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by Tom Fenwick

16 Dec 2009

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Born Like This


Review [24.Mar.2009]

Born Like This represents DOOM’s return to rap, with the chrome–domed villain at his sharpest, a menacingly streamlined name and rhymes to match. With no topic beyond his grasp—he highlights the increased homogenisation of of hip-hop since his self-imposed exile, but filtered through the darker realities of war, race, religion, and sexuality. The album’s centrepiece is undoubtedly “Cellz”, which opens with Charles Bukowski’s apocalyptic “Dinosauria, We”. This audacious sample reinforces DOOM’s dark lyrical content, as well as drawing parallels to the work of other American poets who dealt with self-examination and dirty realism. “Can it be I stayed away too long?” croons DOOM on “That’s That”, and after a five year hiatus, you might be forgiven for considering it a possibility, but Born Like This swims against the tide. It builds into a complex and layered work, crafted with a deft touch that proves hip-hop’s villain may have matured into its saviour.

by Andrew Gilstrap

15 Dec 2009

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Deer Tick

Born on Flag Day


Review [5.Jul.2009]

It seems to be the nature of the world to chafe at any spot of contentment in your life, and Born on Flag Day captures that sense of being at odds with your surroundings as well as any release this year. It’s a feeling of conflict that exists in every part of the band’s music: the faster songs feel like they’re about to run off the rails, sharp lyrics lurk in the slower songs just waiting for their chance to cut to the bone, and vocalist John Joseph McCauley conveys it all with an acute, nasally rasp. Born on Flag Day is an album with a lot of stories to tell, and its characters—from the regret-filled grandfather of “Song About a Man” to the slacker lovers of “Friday XIII”—offer insight into the bad choices we make, and why we might be making them.

by Jordan Sargent

15 Dec 2009

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(Stones Throw)

It’s a music writer cliché to say that something takes a genre from the past and makes it fresh again, but the shoe—or the neon blue shades—fits with LA’s Dam-Funk. His resuscitation of ‘80s R&B and boogie provided for hands down the best music of the summer, instrumentals that glisten and glide with burbling bass and greasy synth solos that in a perfect world would last forever. But what’s best about Dam-Funk is that he’s reverent of his funk heroes without allowing that to bog him down. Instead, he uses their music as the blueprint for an intergalactic strand of instrumental hip-hop that is distinctly his. There is a song here called “Searchin’ 4 Funk’s Future”—it’s nine minutes long and two hours of music come after it. I think Riddick is too humble to realize that he might be it.

by Christian John Wikane

15 Dec 2009

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Basement Jaxx



Review [20.Sep.2009]

Forget 2012. If 2009 marked the apocalypse, Scars would make a fantastic send-off for planet Earth. In their dependably inimitable manner, Basement Jaxx have crafted an album that fuses together beats of numerous styles and orientations. Scars distills a good half-century’s worth of dance music from around the world—ska, Euro-pop, bhangra—and funnels it through the genius of Felix Buxton and Simon Racliffe. Santigold, Yoko Ono, and Yo Majesty lead a motley crew of guests who bring a distinct flavor to each production, which makes singling out one defining track a futile enterprise. However, if today is all we had, and tomorrow ceased to exist, I know I’d want to face my mortality with the voices of Sam Sparro (“Feelings Gone”) and Lightspeed Champion (“My Turn”) leading the way.

by PopMatters Staff

15 Dec 2009

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Unknown Knowns
(Hidden Shoal Recordings)
Out Now

The cliché ‘all killer, no filler’ is often bandied around with very little to back it up. In the case of Mukaizake’s stunning new release Unknown Knowns, the cliché applies. Unknown Knowns kicks off with the fuzzy propulsion of single ‘The Yeah Conditioner’, immediately launching the listener into Mukaizake’s compelling corner of the musical universe. This is serpentine indie-rock at its finest, weaving hook after hook around your chest until you’re suspended from the clouds, a grin plastered across your face, unable to even think about listening to anything else.

“Part math-rock, part jangly dream-pop, the six songs are a beguiling dive into the oceanic sounds of 90’s indie rock. Vocalists Geoff Symons and Erickson can both actually sing with clarity, lending the songs a sort of choirboy purity, even when singing about slashing tyres… The outcome is a pristine and intelligent composite of sounds old and new… It’s a heady combination.”Rave Magazine.

1. The Yeah Conditioner (Single)
2. Rule Norse
3. Corporal Steam
4. Frisbee
5. My Friend Flicker
6. Slack Bees

The Yeah Conditioner [MP3]

//Mixed media

Con Brio: The Best New Live Band in America?

// Notes from the Road

"There’s a preciousness to McCarter and the rest of the mostly young band. You want to freeze the moment, to make sure they are taking it all in too. Because it’s going to change.

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