Lula Côrtes & Zé Ramalho

I went to two fine independent record stores recently and had a heyday. At one store, I waved around five discs I was intent on purchasing, and asked the proprietor, “What am I missing?” The staff stacked discs by the beat-up cd player, and through the fog of cat hair I would motion thumbs up or slide my fingers across my neck (“kill it”) so they’d load another album for me. We exclaimed about liner notes (Why did they thank Sasha Frere-Jones?), shared opinions about certain bands’ trajectories, and concocted complicated similes (Brimstone Howl is like Radio Moscow covering The Detroit Cobras). It was a fuckin’ cool geek-out.

One of the gems they pimped was Paêbirú by Lula Côrtes E Zé Ramalho. Go get your local music dudes to order it for you, in the spirit of this post, or buy it online if you must. It came out originally in the 70s, and was mostly destroyed in an act of god (couldn’t stand the competition), so rare copies cost thousands until the recent re-release (story here).

I listened to just a snippet at the store and it made me feel like I was levitating, filled with sound. Thumbs up.

Most of the music I listen to is like walking the earth at my normal gait, with a few pivots, jukes, and jumps for flair. But after a full play in the car, this Brazilian hippie symphony made me feel like I was swimming for the first time in a long time, and afterward previously underused aural muscles ached. In the good way.

See, this stuff makes me talk in fragments. It makes other reviewers talk like pretentious asses: “If you like good music, you will like this. If you think you like good music, but you hate this, then you don’t actually like good music at all.”

Much respect to Os Mutatntes, but in SAT-does-The-Beatles anlagy style, these songs are to Eleanor Rigby as Os Mutantes (another Brazillian psycholdellic rock band, who were very influential) are to Love Me Do.

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