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The Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Darkest Light: The Best Of The Lafayette Afro-Rock Band

Sometimes you have to acknowledge the music behind the music, and this case, we (and many others) needs to tip a hat to Lafayette Afro Rock Band.

These days I feel like we’re in as much of a musical depression as we are in a financial crunch. As a bike-riding music journalist I’ve had more interest in the price of a barrel of oil lately than I have in a new record.

I’ve spent an entire year reeling on a Black Lips and Pierced Arrows show I caught at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall last February.


But there have been some exceptions. Aesop Rock gave us the mind-blowing None Shall Pass last year; and TOPR dropped an utterly under-appreciated opus, The Marathon of Shame. Other SF old-schoolers like Conceit and BOAC are still in their respective basements cranking out the shit we’ll be shanking each other to in time for the end the Mayan calendar.

But the singular king of swagger and funk that’s been lost behind the few and far-between neo-genii is the French (United States expatriated) 70’s funk force Lafayette Afro Rock Band. Essentially modernizing the vocorder and channeling the most involuntary dance-inducing funk rock of modern days, Laffayette unknowingly cultivated a discography that has been pilfered for sampling by Public Enemy, Jay-Z and Janet Jackson (and LL Cool J, and Digital Underground, and Gravediggaz, and Nas, and Wu Tang, and Ice Cube, and DeLa Soul, and Biz Markie, and Coolio and Kris Kross…)

Not to say there haven’t been a brazilllion influences on modern hip-hop and funk; but LARB is undeniably among the most under-recognized acts in modern urban music. Kickin’ funktioning psychedelia that takes you from your dad’s Alan Parsons Project records to some crazy Irene Cara shit from Fame and twisting it the fuck up with a speechless Steely Dan… Throw in a vocal here and there—but not many, and probably not in your language…and you’ve come upon something that still resonates in the soul some 30 years after its inception.

The re-release of the ut-best of The Lafayette Afro Rock Band is a resounding nudge—a sonic little ‘Charlie Horse’ to all that is modern funk, grime, neo-blues, rock and hip-hop—in the best way, of course.

Stand-alone, this is a gentle reminder for those who’ve gotten just a little too caught up in assholes like Common selling GAP ads, a CPR of fresh air for people who haven’t busted out they good wax in a eon or so.

Please, for the love of all that is right and good, put this on, have a dinner party with a ton of Chuck Shaw, piss off your downstairs neighbors, and talk about shit that matters (Happy election! We frickin’ did it!) …And dance your drunken ass off.


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