Saturday, September 29, 2007

under the covers: Cat Power

"Honey Let Me Be Your Salty Dog"

Indie-folk chanteuse Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, just announced a release date for her highly anticipated follow up to 2000's Covers. The record, coincidentally titled Covers II will see the light of day on January 22nd, 2008 by way of her longtime label Matador. Not only does Chan have one of the most enchanting voices I've ever heard, she is one of the most beautiful women I've ever laid eyes on (Chanel kingpin Karl Lagerfeld thinks so too, he featured her in Chanels Spring runway show). In the spirit of giving I hereby share two of my favorite Cat Power covers, the hauntingly beautiful, albeit abridged, version of the Velvet Underground's "I Found A Reason," and Chan's version of the traditional tune "Salty Dog." She's also on the I'm Not There Soundtrack doing one of my favorite Dylan songs "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again" (Chan has covered the Bard before. "Kingsport Town" appears on Covers and "Knocking on Heavens Door" on Speaking for Trees). Catch the lovely Ms. Marshall in the 'sick' video for "Lived in Bars" below.

Cat Power- I Found A Reason
Cat Power- Salty Dog

Thursday, September 27, 2007

nu musick: the Flaming Lips

"Rainbows, Oh you Never Really Know"

The new The Flaming Lips track leaked and it's titled "I Was Zapped By the Lucky Super Rainbow." The song will fit nicely alongside other Lips gems like "Yoshimi Versus the Pink Robots", "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate", and their SpongeBob Squarepants classic "Spongebob & Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall of Energy." Needless to say, it's psychedelic.

And if you've never seen them live, please, plllllllease do yourself a favor and get on that. You won't need a handful of hallucinogenics but it can't hurt.

The Flaming Lips- I Was Struck By the Lucky Super Rainbow

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

done did it again: James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem)

When it comes to obscure tech-y disco theres only one man for the job; James Murphy. The Murph, one of Jersey's finest, has made it safe for rock kids to twist and shake for years as a DJ and more recently with his ass-kicking LCD Soundsystem. Hell, he introduced Daft Punk to the rock kids. He did it at CBGB's. And everybody thought it was crazy. With that in mind it's no surprise that famed London nightclub Fabric asked the Head of DFA to dig into his massive crates for the 36th installment of their Fabriclive series. If you've been following Murphy and LCD Soundsystem you know that the guy loves four on the floor beats and a shit ton of cowbell, then you are well prepared for Murphy and partner Pat Mahoney's livemix for Fabric, which culls from obscure disco hits, synth funk and a couple new DFA joints (Still Going's "Still Going Theme" & LCD's terrifically titled "Hippie Priest Bum-Out"). As with his DFA work, this shits all about funky beats and oscillating rhythms. If you recognize anything on this mix consider yourself a disco-genius. If you're a fan of LCD's 45:33 or either of the DFA remix compilations (and I know you are), be sure to snag a copy of Fabric.Live 36 when it drops on October 10th. Peep two of my favorite tracks below.

Monday, September 24, 2007

CMJ preview: Georgie James

"We Were Walking/ Back In My Evil Days"

NYC's CMJ Music Marathon kicks off in a few weeks and while we're still patiently waiting for an official schedule, a few dates have leaked and we couldn't be more excited. While the lineup is heavy on synthesizers and drum machines, there is still hope for boys and girls with guitars. One of the bands I'm most excited to catch is Georgie James. The Washington D.C. duo, which features former Q and Not U member John Davis, crafts rhythmically bouncy rock and roll of the best kind, soulful power pop. "Cake Parade" is like something off Rilo's More Adventurous. While "Need Your Needs" is a Rosebuds-y hand clap fueled groovy rocker that'll make you shake it even when you think you cannot possibly shake it anymore. Georige James will make you rattle your pig tails from side to side like a cold-war era adolescent. Sleepover jams indeed. Get ready for a pillowfight with Georgie James. Check them out 10/20 at the Mercury Lounge with Professor Murder and the Harlem Shakes, among others.

Georgie James- Need Your Needs
Georgie James- Cake Parade

nu musik: edIT

"Unify to Elevate"

Edward Ma's edIT moniker couldn't be more self-explanatory: his music is a collage of different styles stitched together in painstaking detail to create what he hears to be "hip-hop in the future." Urb magazine pinned him as one of the "Next 100" artists to watch in 2006, and it seems that edIT is ready to live up to the hype.

A far cry from his downbeat debut (2004's Crying Over Pros for No Reason), edIT's sophomore effort is "upbeat, energetic and impossibly complex" with the sound lying somewhere in between IDM, glitch-hop, and French electro. Entitled Certified Air Raid Material, his goal for the music is twofold: showing the world that there is "no more need for bombs, violence, fear and negativity" while at the same time using the music "to release all of those aggressions on the dancefloor."

Listen to a track below and purchase the album October 9 courtesy of Alpha Pup Records. Also be sure to catch edIT on tour as 1/3 of The Glitch Mob, opening for STS9 this coming Saturday at the Nokia Theater in Times Square.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Starring: Chamillionaire and Chamillionaire

Peter Sellers did it. Mike Myers did it. Nowadays it seems everybody's doing it. From local television commercials to major motion pictures, the increased accesibility of low-budget visual effects has led us to an all-important question. Why be in a video when you can have five of you in a video?

In Chamillionaire's sassy double video for "Hip-Hop Police" and "The Evening News" (below) Cham and partner-in-crime Slick Rick play multiple characters, often confronting one another, eh, I mean, themselves. Judging by the song's lyrics, this concept is no stretch. The vereses were designed to play as conversations between policemen and the rappers.

For another take on this post-modern fad, check out Chromeo's video for "Rage" (below) off their 2004 debut, She's in Control. In this case, Chromeo's Dave-1 and P-Thugg are responsible for all the sounds and instruments on the track, so why not have them play all the intruments in the video?

Friday, September 21, 2007

more swedish music: Club 8

"Cuz I Need Heaven Just Like You"

No not S Club 7 or 8-Ball, Club 8 is among the elite elders of the swedish indie pop community (and what a sweet, sincere community it is). And yes, for the 74th time, WE LOVE SWEDISH MUSIC. Club 8 apparently claim some hypothetical indie rock homecoming king and queen title in their native land. To be quite honest I'd never heard of them 'til last week (shows what I know). Coincidently, their phenomenally titled The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming, their 8th LP, drops next Tuesday in Sveden (November 13th in the States). While the band is known for mellow-electronic dance cuts and a similar downtempo bossanova/trip-hop vibe, "Heaven" is jangly funk guitar complete with maracas and bongo's and pogo friendly rhythm that brings to mind fellow Swedes Peter Bjorn & John's whistl-tastic "Young Folks." With that morsel in your brain, Club 8 have been hustlin' Stockholm and surrounding areas since PB&J were eating PB&J. Yeah, thats lame, but seriously, Club 8's Johan Angergard runs the prolific Swedish label Labrador and has been playing music with the sexy, coy Karolina Komstedt since 1995 (Remember '95? Dookie and Suburban Grunge. Good times). Already a mixtape staple for late summer/early fall. Not gonna lie, I wish the new Rilo Kiley sounded a bit like this, but hey, you cant always get what you want. Dig "Heaven" below and peep the video of one of Club 8's biggest hits to date, "Missing You." (Warning: "Missing You" is a little cheesy, in the realm of Ween's "Friends" & the few unsincere moments in Sally Shapiro songs, but regardless it's kinda catchy).

Oh, yeah and John and Karolina are ridiculously, ridiculously good looking. Like almost obscenely good looking.

Club 8- Heaven

Thursday, September 20, 2007

back at it: Jay-Z

"He who does not feel me is not real to me"

The New York Times reported today that Jay-Z is busy in the studio recording an album inspired by the soon-to-be-released American Gangster.

The film (directed by Ridley Scott and starring Denzel Washington) is based on the true story of Frank Lucas, an early 1970s Harlem heroin kingpin (see below). Says Jay: “It immediately clicked with me.... It was like I was watching the film, and putting it on pause, and giving a back story to the story." The film hits theaters on November 2, with Jay-Z's album being released in conjunction.

"This is the genesis of a nemesis
Mother America’s not witnessed since
the Harlem Renaissance
birthed black businesses"

American Gangster

Jay-Z and Timbaland in the Studio, circa 2003

Monday, September 17, 2007

electro-hop: Eliot Lipp

"Jermaine Dupri meets Aphex Twin"

Where would Eliot Lipp be today without his trusted Korg MS-20? This vintage snyth (pictured above), along with his Sequential Circuits gear, has helped to define his signature sound, a heady mix of underground rap, classic electro, 70's fusion, drrty funk, and 90's techno, just to name a few.

Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington (and since a resident of Chicago, San Francisco, LA, and now Brooklyn), Lipp got his break in 2004 when Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73) happened across his demo. Soon after, Lipp's self-titled debut hit the streets on Herren's own Eastern Developments label, earning much deserved critical acclaim. Since then, Lipp has released LPs on Hefty Records and Metatronix, while in the meantime creating a slew of EPs and mixtapes and touring relentlessly.

To get an idea of his original sound, check out the tracks posted below and then head over to his MySpace. Purchase Eliot Lipp albums here.

Eliot Lipp- Live from the Trilogy Lounge (recorded March 17, 2007)
Eliot Lipp- Flashlight (from the Steele Street Scraps EP)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bobkast #3

For our third installment, enjoy some funky beats and swift lyrics courtesy of the last millenium. Be sure to check out Children of the Corn (Big L's group featuring neighborhood friends Ma$e and Cam'ron), Boogie Down Productions (KRS-One's first group), and Diggin' in the Crates (Lord Finesse, Fat Joe, Big L, Diamond D). Oh, and Cube's "No Vaseline" is also considered the greatest diss track of all time.

Brick - Dazz
Ice Cube - No Vaseline
Kris Kross - Warm it Up (Dupri's Mix)
Biggie & Sinatra - Everyday Struggle (A Day in the life of a Fool)
NWA - Express Yourself
Brand Nubian - Don't Let it Go to Your Head
Slick Rick - Street Talkin' (feat Outkast)
Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth - Back To Back Rhyming (feat Andre the Giant)
Children of the Corn - Doin' It
DITC - Dignified Soldiers (Street Remix)
Big L - I Don't Understand It
Boogie Down Productions - Poetry

Download Here

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

supergroup: American Babies

"Broken English keeps pushing us back to the start"

Before I get going there's a few things I'd like to clear up...

Pronunciation: 'sü-p&r-"grüp
Function: noun
: a rock group made up of prominent former members of other rock groups

Basically, if you've ever been in a band and found any level of success, by joining or starting another band with members with similar backgrounds you've automatically become a supergroup. I bet half the bands you listen to are supergroups and you might not even know it. With that aside, every member of American Babies has played in a band, well, a few bands, and, well, plenty of side-projects. By definition American Babies is a supergroup, but I will never again mention them as one.


Here's the skinny:

American Babies is:
Tom Hamilton (Brother's Past)
Scott Metzger (RANA)
Sir Joe Russo (Fat Mama, The Duo)
Jim Hamilton
Kevin Kendrick (Fat Mama)

[conversation between my 5-disc and American Babies CD]

5-Disc: Whoa. Where do you think you're going?
American Babies: In the cd player.
5-D: Your name?
AB: American Babies
5-D: Never heard of you. What's your genre?
AB: Alt country I guess. Americana perhaps.
5-D: Hmm. I've already got the new Ryan Adams cd. What do you sound like?
AB: Wistful, at times bluesy, and often rockin'. Why don't you see for yourself?

The above conversation took place 10 days ago....American Babies hasn't left my 5-Disc since.

American Babies, despite it's band size, has a very compact country sound. Their debut is excetional, and should pleasantly surprise any alt-country fans. "Invite Your Friends" is a super-solid track, opens the album, and in essence, introduces you to the band. American Babies is touring all month long, so check out their dates.

American Babies - Invite Your Friends

done did it again: Jens Lekman

"You're a Drop of Blood in My Milk"

Well its been a few days since we've written anything about Jens Lekman, which means one of two things; either A) you're sick of hearing about freakin' Jens Lekman (and Sweden in general) or B) you simply can't get enough. While I can't speak for everyone, it's fairly obvious that I, Michael Peter McGregor, am a Jens-o-phile. It's true, I have to get my hands on everything this guy creates with his witty, meloncholic, romantic, er, hands. Anyway, this is the bonus digital release for Night Falls Over Kortedala and it plays as a farewell concert for one that Jens gave to his apartment as a farewell gift. The digital-only release kicks off with a cover of Paul Simon's Graceland classic 'Homeless' and meanders with Kortedala standouts "Friday Night at the Bingo Drive-In," "Shirin," "I'm Leaving You (Because I Don't Love You) and, my personal favorite, "A Postcard to Nina", which contains a play-by-play breakdown of the tunes drama (which is about a Germanic lesbian who asks Jens to pretend to be her boyfriend so her father won't realize she is gay. Listen as the comedy unfolds. OH NO!). In typical Jens fashion the song is a witty, refreshingly straight forward exploration of generational gaps, gender roles and awkward moments. Boy, that Jens Lekman, he's a charmer. Pre-order Kortedala here

Jens Lekman- Kalendervagen 113. D

Monday, September 10, 2007

DFA: Still Going Theme

"Piano House Revival"

DFA Records has secured the exclusive license to the soon-to-be-anthemic single from NYC electronic duo Still Going. While the 12" doesn't officially hit the streets until September 25, the title track, Still Going Theme, has been enjoying some healthy buzz ever since James Murphy spun it at last years DFA Holiday party. Since then it was featured on Lindstrom & Prins Thomas' acclaimed Essential Mix, and will be included on LCD Soundsystem's much-anticipated FABRICLIVE 36 mix.

The piano propelled track is an instant crowd pleaser and according to Fact Magazine will "make even the darkest, grimiest nightclub feel like the sun-splashed pool party of your dreams" and convince the listener that "life is fundamentally good." Decide for yourself by listening here, and purchase a full, digital copy here.

Link removed by request.

Friday, September 7, 2007

nu musik: Enon

Two months after popular music lost one it's most adored benefactors (The Notorious B.I.G.) underground music lost one of their own: Brainiac's Tim Taylor. Taylor died in a car accident in May of '97 following the release of Brainiac's most ambitious EP, Electro Shock For President. At the time Brainiac was working on their major label debut for Interscope Records and had found recent sucess playing Lalapalooza, opening for Beck, and working with the Pixies' Kim Deal on their EP Internationale.

The group disbanded after Taylor's death and Brainiac second-in-command John Schmersal went on to form electro-noise trio Enon. In a Wilco-esq fashion, Enon's line-up changed slightly following each release. The band added female bassist / vocalist Toko Yasuda prior to releasing the critically acclaimed High Society in 2002. Enon's newest album, Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds, marks their first album of new material since 2003's Hocus Pocus. In stores October 9th, Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds will also be Enon's first followup with the same lineup.

Grass Geysers... is perhaps the most focused of Enon's releases. The song lengths haven't changed, but their directness has. They still sound like the Pixies' second cousin. This time around, Toko's vocals are more pop-oriented and at times she sounds like VV of The Kills. Overall, Grass Geysers... is an excellent album that should excite Enon fans almost as much as a live show. Well, ok, not quite. Did I mention that Enon's known for their live shows? Well they are. They're touring this fall so check 'em out.

Enon - Sabina [from Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds]
Enon - In The City [from 2002's High Society]

mmm warm vinyl: Dr. Dog

"I Hope There's Love At The End of Your Day To Take You Away"

I will start by apologizing for not having written anything about Dr. Dog's phenomenal mystery tour masquerade We All Belong. It's been on of the most enjoyable releases of 2007 and I feel bad for not mentioning it more often. However, I'm gonna make up for that right now. When the Philly based psych-popsters dropped We All Belong in February they packaged it with a special limited edition 7 inch exclusively at select independent record stores nationwide. Luckily Burlington's Pure Pop is straight legit and hooked me up with a copy. A good friend transfered these fuzzy 8-track gems for all to hear. Enjoy the A & B sides. Real gems.

Dr. Dog- Goner
Dr. Dog- I Hope There's Love

Thursday, September 6, 2007

prevue: Booka Shade- DJ Kicks

"Move Out / Don't Mess Around"

Nowadays it seems like everyone and their mother are jumping on the mixtape bandwagon, making it difficult to sort through the crap to find the worthwhile gems. Long considered to be one of the jewels of the genre, !K7's DJ-KiCKS series has consistently delivered the goods over the years and now carries the well-deserved reputation of purveyors of top quality mixes. Since 1995, the DJ-KiCKS series has sought out the hottest names in electronic music (including Bobka faves Hot Chip and Erlend Øye) to craft exclusive mixes targeted towards the home listening audience.

The latest DJ-KiCKS comes courtesy of Berlin-based electrohouse wizards Booka Shade. Founders of the successful Get Physical label, Booka Shade are more accustomed to producing and remixing tracks rather than simply spinning other artists, which made this mix even more of a challenge. And like every mixtape crafter, Booka Shade were forced to strike a balance between finding obscure tracks to make their mix unique, while not sacrificing the overall pacing and cohesiveness simply to prove how large their record collection is. In response to the challenge, Booka Shade have created a strong and well-balanced product. The tracklist is eclectic yet focused (mostly new-wavey tech-house with a few curveballs) and the mixing itself is nearly seamless. The flow and pace keep the listener engaged, but isn't overly demanding. Simply put, this mix is one of the gems, and proves why DJ-KiCKS is a reliable name and how Booka Shade got to the top of their field. Check out a three track sample below and look for the album in stores October 22.

DJ-KiCKS Preview mixed by Booka Shade
Yazoo- Situation (US 12" Remix)
Akiko Kiyami- The Misida Monarchy
Lopazz- 2 Fast 4 U

this is just a tribute: Arthur Russell

"I'm A Little Lost Without You"

Jens Lekman , whose Night Falls Over Kortedala is a breath of fresh summer swedish disco pop, compiled this four song tribute to avant-garde cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, who collaborated with David Byrne, Phillip Glass & Allen Ginsberg (just to name a few). Unfortunately, in 1992 Russell fell ill with the AIDS virus and, as Kyle Gann of the Village Voice wrote, "vanished into the music." Jens and some friends, including the enchanting Victoria Bergman of Taken By Trees, put this compilation together as a tribute to a true one of a kind. More on Arthur Russell soon.

Jens Lekman- A Little Lost
Taken By Trees- Make 1, 2


Those cats at the Hood Internet done did it again. This time they bring in all of our favorites. Literally. R. Kelly, Jens Lekman, and Kid Rock! I can honestly say that I've listened to Jens joyously weep over "If I Could Cry (It Would Feel Like This" a shit load of times, and never, not once thought about Kels. God bless the Hood Internet.

ABX- If I Could Rock (It Would Feel Like This)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

done did it again: Diplo

"And Take Your Money"

Diplo done did it again, this time as the second installment in Pitchfork's new mix series. Think Jamaica and Bombs. "Paper Planes" with Bun B and Rich Boy, off the chain. "Drain You"/"Pop Lock & Drop It," are you fo' real??!! More interplanetary 808 fueled head-bangers from a dude we all know ain't never scurrrrrrrred. Also, peep the behind the scenes, best buds(?) youtube video Wes & Maya made while working on "Paper Planes."

Download & read what Diplodocus has to say about his P4K Mix

01. I Like Turtles
02. Mr. Vegas: "Lean Wit It"
03. M.I.A. [ft. Bun B and Rich Boy]: "Paper Planes"
04. Schooly D: "Gucci Time"
05. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "Rockers to Swallow"
06. Jellybean: "Sidewalk Talk"
07. Belle Stars: "Iko Iko"
08. Scala & Kolacny Brothers: "Heartbeats"
09. Diplo & Switch [ft. Elephant Man]: "East, West (Remix)"
10. Nirvana: Drain You / Huey: "Pop, Lock & Drop It"
11. Marc Houle: "Bay of Figs (Ward 21 Mix)"
12. DJ Tamiel: "Bump Like This"
13. Queen [ft. David Bowie]: "Under Pressure"
14. Eddie Money: "Take Me Home Tonight"
15. Soulja Boy: "Crank Dat Superman"
16. Bat for Lashes: "What's a Girl to Do (Break)"
17. DJ Shadow: "Organ Donor (Sandrinho Remix)"
18. Diplo & Switch [ft. Beenie Man]: "Solta Frango"
19. Mr. Vegas: "Hot Fuk (Diplo Mix)"
20. Enur [ft. Natasja]: "Calabria (2007 mix)"
21. Spoon: "Paper Tiger"
22. Circle Children: "Zulu"
23. M.I.A. [ft Akon]: "Boyz Remix (Hi Powered Boyz Get Down)"
24. Boy 8 Bit: "Suspense Is Killing Me"
25. KW Griff: "Tony's Back"
26. Diplo: "Work Is Never Over"
27. M.I.A: "Bamboo Banger"
28. Sizzla: "Bamboo Banger (Dubplate)"
29. Blaqstarr: "Supastarr"
30. Shai: "If I Ever Fall in Love Again (Dub)"
31. Orbital: "Halcyon"
32. LA Priest: "Engine (Erol Alkan Remix)"
33. Petter: "Some Polyphony"
34. Rihanna: "Umbrella (Vandalism Mix)"
35. Justice: "Phantom Pt. II (Soulwax Mix)"
36. The White Stripes: "Little Cream Soda"
37. ZZT: "Lower State of Consciousness"
38. Kia Shine: "Crispy"
39. Bart Simpson: "Bartman (So Kripsy Mix)"

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Think John Berryman Was Right

"I'd Like to Start This One off By Saying Live & Love"

On a frigid January morning in Minneapolis in 1972 John Berryman, confessional poet and University of Minnesota professor, waved to morning commuters on the Washington Avenue Bridge and hurled himself into the wind. While poetry and suicide go together like PB & J, Berryman's case is interesting as it resonates with artists today. Last year Minnesota natives The Hold Steady immortalized Berryman (and Kerouac) in "Stuck Between Stations":
The Devil and John Berryman took a walk together
They ended up on Washington talking to the river
He said "I surrounded myself with doctors and deep thinkers
But big heads with soft bodies make for lousy lovers".
There was that night that we thought that John Berryman could fly.
But he didn't so he died.
She said "you're pretty good with words but words won't save your life"
And they didn't so he died

More recently Okkervil River, whose singer/songwriter Will Sheff spent his college years at Macalester in Minneapolis, conclude The Stage Names with "John Allyn Smith Sails," a confessional about Berryman's plight into the next world, that incorporates the Beach Boys "Sloop John B" in its cadence. After the band's last tour, Sheff found himself in Minneapolis after a freewheelin' road trip. He had this to say about his experience:
I wanted to go to the Washington Avenue Bridge, which is the bridge John Berryman jumped off of. I went there and I was standing in that same place where he was and I was thinking a lot about him. It was a really bitterly cold day, and it had been a really bitterly cold day when he killed himself in January 1972. And I went to the library where all of his books and a lot of his effects are stored. I was thinking a lot about that and it was, though it sounds corny, a very moving experience for me. After that I was listening to music and thinking about John Berryman and thinking about a lot of different things….There's a part of A Night of Serious Drinking where he talks about the inescapable velocity of the suicide, or something like that, where you might think halfway down, "Wait a second, I've made a bad decision."

No doubt Berryman's legacy haunts some of the most profound, poetic lyricist of our time. Evidence below.

R.I.P John.

The Hold Steady- Stuck Between Stations
Okkervil River- John Allyn Smith Sails

Hip-Hop Review

"Baby girl, you and me / need to go to your teepee"

Timbaland - Hello (feat Keri Hilson & Attitude)
As Graduation and Curtis go head to head next Tuesday, Timbaland, for once, is flying under the radar. Timbo wil release a 2-CD Deluxe Edition of Shock Value. The second disc featrures three "Way I Are" remixes, a remix of "Give it To Me" (feat Jay-Z), and the addictive Mia track "Come Around". Disc one features the Bonus track "Hello" feat Keri Hilson & Attitude. Why this track was left off Shock Value, I do not know.

Talib Kweli - Country Cousins (feat UGK & Raheem DeVaughn)
If you enjoy listening to hip-hop while sipping lemonade outside, download this track.

Aesop Rock - The Harbor is Yours
For any fan of Definitive Jux, or eccentric lyricism, Aesop's newest release None Shall Pass is pure Aesop start to finish. On "The Harbor is Yours" Aesop drops his usual philosophical lyrics above a tight sounding space-jazz afro-beat.

Chamilionaire - Hip-Hop Police (feat Slick Rick)
Fun fact: Like Will Smith, Chamillionaire doesn't cuss on his tracks.
Unlike Will Smith, Chamillionaire raps, and on this track, raps hard. When I saw this track on Sirius a few weeks back, I tuned in for one reason: Slick Rick the Ruler. And the Ruler doesn't disapoint. Perhaps a Nate Dogg / Dr. Dre. rip-off, "Hip-Hop Police" is fresh, catchy, and, of course, features Slick Rick crushing it. If Eminem wants to stage a legitmate come-back, this would be a great remix to drop a sick verse. Perhaps that's just wishful thinking.

UGK - Next Up / Stop-n-Go / Candy / Quit Hatin' The South
Fresh out the slammer, UGK's Pimp C and Bun B have delivered hard. This album is too damn good to pick a favorite. Plus there's like 30 something tracks. If you haven't bought this album yet, stop reading. Go buy it.

Percee P - 2 Brothers From the Gutter (feat Diamond D)
As Stones Throw continues their marathon year, Percee P releases his first album, almost 20 years after his first single. "2 Brothers From the Gutter" features, above all, a Contra sample. Nuff said.

Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothing
If you were planning on purchasing Graduation for the sole purpose of ending 50 Cent's solo career, I'm afraid it's not gonna happen. 50 retracted his comments about retiring if he were outsold. That aside, you can purchase Graduation for the sole purpose that it is awesome.

Timbaland - Hello (feat Keri Hilson & Attitude)
Percee P - 2 Brothers From the Gutter (feat Diamond D)PROMO VERSION

Sunday, September 2, 2007

juzt in: Beirut- The Flying Club Cup

"All I Wanted was the Best for Our Lives My Dear"

Beirut (aka Zach Condon) is quite the marvel. At 20 he helped resuscitate gypsy music. Now 21, and legally allowed to get hammered and belt Grizzly Bear's "Knife" in the States, he is on the verge of reinventing classical French pop by fusing it with ukulele based indie folk. His new record, The Flying Club Cup (out October 9th on Ba Da Bing!), builds on the grandiose arrangements of last years Gulag Orkestar while trading many (but not all) of his Balkan influences for a bevy of traditional Parisian sounds. In Zach's own words:
I was listening to a lot of Jacques Brel and French chanson music-- pop songs shrouded in big, glorious, over-the-top arrangements and all this drama-- and that was in some sense unfamiliar territory to me. So I started buying new instruments and relying on things I wasn't necessarily comfortable with, like French horns and euphoniums, carrying these big, epic big brass parts that I used to do all on trumpets, and working with accordion and organ instead of all ukulele-- very much throwing myself in the world of classical pop music, I guess you could say.

Like Gulag Orkester, much of the Flying Club Cup's theme and color are derived from an old photo Condon discovered. On Gulag Orkestar it was a photo of two Russian girls on a highway beside a car (see here). This time his inspiration was a "very bizarre 1910 Leon Gimpel. It's one of the first color photos ever made, at the World's Fair, and it...shows all these ancient hot air balloons about to take off in the middle of Paris."

After a few spins I've really taken to the first two tracks (if you dont count track 00). "Nantes" and "A Sunday Smile" (the first single) are quintessential Beirut, showcasing Condon's soaring voice and uber-romanticism, with lines like "It's been a long time, long time now/Since I've seen you smile" and "All I wanted was the best for our lives my dear/And You know my wishes are sincere." Take a listen below, and be sure to check out Zach's wine-wandering tour of Paris while crooning "Knife."

Beirut- Nantes
Beirut- A Sunday Smile