Israeli rock

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Audio Transcript:

MARCO WERMAN: For our global hit today, we turn to one of our reporters who's usually on the foreign policy beat, but who also has a strong abiding interest in music. The World's Matthew Bell, you just got back from Israel and you wanted to find out what people are listening to there. What'd you find out?

MATTHEW BELL: So I went into a CD shop in Tel Aviv on Shine Kin Road, one of the hippest parts of town, and my cultural guide was the CD shop owner, Gal Ofer, is his name. And basically just started off by going in and saying, �Look, what's your biggest seller right now?�

GAL OFER: The biggest-seller right now is Asaf Avidan, which is a guy who sings in English and sounds like Janis Joplin.


GAL OFER: Yeah. A guy. [LAUGHS]


MATTHEW BELL: What does he sort of bring to Israeli ears?

GAL OFER: He's really good. He's really, really good. The album is amazing. He just got signed to Sony Records globally. He's gonna be huge.


MATTHEW BELL: The album is called Poor Boy, Lucky Man. It moves from bluesy to rock to folk. And if it does sell big, Ofer says Asaf Avidan and the Mojos will be one of the few Israeli artists to make it big globally in recent years. One exception, he says, is a duo that's been around for about 10 years now. With the endearing name, Infected Mushroom.


GAL OFER: They started just like in the psychedelic trance scene, which is big in Israel, but they stepped out of that. And now, they're more kind of like, even like Linkin Park, kind of rock and metal and electronic and you know. So, they managed to widen their, you know, their crowds and they're doing really good. They're playing like huge gigs in the States, Australia, Europe, all over.


MATTHEW BELL: So, Ofer told that hip-hop might rule the world, but it's not so happening right now in Israel. But there was one exception, an underground group called Axum that is getting people's attention.


GAL OFER: They come from Netanya, they sing about like really cool stuff that's going on in the streets. You know, they're really good, you can see by their pick. Like, Jay Z meets Bob Marley or whatever.


MATTHEW BELL: On my way out the door, Ofer grabbed one more CD for me. It's from another Israeli group that's actually doing very well globally right now.

GAL OFER: These guys by the way, they're the Monotonix. They played before Melvins, Faith No More, Queens of the Stone Age, everybody. They're huge. They're like Iggy Pop and the Stooges, but with more energy. Just pure garage punk, dirty, slimy, sleazy. Really, really fantastic group. So, catch 'em live.


MATTHEW BELL: If you want to hear and see some more dirty, slimy, sleazy Monotonix, go to our website to see a video of them playing in front Gal Ofer's CD shop in Tel Aviv. The website of course is the-world-dot-O-R-G.

MARCO WERMAN: That's great Matthew. And we should also remind our listeners that while you're at the-world-dot-O-R-G, weigh in on the continuing discussion about what's on your I-pod. You'll see it at the-world-dot-org. I'm Marco Werman from the Nan and Bill Harris studios at WGBH in Boston. Thank you for listening.