Occur Goes Global - The Music of Jamaica

Monday, October 16, 2017 at 12:00 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music Much love to the irie island that brought us Bob Marley, ska and some of the most hypnotic, relaxing, unifying music in the form of reggae. Jamaica has always been a hotbed of good vibes for the ears, and our class of five acts you need to know carries on the country’s cultural heritage of peace.     Eesah Ackime “Eesah” Nephew ought to be a Jamaican ambassador. His 420-friendly, mellow and mellifluous music exemplifies Kingston and his island... READ MORE

Occur Goes Global - The Music of the Ivory Coast

Monday, October 2, 2017 at 2:39 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music A former French colony with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world thanks to its cocoa supply, the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) also has a rich arts culture. From ancient sounds of the djembe drum to the global groove of reggae, here are five acts putting the Ivory Coast on the musical map. Magic System Celebrated purveyors of the zouglou genre (heavy on scraping percussion and feverish rhythms), Magic System have been entertaining the... READ MORE

5 Artists and Entities Fighting the Power Through Song

Monday, September 18, 2017 at 12:00 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  After we caught Green Day in concert this past weekend, we felt elated and frustrated. It’s ace that Billie Joe and the boys are still bringing their political pop-punk to the masses—but it’s a tragedy that 2004’s American Idiot is just as topical today. Originally a screed against the wars waged by George W. Bush, the masterstroke in social commentary applies to the Trump administration’s oppression of…pretty everyone who's not a white racist. (See also 2016’s Revolution Radio, which bassist... READ MORE

Occur Goes Global - The Music of Italy

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 2:46 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music La vita è bella in Italy—and so is its musical heritage. Operatic roots via Puccini, celebrated composers such as Ennio Morricone and now more unique flavors than a Neapolitan pizza, the badass boot-shaped country has plenty offer in all genres. Here are five Italian acts you have to check out.   Benji & Fede This Moderna duo is the preeminent pop sensation in Italy right now. Singer Federico Rossi and guitarist Benjamin Mascolo are teen-heartthrob handsome, and their... READ MORE

Occur Goes Global - The Music of Israel

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 4:17 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music Blending secular, spiritual, Sephardic and sensational qualities, the music of Israel is all-encompassing. Whether the words are sung in Hebrew, English or Arabic, these songs speak to niche and widespread audiences. These artists will have you raising a glass and proclaiming “L’chaim!” To life!   REO No, we’re not steering you toward your grandparents’ faves, REO Speedwagon. This “dream disco” outfit from Tel Aviv melds analog ingenuity with thoroughly modern mentality. Traces of HAIM and CSS crop up... READ MORE

Occur Goes Global - The Music of Ireland

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 4:02 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music Ireland has a wealth of legendary music, from U2 to Van Morrison to Sinead O’Connor. Those big names put their stamp on the rock genre, but these five Irish acts are branching out beyond their Celtic calling into hip-hop, neo-soul and even throwback disco. Check out our picks for Five Irish Artists To Know.   TooFools If Arcade Fire were more influenced by Bootsy Collins than by David Bowie, they might write songs like TooFools’—a lush, funk-infused lot.... READ MORE

Occur Goes Global - The Music of Iraq

Monday, August 7, 2017 at 3:42 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music With the U.S. having such a large stake in the history and future of Iraq—especially as Mosul was recently freed from ISIS rule—it’s a choice time to explore the Middle Eastern county’s music. Its vitality means survival for its creators, an escape from war and rival religious factions. These five artists and bands stand out in the undercurrent of Iraqi song.   Acrassicauda When getting hit by a SCUD missile is part of your regular rehearsal schedule, you... READ MORE

Acts Still Kicking Ass in Their Twilight Years

Monday, July 31, 2017 at 1:44 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music   Though their latest album is called Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, Metallica continue to bring the fury to the stage, 36 years after their inception. They’ve weathered the deaths of bandmates, addiction, immolation and legal and internal battles. But their massive concert at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl on July 29 proved their might, with fireworks, a gracious James Hetfield, pitch-perfect guitar solos from Kirk Hammett and a loyal audience who refused to leave after the music ended.   Metallica aren’t... READ MORE

Occur Goes Global - The Music of Iran

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 2:51 AM
Melissa Bobbitt

  Music Iran may have a tumultuous political relationship with the United States, but while our nations do their calculated dance, we can for the time being enjoy some of the most spellbinding and daring music from Tehran and beyond. These five Persian acts do for song and lyrics what Persepolis did for graphic novels and animated film—break barriers and slay misconceptions.   Siavash Amini In a just world, composer and slowcore impresario Siavash Amini would be ranked among John... READ MORE