Stones Throw Records has always been about more than rap and hip-hop. Beats and rhymes are the taste-making label's bread and butter, but over the course of 17 years, label founder Chris Manak (aka Peanut Butter Wolf) has judiciously stretched beyond his backpacker music base, and not just via re-issued funk and soul sides.
To whit: Singer Anika just released her self-titled LP via Stones Throw. Anika sounds as if it could have been recorded by a German no-wave outfit in 1979. Chilly synths and thin drum machines sharpen the edges around Anika's disaffected voice, but instead of cutting, the music flickers and echoes like a weird daydream.
She proves what a great songsmith Ray Davies is [as if that needed proof beyond The Kinks -- ed.] by running his lonely waltz "I Go To Sleep" through the damp Berlin basement of her style, turning the lyrical ache into numb recitation while retaining the sweetness of the melody via snatches of barroom piano.
And because Stones Throw seems to be in the spirit of '79, after the Anika video plays you may also enjoy The Lions' "Roll It Round" (authentic Two Tone-ish reggae with a dub wash) and Chrome Canyons' "Generations" (analog synth/library soundtrack) -- which should start up in the video player automatically. If not, check them here and here, respectively.
The Typing Monkey may not be up on Homeboy Sandman or Jonwayne, but it's not like Stones Throw isn't giving us anything else to love.