In Praise of the “Troubled” Artist and Bloated, Overreaching Album

Posted by Billy Gil, August 9, 2012 05:21pm | Post a Comment
smashing pumpkinsToday I woke up with the song “Raindrops + Sunshowers” by The Smashing Pumpkins in my head for no particular reason. I was grateful — despite the dubious quality of that syrupy, electro-shoegaze song, the tunes that usually populate my head first thing in the morning aren’t usually the kinds of things you actually want to hear upon waking. Nu Shooz's “I Can’t Wait” is great and all, but waking up humming it, as I often do, is like being slowly slapped awake. But I digress. Why the hell I was humming a not-great song from my favorite band’s worst album, who knows. But I relistened to Machina later in the day, trying to avoid fast-forwarding to the good bits and listening to the regrettable parts, just as I had with the recently released (and recently troubled) Oceania, and realized part of the fun of a band like The Smashing Pumpkins is the digging. Make no mistake, digging is not necessary on Siamese Dream (or Adore or the recently reissued Pisces Iscariot, in my book), but even on their other great albums, Mellon Collie, Gish and Machina II, yeah, there are parts you want to skip past. I’d say that’s true of most bands. But what sets the band apart is not only how frustratingly uneven they can be, as I’ve had to admit over the years, but how much you still care about that band anyway.

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Album Picks: Death Grips, Light Asylum, Santigold, Lower Dens

Posted by Billy Gil, May 2, 2012 03:09pm | Post a Comment
death gripsLots of great new stuff came out on Tuesday, and I’ll get to that, but I need to talk about Death Grips a bit first. The Money Store is surely one of the best things anyone has recorded yet this year, a discordant fusion of early hip-hop energy and noise-rock chaos. Hella and Marnie Stern’s Zac Hill is on production duty, along with Andy Morin, and Hill brings the same mania to Death Grips as he does obliterating the drum kit. Stefan Burnett’s guttural spit cuts through but get processed and falls into the background when it needs to, pulling you in and pushing you back simultaneously. Study music, this is not. The entire album feels exactly like this moment:

Check out the dubsteppy “Lost Boys” and head-spinning electro-rap of “Get Got” for a taste.


Coming out Tuesday was the first full-length release from light asylumdarkwave purveyors Light Asylum, who floored us with 2010’s In Tension EP. Light Asylum delivers as frontwoman Shannon Funchess growls over black rainbow of electronic sound — like freestyle dance music put through the industrial meat grinder. Fuchness and collaborator Bruno Coviello are as capable of extreme aggression (the chilling “Pope Will Roll”) as they are of creating pop thrills with real bite (“IPC” and “Heart of Dust”) and genuinely affecting electro-ballads — “Sins of the Flesh” and “Shallow Tears” dig past their electronic veneers given Funchess’ operatic howl, a Grace Jones-meets-Trent Reznor monster of a voice that can break your heart just as it can make you cower. This is the real deal, an enthralling and sometimes harrowing listen, and a must-hear for any fan of bitterly great music.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week Ending 04.29.12: Amoeba SF Top Five, Death Grips, K-Rek, E-40, Odd Future, Nicki Minaj

Posted by Billyjam, April 30, 2012 04:42am | Post a Comment

Death Grips "Guillotine (It goes Yah)" (2012)

Amoeba Music San Francisco Top Five Week Ending April 29th, 2012

1) Death Grips The Money Store (Epic)

2) Nicki Minaj  Pink Friday...Roman Reloaded (Cash Money)

3) K-Rek No Roads Can Hold Me (Dyverse Productions)

4) E-40 Block Brochure Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 (Heavy on Grind)

5) Odd Future The OF Tape Vol. 2 (Odd Future)

Thanks to Suzanne at the San Francisco store for this latest Amoeba Hip-Hop Top Five chart that features (with a bullet) in the number one slot the anticipated brand new release from Death Grips. Released last Tuesday The Money Store , which is one of two 2012 releases from the Sacramento, CA trio, is a raw in your face release that at once presents Death Grips' unique spin on the horrorcore rap subgenre. Sure its on a major label but you would never know from its lo-fi raw punk rock meets hip-hop sound and accompanying cover art.  Think Brotha Lynch Hung meets Flipper with appeal for fans of (fellow chart entrants) Odd Future. As recently wrote of this release "Death Grips sound like little else around, combining early hip-hop energy with futuristic industrial noise bursts and grimy beats, courtesy of Andy Morin and Zac Hill (the latter being the hyper-intense drummer from Hella and Marnie Stern). Stefan Burnett’s guttural spitting cuts through and then takes to the background when it needs to, getting cut up and spliced into the mix, remaining both viscerally appealing and intellectually stimulating. Songs like the dubsteppy “Lost Boys” and head-spinning electro-rap of “Get Got” feel like putting your ear to a wormhole into the future of several genres." But really talking/writing about music is not the same as simply listening to it. So I suggest - if you have not already heard Death Grips - that you check out the above low, low-budget video (looks like it was done in ten minutes including editing and uploading to YouTube!) for "Guillotine (It Goes yah)" to get a good idea of the band's unique sound. Also below is a band promo video along with videos from the other Amoeba Top Five Chart entrants this week including newcomer K-Rek from San Mateo, Odd Future in San Francisco, and a fan video of E-40 from Saturday night (4/28/12) of his concert in Santa Cruz.

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Madge's MDNA Is Album Twelve in Illustrious Three-Decade Career

Posted by Billyjam, March 27, 2012 05:29pm | Post a Comment
Madonna's new album MDNA, which has been available via pre-order from Amoeba for the past five weeks, has finally been released (as of yesterday) by Interscope following a much hyped lead-in over the past couple of months that included her high profile Super Bowl halftime performance with new album collaborators Nicki MinajM.I.A., and LMFAO, plus a series of advance tracks & snippets off the new 12 track album (the Deluxe CD version has 16 tracks) being circulated online to both positive and negative reviews by bloggers and journalists - all eager to weigh in on the 53 year old Material Girl's latest album (her twelfth) in a 30 year career that is rarely too far from some degree of controversy.

In the latest Madonna controversy producer/DJ  deadmau5 just accused Madonna, via a Twitter attack, of promoting the drug ecstasy by using the term "molly" (slang for E) during concert banter at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami on Saturday. (read full story here) She flatly denies it although she does sing "MDMA" on one of the new album tracks whose title MDNA looks like MDMA (the technical term for the illegal club drug) at first glance. Of course regardless of whatever the case may be all deadmau5 essentially did was feed into the publicity machine and help further promote Madonna's new album and tour with this latest wave of free publicity for an artist whose career thrives off controversy.

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Pre-Order Madonna's MDNA CD and Deluxe CD now!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 12, 2012 04:10pm | Post a Comment
Pre-Order Madonna's new album MDNA (available in two versions: CD and Deluxe Edition CD) HERE
Madonna MDNAat! 

is scheduled to be released globally on March 26th, but you can be sure to have yours reserved for you now!

MDNA is Madonna's 12th studio album and the first since 2008's Hard Candy. Always keeping with the times, Madonna's new album features collaborations with Nicki MinajM.I.A., and electro pop jokers LMFAO.

Madonna superbowl super bowl

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