Oy! An indie-rock star finds his roots

Fronted by Balkan Beat Box guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood, indie supergroup the Sway Machinery — which also includes members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Antibalas, and Arcade Fire — formed in 2006 but waited three years to issue its first full-length release. Now that it’s here, we say it was worth the wait.

Hidden Melodies Revealed features Lockwood singing the Hebrew verses he learned from his grandfather, a famous cantor named Jacob Konigsberg. (Lockwood’s pedigree also includes a stint in the New York City subway system supporting bluesman Carolina Slim.) But if Lockwood’s inspirations are rooted in the past, the album itself is emphatically forward-looking, fusing elements of Afropop, blues, jazz, and post-rock, and capturing the sweep and intensity of the Sway Machinery’s high-energy stage shows.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.