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by Emanuel Wallace

20 Jul 2011


“Drums please.” And with that begins DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s massive hit, “Summertime” from their album Homebase. It’s hard to fathom that the tune was released 20 years ago, but it hit the airwaves in May of 1991 and the video debuted in July of that year. Built on a sample of Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness”, the song is an ode to all things related to those hot summer months including carefree relaxing, ridiculously skimpy clothing, fun-filled cookouts and competitive games of basketball at the park (with added female spectators!).

The video opens with Will and Jeff up to their usual, playful antics that made them so lovable as Will and Jazz on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before cutting to the duo seemingly coasting through the city on a platform with refreshing drinks in hand, taking in the sights. Throughout the clip, we see many of the aforementioned elements of summer (in slow motion!) along with kids running around playing, people dancing in Soul Train lines, open fire hydrants and pretty girls cruising down the street at “two miles per hour, so everybody sees you”.

While Will and Jeff have gone their separate ways, with Will being an international movie star and Jeff becoming a worldwide ambassador for hip-hop, “Summertime” may very well be their crowning achievement. Many others have tried to carve out their own hip-hop summer anthem, but “Summertime” remains the champion and likely will continue to be the quintessential summer jam for many years to come.

by Matt Edsall

20 Jul 2011


No, it’s not a cover of Paul Simon’s African Graceland track, but rather the debut single off My Place Is Here / My Time Is Now, the solo record of multi-instrumentalist Mike Post. Hailing from Los Angeles, Post studied music at Northeastern University where he learned the ins and outs of the business as well as how to put together a catchy recording, which is showcased here. Driven by the ukulele (Eddie Vedder’s really brought that thing back, huh?), it has the laid-back persona of a guy chilling around a campfire with friends. “If you’re waiting for a sign to set you free / Then you’d be just like me,” Post sings, and considering the economy’s in absolute shit, you can’t help but feel the same. At least while waiting, though, Post gives us this tune to cheer us up.

by Sarah Zupko

18 Jul 2011


On this day back in 1966, Bobby Fuller of the Bobby Fuller Four, known for his iconic tune “I Fought the Law”, was found dead in his car in LA at the young age of 23. Leaving this world so young like his idol and fellow Texan, Buddy Holly, Fuller’s death was declared a suicide, but rumors abound as to possible other causes. That aforementioned classic tune was later remade with a harder edge famously by the Clash.

by Imran Khan

18 Jul 2011


Blending electronic beats with some choppy Latin funk, Black Eskimo (a duo comprised of Ingrid Chavez and Marco Valentin) chart their course in some pop-friendly waters. Chavez, noted especially for her spoken word material, opts to ditch the talk and simply sing. Her voice, light and airy, hovers just above the grooves provided by multi-instrumentalist Valentin, who gives the beats some crunchy texture without cluttering up the soundscape unnecessarily. It’s really just a taster of what is to come, as Eskimo are due for a full-length release. But if a sweet and tangier brand of electro-pop is your dish, then this should go down nicely like a chilled lemon posset. Check out their debut single, “Escapology”.

by John Garratt

14 Jul 2011


Tragedy has long moved artists to write, we all know that. Look at how many songs came out of the 9/11 attacks. Ben Kono, a hard-working sideman saxophonist from New York, started to put together the pieces of his song “Paradise in Manzanar” not long after the twin towers fell. But it relates to a different tragedy: the imprisonment of Japanese-American civilians during World War II. After reading Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s Farewell to Manzanar in the tenth grade, “paradise” is one of the last words I would use to describe the California internment camps. But there’s the old adage about life dealing you lemons…

“Paradise in Manzanar” is one of the most striking tracks from Kono’s solo debut Crossing, which is saying something since the whole album boasts an elegant selection of songs of the chamber jazz and/or post-classical persuasion. There is a fine video of the song being performed live on YouTube and it can also be sampled on Kono’s website.

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