If a beat drops in the middle of a forest, does it make a sound? Remy LBO wanted to find out, so he left the lusher tools he used for last spring’s Peeling in the Dub back in LA and shacked up in the Oregon wilderness for a spell. There, with only a handful of instruments, he assembled a laid-back groove album in the spare, dry style of skweee—or Flying Lotus, but much, much looser. That album, Umpqua Fire, presumably named after the forest of its making, is streaming at his website, where it can also be purchased digitally or as an attractive, hand-screened LP.
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Sweden’s Acid House Kings have a new album, Music Sounds Better With You, releasing this week. Look for our review in a few days, but check out the band’s new video in the meantime.
Wiseguy may have been the best television show ever. Made way before cop shows like The Shield and The Wire, the stories revealed the ambiguities of right and wrong in a cop versus bad guy world, where corruption and honor equally existed at all levels of government and civilian life. The show also had several arcs that presented the complex nature of the music industry. Here organized crime and big business played nefarious roles in the name of promoting art, but all involved collaborated in the dirty pursuit of money and power.
But what really made Wiseguy unmissable, what put it head and shoulders above anything else on television during its three year run (1987-1990) was lead actor Ken Wahl. He exploded on the small screen. As Vinnie Terranova, the New Jersey undercover agent could be the doppelganger of Bruce Springsteen, tough but sensitive, and with a code of honor. He could also be sexy, as this scene from Season 3 with Patti D’Arbanville shows. Wahl’s physical disabilities have hindered him from acting roles, but watching footage like this makes one wish he could come back to television.
Richard Ashcroft is currently streaming his new album, United Nations of Sound, ahead of its release next week. Also, for “Are You Ready?” he has released a music video. Ashcroft is best known as the lead singer for Britain’s the Verve.
Indie-rap duo Atmosphere is back at it again as they get ready to release their next album The Family Sign on April 12th.
Starring in the new video for the lead single “Just For Show” is a neglected, albeit brave and courageous golden retriever. But don’t be fooled. This video ain’t for the dogs at all. Because, as usual, rapper Slug’s lyrical storytelling and underlying message is cunning, creative and curious.
Yes, as expected, the canine star’s tribulations evoke empathetic smiles and heartfelt awhs as the mix of classic hip-hop beats and reggaesque grooves guide you through the dawg-centric plot.
But knowing Atmosphere’s sneaky ways and proven gift for crafty rhymes and sly songwriting, watching this video assures me that there’s more to this song’s inspiration than meets the eye. And I’m hoping that the rest of The Family Sign is just as good and won’t leave us howling at the moon.
On their forthcoming tour, MC Slug and producer Ant, will be accompanied by keyboardist Erick Anderson and guitarist Nate Collis as well as label-mates Blueprint, Grieves with Budo, Sab the Artist & DJ Abilities. A notable stop of the excursion will take place at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA and will include the addition of Aesop Rock with Rob Sonic & DJ Big Wiz.