Friday, April 30, 2010

And the Reef Goes On...Half Baked Mixes, a Couple of Strains and a Lip Synching Dinosaur Puppet

i guess it's weed music week, er, two or something, here at LET. And as luck would have it, i can tie it all into beat music, which i do so enjoy.

First up, two mixes that both prominently feature sound bites from the stoner classic, Half Baked. While Dave Chapelle would go on to bigger and better things before jumping off the grid, this flick remains one of the highlights of his career as far as i'm concerned. The fact that LET favorite Alex B and newer comer Shlohmo apparently agree is only icing on the cake.

Remember those bad assed Oscillations mixtapes from Jus Like Music and Apple Juice Break i was yapping about last week? Well, they've already got an update. If you downloaded them for yourselves, you'll recall BUG's "Indica." Well, in the ever raging battle of which strain of weed is funkier, he's back with "Sativa." Wait until the bass line and synths burble all funky like right after the intro on the latter, and i think we'll agree on the winner of that.

Now, according to Dan Auerbach at their last show at the 9:30 Club, he and Patrick Carney are infrequent pot smokers, at best, but i don't hold that against them. Apropos of absolutely nothing beyond the fact that it amuses me immensely (and is probably some very stoner-worthy viewing), here's their latest video. Whether you're into dinosaur puppets, tongue-in-cheek subtitles or hot, tatted up chicks, there's a little something here for everyone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blunted Mixtape Love of the Soul

Looks like LET experienced a bit of a surge visitor-wise last week, so if you're a newbie, welcome to the laugh fest. Leave your pants at the door, grab some dip and a professional party assistant will be with you shortly. In the meantime, don't put your mouth on that. Seriously. Freak.

Now, i could ascribe last week's jump to the Oscillations piece, or perhaps the return of fan fave Free Music Friday. i'm guessing, however, that a bunch of you damn stoner kids found The Greatest 420 Mix You Will Ever Hear Today, Part the First and Part the Second. Can you believe it? Potheads, here in our midst. Cheeba monkeys hanging out with the likes of you and me. Bong boys and ganja girls doing Buddah knows what in the more poorly lit corners. Well, you know what i have to say to that? MY PEOPLE!!! How ya' been? Welcome home, dear friends.

And on that note, our first mixtape, Smokin Blunts Effectively, comes from appropriately acronymed SBE. Comprised of the dope duo (see how i did that?) Gainstaville and Killa Cali, you've got to give anyone props who can put together nearly 45 minutes of tracks devoted to the reefer. Perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, the two actually manage to continuously spit new and different angles at the subject. Who says smoking herb makes one slow? Ass hats, that's who. Sure, you've probably got to be a fan of the subject in the first place, but assuming you are, you won't be bored, and you should be entertained. If nothing else, you'll learn about more strains of indica and sativa than you'll typically find at the Cannabis Cup. Which is nice.

mp3: Pass the Dutchie (SBE from Smokin Blunts Effectively)

mp3: Twist that Green (SBE from Smokin Blunts Effectively)

Secondly, but not secondary, you noobs will learn that i eschew hyperbole with the white hot intensity of a thousand joints. That said, i stumbled upon the single greatest DJ-tastic De La Soul mix of all times. So This is De La Heaven, Part One by DJ Platurn plays source material from some of your fave Soul track samples. And DJ Platurn obviously is no rookie on the wheels of steel, as he cuts things up like a stoned ninja*. My only "complaint" is that it's one continuous hour-long track, but that's just nitpicky, so i've got to give this one two thumbs up, four stars, ten out of ten, and a partridge in a pear tree.

mp3: So This is De La Heaven, Part One by DJ Platurn

Did i mention that i saw De La Soul at the 15th Annual Cannabis Cup? And thus, it all comes back to footwear.

*Ed note: And with that, i should be at the top of the google pages for "gratuitous marijuana references." Thanks for playing along, kids.

For The Music Snob Who Has Everything?

Looking for the perfect gift for the music snob in your life who has everything? The punk-loving lady or gent who is oh-so particular about their presents? Look no further, friends, than the Wendy O. Williams throbblehead!

Obviously much more awesome than regular old bobbleheads, throbbleheads are so very rock. Just check out Wendy, the first lady throbblehead. Only 2000 of these babies have been made, so step on it kids.

Throbblehead Wendy can be yours for only $16.95. For seven inches of punk memorabilia, you could do a lot worse! And if Wendy O. Williams doesn't tickle your fancy, you can get your hands on throbbleheads of Tesco Vee (The Meatmen), GG Allin, or Joe Shithead Keithley of D.O.A.

I'm personally waiting on the Buzzcocks throbbleheads...

100 Shows of 2010 - #17: Backyard Tire Fire @ Black Cat, 4/17/10

I first became familiar with the gents of Backyard Tire Fire with their album Vagabonds and Hooligans, a collection of gorgeous, earthy songs mixing up the blues and the folk and the rock. While hailing from the metropolis of Chicago, their somewhat rustic approach appealed to me greatly. And so, years later, I jumped at the chance to see them (finally) in the flesh. Happily, I wasn't disappointed. These boys know how to put on a show, my friends.

MINI RECAP: Backyard Tire Fire = Consummate Showmen! Overall Score: B+.

The night before Backyard Tire Fire, I was down in Richmond getting my metal on. Let it not be said that we don't spread the love here at LET. My ears having slightly recovered, it was time for them to take another beating, for while BTF doesn't possess the sheer manic volume and scope of a metal show, they can still shake, rattle, and roll with the best of 'em.

I was immediately impressed by their polish, and their stage presence. They were amiable, affable, and full of personality. As a unit they command attention, and the smallish crowd obliged. Backyard Tire Fire is definitely one of those bands that has the live chops to back up what they do on record. Be it new songs ("One Wrong Turn"), older songs ("Downtime"), or cover songs (an excellent version of "Cinnamon Girl" back-to-back with Fleetwood Mac), BTF churned 'em out in a solid, meaty fashion. They frequently felt the need to get down a little, and I appreciate when bands get so into what they're playing. And friends, they're not fussy. The general consensus, if you wanna buy 'em booze, is that "whatever it is" they'll drink it.

All in all, I was really pleased with my first Backyard Tire Fire experience. They've got it down pat, they really do. Their music really goes down smooth, and you might just wanna get out there and check 'em out.

mp3: A Thousand Gigs Ago (Backyard Tire Fire from Good To Be)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Defense of Courtney Love

Hole's new album, Nobody's Daughter, hit the shelves today. While i've only heard the lead single, "Skinny Little Bitch," it seems obvious that the overall critical reaction has been far less than stellar. This, of course, led to an animated discussion amongst some of my ass headed friends (where do they find hats that fit?) over Court Court's place in the annals of rock history, which in turn, led me here today to assert that Mama Love deserves a bit more love of her own, folks.

Sure, her life has turned from comedy to tragedy over the past several years, but do you remember Courtney back in her glory days in the early 90s? i'll be the first to admit, back then, she was the Skank Princess of My Dreams (trust me, this was a good thing). For better or worse, she was the epitome of the hard rawking chick. OK, her personal life is now tabloid fodder, her tweets are exercises in insanity, and losing custody of her own daughter had to be hell on earth, but this is not the Courtney Love to remember. Live Through This and Celebrity Skin were money. The People vs. Larry Flynt was a great flick. Once upon a time, Courtney Love was the woman. Who's to say she won't be again?

By the by, she's coming to town June 27. If i didn't already have tickets to a different show that night, you could bet your ass i'd be there.

mp3: Dear Prudence (Beatles cover) (Courtney Love from her old website)

mp3: Violet (Hole from Live Through This)

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Covered: Call It Stormy Monday

Sometimes, post topics speak for themselves. Today is Monday, and the weather has been pretty crappy all day.
Originally written by T-Bone Walker in 1947, "Call It Stormy Monday" remains one of the all-time great 12-bar blues standards. Today, we'll check out a couple of takes by some blues legends, as well as the long haired hippie version by some southern rock legends, and a take by Bowie local legend.

mp3: Call It Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker from Swinging the Blues)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Music Friday: The Mostly European, Slightly Cali, Beaty, Trippy, Madly, C-levely, Wrestely, Soupy Edition

While the larger distributors have seemingly forsaken LET of late, it turned out to be a very excellent week for ye olde inbox, bringing us hidden gems from small labels and artists themselves. So suck it, larger distributors. You know who you are.

From the kick ass folks at what is quickly becoming my favorite label, Project: Mooncircle, we've got this gem from The Q4, a collaboration of three young Dutch producers: Arts the Beatdoctor, Sense and STW. On their latest EP, Darker Days, they paint a sound collage of dusty crates, impeccable timing and some damn fine turntable work here and there to flesh things out. These cats from Western Europe are really starting to come into their own. While most eyes are focused on the dubstep movement in both England and L.A., there is an ever increasing number of beat producers making tripped out, stoney tracks that could go head-to-head with anything from the Brainfeeder camp (well, maybe). You may recall i recently came close to creaming my jeans over the latest from Robot Koch, a fellow lablemate, and felt similarly about the cats over at Switchstance Recordings, too.

mp3: Lose Control (The Q4 from Darker Days)

In a similar, trippy, ambient way, Leigh Hannah, the force behind The Townhouses, sent me a couple of ethereal tracks that will blow wind up your skirt, i kid you not. Seriously, why the hell can't i find ANYONE to teach me production skills half as good as this cat? Keeping with the around the world theme, the "band" hails from Australia. Leigh, on a personal note, sorry for calling you "girl" in that email. The Missus' middle name is Leigh, so i kind of assumed. There is no doubt whatsoever, however, that these chill electro-orchestral tunes flipped my wig. i completely consider this LET scooping Gorilla vs. Bear, by the by.

mp3: Asleep (The Townhouses from Asleep Single)

For those who prefer some vocals with their electronica, may i introduce Mad Planet. While the comparisons to Portishead are somewhat obvious, i'm thinking about calling the L.A. duo "emo-hop." Firstly, because i love to name genres. Secondly, i was reading the latest vampire comedy by Christopher Moore while i was listening to the band, so the whole goth/emo thing was kind of on my brain already. Extra mad props to MC Greg Gordon for having the best Michael Jackson circa "Off the Wall" afro i've seen in a long, long time. Back to their music-it's a nice blend of ambient electronica, hip hop and haunting vocals. Which is nice.

mp3: I Live Alone (Mad Planet from All Elephants)

jj, apparently thinking Madlib's production schedule is a pre-requisite for today's hungry artist, have dropped yet another free single over at Sincerely Yours. Aren't they touring the US right now? No rest for the wicked, or so i hear. It's more of the same--brilliant, gauzy, hazy, and a bunch of similar, other adjectives.

Straight outta Budapest, we've also got the latest offering from the Erik Sumo Band. This 7-piece pysch-pop band is, quite simply, a fun listen. The crunchy guitar, fuzzy synths and pounding drum line, combined with the unique vocals of lead singer Tövisházi Ambrus, make for one potent stew. As this single from their second album goes to show, they've definitely figured out how to get toes tapping. And this is terrible of me, i know, but i'm amused by the marginally broken English. Of course, i don't speak a word of Hungarian, so who am i to judge? Well, i'm Terrible Chris, which pretty much sums it up, no?

mp3: You Never Been My Friend (Erik Sumo Band from The Trouble Soup)

To end on a completely different note, we recently received a note from psychedelic rockers Soup. And you know how i feel about that, right? We have so much in common, we both love soup and snow peas, we love the outdoors, and talking and not talking. We could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about. Referencing "How to Get Your Band's CD Reviewed by Damn Near Any Music Website," they were a near lock to get a shout-out here, assuming the music was any good. Fortunately, it is. Had they sent nude photos of ex-girlfriends, i might even have invited them over for dinner. Well, they didn't, but what can you do? If you're into 60s, jam band tune-age a la the Grateful Dead, Black Crowes, and even a touch of Blind Melon, you'll get into this groove.

And i'm out, sucka fish.

100 Shows of 2010 - #16: Inter Arma @ The Triple, 4/14/10

Sometimes, friends, I need to have my brain melted into oblivion, my ears mashed into a bloody pulp, and my innards shaken and shook and nigh on ripped out. At such times, I turn to my old Richmond friends, Inter Arma. And they rarely disappoint (ok, there was that one time, buuuuuuut that's only cuz I managed to miss them play).

MINI RECAP: Inter Arma = Obliterationtastic! Overall Score: A.

Sure, I'm a gal that loves her some roadtrips, especially when bands are involved. But these days, there aren't all that many bands that can induce me to hit the road (ah, budgetary restraints). Inter Arma, even though I've seen 'em several times before while a Richmond resident, still has the power to make me hop in my car and make the angst-filled drive down to Richmond. I just can't get enough of their insanely, painfully, pulvarizingly loud mess. And I'm not even really into metal! Go figure.

The Triple was, not at all surprisingly, heaving when the band began to play. And as they spewed forth their ferocious, aggressive, full-throttle noise, the crowd stood, enthralled, hanging on every big ole bastard of a note. They absolutely killed their set, butchered it, hung, drew, and quartered it. They are so not my usual type of band, but damned if I don't love 'em (though my eardrums kinda hate them just a little).

With an Inter Arma show, you're always gonna leave happy. Even when your ears are ringing so loudly that everyone you talk to sounds like a Disney mouse, you're totally thrilled with what you've just witnessed. This, my dears, is rock on an epic, epic scale. Everything about them is, well, turned to 11. They are louder than most bands I've seen live. They are better musicians than plenty of bands I've seen live. They are showmen. They're just straight up goddam good at playing metal. They will tear asunder your insides, and you will love it. Guaranteed. There's no shortage of metal bands in Richmond, but I'd pretty much say that Inter Arma has staked claim on being, if not the best, one of the best. Absolutely no question about it.

mp3: Epicenter (Inter Arma from their upcoming Forcefield release Sundown)

100 Shows of 2010 - #15: The Appleseed Cast @ DC9, 4/13/10

Amazing how time flies when something shitty happens! Some neighborhood punks throw a brick through my car window and suddenly it's been over a week since I was at DC9 for the really, really good show put on by The Appleseed Cast. I'll tear myself away from thoughts of castration to tell you just how good this show happens to have been.

MINI RECAP: The Appleseed Cast = Loudy loud loud! Overall score: B+.

Of all the shows I've been to thus far in this long and winding road I've decided to undertake, I've been the least acquainted with The Appleseed Cast. They're just one of those bands that flew well under my radar for whatever reason (perhaps my slight snobbery about bands that might be considered even slightly emo). Obviously, though, they haven't flown under lots of other radars. The DC9 show was sold out, which hasn't happened at a show I've been to there since the floor-wobblingly excellent Does It Offend You, Yeah? show many moons ago. All assembled seemed pretty pleased to be there, and there was a warm, cozy vibe in the place by the time I arrived (mere minutes before the band took the stage).

The Appleseed Cast joined the growing list of bands partaking in the trend of playing albums in their entirety at live shows. This tour, the Low Level Owl Tour, sees the band playing their super massive epic Low Level Owl 1 & 2 (hence the name on those pretty rad tees they had for sale). An ambitious undertaking for sure to try to work through 20+ songs each and every night of a tour! Right from the beginning of the set, I was pretty dang impressed. Their ambient, expansive noise appeals to my need for sheer size and scope of songs, and the accompanying visuals (shown on the club's TVs) of retro scenes and old photographs fit the overall feel of the set perfectly. Song after song was strong, textured, and definitely managed to hold my attention. It was the kind of show that could have lasted hours, maybe even days, and you'd never really be quite sure of just how long the band held you in their clutches. I found the somewhat dark undertones very appealing, and the way some songs came at you in waves of layer upon layer, much like the movement of a dark, stormy sea. Each song bled into the next, keeping a constancy in the set and serving as a way to keep us all reeled in. There was plenty to enjoy about the set, and not just about those hypnotic video images. The guitars were intricate and lively, and I was pretty impressed with each and every member of the band.

For being not really familiar with the band before the show, I was well and truly impressed with them, and a little surprised at how much I enjoyed myself.

mp3: Steps and Numbers (The Appleseed Cast from Low Level Owl vol. 1)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog-on-Blog Love: Oscillations

i have to say, i'm a bit surprised i haven't been hearing more accolades concerning Oscilliations Parts 1 and 2, a couple of FREE mixtapes put out by fellow blogs Jus Like Music and Apple Juice Break. Between the two tapes, there's nearly two and a half hours of all sorts of craziness, "from hip-hop to electronica to neo-soul to dubstep and beyond." Thankfully, it's filled to the brim with all sorts of booty shaking goodness, from names spoken of here in the past, like Alex B, to players i have no doubt we'll be talking about more in the future, such as Oddisee and Kidkanevil (assuming the latter doesn't break every bone in his body in a terrible accident trying to jump 77 buses ON FIRE!!! Actually, scratch that, i'd totally write that kind of shit up, too). Honestly, the concern with anything this sizable is that the crap and filler outweigh the good stuff. Not so here. No matter where your tastes lie on the electronic music scale, you're bound to find something to tickle your fancy on this one. And who doesn't like a tickled fancy? Nobody. Not even your grandfather.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Greatest 420 You Will Ever Hear Today, Part the Second

Well, if you're checking out this mix, you're either hell baked by now or on your way towards that destination. And to you, girls and boys, who have stuck with this habit, through good times and bad, through sticky buds and ditch weed duds, through dank and skank, your Uncle Terrible salutes you. For the rest of you, don't step on the grass, Sam. For the rest of us, let's go get stoned.

mp3: Gummi Bears Theme, Dutch Version (Some Dutchy McDutcherson from the Dutch version of Disney's Gummi Bears, natch)*

*If listening to the Gummi Bear theme song in Dutch doesn't automatically make you smile, well, you, sir or madam, are dead on the inside.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Greatest 420 Mix You Will Ever Hear Today, Part the First

i heard somebody is having a big 420 party tomorrow. No, not for Hitler's birthday, you damn Nazi. April 20 is the Stoner High Holiday, every one's favorite call number for their favorite not exactly legal depending where you live plant. Or so i hear. It's not like i'm a two time attendee of the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam (13th and 15th annual do what now?) or anything. Hugs, not drugs, kids. Unless the hugs are administered by creepy strangers and/or the drugs are really good shit. i'm not saying, i'm just saying. What was i saying again?

Oh yes, Part the First of LET's Two Part Greatest 420 Mix You Will Ever Hear Today. A few laughs and a few tracks to keep it stoney, son. You spit fiyah, and i'll slurp smoke.

mp3: Champagne & Reefer (Muddy Waters from Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live)

mp3: Medicinal Marijuana (Police Chief Wiggum, Sergeant Lou, Officer Eddie and Mr. Mitchell from The Canine Mutiny, Episode 20, Season 8)

mp3: When I Get Low, I Get High (Chick Webb & His Orchestra With Ella Fitzgerald from Viper Mad Blues: 25 Songs Of Dope And Depravity)

mp3: Suck Dick for Coke (Dave Chapelle, Bob Saget and the "I Seen It!" Guy from Half-Baked)

mp3: Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba (George Benson & the Harlem Underground Band from Erotic Moods)

mp3: Smoker's Anthem (Aesop from Legendary Music Vol. 2)

mp3: Smoke (ft. Blu) (J Dilla from Jay Stay Paid)

mp3: Something Stank ft. George Clinton (Sativa from Jersey Girl)

mp3: I NEED WEED (YG from 4 Fingaz Mixtape)

mp3: Breakfast Blunts (Ras G And The Afrikan Space Program from LA Series 3)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Video Vixens: All Sorts of New to Newish Stuff

i've been meaning to do a Video Vixens post for a while now, even having gone so far as to compile a list of things i've watched lately that i wanted to share. As i've mentioned in the past, MTV lost anything resembling relevance to me decades ago, and so i wrongly assumed that videos were dead, too. Au contraire, mon frere. Seems nothing could be further from the truth. As long as we're sticking to the truth, however, i should probably point out that i've lost that aforementioned list, so there probably are a couple of gems i wanted you to see that now may never come to pass. Try not to lose any sleep over that fact.

Die Antwoord apparently is a "fake" band, but regardless of that fact, they've actually got a pretty decent sound. Their angle is that they're a South African hip hop group, clearly playing up the "inner city" side, so if you don't understand half of what they're saying and you don't happen to be South African yourself, there you have it. That being said, who else out there it touting their ninja-ness in this day and age? Not nearly enough folks. And is it just me, or does Yo-Landi Vi$$er (the borderline albino singer) have a lil' sumfin sumfin going on?

mp3: Enter the Ninja (Die Antwoord from $0$)

i've always dug St. Vincent, and i still feel bad that i slept so much on her Actor, which clearly is a stellar piece of work. Here she is with the wonderful THUNDERANT, getting her bookstore groove on.

mp3: Laughing With a Mouth of Blood (St. Vincent from Actor)

Dude, it's a love story with Ronald McDonald. And it's a kick ass tune. 'Nuff said.

Clearly, the most fucked up video you will see today. Well, maybe. It's good to see Janeane Garofalo working again, though. Not for the faint of heart. Or crotch, for that matter.

José James is a jazz singer who recently teamed up with Wunder-Producer Flying Lotus. Yes, the following is a K-Swiss commercial, but this track is so damn smooth, it had to be shared. Plus, maybe you need new shoes. i don't know. i'm just trying to be helpful.

mp3: Blackmagic (José James from Blackmagic)

A lot of people thought Q-Tip's last joint was pretty good, but i didn't think it was all that and a bag of chips. This track with Norah Jones, though, was out-of-the-park fantastic. The video's not too shabby, either.

mp3: Life is Better (Q-Tip ft. Norah Jones from The Renaissance)

You really liked that fucked up Health one, didn't you? Who am i to deny the sick bastard in each of us? i pity the fool that would even try to pull that shit.

No music in today's closer, but it's something to think about nonetheless, particularly if you're trying to figure out what your kid's school play should be next year. And that's the fudging truth, baby.

Album Review: Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut

The odds of being fatally wounded by a falling coconut are about 1 in 250 million. In comparison, the odds that you’ll fall madly in love with the third Archie Bronson Outfit record, Coconut, are substantially higher.

I first fell in love with ABO back in 2004, upon the release of their debut Fur. It was a dark, heady, big bastard of a bluesy rock record, the kind of album that’s drenched in boozy sweat and reeking of ciggies and mornings after. In short, it was fucking brilliant, and I was in fucking love. Derdang Derdang, the second Archie Bronson Outfit record, left some of the filthy blues behind it, relying more on sheer size and scope and noise to see it through. It was sharp and severe, and it was another fine, fine record. Sure, we all expect fine things from bands signed to Domino, but even so, it was a fantastic record. And then, to my chagrin, the boys seemed to vanish. For years there was not a peep, and I feared the worst (i.e. a breakup). Happily, though, this wasn’t the case. And I’ll tell you what, my lovelies, the wait for Coconut was well worth it. In my humble opinion, it’s quite possibly the album of the year thus far.

Right from the start, this record blew my mind. Once again, ABO turned their sound on its arse, and oh my heavens it’s amazing. “Magnetic Warrior” is choc-full of sordidly tribal drumming, charmingly muddy vocals, and a whole lot of noise. Oh, and it’s frighteningly loud (and sounds best played at deafening volume). Upon hearing it I knew in an instant that I was in for a treat. And it gets better, friends. Single “Shark’s Tooth” is painfully good. The chilling, razor’s edge of the guitar, the maddening noisy swirl, the overwhelming feel of fucked-up love that’s come to be so familiar in Archie Bronson songs…it’s nigh on breathtaking. They don’t let up, because next comes “Hoola,” a groovy little song with a more than slightly bawdy bassline that makes me want to do all sorts of bad things. But wait, you say, that’s typical Megan. Well, friends, what can I say, the ABO just brings out the extra saucy in me.

It just keeps going, this record. “Wild Strawberries” careens at a breakneck pace, a thundering wall of ferocity. “Chunk” marks quite a departure for the band, sounding like an 80s song, albeit one run through a meat grinder until it’s a bloody, raw pulp. In other words, it’s an 80s song given the Archie Bronson Outfit signature. There’s a touch of surf rock in the eye of the noisy hurricane that is “You Have a Right to a Mountain Life/One Up On Yourself,” yet another killer song. “Harness (Bliss)” is another insanely good track, with one hell of an indecently fabulous intro and guitars wavering and shimmering like a mirage in the middle of the hottest desert. The record comes to a close with “Run Gospel Singer”, a track that sounds like it could have been included on Fur, despite its almost uplifting sound (though don’t be fooled, it’s not a happy song). The song, and the record, are over far too soon.

Coconut is quite a record, my friends. It’s gonna take quite an effort to know it out of the apple of my eye status it currently holds. Bands, you’ve been put on notice.

mp3: Hoola (Archie Bronson Outfit from Coconut)

Happy Birthday, Dusty

We all know her voice, that slow burning, naughty but nice smoky sound (perhaps the perfect example of this being the classic “Son Of a Preacher Man”). Dusty Springfield was, in my mind, one of the most gifted vocalists of the 20th century. Listen to Dusty In Memphis and just try to disagree with me. Few people can match her voice, which echoed with not just the sentiment of the song she might have been singing, but with a deeper, constant touch of sorrow. Frequently, in song as well as life, she seemed to be the woman done wrong. And nearly always, she reached the realms of the magnificent with that voice of hers.

In a time when a whole bunch of people didn’t even think about singing songs they had written, Dusty made every song that came her way sound like it was hers and hers alone. With that kinda voice, it was easy to stake claim on just about anything. And so, please take a moment to remember that heavenly, heartbreaking voice, and the woman behind it.

Happy Birthday, Dusty.

mp3: Just One Smile (Dusty Springfield from Dusty In Memphis)

100 Shows of 2010 - #14: Gringo Star @ Black Cat, 4/8/10

I’d been wanting to see Gringo Star for just over a year by the time their Black Cat show rolled around, so it’s about damn time they rolled into town. The weather set a dramatic backdrop for their set at the Black Cat (guess you could say they’re a band that knows how to make an entrance), but not even the torrential downpours of the season’s first major storm could keep me away. And those Atlanta boys sure did make the risk worth the reward, let me tell you.

MINI RECAP: Gringo Star = Hot tamales! Overall score: A.

Sandwiched between locals Typefighter and Exit Clov, Gringo Star was definitely the cream of the evening’s crop, the feather in the night's cap. As soon as they broke out that pair of tambourines, I knew it was gonna be a good night. Forget those Black Lips comparisons you might have heard, I’m pretty sure those are around merely because both bands reside in Atlanta. Not only are they far more genteel, but the Gringos also definitely draw a hefty inspiration from the bands of the British Invasion. The Kinks’ influence is clear, but to me there was a definite dash of the irrepressible “She’s Not There”-era Zombies as well. Jaunty, jangly, and irresistible: that’s the Gringo Star modus operandi.

Their 45-ish minute set simply flew by, a whirl of simple, catchy as hell songs perfect for chasing the clouds away. Not only did the boys fuel my love for them by using not one but two tambourines, but they also utilize a rather unique vocal arrangement: three of them share the lead vocals. Over the course of the set, Nick, Peter, and Pete all got their sing on, and while their voices are all distinct, somehow this singing merry-go-round works perfectly and seamlessly for their sound. The band bobbed like Brits of yore up there on the small stage, and spread their Kinksian love all around the room. Like the bands that inspired them, the Gringo Star songs are short but very, very sweet.

It took a damn long time for me to finally see them, but Gringo Star did not disappoint. Their throwback sound warmed the cockles of my little heart, and believe me when I say this is definitely a band you’ll want to make sure to catch live. They’ll show you one heck of a good time. I hope it doesn’t take nearly as long to see them a second time.

mp3: Ask Me Why (Gringo Star from All Y’all)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Greatest Beard-a-Thon Mix You Will Ever Hear

So i don't really go into hockey here at LET, but never let it be said i am anything less than a 100%, 3/4 American, 1/4 Canuck Puck Head of the highest degree. i started playing street hockey when i was in grade school, broke my leg playing ice about two years ago and was playing in two adult rec leagues when my artery exploded. Being a Chicago native, i'm a huge Blackhawks fan, and even went to the outdoor game at Wrigley Field a couple of years back. Having lived in DC for the past decade-plus, i've become equally passionate about the Caps. Hell, i've had some kind of season ticket package since well before the Great 8, so you can only imagine the sheer joy i'm experiencing right now, just before either team starts down the path towards glory. i have not decided if a 'Hawks/Caps series for the Cup would be the greatest or worst thing i could imagine, but i'll tell you this--if either makes it that far, i will be at at least one game for either of my teams.

For the second year in a row, i've opted to join the Beard-a-Thon, which raises money to help keep kids with razor sharp blades and deadly sticks off the street and on the ice where they belong. i don't ask anyone to donate to LET because, quite frankly, my day job treats me pretty nicely, but if you've ever thought, "Man, Terrible Chris is constantly giving and giving, what ever could lowly I ever do for lordly him?"

Throw a few ducats towards the cause, and we'll call it even. Hell, if enough of you donate a buck, maybe i'll even place in the top ten. Or better, you cheap bastards whom i love dearly.

Here's the link not-so-subtly-hidden-like-above:

Now, i had to start from scratch, and i'll be the first to admit i'm currently a light bulb in my mouth away from looking like Uncle Fester, but it's hardly a grow-a-thon if i started with my usual thickness.

To get you in the mood, here comes The Greatest Beard-a-Thon Mix You Will Ever Hear.

mp3: Beard (Blur from Parklife)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Old Skool Review: Heavy D and the Boyz

Hip hop always has had an interesting relationship with the portly. From the Three Stooges quality of The Fat Boys to the gangsta flourishes of Big Pun, rap has never been shy talking about whether fat is or is not phat. Heavy D, however, took a different track, daring you to question his prowess as a ladies man, big boned or not. Particularly since i've porked back up since all the cyborg zombie attacks i've had to endure lately, i really dig Heavy D these days.

Heavy D, in addition to professing one's right to be porky, also was a helluva dancer back in the day. It might be hard for you young'uns to believe this, but there was a time when how well you and your crew danced was far more important than sounding like a damn commercial for various high end alcohols. Along with Kid 'n Play, Heavy D and the Boyz arguably were one of the tightest dancing rap groups of the day. And yes, you guessed it, i DID happen to see the group back when there still were the Boyz (RIP, Trouble T. Roy, who broke his neck while dancing at an after party in 1990), during the hey day of rap's golden era in the late 80s/early 90s. D's since turned predominantly towards acting, though he's stepped into reggae fusion CDs recently, too. Regardless of where his career goes moving forward, he's always going to be one of the icons of the industry as far as i'm concerned.

A diddley-diddley-diddley-diddely-diddely-dee, indeed.

mp3: Gyrlz, They Love Me (Heavy D and the Boyz from Heavy Hitz)

mp3: We Got Our Own Thang (Heavy D and the Boyz from Heavy Hitz)

mp3: The Overweight Lover's in the House (Heavy D and the Boyz from Heavy Hitz)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In the Inbox: Robot Koch

While i'm always delighted to receive any and all submissions, to be completely honest, most of the stuff that hits the LET inbox is from artists i haven't heard of prior to opening and reading said email. Which is all good, as one of the main reasons i personally do LET is to discover (and share) new music with the unwashed masses. Let those bathed motherfuckers find their own music, those showering bastards. To rely on an overused cliche, imagine my surprise when i actually heard from the PR team for an artist i truly dig when i opened ye olde inbox this morning. It was a tingling sensation, not unpleasant, that circled briefly 'round my nether regions, but i'm perhaps telling you too much right now.

Long story short, if it's not too late already,
Robot Koch, beat producer par excellence, has a new EP (12" and casette, too) coming out May 7. Better yet, it's just a sample of a new LP that's supposed to drop this fall on Project: Mooncircle.

To say this shit is dope would be an understatement. With traces of dubstep, burbling bass lines and almost tribal vocals by his lady friend,
Grace, i have been listening to what was shared non-stop since this morning. Hell, the sampler alone could be one of my favorite tracks thus far in the still relatively young year. The static between beats on this thing is phenomenal, for chrissakes. i can only imagine what kind of beast the full EP must be. We're talking a two pounder here. Wow.

mp3: True Short Edit (Robot Koch from Listen To Them Fade)