Debo Band

I really like free stuff. I know this from years of experience obtaining free stuff, but I also know this because I recently had a coworker say to me, “You really like free stuff.” When I decided to write this post, I tried to remember the context in which he said this, but there were too many possibilities, and I gave up. Not so coincidentally, this same coworker and I have already updated our calendars with the best Richmond Flying Squirrels promotional giveaway nights, including the one in which they’re giving out an egg timer shaped like a pig, and the Father’s Day one, in which they’re giving the first 2,000 men 15 and older a visor that reads “Head Nut” (my love for the team’s marketing department knows no bounds). Neither of us has kids, but WHATEVER. It’s free!

Speaking of free stuff and nuts (A segue for the ages!), many of the folks who stormed their local haunts on Record Store Day had the chance to grab a complimentary copy of the fifth volume in Sub Pop’s Terminal Sales sampler series, entitled Mixed Nuts (there may be no better example of how one should keep one’s head on a swivel for free stuff than RSD). Having had a little more than a week to check it out — no, I will not rat out the record store that gave it out early — I can confirm that each of the tracks has that extra measure of sweetness than can be found in the complimentary Slurpees dispensed each July 11, or the free scoops handed out on Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day. That said, one gave me a particularly potent sugar rush — “Asha Gedawo” by Debo Band, an 11-piece, Boston-based outfit, led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, with vocals provided by a man named Bruck Tesfaye who, as far as I can tell, is not related to Abel Tesfaye of the Weeknd.

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Record Store Day Superlatives

Record Store Day is quickly fading in the rear view mirror, and now that we’ve had a couple days to strip off the shrink wrap, listen to the loot and digest the day’s events, I wanted to share a few reactions and a few songs. In lieu of a list of acquisitions (I’m a little scared to a provide the complete inventory, as my better half reads this blog, and I may or may not have some financial splainin’ to do), I thought I’d keep the superlatives theme from earlier this month rollin’ by handing out a few RSD Superlatives. Off we go…

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The Weeknd


Given its title, I couldn’t resist spending today’s post on The Weeknd’s amazing new mixtape, Thursday. While a few other blogs could very well be doing the same thing today, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say few of them can claim the following fun fact: The very first You Hear That post was about The Weeknd’s first mixtape, House of Balloons. It’s true — hearing that album made me get off my blogger laurels and start writing about music. Clearly House of Balloons struck some inspirational chord for me, but when I stop to think about it, that connection is somewhat bizarre. The dark vignettes that Abel Tesfaye’s songs sketch are genuinely creepy to me, and R&B has never been my wheelhouse. So why am I drawn to his music? What does it meeeean?!? I think the connection may stem from the fact that The Weeknd’s creepiness seems profoundly honest to me. So many artists glorify the drug-addled club scene, but songs like “Life of the Party” make it sound as scary as it probably is in real life. Can you imagine listening to these songs while performing the acts they describe? Wouldn’t that be wildly depressing? I don’t mean to suggest he makes public service announcements, just that he’s the documentarian of something that people normally write fiction about. To me, that’s fascinating, and I can see why Drake was so quick to jump on Tesfaye’s bandwagon. Check out “Life of the Party” below, along with the rest of Thursday, and download the whole thing for free here.