In these days of vinyl record resurgence, a myriad of indie labels are producing everything from Latin to Modern Funk and Soul, Hip Hop to Dance Floor Jazz and some of the music you will hear today: Afro Beat. We’re not forgetting labels like Mr. Bongo who are reissuing the original stuff, but today I want to speak on some artists making this music in the present day. While bands most notably such as Antibalas and the Budos Bands have been leading the charge in this revolution, there is one label who’s roster has been releasing some African fire as of late: Kept Records out of Alberta. You’ve heard previous sides on this site from Seattle’s Polyrhythmics and the Psychedelic Funk with African overtones of Alpman from Turkey, now check out some new Afro Beat and the band Hard Proof.
This Austin, TX based collective is made up of 9 different members from a variety of bands that include Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, Ocote Soul Sounds, Echocentrics, The Calm Blue Sea and Cougar. Their sound “fuses sounds from sub-Saharan Africa with adventurous jazz and deep funk to stimulate your brain and move your feet.” That statement is not entirely true. They fail to mention that their sounds are like a flamethrower of African beats and rhythms that will also burn your ass to get moving. That flamethrower is not of nature, and it’s called “Dragon”. This fire burning inside the A side does invoke the spirit of Fela and family. Their sound is parallel to the Budos Band, brothers bound by the universal African rhythm, with the intent to spread the sound all over the globe. If organ is what you like, the B-side “Tere” keeps that fire stoked, and the groove still ignited underneath your feet. Side B burns deep people, it flows along, and then like a pop in the fire, the horns explode and the fire gets bigger. A definite double sider that is a future classic. You heard it here first. You’d be well advised to pick this up, there is much heat on this release, and of course these records are made in a limited run. Well versed in classic Afro Beat, Hard Proof are the only proof you need to know that the Afro Beat pulse is beating loudly out of Texas. Put this record on your turntable and let it beat throughout your world.
More info on Hard Proof here.
Buy the record from Kept Records here.