Tag Archives: Kanye West

R&Bemo?

It seems that the Seattle Times‘ Andrew Matson has stumbled upon the formula that came to fruition in popular culture a bit over half a decade ago:

“random genre/culture/thing/idea/word” + “emo” = combination of the former two concepts!

Back when emo first really hit it big, it seems everyone was trying hard to configure the term with, oh, just about every other term out there for a while, such as emo rap. (Curiously enough, this was the same thing that occurred within post-hardcore punk communities in the mid-80s which begat the term emo.) There’s no question that this equation has yet to cease, but it’s certainly faded as a large chunk of the media limelight has hoped the “indie” bandwagon.

However, in a recent piece on the musician Drake, Matson doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that he’s making pointed calculations to his audience. It’s all in the title:

R&B + emo = R&Bemo | Drake – “Successful”

So, what exactly defines R&Bemo?

“Successful” takes place in the most gothic of R&B batcaves. Vocals waft in, fade out, and a sparsely decorated hiphop beat is revealed. Snare and bass hits echo. A lone synth’s electro-organ warble is a single candle. The music is beautiful.

The music is also Drizzy’s cold, cold soul.

Mmm… sounds a lot like… well, R&B, potentially sans the echo. Also, “Drizzy?” Really?

Matson continues:

From the very beginning, “Successful” is broody and forlorn, a perfect example of the new R&Bemo (R&B + emo), a mini-movement in contemporary rap and R&B.

The new R&Bemo is different than singing the blues. It’s post-that. The blues is direct; it’s crying. The new R&Bemo is also about pain, but it’s post-crying. The new R&Bemo is psychiatric. It’s picking up where Prince’s “When Doves Cry” left off, marrying minor-key pop jams to lyrics that show an awareness not only of one’s own pathologies and neuroses, but potential causes and fixes. For the latter, the new R&Bemo is psychopharmacological. It’s about drinking, driving, smoking, spending, having sex, and sing-rapping your way through this crazy life.

At this point, it seems that the “R&Bemo movement” sounds a lot like, say, the new Kanye West album (and the oft-incorrectly attributed connotation to emo). (And I’m not entirely sure what Matson implies with the term “post-crying,” but isn’t the performance of music, blues especially, a means of psychologically dealing with one’s pain?)

It’s not just that Matson’s description makes Drake and 808s sound similar. They sound similar too. Take a listen…

Drake – “Successful”:

Kanye West – “Love Lockdown”:

All Drake needs is a little more autotune and a more grandoise fashion sense…

I’m not one to deny that this exists or to say “shame on you” to Matson for his emo mathematics after I’d put together heapings of words dedicated to scrunk. (After all, my Phoenix article was also up front about screamo + crunk = scrunk.) And I’m not one who’s well versed in the modern R&B world… I couldn’t have told you who Drake was before reading this piece. But, until someone shows me a handful of artists aside from Drake and Kanye who are making minimalist electronic beats to be crooned over – R&B style – and derive some musical inspiration from any, and I mean any, emo artist (ilk included), I just find this whole term, well, kind of odd. But, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.

iMusician Meme

Stumbled upon this video through the 100 Bands in 100 Days Project:

iBand… one of those many “phenomena” that might not be called such if it weren’t for the Internet. And these folks aren’t the only ones in on the iPod/Phone-as-an-instrument idea. The number of videos of people either screwing around with a Metallica solo or a hacker using their igadget as a drum sampler to replay “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” What a meme. Here are a handful for your enjoyment:

Metallica – “Nothing Else Matters”:

Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”:

The Police – “Message In A Bottle”:

AC/DC – “Highway to Hell”:

Snoop Dog – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”:

Benny Benassi – “Satisfaction”:

Kanye West – “Stronger”:

Weezer – “Say It Ain’t So”:

Fall Out Boy – “Beat It”:

The Rap on Emo Rap

P.O.S. said emo rap “sounds pretty unfortunate,” so one must wonder what Kanye West must think about the term. Sure, various blogs abound on the Internet that didn’t meet a song with any emotive content they couldn’t shake a finger at and immediately label it have tied Kayne’s newest 808s and Heartbreak and emo in twine. But what happens when XXL Magazine, the most credible source of hip-hop news next to The Source, sticks a “hello, I make emo rap” name tag squarely on Kanye’s heart-shaped patch?

 

 

Theres that heart-patch...

There's that heart-patch...

 

A feature article titled “Emo Trippin’” is published, that’s what. Sure, over half a decade after Atmosphere ignited the term around the time that emo burst into the cultural definition and no major word in XXL. But when Kanye does it… Feature article. 50 Cent can attempt to rag on Kanye all he wants, but there’s no question Mr. West continues to set and define culture in a way Fiddy can only dream of.

 

You’ve got to give XXL credit for observing a tired out genre-name that was, for all intents and purposes, a dead term, resurrected for time to time to describe acts such as Gym Class Heroes. The XXL staff do a pretty decent description as well:

 

“Emo rap—emotive hip-hop of pain and introspection, the antithesis of swagger—is now seemingly as mainstream as Main Street, suitable for serenading a new president, lucrative enough to generate bags full of dead ones.”

 

However, the connections to Coldplay and the lack-thereof of any indication to emo’s hardcore/punk roots is a bit of a misnomer for what is a well-written piece. (It was Atmosphere’s connection to underground punk, as well as the introspective notions and self-reflection within the lyrics, that had the duo receive the emo rap title.) Though, I’ll have to pick up the full article – as smart as XXL is, only a portion of the article is published online.

Top o’ 2008

THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2008 (and other things)

So, like any music-related blog, here’s a listing of my top albums this year. Some of it may seem a bit odd and arbitrary, but there’s some backings to my orderings. But, it’s all merely numbers – I’ve enjoyed all these albums throughout the year, and completely numberless. However, for the sake of order, here’s the list…

 

35. AmpLiveRainydayz Remixes

Here’s a great album remix concept that works out all the way through. Rather than simply mashing up In Rainbows with another album, AmpLive rearranges the Radiohead tracks into completely new and downright great hip-hop songs. Del’s track (“Videotapez”) is one of the best hip-hop songs of the year.

34. High Places03/07 – 09/07

It’s a bit random, but this selection of songs recorded by High Places made from March to September of last year is, if anything, a mark at how great this band can be. “Head Spins” and “Jump In” offer up some fantastic experimental pop songs, bringing some heft to the album of mostly-studio experimentations.

33. Future IslandsWave Like Home

Comparisons are pretty easy, but in this case, it’s impossible to ignore. Baltimore’s Future Islands sound a little something like if New Order used cheap laptop technology for their electronics and were fronted by a slightly subdued Iggy Pop. “Old Friend” is perhpas one of the most endearing beginnings to any album this year.

32. Fuck Buttons Street Horrsing

Listen to the first two tracks and just try not getting hypnotized. Experimental-art-whatever-kind-of-rock that’s quite pallatable.

31. Lil WayneTha Carter III

I’m not sure what convinced me about this record. Oh wait, it could be the brilliant minimalism of “A Milli” and Wayne dropping rhymes like “you drop em cuz we pop em like Orville Redenbacher.” Now that’s an imaginative and oddball line for you.

30. AtmosphereWhen Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold/Strictly Leakage

Sure, Slug’s fit of anger may have become… well, sluggish. But he’s surely got more to offer, as seen on When Life Gives You Lemons. Although there are some rough patches here and there, Slug melts his tales of woe and wisdom of everyday folks with Ant’s increasingly experimental neo-soul. Guest spots from TVOTR’s Tunde Adebimpe and Tom Waits sure do add to the mix. The free Strictly Leackage is a bit of a toss-away in comparison to the large amount of Atmosphere material out there, but pump those beats and you really can’t go wrong.

29. The Very BestThe Very Best Mixtape

This mixtape might be a little higher to the top if it weren’t for the fact that many of its best tracks are simply recylced instrumentals that are quite recognizable… then again, that is part of the appeal of most mixtapes. Even so, Esau Mwamwaya’s skillful flow brings a newfound musicality to the over-used Clash sample on “Paper Planes”… now, if I only new what he was saying…


28. FoalsAntidotes

When I saw Foals in a tiny club in London back in 2007, I was sold. But when Antidotes was released, I didn’t pick it up. Actually, I still haven’t. However, I’ve heard plenty of the album, and after having a sizeable amount of distance from the material and the British hype machine, I must say the things that brought me to the band are still there. There’s the quirky math-minimalist streak, combined with an ambience I originally pushed off in search of more post-punk punch but does the trick. If only some of the songs stood out a little more on their own, or rather, didn’t appear to repeate the tropes of other tracks, this album would have been in the top ten.

27. Pattern Is MovementAll Together

Punk drums and church-like organs with operatic singing, and tons of positive feedback. How can you go wrong?

26. Hercules and Love AffairHercules and Love Affair

The sound of Hercules and Love Affair breathes disco, but it seems to be missing part of the free-for-all effervescence that fills the best tracks of that era. But considering that the large majority of songs from that era get increasingly hard to listen to, consider HALA a neo-disco best of. Some of these songs are that great. Hats off to Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, who’s trumpet-like warble makes the albums best songs.

25. Apollo Sunshine Shall Noise Upon

Like the Beatles? Like classic rock? Anti-folk? Country? Jam? “Indie?” Well, it’d be best to run out and pick up this record immediately. It’s great to see Apollo Sunshine constantly producing great music, and their work in the studio has certainly begun to equal their live presence. What’s the worst thing about the record? The fact that it hasn’t been getting its proper due.

24. Kanye West808s and Heartbreak

Here’s what my friend had to say to me about this album while arguing about it the other day:

“He doesn’t rap!”

“It’s all electronics!”

Now, on paper/screen image, it’s impossible to register the confused disgust in my friends voice. That’s because he was just making statements, though ones marked with hatred towards the album. For a person who isn’t neccesarily looking for a formula, 808s and Heartbreaks is a solid pop record. The beats are, if anything, still fresh, “despite” the electronics of it. And the auto-tone? Well, it’s better than T-Pain. Moreover, songs like “Say You Will” and “Coldest Winter” seem to stick to the inside of your head no matter what the ratio of electronic singing to rapping may be.

23. Hot ChipMade In The Dark

It’s got some of the best dance tunes of the year, and some of the oddest slow dance songs of the year. You have to give it a hand to Hot Chip to keep on revitalizing their sound and style and interspersing it with effects from reggaeton to two-step to old school soul.

22. The Black KeysAttack & Release

Danger Mouse. Danger Mouse is like cowbell for those musicians who aren’t Blue Oyster Cult. With Attack & Release, DM revitalizes The Black Keys tired and true approach and certainly makes it less tired, working in to fill in the blanks that come with only having a guitar and drum. The funky bump of “Strange Times” and wistful ballad of “Psychotic Girl” have helped revitalize my own faith in this band.

21. Marnie SternThis Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That

Here’s a record for folks who think that the world of the guitar virtuoso is gender oriented. Marnie Stern can shred faster than most of those old phallic hair metal acts, and she does it well to boot. AC/DC-styled riffs at chipmunk paces, math-stylized song structures, and Zach Hill make for pop-fueled fun.

20. Wilderness(k)no(w)here

When the vocals on “High Nero” kick in halfway through the song, it’s as if Wilderness grabs you and goes, “where have you been?” I can’t believe it took me until this band’s 3rd album to discover them, and what a treat it is. Stormy, ambient psych-folk combined with brutally haunting vocals that don’t so much scare as orate tales of loss and redemption. Too bad it’s over far too quickly.

19. Dr. Dog Fate

Another band that took me far too long to discover, but this was purely out of my musical filtering mechanism: the name Dr. Dog just has no appeal. Fortunately, their music is an entirely different beast, a wonderful combination of Beatles melodies, country-fried guitar rants by The Band, and who-knows-where-we’ll-go-with-this-song of good ole’ indie rock. These guys might actually turn me on to classic rock instead of the other way around.

18. Chad VanGaalenSoft Airplane

VanGaalen’s third album is also his best (so far at least), and a complete picture as well; previous records sounded like a mess of VanGaalen screwing around in his basement with random instruments he created and a few good tunes surviving. Well, here that process has paid off, with some of his most mind-gnawing work to date: death, freak-folk, and oftly odd melodies crash and collide to make a great listen all the way through.

17. AliasResurgam

It’s been a banner year for Anticon, and Resurgam is just one of many great records to come out of this Oakland collective over the last couple of years. Almost entirely composed of instrumental work, it’s an ambient take on old school hip-hop that will put you in a state of relaxation for hours on end. It even seems a bit unpleasant when the two vocal songs kick in, at least until you recognize that the same music sits at the foreground of the album.

16. Beach HouseDevotion

I was itrigued to see how Beach House, a band who’s music could easily lull one to sleep, would perform under the insurmountable pressure that comes with taking the stage at Siren Music Festival. Facing the grueling heat, packed crowds of hipsters, and set time near the end of a long, long day, Beach House performed as beautifully as their melodies. Devotion is a spellbinding, ambient mess of tunes that work under any weather or state of emotion. Victoria Legrand’s voice is as soothing as it is soulful, and it carries the entire album to its sleepy-headed end.

15. No AgeNouns

No Age’s Nouns is filled with the kind of songs you seem to know before you even hear them. They’re packed with anthemic punk-rock riffs and bursts, yet remain emotionally perplexing and experimentally arousing. And it’s loud as hell. It’s hardcore for the arty crowd, art for the little punks in us all, and something for everyone.

14. WaleMixtape About Nothing

Here’s a hip-hop artist with a good head on his shoulders and an ego that’s perfectly comfortable in a realm where folks have to defend theirs at every turn. That could be because Wale can crank out dozens of tunes about something as archaic to hip-hop as Seinfeld can be… and it’s great too. Infuse sick rhyming and lyrical foreplay with old school hip-hop meets go-go (and perhaps that genre’s ticket out of D.C.) and tons of rap’s biggest names and you wouldn’t feel the need to defend one’s ego either.

13. The BugLondon Zoo

In an odds-and-ends collection of articles, a close friend of Lester Bangs’ describes PiL’s Metal Box as a musical accompanyment to his depression. In many ways, London Zoo feels like an equally derranged equivalent; the record is so dark, intense, and angry, I’ve yet to listen to the entire album in one sitting. But its intensity displays its musical muscle, as deep-in-your-chest bass grinds with glitchy grime and head-banging dancehall to create one intensely personal meditation on the nadir of society. Not for the weak, but definitely for the musically ambitious.

12. Forest FireSurvival

Here’s a summer record for you – sprawling lo-fi folk that mixes with Velvet Underground-style proto-punk and garage rock done on spare acoustic instruments. It’s enchanting and oft-aggressive, and man does it get in your head and stay there. And to think, they gave this gem away for free…

11. SubtleExiting Arm

The impact of collaborations with members of TV on the Radio bear their mark on Subtle, who’s Exiting Arm takes their sound and turns it to the noises in between. Whereas on earlier recordings Doseone could often be heard spitting rhymes at 100 mph, here his vocals are subdued and sink into the tapestry, which taverses across an odd array of sounds and vibrations, but is a whole product throughout. The minute I heard this thing in an ice cream place over the summer I knew it was stuck to me; months later it’s yet to leave my head.

10. Food For AnimalsBelly

Noise and hip-hop? Whodathunkit? Food For Animals, that’s who. And that’s why Belly, the long-delayed first album from the DC/Baltimore group, is in the top 10. It’s hard to find an album more ambitious in its sound and execution than FFA’s, and it’s as accessible as any other hip-hop blaring on mainstream radio today. It’s glitchy, bass heavy, and dark as hell, but this trio certainly spins some sick off-beats and rhymes that are more shout-along-chorus-friendly than anything else.

9. Friendly FiresFriendly Fires

This is what the Foals record could have been, and what I originally wished it was: a great post-punk dance piece. Infusing that genre with strains of disco, salsa, and Brit pop, Friendly Fires’ debut defines irresistible. The music is taught and catchy, the sound gets in your head and shakes your hips, and the hits keep coming. Friendly Fires sounds like a singles collection, with each track as pop-friendly as the last – funny to think this is the band’s first record.

8. The Dodos Visiter

It may be due to the fact that I had this album on repeat for most of the spring, but Visiter seems to uphold a sense of rebirth and newborn energy that’s often so hard for musicians to capture. Some folks cast the band off as acoustic Animal Collective wannabes, but the album is a beast unto its creators, filled with child-like enthusiasm and sincerity that makes them altogether unique.

7. The Mae ShiHLLLYH

2008 could be the year of concept albums, or, more correctly, the year that produced a handful of great concept albums. The Mae Shi’s tribute to the end of the world sounds positively, well, great. It’s scary, but the band’s mix of agit-punk, twee, and art pop have an endearing effect that carry through the morbid lyrics of “Run To Your Grave” (and that title to boot). It’s got energy and vigor that blasts through the entire album, one concept to the last. For such a depressing topic to tackle, these guys sure make it sound fun.

6. Neon NeonStainless Style

Nostalgia can be a killer, and it’s flogged the 80s past the state of decay, but man oh man do Neon Neon know how to make a bad thing sound great. To call it nostalgia however is making the great concept of Stainless Style seem passe, when in fact it’s a record more “with it” than countless other albums released this year. Much as Gnarls Barkley emphasized “neo” in their neo-soul mix debut two years ago, Neon Neon take the aesthetic tics of 80s pop and place it into an entirely new landscape. It makes it so that the chincy-sounding synth sounds altogether refreshing on tracks like “Dream Cars” or “I Told Her On Alderaan.” It also helps that this project came from the meeting between oddball producer Boom Bip and even-odderball Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys, and they certainly saved their pop-tooth for this record.

5. PonytailIce Cream Spiritual

Ponytail put on one of the best shows I’ve seen this year – so good, I saw them thrice. So I was immediately drawn to the record after grabbing an early release copy after seeing them, doing nothing but playing it for weeks straight. After my mania over the album subsided, I can safely say it’s still a fantastic record. It’s a swirling mess of punk-art-rawk, one that caterwauls off of every surface and smoothly glides through the down-tempos and down singer Molly Siegel’s over-worked larynx to create a record that seethes with passion and power. Kudos to producer J. Robbins for wrestling their great live sound into a well-preserved recording.

4. Sun Kil Moon April

April opens with a song that nearly hits the 10 minute mark, and could have sustained my rapt attention tenfold. “Lost Verses” sweeps along like any Mark Kozelek song, yet there’s something profoundly new and slightly different than the frontman’s previous efforts. It could be his meditation over the death of a former muse, who’s image is never quite literally addressed, but who’s absence hangs over the entire record. Whatever it is, Kozelek delivers every last line with undue sincerity, and it’s probably because they are his own; in retrospect, the biggest problem with Tiny Cities, the last Sun Kil Moon album made entirely of Modest Mouse covers, is that the music wasn’t created by Kozelek himself (although he does a great job of re-imagining most of the songs on the album). But here, you get the sense that Kozelek’s body struggles with every pick at his guitar, even though all you’re left is with that voice and no image behind it. But what a voice it is.

3. Parts & LaborReceivers/Escapers Two

For a band that makes a lot of noise, Parts & Labor have made music for just about everyone. Receivers is a fantastic opus of noise juxtaposed against anthemic, stadium-sized pop rock. The electronic bursts and blips are still there, but they’ve become a fixture of a larger pattern; noise doesn’t give way to bubblegum hooks and back again, but it’s all intertwined throughout the album. From “Satellites” to “Solemn Show World,” there’s a song for the punk in everyone (and every punk who submitted sound samples is in a song). For those who don’t like getting too close to accessiblity, Escapers Two offers 50+ “grind pop” songs, most of which barely hit the minute mark and have the mark of dark metal and hardcore punk bursting from the seems… at times, it’s quite beautiful to boot.

2. Why?Alopecia

What a pleasant surprise Alopecia turned out to be. Why?’s previous work always had some inadvertantly beautiful quality to it, but it’d always been battling a range of sounds and ideas passed out by Yoni Wolf. On Alopecia it comes together in a brilliant and cohesive work, with Wolf’s lyrics and stories spilling into one another, but neither clouding up the music or his often enticing nasaly rasp. And, much like most of the top albums of the year, it is a whole product instead of a combination of some good songs repackaged for consumption.

1. TV On The RadioDear Science,

Numbers or not, there was no question this would be my number one album of the year. From the opening moments of “Halfway Home,” I knew this would be a fantastic album. Unlike Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes and Return To Cookie Mountain, Dear Science, is a fully fleshed-out album from beginning to end as each track seemlessly gluides from one to the next. The band’s turn to a poppier and all together accessable sound is just as natural as their work as a band in and of itself; they’re still pushing musical boundaries, using a wide array of feedback and avant-guard noises, but it’s an altogether cohesive and beautiful mess.

Albums I wish I had more time with, because they probably would have made this list:

For those of us who can’t get our hands on every available album to come out this year, it certainly made the “best of” list process a bit more difficult because, having heard at least snipets of the following albums, I wish I’d gotten them all. But, there is always time for more new music. Anyway, here are the ones I would have liked to have on my list:

High PlacesHigh Places

Extra LifeSecular Works

Fall Out BoyFolie á Deux

BeckModern Guilt

The Notwist The Devil, You + Me

HEALTHHEALTH/DISCO

Eddy Current Suppression RingPrimary Colours

Lykke Li Youth Novels

Dan FrielGhost Town

Eagles of Death Metal Heart On

Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes

Edie Sedgwick Things Are Getting Sinister And Sinisterer

Heavy Heavy Low LowTurtle Nipple and the Toxic Shock

SpiritualizedSongs in A&E

Death VesselNothing Is Precious Enough For Us

DoomtreeDoomtree

Miloshiii

El Ten ElevenThese Promises Are Being Videotaped

School of Seven BellsAlpinisms

Fucked UpThe Chemistry of Common Life

DananananaykroydSissy Hits

Hot Club de ParisLive at Dead Lake

Best of 2008 from 2007:

The albums from last year that made a lasting impact this year.

The Dillinger Escape PlanIre Works

Bon IverFor Emma, Forever Ago

Double DaggerRagged Rubble

VideohipposUnbeast The Leash

MusclesGuns Babes Lemonade

Kanye Wemo

It’s been a number of days, but Stereogum’s post on Kanye West’s “Coldest Winter” caught my eye for oh so many reasons. Of course, images offer the best summation. Thanks Stereogum:

Kanye = emo?

Kanye = emo?

The post offers an interesting look at the perception of emo today. Given that Stereogum doesn’t play into mainstream music standards and often prides itself on its (quite excellent) ability to subvert and branch beyond the increasingly formulaic indie tastebuds (see Brandon Stosuy’s “The Outsiders” column), its odd to see the light of emo in such a stereotypical mess. Not than Stosuy’s article wasn’t in good fun – it certainly was. But the responses certainly reeked of the tired-and-true attacks for and against emo:

Being sad about yr mom dying=so emo.

Posted by: Liam at 10/17/08 4:40 PM | Reply
Score = 8 Vote up Vote down

i have to kind of agree with the whole kanye gone emo concept…i think that it has to do with the passing of his moms thats taking the toll on some of his music…but this 808’s and Heartbreak album should be excellent if the songs r like heartless, love lockdown, and coldest winter

Posted by: Malcom at 10/18/08 12:50 PM | Reply
Score = 0 Vote up Vote down

Kanye gone emo? Do you people even know what emo is? Obviously you don’t if you’re including Fall Out Boy in your emo jokes. Fall Out Boy is not an emo band, and the word emo has been mangled and twisted so much that it’s hard for idiots like you to recognize real emo if you see it. And you won’t see it if you’re listening to any recent music that is relatively mainstream. Quit using the word “emo” as a diss, especially when you have no concept of the real mean. And lay off Kanye for making music that has emotion and feeling. At least somebody still speaks from his soul.

Posted by: Ty at 10/20/08 1:17 AM | Reply
Score = -3 Vote up Vote down

Elliot

The best is when emo kids defend emo by saying it’s not emo. Hilarity ensues.

Posted by: Elliot profile link in reply to Ty’s comment at 10/21/08 12:52 AM | Reply
Score = 0
Vote up

I could easily break each argument down, see what the writer was thinking. But, that might be a waste of time. I’ve often found arguing over forums an unproductive and anger-inducing waste of time; when you’ve got someone so vehemently closed-minded about a subject railing against it, there’s no way they’d take the time of day to consider even the most well-researched, intelligent case against their voice. Granted, most of these posts aren’t anger filled, but there’s a certain close-mindedness associated with them that I sometimes wish didn’t exist in the realm of underground music; you’d think most people attracted to seemingly un-mainstream art would therefore subvert total musical close-mindedness. Or at least keep it in check.

So it goes.

But the Kanye track is pretty awesome in its own right. As far as the “shitty sound” I’ve seen posted about this song and the previous other ones, if this is indeed the aesthetic that Kanye is going for, I’ve got to give him more credit than I usually do. As I learned under the tutelage of Wayne Marshall, hip-hop producers from different parts of the globe have come to embrace the “shitty” sound many listeners tend to notice in the new Kanye tracks. In trying to make their music accessible for the masses, these producers embrace a sound that they know will sound good coming out of speakers or systems of poor quality. That can be anything from laptops and computer speakers to cell phones; after all, when audiophiles talk about getting the perfect listening experience, they drop words like “vinyl” and “surround sound.” But these things cost money, which isn’t exactly going around freely at the moment. By creating a sound that may come across as rough, flat, jarring, or however you want to categorize it, Kanye is producing music that is immediately accessible to music players (and those who own them) of all kinds; from laptops to concert-hall speakers, it’ll sound the same one way or the other. It might even sound better on a cell phone…

*Speaking of Wayne, he’s helping throw an event down in JP at the Milky Way on Thursday featuring Cabide DJ, who’s something of a funke carioca producer extraordinare. Check out Wayne’s site for much more info on the guy. If only I didn’t have these damn GREs, I’d be there in a second.

Receivers

Receivers

*Parts & Labor’s Receivers is out today. 3/4 of the way through the first listen and it’s quite an album so far – easily the most accessible album of theirs to date. They’re touring around this fall promoting the album so check them out – they put on one hell of a show.