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PST's 50 Best Albums of 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 5, 2014 02:48pm | Post a Comment

This is how it always works: You think, how am I going to find 50 albums I really liked this year? Then by the end of compiling these things, you’re leaving off records you really liked and realizing that this year didn’t suck so badly after all! Here are the 50 albums I honestly felt were the most well-made, original or enjoyable this year. Check out Aaron Detroit’s list, too, for even more good shit from 2014.

 

1. Sun Kil MoonBenji

Amid the wrongheaded War on Drugs bashing and indulgent songwriting/self-mythologizing that came with it, it could be easy to forget the brilliance of Benji. But Mark Kozelek’s later-career renaissance reaches its apex on Benji. Whereas songs in his ’90s project Red House Painters were often autobiographical, if morose and romantic, if, to call Benji “confessional” would be an understatement. Not only is it a classic example oversharing in the social media age, it’s just a new classic period, the best thing he’s done since RHP’s heyday. Two songs directly address Kozelek’s love for his aging parents as he himself hits middle age (“I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love” and “I Love My Dad” are far from ironic, though they cover ground beyond what their titles suggest). “Dogs” covers Kozelek’s history with women in sometimes excruciating detail, from his first kiss at 5 to getting bathed by two women. Part of what makes Benji so masterful is how Kozelek blends rich physical details, with references to Panera Bread and Pink Floyd records, along with impressionistic accounts, such as his atmospheric telling of what caught his attention in a Led Zeppelin film (“I Watched the Film the Song Remains the Same”) and what that says about him as a person. It can be a lot to take in at once—“Micheline” at first feels like a diary dump, though it ends on a touching note about his grandmother—but most of the time, the details are funny or poignant or both, coming through clearly with little more than Kozelek’s wavering, creaking voice and reverbed acoustic guitar. “Ben’s My Friend,” which ends the album with its catchiest song (and curiosity value, due to its titular subject being Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie), is a sterling reminder of how many little things add up to the sum of our lives, making a pretty refrain out of “blue crab cakes,” throwing in some horns and flamenco guitar for good measure and tying the album up nicely with a reflective bow. Kozelek may be a cranky old man, but his lifetime of experiences made for enrapturing listening on Benji, which simply has the best songwriting of any music release this year.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Wu-Tang Clan, E-40, Run The Jewels, Trademark Da Skydiver, Rick Ross

Posted by Billyjam, December 5, 2014 12:30pm | Post a Comment

If it seems like an awful lot of tight new hip-hop releases are dropping right now or are about to drop, that's because there are. This is the time of the year - leading up to the holidays - when labels, especially major labels, traditionally unleash new albums, with hip-hop making up a good percentage of said releases. New, recent, and upcoming 2014 hip-hop albums include Trademark Da Skydiver's Return Of The Super Villain (Ihiphopdist); the Wu-Tang Clan's much-heralded return album A Better Tomorrow, which includes all living members the legendary Staten Island hip-hop crew; and Rick Ross' Hood Billionaire, which has been a major seller at Amoeba since its release late last month. Another recent release that continues to sell briskly at Amoeba Music is the highly-recommended second outing from El-P and Killer Mike (aka Run The Jewels), Run The Jewels 2. They just released a video for "Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)," which is the second single and the best track on the album. The video appears below along with ones from the aforementioned Rick Ross, Trademark Da Skydiver ("Keep It 100"), and the Wu-Tang Clan's spanking new video for "A Better Tomorrow," which contains visuals created by Wu-Tang Clan "in the hopes of inspiring change and promoting unity throughout the world." Also below is the video for E-40's "Red Cup," which is the first single off the Bay Area legend's upcoming three-album set Sharp On All 4 Corners -(subtitled: Corner 1, Corner 2 and the Deluxe Edition). The popular party track features guests Kid Ink, T-Pain, and B.O.B.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Top Ten, Meow The Jewels, Dust-One's New Single, BPos' "Party Mardi," 1989's Crack Era Rap, Bay Guardian RIP

Posted by Billyjam, October 17, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment
Hip-Hop Top Ten 10:17:2014


1)
Homeboy Sandman Hallways (Stones Throw)

2)  Dilated Peoples   Directors Of Photography (Rhymesayers)

3) 
Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark self titled  (Delicious Vinyl)

4) Souls of Mischief There Is Only Now (Linear Labs)

5)
Busdriver Perfect Hair (also in LP format) (Big Dada)

Run The Jewels Announce Tour & Tracklist For "RTJ2" On Nas' Mass Appeal Records

Posted by Billyjam, September 2, 2014 01:31pm | Post a Comment

Run The Jewels - the super talented hip-hop power duo of El-P and Killer Mike - has just announced new tour dates along with track listings,  contributing guests, and artwork details for their forthcoming  sophomore release. With cover art almost the same as last year's self-titled debut on Fool's Gold (only in a different color), the new album on Nas' new Mass Appeal Records is  slated for release on October 28th. Aptly titled RTJ2, the album will feature guest spots by Zack de la Rocha, Travis Barker, Diane Coffee, and BOOTS (note this is not Boots Riley of The Coup but BOOTS the sometimes BeyoncĂ© collaborator).

The Run The Jewels has been attracting attention of late for their impressive recent tour sets, including a stop in the Bay Area last month at Outside Lands and the previous month in New York at the Governors Ball. They've also been garnering attention with new audiences care of Killer Mike's recent guest appearance on CNN, speaking out on the grander implications of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson (see video below).

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