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by Chris Catania

30 Jun 2009


San Francisco and Oakland gansta artists put their beefs aside for 19 tracks as rappers Quincy Brooks IV (aka San Quinn) and Charles Bowens (aka Keak Da Sneak) team up for Welcome to Scokland. Led by rapper Keak Da Sneak’s scruffy flow over a bouncing, synth-based hyphy sonic—the same one that gave Bay Area hip-hop a renaissance in the early 2000’s—the two stalwarts craft an album rooted in west coast rap and drenched in layers of g-funk rhythms and beats.

With a lot filler mixed in between solid tracks, the Scokland collaboration mashes chopped and screwed, southern crunk, dirty south, and hyphy click machines.  The weaknesses show up when the catchy hooks fall flat and lack originality to stand alone amongst the silly pimp rhymes that tout the usual strippers, dealers, and dismissible street slang.

But the brighter moments stand out when Bowen and Brooks try their best to qualm the tensions between the rival Bay cities. On the heartfelt hometown R&B and soul anthem “Back to Life”, they both have their shining moments and flex their emotional vulnerability, showing their capability to tell compelling and honest street stories that manage to overpower the trite rhymes that came before it.

A classic Pink Floyd track gets an inner city re-skinning on ghetto ballad “Comfortably Numb”.  Keak Da Sneak tells a sad street story full of struggles with race wars and poverty. He lets you feel the pain and see his tears flowing down, beautifully breaking down the wall of gangster posturing present elsewhere on an album that’s decent but unbalanced.

by PopMatters Staff

30 Jun 2009


On “Stillness Is the Move”—maybe the best song in the Dirty Projectors’ catalog, period—Dave Longstreth laces the track with his intricate spider web of guitar notes, while Amber Coffman turns in some stunning vocals, and paints herself as a rangy torch singer.—Matthew Fiander

by PopMatters Staff

30 Jun 2009


The Fiery Furnaces
I’m Going Away
(Thrill Jockey)
Releasing: 21 July 2009 (US) / 24 August 2009 (UK)

SONG LIST
01     I’m Going Away    
02   Drive to Dallas  
03   The End Is Near
04   Charmaine Champagne  
05   Cut the Cake  
06   Even in the Rain  
07   Staring at the Steeple  
08   Ray Bouvier  
09   Keep Me in the Dark  
10   Lost at Sea  
11   Cups and Punches  
12   Take Me Round Again

The Fiery Furnaces
“The End Is Near” [MP3]
     

by PopMatters Staff

29 Jun 2009


Regina Spektor is making the rounds promoting her new album Far that dropped last week and is aiming for mainstream music success.

by PopMatters Staff

29 Jun 2009


Grizzly Bear played “Cheerleader” off their recent album Veckatimest Friday night on Jimmy Fallon’s show. Mike Newmark said of the song that it “reaches back to a fading glitzy nostalgia with swaying rhythms, American Bandstand guitars, Muhly’s wonderfully sappy strings and Droste’s falsetto that lingers in the air long after the track ends”.

//Mixed media
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Can Video Game Mechanics Be “Trashy”?

// Moving Pixels

"Speed is the pornography of video games. Like adding skin to a film, adding speed to a game isn't usually about making the game a more thoughtful experience. It is about exciting its audience's instincts on the most visceral level possible.

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