Monday, February 26, 2007

You Think No One Understands A Word You Say But I Do. You're Beautiful Black Butterfly. You Say You Have To Touch The Sun. Then You'll Return To Me.

I like having low expectations of people. That way you can never set yourself up for disappointment. I admit it's a very safe, albeit boring way to live one's life but over the last few years it's suited me just fine. Take keyboardist/multinstrumentalist Money Mark for example. For years, he very ably recorded and toured with the Beastie Boys; laying down Hammond B-3 licks that added a little extra funk when they seemed destined to veer down a Dali Lama-ish path. He's put out a couple of lo-fi solo albums replete with jazzy experimentations and groovy dubs. But all of a sudden, out of left field, he drops Brand New By Tommorow (Brushfire Records) and totally blows me away. In stores 2/27, BNBT is an album that almost at once wraps it's warm vibe around you and threatens to smother the listener with layers of toasty goodness. Utilizing ace session musicians Carole Kaye (Beach Boys) and Jim Keltner (Travelling Wilburys, Michael Penn) to compliment his own contemporary take on Beatlesque melodies, Money Mark has quietly reinvented himself as a serious singer-songwriter. I don't forsee many aimless instrumental albums in his future. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Money Mark: Everyday I Day A Little

Money Mark: Color Of Your Blues

Money Mark: Pick Up The Pieces

Money Mark: Black Butterfly


I happen to have in my possession an extra copy of Money Mark's new album Brand New By Tommorow to give away. To win, simply reply in the comments section with your email address, telling me your favorite Beastie Boys track that has MM on it. I'll pick a winner this Friday. Bon Chance!


Friday, February 23, 2007

We're In It Together, We Can Make It Better. Don't Sweat A Thing With No Vendetta. I Rhyme In A Graph Style, Carve Every Letter.

Toronto based rapper k-os is a tricky artist to pin down. You can't really put him into a category because he spans so many different styles. Hip hop, rock, reggae, blues, and even a little ska. As a Canadian living in the US of A, it's refreshing to hear "hip hop" that doesn't revolve solely around bitches, hoes, money, and blow. Y'know what I mean? Careening through a potpurri of rhythm and hues, k-os (knowledge of self) successfully navigates his way through Atlantis: Hymns For Disco like a man on a mission. At times spotty but by no means wasteful, k-os might have benefited from some outside prodution help on this album. Cramming multiple styles into one song may fare better for someone like, say, Wyclef Jean or DJ Shadow, and A:HFD at times comes across as scattered. However, don't let that deter you: we've definetely got a winner on our hands. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

k-os: Electrik Heatwill-The Sekwill

k-os: Equalizer

k-os: Cat Diesel

k-os: Black Ice (Hymn 4 Disco)


k-os: Bed's Too Big (Police cover)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

If I Had All The Money In The World. Well I Would Change A Few Things. Like The Car And The House. And The Girl.

There are two things that strike you upon listening to the Winter Kids. First off, they are so English, so aristocratic in their sound that it practically bleeds out of your speakers. Secondly, they are damn good. Much much better than Art Brut and nearly as flawless as their predecessors in Pulp. With their debut album Memoirs (Hungry Kid) about to drop in the UK, Winter Kids are poised to bring their smart art pop Stateside with shows in NYC and SXSW. Wearing their youth and lovelorn hearts on their sleeves, WK's confidently weave together breezy melodies and pointy toed beats with great success. One of the better pop releases so far this year. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Winter Kids: Hear Me Out

Winter Kids: All The Money

Winter Kids: Somebody Else's Clothes

Winter Kids: Tape It

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I Wrote All The Right Things For You. But They Were Not Convincing. I Shared All The Same Dreams As You. But Yours Were All In Vain.

The pop landscape is littered with singer-songwriters. Peruse through my archives and you'll see. So how does one go about seperating themselves from the throngs of over ambitious, under whelming, and just plain awful contemporaries? Well, for starters you release an exquisite e.p. like Tim Williams did. Merchant Heart is merely a glimpse into his upcoming full length album entitled When Work Is Done (Dovecoat Records) that should see the light of day very soon. More approachable than Ray LaMontagne but possessing a greater pop sheen, Williams constructs sparse tracks that slowly evolve after repeated spins. While not covering any new ground, Williams voice and skill at writing melodies still manages to be engaging enough to capture your attention; almost as if he's invited you in for some hot cocoa on a blustery day. Once you've warmed up, you're ready for another cup. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Tim Williams: Novel

Tim Williams: The Hat