Sunday, August 24, 2008

Orange Alert's Music Minute

On September 9th, Boston's Mr. Lif will release the first single and title track for his latest album I Heard it Today (Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises, Jan. 20th, 2009). Lif, one of the most powerful and insightful political rappers of his generation, has a unique plan for this album. He will write and release 1-2 songs every three weeks until Election Day (November 4), following which he'll release one more single based on his post electoral thoughts. Bloodbot is Lif's new label, and production on the various tracks will come from Edan, J Zone, Illmind, and others. You knew Lif would not remain silent during a major election.

Providence-based Mikey Lamantia Jr. and Alexander Laorenza are collectively known as the electro dance-pop duo MakeUpBreakUp. Their debut EP, We Prefer Not To..., was released on August 19th. While Lamantia handles all vocals, guitars, synths, drums, and production, Laorenza holds down bass, guitars, and additional synths. Together, they craft upbeat and melodious dance-pop that would have made New Order of 1983 proud. I overheard a recent comment regarding this type of sound, and although I admit their seems to more and more electro bands breaking through, the market has not been tapped. MakeUpBreakUp is a great addition and a lot of fun.

Listen to: Blame Game (mp3)

Speaking of electropop, Salme Dahlstrom, is mysterious and dark, but her electro beats are sure to please. On August 19th she released The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade. This an album filled with potential singles, and underground dance floor jams. A hands-on producer, Dahlstrom does all her own programming, editing and mixing. While she invited a couple of friends to perform on a few of the tracks she played most of the instruments herself as well. Here is what she had to say about the album and the process, "My idea was to write catchy pop songs with big hooks and dress them up in a cutting edge electronic production,” Dahlstrom says. “I love the sound of Fatboy Slim and The Crystal Method and artists like that and I wanted my songs to have the same excitement and edge production wise. But, as I am a musician and not a DJ, it was important to me to create my own samples rather than search through the old record bin to find them. I would record a slew of guitar riffs, bass lines, live drums, vocals, etc. and then cut them up, re-sample, filter and tweak the crap out them. I then used those samples to build the production."

Listen to: Superstar Car Crash (mp3)

Arizona's Dear and The Headlights are preparing to release their second album, Drunk Like Bible Times, on Sept 30th via Equal Vision Records. this quintet-Ian Metzger (vocals/guitar/keys), Robert Cissell (guitar/keys), PJ Waxman (guitar/keys), Chuckie Duff (bass/keys) and Mark Kulvinskas (drums)-are just five guys who love creating music. Their sound is no frills, no tricks, no rules, just straight forward rock. Their debut album, Small Steps, Heavy Hooves (2007) was really well received, and earned them a spot at Lollapalooza last summer. Now, as they return, they plan to reach an even broader audience.

Listen to: Talk About (mp3)

Rob Lee is a master of many things, from playing drums with Warp' Chris Clark to playing bass and percussion with Friendly Fires to cutting out random and colorful shapes to piece together for album covers. However, Rob Lee may be at his best when he is recording instrumental tunes filled with synths and sounds under the name Wax Stag. Last year he debut with the Short Road EP that quickly caught the attention of bloggers and fellow musicians alike. One group in particular, Hot Chip began to sing Rob's praises and even included him on other "DJ Kicks" release. On Sept. 28th the wonderful label People in the Sky will release the full length self-titled debut by Wax Stag.

1.Short Road (mp3)
2.And How
3.Folk Rock
5.Gold Gold
6.Fantasy Gay
7.Mirror Lantern
9.The Wash
11.George White

The Peel Back: 3rd Bass Derelicts of Dialect (Def Jam, June, 1991)

This album was my soundtrack for a good year of my life. As a 13 year old boy with a Walkman and a cassette tape, I would walk the two streets of the small rural town I grew up in rapping "Kick'em in The Grill" or "Ace in the Hole" or "No Static". My Snapple Orange Iced Tea in hand and head full of new terms and ideas. Regardless if my friend appreciated the music or not I memorized every word of every song and studied every beat. I felt I had found an album that was both hilarious and insightful, and one that spoke to what I was going through.

On this their second album, MC Serch, Prime Minister Peter Nice, and DJ Daddy Rich, lay down 19 songs and 4 skits. They all are filled imagery and repeated saying and them from their debut The Cactus Album. With a wonderful guest appearance by Chubb Rock this album fit nicely with their debut album and its appearance by KMD's Zev Love X (aka MF Doom).

Listen to: Kick'em in The Grill (mp3) and Ace in the Hole (mp3)

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