1) Vince Staples Summertime 06 (Def Jam)
2) A$AP Rocky At.Long.Last.A$AP (RCA)
3) Drake If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late (Republic)
4) Slum Village Yes! (also in LP) (Nestra Music Group)
5) Pete Rock Petestrumentals 2 (Fat Beats) (also avail on vinyl)
One of this summer's signature hip-hop albums, especially for those in the same SoCal locale as its talented 22-year-old Long Beach creator Vince Staples, Summertime 06 continues to outsell every other new hip-hop album at Amoeba Hollywood this week where it's holding the number one slot. The Def Jam release, which had one of the year's most innovative rap videos for the album track "Senorita," just published another video from the album for track "Norf Norf." While a totally different style, it's another really great video from the rapper who deserves all the accolades he gets. The new music video (see below) perfectly matches the downtempo, moody, head-nodding beat-driven track. Throughout the video, as Vince raps the song's eerily repetitive refrain "I ain't never ran from nuthin but the police," he is seen being pushed and mistreated by the po-po, rapping from the back of the police car, and later down at the station as the cops shove his head into the ground. In a time when so many mainstream and major label artists tend to shy away from anything deemed slightly offensive to any group, Vince Staples is a breath of fresh air and an artist who will be around for a long time to come, I would bet.
Two veterans of the Bay Area shoegaze band Whirr make a wistful indie-pop record together that recalls the best of Sarah Records. Alexandra Morte’s vocals call to mind a young Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine, singing dreamily over acoustic guitars and light orchestral touches with cohort Nick Bassett. While it may not be the most original sound, Camera Shy’s eight songs are charming and sophisticated, emanating weary beauty on the rainy “Seemingly Ill” while charging through sunny environs on the jangly “Remember.” For fans of this kind of thing, Camera Shy are one of the best new bands around.
Patrick Stickles and co. return with an epic set of fist-pumping post-hardcore anthems. Centered around "Our Hero," The Most Lamentable Tragedy allows Stickles to remove himself to a degree from the narrative, and the result is that he sounds more liberated than ever, bellowing through self-effacing, existential tales of despair and coming out fighting. Despite its mammoth run-time and vague concept, The Most Lamentable Tragedy has plenty of scream-along moments, notably in the run of pub rock ballad "Mr. E Man" runs into the shake-you-by-the-shoulders fury of "Fired Up" and quick punk workout "Dimed Out" at the album's core. The only real tragedy here would be getting scared off by the album's length. It's at once an exhausting listen and one that leaves you feeling energized and ready to fuck shit up.
During last year's San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), the curators of the festival presented by the Jewish Film Institute dedicated a whole event to "the original American Jewish rappers" the Beastie Boys. The music theme continues this year during the 35th annual 2015 SF JFF (July 23 to August 9th) when among the screenings will be the California premiere of the documentary on the tumultuous life and death of Adam Goldstein (better known as the late DJ AM) entitled As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM. The bio-documentary tells the bittersweet tale of the life of the DJ/remixer/producer/musician's rise to fame as superstar DJ on the Vegas strip, his early tireless, crate digging days, his underground club DJing days in LA in the '90s, his self-destructive substance abuse problems that he had put behind him, and his later membership of both Crazy Town and of TRV$DJAM along with Travis Barker.
Wax Idols – “Lonely You”
Oakland/L.A. post-punkers Wax Idols put out an excellent first album called Discipline & Desire on Slumberland in 2013. Now the band, fronted by the huskily voiced Heather Fortune, has unveiled the smoldering “Lonely You,” a wearily lovelorn ditty about letting go and looking up that sounds like a lost late-’80s goth-pop jam. It seems to say that sometimes you have to set everything on fire to see what’s left. American Tragic is due Oct. 16 via Collect.
YG – “Twist My Fingaz”
YG’s searingly honest tales of growing up in tough Compton were matched to catchy G-funk beats on his excellent debut, My Krazy Life. “Twist My Fingaz,” the first song revealed from the upcoming Still Krazy, has an awesome throwback feel without feeling limited, grooving effortlessly as YG does his thing, gets his drink and dance on and doesn’t sweat the trouble outside.
Originally a solo project of guitarist/pianist/vocalist Ben Gibbard, indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie formed in Bellingham, WA in 1997. The band's debut, Something About Airplanes, followed in 1998, with their sophomore release, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, appearing two years later. 2003's Transatlanticism saw the band achieving further success, with singles from the album receiving screen time on The O.C., Six Feet Under, Californication and CSI: Miami, as well as films Easy A and Wedding Crashers. In 2005, Death Cab made their major label debut with the Atlantic Records release Plans. Three years later, the band released Narrow Stairs, which would see them receive a Grammy nomination for the track "I Will Possess Your Heart." Codes and Keys hit stores in 2011, and in 2014 the band became a three-piece, consisting of Gibbard plus bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr. Death Cab released their eighth studio album, Kintsugi, in spring 2015.