The Very Best


SXSW Records

The Very Best

Warm Heart of Africa (Green Owl)

Making the leap from mixtape to a proper album can be even more difficult than overcoming the dreaded sophomore slump – the bar being measured against is one of critical hyperbole, not commercial success. Global in its scope and appeal, the Very Best – Malawian-born, London-based singer Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit, the British production duo of Johan Karlberg and Etienne Tron – accomplishes this feat with rare relative ease on its debut LP, Warm Heart of Africa, a summery celebration of cross-pollinated Afro-pop. The trio borrows from its free 2008 download (the Architecture in Helsinki-sampled "Kamphopo" and remixed "Kada Manja") but also adds 1980s synth-pop ("Chalo"), dancehall grooves ("Nsokoto"), and the M.I.A.-stormed "Rain Dance" to the mix, along with the West Coast-meets-UK grime of "Julia." It's upbeat and inspiring almost to a fault – the lilting, diamond-soul yelp of Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig holds its own on the Upper West Side Soweto of the title track – which also makes Warm Heart feel like some sort of Disney tourist attraction – enjoyable but not yet revelatory. (Thu., 1am, Beauty Bar Backyard; Fri., 1:15am, Emo's Main Room.)


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Friday Showcases
Friday Showcases
Korea, Japan, Spain, Africa – see the world from single showcases

March 20, 2015

Saturday Interview
Saturday Interview

Kevin Curtin, March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Entanglement (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Dec. 13, 2019

Levitation Album Reviews
Dallas Acid
The Spiral Arm (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Nov. 8, 2019

More by Austin Powell
The American Analog Set’s Heavy Return and Seven More Songs From Austin Artists
The American Analog Set’s Heavy Return and Seven More Songs From Austin Artists
New music picks from Pelvis Wrestley, NOOK Turner, the Teeta, and more

Nov. 3, 2023

Review: Explosions in the Sky, <i>End</i>
Review: Explosions in the Sky, End
ATX instrumental band's seventh studio album is also its first in seven years

Sept. 29, 2023


The Very Best

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle