Back again….with Kahron’s music selections of the week. I have an interesting arrays of newbies, sleepers, and a throwback for everyone to check out. Let’s get started:
Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this album. For the record, it doesn’t suck – in fact, it’s good. The issue is that….I think I understand why Chris Martin has been wildin’ out lately in interviews. It’s because the album has firmly placed them at a real crossroads that every big, arena type of band goes through – there’s a pronounced angst/self doubt…. in trying to be creative….making sure you make the numbers you are expected to push out of the Best Buys and Virgin Megastores and iTunes around the world……making the critics happy….making yourselves happy with your own product……and even just dealing with being famous on a level that is completely suffocating.
I wonder if Chris thinks sometimes, “I think all of this is just too much…I think I might be going crazy.” Not that I feel ‘bad’ for him – he did CHOOSE this. This is what he asked for, for better or worse. I really couldn’t begin to imagine living his kind of life – it really isn’t natural, to be honest. I think it’s manifested in this album. It’s hard to tell what to make of it……you have a mish mash of ideas……Brian Eno in the studio – a good thing…..trying to step into another vein of musical expression. It’s just hard to grade. I do know one thing with certainty – this is either the beginning of the end, or a new beginning in the history of Coldplay.
I give it a very tentative 4 out of 5. (I mean look at the title even….they couldn’t decide on that….they could’ve called the album “?” or “Confused State of Affairs or What Direction Are We Going In Now?”, and it would’ve made just as much sense)
The Notwist – The Devil, You + Me
I actually hadn’t heard of this band prior to a few weeks ago, when I listened to snippets of their most recent album, 2002’s Neon Golden. I have to say I’m impressed. This German band has a lot of creativity – they blends art rock, elements of ambient and drum based electronics (they know how to correctly use a beat machine/program, which is evident in prior albums as well), and even a little jazz, and classical.
I bought Neon Golden with this album and enjoyed it as well. They fall in a weird spot…maybe like Postal Service with a dash of Radiohead sprinkled in. I do believe I will work my way backwards with this band and see how far they’ve come. They were actually a metal/punk band very early on – so it should be very interesting.
4 out of 5.
Adrian Quesada and Ocote Soul Sounds – The Alchemist Manifesto
This ESL release is actually the second collaboration between of the two, Adrian and Martin Perna (Ocote…is his stage name). It’s mainly an instrumental Afro-Latin album with 70’s jazz/funk influences. It sounds like if Super Fly was set in 1970’s Buenos Aires or Spain. ESL usually comes through with good stuff, and this one’s no slouch either. This one of the favs right now.
4 out of 5.
Natalia Clavier – Nectar
I actually bought this when I got the album reviewed above. Nice Spanish vocals….she has “a weekend in Barcelona and I’m rich, bitch” sound. It’s super chill and relaxing….reminds me of how I’ve felt about Federico Aubule’s releases of the last few years. “Azul” is a stand out for sure.
4 out of 5
Sleepers of the Week
Kidz in the Hall – The In Crowd
I have to say that while Naledge needs to definitely learn to dominate on the mic more, this MC/producer (Double O) duo is nice. Naledge sounds a little like preppy Smooth B/Jay-Z hyrbid, which makes sense the duo met at the University of Pennsylvania. He makes good use of his Ivy League flow and Double O’s much improved beatmaking skills. Even tho they are from Chicago, they don’t try to press the hard button – they use the school boy thing to their advantage and utilize a nice variety of sounds. I personally feel they have too many collabs; but at this point in their career, it’s probably for the best, especially with the wide range of styles between the guests. I’m impressed and looking forward to more.
4 out of 5
Disrupt – Foundation Bit
I love dubstep….but man, I’m beginning to realize I can’t keep up with all the releases – it’s no wonder electronic artists/listeners (or even Jazz or classical or math metal folks) tend to stay in a particular corner, because you almost need to immerse yourself in the world, especially sense they have so many singles and albums coming out all at the same time. For me, that will be very difficult. Yet, once again, here I go. This album illustrates the DUB in dubstep, staying true to the dub (for those unfamiliar with dub music – check, check it out right here) rhythms and samples. This album just flows nicely from track to track….you could prolly just put it on and let it go. Enjoyed this album.
4 out of 5.
Throwback for the Week
Gil Scott-Heron – Winter In America
This was his second collaboration with jazz pianist Brian Jackson. The title track is live for whatever reason, but no less powerful. Crazy talented…..it’s sad that he’s now HIV positive and a recovering drug addict. But you know what? Big up to one of the original, super political MCs.