New Music: Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

18 03 2010

Gorillaz third release is every bit as genre-shattering as the first one

It’s the time of year where I get to write more about new music than the older stuff that just happens to be popping through my computer speakers, and that is something to be excited about.  Just this week new albums from Gorillaz and Broken Bells (more on them later) dropped new albums, and new cuts from MGMT, The National, Erykah Badu, Band of Horses, and Nas and Damien Marley are all expected before May.  Not to mention Drake, LCD Soundsystem, and The Arcade Fire all expected out before the end of the year, plus whispers of a new Radiohead album (SHH! they can hear you thinking about it).

The third release from Gorillaz, Plastic Beach, is pretty much what you expect from Damon Albarn and his animated company; which is the unexpected. Read the rest of this entry »

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What I’m Listening To – Wale: Attention Deficit

2 03 2010

Wale's amazing debut Attention Deficit

Let me begin with an apology.  Wordpress doesn’t have support for characters that aren’t used regularly in the English language (as far as I can tell), so my apologies to Mr. Wale for not being able to place the accent over the e in his name.  Normally I wouldn’t apologize for something like this, but dude gets pissed when people screw up his name.

“They keep sayin whale, but my name wall-ay/ hoes call me Mr. never wear the same thang.”

I guess it only makes him kind of mad. Read the rest of this entry »





What I’m Listening To – KiD CuDi – Man on the Moon: The End of the Day

5 02 2010

Kid Cudi's new breed of hip-hop is breathing life into the game

Has Kid Cudi changed hip-hop forever? The jury is still out on that, but on his debut album Man on the Moon: The End of the Day Cudi takes the first step towards accomplishing such a feat.  The album is absent of poppy, sampled, repetitive hip-hop beats (minus the mandatory Kanye appearance), and instead is full of spacey, pulsating synths accompanied by Cudi’s trademark sing-song delivery.

Apart from the alien beats and Cudi’s effortless vocals, there is something that sets his music far and above the rest: His lyrics.  On his mixtape, A Kid Named Cudi, Cudi drops a line about his desire to be remembered for his substance: “Make my words important so if I slip away/ if I die today/ the last thing you remember won’t be about some apple-bottom jeans with the boots with the furs.”  In my opinion this is one of the boldest, most important statements in the last decade of hip-hop, and this attitude carried over to Man on the Moon. On the first real track after the intro (Soundtrack to my Life)  Cudi sings: “I’ve got some issues that nobody can see/ and all of these emotions are pouring out of me/ I bring them to the light for you/ it’s only right/ this is the soundtrack to my life.”  This sort of emotional openness and introspection has rarely, if ever, been seen in hip-hop before.

The other bright spot of the album is Cudi’s eclectic choice of collaborators.  Guest spots from electronic-pop duos Ratatat and MGMT catch the eye and ear immediately. There’s the aforementioned mandatory Kanye appearance, along with one of my personal favorites Common, on the cheeky, innuendo-filled, Lady Gaga sample Make Her Say, which apparently only made the album due to pressure from the label. Finally, there’s Hyyerr, a beautiful ode to fellow Cleveland rap pioneers Bone Thugs N Harmony, featuring Cudi’s partner in crime Chip tha Ripper.  I can’t tell if the song is more of a tribute to Bone or weed, but either way it’s an awesome song and Chip delivers a great performance.

I guess we’ll have to wait till his next official album drops to say if he’s actually moving hip-hop in a new direction, but given the rise of artists like Drake, my prediction is that we’ll start to see more emotionally charged, musically competent hip-hop music than ever before, and that my friends is a step in the right direction.

Key Tracks: Soundtrack to my Life, Hyyerr, Heart of a Lion, Pursuit of Happiness

You might also like: Drake, Wale, MGMT, Chip tha Ripper, Bone Thugs N Harmony





Award show? More like a freak show.

1 02 2010

The downfall of the Grammy's is unfortunate

If your reading this and you didn’t know that the Grammy’s were last night then your either the dumbest, or the smartest person I’ve ever met (never mind that we may have never met, you get it).  You may be the dumb one because, honestly, how do you not know that something like that is happening?  You either don’t own a TV, or you live under a rock which makes your patronage here at my blog quite suspicious.  Those computers at the library are for learning, not for people who live under rocks to read stupid blogs!  I digress.  You may, though, be the smart person because they weren’t worth watching even if you were aware.  Since my ultimate goal in life is to work in the industry that puts on this type of show, I figured I should tune in.  Needless to say I was quite disappointed.

I know that there are dozens of awards handed out every year by the Academy,  but last night I feel like only about ten were actually handed out during the three and a half hour marathon that is the Grammy’s.  This show had more commercials and crap performances than if the Super Bowl was played by the two worst teams in the NFL.  Does anybody care that Pink can hang suspended, soaking wet over the audience while kind of singing a little bit?  Are the Black-Eyed Peas not the most famous yet least talented grouping of individuals since LFO (I know you all know the words to Summer Girls)?  It’s real cool and all that Lady Gaga is gay (I think? Who the hell knows anymore), and so is Elton John, but what is the Grammy’s obsession with putting old, irrelevant artists together with new, hot, and unfortunately relevant pop acts?  There were, however, good performances to speak of, from Dave Matthews Band and the Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake, and Travis Barker combo.  DMB was fantastic as always, especially backed up by the strings, horns, and choir.  Maybe they should think about taking that show on the road with them this summer.  Their most recent album obviously isn’t even close to their big three albums from the 90’s, but it was good, and it’s nice to see those songs translate to the live setting.  Now on to my main gripe with this show last night: Censorship

The aforementioned performance from Weezy, Drake, Em, and Barker was as rapper Wale put it via twitter the “mostODeditever”.  That is in reference to the absolutely TERRIBLE censoring job CBS did of this performance.  If you didn’t see it, go youtube it (thats for those of you at the library who live under rocks), and you’ll see for yourself how unnecessary it was.  It was to the point where there was more silence than music.  It was the last performance of the show, bringing four great artists together for their hit song, sans Kanye (thankfully), for what would have been easily the BEST performance of the night.  They were censoring words that weren’t even swear words because apparently the mute button over at CBS has a minimum “mute time” of like 15 seconds.

The Academy’s attempt at taking its show and awards more to the mainstream is a TERRIBLE decision.  It completely removes the integrity of the worlds most respected music awards, and while it may gain viewers for CBS (who shamelessly self-promoted their network by having the “stars” of their terrible shows present what few awards were actually handed out to the least-deserving artists, if you can call them artists anyways), it completely disregards the truly talented, original artists that are out there making good music.  How does MGMT lose out to f-ing Green Day for best rock album?  Speaking of Green Day will anyone go see that stupid broadway show based off their stupid over-rated album?  I understand that in this day and age when everyone steals your music that it’s kind of necessary to sell-out to be successful, but you don’t have to abandon what made you who you are.  Anyways I’m getting off topic so I’ll stop ranting for now, but I hope this trend towards the mainstream doesn’t continue, because it has hardly become difficult to win a Grammy, and that my friends is unacceptable.