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Alasdair Roberts Chats About His Beautiful New Album Spoils

Posted by Miss Ess, June 4, 2009 04:32pm | Post a Comment
Drag City recording artist and Scotsman Alasdair Roberts' new album Spoils is one of the best I've heard all year. It's a lyrically dense, elegant and complex album with trad folk touches. One of its best qualities is its natural ease -- it manages to sound both organic and dense, positively medieval and modern at the same time. Roberts has been creating eloquent, idiosyncratic albums for quite some time, since 1994 to be exact, at first with the band Appendix Out and then simply under his name for the past 8 years. He was rather famously signed to Drag City after handing Will Oldham a tape of his music back in 1995, and his musical career has blossomed on since then. Spoils feels like the culmination of the sound he has cultivated since his first solo album. It is well worth tracking down and listening to repeatedly. My interview with Alasdair follows.

alasdair roberts

Miss Ess: When and how did you begin writing songs?

Alasdair Roberts: At 15 when I saw footage of the Hindenburg disaster on television and heard the pain in the presenter's voice saying, "Oh, the humanity." I then wrote my first proper song called "Autumn."

ME: What records from your youth have stayed with you most strongly?

AR: Early eighties pop singles. "Karma Chameleon" by Boy George; "Don't Leave Me This Way" by the boy georgeCommunards. "Pass the Dutchie" by Musical Youth.

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The Late, Great David Carradine

Posted by Charles Reece, June 4, 2009 10:07am | Post a Comment
The pebble has been snatched from our hands. He hung himself with a curtain cord in a
Bangkok hotel. Dead at 72. Go
here for more info.

New Electronic CD Releases 6/4/09

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, June 4, 2009 09:46am | Post a Comment

Holger Zilske
Holz
Playhouse

This is the debut full-length release by Berlin's Holger Zilske (aka Smash TV) for the Playhouse label. A leading proponent in the ascendancy of the BPitch Control label and the greater electronic landscape, Holger has cultivated his reputation as a techno visionary under the moniker Smash TV with over 8 years and nearly 30 releases to his name. Since then, Holger's distinct blend of complex arrangements and gargantuan bass lines has been refined incrementally. With ten productions laden with bubbling textures, sweat-fueled percussion and tropical artwork, Holz navigates us into summer climates with moist palms and deep, deep eyes. "Lichterfelde" transforms remote boroughs of Berlin into ecstatic wildernesses populated by looming insectoid tones and gusts of humid pad textures. Punctuated by stabbed Eastern melodies, bouncing bass drops and ritual drum patterns, the opener sets the climate perfectly. "Mes Yeux" pulses amidst decompressing pads and reverberant mechanical samples in a deep house descent, while the hazy beginnings of "Roter Rausch" swarm around steadily enveloping synth and bass progressions in an intoxicating techno mirage. Deep and penetrating synth tones define "Druckraum," which probes meticulously with lazy, clicked percussion and the distant chatter of echoing beats. "Work" commands your obedience with mesmerizing melodic passages and dystopian, metallic percussive accents. "Golden" builds a lazy pop lullaby with decaying samples, trickled percussion and the dulcet vocal contributions of Swedish artist August Landelius. "Metrodancer" builds a formidable house strut with poked bass and melodic punches of 8-bit synth. In a similar vein, "Olho Gordo" plunges into dark waters with ghostly pads, dry, percussive tones and enveloping beats to test your after-hour stamina. Under the pseudonym One Chef, August Landelius returns to team up with Holger on "Have A Cup Of This," which disorients with clattering percussion and certifiably dizzy synth lines that dance around plunging bass tones and ringing symbol rotations. Counting to close with resonant, clocked percussion, August reintroduces his intimate vocal reflections in another downbeat pop arrangement, "To Them To Me," providing the perfect soundtrack to the end of an evening, and an appropriate end to an album that signals a new dawn for Holger Zilske.

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BLUES QUEEN KOKO TAYLOR DIES

Posted by Billyjam, June 4, 2009 09:13am | Post a Comment
Koko Taylor
As reported today by the Associated Press and other news outlets, blues "Queen" Koko Taylor died yesterday, Wednesday June 3rd, resulting from complications following surgery she underwent recently for gastrointestinal bleeding. She was 80 years old.

A sharecropper's daughter who grew up listening to B.B. King on the radio (he was a DJ) playing the blues, it was her powerful voice that won her the name "Queen of the Blues." The Tennessee-born Taylor first entered the music world in 1962, after Willie Dixon got her a recording contract with legendary blues label Chess Records.

Three years later she would score a mega hit with the single "Wang Dang Doodle" which would help catapult her career and ensure her longevity. Check out the video below of her with Little Walter back in 1967 performing this song and witness how the woman just belted the blues. What a voice!

After the Chess label folded, she signed with Alligator Records and remained a busy, hard working artist throughout her long, prolific career, performing an average of a hundred concerts each year. She performed up until about seven years ago. Nominated seven times for Grammy awards, Taylor won one in 1984. Look for Taylor's back catalog in the "blues" section of Amoeba Music.

Koko Taylor ft. Little Walter "Wang Dang Doodle" (1967)

NOBODY DOES IT QUITE LIKE THE BIZ

Posted by Billyjam, June 3, 2009 08:39am | Post a Comment
Biz Markie
Biz Markie
, who came to fame during hip-hop's golden era as the beatboxing rapper with a sharp wit & comedic streak, initially won fans with such records as "Just A Friend," "Vapors," Pickin' Boogers," and "Make The Music WIth Your Mouth, Biz." But these days he is better known for his movie and TV roles, including playing the beatboxing alien in Men In Black II or his ongoing entertaining part in the Nickelodeon TV kids show Yo Gabba Gabba! where he does his short but fun "Beat of The Day" segment.

Along with the Fat Boys and Doug E Fresh, Biz Markie ranks as one of the early ambassadors of beatboxing, credited with bringing the hip-hop art form to the masses. In the music history books the Biz will also be immortalized in the early 1990's landmark sampling court case with Gilbert O'Sullivan which would forever alter (read: stifle) the direction that hip-hop production would thereafter take.

Born Marcel Hall in Harlem, and later living in Long Island, Biz Markie started out beatboxing and rhyming in the early eighties while just barely into his teens. But it would be his beatboxing skills specifically that would first get him noticed. Thanks to crossing paths with then up-and-coming producer Marley Marl in the mid-eighties, he got a break doing his human beatbox routine for Marl related Juice Crew acts like MC Shan and Roxanne Shante, with whom he would make his rap world debut, appearing on her 1986 record "Def Fresh Crew." That same year he released his debut 12", the EP "Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz" on Prism Records. Two years later this Marley Marl produced record would be followed by his debut (and best) album, 1988's Goin' Off. His consequent three albums, 1989's The Biz Never Sleeps, 1991's I Need a Haircut, and 1993's All Samples Cleared! were not produced by Marley Marl and consequently never reached the pinnacle of greatness that his debut did.

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