various cities with Ireland’s Dirt Blue Gene through October 22nd — The album, their first since Bavarian Fruit Bread in 2001, was released on September 29th +++ Audio - “Trouble” by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. - Post by JC Gabel

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Record of the Week — THE VERY BEST

Stop Smiling presents a new mp3 blog, in which we’ll showcase one new release each Tuesday, along with a track from the albumwarm-heart-cover +++ The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa - Green Owl Records: The first legitimate release from Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and Euro hotshot production duo Radioclit lives up to neither the free mixtape they put out last year nor their tantalizing live performance (those who skipped yet another sparkly spectacle from the Flaming Lips at this year’s Pitchfork Music Fest and opted to watch TVB on the B Stage were in for a treat); however, the 12 original tracks on Warm Heart of Africa still express a beaming optimism, danceability and, yes, warmth, that set it apart from other gimmicky African-based offerings that have flown in on the wings of MIA’s “Paper Planes” +++ Audio - The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa. - Post by Nate Martin

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Wiki-Polanski

blog_wikipolanskiThe arrest of Roman Polanski and the impending extradition attempt by the United States for the filmmaker’s 1977 conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl set off such a buzz on Wikipedia that the website’s administrators froze his entry — warring factions were battling over whether the director’s cinematic achievements deserve more space than his extra-legal affairs; Wikipedia’s policies have been under increased scrutiny since it announced last month it would review public edits before they go live, and additions to the site overall have seen a general slump in the past few years — stats show its most frequent editors are a mostly homogeneous group, which is contrary to the idea of the whole project; meanwhile, Criterion released a new version of Polanski’s Repulsion this month, sales of which his arrest will certainly not hurt.

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Ethiopia Everywhere

blog_ethiopiaLast weekend Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, who holds the world record for fastest marathon at 2:03:59, schooled the competition in Berlin for the fourth straight year, calling the win “good for my collection;” farmers in Kansas lately have been growing an Ethiopian grain — teff — that is gluten free, packs more protein than wheat, and can withstand drought and floods; and the Washington Post profiles Haile Gerima, an independent Ethiopian auteur whose internationally acclaimed 11th film, Teza, has its American debut today; STOP SMILING took a taste of Ethiopian cuisine for a restaurant profile in its DC Issue. -SS

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