I picked a heck of a month to start a music blog. Not many albums caught my attention this month, but hopefully you’ll enjoy the little collection of songs I put together below. It was the month of free music, as my favorite albums were all available for free download (on purpose, even!). The debut mixtape from North Carolina’s Ced Hughes, Ced and the Technicolor Soundwave, was hands-down my favorite release of the month (word to Currituck County). Killa Cam’s Public Enemy #1 mixtape turned out to be a good listen once pared down to one disc’s worth of music, rather than the original two. And LA rapper Blu continues his hot streak with his hopefully-to-be-released Powders & Oils album with partner Mainframe (under the Johnson & Jonson moniker).
No new non-hip-hop albums really caught my ear outside of going back and acquiring Les Savy Fav’s 2001 album Go Forth.
As always, feel free to hit up comments if there are any recent releases you think I’ve missed out on.
1) Les Savy Fav – Adopduction
Far more rock songs should try to tell a coherent story. Especially when that story involves being kidnapped by a “guy with a mustache, and a chick with an eyepatch.”
2) Ced Hughes – Greetings From the Firing Squad (Interpol Mix)
Lot’s of rappers have recently tried to rap over “indie” rock songs, to often mixed results (see: Elucid, Wale, Mickey Factz, etc.). Hell, even Kanye West tried to get into the act, kicking some shitty verse over “Young Folks.” None have done it better than Ced Hughes. On this song, check how he works the original Interpol lyrics into his own verses. Dude’s a talent to keep an eye on.
3) Rob Sonic – Brand New Vandals
Some typically good Def Jux shit: dark, rock-influenced, and featuring an MC spitting fiercely and mostly incoherently. For some reason, it always works for me.
4) Re-Up Gang – 20k Money Making Brothers on the Corner
The debut single from We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3. Some day, I’m going to grow tired of hearing Pusha T, Malice, Sandman, and Ab-Liva talk about selling drugs…but that day isn’t coming up any time soon. Especially when they continue to do it over epic beats like this Dame Grease banger. Malice: “Fathered so many styles, I’m hading out cigars.”
5) Cam’ron (ft. Hell Rell & 40Cal) – Swagga Talk
Dipset’s finest (and two b-teamers) update “Ebonics” to hip us lames to the latest Harlem slang. RIP Big L.
6) Johnson & Jonson – Half a Knot
If Nas were 21, from LA, and had a good ear for beats, his name would be Blu. Weirdly, lot’s of the songs from this album play fine in iTunes, but skip ahead on my iPod. Not sure how that happens, but I’m not too worried…I’ll definitely be buying this one once it gets it’s proper release (hopefully soon!).
7) Saigon – Saigon Meets Just Blaze
I don’t quite get see what Saigon brings to the table. But as long as he keeps getting beats like this from Justin Smith, I’ll keep listening.
8) Atmosphere – Get It To Get Her
Here are the Cliff’s Notes: if you want to bag a decent broad, get your shit together. Of course, it sounds a lot better when Slug says it over some funky (Lyn Collins?) sample. Off of the free-to-download Strictly Leakage mixtape.
9) Johnson & Jonson – The Only Way
I guess I’m a sucker for songs that work sampled vocals into the rapper’s lyrics (see also, track 2 above). I guess I’m also a sucker for songs that sample some classic female funk (damn, that voice sounds familiar…can anyone help me put a name to it?) (see also, track 8 above).
10) The ARE (ft. Kay & Donwill) – Keep Trying
Houston producer decided to make an entire album built off Jackson 5 samples, then put it on the intertubes for free. The result, Dem Dumb Jacksons, is well worth the download.
DivShare File – 10 The ARE – Keep Trying.m4a
11) Usha Uthup – Chhupke Kaun Aya
The good Captain (of Captain’s Crate fame) has a seemingly endless supply of odd goodies in his crates. This one here is the oddest and the goodie-est: a Hindi version of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.”
13) Ghostland Observatory – Sad Sad City
If you turned up the bpm’s from the previous song and sprinkled a little bit of cheese on top, you’d pretty much have this song.
DivShare File – 13 Ghostland Observatory – Sad Sad City.m4a
14) Yeasayer – Final Path
My November 07 mix featured two Yeasayer songs, and I’ve been digging their album All Hour Cymbals since then. So much so that I decided to download some live versions of their songs from their Daytrotter sessions. Although I guess I didn’t quite like their music enough to catch their show at Local 506 a couple of weeks ago.
15) Aktion – Masquerade
You might remember Nigerian funksters Aktion from the June 07 mix. Their sound is perfectly funky and fuzzy in a way that I think would be tough to re-produce with modern equipment. Enterprising producers need to sample their stuff, asap. Courtesy of With Comb & Razor.
16) Phirpo Y Sus Caribes – Comencemos
This song is a perfect blend of afro-Latin-funk that I only thought the Budos Band could do.
17) Ced Hughes – On My Lean Casually
I just wanted to show that Ced still sounds great over more traditional hip-hop beats. His appeal ain’t just a function of the “rapping over rock songs” gimmick. This beat sounds like something the Clipse would have murdered.
18) Rich Boy – Get to Poppin’
Rich Boy’s album is actually decent. There’s a little more there than just “Throw Some D’s” and “Boy Looka Here.”
19) Killer Mike (ft. Ice Cube) – Bad Day/Worst Day (Remix)
In 2005, Columbia Records was supposed to drop Killer Mike’s sophomore album, Ghetto Extraordinary. Instead, it got shelved. While most of the songs ended up showing up on his The Killer mixtape, or the I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind “street album” (don’t call it a mixtape!), a few of the songs remained unheard (at least by me). Luckily, Ghetto Extraordinary got leaked this past month so I could hear the “Bad Day/Worst Day Remix.”
20) Bishop Lamont – Music Shit
The latest Dr. Dre protégé has some promise. He’s equal parts gangster and backpacker, and the type of guy not afraid to reminisce on the days when “‘Ice Ice Baby’ through the speakers was thumpin’ / N****s dis it now but back then it was bumpin.”
21) Cam’ron – Just Us
Killa Cam over Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is a pretty unstoppable combo. As Tom Briehan explains:
He’s got a beautifully assured way of slipping back and forth between totally genuine and specific talk about an unexpected personal connection (“Sound horrific, ain’t a doctor, but your son, I wish him well”) and disgusting sex-talk punchlines (“Gave her a sanchez / Yes, a dirty one”).
22) Rihanna – Umbrella (S.A.S.A.C. Remix)
This remix gives a completely different feel to one of the biggest hits of ’07. I don’t know who S.A.S.A.C. is, but (s)he turns it into a super-mellow slow burning electro-jam. Laid back.
DivShare File – 22 Rihanna – Umbrella _s_a_s_a_c_ remix_.m4a
23) Aaron Neville – She Took You For a Ride
I didn’t really listen to much soul this month, but really enjoyed this one, thanks to O-Dub at soul sides.
24) Gorillaz – Don’t Get Lost in Heaven (Original Demo)
This song’s not all that special. But it’s pretty catchy, and I had just enough space to fit it in to this month’s mix.