The Bonus Track: Cymande, Israel Nash, Leonard Cohen


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The Independent Culture

One year and counting

It is, you will neither care or have noticed, exactly one year since this column found itself here. The Bonus Track came about because there seemed to be much to say about things in and around the world of music that was not covered by the standard album review: YouTube videos, Soundcloud songs by unsigned artists and funny ­snippets and stories behind the music that felt the need to be shared.

And while there have undoubtedly been times when I have let my personal preferences (miserable American singer-songwriters mostly) loose upon the page, I have tried to make this column as broad a church as possible – a place where you might read about Lorde before “Royals” was released in the UK or, more recently, Meghan Trainor before you’d heard “All About That Bass” (trust me, you’ll be hearing it plenty in the next few weeks).

It is inevitable then, that while trying to include interesting things that may not be my cup of tea, a couple of acts I ­genuinely love have never received a mention here. This column is an attempt to rectify that – one for a fine reason and the other for no real reason whatsover.

To business, then: Cymande are a 1970s British funk group who you will have heard sampled if you’ve ever listened to De La Soul or the Fugees. They were brilliant, underrated and though they released an album in 1981, their first three albums (1972-1974) are the key to their genius. And guess what? Cymande have reunited for their first UK shows in four decades (London’s Koko on 25 September and Manchester’s Band on the Wall on 10 October). Listen to “Dove”

And for no reason at all, can I just put it out there that Israel Nash (once Israel Nash Gripka) surely deserves wider exposure. If “Rain Plans” doesn’t convince you, nothing will.

Next week’s biggie …

Nick Coleman review’s Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems. Listen to “Almost Like the Blues”