Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Black Keys: Southern Blues "Attack"

I haven't had time to mention The Black Keys' latest effort, Attack & Release, in the past month. Thats because its been a non-stop fixture in my cd player.

**Warning-Short Rant Below**
Yes, I actually went to buy this album because sometimes, I just miss the physical process of purchasing new music. In fact, I would probably switch to vinyl if it were possible to transfer the music to my computer, eventually. But there is something to be said for:
A)driving to a record store (unfortunately, I don't know any in my area)
B)paying cash
C)tearing off the plastic
D)checking for a scratch-free disc
E)perusing through liner notes
F)listening to a new album from start to finish
iTunes just can't give me that experience (and my wallet can't handle buying 10 albums a week).

Anyways, on Attack and Release, the Black Keys added a third party to their close knit duo, producer Danger Mouse. While many were nervous that Danger would disrupt the chemistry and success Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney had on past releases (I know Magic Potion, but need to check out the rest), fans shouldn't worry. If anything, he helped refine their garage-blues sound and only added when necessary. On the lead single, "Strange Times", Carney's drums sound as hard as ever and Auerbach's vocals have a commanding presence. Danger subtly sprinkles some psychedelic keyboarding and an eerie backing to complete the apocalyptic track. "Psychotic Girl" continues the dark tone with a creepy organ amid his haunting voice. Listeners are easily entranced by slight strumming of a banjo, as Auerbach tries to ward off the advances of a female who isn't who she seems.

If a little Danger Mouse, is too much for you, not to worry. "I Got Mine" showcases the duo at their best with thunderous chords with a Led Zeppelin feel. Other highlights include "Oceans and Streams" (a metaphorical bout with insomnia) and the mid-tempo cut "So He Won't Break" (maddening heartbreak).

Look for The Black Keys to continue to gain momentum with stops at Lollapalooza, Rothbury and their own tour this summer.

The Black Keys - I Got Mine

The Black Keys - Psychotic Girl

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Narkworthy 5/20: B.O.B., N.E.R.D., Bun B ft Lupe

There was drought for a week or so, but when new, good hip-hop comes out, it is usually in bunches. Last week was no different with a plethora of summer-ready goodness from a variety of sources.

B.O.B. - Lonely People
This track from the next great thing from A-Town isn't exactly new, but I finally found a copy of it. B.O.B. drops some social commentary over a Beatles sample of "Eleanor Rigby" that would never get cleared, thank god for mixtapes. Some people are partial to Talib's take on this Beatles' gem, but this beat hits harder.

B.O.B. - Lonely People

Talib Kweli - Lonely People

N.E.R.D. - Spaz
Pharell & company sound amazing over another schizophrenic beat. The song is currently getting plugged by Microsoft and feels much more like a track from In Search Of... rather than Fly or Die.

N.E.R.D. - Spaz

Bun B - Swang On'Em ft Lupe Fiasco
After getting props on "Hip-Hop Saved My Life", Houston's best grabbed Lupe for this cut from "II Trill". Lupe's chameleon-like flow sounds more than at home over the thumping track, while Bun B does what he does best.

Bun B - Swang On-Em ft Lupe Fiasco

Friday, May 16, 2008

$35 to see Shawy Lo....I don't think so

In the past year, I have made it part of my daily routine to check Detroit venue websites for updated concert information. Live Nation and Ticketmaster, usually, only list concerts at "their" venues, and TourFilter only lists concerts a month in advance. So I have been relegated to checking each venue seperately, but it is a good way to waste time.

This week, I stumbled upon a listing for a Shawty Lo concert at The Fillmore on May 30th. I then proceeded to vomit in my mouth and tried to hang myself with "Laffy Taffy" when I saw ticket prices were $35 for General Admission, what!?!!?! That is, of course, if you don't feel inclined to buying $55 Mezzanine seats...GOOD GOD. Oh, and don't forget the convenience and building fees Ticketmaster slaps you with. Your grand total is now $46 or $67. Not very "convenient" is it?

It just made me think, who does Mr. L-O really think he is? I guess he could get away with that kind of highway robbery in Bankhead, but Detroit? I don't think so. Its just another example of how backwards the music industry is, specifically, the rap genre. Album sales are horrific (unless your last name is Mathers, Jackson, Carter or West) due to people sick of buying cd's for only 1 single, and this is the type of thing that will ruin the concert business too.

I mean, that is a lot of money see some "one hit wonder", scream into a microphone with 50 dudes on stage. Mind you, I wouldn't pay to see Shawty Lo for $5, but I've been to enough rap concerts, some good (DMX and Eminem) and some bad (a riot with No Limit Soliders), to know mainstream rap acts worth seeing in person. Jay-Z, Kanye & The Roots would be more expensive than Shawty Lo, but much more worth it. A)They don't use "hype men", B)have good openers (Mary J. Blige, N.E.R.D., Lupe Fiasco), and C)incorporate back-up bands.

It just shows the difference between rap/hip-hop genre and indie/rock music. This is exactly why you hear about small acts selling out venues and rap acts canceling dates. Considering tickets for Cut Copy and the Black Kids at The Magic Stick last week were around $15, for $46 Shawty Lo better play the guitar, do magic tricks and buy out the bar to make it worth it.

Shawty Lo - Dey Know (Million $ Mano Remix)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jamie Lidell: So Soulful Man

Sure to be making waves this summer is singer/songwriter, Jamie Lidell. After realizing I hadn't heard of many of the artists that will be appearing at Lollapalooza, I checked out Mr. Lidell via Lolla's handy "Discover Artists" page. I was immediately impressed with Lidell's soulful ways and jealous of his genius skills on the piano. Seriously, when your mother tells you that you'll regret quiting playing the piano in 5th grade, she was totally right.

Lidell's latest album, Jim, was released last week and its upbeat rhythms are perfect for the upcoming, long awaited summer season. He seems to be channeling his inner-Sam Cooke on cuts like "Another Day" and "A Little Bit of Feel Good". Most of the songs deal with the usual subject of love lost and heartbreak, but have a retro-soul feel that leaves you uplifted, rather than depressed. Even when he slows things down on "All I Wanna Do", his crooner sound genuine and not cheesy.

Most of the info I have read about Jamie Lidell mentions that Jim and recent album Multiply are a departure from his Electronica days. If his past passion for electro is half as good as his soulful crooning, it would be worth checking out.

Jamie Lidell - Another Day

Jamie Lidell - A Little Bit Of Feel Good

See Jamie Lidell at Lollapalooza 2008