Thursday, February 26, 2009

Death of the Record Store

Virgin Megastore in downtown SF is closing at the end of April. That's not totally surprising, since they have been practically giving their stuff away for the past year, and it is a massive space. Also, no one buys CD's anymore. Download sales finally passed CD sales this year, and the industry has been going down for years. Taylor Hicks had the top album this week with only 62,000 units sold. That's pretty meager. Amoeba seems to be staying in business so far, but I imagine even they will have to either move to a smaller location or go out of business in the not-to-distant future.

I got a bunch of my vinyl from my parent's garage last weekend, and as I've been listening to my old punk and opera records, I was struck by how many of the places I bought the records at are no longer in business. Epicenter at 16th and Valencia, which used to sell punk records but closed in the late 90s; the record store in downtown Capitola; the Streetlight on 24th street; the record store that used to be at the corner of Haight and Masonic. Now, I (legally) download music, so I'm part of the problem, and I do appreciate how easy and simple it is. But I still buy CDs, in part because I like having the packaging and cover, and in part because I want to support Amoeba. I like looking through stacks of records. It's one of my passtimes, and it makes me sad and a little lonely to think that pretty soon I may not have that option anymore.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Return of Doom

Daniel Dumille aka Zev Luv X aka MF Doom aka Viktor Vaughn aka King Geedorah is finally releasing a new album. After a very prolific period early this decade, he has been AWOL since 2006, except for a few tracks that have been on comps. He was supposed to do a second Madvillain record, and that never happened, so Madlib put out Madvillain 2 as a bunch of remixes; he had a collab with Ghostface Killah that never materialized; there are rumors that stand-ins have been donning the mask in concert.

His new album is titled Born Like This, and it is due March 24. It seems like he is handling most of the production, which is fine by me since I like his work on the boards. It's like hip hop meets 70s AM radio. He even samples Michael McDonald on a track. He also changed his name to DOOM, rather than MF DOOM.

It's funny that he is coming out with something now since I've been revisiting his stuff recently. I've been listening to John Robinson's Who Is This Man?, which is exclusively produced by DOOM. I also finally downloaded the King Geedorah album, which is pretty awesome, as well as his Live From Planet X album, which would be great if it weren't all one 40-minute track. I've also been listening to the first Madvillain album, which is brilliant. Seriously. You need to own it.

Curls - Madvillain

"Growing up too fast/showing up to class with Moet in a flask...If you want a sip go get a paper water glass/How am I sposta know where your mouth been last?"


His first album, Operation: Doomsday was recently reissued on DOOM's Metal Face Records. Here's "Dead Bent":

Dead Bent - MF Doom

My favorite DOOM beat is "9 Milli Bros." on Ghostface Killah's Fishscale. It's one of the best Wu-Tang songs ever.

9 Milli Bros. (Feat. Wu-Tang Clan) - Ghostface Killah

You can hear some new tracks on his myspace page.

And here's a link to a video for KMD's "Who Me?" which features DOOM as a young, thin, maskless Zev Luv X.

Monday, February 16, 2009

P.O.S. Never Better Review

My review of P.O.S.'s Never Better is up at RapReviews here.

I gave it a 9 of 10 and compared it to Fucked Up's "Chemistry of Modern Life." It's always a little nervewracking to give an album such a high score, but I don't think I'll regret it. He handles most of the production, and works with a lot of live drums. He's toned down the emo/mallpunk vibe that turned me off of his last album, and what remains is pure fire. Goddamn Minnesota, they know how to do it.

Here's a link to the video for "Drumroll" on YouTube.

The album comes back with individual plastic sleeves, and if you go to the Rhymesavers site, you can make your own. Here.

Madlib - Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6 Review

My review of Madlib's Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6 is up at RapReviews now. Here.

It's a tribute to Dilla, and uses a lot of samples of Dilla's music and that Dilla used in his music. It's a Beatkonducta disc, meaning a little incoherent, a little meandering, but worth owning. Here's a track off of it.

Anthenagin (?) - Madlib

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Everyone knows that the best make out albums in the world are Massive Attack's Mezzanine, Tricky's Maxinquaye, Portishead's Dummy, and My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Well, if you are making out in 1994. Or anything by Billie Holiday. And one of my favorite randy love songs is My Bloody Valentine's "Cupid Come," off of Isn't Anything.

Cupid Come - B. ButcherI don't really know what he is saying, but it's something about creamy thighs and cupid coming. "Feed Me With Your Kiss" off the same album is also pretty great.

For those of you not romantically inclined, I present the wonderfully anti-romance "Marriage Can Suck It" by spazz punks Charles Bronson.

In case you can't make out what he's saying, here are the lyrics:
Ah to be 22, washed up and fuckin' through. You're a pair of K-mart shoes: plastic and phony and with the belief that happiness in life is matrimony. Padlocked to wedlock cuz time's a wastin' to hurry up and waste your life in marriage. Entrapment = death, caught in a web, sentenced to a harsh life of eating meals together and sharing the same bed, ick! How about you just invite me to the divorce instead. Skip the serenade and the bullshit promises your mom and dad would've made. Honeymoon narcosis brains in a love-bong like anyone really waits that long cuz the way I see it you were already fucked way before you ever got fitted for the stupid tux. You are fucking losers, and I hope your kids are ugly.

Cynical, jaded, a little horrible, but pretty fuckin' funny. BTW, every one of the 90 songs they recorded sound exactly like that: brrrwwaRAAHRRRHARRRWHRRAvrrrrrrrRAAAAAHHHH!!!!!

Rocky Roberts

I'm going to Italy at the end of March, so I've been nostalgizing about the old country. When I lived there in 1995 and 2001, I bought a bunch of compilations of Italian hits from the 1960s. One of my favorite singers was Rocky Roberts, and American who had two big hits in Italy, "Stasera Mi Butto" and "Sono Tremendo." Rocky was a soul singer in the James Brown mode who had a pronounced American accent. According to his Italian Wikipedia entry, he was a sailor, then a boxer, and then was part of a soul group in France called the Airedales

Accent or no, dude could get down. Here's "Sono Tremendo:"

His song "T-Bird" was also featured on the opening titles of Italian sixties freak out "I Ragazzi della bandiera gialla"

His career declined after the sixties, so I'm not sure what he's doing now.

There is also a country singer named Rocky Roberts
who has nothing to do with Italy or soul.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In Grind We Crust

That was the slogan on the second side of Hiatus's "Way Of Doom" EP, which I just downloaded onto my girlfriend's computer. They were a Belgian crust band active in the nineties. The lead singer went on to form Skew-wiff, whom I saw at a squat in Italy. Here's my favorite song off of the seven inch:

Inertia - Hiatus

They are kind of Sabbath meets punk, with the Cookie Monster on vocals. Great in small doses, which is what they delivered - the 7" EP, and then a self-titled 12".

Speaking of Crust bands I saw at squats in Italy, here's a video of the Cripple Bastards playing "Italia Di Merda" at Leoncavallo.

Now I'm gonna go book a room at a hotel in Firenze for Aprile. And you're not.

Is It Wrong That I Kind of Like This Song?

Or that I think Pink's hair looks cute?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cleen Review/Dilla Remembered

I reviewed Lancaster, CA MC Cleen's Small Talk today this week on RapReviews. I referred to him as a "nice Eminem." Good stuff.

My review is here. Here's a video for his song "I'd Like To Get To Know You."

In other news, today marks the third anniversary of the death of hip hop producer/rapper James Yancey, aka J Dilla, aka Jay Dee. There is a lot of hype around Dilla, but it is pretty much warrented. If you don't believe me, listen to "Workinonit", from Donuts, which you really need to own. It's one of the best instrumental hip hop albums out there. Just don't sample Dilla's shit: his moms is in all kinds of legal mess as she tries to sort out his estate and deal with all the lawsuits around stuff he sampled, and stuff he sampled that then other people sampled.

I love that siren. It's like Dilla talking from the grave.

Workinonit - J Dilla

Thursday, February 05, 2009

No More Hipster Scum

This photo is by Gretchen Robinette, and I found out about it on Mission Mission.

It's a photo of a hipster protesting hipster store American Apparel from opening in hipster mecca Valencia street in San Francisco's Mission District. Oh, the irony.
I'm not really interested in wasting any more time or bandwith adding to the discourse about hipsterism and the Mission District. I will say that if you are whinging about hipsters, you are either a hipster who needs to get over him/herself, or you are not a hipster who needs to accept your squareness and get on with your non-hip life. Jeezus.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On the Nile Review

My review of Egyptian Lover's 1984 album "On The Nile" is up now at RapReviews.
With all the renewed interest in electro, I thought I'd revisit a classic. It's pretty awesome. And the cover slays me.

The best song is "Egypt, Egypt"

Egypt Egypt - Egyptian Lover

My favorite song, though, is "I Cry (Night After Night)," with its mournful keys, and totally 80s guitar.

I Cry (Night After Night) - Egyptian Lover

I stole the cover photo from a site that was offering it as a free (illegal) download. It's still in print though, and available on Itunes and Emusic, so you should probably buy a legal copy. Cheap ass.

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