Ive got a monkey for a president/And a head all filled up with cement, Firewater bandleader Tod A sings as his new album The Golden Hour begins, explaining the political and personal reasons for a three-year sabbatical that took him to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. During that opening track, Borneo, Tod A plays call-and-response with a hearty chorus that sounds like a finger-snapping Broadway greaser gang but is actually composed of local musicians he encountered during his travels. As his journey (and the record) come to a close, the weary traveler feels like hes at the end of the world. Exotic rhythms, including an authentic version of the Indian Bhangra drum sound Timbaland popularized earlier this decade, rumble under his grizzled, cosmopolitan croak. Tod A used a laptop and microphone to record The Golden Hour on the road with assistance from instrumentalists from Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, and India, and while these players didnt make the trek to America to accompany him, hell have some talented ringers (from PJ Harveys band and Skeleton Key, among others) to play their parts.