Of This Moment - Hot Trackz

My brother's motto is "find it yourself", but I'd like to think of myself as your weekend DJ, indirectly (listen to me or not, I'm on a existentialist quest either way).

Not since the days since I was head over heels for MC Lyte, have females in hip-hop music enamored me so. I got to wondering where this all started, and I concluded Missy Elliott's (no relation) anything goes, shapeless, genre-hopping version of femme-fronted-hip-hop was the culprit, and that has temporarily made her a pioneer of sorts (haven't heard much I've loved since "Get Yr Freak On" though). Many have followed, namely M.I.A., whom I think may have cemented it two years ago with Arular, and many have tagged her a one-trick pony, but "Bird Flu" is just schizophrenic enough to prove them wrong. Lady Sovereign (bringing it back (somewhat) to the old school) had a nice track record, but has since become tiresome cheeky fodder. And poor Lily Allen (whom I actually have high hopes for), not hip-hop per se, shows promise, but has already succumbed to the dark side; a place where the artist in her is doomed to fail. Which brings us to today, the end of another spring Sunday.

Unite!!! Have great expectations. There are plenty of Missies in the sea. I'm beginning to think the revolution has (even) yet to be started. Here are some guide posts in finding a mini-mix for your late night party which is inevitable. First, find Santogold (pictured above), make her your friend, and immediately click on "Creator". Then detour towards Lil' Mama's (to the right) handclap and foot-stomp backed "Lip Gloss" (the video's remix provides a nice freestyle that exposes her as quite gifted). From there it's on to the overly-blogged (as of late) Kid Sister, where you'll need to make the switch, for the crunked, but future-forward, club banger, "Pro Nails". Within this process you could accent said mix with jaunts around my blog, again Yo Majesty's "Club Action" would fit, as would "Innocence" from Bjork's, finally leaked, Volta.

Then again the Mad Decent blog could have you downloading and dancing for weeks, all the while tapped into the pulse of the fortunate ones who habitually globe-hop.


Bjork Bjork Bjork

It's been quite a long, long, while since I've been this giddy about a new album on the horizon, but I must say I feel the same way about the May 7th release of Bjork's Volta, as I did back in tenth grade, the day my eventual band mates and I left school early to buy Nirvana's In Utero. I'm not sure if it's the list of collaborators, the wild aesthetic attached to it (very Post), or the promise found in "Earth Intruders," but I certainly didn't have the same fervor for Vespertine or Medulla. Here's hoping Volta lives up to my expectations and this creative explosion results in some partnership with someone like Matt Mehlman of Skeletons (who's as equally innovative) in the future. So to satisfy any near-psychotic obsessions with the Icelandic pixie, you can make her your friend here, and listen to a few "exclusive" tracks, or go here and watch her on Saturday Night Live (I'm almost positive that's Chris Corsano as her drummer?) or head here to watch the, as of today, unreleased video for the single (removed from many sites). I must say, I haven't witnessed an album this heavily guarded since the dawn of P2P software, it must be locked in a safe somewhere in center of Baghdad's Green Zone. Enough? No? I leave you with something vintage, my personal favorite....


Diggin' in the (90s) - Jonathan Fire Eater

It was bound to happen. Once Magnet Magazine ran out of cover stories on the Decemberists, they would start scouring back issues to compile a list of "lost" classics that they claimed they "discovered" and introduced to the world since the publication's inception. Ok, fair enough. The latest issue is actually quite an enjoyable read, re-realizing the brilliance of Bardo Pond and Papas Fritas, giving them kudos for mentioning the Glands, Brainiac (jesus, what an amazing live band) and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, and kicking myself for selling off copies of Rollerskate Skinny and Quickspace long ago during those heady times. But I'm beginning to feel like Magnet is becoming the Alternative Press of the indie world. Do albums such as Neutral Milk's On Avery Island, Archers of Loaf's Icky Mettle, and Beulah's When Your Heartstrings Break, really qualify as lost?

I was also a bit miffed by the exclusion of one the 90's real "lost" classics, Jonathan Fire Eater's sole album for Dreamworks, Wolf Songs for Lambs. While easily attainable through the internet, you'd be hard pressed to find this at your local Best Buy, or in your closest friend's music collection. I suppose my biggest issue with this album is the eventual ascent of the Walkmen, which is completely undeserved without mention of this brilliant little gem. Jonathan Fire Eater were the precursor to the NYC boom for bands like the Strokes and the French Kicks (sic!), and were basically the Walkmen with a more intriguing (and better) frontman. With the exception of maybe "We've Been Had" and "The Rat," the Walkman have never reached the dramatic and mysterious synergy found on songs like "Bipolar Summer" or "When the Curtain Calls for You." Stewart Lupton had a trust-fund snarl and a red-velvet swagger comparable to Greg Dulli on better ludes or Mick Jagger on higher education. Just check out that alliteration ("They spoon-fed their princes, cooked peaches and pears"). The guy writes Hamilton Leithauser under the table, with style for miles. While the details of Jonathan Fire Eater's dissolution and Lupton's disappearance are shady at best, the Walkmen have gone on to gain the notoriety that should be piled upon this album. Meanwhile Lupton has finally resurfaced as The Child Ballads (the sign of greater things to come?), and the Walkmen have gone on to murder the songs of Harry Nilsson and record the same album three consecutive times. (editor's note: I don't hate the Walkmen, really, I don't.)


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Chief Eazy-E

Welcome to my new column Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. It would be called What the Fuck, but I heard a talking head on 700 WLW use this alternative on air, in between some Red's innings Saturday afternoon, and deemed it a worthy title for something new. This will simply be a dump for anything that doesn't fit anywhere else on this here blog.

The Eazy-E arrowhead? A strange relic from my childhood found while cleaning out my former closet at my parent's house. Where did this come from? I'm figuring it was made around 5th or 6th grade, around the time Tim Grunkemeyer and I stole both Straight Outta Compton and Eazy Duz It from the Salem Mall in Dayton. Along with 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be we (my gang of nerds) would secretly memorize every word of this trio of tapes during our time together in GATE (gifted and talented education). That's where I'm assuming this leather arrowhead was made, as we would take time out to do native crafts or learn knots and small electronics, ya' know, basic public school stuff. I was enamored with every aspect of hip-hop culture, and would integrate it into any kind of school project or book report (I once rapped about Ohio history over the "Humpty Hump" instrumental in social studies). Notice though the Indian Swastikas, my color detail, the extra rococo designs. Don't ask me what I planned on doing with such a bauble, I probably wore it once, these days though it would be priceless to a hipster in Williamsburg. Maybe I should sell it on Ebay?....nah. Maybe it unlocks a portal to Eazy's Malt Liquor Cathouse in the heavens? Wishing now I could find the Hip-Hop Trivia board game I developed around the same era.

So...if there's anything you would like to add to my museum of oddities(must be related to music), please send it along.


Beach Talk - Times La Tengo

Most of you know by now that Times New Viking have been on a whirlwind tour of the South and Midwest with arguably one of the greatest live bands of our generation (proof), Yo La Tengo. Little did I know they have their own little army of tape-trading devotees. Word from the road reports that the two bands have become life-long friends in swift time. The last few nights the trio has invited the other trio to end each show with an all-star, love-in, cover song (first one being the Clean's "Anything Could Happen"). So I'm pleading with the bootleggers to send a link of some recent shows, please? Regardless, I should be posting some highlights from the Monday night's performance in Newport, Kentucky. I'm imagining TNV's youth is making Ira and Georgia feel a bit like baby-sitters, but also forcing them to shed 20 years on stage. Having to routinely out-blast Jerrod Phillip's manic guitar melodies is not an easy feat.

Remaining Tour Dates


Of This Moment - Sapat

In addition to the latest mini-player from Times New Viking, Siltbreeze has doled out a trio of equally damaged albums, by Der Teenage Panzerkorp, Pink Reason, and my favorite of the bunch, Sapat. Mortise and Tenon is one of those rare experiences that only comes along so often. It's reasonable to think that the eight-headed smoke monster, that is Louisville, Kentucky's Sapat, can never harness the same cosmic energy to re-create the grooves found within. Sprouting from a group of like-minded heads known as the Black Velvet Fuckere, Sapat have recorded what is undoubtedly the collective's most grounded release, though grounded is not nearly an apt adjective to use when describing Sapat's backwoods kraut and formless jams. "Dark Silver" and album closer, "Fante," show there is conscious thought in their circular odes to both the blooze and free-jazz sputterings; dark, black, bubbling, slide-guitar and clarinet thoughts, or motorik road maps followed on moonshine logic. Elsewhere they channel Can and Ash Ra Tempel from the basement of some abandoned farmhouse, giving malleable banjo and fiddle strings a new life past the recesses of deep space, all the while crossing paths with German Fairy Tale mythos. Last year's sudden death of spiritual leader/carnival barker David Christopher Sauter (heard prominently on Sapat's 7" debut, Tongue Tied and Staid), may have left the Magic Band without it's Captain, but this recording is a not a testament to a band that plans on ravaging the road or a career, but a transcendent moment of psychedelic synthesis that can be re-lived with each spin.


Video Ventures - Yo Majesty - "Club Action"

I thought that when I came home from SXSW the rise of Tampa's Yo Majesty would take care of itself. Though they are playing a nice slew of dates on the West Coast and some stints opening for the always chaotic Brazilian collective Cansei de Ser Sexy, the trio remain unsigned. "Fuck that Shit!" I suppose I'll initiate their PR campaign, though after seeing the tail end of their showcase in Austin, these girls are impossibly hard to wrangle. Here's the hit, "Club Action," in all it's glory.


Box Seats - Look It's Baseball

For the Elliott Clan, Cincinnati Baseball is religion. And Opening Day is the holiest of events. Thank my loving parents for handing down the only two tickets they could find to my brother and I. So......we had the pleasure of seeing one of the greatest opening days our beloved Reds have ever played. Two home runs by Adam Dunn, a solid pitching performance from Aarron Harang, the appearance of Pete Rose, the major league debut of Josh Hamilton (due for his own Lifetime Original Movie) and an unselfish Griffey Jr. in right field finally. The only downside to a perfectly beautiful day was the ceremonial first pitch botched by Cincinnati Mayor, Mark Mallory, it seemed to go straight to the dugout, a metaphor for the city's social trajectory. My brother and I deliberated as to the city's worth other than baseball, and we couldn't come up with much. Chili, an unparalleled modern art museum, and the Reds. Being a bridge walk away from Kentucky doesn't help matters.

The endless variations on "Lay Down Sally" we heard from the countless fraternity bars during our trek to the ballpark prompted us to remember Cincy's musical legacy, which is nil. And you can't even technically count Afghan Whigs, since they formed in Athens, OH. In order to tie this in with all things music I ask two things: Is there someone from Cincinnati we forgot to mention? and What's the best song ever written about baseball? John Fogerty's "Centerfield"? Or perhaps Guided By Voices' "Look it's Baseball" from their extremely hard to find, Tonics and Twisted Chasers LP. Though April 2nd is when Red's optimism is at an all-time high, what I witnessed yesterday has me already hoping for an endless summer at Great American Ball Park.