Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine) and Boots Riley (of The Coup) have begun a new collaborative project called "Street Sweeper Social". Presumably, the duo will perform a blend of hip-hop/funky-metal-rock a la Rage Against the Machine.

According to Morello "It’s revolutionary party jams.... It’s got huge steamroller riffs combined with depth, charge, funk, while Boots unloads clip after clip of incendiary rhymes rich with satire and venom.” Sounds about right. Check out their myspace here to hear it.

If you've never heard Morello or Rage (doubtful), check out the album "Battle for Los Angeles" -- it's a personal favorite. For the Coup, I'm a huge fan of "Party Music."

Oh hey, and guess when the record is due. That's right, this June. June 16 to be exact. That marks yet another album to purchase in that one month. So far it's Rancid, Spinnerette, maybe Kid Cudi, Mos Def, Aggrolites, and now Street Sweeper Social Club. I'm gonna be broke, bitch! It's cool though. Have you seen my music collection? Let's just say I spend a disproportionate amount of dollars on music as compared to basically everything but food.

Whatev.
-Mike-

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kid Cudi releases his highly anticipated '09 mixtape Dat Kid from Cleveland. The mix arrives via www.DatNewCudi.com in collaboration with DJ E-V.

Cudi's latest track, "Daps and Pounds", is exclusively featured on the tape and was available for the first time yesterday (4/20). Good choice for a release date from the chill stoner hip-hopper from Ohio.

As expected, the track is relaxed yet lyrically energized in true Kid Cudi fashion. Check it out along with the rest of the new mixtape here:

http://www.mediafire.com/?ftcmqy2mdnz
or
http://www.zshare.net/audio/589389840d7d555d/

While you're waiting for the download to complete, here's an incredibly epic trailer to get you pumped up.


Dat Kid From Cleveland - Trailer from Dj E-V on Vimeo.

Seems like production on Kid Cudi's upcoming album, Man on the Moon: The Gaurdians (to be released on Dream On/G.O.O.D Music) is coming along smoothly. Looking forward to a summer release. Hopefully it will come out some time other than June, though. I've already got like five or six new releases lined up for purchase that month. Although, I guess if I'm gonna go broke I'd rather have it be from buying too much music than something worthless.

-Mike-

For your added enjoyment, here's the back cover artwork for Dat Kid from Cleveland, complete with tracklisting.
Enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This dude puts something out once a week that further proves his versatility as an artist. I feel like I should no longer have to elaborate on that.
Simply enjoy.

Mos Def (A Capella)
"Flowers"


Beautiful.
-Mike-
Some things are more important than music. These are the things that music often serves to vocalize. The most important such issue is personal freedom.

If you listen to my radio show (Rebel Music on TheU) then you may have heard me report on a local issue concerning a Missouri-wide attempt to stifle citizens' Constitutional rights. This attempt came in the form of a state-wide memo called "The Modern Militia Movement." The document details how supporters of third party candidates (Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin, etc.) and conspiracy theorists may be deemed as “domestic terrorists" [GNN Report].

St. Louis TSA and police attempted to follow through with this action recently when a member of Ron Paul's team was flying through Lambert on a connection flight. They detained him when they saw who he worked for, claiming that it was on the basis of the relatively large sum of money that he was transporting after having just collected it at a "Campaign for Liberty" rally.

Here's one report of the incident.


Ignore the Fox News logo, as it unfortunately foreshadows the emergence of what occurs at 8:20 -- profiling. "Is this the face of a terrorist?" he says. Call that racism, ageism, class-ism, whatever. Seems like they want to pick and choose which dirty tactics they will and will not support. Regardless.

Here's what "Flex Your Rights" has to say on the incident:
Bierfeldt made it perfectly clear that he would answer the question if the law required him to do so. He wanted to know his rights and there's no excuse for public officials refusing to help a citizen understand the law, especially when the individual has been detained for allegedly suspicious activity.

Fortunately, TSA has now acknowledged that their staff handled the situation badly:
The tone and language used by the TSA employee was inappropriate. TSA holds its employees to the highest professional standards. TSA will continue to investigate this matter and take appropriate action.
This provides yet another example of the potency of recorded evidence towards exposing questionable behavior by public officials. Without the recording, I highly doubt Bierfeldt could have convincingly demonstrated the rudeness to which he was subjected.
Now, I don't claim to support any of the candidates in question, but it's a sad day when a bumper sticker or t-shirt of any kind, much less one supporting a MAJOR PARTY candidate like Republican Ron Paul, is enough to have you singled out as a potential terrorist. Where the hell are we headed? Well unfortunately, it seems as if we've already arrived.

Good night, and good luck.
-Mike-

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Man I've been to a lot of shows lately. Last night I strolled on down to CBGB on South Grand (in Tower Grove) to check out some local acts on Big Muddy Records.

^Rum Drum Ramblers

Headlining was Rum Drum Ramblers [myspace], who I'd seen twice and was thoroughly excited to see a third time. They play the sort of old school Delta blues that's hard to find around town now'a'days. But these are no old dog blues heads, no sir. They started out as hard core punk rockers and that DIY ethic still stands today. It's what makes their shows so amazing.

Here's a video of them before playing a show a while back at the City Museum to give you a feel for their sound:


I told you it was old school blues. Beautiful.

^ Theodore

Before the Ramblers took the stage, however, I got a chance to hear two new bands. The first, Theodore [myspace], played a sort of psycadelic alternative country a la Benjy Ferree. They were amazing! Each musician played anywhere from two to five instruments, including acoustic and electric guitar, bass, upright bass, cello, harmonica, banjo, slide guitar, trombone, tuba, tamborine, and more shit I'm probably forgetting. It was nuts!

^Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost

Finally, Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost [myspace] was incredible. The man himself (Bob Reuter) is a 50 somethin old school rocker with the energetic bellow of a passionate 70s punker, mixed with the style and emotion of a blues rock veteran. It was like watching Joe Strummer from across the room. The energy was heightened by the band, comprised of young members of Rum Drum Ramblers and The Vultures -- both punk-goes-blues bands from the StL.

All of it was excellent music. If you're into blues, folk, rock, or punk in the least bit, you should definitely check out all of the groups listed above, and all the others on Big Muddy Records.

-Mike-

We are all part of an ancient tradition
Resurrected every other generation
older than the dirt
and they can't wipe us out.
We're like the weeds or the roaches -
Just by being who we are
we'll warp levers on their machines
from the inside out.

-Alley Ghosts

Monday, April 13, 2009

I recently had a conversation with my girlfriend, Karyn, regarding various hip-hop/rap styles as categorized by geographic origin. Specifically, we talked about West Coast, East Coast, Southern (aka Dirty South), and Midwest hip-hop. I was hard pressed to present a thorough definition of each, other than some random examples of rappers from each location and maybe a few vague qualities possessed by each.

Luckily, Pandora offers a pretty succinct and accurate description of most of the terms above through their FAQ section. They fall short on the Midwest, however, because we're just so damn hard to define.

Q: What are "east coast rap roots"?

"East Coast rap roots" refers to music that references East Coast style rap. East Coast rap may be characterized by the heavy use of samples (often R&B), occasional use of swung 16th notes, light or sparse bass lines, and a vocal aesthetic originating from New England and the Middle Atlantic USA. The lyrical delivery of East Coast rap is exemplified by a varied vocal delivery, highly developed rhyme structure, an East Coast urban accent, etc.

Q: What are "west coast rap roots"?

"West Coast rap roots" refers to music that references West Coast rap. West Coast rap may be exemplified by use of funk samples, heavy funk influence, prominent bass lines, beats made for dancing, and heavy backbeats. The lyrical delivery of West Coast rap is exemplified by traditional rhyme structures, simpler rhythms, prominent use of hype men [a performer responsible for backup rapping to emphasize certain parts of the rhyme] and backing vocalists, and a West Coast (L.A./Bay Area/Latino) accent.

Q: What are "southern rap roots"?

Southern rap roots refers to music that references southern style rap music. Southern rap may be exemplified by 16th and 32nd notes on hi-hat and snare drum, implied double-time, dominant bass lines which are often synthetic, beats made for dancing, and repetitive rhythm tracks. The lyrical delivery of southern rap may be exemplified by repetitive vocal chants, extremely fast or slow speed, the regular use of 3 or more MCs, aggressive rhythmic delivery, and a southern (often mislabeled as country) accent.

Not bad right? For the Midwest, I had to fall back on our good friend Wikipedia. To summarize, I'll paraphrase something Lupe Fiasco once said about Chicago, which can be generalized for the whole Midwest -- we're right in the middle of everything! East Coast guys stop through on their way West, Southern performers are just a short drive away when they come on tour, West Coast groups play a show or two on their way out East. And when all this is said and done, we get an incredibly varied presentation of our own. Think about the differences between Nelly and Black Spade of St. Louis and Twista and Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Common from Chicago. It's incredible the diversity we've got. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the matter:
In contrast with its East Coast, West Coast and Southern counterparts, Midwest hip hop has very few constants. Its first dose of national popularity in the mid-90s was associated with fast-paced styles, of rappers such as Twista (Chicago), Eminem (Detroit), and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (Cleveland) which were the first ones to bring up hip hop as big as the West and East Coast and are the most popular in the Mid-West. However, subsequent acts which have since risen to national prominence such as Nelly, D12, and Kanye West share very few similarities. It is because these lack of constants between acts from different cities (and sometimes even between artists from the same city) that it can be extremely difficult to define a "typical" Midwest sound. One characteristic of Midwest hip hop is that beat tempos can range from 90 to about 180, while East Coast's beat tempo is 90-120, West Coast is 100-120, and Southern rap is 80-110. Prozak, as stated in his DVD "The Hitchcock of HipHop", says that the Midwest's style often revolves around "Dark beats and lyrics".
I like that last part: "dark beats and lyrics." It's kind of true if you think about some of the artists mentioned in the article, and some of the ones I've mentioned above. It's like we've taken the realism of gangsta rap, without the superfluous violence.

"I'm from a city in the Midwest, best city in the whole wide wide world."
-Lupe Fiasco

You and me both, brother.
-Mike-

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Not sure how well known these remixes are, but I just found them, so I'm gonna post 'em. DJ Nick James had his way with a few tracks from StL local Black Spade's To Serve With Love last summer and the results are pretty interesting.

Honestly, on multiple listens, I've got to say that I enjoy the Black Spade originals more, but it's cool to hear these (somehow) more chill versions of some of his best tracks. The "Enjoy the Experience" remix is by far my favorite.

Judge for yourself and let me know what you think.



Here's a link back to the DJ's page if you want to check out some more stuff he's put together. There's some decent remixes of Jay-Z and Talib Kweli as well if you're interested.

-Mike-
Courtesy of XXL mag, Mos Def approaches topics like the existence of Bin Laden, the questionability of the Taliban's goals, US militarism and bureaucracy, the Joker, the effect of war and media on children, and more. He even sings a bit.

Def has maintained his status as an outspoken activist throughout the years. His discussions and logic (or rants and conspiracy theories depending on your perspective) have become infamous -- see earlier posts for footage of one of his many appearances on Bill Maher.

Mos Def
"Osama is Chewbacca Out this Bitch"


Mos Def
"Don't fuck with the kids"


I respect the fact that the Mighty Mos Def is able to articulate his beliefs and feelings on political and social issues. Regardless of whether or not you agree with what he has to say, you have to appreciate the fact that he can speak on these things outside of the vague or cryptic lyrics of a song of unknown origin or some random 30 second scripted commercial (which seems to be protocol for most celebrity activists).

"The world needs an uplift."
Respect.
-Mike-

PS: Oh, and add Mos Def's upcoming album, The Ecstatic, to the list of June releases that I'll be trying to find while in France. The list is now four albums strong -- Rancid's Let the Dominoes Fall, Spinnerette's Prescription for Mankind, The Aggrolite's IV, and now Mos Def's The Ecstatic. Plus, I think they all drop in the same week. I'm gonna be so broke I might just get stuck there. But hey, at least I'll have some great music to digest while I beg for change.

Here's a little bit of info on the album.


Dude kinda looks Amish, doesn't he? And don't miss yet another reference to the power that is MF Doom at 6:24. I really hope those guys get a chance to work together sometime soon.
Anyway, can't wait for the album to drop.
-Mike-
Wikipedia has a couple of decent articles on alternative and underground hip-hop. Here are a few of the high points:

Alternative hip hop (also known as alternative rap) is a form of hip hop music that is defined in greatly varying ways. Allmusic defines it as follows:

"Alternative Rap refers to Hip-Hop groups that refuse to conform to any of the traditional stereotypes of rap, such as gangsta, bass, hardcore, and party rap. Instead, they blur genres - drawing from funk and pop/rock, as well as jazz, soul and reggae."

College and Community radio stations were the traditional incubator of underground hip hop music. The radio charts that track college radio play continue to be one of the most important indicators of success for independent hip hop artists. Beginning in the late 1990's internet radio stations emerged as another powerful alternative tool for artists. Today's Underground Hip Hop Are Mainstreamed By Internet Radio Stations.

The site Underground Hip Hop for Dummies pulls from an older article on the same subjects:

Alternative hip hop or Underground hip hop is defined as a culture rather than just a musical genre. Underground hip hop includes the arts of turntablism, sampling, producing, breakdancing, visual art, graffiti, spoken word, beatboxing, freestyling, cyphering, and more. The music itself is distinguished by artists who are not promoted by major record labels, often because of their experimental musicianship and lyrical content. Many underground artists are also using hip hop to successfully communicate issues of social justice, global and political change, and collective consciousness. Underground hip hop beats are often characterized by the fusion of loops sampled from all genres of music, including classical, jazz, funk, rock, and punk. Although some listeners may associate live instrumentation with alternative hip hop, this distinction is invalid because mainstream rap acts such as J-Kwon use live instruments as well. Underground hip hop artists generally do not achieve the same level of financial success that commercial rappers achieve, although their work is often critically acclaimed.

Artists labeled as "alternative hip hop" musicians usually record and perform in styles that are more closely related to the original concepts and styles of hip hop music and hip hop culture, as opposed to their more popular commercial counterparts. DJ Kool Herc once said in an essay about hip hop, that "it's not about keeping it real. It's about keeping it right." In this sense, many would argue that alternative hip hop might not be so much an alternative as much as it is a continuation of the original concepts and ideals of hip hop.

...

After the turn of the millennium, as the United States (still by far the world capital of hip hop) found itself confronted by the War on Terror, lyrics grew increasingly anti-mainstream, with some advocating radical actions on the behalf of various anarchist and socialist ideas. The cover for the album Party Music (2001) by the openly marxist band, The Coup, proved controversial after the September 11, 2001 attacks due to its depiction of the duo holding a stick of dynamite and a detonator, ready to blow up the World Trade Center (though the band itself had been well known in alternative hip hop circles since the early 1990s); other groups like dead prez (Let's Get Free, 2000), Mr. Lif with his EP, Emergency Rations, and Emcee Lynx (The Black Dog EP, 2003, and The UnAmerican LP, 2004) similarly raised controversy with militant and confrontational lyrics.

Though most of these bands could be considered "political hip hop" for their lyrical focus, the early 2000s also saw futuristic or apocalyptic rappers like Cannibal Ox, El-P, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Prahfitz Ov Inzaniti, and Aesop Rock.

In the new millennium a new "sub-genre" arose from the West Coast, spearheaded by underground rap producer Daddy Kev (famed for his work with the Freestyle Fellowship). With artists like Busdriver, AWOL One, The Shape Shifters, cLOUDDEAD, and Themselves, the music became known as abstract hip hop (aka avant-hop, prog-hop or indie-hop). These MCs and DJs blend their rhymes and beats with an electronica, post-rock or indie crossover. Additionally, artists such as the Bay Area's Zion I have incorporated Trip Hop sounds while continuing to identify their music as underground hip hop. The band Posse of Two uses new wave synths in their music while continuing to identify their music as underground hip hop.

Very interesting.

-Mike-

Saturday, April 11, 2009


This week I'm going to try to start a new thing on this page -- one new mixtape review every week. So check back regularly for info and links.

This week the mixtape comes from Atlanta's Stat Quo. His latest release, The Invisible Man, is beautiful. With a flow like Lupe meets Lil' Jon and a good mix of soul- and jazz-influenced beats reminiscent of some of the smoother tracks from Black on Both Sides ("Umi Says", "Climb", "Love"), popular rap beats, and a sample of the Price is Right theme, Stat proves his versatility with this one.

He intermittently interjects with sometimes-heartfelt, sometimes-spiteful comments on his music and the music industry, as well as fans not on par with what he expects from comentators.

For the most part, the first half of the album seems a bit smoother and progressive, while the second half fades into a more aggressive attack (his favorite line in the last few tracks seems to be "eat a dick and die slow"...which is fucked up). Then, he slips back into reality with "Heaven", a comment on mortality and immortality through music.

Overall, the tape is certainly worth checking out. Tracks to check are "Invisable Man", "Love", "What Can I Do", "Kool Out", "Glasshouse", "The Price is Right" (for a good laugh), and "Heaven" for all the reasons listed above. Tracks to consider skipping are "Ladies", "Stylin", and "Beast Out of the Cage", all three of which are way more hateful than is necessary and seem to bring out the less desirable side of hip-hop/rap in Stat.

Click the link. Enjoy the tape. Love the music.

-Mike-

Stat Quo
The Invisible Man
April 08, 2009

<<Download free or listen via DatPiff>>

The Aggrolites have released track and date information for their upcoming full-length, IV. What a classy name.

The 21 track album will (somewhat ironically) be the group's third release on punk label Hell-cat records. It is scheduled for a June 9th release [thus being added to the assortment of albums I'll be frantically trying to pick up whilst in France this June -- a list which includes the upcoming releases from Rancid and Spinnerette as well]. However, I just found out that the European release date is one day sooner than the US date. So suck it.

Check the first single, "The Sufferer", on the group's myspace page.

-Mike-

The Aggrolites
IV
09 June 2009
  1. Firecracker
  2. What A Complex
  3. Wild Time
  4. Feelin' Alright
  5. The Sufferer
  6. It's Time To Go
  7. By Her Side
  8. Brother Jacob
  9. Musically On Top
  10. Reggae Summertime
  11. Ever Want To Try
  12. Keep Moving On
  13. Tear That Falls
  14. Gotta Find Someone Better
  15. Lick It Up
  16. The Least I Could Do
  17. Runnin' Strong
  18. Precious And Few
  19. Tonight
  20. Soul Gathering
  21. It's Gonna Be OK

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Brody Dalle's (of Distillers fame) new project, Spinnerette, has released further details on their upcoming album, A Presciption for Mankind.

The album is set to drop on 2 June of this year.

[This album, along with Rancid's upcoming Let the Dominoes Fall, will mark the second record that I will purchase while in Lyon, France for the month of June. Hopefully their record stores meet my standards...]

So far, Spinnerette has released one digital EP, Ghetto Love, and one single titled Valium Knights. Both are excellent.

Be sure to grab Prescription for Mankind this June. For those curious enough, a tracklisting is included below.

-Mike-

Spinnerette
Prescription for Mankind
June 02, 2009
  1. Ghetto Love
  2. All Babes Are Wolves
  3. Cupid
  4. Geeking
  5. Baptized By Fire
  6. A Spectral Suspension
  7. Distorting A Code
  8. Sex Bomb
  9. Driving Song
  10. Rebellious Palpitations
  11. The Walking Dead
  12. Impaler
  13. A Prescription For Mankind
(Thanks to PunkNews.org for the playlist info.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holy shit, I've already got 750 hits on this page.
Nice.
Thanks peoples!
Next stop: 1000 hits.

-Mike-
FnF's new group Japanese Cartoon has just launched their website -- allsabotage.com.

On the site, you can sign up for the group's fan club, which will provide you with a password to view "The Fan Club Theater." The theater is currently showing Japanese Cartoon's first video for one of their first singles, "Army."

Via the group's Myspace:
A proud day friends. The brand-spanking new ALLSABOTAGE.COM is fully operational. Join the Cartoon and enjoy the ride. New additions will be made periodically so keep your passwords safe and stay tuned for more details as some things will be first come first serve and available for a limited time only. Kind of like McDonald's minus the food. "ARMY" Video Now Playing!!! Your Higher Power Powered Chap, Percival "Booming Thunderclaps" Fats
All relevant sources claim that the group's lead singer, Percival Fats, is in fact NOT Lupe Fiasco. However, I highly doubt that they're different people, given that they're on the same label (headed by Fiasco) and they sound exactly the same...minus the cheesy faux-British accent. You decide.

-Mike-












Dr. Cornel West recently interviewed Lupe Fiasco at Calvin College. Both men report a high regard for each other, so expect some idol worship early on. Check the link below to download/listen:

http://www.zshare.net/download/5831963642381716/

Enjoy.
-Mike-

Mos Def challenges every MC from Lil' Wayne to Jay-Z to an old fashion rap battle. (Maybe even Andre 3000).

Set to show on pay per view, the challenge is an unprecedented call-out from one of alternative hip-hop's most prolific speakers. Maybe it's a fear of losing credit from his recent emphasis on film rather than music, maybe it's a Brooklyn-versus-the-world home town ethic, or maybe Mos has finally gotten tired of the wrong people getting the wrong attention for faulty game and skill.

I put my money on Mos. Let's just hope MF Doom doesn't make an unexpected appearance. Mos said himself, Doom could easily take Weezy and others. Not so sure if he thinks he could beat him himself though.

Check the video for details and Mr. Def's candid defense of his skill. [If you want a preview of Mos Def's freestyle skill, skip ahead to 7:00.]

Watch out Weezy. ...Hov will be an interesting challenge.
More updates as they develop.

-Mike-

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This one's of "Daydreamin,'" which Lupe performed as an encore, right before the clip of the new Lasers track.

Suuuuuch an amazing show.
-Mike-


SpTV 3: Lupe Fiasco Live from S-Preme on Vimeo.
Finally, a new track from Rancid!
Check the widget at the bottom of this page to give "Last One to Die" a listen or a download.
Lemme know what you think.
-Mike-

PS: The LA Times gave the album a preliminary listen and review [here]. Or, just read below...
---------------

A first listen to Rancid's 'Let the Dominoes Fall'

Rancid never gets enough credit for writing really great love songs. The veteran East Bay punk band's lengthy career has seen plenty of thrash and spittle on its albums, but they're always leavened with more tender tunes such as "Corazon de Oro" off "Life Won't Wait" and "She's Automatic" from "... And Out Come the Wolves."
Rancid's forthcoming seventh album, "Let the Dominoes Fall," is, upon a first listen this afternoon at the Epitaph offices in Silver Lake, an album of love songs. That doesn't mean it's sonically anemic or overly flowery, or that co-frontman Tim Armstrong's time in the pop trenches softened him up.
On the contrary, six years after the band's last album, "Indestructible," Rancid sounds as vital and in command of its streetpunk-via-smoky dancehall chops as ever. The group's recent stand at the Fonda with new drummer Brandon Steineckert underscored this well.
And the love songs on "Dominoes" are odes to many unexpected things -- the city of New Orleans, a brother returning from war, and Rancid's own longevity in a punk scene, one that has ever-shrinking room for bands unwilling to marginalize themselves to a genre or give themselves wholly over to pop.


The first single "Last One to Die," which debuts at 5 p.m. today on KROQ, is both a restatement of purpose and an instant catalog of everything the band has always done right. The mid-tempo intro is brash and clangy, the chorus a gang-call of endearingly slurry vocals from Armstrong and co-frontman Lars Frederiksen.
It's one of a few songs on "Dominoes" clearly meant to reassert Rancid's mission as the band starts looking at its second decade and returns to Armstrong's Hellcat/Epitaph after a brief stint in partnership with Warner Bros. Records. The heady, menacing ska of "I Ain't Worried" has a similar sentiment, and it's almost shocking how good Rancid is at making off-beat upstroke guitars sound completely current every time they cut a record.
The sleeper track on the album looks to be "New Orleans." The song avoids the now-expected laments over the city's fate for a joyful evocation of its pleasures, celebrating its inimitable ambiance and vitality even in continued neglect. Even lines about rain falling all night seem less charged with bibical fury than a kind of pagan celebration.
Folk ballad "Civilian Ways," however, might be the most harrowing yet powerful thing the band has written to date. It's a kind of study in the mind of Armstrong's brother Greg upon his return from military service in Iraq, although the war barely even comes up in the lyrics. Instead, it's about the phantom of returning to ordinary life after war, and how even prosaic pleasures such as fixing cars take on a mythic allure after having seen combat. If Nashville had gotten hold of it first, "Civilian Ways" could have been a mainstream country hit in the hands of a Brad Paisley, but Armstrong's rasp lends it a credibility that both anarchists and interventionist hawks miss out on.
"When we went into Iraq, our country wasn't at war, 150,000 military families were," Armstrong told Pop & Hiss. "It's hard to talk about, so this is my way of telling my family that I love them. When I played this song for my dad, he was in tears."
It's an explicitly personal song that takes unexplored route to a deeply true sentiment. "Dominoes" isn't any retooling of the Rancid sound such as "Life Won't Wait" or 2000's "Rancid." But it might be exactly what the band needs from its much-awaited new record -- 19 songs of fierce, joyful and unexpectedly heartwarming punk.
-- August Brown

Monday, April 6, 2009


Rancid has released a bit more information regarding their upcoming 7th full-length release, forebodingly titled Let the Dominoes Fall.

According to the group, a special edition version of the album will also be available, which will include (along with the regular CD) a 2nd disc with 11 acoustic versions of tracks from the album, plus one bonus song not included on the regular full length. Also, a DVD (presumably documenting the making of the record, but who knows) will be included as well.

Here's the full track listing of the special edition CD/DVD:

Disc 1
  1. East Bay Night
  2. This Place
  3. Up To No Good
  4. Last One To Die
  5. Disconnected
  6. I Ain't Worried
  7. Damnation
  8. New Orleans
  9. Civilian Ways
  10. The Bravest Kids
  11. Skull City
  12. L.A. River
  13. Lulu
  14. Dominoes Fall
  15. Liberty And Freedom
  16. You Want It, You Got It
  17. Locomotive
  18. That's Just The Way It Is Now
  19. The Highway
Disc 2
  1. East Bay Night (Acoustic)
  2. L.A. River (Acoustic)
  3. I Ain't Worried (Acoustic)
  4. This Place (Acoustic)
  5. Disconnected (Acoustic)
  6. Liberty And Freedom (Acoustic)
  7. Dominoes Fall (Acoustic)
  8. New Orleans (Acoustic)
  9. You Want It, You Got It (Acoustic)
  10. Outgunned (Acoustic)
  11. The Bravest Kids (Acoustic)
  12. Last One To Die (Acoustic)


Also, be sure to catch the widget at the foot of the blog to hear the release of the bands first single from Let the Dominoes Fall about 22 hours from now. There's a timer included on it if you're achin for specifics.

-Mike-

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I rode two hours into Charleston, Illinois last night to hit EIU to see Lupe Fiasco and Shwayze. The show was DEFINITELY worth the drive.

I bought the tickets like two months ago from a random dude online that attends the school, so I'd been stoked about the show for a long ass time. I didn't bring my camera because I was foolishly worried that security would take it from me. Should have realized that at university shows, security is much more lax than at high priced venues. However, a few people at the show did manages to snap some decent shots during the show. Here's what they got...

Lupe in top form:

Lupe and Bishop G:

Bishop G lovin it:

The set list for the evening was an amazing collection of Lupe hits, new and old, with a few freestyles and other stuff thrown in for the hell of it. Here's how it looked:

  • Instrumental
  • Hello/Goodbye
  • Coolest
  • The Cool
  • Hip Hop Saved my Life
  • Touch the Sky (Lupe's verse)
  • Everybody Nose Remix (Lupe's verse)
  • 2 Freestyles from Lupe and 1 from Bishop G
  • Go Go Gadget Flow
  • Hi-Definition
  • Little Weapon
  • Streets on Fire
  • Kick Push
  • I Gotcha
  • Paris Tokyo
  • Another Freestyle from Lupe
  • Superstar
  • ENCORE: Daydreamin'
How could I possibly remember all that, you ask? No way in hell. Luckily for you, I've got a little help remembering as a result of my souvenir for the night:


Hell yeah. While all the fools were rushing out the gate after the encore, I stuck around and was awarded a set list from the drummer.

All together the show was amazing. I was a bit disappointed by the crowd and their general lack of energy, though. Actually, Lupe even commented on it during the show, but it didn't stop him or kill his own energy. I've never seen someone jump around and rhyme so fast without missing a SINGLE syllable. Some of the live versions were even faster than his stuff on the album, which is impressive.

For those of you who missed it, here's a few fan videos to give you just a taste of what it was like. Keep in mind that they're of low quality since they were most likely recorded on cell phones. Obviously, the ones from farther away have way better sound quality, but you can't see much. As you can tell from the videos, the crowd was huge. The floor was packed and the bleachers up and around the edges were practically overflowing.

Naturally, I was up front as close as I could get. You can probably even see my arm in one of the vids. Heh heh.

Enjoy.
-Mike-

Lupe's epic introduction and "Instrumental"


AMAZING freestyles (check out Bishop G hiding behind he DJ booth)
Also, right after the "Brooklyn Go Hard" beat started at the end, Lupe stopped and said "Nah, I'm not from Brooklyn" and moved on to "Go Go Gadget Flow." Hahaha, I swear that guy has adult ADD or somethin. I mean shit, look how many times he's changed the title and concept of his third album.


Here's a version of "The Coolest" that'll give you an idea of how fast the dude can go. Audio quality is kinda poor, but still. Damn.


"Little Weapon"


"Go Go Gadget Flow" x "Hi-Definition"


PS: Props to S-Preme and Alex at lupend for the pics.
Oh yeah, and Shwayze was pretty good live, too.
-Mike-

Friday, April 3, 2009

Atmosphere released his new video for "Your Glass House" off of his 2008 album When Life Give You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold. The video was released on MTV U, but I missed it. Oh well. ...It doesn't actually have anything to do with April Fool's day; that was just a coincidence.

Here it is direct from the Rhymesayers Entertainment site:



This is a really short and simplistic post. Sorry bout that. It's 2:34am. I'm tired. Get over it.
Peace.

-Mike-
 

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