Now peeps! Trust me to see the sun blazing through my window this morning and put on my new T shirt. It’s fucking freezing out there, don’t do it. It’s not time yet. Luckily, I only had to hop into my nice and warm car and hop out into my office, and I did that at light speed.
Onwards with some stuff about music I think. I have a few little treats for you to go and find in your local decent music shop. If you have a Selecta disc, get your arse in there. Most of the time they’ve got it and if they haven’t they’ll get you it. I don’t know if it’s just the one I go to but you do have to put up with the mardiest staff on the planet, but the end result is what we’re looking for….New Tunes!
Actually now I’ve said that don’t bother, go to www.suspect-packages.com they sort you out there.
Skitz – Homegrown Vol 2
Here, we’ve got a decent follow up to volume 1. If you people out there liked the last Homegrown compilation you will just love this one. This rough and rugged CD brings us some of the UK’s best underground hip hop, some names we have become partial to and others that, at least, I don’t know. I’m always up for promoting new talent if they shine in some way.
If I’m honest, the better tracks on this CD are from the more known artists such as Taskforce, LIFE (from Phi life Cypher) and Nextmen with MC Dynamite. Trust me when I say these tracks are big and fat. For all you muppets with a queasy stomach, you better stay away, these tunes will crush you up and snort you like a line of coke.
Tracks to look out for on this CD are from the artists I mentioned a minute ago: Big Smoke from Taskforce, Bad Minds from LIFE, Spin it Round from Nextmen and MC Dynamite. I use the instrumental of this track to do little scratch interludes in my sets when I play out at Fatwax I just had to plug that!
I always play the CD im reviewing while I write about it. I have to say track 17 on Homegrown 2 The Problem” from Deep Rooted is a top track. Deep, dark, dirty and very well thought out. This is definitely one to go out and buy. The more I listen to it the more I want to put it on again. This CD is unquestionably a grower in many ways. The website is at www.silentsoundz.co.uk
Next up is something I’ve been waiting for, for some time.
Task Force – Music From The Corner Vol 4
Now I know this lot aren’t bothered about pr or radio play so ill keep this one short and sweet.
It came out on the 16th Jan 06 and has been swept off the shelves at a rapid rate ever since. For those of you that don’t know Taskforce, they are an acquired taste and I have liked that taste for a good while now. Very socially aware, quick to the point, some good political issues highlighted. Creativity beyond belief.
If you don’t own any of the Taskforce albums I suggest you start at the beginning with Volume one.
At the Moment, my MFTC 4 is stuck on a track 4 repeat the name of the track is Muftuk. You can hear a snippet of it at www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=20122. Chester P, Farma G & Louis Slipperz killin it from start to end. Grimy shit. This CD is out on Lowlife take a look. I also noticed on this site that there will be a free Louis Slipperz (Taskforces’ DJ) CD given away every time an Asaviour album is bought. Sweet as.
Gym Class Heroes – The Papercut Chronicles
[Fueled By Ramen]
Now I didn’t know much about these until I was sent this CD a few weeks ago. What a CD it is! From the Label Fueled By Ramen the Gym Class Heroes made an instant impact on me. I think the fact that I knew that the music was made from live instrumentals, no loops or samples, made it a real winner for me. I have noticed that you can sometimes find this CD in the rock or punk sections of loads of shops. So, when you do go out and buy it make sure you look in the right places. Or, fuck it, just ask the shop assistant to find it for you. That’s much easier.
This 4 piece sort of indie / hip hop crew from New York provide us with some clear cut live instrumentals with some top rhymes that correspond skilfully throughout the whole CD. The track that was pointed out to me was Papercuts. This is a great track that you can listen to and download at www.myspace.com/gymclassheroes. There are a few others there that you can either listen to or download at your discretion. I’m finding that a lot of good artists are making profiles on Myspace so if you are looking for some decent new stuff have a look there. The Boomerang Theory is another track that you can download. This is a good tune to which you can sit in your comfy chair at home and indulge in a bit of whichever substance you like most. There’s not much better than having a top chilled out tune playing with the things you like most. Yes, Buy it. Its well worth the cash. You can also check their web site at www.gymclassheroes.com
That’s that for now. I am having to pick the best CDs from a bunch of good CDs and that is a tough thing to do. Hopefully I can get some of the others out to you soon.
The lucky winner of last months competition see go to the Midlands heat of the UK Beatbox Championships @ Rescue rooms in Nottingham was Adam Boston. Well done geeza! Might see you there.
This weeks sites and sounds:
Here’s another bit of work I saw on my travels:
See you soon party people. Smell ya later!
Slouching around your room with lemsip isn’t the best way to spend the entire week, especially when there is bugger all on the hundreds of Sky channels, so what I needed was a healthy dose of hip hop. Luckily for me, I was able to pull out some great stuff this week which helped my recovery from a sniffling pyjama wearing loser to the lovable rogue that writes this column.
The first stage of recovery was from a piece of news that I picked up – The new album from Soul Position [RJD2/Blueprint], entitled Things Go Better With RJ And Al has apparently been given a March 31st release date. Their follow up to the awesome 8 Million Stories will certainly be one to watch out for in the coming months, and I really can’t wait.
Power Struggle – Arson At The Petting Factory
[New Disorder Records]
So, onto this update’s recommendations. First of all we have an album by Power Struggle called Arson At The Petting Factory. The two members, Nomi and Deetalx, were both members of Abjekt favourites Oddjobs, and their new project, following the split of Oddjobs, is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a very long time.
From the title track, you can tell what you’re going to be getting, meandering drums, lo-fi hooks and deep penetrating vocals. Following on from the first track, they move through tracks Kill Winter and Letters (From Prince Street) which bring up images of snow covered streets, where you’re sat inside watching the cold outside as the lights go down on the day, the guitar licks throughout the latter push forward past Nomi’s delivery with brilliant results.
After the sombre The Bad Side Of Town, you get to the stand out tracks on the album for me,Hurt Healer and Keep It Going Now. Hurt Healer is one of those tracks you want on late and night, with the lights off, so you can full appreciate its atmospherics with Deetalx’s understated backdrop giving his MC the chance to deliver his heartfelt lyrics. The latter of the two tracks brings back another guitar loop vibrating in perfect timing with the drums, making me wish you had so much more hip hop like this.
This One is a cacophony of sound which only goes to prove that Power Struggle can knock out tracks of varying types, which is all credit to them. Oddjobs will be missed by me, that’s for sure, but if this is what comes from the split, then I am happy in the knowledge the world still has Nomi and Deetalx’s increasingly adept ability around.
Witness – Ever Since
Next up comes an EP from Witness, an MC and producer from Philadelphia. Ever Since is an 8 track slice of brilliance on a number of levels and delivers a multitude of sounds and emotions, transcending a lot of what I’ve heard lately. As an MC, Witness can rip it fast or take it slow and smooth, all with a great flow that never sounds off point.
The introduction sets the tone with some great brass samples over a bubbling bass line and some dancing drums which get the head moving and the feet tapping. His diversity is then shown as the jazzy number Sylvia Plathsaunters in over a lonesome sax sample and whispering female vocals which he dissects with low tones.
But for me, it is the next 3 songs which really cement this EP in the “great” bracket. Soap Box Stance is a politically charged track which looks at the hypocrisy of the world we live in, with lines such as “they’re spitting on children that I’ve seen pictures of gandhi kissing / while giving tsunami victims dollars between armani fittings“, over sublime Spanish guitars. The backing for Two Ste is another sure fire winner, with snapping snares bouncing over pianos and strings, whilst All Peace is more of a purist’s hip hop song, with turntablism taking centre stage during some points. The fader is definitely fresh, as the sample says, and it showcases the spectrum of Witness’ ability on the mic.
My favourite track on the CD though is Prophets Of The Present. The liquid guitars take you onto a build up of haunting choral samples and staccato cymbal hits with the fluent vocals gliding through the beat with consummate ease. It’s a beautiful beat and the vocals give it that extra lift. Awesome.
Witness added 2 new songs on the end of the CD for me, and it’s clear that on his next release, Ever More, he’s going to get bigger and better, because both tracks were superb, especially Fishnet. Besides, anyone that samples Napoleon Dynamite’s wish for bow-hunting and computer hacking skills must be a winner. Order this CD now!
Crazy Low Budget – Crazy Low Budget
Two other CDs which found their way to me were The Orbital Effect by Ernie Rhodes and Crazy Low Budget’s album. CLB’s album is a good release from the outfit coming out of New York, especially the third track on the CD, Dust Clouds, where the simple yet effective bassline lifting itself up and down the scale embosses itself on the memory. Another track which gets the foot tapping and the head nodding is Continental Draft, which has the MCs rapping over a nice jazz club guitar with lyrics maligning the state of how people are treated and the situation he finds himself in, living in a basement.
The Bus Driver has a great feel good vibe to it, with an keyboard breaking out summer shit which moves you from the dismal cold February evenings to the sunny June days where you can hang in your shorts til way into the night. They may be working on the low budget they named themselves after, but they have some choice tracks on this album, and should be checked out on their myspace for a sample of what they have to offer.
Ernie Rhodes – The Orbital Effect
[Dialogue Elevaters/Modern Day]
In the last mix I said that based on the tracks I’d heard on Ernie Rhode’s myspace page, his album would be worth checking out. And whilst I don’t like to blow my own trumpet [oh who am I kidding?] I was spot on. The album has some great production from Last Word, especially on Undercurrent where 2 attention catching samples weave their way over the start, the first a high pitched sung sample and the second a worrying voice clip of someone in desperate need of help and company. This track has the added bonus of the beautiful voice of Doomtree’s Dessa working the chorus and is, for me, the stand out track on the album.
Ernie’s rhyming never needs to be in your face, or overbearing, because his smooth flow seems to be able to mould itself around the many differing beats, from the Jackson 5 style fun of The Works [Get Movin’] to the darker Solid. It’s one of those albums where you feel like having a listen and by the end of the album you realise just why you want to keep listening to it and give it your full attention rather than just have it on in the background. If you felt the tracks on his myspace, believe me, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This album is quality and should be picked up by all who like hip hop with good solid beats and a smooth MC.
Dilated Peoples – 20/20
The Dilated trio are back with a new album after a little while out and they come pounding back with a solid album full of chunky beats and more crossover potential, like their previous album. First single Back Again, the standout track of the album, throws up a heavy headnod beat with Beat Junkie Babu spinning a nice sample behind the dual fronted vocals celebrating their return. You Can’t Hide, You Can’t Run flows on a nice late-night summer tip, with some smooth vocal samples cutting in around the verses to throw up a nice catchy chorus.
This equation is used once more in Kindness For Weakness where gospel laced samples open up around a downplayed drum beat and once against showcases some nice cuts from DJ Babu, who is always a pleasure to listen to when he’s on point. They switch up the styles with the guest appearance of Capleton whose raga infused voice barks loudly over a stuttering beat which could easily make it as a dancefloor filler. The closing tracks, One And Only, a Babu joint which steals the show with his mixing and scratching and 20/20 which features some brass samples which hark back to the old skool type Dilated material, finish the album nicely. This might not be one for the true old fans but they have definitely opened themselves up to a broader market with this release.
Now have a photo of a stencil of the great Poirot, taken in Montpelier in Bristol by Jen Saul, who is an awesome photographer. You can get in touch with her here and should definitely check out some of her other stuff on her myspace.
Finally, how’s about a little bit of road turntablism to spark you into life? What the hell am I talking about? Click right here and see!
So there you have it people, a few things for you to check out, and if you do check it out, and like it, let the artists know! They’re all great people who love hearing good reactions to their work, so make their day and give them a shout bigging them up. As always, if you like what you’ve read and wanna hit me up, or if you wanna get in touch about sending me your stuff, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Til next time, keep it easy.