theophilus london….?

i swear, that’s the kids name.  his birth name.  he raps a little.  he sings a little.  he dresses like a fashion editor at GQ.  oh, and he’s from brooklyn. i know, i know.  it’s too easy to be skeptical, i’m in the same boat.

so i did a little digging.  first for the press.  “he’s leading a new wave of music straight out of brooklyn that fuses the intensity of electronica with the passion of hiphop”…or some shit like that. and that’s when i noticed this kids taste in clothing.  he’s more likely to rock boat shoes and a snug blazer than timbs and baggy jeans.

forget all that.  i needed to hear his music.  first reaction?  he likes soul music and indie rock.  he also really likes kid cudi.  more smiths references than a nick hornby novel.  he also digs the club life.  

there’s a series of mixtapes out there.  the one i’m currently into is called this charming mixtape (see what i mean?) heartbreak, boredom with his trendy borough, partying…the usual subjects are present, but it doesn’t feel like a cliche.  my vote?  legit.

his name is theophilus.  thee-off-ill-us.  fantastic.  head over to theophiluslondon.net and download his new single for free.  click below to watch “humdrum town”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gypiIfMJYro&feature=related

shell games? i’m in.

i don’t have to try and sell bright eyes to anyone.  you can either stand conor oberst’s preachy, sometimes whiny, introspective and occasionally brilliant song writing, or you can’t.  that’s your call. 

for me, bright eyes is something that takes me back to college.  i was an emo kid.  emo kids are sad.  and bright eyes is the king of the “sad bastard” scene.    his music has a way of tugging at your heart.  there is certainly a nostaligic quality in it for me.

after oberst’s stint with monsters of folk and that weird double album mess (the electronic one and the folk one), he’s back in band form and has released “shell game” as a free download at saddle creek’s website.  it’s a great song.  sort of rocking a rolling a bit..and i’m pleasantly surprised.  a little of the cure?  a little koufax maybe?  (go look them up).

i dig it.  click below and check out “shell eyes” from the people’s key slated for a mid-february release.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLAMg6o5w2s

tony stark, from the isle of staten.

i bought the 36 chambers tape the summer before 8th grade.  i came back to school with some interesting outlooks.  these fantastic urban images were courtesy of nine of the most gutter dudes i’d ever heard in my life.  staten island was a little different from my two stoplight cow town.  from that moment i decided the wu tang clan were the greatest hiphop group in history.  and in my opinion, that’s never changed.

fishscales, ironman and supreme clientle are a few of my favorite hiphop records of all time.  all of them are from dennis coles, also known as the ghostface killah.  he and raekwon might be the most dangerous mc tandem ever, and that’s just 2 members of the wu. ghostface’s oddball style is a mix of stream of consciousness and off the top street-rambling.  it’s heavy on slang, full of innuendo but completely accessible. 

apollo kids dropped tuesday.  ghostface continues to operate as one of the most gifted mc’s in the game, yet you need satellite radio to hear him on the airwaves…par for the course i guess.

click below for “superstar”.  ghostface and busta…nice combo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr6hNjOLLeM

pass it to the left hand side…

the year was 1992.  i was a young man spending my summers on the outdoor basketball courts of naubuck high…the mean streets of hartford connecticut.  ok, so maybe naubuck was an elementary school, and it might have been glastonbury which is a pretty affluent town right outside of hartford.  either way, i spent my summers at my nana’s house, which meant life was free and easy as long as the sun was up.  the best part was that my oldest cousin lived there too.

those summers shaped and molded my audio obsession.  my cousin was deep into music.  so as any curious, sticky-fingered young person would do, i stole from him.  tucked tapes into my bag at the end of every vacation.  i’d bring them home and play them to death.  zeppelin, rage against the machine, nirvana, eazy-e, the chili peppers.  you name it, he had it.  i got a real eclectic crash course early on.

the chronic became the soundtrack to my summer around 1992 or 1993.  dre’s production was unlike anything i’d ever heard.  hiphop previous to this sounded robotic.  it sounded like machines pounding on synthetic drums.  dr. dre made music.  it was amazing to hear these tragic and somewhat ridiculous stories told over such intricate soundscapes.  to this day it remains one of my most favorite records of all time.

when will we get detox dre’s very own chinese democracy?  he’s been working on it for ages…songs have leaked…rumors have spread.  yet still, no record.  i guess we’ll have to make due with “kush”, the apparent first single.

check it out.  classic dre.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSxnmVR9M0s&feature=fvw

where do we start?

i don’t even know where to begin with ryan adams.  the lead man in a band called whiskeytown.  the solo stuff.   the most recent records with the cardinals.  he even did a short stint as “warren peace” in the punk band the finger with jesse malin.  the man has been eating, sleeping and breathing music for over ten years.

prolific doesn’t begin to explain it.  many moons ago, i used to talk with my friend andrew about our mutual admiration for adams and the same thing kept coming out of my mouth time and time again.  you’d think that some of what he churns out must be complete shit based solely on sheer amount of music he produces.  but that’s the thing…though there are obvious weaknesses in the song writing from time to time, none of it sucks.  that’s unreal. 

he’s planning to release III/IV on december 14th.  the double album is a collection of songs from the 2007 easy tiger sessions.  rumor has it the band went into the studio in nyc to cut 12 songs and left with over 60 tracks in the bag.  III/IV  is louder side of the cardinals.  it’s what the band sounds like without jamming or unplugging.  it’s their bonafide rock record.

it’s fantastic.  check out adams PAX AM record label for more info and click below to hear “lovely and blue” from the soon to be released III/IV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL8_lsQMPv4

she did it on ’em

 

i try to stay off the bandwagon…as much as i can.  for instance, i fought the drake thing tooth and nail, but god damn that kid has talent for DAYS.  i like lil’ wayne but got fed up with him when it became overkill…for a minute he was everywhere thank goodness for jail, we needed the break.  i just never want to buy in when the next big thing comes around.  lets face it, hiphop is a fickle scene, there’s a hot new single and corresponding dance every few days.

about a year ago i found myself regularly saying nicki minaj was a fad.  she had no staying power.  she was enoying her 14th minute of fame, and so on and so forth.  i am certainly man enough to admit i was wrong. 

nicki built her reputation owning other peoples records.  she’s killed any track she’s been on.  check her verse on kanye’s “monster” a few months back.  her debut record pink friday is her official welcome to the game, and it’s a warm welcome.  it’s a mixed bag of fantastic.  some singing.  some legit hiphop.  some oddball pop music.  it seems like this gal is making all the right moves, when the rest of the game seems boring and a bit premeditated.

click to hear “moment 4 life” feat. drake.  well done kids.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE7pqGX_siU&feature=related

get up, kingston kids.

it makes me happy to write about a band close to home.  a 30 minute trip south on the thruway would land you in kingston ny, home to nightmares for a week.  these dudes have it figured out.  their new record don’t die comes out on tuesday. 

they capture the innocent edge of the get up kids and throw in a bit of lawrence arms angst to create something very much their own.  i listened to a stream of the album over at punknews.org and was much impressed.  what really got me was the production of the record.  they spent a few bucks…and it was worth it.

click here for a live vid the song “veins” at bogies, a venue right here in my tiny city.  good stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBalabHS6FM