Tuesday, December 26th, 2006


From Davey D:

“He delivered the drum front and center. Vincent noted that James Brown brought out a more prominent rhythmic foundation for the music and introduced the important concept of ‘Hitting on the One’. James Brown focused his entire band including the complex horn, rhythm guitar and keyboard arrangements of his band mate Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis and Nat Jones to ‘deliver on the one’. James Brown punctuated his efforts by using his voice with his vintage grunts, groans and screams as a binding force which also drew everything ‘on the one’. It seems so simple and commonplace today, but back then it was groundbreaking.”

posted by @ 12:09 am | 3 Comments

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Best Music of 2006

Ten is not enough. Especially this year, which sucked for sales, but has been a well above average year for enjoyment. It’s possible this may even be looked at in the future as a historic year for a few reasons.

1) Dubstep. Check back with me in 2008 to tell me if I was wrong. In the meantime, get Mary Ann Hobbs’ epochal January 2006 Breezeblock set and see what we mean.

2) Youth movement. Lupe Fiasco, The Pack, Skream, JME, Cassie, Pigeon John, Arctic Monkeys, the list goes on. It’s true that for old gunz like us everything gets younger every year. Still it seemed like young artists this year sounded very new. 30 isn’t the new 20, as much as many of us would like it to be. But maybe 19 is. See what happens by the time they all hit their mid-20s.

3) The ongoing disintegration of the album as a profit center and as an artistic end. Soon, if not already, the only folks who will care about albums will be thirty-plus-somethings and critics. (Guilty of both, but please note that I didn’t say mixtapes or DJ sets.) Some of my favorite records this year–like the homie Shadow’s misunderstood “The Outsider”–were less great high-concept albums than great works of taste and craft and passion and concision.

You can find me Tuesday on WNYC’s Soundcheck talking about all this, if you’re interested. (Podcast will be here.)

So here we go. I don’t rank, I just list. Post or link yours or comment, too, fam.

Toppa Di Top

Albums Extended Mix

Matt Africa & B-Cause :: Soul Boulders
Aloe Blacc :: Shine Through
Arctic Monkeys :: I Do Not Want Whatever You Say I Am If I Wasn’t Then Why Would You Call Me That You (or whatever it’s called…)
The Bamboos :: Step It Up
Burial :: Burial
Cham :: Ghetto Story
The Coup :: Pick A Bigger Weapon
Cut Chemist :: The Audience’s Listening
DJ Shadow :: The Outsider
E-40 :: My Ghetto Report Card
Ghostface Killah :: Fishscale
Honeycut :: The Day I Turned To Glass
Kode9 + Spaceape :: Memories Of The Future
Lupe Fiasco :: Food and Liquor
Pigeon John :: …And The Summertime Pool Party
Scritti Politti :: White Bread Black Beer
Skream :: Skream!
Youngsta & Hatcha :: Dubstep Allstars, Volume 4


Alaine :: “Deeper”
The Bamboos feat. Alice Russell :: “Step It Up”
Buju Banton :: “Driver A”
Cassie :: “Me & U”
Clearlake :: “You Can’t Have Me”
The Clipse :: “Mr. Me Too”
Digital Mystikz (Coki) vs. Richie Spice :: “Burnin'” remix
Digital Mystikz (Coki) :: “Tortured”
Digital Mystikz (Mala) :: “Anti-War Dub”
DJ Zinc, Makoto + Stamina :: “Thinking Back”
Fat Freddy’s Drop :: “Cays Crays” (Digital Mystikz remix)
The Federation :: “18 Dummy”
Lady Sovereign :: “Love Me Or Hate Me”
Lupe Fiasco :: “Kick Push”
Jay-Z :: “Show Me Whatcha Got”
JME :: “Serious”
Juvenile :: “Get Ya Hustle On”
The Pack :: “Vans”
Pearl Jam :: “Worldwide Suicide”
Perfect :: “No Badda Mi”
Redeyes :: “Pusherman”
George Rrumbarru + Birdwave :: “Gating”
The Team :: “Just Go”


Ammunition & Blackdown Present :: The Roots of Dubstep
Big Apple Rappin’
The Celluloid Years
DJ Spooky Presents :: In Fine Style 50,000 Volts of Trojan
The Fania Catalog!
History of Hip-Hop Radio, Volume 1: 1986-1991
Incredible Bongo Band :: Bongo Rock
Jackie Mittoo :: Wishbone
Jamaica To Toronto, 1967-1974
Soul Sides, Volume 1
Tortoise :: A Lazarus Taxon
What It Is!
Greg Wilson :: Credit To The Edit

Also Nice

Long and Short and Mixed, Players

4 Hero Presents Brasilika
120 Days :: 120 Days
Beck :: The Nymphormation
Benji B :: T5 Soul Sessions No. 5
Black Milk :: Broken Wax
Blue Scholars :: The Long March EP
Booka Shade :: Movements
Boxcutter :: Oneiric
Buju Banton :: Too Bad
The Clipse :: Heaven Hath No Bloggers
Congotronics 2
Dabrye :: Two/Three
The Decemberists :: The Crane Wife
J Dilla :: Donuts
J Dilla :: The Shining
The Eternals :: Heavy International
Los Abandoned :: Mixtape
Lyrics Born :: Overnight Encore
Nas :: Hip-Hop Used To Be Dead
Public Enemy :: Bring That Beat Back
Quantic :: Announcement To An Answer
Rhymefest :: Blue Collar
Spank Rock :: YoYoYoYoYoYoYoYoYoYo Yes!
Tommy Guerrero :: From The Soil To The Soul
Traxamillion :: The Slapp Addict
TV On The Radio :: Me Want Cooookie Mountain Ahhmnumnumnumnum!
Vex’D :: DeGenerate
Mary Anne Hobbs Presents Warrior Dubz

posted by @ 2:23 pm | 6 Comments

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

Boots Riley on Their Tour Bus Crash

The Coup and Mr. Lif’s tour was suddenly ended last Saturday morning when their tour bus plunged 30 feet over a cliff and exploded.

They lost everything in the crash and some sustained serious injuries.

If you were planning to see them on the road or if the artists have ever given you enjoyment, please consider making a Paypal donation to support the hospital costs and recovery of the band members. A Paypal button is here, below “About The Coup”.

Here is Boots’ own account of what happened:

The Crash

So, we got on the bus after doing a show at The House of Blues San Diego as part of The Coup/Mr. Lif tour. As the bus took off, I thought that I would go lay in my bunk, listen to my Ipod, and write. But then Zhara, Mr. Lif’s friend and the tour’s merchandise seller, announced that she had “Anchorman” on DVD. Oh Shit. Will Ferrell or writing? Hot 16s would have to wait tonight…Good Night San Diego! So I stayed up in the front lounge of the bus and, even though I’ve seen this movie twice, commenced to laugh my ass off. Almost literally, because of what happened next.

Shortly after the acapella singing of “Afternoon Delight” by Ferrell et al., a big bump, then another, then plummeting down as we tipped over to the left. I was sitting in the diner-like booth that many of these buses have in the front. I held on to the table with one hand and tried to guard my head with the other, all the while thinking that I was probably about to die. I don’t remember seeing everyone flying and flipping around me as it was happening, but Carter’s (the road manager) and Wiz’s face were covered in blood, and everybody seemed to be laying around hurt. The bus was on it’s side, with the entrance door up.

I called for people to say there names so we could get a head count of who was conscious or not. Silk E, Q (drums), Riccol (bass), and Metro (Lif’s hype man) were trapped in the back lounge because the doors connecting the front and back lounges to the bunks were electrically powered and didn’t move with no power on. They ended up ripping and squeezing their way out of a tiny little window and jumped down off the bus as the rest of us got out the front. I was the third person to jump off the front of the bus, as I hung down to make the jump shorter, I saw that the front of the bus was on fire.

I yelled to everyone, saying to get off the bus immediately because the bus was on fire and it could blow up. We all did. No one was killed. The bus was totally engulfed in flames. For a while no one stopped to help, supposedly because they thought we were “illegal aliens” crossing the border. Eventually some great folks stopped and helped.

Silk E has two broken ribs and a punctured lung. Wiz has a broken nose, two deep lacerations to the head, and a shattered knee. Zhara has injuries to her hand and had to undergo surgery. Carter had to get stitches to his head and lip. The driver, Glenn, has a broken jaw. All the first three will be in need of follow-up treatments. We all have aching backs, legs, heads etc. Many of us are on pain killers.

We lost everything in that crash and fire.

We were packed to live and do shows on that bus for a month. Most of us had every stitch of clothing we owned on there. We lost clothes, computers, recording equipment, cameras, IDs, phones, keys to cars and homes. We lost cash.We lost all our damn instruments and equipment to perform with. We were and are happy to walk away with our lives. But now we’re home.

Most of┬áthe band touring with The Coup has kids, rent that won’t quit, bills, and holiday expenses coming. We need money, because like I said the band doesn’t have the tools that they make a living with. Not only did we lose cash and material things on the bus, but we also were depending on this tour for money to make it through. It may take a year for us to see any money from the insurance company.

I have set up a Paypal account so people can make donations for The Coup. The money will be split between Me (Boots Riley), Silk E, Q, Steve Wyreman (guitar), and Riccol. Mr. Lif is setting one up on his site and when I have that info, we’ll let you know.

There should be a button right below this that allows you to donate even without a paypal account.

If you have an account, ours is thecoupbuscrash@gmail.com.

Thank you in advance to anyone who does this, this is a really crazy situation. I never thought I would would be doing something like this. I also never thought that we would almost die like like that.

We’re grateful for anything you can do.

Thank you,
Boots Riley

P.S. Thank you for the messages of love and warmth we’ve been receiving. It makes a difference.

There’s a Pay Pal button to make a donation at The Coup’s MySpace page (under: ‘About The Coup’). Every cent will go towards the recovery of the band.

posted by @ 5:18 am | 0 Comments

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Critics Rate The Critics

U can dance if u want 2, all the critics luv u in New York…
(Photo ganked from the Gawker profile of above star)

Today’s Time Out NY critiques the critics. If you just want the music list, go here.

I largely agree with assessments of Sasha, K, and Jody. But they’re out to lunch on Xgau and Pareles–which I think reflects upon how limited pop critics consider their landscape to be…both Xgau and Pareles have been leading lights in taking African and non-English-language pop seriously. (Although the day someone begins to take non-Japanese-girl Asian pop seriously in a New York paper on an ongoing basis is the day I catch religion.)

A serious question: Why, amidst one of the greatest ongoing immigration waves in history, a wave that overwhelmingly trends young, is “world music” still considered old music for old people? Have at that one, friends, please.

Also: Ben Ratliff, highly underrated. Is there a bias also against critics who know chops? Then again, I’ve just outlined the top 6 so maybe I complain too much. (Not a serious question: Can a critic complain too much?)

Finally, I wish the TONYites had gone deeper than the dailies and weeklies. Perhaps there’s a way to develop a rate-a-critic website, in the same way folks rate professors or whether you’re hot or not. That might be the ultimate slapback of the bloggers against the terrestrial establishment.

But hey, why can’t we continue that discussion here? How would you rate the music critics you read?

posted by @ 7:33 pm | 1 Comment

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