Da Drought 3
Young Money Entertainment
Well, it’s official. 2007 is the worst year for rap music in recent memory. What are we supposed to talk about here? Mike Jones’s new album? Lil Flip? Talib Kweli? (Who is that guy again?) Luckily, there’s Lil Wayne. Granted, we’ve been championing him for a few years, and by now, he’s on every single remix known to man, but that’s for a reason: At press time and until further notice, Weezy F. Baby is the best rapper alive. The kid single-handedly exemplifies everything that hip-hop has to offer. If tomorrow someone were to ask me to send a tape to Martians to teach them what rap is, I’d send them
We’re talking a display of verbal gymnastics that reaches Olympic proportions here, ladies and gentlemen. The metaphors are mind-blowing, the flow is effortless, the voice control is better than it’s ever been. For instance, take the way Wayne addresses that photo of him kissing Baby on the mouth: “Damn right I kissed my daddy/I think they’re pissed at how rich my daddy is…/Who was there when I needed money? Just my daddy…/Who said that I’d be the one? Just my daddy/Hello hip-hop, I’m home, it’s your daddy.”
See, this guy basically raps about three things: money, sports, and drugs. The money part is self-explanatory. The sports come in such intertwined references that only the most dedicated ESPN couch potato could understand them. As for the drugs, I’m now tempted to think that it’s Weezy’s signature overconsumption of weed and syrup that makes him so dope. How else would you explain the moments where his flow untangles into free-form word associations such as: “Beef, yes, chest, feet/Tag, bag, blood, sheets/Yikes, yeeks, great Scott/Storch can I borrow your yacht?” This is astounding and retarded, all at once.
A few other things to note: 1) Weezy loves the Dipset. He shouts them out on every other track, raps over their beats, and even offers an amazing rendition of Juelz’s “Santana’s Town”: “And the bank is here, Lincoln’s here, Grant’s here, Jackson’s here, Franklin’s here—them dead motherfuckers/ And the drink is here, dank is here, stinkin’ here, gangtas here, wankstas fear—that red, motherfucker.” 2) Weezy’s got zingers for days. If you’re into punch lines like “my words carry life like a stretcher,” or “stand on my toes you can call me Paul Bunyan,” you’re in luck because there’s about 50 of them per track. 3) And finally, Weezy does fuck up. Out of these 25 songs, there are two horrific missteps—a remake of “Crazy” and one of Ciara’s “Promises.” But that’s it. The rest would make a skinhead want to rock Phat Farm for the rest of his life.
BEST ALBUMS OF THE MONTH (Tied:)
BEST COVERS OF THE
MONTH (Tied again:)
BEST COVER OF THE MONTH
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
BONDE DO ROLE
This is a bunch of cute, feisty kids from southern Brazil who like boobs and are inspired by the Funk Bailes in Rio, which are basically murderous indoor games of Capture the Flag set to beats and piles of cocaine. The music is super bouncy and the girl sounds like she’s chanting cute jump-rope rhymes until your Portuguese-speaking friend walks in the room and starts cracking up and you’re like, “What’s so funny?” That’s when your friend tells you that the singer just said: “I was at a party/ And I saw a whore/ I put my tongue in her asshole/ And my tongue came out all dirty.” And you’re like “HAHAHA! Hi, favorite new band.”
WAYNE OUT OUEST
The Postal Service is a limp-noodle side project that spouts more clichés than a Southern Baptist. And we think it’s really mean that you’re dragging those pretty girls Jenny Lewis, Mia Doi Todd, and Conor Oberst down with you. They know how to work the demo setting on a Yamaha all by themselves, thanks.
Holy fucking shit. Against Me! turned into the Bruce Springsteen of punk rock! That means the music is epic and the lyrics tell stories that mean stuff. And the best part, in our opinion, is that if these songs make it to the radio (which they really should), Top 40 listeners will be ingesting lyrics about the overavailability of info nowadays and how it can drive you nuts, about sad cougars clinging to their youth, and about anxiety so bad that you grind your teeth flat. All of that, set to some of the best, hookiest songs we’ve heard since
Refreshingly unintelligible and minimalist brutality for a new era of hateful scum kids. Self-recorded in what sounds like the trunk of a car and self-released with zero packaging, lyrics, or even song titles—just “Episode” silk-screened on a plain white sleeve. Had this not been given to me by someone in the band I might have thought it was a bootleg of some obscure Japanese thrash unit from another decade. In reality, they are from Tennessee, which means 20 years from now some dude in Osaka is going to “fan club” this instead. The circle of life continues.
Threads of Life
What are these guys, an entropic model for how all thrash bands progress from good(/half-decent) toward absolute suck? On a side note, I propose a new disclaimer to accompany the Parental Advisory sticker: “Warning: Band contains at least one white guy with dreadlocks.” Not that having a distressed-font logo wasn’t enough of a heads-up.
Feast of Shame
I saw this flaming train wreck of a band like ten bazillion times before it clicked that the name was a riff on the term “feudal knights.” The fact that it took so long for me to realize this blatantly obvious and asinine joke is the same thing that makes me the number-one Brutal Knights fan: I’m kind of an imbecile. Likewise, if you are into high-speed stupidity and asstarded mayhem, here’s a record that will fit you like a dunce cap. Wear it with pride and go hurt yourself. Everyone else: Stay in school, kids!
Hey, it’s like Deerhoof without an epileptic Japanese pygmy vocalist and with more scuzz. I know that sounds like it wouldn’t work but this is great to put on when you’re in a bad mood and want to be in an even worse one. My biggest complaint stems from the little 15-second doodles stuck between songs. Guys, I don’t care if you were high on ketamine and thought it was the best riff ever: Interludes are for rappers (lame rappers).
NINE INCH NAILS
After he toured with Skinny Puppy around 1990 or so, the Rez officially became the “safe” face of industrial music.
Pretty Hate Machine
was a decent record but got assimilated into the sound track du jour for fag-bashing high school lacrosse players. These things were excusable, but this piece of crap is not. I’d rather have the shit kicked out of me than doze off to bleepity-blorpity clicks and a 40-plus-year-old guy leaving an angry hour-long message on a malfunctioning answering machine (because it’s either Trent Reznor or my dad, and in both cases tell them I’m not home!).
HOLD MY BABY
Unbreakable (A Retrospective)
I vaguely remember seeing this band on
in the mid-90s, when I would be watching in hopes of catching a glimpse of someone Sassy-ish like Beck or Juliana Hatfield. Whenever something shitty like this would come on, that was prime bathroom-break time. It must be a Pavlov’s-dog kinda thing, because when I opened the envelope and saw this CD I immediately had to go poo.
Upset the Rhythm
Not to get all fan boy here, but you know when a band just fucking gets it? Like, the whole thing: tunes, look, record covers, merch, attitude, etc? These adorable little scamps seem to innately know everything about being in a band. They are a functioning DOs and DON’Ts model for all other bands to follow, and I’m totally serious, if maybe a bit gay as well.
THE MOONEY SUZUKI
God, this band has been around forever, and I’ve managed to ignore them till now. I don’t know why I had a grudge against them. I think it’s because I read that they named their band after the singers from the band Can and I thought that was pretentious. Plus I never really liked Can. But it’s weird because they sound nothing like Can. They’re playing dumb, fun, good-time rock with na-na-na’s and saxophones and black lady backup singers and it’s like the opposite of pretentious! I could not be more pleased. The guy could use some singing lessons though. I can tell he really wants to croon, but he’s not quite there yet.
Darts & Daggers
Free News Projects
Jayson from Philly-rap funsters Plastic Little channels classic-era K Records here and actually sounds surprisingly like Calvin Johnson! Hahaha. It’s funny at first but then guess what? It’s really good! Like, quality! Just like in Plastic Little, the lyrics are all funny and often about drugs, but now the music is super pretty and folky. Kinda reminiscent of the Moldy Peaches in their brief yet shining heyday. What a delightful surprise this is. Really, really delightful and surprising. Highly recommended!
Hearing Patti Smith sing “Everybody Rules the World” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is hilaaarious. There’s something so wrong about it, yet so very right! Like imagine Joni Mitchell singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” but serious. You know what I mean? What if you had a cool older friend who knew Patti Smith and one night he invited you to party with him and Patti at a karaoke bar and you got to do karaoke with Patti Smith? Wouldn’t that blow your mind? Well, this is what it would be like! You’d never be able to do karaoke again. It’d be too much of an anticlimax and then you’d be all, “Thanks for ruining karaoke for me forever, Patti Smith!”
Arts & Crafts/Polydor
Now here is a lady who sings like a singer! Yeah sure, she can be all kitten-witten whispery and cutesy (typical, annoying) but it’s when she suddenly takes it down from her breathy head voice and belts one out from the gut that she starts to sound like Carly Simon (or Joni Mitchell when she’s being jazzy) and I get psyched! She can really hold a note! How sad is the state of “alternative” music when I get excited about a girl who can sing vibrato? Ooh, and sometimes she also kinda sounds like the girl from the Sundays. I am prepared to defend this against boys everywhere.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
Those The Brokes
Oh my God, I have zero patience for this wishy-washy, myeh-myeh-myeh, tug-your-heartstrings cream-cheese music. I wish I liked this kind of stuff, I really do. Life would be so much simpler. I would probably be a much happier person. Like, yesterday on the subway I saw this couple. The girl was wearing Birkenstocks and the man was wearing those baffling, brightly colored plastic clogs with holes in them that you see these days. And they were holding hands and laughing and so happy and oblivious to my disgusted stares. Two not-hot people wearing the two most revolting brands of footwear in the world ever had found each other. And I was on my way to my shrink to whine about how hard it is to find a decent boyfriend in the city… I forgot where I’m going with this. I mean, what, should I go buy some of those fucking clogs??
Hey, this is pretty good. It’s one of the guys from that band Wolf Parade (who suck, except for that one song, which you must admit is a good song) and his wife. This is drum-machiney, sadman music, but the songs are good and when I put the CD on I feel sad but also kind of hopeful, and for some reason I’ve always liked that feeling.
ANITA BAKERS DOZEN
BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW
At any given moment it sounds as if Black Moth Super Rainbow could be playing music for Japanese sneaker commercials (“Lollipopsichord”) or impersonating Pink Floyd doing sound tracks for nature films (“Drippy Eye”). And with lots of fun, bonus Moogs everywhere. So versatile! And also: WOW!
Cozy Endings CD + DVD
The Social Registry
Ooh, I love art! Don’t you love art? What we’ve got ourselves here are some neat-o art films by MUX collective that look like relics from the cool and weird part of the 1960s accompanied ever so gracefully by the timeless and smooth stylings of Artanker Convoy. It’s all slow-motion girls doing modern-dance experiments with trails and trippy effects over soft, jazzy sax solos and like those drums that you play with egg whisks or whatever. Man, I wanna use the word “groovy” here so bad! But like in a totally positive way!
Lullaby Renditions of Queens of the Stone Age
OK, so this album is awful, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying weird shit of a similar nature. Back in the 60s you couldn’t write a single song without somebody releasing a samba version, an orchestral version, a Moog version, a good seven or eight cover versions by go-nowhere local bands, a barking-dogs version, and a vanity disco version by some coked-up ex-celebrity ten years after the fact. It was par for the course, and it made the musical landscape that much richer. Not a big fan of all the yelling at the end of “Hey Jude”? Here, try the Temple City Kazoostra’s cover. What I’m saying is, instead of recoiling like a snob at things like this or Kidz Bop doing “My Humps” or that reggae Radiohead tribute album from last year (yes, you’ve already guessed its title), we should be celebrating them for the diversity they attempt to foist upon our staid, homogenous music scene. Either that or just consider them slight missteps on the road to a half-speed album of Aqua songs sung by a Christian flipper baby playing the wine glasses—aka sonic paradise.
This album sounds like some dream where I’m a petulant kid who hates the noise the buzz saw makes whenever I have to use it (for whatever reason), but then the guys from Growing are like, “Wait, listen to it… now,” and suddenly it sounds like a really sharp synth, and they start playing the rest of the things in the kid factory along with me (conveyor belts, bright blue windows, vat of molten iron, etc.) and we’re all smiling at the music we can make when we all work together. Man, I wish I could get my hands on some good acid these days.
DANIEL A.I.U. HIGGS
Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot
Eccentric musician nerds—you gotta love the fact that they exist, setting the crazy bar way up high in the sky and eating crumbs out of their beards. The voice of the almighty Lungfish goes bleep-bloop insane here, and while it’s not exactly easy listening, it doesn’t suck. Think of songs like “Hems and Seams” as acid-trance music from a few million light years away and you’ll at least have some sort of reference point for this freaky shit.
SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM
In Glorious Times
I know it can be tough to predict where you’ll go with something and hindsight’s 20/20 and all, but if you’re going to name yourself something like this you’ve either got to be one adorable band of goofeteers or the heaviest, most unfuckwithable band that ever lived. Shooting the middle with ho-hum, Mike Patton-inspired cabaret nonsense just makes you the butt of your own joke. And that only works if you’re Jewish.
MERZBOW, CARLOS GIFFONI & JIM O’ROURKE
No Fun Productions
A reviewer better versed in noise projects might use this space to pontificate about structures, texture, and the warmth of analog tape. All I can offer is that when I turn this up really loud it scares the living shit out of my neighbors, who are Puerto Rican and therefore easily confused. This in turn gives me a brief respite from their own “noise project,” a never-ending aural assault comprised of crying babies, domestic-abuse sounds, and Marc Anthony. Apparently they are constantly working on new material too… maybe No Fun should get a demo?