Free tan everything
Heems: Wild Water Kingdom (free Greedhead mixtape)
Flushing is in the F'ing house‑-namechecking Quaker hegemony resister John Bowne and college-bound bus route Kissena Boulevard, Himanshu Suri is my Cherry Avenue homeboy. And although more far-out referents might arguably block my passway to his freewheeling freestyles, subcontinental beats like Keyboard Kid's electro-Carnatic "Let It Go" and Harry Fraud's serpent-charming "Wild Water Kingdom" mean to create a world of fun for everyone: "When Heema rappin'/This is what happen/Everybody foot gets to tappin'/Everybody dance like they Latin/Everybody clothes turn to silk and to satin/Everybody metal turn from silver to platinum/Everybody set like director said action." Climaxed by a love song to an r&b also-ran whose first name rhymes with Tone-Loc's favorite love potion, this jumpy tribute to substance exploitation may be his gangsta album. But it comes with a PSA: "Don't do drugs. They're bad for you, they make you feel strange, your friends won't love you anymore." A MINUS
Kool A.D.: 51 (free Greedhead mixtape)
Heems's Das Racist partner favors skinnier, more electro beats, most by his Bay Area compadre Amaze 88, which he loops under raps that carry more weight on this April mixtape than they did on The Palm Wine Drinkard just a few months before‑-as do the cameos from Mr. Rogers and a chipmunked Huey P. Newton. True, the record shudders to a virtual halt when the ecumenical auteur turns beatmaker midway through, and some may judge the rhymes irresponsibly playful. But he's right about "Yo these girls are smart man/I'm trying to figure out how to play my part man/I don't know how to start man/The strangest organ is the human heart man/Fuck with shortcuts like I'm Robert Altman/Fuck with long shots like I'm Robert Altman/Fuck with actresses like I'm Robert Altman/Recycled like half a verse but that's art man." That is art. B PLUS
Second song was "Powderfinger", always a crowd-pleaser. My girlfriend was digging the show by now, especially Neil's guitar solos. Is there another rocker who makes better facial expressions when wringing his guitar's neck? By now, our neighbors had turned our section of the garden into Peter Tosh's smoky basement so we really started to get into the music. The video crew did a pretty good job of capturing the band in action and I fully anticipate this show to be released in audio and/or video form at some point in the future. Perhaps my great, great, great grandkids can enjoy it when Archives Vol. 5 comes out. I especially liked it when they interspersed old video clips from decades ago with the real-time video, which they did whenever the band went into feedback mode, which they did quite often. I'm not just talking Weld here (which was the first time I saw them in 1991) - I'm talking Arc/Weld ****. Which was cool. The last Neil & Crazy Horse show I saw was at Jones Beach in 1996 and they were tight - so this was a change of pace - more loose and free and lotsa feedback. I liked one of the new songs a lot (I counted three new ones total). Neil did a few acoustic numbers (Needle and a new one), and they finished with Hey Hey My My that was off-the-hook sick with guitar noise. My only gripe was the "fukc-up" sing-a-long that they did during "Fkcking Up". The one encore was "Roll Another Number" which they played under green lights (in shape of plants) which I was barely able to make out through the haze. Great show.
Patti Smith/Neil Young & Crazy Horse Concert at MSG on 11/13/2012: Took the L.I.R.R. into Penn last Tues evening and not wanting to eat in the station, my gal and I wandered around 33rd St ending up at a decent steakhouse. Still thinking about the Madonna show two weeks ago, we mistakenly assumed the Patti Smith/Neil Young show would also start at least an hour late, so we split a second glass of wine and then strolled the two blocks into Madison Square Garden. Elevatored up a few floors, thru the doors and BAM! Somebody's rockin' out! Holy ****....Pissing in a River! I love that song. The band is fast and tight and LOUD! I've seen my share of shows at MSG but I swear this was the loudest concert I've ever been to at the venue. My girlfriend being more of a salsa and soul music fan than a rocker, she smiled as I started walking faster and faster to our gate...."quick baby quick!".... we enter the arena and there she is....Patti Smith! dancing around (not barefoot) like she's possessed while the unmistakeable Lenny Kaye stood still beside her, giving up just enough movement to strum another power chord. We had decent seats - off to the side but real close so we could see the performers without relying on the jumbotron screen. I'm sure it was the wine and the adrenaline also, but when they finished up with Gloria, I had one of those transcendent music moments like when a song hits you at the right time, or in the "sweet spot" - the kind of moments that occured all the time in my musical youth and less frequently now. Like reaching rock nirvana - you feel so happy you want to cry. This is it! You feel indestructible as the power of the music lifts you up into a state of total joy and abandon. My buddy Jason said Patti only played for 30 minutes but he agreed it was the best set of hers that he'd ever seen. I wish I had seen more of it. So then we caught our breath, got comforttable in our seats and watched as Neil's roadies (dressed either as mad scientists with white lab coats or as hardhat-wearing construction workers) set up his gear including those famous "Rust Never Sleeps" trunks and the giant microphone which was erected while "A Day in the Life" blared out of the P.A. The crowd then came to its feet as the Stars and Stripes were raised and Neil and the Horse walked onstage to sing the Star Spangled Banner with us. Anthem completed, the band picked up their guitars and proceeded to blow us away with a 25-minute version of "Love and Only Love" with one amazing guitar solo after another. In fact, Neil didn't even start singing until 10 or 15 minutes into that song. Definitely wanted to establish a mood first, and they did. With Poncho wearing his Hendrix T-shirt in honor of Jimi's 70th birthday, i got the feeling Neil just wanted to jam out tonight. With our proximity to the stage, it was like we were in Neil's farmhouse watching the band practice.
That's a pretty apt description of IaSW. If that's your first dip into electric Miles, I urge you to keep going. At its best, it's a wormhole to an alternate reality, or, as Xgau put it, a provisional utopia.
Can you put your email address up one more time??
I remembered this because I finally played the Ned Sublette album today. Part way through the second cut I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like it -- too tame. Then his vocal personality kicked in; friendly, fun, smart for sure, surprisingly engaging beyond your typical acoustic strummer. I think it was when he stretched out and verbally danced with the words "I got love for everybody what's got love for me" so that you had to pay attention no matter what else you were doing. And then I heard the bank robbery thing. And then the auctioneer thing. So know it's rolling through a second time with great pleasure and greater attention.
Don't forget Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan (including all its sprawl), a Tribe Called Quest and Prince's underrated decade output.
Edit: SY may well have been the best band of the '00s as well.
We would need to do a poll to answer that question. I am guessing that Pavement would beat Sleater-Kinney, De La Soul, and Nirvana in a poll, but as a partisan of the latter three, I'd be pissed if anyone asserted this as a truth without testing it first. Also, is PJ Harvey a "band"?
Just a quick question, trying to do some research, Pavement is considered the best band of 90s by EW's like Wussy is currently?
Also just saw the sampling lawsuit thing with the Beastie Boys. I wish sampling wasn't so difficult without bringing out the lawyers and not costing a fortune to get the rights to use it. Although I have to respect folks like Prince who deny their songs being sampled/parodied for artistic integrity, which to a certain extent sucks because he has some good stuff that could be sampled and used effectively.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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