Tuesday, July 28, 2009

DieNasty Review


I reviewed the DieNasty Records "Live Sick" compilation this week for RapReviews. I wasn't a fan of their sound, but you can check them out at their Myspace page and decide for yourself.

Street rap magazine Murder Dog loved them, giving them four nutts.

Their myspace page has pictures of them posing with girls in booty shorts, so that's a plus. (Actually Dirtball from the SubNoize crew. My mistake. I also apologize for the snarky comment about the girls. Anyone who is willing to walk around in high heels and booty shorts deserves respect. and not just from John Stagliano.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Joe Strummer with the Pogues doing the Clash

I saw them on this tour. They also did "Straight to Hell." Joe Strummer is one of my few musical heroes, along with d. boon. Don't ever let me hear you talking shit about them.




And the Clash doing "Straight To Hell." This song always breaks my heart, and is one of my ten favorite songs of all time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dada Life

I reviewed Dada Life's yet-to-be-released debut on RapReviews this week.
Mostly I wrote about Look At This Fucking Hipster, but hey.

They have a website.

They may be Swedish. They aren't hip hop. They reminded me of Daft Punk.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wilco/Minutemen

I've been listening to the new Wilco album, conveniently called Wilco (The Album). It's decent. I have a lot of respect for Wilco and I think Jeff Tweedy is an amazing songwriter, but I've never been a huge fan of theirs. I love Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but I haven't really listened to anything else. It's not a judgment, it's just that there are so many other bands I want to listen to that I haven't yet felt compelled to explore Wilco's entire oeuvre. This album seems less experimental and innovative than their other efforts, and instead sees them finding a groove and doing what they do best. It opens with "Wilco (the Song), about how the band will cure your depression, proving that they have a sense of humor about what they are doing.
The album veers between mellow folky alt-country to rocking folky alt-country. My favorite song is "Sonny Feeling," in which Tweedy goes on an old man rant, including the line "She knows nothing of Eminem's suburban gangster flow."

It ends with a line that has been resonating with me:
I’m on my way home from my high school
I’m always contemplating
Why the kids are still cruel
Oh the kids are still cruel

Amen, brother.



So I was listening to that, but then I got sidetracked by Introducing the Minutemen, which I downloaded from Emusic. It's a comp of a lot of there stuff, much of it that I own already, but some of which I hadn't. I had forgotten how amazing they were. There are two songs that have been sticking with me; one is "If Reagan Played Disco," with the line "you can't disco in jackboots,"

It also has some great, noisy changes.

The other is "History Lesson, Part 2," which details their history with punk rock.It contains the immortal line, "Our band could be your life." It's weird to think that d.boon has been dead for 24 years. He always feels like a friend to me. Every time I ride past San Pedro when I go to visit my in-laws in Long Beach, I get a little nostalgic and sad.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Frankie Knuckles Vs. Animal Collective

I've been thinking about my top albums of the year so far, and one album that won't make the list is Animal Collectives Merriweather Post Pavillion. I really, really like the song "My Girls," but the more I've listened to that album these past months, the more I'm turned off by their Phishy, jammy, noodly vibe. Their live show is supposed to be amazing, but this rambling, messy, off-key version of "My Girls" fails to convince:


Guess you had to be there. And high off your gourd.

I read Last Night A DJ Saved My Life last week,
about the history of DJing, and they had a long chapter on Frankie Knuckles and the birth of house music. It got me to seek out Frankie's music, and I immediately recognized the opening synths from 1987's "Your Love" (shown here with an anime video. Whatevs).

I still love "My Girls," but Animal Collective definitely lifted those synths. Fucking dirty, stealing hippies. They should go take some shrooms and dick around some more on vintage synths. While wearing bucket caps. Fuckers.

Atmosphere Review

I reviewed Atmosphere's new free EP, Leak At Will, on RapReviews this week. I'm into it, but then, I'm a fan of Atmosphere. It's not quite as banging as Strictly Leakage, the free album they put out two years ago, but still worth the download. For free.

Rhymefest - The Manual


I reviewed Rhymefest's most recent mixtape, The Manual, for RapReviews this week.
I heard about it when Nathan Rabin gave a scathing critique of the homophobia in it on the AV Club a few weeks back. I think I'm jaded because I wasn't so much offended by the homophobia as I was disappointed. Simply put, it's dumb. The review takes the form of a letter to Rhymefest letting him know my thoughts. I hope that he just drops the issue - doesn't come out defensive, doesn't make an issue out of it, just leaves gays out of his rhymes altogether. He's too good a rapper, and he has too much to say to waste his time on homophobia.

You can download The Manual free and legal here.


While your at it, download the mixtape he did in 2007 featuring Mark Ronson, of Amy Winehouse fame, and Michael Jackson.
It's called Man In The Mirror, and it features covers and interpolations of Michael's songs, plus skits where Rhymefest has conversations with the man himself, via snippets from interviews. It's pretty awesome. Rhymefest was doing tributes to MJ before the man even died.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kids Today...

...Listen to shitty music.



What are you yelling about? Is it because your mom won't buy you a new Iphone? Is your hairdresser moving? Your art teacher said your anime-inspired paintings were crap?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Olivia Tremor Control Review


I got Oliva Tremor Control's 1994 double album Music From The Unrealized Film Script: Dusk At Cubist Castle a few weeks ago. I had heard them described as White Album era Beatles, so I decided to check them out. Also, they were part of the same Elephant 6 collective that begat Neutral Milk Hotel, so they were at least worth a listen.

There are some amazing tracks here. "Define A Transparent Dream, Jumping Fences," and "Spring Succeeds totally capture the poppy, druggy sound of the Beatles (but circa Revolver rather than the White Album); "Holiday Surprise" and "The Opera House" are just damn good power pop. At their best, their songs are beautiful, catchy, and just psychedelic enough to make them difference.


However, like many bands who do drugs to make music to take drugs to, they produced a lot of stuff that might sound awesome a few tabs/stems in, but is not a lot of fun to listen to sober. There is a lot of noisy, unpleasant, and irritating shit on this album, which is in stark contrast to the gorgeous power pop on the rest of the disc. They should have made this two albums: one of the actual songs, and the other of their hallucinogen-inspired noodling. Much like hard drugs, highs are pretty high, but the lows are enough to make you want to swear the whole thing off. Luckily, you can cherry-pick what you actually want to listen to, so the annoying shit (ie most of the second half of the album) can be left off your playlist.



You can explore more here.

Yardbirds

The Yardbirds formed in early 60's in London. Originally a blues group, they later ventured into more pop and psychedelic sounds with "For Your Love" and "Shapes of Things." They are famous mostly for the fact that guitar gods Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton both played with the group. I'm not a huge fan of either musician, and I never got into the whole guitar god worship. I do love the Yardbirds though, because they were basically a bunch of white kids hopped up on speed playing really, really fast blues.

Exhibit A: "I'm A Man." You can just hear their teeth grinding.


They also had a scene in Antonioni's Mod classic Blow Up, playing one of my favorite songs, "The Train Kept A'Rolling."

This is their happening, and it freaks them out!

They also did an early version of "Dazed and Confused," which later appeared on Led Zepplin's first album.

There's a little Yardbirds in the White Stripes. Blues being played by a white kid on analogue equipment, I mean. Jack White and Jimmy Page are in a new guitar god documentary coming out August 14 called It Might Get Loud, in which they talk guitar god stuff and rock out with the Edge.

Anyways, the 'Birds got more pop and Clapton left, and then they finally imploded in the late sixties, with a lot of their members going on to be in even more venerated bands. Sort of like the L.A. Guns. They actually got together in the 90s, and tour (without Clapton, Page, or Beck). They played the Bay Area a month or so ago.

For my money, though, their mid-sixties blues on speed can't be beat. It's a similar idea to what the Who and Rolling Stones were doing, but the Yardbirds did it faster and rawer than the other bands. It also, to my mind, gets old after about six songs. I love the Yardbirds, but I've never felt the need to own an actual album by them because after about the fourth song, I'm over it. But then, I feel that way about the blues in general. I guess I'm just uncultured.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

DJ JS-1

I reviewed DJ JS-1's No Sell Out this week on RapReviews.

It features some pretty amazing collabs - Brother Ali with CL Smooth, Aesop Rock and Vast Aire, Ced Gee and Kool Keith. Here's a promo video for it.

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