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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Full Albums:

  • Big K.R.I.T., Krit Wuz Here and Return of 4eva1
  • Curtis Mayfield, The Very Best of Curtis Mayfield2
  • Foo Fighters, Wasting Light3
  • Driver F, Chase the White Whale4
  • Does it Offend You, Yeah?, You Have No Idea What You’ve Gotten Yourself Into
  • Faces, A Nod Is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse5
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Pharmocolypse, The Unknowable6
  • Run-DMC, Greatest Hits7
  • The Strokes, Angles8
  • TV on the Radio, 9 Types of Light9
  • Wiz Khalifa, Rolling Papers10


Random Excellence:

  • Mos Def, “Life in Marvelous Times”
  • Keri Hilson, “Beautiful Mistake”
  • Kings of Leon, “Be Somebody”
  • James Brown, “Super Bad”
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”


Songs of the Week:

  • Yeasayer, “O.N.E.”
  • TV on the Radio, “New Cannonball Run”
  • Run-DMC, “Down with the King”
  • Fleetwood Mac, “Gypsy” and “Everywhere”
  • Driver F, “I Have Better Things to Do Tonight than Die”
  • Big K.R.I.T., “Country Shit (Remix Feat. Ludacris & Bun B.)”


Reviews:


1. As far as I can tell, the reason this album exists was so Bun B and Ludacris could come in and make a hot track like 10 or 18 times hotter. This mixtape kind of felt like a holding pattern whereas the first one was a slew of above average with hints of awesome. Then again, I feel like he and Wiz Khalifa have a lot in common in that they’re both poised to take over rap, even though I’m not a big fan of their new stuff.


2. “Superfly” and “Pusherman” are amazing but I don’t know if Curtis is really for me. The music it obviously hugely influential, you can trace Kanye, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC and seemingly endless new music directly back to a lot of his work, but I don’t know what went wrong for me. Something about the pacing and the falsetto that weren’t quite right for me. I also wonder how influential drugs were in his life; a lot of his songs seem to involve either a pusherman or someone being manipulated by a pusherman. I can’t tell if it was a reaction to his hatred for his personal dealer or a genuine hatred for dealers destroying communities. Some songs seem like they’re explicitly the latter, but the frequency makes me wonder if he, say, had a relative in the business or something–a constant source of emotional pain he tried to work out in his music. Needless to say, I’m going to need to force myself to get past that tempo/falsetto gut reaction to figure this all out.


3. Speaking of things I’m going to have to revisit, I know I liked this, but I think the only songs that stood out were “Rope” and “Arlandria.” I always like a Foo Fighter album almost devoid of acoustic guitars. Particularly since “White Limo” sounds a lot like a song off of Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf. Maybe the problem with this album was enjoying every song so much that nothing stood out. Straight up rock and roll.


4. I went to high school with these guys so I’m surprised this is the first time I’ve ever heard the whole album–despite the fact that it’s been out for four years now. If I had gotten this as a record or something instead of as a as an iTunes gift from a friend, I’d probably be ruining it by now from listening to it on repeat so much. They’re not breaking up, but the fact that they’re going to have to replace their drummer before they make their next album is still sad because I’d like some more. I remember thinking “You want to play ska?” when I was in high school with them, not realizing the only band that matters was kind of a ska band. But the more I listen, it’s just rock the way rock’s supposed to be made. It’s not Reel Big Fish or the Mighty Mighty Bosstones or Cherry Popping Daddies. I rejected it at the time because I hated that crap. These days, there’s rarely a rock band that doesn’t have horns lacing the track–so why not just add the horn players as actual band members instead of studio musicians? Plus, that there boy can fuckin’ sing. 


5. The first and last songs are incredible. I also like how the whole album has the feel of Rolling Stones album with a guy occasionally imitating Dylan while singing. That said, though, all the momentum was definitely at the beginning and the end–it sort of felt like they got bored in the middle.


6. I wish the beats were more prominent. Chiptune’s cool and all, but I think this would have been more exciting with hella awesome beats. Then again, my standard is Gameboy Variations. I think I kept hoping someone was going to start rapping over them, too.


7. There’s just not enough music on here. In high school I might have been the drum line’s biggest fan, but something about the sparsity here just doesn’t work for me. Sure, I love those main like five Run-DMC songs everyone loves, but the only real revelation here was “Down with the King,” probably because it’s featuring C.L. Smooth and produced by Pete Rock. I think that kind of says it all: my new favorite Run-DMC song wasn’t even produced by Jam-Master Jay, but by Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth.


8. This album is gorgeous. Gorgeous, I tell you.


9. The title makes me wonder which song is the source of the darkness. Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised by this album. Their last two records were excellent, surely there’s no way they can keep their streak going–but of course they did. Sadly, they released it just in time to lose a band member, but he left some great gifts for us. Not to sound too selfish or anything, but he made some great basslines, particularly all of “New Cannonball Run.”


10. There might not have been a way for this to be any more boring. I was incredibly excited when he released “Black and Yellow” because I thought he was going to make a transition, bring great rap skills to amazing beats while becoming more commercially viable, more mainstream, but all we have is this piece of crap. Sure, the whole thing didn’t suck, but it was seriously underwhelming.


Comment:


Pie came out much better this time. Still making mistakes at both jobs, but it’s just a process. As long as I can keep learning from mistakes, I should be okay. It might have been a little rough, but it definitely felt good for a couple of reasons: I love learning and I still don’t work in retail. I do sometimes worry that by sitting at my desk and using earbuds I get a lot of work done but miss out on the social aspect.
But then again, I have a social life again and the place where I might be missing out on the social interaction the most has the best rooftop parties I’ve been to. Consume feces, retail.
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Full Albums:

  • The Afghan Whigs, 1965
  • The Beatles, Abbey Road
  • The Cure, Galore
  • Daft Punk, Discovery
  • Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
  • The Hold Steady, Almost Killed Me
  • Interpol, Interpol
  • Jay-Z, The Black Album
  • Kanye West, My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy
  • Kate Nash, Made of Bricks
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Kings of Leon, Come around Sundown
  • Pearl Jam, Vs. and Vitalogy1
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • The-Dream, Love Hate and Love vs. Money
  • TV on the Radio, Dear Science2
  • The xx, xx

Random Excellence:

  • Warren Zevon, “Detox Mansion”
  • GZA, “Shadowboxin'”
  • Saves the Day, “The Last Lie I Told”
  • Nas, “Hero”
  • Big K.R.I.T., “I Got Drank”3

Songs of the Week:

  • Wu-Tang Vs. The Beatles, “Clientele Kidd”
  • The Temper Trap, “Fader”
  • Fleetwood Mac, “Everywhere”
  • Child Rebel Soldier, “Don’t Stop!”
  • Animal Collective, “My Girls”

Reviews:

1. I haven’t covered a song in a long time, but going back to these again was like getting slapped upside the head with a bunch of guitars. Some really dense, lush, beautiful music even though it’s soaked in anger and frustration. And then “Bugs” is stupid.

2. They did a show the day their new CD came out. In the true nature of my life right now, I had no idea it was happening. I don’t know how I missed that or the release of The Strokes’ new album. Both of these bands are amazing and both have new albums out and I don’t listen to them until like three weeks after the fact? I must be losing my touch.

3. Speaking of which, the awesomeness on this song reminded me I still haven’t listened to Return of 4eva yet. I know, you’re embarrassed for the both of us. I think I’ll be okay, though.

Comment:

There’s been a lot of change going on; I think I finally caught the rhythm at one job while the rhythm switched up at the other–but I might have cracked that code recently. Maybe my head was so far in employment, I forgot to look into new music. I haven’t been to a movie in weeks. I did an interview over a week ago and have yet to type it up. Maybe now I’ll pull my shiz together.

Also weird, I baked a pecan pie yesterday and kinda screwed it up. I’ve never cooked so poorly before. Just makes me want to do it right though, so I might have some fresh pecan pie in like a week or so. Let me know if you want some. Actually, if you see me, ask me if I’ve got my shiz together.

It’s like when the world’s oldest man said one of the secrets to a long life was embracing change; I don’t think it’s just embracing it, but also adapting to it. So I’m go chameleon some the crap out of some stuff right quick, brb.

Full Albums:

  • LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening!
  • Miike Snow, Miike Snow
  • Mike Posner, 31 Minutes to Takeoff
  • Robyn, Body Talk
  • TV on the Radio, Dear Science
  • UGK, Ridin’ Dirty
  • Wu-Tang vs The Beatles, Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers

Random Excellence:

  • Cream, “Badge”
  • David Bowie, “Fame”
  • Fall Out Boy, “Of All the Gin Joints in the World”
  • Justice, “The Party”
  • Keri Hilson, “Lose Control”
  • Kings of Leon, “King of the Rodeo”
  • Prince, “Sexy Dancer”
  • Saves the Day, “Firefly”
  • Desmond Dekker, “007 (Shanty Town)”

Songs of the Week:

  • The Black Keys, “Sinister Kid”
  • LCD Soundsystem, “Dance Yrself Clean”
  • Lil Wayne, “Let the Beat Build”
  • Miike Snow, “Cult Logic”
  • Robyn, “Stars 4-Ever”

Reviews:

Daaaammmn, I would kill at karaoke with UGK’s “Murder.” In related news, PUN!

Comment:

Oh man. OH MAN. Remember that one time when I quit retail and then drank every night for a week? I don’t.

Tip your waitresses. But seriously, I didn’t drink that much and New York is so much more fun when you can set up appointments with friends and actually show up to them. I had on-call shifts over the weekend before this past one and didn’t have to go in, so my tenure ended a week before my two weeks’ notice was up without me realizing it until two days later. (Which is to say, my one week’s notice was celebrated in excess in my spare week.) And that night this place called No Idea Bar had free drinks for people named “Chris.” And then every night after that was also my night–if not in name, then definitely in spirit.

And now my immune system is as dead to me as retail. Perhaps my immune system will find the heart to take me back, but I couldn’t give two shits about retail. Which reminds me, PPPPPUUUUUNNNNNNNNN!!!!

This is why they pay me the big bucks–try the veal.

(Bucks? Veal? Can’t stop, won’t stop, now give me a raise.)

I was raised in a couple of suburbs, so I’m surprised that I’ve never heard something like this before. But then again, one of those suburbs was right between Dallas and Fort Worth and saying this out loud would never have helped people understand your intentions. I guess New York’s grandeur and world-renown makes this a much easier stretch of the imagination.

‘Round these parts, they call Manhattan “The City.”

Say you’re out on Staten Island or nestled deep in the bosom of BK, you’re chatting with friends and it’s getting late. They might say, “Oh. Hey. [Your name here]. When’re you going into the city?” To which you probably respond, “Fuckin’…right now. The trains are fucked and I need my beauty rest.” At which point you call a gypsy cab and pony up for some of the best cartfood you’ve ever had.

I’m fully aware that “gypsy cabs” and “cartfood” are also pretty distinct New York things, but probably not as much as “The City” is. Also, the first two never had to be explained to me before, and the latter did. Let me put it this way: gypsy cabs are to non-yellow cabs as cartfood is, generally, to kosher or halal food served from a cart (maybe sometimes hot dogs or pretzels or nuts or what have you).

But when you say “The City” in New York City, you’re not talking about New York City, you’re talking about Manhattan. I first heard about this term when I was living in Brooklyn and I’m not really sure why it just occurred to me to take note of it over a year and a half after the fact. It became one of those things that I just instantaneously added to my wordbank but neglected to use often, like “y’all” or “all y’all” or “wicked pissah ovah theyah.

Which is to say, even talking about NYC in NYC shows that Manhattan is quite possibly the most important part of NYC. I say “quite possibly” because the surrounding areas are not banned from having important activities or events, it’s just that the majority are in the city.

Full Albums:

  • Adele, 21
  • Audioslave, Audioslave
  • Big K.R.I.T., K.R.I.T. Wuz Here
  • The Black Keys, Brothers
  • Cee-Lo Green, The Lady Killer
  • The Clash, The Essential Clash
  • The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
  • Earl Sweatshirt, EARL1
  • Girl Talk, All Day
  • James Pants, Welcome2
  • Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak
  • LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver3
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang
  • Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Transference
  • Van Halen, Van Halen
  • Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles, Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers

Random Excellence:

  • The Afghan Whigs, “Magazine”
  • Justice, “Phantom”
  • Robyn, “Hang with Me”
  • Saves the Day, “34”
  • NWA, “100 Miles and Runnin'”

Songs of the Week:

  • Spoon, “I Turn my Camera On”
  • LCD Soundsystem, “Someone Great”3
  • Fleetwood Mac, “Gypsy”
  • Kanye West, “Good Life”
  • Queens of the Stone Age, “Misfit Love”

Reviews:

1. This probably belongs in a separate post, but I think Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill ‘Em All is just the whitest incarnation of rap around right now. And I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.

I was talking with one of my bosses who likes them and he was saying they reminded him of Eminem’s first couple of albums. Which, for me, isn’t really helpful because my mom never allowed me to listen to any Eminem after she saw one of the songs was called “cum on my shoes” or something. Regardless, they’re still being compared to the first white guy who could rap consistently well. No one should be surprised Vanilla Ice doesn’t count. Which is to say, Eminem, despite my inability to grant him an audience, is sort of the standard for “Holy shit that is one of the angriest people I’ve ever heard rapping and you mean to tell me he’s white?” Which, says a lot about their audience, I think.

Their main point of reference is a white guy. They rap, as he did, about raping and murdering and torturing and all that good stuff. Whereas it was just one guy perfecting terrifying rhymes, this is like 8 or 15 kids rapping about the same shit. I see it as a sign of the times in the sense that a couple of black kids are attempting to recapture that Venting While Rapping genre.

These kids are all skateboarders. They took the whitest sport (xtreme!) and adopted it while proclaiming punk roots and intentions to tour in punk concert halls. Which isn’t a bad thing, it just feels like a regression, like they’re aiming high but shooting low. In that attempt to embrace all things rebellion and different, they’ve embraced symbols that are no longer all that rebellious. Everyone has a favorite punk band and Blink-182 used to run MTV.

I think the reason they yell “Fuck Steve Harvey!” for almost no determinate reason and almost all the time is because, for them, he is the symbol of all things normal. He hosts Family Feud, he did the Kings of Comedy tour, he’s a devout Christian and he hosts a radio show that is, in some circles, a sort of taste-making ground for healthy and wholesome pop music. In telling that guy to fuck off, they’re saying, “Fuck you commercial radio and fuck you comedy; we take our music seriously and we’ll do this on our own. We don’t know what family values are and if you like those you can get fucked.”

People have also called them our generation’s Wu-Tang Clan. I don’t know if I agree with that because there’s something a little more controlled about the Wu-Tang–something more regimented. Wu feels like more of an experienced group of heavy-hitters instead of an imaginary escape for a bunch of teenagers. Raekwon is called “The Chef” because he used to cook up a whole bunch of crack–which, considering all his new CD, he might still be cooking. Sure, Jay-Z still raps about crack and he’s not selling, but if any rapper’s still in the crack game, it’s probably The Chef. But listening to Odd Future, I don’t get the impression–I’m hoping, wishing–they’ve ever raped girls’ belly buttons or having sex with, as Earl raps about, gashes in girls they’ve tied up.

So I understand the appeal (particularly for white people), but it’s just not for me. Sure, like NPR argues, some of them are very talented rappers, but it’s not my kind of rap. And sure, some could argue Biggie spit that line, “Your daughter’s tied up in a Brooklyn basement,” long before they did with similar violent intentions, but I don’t think he was as disgusting or vile almost simply for the sake of freaking people out. I get that it’s an escape, part of expressing the frustration with your situation, but I just don’t like imagining raping girls. Yes, they’re storytellers, but they’re not telling the kind of stories I’m a fan of. I might keep listening to some of their stuff, just to keep abreast of what’s going on in modern hip-hop, but I don’t think I’ll ever really like it.

2. How this white man got so funky? Color this white man impressed.

3. Pretty much had to listen to this as someone great retired back on Saturday.

Comment:

I think Friday night was my last shift at [shitty retail job]. Technically, the end of my two week’s notice falls on Friday, but they didn’t schedule me and Saturday and Sunday was full of on-call shifts that they didn’t have me come in for. It’s weird to have a last day without realizing it was your last day until two days later.

I really want to just draft up a bunch of stories about why that place almost sucked out my soul, but I’m terrified there’s a slight chance that I’ll have to work there again someday. I love both of my jobs (Freelance Copywriter and Associate Editor), but the freelance nature of both absolutely terrifies me. I’m just freelancing and they could let me go literally any second. It doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case, but I’m afraid it could happen. Though I love what I’m doing, the lack of dependability or a salary is almost as scary as some of Earl Sweatshirt’s lyrics.

I mean, this site doesn’t have my last name on it, but I am Facebook friends with some people who work there, and they could easily find all these links–though we’re Facebook friends because we’re actually friends and as such they probably already know how I feel about “The Company.” Besides that, a lot of readers here know who I am anyway. Maybe I’ll just start an even more secret blog without any links to it that doesn’t even have my first name. “The Blog That Knew Too Much…About Panties” or something less stupid.