Archive for March, 2008

31
Mar
08

Santogold – I Believe in Santogold EP

Since I’ve been reviewing a lot of old stuff lately, allow me to point you towards something new and completely awesome…Santogold(AKA: Santi White).  Girl from Philadelphia makes good after spending her college days studying Caribbean and West African Drumming (that’s a major?) then starting a Ska band (remember Ska?) which got her noticed by Bad Brains man Daryl Jenifer.

She’s been dropping singles for some time now, so you may or may not have caught a whiff already.  She doesn’t even have an album yet (look for it in April), just this EP.

But for an EP it’s really fucking good!

Santo’s kind of like MIA, only more so.  Not that MIA doesn’t kick ass in her own right, but Santo’s sound mixes in the influences of Blondie, Gwen Stefani and Maya…and does so in an extremely appealing way.  You gotta love her vocal style.  This girl could sing me the menu from IHOP and I’d be sold.  Not only that, but she has attracted a literal who’s who of east coast club producers like XXXchange, Spank Rock, Diplo, Disco D and Freq Nasty…all of whom throw down on the upcoming album.  Check out my favorite track ‘Find a  Way’ above!

Again…not easy to find at the record store, but type in her name on any P2P and you’ll find this and maybe some nice remixes as well.  Get up on it now, and be the first on your block!

Can I get a hell yeah for the newness?

31
Mar
08

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul

 

There’s a whole generation out there that only know Isaac Hayes as ‘Chef,’  which I find totally unacceptable. Isaac Hayes is the man.  Not only did he make the the “Shaft” soundtrack, but he performed it wearing a shirt made of actual gold chains! ( I have no recollection which award show that was…but DAMN.  GOLD CHAIN SHIRT!)

Isaac had been a staple of the Stax family back in the sixties, mostly helping with production and backing duties when he helped them start their sub-lable Enterprise with his first album “Introducing.”  It was okay, but he really didn’t open up the throttle till his 1969 masterpiece, “Hot Buttered Soul.”  See, all those years in production had given Hayes time to hone his skills…and his sound, and here they are unleashed in all their glory.

With the help of his backing band, a little outfit known as The Bar-Kays(Soulfinger!), he put together four tracks of unparalleled funky brilliance that must have made James Brown do a double take.  A precursor to the disco  sound that would permeate the seventies, the album took common instruments like strings and piano and stretched them out into something completely new.

This was not music for the radio though, with covers of pop hits like ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ going a full 18 minutes long.  But the real stand out here is his cover of the Burt Bacharach hit ‘Walk on By,’  which turns into a slow funky burner that many will recognize as being the key sample in Hooverphonic’s 1996 hit ‘2Wicky.’

I got the jump on some poor dude at the record store who saw me pull this out and muttered “shit!” under his breath when he realised that he missed the album on his last pass through the crates.  Gotta be quick, my man.  Gotta be quick! Cheap on Amazon!

Also good to note:  This is a great album to “do it” to.  Just letting you know.

28
Mar
08

DJ Z-Trip & DJ P – Uneasy Listening Vol 1

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Ah…the opening shot that began the mash-up craze on the late 90’s/early 00’s.  ( I guess that’s what we call ’em…the 00’s?!?)  I picked up my copy when Z Trip opened for DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist for the Product Placement Tour.  I then got really drunk and passed out on Dana’s couch.  When I awoke in the morning, hung-over and groggy I popped this in my CD player for the long drive home…after which I didn’t stop driving till it ended.

I know a lot of people already know about this, but a lot of people don’t.  I readily accept that these people don’t have a ginormous mixtape collection like I do, but it’s never to early to start.

When you open the jewel case (this is if you have a legit copy and not one someone burned for you) the CD says “THIS IS THE BEST CD I OWN.”

I like that.

What this mixtape truly excels at, though is innovation.  Z and P had been dropping stuff like this into their shows for years already when they decided to do a mix that was nothing but blends.  And not just a song thrown over a beat, but multiple layers, scratched and cuts. When this tape dropped in 1999, it truely was a whole new game.

It’s got Bruce Hornseby’s “That’s Just the Way It Is” mixed with RUN DMC’s “It’s Like that.”  Midnight Oil’s “Bed’s are Burning” over the top of Metallica’s “One” The Beatles, Jobim, AC/DC, Madonna and the Eagles all show up this party.

Recorded over the course of a week (On real records…no pro tools, fools!) they figured it was kind of a fun experiment, and didn’t expect the slew of imitators it would spawn.  True, the UK kind of had their own thing called bastard pop, led by the likes of Freelance Hellraiser,  Frenchbloke and Osymyso…but still nothing here came close.

I was at the fist and last live performance (I think there was one more in SF)  where Z and P did the whole thing live and it was a sight to see.  After that Z blew up a bit, riding the wave of publicity and had kind of a falling out with P…negating the chance of Vol 2 ever being made.

At least for now.

BTW:  Feel free to download the whole thing off Z-Trip’s site HERE!  Below you’ll find an excerpt that was played over some electronic show stills by Andy Batt.  Well done Andy!

28
Mar
08

Elvis – Memories: The ’68 Comeback Special

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Fuck yeah!

This is the way I want to remember the King! If you only own one Elvis CD in your collection, then you need to buy this one too.  Screw the greatest hits.  This is prime Elvis.  And you know what?  If I ever have to make a comeback, I hope to do it in a black leather jumpsuit too.

The sixties were not so kind to Mr Presley. The times had changed, the music had changed, America had changed…just not Elvis.  On the verge of dropping off into obscurity, he set up this special for NBC.  A two hour extravaganza featuring a Broadway opening, and a then an intimate sit down session that put everyone on notice that there was only one King.

The first half runs very smoothly, based around the songs ‘Trouble’ and ‘Guitar Man’ before sliding into hits like ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and ‘Hound Dog.’  I think the Gospel Medley may be the high point here, it truly makes me want to raise my hands and get all Jesus’ed up (note: I’m pretty sure Jesus’ed up isn’t grammatically correct, but I don’t care).  If you get the chance to see the original video I highly recommend it.  Elvis goes from city to city…always seeming to end up in a whore house.

Then then comes the kung-fu.  (I shit you not!)

The second disc has Elvis performing before a select audience.  It’s a loose set, sloppy, staggered…and absolutely electric.  This was the world’s last chance to see Elvis as he was meant to be seen: washing away the memories of his awful movies, but before fat Vegas Elvis moved in.

AMAZON!

28
Mar
08

Gary Higgins – Red Hash

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You know what one of the best parts about music is…aside from everything?  It’s that so much of it is regional.  Some things get released in, say Chicago on some small label… and aside from the few people that picked it up at the time, it just never went any further than that.

No big label attention, no Billboard charts, no radio play.

These records sit on shelves and are cherished by collectors who love to brag about them.  Gary Higgins 1973 masterpiece”Red Hash” is one of those albums.

Oft talked about, but rarely heard.

I was gonna save this review for later, but I figured I’d better throw this one out sooner, since this was recently reissued and won’t be around for long.

If you like folk (Banhart fans?) or just good acoustic music, you’re gonna shit your pants over this one.

Not literally, but figuratively that is.

Filled with what can only be described as smokey folk soul (check out the opening track Thicker than a Smokey) this album will impress even the most hardened connoisseurs.  Filled with effortless chord changes and sweet melodies, it’s just a gorgeous album.  One reviewer likened the song “Cuckoo” to being almost grunge if they added distortion and a little electric guitar…and they’re right.   Also, check the sweet guitar work by Jake Bell from Silver Apples.

Poor Gary released this album right before he got tossed in the pokey for two years on marijuana possession.  Yep, the man didn’t like the hippies back then, and as you can see from his picture on the cover, Gary didn’t look like no straight edger.  Excellent beard though!  Good news it that now with his rediscovery, word is he’s getting a band together for a little tour.  Be on the lookout!

BONUS!!! Here he is at SXSW this year!  Still got it!!!

Amazon.

28
Mar
08

Bohannon – Stop and Go

When I was growing up, my exposure to music was pretty limited.  I think my first two records were Steve Martin’s  “King Tut” and the theme song to “The Greatest American Hero,” both on 45, and a Weird Al LP.

That was it.

For years that was all I had, with my sister occasionally letting me listen to Queen’s “News of the World” or her KISS album.   In high school I did manage to branch out to include Led Zeppelin and Garth Brooks.

God it was a sad little world back then.

Then I hit college and discovered The Funk.  This is mostly thanks to my good friend Farmer Dave, a great musician in his own right, who set me on a path of funky discovery.   It was from this genre that my explorations of all other genres began…and on one such digging mission that I discovered Bohannon.  Actually I only discovered one song from this album…Save Their Souls, but what a song it is.  It was my friend Andrew who hunted down the source album, and thank God he did.

Waaaayy back in 1972, Hamilton Bohannon released this almost completely instrumental piece of brilliance called “Stop and Go.”  Far different from the disco Bohannon that would emerge later in the decade, this recording has some amazing drum work, thick bass and some filthy wah wah guitar.  There is no filler here.  None.

I wish I could tell you that you could go pick this up at a store, but I don’t think they ever bothered to reissue it on CD.  So you either got to dig hard at your local vinyl shop or hook up some P2P action to get a feeling for what I’m putting down here…and if you’re listening to the majestic “singing a Song for my Mother’ above,  I think you do.

Yeah, just get it off the net…it’s so much easier.

27
Mar
08

Mr Bungle – California

There seems to be larger base of Mr Bungle fans out there than you would imagine.  Two years back I was hinging out with the dude from Alien Ant Farm and his bass player had a sick Disco Volante shirt on that I gave him props for. He was kind of taken off guard by it…mostly because I don’t think he expected anyone to really know what his shirt was.  And just the other day my friend Drew was driving a 40’s- ish coworker home and threw some Bungle in the CD player.

“Dude!  Is this Bungle?!?”

“Yup.”

“Man, I have’t listened to Bungle in a while!”

The point of that story was that the album Drew threw on was Mr Bungle’s third and final album, California.  If you don’t know, Mr Bungle is Mike Patton’s first (and only as far as I’m concerned) band…before he joined Faith No More.  Their discography goes like this:

Mr Bungle – Mr Bungle: Demented Carnival, porno, death metal, funk music (really!)

Mr Bungle – Disco Volante:  Lots of Zappa influence…nuff said

Mr Bungle – California: Surf, doo wop, soul, noir rock

As good as this album is, from “Retro Vertigo” you see above, ‘Pink Cigarette’ or ‘Vanity Faire,’ one can’t help but feel a little sad that the band has broken up.  But, hey if the Eagles can get back together, there’s always hope. Of all their work, this is the most accessible.

Amazon!




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