Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Listen: Gogol Bordello, Trans-Continental Hustle

I am late to the Gogol Bordello party, but I think I'm going to stay. Gogol Bordello is a multicultural band led by a mustachioed Ukrainian madman named Eugene Hutz. Trans-Continental Hustle is their fifth album, but their first for American Records, and it was produced by Rick Rubin.

Granted, Rubin's what got me in the door, but the music is what sold me. Gogol Bordello plays a highly energetic mix of dozens of different things, from acoustic punk to polka to klezmer to Brazilian carnival music. Hutz sings over it all with his heavily-accented bellow, while the band shouts along in support. It's all punk, but it's played with accordions and violins and timbales. It's pretty awesome.

Music like this makes me realize how limited my scope is. Gogol Bordello draws on so many traditions I'm unfamiliar with, so I have no historical perspective on what they do. I just know I like it. Word is that this album is more reserved than their previous four, and since this one's kind of insane in places, I can't wait to hear the older stuff now. If you want a snapshot of what one-world music might sound like, here it is.

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