Monthly Archives: April 2010

ABJEKT: Doomtree mixtape – free download

You know Doomtree. Yes you do! The indy hip-hop collective from Minneapolis? Friends with Brother Ali and Atmosphere? Look, it doesn’t matter. They might be emo but don’t hold it against them, they’re really quite good. Anyway, the mysterious Abjekt has done a dope 35 minute mix of Doomtree material for your earholes: DOWNLOAD – Abjekt’s Doomtree mixtape HERE
If you already know them you’ll snap it up: if you don’t then it’s the perfect intro to the ‘Tree…

Doomtree – Myspace

doomtree.net

Abjekt – Tumblr

AVERAGE KEITH: ‘Not So Average’ LP release details + tracklist

Runcorn MC (no, really) Average Keith is about to drop his debut LP on Random Era’s home label. I did a little bit of research on Runcorn as the only thing I knew about it was that it was in Cheshire. It turns out that Keith isn’t the town’s only musical luminary as Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud is also from there. Mind you, I got that off wikipedia so it could be utter horseshit.

(PRESS RELEASE) AVERGE KEITH SET TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM ‘NOT SO AVERAGE’ THROUGH GO WISE RECORDS

From the home of 2 Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, Runcorn emcee Average Keith is set to release his debut album ‘Not So Average’ through Go Wise Records. The album, a 12 track, 2 man production by Keith and legendary St Helens/Liverpool Rapper Philly Whizz) contains a guest list of some of the Liverpool hip-hop scene’s finest: J. Taylor, Oshea (Don’t Flop Battle Rapper), Damo da Famo, D.O.T, Josh of Systems DMC, MC M.O.S, Funky Dialect’s Que Cee and Elemental, the female vocals of the talented Karina and the crafty handwork of DJ Nimble with the scratches.
The album explores the day-to-day cycle of what Keith and many so-called ‘average’ people experience and styles range from the aggressive dole queue fodder raps of ‘Just A Scruff’ to the more laid-back style of chasing a girl you can’t have in ‘Hard 2 Get.’ Keith focuses on the main topics of most people his age – going out and getting drunk at the weekend in many different situations such as clubbing (‘Saturday Night’), house parties in ‘1 Drink 2 Drink’, having a pint around the local town (‘Common Folk’) to being glad the working week is over in ‘End Of The Week.’ Average also takes the listener on a journey that depicts the experience of most youngsters of modern times from being on the dole to getting a job with the hilarious rhymes of ‘Bin Man’ and the boredom of being stuck at home when he should be out partying in ‘Turn Off The T.V’ where he reflects on his skint mates and having to watch shit programs before he can get a bit of enjoyment out of ‘Match Of The Day’ or ‘Babestation’ later on. Keith even rips into himself in the title track focusing on the fact that you don’t have to be bad or a thug to be a rapper. The album finishes with a proper head bopper in ‘Beats Are Cheap (Don’t Speak)’ produced by Funky Dialect’s Que Cee in which Philly Whizz and Elemental jump in to take the piss out of modern day hip hop and the stereotypes that surround the genre.

Average Keith – Not So Average – tracklist:
1. Just A Scruff
2. Saturday Night ft. Karina
3. Think Yer Hard ft. J Taylor & MC M.O.S.
4. Binman
5. Common Folk
6. Hard 2 Get ft. Philly Whizz & D.O.T.
7. Turn Off The TV
8. 1 Drink, 2 Drink ft. Damo Da Famo & Oshea
9. Single Again
10. End Of The Week ft. karina & Josh of Systems DMC
11. Not So Average
12. Beats Are Cheap (Don’t Speak) ft. Que Cee, Philly Whizz & Elemental

Average Keith – Myspace

WAX TAILOR live @ The Electric Ballroom 27 May 2010 – WIN FREE ENTRY FOR 2

Wax Tailor has been stitching together loops and making alterations to other people’s musical material with Saville Row precision for over half a decade now. If you want the chance to check out the cut of his cloth and size up his beats now’s your moment as monkeyboxing.com is offering free entry plus one to the first correct answer to the following:COMPETITION CLOSED
Q. What is Wax Tailor’s real name? (Email your answer and your name to monkeyboxing.editor@yahoo.com so that the ever-generous Soundcrash Music promoters can put you-plus-one the guestlist).

Please note – senders of incorrect answers and any sent after the competition is closed get a free inside leg measurement from Edward Scissorhands.
(PRESS RELEASE) After his excellent January sold out show at KOKO it was only natural to have French Hip Hop maestro Wax Tailor back in London for a solo headline show with his full live band. This time the queues will be lining-up just down the road from Koko in Camden Town’s cavernous Electric Ballroom in what promises to be yet another night of musical excellence.
For those who don’t know Wax Tailor is the alias of French trip hop/hip hop producer Jean-Christophe Le Saoût. His first album “Tales of the Forgotten Melodies” drew comparisons to the likes of RJD2, Portishead and DJ Shadow, while his second “Hope & Sorrow” landed him a nomination at the prestigious Victoires de la Musiques, as well as the US Indie Awards.
Who else than this necromancer of forgotten melodies can assemble such a wide array of influences and make them coexist with such ease? With Wax Tailor, melancholic-melodies reminiscent of The Cocteau Twins strike a delicate balance with a brand of Hip-Hop seldom seen since the days of Jurassic 5. But Monsieur Le Wax is also master of the art of reinventing himself, and although his signature sound is immediately identifiable, his latest album establishes a true evolution both in terms of production and song writing. String instruments, genre mashing, will he never stop?! The resulting sound is denser, more organic and finely chiseled. Like Dolph Lundgren.
Wax Tailor is coming off a year which saw him tour relentlessly, playing over 200 concerts and score the title track for the movie “Paris” by Cedric Klapisch as well as remix his ass off on tracks by Nina Simone and ASA to name but two. He is now a producer at the top of his game. Often categorized as trip-hop or down tempo hip-hop, Wax Tailor has cemented his place as a musician who breaks musical barriers using a sonic palette tinted in soul, jazz, and funk. Ulitmately, there’s nothing down-tempo about his style. Tonight is about the dancefloor…
With release after release, Wax Tailor has garnered praise after praise and his live show, with a four-piece band, is the perfect way to translate his music, in a perfect venue for this truly extraordinary musician…

Wax Tailor – Myspace

waxtailor.com

ticketweb.co.uk

soundcrashmusic.com

THE DISABLISTS & FOREIGN BEGGARS: ‘Heavy Rotation’ video

How about this? Turntablists and several times UK DMC champions The Disablists get on a nineties-sounding tip with the UK’s most convincing hip-hop crew, Foreign Beggars, for new single Heavy Rotation – no doubt in the hopes of achieving some…er…heavy rotation. In fact it’s worth checking the video just to see what appears to be the idiot lovechild of Morph and the BFG – about 2mins 15 seconds in – see also the pic for this feature.
Vid below links:
Pay cash money for Heavy Rotation @ iTunes
The Disablists – Myspace
Foreign Beggars – Myspace

BASEMENT FREAKS: ‘Nirvana Suckaz’ + ‘And That’s Nu Funk’ free downloads

George Fotiadis (otherwise known as Basement Freaks and commander-in-chief of the Bombastic Jam label) continues to cement his reputation for boundless generosity with another couple of free downloads: Nirvana Suckaz and And That’s Nu Funkcop them below links – click the ‘down’ arrow on the righthand side of the players to download, soundcloud virgins!. Anyone who can’t guess what’s been sampled on the first of these wants working on, while the second (in Fotiadis’s own words) employs James Brown and Bootsy Collins to bridge, ”the two biggest funky schools blended with my own electronic bass line to make it sound fresh.” Read the full Basement Freaks interview at the all-new nufunk.net.
Basement Freaks – Soundcloud
Basement Freaks – Myspace
Nirvana Suckaz by Basement Freaks

Basement Freaks- And Thats NuFunk by Basement Freaks

GURU: 17.7.62 – 19.4.10 – R.I.P.

Guru’s gone but check the technique:

PLAN B: The Defamation Of Strickland Banks – 2010 – Album review

Rating: ★★★★★
Everybody knows by now that rapper Plan B barely raps on this and that contrary to his gritty rhyming (in that Carribean-inflected London accent all dem yout’ got nowadays) he mainly sings in a surprisingly good falsetto. Everybody also knows that this is a ‘concept’ album accompanied by a short film, wherein B is a soul singer called Strickland Banks ‘what gets framed by some puddy cuz he won’t put out’ – or something…So there’s no need for me to get bogged down in all that – I can just focus on the music. Since this is probably one of the biggest releases that’ll be checked on monkeyboxing.com this year, we thought it best to go the track-by-track route just like blogging giant Byron Crawford does. Or did. He doesn’t seem to be doing music lately.

LOVE GOES DOWN
I bet she does. Back in the eighties the charts couldn’t beat away with the shitty end of a stick all the singers who channelled original sixties and seventies northern soul but with too-clean production and the rhythm section too low in the mix. Maturing over twenty years, this sound has itself now acquired an attractive sheen of nostalgia. What were the chances? Not the best track by far – but then who starts with that? Also sees ‘B sound a little bit like a young Alison Moyet.

WRITING’S ON THE WALL
That’s more like it, more lively, great melody, big strings – the money men have probably already chalked it up as a future single.

STAY TOO LONG
The first single off the LP – heavy Kinks-style guitar and mod-style organ, goes a bit rap-rock (in a rare good way) at the end. Classic and deserves better than to be the end-of-the-night anthem of pissed-up football hooligans it probably already is.

SHE SAID
Massive soul/ doo-wop second single which alternates percussive style throughout. It’s the one where he’s in court in the video with dancing barristers. Yeah right. Probably don’t need to say much more about this.

WELCOME TO HELL
The first of several numbers in which ‘B sounds a bit like Boy George funnily enough. Funky syncopation and choral backing. More single material.

HARD TIMES
Probably the most eighties-trying-to-be-seventies northern-soul-y of the lot. Yet more single material.

THE RECLUSE
Changing it up again – bit more indie-rocky – Boy George back again on the chorus – and yes, it could well be a single.

TRADED IN MY CIGARETTES
Lovely guitar plus choral ‘ahh-ing’ intro. He’s inside now and on about handing over the Marlboro Lights so he doesn’t get made into someone’s bitch. If there’s justice this will be a single.

PRAYIN’
Another uptempo one, bigger percussion – keeps up the angst – could also be a single.

DARKEST PLACE
Ooh. Hang on. Bit more rapping. Jail’s not very nice – drops in the word ‘shank’ – – very topical – would have been an obvious single with it’s sung chorus were it not for all the other even more obvious singles.

FREE
Back to the northern soul – this one sounding genuine rather than eighties pastiche – and finds our Strickland apparently apologising to his missus. The real one, not that slag that got him put inside. Did I mention it could easily be a single?

I KNOW A SONG
A young Alison Moyet again. See comments on Darkest Place above re. its single potential.

WHAT YOU GONNA DO?
Boy George back for one last bite at the cherry. Not the best track but then who ends an album with that? Bit more rapping in case you forget ‘B’s a rapper – we seem to be at the retrial now – lazily leaves the situation unresolved forcing the listener to return to the start to listen more closely for clues as to the likely final outcome, the wily devil.

COMMENTS: I can’t remember the last time I heard an album that had this many decent potential singles on it and for that alone it deserves five stars. References pretty much every decade of music from the sixties onwards and offers something for pretty much everyone whether they be at the soul night, the indie night, the mainstream townie superclub night, in the car or on the bus or just at home doing the washing up. Brer done good innit.
(Out now on 679)

CYPRESS HILL: Rise Up – 2010 – Album review

Rating: ★★★☆☆

In which we continue with this week’s guest review style (courtesy of Rolling Stone). Honestly. – I’ve written longer notes to the milkman:
As with fellow Californians Souls Of Mischief, Cypress Hill’s early work was so huge they’ve been living in its shadow ever since. Still, maybe that’s the price of creating a classic and it sounds like they’re still paying as the LP begins with a compere referencing how in 1991 an ‘artist’ in Compton was blown away by Cypress Hill’s ‘futuristic funk’ and ‘dedication to a certain herb,’ followed in short order by the lumpen, staccato, programmed beats of single It Ain’t Nuthin’. Well, quite. The scratchy-sample on Light It Up is much more ear-friendly and perhaps the most successful track here at updating the classic Cypress Hilll ‘shit’ which it does so well it’s the LP highlight. Elsewhere the Cheech and Chong sampling, weed-venerating (what else?) K.U.S.H. throws digs at the DEA and shout outs to fellow fans of the green and offers a glimpse of a Cypress Hill with a more poppy but shiny up-to-date production gloss in a way that works. It has to be said that the title Rise Up reminds me of the title song’s chorus on early nineties Bad Brains’ LP Rise – not inappropriately as it turns out since the ‘Hill indulge their rap/rock crossover fetish/ folly at various moments of Rise. Cue the first of two tracks featuring Rage Against The Machine’s resident guitar-torturer Tom Morello and an end result that sounds not unlike – um well – Rage Against The Machine. Oh go on then – my teenage self would have liked it. Still if they’re not indulging in these antics they spend an even larger part of the LP using so-so off-the-shelf programmed beats that at best serve to remind the listener that they ain’t listening to either of the first two LPs. Lyrically though, it is still mostly all about the herb – in case you were wondering.
Originally scheduled for release in 2006, Rise Up was delayed several times, various guests were never included on the final release and DJ Muggs was only executive producer on this one with at least eight other production credits – a troubled gestation then and it shows. It’s true that there is the occasional flash of something good on Rise Up but the B-Real featuring single Shoot First from last year’s Apathy LP Wanna Snuggle (LISTEN HERE)is a better reminder of classic Cypress Hill than anything on this LP except Light It Up.
(Out now on EMI)

Listen to Cypress Hill – Rise Up

cypresshill.com

Cypress Hill – Myspace

THE UNDERBELLY: Seven Feet Under – 2010 – Album review

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Pushed for time once again, this week’s guest review style had to be that of Rolling Stone magazine. Have you seen them? Christ! I’ve written longer notes in the mist on the shower door. Any way – here goes:
With a name like The Underbelly you might expect Seven Feet Under to be an exploration of the seedier, darker side of funk, especially given the graveyard connotations of the LP title. It’s something of a surprise then, to find out that this Cornish ‘deep funk’ band’s LP is shot through with jazzy stylings (e.g. Re-use Me) and even the odd stab at something bit more Afrobeat in (funnily enough) a track entitled Afrobeat. There’s no doubting that The Underbelly’s playing is tight, but it is so to a fault. It seems like these guys heard Archie Bell & The Drells instructions about playing on point by doing “the tighten Up” literally and played sphincters clenched for the duration of the recording session. My shoulders kept tensing involuntarily while I listened – even during first track Vfunk – and I quite liked that one. And another thing: enough with the saxophones already – tenor sax, alto sax and baritone sax – good god! These were used to such devastatingly (acid) jazzy effect on Re-Use Me I was waving a white flag by the middle eight. Couple that with good but generic singing by Dojo Cuts’ Roxie Ray on three numbers here and I was pondering getting my shovel out. True, I am not the world’s greatest fan of either the saxophone or anything jazz-funky in the slightest (unless it’s a Blue Note original) and Seven Feet Under might be up your street if you like jazzier moments of The Apples and Laura Vane & The Vipertones (or, god help us, 90s acid jazz) but my advice to the band would be – smoke a massive bifta, slow the fuck down occasionally and give that guitarist his head. He’s good.
(Out now on Record Kicks)

Listen to The Underbelly – Seven Feet Under

The Underbelly – Myspace

recordkicks.com

SHARON JONES & THE DAP KINGS: I Learned The Hard Way – 2010 – Album review

Rating: ★★★★☆

Over the best part of the last decade the combination of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings has been massively influential in underground funk circles. In fact they are probably the most widely respected act on the scene – with good reason, indeed, if creating the sound of soul/ funk authenticity were a competition, this lot would effortlessly wipe the floor with every rival, every single time. No doubt this is partly to do with their use of eight-track analogue recording using an Ampex tape machine but also a consequence of Jones’ voice and the musicianship of the Dap Kings themselves. But then again, it’s not a competition and so we have to address the fact that like it’s predecessor this LP lacks a big dancefloor banger of the kind that their rivals have been providing. This isn’t to say there aren’t big tunes on here – for example both Money (which finds Jones pondering her inability to hang on to any bucks in her best soulful growl and is the closest thing to a dancefloor single on here) and I’ll Still Be True offer big brassy, funky soul but the horns and vox take priority over the breaks even on these.
Elsewhere Better Things To Do offers a sweetly mellow groove though the emphasis is on the chill rather than the ill. Talking of sweetly mellow grooves – the summery soul vibe on The Reason sees the Dap Kings taking a front seat for once with this instrumental at the halfway point. Without A Heart brings the northern soul (and why not – every other deep funk band has been there recently) while Mama Don’t Like My Man plunders an early Motown vibe. The remainder is much the same – more of the soul – less of the funk – lots of lamenting about blokes who ‘window shop’ (Window Shopping), ‘learning the hard way’ about blokes (I Learned The Hard Way) – and stressing about whether a bloke is going to call or not – If You Call. But then again – why not? They’re all traditional and perfectly serviceable soul-themes.
Musically this has far more in common with last LP 100 Days, 100 Nights than the blazing funk of first LP or even the excellent well-balanced variety of second LP Naturally which I still maintain is their finest hour and ought to have been the one that broke them into mainstream consciousness. Since even the Guardian name checks them these days I think it’s safe to assume that mainstream recognition has now been achieved and frankly no-one deserves it more. It does occur to me though that an end to all that ‘struggling musician’ lifestyle might leave Jones short of lyrical material – although thinking about it – her love life does sound pretty catastrophic, so maybe not. Anyway – enough about that – as long as you remember that this (like its immediate predecessor) is one for late-night driving, and post-dinner drinks rather than late-night drinking and post-pub kicks, you’ll be into it. Nice to see them offering a mp3 download code with the LP too…
(Out now on Daptone Records)

Listen to Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way

daptonerecords.com

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Myspace

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