Monday, March 30, 2009

Donuts by J Dilla (2006)

There's a lot I don't know about James Dewitt Yancey. But I do know this album full of hip hop instrumentals is more than just some dapper beats ready to be rapped over. James, or J Dilla, died just three days after Donut's release. He suffered from the incurable blood disease TTP and lupus. Many people believe the different tracks to have subtle meanings relating to his sickness. The blog No Trivia wrote a great series of reviews for all 31 songs off the album. Read those here.

Dilla has influenced such hip hop greats as Kanye West, Flying Lotus, The Roots, Common, Pharrell Williams, and many others. Donuts is a legendary must-have.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vimeo: Við Spilum Endalaust by Sigur Rós

The Take Away show is about music being performed at places other than the usual venues. They invite artists to perform their songs in parks, diners, streets, and even elevators. In their own words:

"Every week, we invite an artist or a band to play in the streets, in a bar, a park, or even in a flat or in an elevator, and we film the whole session. Of course, what makes the beauty of it is all the little incidents, hesitations, and crazy stuff happening unexpectingly. Besides, we do not edit the videos so they look perfectly flawless, instead we keep the raw sound of the surroundings. Our goal is to try and capture instants, film the music just like it happens, without preparation, without tricks. Spontaneity is the keyword."

One of their more recent episodes consists of Sigur Rós playing their almost-title track Við Spilum Endalaust from their latest album, Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust. Read the story behind the episode here. It is a beautiful performace, one that can give you goosebumps if you let it take you away, pun intended.

I know no one reading this can speak Icelandic, but regardless of what the lyrics are, this is a must see for anyone who loves music.

More from Sigur Rós later.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Track Review: My Mirror Speaks by Death Cab for Cutie (2009)

I've been pretty busy because I'm on break right now, but I'll be posting more soon. In the meantime enjoy this beautiful song by Death Cab for Cutie from their Open Door EP, via Stereogum.

My Mirror Speaks by Death Cab for Cutie

I'll review this EP after its digital release.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Kid Named Cudi by Kid Cudi (2008)

Musically, this man is unbelievable. The number one release for me in '08 was Kid Cudi's mixtape. From start to finish, it puts a talented hip hop force on display. You may have heard of him because he is featured in the spectacular song "Welcome to Heartbreak" by Kanye West off 808's and Heartbreak. Cudi makes me even more proud to be from Cleveland. He currently resides in Brooklyn, but he gives more than a few shoutouts to his hometown. So musically, he's got it going on.

But recently, he's been creating way too much drama. It seems like this instant success has gotten to his head already. Hopefully it doesn't affect his music.

A few days ago (March 16th), he posted this blog, in which he declared he was not going to make any more music after the release of his debut LP this summer. Then, after being dramatically late to his show at South by Southwest in Austin, he stated that he was not going to retire and that he was here to stay, as you can see in this video:

I lost some respect for him after all that nonsense... But there's no denying the man is a fucking talent. The mixtape blows my mind during every listen. "Man On the Moon (The Anthem)" and "The Prayer" are two hip hop treasures. This is a must have.

Click on the lyrics to download the mixtape.

Make my words important so if I slip away, if I die today the last thing you remember won't be about some apple bottom jeans with the boots with the fur.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blacking Out the Friction/Say Yes by Death Cab for Cutie

Let me start by saying Death Cab for Cutie is my all-time favorite band. I can not get enough of Ben Gibbard's sweet voice and deep, elegant, gorgeous lyrics and songwriting.

I've been searching for a lot of Elliott Smith lately, and I'm coming across some musical gems while I'm at it. I stumbled upon this cover of "Say Yes" performed by Death Cab for Cutie the day after Elliott died. It is obvious from this performance that Elliott's songs had a deep impact on Ben Gibbard's life. He is clearly choked up at the end when trying to think of the words to commemorate Elliott. This mp3 captures a beautiful yet heartbreaking moment.

Death Cab for Cutie-- Blacking Out the Friction/Say Yes 10-22-03

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Youtube: Isn't It a Pity by George Harrison

Realeased in 1970 by George Harrison off the triple album All Things Must Pass, this song is a truly beautiful piece and something I had to share on here.

This is a cover done by one of my favorite artists, the late Elliott Smith. Enjoy.

The Ocarina of Rhyme by Team Teamwork (2009)

OH YES. OH HELL YES. Ten track from my favorite video game of all time (Zelda: Ocarina of Time), mashed up with various hip hop songs. This is so hot. Artists featured on this mixtape:

Aesop Rock
Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
Jay Z
MF Doom (recently changed to just DOOM)
Pimp C, Li'l Keke & P.O.P.
Slim Thug & Mike Jones
Spank Rock

This is a must-have. Period.


More good music coming!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Apotropaíosong Armor by Kría Brekkan (2008)

This is an EP by Kría Brekkan (Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir) from Iceland. She was a part of múm, and she has appeared on Mice Parade tracks and Animal Collective's Feels. This is definitely not for everyone, but I like it. The soft texture of the music combined with her high, childlike voice creates a very different atmosphere that I'm not used to. It reminds me of early Animal Collective. So I guess her and Avey Tare are a perfect match (they're married). Most of this album is creepy and distant, but there are a few tracks that stand out.

The second song, Girafeel, features heavily distorted vocal effects along with the picking of a zither. It is relaxing and brings the listener out of this world and into another, happier place.

Giddy Walks Through Sand Without Skin On, as the name suggests, is the creepiest song on the album.

Biboni, the album's longest song at 2:54, is probably the most accessible track. The song sounds as if its being played using an old record player. Soft piano lines dance in and out creating a pretty melody.

Solush becomes more likable with every listen, as Kría sings over a lovely piano chord for a minute 28.

Armor, the closing track, is another favorite. Electronic textures and a plucked banjo lightly bring you back into the world and set you on your feet.

Again, this type of music is not for most people, but if you enjoy early AC (Campfire Songs, Here Comes the Indian), then you will enjoy this swift, melodic journey.


Possibly maybe her official Myspace page

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Mixtape About Nothing by Wale (2008)

Hmm... What's the deal with this guy? He's telling the truth about rap? He's being real? Unheard of. This guy is a true rapper from DC. And he's about to essplode. Not only is he a fresh, exciting young rapper, he's also a fan of the best show of all time, Seinfeld. The show clearly inspired this mixtape (look at the picture), which features clips from the show throughout most of the songs and also a cameo appearance by one of the stars of the show... WHO COULD IT BE? Find out by downloading this mixtape. Current favorite song off it: The Vacation from Ourselves, which begins with a dialogue between George and Jerry:

Jerry: "You said this would be better! Remember? A vacation from ourselves! That's what you said! I'm sorry, you gotta get a job!"

George: "Damnit."

From this scene:

Get ready for this guy. This single, Nike Boots, is a good start.

The Mixtape About Nothing!

EDIT: According to his website he's releasing his debut album's title on Monday and the first single off it on Friday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Track Review: Touch The Television (Kanye West vs Cage & Aviary) by The Hood Internet

This is a complete genius take on Kanye West's Touch the Sky, remixed by DJ STV SLV over at The Hood Internet, mashed up with Cage & Aviary's Television Train. If you haven't visited, go now. STV SLV and ABX are the best mashup artists, period. Far better than Gregg Gillis (Girl Talk) in my opinion. I highly recommend The Mixtape Volume Three and The Hood Internet vs Chicago. Its all free!

Junior by Royksopp (2009)

THIS is a must-have for anyone who enjoys electronic, ambient music such as Air. Its an exciting listen; fun and pretty. Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge really know what they're doing. They make up the band which has released two albums before this one, Melody A.M. and The Understanding. If you enjoy Moby, Air, Goldfrapp, or Zero 7 then you will love these guys.

Happy Up Here is one of the funnest songs I've heard in a long time. Its going on my party playlist right NOW.

The next song, The Girl and the Robot, is just as good. Its techno roots are strong here. Near the end of the song it explodes using violins, synths, and who the hell knows what else.

Another definite high point is Silver Cruiser. Its slower than the previous two I mentioned, but its a truly beautiful piece, reminding me more of Air than any other song from Junior. It slowly builds and then fades with about a minute left into a heart-wrenching orchestra.

I love this album.

Happy Up Here. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix by Flying Lotus (2008)

Wow. Words can not describe how much inspiration and beauty flow out of my speakers when Flying Lotus is on. I absolutely loved his 2008 album Los Angeles. Anything he touches seems to turn to gold, and this 2 hour mix he made for BBC Radio is no exception. Actually, it is my favorite release from this artist (though I haven't heard 1983yet, his debut LP. I will be buying that tonight, though. Any fan of experimental electronics, and especially fans of anything by Richard James (Aphex Twin), needs to listen to this. I am currently working on uploading it, and I will put the link on here once it finishes.

EDIT: Here it is!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spectrum, 14th Century EP by Final Fantasy (2008)

I've listened to this once through so far and it hasn't been anything memorable. Owen Pallett is no doubt an extremely talented person, yet this E.P. I found very boring. I haven't listened to much Final Fantasy in the past but I liked most of what I've heard. The one standout track to me on this album is the last one, "The Ballad of No-Face". It's a fun song and a good listen, but I wouldn't recommend this E.P. unless you are a devoted fan of Pallett.

Mirando (Single) by Ratatat (2009)

I really like this song by Ratatat off their 2008 release LP3. However, I am posting it on here not because of "Mirando" but because of the remix by Animal Collective. AC is one of my favorite bands of all time, and their remix here reminds me why. Everyone should hear this at least once, music lover or not.


Face Control by Handsome Furs (2009)

I didn't get my hopes up too much upon hearing of this album. I loved Handsome Furs' Plague Park, yet after I heard the first single off the new album Face Control, "I'm Confused", I wasn't as excited for the follow up. I'm Confused is a mediocre dance song but it didn't arouse any emotions in me or inspire me, as much of Plague Park did.

I have now listened to the album once through, and I can't wait to listen again. Handsome Furs are back with their beautiful electronic beats and smooth melodies, and better than ever.

Legal Tender is a tense, dramatic song in the verses, and a beautifully melodic song in the chorus, as if you're in a ship at sea getting tossed to and fro and the chorus is the sun coming out and the waters clearing and providing new hope.

(Passport Control) is an in your face pounding of electronic beats, something any drummer will appreciate. The song then leads into

All We Want Baby, Is Everything. Great title, because it is very true. Humans by nature want, everything. This song is a showcase of great lyrics and beautiful guitar pickings. Enjoy this song, let it fill you up and become part of you.

(White City), though only 1 minute 29 in length, is my favorite so far. It shows you something that only Handsome Furs can pull off, their ability to construct such perfect melodies using electronics and electric guitars.

Handsome Furs are emerging as one of the most successfully creative (a lot of bands are creative, but few pull off such inspiring tunes) bands of our time. Enjoy this.