August 31, 2007

Tu volverás... sé que volverás (El Kinto)

el kinto

El Kinto are a band from the late 60's/early 70's that I wish were superstars in the Río de la Plata region. They should be lauded as conquering heroes of South American rock, for being dudes who knew how to handle the overpowering influence of their mostly British contemporaries. This is no joke, as few bands from Argentina these days overcome their OMG Rolling Stones = teh awesome phase. Maybe that's why it was left to Uruguay, that Canada of Argentina, to produce this group. Big ups to Miguel for the tip.

El Kinto - Suena Blanca Espuma

El Kinto - Voy Pensando

August 29, 2007

Don't care how you pay your bills (Boom Bip)

boom bip

With “Coogi Sweater,” Boom Bip puts one over on a great many maximalist producers of today. Check the spoken-sung guest vocals – take that, Justice and Simian Mobile Disco! And has anyone else in the game so blatantly referenced Lil Jon? His upcoming album isn’t going to sound like this, but on this evidence it’s clear that he could pursue a healthy side career producing dancefloor hits. This track is that good.

Boom Bip - Coogi Sweater [Sacchrilege EP]

August 28, 2007

LIVE REVIEW: Tussle, Elbo Room, 8/25/07

Tussle should put on an overpowering live show: a two-drum attack has always been he backbone of the group. Almost inconceivably, then, this San Francisco group put on an ineffectual concert at Elbo Room--that's home turf! Let's take a step back and go over why Tussle, on record at least, have been one of the most exciting bands of the 2000s.

Tussle's sound begins with drum and bass; a full three quarters of this band's humanpower is spent laying down steady grooves that can just as easily claim dub as disco for an influence. Spaced-out keyboard flourishes usually complement this sound, but sometimes spur it on. On the band's most recent release, Telescope Mind, there was a clear dialog between these "halves" of the band. This was true of the album as a whole: the keyboardist/effects guy was given room to experiment on a number of short interludes, which effectively balanced out the most percussive sound the band had produced yet.

This character was allowed to dominate Tussle's show--much to its detriment. He wore a morose look as he futzed around with an entire card table's worth of equipment splayed out before him. Among other assorted gizmos was a Korg KP2 Kaoss Pad and a Monome sequencer. Those are two very serious pieces of equipment, yet for someone with so much he managed to produce so little. Rare was the welcome musical contribution from this man, but his amp was usually turned up so loud that the drummers could barely be heard, even when they were wailing away at their kits! The band hardly played a recognizable song, as each one quickly devolved into keyboard wankery. Much in contrast to their recorded efforts, the two parts of the band seemed to be on very different wavelengths.

When I saw Tussle about a year and a half ago, the same thing happened, i.e. somber keyboard player turned up too loud. That time, the smirking bassist motioned for the sound man turn the dude down. (This request was granted.) Anyway, Tussle's got a new bass player now. Mope on, guys.

Tussle - Don't Stop [Don't Stop EP]

Tussle - Warning [Telescope Mind]

August 27, 2007

From Jerusalem to the missions of San Luis Obispo

the skygreen leopards

It's very easy to get lost in the world that The Skygreen Leopards create. This might be true of all psychedelic music, but here it's all about the songs of Glenn Donaldson. There's a strange brand of mysticism running through The Skygreen Leopards' catalog, which is probably best summed up by song title "Jesus Was Californian." You might end up in a cul-de-sac if you listen to the words too literally, but there's no need to exert yourself in this way; Donaldson is a very talented singer. He delivers the songs earnestly, like he's straining to direct these daydreamy songs towards reality.

The Skygreen Leopards - Belle of the Woodsman's Autumn Ball

August 24, 2007

Beats smooth enough to ride through like bobsleds

wu handswu hands

It's a Wu-Tang Clan double hit. I've liked this track for a long time, mostly because of GZA's verse, although RZA is surprisingly okay here ("I'm liable to mate your king with three rooks"). If any Wu completist out there already has this track, please pwn me in the comments. Otherwise, enjoy and I'll see you next week, when I aim to overtake Beatswatch in absolute post numbers. What happened to, dudes?

Tony Touch - The Abduction (ft. Wu-Tang Clan)

August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, GZA!

wu hands

I'm hardly in need of an excuse to post on the Wu-Tang Clan, what with today being the birthday of Gary Grice aka GZA, and especially because Wu came through SF last weekend and destroyed. (Those are Wu hands over there) I don't have any critical discourse to deliver about Wu-Tang's greatness, just check out this freestyle which was kicked on legendary KZSU show The Drum back in 1993. If you're not familiar with the Wu-Tang Clan, listen for GZA, he's the one who name drops George Burns.

I have to give a plug for The Drum, since it's been on the air forever playing hip-hop that's not wack. The link up there is for the podcast, so you're about two clicks away from getting a constant stream of good music in your iTunes podcast-enabled mp3 client of choice. If my word is not bond, here's a nice article about Kevvy Kev, the man behind The Drum. Listen for him sounding totally cool and composed on this track, despite being surrounded by the greatest crew of MCs ever assembled.

Wu-Tang Clan - Dope Freestyle [mp3]

August 21, 2007

Keith Tenniswood has one of my favorite names ever

It was hard to know what to make of Two Lone Swordsmen's last album, where after a steady career of electronic productions they proverbially "sold their turntables and bought guitars." Their cover of Gun Club's "Sex Beat" worked well, and a couple of other songs realized the industrial sound they were going for, but too many of the tracks were skippable. This is mostly because Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood got themselves into grooves that didn't have the snap to hold up to the repetitive song structure that they carried over from their electronic days.

This isn't the case with "Wrong Meeting II," a disc released on their own Rotters Golf Club label that's much better realized than "From The Double Gone Chapel." Even Weatherall's singing, which was more like a mumble on the last record, is much improved—although I still won't subject you to it. I like this track, "Shack 54," because apart from a bassline that's better than any off of "From The Double Gone Chapel," it's got an actual song structure! Two Lone Swordsmen have been around long enough to indulge themselves, but if they can keep this up this standard it will be unfair to say that they're "dabbling" with instruments. When does the show hit the road?

Two Lone Swordsmen - Shack 54 [mp3, direct download]