Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Found Glory/International Superheroes of Hardcore, "Tip of the Iceberg/Takin' It Ova"

New Found Glory/International Superheroes of Hardcore
"Tip of the Iceberg/Takin' It Ova" (Double Split EP)
(Bridge 9)

I rarely inhabit the B9 message board these days, though I imagine it must have been quite the shitstorm when the label announced they were going to release a New Found Glory EP. Still, we shouldn't forget these Floridians got their start in the HxC scene thanks to guitarist Chad Gilbert's role as a one-time vocalist for Shai Hulud.

This "split" EP is really an extended NFG record of outtakes. The International Superheroes of Hardcore is NFG doing goofy hardcore songs, not unlike Good Clean Fun. With that said, I can't really talk too much trash about this record.

Unlike their last studio album, "Coming Home," New Found Glory goes back to basics with three new songs and three covers. Their new songs are an attempt at their "It's All About the Girls/Nothing Gold Can Stay"-era tracks that are more punk than pop. Unlike MxPx's attempt to recapture the "Punk Rawk Show" proverbial lightning in a bottle, NFG's are a little bit more earnest. Though over the last few years, they've explored their pop side, there have always been a strong presence of their punk side, so it's not really a major change, outside of the fact that huge hooks are missing. The cover songs, on the other hand, are okay. I don't think Shelter, Gorilla Biscuit or Lifetime fans will be too pissed, but they are easily forgettable.

For the International Superheroes of Hardcore side, I will say that these songs are ridiculous...and in a good way, of course. Unabashedly tongue-in-cheek, "Takin' It Ova," is the real treat on this double disc EP. In "Fashion Show," Gilbert belts out in the intro, "There's no wardrobe in hardcore, despite what you think/I mean look at us, we wear capes." The mental image alone makes this a worthwhile purchase. Luckily songs like "Screamo's Gotta Go" and "Hardcore Hokey Pokey" could probably fool a couple dudes in Bane shirts into taking these tracks seriously.

This is a pretty solid release, overall, though I'd recommend it for kids who are really into New Found Glory or Good Clean Fun, otherwise, the joke will pretty much just go over your head and you'll be beating yourself up for spending $12 on a glorified parody album. I wonder how long it will take before this review ends up on a thread?

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Video: The Roots f/ Patrick Stump, "Birthday Girl"

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tyga = Crossover Rap's New Jesus Christ

It's no secret that I'm not the biggest Gym Class Heroes fan. I could go on for another three paragraphs on my usual onslaught of comparing them to Crazytown, but what's the point? You little kids wouldn't know a good emcee if Rakim the God was in your living room doing "My Melody" for you and your mom.

This sentiment is proved by the unexplained popularity of Tyga, a Compton-based rapper who's currently shilling for Pete Wentz's Decaydance Records, also the home of Gym Class Heroes. Also, this Tyga kid the cousin of that Travis dude from said Heroes group. And who says nepotism doesn't pay off?

Earlier I shaved minutes off my life by watching Tyga's video for his debut single "Coconut Juice." First off, the beat is a total rip of circa-2001 Neptunes. It sounded too much like something that would've been on Clipse's "Hell Hath No Fury." In fact, Chad, Pharrell, Malice and Pusha T should pay Tyga a visit...with a cease and desist. The video also boasts a really odd cameo from Lil' Wayne who's just sitting behind a soundboard, playing with his cell phone.

The song as a whole sucks, and Tyga's not a very good rapper. I would liken him to Domino, and at least "Getto Jam" was catchy. "Coconut Juice" is pretty much a filler song that a DJ might play to take up space between "I Get Around" and "Big Pimpin'." What I find more disturbing is that little pop-punk kids will buy this shit and think of it as eclectic because they bought what they've been tricked into thinking is a rap record, when it's really a pop record with makeshift street cred.

Tyga, along with his Gym Class brethren, is just another dude who's joining Skee-Lo, Biz Markie and Kanye West in the line of Black rappers that White kids can listen to around their parents. I'm not trying to discount the talents of Skee-Lo, the Biz and (to a far lesser extent) 'Ye, but man, how about some Dead Prez? X-Clan? Poor Righteous Teachers?

I suppose my big gripe about Gym Class Heroes and Tyga is that for these kids who don't listen to hip-hop on a regular basis, the buck stops there for them. Most don't go off to discover Gang Starr, Blahzay Blahzay, The Click, Mac Mall or Shyheim. All these non-threatening rappers are just a clean, glamed up version of LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) Rap -- their records are cheaply put together, not well thoughtout and exist to only sell units and simultaneously destroy communities. If anything, Crossover Rappers like the ones who are signed to Decaydance only perpetuate the stereotypes of African-Americans that long-in-the-tooth rappers such as Common (Sense) have spent years trying to dismantle.

My solution: don't buy Tyga's new record and send his wannabe Sean Kingston-sounding ass back to flippin' meat at Fatburger. Instead, spend your money on the new Joell Ortiz record, or throw some money towards Crooked I -- there's a real Compton rapper who could use an album or five.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Denali Reunites! Coked Out Hipsters Regret Selling Their Copies of "The Instinct!"

I'm a few days late on this, but Decoy Music posted a link to Denali's Myspace announcement that the band would indeed be reuniting.

Let's take a moment for swooning.

I'm a little less cynical about this reunion because, unlike Lifetime or Portishead, Denali didn't popularize a genre or even change the face of indie rock. They were, however, a very solid band and found fans and unlikely tourmates ranging from Minus the Bear and The Velveteen to Deftones and Poison the Well.

Denali's lead singer, Maura Davis, went on to form the similar-sounding Ambulette, before the implosion of Astralwerks lead to that band's demise. Since then, she had started Glos with brother and Denali bandmate, Keeley Davis (also of Engine Down [one of the best bands ever] and Sparta).

This reunion is also a bit uncanny as I received their posthumous DVD, "Pinnacle," in the mail yesterday via Netflix. Weirdness.
Denali released two stellar albums on Jade Tree, their self-titled debut and "The Instinct," in addition to their DVD.

[Bonus Videos]

Denali, "Hold Your Breath"

Denali, "French Mistake (Live)"

Maura Davis, "Cash"

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Single of the Year (That Got Clipped)

Those rascals over at Nah Right (by way of Okayplayer) posted some stills from the video for The Roots next video, "Birthday Girl," which (as pictured above) features AVN winner and BCO Message Board miscreant, Sasha Grey (wikipedia that name). The Roots have been up on a tear lately, releasing several videos for songs that will appear on their next album, "Rising Down," all helmed by the new Asian sensation Rik Cordero. Personally, I'm a little bummed that this song was left off the record (it will instead be available as an iTunes exclusive); even with the inclusion of Fall Out Boy singer, Patrick Stump, the song in itself is a pleasant little jam that could be the next "Summertime." Oh well, I bet the video will be pretty sweet.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Promoting My Peeps

Every now and then, I decide to stop being such a selfish bastard and help out my peeps. So here's what's goin' on:

NEW Redefine Magazine! Now with National Distribution!

The Meltdown Continues to Melt Faces Post-Bamboozle Left!

My friend Matt is also going on tour with his solo project, Hair Envelope. I can't access his Myspace on the company computer, but if you do a search for that name, it should come up.


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Monday, April 07, 2008

Reviews: Portishead, "Third"

(Some Major Label)

Beth Gibbons, that one DJ guy and the guitarist who looked like Joe Strummer's (R.I.P.) illegitimate love child have abandoned their hiatus in favor of bringing us another album full of Gibbons' impeccable range of singing and the group's collective love of drug-den music.

Personally, I love "Portishead," "Dummy," and the "Glory Box EP." When music writers talk about encapsulating a moment of time within the context of audio recordings (see also: Bob Dylan, The Beatles/Beach Boys, Woody Guthrie), Portishead's albums from the 1990s fit snugly into that category. But for their first foray back into the new century, there's a considerable tumble that Beth Gibbons and gang face: the passing of time.

Unlike the likeminded Morcheeba and Supreme Beings of Leisure, Portishead's absence from the music scene only served as a detriment. While the afforementioned Morcheeba and SBoL were able to grow and implode in their own right, Portishead's vanishing act made them a "Hey remember that band staple" instead of cultivating a cult status like someone like Bjork or Eddie and the Cruisers.

This sentiment is reflected in Portishead's "Third" which acts more like a continuation of their beaten-to-death contribution to the trip-hop genre. "Third" would have worked really well in 1999 to 2001. But in 2008, it sounds dated and doesn't even harken back to nostalgic days. If anything, it seems like a really sad cash-in.

What I'm most disappointed is that the album sounds like one, long song. It could be argued that Portishead's previous efforts also rang of a similar continuity, but "Dummy" and "Self-Titled" seem to be more geniune. The songs are really difficult to distinguish from another and honestly, I would've preferred another Beth Gibbons solo album, rather than this sad ghost of an album from an equally sad group of musicians.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Chasing Coolness @ BAMBOOZLE LEFT? WHAT?

That's right childrens, Chasing Coolness a.k.a. Ryan P. is skraight hittin' the best state in the Union to interview a billion awesome bands for this year's Bamboozle. For real. I'm doing the official blogging for the Bamboozle fansite, Boozle'd, and I'm doing real-time coverage of a plethora of sweet bands like Dance Gavin Dance, NFG, Paramore (Hayley what up?), The Starting Line, From First to Last and Metro Station.

I am totes stoked for this!!!!!! California peeps, I hope you have a place for me to crash!!! You herbs wanna go out and get In-N-Out with me? Sweetness!!!!!

Let's hook it up!!!!!

Bomb the comments and let me know where the parties are at. I'm going to be rolling with a camera crew and a microphone, getting in ya faces. On the real, all you crabs know the deal!

I apologize to all my friends who fell for this and for my non-friends who accused me of being a hypocrite, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You fell for that jawn hook, line and stinker. Anyway, I won't be at Bamboozle Left, but my friends Ilene and Mike who spearhead both High Voltage Media and The Meltdown have a booth there, so if you are attending, support their booth. They have some awesome action figures and other nerd shit that their showcasing.

Also, my review of the Bamboozle Road Show is up on Redefine. Bee'lee dat.

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