Well, it's February, which means Black History Month, Valentine's Day and of course, Groundhog Day. That's right. This is the month where that rodent comes out of his hole and sees its shadow, thus pissing people off by declaring it's six more weeks of winter. So let's celebrate the first day of the shortest month of the year with some aural goodness from the selections below. Keep reading if you want to hear some good stuff for once.
North Mississippi Allstars - "Keys to the Kingdom" [Red General Catalog]
Here's a band I haven't heard in a while. North Mississippi Allstars is a band that can rock a crowd like nobody's business. The world wasn't ready for them when they released their debut, "Shake Hands with Shorty" in 2000, but with bands like The Black Keys and the White Stripes getting a little shine on the charts, maybe the mainstream public might submit themselves to their sonic blessings. "Keys to the Kingdom" maintains the band's signature hard-hitting blues and country style without bowing down to the whims of trends and gimmicks. This is blues to the bone marrow. Get used to it.
Fela Kuti - "Vinyl Box Set #1 Curated by ?uestlove" [Knitting Factory]
This box set comes with good news and bad news. The bad news is this box set, complied by ?uestlove of The Roots, is for vinyl lovers only. CD owners need not apply, at least for the time being. Until a CD version of the collection comes, vinyl heads will be able to bask in the awesomeness of Fela Kuti when they go through six of his albums that launched the genre he invented, Afrobeat, to the unprepared public. Obviously, a set like this will come with some goodies. In this case, it's an essay written by ?uestlove, along with a poster from Fela's 1986 concert in Austin, Texas. Go ahead and pick this up if you love your Afrobeat.
Revolting Cocks - "Got Mixxx?" [13th Planet]
So, yeah, Al Jourgensen is spraying people with his new collection of remixes from his Spring 2010 album "Got Cock?" (no doubt referring to chickens). For this preview I'll include the tracks "Trojan Horse", "Juice" and "Air Traffic Control" simply because these are the only titles I can write for the website without getting my ass chewed by the editor. And that's what you're going to get from this album? Flithy, nasty, low-down dance music that will make the typical dub-step hipster cry home to their momma.
The Insane Warrior (aka RJD2) - "We Are the Doorways" [RJ's Electrical Connections]
Lately, Columbus, Ohio beatsmith RJD2 has expanded his sound. He and his fellow midwest counterpart, Kanye West, both push the limits of hip hop to the edge, to the point where the only thing still on the cliff is the balls of the feet. 2007's "The Third Hand" was a mind screw for some heads when RJ dropped the hip hop to do a rock sound, with him playing all the instruments. Though he's back to sampling with "We Are the Doorways", his head is still swilling around making more for the masses to clamor. Donning an alter ego, The Insane Warrior, RJ shows the what the soundtrack to "Robocop" would sound like if he was at the helms.
Tommy Guerrero - "Lifeboats and Follies" [Galaxia Records]
Tommy Guerrero is one of those people who can do no wrong. The man can skate AND make music that doesn't suck. In short: He actually cares about what he's putting out. "Lifeboats and Follies" is a maturation from his previous releases. Not to say that his other efforts were amateurish, but as you listen you can tell he definitely grew as a musician.