Leonard Cohen - The Traitor
Running across a copy of Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man in my local Blockbuster's $3.99 bin a few weeks ago has had me on an extended Cohen kick of late, especially this tune off of 1979's Recent Songs. Arriving half way through the album that saw Cohen return to a more initmate (some would say less adventurous) folk sound after the widescreen, spunk-sozzled Wall of Sound experimentation of his Phil Spector collaboration, Death Of A Ladies' Man, "The Traitor" stands as Recent Song's beating heart, a six and a half minute mini-epic of enigmatic romance. I'll keep my obsessive gushing to that in order to escape sounding like a college freshman deep in to my "reading Rimbaud and smoking overpriced, novelty cigarettes" phase, but listen to the song and watch for Cohen's description of it in I'm Your Man. If it doesn't have you perusing the intertrons for a closer look at the lyrics, your jaded cynicism just might not be a phase after all.
Malente & Dex - Hyperactive
Another strong entry in the ever so fashionable rave revival sweepstakes, this upcoming release from relative newcomers Malente & Dex on Shir Kahn's ever so fashionable Exploited label practically reeks of pill sweat and VapoRub and should bring tooth-grinding grins to pie-eyed faces on international dance floors all summer. Turn this one on loud in your room, flip the lights on and off, and the next thing you know you'll be making the "big fish - little fish - cardboard box." In a nutshell, it's an illegal early 90s warehouse party to go. No taking eggs to an undisclosed location required.
Freeway - Hip Hop Lives
If you keep up with these little "tracks of the week" missives with any regularity (Hi, Mom!), you may have gotten the impression that I find hip hop nostalgia, true school-style throwbackisms, and modern day East Coast rap in general to be the definition of boredom. I applaud your insight. Nothing gets my eyes rolling and gag reflex working over time like some dude in his 30s (or even worse, young kid) blathering on about how great hip hop used to be when it was run by the East Coast and how East Coast rappers are all about lyricism over lifestyle and how hip hop today (i.e. Southern and West Coast rap) is just style with no substance and blah blah sore ass blah blah blah. Maybe it's reverse snobbery, but I'd much rather bump the new David Banner in my truck than watch Peedi Crack "spit hot sixteens" a cappella in some shitty YouTube video. With that said, this new teaser for Freeway's upcoming Freedom Of Speech album jumps a number of my personal hurdles (a "grimy" street rapper from Philly raps about hip hop over a no-name, near hookless track - snooze) on the strength of what might be termed Freeway's balls and his word. An audaciously joyous ode to hip hop's strength and staying power as one of the defining worldwide cultural forces of our era (No, that's not hyperbole.) over a spartan, trunk banger of a beat, this is what I dream of East Coast rap being, swagger and substance, floss and brains, penthouse and pavement - exciting, basically.
Van She - Virgin Suicide
It might come as a shock to those who noticed the internet ripples Australia's Van She have been making over the past couple of years with their Van She Tech remixes and brief run of singles ("Kelly," "Sex City") that basically stood as little more than jumping off points for a much longer run of much drooled over remixes by higher profile artists, but there is next to nothing blog and/or house about their upcoming album V. Harkening back to that brief moment a decade or so ago when being French and owning a copy of Supertramp's Breakfast In America was a sure pathway to a record deal and model ass, "Virgin Suicide" (along with the rest of the album) sounds like it could slip easily in to the Air-penned score or 70s soft rock soundtrack of Sofia Coppola's similarly titled film. They may amount to little more than an Antipodean version of Phoenix, but I can definitely see this being a movie kiss soundtrack placement away from annoying ubiquity in a few months. Enjoy it while you can.
Bird Peterson - Hunger Strike 5000
I've had a musical brain ache for the last few days courtesy of Austin's Bird Peterson (who also has a great remix on the previously mentioned Malente & Dex single) and this track he claims to have made on a dare from Dave Nada. Is it great? Is it awful? Is it grawful? I leave it to you and your god to work out. If you're lucky (or not), Bird might slip this in to his set at The Loft anniversary party on Friday.