Odds and Ends 031
Kanye West: Yeezus (Def Jam)
Sign spotted on church in the wild: Death Grips‑-Be Like Them ("New Slaves," "Hold My Liquor") ***
J Cole: Friday Night Lights (free Roc Nation download)
The good tracks keep on coming, but the irresistible ones total, well, one ("Blow Up," "Farewell") ***
Oreo Jones: Betty (Rad Summer)
Naptown indie-rapper runs Frankie Lymon and Jackson Pollock through his beat-pumped emotional wringer ("Option Control & the Spirit," "Needy") ***
Young Fathers: Tape One (Anticon)
Compositionally, one crucial twist short of what they have in them ("Romance," "Rumbling") **
Fat Tony: Rabdargab (HomeSkool Rekordz)
Smart funny goodnik learns to see past his dick, with beatz ("Not Now," "Bad") **
J Cole: The Warm Up (free Roc Nation download)
He's so talented you can hear how much he wants it, so talented you wince every time he shoots himself in the foot, e.g. "Put some chains on my niggaz like I own slaves" ("World Is Empty," "Get By") **
Serengeti: Saal (Graveface)
Singsong raps or vice versa on brand new marginal themes over basswise chamber-pop beats ("Accommodating," "Karate") **
P.O.S.: We Don't Even Live Here (Rhymesayers)
"I don't want to think about it I just want to get down," only neither turns out to be in his control ("Fuck Your Stuff," "Weird Friends [We Don't Even Live Here]") *
I hope everyone is having a great 4th, even those poor Twinkie fans. Spent , thanks a good portion of the day previewing the new Jay-Z and Gogol Bordello, thanks to my crafty young friend here. Hope it's not bad manners to discuss records not released yet. Wouldn't want to exclude the less tech savvy from the discussion. Have high hopes for the GB, some songs sound better that their titles had lead me to believe. Not quite the yacht rock album I feared.
Odd that the grade discussion a few of us had in private surfaced here as well. Odd but great.
Another shout out for the Fat Tony and, esp., Young Fathers (from the previous column; haven't heard this Fat Tony yet). Slow burners, both, but boy do they ever so playfully nibble at you from the background. With the vocals at their most receded, Tape Two reminds me of my beloved Gonjasufi. Tape One a bit too diffuse but still beguiling.
Fave new music book: Annie Rude's All Music Ever - in-depth reviews of every recording ever, going back to cylinders and phonautograms. Even reviews street musicians, guitar lessons, sounds overheard in the public sphere, etc. Indispensable.
Fave July 4th moment: Great Teta just drove by blaring "Step Yo Game Up." Such a faker, that one.
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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