Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn 1922-2010


RIP 1922-2010

Was going to update on some reviews today and maybe even put up a review of the DJ Krush show I went to last night but I figured I’d have a “moment of silence” on this blog. Howard Zinn was a voice for the voiceless, I may take shots but he truly challenged the status quo. He was no idle threat.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Flying Lotus - A Decade of Flying Lotus Mix


http://www.flying-lotus.com/destroy

Aight here's a freebie released last Christmas season from West Coast experimental producer Flying Lotus, and this is one hell of a freebie! This is about 40 minutes and 10 years of tracks new and old all mixed together by the motherfuckin Gaslamp Killer! As the story goes Flying Lotus got his break when Adult Swim chose a bunch of his music to play on their network. And another fact that's been beaten to death is that he's the late Alice Coltrane's grand nephew.

Normally I don't get too excited about left-field Hip Hop producers, but unlike most in the genre Flylo manages to keep the funk and soul intact while still making his quirky, atmospheric, psychedelic electronic music - his drums even sounds Dilla-esque sometimes. Gaslamp Killer is Lotus' label-mate and a fellow producer but he's pretty creative on the decks too so all these “oldies” and unreleased gems blend together seamlessly.

So here's celebratin 10 years of Flying Lotus, keep watch for his new album “Cosmogramma” being released April 20th on Warp Records

A Decade of Flying Lotus (mixed by GLK)


Enjoy this Video interview too


Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/flyinglotus



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

These Monsters - Call Me Dragon




Haven't been this excited about a release in a minute! I've been waiting for something new from these guys since I got their first EP which was probably sometime around 2006. I always wondered why I haven't heard anything from them and it looks like they've been busy touring the UK and preparing for their first official full release.

THESE MONSTERS are a mostly instrumental, post rock-ish quartet from Leeds that have been making quite a buzz in the UK underground being most known for their amazing live shows. My favorite part about this band is that it includes a saxophone player, and that he doesn't sound out of place or “forced.”


Their upcoming debut release “Call Me Dragon” is now available for pre-order and has a release date of March 1st for the UK and May 10th for the rest of Europe (I'm not too sure what's going on with the US release.)

Their single is also called Call Me Dragon and it features a little more vocals than I'm used to hearing from them but it isn't too bad, and it sounds like there's some nice saxophone multiphonics going on in the hooks. Here's the free download for their single:





Aaaaand here's the video for the single:



Website: http://www.myspace.com/thesemonsters

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sea of Shit - Demo/Tour Cassingle


Now this is what I’m talking about! Sea of Shit is a local hardcore/powerviolence band whose demo I recently came across. On their Myspace they name Crossed Out, His Hero is Gone, Infest and Man is the Bastard among others as influences so if you like any of those bands at all you’ll love these two releases. The songs are really fucking crushing and I really like the guitar tones they have on here, it has this damaged quality that lingers throughout giving the songs this nice, thick rumble.

There’s a lot of grind and sludge elements present, there's even a noise track on side B of the cassette (the track might seem a little mellow to those used to more harsh noise however.) The dual vocals are perfect complements to each other ranging from real guttural growls to a cleaner (but not clean) hardcore yell that doesn’t sound too far removed from the vocals on early Dischord releases. Even the lyrics are a standout from the norm, with gems like “synthetic shithole of success” & “the stagnant stench of dormancy remains” mostly outweighing the more derivative parts. And you gotta love a song title like “Vulgar Display of Deception!”



(Side A of "Tour Cassingle")

If you combine the demo and the tour cassette the music here totals a little under 18 minutes (and that’s even with the 7 minute noise track!) Nevertheless even on albums this short the songs could get monotonous, but Sea of Shit manage to keep everything fresh without anything sounding too repetitive. Since this is only a short demo I’m curious to hear what a “full” release from them will sound like. As long as they keep the songs diverse enough and not clean up the sound too much they should have no problem, and I’ll be looking forward to hear what comes next.

Sea of Shit says that they only play all ages show so don’t expect to see them anywhere besides basements and VFWs anytime soon, maybe they can get an all ages show at Sub Ts or something. In the meantime you can check them out at the upcoming festival in Indianapolis, Indiana “SOME KIND OF FUCKING FEST” (
6151 N Central Ave)
on March 13th

*according to This Blog Post
their tape will be reissued on 7" soon on Suburban Mayhem

Demo
Tour “Cassingle”

Website: www.myspace.com/seaofshitseaofshit

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Can Take a Hint Comic Books...


Dear Comic Industry,

I get it now ok? I give up. You win. I guess I’m too old to be collecting comics according to you guys, I mean now that comics costing $3.99 each is the new trend apparently. I know that’s just your sly way of letting me know that this is not for me. I get the hint, I can’t afford to buy multiple comics every week at $4 a pop, I mean I got groceries to buy and rent to pay, gas is even less per gallon (yet the it takes me longer to burn the 1 gallon of gas then it does for me to read a single comic. Weird.)

I understand now that comics are meant for people with way more disposable income, like the old or the rich! Old & rich people read WAY more comics than kids or the poor do! I should’ve learned that a long time ago, I should’ve seen the signs coming. I guess I just figured if you kept moving the prices up at 25-50 cent increments slowly every couple of years that I would be able to adjust my income accordingly. That was just your way of encouraging me to succeed in life and make more money, thank you for that! Unfortunately I’ve failed and you’ve given up on me, no more chances for the regular guy.

Don’t worry, I totally understand, why market to the young crowd theses days? They’re used to all this free online content, they got their video games and ipods playing videos and music which gives them hours more entertainment value for their dollar. I mean you can get 4 songs for $4 which itself lasts longer than an average comic, and kids listens to the same songs all the time nowadays! What’s the use of trying to attract these guys? Stick to where the money is at: THE RICH PEOPLE! Rich people read way more than youngsters do, I mean they buy their fancy newspapers and magazines which usually cost 3-$5 a month anyways! So since they’re used to paying that much on something monthly logic dictates that they wouldn't mind paying that multiple times a week for stuff that’s 1/4 the size of a normal monthly mag!

Even Wizard Magazine is trying to give us the hint too! They took out their comic price guide section (but they didn’t fill those extra pages with content, that makes the fewer pages left more valuable – smart move!) Now it starting to look more like a “geek chic” magazine gearing towards pop culture in general, it’s good that they decided to try and compete with that crowd now. I mean, there’s barely any magazines about comics anymore so why waste time in that arena?

They even got a whole tv network for that sort of thing, so that’s got to be way more marketable than a magazine staying in the niche market it came from. Wizard even has this cool new way of organizing their content now, everything is separated in number sections that count down to 1! AWESOME! That way we can skip through all the “lower ranked” stuff and get to the end of the countdown, why browse through the whole magazine? I mean we couldn’t do that anyways because they took out the table of content but who needs that sort of thing?

They must be trying to streamline their magazine to look more fresh and hip, like Apple products are! But since those products are geared towards the younger crowd they had to make the magazine more confusing to make it more appealing to the older crowd! Remember comics aren't for kids anymore! Old people are confused most of the time anyways. Confusing stuff is way more exciting and readable! (that must be why most of the $4 comic books have plots that are hard to understand unless you’ve been reading them forever.)

At least they've been giving more hints than the "Big Two" comic companies have. The last few years they’ve had all their Conventions coincide with competing ones! That way less people & companies will go to each, since they can’t afford to go to both (who needs Marvel or Image at the Chicago Con anyways?) Because we're not supposed to be able to afford both, the rich folk are!

If an industry is dying anyways you might as well kill what’s left and scavenge the skinny carcass! They even took out their letters pages and shut down their online message board, why listen to all the poor people bitch about less content and higher prices? You never hear the rich bitching about anything! Nobody wants to listen to what the fans want, BURN BRIDGES!

I might just be more like the few comic enthusiasts that try and salvage their hobby by buying more Graphic Novels and saving money that way. At least since most people do that at bookstores that means they’re still fucking over the lifeblood of the industry – the comic shops! I might upset the 10 or so different stores I’ve shopped at for the last 15 years, but I’ve taken a cue from you guys. If the industry doesn’t care to make comics affordable to me then I should follow their example and not support the comic stores.
BURN BRIDGES!

So I’ve taken the hint. I’ll stop buying comics and Wizard magazine. I know it’s not for us anymore, and my future kids don’t need to read either. Why try and snag the coming generations when the world is ending in 2012 anyways? Rich people are way more likely to buy a magazine called “Wizard” than I am and comics are strictly for adults. Kids don't need to read anyways.

Sincerely,

A Comic Fan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ShowYouSuck: P.I.B. (Pentagrams in Bathrooms) EP *Updated


The homie ShowYouSuck finally releases his debut EP Pentagrams in Bathrooms. ShowYouSuck is an up and coming local artist who’s performed his brand of infectious, dance-tinged, underground Hip Hop all over the US sharing the stage with various local and international artists such as MURS of the Living Legends crew.

He’s slowed it down a bit and kept it more boom bap-ish for this 8 track release, and even provided the Christmas goodies “Mr. Grinch” and “Backdoor Santa” that he made with FloydthefourtH of C4. With topics ranging from relationships & the skinny jeans phenomenon, and references to Slayer, Anime, Deerhoof & Bad Brains this isn’t your run of the mill Hip Hop release.





(ShowYouSuck - Beatbox)

Whether it’s “wack MCs” or “hipsters” no one is safe from ridicule when it comes to Show, not even himself, and it’s refreshing to listen to somebody that doesn’t take themselves so seriously all the time. Even the reasoning for his album title has an earnestness and humility that most rappers rarely exhibit:


"Basically the album is named by my good friend Freddy, who also did the cover art. I asked him to name the project because I wanted to use it as a thank you for always encouraging me to stay with music, even though he's all the way in LA he always hounds me for new music and updates on any progress I made in music. He's a true fan/friend and I wanna dedicate mixtapes or EPs to friends of mine who keep me going and P.I.B is the first one." - ShowYouSuck


Known for his catchy hooks & energetic stage performances Show is a lot of fun to listen to and watch, so be sure to share this free music with everyone you know and be on the lookout for more shows, releases, and videos from him in the near future. SHOW’S HOME! *update: re-released on 10-18-11, here's the official tracklist and new download link

1. "Three Dudes Rappin" feat. FloydthefourtH of C4 & Dot Com
2. "Backdoor Santa" feat. FloydthefourtH
3. "Beatbox"
4. "Mr. Grinch" feat. FloydthefourtH
5. "Pants Party"
6. "Skinny Jeans"


Download Here: Pentagrams in Bathrooms EP

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kanye West VS Taylor Swift: How Far Have We REALLY Come?


I read a short blog post by Ras Kass about MLK day and he pointed out how John McCain voted AGAINST instituting it when he was a Senator. Ras Kass has been dropping knowledge like this since day 1 (listen to “Nature of the Threat” off of his first album Soul on Ice. It will change your life.) It got me thinking about race relations today and how far we have truly come, and I feel that even though we’ve come a long way there’s still some things that haven’t changed. It’s just swept under the rug.

We have a black President yet racism is still very prevalent in the US today. This brings me to what I really want to talk about, the Kanye West/Taylor Swift debacle. I know I know, late pass like a motherfucker right? I was going to blog about this when it happened but I didn’t have a blog back then and I forgot. And besides, I’m pretty sure most of you have not seen the depth of the backlash from this event:

Taken from the Media Assassin blog
What’s even more shocking is that there’s more where that came from, WAY more (warning, the preceding link may shock you.) It’s 2010 now and we still have ignorance like this existing in our nation. These are all teenagers and children spouting rhetoric I would only expect to hear from seasoned racist veterans! Are we REALLY talking about lynching in 2009? Over an interruption during a “music” award? I know the kids have been brainwashed into liking shit music but I didn’t think the dedication would ever go THIS far! You’re willing to kill a man over an interruption? I would have been dead 10 times over by now if that were the prerequisite for justifiable murder. All it takes is for one black person to do something wrong in the peoples’ eyes and over half a century’s worth of progress goes down the drain. You’re all willing to make threats for hate crimes over THIS little girl?:


This also illustrates how much I believe the internet is killing our social network. Social networks aren’t digital people, they’re real and physical. We don’t talk to people anymore or engage in any form of meaningful contact with them, we “Tweet” and “Poke” them, as my man Phonte said “you can’t download a handshake.” Internet haters and bloggers are now able to hide behind this fake curtain of digital anonymity without suffering any consequences for their actions. You act like an ass when you’re alone then no one's there to keep you in check. It’s real easy to talk shit when you know nothing will come of it and what starts as a joke at first slowly snowballs into a damaged way of thinking.
 

This is a nation of hypocrites; people crave the entertainment of black music without accepting the people or culture that come with it. Black athletes, black entertainers, pretty much any people of color aren’t seen as real by some of their audience. They’re as disposable as their images on the screen are. Jay-Z is one of the richest entrepreneurs in this country, yet he said himself that it still doesn’t mean he can walk into any Country Club he wants. The media doesn’t help either. Any controversy sells, and whether it’s some sinister agenda or just a way to get ratings they will push everything to the limit. There’s always been an undercurrent of white superiority that’s being fed to the masses, it happens all the time to countries we take over or “take under our wing.” Whether it’s subliminal or intentional many have been led to believe that white skin, skinny bodies and blue eyes are what’s desirable. People need to learn that dark skin and non-anorexic bodies are beautiful too, and without more REAL social interaction and informing of the masses then the ignorance will carry on. So for God’s sake teach your children, the tv and media ain’t doin a good job of it.

Like Rats - 2009 Demo


Looks like I’m doing a pretty good job of updating this blog daily, which is pretty much my goal (some weekends may not be updated as often.) Although there is a ton of stuff out there in “matrix land” there isn’t as many truly free albums out there but so far I’ve managed to have every post be about music. So for now you’ll be spared from my “weird shit” reviews but sooner or later you’re gonna read how I feel about a comic or new fitted cap or something. I’m just sayin...

Like Rats is a Chicago hardcore band that includes Primitive Future blog runner Todd Nief. I mentioned the album in my “best of 2009” post and I have not been able to stop listening to this since I got it. He basically wanted to make an old school hardcore album with heavy Celtic Frost influences and he pretty much nailed it. There’s really not much more I can say about it so I’ll let the man tell it in his own words:


"I love Tom G Warrior's signature riff composition style, and I tried to write riffs that evoke similar feelings without actually copying his techniques. There are a few self-imposed stylistic restrictions in order to keep the overall aesthetic within certain boundaries: no palm-muting, no double bass drum. Special attention was paid to the way that two primitive riffs compliment each other and create a relationship that makes each one significantly more interesting than if it were to exist on its own." -Todd Nief of Like Rats


Enjoy the crusty goodness:

Like Rats Demo

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wu-Tang Clan X The Beatles


People probably think that mash-ups are played out by now, but I've always been interested in them. Not only do they sometimes provide creative names and identities (ie "The Grey Album" "God's Stepson" or my homie LoveJones album using 9th Wonder beats called "Love Potion Number 9th") but they usually cast classic tracks in brand new lights, even more so than a normal remix.

We get so attached to songs and hearing them a certain way that combining 2 such songs to make a whole new song creates an interesting dichotomy of nostalgia and sacrilege. Everyone has fond memories attached to certain songs, and these sometimes taints those memories, and sometimes it helps create new one


Tom Caruanas produced this album of Wu-Tang acapellas using Beatles songs samples and he does a pretty good job of making the songs sound new. The grime and grit of the originals are polished a bit, and the album gets a little more soulful surprisingly, and also a little brighter. Check out this new rendition of "Criminology"



While this isn't the greatest mash-up of all time it's a solid effort, and it shows what I love about Hip Hop. Hip Hop takes relics from the past and reinterprets them making something new while simultaneously breathing new life into the old. People can ridicule the art form and claim it's not music at all, but it's a billion-dollar industry and a global culture and even Jazz took old greats and re-interpreted them live. New music for a new age - Enjoy swiped from
Sierra Dujour's blog:

Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers

Sierra, you just got swagger-jacked!

J-Live - Do The Knowledge Mixtape Vol. 1 (THE LATE PASS)


Alright I started writing this long ass tirade about the internet turning us apathetic to new music with information overload and digressing into generation gap and how we should all be more diligent and active in finding good music but that's not what you all want is it? This isn't just the days of commercials and short attention spans anymore, these are the days of DVRs and "under 140 character" Tweets. People don't wait for SHIT. So instead of bitching I'll try to help out by posting any free music I come across (and "free" as in the actual definition of the term people.)

I'll admit I've been guilty of thinking that nothing good comes out in Hip Hop anymore, sometimes you just get tired of shifting through all the shit and you just stop trying. Well that was the old me, and apparently J-Live has run into way too many "old me's."


"You just have to do the knowledge and keep your ears open." J-Live


J-Live is a rapper/producer from New York and also a pretty damn good DJ. He got tired of all the bitching and decided to make a mixtape sampler of dope Hip Hop that came out in 2009. There's some tracks on here I missed out on and so it already started to open doors to new music for me, let's hope it does the same for ya'll. Enjoy (actually the mix isn't free anymore, it's now $3. Sorry there's no late pass for the Late Pass.)


J-Live - Do The Knowledge Mixtape Vol. 1 (THE LATE PASS)


So if you like the tracks search out the albums and support the artists, the journey is half the fun - and while you're at it check out J-Live's catalog, he's a pretty cold MC too.


(And here's a bonus video for ya'll too)



Website: http://www.j-livemusic.com/
Myspace: www.myspace.com/jlive

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Top 10 Albums of 2009


(There’s no particular order to these, and I just picked the covers I liked the best to post instead of posting all 10 album covers.)

Napalm Death – Time Waits for No Slave



While most bands tend to lose their edge as they age it seems that Napalm Death only sharpens theirs. Ever since “Enemy of the Music Business” they’ve seem to have been stepping up their “grind” and returning to their old roots while still keeping a forward-thinking mentality. There were plenty of amazing grind/death albums this year, but “Time Waits for No Slave” proves why these guys are called “The Godfathers of Grind.” There are bands half their age that can’t match Napalm’s intensity on wax or on stage.

Slaughterhouse – Slaughterhouse




While not an instant classic, this is still an impressive debut. In a time where lyrics are taking a backseat in Hip Hop and some veterans are lazily resting on their reputation instead of improving on their craft, Slaughterhouse is a refreshing wake up call and a challenge to MCs who claims they’re the best. It’s a miracle that four MCs of this caliber can even set aside their egos to make an album, the fact that they’re all on different labels alone could have even been enough to stop this project from fruition (see Golden State Warriors.) With the huge amount of hype leading up to this album Slaughterhouse managed to not disappoint and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing, and at the rate they’re going a classic album might be in their future yet.

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic




I know this may be a weird pick for me but trust me; this isn’t “At War with the Mystics.” I admittedly haven’t checked out “Christmas on Mars” but this album may make me take a step back and give it a shot. This is a return to “rawness” for The Lips and while it may not garner them more commercial appeal, it has certainly changed my opinion of them greatly. This album is funky, noisy & way more psychedelic than their albums of late – it’s almost a perfect balance of experimental and pop sensibilities. The fact that they were able to keep up the quality for 2 discs is impressive as well, but I can’t help but think if they combined the best of the two they would have another classic on their hands. Nevertheless this is an amazing album.

Matthew Shipp - Harmonic Disorder




It’s been awhile since I’ve put a jazz album in my top, let alone a piano trio session, but Matthew Shipp and Vijay Iyer’s recent trio outings have ignited a new enthusiasm for acoustic piano trios for me. Shipp has gained notoriety outside of Jazz circles as an electronic music and Hip Hop collaborator, but it’s his return to the “basics” that has gotten me really excited as of late. This album shows how Shipp can balance the “avant-garde” and traditional more “boppish” jazz, and his strength as a composer is evident whenever he reels his bandmates in just at the right moment before they get too “out” there. This album is a perfect example of how to masterfully combine an accessible spirit without restricting the freedom to explore.

Raekwon – Only Built for Cuban Linx 2

Now this is a pleasant surprise, after almost 5 years of anticipation and being the sequel to an undisputed Hip Hop classic, you would think that this album would be a huge disappointment. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, not only did Raekwon live up to expectations; he damn near created another classic. I’ve always said albums sound better with one producer, but Raekwon has shown that you can still make a cohesive-sounding album with multiple producers. The fact that this was made possible with different producers, tons of guests and 24 tracks is a testament to the vision of Raekwon and the executive producer. Along with Fishscale this is the best Wu album I’ve heard in a long time.


Megadeth – Endgame

Say what you want about Megadeth, this album fucking SHREDS! Yeah the vocals suck and everyone hates Dave blah blah blah, but you can’t hear the riffs in the two opening songs "Dialectic Chaos" & “This Day We Fight” and think that this band is washed up. This album blows all the “thrash revival” albums out of the water and it’s their best one since “Rust in Peace.” When they released the advanced single "Headcrusher" I was super stoked & I hoped that the album wouldn't disapoint, and it's good to hear that they delivered. Few bands can release an album that thrashes this hard after 25 years, and no “Death Magnetic” doesn’t count.


Mono – Hymn to the Immortal Wind

Although not my favorite Mono album, this release has still shown that Mono can deliver dynamic, beautifully noisy instrumental music without simply re-hashing their past outings. They were able to include a full orchestra while still keeping the essence of their band intact, and they still manage to make me excited for every album they release.


Converge – Axe to Fall

What more can I really say about Converge that hasn't been said already? Almost every publication out there are praising their latest effort, and a number of magazines are even calling them the best band of the decade! They never disappoint and they only seem to get better with every album, which is quite a feat for a band that’s been around almost 20 years. They manage to push the envelope of what is considered hardcore music with every release, yet still maintain a sound that is inherently punk and unmistakably Converge.


J Dilla – Jay Stay Paid
DILLA! This is a much more enjoyable release than “The Shining” in my opinion and shows that even after death his music sounds classic and futuristic (to release old music that is so forward-sounding is proof that this man was indeed ahead of his time.) This cd was masterminded by Pete Rock and Ma Dukes herself so that alone should be proof that this wouldn’t merely be a collection of throw-aways. Dilla will always have the best drums in my opinion, and this release only reminds me of how much he will be missed.

YOB – The Great Cessation

This album is fucking HEAVY. There were tons of doom/sludge releases this year but nothing hit me harder than YOB’s reunion album. Leave it to YOB to reunite and release their best album yet, and it’s amazing that Mike even had the energy to complete this after all that Middian/Age Eternal mess. It still has the “cosmic” essence of their past releases but manages to temper it with a sinister more grounding, earthy rawness. DOOM!


Best EP:
Crooked I – Mr. Pigface Weapon Waist

Best Series:
Merzbow – 13 Japanese Birds Series

Best Covers Album:
Nadja - When I See the Sun Always Shines on TV

Best Demo:
Like Rats – Like Rats (Chicago)

Best Song:
Vijay Iyer "Galang" (from Historicity)

Best Music moments of 2009:
Mono’s 10 Year Anniversary show at NY Society for Ethical Culture performing with a full orchestra & Judas Priest performing the entire British Steel album at Milwaukee Summerfest.

Honorable mentions:
Shrinebuilder – S/T, Hatred Surge - Deconstruct, Wino – Punctuated Equilibrium, Royce da 5’9” – Street Hop, Tombs – Winter Hours, Sweet Cobra - Bottom Feeder EP, Blakroc - S/T, Mastodon - Crack the Skye, Gnaw - This Face, Eagle Twin - The Unkindness Of Crows

And big ups to Kinky Notti, they haven’t officially released the fully mastered version of their album “Succumb” yet but it was definitely in heavy rotation for me this year!

Needed to empty my brain somewhere...


I needed a place to exercise my desire to write so I figure I'd finally start this blog that I intended to start with friends last year. Looks like it'll just be me running ship now, I'll basically just be using this to house anything I want to talk about extensively. So you'll be getting my reviews and opinions of everything I like and anything I want to talk about. If you don't like that then I guess there's no reason to be reading this in the first place right?

Enjoy

(I figure I'd start with my Top 10 albums of 2009 that I previously posted on my other pages which should also give a good overall feel of what this blog will be like.)