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OCTOBER 2008 REVIEWS

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OCTOBER 2008 REVIEWS

MUSIC


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ph10

Well Connected

[Helmutplex.com]


With an electro heavy metal riff over a dropped-tempo breakbeat to start things off, you're not quite sure what to expect, but just as soon as this thought starts fleeing from your conscious, your head starts bobbing and you start to get it. This is just easing you in. And then the anticipation builds, and even though that nervous twinge in your stomach starts to flutter back and forth, you don't want it to stop. Then...then...the sirens come in and I-45 and Prodigal Sun drops a flow over the gritty-glitchy break-hop "Bulldozin.'" and, from that moment on...it does...not...stop. While Well Connected is a definite testament to the ever-growing production prowess of ph10, the evolution of this beat-maker is never more evident than in "Enter the Underground" and "Serious Delerium." ph10 veteran resident emcee Pete Miser joins Jamalski in a wicked scratch laden future-retro jungle track. The vocalists stay comfortably within their pockets all the way up to "Serious Delerium," when you hear RZA telling Bill Murray "caffeine causes serious delerium," a state of intriguing mental unease magnified by the ferocity of the drums and bass tossed at us from every which way and widget! Throbbing electro jungle dub beats and gritty basslines that shake the dingleberries from your raving ass. Get it.

[WAM]


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One Day As A Lion

One Day As A Lion         

[Anti- Records/Epitaph]


Yes, yes, it's a few months old, but we will NOT let you forget or bypass this album. It is our duty! As ferocious as the name suggests, One Day As A Lion is definitely a beast out the cage! Comprised of Zach de la Rocha (Rage Against The Machine) and Jon Theodore (The Mars Volta), the dynamic duo join forces to bring forth their debut self-titled EP. Now I know you're probably thinking that Zach would start up from where RATM left off but that's really not the case. One Day As A Lion is a far stretch from the glory days of RATM. Accompanied by the eight arms of Theodore, the band seems highly driven by the minimalist approach. There are no extravagant solos like you're used to hearing with Tom Morello, but rather a simplistic but rugged use of the kick drum and snare. You would also assume that going minimal would take away from Zach's potential but that's not really the case either. He's all over the place vocally, sounding like old school Wu-Tang Clan mixed in with a little Trent Reznor. Let me be the first to label One Day As A Lion as the modern day Public Enemy. After leaving us hanging for so long, it becomes clear that Zach has finally found some magical. I wouldn't go so far as to say ODAAL rivals RATM just yet, but it is definitely giving it a run for its money. Bottom line is this album is rocking my face off, so you better go out right now and buy it. And don't call it a "side project" because this shit right here is fucking epic!

[Darren Duque]


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Mark Farina

Mushroom Jazz Six

[OM Records]


He's like gold. No matter what else is going on and around, this guy's value only goes up with every new release, ESPECIALLY in his Mushroom Jazz series. Not sure if he ever meant to create 6 of these masterpieces, but despite his heavy resume as one of the greatest house and breaks DJs to ever walk the planet, my mind will always equate him first and foremost as the man behind the untouchable magnum opus that is Mushroom Jazz. And this 6th installment does NOT disappoint. 


With brand new tracks from everyone from Kero One to Colossus to J-Boogie's Dubtronic Science and even Farina himself, this downtempo jazz hop mix comp is so seamlessly mixed and smoothly programmed that no matter how many listens you give it, you still find a new sound, a new melody, a new something that you just don't want to end. He's brilliant goddamnit. Applications include everything from a romantic evening with a bottle of wine to a loony dawn with a glowstick and vodka-redbull.

[WAM]


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Benji Hughes  

A Love Extreme

[New West Records]

Benji Hughes has made the album that Beck fans have been waiting for since Mutations.  The guy vocally sounds like Beck, drops funky white boy beats, and has a killer poetic sense for the absurdity of modern times.  If your yearning for self-deprecating, common man lyrics (‘You stood me up’, ‘Waiting for the Invitation’) and laugh out loud tales of everyday life (‘Neighbor Down the Hall’, ‘Why do these Parties Always End the Same Way?’) check these 26 songs out.  Like his predessesor Mr. (Beck) Hanson, Hughes heart lays in folk tales, but he musically blends electro beats to accentuate the absurdity and hilarity of it all.  Have a blast listening to this.

[Ryan McGee]

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Nick Warren

Lima:GU35

[Global Underground]

 

Well, it's good to know that he's still doing what he does. After all, he is one of the legendary DJs from the day. While you shouldn't expect anything ground-breaking or revolutionary, there's no doubt it's a solid perfectly produced and programmed mix from beginning to end, and in a place like Lima, Peru, this was probably one of the sickest parties EVER. Warren also uses his clout to compile and secure over 2 hours of exclusive tracks from everyone from Paul Rogers to Ormatie to Glide, Alex Dolby, Martin Brodin, and Way Out West. Again, a great mix, and a great disc, but nothing new or revolutionary. Not a bad one to have around though for those impromptu no-DJ-but-I've-got-a-boombox party moments. 

 

[Silly Me]


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Chandeliers

The Thrush

[Obey Your Brain]


Not another jive-ass cdr with drawings in marker.  The “case” is little more than a piece of paper, with some kind of Max Headroom design.  Great…

I was expecting the same, half-assed indie crap that usually comes looking less professional than what I can make on my 10-year-old computer.  Surprisingly, this is a remarkably sophisticated and engrossing LP, produced with precision that begged for more play. 

Reminiscent of Kraftwerk but more psychedelic, The Thrush is a funky powerhouse, going from dance-ready tracks like the title cut, to the cruising-style grooves of “Bamboo.”  The music is tight and fluid synth music, but it never loses sight of where it’s headed…wherever that may be.

This is the first LP by the Chicago collective, which makes it all the more impressive.  More than an album, this feels like a genuine taste of some new kind of movement.

[Tommy Digital]

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Jake One

White Van Music

[Rhymesayers]

Ok goddammit, currently a member of the G-Unit team, this cat has produced and appeared on albums for everyone from De La Soul to 50 cent to Snoop, E-40, Gift of Gab, and Boom Bap Project. If that alone isn't enough to make you need to hear this record, well, how bout this: White Van Music has everyone who is anyone appearing on this sucka: Freeway, Slug, MF Doom, Brother Ali, Busta Rhymes, Young Buck, Prodigy, Alchemist, Black Milk...MUST I GO ON??! Look, it comes down to one thing...if you're any sort of hip-hop fan, whether MAINSTREAM or underground, your fundamental credibility rests in whether you know this record or not. The production is nothing short of stellar, the beats are fuckin' ill, the rhymes are goddamn perrrfect. Josh One's abilities effortlessly cater to the ridiculously wide pallate of rhyme styles and patterns from those he chose to flow over this album. The scratches, the fills, the melodies, the vibe...I'm jus' feelin' it.

[Carlos Herrera]

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Lake
Oh, The Places We'll Go
[K Records]

I cannot stress how much “indie pop” makes me violently sick.  Though I am no fan of “pop” music, I can actually handle when someone says they’re “pop,” because at least it’s a legitimate genre.  But indie, that’s just a lazy, trendy way of saying “independent,” which is not a genre, it’s a fiscal reality.

So the fact that “indie” became a genre annoys the balls off me.  By that moniker, the music is meant to sound like it’s made with no money.  Meaning, it’s supposed to generally sound like shit.  And nine times out of ten, it does.

I rant like this because here I am, enjoying the hell out of Oh, The Places We’ll Go, while I’m looking at the press release sent from the publicist...and by God, they quote Pitchfork Media as calling them “charming indie-pop.”  It’s a disgrace, because this band is much, much more than some bum assholes churning out empty music.  They should kill their publicist(s) for this, because it’s misleading and ruthlessly crazy.

Wait, did I say “kill their publicists?”  Well…I must have meant it.

This record is sweet, and I mean like Velvet Underground meets Gram Rabbit, kick-ass sweet.  The opener, title track makes it feel like you’re floating around the set of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, popping some ludes, man, really getting your thing together, man!  FAR OUT!

Thankfully it doesn’t stay there, though it does maintain that spirit, that attitude of seemingly naïve confidence, underlined with sonic precision.  To be clear, this is not some cheap, empty 60’s rip-off; though it often reminds me of bands from the Flower Freaks era, it has the sensibility and range that only exists in today’s music.  Well, and maybe of some of David Bowie, but come on.  That’s Bowie.

“Counting” sounds like it could have been produced by Portishead, underlined by the Nico-esque vocals of…um…nice, nobody wants to say who’s doing the vocals here.  Remember when I said the band should kill their publicist?

At any rate, her voice is just as stirring as Nico’s, but again, with a modern day type of wit to it.

All in all, Oh, The Places We’ll Go has earned a strong place in my regular rotation.  And for a death-metal loving cat, that’s saying a lot when it comes to something that could even resemble “indie-pop.”

[Tommy Digital]

 

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 MF Doom & Madlib

Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix

[Stones Throw]

 

Madvillainy? MF Doom & Madlib? I love that album. Who didn't? 

Madvillainy 2? We've been waiting, and according to Stones Throw, they have too. 

Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix? Fuckin' brilliant way to hold us over!

www.stonesthrow.com

Go there now.

 

[WAM]

 

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Chet Baker

Chet In Chicago

[Enja Records]


This is classic jazz at it's best. In 1986, Chet Baker, one of the 'cool cats,' who's already been dubbed "one of the great, unmistakable improvisers in jazz," was invited by Chicago pianist Bradley Young to bring his trumpet and front a full studio recording session. He did. And now, we finally get to hear it. This is beautiful. Smooth. Romantic and heartbreaking. Sexy and uplifting. Lounge or cocktail party, quiet nite at home. It fits. The flawless improvisation and unpredictable mountains and valleys provided by the 5 musicians plays perfect testament to the genuine nature of the genre. Even blessed with the presence of guest tenor Ed Peterson on 20 of the 55 minutes that showcase Chet's gangs' tribute to the works of everyone from Charlie Parker to Miles Davis, Benny Harris to Carl Fisher. If you're a jazz fan, you can't wait to hear this one. If you're not, you will be.

 

[Misaw M]

 

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Pop Levi

Never Never Love

[Counter Records]

This album literally makes me want to punch myself in the gotcha.  On my editor’s insistence, I gave it a second chance…after which, I walked into his office, and kicked him in the balls.  Then I threw this piece of shit cd against the wall, Hellraiser 3 style.  This is possibly the worst piece of rubbish I’ve heard since Chris Burke made that retarded cover album.

[Tommy Digital]

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We Wish You A Metal XMAS and a Headbanging New Year

[Armoury Records]

 

Almost as disturbing as it is intriguing. I must admit, it was hard as shit to bring myself to pop this one in. Not because of the title, not because of the genre, not because of the cheesy cover...but...because...IS IT ALREADY FUCKIN' CHRISTMAS GODDAMNIT??! Apparently I'm not the only one that feels this way. So do Alice Cooper, Dave Grohl, Lemmy Kilmister, George Lynch, and a host of other rock and metal headz. And to let it all out...they christmas carol everything from "We Wish You A Merry Xmas" to "Little Drummer Boy" to "Santa Clause is Coming to Town." If you're wondering how to break it to your kids that Santa don't exis...eh...or if you're figuring out how to get out of the week with the inlaws and relatives...well, just pop this in this year just as the honey baked ham hits the table. And CRANK IT! The kids will never want to think about Santa again, you'll never have to buy another gift, and, believe you me, the family won't come to town for dinner! With that being said. You MUST own this album.

 

[Carlos Herrera]

 

 

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MOVIES


Taxi to the Dark Side
Directed By: Alex Gibney
(Jigsaw Productions)
Taxi_to_the_dark_side_376883672.jpg
 
No matter where you stand politically, you really should see this movie.  Indeed, Alex Gibney’s harrowing examination of how the abuses came to be at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo Bay should be mandatory viewing in every public high school in this country, so long as the Pledge of Allegiance is chanted, and military recruiters are invited to speak.
 
Taxi to the Dark Side isn’t just some easy, one-sided attack at the Bush administration.  This movie is a carefully-produced, objective piece of research that dissects the chain of events that led from us standing the high ground of victim following the World Trade Center attacks, to sinking to the level of warlords in Zimbabwe.
 
The movie revolves around the death of Dilawar, a taxi driver who was falsely imprisoned at Bagram Air Base in 2002, subjected to psychosis-inducing interrogation, and straight-up physical abuse.  Gibney looks at the situation with a powerfully fair eye, talking to the actual guards present at the time, as well as government officials who helped push the lines of legality aside, as harsher forms of torture were introduced and carried out by American soldiers.  You quickly understand where the soldiers where coming from when they were suddenly placed in the position of dealing with detainees...and how folks like Cheney pushed for them to inflict some of the most horrifying “interrogation” tactics imaginable.
 
Taxi to the Dark Side is a bold lesson in how the leaders of this country neglected our soldiers by skirting the boundaries of humane treatment for their own ruthless agendas, and then went so far as to leave the soldiers cleaning up the mess.  By doing so, they desecrated the very principles this country was founded on.  In essence, the US government were more successful terrorists than those who flew the planes on 9/11.
 
Taxi to the Dark Side will infuriate you, disgust you, and break your heart.  With any luck, though, it will push enough people to somehow hold Bush, Cheney and the rest accountable for their crimes against humanity.00
 
Taxi to the Dark Side debuts on HBO on September 29, and will be released on DVD September 30.
 
[Jake McGee]

 

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