Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Awe-ral Satisfaction

Seattle isn't exactly renowned for its heritage of great soul music. Grunge: Yes. Speed metal: Yes. Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs: Yes.

Admittedly, it was also Jimi Hendrix's birthplace, but he didn't really achieve anything of note until he moved to England.

So it comes as something of a surprise to find the year's best hip-hop album (yes, already) on Seattle's Sub Pop label. The company is better known for surfing the bleeding-edge of rock, having signed Nirvana, Butthole Surfers and Sonic Youth. But in recent years they've diversified, taking the likes of Fleet Foxes and Flight Of The Conchords under their wing.

The record in question is by THEESatisfaction. They are a duo - Stas and Cat - who have branded themselves "queens of the stoned-age". That should give you a clue as to their sound: A blunted neo-soul that recalls the mind-bending psychedelia of Common's Electric Circus album. Like that record, AwE NaturalE is raw but sensuous. Woozy but sharp. Experimental yet listenable. (Although there is one absolute clunker about half-way through).

But why take my word for it? Sub Pop have put the ENTIRE THING up on YouTube as a permanent stream. A bold move but potentially a wise one. I went to iTunes and bought the album after 15 minutes.

THEESatisfaction - AwE NaturalE

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