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From the Stacks: Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It

28 Apr
From the Stacks is a weekly feature where I grab something out of the library and go more in depth than I’m usually able to. It doesn’t matter if the album is brand new or a re-release of some bygone classic, all that matters is that it be new to me.

Raphael Saadiq

The Way I See It

2008

Columbia Records

[itunes] [amazon]

Physically and, let’s face it, mentally, I am a collection of glaring weaknesses and insufficiencies. I weigh about as much as the largest member of a middle school girls basketball team, and I still confuse Ghana and Guyana on a regular basis. Musically, my weaknesses are limited to two very specific categories: girl-fronted trash-rock bands and new soul.

Raphael Saadiq’s The Way I See It is a fantastic new soul record, both borrowing from the genre and adding new flavours to it. His influences are clear, but his style is his own, which is a unique standpoint for a modern artist working in this genre.

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From the Stacks – The Famines – The Complete Collection

26 Apr

From the Stacks is a weekly feature where I grab something out of the library and go more in depth than I’m usually able to. It doesn’t matter if the album is brand new or a re-release of some bygone classic, all that matters is that it be new to me.

The Famines

The Complete Collected Singles

2012

Mammoth Cave Recording Co.

Punk music is not my area of expertise. As a self declared pussy kid I’m more Lily Allan than GG. What little of the genre I do comprehend and enjoy, probably half of it doesn’t classify as punk (The Stolen Minks, The Distillers, etc.). I suppose my tastes would fall more in the realm of garage rock than punk; more distortion less dysfunction. The intricacies of classification aside, there’s something to a poorly played guitar and a screamed lyric that just feels like home. The Famines feel like home to me.

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From the Stacks: Poor Moon – Illusion EP

5 Apr

From the Stacks is a weekly feature where I grab something out of the library and go into it in more depth than I’m usually able to do. It doesn’t matter if the album is brand new or a re-release of some bygone classic, all that matters is that it be new to me.

I’ve decided to step up the blogging game around here, seeing as how I’ve got all this free time on my hands. Every week, I will be acquiring something out of the CFCR library and reviewing in depth. The only caveat is that it be new to me, whether it be a few years old, freshly released, familiar, insane, whatever, that’s not the point.

Poor Moon

Illusion EP

2012

Subpop Records

This week my pick is the Illusion EP by Poor Moon. Poor Moon is a group made up of Christian Wargo of Fleet Foxes and Crystal Skulls, Casey Wescott, also of Fleet Foxes and Crystal Skulls, and brothers Ian and Peter Murray better known as Christmas Cards.

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Chiddy Bang serves Breakfast

12 Mar

Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, the brain trust behind Chiddy Bang. 

  Chiddy Bang – Breakfast

     [itunes]
    [amazon]

Chiddy Bang is one of the many groups that has profited from the rise of the Internet music community. It’s hard to believe that in a world before the ease of access provided by youtube, twitter, torrenting clients, etc. two young men from Philadelphia could have become international sensations before they had even released an album. These two have made the Internet work for them. By saturating the market with mixtapes, remixes and videos, they became a sensation before anyone had really even seen what they could do.

The difficult distinction is whether or not their early success is legitimate, or if they — like so many other contemporary artists — had simply built up undeserved hype for themselves only to completely Del Ray the whole thing.

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M.I.A. flips bird, distracts from interesting stuff

7 Feb

If you watched the halftime show of this year’s Super Bowl, you saw an overly muscled monster Madonna traipse about the stage and sing 8-year-old songs. You also saw M.I.A.’s middle finger, although you most likely didn’t care.

I suppose it could be seen as a reaction to the censorship practised by the network (the finger appears just as NBC cuts the word ‘shit’ from her vocals) but mostly it’s just childish. Still awesome television, but I think we would have all preferred a nipple.

In interesting news, M.I.A. has released a new video. “Bad Girls” is visually very similar to her previous “Born Free”, though, true to the song for which it was made, the video is definitely less frantic and more laid back. Romain Gavras, the director behind “Born Free” returns to direct this video as well.

Both videos after the jump.

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Heems raps about me (him)

26 Jan

You probably hate Das Racist. It’s a popular viewpoint, and not one that I fault anyone for.

As a group they make it hard to just jump into their catalogue. They rap about obscure topics (New York fast food, Bollywood film stars, immigration issues, etc.) and they deliver their rhymes in a deadpan that doesn’t necessarily make their ironic bent known. And then there is the ultimate love it or hate it song, Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

They don’t make it easy on anyone, but for those that find something to hang onto, it soon becomes clear that the group is absolutely visionary.

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The best of 2011

30 Dec

Pinning down the best album of any year is difficult for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t know what year it is, nor how old I am, nor how old any piece of music I listen to is. Second, when finding music for radio play doesn’t dictate my  listening habits, I tend to listen to old Smiley Lewis tracks on a loop rather than spending any length of time with the newest album from such and such a band out of New York. Thirdly, I have a hard time ranking things.

Despite my many faults, however, I’ve decided to treat you all to a breakdown of my favourite albums of 2011. By no means a complete list, nor an in depth one, but one that reflects my listening experience over the last calendar year.

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The Cannon Bros.

28 Dec

The impotent rage of youth has been used to great effect in the music industry. The grand tradition has followed through from The Ramones to more recent incarnations like teen sensations The Front Bottoms and The Moldy Peaches.

The “everything’s stupid and so is this” school of song writing is an old darling of mine and the new EP from Winnipeg’s Cannon Bros. continues the tradition.

While their sound cannot be encapsulated by those aforementioned groups, the attitude and content of their songs is very similar. They all share a certain immaturity, which isn’t to imply that their music is half-formed or incomplete. Their songs hearken back to days that no one enjoyed, but everyone can remember with a least a hint of nostalgia and whimsy. Days of math tests and unrequited crushes. Days of smoking a cigarette to look cool and then announcing that The National is mainly for girls and pussies. High school days.

Songs like Out of Here  fairly reek of Tegan and Sara, the vocals being that exact kind of screeching wail (again, not trying to say that’s a bad thing), but Cannon Bros. also show a distinct sound of their own. The guitars and vocals on 100 are perfectly balanced between dirt and cleanliness.

And look, just look I say, at how cute they are:

The free EP is a pre-cursor to the band’s debut full-length which wil be released on November 19th in Winnipeg and — seeing as how they’re an independent Canadian outfit — probably much later everywhere else.

The EP can be downloaded for free on the group’s bandcamp page at http://cannonbros.bandcamp.com/.