A little over a year ago, I joined IndyMojo and it was great. The ability to meet new folks and the community provided so much to me that I wondered what I could give back. A few months later a simple question… “Any Disc Golfers
On March 3, 2010 Gorillaz released their third album, Plastic Beach. Originally started as a concept album going by the code name Carousel, over 70 songs were made in preparation of producing the final product. 16 made the final cut and ultimately turned into Plastic Beach. The often admired British artists are more well known for their animated characters than their own faces. Running the gambit from ambient electronica to freestyle rap and even symphonic numbers, the Gorillaz are certainly creating their own footprint within music itself. While not revolutionary as many of the ingredients have been around for quite some time, the blended product is what differentiates their sound from everyone else.
Opening up with an orchestral intro, then straight to Snoop Dogg. That is exactly how Plastic Beach starts out. The album features a number of guest appearances from Mos Def, to De La Soul, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, and the aforementioned Snoop Dogg. Three singles released off this album started with “Stylo“, “Superfast Jellyfish“, and upcoming “On Melancholy Hill“. Each song is awesome in and of itself, while the video for “Stylo” includes none other than Bruce Willis. Plastic Beach is an album that flows like the tide. There is a continual riff, a summer-y almost hawaiian element in many of the songs on the album, and the tracks themselves are all intertwined. Don’t think for a second this album doesn’t include a large amount of melancholy. It will likely take three to four listenings to fully absorb.
4.5/5 A quick walkthrough peaks the album at 6… there’s a soft drop and pick up back around 9… and a nice, fluid run to the end. Standout tracks include Some Kind of Nature, On Melancholy Hill, Plastic Beach, and Superfast Jellyfish.
Blockhead is the name created by hip hop producer Tony Simon. While most likely only heard on indie compilations or chillout stations on Pandora, it is somewhat difficult to differentiate and suss through the who’s-who of sample heavy tunes.
To describe what might be expected while listening to his latest work The Music Scene (set for release on January 12), it is suggested that the Mr. Scruff, Thievery Corporation, Nightmares on Wax albums be thrown in a blender and set to “puree”. Very soulful samples, record pops, and indian flavor adorn each and every track on this album. Lyric samples are tinny and sound like they are being played by a wind-up RCA phonograph.
Starting out, It’s Raining Clouds is very soulful, with hard hitting beats. The album transfers into more Indian flavor, with plucky riffs off of a zither. Each track incorporates a stringed sample of some sort, with brass instruments, and a driving groove tying together the smokers delight. Only Sequences Change is a very classical arrangement, with orchestral tones all over it. Which One of You Jerks Drank My Arnold Palmer? blends surfer samples with a keyboard riff that could be made by none other than a five year old. It’s a beautiful, happy song. Trick Turtle belongs in a 1970’s blacksploitation film.
Overall, this album is a solid 4/5. While it is very difficult for casual listeners to tell the differences, hardcore fans of the Ninja Tune label will be quite pleased. A very solid work, The Music Scene can be appreciated by square and stoner alike. Standout tracks are The Music Scene, Which One of You Jerks Drank My Arnold Palmer?, Tricky Turtle, and Farewell Spaceman.
keep on keepin on
The Temper Trap are a relatively new band from the land down under. They have found success being featured on the soundtrack of the movie “500 Days of Summer” which was released in July of 2009. They are also featured on Ministry of Sound‘s annual Chillout Sessions XII for 2010.
Having released only an EP prior to Conditions, the newness of this group can only be compared to that new car smell. At 42 minutes, the album is already set for perfection. A very diverse offering, Conditions will take the listener through a transition much like a change of season. A perfect release date of October 13, right around the time that the leaves are in full color, the mornings a little cooler, and the air a little more crisp. The Temper Trap are just that, a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dismal offering of new music. Summer 2009 was lackluster at best when it came to new offerings, and it feels good to be hitting stride. There are times while listening where there may be some confusion as to whether or not this is a Modest Mouse album. In the words of Rob Gordon, kicking off with a killer, Conditions first track “Love Lost” is an amazing track. By the time “Sweet Disposition” comes up, it is clear to see what tracks immediately call for being hits.
The album slows down a bit, and the tempo pops back up with “Fader”, which includes a very strong driving beat, some “woo hoo’s” and is fun to listen and sing along with. “Resurrection” is somewhat dark, slow tempo, high posts. “Drum Song” is just that. An entire instrumental song devoted to drum work with accompaniment.
This album is a breath of fresh air like that cool fall morning. 4.5/5. Let’s hope they have staying power. Standouts: “Love Lost” “Sweet Disposition” “Fader” “Drum Song”.
keep on keepin on
Summing up the Basement Jaxx in one word isn’t easy. If possible, words like “revolutionary”, “pioneering”, and “original” would be at the top of the list. 2009 brings the Jaxx back to the world of new releases with a new label. Set for release in the UK on September 22 and in the US on October 6, Scars is an album that features many names that blend perfectly with the Jaxx sound. Long before acts like Girl Talk were even thought of, the duo of Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe were busy werking away mashing this and that to a driving and demanding house beat. Easily recognized with their 2001 hit Where’s Your Head At?”, later hits with “Good Luck”, and back to the earlier “Red Alert” (just to name a few) the Jaxx have been good at making music that pushes boundaries.
Scars starts out as trademark Basement Jaxx. Self-identification in music is often times rather… annoying. Featured in all of their werx the first trax include nifty forms of self-identification, and Scars doesn’t buck the trend. The opening track includes the lyrics of Kelis, Meleka, and Chipmunk. “Raindrops” is 100% Jaxx. Being the first single released off the album, it smells exactly like something that will be remixed by DJ’s and featured on club anthem records over the course of the next five years. Overall it is a beautiful song with a little bit of sexual innuendo, making for some fun. “Saga” is arguably the best song on this album, featuring the likes of Santigold. As infectious as the lyrical content is, keeping “you’re just limiting all the possibilites” stuck in your head or “saga, saga, saga, saga, saga”, the real kicker in this track is the bassline and the mashing. “Feelings Gone” is the second single to be released, and with a pulsing sound coupled with the lyrical werks of Sam Sparro, will likely be a top 40 in the UK. The track also has tremendous upside for future remixing. The album continues, featuring Lightspeed Champion, Amp Fiddler, and (wait for it) Yoko Ono. Somehow the Jaxx managed to put some music to her poetic ramblings in “Day of the Sunflowers (We March On)”, and that speaks volumes to the talent level.
Overall, this album sits at a 3.9/5. Here’s why: There are no interludes. While the Jaxx have made this album sound more like how they have sounded in the past returning to Remedy and Rooty or even Kish Kash, and produced a musical product that is quite strong, it lacks breakout power. Featured in every album to date, these “jaxxalude’s” are a nice relief and help to break up the flow. Normally this is a bad thing, but with these guys, it’s necessary. Again, going back to the breakout sound, where the Jaxx pioneered mashing, it’s hard to one-up yourself.
Standout tracks: “Raindrops”, “Saga”, “My Turn”, “A Possibility”, and “What’s a Girl Got to Do?”
keep on keepin on
The Lo Fidelity Allstars will be the first to tell you that they’re already dead, and that they just forgot to fall over. In over 11 years, the group has six albums to its credit, three of which are original works, most notably 1998’s “How To Operate With A Blown Mind”. 2002 found the group changing their style a bit, with Wrekked Train leaving the group to pursue other interests. What was left over was an album that was very different than its predecessor.
Here’s a review I wrote back in 2002 of “Don’t Be Afraid of Love”:
for the last three months, i have not been able to remove this album from the cd player. this album is a testament to the diversity and skill associated with this group. no other group can successfully blend r&b, rap, funk, and various forms of techno/electronica as well as the lo-fis. ‘What You Want’ is a song that embraces the new lo-fi attitude… youve got to keep on keepin on… ‘Deep Ellum…Hold On’ makes you look around for a phone (listen, you can tell) doing a wonderful job of mixing funk and r&b, ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Love’ is the epitome of what this group is today, as “we hit the ground running with the new found sound”, ‘Feel What I Feel’ reminds me of daft punk’s ‘digital love’ track. a peppy 80’s, disco-ish, clubbish, what-were-they-thinking type track, but makes you want to get up and move. ‘Cattleprod’ is by far my favorite track on this album, not a sophisticated song, but has all the elements of a get off your [butt] and do something attitude. ‘Sleeping Faster’ is just downright chill, its not hard to hide yourself in the bass-line and miss out on the world for seven solid minutes. the only complaint i have with this album is the placement of ‘just enough’ didnt flow at all where they put it. bottom line… excellent sophomore album (the boutique mix album doesnt count), taking some of the old lo-fi and adding a new taste to it all. extremely diverse group, ‘i just cant stop this….’
It’s fun to find old shit I’ve written.
“Northern Stomp” is… well, it’s… oh fuck it. “Northern Stomp” is my shit, yo. There is nothing out there today that sounds like this album, or this group. The sampling selection is fucking awesome, the funky basslines and corresponding beats fit perfectly. Nonsensical lyrics at times, elements that are completely “lo-fi”, and awesome arrangement is the definition of this album. As someone who has followed this group strong from 1998, I am biased. As I write this, I am aware of my passion for this group works, and how I translate that to anyone who’d be interested in hearing “Northern Stomp” or any of their other material. Know that every review I have written includes the phrase “keep on keepin on”. Thank the Allstars for that.
The entire album tells a story of the past 11 years, and how this group has evolved and continued to perservere. Once tied to the same label as notable Norman Cook (aka FatBoy Slim), they parted ways until Corsair Records picked them up to release “Northern Stomp”. The long and short of this review is that “Northern Stomp” is a good listen. You might not like every track off the top, though as you get more listens in you ought to see and appreciate the sublteties from their amazing ability to blend genres that shouldn’t belong together.
Overall, this album is a 4.75/5. I’m a bit confused by “Smash and Grab”, having heard it as “Speed of Light” previously. The album is also very short checking in at 10 tracks just under 40 minutes, and feels more like an EP than anything else. Standouts are certainly all of them. Notables, would be “I Know I’m A King”, “Your Midnight”, “As Good as Dead” and one of the most beautiful songs I think I’ve ever heard, “Valentines Boast”.
Seven years is a long time to wait. I’m glad I’ve waited for this, because once again “I just cant stop this…” Quoting the Lo-Fi’s themselves, find a way to buy, download or steal this album.
keep on keepin on
For the last four years, The Black Eyed Peas have been rather quiet after releasing a new album every two years since 1998. In 2009, they return and prove they’ve been quite busy during all the side projects (see: “My Humps”). Their fifth studio release comes out June 9, 2009 and is full of music. 73:19 of music spanned over 17 tracks to be exact. The first single, “Boom Boom Pow” was released in February of this year, with subsequent releases of “Imma Be”, “Meet Me Halfway”, and “Alive”
With no surprise, “Boom Boom Pow” is the first track, and is not indicative of the entire album. Some of the best tracks are found hidden, which is not shocking considering that front man will.i.am does not believe concept albums exist anymore, and that people “pick and scab” music off of iTunes. That makes for a very disjointed album, though when taken in context, makes perfect sense. Some of the tracks do segue into what follows it, so there may be a bit of hypocrisy.
Many tracks include instruments not normally found within the work of a group who’s predominantly known for playing in the R&B genre. Harmonicas, strings, rock guitars, electric keys and synth sounds coupled with the all familiar 808 helps to create a culmination of 17 tracks that are soundly put together and could easily be placed in the CD player at a party and left alone. Reminiscent of Elephunk‘s “Where is the Love”, “One Tribe” is all about the love. In fact, many of the tracks are about universal love that exists in utopia and eludes reality. Helping to provide hope through music, that’s The Black Eyed Peas. There’s something in here for everyone, both the philosophical lyricist and from the inexperienced to the experienced ear.
The E.N.D. will likely be the album of the 2009 summer for many people. With any luck, its listeners will be sharing the universal love and getting their grove on a la “Ring-a-Ling”.
Overall, E.N.D. earns a 4.25/5. When you are putting together an album of 17 tracks with the intent of all of them being viewed and treated as singles in their own right, each one has to stand on its own leg and be worthy of airplay. Most all of these do. Standout tracks include Rock That Body, Alive, Now Generation, and Rockin To A Beat
keep on keepin on
After pining for over two months to attend this concert, and taking every opportunity to plug it to anyone who would listen, this last weekend I finally got to see that which is the Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction. As an added bonus, Tom Morello and Boots Riley’s Street Sweeper Social Club would open the show, bringing together the awesome guitar work from the former’s time with Rage Against the Machine and the latter’s work with The Coup.
SSSC was a great opening act. As mentioned before, Morello’s guitar work inspired many thoughts of RATM and Riley’s lyrics combined to create something intangible, yet very pleasing to the ear. The crowd got into it, fists pumping in the air as we all celebrated the birthday of one Mr. Tom Morello. At the end of the set, out comes Perry Ferrell with a birthday cake and in unison, everyone serenades Tom with a rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Overall, SSSC‘s set, while short, was full and included the audience. The Social Club aspect invited all fans in attendance to become a part of the movement, and channeling The Coup, Riley called for “The Revolution”.
After a brief intermission, the lawn started occupying more people. I heard a few in attendence stating “If Reznor opens for Jane’s Addiction, I’m out of here”. Well it is the NIN|JA tour, makes sense he’d open, doesn’t it? Regardless, this held for me something I had wanted to do for years. I hadn’t really become a fan of NIN until about seven years ago, when my life circumstances and situations at the time made for very good union with the music. Since, I’ve been a solid fan. Mind you, there are only a few groups I will hardcore promote and while NIN isn’t one of them, they are a group in my top fifteen. With friends of mine having seen Reznor play many different times at many different venues, I knew if I didn’t see him live I’d be doing myself a great disservice… and boy was I right. With thunderstorms looming in the distance, severe weather alerts and tornado sirens howling in the background, shit was getting interesting.
It started raining. I began to wonder why it seemed I got rained on whenever I went to a concert at Verizon, and then I got pulled out of my moment by hearing the beginning of “The Fragile”. I could go into a deep, long, drawn out explaination of all the things flying through my mind at the time, being overtaken by the music and the rain falling down on me. I digress. Suffice to say, while feeling the warm drops hit my face and looking above toward the heavens and singing along, I made a memory that will be with me for the rest of my natural born life.
I was then able to hear my all time favorite NIN song, Mr. Self Destruct, which snapped my conciousness back into reality and out of the solace in my head. Head Like a Hole was a complete and total crowd pleaser. Our time was coming to an end. Before long, Trent was talking to the crowd about how he didn’t want to say that he was quitting because it would make them sad. He thanked everyone for their years of support, his band for playing with him through all the years, and then finished it off with Hurt. Lighters all over the pavillion and throughout the lawn were held high, and the entire crowd was singing along in unison. Ovation. Intermission.
Quite a few people began to leave, which totally baffled my mind. How and why on earth would you leave when one of the most influential alt rock bandswas about to come on stage? Nevermind the fact that this was a complete reunion of the band. If nothing else, Perry Ferrell is going to entertain the shit out of everyone because he is, well, certifiable. Down drops this large projection screen, with topless women on it. HEY-OH! Up goes the curtain and music starts blasting from the stage and blanketing the venue.
I wasn’t a Jane’s Addiction fan in my teenage years, and with breakup after breakup, spinoffs like a bad sitcom and reunion tours here and there, I never became one. I am glad that I was able to see them this night, and got a kick out of the show they put on. “Hello, Indiana!” chirps Ferrell “you people seem like you like to have a good time here in Indiana!” the crowd responds. “I sing from my balls!”
I’m not sure if the show was more of Perry being ridiculous or if it was about music. Either way, the two were blended quite well, and between songs, Perry is talking with the people in the front row and asks what they’d like to hear. “1 percent? ok, *turns to band* we can do that guys, right?” They then play that song. Running around with a bottle of wine he’d take swigs off of from time to time, he then went for a cigarette. He asked if anyone had a light, and people started throwing lighters on the stage. The band started playing a little bit, then he called them off because he needed to get the cigarette lit properly, and said so. Once the fire issue had been solved, they start rocking it out again. For an encore performance, Jane’s Addiction gave a few songs, one of which was “Jane Says”. This was a very fun song to watch be performed and sing along to.
On the way out the parking lot was near empty. I’ve never seen such a thing. I am glad to know that I was a part of something that so many others had apparently felt wasn’t worth their time or thought “was going to suck”. To each their own.
keep on keepin on
I’m not sure what it says about me when I say that I go to a show not knowing what to expect and then leaving pleasantly surprised. Especially considering the fact that it happened again this last weekend. On a thinly veiled hope of seeing one of my all time heroes, George Clinton, I went to the Mousetrap down on Keystone Avenue Saturday night. I brought my camera, because, hey it’s George effin Clinton! To my dismay, the mothership did not land, however I made light of my situation and decided to tough it out.
First of all, I don’t like jam bands. Phish, The Greatful Dead, String Cheese Incident, Soulive and the like do nothing for me. Never have. It always seemed to me that the scene was mostly about getting wasted while everyone in the band solos at the same time. (It’s better than the hip/hop grinding scene though.) I’m not here to bash hippies. In fact, I love them. It’s a very love-hate relationship. Suffice to say, there I was in a t-shirt, jeans, and baseball cap with a camera hanging around my neck. “Are you with the band?” I was asked several times. “No, no I am not.” “Then what’s with the camera?” “Oh, I’m documenting my life and putting it out there should anyone want to read about it.”
Ladymoon comes up on the stage and starts rocking out. I mean really rocking out. This is not a jam band, I thought. I heard elements from a variety of different influences within my own personal music collection, and I was very happy. The first third of Ladymoon’s set was pure, unadulterated progressive rock. Kick ass. The bassist named Potts began introducing everyone in the band, and he said that he was not David Crosby. He continued saying the first lesbian who called him that he would be forced to inseminate. I got lost toward the middle of their set, because what I heard was mostly scale jumping guitar lines. They played a really solid cover of what I think is the Allman Brothers, and they also did another track that reminded me of Rush’s 2112, or YYZ. During the set between songs a hippie chick with dreds comes up to me and poured some “boogie juice” in my hand, and asked me if it wasn’t working. I told her I was boogie-ing in my head. She then proceeded to go back out and start dancing. In fact, there were a ton of hippie chicks dancing, getting their groove on and otherwise busting a move.
I ended up running into a few people I went to high school with. Hadn’t seen them in a number of years, but it was good to kinda catch up a bit. I would have never expected to see them there, which made it all the more fun. During the show, I forgot how awesome hippie chicks could really be. Like I said, love-hate. As I continue to explore worlds outside of my normal sphere of influence, I hope to continue being pleasantly surprised. While I didn’t really dig the second band out of Toledo, OH, there were enough elements in Ladymoon’s playing that made me enjoy it. As I was telling Potts after the show, they may have turned me.
I’m looking forward to seeing these guys again, and hope to be able to bring them to Mojostock.
Until next time,
Keep on keepin on
I had no idea what to expect going into what would be one of the most enjoyable shows I have experienced in quite some time. Down in the historic Fountain Square, at a very nice venue in Radio Radio, Unknown Hinson put on one heck of a show. Immediately after we arrived, we found out that the show had sold out. Aww, hell no. As I was about to turn away, this guy pops out the front door