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Tasha

tasha This week, Jim and Greg talk with Chicago singer, songwriter and guitarist Tasha. She was one of Greg's buried treasures after seeing her dazzle onstage at South By Southwest earlier this year. She released an EP in 2016 and her debut album, Alone At Last, came out last year. As a poet and activist, Tasha's music is a blend of soft sounds and tough truths embedded in the lyrics. Some of the themes she explores are as heavy as racial and gender inequality and as restorative as self care and rest. They talk with her about the latest album, her activism and what she does for self care.

Go to episode 712
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Greg's SXSW 2019 Recap

Instagram/Cimafunk

The 32nd South By Southwest festival wrapped up last weekend in Austin, Texas. The music industry spring break has long been one of the best places to discover ambitious new bands for record labels, managers, promoters and critics. Jim was sad to miss the event for the first time in 27 years, but was eager to hear what Greg learned while down south.

Greg was happy to report that after years of expansion (the film and tech conferences are in some ways bigger newsmakers now) and over-the-top corporate presence (Doritos vending machine stage, anyone?), the music festival was scaled-back this year. There was less focus on major stars and more emphasis on acts from around the world.

The decline in corporate influence at SXSW could be heard in the keynote address from T. Bone Burnett, the producer of many Coen brothers film soundtracks. He didn't hold back, claiming that tech companies like Facebook and Google were a threat to our humanity.

"To stay human, to survive as a species, we have to wrest our communications out of the control of the lust for power, the avarice, larceny, hubris, deceit, and self-delusion of the heads of Google and Facebook. I am confident that we can do this," Burnett said.

Greg juxtaposed Burnett's comments against a panel with Nile Rodgers on songwriting as an investment. In that discussion Rodgers' business partner made a plea to keep streaming platforms like Spotify alive until they can become worldwide platforms despite the low dividends they provide artists now.

As for new music discoveries, Greg shared three:

  • Cimafunk, a project of Erik Alejandro Rodriguez that blends Afro-Cuban polyrhythms with Fela Kuti trance vibes.
  • Trupa Trupa, a Polish band he saw last year at SXSW and signed to Sub Pop Records as a result of that visit.
  • Tasha, a Chicago-based solo artist with radiant stage presence who reminded Greg of the folk soul movement of the 1960s and 70s.
Go to episode 695