From the top: Me on Main, February 5th; Poster for Nestor Wynrush; Nutty Rap Night.
- Oh Yeah...My 2007 Top Ten. Hey, if Magnet can drop their list this late in the game, so can I.
- Grand Analog's Calligraffiti. Y'know, I think it's pretty much agreed upon that Mood Ruff made the album we were all waiting for them to make with I Do My Own Stunts. Although separated by two years, this joint carried that same momentum, except that this one was Odario's baby. I love this whole thing, but "Sittin' On Sunday" is probably my favorite track, followed by "Mixtapes: The Slow Ride". Love that hook on "Sittin'". Full disclosure: Garfield (Odario) is an old friend, and I got a shout out in the liner notes. No influence on how I feel about this recording...I love this album for what it is.
- Little Brother's Get Back. Rap music for grown-ass people, that's what this is. That don't mean it's curmudgeonly, not at all. The beats still bounce (even without 9th Wonder producing all of the tracks), Pooh and Phonte still hit really hard with their pointed lyrics for haters of all stripes, and the whole thing comes in at a tidy 11 tracks. I wish more folks would follow their lead in that regard. If there's a theme to this album, I'd have to say it's all about perseverance (Phonte pretty much says so on the final track) and that's top notch in my book. Rap music needs more albums that the over 30 set can relate to, got-dammit. Shit, rap needs good albums, period. Okay, I'm gettin' off my high horse...
- Athavale's Devoted. Full disclosure (again): I've known Erik for 10 or so years (ever since the Fermented Reptile Let's Just Call You Quits album release at Mondragon), and I did several posters for him, plus an illustration for his second demo. These facts have no bearing on my opinion of this full-fledged release which had me stunned for months. Favorite demo tracks like "Bounce" and "Raise Up" took a quantum leap in quality, and I got slapped upside the head – in a good way – by "Morning Groove". At 9 tracks deep, I often listened to it two and three times in a row, feeling rather uplifted every time. I can't say that about very many albums.
- Steve Earle's Washington Square Serenade. I've got my tickets for his March 10th show, and I'm REALLY looking forward to it. I've been a fan since I Feel Alright, so seeing him live (and solo!) is long overdue. This album is a hoot to listen to, and I'm hoping that him and producer John King (of the mighty Dust Brothers) work together again. Steve knows how to write a song that can bring a tear to my eye. Case in point: "Come Home to Me". Every time I hear it, it vividly displays what life would be like for me if I fucked up really bad, causing Sarah to leave me. Then I start tearing up. It's kinda pitiful. But damn, what a song.
- Talib Kweli's Eardrum. WAY fuckin' better than I thought it would be. I saw all the guests lined up for this album and got put off, initially. But really, it's pretty damn good! One of the stand-outs: "Country Cousins" with UGK. Yup. This joint surveys the geographical divisions in today's rap game with a keen eye and pretty much says "hey...it's all good". Good times. Yo, Talib's set at the MPLS stop for Rock The Bells was mad fun to watch, too.
- Percee P's Perseverance. Another pleasant surprise, f'real. I thought I'd tire of Perce's endless fast raps right quick, but he kept it engaging with the occasional narrative or guest spot. And we can't forget about Madlib's killer production: solid as hell, but also typically quirky. Favorite track: "2 Brothers From the Gutter" with Diamond D. What is that being sampled...Castlevania?
Oh No's Dr. No's Oxperiment. Common's Finding Forever. I just looked at this list that I wrote either in early January or late December, and wondered what I was smoking. Don't get me wrong...I liked Oh No's joint, but not as much as Finding Forever. Admittedly, I find this album to be a collection of a few good joints more than a truly cohesive album. However, tracks like "The Game" and "Southside" hearken back to the Common we were always interested in, and that's enough for me.
- Heavy Trash's Going Way Out with Heavy Trash. Fun from the word go and enough weirdness to make rockabilly purists scratch their Brylcreemed heads. Spencer lists bands like the Oblivians and Doo Rag in "They Were Kings", an homage to rock n' roll ass-kickers. Definitely a fave, as is the sonic blast of "I Want Oblivion". Man, I'd love to see these guys again.
- Talib Kweli and Madlib's Liberation. Y'all forgot about this one, didn't you? Stones Throw was smart to put this out as a free download on January 1st. It made my early morning commute SO much better (Fuck, I miss my iPod.). Favorite joint: "Engine Running" with Consequence. Shit, I'm gonna listen to that right now...
- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand. If you were to tell me that this was gonna be on my list, I probably would've slapped you, because no one likes a liar. But here it is. I saw a review in Exclaim! and I was like, getthefuckouttahere. Like how good could this be? Well, really good. I popped into HMV Portage Place twice, and tracks from Raising Sand were playing each time. I took that as a sign. Well, not before borrowing a co-workers copy, which I returned to her with a shocked look on my face. "This is one of the best things I've heard all year", I stated, slack-jawed. Plant and Krauss complement each other so well, and Plant keeps the hysterics to a minimum, which is great. This recording is full of top notch players, and sound is akin to sitting next to a fireplace, wrapped in a blanket. Yeah, it's that comfy. Alison's cover of Tom Waits' "Trampled Rose" makes me tingle, but not in a naughty way.
- So...there y'go, for whatever that's worth.
- If You're Going to SXSW... I hate you. Okay, not really. I wish I was goin'. Someday. Anyway, if you're going, don't forget to peep Flatstock 16. Tell 'em El Negro set you. Also, my homies Co-op and Hunnicutt will be in the house spinning at the Silhouette Sushi Restaurant and Bar with a shitload of other dudes. Check this for info.
- Frank Chimero. This fellow gigposters.com member is so damn talented. What y'all need to do is check out his Flickr photostream, be amazed, then go cop his book: The Small Print. Go on...you'll thank me later.
- Randy and Chirpy. In addition to reading Sinfest every day, I now have to keep up with my man Lonny's Randy and Chirpy. The drunken antics of a bird and a slacker. What's not to love? Plus, he's launched a fan art blog for it. Well, I'm a fan, and I draw stuff...I guess it's in the cards.
- I'm done with Plumpers and Big Women (NSFW). The magazine, that is. I'm thankful that this mag was around in my formative years, as it helped me to see full-figured women as sexy and desirable (as did a certain student teacher). The thing is, now I care about quality, and their shitty paper, boring layout, and falsehood-filled "letters" section no longer do it for me. The final straw occurred in the latest issue where they had self-exiled former porn performer* Elizabeth Rollings in two spreads. That wouldn't be a bad thing normally, but here, they tried to portray her as two different women. Like, how fuckin' stupid do you think we are? Bitches.
- I gotta go to bed. Peace.