Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Looptroop Rockers - Good Things

I reviewed Looptroop Rockers Good Things this week on RapReviews . They are a Swedish rap group, but you'd never know from their lyrics. I was pretty into it. It reminded me of all the lefty kids I went to school with in Pavia. Here's the video for "The Building."

Scientist - Best Dub Album In the World

I reviewed Scientist's Best Dub Album In the World on RapReviews.com this week.

It's some trippy shit. I love it. You can't find a legal copy of it, but if you do a search for it, I'm sure you can find a kind soul willing to share their copy. Here's "Scientific."

Sitars and Soundscapes

My cousin Justin just started a new blog about ambient and world fusion music called Sitars and Soundscapes at etherealworlds.blogspot.com. It makes sense, since even as a kid he was into movie soundtracks. I'm not very familiar with either ambient or world fusion, so it's a great starting point for me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"This next song is the first song on our new album"

The latest Spin has an article on Cheap Trick titled "This Next Page Is the Last Page In Our New Magazine." It references the line "this next song is the first song on our new album" from Cheap Trick's Live In Budokan, which the Beastie Boys sampled on Check Your Head. That line was iconic when I was in college. When you said it, everyone knew what it came from. Most of my friends had spent time with Check Your Head, so when we quoted it, everyone knew what you were talking about. In turn, the Beastie's had spent enough time with Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan that they could reference it in their album, and a lot of people would understand where the line came from.

I'm not sure the same thing could be said today. There is so much more music available now, and people don't have as much time or inclination to sit with an album long enough to really absorb it. That same snippet from Live At Budokan would go by at 100 miles an hour to a contemporary listener, immediately forgotten under the crush of new albums, new songs, new experiences, all half-listened to and half-experienced while multitasking (which is another way of saying "doing many things badly at once").

The flip side of this is that it is a lot easier to be exposed to a lot of different kinds of music. I've probably heard more music in the last 8 months than I did during my entire high school years. Of course, I knew my record collection inside and out when I was 17: every chord, every lyric, the track order, everything. Now I know the first five seconds of whatever is on my Ipod, because that's how long I listen to it before I decide I want to move on to something else. Maybe less is more. Maybe more is more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My new favorite site

I stumbled upon Nevver today. It's a blog that posts a song and a still from a movie every day. Brilliant. Now I wanna go see a bunch of French New Wave films.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Lyrical Maze Review and Pohectic Reviews

My review of The Lyrical Maze's (TLM) Acronyms is up at RapReviews. She's a female rapper who does soulful hip hop in the vein of Lauren Hill. I was impressed. Here's "Me and My Guitar" featuring, yep, her and a guitar.

I also reviewed a compilation by indie rap collective Pohectic.
I wasn't blown away by it, but there were some highlights, including CO2's song "P.O.W." about a kid growing up in the Iraq war.

Mount Eerie Review

My review of Mount Eerie's Wind's Poem is now up at Blogcritics. It's bedroom folk inspired by black metal. At it's best, it's like My Bloody Valentine or Mogwai. At it's worse, it's sort of a hot tranny mess, like Bon Iver backed by a metal band.
It's definitely not your typical folk album. I was into a lot of this, but I'm not sure how much I'm going to listen to it. I'd recommend checking out Gravenhurst's Flashlight Seasons, which nails the cavernous, delicate folk, but without the noise. If you are in the mood for something challenging, Wind's Poem is worth your time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What I'm Listening To: Hippy Shit

For some reason I got struck by the spirit of Haight Ashbury this week and downloaded four very Haight songs.

The first was the Jefferson Airplane's "It's No Secret." I bought their greatest hits about twenty years ago, along with Metallica's "And Justice For All." My mom had taken me to the Warehouse at 41st Ave in Capitola, and she looked at my CD's and said, "Really?" She was surprised to see me veering away from punk rock. It would be another ten years before I got into Dylan, so she had a ways to wait before we could swap albums.
"It's No Secret" is an awesome little pop number. I put it on a mixtape to my high school sweetheart.

Then I downloaded TWO Grateful Dead songs: "Shakedown Street" and "Casey Jones." My future father-in-law loves the Dead, and he's always playing "Shakedown Street" when I go visit them. It's a catchy song, and I like that farting bass. I'm still embarrassed to own it.

I also downloaded "Casey Jones." I love the chorus of this song, and I own "Workingman's Dead' on vinyl, but I've never been able to finish the song. I think because I don't smoke pot.

Finally, I downloaded Sly and the Family Stone's "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey." I had heard a version with Perry Farrel and Ice T, but I wanted to hear the original. It's kind of heavy.

So yeah, hippy shit.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What I'm Listening To/Writing About

I've been listening to a mountain of new music lately. I just wrote a review for RapReviews of TLM's album Acronyms, which I'll post tomorrow. The album comes out tomorrow, and is worth a listen. I'm also working on a review of a Pohectic comp for them, probably next week. Thanks to blogs like Soul Sides, I'm getting into old soul, and hope to do some writing about Darondo and the Temptation's Psychedelic Soul. The music on that album kills me, especially tracks like the funky "Message From A Black Man."

I'm also getting into dub reggae, and have been listening to King Tubby and Scientist, whose 1980 Best Dub Album In the World is aptly named. That got me back into the Clash, when I realized that they did a lot of dub songs, including their song with Allen Ginsberg, "Ghetto Defendant."

Dub's interesting because it strips down each instrument, and it is excellent music to go to sleep to or ride the bus to (or smoke pot, if you are so inclined, but I'm not).

Then Bill Withers was on the Sound of Young America. It's an amazing show:
The Sound of Young America

...and it made me go pick up a cd of his first two albums, totally worth the money for "Use Me" alone.

THEN I downloaded a copy of the Antler's new album, which I haven't had time to listen to, and I got my fiance St. Vincent's new one and Linda Ronstadt's greatest hits. Finally, I got Mount Eerie's new CD to review for BlogCritics. It's pretty awesome, sort of Mogwai meets Iron and Wine. But heavy.

Finally, Retro Music Snob posted an MP3 of Hex Dispenser covering Devo's "Gates of Steel."

It's a good version, and made me remember how much I love the original. So here it is.

That also means I got a shit-ton amount of stuff to write about. I decided to concentrate more on movie and book reviews for Blogcritics, and the occasional new non-hip hop album I'm excited about. I've also started up a non-review centric blog where I pose short prose pieces, mostly about San Francisco. It's called Where I Belong.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Mantronix Review

I did a back to the lab review of Mantronix' first album this week for RapReviews.com.

It's a classic old school hip hop album, and one of the more innovative of the era. I'm still not a fan of that clunky 808 sound, but that's just my opinion.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Phenomenal Handclap Band review on Blogcritics

I just got my first review published on Blogcritics.org, a review of Music Review: The Phenomenal Handclap Band. I wanted a venue to do some non-hip hop writing, so that's my plan, Pakistan. I love the album, by the way.

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