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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!
The big news of recent weeks is that Nas has signed with onetime verbal sparring partner Jay-Z's Def Jam for about 3 million dollars plus recording budgets for a couple of albums. Wow. I guess it's easy to squash a war of words… for a couple mill, anyway. I'm extending an olive branch right now - I will never talk trash about Talib Kweli's flow again if his management can offer me 500 bucks. Can't beat that deal.
January, oh January, you just arrived, and you're almost gone. At least you've managed to fill your long days with a milestone of sorts. The Alkaholiks last album ever, Firewater, was released on Jan. 24th by Waxploitation/Koch. Yep, E-Swift, Tash, and J-Ro are throwing in the towel, but fortunately their last is full of style and flavor, thanks in large part to the ill production - Evidence and Danger Mouse lend E-Swift their hands on a couple of tracks. Don't disregard the Liks because of their free-flowin' party rhymes. In fact, you should probably embrace them because of this.
Don't call it acid jazz! Jan. 31st saw the release of a DJ Cam tribute album of sorts. DJ Cam Revisited By (Inflammable) contains some of the French DJ/producer's classic tracks ("Success" is remixed 3 times, "Meera" twice!) remixed by progressive house and hip-hop producers. On the house side of things here, the Demon remix of "DJ Cam Sound System" is ridiculous, all filtered loops and potent, high-energy four-on-the-floor beats. But the hip-hop is strong too: J Dilla's remix of "Love Junkee", featuring Cameo, is slowed down molasses funk, full of hand claps and fuzzy bass. Dilla even kicks a verse, and hearing Cameo sing over his production begs the question - when are these two gonna work together again? Premier, DJ Vadim and even Lord Finesse offer up their interpretations of Cam's work as well, alongside such prominent names in the electronic music world as Kenny Dope, Kid Loco, Thievery Corporation, and Four Hero.
Ayatollah, one of the best late-90s beatsmiths (Black Star, Mos Def, Ghostface, Talib Kweli, RA the Rugged Man), has an album full of headspinning production and sampling to prove that he hasn't gone anywhere. It takes a lot for a hip-hop instrumental album to fully engage, but this one is right on the mark. Now Playing (Nature Sounds) doesn't contain one faltering track, from the roots-reggae infused "Kingston" to the sweet, floating soul of the opener, "Nag Champa," Ayatollah proves himself to be one of the most underused masters in hip-hop today. Up there with Kanye and Pete Rock in his emotive use of sampling and an ability to make a track that's utterly rugged, this album will hopefully put him in demand, because with beats like these, it's safe to say that he's a bit underused at the moment.
That's it for this addition, but stay tuned, because February's gonna be a big month - Ghostface, Dilated Peoples, Aceyalone, and J Dilla all have new albums on the way and I'm gonna provide the road maps here.
Until then, e-mail me 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.
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