Childish Gambino: Culdesac (free download)
Community regular, 30 Rock writer, and stand-up phenom Donald Glover brings more skills to the rap game than any pretender in years, fellow actor Drake included. His rhymes startle and amuse, his flow bubbles and snaps, his beats always get him where he's going, and on the expert pop song "Got This Money" he hits the high notes on his own. One reason hip-hop has no use for him is that high notes are his thing‑-delivering his rent-a-hook, Lil Jon sounds gangsta on comparative timbre alone. Another is that he didn't buy his $10,000 jacket by dealing rock or fronting about it over beats he bought too. "Welcome to the culdesac this is where the street ends," he taunts, and out of the great goodness of his heart he spent years giving records away and then touring behind them. Right, he's too keen on proving something even if all the success and sexcess stories are true. That's why I like him best when I'm surest he's lying, which is on that pop song: "I wanna feel you for real." A MINUS
Childish Gambino: Camp (Glassnote)
His seventh hip-hop longform‑- including the 2011 EP and two mixtapes where he rhymes inconclusively over indie-rock loops‑-is his most official, on quality bizzer Daniel Glass's indie label. Unified by choral and orchestral movie music for "the only black kid at a Sufjan concert," it's less surefire than Culdesac. But it's more satisfying emotionally, because the autobiography reaches deep: "My dad works nights, puttin' on a stone face/He's savin' up so we can get our own place/In the projects, man, that sound fancy to me/They call me fat-nose my mom say, `You handsome to me'." Nevertheless, this black kid who got called "faggot" plenty‑-only "spell it right/I got way more than two G's"‑-still wants to make sure you know how much he gets laid. Fact is, in a textbook case of nerd-gets-famous syndrome, he almost certainly gets laid too much. But later for that. Master of the alphabet though he long has been, his big message is that work comes before women. A MINUS
Mingus: "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"
And maybe something by Sun Ra (Yo La Tengo)
19. The Horrors, "Still Life"
English art-twit rockers doing what English art-twit rockers were born to do, which means absurdly pretentious odes to attractively messed-up girls. When England runs out of these, it may have to start shopping around for another planet.
Milo, sorry if my wording below was confusing - I already own and love Evolution (the Sundazed version
Whoops, no, that was just a brown-out from me while I was darting around getting ready for New Years last night (lovely fireworks on Boston Common, but food was hit-and-miss).
I would go straight ahead to Butterfly, with the caveats that it has touches of twee (skip the POS track about the flying horse) and that I'm a sucker for classic psyche, but it sure sustains graceful momentum.
And I think Hollies Sing Hollies is a half-terrific album. If somebody combined the the top shelves of of that and Hollies Sing Dylan, you'd have a solid recommendation.
And is that the same Billy "Crash" Craddock who went country top 40 with "Rub it In" in the 70s?
Believe so, though I haven't checked.
I'm listening to previews of Del Shannon Sings Hank Williams from 1964 right now and it is tearing a hole in my heart. Are you familiar with that one? Any comments?
Haven't heard them (though I've found his country weaker than his rock). I'm trying to talk myself into buying the hefty Home and Away anthology on Bear Family that includes all of Shannon's '60s recordings. Don't know if I'll persuade myself or not ...
One reason hip-hop has no use for him is that high notes are his thing
It's been 8 years since my last Jazz Fest so I think it's time. Great line up for 2012. And, as always, the hard part is picking which weekend. Need to decide between the first weekend featuring Tom Petty, Al Green, Jill Scott, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Cheikh Lo, Corey Haris, Butch Thompson (and more!) versus the second weekend featuring Neville Brothers, Foo Fighters, Herbie Hancock, Bunny Wailer, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Earle, Ani DiFranco, Asleep at the Wheel, Bombino, the mysterious TBA (and more!). As much as I'd like to see Butch Thompson and Cheikh Lo and Carolina Chocolate Drops, I believe I've seen most of the other first-weekend big names at previous festivals, so right now I'm leaning towards Weekend #2 so I can check out Bombino, Bunny Wailer and my man Steve Earle.
Geddy Lee keeps writing 2112 on all his checks.
Happy Anniversary Michael and Wendy! Wishing you all the best for 2012 and beyond.
(And of course that goes for everyone here, especially if today is your anniversary too.)
Few things/ how about a new unwritten rule for bloggers that when referring to the
title of an album-the artist's name is mentioned- like for those of us who don't know wtf you're
talking about/ anyone read Jon Caramanica in Sunday's NY Times on what he considers the worst
year in rock music in recent memory-2011/ can't wait for the next Childish Gambino review-yikes/and yeah
Happy New Year/Go Obama!
1. Britney Spears, "How I Roll"
Britney hooks up with the Swedish production duo Bloodshy and Avant, who also gave her "Toxic" in 2004 and "Piece of Me" in 2007, and like the first two chapters of the trilogy, it's fiendishly inventive girl noise. Every sound effect that jumps out of the mix – Brit slurring the word "speakerrrr," digital finger-snaps, a real beatbox pretending to be a human beatbox – builds the tension. There's even a plot: An ordinary girl sits in her lonely room, dreaming of party lights far away, wishing she could escape to a place where she can show her kneesocks and drink tequila on the rocks, where there's music and there's people and they're young and alive. But the mean old world won't let her break free, so she just sings along with the machines until she turns into a machine herself, because only the beat understands her. There's your story of pop music right there.
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.
live local music on
Enter your ZIP code to see concerts happening in your area.
Data provided by Zvents