• courtesy of Fat Cat Records
  • Tal National

In January of 2014 Chicago recording engineer Jamie Carter took his third trip to Niamey, the capital of Niger, to record another new album by the high-energy guitar band Tal National. With each visit Carter has become more tightly enmeshed in the group’s orbit by helping to land them a Western record label and serving as the band’s US liaison on tours. The fruits of his most recent trip will finally be shared with the rest of the world on April 14 when Fat Cat Records releases the group’s fourth and most assured album, Zoy Zoy. Once again the music is driven by hard-hitting kit drumming that’s dynamically complemented by pulsing and frenetic talking drum spasms. But the greatest treat remains the multiple layers of liquid, skittering, contrapuntal guitars, a kind of loosening-and-tightening sonic weave that lifts and propels the music, providing a polyrhythmic base for some fantastic, soulful singing. Below you can check out the video for the ebullient song “Claire,” which colorfully intersperses footage of the band shot in the Nigerien countryside with scenes shot in the city’s markets; its sunny, infectious energy should have no problem lifting your spirits a bit. They won’t be hitting Chicago on an upcoming spring tour, but they are scheduled to perform here this coming fall.