The Beastie Boys first hit national success with their 1986 album Licensed To Ill. Fueled by "Fight For Your Right," "No Sleep Til Brooklyn," "Brass Monkey" and more it remained at #1 for seven weeks and simultaneously reached #2 on the urban chart, becoming the fastest selling debut to date for Columbia and the first hip hop record to break 5 million sales.
Since then, the hip-hop supergroup has released six studio albums, including the instant classics Check Your Head and Ill Communications, which were staples in the 90s. They won a Grammy for their 2007 release The Mix Up, and are on the cusp of releasing their newest album, The Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1.
Kevin Yost has been seen first-hand how the Internet has changed house music and its top players, with Yost one of its most influential DJs. The phrase might be said a lot for dramatic effect but Yost is of a “dying breed,” and that’s real. The man wants nothing to do with trends or what’s popular but is in the game for the purity of music. In fact he’s hoping house “goes back underground to the people who really want to be in the scene,” not the followers.
Mike Rothman sat down with Yost for a few minutes before his Friday night set at the Electric Pickle Co.
in Miami and the veteran DJ talked about getting started surprisingly without hitting up clubs, his next compilation, what motivates the man and even what he’d like to see on his tombstone. (Not the pizza!)
Disclaimer: Yes, I am repeating an artist this week. Yes, that's Silverchair sitting snobbishly amongst the other highly regarded for the second time since I started this column, while other brilliant brilliants like Zero 7, Joni Mitchell and Siouxsie and the Banshees are still waiting patiently to be featured. Tantrums have been thrown, threats have been issued and we've all had a nice long talk about feelings and emotions and everyone has decided that it's OK, just this once. Well - I have decided that it's okay. Joni is still giving attitude, but guess what? OVERRULED.
A row of 18-year-old girls lined shoulder to shoulder four feet from the stage at the Bowery Electric on September 23, a low-lit, high-class-college-party-style basement venue with an elevated bar and rugged brick walls as the four members of Canadian pop-punk supergroup Mariana's Trench took the stage, all wearing slim-fitting button-up dress shirts and ties, lead singer Josh Ramsay dropping his guitar strap over the back of his head, the guitar falling to his knees, just below the rips in his jeans, and as he approached the microphone, the blue streaks in his gelled hair glistened in the spotlight of the East Village stage, beginning their first-ever New York City performance.
The first day of fall found Philadelphia in a sticky drizzle Wednesday night, 9/21, bathing those wading through the slow trickle into The Trocadero in a mix of sweat and hazy-headed anticipation of the evening’s twin bill. Inside, the boots are as tall as the bottoms are short, the bangs straight and lashes long, and the walls of the Chinatown theater ring with loving screams as Jenny Lewis emerges on stage amidst glowing constellations of countless smart-phones peppered through the crowd.
The bill is Jenny and Johnny--Jenny Lewis joined by her long-time collaborative beau, Jonathan Rice, out to stir the pot up for their August release, I’m Having Fun Now. Fenders barking over punchy rhythms make way for Rice and Lewis’ sweetly sung interludes. The band is dynamic, for sure, and about as tight as it gets on stand-outs like “Slavedriver.” But, the duo is decidedly dominated by Lewis’ looming presence, and Rice's grating banal vocals are often a better homage to his pal Conor Oberst than a real addition to the group's sound.
Get into the rhythm, get into the word, and get in tuned with hip hop’s spirit shocking it’s still, warm, cadaver bringing the essence of our culture back to life for a brief moment in history.
Nikki Ntu vs. Brain Feeder: Medulla Dinner EP is a scintillating, symphonic, 7 track long original work of art, with a metaphysical subtext, gritty but gorgeous New York flow encompassing love and intellect over eclectic transient beats. The theme of the album is cooked to perfection in the intro entitled “dinner plate” produced by Teebs. The intro sets the standard of substance where you hear this vivid bell funk with a bullhorn effect vocal in the background talking as if to a class about cracking open human skulls and eating the dark melanin found in the center of the brain (if that does not set the bar I don’t know what will). The sample is hypnotic and the message purely esoteric.
Anyone into the American jazz scene can tell you about jazz’s obsession with the next “it” artist or group. Every jazz musician, critic, or enthusiast has a list of the next young artists who, in his or her mind, will transcend the genre, and reach a Duke Ellington- or Miles Davis-like status. That way, when an artist on that list signs a deal with Blue Note Records (the crown of success), they can be the ones to say, “Told ya.” The reality is that no jazz musician will probably ever attain such a status again. The golden age of jazz has passed. No longer will we see Big Bands capable of moving diverse mainstream crowds both emotionally and physically. Or will we?
The long awaited album by the illness dominant mastermind producer of this new age of Hip Hop has arrived. Thoroughly lacing heat with a jazzified funk bursting into every tracks paradigm unifying tight verses over bomb instrumentals, Ski opens the album up with “Nothin but us” featuring Curren$y & Smoke Dza. The song manifests with a smooth, jazzy, smokers anthem and a triumphant horn loop. Each verse catches the essence of the beat not too fancy or mongering but mellow rider tunes. Though the intro is raw, “Go” featuring Jim Jones and Curren$y over shines production wise unfortunately not on lyrical delivery. Why Ski chose to throw Jones silly verse on this chrysanthemum of a beat is beyond me.