Friday, April 30, 2010

First Pic of Chris Hemsworth in Thor Costume


With the release of Iron Man 2 only a week away Marvel takes this timely opportunity to release the first picture of Chris Hemsworth in costume for the upcoming THOR movie (don't forget too, tomorrow is free comic day and one of the free comics is conveniently an Iron Man/Thor one.) They decided to go with the armored costume based on the comic version's current design, with some slight alterations. It also seems that they opted to go with the bearded Thor on this one. I think its a good call, it makes the former Australian soap opera star look less metrosexual.

The film has a release date set for May 6, 2011 and is directed by Kenneth Branagh who's most notably known for directing a number of William Shakespeare film adaptations. Hopefully his Shakespearean sensibilities will add drama & sincerity to an action flick that could've had the potential to be too corny. The film stars Sir Anthony Hopkins cast as Thor's father Odin, Natalie Portman as the love interest of Thor's alter ego and Tom Hiddleston as the evil Loki. Tom Hiddleston has had some experience acting in a Shakespeare adaptation as well so it looks like Kenneth is going for acting chops more than star power. Smart move, my trepidation is now lessened. Let's just hope Mjolnir looks awesome and that an Australian accent can translate into a Norse one. That's pretty much all the news that's out there right now, I'll leave you with the first press release for the movie and a mock trailer done by EditNinja made with clips of other movies. I say thee Godspeed.


“The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.” -official press release from Marvel.com


100th Post. Yay.



Wow, I just realized that I reached my 100th post yesterday. It's been a little over 3 months since I've started this blog so that averages out to about 1 post a day. Not bad for something I thought I'd only update every once in awhile, who would've thought? We've seen the infamous MosDoom fiasco, Earache VS Burzum, the sad passing of Guru, drugs & alchohol and Nachtmystium paired with Layzie Bone. From Hip Hop to Metal to Comics to Snookie it seemed like I've covered a helluva lot in a short amount of time. So here's to everyone out there. Cheers.

Utopium - Conceptive Prescience EP and Free Demo



It’s been awhile since my last string of Grindcore posts so I think it’s about time for another. Utopium is a Crusty Death/Grind band that also manages to sneak in some elements of Sludge here and there. They come to us from Portugal and savvy Grind fans may remember their contribution to the Nasum Tribute released last year (RIP Mieszko.) Their cover of Nasum’s “My Philosophy” is included here on their debut EP. Utopium is offering their Conceptive Prescience EP and their Demo for free download on their bandcamp page with an option to pay whatever you’d like for the EP.

Combined, these two releases last about 26 minutes. The EP is obviously the better sounding recording, but the Demo doesn't sound half bad either, so whoever produced them did a pretty good job. The drums still got that hollow, tinny sound however and personally I’d like to hear a little more “punch” in the percussion (but that’s a gripe I have with a lot of Grind albums.) I think these guys would really benefit from some grade-A production from someone who's used to mixing Grindcore albums (calling Scott Hull.) The songs themselves are pretty standard fare Death/Grind with a few good grooves and sludge riffs thrown in. They're broken up by the obligatory word samples that most Grindcore albums have, but their samples fit well and are slightly more serious than the ones you’d find on say, a Graf Orlock album. They have dual vocals going on most of the time, with the lead singer’s puke-inducing rasp being pared up with some nice low growls as the backup. The vocals are pretty good but I’d really like to hear them push the screams harder, let’s really fuck up those vocal chords! All in all these are both solid releases for any fan of Grind/Powerviolence/Crust/Death Metal etc and well worth your time and extremely worth the free price tag. As always I suggest you donate something for downloading the EP, although since our dollar isn't worth as much as the euro you might want to keep that in mind when giving your loot.

On a side note I’ve been itching for some truly amazing Grindcore lately, the new Agoraphobic Nosebleed was good but I’m fucking ready for a new Pig Destroyer album already. Maybe now that Wormrot is signed to Earache it means they’ll be releasing another album soon...Waiting years for songs as short as a few seconds. I love it.

Download both albums here:
Utopium Bandcamp

Utopium Official Website: http://www.utopiumgrind.com/

Utopium Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/utopiumgrind

Year Of No Light - Ausserwelt


It's Friday and I don't want to start off with a long ass post so I'll get right to the point. 4 Songs, 48 minutes, 4 Guitars and 4 years in the making. Want an "atmospheric Sludge" album from guys that DON'T sound like NeurIsis clones? Get this fucking album now. Everyone that wishes Isis and Pelican was still playing heavier music, stop bitching and get this fucking album now! Fans of heavy post rock/shoegaze and Drone/Doom; GET. THIS. FUCKING. ALBUM. NOW.

Highly Fucking Recommended

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DJ Premier Remembers Guru and Talks About Gang Starr & Solar



With all the negativity and drama surrounding Guru’s last days it’s nice to read some fond memories of the legend as told by another legend. DJ Premier remembers Guru and gives his thoughts on all the rumors and speculation regarding Solar and Preem’s former Gang Starr partner. Primo spoke with Vibe Magazine yesterday in this in-depth interview, once again because of length I posted highlights and provided a link to the full interview afterwards:

VIBE: Do you feel like your relationship with Guru has been misrepresented by Solar?

DJ Premier:
Well, I’ve always held down Guru… His spirit knows this. He used to get upset about so much stuff when we were dealing with the label all the time. We both would be upset. But I would take the calls because when he was upset he would flip [Laughs], where you might not be able to handle him when he’s wilding out. With me, although I had a temper, I was much calmer about it. But I always remember whenever I would tell him, “Yo Guru, don’t worry about it, they are going to take care of it,” he would be happy as fuck. He would be like, “Yo, let’s go out for a drink.” He was the go-out king. That was his routine. He was definitely a celebratory guy. Anyone from our era knows that Guru was in every club and every bar and every spot. He could go all night, all day. And he would never be tired!

When was the last time you spoke to Guru?

It was March 30, 2004. April 1 was the last email I received from him and I just found it in my computer. We were pretty much going at it about him straightening his life up with the drinking and everything…”

RZA to Produce Genius/GZA's "Liquid Swords 2" due out This Fall


Damn, today may mark the time I updated with the most posts in one day. It looks like the success of Raekwon’s “Only Built For Cuban Linx II” prompted another Wu Member to decide to make a sequel to their classic album. The Genius aka GZA will release the sequel to his critically acclaimed classic album “Liquid Swords” this year. If you haven’t heard Liquid Swords and consider yourself a Hip Hop “head” then you need to reconsider your status. Liquid Swords and the first Cuban Linx were not only some of my favorite Wu albums, but two Hip Hop classics. I’m not sure which one I liked more, but the fact that Liquid Swords 2 will be entirely produced by The RZA is enough to make this sequel more highly anticipated than Raekwon’s. Raekwon’s OBFCL2 is another classic and so we can only hope The GZA and RZA achieve the same success with Liquid Swords 2. “When I swing my swords they all choppable!” Bong Bong motherfucker.


“IT'S TRUE: "LIQUID SWORDS 2" PRODUCED BY THE ABBOT RZA COMING FALL 2010. WHO'S READY FOR THE WU? BONG BONG.” via RZA’s Twitter




Wu-Tang Official Website: http://www.wutang-corp.com/

Beware Of Fake THE HUNDREDS NEW ERA 59Fifty Fitted Caps


This is fucked up, just saw this post from Strictlyfitteds.com and thought I should help spread the word. Apparently there’s been a ton of “The Hundreds” fitted cap fakes circulating the market, and according to Strictly Fitteds even American Eagle has been biting their style as well. Usually if you see a Hundreds cap in a shitty mall store or for an insane deal on eBay then it’s probably a fake. The Hundreds only sell through select licensed dealers so if a store doesn’t seem to have a lot of Hundreds gear then a couple of random hats might be a little suspect.

If you see that there’s a colorway you don’t recognize, poor embroidery or parts of the design are off then those are good signs that the hat is a fake. The Hundreds is one of my favorite brands (Hundreds sponsors holla!) so be sure you know who you’re dealing with so you can help support independent companies and boutiques. Here's more picture examples/descriptions of fakes taken from the Strictly Fitteds post, and I’ve posted links to official Illinois Hundreds dealers at the end of the post:


*The Side Adam was only released in Black, Red, Yellow and White. Notice how bad the embroidery job is.


*Look at the woven label on the inside and the terrible craftsmanship.

If you're in the Northern Suburbs of IL get your Hundreds gear at: Beau Monde

If you're near Downtown Chicago get your Hundreds gear at: Leaders

If you're near Berwyn, IL get your Hundreds gear at: Modest Skateshop

Official Hundreds Website Store: shop.thehundreds.com/

Alice in Chains, Deftones & Mastodon to Tour Starting this September


So Alice in Chains, Deftones and Mastodon all announced on their Facebook pages that they will be touring together starting in September. They all posted a link to a website with a countdown clock; blackdiamondskye.com (which conveniently contains words from all their latest album titles) and the Deftones post stated that pre-sales would start as early as May 15th. I know this might be pushing it in terms of it being “underground music” news but I figured I already put up a Deftones post and fuck it, I like all these 3 bands.

Alice in Chains just recently reunited by tapping William Duvall (vocalist/guitarist for Comes With the Fall) to replace their late singer Layne Staley who died from a drug overdose in 2002. I actually really like the new lead singer and their new album, he’s had tough shoes to fill but managed to hold his own and fit in well with AIC while still keeping his own vocal identity. Mastodon’s live rendition of Crack the Skye was amazing so it’d be nice to seem them again, and it’s been a while since the Deftones toured so this will be a great show overall (hopefully I can afford tickets.) Check out Alice in Chains’ official post:

“Alice In Chains will headline BLACKDIAMONDSKYE this Fall with special guests Deftones and Mastodon. Stay tuned to blackdiamondskye.com for all tour information, dates, exclusives, contests, and ACCESS! Below are the scheduled dates so far. More dates will be announced soon, stay tuned.”

16-Sep - Chicago, IL - Charter One Pavilion
17-Sep - Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Center
18-Sep - Toronto, ON - Molson Amphitheatre
20-Sep - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun
22-Sep - Boston, MA - Agannis Arena
24-Sep - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
28-Sep - Atlanta, GA - Lakewood Amphitheater
1-Oct - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Arena
4-Oct - Denver, CO - Red Rocks
7-Oct - Vancouver, BC - GM Place
8-Oct - Seattle, WA - Key Arena
9-Oct - Portland, OR - Memorial Coliseum
16-Oct - Las Vegas, NV - The Joint

Like they said, go to blackdiamondskye.com for news and updates

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Deftones - Diamond Eyes, in Stores Tuesday May 4th



Yeah I admit it. I like the Deftones. And I'm excited for this. Not "underground" enough for you? Don't really give a fuck. Big ups and godspeed to Chi, if you need me I'll be in my Mustang listening to White Pony.










Teeph: Self - Titled


Teeph is a band from Chico, California that plays sludgy, metallic hardcore. They only name 3 influences on their Myspace and they are Converge, Melt Banana, and Frank Zappa. You have to question how seriously you can take what they say with song names like “Male Pattern Bullshit” and “Hipster Killers” (they even changed their name from ‘Teeth’ to ‘Teeph’ for god’sake) but they do sound like a Sludgier version of Converge at times. Their self-titled debut album came out last year and was a very strong outing - I’m surprised since it seemed to slip through the cracks for the most part.

Their album pushes a few more boundaries than most sludge albums in a way that doesn’t sound forced. Everything is done well and sounds natural, but I would have liked to see their extremes pushed a bit further out to the edges of the spectrum. Louder, faster, slower, more distorted weirder time signatures etc. Being that this is their first album (and I believe their first time as a 3 piece) they may just be getting used to each other and the freedom that the third member provides. Besides, if everything was too far out there and erratic on their first album it may have seemed disingenuous, this is exactly what I would expect a precursor to a more evolved album would sound.


Their songs are also relatively shorter than most other sludge songs, with most of them rarely going over the 4 minute mark. This makes their songs more concise and appealing, but I would like to hear them venture into longer song structures and maybe even the 2 digit times as well (like when hyper-active grind kings Pig Destroyer experimented with their half hour song “Natasha.”) It’d be nice to hear these guys mix some slower doom epics with their heavy blasts of hardcore, and I’d like to hear some of their riffs extended as well.

All in all this is a great album that I like more and more every time I listen to it. It's heavy as fuck, but doesn't beat around the bush like some doom albums. It's also slightly experimental, but not too proggy, weird or spastic like most mathcore bands that try to have funny/clever song titles. It’s full of potential that, if fully realized, will blow us away with their next album.


They are currently offering their debut for free download on their bandcamp page, with the option to pay whatever you’d like for it. I encourage you to take a listen and donate if you like the album, too many bands and artists out there are barely breaking even trying to give the world their music. Almost all are without insurance of any kind despite having jobs on the side, and some are even homeless. It’d be nice to help them out every once and awhile.

Download/Listen to their Album here:
http://teeph.bandcamp.com/

Teeph Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/teephband

Free Comic Book Day Saturday May 1st



Nerd Alert! It's finally here again, the yearly celebration for cheap nerds and nerd-curious newbies everywhere! (at least everywhere in North America.) This yearly give-away was started in 2002 as a way to bring in new readers into independent comic stores, and it has been going on every 1st Saturday in May ever since. There's no better way for people to take their first step into the vast world of comics as tons of participating publishers give comic book stores numerous comics to give away to customers FOR FREE. Many times the issues being given away are great jumping on points for new readers, and sometimes there's even some exclusives for the already-fans as well and children-friendly books too. Stop into your local comic book store this Saturday to get your free comics, and please please PLEASE buy some shit while you're at it! (and don't forget the premier of Iron Man 2 the following weekend!) Oh, and see the movie Kick-Ass. It kicked ass.

Find out more Info on Comic Book Day and the world of comics here:
http://www.freecomicbookday.com/

You can also locate your nearest participating Comic Book Store here:
Free Comic Book Day Store Locator


Former 7 Grand Records Executive Tasha Denham Speaks on Solar & Guru



So the world keeps turning on the drama that Solar started. Instead of more lies from Solar the Snake I bring you an interview from Tasha Denham former Executive Assistant to 7 Grand Records. This interview was conducted by HipHopDX.com around midnight on Tuesday 4/27, and reveals some personal accounts of Solar's abuse and the last years of the Hip Hop Legend Guru of Gang Starr.

“Tasha Denham: I met Guru and Solar in 2006. I actually met them out in Denver, [Colorado]. I was moving back to New York. I started a personal relationship with Solar and subsequently became pregnant by him, and had a child by him...

In 2007, once again, they were over in Europe, and had some complications on tour. Their tour manager had to quit in the middle of the tour. So they had me do some stuff for them. It ended up working out well, and at that point in time, they decided to bring me on as an assistant for [7 Grand Records] and I was both of their personal-slash executive assistants, at the same time, it was a small record label, so I did whatever needed to be done to try and make the record label run smoothly. So I worked on a day-to-day basis with both Guru and Solar till about July, 2008...”

The interview is very in depth and lengthy, so I will post some highlights from this extremely revealing account (you can find a link to the full interview at the end of this post.) Tasha mentions where she felt Solar's animosity towards Guru's former partner DJ Premier stemmed from, and how he attempted to drive a wedge between the two legends:

“Just watching, over the time that I spent with them, Solar had such a twisted sense of how important [his own role] was to the music game. I think there was an extensive amount of jealousy towards what Premier had already created in the music industry.”

“...Guru was held up and mugged in Queens, [New York]. Solar convinced Guru, at that point in time, that Premier had put the hit out on him, and Premier wanted him dead.”

She also goes on to reveal that she herself did not believe that Guru wrote all of his controversial last letter:


“It hurts me to read this [last] letter...I can't say that some of it was not things that they had spoken on before, and stuff that Solar put it into words himself. I'm not gonna say that, I wasn't there. Do I believe Guru wrote the letter word-for-word or even sentence-by-sentence? I don't believe that.”

Tasha also denies rumors that Guru and Solar had a romantic relationship and explained that she believed the rumors stemmed from the way Solar achieved total control over Guru and his life:

“You're their man day in and day out, the first person you talk to in the morning, the last person you talk to before you go to bed, that's gonna be the person you're gonna turn to for everything. That's the way to best control someone. I don't ever believe it was sexual."

“He really belittled him, and would do it in front of other people...Solar punched him in the face. From that point in time, he just started kicking him and hitting him. Guru was fighting back, he wasn't just sitting there being a punk, but at the same time, Guru had severe asthma. He didn't have his inhaler.”


The former 7 Grand Records Executive and mother of Solar's child also gives her opinion of the kind of man Solar is:

“I believe that he [Solar] saw a meal-ticket in Guru. Instant fame, instant fortune.”

“...it's so blatantly not true, the things he's saying. He embellishes things so much. But I truly believe he believe the things he says.”

[in Solar's last email to Tasha] "Fortunes are made, not extorted." I wish at this point in time, Solar could look back at that and take his own advice.”


You can read the full interview
here
(thanks to Zach for the heads up)

RIP Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal

Monday, April 26, 2010

Guru's Brother and Sister Make a Statement


Guru Memorial Wall in Slovakia made by Risk (AEK), Ewil (3 Point), Seph (3 Point), Duon

I try to stay away from this drama to concentrate on simply remembering Guru, but it all just keeps spiraling out of control. There's been rumors ranging from Guru's dad (a former lawyer and a retired Massachusetts superior court justice) demanding the police retrieve Guru's body from the reluctant DJ Solar, to accusations of Guru and Solar having a homosexual relationship. Then various of Guru's friends such as DJ Scratch were posting on Twitter that Guru's body has been cremated:

I cant believe that Guru was Cremated B4 His GSF Family could say our final goodbye. I'm Not Feeling That. Premier Stay Focused. #RIPGURU
6:15 PM Apr 23rd (via Freddie Foxxx aka Bumpy Knuckles Twitter)

Mr. Bumpy Knuckles has been going at Solar via Twitter (and you do NOT want to be on Bumpy Knuckles bad side) threatening him to return Guru's body to his family and Ice T himself has also announced on Twitter that he will get to the bottom of all this mess. And in direct contradiction to many of Solar's statement, Guru's sister made a statement to The Source claiming that Guru never came out of his coma:

“The Elam family wishes to thank the fans of our son/brother/father uncle/nephew/cousin Keith aka GURU for the outpouring of love, concern and support.

Our hearts are broken by the loss of someone we loved so much. GURU was devoted to his young son, who will most keenly feel his absence.

GURU suffered from multiple myeloma for over a year. Accrued complications from this illness led to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. As a result, GURU was in a coma from mid February until his death and never regained consciousness. Early on the morning of April 19th, he became hypertensive due to low blood pressure. He again went into cardiac arrest and slipped away from us.

GURU died far too young but he was, and we are, proud of all his many legendary musical contributions.

The family is not aware of any foundations established by GURU. We know and understand that countless fans want to express their condolences and love and, to that end, we are planning a memorial event in the near future that will be all-inclusive. Please look for further details from the family as they become available.”

This has been far beyond overwhelming, so I'll just choose to remember Guru instead of focusing on the negative. The following is a fond remembrance of Guru written by his brother Harry J. Elam Jr., who is a distinguished professor of drama at Stanford. I'm also including a tribute mix by Statik Selektah from Shade 45 for download right after his brother's letter. It's a bit long but please read the loving tribute and stay tuned after the jump for the free Guru Tribute download. If you need me I'll be chillin in my Gang Starr shirt listening to “Hard to Earn.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Food For Thought: Diet Edition



Another lazy, gloomy Sunday so I thought I'd celebrate by doing my first food post. First off I'd just like to say that I believe obesity is a major problem in America and that most people that do try to lose weight go about it the wrong way (ie surgery, eating disorders, high protein/heart risk diets, diet pills...) I'd also like to say I'm not the most thin person in the world either, but that is more due to my lack of exercise and laziness. Remember the one thing that all nutritionists and health experts agree on is that healthy weight loss is only achieved through a good diet AND exercise.

With that said I'd like to post this "Food for Thought" fact I found on amazingribs.com while looking for barbecue ribs recipes. Not the healthiest option I know, but at least I'm not eating out today. Plus it's Sunday, and it's RIBS! I may need to lose a little weight but I'm still a man.

Food for thought

The three greatest food educators and cookbook authors of the last century lived far longer than the designers of the two most famous diets of the last century. Just sayin'...

Julia Child, died at 92
James Beard, 82
Craig Claiborne, 80
Nathan Pritikin, 70
Robert Atkins, 73

Enjoy your Sunday folks, and cook more. It's healthier and cheaper.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nuclear Blast - Sinister Spring Slaughter (Free Compilation)



Another Friday, another “short” post. Apparently the free Southern Lord Records Sampler that Amazon put up for download did pretty good, because they decided to team up with another extreme metal label for their next free download. Nuclear Blast has released their “Sinister Spring Slaughter” free through Amazon.com and it includes 11 songs from different bands on their roster. There are a few bands on this sampler that I’m unfamiliar with, but they all seem to be of the Death Metal persuasion.

If you’re a fan of Death Metal then you should recognize the name “Nile,” who continues their fetish for Egyptian themes/mythology with a track from their latest album “Those Whom the Gods Detest.” Tech/Death favorites “Arsis” contribute “Beyond Forlorn” from their latest album, which has gotten mixed reviews for their blend of 80’s rock/thrash groove and technical Death Metal (well it worked for Carcass didn't it?) From the more progressive spectrum of Death Metal comes a song from the Canadian band “Augury” whose last album “Fragmentary Evidence” is one I enjoyed very much.

The most notable of the songs on here comes from Thrash legends “Exodus” who gives us a sneak peak from their upcoming album “Exhibit B: The Human Condition” with a demo version of their song “Hammer and Life.” If the album is anything like the demo then we can expect this old school Thrash band to blow all these new Thrash-revivalists out of the water, much like Megadeth’s “Endgame” did in my opinion. Who needs Kirk Hammett anyways? (Big ups to my Filipinos out there.)

Hopefully this release will introduce you to a band you like, and if you’re a fan of Death Metal there’s something for everyone on this sampler. Enjoy.

'Sinister Spring Sampler' track list
Exodus - 'The Hammer and Life' (demo)
Eluveitie - 'Thousandfold'
Arsis - 'Beyond Forlorn'
Annotations of an Autopsy - 'Cryogenica'
Mnemic - 'Sons of the System'
Nile - 'Permitting The Noble Dead to Descend to the Underworld'
Epica - 'Resign to Surrender'
Threat Signal - 'Through My Eyes'
Sonata Arctica - 'Flag in the Ground'
Augury - 'Faith Puppeteers'
Hypocrisy - 'Hang Him High'

Download the Sampler Here:
Sinister Spring Slaughter Sampler

Nuclear Blast Website:
http://www.nuclearblastusa.com/

Library of Congress to Digitally Archive ALL Twitter Posts



So the Library of Congress just got the rights to archive every single public “Tweet” made on the social media service “Twitter.” Besides the obvious privacy implications we have to wonder why our tax dollars are going towards archiving what Ashton Kutcher had for lunch last Monday. Here’s the news from the Library of Congress Blog:

“Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions…

Just a few examples of important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorse (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20
), President Obama’s tweet about winning the 2008 election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676), and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964) and (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620)...

…We also operate the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program www.digitalpreservation.gov, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.”

Big Brother is watching

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Floor - Below & Beyond Box Set



'Floor' was a Florida Stoner/Doom band that was active sporadically from 1992-2004. Their self-titled album has been described by Chunklet magazine as a “psychedelic My Bloody Valentine/Black Sabbath hybrid with 10 times the hooks.” That's quite a hefty claim that verges on hyperbole, but Floor did much to validate most of that praise. Their “dream sludge” crunch was definitely balanced by a grasp for hooks which they drenched each song perfectly with, and it made their rumbling low tuned riffs destroy with purpose instead of chaos.

Like most forward-thinking artists Floor was under-appreciated during their time, only gaining recognition later through the popularity of Steve Brook's current band Torche. Steve was the singer and one of the guitarists for Floor, and so because of that much of Floor's later songs became early source material for Torche. Torche's last album “Meanderthal” garnered huge critical acclaim and although I do like the album I personally prefer their self-titled debut and their EP follow up “In Return,” which would probably explain why I like Floor so much. I wasn't able to catch Floor live but have seen Torche 4 times and they often played Floor songs during their sets. Their recent loss of guitarist Juan Montoya has left their performances a bit bare, so I hope their new material resembles the trio days of Floor. It looks like Floor has gotten quite a few more fans since their heyday, enough to prompt Robotic Empire to release a comprehensive box set of all of Floor's recorded material.

This humongous box set contains everything Floor has ever recorded, and it includes Ten 12" records, a 7" EP, eight CDs, a 32 page book and t-shirt all housed in separate jackets contained within a custom cloth-bound box. This is a one time pressing of 305 pieces and they're selling for $250 plus shipping. Some of the recordings contained are unreleased demo versions and live tracks, and to be honest some of the production doesn't match the level that the Self-Titled and “Dove” albums reached so this release would be more appropriate for completists and hardcore collectors. Regardless the box set is selling well, and there is a much more affordable $40 Box Set available that contains the 8 CDs of all their material. It comes housed in an LP sized gatefold jacket with the 32 page booklet and is much more suitable for the curious or first-time listeners. It's an insane value that should make even the casually interested want to pick it up, and they should be guaranteed to enjoy it if they're a fan of Sludge/Stoner/Doom Pop music.


Chunklet and Robotic Empire has been kind enough to offer 2 FULL live Floor shows and 2 tracks from the box set for free download so look for those after the video below and click the link to check out these beautifully collected sets.





Click Here to Download the 2 Full Live Shows

Click Here to Download "Xian"

Click Here to Download "The Pulse"

Order the Box Set here:
Robotic Empire Store


Floor Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/floor


Torche Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/torche

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DC Comics Brightest Day Checklist



Nerd Alert! So with "Blackest Night" ending we knew the inevitable "Brightest Day" wouldn't be far behind. Blackest Night was my favorite crossover of the year and continued the brilliant cosmic scope of their previous crossover "Sinestro Wars." In short The Green Lantern Corps realized they weren't the only color coordinated corps in the cosmos, and the source of all the different corps is older than even our previous universe. The "death-powered" Zombie-like Black Corps have finally been vanquished and the White Corps of life has emerged bringing with them many resurrected heroes including JLA's own Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. Here is a checklist of what's to come (Deadboy's definitely not going to like this):

BRIGHTEST DAY CHECKLIST PART 1

In the aftermath of BLACKEST NIGHT, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis give us DCU: REBIRTH with BRIGHTEST DAY, possibly the most anticipated DC event in many years!

APRIL
Brightest Day #0

Green Lantern #53

Green Lantern Corps #47

The Flash #1

Justice League of America #44

MAY
Brightest Day #1

Brightest Day #2

Justice League: Generation Lost #1

Justice League: Generation Lost #2

Green Lantern #54

Green Lantern Corps #48

The Flash #2

Justice League of America #45

Titans: Villains for Hire Special #1

Birds of Prey #1

JUNE
Brightest Day #3

Brightest Day #4

Justice League: Generation Lost #3

Justice League: Generation Lost #4

Green Lantern #55

Green Lantern Corps #49

The Flash #3

Justice League of America #46

Titans #24

Birds of Prey #2

Green Arrow #1

Saint Vitus Tour the West Coast in June


Legendary Doom Metal band Saint Vitus have a couple of tour dates in and around the West Coast this coming June. This band features another legend, Scott "Wino" Weinrich whose solo debut made my Top 10 Albums of 2009 post. Anything that Wino touches should be treated as Doom Metal gold so if you're anywhere in the area for these dates I suggest you take advantage.

Scott Weinrich's voice really shines in this band (probably since he doesn't play guitar and so gives the singing his full attention) and I really wished I was visiting San Diego during their tour. Maybe one day we'll be lucky enough to get a Saint Vitus/The Obsessed/Spirit Caravan/The Hidden Hand/Wino/Shrinebuilder US tour. I believe my neck cracked just thinking about slowly headbanging to that lineup. I wish that was possible, man if wishes were rent checks...





Saint Vitus Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/stvitus


DJ Premier Speaks on Guru's Passing


I questioned posting any more on this subject thinking that my last post was an adequate closer, but I figured if the world got to hear Solar's side with his fake Guru letter then it's only fair that I give Premier a chance for his words to balance out the negativity. All I have to say is that I believe DJ Premier not only has every right to speak, but I feel that it should have been him and the Elam Family giving us the news of Guru's passing. The amount of constraint and class Premier shows in his following statement just further proves how much of a snake Solar is in contrast:

"In a statement issued Wednesday (April 21) on a DJ Premier fan blog that his manager had earlier told MTV News is legitimate, the Gang Starr DJ chose not to address the comments in the letter and instead remember his longtime collaborator.


"It was a sad day for me to get confirmation on the death of a man who I will continue to call my brother, Keith Elam, better known as Guru of the legendary Gang Starr," the statement reads. "From 1988-2004, we experienced so much success together that we were able to expand our businesses independently and give each other what Guru called 'creative space,' before planning to reunite for our seventh LP when the time was right. Tragically, we will never reach that day.


"I've been asked to comment on a letter speaking ill of me which was supposedly written by Guru in his dying days. All I will say about it is that our time together was beautiful, we built a hip-hop legacy together, and no one can re-write history or take away my love for him. One thing I would never do is play around with the truth about his life.


"I will celebrate Guru's life ... I will honor his memory ... I will grieve with the Elam family over his untimely death ... I will remember the Gang Starr foundation and all of the original members of Gang Starr who came before me — we all know each other ... mostly, I will cherish everything we created together as Gang Starr, forever. I'm gonna miss hearing his signature monotone voice when he walks in the room, but the songs will always bring it back to me ... His rhyme flows were insane, and I will never remove him from my heart and soul. Rest in peace to the man who felt 'satisfaction from the street crowd reaction.' I love you Goo ... DJ Premier."


DJ Premier will be playing at The Shrine in Chicago on Wednesday June 2.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Memory of Guru, Keith Elam



"Gang Starr is a reflection of the heart and soul of hip-hop culture and music. They are one of my favorite groups and one of the groups I've been most influenced by. I love Primo and Guru." - Common


Maybe this is what NaS was predicting when he proclaimed that Hip Hop was dead. Guru, born Keith Elam, died yesterday at age 43. He was one of the greatest MCs to ever grace the mic and a founding member of Gang Starr who, along with DJ Premier, was one of the greatest Hip Hop duos of their time. He was also the mastermind behind the Jazzmatazz series where he collaborated with actual Jazz musicians instead of just sampling them.

Gang Starr was one of my all time favorite Hip Hop groups. I was lucky enough to see Gang Starr live once and I don't think I ever got a greater sense of being at a “Hip Hop Show.” They outshone the other acts so much that I couldn't even tell you who they where right now, and Gang Starr wasn't even the headliners. To me it was my definitive experience of seeing a DJ and an MC rocking the stage. “Hard to Earn” and “Moment of Truth” were very influential albums for me when I was growing up and I don't think they have a single dud in their entire discography. The fact that Guru passed before these legends could produce more classics is only one of the many reasons why Hip Hop suffered a major loss with his death.

“Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is/I get more props and stunts then Bruce Willis/A poet like Langston Hughes and can't lose when I cruise/Out on the expressway/Leavin the Bodega I say suave/Premier's got more beats then barns got hay” -Guru, “DWYCK”


I remember the first time I heard Gang Starr. The video for Code of the Streets was playing on tv and I remember thinking how sinister the strings and the scratch sample sounded together. I wasn't sure what I was hearing but I knew I liked it, and once Guru's monotone rasp came on I was instantly hooked. I remember how well Guru fit between Premiers beats. I remember thinking for the first time that being hardcore didn't have to mean being aggressive or loud, Guru's laid back confidence was as street as any grime or growl. I remember my friend letting me borrow a Jazzmatazz cd on the bus and I gave it a shot on the strength of it being a Guru project. It was my first exposure to Jazz. I remember finding out that Guru and Premier weren't originally from NY, yet they were embraced as if they were. It was the first time I understood that in Hip Hop “where you're at” mattered as much as where you're from.


“Bald Head Slick” had a charisma with his words and an unforgettable voice that demanded attention with a nuance and calm demeanor that defied it's booming sound. It was as heavy as Chuck D's bass combined with the smoothness of Qtip, and it was a fitting complement to Premier's grimy, sparse, boom bap beats and the perfect vehicle for the voice of Hip Hop and the streets. RIP to a true MC and visionary.


“Sometimes you gotta dig deep, when problems come near/Don't fear things get severe for everybody everywhere/Why do bad things happen, to good people?/Seems that life is just a constant war between good and evil” - Guru, “Moment of Truth”


Guru's Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/guru7grand

Gang Starr Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/gangstarr"

Buy Guru 8.0 - Lost & Found:
Guru 8.0 at Amazon.com

Buy Gang Starr – Full Clip:
Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr


Buy Jazzmatazz Vol. 4: Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4 at Amazon.com

Gifted. Unlimited. Rhymes. Universal.

Guru's "Last Letter" to his Fans


First and foremost to the spirit of Guru if this letter was truly and independently written by you then I apologize, but you’d have to forgive me if you think I’m going to believe that Solar had nothing to do with this letter. I have a hard time believing that Guru would use his last letter and his death as an opportunity to cut off all ties with Premier, why not do it earlier? To me this is a blatantly obvious last ditch attempt on Solar’s part to control all of Guru’s estate. If so then this is a desperate act made by a despicable man who deserves fuck all in my opinion.

Again it’s going to be hard to prove it’s authenticity, and even harder to prove how much Solar influenced the so-called letter and it’s just a shame that this much controversy and drama is being brought up so soon after Guru’s passing. Again I apologize to all if this letter is 100% true and un-coerced, and I’m going to stop writing now before I start feeding into the drama myself. Here is Guru’s last “letter”:

“I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options.

I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself. Solar and his family is my family and I love them dearly and I expect my family, friends, and fans to respect that, regardless to anybody's feelings on the matter. It is my wish that counts. This being said I am survived by the love of my life, my sun KC, who I trust will be looked after by Solar and his family as their own. Any awards or tributes should be accepted, organized approved by Solar on behalf myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own.

I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ. As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz. I am most proud of my leadership and pioneering efforts on Jazzmatazz 4 for reinvigorating the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre in a time when music quality has reached an all time low.

Solar and I have toured in places that I have never been before with GangStarr or Jazzmatatazz and we gained a reputation for being the best on the planet at Hip-Hop/Jazz, as well as the biggest and most influential Hip-Hop/Jazz record with Jazzmatazz 4 of the decade to now. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time. And we as a team were not afraid to push the envelope. To me this is what true artists do! As men of honor we stood tall in the face of small mindedness, greed, and ignorance. As we fought for music and integrity at the cost of not earning millions and for this I will always be happy and proud, and would like to thank the million fans who have seen us perform over the years from all over the world.

The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time and is my most creative and experimental to date. I hope that our music will receive the attention it deserves as it is some of the best work I have done and represents some of the best years of my life.” – via Allhiphop.com

Gifted. Unlimited. Rhymes. Universal.

RIP Guru: Gang Starr Rapper Dies of Cancer


RIP 1966-2010

Words cannot express how much of a loss this is for myself and the entire culture of Hip Hop. I can’t bring myself to write about this right now, I have just heard the news and I’m still pretty messed up and the fact that the venomous SNAKE of a man “Solar” is banning Premier from participating in any tribute for his lost friend angers me to no end. The most important thing to focus on now is Guru and his contributions to Hip Hop and the world. I may be able to write more about this later, but for now here’s the news from CBS:

"Rapper Guru has died at the age of 43 after battling cancer, according to reports published online. MTV.com says that the MC, whose real name was Keith Elam, died of "cancer-related causes" Monday after a "long fight" with the disease. The singer also suffered cardiac arrest in March, but was said to have recovered after surgery. Producer Solar, who was a friend and collaborator of Guru's, released a statement published in the report mourning the rapper's death.

"The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time -- my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru," he said. "Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius."

Solar also claimed to have a letter written by Guru to his fans to be released upon his death. In it he talked about his non-profit organization, Each One Counts, and stated that he did not want his Gang Starr collaborator, DJ Premier, to be able to participate in any tributes or events surrounding his death.

Gang Starr put out six records between 1989 and 2003. A greatest hits album was released in 2006. Guru also found solo fame with his "Jazzmatazz" series, a project that featured collaborations with jazz icons and he is recognized as a pioneer in the movement to merge jazz and hip hop."

Gifted. Unlimited. Rhymes. Universal.

Sam Adam's "Boston's Boy" Tops iTunes, Slaine Says He's Bad for Hip Hop



"Yeah, he might get PM Dawn'ed. Yes. Okay? Cool." - Slaine

So apparently some college kid from Boston topped the end of the week iTunes charts near the end of March by selling 15,000 units of his debut EP "Boston's Boy." The
controversy about this stems from rumors that he actually charged $75,000 worth of his album sales on his own credit card. It did seem rather suspect to me when I heard the news since I never heard of the fucker, but I'm not exactly the expert on Boston Hip Hop. Luckily for me Boston native and Special Teamz rapper/actor Slaine is and he made an open letter about Sam Adams announcing that he was
officially "Banned from Boston":

"Sorry Sammy, but Boston's boy is about to get banned from Boston. There is a reason that credibility is important in Hip Hop, and it was so something like this couldn't happen. Right now we're letting some rich white college kids with a scheme and a huge bankroll come in and jack the entire street culture and turn it into some bubble-gum, frat bullshit. Watching what this kid is saying in interviews, it is extremely clear that he has no respect for Hip Hop as a culture. He is even saying he invented his own form of music! Are you tripping? Sam Adams is bad for the culture and art form. He's bad for your business, and bad for my business. Sam Adams is bad for Boston and bad for Hip Hop."

You can read the rest of the interview/open letter
Here.

Slaine's Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/slainehiphop


"Are we allowed to have a problem with anything anymore without being "haters"? 'Cause I don't give a fuck. If that's the case, I'll be a hater." - Slaine (and my new favorite quote.)

Melvins/Isis Split out in May on Hydra Head



The above is a detail from the album artwork for the upcoming Split from the Melvins and Isis coming out in May on Hydra Head Records. The artwork is done by none other than Aaron Turner, Hydra Head "head" and Isis member. I should not have to explain who the legendary Melvins are, and for those that don't know them Isis is one of the prominent "instru-metal" bands responsible for the explosion of modern "post metal." Sludge fans, post rock lovers, open minded punk/metal heads and hipsters will all drool over this release so expect it to sell out quick, good news nonetheless.








Pre-order here & pay insane shipping prices: Hydra Head Store

Melvins Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/themelvins

Isis Website: http://www.isistheband.com


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dice Raw - Dice, Dilla, Pregunta [Mixtape]



I knew someone would rap on these instrumentals the minute I heard The Roots' Dilla tribute/reinterpretation album "Dilla Joints," and it's only fitting that the first one for me to hear is from long-time Roots collaborator and Philly native "Dice Raw." Not much else to talk about, if you heard this Roots' album then you pretty much know what you're in for. It only took him a week to write/record this mixtape and the album definitely benefits from having a lyricist over the beats. This is a solid release and I'm sure it's only the first of many to come from MCs who wish to put their spin on this instrumental release. Big ups to Okayplayer.com.

Download Dice Raw's Mixtape here:
Dice Raw - Dice, Dilla, Pregunta


Dice Raw Website: http://www.diceraw.com/

Dilla Foundation Website: J Dilla Foundation

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ettrick, a Brutal Improv/Free Death Duo (Free Sampler)


Ettrick is a self-described "acoustic grind duo" from San Francisco. They also describe themselves as a "Free Jazz/Black Metal assault" but they're definitely more Albert Ayler than Anaal Nathrakh, in fact besides their logo and song titles I don't see anything black metal about them really. The description holds some merit however, since this is one of the few bands that Free Jazz, Noise and open-minded Metal enthusiasts can all enjoy.


Jacob Felix Heule and Jay Korber each play both the saxophone and drums, and they rotate through every combination of the two in their music. They make a huge sound for only 2 guys and I'm always a fan of any duo that can make more noise than their small number should, which is an even harder feat for an acoustic band to do. Unlike Bellows the other "extreme acoustic" band I covered, Ettrick actually do remind me of The Flying Luttenbachers a little, so fans of the now defunct band should take note. On Ettrick's newer album "Feeder of Ravens" it tends to get a little sparse at times but they still manage to keep my attention with explosions of acoustic noise here and there. I personally prefer their debut "Infinite Horned Abomination" over Feeder. It's much more full and abrasive than their muted follow up (abrasive is a good thing in this instance.) The production on Ravens may have been the problem more than the material, I'm not sure what happened between albums but their debut is just overall a much better sounding recording in my opinion. I would really love to see these guys live since they seem like they would put on an amazing show, and live recordings just seem to make their material even more loud and harsh (again these are good things.) I suggest that anyone who gets the chance should see them perform, West Coast I'm talking to you!

If you think you’d be interested in improvisational Free Jazz with a thrash swing then you’ll enjoy what Ettrick have to offer. They have a bunch of songs for free download on their website, but in true Idol Threat tradition I put all of them in a zip file for you lazy bastards out there. Check out their site and cop some t-shirts to support. If you like what you hear you can also search for their hard-to-find CDs and Vinyl. For the curious that needs instant gratification you can listen to what I think is their best track
"My Death Prefigures My Rebirth" from the American Grizzly Compilation (and lucky for you it's also one of the free songs.)



Download the Sampler here:
Ettrick Song Sampler

Band’s Official Website:
http://ettrick.org/

Band’s Myspace page:
http://www.myspace.com/ettrick

Vibe Presents: The Greatest Producer of All Time



So Vibe magazine is putting up a bracket style voting competition to find Hip Hop’s greatest producer. You may remember the controversy spurred when they did a similar bracket to find Hip Hop’s greatest MC (it basically was the cause of the Joe Budden, Method Man/Redman/Inspectah Deck beef.) Readers get to vote for their favorite producers as they virtually go head to head, or beat to beat as the case may be. Each producer gets a short synopsis bio, some facts and a mix of their production credit to help refresh peoples memories. The first round of brackets began on the 5th and the next starts on the 19th of this month. My heart wants the winner to be Primo, but my gut tells me it'll bre Dre. Overall its not a bad set-up, as long as you guys make a difference and vote! Fuck American Idol! (Click on the Vibe Picture/link after the Press Release to vote.)

“So let’s get right to it. Declaring the Greatest Hip-Hop Producer Of All-Time is a huge undertaking on par with mediating world peace. Good thing that you, our loyal Vibe.com readers, are the one’s deciding on this fistfight inducing contest. Which brings us to the million-dollar question: How did we come up with the seeding for our all-star list of producers? Well, we can’t say it wasn’t a grueling process.

Choosing our original list of nearly 200 producers was tough enough. But breaking the list down to the final 64 participants was indeed daunting. Oh, and then we faced the ridiculous task of ranking these great beatsmiths, conductors, and musicians. What makes Dr. Dre a no. 1 seed, J Dilla 6th or will.i.am 16th? Everything from relevancy, influence, impact, and overall artistic reach in hip-hop were considered.

Some producers were left off because their most notable musical achievements did not resonate as strongly in the rap world (Jazzy Pha received most of his notoriety from his work with R&B stunner Ciara). Others were victims of their own era (Chub Rock and Special Ed producer Howie Tee just happened to be in his prime during hip-hop’s competitive Golden Age era that spawned the likes of Marley Marl, The Bomb Squad and Prince Paul; And where’s Warren G? With the likes of fellow West Coast giants Dre, Shock G, Daz Dillinger and DJ Quik in the mix, someone was bound to get squeezed out). Others, while talented, were still making their mark in the game (J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Black Milk, and Shawty Redd). While some possessed extraordinary lyrical skills that dwarfed their own production work (Eminem, KRS-One and MF Doom). Then there were the producers who just missed the cut: including Company Flow’s musical visionary El-P; Suave House’s resident beatman T-Mix; the underrated Kwame, and early Jay-Z collaborator Ski).

But chief among our most controversial omissions was Roots front man and drummer Questlove. Long hours and fiery debates took place over just how to categorize a gifted musician who rarely took sole credit for the lauded Philadelphia band’s great run of albums. The peak of Quest’s hip-hop production prowess came with Common’s groundbreaking Electric Circus project. And most of his musical triumphs beyond The Roots have been within the soul music genre (Quest's work on D’Angelo’s epic Voodoo album shines brightest). We more than understand the uproar over Quest’s lack of presence. But no one ever said hip-hop was easy…or fair.

That said, we believe the list is pretty damn good. The over 50,000 and counting hip-hop heads who have voted thus far in our Greatest Hip-Hop Producer Of All-Time competition exhibits just how passionate you guys are. As always thanks for your undying support and keep those votes coming. Remember, somebody has to be no.1.”



Click on the Picture to start Voting!