The new video to El-P's The Full Retard. The album Cancer 4 Cure is out now.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
"Before Kreayshawn and Odd Future there was..." is how the email I get that includes this album. And Michael Nhat is described as LA's Original Hipster Rapper since 2001. I just call Living Room one of the most annoying albums I've heard in a very long time. Michael is far from a bad emcee, but the productions overall are straight up horrible. I'm sure his aiming for something funky and quirky, but it all just ends up being unlistenable in the long run. Sure, both Kreayshawn and Odd Future has their own flaws, but at least their stuff doesn't make me want to scratch my ears off. Next!
Friday, May 25, 2012
Let's just start off by saying that Shallow Pools is probably not for everyone. Not that it isn't good, but because that 48 minutes of pure spoken word is not everyone's cup of tea. And even I can agree that this is probably not a record I will listen to a lot. But if you're a lover of words and beautiful poetry, then I think that you should definitely check this out. jamesreindeer wrote and recorded 100 poems during the period of 2 weeks, and he truly is a good poet. He can paint beautiful images of the world around him, and listening to this with the headphones on and your eyes closed is soothing. A required taste perhaps, but I'm happy that he decided to record Shallow Pools and share it with the world.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
It's really nice to see the return of Kristoff Krane. Two years ago he released one of my favourite albums of that year when he dropped Hunting for Father. Productionwise fanfaronade feels a bit more hip hop which honestly was quite a disappointment when I first listened to the album. After a while I didn't mind as much though. Not necessarily because the music itself got better, but because the vocals and the lyrics caught my attention more and more. I've always liked Kristoff's style and subject matters, and he has developed into an even stronger lyricist now and each track is a treat.
He has also had to good taste to involve a couple of amazing guests on the record, such as Sage Francis, Buck 65 and Ceschi. A lot of the time people inviting guests like these get outshined on the own record, but Kristoff can go toe to toe with the best of them. Perhaps not a memorable album, but a really good record nonetheless. 6.5/10 might sound like a low grade for this record, but unfortunately the beats dragged it down a bit.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I must say that initially this album was quite a disappointment. I had big hopes for this collaboration between Killer Mike and El-P, and the initial tracks sounded promising. So it was with enthusiasm that I sat down to listen to R.A.P. Music. The opening track Big Beast with its Public Enemy sample lifted my hopes even more, but after that it all kind of felt like this stew was simmering more than it was cooking. I mean, I could not avoid feeling El-P's beats, and Killer Mike is a hugely underrated emcee. But it was something that bugged me. Then it hit me, I never really been a fan of the Southern sound and that was probably the reason why I got disappointed.
After several listens though it slowly grew, and the album definitely gained some points and I can see why people have talked warmly about this record since it dropped. I have however never hidden that this blog is all about my own personal taste, and too much gangsta and talk about niggas always bores me nowadays. But hey don't listen to me, check it out for yourself instead of listen to this old grump.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Seriously. Reviewing releases from decorative stamp is getting harder and harder. I keep praising each and every one, and I must come across as the world's biggest suck-up. But hey, on the other hand. It's not my fault that they keep releasing simply amazing records. And Lone by Home is no different. Some of you might know him as a part of papervehicle, woolgatherers and being the brother of edison. But after this record, he is sure to be known for simply being an wonderful artist.
His first solo project is a beautiful and personal one, and it amazes me just how many layers these 10 songs consists of. It's a very accustic record mainly built up around a guitar, lo-fi drum beats, a piano and his own vocals. And no matter if he's rapping or singing, he never stears away from reflection, meditation, revelation and action. It's not surprising that Home is a devoted practitioner of yoga, because this album is truly a journey into this fascinating world of his. I will most definitely keep listening to this record over and over for a long time to come. A masterpiece.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Sometimes it's nice with artists that don't take themselves too serious. People who dare to make humour a part of their act without going corny because of it. Wordburglar is one of those artists, and ever since I heard his track Buttafly back in 2006, he's someone I've come back to time after time again when I wanted to smile. Don't get me wrong about the humour part though. He's no clown, far from it. He's a talented emcee that makes funny as well as funky tracks that makes you smile and nod your head at the same time. His latest offering 3rdburglar is no different. 14 tracks of classic hip hop that aims for the heart and not necessarily the brain, and sometimes that's all you need.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Mism Records just keep on serving us the good stuff, don't they? And this time around is none other that our favourite weirdo Th' Mole who gets the cassette treatment. But it would be wrong to say that this tape was only about him. Because this is not your average solo joint. On the 13 tracks (where of 2 are digital bonus tracks), no less than 39 guests appear on Love in the Chaosphere. Don't expect me to count them all up, but some of them are Nomar Slevik, Brzowski, Ancient Mith, Filkoe176, Nameclone and MC Homeless. This tape has taken more than 3 years to make and it's been recorded in the US, Canada, France and Sweden. That number of people involved always make it a bigger risk that the project will sound too shattered and unfocused, but fortunately that's not the case here. Love in the Chaosphere is a fine example of a creative mind doing what he loves, and the end result is beautiful.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Time again for a double review. And this time around we're sinking our teeth into KINGLI$H by Maestro Gamin, Wax Gotti and Teak Beatlovski and the good people at LURKMUSIC.COM.
My rookie hip-hop ears are doing standing ovations hearing this. No I don´t have much to compare with but do I have to? If I like something, I like something and that’s that!
Nice lyrics, good flow, steady beats and with a wicked jazzy ring to it, to sum it all up. I don´t know what other way to describe it.
The only downside is that I don’t know if it will stay long in my “music that will always put me in a good mood” list… The jazzy theme that I like so much and kind of, in my opinion, keeps the whole thing together, might also make it boring after a while. It kind of sounds the same after a while and I´m afraid even the lyrics will get lost in the jazzy blur. But let us not hope that it will come to that and enjoy it for as long as possible. And always remember, “being thoroughly and assuredly anti… fashion”
Ah, it's always nice to hear a confident emcee doing his thing. Maestro Gamin is a quite recent discovery for me, but one that I'm really glad to have made. I loved the petting zoo when it dropped, and KINGLI$H sounds like the logical progression in many ways. Jazzy productions from Teak Beatlovski laced with Maestro's amazing poetry. I've touched the subject of spoken word and music many times through out the years, and apart from some of Saul Williams's stuff, this is the best I've heard. Perfect for those days when you just want to listen to someone in complete control of the English language serving up amazing poems for you, backed up by great tracks.
Jessika's rating: 7/10
Michael's rating: 7/10
Sunday, May 13, 2012
LA Pink Filth originally dropped as a limited edition cd-r back in 2009. Soon it's gonna get re-released on a tape, and I think it's time that you start to take notice of this hidden gem. Walter Gross is without a doubt one of the most underrated producers today. No matter if he's releasing music on his own or in collaborations such as Youth:Kill (with k-the-i???) and Screwtape (with Bizzart), his mix of noise, hip hop beats and loops taken from news shows and movies is a joy to listen to. Do yourself a favor and enter the world of Walter Gross, and LA Pink Filth is a great way to do it. Get it here, only 20 copies so hurry up.
Friday, May 11, 2012
No Place Like Chrome
We all love celebrating our favourite artists and records, but sometimes we seem to forget about the labels behind them. The people that work a bit more out of the limelight bringing us our favourite tunes. I had An Accident Records is one of those labels, and I had the good fortune to ask one of the owners, Julia, about the life of running a small time label.
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is/are I had An Accident Records?
Hi world, I introduce myself, Julia LaDense... a passionate Leo from the south side of Cincinnati. Rolling across the United States one minute at a time. Somehow settled in the once capital of the country Annapolis, MD. Along with my life-partner Justin Bieler (not Bieber, hasn’t brought sexy back, and don’t say Buehler... Beuhler... Beuhler...) we are I had An Accident Records. As a label we started in Portland Oregon in 2006. At that time it was two dicks, Justin and Seamus... since then Seamus left his role and I joined in 2009 and around that time we made a switch from CD-r's to cassette tapes.
What started the whole thing? What´s the story behind the label?
As the story goes... Justin moved from Massachusetts to Oregon and broke up some weird circle of friends. The idea of the label was really a way for a group of friends to remain close in some way... and if you look at our first few releases what you are really looking at is this special group of individuals working together across the country collaborating on artwork and sounds. In the beginning the major ambition was to release our own stuff in small enough numbers to make ourselves feel important and to keep a relationship going. This whole concept really exploded when we met Walter Gross in 2009 and released his amazing LA Pink Filth CD (soon to be released on tape). Somehow soon after this we were able to expand in a direction we always hoped to venture into - and connect with artists and involve ourselves in their lives enough to branch this small circle of friends into a large collective of amazing people. We kept the same values - working together and creating collaborative art stylings but our circle expanded.
Your main choice of format, cassette tapes, is quite rare to find these days. What was the reason to release music that way?
This seems like the most typical question to ask a cassette label - mostly because everyone has a fascinating response to it... I think that in many respects cassettes and CDs are at equal grounds these days, dead formats. The cassette tape purveys the physical object more than the CD though. It provides multi-layers to the over all package. We utilize a wide array of cassette colors and are able to find extremely rare cassettes to release our sounds with - we can personalize the whole experience by doing this - much more so than a CD can. I think the critical piece for us is allowing the fan to experience the music in different ways. Each tape comes with an mp3 download. The download is the mp3 version of the master - so the quality is legit... the cassette, of course, is also a replica of the master but takes on a different feel. I vision our listeners to experience each release both on tape and on their iPod. A CD release does not have the same effect. Also - you’ve seen our tapes, they are beautiful to look at. I find myself standing in front of our stock of tapes and just marveling them... I mean really, just opening up the cases and looking at the tapes and moving on to the next one, it's fun. So even if you don’t have a tape deck - you can enjoy the mp3s on your iPod and your eyes can enjoy the beauty of our product. There is also a craft to the cassette tape. Making a CDr means popping a CD into the Macbook and pressing record and that's it. It is pretty simple. Making a great sounding cassette is a work of art. We make our own masters- we do our own dubbing - so the whole process has a much more personal effect to it and if you ask anyone deeply involved in cassettes you will understand that its more than just popping a CD in the CD player and pressing “record”. We adjust the levels and outputs to create a quality sound. We take the quality of the tape seriously. I know some people have this thought that “fuck it, its a tape, its suppose to sound like shit” - we don’t buy into that philosophy. We buy the most expensive tape (chrome) and work hard at making it sound the best it can.
A part of me wishes we could release albums on vinyl but the overhead expense is just too high. We do extremely short run albums, we cannot justify it.
Is there any specific genre that you generally focus on in your choice of publishing or what do you look for when you meet new talents?
The label has evolved since our beginning days. We tend to focus on what our friends are doing and that ranges from that noise/beat driven experimental sounds of Walter Gross or FRKSE to more ambient sounds similar to Clearing. We thought long and hard about developing the label into a genre specific label but we have such a large taste in different sounds we could never figure out what genre that would be.
How does the whole process go? What happens between start to finished product?
It feels like each experience is different. I have to explain this anecdotely just because this is a great story. We noticed that this amazing artist Son of A Bricklayer was purchasing a few of our tapes now and again... and we made a decision to go ahead and e-mail him to let him know that if he was ever interested in doing a tape release, we would be that label... oddly enough minutes after we e-mailed him, he e-mailed us, having not read our e-mail yet, asking if we would be interested in doing a release of his stuff. We seem to have that same connection with most of the people we work with. We create a special bond because we are already a fan of the artist and they are a fan of us. We work through the rest of the process together. We decide who will do the artwork, what color tape will be used, and the length we will work with. We really let the artist make the important decisions and we back them up and provide the necessary materials. With Son of A Bricklayer we sent the master tape to him a few times until everyone was satisfied with the levels and sound quality before making his tape. We have our own special tape supplier and our own professional tape duplicator so we take care of the loading of the tapes and the duplication process in house. We also print the j-cards and fold them ourselves or at a printing place in Poland. We recently invested in a paper-cutter... so our edges are nicer. We offer the artists half the stock we make and encourage them to do what they will with their copies in hopes that the whole process is successful for them as it is for us. It's a feel-good do it together process with a lot of creative freedom to the artist.
How do you market yourself? Where can we find you?
We attempt to get on people’s radar through some online blogs... most of the time unsuccessfully. We had at one time a few blogs that wrote about all our releases... somehow that stopped... so we are finding new connections and have some strong support from a few people. We have an amazing group of returning customers that are amazing to talk to and great to be friends with at the same time... and then we also try promoting the label through the artists fans. Access Music out of San Diego carries someo of our items. Tomentosa out of Asheville, NC carries many of our tapes too. Social media is a nightmare, but we are on there too.
Since the label’s start in 2006 you have put out numerous releases. It seems like there’s a couple of new ones a month almost. Is this a conscious decision or what are your thoughts behind this?
At this point we have become addicted to what we do. Our May schedule is small and we were finished working on all the releases on May 2nd... and we sat around bored not sure what to do. The label became an obsession that we have drained every free moment into working on. We have connected with so many artists and more we love come to us asking to do something, we haven’t figured out how to say no. As long as the quality of the product doesn’t suffer we will do a few batches... this year has been uniquely special in that we are working towards getting to release 100 by our 6th year anniversary. As a result this year has been very heavy. Second half of the year we won’t be doing as many releases and 2013 we are really hoping to slow down our production to allow more focus on other things in our lives. As some sort of weird producer I literally stopped making any sound because I never had the time to work on anything. So we want to free up some time for ourselves and our family. 2013 will be a different year for us. With that being said, we haven’t really thought about how we would do this really. We just go with the flow.
Our 100th release is coming up and we wanted it to coincide with our 6th year anniversary so we have stepped up our release schedule from last year to get to that number... and we got a few great deals on tapes so we have a ton of tapes sitting around the house. I think I have over 1,000 tapes right now, which is a lot considering most of our releases are between 30-100 only!
You seem to be putting a lot of effort in presenting the releases with great designs. How important is that contra the music itself?
We strongly believe in providing a person with the best we possibly can. We only use chrome tape now because it is better quality. We don’t spray paint on our tapes like others because we want the finished product to look great and work properly. We pay a lot of attention to aesthetics and the artwork is real important to us. We want it to look good, to be to the artists liking, and to get the attention of the customer... I would like to say we keep it unique in that way. You can ask some of our artists, we are pretty strict on the quality that we receive. We strive for an overall amazing experience. The latest Coyote Clean Up tape we did on lilac cassettes was just beautiful. When Chrissy received his copies he sent us a message saying “I didn’t know what you meant by ‘these tapes are pretty’ until I got them.” That was awesome.
What are your dreams, hopes and ambitions with your label?
The dream was to just have the label. At this point everything is a great gift. We want to continue to meet new people and have an outlet for our artistic expressions. I think we want to continue to grow, although we always worry about getting larger and how we would be able to balance that.
What upcoming releases can we look forward to?
It's hard to contain myself here... Babelfishh on rust color tapes... how perfect is that! Summer is gonna kill us, DMN SLYR, Son of a Bricklayer/Andrew Felix split, Evak’s project WORK... Infinity Gauntlet, Psychopop, FRKSE, ’89 Palms, and Blvck Ceiling. Some of our favorite artists in one long summer. Our 100th release is going to feature a mash up/remix album by Denmark’s Choplifta as he goes through our catalogue and provides his own interpretation of some of our finest acts. Along with this tape will be a DVD featuring some of our favorite videos, a t-shirt(!), and a poem by one of our favorite fans. Its an amazing way that we are bringing our fans together with our team to create a very special, heart felt release.
What do you guys do when you’re not working with the label?
Justin works for the county government trying to help solve the local issues of homelessness and I'm a visual manager. We both enjoy our amazing child, Owen. Owen is what we do when we are not working with the label. He is asleep right now.
Walter Gross. An amazing inspiration and one of the most underrated artists I know. His talent is remarkable and we are so fortunate to get to know him personally. Much love to our favorite labels including Cooler Than Cucumbers, decorative stamp, Mism, Luana’s Messed Up Records, Felt Cat, Divergent Series, and that up and coming group at TimeLapse. We continue to be inspired by all their creations. We thank our fans and all that have supported ihaa and those that have been a part of the label. Larry the tape guy! Rob Heppell for creating crazy videos for us. Shout out to you Michael, and a blog that is fun to read! Your passion is recognized.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
One artist that surely goes from strength to strength is 2econd Class Citizen. Ever since 2005 he has released strong instrumental records that is both powerful and frail at the same time. Few people out there today can create as much mood and beautiful soundscapes as this London based artist. I loved his debut album A World Without and I'm very pleased that his follow-up The Small Minority shows that he has developed even more, and he is now amongst our finest producers today. A lot of the time when I'm listening to instrumental albums nowadays, I after a while wonder what some of the tracks would sound like with vocalists. That's not the case with 2econd Class Citizen. He is kind of like DJ Shadow in that way, he don't really need anyone else to make amazing songs and records that you can listen to over and over again without ever tiring. One of my favourite albums so far this year.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
First of all. Happy birthday Joel! Hope you will have an amazing year to come!
Cicada is a collection of previously unreleased tracks from this producer's vaults. Usually compilations like this is filled with a lot of unnecessary fillers that you kind of understand why they haven't been released previously. But this is something completely different. Cicada consists of 13 tracks that is just as good as anything that he has previously released. He even manages to make the record feel cohesive which is impressive. It's laidback, dreamy and all out beautiful.
Joel has been one of my favourite producers the last few years, and Cicada proves why. He can't put a foot wrong if you ask me. And what is even better for all you cheap skates out there, the album is free to download. Just go here and give yourself a present.
Monday, May 07, 2012
Turtle. Some of you may know him as a part of Learning Curve. If you never heard of him, I think you should take this opportunity to download Briefcase of the Blues for free, and enjoy a much slept on artist. Fine lyricism combined with nice laidback beats make up a really solid EP that will have it's place in my headphones for a while now.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Friday, May 04, 2012
PanOptics is the latest project from emcees Manix & Julez together with DJ Sizzle. All three of them have built their individual names on the Melbourne hip hop scene, but now they have joined forces to cause havoc as a group. Shoulders of Giants EP is their first offering, and it's 4 tracks of high class boom bap hip hop. It really sounds promising for the future and I'm sure that any upcoming full length from these guys will be worth checking out. But until then you can download Shoulders of Giants EP here. For free.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Das Ungeheur und sein Kritiker is the latest offering from Munich emcee and producer Misanthrop. It feels way more accesible than his older offerings, but in a good way. He hasn't compromised his sound and his visions, he's just made it all more straight to the point. That makes this album, if you ask me, his most commercially viable so far. The productions are sharp, hard hitting and funky, and his flow and lyrics are strong as ever (thank you Google Translate). On Das Ungeheur und sein Kritiker, Misanthrop is questioning the world we live in and the world economics that runs it and asks us if this is really the way we want to live. Yet another strong release from Misanthrop and postrap.
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Cooler than Cucumbers Records sure knows how to pick it's releases. Tomorrow it's time for a limited vinyl release from Melodica Deathship. These two Irish artists released a great album, Doom Your Cities Doom Your Towns, back in 2010 and it's great to see them at it again. They have a quite unique sound, mixing straight up hip hop with wind swept Irish moods and political lyrics. It's bleak, it's sad and it's downright awesome. The productions are of the highest rank and the vocals complements them perfectly.
As much as I loved Doom Your Cities Doom Your Towns when it dropped, it's even more amazing and gratifying to see how far they have come since then. Definitely not to be slept on, and if you want to support good music made from the heart you should order this record when it drops tomorrow.
El Producto is back! I've been waiting for this album every single day for the last 5 years. He released his last proper full length album, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, back in 2007 and ever since, the follow up has been on the top of my list of albums I've been wanting to hear. And now, well at least in a few weeks, Cancer 4 Cure is here. It's always a bit nervous to listen to an album that you have looked forward to a lot because there is always a risk that you will be disappointed.
So what do I think of the album then? Well, ever since I first heard it last week it's been on constant rotation in my headphones and I love it more for each time. El-P has always been one of my favourite producers and here he shows that he has just kept on developing and perfecting his skills, and what we get is 12 amazing tracks that blows most other albums clear out the water. The thing however that makes him so special is that he's always a really good emcee too, and he doesn't disappoint here either. Maybe he in many ways is an aquired taste, but to me he's the man. I can easily talk about each song, each production and each lyric and praise it. But instead you should just pre-order the album and know that what you will get is one of this year's best albums. Period.
El-P is still the man and his contenders don't even come close.