» LATEST FEATURES
LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
MUSIC» The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
February 10th was a very sad day for hip-hop, and for music in general. The immensely talented producer J Dilla passed away after battling lupus for several years. This was a huge loss, but his contributions to music will be remembered forever - Slum Village, Common, De La Soul, D'Angelo, The Roots, Jaylib, and many others were provided beats by Dilla, who used to go by the name Jay Dee. His style was a truly unique blend of genres, and as evidenced on Donuts, his solo album that was just released several days prior to his death on Stones Throw, his creativity was just about endless. The record contains 31 tracks of hip-hop, soul, funk, reggae, psychedelic, and electronic samples, all mashed together into short gems from a producer at the top of his game. We'll miss you, Dilla.
A little catch-up on some records I just received that came out a few months ago... October saw the release of Birdy Nam Nam's self-titled album on the French label Uncivilized World. The group consists of 4 DMC champions - Little Mike, DJ Pone, DJ Need, and Crazy B. If you're expecting a typical Invisible Skratch Pikles masturbatory scratch fest, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise, as the four manage to really create songs that focus more on structure than showboating. Let's be honest, no matter how good a DJ is, it's engaging for about 30 seconds tops to sit there and listen to scratching. Thankfully, this record is much more involved than that. Roots Manuva released Alternately Deep on Big Dada in January, a companion piece to Awfully Deep, which came out this past fall. The record features songs that didn't make the cut for his sophomore joint, and to be honest, some of them are better than the ones that appeared on Awfully.
?uestlove is a busy man these days, working on the new Roots album (due out in September), the Dave Chappelle studio comedy record, and a track for a Radiohead tribute album with James Poyser as The Randy Watson Experience. But somehow he found the time to put together Babies Makin' Babies 2, released this Valentine's Day on BBE. And yes, the theme is heartache, as ?uest selects his favorite sad love tracks of classic funk and soul, including Al Green, Average White Band, and Jermaine Jackson - the perfect album for Sunday afternoon drinking by yourself.
Coldcut's newest, Sound Mirrors, was released this month by the esteemed label Ninja Tune, proving that Jonathan More and Matt Black are still in fine form. Granted, some of the songs on the album are bogged down in the world music style of electronic music, but Roots Manuva and Saul Williams put in guest appearances that boost the energy level of the record dramatically. There are also some truly beautiful moments - check the title track, it's waves of aural bliss that make the weaker moments worth it.
Aceyalone is back with a new album, a collaboration with Def Jux's RJD2. The seeds for Magnificent City, out on Decon/Project Blowed, were planted with RJ's contributions to Acey's last, Love and Hate. The good - it's nice to hear an album produced entirely by one producer, especially a gifted one such as RJD2, as thematically it stands as a complete piece of art. Aceyalone is one of the most underrated MC's, and he'll probably never break into mainstream success, but his bubbling cadence and clever metaphors are always a good listen. And the bad - for all its positives, the album's been taking some heat because it kind of bogs down. The reality is that RJD2's work as a producer is much better when he's not worried about someone rapping over his beats, and Acey sounds like he's phoning it in at times. All Balls Don't Bounce and his work with Freestyle Fellowship are some of the dopest West Coast underground shit ever, and it would be great to hear him rhyme with that level of enthusiasm again.
Need some more Will.I.Am? Are the Black Eyed Peas not enough to satisfy your pop-rap fix? Check out Sergio Mendes's Timeless, but if you're looking for grimy, look elsewhere. Largely a collaboration between the Brazilian musician and the Grammy winner, the album has a slew of guests - Q-Tip, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Mr. Vegas, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Pharoahe Monche, Black Thought, Chali 2na, and more. But this still doesn't make it very good - it was released by Starbucks Hear Music label, so keep in mind the yuppie target audience… Still, if you twist my arm, I would definitely listen to "Loose Ends" again, where Justin and Pharoahe rip it like the new Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson… kind of.
Glaciers of Ice will be back in March with a recap of the month's new releases by Public Enemy, Madlib, Apathy, Ghostface, and more. Until then… e-mail with thoughts and insults, and send me yer shit! I'll listen to it.
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
» MEDIA DOWNLOADS
» GOT STICKERS?
--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.