Friday, January 29, 2010

Free Music Friday--the Purpley, Wally, Splintery, Wakey, Damy, High School Edition

It's Free Music Friday, children, and like babies to boobies, i look down and here you are again, just as hungry as ever. i can't decide if that's a good simile or just creepy, but it's just about quitting time, so take what you can get, right?

Highland Park's finest, Fol Chen, are hard at work on a follow-up to their debut, Part One: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made, and are getting ready to hit the road with Liars (the band, not that bitch that still owes you $54 who SWORE you'd have it a week ago). To freshen your memories and entice you to want more, here's a couple of cover tracks they've down for a couple of tribute albums of late. If i could, i'd write about Prince damn near every day of the week, as he clearly is one of the finest musical geniuses of our or any other lifetime. Problem is, homeboy is showing signs of being crazier than a shithouse rat and will sue any and everybody for posting his tracks. Fol Chen covering one of His Royal Badness' tunes, therefore, will have to suffice. Fortunately, they do it up right here and on the Pink Floyd cover, so it's all good.

mp3: The Beautiful Ones (Prince cover by Fol Chen from SPIN Presents Purplish Rain)

mp3: In the Flesh (Pink Floyd Cover by Fol Chen from Mojo Presents The Wall Re-Built)

Are you ready for some straight laced, pro-vegan chamber music from Oklahoma's oldest church choir? Me fucking neither. How about some raggedy rock from The Splinters, a female quartet out of the Bay Area? Here's a power pop number to help cure what ails ya'.

mp3: Splintered Bridges (The Splinters from upcoming Kick)

Something a bit more subdued more to your liking? Are you fiending for some borderline twee, complete with light whistling, playful vintage keyboards and guitars, and plenty of choir oohs and aahs? If you answered yes, well, fuck a duck, sir, you are in luck. From Wakey! Wakey!'s upcoming debut, Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You..., why don't you sample a little something they like to call "Twenty-Two?"

Now, i've been having a bitch of a time with posting free tracks from Stones Throw even though i've begged and pleaded with their PR flak to cut me some slack since the tracks were free on their own site. (Good God, i'm a poet and don't even know it!) Still, the C&Ds followed every time. And then LET friend Passion of the Weiss explained to me that i'm a damn maroon and to just use their already established links instead of hosting them myself. Assuming this works, Jeff, this is me eating humble pie and apologizing sincerely. Seriously, though, what the hell were you people thinking, letting an ape like me run an Interwebtial site? You people are crazy, i tell you what. That aside, Dam-Funk's 5 LP opus, Toeachizown, is finally ready and should have started shipping by now. They're also pimping the reissue of the Equatics' Doin' It!!!! Is that name ringing the faintest of bells for some of you older Gen Xers who found your way here after you yelled at your kids for checking out Niki Belucci's rack yesterday prior to deciding to head back to see more for yourself? i just want you to know, you realize that your kid smokes less weed than you do, right? So quit yelling at the bastard and use the shared experience to bond. And that's a tip from your Uncle Terrible. Dr. Spock, i ain't. What the hell was i talking about again? Oh yeah, this track is from the Hampton, Virginia high school champions of Pepsi’s “New Sounds Of 1972” challenge. Please to be enjoying.

mp3: Speak the Truth (Dam-Funk, tentatively unreleased)

mp3: Ain't No Sunshine (The Equatics from Doin' It!!!! )

Thursday, January 28, 2010

DJ, Please

For the longest time, i've been jealous of Passion of the Weiss for seemingly breaking all the really cool beat artists these days. What's a fellow blogger with far less connections to that community to do? Apparently, you mention your love of everyone from J. Dilla to RJD2 and Flying Lotus to the Gaslamp Killer, and just watch the submissions come pouring in! Of late, i've received some really fucking good DJ tracks which i now chose to share with you.

Up until now, when my beat jones grew too strong, i went to my immediate fall backs--Stones Throw, Brainfeeder, Low End Theory and outfits like that. i'm just loopy for that wonky dubstep, i suppose, and can't get enough of DJs that spin outside of the parallelogram. I guess mentioning that enough times makes LET come up fairly early in the Google and Hype Machine lists, as i've somehow fooled the cats over at Switchstance Recordings into thinking i know what the hell i'm talking about with the genre. Long story short, the label was kind enough to throw a few thing my way, and i was only too happy to accept. Since the phrase "crate diggers" is already taken, i'm calling these chill kids "mood setters." They produce laid back grooves that are all too easy to get lost in, combining elements of funk, jazz, reggae and hip-hop into a decadently sumptuous sound. It's got a 60s chic element, but it's more nouveau than that. They've got a sound that the cool kids, not the "hip" ones, will dig in a big way. Think RJD2 or DJ Spooky, but a bit more laid back. Even their namesake is freaking cool, "switchstance" coming from "the culture of boardsports, meaning the skill used to change the stance (easily) by switching one's foot position." Oh, and did i mention they're out of Germany? That's right, motherfuckers, LET now satisfies all your Nigerian AND German hip hop needs. Look out, L.A. Club scene, with the likes of Kabanjak, Deela, Protassov and Mango Juice on the roster, sounds like there might be some competition on the horizon.

Now, if you like your DJs to have a bit more of that old skool flavor (particularly if you're itching for a scratch), Monsieur Topaloff might be a bit more your speed. While he compares himself (kind of) to RJD2, i'm definitely hearing much, much more DJ Yoda here, sans the goofy, old

British dude and fake celebrity voices. While i'm waiting to hear more, today's offering is quite tasty. Here, he lies down a fat bass line, follows with a strong loop, throws in some keys, purees the shit, and creates a creamy cupful of shake your ass. In his email to me, he solicits my opinion, claiming to have only played his tracks for a small group that includes his cat. i'm not sure what Puss thinks, but i'm digging this ish big time.

Finally, for anyone else into the scene who happens to find themselves in or around Brooklyn on February 6, 2010, you really need to head out to the fourth annual Donuts are Forever. It's a J. Dilla tribute, and this year's headliner is ?uestlove. It bothers the Missus when she learns of things i want us to do through LET, so i'm not officially saying i'll be there (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, i'm planning on it). Just don't tell my wife before i do. Assuming she suffers temporary blindness between me posting and seeing her tonight after work, i think we'll be cool.

(Ed. note--that also happens to be my birthday weekend, so if you see a lumpy, bald dude with a red beard and specs, feel free to show me your best break dancing moves. For the DJs mentioned here today, tips on how to create kick ass beats, including what programs to use, would be equally appreciated.)

mp3: For What You Are (Deela ft. Mango Juice, from Forward Ever, Backward Never)

mp3: Love is Easy (Protassov from Where We Live EP)

mp3: Royal Deluxe (Monsieur Topaloff from his MySpace Page)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Inappropriate Songs for Air Travel

Alright, my flight leaves shortly to return to DC, so as i like to tell my wife, get ready for another quickie. And by that, of course, i mean sex.

While i am just about to be leaving on a jet plane, i just cannot bring myself to the level of hackneyed required to do an "It's Covered" on that track.

Instead, i bring to you perhaps two of the most inappropriate songs for air travel ever penned.

God damn, i love the Keys and the Mouse.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quickie Concert Alert: The Magnetic Fields with opener Laura Barrett

Alright, like i explained to the Missus the other night regarding something else entirely, tonight's just going to be a quickie. Of course, we were talking about a game of speed Yahtzee, you sick freaks, but now i mean the following post.

The Magnetic Fields are getting ready to drop a new CD, Realism, which is supposed to act as a counterpoint to their previous Distortion. Whereas the former was all about fuzzed out power jams, the latter deals in much softer palates. Of course, all of that really is tangential to today's topic. As most new releases are apt to promote, the band will be touring and hit D.C. on Feb. 4 (the day before my birthday for all you record A&R folks looking to bribe, er, wish me many happy returns of the day). You can stream the entire thing here.

Which brings me to the actual point of this post, which is to talk about the MF's opening acts. i caught the band the last time they blew through town (at the Birchmere a few years back) when they had one Mr. Darren Hanlon in the opening slot. i'd never heard of Hanlon prior to that show, but he's been a fave of mine ever since. The gentleman from Down Under is a kick ass lyricist, deftly blending humor into his heartfelt lyrics. As it is with some of my favorite performers, it was his in-between-song banter that really pushed his show up a few notches. When he related how he met a guy who claimed his grandfather had invented the kickstand and how that experience demanded he write a song about it, i damn near lost it.

This tour, the Fields have employed the services of Ms. Laura Barrett. Her weapon of choice is the kalimba (an African thumb-piano, literally translated as "little music"), and from the little bit of her i've heard, she's a pretty fierce competitor. Oh, and she's also a member of the Hidden Cameras. i still need to snag some tickets to this show myself, but assuming that happens, expect a report to see if she can achieve the same rarefied status as Hanlon. Because let's be honest, most people go into music so they can be listed prominently on a blogger's list of "fave bands/artists you've probably never heard of." i'm pretty sure that's what motivated the Beatles.

mp3: The Kickstand Song (Darren Hanlon from Hello Stranger)

mp3: Punk's Not Dead (Darren Hanlon from Hello Stranger)

mp3: Bluebird (Laura Barrett from Victory Garden)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Free Music Friday: The Suicidal, Grrrly, Funky, Stoney, Chill Version

i've been having an internal dialogue on what makes Free Music Friday any different than any other day of the week in regards to LET providing mp3s for the low, low price of absolutely nothing. Then i remembered that Fridays are the day that a lot of labels send me freebies to share with the world. At that point, i realized i was speaking to myself far too much, which probably meant the drugs were working. Which was nice.

The brilliant Mark Oliver Everett aka Mr. E. aka the force behind the Eels is out with his latest, End Times. Whereas he usually takes years between albums, this one is hitting a scant few months after the last one. Now, i've only heard a handful of tracks to this one myself, but all the reviews i've been reading essentially say not to listen to this one if you're a self-cutter, as its depressing as hell, and you'll probably end up slashing your wrists too deep this time, and then your parents are going to find you dead, and you probably didn't even get rid of your porn collection beforehand and, really, who wants to deal with that kind of mess? Still, this track isn't too shabby at all, though it clearly is more on the downbeat side of things.

mp3: Little Bird (Eels from End Times)

Tired of girl groups with no balls? Well, you should probably go to more tranny shows then. If you're more figurative than literal, though, you'll probably dig WETDOG's "Tidy Up Your bedroom" off their new Frauhaus. These ladies are not of the recent chillwave or twee schools of rock. They've clearly got more of the Breeders and the Runaways coursing through their veins. If that's your bag, you, sir, you, ma'am, and you, with the face, all are in luck.

And if those tracks aren't stoner friendly enough for you, how about these? Remember that time you were hanging out with that hippie chick and her "lover," and then somebody busted out the bongos, and you all started jamming out to the Doors' "My Wild Love?" Well, if those two weren't such wastoids and started a band with three others, not only would it be monstrously coincidental, but they might just sound a little something like Giant Cloud. Here's the first single from their Old Books EP. And if you prefer your chill music of the electronic variety, here's something from To Rococo Rot's latest CD, Speculation. This track wouldn't be out of place at all for the chillout room once you start coming down from your fourth ecstasy tab of the night. Or so i've heard.

mp3: Rainbows (Giant Cloud from Old Books EP)

mp3: Working Against Time (To Rococo Rot from Speculation)

Last but certainly not list, just for your email address and a couple of personal deets, we've got an entire free EP from Fort Knox Five. You'd think a guy who was trying to immerse himself in the beat scene would be more down with these cats. Hell, between them and Thievery Corp., i think we're pretty much covered 98 percent of the DC beat scene. But wait, there's more! These crazy kids have a Silk Parasol's worth of downloadable goodies, so get your DJ fix here. And here's the kicker--they're playing a "free" show this Sunday, January 24th, 2010 from 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM at Modern in Georgetown. Folks are encouraged, however, to make a donation of at least $10 for admission, as all the proceeds will support relief efforts in Haiti. The bill includes Nadastrom, Fort Knox Five (natch), Joe Nice, Will, Eastman and Stylus Chris (no relation). If that isn't worth a sawbuck, well, then i don't know what is.

Unfortunately, i'm headed to San Diego on Sunday and won't get home 'til next Thursday, followed by (hopefully) selling my condo on Friday. In other words, i might be a little light with the posting next week for these aforementioned reasons. That should give you all that much more time to get me those drugs and nude pixs of ex-gfs, though, so have at it, children.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

...For P Is Free

References to semi-obscure Boogie Down Production tracks aside, yes, today is all about "The Remix." You probably wouldn't believe the amount of music backlog i discovered yesterday. By and large, we thank each and every one of you. There really was some kick ass stuff sitting in my inbox, and i look forward to listening and enjoying (and in some cases reviewing) all of it. Granted, some of it is dreck and rubbish, but we take the good with the bad, eh? Such is the exciting life of a music blogger, i suppose. And don't worry, if your stuff was crap, your secret is safe from me. Better yet, it's probably just that i'm not into nu-wave industrial hardcore thrash gaba death metal disco rave hip hop or whatever it was that sound you were going for there was.

While we've got some great full-length albums to talk about in the days to come (two or three of which are really goddamn good), i figured it would be easiest (and most fair to the artists, i think) to start with the singles and go from there.

Now that i've gotten that long winded meandering out of the way, let's get back to the music.

First up, we have a remix of the Lauren Flax/Sia track, "You've Changed." No, it's not exactly the same "You've Changed" i mentioned a while back. This remix is of the original, not the completely new take Sia's doing for upcoming CD, We Are Born. This remix was done by none other than DJ duo Drlkt Freddie, who have an upcoming CD of original material on the way. Because even i'm confused with the above description and i wrote it, let's just cut to the chase and put up both the original and remix version, and you can figure it out for yourself. Obviously, the boys have clubbed it up quite a bit, adding pumping bass and looping the vocals just right.

mp3: You've Changed (Lauren Flax ft. Sia from her MySpace)

mp3: You've Changed (Drlkt Freddie Remix) (Drklt Freddie Remix from their MySpace)

Next, we have a little sumfin sumfin from local VA homeboy Atari Blitzkrieg. Unfortunately, his actual website (not the MySpace link i'm posting) keeps crashing my Interwebial connection, so i'm not going to point you in that direction, but said MySpace page has pretty much all you need to know, including how to pick up some more freebies AND, more importantly, where to buy stuff. Remember, kids, indie musicians need our love more than most, so dig deep and drop ducats if any of their music moves ya'. Now, Freddie practically assured getting onto LET by remixing Sia. Atari succeeded in much the same manner by remixing Flying Lotus into his own "Dramamine." We bloggers are not hard to figure out. Of course, it certainly didn't hurt that both remixes are tight. Atari also has an upcoming CD, The Melancholy Tales of Extraordinary Robot Avengers. You can find all his stuff at Amazon, it appears, so have at it. To further whet your appetite, he did drop us a track from that new one, so enjoy. He's got an almost lazy mouth style of flow, all set over chilly 8-bit beats, blings, blips and pings. Good stuff, i think, though some of the lyrics are hard to hear over the instrumentation.

mp3: Dramamine (Flying Lotus Remix) (Atari Blitzkrieg from his MySpace)

mp3: Dance of the Crystal Dragons (Atari Blitzkrieg from the upcoming The Melancholy Tales of Extraordinary Robot Avengers)

Now i'm off to check ye olde emailbox to see if any of you hooligans took the hint and sent me nude pictures of your ex-gfs or drugs or something. Work with me here, people.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Greatest "All" Mix You Will Ever Hear, As Relates To Some Daffy Blogger Forgetting To Read Your Email

As some of you fine musicians and assumed inebriated readers who stop by to muck about LET might already know, i've got an apology to make. It seems that the main LET mailbox has gone unattended for some time, resulting in a slew of emails not having been read and/or responded to in a timely matter. i thought i set up the defaults to send copies of everything that went there to my personal email addy, but clearly messed up that endeavor. A handful of folks already have received personal emails, and the rest of you were probably wondering what Cyclo-flo' had that you didn't. Mia culpa.

The good news is the problem has been resolved. The better news is that we now have a rather large backlog of stuff to share. It appears we have a little bit of everything waiting to be checked out--the tip of the iceberg alone shows indie rock, DJ/beat scene mixes, remixes, acoustic tracks, and a little something from my personal favorite local DC-area artist. Sadly, it appears we're still waiting on additional Nigerian hip-hop offerings, but we can all hope, right?

Just to be on the safe side, if you sent in something recently (like the last three months or so recently), you might want to resend. i'm not saying that implied and outright promises of sex and drugs will help us to write about your rock 'n roll, but Black Dynamite knows it won't hurt.

To make amends, since it's all my fault that this happened, it's only fair to give you The Greatest "All" Mix You Will Ever Hear, As Relates To Some Daffy Blogger Forgetting To Read Your Email

mp3: All Apologies (Nirvana Cover by Ben Gibbard from some 2007 Live Show in NY)

mp3: All My Friends (LCD Soundsystem Cover by Franz Ferdinand from All My Friends maxi-single)

mp3: All My Friends (Broken Social Scene from a live KCRW performance on 11.08.05)

mp3: All Good (De La Soul from Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump)

mp3: All Consolation (White Denim from Fits)

mp3: All Better Now (Earl Greyhound from Soft Targets)

mp3: All For U (RJD2 from Magnificent City Instrumentals)

mp3: All Your Love (Buddy Guy from DJ Play My Blues)

mp3: All That Jizz (Killer Mike from Frisky Dingo)

mp3: All You Men Are All Alike ( Madeline Kahn from Young Frankenstein)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

LIz Phair's Girlysound

So last night i'm trying to explain what we do here at LET. I explained that, yes, we write posts that are hopefully informative, ranging from concert reviews to talking about the latest releases, but a lot of the brilliant prose i write really is just stream-of-consciousness, what-was-on-Terrible-Chris'-mind at the moment along with the soundtrack that plays in my head whilst discussing said things. It's that kind of rambling that leads us to today's post concerning Liz Phair's Girlysound tapes. i don't think we're celebrating Chick Rock Week here, but check back tomorrow to see if i'm lying or not.

Don't ask me exactly how it happend, because i'm not entirely sure myself. While i was researching and downloading tracks for yesterday's post on Milla Jovovich, i somehow found myself led to Liz Phair. It might have had something to do with the low quality recording of The Peopletree Sessions, an album Ms. Jojo expressly claims was never meant to be, nor does it match her artistic vision, or words to that effect. Possibly, it was the drugs. Either/or, i tracked down the aforementioned tapes, and here we are.

For those who have no idea what i'm talking about (which is not uncommon), allow me to elucidate. Way back in Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-One, Ms. Phair produced a series of three tapes under the name "Girlysound." Said tapes essentially are the basis for damn near all of her albums to date, making up the majority of Exile in Guyville, Whip-Smart, whitechocolatespaceegg, and the Juvenila EP. Recorded in her bedroom on a four-track, rumor has it that the tapes originally were only handed out to a couple of people, but eventually made their way into the hands of the Powers That Be over at Matador Records, and the rest, as they say, is history. The original songs have since been released on a couple of different bootlegs, though the definitive source material appears to be lost, at least to the masses at large. The first two tapes, Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word To Ya Muthuh and Girls Girls Girls, can be found on-line in their entirety, but the complete third tape remains a thing of mystery, with only an incomplete track listing and a handful of songs from that available.

Why the hell should you care? Hey, back off, Jack. You care about everything i write about because i'm The Shit, so 'nuff said about that. Because i'm nice and willing to give you a further explaination, though i think it's pretty interesting to listen to the process of a song's creation, from its earliest versions to final completion. And this is about as prime an example as you're going to find. So there's that.

mp3: Flower (Liz Phair from Girlysound Tape 3)

mp3: Fuck & Run (Liz Phair from Girls Girls Girls)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Celebrity Songsters: Milla Jovovich

Whilst trekking through the wilds of the Interwebs over the weekend, i happened to stumble upon a nugget from Puscifer that led me to wasting, er, writing an entire post on the musical wonders of Milla Jovovich. Say what, you're probably asking yourself. Well, let me tell you how it is.

Most folks, i'm guessing, know Ms. Jovo for her brilliant acting skills or her turns as international hottie model, but you cats are missing at least part of the full picture. The talented star of such movie powerhouses as The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil franchise, she also had a bit part as a stoned, guitar strumming high school student in Dazed and Confused. As chance would have it, said role was no stretch at all (well, the musician part; beats me about the stoner aspect, but a guy can dream).

Way back in 1994, she dropped The Divine Comedy, which didn't make huge waves in the States beyond its appearance on Beavis & Butthead. The fact that two cartoon maroons could dictate whether an artist took off or not is fodder for another conversation. Since then, she's shown up on a few soundtracks and posted some mp3s on her own site, but here's the one that blew me away and led to today's post--she's been kicking it with Maynard James Keenan, the dude from Tool and A Perfect Circle, in his other side project band, Puscifer. I stumbled upon a track from those two, here we are, and thus it all leads back to footwear.

mp3: Gentleman Who Fell (Milla Jovovich from The Divine Comedy)
mp3: Holy Fall (Milla Jovovich from her website)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Free Music Friday!

In what now looks to become a new recurring feature, kids, it's time for another Free Music Friday. For the low, low price of my email address and the implied promise of free whoring on my part, the powers that be at the labels and distributors that be have deigned to fill my in-box with all sorts of free mp3 goodies. After all, what good is being a whore if i didn't have anything to offer the fine, greedy readers of LET?

Enough with the chit chat, let's get onto business, shall we?

From Domino Records, we actually have more than one goodie today. To get this party started, here's an offering from the upcoming Pavement greatest hits project, Quarantine the Past, with their remastered version of "Gold Soundz." If you're a longtime Gen X indie freak, odds are you're familiar with this track originally found on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. If you're not, well, now as good a time as any to find out what the hell your older sib/parent has been going on and on about for however many years now. And as if that wasn't enough, those daffy bastards also are giving away the latest digital 7" single from Dirty Projectors, Ascending Melody. Now, i'm not entirely sure how a computer file can be measured to reach 7", but it comes with two tracks, so why are we spending our time quibbling over such details? Yeah, i'm on pain meds, but what's your excuse? Still, i know you hungry bastards, you still want more, don't you? Fortunately, Domino, perhaps inspired by their namesake pizza stepping up their game of late, are bringing us one more treat today, the latest from Quasi, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouller, from their upcoming release, American Gong. For those of you not in the know, Quasi is made up of such stalwart rockers as Sam Coomes, Joanna Bolme and the greatest female drummer of all-time, Janet Weiss.

mp3: Gold Soundz (Pavement from Quarantine the Past)

mp3: Ascending Melody (Dirty Projectors from Ascending Melody 7")

mp3: Emblem of the World (Dirty Projectors from Ascending Melody 7" )

But wait! There's more!

Insound wants to hip you to Bad Sports. While i could wax philosophic on their grungey, rough-around-the-edges sound, i'm simply going to mention the fact that their eponymous release is on the Douchemaster Records label. That alone is worth the price of admission.

mp3: And It Goes (Bad Sports from Bad Sports)

Still not full, you avaristic bastard? Well, i suppose it's a good thing that Amie Street dropped off something in ye olde inbox today, too. Not familiar with singer-songwriter Joey Ryan? He's been called "One to watch" by BBC Radio DJ Jo Whiley, and his music has been featured on One Tree Hill, KCRW's "Weekend Becomes Eclectic" and various commercials. I'm considering holding the One Tree Hill gig against him (too good for Smallville, eh?), but i suppose we've all got to do what we've got to do to pay the bills, right?

Still you want the wafer thin mint? Sweet Jebus, don't say i didn't warn you.

Straight from the Sincerely Yours label, two more goodies from one of my latest favorite newbies, jj. The Swedish band just signed to Secretly Canadian for North American distribution, so expect their upcoming sophomore release to hit in early March 2010. In the meantime, groove to these gems. And yes, that is Lil' Weezy on the first one.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

For the Record (Label): More Love for Stones Throw

Well, those devilish masterminds at Stones Throw are at it again, digging through the dustiest of crates to bring us all the latest and greatest in hip hop wizardry.

Resident mastermind Madlib is all over the place these days, jumping from style to style like some kind of blunted superhero. He just dropped the first of his twelve Medicine Show CDs. Entitled Before the Verdict, this first one has Quasimoto's other side releasing a full 17-track hip-hop album with original tracks and "the OJ Simpson remixes" featuring Guilty Simpson. We've been told to consider it a prelude to Madlib & Guilty's collab OJ Simpson. Just to show what he's putting down, the fine ST folks have graced us with this collab between 'Lib and Simpson that can't be found on either the Medicine Show or upcoming OJ Simpson CDs. You might recognize that intro from Madvilliany. Sounds like Madlib is in his usual rarified air, and Simpson sounds loose and juiced. This joint looks to be pretty damn good. Oh, and he's releasing In Search of Stoney Jackson, his collab with Strong Arm Steady, this month, too. Damn, does the man ever rest?

mp3: Before the Verdict (Madlib & Guilty Simpson from the Stones Throw Website)

mp3: Best of Times (Stoney Jackson ft. Phonte from In Search of Stoney Jackson)

Changing directions nearly entirely, the label also just released The Minimal Wave Tapes, Vol. 1, a look back at the "genre of underground DIY electronic music from North America and Europe in the late 1970s and 80s." Not sure if that's your thing or not? Hell, they've got you covered there, too, with this tasty sample.

And last but certainly not least, those busy bastards bring us Black Man's Cry: The Inspiration of Fela Kuti. The boxed set includes "covers and music inspired by the Godfather of Afro-Beat. This Fela Estate-approved anthology includes rare and previously unreleased music from Nigeria, Ghana, Colombia, Trinidad and more." Now, if you don't know your Fela, you are missing out. The man had a thing for zombies, too, so you know we dig him.

Seriously, when do those cats sleep? Well, as long as they keep pumping it out, we'll keep listening and salivating for more.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Greatest Mix Series: Blaxploitation, You Jive Ass Turkey!

What it is, all you sexy pimps, playas and hos?

Dig this, you need to take your jive turkey ass down to the movie theater and sniff what Black Dynamite is putting down. As i mentioned earlier, The Missus and i went to see the midnight showing at the Landmark E Street Theater a while back, but i didn't ever follow up on that.

Let me tell you, it could damn well be the funniest movie i've seen in years. Whereas I'm Gonna Git You Sucka was downright silly, BD hits every line, joke and sight gag perfectly while never once crossing the line into "too much." i'm still not sure why "I sell drugs to the community" isn't on the lips of every cool breeze out there playin' the game today. You've got The Man trying to bring Black Dynamite down, sexy love scenes, some of the best bad kung-fu ever put to film, a funkalicious soundtrack and a pimp enclave. Seriously, kids, this flick is knee-slappin'-hi-larious. We were fortunate to see it with the director, Scott Sanders, in attendance who gave us some great insights into the movie.

Here are a few things you probably wouldn't know otherwise:

1. Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite himself) originally took on the persona of Black Dynamite for a photo shoot. He had so much fun with the notion, he and Sanders made a fake trailer. That got such huge Interweb love, they opted to make a movie.
2. "But Black Dynamite, I sell drugs to the community" was ad-libbed.
3. All the actors for the Pimp Gathering essentially agreed to take the roles on scale pay just to be involved. And yes, that is Arsenio Hall.
4. During the gunfight, when the bad guys jump out of the car and it keeps moving...that was an accident they just happened to capture on film.

And on and on and on.

In honor of the excellence of Black Dynamite, today we're going to go over some of the greatest blaxploitation flick theme songs of all time.

Clearly, we need to start with today's titular hero. It's amazing these guys came up with this music just a scant couple of years ago, as you might otherwise mistakenly assume this track came straight from the '70s.

Does Shaft boast the greatest blaxploitation theme song of all times? It's inspired everyone from the Simpsons to Pearl Jam (much love to Dirty Frank), so it would be fair to give this one the title.

A damn close runner-up, though, has to be Superfly. R.I.P., Curtis and Isaac.

Damn near everyone who was anyone in the 70s funk/R&B scene seems to have been involved in at least one blaxploitation soundtrack. Often times, said soundtracks were far more memorable than the movies in question. The next two tracks featuring James Brown and Marvin Gaye, respectively, do a damn fine job proving that point.

It seems only fair to throw out a theme from one of the super bad chick's flicks. i would have posted more if i had them, but tracking down these mp3s is not an easy task. Clearly, another case of Da Man trying to keep my white ass down!

No blaxploitation theme song mix would be complete without Dolemite, bitch. You better recognize, sucka!

While you may not instantly recognize the name Jim Kelly, if you saw Enter the Dragon, you sure as hell know who he is. Well, they gave him a couple of flicks of his own, too, and this one is a fave. Black Belt Jones, the meanest mo fo this side of the ghetto. Sho' nuff. Because the second track includes a lot of unintentionally hysterical dialogue from the movie, you're getting a two-fer on this one. Also, i opted for the longer album take on the theme song, as it, too, has some great sound effects and such.

Even though (or maybe because of) the aforementioned I'm Gonna Git You Sucka actually is another spoof of the genre, this track arguably got me into the genre in the first place, as i seem to recall seeing this flick before any of the others. As Bernie Casey's John Slade replied when asked who the band following him was, "My theme music. Every good hero should have some." Amen, brother. Amen.

And, just because you're lucky and i love you all that much, here's a little sumfin sumfin from the Sho' Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem himself.

mp3: Who's the Baddest? (Sho 'Nuff sound clip from The Last Dragon)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Free Mixtape Love: Late Night with the Roots

I'm kind of surprised that the Powers That Be at GE haven't already done this, but DJ Heat has put together a mixtape made up entirely of live tracks of the Roots playing with some of hip-hop's biggest names, all from their gig on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. We're talking everyone from old skoolers like Q-Tip and Public Enemy to newer jacks like Wale (not to mention Mos Def, 50 Cent and damn near the entire Wu-Tang Clan). The only real "problem" with the Late Night with the Roots mixtape really is the same problem that most live TV performances have--the sound is so/so and doesn't seem to capture the full energy of the gig. Now, with that being said, the Roots prove admirably that they're possibly one of the only bands out there that could do justice to the job. For the most part, rap sounds like shit live, particularly if the MC doesn't have a real, live backing band. The Roots, however, are able to create live what most DJs/producers would give their left nut for to recreate on wax. Quite simply, they have a musician's knack for creating hip hop with instruments, and, hot damn, they do it well.

Some of the tracks here simply are of better quality than others. It's a shame, for example, that the Beastie Boys track has a few glitches. As it appears the songs were recorded directly from the TV (as opposed to sound board quality), it's hard to where the imperfections originated, but it's a bummer no matter whose fault it is. Of perhaps little to no surprise, the best tracks here are from groups that are used to working with live bands. The Blakroc track, in my opinion, is heads and shoulders above everything else here.

While I don't watch Fallon's show (or any other talk show, for that matter), there's still one glaring omission for my money here. The Day Wacko Jacko OD'd off to Neverland, the Roots cut some cover tracks with Erykah Badu while she was there in studio. The quality of those tracks is infinitely superior, and, more importantly, they show the band having more "fun."

Bottom line, this definitely is worth checking out, though you might end up culling some or most of the tracks from your mp3 library after you've sampled them. If you really want to hear the Roots "live on wax," look no further than "The Roots Come Alive," possibly the greatest live in concert rap CD of all times. If you want to hear the Roots play with some of the biggest guns in the game today, though, this one is for you.

mp3: Dollaz & Sense/Telling Me Things (Blakroc with the Roots from Late Night with the Roots)

mp3: Billie Jean (Erykah Badu with the Roots from ?love's twitter feed)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Spectacularly Off-Topic: Roll Tide

As you may or may not know, yours truly is an extremely proud Alabama alum. I'm also seriously obsessed with college football, which is practically a graduation requirement at UA. Naturally, I'm totally thrilled with Alabama's win last night in the BCS National Championship game. Sure, Colt McCoy got hurt, but I guess that's what happens when you play an actual tough defense. After all, 'Bama QB Greg McElroy and Heisman winner Mark Ingram (see them both in the photo here) both played hurt, so there are no excuses. Descending from my soapbox, I say Alabama was the best team all season, and was totally deserving of the title, and even if McCoy hadn't been knocked out of the game, the end result probably would have been the same. So there whiny Longhorn fans and absurd sportscasters.

And so, in honor of my dear crimson-clad football team, I'd like to post a little celebratory Skynyrd.

For those not in the know, at every 'Bama home football game you'll hear "Sweet Home Alabama." It just goes without saying. So here you go, friends. Also included is a video of the fantastic song "Rammer Jammer," the song we 'Bama fans will sing at the top of our lungs after a victory. It's enough to bring a tear to my eye. Roll Damn Tide!

mp3: Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd from the album Second Helping)

Friday Freebies

Not to play pimp for music pushers or anything (i do not sell drugs to the community), but i'm recommending you sign up for the email lists at Insound and Amie Street. Every Friday, those fine folks deign to treat subscribers to a free mp3. Sure, sometimes you get throw-away tracks, but there are some seldom heard gems in there, too. As luck would have it, this week has provided a couple of winners.

Now, you might not think an experimental Swedish rock duo is up your alley, but i think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the upcoming EP from Wildbirds & Peacedrums. Now, i was fortunate enough to see them open up for Lykke Li a while back and was pretty taken with their somewhat odd sound then, going so far as to pick up their Heartcore CD. On that one, the sound was a bit out there with the band clearly pushing the boundaries of indie pop/rock. Their sound relies almost exclusively on a range of percussion instruments and the haunting vocals of Mariam Wellentin. Based on this first track from the My Heart EP, though, they've clearly reined things in a bit. Which is great, as i'd like to see this band get a bit more love in 2010. The singer has a beautiful voice, and they've expanded their beat-and-bang-on stable to include some steel drums, making this track a slice of pop goodness with just a hint of reggae flavoring.

Next up is the latest from Gigi, "Strolling Past the Graveyard." Unless this band has something to do with a girl i went to high school with of the same name (it doesn't), i can't tell you much about these cats beyond what you can read for yourself on their MySpace page. What i can tell you, though, is that they craft a catchy tune that resonates with '60s vibes. Insound thinks they've got a Wall of Sound thing going, and i can't disagree. The harmonizing here is strong, and i'm going to re-iterate my "i hope these kids make a splash in '10" sentiments. If the rest of their stuff is as strong as this, i think they just might.

And finally, because i'll pretty much write about anything if asked politely, a couple of tracks from the Unknown Nigerian Wonder, Cyclo-flo. i'll leave it to you to make your own decisions on this cat. i will say this--on "Shuo," Cyclbo-flo spits rapid fire, and with his strong accent, sounds an awful lot like a cross between Busta Rhymes and Shabba Ranks. And on "Hip Hop Ancesion" (stet), he says fuck more times than Eddie Murphy in a leather jumpsuit, so he's got that going for him, too, which is nice.

mp3: My Heart (radio version) (Wildbirds & Peacedrums from My Heart EP)

mp3: Shuo (Cyclo-flo from ?)

mp3: Hip Hop Ancesion (Cyclo-flo from ?)