Friday, February 27, 2009
First of all, this guy is a phenomenal guitarist. He did some deconstructed, atonal, arhythmic stuff that I have never really heard before to start off. It was like Monk started playing guitar. He said he's been touring without a guitar because he hates lugging it around so he just borrows guitars wherever he goes. Last night he played on a super jazzy Ibanez that suited him quite nicely but I am curious to hear him again in a different setting with different equipment. But that is neither here nor there.
Then he launched into his material - it is hard to tell what is improvised and what isn't. His songs are incredibly idiosyncratic and a little precious with extremely amusing lyrics ("I am Google. I know everything."). They're short and frequently are introduced with hilarious little anecdotes. I have immediately dubbed this guy the Tom Waits of indie/hipster rock. But the songs themselves are quite good, for all their cynicism and hilarity, they're quite earnest and rocking. When he lets himself go on the solos, it's fucking brilliant, which is unfortunately why the recorded stuff falls short - it's light on the guitar solos.
So to conclude, I will post his myspace link, but if you have the chance to go see this guy live, absolutely take it, he's oddly mesmerizing.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
NASA (standing for North America/South America) are two DJs with ridiculous connections. Seriously, check out this tracklist:
- The People Tree (feat. David Byrne, Chali 2na, Gift of Gab, & Z-Trip)
- Money (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip)
- NASA Music (feat. Method Man, E-40, & DJ Swamp)
- Way Down (feat. RZA, Barbie Hatch, & John Frusciante)
- Hip Hop (feat. KRS-One, Fatlip, & Slim Kid Tre)
- Four Rooms, Earth View
- Strange Enough (feat. Karen O, Ol Dirty Bastard, & Fatlip)
- Spacious Thoughts (feat. Tom Waits & Kool Keith)
- Gifted (feat. Kanye West, Santogold, & Lykke Li)
- A Volta (feat. Sizzla, Amanda Blank, & Lovefoxxx)
- There's A Party (feat. George Clinton & Chali 2na)
- Whachadoin? (feat. Spank Rock, M.I.A., Santogold, & Nick Zinner)
- O Pato (feat. Kool Kojak & DJ Baboa)
- Samba Soul (feat. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien & DJ Q-Bert)
- The Mayor (feat. The Cool Kids, Ghostface Killah, DJ AM, & Scarface)
- NASA Anthem
Is it as good as that sounds? Well, no - probably about half as good...but still, when it clicks, like on the Karen O/ODB track, you just need to get out of the way son. Other highlights include the Kanye/Santogold/Lykke Li collabo (alt title: "what 808 should've sounded like"), the RZA/Frusciante joint that miraculously finds the middle ground between Portishead and Wu-Tang, and the Spank Rock/MIA/Santogold baile funk monster that feels like it could go on for 2 hours and you wouldn't care. Maybe wildly inconsistent isn't that bad after all.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
That said, these guys started popping up on my Pandora and it made me want to hear more. I dug up their first album from 2006, Robbers and Cowards. It's solid. Strong vocals, satisfying guitar, all around good stuff. They're from California so there's a little bit of surfer soul mixed in with the usual NYC trying-to-be-cool indie rock sound. It makes for a nice balance and it's a pretty straight up rock album - the first four or five songs are particularly good. They released a second album last year, Loyalty to Loyalty, which I think kind of sucks, but others might be interested - if so let me know.
Robbers and Cowards
Rodrigo y Gabriela are like some music bloggers wet dream: Mexican black metal bandmates get jaded with the scene and, penniless, decide to move to Ireland to rock flamenco-style on acoustic guitars. It's a story that begs to be wrapped in dumbass labels like "acoustic metal", "gypsy grunge", or "mariachi Metallica" or something even more terrible I lack the ability to create. And just like that, music that's totally original and groundbreaking gets reduced to a gimmick. So let's not play that game, and instead focus on how awesome this is. I mean check out Gabriela's hand in the video...I don't know anything about guitar and it blows me away, like a hummingbird flying between the strings. The badass factor of this video outlines the logic of doing flamenco covers of metal songs - the frenetic rhythm remains, but now electricity is created with melody lines instead of power chords. It's not a new genre or a sign of globalization. It just kicks ass.
Also, probably the best "Stairway" cover I've ever heard
Monday, February 9, 2009
I am sad and embarrassed to admit, I kinda hate The Clash. A lot of their music just gets on my nerves. Sorry, I respect them, I know I should like them as a respectable music fan. But Rock the Kasbah Makes me want to put puppies in microwaves. (EASY... I didn't say I would turn them on. If I did defrost tops, I swear.) Anyway, I am a huge music doc fan, and as I respect them, I netflixed The Furture is Unwritten: Joe Strummer. Fuck man, what an awesome dude. I really wish I could have met him. PLEASE SEE IT FOR YOURSELF. Truly genius, riveting, devastating, and inspiring. After that, I went on a hunt for everything non-Clash Joe Strummer related and fell in love. This is Global A Go-Go an album he did with the Mescalaros shortly before he passed away. World, Rock, Folk, Punk, Latin, Electronic... Again a guy that just did what so many others try to do and fucking wreck, he does authentically and masterfully. You will love this record now... almost as much as you will after you see the film that inspired me to check it out.
Joe Strummer and the Mescalaros - Global A Go-Go
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Now for something completely different...Death From Above 1979 was a short-lived bass/drums duo from Toronto that only made one full-length album in 2004. You read that right - just a bassist and a drummer. So how does this not suck? DFA 1979 compensates for the lack of instrumentation with walls of raw, sweaty noise, breaking apart punk into its periodic elements of bass, drums, and vocals. It's supremely danceable - every one of these 11 songs feels like it's on the edge of turning into a primal orgy - yet retains serious grit and balls and undeniable swagger. This is what post-punk should've turned out like, instead of whiny crap like The Rapture.
Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine