Fool’s Gold was written for summer months. (And not just musically. The Los Angeles-based band titled their freshman album, “Summer Hymns” so they knew what was up.) Fusing electronic elements with African instruments, Fool’s Gold takes their music to another multi-cultural level with vocalist Luke Top singing the majority of their songs in Hebrew. Unlike their contemporaries such as Vampire Weekend, Fool’s Gold stands out by using other countries’ pop music as their musical base and not just as a dash of inspiration.
Check out the Fool’s Gold music video for their brassy song Nadine and then read on for guitarist and songwriter Lewis Pesacov’s picks for the perfect summer playlist.
1. “Zako Wa Wa” by Zako Langa Langa (Zare-Ghana)
Early 1970’s ‘new wave’ and youthfully punked-up Congolese rumba left a long lasting effect on the African music scene with it’s dizzying electric guitar melodies, watery bubbling bass, sweet harmonious singing and seriously extended jams. Click here to buy.
2. “Love (Between a Boy and Girl)” by The Tempress
There’s something about the combination of some funky-azz drums, an easy-breezy pace and the dreamiest of falsetto soul vocal harmonies that just makes me wanna cruise real slow with my girl right up next to me. Click here for more music by Temprees.
3. “Mataraden Anexan” by Tinariwen (The Radio Tisdas Sessions)
Tinariwen are probably the most internationally famous groups of the large musical community of the Tuareg nomads currently living in Mali, Northern Africa. Their music is just so beautifully spacious, eerily peaceful and as trance-inducing as the hot Santa Ana winds of Los Angeles. Their name means, “empty places” in the Tamashek language. Click here to buy.
4. “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye (Midnight Love)
This song always kind of embarrassed me when I was child, but now that I’m older, I totally understand where he’s coming from. Also, this song was the first ever hit single to use the Roland TR-808 only the coolest drum machine of all time. Click here to buy.
5. “My Lovely Elizabeth” by S.E. ROGIE [Palm Wine Guitar Music (The 60’s Sound)]
The deepest and heaviest rhythm ever simultaneously plucked by an old acoustic guitar and some distant piece of wooden percussion, drizzled atop with the thickest layer of the sweetest honey singing. Go in there with him and get lost for a while. Click here to buy.
6. “Whatcha Say” by Jason DeRulo (Whatcha Say EP)
Not gonna lie, I’m quite confused by the fact that I like this song so much; it must be that the sampled Imogen Heap hook is so heartstring-pullingly catchy and the auto-tuned vocals somehow help to satiate my latent yearnings for Zapp to release a new ballad. Click here to buy.
7. “Yaz Gazeteci Yaz” by Selda (Selda)
1970’s psychedelic Turkish funk. I can’t get over how strongly Selda belts it out on this one she’s definitely singing it like she means it her voice is as strong as a left hook. Not to mention the coolest synth sounds. Click here to buy.
8. “Sodade” by Cesria vora (Miss Perfumado)
A dark and balmy song emoting the melancholic beauty of nostalgia. Cesria vora, from the islands of Cape Verde off the coast of West Africa, sings in a Portuguese Creole in which the title of the song, Sodade, is said to be a word that does not translate into any other language. Click here to buy.
9. “Small Axe” by The Wailers (Songs of Freedom)
This tune sounds to me like a Sixties Motown classic gently perched on top of one of the funkiest, pulsing and propelling beats ever. The line “He whoever diggeth his pit, shall fall in it” gives me chills every time I hear it, a constant reminder. Click here to buy.
10.”True Love Leaves No Traces” by Leonard Cohen (Death of a Ladies’ Man)
Pure bliss, immediately reminds me of driving around L.A. on one of those too-warm-to-be-fall days when the sky is clear and you’re surrounded by the city’s brown, sun dried hillsides. Beautiful lyrics supported by deeply emotional production. Plus stellar duet vocals with Ronnie Spector! Click here to buy.