Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

The Top 5 Non-English CDs

Paying attention to the rest of the world is cool again

1. Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars
Carnival Conspiracy

Piranha

On this staggering side project--featuring unrealistically multicultural Gypsy brass played by wandering klezmorim--Klezmatics trumpet London shows his mad-genius side. A freelance cultural theorist who believes in carnival as a revolutionary concept, London's also a bandleader with a knack for mixing the raw and the cooked. His guys, gals and guests can play. But just for fun, sometimes they make like they can't.

2. Various Artists
The Rough Guide to Bhangran Dance

World Music Network

Where Rough Guide's 1999 bhangra comp was historical, this one is almost all club music. Anyone who's danced her ass off to Panjabi MC will find just enough variety and also just enough familiarity in this disc's hectic vocal- and synth-enhanced beats.

3. Tom Zé
Estudando O Pagode

Luaka Bop

The odd man out of the tropicália movement that produced Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, Zé has never been much for flow. His jumpy beats stop and go, and few pop musicians anywhere feel deeper avant-garde proclivities. The libretto for this "operetta" probably won't help you understand its exposé of samba sexism and class prejudice. Zé may not fully grasp it himself. But he made sure it was both fascinating to ponder and stimulating to hear.

4. Various Artists
From Bakabush: The First Ten Years of Stonetree

Stonetree

There are only 200,000 Garinagu people in and around Belize. But whether they're constructing percussion instruments from turtle shells or taking their natural Afro-Carib mix Latin, their culture, called Garifuna, generates a lot of music. This buoyant label sampler showcases the Garinagus' folkloric paranda style. It's winning and warming, with a homemade feel.

5. Tartit
Abacabok

Crammed Discs

The African record of the year: A male-led, woman-dominated group of Saharan Tuaregs, Tartit were conceived by Belgian record men and sound more Arab than African, though they really just sound Tuareg. This new album hops up the drones and chants of 2000's Ichichili with faster tempos and the occasional Western rhythm instrument. Eerie proof if you need it that Islam and its music comes in many forms.

Rolling Stone, Dec. 28, 2006