I'd like to eat rice cakes and listen to classical music
Buck 65 - Wicked & Weird - Yesterday I promised, as Fatcitizen noted in a comment, some Buck 65. The occasion? He's finally getting a US Release! In January, Virgin will drop This Here is Buck 65 a compilation of some of Bucks greatest stuff from the past few years as the US's introduction to Canadas foremost white trash rapper. Wicked & Weird seems to be the radio single at the moment, and it's a fine choice for an introduction to Buck. The backing track is Beck-esque mix of equal parts country-funk and spacey electro blues, with a dash of turntablism, but what carries the song is Bucks utterly inimitable MC-ing. The voice is a ciggarette and whiskey scorched gravel reminiscent of Tom Waits in some ways, or what Kid Rock was always trying to be, and the rhymes are as tight as anything coming out of the conventional, urban hip-hop world - but it's the subject matter that sets Buck apart. Self aggrandizing, with the tossed off Jesus reference, sure, but this is a song about and for the road - thats clear all throughout, and besides, lines like "Back on the road, not a moment too soon / Dish ran away with some other spoon" are just classics.
Buck 65 - Centaur (Acoustic Version) - But This Here Is isn't entirely repackaged Buck tracks. There's a pair of new cuts too, particularly this alternate, acoustic take on the classic track "Centaur". Narrowly skirting the line between mythology and metaphor, "Centaur" is both novelty track and the heartbreaking lament of a man who just wants some privacy and some honesty. The acoustic take plays up the more serious side of the song (in part because the lyrics are cleaned up a bit, probably at the request of Virgin for a single), with a slow, melodic take on the instrumental, and a vocal track that plods through depressed and lonely.
[This Here Is drops in January. Those who can't wait should pick up Talkin' Honky Blues from Amazon.com]
In other news, I'm saddened to note that internet icon Waxy has recieved a C&D from Disney for linking to Mp3's of the Kleptones A Night at the Hip Hopera. For those that haven't heard me say it before, I'll say it now. I think the Kleptones are the absolute masters of the bootleg/mashup genre. They bring a level of technical skill and invetiveness to things that noone else in the game does. Yoshimi Battles the Hip-Hop Robots was good. Hip-Hopera is probably the best bootleg album this year. I can't be one of the many folks out there doing a full album mirror, so I'm gonna do the next best thing. For the next few weeks, I'm going to post this album track by track, along with each days post. And with the track, I'm gonna post links to buy the source of every single sample on the track. And when you buy one of those CD's, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, post a comment here, so that we can show Disney & the rest of the IP obsessed fools of the world exactly what they are suppressing here.
The Kleptones - Precession - the opening track of the album, is primarily a Queen track, with various snippets of fun dialogue scattered about it. It's nothing special in it's own right, and primarily serves as an introduction to much much much more fun to come. Grab it while it's hot. It's the beginning of something special.
[Buy Queen II from Amazon.com!]
Finally, I'm one of the panelists in Kyle over at Information Leafblowers 2nd annual top 40 American bands poll. Since the Cool Kids are posting their ballots, here's what I sent to Kyle over the weekend. Keep in mind that my list was constructed with the following directions in mind: "...the Top 40 Bands In America today. Not last year when they were hot or when their new record drops in '05, I mean right the fuck now." As a result, the list tends towards acts that have just dropped albums, and/or rising stars. Also, the USA only rules cut off a whole buttload of Canadian bands that would probably dominate my list at the moment. There's something in that northern water I say. I also voted a bit strategically, leaving off a few artists I was convinced would rank well without me. Some did (Interpol), some charted lower than I'd've liked (TV On the Radio), and some amazingly didn't chart (Mission of Burma). That said, here's what I sent Kyle:
1) Gogol Bordello
-- Eugene Hutz has, over the past 3 years, completed his transformation from drunken ukrainean punk to rock and roll god. Gogol Bordellos live performances have become the stuff of legend thanks to his unmatched stage presence and the tightly chained chaos the band can unleash. Gogol Bordello are the most essentially American band out there - a hodgepodge of Immigrants from all over, brought together in NY by gypsy punk rock, and good alcohol, this sounds like nothing else on this earth. Take the mantra to heart: Drink Locally - Fuck Globally.
2) The Fiery Furnaces
-- 'Fork hype aside, the siblings Friedberger have put out an album that managed to challenge every hipster preconception of current music while simultaneously enthralling us with hooks, storytelling, and an album more generally packed full of STUFF than anything else this year.
3) The Mountain Goats
-- John Darnielle is, quite simply, the best working American songwriter. For anyone else, the addition of a band, as Darnielle did on 2002's Tallahassee would have been career suicide, the backlash enormous. But for the Mountain Goats, it was only a logical extension, as Darnielle is still telling the same stories, of broken homes and everlasting hope.
4) Brian Wilson
-- 37 years later, and the mans still got it. Smile is everything we were promised and more.
5) Ted Leo / RX
-- Smart. Literate. Politically charged. Catchy as fuckall. Can anything be said about Ted Leo that hasn't already? Shake the Sheets continues his growing move into his role as the Billy Bragg of a new generation - it suits him.
6) The Hold Steady
-- Like a Heavy Metal Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady burst out of the gate this past winter with "...Almost Killed Me", an album of blazing distorted guitar insanity and a twisted proclamatory lyrical style that is utterly inimitable.
7) MF DOOM
-- Does Metalmouth ever sleep? First he collaborates with Madlib on the fantastic Madvillainy, before assuming his Viktor Vaughn persona for another posse release, and now he's poised to drop MMM FOOD, home to the sickest beats and the best rhymes on the continent at the moment.
8) ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
-- Getting their label to agree to pay for the replacement of all equipment destroyed while on tour was the smartest thing these Texans ever did. As they prepare to release a new album in a few months, they've been touring relentlessly, tearing shit up left and right, and showing hints of a broadened sound that brings in flashes of prog and krautrock to an already explosive mix of no-wave distortion and smart pop song construction.
9) Green Day
-- My teen years have returned from the grave with a political vengance. Who'd've thought Green Day had it in them to return from a decade of mediocrity with the most powerful and anthemic protest album in decades? If President Bush is what it takes to make Punk rock relevant again, than maybe 4 more years is just what the doctor
10) The Decembrists
-- They aren't Neutral Milk Hotel, but noone ever will be. They carry the torch like none other though, and thats more than enough.
And a quick show announcement for New Yorkers: The Blow will be playing at Barnard tomorrow night (tonight?) the 18th, with YACHT, Knife Skills, and Dear Nora. It's 5 bucks. More info at WBAR.org. You should go. Because I can't.