Sunday, October 05, 2008

Orange Alert's Music Minute

It is impossible to say who is the greatest DJ of all-time, but you can say that each DJ has his or her own unique style. As a member of The Beat Junkies and of Dialated Peoples, Babu has become one of the top turntablist around, but in 2001 he ventured out in the world of production with Duck Season Vol. 1. On Oct. 28th he returns with Duck Season Vol 3 to once again flex his producer muscle. With an all-star cast including Dilated Peoples, Wildchild, Cali Agents, Termanology, MF Doom, and of course Defari, this may be his finest outing to date. When Babu and Defari come together the results are monumental as documented in the 2005 release as the Likwit Junkies. When asked where he drew inspiration from for this album Babu had this to say, “allot of the DJs that I looked up to became great producers, from Dr. Dre to DJ Premier to Pete Rock. In a lot of ways, I’m trying to carry that same torch, where hip-hop is still rooted within DJing and records.”

Listen to: My Opinion f/ Bishop Lamont (mp3)

Sarah Negahdari has won my musical heart. What’s that, it doesn’t take much, you say? Well, you may be right, but Sarah and company have adapted a style of bouncy sugary pop mixed with just even garage rock so not make you sick. She has the perfect combination of grace and attitude, spit and kisses, to make you fall in love. Hailing from LA, The Happy Hollows latest EP Imaginary is a huge leap forward for this trio sonically, and was produced by David Newton (founding member of C-86 legends The Mighty Lemon Drops and producer of The Little Ones). My best comparison for their sound would be to Chicago’s Fake Fictions with a little less grit. Check out their promo video.

Listen to: Tambourine (mp3)

It is almost tragic when a good band has a poorly selected name. These days one of more important aspects to selecting a band name is what will display in google when type in the name. Okay, let’s try this, open up a new window; go to google and type in Women. Do you instantly receive information on the Calgary band who are set to release their self-titled debut album on Jagjaguwar record on October 7th? No, well maybe this incredible psych-folk band should not have called themselves Women.

Listen to: Black Rice (mp3)

The newest member of Chicago’s Touch and Go Records is an Atlanta based trio who enjoy climbing walls of feedback and swimming oceans of dark and hammering drums. Their debut album Fire On Corridor X was released digitally on Sept. 9th and will available on wax November 4th. Comprised of singer/guitarist Matt Lambert, bassist/co-vocalist Titus Brown, and drummer Jim Crook, All the Saints turn up the volume and scream their way through an ominous debut.

Listen to: Sheffield (mp3)

Well every movement needs a Godfather, I mean grunge had that guy from Seattle, hip hop had Kool Herc, and soul has James Brown, so hipster hop or nerdcore has to have someone. So who will step forward and say I am the person responsible the resurgence of wacky clothes and rhymes about parties and nails. Well, his name Damian Hess, but you can call him MC Frontalot. Hess recorded his first Frontalot rhyme in 1999 (before an adoring audience of Robotech figurines), subsequently posting music to his own website and SongFight. The independently produced tracks earned him a devoted audience, including the founders of Penny Arcade who named Front their “official MC” in 2002 and invited him to play at their annual Expo. In 2005 he released his first album, Nerdcore Rising. One year later, Front embarked on his first US tour with bandmates G minor 7, Blak Lotus and The Categorical Imperative and filmmaker Negin Farsad. The material that Farsad came away with was eventually turned into the prize-winning documentary “Nerdcore Rising: The Movie” which premiered to rave reviews at SXSW 2008. After the release of Final Boss (Level Up, 11/4/08), Frontalot looks forward to touring this fall. I mean hip hop with a guest spot from Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) is definitely nerdtastic!

Listen to: Wallflowers (mp3)

Speaking of nerdy white boys who grew-up in the suburbs on a steady diet of Jolt Cola and Ice Cube… Jeremy Parker (a.k.a. Tha Pumpsta) has a few things to say. First here is the premise, “Inspired by the Martin Luther King Jr. quote “I believe that a day will come when all God’s children from bass black to treble white will be significant on the constitution’s keyboard.” Tha Pumpsta's second album Bass Black Treble White (steam the album here) tackles the paradox of the seven sins (“treble white”) and seven virtues (“bass black”) represented by the fourteen tracks.” Now that sounds great, intelligent hip hop is what I crave, but when you actually listen to tracks like “Move It” and find lyrics like “Oh Pumpy you so nasty” you begin to wonder. Don’t get me wrong this is a fun album, solid beats, bright colors, average flow, and so-so rhymes, but the MLK jr. quote may be a little over the top.

Listen to: Octopus Armed (mp3)

This past week I received an interesting e-mail regarding the latest release by the LA-based band Eulogies (Dangerbird Records). On October 7th they will be releasing a digital version of the new ep Tempted To Do Nothing, but it will be followed up a VinylDisc release. The VinylDisc combines CD and vinyl capabilities on one disc - one side plays like a CD and the flipside contains vinyl grooves that with the aid of an adapter, makes it playable on any record player. In the immortal worlds of Hannah Montana, “You get the best of both worlds”.

Listen to: Two Can Play (mp3)

Un Día, the fifth release from Argentinean artist Juana Molina is a brave departure from her previous work. It is every bit a Juana record, personal and intimate as always, but with pronounced rhythms and bold low end added to the mix. The album was recorded entirely by Juana (with the sole addition of guitar by Gareth Dickson from Vashti Bunyan’s band) at her home outside Buenos Aires. It is a hypnotic record, restless, alive with melodies that surface imperceptibly before burrowing into your brain, never to leave. The tracks are informed by an ever shifting and polymorphous sense of groove. The rhythm writhing over and inside each other, played out on wood and cymbal and bombo legüero, and woven from electronic glitches.

For the uninitiated, Juana Molina grew up in Argentina and was exiled to Paris with her family at the age of 12. Her father is THE coolest of cool old school Tango singers and her mother, an actress. Juana herself spent many years as a comedic TV star in South America, but made a complete break with acting at the height of her fame to return to music (a move that, which must be noted, was met with nothing short of hostility back home). Since releasing her first album, Juana has won praise from all corners and a loyal fanbase, counting among her fans and supports the likes of José Gonzalez, David Byrne and Leslie Feist (all of whom she has toured with).

Listen to: Un Dia (mp3)

Ming + Fs The Human Condition (Om Records, September 4th, 2001)

Released one week before 9/11, the junkyard, tabla, drum n’ bass duo Ming + Fs were already calling for change. They originally met in New York in 1996, and dubbed their sound junkyard because it combined elements of hip hop, drum n bass, electro, techno, and turntablism. The Human Condition was their second released, and was following the critically acclaimed debut Hell’s Kitchen. The album found them shifting into a more house-orientated sound, but still digging through the junkyard.

Although a solid album, the highlight is clearly the title track. As if almost a precursor to the events that followed, the powerful words placed over the top of rolling drum n’ bass “From every angle and by every means the earthling is being conditioned”. Cuts and scratches follow with samples abounding. It speaks to our inability to think for ourselves, and make our own decisions. The key line is “what is his ultimate purpose”.

Shalom/Intro To Life/Interlude-Etcha Scratch/Freak - FS/Some Die (Some Come Up; feat. Ada Dyer)/Capt. Omray's Mumble Box (feat. Omray & Todd Simon)/Uncle Bubble (feat. Ada Dyer)/Interlude-Like A White Girl/Simple Mathematics/Human Condition (mp3)/Head Case - FS/High Pursuit (feat. Hero Ric)/Interlude-I Told You/Proof Positive/Momer/Is There Honey?

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