One of the things we can do now that we're using Movable Type is something that might not seem so special to you-all but is sweet, sweet luxury to us: we can make a plain old what-I'm-listening-to-this-week entry like every other normal music-blog person in the whole universe. Naturally there are gonna be the stray few who think this is total bullshit. Those guys can pick up their refund at the office.
1. Shock G, Fear of a Mixed Planet. Yes: the Shock G, occasionally known as Humpty motherfuckin' Hump, early patron of Tupac Shakur and rightful heir to George Clinton's bong, last seen in the late, great Digital Underground. Once all our lefty friends decided that calling bullshit on misogyny in rap somehow damaged their credential , the DU found themselves without an audience for the people-friendly, funky-hippie we're-all-on-this-planet-together style of rap they peddled; Shock G had never favored the nervous toothgrind beats that became the general cultural soundtrack around '97 or so, either, so there's that, though I'd contend that these things are two sides of the same coin. Anyhow, yeah. This here is a CD-RW, probably burned by Shock G himself, ordered from his (needlessly Flash-heavy, so be warned) website via Paypal and delivered to my door within 48 hours. Musically, it's all hazy ringing keyboards and deep P-Funk beats; lyrically, it's right on, which is to say, if you hate being "preached at" (i.e., if people decrying racism makes you whine and moan because "it's not going to change anything" but people celebrating their hatred of women is OK by you as long as the beats are fresh: in which case, y'know, fuck you) it isn't for you. Me, I 'm kinda tired of rap's Madonna-whore complex & I don't consider a guy hard until & unless he's actually been killed, so I'm gonna listen to Fear of a Mixed Planet 'til my grinning face falls off. The sleeper track is a slow drum-n-bass mockup called "Cinnamon Waves" that's like a blissed-out amnesiac Prince, unaware that he's supposed to be famous and crazy and all that.
2. Incantation, Decimate Christendom. Considerably less blissed-out than Shock G, but still interested in joy somehow. Incantation is one of several once-notable death metal bands who're poking their heads above the surface, full of good ideas, maybe hoping that people are still listening but maybe not caring. They're like people in love: they do what they do 'cause it's fun, and 'cause it makes them happy, and 'cause it's what they know how to do. What this means in practical terms is that Incantation follows their instincts a lot better than some younger, hungrier bands I could name; Decimate Christendom expands like a compressed-foam Satan in a glass of water, doom licks crossing up half-blast beats in a woozy, hallucinatory, album-long crescendo. The album cover is so lame I almost didn't listen to the record at all. You gotta work harder, people.
3. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti 2, The Doldrums. This will eventually merit a whole big long piece of its own, but heads up, anyhow: this is the weirdest, most amazing debut not since Devendra's but since Charlie McAlister's. Completely amazing.
4. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 3 & Bach Suite; Petra Lang and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Riccardo Chailly, conductor
a. oh my God the third movement b. and all the rest of the whole thing, too c. it's like an esoteric mystical half-goth Austrian Shock G or something
5. Dizzee Rascal, Showtime. I haven't been keeping too much track of what people are saying about this, though I was at first. In case people are still doing the compare-and-contrast thing with Boy in Da Corner, though, I believe I have distilled the message of Showtime and am happy to share it with the grimy blog massive. That message is shut up and dance.
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