15 Great Albums You Probably Didn't Hear in 2017

Rolling Stone critics choose LPs that flew under the radar

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Spoek Mathambo, 'Mzansi Beat Code'
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Spoek Mathambo, 'Mzansi Beat Code'

There may be no more purely truth-telling moment in 2017 pop than on the blithely pistoning lead track "Want Ur Love," from South African dynamo Spoek Mathambo's latest, when vocalist Nongoma Ndlovu matter-of-factly declaims: "For fuck's sake, love!" Then turns it into a playground chant: "For fuck's sake, for fuck's sake, f-f-f-f-for fuck's sake, love" as a post-punky tangle of guitar filters through the groove. Such exuberantly giddy, self-knowing bits constantly pop up throughout Mathambo's fifth studio album. After signing with indie titan Sub Pop for a 2012 one-off – darker, more rock-leaning, polygot assault Father Creeper – the frontman/raconteur has been on a collaborative tear. With Mzansi Beat Code, he reclaims his "township techno" sound, goosing it into a joyous free-for-all with a hotbox collective, including South African producers DJ Spoko and DJ Mujava, Argentinian cumbia-rap crew Fantasma and Mexican singer-songwriter Ceci Bastida, among others. Charles Aaron

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