Wednesday, September 30, 2009

...As If The Heart Were Not Enough...

Wassup, soul kids? How we feeling out there?

I know that I've probably been left for dead, or maybe plastered on the side of the milk carton you use to float your Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but there's no need to call Nancy Grace just yet. Despite all reports to the contrary, yours truly is alive and back to raise some long-awaited hell.

It's cold and rainy today, which reminds me that before long, I'll be spending the majority of my time in hibernation. That likely means trouble for all of you, since I'll have plenty of time to dream up stream-of-consciousness absurdities and any other nonsensical shit that happens to send an impulse across my synapses.

In the meantime, kindly enjoy these triple phat jams for your boomboxes.

Rock with me, snitches...

"Black and White"---Brittany Bosco (LimeLinx)
"Black and White"---Brittany Bosco (YSI)

If you haven't heard Brittany Bosco yet, you're going to be pissed for being late to the party, sun...

It's been well-documented in these pages that I'm relatively unforgiving about most contemporary R&B, and even neo-soul has morphed into a bastardized term to describe an ill-defined industry concept. However, this isn't a rant against the music biz, so much as a prelude to bestowing praise on Bosco for being such a bold exception to the laws of being average. Not only are her solo efforts beyond phenomenal, but Bosco can also claim partial credit for making Tanya Morgan's Brooklynati one of the nicest albums to drop so far this year.

It was challenging to decide which song of hers to post~ the fare on her Spectrum 2.0 EP ranges from the plaintive honesty of this particular track, to cleverly innovative homages to her musical predecessors, to fuzzy space funk and beyond. Bosco counts her influences as everyone from Sarah Vaughn to Radiohead, but credits life itself as her primary source of inspiration. The fusion of these multifarious elements yields an explosively refreshing sound, courtesy of an artist who's adventurous enough to cultivate her style from a garden variety of musical roots. Those who seek comfort with artists easily confined to a particular genre will likely find that there isn't a suitable box to accommodate the magnitude of Bosco's brilliance. Thank you, God.

You can download Spectrum 2.0 for free here. Also, check Bosco's MySpace page for upcoming shows, videos, interviews, etc.

"Oh Yeah"---Floyd Da Locsmif (LimeLinx)
"Oh Yeah"---Floyd Da Locsmif (YSI)

As a lifelong fan of both soul and hip hop, I'm never more satisfied than when a producer deftly marries the two genres to create some ill noise. On the other hand, I have a tendency to get pissy when they're blended haphazardly...just because I can. Seriously, though...if you can't flip interesting source material OR lace it properly, I'm falling asleep two or three tracks into your CD. Maybe sooner.

Enter Floyd Da Locsmif, who caught my ear a long while back with the dope beats he dropped for a few of my favorite MCs, as well as his killer mixtape, Outskirts: The Unofficial Lost Outkast Remixes. It's unfortunate, but since I'm constantly being bombarded with new music, I accidentally lost sight of Da Locsmif until he came back on my radar again just recently with Divine Dezignz #2. Suffice it to say that I fell so deep into this album that I'm now calling Floyd one of my favorite producers, while checkin' for every last jawn I may have missed.

People have asked me to pimp everything from Avon to astroturf, and I always refuse because I want Souled On to remain ad-free~ but really, should buy this. Get out your credit card and melt some plastic, ask your daddy to take you to the mall, whatever...just do it (no promo).

"This Is The Lost Generation"---Lost Generation (LimeLinx)
"This Is The Lost Generation"---Lost Generation (YSI)

The Love Generation is best known for their song "The Sly, Slick and the Wicked", a successful single that reportedly earned Brunswick Records enough loot to afford a divorce from their parent company, Decca. Unfortunately, that was the only time that the Chicago-based group made a dent on the pop charts, although they did crank out several tracks that landed them a spot on the US Black Singles chart. Despite being blessed with songwriting assistance from Eugene Record of The Chi-Lites, the group hit a dead end and disbanded in 1974 after releasing only two albums. .

While their first album, The Sly, Slick and the Wicked (Brunswick, 1970), obviously sold more units, I've always liked Young, Tough and Terrible (Brunswick 1972) at least as well. First and foremost, it's hard not to love the fact that the album has this incredibly menacing title, but the cover depicts four unassuming dudes in vests and dress shirts hanging out on a hill. Definitely a what-the-fuck moment, but I'm sure these guys thought they were badasses, so whatever...

If you look past the irony and actually delve into their material, you'll find that there are a fair amount of good tracks on this record. I can dig their vibe even though I'm more of a southern soul fan, but "This Is The Lost Generation" gets played with much greater frequency than the rest of the album. Something about the harmonious politicking bears elements of the gods and the greats, like Bill Withers or even "What's Goin' On"-era Marvin Gaye. Beautiful stuff, kids~ listen up...

"Twice The First Time"---Saul Williams (LimeLinx)
"Twice The First Time"---Saul Williams (YSI)

I don't have too many heroes who are dead, and I'll be damned if I'm going to idolize someone who's still alive and has time to fuck up my good opinion. My friends and I joke about what a Jay-Z stan I am, but really...Saul Williams is the only man walking who is on some personal Jesus bizness in my world.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who lets their favorite music cool off for a while before picking it back up to enjoy that initial rush all over again. Lately I've been re-listening to Saul's Amethyst Rock Star LP, as well as a bunch of miscellaneous B-sides and compilation joints I've collected over the years...and the whole experience has been getting me hyped. I've always loved "Twice the First Time", but if it spoke to me before, now it's screaming. If this is your first time hearing this, hold your hand over your heart, sun.

"Living Thing"---Freebass 808 & Christian Rich (LimeLinx)
"Living Thing"---Freebass 808 & Christian Rich (YSI)

Mick Boogie has been in his zone for quite some time now, so I find myself checkin' his website frequently to see what the man's coming with next. Boogie currently holds the title of mixtape curator~ which means that he expertly warehouses...or Andy Warhols, if you will... some of the nicest producers and rhymesayers he can manage to assemble. His latest venture is Re-Living Thing, a collection of Peter Bjorn & John remixes, and it's certainly no exception. Resident beatsmiths 6th Sense, Remot, Cookin' Soul and a host of other talented producers keep the project tight musically, while lyricists such as Talib Kweli and GZA spit fire on the lyrical front. This is Boogie's most star-studded affair to date (Bun B, Black Milk, 88 Keys, Buckshot, Marco Polo, Wale...what???), so it'll be interesting to see how he approaches outdoing himself on future projects.

I've only managed to listen to this 2 or 3 times all the way through, so it's way too early to call an absolute favorite. I've been fuckin' with "Living Thing" since the first time around though, so posting it was sort of a given. In case you don't know, Freebass 808 is Geechi Suede from Camp Lo + producer The Apple Juice Kid, while Christian Rich is a twin Chicago duo who are just now getting some shine after years of producing hits for other A-list artists. Both of these acts are a little bit out of left field...which is all the more reason to turn the volume up, kid.

Dig deeper... (Download Re-Living Thing in its entirety)

"White Elephant Coat"---School Of Seven Bells (LimeLinx)
"White Elephant Coat"---School Of Seven Bells (YSI)

Bitchfork describes School Of Seven Bells' Alpinisms LP thusly:

Despite the band's modernist approach to emotions and sensations, their abstruse lyrics and spiritual overtones most directly recall John Lennon's late-1960s, post-India assimilation of the mundane with the mystical.

Children, I've been called pretentious and generally full of myself since the day after my mama's immaculate conception transpired, but if I ever start pretending to write record reviews or use phrases like "modernist approach to emotions", please seek out my government name and come shoot me in my fat head. Ugh.

True to form, I digress...

Alpinisms came out last year, but I am forever sleeping on good music because I spend 99% of my life listening to stupid shit that marketing fucks want me to hear (oops...some of you are very nice, and the bands you represent are actually quite good, etc.). As it turns out, this was a near fatal miss because I like most of this album quite a bit. However, I'm not going to attempt the fool's errand of trying to approximate their sound with words, and not only because I can't do so as haughtily as Bitchfork.

Opinions about music are always subjective, but especially so as it pertains to a group like this. Much like The Cocteau Twins and a bevy of others who loosely fall into the same category, I can't understand what the fuck Alejandra and/or Claudia Deheza are singing about most of the time. No matter~ I swore that Liz Fraser was saying "peanut butter, peanut butter" on one of my favorite Cocteau songs, and only retracted my position after no less than ten of my friends told me I was batshit crazy. Albums like this are best interpreted as a tapestry of textures and sounds, as opposed to being dissected by some half-witted jackass with a dizzyingly circular approach to language and reasoning. On that confounded note, your self-proclaimed scholar is shutting up now...

"Warning (Dave Wrangler Remix)"---Notorious B.I.G. (LimeLinx)
"Warning (Dave Wrangler Remix)"---Notorious B.I.G. (YSI)

Dave Wrangler regularly drops remixes in my inbox, but due to the aforementioned bulk of material I'm asked to listen to, I usually don't have an opportunity to play them more than once or twice. I happened to put this Biggie redux on my iPod though, and lo and behold...I fooled around and fell in love. It's more clubby than most of the music I gravitate towards...and I still ain't gonna rock no bright colors or skinny jeans...but honestly kids, this mix is downright ill.

*The lyric that just won't leave your head: Damn/ N words wanna stick me for my paper...haha...political correctness can be so silly sometimes...

Since Biggie should require no introduction (or are you in the wrong place again?), I'd implore you to dig deeper, and gain some knowledge on the homie Dave Wrangler.


"Protest 2"---The ARE (LimeLinx)
"Protest 2"---The ARE (YSI)

Dig deeper...

"Ololufe Mi (Messengers Remix)"---Fela Kuti/J.Period & K'NAAN (LimeLinx)
"Ololufe Mi (Messengers Remix)"---Fela Kuti/J.Period & K'NAAN (YSI)

"My Country / Small Axe (Messengers Remix)"---Bob Marley/J.Period & K'NAAN (LimeLinx)
"My Country / Small Axe (Messengers Remix)"---Bob Marley/J.Period & K'NAAN (YSI)

"Don't Think Twice"---Bob Dylan/J.Period & K'NAAN (LimeLinx)
"Don't Think Twice"---Bob Dylan/J.Period & K'NAAN (YSI)

"It's Alright, Ma"---Bob Dylan/J.Period & K'NAAN (LimeLinx)
"It's Alright, Ma"---Bob Dylan/J.Period & K'NAAN (YSI)

*All of the above from J.Period's unparalleled Messengers trilogy. Collect all three..

"Dear Daisy"---Alex Goose (LimeLinx)
"Dear Daisy"---Alex Goose (YSI)

*From the Blueprint 3 Outtakes: a collection of tracks submitted to Hova for BP3

Dig deeper...

"Road To Somewhere"---Ghost (LimeLinx)
"Road To Somewhere"---Ghost (YSI)

Dig deeper...

"Five String Serenade"---Mazzy Star (LimeLinx)
"Five String Serenade"---Mazzy Star (YSI)

*A dedication to my love, who has given me more than my fair share of papercuts. Ti amo.

Word From Your Moms:

"I'll tell you, my friends: it's all in the nerves. The nerves that tense and relax as you approach the edges of companionship and love. The razor-sharp edges of companionship and love."~Roberto BolaƱo