Though I was in LA for half of June, working all of July, bed-ridden with SARS for six weeks after July 30th and MIA for most of September, I still managed to bear witness to some rock and some roll and a lot of hip hop this summer.
I downloaded the new Common album, “Finding Forever” and despite the rough and dissonant track “Southside”, wholly endorse it top to bottom. You have probably heard “Misunderstood” with the Nina Simone sample on KEXP. This was in heavy rotation in my work van until…
Talib Kweli’s “Eardrum.” Dang, Kanye was busy, what with producing some of this album plus “Forever”. Judging by the credits, it’d be hard to beat this album: Pete Rock, Madlib, will.i.am (now off the hook as Fergalicious is off doing something else) and longtime producer Hi-Tek are responsible for its release. The beats and themes bounce all over on “Eardrum” as much as his flow on “Country Cousins.” (Is that an “Earth, Wind and Fire” sample in there?) Try to put this one down.
By the time I saw Lyrics Born and Rodrigo y Gabriela rock crowds at Bumbershoot, I had probably played Queens of the Stone Age’s “Era Vulgaris” about 30 times. These artists bolstered my faith in the State of Music 2007 as much as the subtext of “Era Vulgaris” tried to question it.
A special thanks to a couple of NWMBers for inviting me along to the Spoon show last month. Like an old locomotive trying to gain momentum, the band had to fight the mass of their last album – too slow and cumbersome for this listener – to get the show going. Once into the second half of the performance, though, they found their groove and sated up the sold-out Showbox crowd.
Surprise surprise at my friend Michael’s wedding reception at the Sunset Tavern: a private show by our beloved Cops. A great preview of the new album followed a short set during the cocktail hour that featured “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” and “Ballroom Blitz”. Hell yeah! Since my last visit to The Cops in late 2005, they have added a guitarist (Brandon of Free Electricity) and replaced founding bassist Brian Wall with Drew Church. They as solid as ever. I am eager to see them again this week with The Blakes at the Croc.
A fellow NWMB editor invited me out to see Two Gallants at the Croc earlier this month. The harmonics and minor-chord whiny-ness of Modest Mouse plus the two-piece frenetics of Hella. They totally underwhelmed me but it afforded me the opportunity to check out Blitzen Trapper, newly signed to hit maker Sub Pop. My idea that night: Radiohead mates with The Eagles and has a rockin’ Wilco baby. Whatever that whiskey-stained thought means. Check ‘em out and decide for yourself. Or grab the free show on the “KEXP Live Performances” podcast on the omnipresent iTunes.
I have been missing out on the goldenthroat rock, so tomorrow I am going to see Chris Cornell do something at the Paramount. Maybe he’ll take his shirt off. Or maybe he’ll play Billie Jean and I will try to sing along. Lately he has been covering Zeppelin’s “Thank You” and that out to be goldenthroat-tastic.
If Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings are on the road, I will have to catch the support of their third release. Anyone into it?