Great month for live shows (Oddisee, Tanya Morgan, The Walkmen, Spoon, Iron & Wine, White Denim, Tapes ‘n Tapes, and The Roots), but not a fantastic month for albums. Here’s what I liked this month:
- Tapes ‘n Tapes – Walk it Off: Kind of tough to follow-up on The Loon, one of my favorite rock albums. They did a pretty good job though, and their live show is still a lot of fun.
- Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – We Brave Bee Stings and All: I’m almost ready to declare that Thao > Cat Power > Feist.
- These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid: I’m still trying to decide if I actually like this album, or if I’m just intrigued by their weird chanting lyrics about numerology and Elvis.
- Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple: These guys keep making great music. Danger Mouse’s beats either compliment, or bring out, the dark weirdness of Cee-Lo Goodie. Either way, I hope they keep doing it.
As always, let me know if there was something good that I missed.
1) Les Mogul – Sunset In Golden Horn
Zone out to this. I don’t know where I got it from and know nothing about the artist, but some of you might recognize that Dilla sample around the 3:35 mark. As the late great said, “ya’ll ready for some live sh*t?”
2) Queen Eve & the Kings – All Hail the Queen
Two minutes, ten seconds of some furious funk. Sure, there’s a nice, nimble bass-line, some funky organ, the well-timed horn-stab…but nobody’s touching those drums.
3) Pamoja – Ooh Baby
Not a ton of soul hit my iPod in April, but this song (courtesy of O-W at soul-sides) hits my sweet spot of breezy smoothness that seems perfect for lounging with your girl on a warm spring day.
4) Juan Bautista – Estoy Aqui Pero No Soy Yo
Word to Nelson de la Rosa. Wikipedia tells me that bachata is “a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness.” I hope this is playing when the groupies come back to Big Papi’s crib.
5) Thao – Bag of Hammers
A bit cheesy, but when they hit the transition at the 56 second mark, I start skipping down the street like Brian Posehn listening to the Spin Doctors.
6) Tapes ‘n Tapes – George Michael
I guess those opening guitars sound a little like “Faith”? Or is this song about rubbing one out in a public restroom? Actually, I think it’s a tribute to the host of the Sports Machine.
7) The Dirtbombs – It’s No Fun Until They See You Cry
Pitchfork describes this album as a Detroit garage rock band doing “a concept album about creeping future dystopia.” The album opens promisingly with this track, but unfortunately soon peters out. But great opener.
8) These New Puritans – Elvis
I’d describe These New Puritans as a paranoid Bloc Party with balls. Instead of singing about lost boyfriends, they’re rocking out ominously about the meaning of numbers and living in a surveillance state.
9) Jay Reatard – My Shadow
Can’t wait to see him at the Pitchfork Music Festival this July. And I’ll make sure to avoid rushing the stage, like this dumb Canadian kid.
10) Tapes ‘n Tapes – Demon Apple
This was definitely my favorite of the new songs from their show at 506. Josh Grier is sounding a little worked up…I like it.
11) Gnarls Barkley – Charity Case
This song, more than any other, is representative of the general tone of The Odd Couple. So if you like this, go out and pick that sh*t up!
12) Big Boi (feat. Raekwon & Andre 3000) – Royal Flush
Uh oh. If this song is any indication, the upcoming Sir Lucious Leftfoot album could be a monster. A much appreciated return to the Organized Noize days of Southernplayalisticadillacmusik. This is what Cool Breeze was thinking of when he coined the term “dirty South.”
13) The Beatnuts – Ya Don’t Stop
I’ve slept on the Beatnuts for far too long. They were Slum Village before Slum Village was Slum Village. Just a couple of dudes having fun rapping over ridiculous beats.
14) Fat Ray & Black Milk – Flawless
Speaking of SV, sometime SV producer Black Milk dropped an album with Detroit MC Fat Ray. It’s aight. Reminds me a lot of last year’s Phat Kat album. Just dirty, grimy Detroit hip-hop. Fat Ray’s verse here is nice: “High Times n***a, keep the dro growin’ / Inspector Gadget gun go-goin'”
15) Tanya Morgan – Waiting For You
Go download that Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group. It’s free. It definitely would have been on my “good albums” list, but much of the material was older stuff that I already had.
16) Wale – Good Girls
He’s getting enough hype these days that people are learning not to call him “whale.”
17) 77 Klash – Code For the Streets
Dancehall normally isn’t my thing, but this beat is fierce.
18) X Plastaz – Msimu Kwa Msimu
My girlfriend was kind enough to bring me some hip-hop back from her trip to Africa. Lots of it isn’t that great because the guys seem like they’re trying too hard to sound like American rappers. The songs I like the best are those that sound the least like American hip-hop. Tanzania’s X Plastaz do it here, rapping over some Baltimore club music drums and a sitar (?) loop.
20) Gwen Guthrie – Peanut Butter (U-Tern Remix)
Speaking of U-Tern, I love his remixes. Upon first listen, I always find myself saying, “I don’t know…this is kind of fruity.” By second listen, I’m bopping my head and there’s a little skip in my step. By third listen, my shirt’s off (gross) and I start grinding up on the first guy with a mustache I can find.
21) Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
I need some soul savin’ after what I just did to that guy with the mustache. Peep the video.
22) Thao – Geography
I couldn’t leave you on that downer. Something about this song feels vaguely inspiring to me, which seems like a good way to leave you until May.