Arts DEVO goes abroad for 2011’s best songs

Coeur de Pirate

Coeur de Pirate

Zoo Kid

New world music order Arts DEVO loves getting all fat on music this time of year, gobbling up all of the Internet’s year-in-review lists (well, nowhere near “all,” actually—visit Largehearted Boy’s comprehensive list of 2011 Year-End Online Music Lists and try to hold your brains in your head). One of the most gratifying things that I take away from picking through the faves of the many different music magazines and blogs is getting to hear music from different parts of the world. It’s the biggest gap in my regular music-gathering patterns throughout the year, and it’s nice to be able to sample at least a few foreign flavors.

The song killing me right now comes from England. “Out Getting Ribs” is the bedroom recording of a 17-year-old London art student who went by the name of Zoo Kid for this song, now goes by the name of Kid Krule, and was born Archy Marshall. The stringy, circular guitar patterns splash around the room as Marshall’s thick froggy-throated British accent starts off: “Hate runs through my blood” and keeps resonating throughout the airy, lonely tune like Elvis Costello stuck in the low registers. This song and a few of the others born abroad—France’s Orval Carlos Sibelius’ anxiously frantic “I Don’t Want a Baby”; Quebec’s Coeur de Pirate’s bouncy romp “Adieu”; and “Rubber,” an outstanding slab of trudging noise by London’s Yuck—are among my absolute faves of last year.

Here are a dozen examples of fine imported songs from 2011 worth checking out. Visit the Hype Machine ( to find blogs that host the mp3s.

• “Out Getting Ribs,” Zoo Kid (England)

• “Adieu,” Coeur de Pirate (Canada)

• “Get Some,” Lykke Li (Sweden)

• “Youth,” Razika (Norway)

• “Ma Vie,” Orchestre Poly-Rythmo (Benin)

• “Beat of My Drum,” Nicola Roberts (London)

• “Wotless,” KES the Band (Trinidad and Tobago)

• “I Don’t Want a Baby,” Orval Carlos Sibelius (France)

• “Can’t Get My Mind off You,” Sean Nicholas Savage (Canada)

• “Facing the Sun,” Treefight for Sunlight (Denmark)

• “Finns Det En Sa Finns Det Flera,” Veronica Maggio (Sweden)

• “Rubber,” Yuck (England)

Die Antwoord, TEN$ION

And in 2012 … The only upcoming release on my mind right now is actually another foreign import: TEN$ION, the sophomore album by South Africa’s Die Antwoord (to be released on Feb. 7). I’m excited and I’m a little scared. On first exposure to the band, I gasped and ran away. Then the worms started growing inside, and my curiosity as to what was causing the weird feelings got the best of me. I’ve since spent the better part of the past year getting drunk off Yo-landi Vi$$er and Ninja’s rap-rave put-on. It’s a fun, twisted, hilarious, violent and invigorating blend of disjointed raps and comically oversized dongs swinging to hard-hitting electronic beats in an art-school fantasy land set in a white South African ghetto. Oh yeah!

The first single/video from TEN$ION, “Fok Julle Naaiers,” has already been released (, and it’s a wonderful, disturbing and nasty slow-ish jam that apparently made the band’s new label, Interscope Records, very nervous. According to the band, Interscope wanted them to make changes to the song and album, so the band said “We gonna do our own thing. Bye bye,” and will now release the album on their own Zef Records.