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This Horn Of Afrika “UhOh”


Free Week! I missed the first weekend, but I’m still up for seven more days of shows from great local bands.  And even though they’re not playing this year, This Horn Of Afrika will probably be my favorite Free Week discovery for many years.  The trio from San Antonio plays dance music the way I love it:  Improvised and noisy, but never shy of a backbeat.  The bass and guitar are usually played through a half-dozen or more pedals, and the drums are done via a partially-homemade sample-pad kit instead of traditional drums.  The extra rhythmic possibilities are really pushed into the foreground and when steel drums and cartoon samples crash out over the more expected drum sounds, it’s perfection.  They have more range than just dance, with several tracks and live performances that build on nothing more than a droning guitar and a moaned vocal, but “UhOh” shows them at their jittery, explosive best.

“UhOh” is the catchiest song from their debut album, busy post-punk dance rhythm and catchy guitar-and-sneered vocal chorus with one of those “angular” riffs you used to hear so much about.  I love how the bass mutates from a funky riff in the main part of the song to a synth-bass slide, a la “The Humpty Dance” in a mid-song noise freakout.  Definitely one of my favorite active bands right now, here’s to more shows in 2011!

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