Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Perfect Feature

The new roots album, "How I Got Over," is a really successful album overall. Its definitely a return to their classic hip-hop band form, merging many genres and styles. the standout track, in my opinion, is the ninth track on the album, "Right On," which features indie-fairy songstress Joanna Newsome. Newsome's signature child-voice style of folk singing is perfect for the hook of a hip-hop song. so many radio hip-hop songs feature a squeaky, processed, overproduced female or child's voice in their hook, but the roots, always musically innovative, take advantage of Newsome's natural singing style to get the same effect in a truer and far more aurally pleasing way.

check it:

Deer Tick Come Back With New Album The Black Dirt Sessions

Sophomore albums always pose a Catch-22 for artists. Fans inevitably hate it because it sounds nothing like the first album, or they bitch about how it sounds just like the first release. Unfortunately I was one of those same fans when it comes to the disappointment that was Born on A Flag Day. War Elephant set the bar high, but still, except for a few songs I rarely go back Deer Tick’s sophomore slump effort. I won’t be saying the same for their third release, The Black Dirt Sessions. Instead of sacrificing songs for distortion that happened over and over on Flag Day, the band shifts the focus back to the song craft. The result is a softer, sadder songs dealing with faith and salvation that you wanna hear in a smalltown Southern bar after too many lonely beers.

For most bands this would be dangerous cliché territory especially for some young boys outta Rhode Island, but it never comes off as affected. John McCauley III is a gifted enough songwriter to go back to old tropes of loneliness and losing friends and still sound like he was one of the first to go there. Even when he occasionally does stray into a cliché, the pure raw grit of his voice carries him over it. Pulled out of the bottom of countless ashtrays and bottles of bourbon, McCauley’s voice is at times just gravelly notes that save him from the weak lines or off rhymes that he stumbles over at times. Screaming “everyone is alone” on a song would sound like the worst kind of angst out of anyone else’s mouth, but he somehow pulls it off.

It’s this voice and the songwriting that doesn’t make this your typical sad bastard fare. “Piece by Piece and Frame by Frame”, “Good-bye, Dear Friend”, and “Blood Moon” are some of the best of sad bastard tunes these boys have made. “Mange” is a dense, rollicking, reminder that Deer Tick can still rock, while “I Will Not Be Myself” is proof is a nice reminder of War Elephant. Some of the songs are weak or incomplete, with “Sad Sun” being the obvious sore thumb on what is all in all going to be an album I am going back to again and again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

...and we're back.

summer programming is underway, click on the schedule below for old favorites at new times, exciting new shows, and the best time for fans of russian post-grunge-shoegaze-electro-pop to tune in.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup Tiiime!

I think any good music blog (except maybe a Country one) would be remiss about now if it didn't have at least one post on the music of the World Cup. With a much improved American team this year and many big-name teams playing worse than my grandma, there is definitely a growing interest in the Copa Mundial here in the States. So, here's some music of the Cup:

1. Starting out with the best, listen to Wavin Flag by K'naan. The orginal is truly the anthem of this year's cup, but below is a really cool collaboration version by a bunch of young Canadian (oh well) artists. And it's for Haiti, cool.

2. According to the Official Fifa 2010 World Cup Album, this is the "Official Anthem of the 2010 World Cup." I think Wavin Flag is the real one, but this ain't half bad either. It's called Sign of a Victory by R. Kelly featuring the Sowetto Spiritual Singer. Good Stuff.

3. Here's an acapella favorite of mine, it's called Weltmeister. I really have no idea what it means, but I'm pretty sure it's about the World Cup (fyi - it's in German). I did learn that Weltmeister means Champions, a title that looks unlikely to go to the Germans after their pathetic loss to Serbia (who?).

4. Finally, check out songs from each of the World Cup countries put together by KCRW. The collection really shows the musical diversity of these countries. It features Phoenix representing France, the Pinker Tones representing Spain and the very official sounding Mexican Institute of Sound. Listen to the MUSIC OF THE WORLD CUP! Here's the American entry - World Cup Fever by Air Miami

Further Exploration:
Feel the Spirit by the Roumbar Girls - Free Download Here
Three Lions (Football's Coming Home) by Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Keep Me In the Dark

A head bop and a grin. Coffee mug in hand, the boy paraded back to his desk. His business shoes were worn, the scrapes created cheetah like blemish spots on the dark brown leather revealing the material’s lighter more vulnerable shade. One could imagine him with the same smile the first day he put those shoes on. “Do you want a bag?” the shoe store lady asked. “No, I believe I will wear them out thank you very much!” The boy said as he handed her a pair of tattered tennis sneakers. With the bag of old shoes in hand, out the wide glass door he tore off onto the linoleum floored freeway of the mall. He didn’t even bother to check his rear view mirror or signal left before merging out of the store front, no need to, he was moving too deliberately for people not to watch out. He cut through the crowds of shoppers and that unique salty smell that fills the entire building, beginning in the depths of the parking garage below. It is a smell that no single nor coupling of food can create, it is the culmination of all that the mall is. Starting with squeaking cars and dirty door handles, continuing with the fountains filled with pennies and toy shops that leak a symphony of 8 bit sounds, it is the smell of hasty shopping, naïve first flirtations and hopeful glances. The boy cuts through all of this and briskly leaves it all behind him in an invisible wake. Arms swinging, hand clasped into a fist around the bag, keeping an eye out for anything reflective that will frame himself, and his recently acquired $56.95 worth of leather bound glory.

Now, compared to the other shoes in his office the scrapes shout out imperfections. Yet perfections do not tell stories, perfections polished to a T reveal the mundane truth that, they merely have no imperfections because they have not been tested in any form or function. They haven’t walked through the woods late at night to meet friends at a fire, kicking around embers. They haven’t lifted a skateboard into the air, receiving a single hash mark where the smallest toe resides, notching the event. They haven’t been scraped to reveal the true color of the leather and their owner.