Nowhere does New York City’s phenomenal melting-pot aspect shine through more than in its plentiful, cat-filled bodegas, where the simple act of ducking in to buy a bottle of water can easily turn into a crash course in a far-off country’s pop culture, snack food preferences, and/or religious practices. Astoria resident Gary Sullivan figured out a while ago that New York’s bodegas offered a far different perspective on the actual listening habits of people around the globe than what the world music section at the record store had to offer—one that’s generally funkier and funner, if more indebted to Western pop styles and therefore less “authentic.” The blog that came out of this discovery, Bodega Pop, is a rabbit hole of exotic pop originating everywhere from Albania to Zimbabwe that’s easy to fall into. Reader music editor Philip Montoro seems to have done so, judging by his inclusion of Abou El Leef’s manic junk drawer electro-shabbi album Super Leefa in a recent In Rotation feature.
Over the past few days Sullivan’s turned his focus to the 60s and 70s heyday of Cambodian rock, a wildly energetic localized take on psych-tinged garage funk that’s recently become one of the go-to ultra-niche genres for discerning record geeks. Last Thursday he posted a compilation of 27 Cambodian rock tracks that haven’t been included in any of the many reissue compilations that have come out in recent years. Then on Saturday he posted a mix, originally compiled by Khmerrocks.com, that spotlights the traditional Cambodian music that would later collide so fascinatingly with garage rock. Both of the comps rip incredibly hard.
If you need a sample before hitting “download,” hit the jump to check out Touch Saly’s addictive, organ-driven jam “Yeung Nam Knea Ram Leng.”