Wednesday, February 25, 2009

3. Wale - The Mixtape About Nothing

In case you are a dunce, the title and album cover for Wale's 'The Mixtape About Nothing' are inspired by that show 'Seinfeld'. If you are a dunce, don't worry, so I am. It took the third song with a soundclip from 'Seinfeld' for me to figure it out. Sure, I've never been an active watcher of the show, but COME ON.

In addition to numerous quotes from the show, 'The Mixtape About Nothing' also contains an answering machine message from Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Wale, a recording of the time Michael Richards went bigot at that comedy club (which is really eerie to listen to -- at first, most people were laughing, but soon after you could hear the shock from the crowd as they realize that he is completely melting down), the apology Michael Richards gave, and references by Wale to Mapquest and David Letterman's Top 10 list. In 'The Bmore Club Slam', he also talks about how 92Q in Baltimore won't play his songs. Then, he says, "My cousin, who plays Chris Partlow...." Having just finished season 4 of The Wire last night, this excited me more than it likely excites you.

Anyway, unless 'The Mixtape About Nothing' is an aberration, Wale is going to be one of the best rappers around. But don't take my word for it....

Friday, February 20, 2009

4. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Pershing

I found Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's last album, "Broom", on Thanksgiving Day a couple of years ago and loved it from the start and more and more the more I listened to it. Does that sentence even work/make sense? I think it does and is grammatically accurate. I digress. So, "Broom" was great. The Top 25 Most Played playlist from my Pod is full of songs from it including a song 'Oregon Girl,' that was a little bit more poppy than the rest of the album. Which one of these things is not like the other? Why, it is 'Oregon Girl', I believe. It might not have been my favorite song on the album, but it might have been tied for my favorite song. Anyway, I thought to myself often about 'Oregon Girl', "You know, self, it would be great if Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's next album was full of songs that are more like this song than like the rest of the "Broom" album." Making a follow-up album that is similar to the most poppy song on your first(/previous) album is something that bands never seem to do. In fact, they seem to do the exact opposite, which is, take their most slow or even depressing song and make their albums like that. Then, they take the most depressing/slowest song and that more depressing/slower album and make an even more depressing/slow album. What do shampoo bottles say? Lather, rinse, repeat? Yeah, rock bands do what shampoo bottles tell them to all the time.

Last April, I pre-ordered Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin's second album, 'Pershing', and got a package of things along with the compact disc: a poster, little pins, a card that allowed me to download some other songs (that included a Nirvana cover (which I haven't used [yet] because I am not very good a learning how to download stuff and put it on iTunes), and an Airhead (yes, the candy [yes, that candy still exists]).

Guess what? They pretty much did what I wanted. They made an album of Oregon Girls, pretty much. From the first 15 seconds of the first song ('Glue Girls'), it was evident, and it never really stops. It became my spring or 2008 soundtrack. Here's the rub: 'Pershing' probably isn't as good as 'Broom' (unless it is spring and 'Pershing' is your soundtrack). BUT, 'Pershing' is still great. At first, there were a few songs that I wasn't as high on, like 'Oceanographer', which sounds like a boring Beatles song. But, after taking some time away from the album and coming back, even that song is a pleasure to me.

'Pershing' was full of some of my favorite lines of 2008, (including my favorite: "Maybe I won't, but your cold eyes, baby, tell me I should be looking for love with some other girl.") and has a lot of songs where the more I listened and figured out exactly the words Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin was singing, the more I liked the song (instead of the other way around, which is all too common).

Maybe you need to spend some time with 'Broom' to really love this 'Pershing'. But, what if you hate 'Broom' and then never give 'Pershing' a chance? That would be a waste of 2008's music. But don't take my word for it...........

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

5. The Cool Kids - Bake Sale

One, two, lace up my shoe. Three to the four, when I stepped out the door. Five, six, kick a little something with the Cool Kids, then we do it again.

The Cool Kids like to bring it like it was brought 20-25 years ago. Think Run DMC, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, De La Soul and even the Beastie Boys (in fact, on the song 'One Two' the Cool Kids say, "What it is, what it is? Come check the noise, it's the new black version of the Beastie Boys"). Not that they really sound like those folks, they just have the same style: cool beats ('Mikey Rocks' tops it) accompanied by lyrics that perfectly walk the line of not taking themselves too seriously and not being too silly.

On 'Bake Sale', The Cool Kids rap about coolness (and how losers won't do something cool until other people first do it [I seriously just summed that entire song up]), proclaiming that they rock, 1988 (the year), BMX bikes, and basement parties. They also decry the hip-hop standards of bragging about rap sheets and toughness.

The album does have a few choruses that get stuck in your head, but they are the kind of choruses that annoy you the more you sing them and think about them (example: 'Gold and a Pager'). And while sometimes I'm not in the mood to listen to 'Bake Sale', it is, overall, a real nice album. But don't take my word for it.....

Monday, February 16, 2009

6. Bears - Simple Machinery

Bears might not be innovative, really, and aren't at all weird or crazy, but they are dominatingly better than a lot of bands who do fulfill -- or try to fulfill -- those adjectives. (I write adjectives, but I found out on Thursday that I don't really know. We took a grammar test in my class, the editing process, and I completely bombed it. I like to think that I can put sentences together, and I probably can, but I cannot explain the components of those sentences).

See, sometimes in 'art' (one of my least favorite words), citizens of the world feel like they need to be different, or come up with gimmicks, if you will. And then members of the human race who are audience to this art think, "I've never seen this. That makes it awesome." But it doesn't necessarily. In fact, maybe it rarely does. Most of the time, it is just messy. I mean, sometimes, to me, things outside of the box are cool or interesting. Change needs to be refreshing, though. Change for the sake of change does not an improvement make. So, dear 'artists', do like Bears do and be good at doing what you do.

'Simple Machinery' is straightfoward and mellow. Their lyrics are sometimes hopeful, sometimes sugary, and sometimes a little bit down on things. The music doesn't show a lot of variance, but not to the point where it gets boring. Every single song adds to the album -- no filler here.

Besides 'Simple Machinery', Bears also had a two song release in 2008, the 'Who Knows 7"'. Surprisingly, despite only being released a few months apart, the two offerings are pretty different from each other, but both equally enjoyable (except that 'Simple Machinery' has 13 tracks and 'Who Knows 7"' only has two).

Unfortunately, Bears don't have any videos on Youtube, so the best I can do is post some links with some songs to download or listen. You can also access Bears on iTunes. I hope you take some time to check Bears out.

Culture Bully Review

I Rock Cleveland review


Official site

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My Mexican Honeymoon, pt. 2

If you are looking for a new addiction, start eating Life Saver Gummies.

My Mexican Honeymoon, pt. 1

It´s funny how a lot of the music you hear in a massage parlor would also be perfect for that moment in an action movie where there is a montage of the protagonist ´figuring stuff out´.