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MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
First of all, I want to say that this month is the two-year anniversary of Glaciers, so thanks to all the readers, artists, and labels for your comments and support. This shortened edition will cover both December and January, and we'll be back for more at the beginning of February with new releases from Del the Funky Homosapien, Mike Ladd, and more.
On a side note, I recently revisited House of Pain's self-titled debut album, and was reminded of just how important it was upon its release in 1992. Everlast has since gone on to a weak (and more successful) singer-songwriter solo career, but this album will probably be the most memorable thing he does in his career. DJ Lethal's Muggs-tutored beats are bumping and sometimes abstract, and songs like "Jump Around," "Put Your Head Out," and "Put on Your Shit Kickers" were the work of an early-'90s new school group that brought a Celtic swing to its hip-hop. If you haven't listened to this one for a while, it's time to brush off the dust and pull it out of the CD rack.
First up in the new releases… Substantial is big in Japan. No, this isn't a dig at this Extended Famm member (he's part of the group, along with PackFM and Session). It's the truth; his last album, …Unto this Union, was a bestseller at Tokyo Virgin Megastores. Well, his new one, Sacrifice (QN5 Music), is a competent effort, even though it probably won't be lighting up the underground anytime soon. There are a few tracks that come uncomfortably close to Outkast's experiments - "Chain Reaction" borrows the circus-like beat of "Land of a Million Drums" and "My Favorite Things" retreads the territory well worn by Andre 3000 on The Love Below. Still, Substantial's bass-y flow and the nice production that anchors this record make this one worth a listen.
Seems like Dipset member 40 Cal has been getting a lot of attention lately, and most of it is for a good reason. His new effort, Trigger Happy 2 (Templar Label Group), is a mixtape of sorts, consisting of all new material. While the notable tracks showcase Cal's verbal fire over some nice beats, such as "Do It Again" and "Right or Wrong," the missteps are enormous - see the horrible r'n'b beat-based "Keep On Movin'" and Dame Grease's synth-crap-fest of "He Ain't Real." Still, Cal's nice rhymes improve even the worst track, proof positive of his skill as an emcee.
Another emcee whose name has been on everyone's lips as of late is JR Writer. He's already been paying his hip-hop dues by appearing on mixtapes from Cam'ron, Juelz Santana, and Jim Jones, and now he's back with another part five of his Writers Block series (Babygrande). The album is chock-full of street anthems; grimy and somehow glittery and polished, as shimmering synths blaze over boom-bap beats. Check for "Dear Hip Hop," a love letter to the art, and "Runner," featuring samples of that cartoon running sound we're all familiar with from afternoons with Looney Tunes.
And finally, Ghostface has returned with yet another album that puts 75% of new releases to shame, The Big Doe Rehab (Def Jam). Right now it's streaming for free on the Def Jam website, so you can preview it here if you haven't had a chance to hear it yet (not sure how long it'll last online). Members of P Diddy's production team provide several of the beats on the album, but they keep the sound solidly within Ghost's well-trodden and preferred realm of old-school soul samples. Method Man and Raekwon put in a bunch of guest appearances, the latter keeping hope alive for Cuban Linx 2… While not as good as Fishscale, Big Doe definitely feels like a more complete effort than the odds-and-ends More Fish.
OK, that's all for now, so until February… e-mail with thoughts and insults, and send me yer shit! I'll listen to it. Glaciers is ghost like Casper.
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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