On his gutsy, double-disc debut studio album, Long Beach rapper Vince Staples introduces the world at large to a tough, world-weary persona who at only 22 has seemingly been through enough drama to fill a book. “My pain is never over, pills ‘n’ potions pick me up” he declares on the gnarled beats of “Pick Me Up.” Atonal sound wails in the background of “Norf Norf” as Staples offers slice-of-life tales of growing up in gritty North Long Beach (“I ain’t never run from nothin’ but the police,” he says tellingly). There’s a nihilistic slant to everything Staples puts to tape, which extends even to more decadent party jams like “Loca” and “Dopeman” and love songs like “Lemme Know,” pairing lyrics like “I’ll be fightin’ for you” with “I love to see you cry.” Everything in Summertime ’06 sounds strangely disembodied and cynical, yet it’s not lacking in energy, as with single “Senorita,” on which No I.D.’s creeping production offers the ideal space for Staples’ grim verses and Future’s motoring chorus before morphing into an ’80s horror film-style breakdown. The album’s second disc is mellower, reveling in No I.D. and Clams Casino’s immersive production work; “Get Paid” and “Hang N’ Bang” are lively highlights. Though it’s a double-disc, Summertime ’06 doesn’t feel the slightest bit overstuffed, and we never lose sight of the man behind the rhymes.
It's been many moons since we've been accorded a fresh platter from San Francisco trio The Sandwitches, and this latest release courtesy of Empty Cellar Records, looks to be their last. Since 2008, bandmates Grace Cooper, Heidi Alexander, and Roxy Brodeur have consistently honed a distinct sound that is, simply put, a little bit old-time country and a little bit roadside oddities rock 'n' roll. Their ability to seamlessly blend twisted yet whimsical girl group harmonies with unfiltered, mood-infused heavy Americana has progressed splendidly with each release, making this, their third LP, arguably their finest effort to date.
Before you even get your ears on it, Our Toast is a thing of beauty. Housed in very fine packaging adorned with gold leaf lettering and a cover tribute to unofficial 4th member James Finch (painted by Deirdre White), the record itself (on oxblood wax if you're lucky) is sheathed in a printed inner sleeve featuring lyrics on one side (lyrics, people!) and a sad clown band photo epitaph on the other–perhaps a testament to the posthumous-ish work within. That said, there is a twinging finality vibe to this record that moves beyond the commemorative qualities of the tangible presentation. It's a feeling that lends suspicion to the pulse of each song like an omen or memento mori. And yet, regardless of any time the Sandwitches' sound has been described as "haunting", there is nothing ghostly about this energy at all. It's as if seven or eight of these nine songs are contending for the ultimate setting in sequencing crown: the last cut on side B, the swan song's swan song seat.
For Main Attrakionz' anticipated Amoeba Berkeley in-store this week (on Tuesday, June 30th at 5pm) in support of their brand new 808s & Dark Grapes III (out that same day on Vapor), the prolific Oakland hip-hop crew's Squadda B promises a most memorable show that will be "a real celebration of everything we've been through since Carter Middle School." North Oakland's Carter Middle school is where the rapper/producer born Charles Glover is referring to. It was there that he first met up with his partner in rhyme, Damondre Grice (aka rapper Mondre M.A.N.). From that point on, at the young age of 12-years-old no less, it has been quite a ride for the inseparable, prolific, pioneering pair.
Main Attrakionz "Ain't No Other Way" (Vapor, 2015)
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Born on this day: June 29, 1953 - Singer, songwriter, and musician Colin Hay (born Colin James Hay in Kilwinning, Scotland) of Men At Work. Happy 62nd Birthday, Colin!
On this day in music history: June 29, 1968 - A Saucerful Of Secrets, the second studio album by Pink Floyd, is released. Produced by Norman Smith, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London in August and October of 1967, and January - April of 1968. The bands' follow-up to their debut, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, is recorded sporadically over a period of eight months, largely because of Syd Barrett's increasing mental instability due to his excessive consumption of psychedelic drugs. Guitarist David Gilmour is brought in to take Barrett's place, becoming a permanent member of the band in March of 1968. The album features songs such as "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" and the title track, both of which will become staples of their live performances. The enigmatic cover art for the album is designed by Hipgnosis, making Pink Floyd the first EMI act (besides The Beatles) to have their album covers designed by someone other than EMI's art department). It is the beginning of a four-decade-long association with the graphic design company. A Saucerful Of Secrets will peak at number nine on the UK album chart and will not chart on the Billboard Top 200.
Opal was an American band associated with the Paisley Underground and whose guiding force was David Roback, a guitarist and songwriter from Pacific Palisades. Roback graduated from high school in 1975 and in 1981 formed The Sidewalks who, renamed Rain Parade, were seminal within the Paisley Underground scene.
Roback quit Rain Parade in 1983 after the release of their debut and formed Clay Allison with Kendra Smith from The Dream Syndicate on bass and Keith Mitchell (drums). As Clay Allison the band released “Fell from the Sun” b/w “All Souls.” After they changed their name to Opal, they released two EPs, Fell from the Sun (1984) and Northern Line (1985), which were later combined and released as Early Recordings. Opal’s sole full-length, the mostly T.Rex-indebted (albeit almost narcoleptically laid back) Happy Nightmare Baby, followed in 1987.