DJ Nativesun, “Afro Edits” and “Refix Szn Vol. 2”
Call it an edit, a remix, a refix, whatever fits: When a DJ chops a song into bits just to reassemble it, you’re being offered a window into how this person hears the world, or maybe even a glimpse of their consciousness. In DJ Nativesun’s busy head space, things feel vast, intimate, metaphysical and multidirectional. Machine rhythms crumple like gum wrappers and sheets of corrugated steel. Human voices blare like angel choirs and car alarms. The beats tend to punch, the melodies tend to tickle, but everything keeps changing position, including your body parts, and that’s called dancing.
Dayon Greene, “Me”
Raised on funk and go-go, this rapper-singer-songwriter used to perform under an alias, the Experience, but recently ditched the moniker to further explore his own life experience under his given name. His nimble new album, “Me,” serves as music-as-autobiography, following Greene from where he started (“I was working at Panera trying to get my bread up”) toward where he wants to be (“Free as Adam and Eve in the garden, free as a white boy in a mosh pit”).
The North Country, “America and Afterwards”
“You know I’m not a simple man,” sings Andrew Grossman of the North Country — and after listening to this D.C. band’s world-weary new record, that assertion checks out. Filtering one’s existential fatigue through such bright influences (Chaka Khan, Joe Jackson, Steely Dan) is complicated work, but in the end, “America and Afterwards” sounds exceedingly confident, highly organized and maybe even a little hopeful.
Tom Principato, “They Tell Me I Had a Good Time”
A conversational new mini-memoir by the veteran guitarist begins with our narrator catching two Kings (B.B. and Albert) at the Cellar Door in 1969, then follows Principato across his 50-year career in the blues and beyond. You’ll recognize the supporting characters: There’s an impromptu drum lesson (onstage!) from Big Mama Thornton, a smooch from Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns, an awkward handshake with Jeff Beck, and a life-affirming collaboration with Danny Gatton. In the final pages, Principato seems to arrive at a philosophy: “I don’t want to re-create old blues records, just the feeling I get from them.”
Ian Svenonius, “The Psychic Soviet”
Everything author-slash-punk-icon Ian Svenonius says is interesting, and this book of satirical essays — originally published in 2006, now back in print — proves it with lulz-y screeds about “Seinfeld Syndrome” and the eternal Beatles/Stones debate, plus a new afterword about today’s “postsentence landscape, where a book is a series of pages stapled together to display girth.” You’ll laugh until you cry.
Too Much, “Club Emotion”
Everything punk-icon-slash-author Ian Svenonius says is interesting, and this album of lavish neo-disco cuts — expertly co-written and produced by Rich Morel — proves it with arch Svenonian lyrics about scene gossip and nightlife mystery, plus a winking careerist ballad titled “I Wanna Be a DJ.” You’ll laugh until you dance.
Wale, “The Imperfect Storm”
Status update from the DMV’s biggest rap star: “Numb and I feel nothing, living in my bubble/ Quarantining with my demons, I’m living with my struggle.” On this timely new EP, Wale’s brain might feel dazed and anxious, but his mouth remains as quick and agile as ever. Rapping about racist police brutality and the current street protests against it, he gets down to his musical essence: transposing heavy, internal angst into brisk, weightless rhyme.