Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free stuff

I reviewed two free downloadable EPs this week at RapReviews. The first is Bobby Creekwater's The B.C. Era, which you can download here.

The second is Tor's Illinoize,
which uses Sufjan Stevens songs for beats. It can be downloaded and previewed at www.illinoize.biz

Finally, K-Murdock of Panacea did an album of beats that you can download for free at neosonix.blogspot.com. I didn't review it, and I haven't listened to the whole thing, but I'm pretty sure it's at least worth a listen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Favorite Poem

One of my ex girlfriend's introduced by to this poem, originally published in 1981. I believe it is famous because it was used as an example in "Postmodernism, or the Logic of Late Capitalism" (1984) by Fredric Jameson, and a lot of other people as they talked about New Narrative in poetry. I don't know what that means, and I don't read a lot of poetry (although I did have dreams of being a poet when I was 10). What I do know is that this contains a lot of lines that really resonate with me. My favorite is, "If it rains, you either have your umbrella or you don't." Or "the train takes you were it goes." In other words, it is what it is, so stop worrying about it.

China by Bob Perelman

We live on the third world from the sun. Number three. Nobody tells us what to do.

The people who taught us to count were being very kind.

It's always time to leave.

If it rains, you either have your umbrella or you don't.

The wind blows your hat off.

The sun rises also. I'd rather the stars didn't describe us to each other; I'd rather we do it for ourselves.

Run in front of your shadow.

A sister who points to the sky at least once a decade is a good sister.

The landscape is motorized.

The train takes you where it goes.

Bridges among water.

Folks straggling along vast stretches of concrete, heading into the plane.

Don't forget what your hat and shoes will look like when you are nowhere to be found.

Even the words floating in air make blue shadows.

If it tastes good we eat it.

The leaves are falling. Point things out.

Pick up the right things.

Hey guess what? What? I've learned how to talk. Great.

The person whose head was incomplete burst into tears.

As it fell, what could the doll do? Nothing.

Go to sleep.

You look great in shorts. And the flag looks great too.

Everyone enjoyed the explosions.

Time to wake up.

But better get used to dreams.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sona and G Force Review

I have two new reviews up at RapReviews. The first is for Sona the Voice's African Juju.Sona is from Cameroon originally, and now lives in Milwaukee. He has his own label, Intercession, and did a documentary about Tupac called Behold Something Bigger Than Tupac. He sounds a little like Tupac. He also handles all his own production. Clearly not a man lacking in ambition or creativity.

The other review I did was for Australian MC G Force's Clouded
. As with a lot of the Aussie stuff I've heard, the beats were good, and sounded like old school East Coast stuff. Xcise and Dutch produced the entire album. Worth a listen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Misfits

The Misfits were one of my favorite bands for a long time. Basically, they were a punk rock Kiss, in that they combined simple, catchy songs with comic book imagery. They came out of New Jersey in the late 70s, fronted by the buff but diminutive Glenn Danzig. Most of their stuff was riffs on 50s horror movies, like "Return of the Fly." They were musically influenced by the 50s as well, which is the secret to their success. Beyond the makeup, devilocks, and goofy lyrics about eating brains were solid hooks and catchy as hell 'whoa whoa" choruses (to use an old Maximum Rock n Roll description). Take "I Turned into a Martian," which is about, um, turning into a martian. Danzig, with his Morrison-meets-Elvis voice, sings the hell out of it.

1982's Walk Among Us, was their first full-length to be released, and remains an essential album. It's the best sounding Misfits record, which doesn't mean much since most of their stuff sounds like it was recorded in a garbage can. They released one more album, the thrashy Earth A.D., which ditches their melodic punk sound for a more hardcore punk vibe. Earth A.D.
earned the Misfits some high-profile fans, including Metallica, who covered "Green Hell" on their Garage Days Revisited EP.

I like Earth A.D., but I still prefer their earlier, less hardcore stuff, especially the songs collected on the first Misfits collection, and on the Legacy of Brutality album (the cover of which is tattooed on Henry Rollins' arm). On these albums, Danzig's sick sense of humor really shines. On the catchy "Angelfuck" he croons, "Little Angelfuck, I see you going down on a fireplug," sounding like a lounge singer from hell. Their creepiest, most awesome song is "Bullet," about JFK's assassination:

Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead
Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head
Texas is the reason that the president's dead
Ya gotta suck, suck, Jackie, suck

And then it ends with the refrain "Masturbate me."

Um, ok Danzig. You little weirdo. Remember that interview you gave about fifteen years ago where you kept talking about the race war? How's that working out for you?

Danzig was clearly a controlling dickhead (he wrote all of the music), and the band split up in 83 when he decided he wanted to become a heavy metal god. He went on to form Samhain and then Danzig, as well as do some Wagnerian classical music. The rest of the boys all worked at video stores or whatever for a while before getting the rights to the name and touring and recording as the Misfits in the late 90s. I haven't messed with the later incarnation of the Misfits - the Misfits magical formula was only intended to work on a handful of songs, so dragging it out seems pointless. They did all they could do by 1983. The Misfits fiend has become ubiquitous on shoes, shirts, etc. Yea Hot Topic. At least they are getting paid, I guess.
Still, when I want to channel my inner 14-year-old, nothing works quite as well as belting along with the Misfits, cuz when I sin, I sin for sure. Whoa whoa whoa.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Well Review

My review of Well's new EP Dreamers is up at RapReviews now.
Well is a collaboration between SoCal rapper Cleen and Portland rapper Demure. The two rappers have contrasting styles: Cleen is deliberate and steady, while Demure is more out there. Not all the songs blew me away, but the beats are consistently good in a late-nineties jazz rap kind of way. Worth a listen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Scoop Review/Back from Vacation

My review of Scoop's album Blood, Sweat, and Tears is on RapReviews now. Or rather, has been for two weeks, during which I was on vacation. In Italy. Thus destroying any street cred I may have had. Gangstas don't stay at B&Bs and go wine tasting in the Tuscan countryside. I did check out an Italian hip hop magazine, and my friend told me about an Italian gangsta rap porno movie called Mucchio Selvaggio

You can see the non-sexual scenes on YouTube here. It's about Italian gangbanging, drug-dealing rappers vs. the ravers. I guess the rappers are real italian rappers like Noyz, who perform "Don't Fuck With Me". I wasn't super convinced by them. The five minutes I watched on YouTube may be about all the effort I'm willing to put into it. It's sort of like one of the street DVDs that American rappers put out, only with the added hardcore sex scenes, which I'm assuming is to make sure that it sells. Cause, hey, boobies. Everyone likes boobies.

Evidently one of the women in the ravers fucked up the equipment of my friend's band when they were playing a squat a few years ago (I think in Bologna, but I could be wrong).

Also, Il Mucchio Selvaggio is the Italian name for Sam Peckinpah's classic film The Wild Bunch, which is one of my favorite Westerns ever.

I didn't listen to much music in Italy, and now I have a ton to catch up on, including the new DOOM album, and two Italian CDs my friend gave me. It was actually nice to have a break from music. It can be exhausting trying to keep up with everything, so a little pausa was in order.

Also, chicken livers rule. And I ate salami made from pig brains. Mmm.

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