Kassa Overall/Death Grips
Ravaging the great storehouse of music
Kassa Overall: Stargate Mixtape (free Greedhead mixtape)
I admit, some might find this one ethically dubious. Seattle-raised, Harlem-based, Kool A.D.-linked rapper and drummer (jazz drummer‑-Vijay Iyer mean anything to you?) appropriates hooks provided to such worthies as Wiz Khalifa, Jennifer Lopez, Keri Hilson, Rihanna, and a gorilla-pitched Katy Perry by the Norwegian popmeisters name-checked in the title. Every one is improved markedly even though Kassa's not quite an A-game rapper himself. Really, what a tasty way to get your empty calories--in songs about your cousin's cancer and making love to the A-game rapper who picked up your laundry. Which consisted entirely of white socks. A MINUS
Death Grips: No Love Deep Web (free Third Worlds download)
So maybe how you explain these guys is this: the Gravediggaz grow up‑-or get serious, which is not necessarily the same thing. Either way, who knows how they'll keep on keeping on‑-nonstop rage wears out fast even when it's mixed with the humor obsessives like this deny themselves. But on their third album in 18 months, independently released online with an obscene downloadable cover because the major they suckered into a contract refused to put it out so soon after the last one, synth maestro Flatlander adjusts one of the most compelling aural signatures in electronic beat music. There's more space in these tracks, and unlikely hints of sweetening both orchestral and distaff that come as laugh moments whether the lunatics running the asylum think they're funny or not. Their weak spot is sex, a theme that imbued with their rage occasions misogynist spew crueler and stupider than their parricidal spew. Were they really to grow up they'd sidestep it altogether. Or else get funnier as if they meant it. A MINUS
I've only listened to Loveless/Isn't Anything maybe once/twice each. Liked a few tracks but nothing I felt utterly compelled to listen to again. I now feel mounting pressure to sort this whole bloody My Bloody Valentine thing out for myself once and for all. Back to the old drawing board.
Vijay Iyer Trio, *Accelerando*
Topped lots of lists and foolish to pretend not a 2112 apex.
Trite but here true and telling: piano trios are easy to assemble and make and result in scads of dull albums every year. This confirms, once more, the format is not the problem. Also routine but righteous in this case: program includes numbers by Herbie Nichols, Henry Threadgill, and Duke Ellington as well as three other covers and five originals yet, the attack, style and inventions sound all of a piece.
Right now, Iyer is the keyboard in jazz.
Xgau: Mac users are currently getting a Malware warning when they go to this page. Not sure there's anything you can do about it, but thought you'd want to know.
UPDATE: Nick F.,on a work PC, says he's getting the same warning.
Here's Marsh from the red guide again on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols: "Not for the faint of heart, but if that's your problem, you may have wandered into this volume by mistake" (348).
And here he is on Cheap Trick's "Surrender": "If that isn't your idea of surrender, you've wandered into the wrong book by mistake" (70). Etc.
And just for sh!ts and giggles, here's the Perigeo entry: "Italian progressive/jazz-rock Muzak. For cosmopolitan mood-music fans only. (Now deleted.)" (290).
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.