Sunday, March 27, 2005

King's X

Ty Tabor (vocals, guitar), Doug Pinnick (vocals, bass), Jerry Gaskill (vocals, drums)

I'll admit to not having had that much exposure to King's X. I had heard a lot of praise about them for a long time without hearing any of their music. I remember when I was 15 and a member of Columbia House (yeah, quit yer chucklin'), I kept reading about them in those little catalogue/magazines they sent out to their customers. The description of the band peaked my interest as well as Doug Pinnick's crazy 80's haircut. But thanks to Al Gore and a fast on-campus connection I was able to finally listen to the song "Vegetable." I was surprised and impressed at the same time. "Vegetable" is a very laid back and even groovy song, but then I'd always heard that King's X had more soul than your average heavy metal band. I also read that the album that "Vegetable" comes off of, Manic Moonlight, has that general groovy feel to it and is somewhat of a departure from their older material.

Now I want to go out and buy Dogman and Tape Head, the first album they released with Metal Blade Records, which are considered two of the best albums in their repertoire. "Vegetable" has convinced that they are a band worthy of looking further into. I also really like Doug Pinnick's voice. Very nice.

Buy the King's X album Manic Moonlight

King's X - Vegetable

Saturday, March 26, 2005

DJ Spooky

DJ Spooky

Run-D.M.C. have said that they would be nothing if it weren't for their DJ, Jam Master Jay. Additionally, they claimed that a DJ could be his own band. Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid) proved this to be true more certainly than anybody else. Even though he occasionally does collaborative work with other artists and brings in musicians to contribute to his own works, he is still capable of creating a fulfilling composition by himself. This is true of most DJ's, but DJ Spooky was one of the early pioneers of turntablism and one of the most influential artists of the genre.

The songs I have provided for downloading should show you how unique DJ Spooky's sound is. "Post-Human Sophistry," off of Riddim Warfare, is a particularly interesting track because it starts off with a slow, groovy beat then goes into a hauntingly catch drum'n'bass tune that has an almost otherworldly feel to it. It reminds me of a rather self-promotional yet somewhat philosophical track called "A Conversation," which also comes from Riddim Warfare. In this aptly named track, DJ Ambassador Jr. shows off his DJ techniques by playing around with a looped sample. DJ Spooky does the same and produces something a lot more original and interesting. His approach also sounds much more complete; it sounds like it could stand alone as its own song as opposed to being background music for somebody else. It goes to show that his style is something completely different from the traditional techniques used by hip hop DJ's. Just listen to "Object Unknown," a collaborative effort between DJ Spooky and Kool Keith. It's very atypical rap.

Buy DJ Spooky's Riddim Warfare

DJ Spooky feat. Kool Keith - Object Unknown
DJ Spooky - Post-Human Sophistry

DJ Spooky vs. the Freight Elevator Quartet

The Freight Elevator Quartet

DJ Spooky also produced a collaborative album with the Freight Elevator Quartet called File Under Futurism. Futurism was an artistic movement in the early 20th Century that celebrated technology and man's triumph over nature. The futurists loved everything that resulted from the technological developments: the noise, the pollution, the speed, and everything else. Keeping this in mind, the concept behind File Under Futurism is, as stated by the Freight Elevator Quartet on their website, "a commentary on cultural and aesthetic oppositions, through a musical exposition and juxtaposition of early twentieth century Futurism (imagining a sublime technology) and the exponentially accelerated culture in which we live today (coping with too much technology)." DJ Spooky and the Freight Elevator Quartet also sought to break new ground and create their own unique sound in the world of electronic music through their collaborative efforts.

Now take into consideration the philosophy of the futurists and the album's concept when listening to the first track, "File Under Futurism (Groove Protocol Mix)." It's a fast, aggressive song with the occasional sound of electricity flowing across the breakbeat rhythm. It also has a very mechanical ambience that is only counteracted by the echoing saxophone. However, it might be more accurate to say that the saxophone is overrun by the agressive electronic beats. Which sound is opposing the other in this song? Hmm, it would seem that the philosophical stylings of DJ Spooky have gotten to me.

Buy DJ Spooky vs. the Freight Elevator Quartet's File Under Futurism

DJ Spooky vs. the Freight Elevator Quartet - File Under Futurism (Groove Protocol Mix)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Mellow With Ale From The Horn

Ok, I'm back to posting again (hopefully!)... the past few months while I found songs and such that would be good stuff to post, I either couldn't think of something I wanted to say about it, or I was too lazy to. I guess it was a kind of writers' block, really. Anyway, I recently bought my parents a cd burner for their computer, and that got me interested in backing up some of their old records (especially the old out of print ones) to the computer and burning them to cds. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll find enough interesting stuff there to last me a while until I get back into the swing of things...

First off is "Mellow With Ale From The Horn" by John Roberts and Tony Barrand, recorded in 1975. It's a sort of mix between sea shanties, English folk-songs, and one or two songs a bit more modern than the rest. With the exception of "Salt River, Colored Aristocracy (instrumental) and "Albert And The Lion" (a spoken-word story), the rest of the album is of these two men singing without accompaniment... and even when they do have backing instruments it's rather minimal.

The back of the album gives rather detailed descriptions of the songs and assorted other notes...

- Save Your Money While You're Young
- Staines Morris
- Barbara Allen
- Salt River, Colored Aristocracy
- Oats And Beans And Barley Grow
- Kate And Her Horns
- Come Day, Go Day
- The Albatross
- The Wings Of A Goney
- The Handsome Cabin Boy
- Five Foot Flirt
- Our Bill
- Albert And The Lion
- Salvation Band

Personally, my favorite tracks of all are "Staines Morris", "Come Day, Go Day", and especially "Salvation Band".

Apparently they're still performing, as they produced a cd in 2003, and now Front Hall Records seems to be a mail-order album business. Also, Golden Hind Music looks like they have copies of their albums (seemingly both new and old, from what I see) for purchase.

Next post will be another full album of sea-shanties, with a few songs by John and Tony on this album as well!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Double Post: Jazz & Blues

And now a very special episode of Radio KRUD. Well, not really. I'm just writing about two artists in one post. But we're talking about some classic material here.

So let's get started with jazz legend Miles Davis. One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and quite possibly of all time. He was constantly experimenting with jazz and creating new stylistic innovations within the genre. His music was so empassioned and unique that it has influenced musicians of all other genres.

But instead of going on the cliched rant about how awesome a musician he is, I'll just pick out two songs of his that I really like and talk about those. First let's start off with "All Blues," a track from the classic album Kind of Blue, which was recorded in 1959. This is a very relaxed and easy-going song with Davis's melodic trumpeting soaring over James Cobb's breezy drumming, Wynton Kelly's gentle piano, Paul chamber's relaxed bass rhythms, and the swaying sounds of John Coltrane's and Cannonball Adderley's saxophones. But this is far beyond smooth jazz or easy listening; it expresses pure, improvised jazz emotion that is hard to come across nowadays.

Buy Miles Davis's Kind of Blue

Miles Davis - All Blues

The next Miles Davis I'm posting is the title track from his album Filles de Kilimanjaro. For those who know nothing about the French language, that translates to "girls of Kilimanjaro." And this songs sounds a lot different than "All Blues" or anything else from Kind of Blue. That's mostly due to the fact that Filles de Kilimanjaro was one of Miles Davis's first attempts at fusion jazz. In the title track, "Filles de Kilimanjaro," you get Miles Davis's emotive and relaxed style of jazz but with a different funky sound. Davis's trumpet playing is even reminiscent of some of the rock 'n roll sounds that were coming out around the time of this song's recording, 1968.

Buy Miles Davis's Filles de Kilimanjaro

Miles Davis - Filles de Kilimanjaro


And so now we move to blues and R. L. Burnside.

R. L. Burnside was born in 1926, but never received much attention as a blues artist until the 90's when Fat Possum Records brought him into studio and started recording his raw brand of Delta blues. It's great stuff and it's shameful that he went unnoticed for so long. The only problem I've ever run into is when his albums suffer from over-production. "Georgia Women" is a great studio recording, "Shake 'Em on Down" is a great live track, but you can tell that "Nothin' Man" suffered from too much producer interference. It doesn't have that down and dirty R. L. Burnside style. But that's generally how it is with a good blues player; you should just stand back and let him do his thing. The output will not be disappointing.

Buy R. L. Burnside's live album Burnside on Burnside

R. L. Burnside - Shake 'Em on Down (Live)

Buy R. L. Burnside's Mr. Wizard

R. L. Burnside - Georgia Women

I wouldn't bother buying Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down because there are much better albums available out there, such as the first two or A Ass Pocket of Whiskey. I just provided the song "Nothin' Man" as an example of the over-production the album suffers from.
R. L. Burnside - Nothin' Man

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


So does anyone reading this know who U-God is? Maybe? Maybe not? Does the name "Wu-Tang" strike up some memories? Because U-God is the eighth member of the nine Wu-Tang Clan members to come out with a solo album. In fact, it never came out until 1999, which may account for the fact that he is also one of the lesser known members of Wu-Tang. But the time it took to release his solo album should not reflect the quality of the music. U-God manages to compose some incredible lyrics with very clever rhymes. He also has a powerfully deep voice, yet it still has a laid back quality to it. Some would call his rapping unemotional and dry but I call it laid back. It's certainly a lot better than most of the stuff you hear coming out these days, especially with the production assistance provided by RZA. The chorus of "Bizarre" is especially catchy and will easily get stuck in your head.

Buy U-God's Golden Arms Redemption

U-God - Bizarre

Interesting fact: Golden Arms is one of U-God's other aliases. So I guess the release of this album is his redemption.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Fresh KRUD: The Battle and Three Cool Cats

These are a two songs I swiped from the Tofu Hut late last year, around October and November. They're excellent examples of the variety of music you can find by browsing through the right music blogs. They're also incredibly cool in their own ways.

The first song, "The Battle" by Medasyn featuring Frost P, Zuz Rock, Lady Sovereign, and Shystie, is a two-on-two vocal battle between the two men and the two women. The background music is very simple so the focus stays on the incredible rapping skills of the vocalists. They go at rarely heard machine gun speeds while maintaining vocal clarity. It's amazing to hear. And like the Tofu Hut I don't know where to buy the promo CD that features this song. I could only find a little information about the CD at Major FM.

Medasyn with Frost P, Zuz Rock, Lady Sovereign, and Shystie - The Battle

So let's move on to the Coasters...

...and their song "Three Cool Cats." No doubt a classic song. And it's as cool as the cats featured in the song. I love the lead vocalist's intense but not overdone vocal delivery. It adds to the subtle silliness of the song but still manages to sound seriously cool at the same time. Once you back his voice up with an excellent bass man, you get an awesome layering of vocals. Put that on top of the smooth, jazzy, and yet rockin' instrumentation and you get a uniquely cool classic.

Buy The Very Best of the Coasters

The Coasters - Three Cool Cats

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Teedra Moses

Teedra Moses is an up and coming neo-soul artist who released a promising debut called Complex Simplicity last July. Her music combines modern hip hop beats with the flavor of soul music from the 70's. This combination of styles mixed with Teedra Moses's sincerely sweet singing voice results in her own brand of beautiful, catchy modern soul. I'm interested to see what she comes out with on her next album and to see what changes she makes to her sound.

I actually don't have that much to say about Teedra Moses or her genre. I just really like the sound of her music and am willing to let the provided songs back up my claims. So make sure you support this talented songstress if you like her stuff.

Buy Teedra Moses's debut Complex Simplicity

Teedra Moses - Be Your Girl
Teedra Moses feat. Jadakiss - You'll Never Find (A Better Woman)