I guess April 2011 will always be the month that Raleigh got hit with tornadoes…and I was out of town and missed the whole thing. And while it was bad for the unlucky folks who were hurt or had their houses damaged, it paled in comparison to what was to come in Alabama. Sad, crazy shit. Tornadoes continue to scare the shit out of me.
It was also a month for disappointing shows. Smith Westerns are not a good live band. The only guy who looked like he wanted to be there was the lead singer, and the live show revealed that he’s a much better singer in the studio. The next night, Killer Mike did about 4 songs, and Young Dro didn’t stay on much longer. The old man in me was glad to be out of a show by 11, but not when it started at 10. I guess they can’t all be shows like the Jackie Chain/Freddie Gibbs/Big K.R.I.T. show.
Luckily, there were some albums that didn’t disappoint:
- Rittz – White Jesus: Rittz might not be as interesting of a rapper as his buddy Yelawolf, but he’s just as good technically, and he’s got a better ear for beats.
- DJ Burn One – Joints: One man whose beats made White Jesus such a treat was DJ Burn One (fka Mick Vegas). If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’ve been singing Burn One’s praises for quite some time. This little compilation is just a sampling of some of his production and is a must download if you are at all a fan of country rap tunes.
- Yellowbirds – The Color: I love when an album seemingly comes from out of nowhere to become a favorite. I think I downloaded this on the basis of one positive comment on the atease message boards. The Pitchfork review was positive, but not terribly compelling. Whatever it was, glad I gave it chance because it’s easily one of my favorites of the year.
- Various Artists – Cartagena!: If you like the Latin music I occasionally post, but have been wondering where to find good Latin music on your own, you now have your answer.
- Action Bronson – Dr. Lecter: Classic NY hip-hop that’s still fun to listen to since Bronsolini focuses on just making good songs with a classic sound, rather than falling into the common trap of rapping about how he’s making songs with a classic sound.
1) Alexander – Truth
The man who you might mistakingly think is named Edward Sharpe can write some great songs…too bad he can’t pull it together for a whole album.
2) Yellowbirds – The Rest of My Life
A song that’s very representative of the album. If you like this song, you will enjoy the album.
3) Mexicans With Guns (feat. Bun B & Freddie Gibbs) – Highway To Hell (Ridin’ Dirty Mix)
Just as a horn section can get me to like just about any rock song, organs are the key to me auto-liking a rap song.
4) Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – I’m Gonna Leave You
Speaking of horns, imagine if the Black Keys had a horn section.
5) Big K.R.I.T. (feat. David Banner) – Sookie Now
I’ve always been lukewarm on Big K.R.I.T. Tom Briehan does a good job of describing K.R.I.T.’s limitations here. But there are a shitton of kids who absolutely love themselves some Big K.R.I.T. I was shocked by the love he got from the crowd at Cat’s Cradle. Made for a great show.
6) No Surrender [ft. Tunde Adebimpe] – Silver Hall
Sounds better than either of the two songs I’ve heard so far from Nine Types of Light.
7) The Morning Benders – Cold War (Star Slinger Remix)
The April winner for “song that got stuck in my head even if I’m not quite sure I like it all that much.”
8) E-40 (Ft. Turf Talk, Cousin Fik And Stresmatic) – Back And Forth
The April winner for “hardest slaps on two albums worth of new E-40 music.” Also, I’m officially on the Cousin Fik bandwagon.
9) Action Bronson – Moonstruck
Bonus points for referring to this song — the intro to his album — as an “amuse-bouche.” Amuse-bouche is just about my favorite thing to say in the world.
10) Chip Tha Ripper – Plural
Chip’s Gift Raps has some jams on it. This one isn’t the most immediately appealing, but it grew on me over the month.
11) Indeed (Ricky Fontaine & Walt Live) – Weed Money Music
Never heard of these dudes before. But anybody would sound good over this Burn One beat (not that these guys suck or anything).
12) Cousin Fik (ft. Cali T & Mac Juan) – Water in the Bo
Another grower. Check them seals!
13) KD (Ft. Freddie Gibbs) – Let Me Ride
Nothing needs to grow on you with this song. Soulful and syrupy.
14) Pusha T (feat. 50 Cent & Pharrell) – Raid
Pusha and 50 sound best when they sound a little menacing. One of the few highlights of the thoroughly disappointing Fear of God mixtape.
15) Sir Michael Rocks – Bahamas
Mikey Rocks’ Rocks Report fits right into the Curren$y/Wiz/DZA/Fiend aesthetic. Only problem is that at 25 tracks, it’s just too damn long.
16) Los Seven Del Swing – Silencio
Roughly translated: “shut your mouth, ho”
17) Perez Prado – Sexomania
This song makes me want to get in a time machine and go to Mexico City in 1976.
18) MellowHype (feat. Casey Veggies) – Less
Hey, evidently not all Odd Future songs sound like Gravediggaz outtakes!
19) Lykke Li – Silent My Song
If Apple still made iPod ads, Lykke Li would be running shit right now.
20) Yellowbirds – The Honest Ocean
If you like the Love Language (which I do…about to go seem them in half an hour), you’ll like this one.