Monday, June 24, 2013

#MusicMonday 92: Kanye West, The Appleseed Cast, Joseph Arthur & more

What the CL Team is spinning this week.

Posted By , , , , and on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Check out what the CL Music Team is jamming to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

Ray - Kanye West, Yeezus (Def Jam, 2013)
For anyone event remotely interested in pop culture and the way that it's a bedfellow with music at large, the new album from Kimye, err I mean Kanye, is required listening.

Not because Mr. West is a genius (or a God as he proclaims on one track from his latest full-length), but because Yeezy himself is just as interested at mining and borrowing the past as the rest of us. He's just about a million times better at sonically sampling it (and he probably has better taste) than the rest of us. I mean the dude summoned Brenda Russell, The Marvelettes, Tupac, and Biggie for some of the breats on Jay-Z's The Blueprint 2, for heaven's sake.

I was immediately grabbed by the Nina Simone sample on "Blood On The Leaves," and while I'm more familiar with Billy Holiday's performance from a late 1930's recording, West managed to take one of the most important songs about racism and violence in America and make it into a haunting, yet still poignant banger (yes, I wrote "banger").

I don't really care about all the artistic interpretations surrounding Yeezy's work. I don't care how polarizing or dumb he may or may not be for impregnating a Kardashian (face palm), but I love the idea of him listening and hearing stacks and stacks of songs, then somehow picking the best parts and making them new.

Deborah - The Appleseed Cast, Illumination Ritual (2013, Graveface)
Since its release in May, I keep returning to this album as my go-to background music. There’s certainly nothing that strikes me as groundbreaking from The Appleseed Cast's first full-length since since 2009, but it's simply a comfortable mix of their more recent post-rock instrumentals and early emo-tinged lyrics. The problem is that Low Level Owl was such a great album because of its ambition, and Illumination Ritual feels somewhat … settled. There’s still a complex and intricate interplay between the guitar and drums; according to Appleseed Cast’s website, each member of the band was given time to riff in the studio, then the spontaneous contributions were captured and cut together. I’m just not sure how this will translate to their upcoming set at Crowbar on Tue., July 16. Definitely still worth checking out. "Great Lake Derelict" after the jump, along with the rest of this week's entries...

Gabe - Lindsey Buckingham, Seeds We Sow (2011)
I've been listening to lots of Lindsey's solo work since witnessing his dynamic performance with Fleetwood Mac at the Tampa Bay Times Forum a few weeks ago. Buckingham gets to really spread his wings on all of his fine solo releases. He toys with unorthodox instrumentation, delves into deeply personal lyrical subject matter and always delivers heartfelt, emotive vocal performances. Seeds We Sow is his latest solo effort and it marvelously captures all of the elements that set him apart from so many other artists. His guitar skills alone are reason enough to pick up any of this fine solo releases. I'm having a hard time deciding which one to focus on but this album has really grasped my interest today.

Leilani - Spanish Prisoners, Gold Fools (2011)
This album slipped right by me when it came out a few years back, and I was only turned onto it recently because I have good music fan friends. I'm totally and utterly hooked to the Brooklyn band's mix of dream pop and dance-inducing indie rock, the breezy tastefully layered instrumentals on this album a combination of sublime hazy melodies, light grooving ominousness and heady experimentalism build with warped and watery guitar notes, easy elastic lowend, Krauty rhythms, lots of percussion stuff, unidentified sonic flotsam, and dreamy cooing vocals. Take a listen to favorite track "Slow Decay" below.

Shae - Joseph Arthur, The Ballad of Boogie Christ (2013)
Though Arthur has been making music for years, this is my introduction to him. The cover — Arthur in slightly blurred grey-scale holding a pair of angel wings — implied the album was going to be a somber affair with plaintive singing, quietly strummed acoustic guitars. To my delight, it's more of a pop-rock album, reminiscent of albums by musicians like Beck and John Vanderslice who dabble in seriousness and quirkiness with equal measure. I keep hitting repeat on the jangly "Saint of Impossible Causes." Here's the video for it.

Andrew - Kool & Kass, "Pleasance (WDGAF)"
Maybe its the elevator music production, the Mike Jones-esque Satan-voiced hook, or the overall satire of modern rap nihilism, but this ode to not giving a fuck has been on the regular rotay for the past few days. Former half of Das Racist, Kool A.D. has been holding it down with a steady slew of hit or miss mixtape material since the group's breakup last year, but this tag-team effort with label mate Kassa Overall is pure gold. Kass puts in 16 bars of lazy deprecation equally aimed at the rap game and himself, while A.D. doles out his signature free-association wordplay before they both trade wisdom lines like "Give a fuck about your whip if your parents copped it / Give a fuck if you got bitches if you're Clarence Thomas" and the last on the song, "I gotta think about some shit to not give a fuck about / And punch that in, or maybe not, that was dope." Click here to check out the twosome's mixtape.

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