Monday, May 30, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
This new album entitled Creep On Creepin' On by Timber Timbre I've had in my player quite frequently lately. I just had to share it. They're a dark swampy bluesy folk trio from Canada that conjure a spooky smokey mood that you can't help but be hypnotized by. They slowly build their merky atmosphere with deep baritone guitars , delicate violin and lapsteel, minimal percussion, saxophone, and cunning use of keyboards, samplers and loop pedals. All this woven together with the deep country-folk flecked soulful croons of main singer-songwriter Taylor Kirk. The vibe is akin to bands like Morphine, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, although they really have cornered a sound all their own with everything that's going on. I mean they're on Arts and Crafts Records so you have to expect a lot more arty experimentation, which is obviously apparant. Anyway, definitely worth a listen. I've fallen deeply in love with this band. If you like this, their self-titled that came out a few years ago is very similar and also highly recommended. The one before that (debut) you'll get a lot more of a lofi production value, especially on the vocals, also worth a go, but different tonally.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
So I decided I couldn't live without posting at least one more nugget. UK heavy progressive/psychedelic rock band Fuzzy Duck released their one and only album in 1971 and it rocks super hard start to finish. '71 is the year of all years, I swear to Jesus. Enjoy.
Man, what I would do to be able to have existed back then when the shit was good. Well, shit's still good, but this shit was radical! A lot of what I love came out of the late 60s and early 70s and once in a while I'll throw some of it at yous.
Since their distant inception they've gained quite a cult following. This record, Dead Man, was self-released in 1970 and limited to only 3000 copies originally and since has become a quite sought after title for record collectors. It has since been re-released in a 2-in-1 album set also including their first recording Get Off My Case which has 7 tracks, 4 of which are also on Dead Man-just different recording sessions. If you find it, I definitely recommend getting it. This is free-form hard psychedelic blues rock and apparently doesn't even compare to their live performances, which I'm surely jealous I missed. These guys were really in tune with each other and on their massive jam of a final track you'll see what I mean.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Candied yams and collard greens,
Pocket fulla stones ridin' clean...
Country Shit (Remix) (feat. Ludacris & Bun B)-Big K.R.I.T.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Amplification. Electricity. I could leave the article at that and it would be better than any further elaboration. I'd say that almost anybody would acknowledge that the blues was created by black men. I'd also say that those same people would say that Rock n' Roll was a 'black' sound. I don't think that many people would tell you that Rock was a sound developed by black musicians at all, when it is widely credited to Zeppelin, Cream, The Stones or The Beatles. Although, it is acknowledged that a sound developed by black musicians laid the foundation for those previously mentioned, it is not acknowledged that maybe some black musicians made it onto or gave birth to the psychedelic movement before the white British rockers we love ever figured it out
Muddy Waters you sonofabitch. I always knew you were contributing from behind the scenes for the entirety of the 60's. But until I found this record I had no idea that you found psychedelia this early. Sometimes you need an album that kicks the fucking door in. This is one such album. Electric Mud was Produced by Marshall Chess of Chess Records in 1968 (pause... realize... '68 was the year Cream disbanded, it was before MC5, Yes, Iron Butterfly, The Jeff Beck Group, Steppinwolf, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Vanilla Fudge, The Guess Who, Led Zeppelin I or White Light/White Heat..... pause... appreciate... continue), in part to rein in a new audience weaned on the burgeoning wave of psychedelic rock whose predecessors both jeered and worshiped the temple of Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Albert king and their blues brethren. The results, depending on your age, vantage point and general attitude, was one of either disdain (purists) or that of enthusiasm (young rock fans). The album was thrown together in hopes of attracting this younger generation who seemed to be attracted by inordinately loud decibel levels. Abandoning Waters' normal band, Chess rounded up a group of new musicians who dubbed themselves "The Electric Niggers." Once in the studio, the new band set their equipment to 11 in search of new levels of distortion and fuzz. I'd say they found it. This is blues driven Psychedelic Rock n' Roll that sling shots itself past capabilities or achievements of any other traditional blues guitarist. The album is built on Muddy originals, covers and re-workings, and gives the general attitude of incredible accidents and exploratory dumb luck. This is not clean or slick or sexy. This is dirty and misunderstood. Tru Grit. You put it on late at night, when you need the proper amount of voltage to kick doors down.
Download Electric Mud
Monday, May 16, 2011
Jamie xx and Gil Scott Heron, We're New Here (2011)
James Blake doesn't like remixes. Well I don't like James Blake. The remix isn't just a record company marketing tool; it's a valid art form, and has been for some time now. But is there a way someone can make a name for himself solely on chopping up and mixing other artists' tracks and stamping his suffix of a name on the thing? Most definitely, and that guy is Jamie Smith, who is best known as the producer and percussionist of the xx. I might beg to differ regarding this “best known” business though, because after an incredible couple of months, the man who goes by the very unoriginal stage name of Jamie xx (seriously?) is 2011's King of the Remix and certainly has the potential to eclipse his band even though he only has one “solo” song to date. While he's done a bit here and there over the last year or so, his big break was getting to remix legend Gil Scott Heron's new album, turning it into We're New Here. That's something, considering Heron is a known recluse, only communicates through written letters, released his first album in over 15 years, and is over twice the age of Jamie xx, But the pairing isn't as unlikely as it may seem. Heron's latest album, which is great, and definitely worth a listen, is an amalgamation of spoken word, soul, dark electronic, and is simplified, almost to an extreme. The xx are all about minimalism, and pride themselves on their use of negative space, so Jamie xx is obviously not out of his element. He can obviously cut it as an electronic producer, but if you listen to his samples and mixes he's also pretty damn soulful. Plus Heron's a pretty eclectic guy; on I'm New Here, he spits on everything from a simple acoustic riff loop to not one but two samples of Kanye's “Flashing Lights” to a stripped-down hand clap of a beat on the neo-gospel “New York is Killing Me.” The latter is utterly brilliant, a disarming present day a cappella-esque work song where the dude just really needs to leave the hellish confines of the Big Apple and get back home that good ol' southern cookin' of Jackson Tennessee. This is a track that really didn't need a remix. But Jamie's flip of it preserves the raspy anguish of Heron's voice and slaps just the right amount of dirty dubstepicity (yeah, I just coined that shit) to melt your face. There really isn't anything out there right now that sounds like Jamie's alarming, frenetic beat on this one, as he retains the simple darkness of the original in club format.
There are some hiccups along the way, especially tracks like “Home” and “Running” where the dude just sounds like he's fucking around on his laptop. But the real jams come later in what is a really bottom-heavy album. “Ur Soul and Mine's” one of them; I think the main reason I love this one so much is because it reminds me a ton of Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman," which is as classic of a 90s house tune as they come (you might also know it from T.I.'s 'Why You Wanna') and an obvious influence. The main line here is the possessive repetition of “your soul and mine,” filtered with odd, sporadic windchimes here and there. But then it just explodes, spiralling into a nightmarish world where the grisly gray-bearded visage of Gil Scott Heron holds you captive for eternity. “I'll Take Care of You” might be the most xx-ish song on the album, as bandmate Romy Madley Croft makes a subdued appearance, offering his warm, simple and airy guitar riff that reassuringly responds to Heron's promises. It's just another prime example of the ever-increasing collapsing of genre barriers; who said a gravelly old soul singer, an all-black donning English indie guitarist, a 22-year old electronic producer prodigy who is currently in the studio with Drake and Florence + the Machine, and a keyboard-driven house tune couldn't all just be thrown into one big dance music stew and turn out to be a blue ribbon combo? By not using one sample off of I'm New Here with the exception of Heron's voice, Jamie xx really triumphed in successfully merging old with the new. And since this “new” is truly forward-thinking in its genre-blending nature and isn't the same old recycled thing we've all already heard, well, as long as this guy continues to create sounds that make our ears happy - remix or not - I'm on board. And I don't give a shit if that whiny James Blake isn't.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Download the entirety of BBC Sessions by Led Zeppelin that I didn't bother to talk about...
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Burial - Untrue (2007)
I love the mystery of music. One of the great appeals of electronic music is its ambiguity; it's awesome not being able to tell whether some demented dude is making crazy beats in the man-cave confines of his mom's basement equipped with its own jerk-off station or if the sounds you're hearing are emanating from some alien being light years away. For a good three years or so, Burial was completely anonymous, and people wondered just who the hell this genius of a producer was. Unfortunately, he's from privacy-free London, and tabloids were desperate to discover the name of this unbelievably talented mystery beat-maker, and some were throwing out names like Aphex Twin and, of all people, Fatboy Slim. Now, it's pretty ridiculous to think that Fatboy Slim would make this, so the dude was pretty much forced to come out and reveal himself, thus his goal of making anonymous music just to make anonymous music was foiled. By wanting to deflect all this attention away from himself, he essentially has the anti-English mentality. But his music is very much English. Dubstep and 2-step garage both originated in limey territory, and his style fits somewhere in between, with his use of jittery drum patterns, R&B vocals, and raw basslines. His “revealing” of his name (William Bevan) hasn't changed him at all though; there's only one known picture of him and he still never DJ's or plays live. But even if he stopped making music, what he's done so far already has been exemplary, with his crown jewel being Untrue, an unspeakably beautiful, landmark collection of tunes perfectly reflecting the social and urban isolation of London.
This is dubstep at its finest, its not in-your-face burst-your-eardrums brostep, but its intricate deftness mesmerizes you, and you listen, and want to pay attention. But it's no joy ride. Untrue is the sound of something unsettling, the loneliness of sitting on a train in the middle of a rain-soaked London night, the feeling of knowing the city's littered with people, but being as alone as ever. But as much as the despair and anguish pierce you with every mournful wail, every distorted, gender-ambiguous moan, the sense of hope is right around the corner, the light at the end of the tunnel. If anything, it sounds undoubtedly real. It's as earthy and human as electronic gets; pouring rain provides a backdrop of more than a few tracks, things as mundane as keys jangle here and there, and ominous footsteps can be heard walking up and down the tunes like some lost soul on Elephant & Castle before dawn. This gives the album such a nice balance, as it lies somewhere between heavy distortion and ambient humanism, reminding you that, yes, as ambiguous and anonymous as it is, it's also deeply personal. I can't even begin to tell you how sick it would be seeing Burial DJ live. But I don't blame him for avoiding the limelight. These are tunes that are made for getting lost in the confines of your headphones. If William Bevan was all over gossip sites and on TV all the time and playing in massive basketball arenas, there would certainly be a bit - check that, a lot - of magic lost.