Sunday, January 31, 2010


With Mardi Gras right around the corner, and the Saints headed to the Super Bowl next Sunday, I felt like posting a couple albums from way down south in New Orleans..

Crippled from a childhood encounter with an ambulance, missing one eye (stories vary), drug addicted, alcoholic, black and gay in the deep South - James Booker had anything but an easy life. That being said he managed to become one of the most revered piano players in a town that has produced some of the greatest piano players ever to walk the earth. These sessions were recorded in 1976 in Hamburg, Germany where Booker was hiding out at the time (apparently he had some issues back home in the states having ripped off Apple Records for front cash on a project which never materialized).

James Booker - The Piano Prince

Here's a fonky little out of print rarity. It features Mac Rebennack ("You all know the Dr- Dr. John, Mr Mac Rebennack") in fine form w/ the Meters as his backing band and was produced by Mr. Allen Toussaint.

Dr. John - Desatively Bonnaroo

"Everything I do is funky like Lee Dorsey." -Mike D

This album is Dorsey's master work; Allen Toussaint wrote and arranged most of the songs, and the Meters play back up to Dorsey. Go ahead now and download this baby so you can start getting your soul thang on right away.

Lee Dorsey - Yes We Can

Thursday, January 28, 2010

PCH Late Night Illin'

Heard this first track late last night on KCRW. It's smooth, soulful, and ideal for after hour soirees (It is Marvin Gaye afterall). When Marvin comes in around that 4 minute mark it's perfection. It was then followed by this upbeat, funky fresh jam:

Gots to give it up to KCRW for always playing the best late night sessions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chicks Who Rock (really)

I have been listening to this album - Know Better Learn Faster by Thao with the Get Down Stay Down (awesome name) - for a couple of months and I can't really put my finger on why I like it so much. First, the lead singer (Thao - pictured above), is a chick who sounds more like she would jump kick off the couch and shred a solo than most female leads. Equal parts Karen O and Shan Michaels. Second, this is pretty straight forward rock - catchy hooks, 4/4 beats, not too showy, but rocking enough to make you want to stomp around. It's also got a little surfer edge - mostly influenced by the choice of guitar, but despite some pretty typical sad sack song themes (love and lack thereof, breakups etc.), these tunes are indisputably upbeat.

Body, Easy and When We Swam are winners, the title track ain't bad either.

Second - Ida Marie's Fortress 'round My Heart. I haven't heard a song title this bad since Janis: "I like you so much better when you're naked." Get it girl. Very Patti Smith. She manages to walk the line between really turning up the pace and energy and devolving into maniacal chaos (a common problem I find with faster, edgier rock albums) - it's all very controlled and her voice still sounds awesome the whole way through (shrieking included). I mean she starts a song with, "Whiskey please, I need some whiskey please," but her voice belongs more to the Smiths than Joplin. Good stuff.

Stella, Morning Light, and Oh My God are good additions to the aforementioned tune.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Ruby Suns-Sea Lion

If Paul Simon, New Order, and Panda Bear got together and made an album with Brian Wilson as the producer it might sound something like this. From California by way of New Zealand, The Ruby Suns bring a lot to the table on their 2008 sophmore album, Sea Lion. This is kaleidoscopic pop music at its best with so many ideas buzzing around to form this warm dreamy juxaposition. With elements ranging from afro-pop (Tane Mahuta), 80s synth rock (Kenya Dig It?), all the way up to dream pop (It's Mwangi in Front of Me) Sea Lion is sure to take you on a global psychedelic journey in sound. Sit back, pretend it's summertime (it is in New Zealand) and just listen to There Are Birds straight through to Kenya Dig It? for an evocative sampling of what this band has to offer. Keep you eyes peeled for their follow up album, Fight Softly, to hit the market in March.

Who flipped it better featuring CFCF

Here's another gold star for the internet: Mike Silver was just another 21-year old Canadian dude a year ago when he decided to enter a Crystal Castles remix contest. He won the contest, and his retro-synth style got him further remix work from hipster elite like HEALTH and The Teenagers. Fast forward a year, and this virtual unknown drops an LP of straight 80's heat not seen since Doc retired the Delorean.

CFCF is on that same lo-fi balearic tip that everyone else on Pitchfork is, but he does it so, so much better. He has real patience, and it makes all the difference. To hear what I mean, check out "Invitation To Love", my favorite joint off of his album:

How badly do you want to be Hasselhoff in Nightrider right now? It's MURDAH

Now listen to Quiet Village's "Pillow Talk", who constructs a track using the exact same sample:

No contest right?


Where's Hip hop Goin? Its Chicagoan.

Contemporary hip hop takes the most flak for lacking one thing my man F. Stokes will never be accused of missing : authenticity. From the opening slam to the final note, this debut effort is saturated with gritty rhymes and heavy hearted reflection. It doesn't hurt that DJ Lazerbeak brings the HEAT on every track while Stokes unloads his arsenal of stories.

Chi town stand up - this man is representin like a champ.

F. Stokes - Death of a Handsome Bride

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Those Smart Guys

Much has been written about Vampire Weekend - they appropriate sounds, rip off Paul Simon, revel in pretension, right conscientiously incongruous lyrics, and on and on. I did not really want to like this album that much - I liked the debut, but can't say I found it earth shattering. Sure African polyrhythms are new to indie rock, but they're not NEW. That said, they've really done something a little different on this album. Yeah, they're still writing about upper class lifestyles that sound completely ridiculous over music better suited to South Africa. But they mellowed the whole thing out...a lot.

They produced this album in California and it shows. There is sunshine all over this record. The songs are a beat slower, the snare taps fewer and further apart, more synth, and the vocals get a bit dreamier. Beats are more pulsating and lo-fi than some of the heavy, jerky, syncopation on the debut. They let themselves loose a little - particularly on the final two tracks, where it's like they take the songs for a walk and let them wander off the leash, but it works, you're with them every step. There are a few songs which recall the first album's pace and intensity - namely the single, Cousins - but it's a whole new groove here. They're adding strings, harpsichords, backup just sounds like they had fun making this. And I like it. Dammit.

Diplomat's Son is the jam. Taxi Cab is pretty sparkling as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


An Australian website has leaked unofficial tour dates for the upcoming Daft Punk TRON Legacy tour. If these dates turn out to be true it would mean that Daft Punk would play Yankee Stadium on August 15th. After a little investigative research, the Yankees would be playing away against the Kansas City Royals that weekend making the stadium open for business. Might be a good idea now to book airfare if you need to, because The House that Daft Punk built is sure to be bumping.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Daily Grooves

Homegrown tunes from SF - Chido

OK, I've been lookin for some feedback on my own shit, and I figured what better venue than to throw it up here amongst the critics extraordinaire. Some of you I know quite well, others not at all, but either way, I'm interested to hear what you guys think. We're a three piece gig called Chido - which loosely means "sweet" or "cool" in spanish (real original huh?) - and I won't really get into any self-criticism b/c I'm pretty sure nobody cares what I think about my own music. I will say the sound quality is mostly poor though. Funds are low, time is short and well, you get what you get sometimes. Anyway, let me know what impressions you get, good or bad, if you dig it, hate it, want to rip your ears off when you listen, etc. whatever it is, no worries.

There's really not a good genre label for this stuff, other than prog rock, or experimental, but it definitely revolves around rock the most - give it a go if you've got some time. It may take a few minutes to download cause I didn't send it in Mp3 format - it just doesn't sound as good when its too compressed.

yours truly on the drums


Friday, January 15, 2010

One and Done Feel-Good 90's Pop-Rock

All you kids be posting some of that ill new shit: droppin' the dope flow like an elderly urethra after a diuretic. I'm a make this plain and true for ya'll. I know very little to nothing about this band, Sonichrome. I think this is the only album they ever released: it's called Breathe the Daylight.

I bought it around the time it came out after a recommendation via the guy at The Wall (anyone remember those stores? Lifetime guarantees on CDs?). It's 1990's alternative pop-rock not unlike that of now-forgotten Buzz Bin stalwarts like the Gin Blossoms or Soul Asylum. Lyrically, it's very sharp, hooky and at times even dark; think Elvis Costello listening to Nirvana's MTV Unplugged. I've loved this album from the second I first heard it.

Standout tracks include "Honey Please," "Saloman" and "Summertime Love Affair." Amazon.Com says it came out in 1998. That explains this review: "...Sonichrome proves themselves to be one of the best new bands I have heard since Marcy Playground...." Aside from that comical delight, I highly suggest everyone take a listen. Its pop sensibilities are extremely well-honed and improve with each successive listening. I think it's out of print too, so enjoy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

C'est Supercool

New video from Air. This makes me think that these guys would be perfect for the next Bond theme song. So French, So Air, so chouette.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Good in the Hood

The Hood Internet are two Chicago DJs who mix rap and R&B acapellas over pop songs, producing epic party mixes and ridic live shows.

What's that smartass? You liked them better when they were a dude from Baltimore and called Girl Talk? Let me splain something to you:

1. Unlike Girl Talk, the Hood dudes don't have a need to drop Big Pop Culture References to show how clever they are. In fact, they often drop lesser known stuff like Royksopp and Beirut - whatever sounds good, basically. The gully-rapper-over-naive-80s-track gimmick was played out the third time I heard it. It's 2010 - aren't we tired of irony yet?

2. Their mashups are also whole songs, not that 30 second teaser B.S. like Girl Talk pulled

To show you what I mean, here's the Hood's new mixtape, released just before Christmas:

The Hood Internet - The Mixtape Volume Four by hoodinternet

Peep the whole tracklist here. Some of my favorites:

David Banner vs. Fujiya and Miyagi - one of the best mixtape openers ever, if not the best

Lil Wayne vs. Royksopp @ 6:00 - you are not prepared for how good this sounds

Ghostface Killah vs. Beirut @ 58.30 - no words

Download the whole thing at their site, where you can find many other dope mixes. And for those of you in the Chitown area, hit up their Facebook page to stay up on shows - I can only imagine how hard they must bring it live

Monday, January 11, 2010

Billie Holiday + palm-thatched hut in 1940's Waikiki + Hipster Jazz Renaissance = Leftover Cuties

Imagine yourself being thrust back into the 1940's, deep into the bowells of New York, in some underground jazz club. The air is ripe with the smell of smoke, booze is flowing freely, and the sounds of a warm sultry voice cut through the hazy hallway in which you're standing. Is that Etta James singing? Maybe Ella Fitzgerald? Woah-where the hell am I?!?

This is exactly what went through my head last Saturday night while at a house party in Venice, California. The voice was Shirli McAllen, lead singer of Leftover Cuties, and like the sirens call to Odysseus, it was hard not to fall immediately in love with her. Dressed stylishly, as if just coming from Gatsby's house, McAllen and her band are the complete package. Backing her is a blend of ukulele, harmonica, whistle, bass, and light percussion. All of their tunes are rather dreamy, and come across as free spirited jam sessions. Think Amy Winehouse but more jazzy.

They just released a new EP called "Game Called Life." Go buy it, but be forewarned: their deep, yet playful sound is like a drug and in this case everybody will get stoned.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

In the year 2000, people were just getting over the whole Y2K thing, Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP changed the rap world, and Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator' was the best thing EVER.

But there was something else that happened in in that year that I'm guessing Banger's readers will remember as clearly as I do.... I was sitting in study hall during first period (it was perfect - I never had to be in school on time), and this kid introduced me to a hip hop duo called Reflection Eternal. The classic horns of 'Move Somethin', the collabo with Mos on 'This Means You', and the Lennox Lewis soundbite on 'Down For the Count' all separately changed the way I listened to music (especially in my car).

Well, fast forward to 2010. It's been a decade, and we're finally getting the sequel: 'Revolutions Per Minute'. It hasn't been released yet (due out in Februar/March), but they have dropped a mixtape called The RE:union. It's got 30 tracks, including tons of new stuff, unreleased joints, and re-released 'Train of Thought' jams make for a beautiful mixtape to keep you warm this winter.

I'm obviously biased, BUT, the best track is definitely Just Begun. Talib, Jay Electronica, J. Cole, & Mos Def (in that order) come in and terrorize this amazing beat.

Treat yourselves...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

That Fly Shit

You have probably heard about Blakroc by now - an impressive collaboration between the Black Keys, Damon Dash, and a slew of hip hop artists. Mos Def, Jim Jones, Rza, Raekwon, Noe and others provide the vocals over some truly bluesed out Black Keys tunes. Some songs are better than others, but Raekwon absolutely murders this track. It's two and a half minutes of straight free flow rhyming, no chorus, no refrain.