Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
George Michael - Freedom (Back To Reality Mix)
"I didn't think he'd do 'Freedom,' but then... BAM! second encore!" And if you get that one, Big Nerd prize for you! You get to touch my $160.00 ticket stub! This isn't the version Mr. Panayiotou closed his big American Airlines Center show with last Sunday, but it is an interesting one for the collection. Hopping on a dance trend about a dozen years ahead of everyone else, George takes the mash-up route for this mix of his hit single from 1990, mixing it with bits of Soul II Soul, Neneh Cherry, and Sinead O'Connor.
ABN feat. H.A.W.K. - Down In Texas
This week's release of the highly anticipated (at least in my head) re-teaming of Z-Ro and Trae for their first album-length Assholes By Nature project in five years has proven to be another strong Houston contender for consideration on any short list of rap albums of the year. An album of rolling trunk bangers and thug life tales that strongly recalls the glory days of West Coast G-funk, It Is What It Is is a strong dose of street medicine for hip hop's current Lil Wayne overdose refreshingly bereft of crossover pop appeal. Here, the titular Assholes raise the late H.A.W.K. for an unusually bleak example of the required Texas Rap Album Song About Texas.
Primal Scream - The Glory Of Love (Single Version)
Britain's greatest drug monkey survivors not named Keith Richards will be releasing their ninth studio album later this month, and unlike most new Primal Scream records, this one doesn't find them chasing a new sound like a pack of speed-addled David Bowies. If anything, Beautiful Future is an amalgamation of all their previous sounds with nods to clubby bliss-outs, tooth drill techno, Stonesy roots rock, and white boy swamp funk sitting with surprising ease next to (and occasionally on top of) each other. Trading dystopian paranoia for love-stoned good times, this lead single is one of the more straight forward guitar pop songs Primal Scream has ever released and an obvious fruit of the producer's chair being shared by Paul Epworth (Bloc Party and every other neuvo post-punk band) and Peter Björn and John's Björn (who it seems brought his hand claps along).
Kid Cudi - The Prayer
Another month, another 10 Deep sponsored mixtape from a blog rap Next Big Thing. This time the brass knuckles logo and commemorative t-shirt go to Cleveland's Kid Cudi, who, strangely enough for the genre, has actually released physical product prior to this in the form of his Day 'N' Nite single for A-Trak and Nick Catchdub's Fools Gold label (also home to blog rap crush object Kid Sister). I must admit A Kid Named Cudi isn't as consistently interesting and clever as Wale's 10 Deep collabo, The Mixtape About Nothing, but I would still 100% rather listen to it than the new G-Unit or Jim Jones & Byrdgang albums. On this track, Kid Cudi heads straight for Pitchfork's G-spot with the first rap tune (I feel I am pretty safe to say) built around a Band Of Horses sample. Download the mixtape for free or buy the t-shirt/CD party pack here.
Emynd - Oogum Boogum
Known by many in a certain segment of the hipster DJ community for being the official scourge of the white-ification of Bmore club as much as for his White Tees & White Belts party in Philadelphia, Emynd has finally taken his crusade to club mecca and released Philly 2 Bmore on the godfather Scottie B's Unruly Records. A release truly worthy of the Unruly seal of approval, Emynd showcases a number of the trends currently falling under the "club music" umbrella, while always staying true to the scene's more hard-edged underground roots. Even his hipster-bait 80s track turns Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" in to a Lil Jon-laced head bustin' anthem. The EP's highlight for me, though, is this slightly sweeter take on Brenton Wood's 1967 soul staple "Oogum Boogum Song," which already has club classic written all over it. Buy individual tracks or the full EP here.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Big Star - Thirteen (Live)
Yes, Snarky McSnarkston, I am well aware that espousing your love for Big Star is probably second only to introducing your moody teen cousin to The Velvet Underground in the list of Aging Hipster Clichés, but reading Robert Gordon's It Came From Memphis had me on a bit of an Alex Chilton kick this week. From million-selling teen pop idol to guiding force of one of the 70s' seminal cult bands in a half dozen years and all before the age of 24, it is hardly surprising that Chilton became one of the venerated saints of the 80s American indie underground. One can only hope that this is how Miley Cyrus' career will go. Hopefully, The Cramps will still be around for her to produce when she is in her washed up pill-head phase. This is a live version of Big Star's beloved teen angst ballad from a show in 1974. Good stuff.
PRGz feat. Jackie Chain - Rollin (DJ Ayres Remix)
Just when the blog hype was starting to die down around Huntsville, Alabama's vaguely mysterious Paper Route Records rap scene, DJ Ayres of Brooklyn's The Rub crew goes and works this little bit of remix magic with some synths borrowed from French prog/electro/dance/new wave/whatever-you-want-to-call-'ems M83. The internet can't seem to agree on if this track is by PRGz or Hood Headlinaz, but regardless of who is there rapping with Jackie Chain, Ayres has definitely turned this ode to being on ecstasy for weeks on end in to a menacing throb more reminiscent of how I think I would feel after such a lengthy bout of "rolling." Hopefully, this will remind Diplo of how impatiently people are awaiting Mad Decent's Paper Route collabo project, and it will see the light of day before prime summer driving season is over.
Pnau feat. Ladyhawke - Embrace (Fred Falke & Miami Horror Remix)
This remix of Pnau's new single is like a globe-straddling Voltron minus one of the lions (or minus however many cars, planes, and boats made up the less good Voltron that was on in the mornings). With Pnau, Ladyhawke, and Miami Horror representing the Australia/NZ wing and Fred Falke flying the tri-color for France, this one just needs someone from LA to send the needle flying past the red zone on the Blog House Boner Overload meter. Luckily, instead of defining the term "hot mess" like a number of recent blog house collaborations (I see you Busy P and Murs.), Falke puts his masterfully sticky fingers all over "Embrace" and adds another silky smooth dance jam to his 2008 résumé. Come December, I think everyone will look back and realize he has pretty much owned this year. Q: Will that one guy ever stop riding Fred Falke's dick? A: Unlikely.
Killer Mike - 10 G's
With Killer Mike's I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II dropping last Tuesday and David Banner's The Greatest Story Ever Told due to be released next Tuesday, July is shaping up as a banner month for strong, righteous Southern rap. Killer Mike's latest opus proves once again that few on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line can hold a candle to him when it comes to mic skills and the ability to straddle the thug/teacher, gangster/poet fence without lapsing in to caricature on either side. A perfect example of that dichotomy is this lead off track that recommends flipping hustling money in to real estate investments and the procurement of Fed Ex jobs by any drug dealer over thirty. Plus, it has a monster beat made for rattling trunks. Another strong statement for one of rap's most singular and independent voices and another long step out of Oukast's shadow, this one comes highly recommended. Cop that album.
The Durutti Column - Head Glue
I'll round things out this week with a wussy ambient guitar slow burn courtesy of Factory Records surviors The Durutti Column for all of you who enjoy smoking grass. A lovely eight minute outing from Vini Reilly's forthcoming album Sunlight To Blue ... Blue To Blackness, "Head Glue" is one of a handful of vocal tracks scattered throughout the album and finds Reilly dueting with an (at the time of this writing) unknown female vocalist over a track that whispers "shoegaze" in your ear as it calls up images of English bands fronted by quirkily cute Asian women being interviewed in the 90s run of Creem magazine.