For me an essential album is one that never ages, no matter how many times I re-listen to it. It's also one I feel compelled to listen to all the way through every time - no temptation to ever skip ahead. Hence, without a second thought, I file this classic hip-hop album, which is brimming with jazzy funky grooves and irresistible rhymes, under that essential records category. A five-star release from the latter end of the genre's much-heralded golden era, Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop by Diamond And The Psychotic Neurotics scores on all levels: production-wise and lyrically, in addition to introducing most fans to hip-hop's long since beloved D.I.T.C. (Diggin' In The Crates) crew. Formerly a member of the rap group Ultimate Force, Diamond (aka Diamond D) proved with this debut album that he not just a gifted producer but also an adept emcee. Released in 1992 on Chemistry/Mercury/PolyGram, Stunts, Blunts, & Hip Hop is a truly solid, all-killer, no-filler hip-hop full-length release, sporting such timeless head-bobbing tracks as the popular lead single "Best-Kept Secret," "Feel The Vibe," "Check One Two," "Fuck What You Heard," "Sally Got a One-Track Mind," and the title track.
Ambient house pioneers The Orb will headline at The Regency on April 30th with Austin-based electronic producer Govinda opening. The UK downtempo electronic group, who were formed back in 1988 by Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty of KLF fame, have gone through numerous personal changes over the past 27 years with Paterson being the sole permanent member throughout. From the beginning it was Paterson's knack for producing and weaving trippy ambient sounds and effects (built mostly from obscure or flipped and reshaped samples and found sounds) that was highly instrumental in distinguishing The Orb's sound and would earn them such tags as "the Pink Floyd of the Nineties."
While The Orb, who have stayed consistently busy over the years (most recently with 2013's More Tales from the Orbservatory with Lee Scratch Perry and last month's 2 CD remix set History of The Future Part 2 on Malicious Damage), they have never quite recaptured the critical and commercial peak they enjoyed in the late '80s and '90s. However they continue to attract diehard, longtime fans alongside younger, new curious fans to their music and their concerts, which have always been a full-on sensory overload with trippy, spacey light shows and projected images to accompany the music. In concert, The Orb typically play a mix of newer and older material including such globally big hits as "A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre of the Ultraworld" (aka "Loving You") and "Little Fluffy Clouds," both of which are below along with the more recent track "Golden Clouds." A dub reprise of "Little Fluffy Clouds" was the lead single taken from The Orb's 2012 collaborative album The Orb featuring Lee Scratch Perry presents The Orbserver In The Star House, released on Cooking Vinyl.
No better time to do an Irish female vocalists Amoeblog post since it is Women's History Month and since I am here in Dublin, Ireland today, where the national St. Patrick's Day Parade will begin at noon. The crowds have already swarmed the city centre while the festivities kicked off here over the weekend with overflowing bars and various events surrounding the four-day I Love My City 2015 Festival that leads up to and includes St. Patrick's Day. Generally, it's a time for both Irish natives and the influx of tourists to get their collective (drunken) Irish on. Naturally there's lots of Irish music everywhere, including a free show at The Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle with new Irish music vocalist Pauline Scanlon, backed by Notify who is part of the current wave of Irish singers keeping the Gaelic (Irish) traditional music alive by infusing slightly new arrangements on traditional airs with some electronic instrumentation backing alongside trad instruments.
Pauline Scanlon is one of the Irish female vocalists showcased in this Amoeblog along with a cross-section of others from over the past few decades up to the present. This list is both subjective (based on my own personal favorites) as well as culling the opinions of a few music fans here who include Paul Deacy (owner of Galway record/book/candle shop Bell Book & Candle), longtime Irish music collector and ambassador Tall Paul Lowe, and RTE 2XM radio DJ/broadcaster Eric "DJ Laz-E" Moore.
Hot on the heels of the release last week of of Montreal's brand new album Aureate Gloom care of Polyvinyl (also available in vinyl format) the prolific Athens, GA indie band have unleashed a music video for the ten song album's opening track/lead single "Bassem Sabry" (named for the Egyptian journalist who tragically died in the spring of 2014). The stream of consciousness, photo-montage styled video clip (below) that was shot mostly on Super 8 film was directed by Ben Rouse who, in a statement about his approach to its production, said that "I tend to peg myself as a photographer, so in many ways this project was a really beautiful boot camp into an entirely new medium. It's my first music video...so it was a massive learning experience and chance to make something exciting and meaningful with our friends. I felt very inspired by Věra Chytilová's Daisies, Stan Brakhage's Mothlight, and Jean Cocteau's Le Sang d'un Poète."
Aureate Gloom, which is of Montreal's thirteenth full-length album, was recorded at Sonic Ranch studio which is just across the border from Juarez, Mexico in the Texan desert where the album recording was done old school style: recorded directly to tape. There, with the help of engineer Drew Vandenberg, Aureate Gloom was recorded by Clayton Rychlik (drums), Bob Parins (bass), Bennett Lewis (guitar), JoJo Glidewell (keys), and of course Kevin Barnes (guitar, vocals). Of the album's revelatory lyrics main writer Barnes, who founded the band in 1996 and pictured above c/o Chad Kamenshine, admitted that it indeed might be a case of TMI. "I might be guilty of sharing or exposing too much of my private life, but to me the best albums are those that help people connect with an artist on a deep, human level and that do so without too much artifice or evasiveness," he said in a statement noting that, "I was going through a very stormy period in my life and felt like I was just completely trashed."