I am blown away this week. It’s been a little bit since I appeared here. Been inundated with new tunes, and this week has been no exception. If you’ve been spinning these albums, you’ve been offline, too:
First off, I got the second release from Gnarls Barkley, “The Odd Couple.” If you’ve seen “Austin Powers” you’ll remember those little goofy musical interludes (with the Posies’ frontman/part-time R.E.M. member Ken Stringfellow, don’tcha know?) with those goofy little early 60’s pop riffs. Producer/DJ Dangermouse appears to have been diving into those crates for inspiration. Fantastic album. And no “Crazy”-like song to be overplayed on every damned station. “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” is on KEXP and I don’t think I’ll get sick of it anytime soon. “Odd Couple” is in heavy rotation but it’s outshined by….
Lyrics Born’s “Everywhere at Once”. I tend to think the “where” in this case is the Eighties. And that’s no dig. He’s not chillin’ with Ronnie or Max Headroom or Spuds Mackenzie. I think he’s been tippin’ back cold ones with the Sugar Hill Gang and got Kool and the Gang or maybe Nu Shooz as his backing band. Give “Differences” a test spin at your fave music store. Longtime collaborator Joya Velarde (duh, she’s his wife) is there anchoring the song with the backing vox and keeping it sounding familiar, but there’s another vocalist (male) there. (Haven’t found his name yet – damned iTunes. -ed.) Tons o’ handclaps, funky deep background guitar riffs, snare hits, synth fills, all dope Casio keyboard stuff. ‘Cept in way higher fidelity than anything your older sister was rockin’ in ‘84. Spoiler Alert: Almost NO scratching. D-Sharp and DJ Shadow have LEFT THE BUILDING. Just like LB left Quannum.
This album is a natural, but totally unexpected, progression since LB started to implement the live-band show in the past few years. If I had been in town Sunday night, I would have been at the show. I really want to know how this new recording is performed live. If you’ve got his Quannum releases stuck on REPEAT, prepare for your mental CD to start skipping, because this is not “Send Them” or “I Changed My Mind”. His trademark rhyme delivery is here and just as fresh as when the first Latyrx came out, but it’s this new instrumentation. Totally unlike anything I’ve heard in the hip hop world. “Cakewalk” is spinning now, and I get the distinct visual of that last fade out shot in “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” as the street’s full of dancers… Dunno, can’t shake that.
HowEVER, another live-band-backed hip hop outfit is rockin’ in my earphones now:
The Roots‘ RISING DOWN just dropped. I am working my way through it. Stomping my left foot as I type. Goosebumps. This is the freshest, and not by virtue of being newest. It’s tight. I’ll save you the played out metaphors. I am gotta listen really close a few times through before I can say anymore than _go_get_this_album. Talib Kweli is here. Peedi Peedi is here. Mos Def is here. (I hear white people LOVE Mos.)