Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Al'z 2004 Wrap-up Clusterfuck

Happy New Year, folks! This post is brought to you by the good folks at Mozilla, makers of Firefox, which I've decided to use exclusively for my internet activities. Word.

I know it's already been said by many, but please send your prayers towards the tsunami/earthquake victims. And if you've got cash, go to the Red Cross, and hit 'em off with some.

Alright now...let me send some belated Christmas/New Year/Kwanzaa/Hannukah/Festivus wishes out to my internet bretheren/sisteren:
I'd also like to give a shout-out to Bobby Dixon, Mister Reusch, Dale "Tooth" Flattum, Schizo, Scrojo and any other person from gigposters that I had a lot of communication with over the year. Peace.

Al'z Album Top 10!
  1. Madvillain - Madvillainy
  2. Pip Skid - Funny Farm
  3. John Smith - Pinky's Laundromat
  4. Tom Waits - Real Gone
  5. Walkmen - Bows and Arrows
  6. De La Soul - The Grind Date
  7. Kanye West - The College Dropout (I don't actually own Kanye's album, but a fellow student had it on her iTunes, so I got to witness his production skillz)
  8. Sixtoo - Chewing On Glass and Other Miracle Cures
  9. Black Keys - Rubber Factory
  10. The Break Bread Crew - Break Bread EP
'Nuff said, really. Madvillainy was one of the most satisfying releases I bought this year. Not only that, it's one of the most satisfying releases - rap-wise - I've heard since the mid-90s.
Pip's sophmore solo joint blew my mind. He's grown so much as an emcee not only since '93, but since his last album, Friends 4 Ever. He's saying more with less by not cramming his lines with a ton of words.
Growth is also apparent on John Smith's album, Pinky's Laundromat. Smiznith really became a gritty storyteller on this release, something that came forth on a few tracks from his debut. All-in-all, Pinky's is a great North End Winnipeg travel guide.
The rhythm of Tom Waits' Real Gone is very strong. It's probably his most danceable album yet, and I love it. It's toe-tappin' lovely. I would have to say my favorite tune from this album is "Make It Rain", because it has the most conventional drumming I've heard in a Waits tune in a long while, so it stands out from the rest of the album, but a good chunk of his catalog.
The Walkmen delivered on the promise of their first album, Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone with their new one Bows and Arrows. It has their usual mix of melancholy and mania, anchored by the great leadoff single "The Rat". I love Hamilton Leithauser's voice...it's got a torch song / cabaret kind of feel.
I'll admit to having written-off De La just a little bit due to their past two albums, but they came correct this time. Really correct. The production, rhymes, and the packaging (I'm a nerd, I know.) are dope. Kanye made me a believer again, too. I never listened to anything Roc-A-Fella-related seriously until The College Dropout came along. It's fuckin' solid from top to bottom; something that both the backpackers and Alize-drinkers can enjoy.
Sixtoo's Chewing On Glass album is a very inspriational release for me. Mr. Squire taught himself how to play the Rhodes piano and created a live/sampled masterpiece. It provided a great soundtrack for my cloudier days, even my happier ones...it's versatile. Meeting the man himself was definitely a highlight last year.
The Black Keys' Rubber Factory will be tough for them to top, because it's practically flawless. They managed to combine the lo-fi charm of their first album and the deeper sonics of their second into one amazing package. Basically...this thing can't be fucked with.
Lastly, I had to put the Break Bread EP on this thing, because it holds promise for what happening in the future for these guys. Basically, they got together, wrote some dope posse cuts with beats to match, and just put it out there. I'm thinking that within the next two years, these guys will be courting some Def Jux-type fame.

Al'z "Get the Bozack" Awards
  • Ann Coulter: The States allows Canada to exist? Fuck you, you Aryan wet dream!
  • Reality Shows: Do I really have to say why they suck? Nope.
  • Bill O'Reilly: Go falafel yourself.
  • Paris Hilton and Tara Reid: Self-explanatory
  • Continual overuse of the word "diva": Hilary Duff? Getthefuckouttahere.
I think that about sums it up. See you next week when I start bitching about turning 30. Peace!


Anonymous said...

Well, it's Festivus again, and I got a lot of problems with you people!

Happy New Year, Al. I have a blog in the works (TBA), so I may come to you with any niggling questions about it. Agreed: Firefox seems to be the easiest way to go on a Mac.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I forgot...

- drcolossus

Allan L. said...

No problem, man...you know where to find me.