» LATEST FEATURES
LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
MUSIC» The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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!
LA via New Orleans, Austin, and New York duo Gotham Green and DJ Quickie Mart's new mixtape, The Haze Diaries Volume 2, will never receive the hype of say, Lil' Wayne's No Ceilings. But that's just not fair, since the two have made an ultimately more satisfying listening experience. Which would you rather hear--Wayne rapping over a Black Eyed Peas beat or Gotham trading verses with Freddie Gibbs on "Nice As I Am"? You know the right answer. Other guests on this unabashed underground effort include Malkovich, SumKid, and iamOmni, but the star attraction is QM's hard-hitting production and Gotham's versatile repertoire of rhymes.
DJ Quickie Mart also has a solo album out, a mash-up ala Girl Talk, of rock, hip-hop, and electronic music called Brain Salad Surgery. You'll recognize the Purple Ribbon All Stars, Timbaland, INXS, Björk, Billy Joel, and Lil' Wayne, among many, many others thrown into this seamless mix. Sure, it works, but I'm not sure what the point is. It's a good party mix, but these ADD-style blends have been done before. I'll take Quickie Mart's work with Gotham Green over this any day.
Freeway's new mixtape, The Beat Made Me Do It, hosted by the belligerent Don Cannon and produced by Jake One, is nice. Simple as that. He'll be enhancing the Rhymesayers roster in 2010, an improvement the label was long overdue for. If this mix is representative, we're in for funk and soul-sampling beats, and Freeway's confident rasp bashing out various thoughts and feelings. Bring it on.
Super Chron Flight Brothers are back with a new mixtape, Deleted Scenes. This NYC crew flummoxes expectations and destroys concepts of underground hip-hop with their sinister beats and loquacious rhymes. It's hard to figure out exactly what they are up to, but that's what makes their music so interesting. Whether free-associating over classic rock riffs ("Headband") or matching snare hits with their cadence and puncutation, SCFB's Def Jux-on-acid style is biting and spooky. Guests include Cannibal Ox, Invizzibl Men, and Junclassic.
The first thing that comes to mind when listening to Neal Rames and Ill Mondo's new self-titled album is N2Deep. I can't help it; Rames' voice just immediately makes me think of "Back to the Hotel." That being said, the crisp, funky beats complement his rhymes, as well as those of Percee P, Sean Price, and Prince Po, three of the guests who help keep the album's momentum flowing.
Idle Warship is a new group comprised of Talib Kweli, Res, and Graph Nobel, and their new mixtape, Party Robot (mixed by Mick Boogie), is out now. This is an interesting effort, to say the least--a mixture of '80s rock, hip-hop, Portishead-style downtempo, electro, and funk infuses the mix with unique character and innovation. While Kweli handles the rhymes, his two compatriots sing a variety of hooks and verses (Graph also does a little rhyming). If you're looking for something off the beaten path, you can find it here.
Mick Boogie and Terry Urban brought you the De La Soul tribute, Le Da Soul: 20 Years of De La Soul, last month. Artists like Kardinall Offishall, Phife Dawg, Big Pooh, and Talib Kweli reinterpret classic tracks from throughout De La's career, including "Breakadawn," "Ego Trippin'," and "Stakes is High." Any De La fan needs to check this one out.
Whiz Khalifa's new album, Deal Or No Deal (Rostrum), fails to live up to the online hype that's been bandied about since he parted ways with his former label, Warner Brothers. Many of the songs here sound like could-have-been singles for any major label looking to make an impact in commercial label--from the AutoTune-infused "Lose Control" to any other r'n'b-dosed song on the album. That being said, the album takes hip-hop's newest love affair with Euro-tech sounds to a new level--remove Khalifa's vocals from many of these tracks, and they'd be very popular as the night-ender at Stockholm's cheesiest club. Still, his fan base remains strong.
A few years ago, Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture paired up members of the Wu with a plethora of independent-minded MC's. Last month, Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture Vol. 2: Enter The Dubstep (iHiphop Distribution) was released. This is really not a Wu-Tang release at all, since the stars of the show are the various dubstep DJs who remix and rework a bunch of previously released material. Rogue Star, Matt U, DZ, and Chimpo are just some of the (most likely unknown to American audiences) DJ/producers who give these songs a grimy, gritty, dance-floor treatment. It works nicely, allowing you to revisit this material with a completely fresh perspective. It also harkens back to old-school jungle remixes of hip-hop which lit up clubs a decade ago.
Edan is back with a new mix CD, Echo Party (Five Day Weekend). Basically, Edan was granted complete access to Traffic Entertainment's back catalogue. The resulting work is a melange of old-school hip-hop and disco cuts interspersed with Edan playing a variety of instruments, cumulating in one single 30-minute mix. Sure, it's not exactly a new album of original work, but it still showcases the incredible talent of this "humble magnificent" producer/DJ/MC.
New York-based producer Blockhead's The Music Scene (Ninja Tune) is yet another emotive and epic instrumental endeavor from this unique beat-maker. I only have so much tolerance for listening to an hour's worth of beats; without the rhymes, my ADD kicks in quickly. That being said, Blockhead manages to jumble together an interesting variety of samples and breakbeats into something above and beyond the individual elements.
MiC K!NG and Chum's new album, Flavor Ade (Master Works Unlimited/Fake Four Inc.), is a lively effort of feel-good beats and positive rhymes. Even emo-rap kingpin Slug can't bog down the proceedings on the opening track, "Snake Oil." Songs like "I'm The Best Mayne," with its Paul Wall-inspired slo-mo vocal sample and "Wordperfect," featuring the talented Elzhi are aces in the hole. Check this one out.
OK, so Souls of Mischief have returned with a new album, Montezuma's Revenge (Heiro Imperium), produced entirely by Prince Paul and Domino. The crew recorded in a house north of San Francisco, immersing themselves in the process of trying to recapture that old "'93 Till" flavor. There are some amazing moments where they succeed--check the old-school bass sample on "Proper Aim" and the dusty groove of "Tour Stories." This is by far the best effort Souls of released in ages, and much of its success can be attributed to Paul's work. But the individual members--A Plus, Tajai, Phesto, and Opio--all sound as fresh and hungry as they did almost 15 years ago, even when they are rapping about stupid shit (sorry, "Postal" and even "Tour Stories" contain some tired subject matter: crazy girls, how trying touring can be, blah, blah). Nevertheless, fans of SOM will be pleased with this one.
That's all for now, so until next month… 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.
» MEDIA DOWNLOADS
» GOT STICKERS?
--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.