Saturday, April 26, 2008

Madlib - The Other Side: Los Angeles (2007)

Madlib again. This time he surveys with the aid of DJ Peanut Butter Wolf. This album was promo-ed in a tourism guide which featured these two's favorite spots to hit in L.A. Madlib and DJ Peanut Butter Wolf also wanted to promote the pair's label Stones Throw. It is a mixture of some of Madlib's side projects and his associates/colleagues. The result is booty shaking and topical album that is sure to keep attention and impress. Madlib has a vision and it is one of a kind. From "Shades of Blue" to "Madvillain", (Both posted here on the site), it seems he can never strike out. This is prepackaged fun, thoughtfulness and excellence ready for your party needs. Keep a look out for J Dilla's "Donuts" coming soon. J Dilla is also featured on this jewel. Spring is here. Let's celebrate.


Friday, April 25, 2008

The D0d0$ - Vi$iter (2008)

Wow, When two guys can create the sound of a full band, and keep it rocking through 14 tracks, you gotta give props. This duo is a Frisco based band with the intent to rock hard. But, don't be intimidated, because the primary instruments are an acoustic guitar and a thundering drum kit- which is similar to a normal kit, but it hit a turbo pack somewhere along the way- wink wink Stepan Troflimovich Verkohvensky.

This is my favorite album of '08 so far. It is easy to love, immediately magnetic, and sincere the whole way. The lyrics are meaningful, the vocals shared and boyishly innocent; and gravity never had to work so hard to keep these guys from blasting-off to outer space. It is as exciting as a game of "Hot Potatoes". Really, if you've ever played, you know; It's really exciting. Hold on as long as you can...

Link Part 1
Link Part 2

Fugees - The Score (1996)

The birth of conscious rap to mainstream America...

And, as my Czech B-Girls said last night, "To je stare, ale to je klasik."

Yes, it is old, but it is a classic.

For those souls who haven't listened to this record:
Expect strong lyrics, a call for consciousness in African American society and melodic loops and hooks. Ignore your perception of Wyclef, which is undoubtedly a myopia of "Gone till November". Instead, appreciate his foreign Haitian struggles which are ironically cozy in contemporary America. Let Lauryn Hill fascinate you with her poised quips and didactic wisdom, and let Pras' street smarts lend a hand to your naivety.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Paavoharju - Yha Hamaraa (2005)

Ambient Finnish music that could have been made in the stretches of uncharted milky ways, but was composed in the darkness of a Finnish winter. The lyrics are indecipherable unless you're a Finnophone, though the proximity is intimate throughout. Upon first listen you can't place the geographic origins of this collective. I thought it was Indian based on the howling archaic soul sung throughout the album and the unfamiliar text of the title. This is easy to feel and get close to. I found myself putting the album on repeat after the first listen. It makes you want to transcend space and time- well, time not space...


Monday, April 14, 2008

Rage Against the Machine - Evil Empire (1996)

This album is why I read Ralph Ellison, Franz Fanon, and George Jackson's Prison Letters.

You may have listened to this. You may have scoffed at the alternative, funny haired, rebellious kids who aggrandize RATM. But did you really listen? Did you hear the message beyond the angst and furious instrumentals? The intellectual force and searing pleas for political, economic and cultural awareness couldn't be more important than in 2008. I doubt this album could have been released post 9/11 in the US. Consumers were warned of the dangers of US criticism. A nation who has lost respect for its leaders (money holders) is bound to fall. Shut up and assume it is all for the best. You can still lease a Hummer.

"Fuck the G-Ride, I want the machines that are making them" -Zach de la Rocha


Flip this capital eclipse
Tha vocal tone has got 'em sweatin' their own apocalypse
Yes, rebel of tha grains stand masterless
Tha masked ones cap one
NAFTA comin' with tha new disaster
And yes we in wit tha wind an tha plan de Ayala kin
Are comin' back around again
Tha slave driver saliva, one night power turns
Them devils mouths dry, now Mexico burns
So here they come one by one them killers of the new frontier
Occupy, causin' fear, come on
Wit the wind

We in wit the wind below
Wit the wind

Flip this capital eclipse
Them bury life wit IMF shifts, and poison lips
Yo they talk it, while slicin' our veins yo so mark it
From the FINCAS overseers, to them vultures playin' markets
She ain't got nothin' but weapon and shawl
She is Chol, Tzotzil, Tojolobal, Tzeltal
The tools are her tools, Ejidos and ovaries
She once suffocated, now through a barrel she breathes
She is the wind below
The wind
She is the wind below

And all the shareholders gonna flex, and try ta annex the truth
While the new trust is gonna flex, and cast their image in you
Yeah all the shareholders gonna flex, and try ta annex the truth
And while the new trust tries ta flex, and cast their image in you
And GE is gonna flex and try and annex the truth
And NBC is gonna flex and cast their image in you
And Disney bought the fantasies and piles of eyes
And ABC's new thrill rides of trials and lies
And while the gut eaters strain to pull the mud from their mouths
They force our ears to go deaf to the screams in the south
But we in wit the wind below!
But we in wit the wind below!
But we in wit the wind below!

For more lyrics click here.

Evil Empire is here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dr. Dog - Easy Beat (2005)

The Philadelphia rock outfit Dr. Dog are an infectious mixture of coolness and certainty. This is the first album released officially allowing it to be described as "debut". The songs are varied in style except for the universal character of being recorded at home on an 8track. This gives the album a sense of antiquity, and nodding to the obvious influence of 60's/70's rock in sound and instrumentals, one must also appreciate the contemporary fix of disorganization and playfulness that satisfies our need for deconstruction. No Shit.

This album is highly recommended.


DJ Muggs vs GZA - Grandmasters (2005)

Muggs provides an ominous time and space for none other than the GZA to lay down his intellect on this record. The title speaks not only of the pairs commitment to remaining 'above' the competition intellectually, but in strategy. The repetitious references to chess made by the GZA throughout his career are a signifier to his intellectual commitment and his timelessness. Like chess, which has been played for two thousand years, the GZA will continue to influence hip-hop immeasurably into the future. This album educates. However, despite the GZA's omnipresent intellect, Muggs remains present in this record. His beats remind one of the determination a good DJ has. Without his production skills, the record wouldn't elicit the anxiety that is felt on Grandmasters. It is an anxiety of having something incomprehensible in scope- one isn't sure of all the consequences from learning the truth in this cultural artifact. Heads bob.