Remember that band called Stereolab? Yes, they are still making great albums. They never really stopped, you just may have forgotten about them. They have a new album out this week called Chemical Chords. I think it might be like their 20th album by now. They were on a major label for a long while, but they are back on the indie label 4AD now. They had that EP collection out last year, but this is a real new album. I have not had a chance to listen to it yet, but I can't really wait. They are one of those bands that I got really obsessed with when they first came out. I had lost a bit of interest over the last 5 or 6 years, but I feel ready to be a Stereolab fan again. I just hope the album is as good as I want it to be. I like the song that I have heard from the album. I don't really see how you can't like a Stereolab album. They are always so fun and catchy. I am just glad there are some releases out this week that I actually want to bother listening to.
The Dandy Warhols also have a new album out this week. I have had sort of a love/hate relationship with the Dandy Warhols. I still don't really know how I feel about this new album. I am going to give it one more listen before I make up my mind. I also have been listening to that new album by The Uglysuit. It is slowly growing on me but I doubt it will turn into one of my favorites. There is also the debut album from Uh Huh Her. I have not heard this one yet either-- however, I do love Leisha Hailey. She plays Alice Pieszecki on The L Word. She is the funniest thing about The L Word and the only reason that I watch it. Many years ago she was in the Murmurs, so it's not like this is her first time making music. There are also some great other albums that are coming out this week that I just fell in love with.
(Update: 04/20/10 Guru died at age 43)
Gang Starr, formed back in 1986 and comprised of DJ Premier and emcee Guru, are no longer officially a group -- at least according to Guru in an interview a little while back. But then, who knows if they ever will perform or record together again? A Tribe Called Quest have gotten back together -- more than once -- so maybe Gang Starr will too.
Regardless, the hip-hop duo's rich back catalog is enough to satisfy this hip-hop fan for hours on end. If you don't already have any of the incredible duo's six albums (plus two greatest hits compilations), I suggest you pick up the double CD retrospective Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr (originally released in '99) at any of the Amoeba Music stores.
Full Clip is a great starting point, as it includes all but one ("Arena") of the songs in the six Gang Starr videos below, including "Words I Manifest," "Step in the Arena," "Mass Appeal," "Who's Gonna Take The Weight?," "Take It Personal," and "DWYCK" featuring Nice & Smooth. Listening back the other day to this 2 CD set from start to finish made me realize not just how amazing Gang Starr's music is, but also how influential their work has been on hip-hop.
And are the videos/songs below a comprehensive best-of Gang Starr? Hells no! Just enough to whet a hip-hopper's appetite.
Mano Negra - "Sr. Matanza" - Spain
This was Manu Chao's band before he went solo.
Todos Tus Muertos - "Andate" - Argentina
Tijuana No! - "Pobre De Ti" - Mexico
This song was co-written by Julieta Venegas.
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - "Matador" - Argentina
Caucasia is a mountainous region located between the two continents of Europe and Asia. While it's not the Nazi-imagined homeland (a concept invented by 18th century craniologists) to the blond & blue-eyed, it is home to some of the oldest human populations in the world as well as the birthplace of wine. It's also one of the most culturally varied regions in the world, where tiny populations of little-known peoples have somehow existed between some of the biggest, baddest imperialists of world history. Perhaps it's not surprising then that they seem or persevere by clinging tightly to cultural expressions like music and dance, as well as deeply-embedded xenophobia, mistrust, mutual hostility and self-preservatory instincts.
Just to name a few, in this tiny global neighborhood you've got Abazins, Abkazians, Adjarians, Adydhe, Aguls, Archins, Armenians, Avars, Azerbaijanis, Balkars, Bats, Chechens, Cherkes, Cossacks, Dargins, Georgians, Greeks, Ingush, Kabardins, Kalmyks, Karachays, Khinalug, Kists, Kumyks, Kurds, Laks, Laz, Lezgins, Mingrelians, Mountain Jews, Nakh, Nogais, Ossetians, Rutls, Svans, Tabasarans, Talysh, Tats, Trukhmens, Tsakhurs, Ubykh and Udins... my apologies if I've forgotten anyone... also my producer, my wife and so forth. I just know I'm forgetting someone!