• Your one stop for college news and resources!

Fredric Hall

Rundown Guide For April 28, 2012

New music from Jack White and Santigold comes out this week.

Jack White – Blunderbuss [Third Man]

Now I know some you reading this were salivating when word came out that Jack White was releasing a solo album.  Blunderbuss is thirteen tracks of some music that was most likely involved psychedelic drugs.  I’m just saying.  Like “Love Interruption”, where White wants love to hurt him.  Badly.  So the far-out trippiness that fans love from The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather, then you’ll love this.

Dandy Warhols – This Machine [The End]

Well, well, well.  Here we have the indie rock darlings, the Dandy Warhols.  If you’re looking for songs about alienation and how cool it is to be different, then you’ve come to the right place.  This Machine continues the tradition, with tracks like “Alternative Power to the People” and “Sad Vacation”.  However, the album to more slower paced and somber than their previous efforts.

Santigold – Master of My Make Believe [Altantic Records]

Santigold is one where I didn’t pay that much attention to.  Not because I didn’t like her stuff, oh no.  It just that there wasn’t anything that’ll make me say “Damn, she’s good!”  One night, a few years ago, a friend sent me a track of Santigold’s cover of “Right Brigade” by Bad Brains.  I was floored by the sheer awesomeness it contained.  With “Master of My Make Believe” you can expect that explosion of energy, from the reggae – influenced “Disparate Youth” to the crazy – ass drumming of “Lights Out”.

O.C. and Apollo Brown – Trophies [Mello Music Group]

This album…man.  The album is the quinessential symbol of New York hip-hop: deep-bassed beats, gritty lyrics, and a sincerity that cannot be imitated no matter how many production techniques P.Diddy can pull out of his ass for one track.  O.C. was part of the collective known as Diggin’ In The Crates Crew (D.I.T.C.), whose members consisted of the late Big L and Fate Joe.  “Angels Sing” got this space-age keyboard stylings over a thumping bass drum that is just sick, sick, sick.  Another stand out track is “The Prusuit” which has some really nice keys and bass guitar work.

Rundown Guide For April 15, 2012

Modanna long awaited album comes out, along with Monica.

What’s up everybody?  I hope you had an awesome Easter last week.  Hopefully, you guys got to celebrate the zombification of Jesus Christ and whatnot. Well, if you just came from Spring Break, then here’s something to get through the schoolwork grind.  If you’re still on break, enjoy it the same.

Madonna – MDNA [Interscope]

That’s right.  She’s so famous, she can abbreviate her name and people will still recognize it.  The twelfth album from the former Material Girl boost a few guest spots from Nicki Manaj and M.I.A. on the single “Give Me All Your Luvin”.  Nicki also contributes on “I Don’t Give A”.  The album is prime set to get the club or party going with hard hitting beats.

Billy Woods – History Will Absolve Me [Backwoodz Studioz]

Okay, with all the rap out there that’s filled with simplistic rhymes, here’s something that is about all far from that as humanly possible.  In fact, when you hear billy woods, he will say some shit that will go over your head.  But that’s cool, this is suppose to be challenging.  That’s not to say this is one of those artsy-fartsy type of hip-hop that only indulges the emcee.  Tracks like “Willie Green” and “Bill Cosby”.  This album requires more than one listen to get the full gist.  You’ve been warned.

Monica – New Life [RCA Label]

And speaking of women still going strong, we have Monica.  By now, you’ve heard and seen the video for the single “It All Belongs To Me”.  Well the thirty-one year old singer has more in store with “New Life”.  A fitting title considering Monica’s marriage to NBA player Shannon Brown in 2010.  Venonous “It All Belongs To Me”, all her song don’t have tirades againist the opposite gender.  Songs like “Daddy’s Good Girl” and “Without You” have a gentler approach of the fellows.

Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast [Nuclear Blast]

Yeah, I’m mixing it up this week.  From way, way, way from the soothing sounds of Monica comes thrash metal darlings Municipal Waste.  With their sixth album, The Fatal Feast, the band is still doing what they do best: play hard, fast, balls-out thrash metal geared towards blowing out the eardrum of any poor sucker that has the guts to listen to it.  The title song, along with tracks like “Waste In Space” all clocke in under two minutes, which is more than enough, trust me.

Rundown Guide For April 1, 2012

Ministry release their long-awaited comeback album and Mars Volta brings out more of the weird and the trippy

First I like to say my bad for the long delay.  My freaking hard drive died and I had to get it replaced.  But I’m here and, boy, has this week been good. Lots of good releases this week that, unfortunately, I couldn’t cover entirely, but here are some of the highlights.

Mars Volta – Noctourniquet  [Warner Bros]

If there one thing you can say about Mars Volta, is they are eclectic. Really eclectic. Every album presents the listener to new experience brought forth by the band. “Nocturniquet” being the continuation of that. While the previous albums had a more rock feeling, this album has a more ambient and cool-out feeling like the songs “The Whip Hand” and “Trinkets Pale of Moon”.

The Used – Vulnerable [Hopeless Records]

Well here comes some more balls-to-wall rock courtesty of The Used. Whether you like think they’re awesome or you can’t stand them and their screamo-emo-post-punk ilk, there’s no mistake that they’re not going away soon. “Hands and Faces” sprinkles some dubstep into the normal rock sound. Weird. But “I Come Alive” their first track is more of the rock that you’d come to expect from them.

Ministry – Relaspe [AFM Records]

Here’s a typical case of “never say never”. Lots of industrial metaheads were in tears when Al Jourgensen announced the break-up of Ministry in 2008. Well, after a tour in 2007, the band finally put out an album of the bass pumping, ear-spliting noise that will please the fans. Oh, and the band also have the left-leaning tracks like “99 percenters” and “United Forces” that will most likely be playing at an Occupy site real soon.

Georgia Anne Muldrow w/ Madlib – Seeds [SomeOthaShipConnect]

And we end this list with some soul from the Beat Konducta Madlib and songtress Georgia Anne Muldrow. For those who don’t know, Georgia Anne Muldrow is the first female artist to be signed to Stones Throw Records. And with lablemate Madlib laying down the beats, the result is something that will definitely get your attention. The track, “Seeds” features all the dope sample and soulful singing Mad and Anne can demostrate. “Husfriend” got some head-bobbing beats that get you going.

Music Rundown Guide for March 10, 2012

Bruce Springsteen comes back with a new album and Bo Diddley gets re-issued this week.

Well, it’s that time where we turn the clock forward one hour and lose some sleep.  Which sucks.  As you all know, sleep is very important to the college student.  Mainly, when they’re not studying and sleeping all day in the dorm room, dreaming all Kim Kardashian doing nasty things to them.  Because of that lost hour, they won’t know she was going to do with that swordfish and a can of Marshmallow Fluff.  Oh well:-(

Bruce Springsteen – Wreckng Ball [Columbia]

The Boss is back.  I know that was cliché as hell, but it’s the damn truth.  And here’s another cliché: he hasn’t lost a single step.  This is why he’s been doing this for over forty years.  The songs here are not filler tracks whose only purpose is to satisfy a contract.  These songs come from the heart and the guts, and Bruce doesn’t know how to do it anyway else.  Listening to “We Take Care Take of Our Own” really captures the anguish and hope The Boss is conveying to the listener.  The titles alone will show that he’s not one for compromise: “Death to My Hometown”, “Land of Hope and Dreams”, “This Depression”.  You think any of those songs are about some mamby-pamby schoolyard crush?  Didn’t think so.

Bo Diddley – Black Gladiator [Future Days Recordings]

For those who don’t know who he is – which, I’m assuming, is two of you – Bo Diddley was one of the old school blues heavyweights, along with Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry.  His best known songs are “Who Do You Love” and “I’m a Man”, with its trademark unified guitar-bass-harmonica riff that will pound inside your head for two weeks straight.  Black Gladiator came from an experimental period in his career.  Ok, I’ll be honest; it was an attempt to attract the younger listeners because at the time of the album’s release, 1970, young cats were more into the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Velvet Underground, and other bands that Diddley influenced.  The album’s cover is something to behold: Diddley, with his 40-something-year-old body strapped up in an S&M get up, man boobs just hanging out there like nobody’s business.  But the album is a nice blend of blues, rock n’ roll, and funk, like the opening track “Elephant Man” and “You, Bo Diddley”. 

Blacastan – The Master Builder Part II [Brick Records]

Now we go from the classic to the soon-to-be-classic.  Blacastan has been around for a minute, releasing three albums that has been regarded as some of the finest works in hip-hop.  Will he continue the winning streak with The Master Builder Part II? Well, apparently Blacastan thinks so, since this is a two-CD album: one being the regular album, the second is a remix version of the same album.  Freaky shit, right?  “The Booth” is pretty nice, with some hardlined beats and Blacastan flexing his rhyming muscles and letting cats who the best in the game. 

Dance Hall Pimps – Beast For Love [Lakeshore Records]

And last but not least, we have the debut album from the psychobilly, roots rock, and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink band, Dance Hall Pimps.  I guess the closet thing they sound like is the Cramps but with a more bluesy edge to them.  Some of the songs, like “Mommie Was a Zombie” have an underlying dark humor sickos like myself enjoy.  Like most psychobilly bands, they do have horror themed songs, like “…Zombie” and “Transylvania Girls”, but they diversify with the sober opening track “Seems Holy”.  If you want something a little different, check this one out.

Rundown Guide for March 3,2012

Napalm Death is bringing the pain with “Utilitarian”

First, I want to apologize for not putting something last week.  Damn computer crapped out on.  Hell, it’s still crapping out.  The fact I was able to do this whole thing without it shutting down is a miracle.  But, anyway, let’s get to what’s coming out this week.

Napalm Death – Utilitarian [Century Media]

With a 30 year history of shows, albums, and tours, the cats from Napalm Death still churning out the most brutal, vitriolic, in-your-face metal your ears to experience.  Melodies?  Ha!  Who needs that crap when you got some atomic blast beats, guttural vocals, and shredding guitars.    Listening to tracks like “Leper Colony” and “Quarantine”-hell, listening to any Napalm Death album – is a portal into the most vile, deplorable, guts of human society.  So check it out when you get the chance.

Carolina Chocolate Drops – Leave Eden [Nonesuch]

On the complete opposite of the spectrum is Carolina Chocolate Drops.  The three-piece string band has been the critics’ darling since they dropped their first in 2009.  And I don’t blame them.  There’s something to be said when folks go against the grain on today’s AutoTune landscape.  Though the music is in the old timey category, that doesn’t mean audience will automatically be turned off by this.  “Country Girl” have the band providing a beatbox over the captivating vocals and beautiful string work. 

Copywrite – God Save the King [Man Bites Dog Records]

Copywrite’s been a cat I’ve been following for a while.  I remember when he was in the Mhz group in Ohio, firing off similes and metaphors behind beats by a then unknown RJD2.  The style from his earlier works were mostly stuffed with so many battle rhymes, his mouth would have the start of World War III if it was ever unleashed.  He still does, but he has shown growth as an artist over the years, God Save the King being the example.  Copywrite’s clever rhymes are interspersed with thoughts on losing his parents, and spiritual awakening and his love life.  

Madlib – Medicine Show No. 13:  Black Tape [Madlib Invazion]

If you’ve been following my column, you’re most likely familiar with Madlib’s “Medicine Show” series.  To the uninitiated, Madlib put out an album a month that feature everything from funk, disco, jazz, hip-hop and everything you can think of.  Number 13 is a thank you to everybody that have listening to the series.  The final entry into the “Medicine Show” is nothing but sick beats and even sicker emcees.  There’s no track titles, so you actually have to listen to the whole thing to really appreciate it.

Rundown Guide for February 18, 2012

Last Poets released a compilation of their first two albums this week.

I just want to take time out and wish the family and friends of Whitney Houston all the best.  Though some of us have been known to crack (no pun intended) a joke about Whitney’s behavior, must of us know that homegirl can sing her ass off.  I know she’s up in heaven, singing with Billie Holliday and Amy Winehouse right now.  Anyway, on to the rundown.

Kinny– “Can’t Kill a Dame with Soul” [Tru Thoughts Records] 

Let’s start with a little something from opera chanteuse turned soul singer, Kinny. Hailing from Norway, this lady combines her operatic vocals with soul, RnB, reggae into a mixture of refined vocals that doesn’t sacrifice the grittiness that’s normally associated with the likes of Billie Holiday and Big Mama Thorton. “Can’t Kill a Dame with Soul” will be her second solo effort, with tracks like “Big Fat Liar” and “You From This Sting” guaranteeing folks will be salivating over her future endeavors.

Various Artists – “Original Raw Soul” [Now-Again Records]

In keeping with the funkiness, we have the cats over at Now- Again Records releasing a collection of tracks dating back twenty years, but you can’t tell by the recordings. While Kinny mixes soul with operatic vocals, this compilation is just pure, unadulterated, in-your-face funk. Just listening to Poets of Rhythm’s “Summerdays” and The Whitefield Brothers’ “The Bastard” just makes you want to chill and get antsy.

Planet Asia – “Black Belt Theatre” [Green Street Entertainment]

For those who don’t know, Planet Asia has been in the hip-hop game for fifteen years. While most emcees of his year span opt to selling out and put out crap just to get money, Asia has been holding it down on the West Coast, along with peers Madlib, Dilated Peoples, and Murs to name a few. “Black Belt Theatre” shows that the man is not out of the race yet, showing a Saturday afternoon Kung-Fu movie programs in the music, like “Golden State”, with funky, gritty beats that will make your face ugly.

Last Poets – “The Last Poets [Snapper UK]

If you give a damn at all about Hip-hop, then you should look these guys up. Considered by Hip-hop historians as the precursor to modern rap music, The Last Poets, with incendiary lyrics about ghetto life, the Black Panthers, and the overall Black experience, made them so controversial that then-president Richard Nixon listed them in the Counter Intelligence Program (a.k.a. COIMTELPRO). If you’ve wanted to check them out, this is your chance. The package contains the group self-titled debut and their follow-up “This is Madness”.

Music Rundown Guide for February 3, 2012

Lana Del Ray’s new album is here, along with Metallica’s EP.

With Valentine’s less than a week, now is the time to think of some cool gifts for your sweetie.  In addition to the typical candies you’ll buy at the local drugstore, maybe you take a gander at the list and see if your SO will feel any of these.  It’s worth a shot.

Lana Del Ray – “Born To Death” [Interscope]

Let us, for a moment, drop all the hype and all the bullcrap that was attached to Lana Del Ray from our minds.  Let’s forget about the horrible performance on Saturday Night Live and all the other attacks that came even before her album even came out.  Let us ask one question and one question only:  is the album, on its own, any good?  Well, if you like a hybrid Amy Winehouse and Bjork then, yeah, go right ahead and pick up this album. 

Metallica – “Beyond Magnetic” [Warner Bros.]

After the disaster that was “St. Anger”, Metallica managed to redeem themselves with the follow up, “Death Magnetic”, with its return to the “Kill ‘Em All” days of fast tempos, hard crunchy guitars and all around face meltage.  Old school fans breathe a sigh of relief when it was clear that the group did forget where they came from.  “Beyond Magnetic” is a four track EP containing leftovers from the “Death Magnetic” sessions.  There’s really nothing else to say, so if you like “Death Magnetic”, you’ll love this.

Wendy Rene – “After Laughther Comes Tears: Complete Stax and Volt Singles and Rarities 1964 -1965” [Light in the Attic]

Wendy Rene is one of those artists who you’ve never heard of, yet you hear her stuff all the time.  For example, her vocals were sampled by Wu-Tang Clan for the song “Tearz”.  The sampled song, “After Laughter Comes Tears” was later covered by Alicia Keys.  Now you will have a chance to get a taste of why her songs are sampled so much, like “…Tears” and “Bar B Q”.

DJ Food – “The Search Engine” [Ninja Tune Records]

And now we have something really exciting.  If you like RJD2, then you’ll love “The Search Engine” by one DJ Food.  Like RJD2, DJ Food beats have a cinematic feel to it.  Every track seems like it belongs to a cyberpunk movie starring Keanu Reeves, like “Percussion Map Pt.1”.  Other tracks include “Magpie Music” and “GIANT” featuring Matt Johnson.

Music Rundown Guide for January 27, 2012

The Doors celebrate the 40th anniversary of “L.A. Woman,” while jam band moe. release another album of creative soup

So as January comes to close and we’re one month closer to Apocalypse, let’s take some time and head to music store to see what’s coming out this week.

The Doors – L.A. Woman (40th Anniversary Edition) [Elektra]

You know The Doors, right?  Of course you do.  If you don’t know their music, you’ve at least heard of the band.  As one of the seminal bands to come out of the psychedelic ‘60s rock scene, the Doors started a legacy that can never be duplicated.  Comprising of organ, drums, guitar, and vocals, Jim Morrison and company created an atmospheric sound that hypnotizes rather than simulate.  L.A. Woman would turn out to be the band’s last album before Morrison’s death on July, 1971.  This 40th Anniversary edition features a 2nd disc of alternate takes of the album, along with the never-released “She Smells So Nice”.  Obviously, Doors fans should pick this up.

Moe. – What Happen to the La Las [Sugar Hill Records]

Moe.  have been on the few jam bands (Ok. The only jam band)  I can tolerate.  Whereas most bands of the genre have the tendency to become self-indulgent with their twenty-minute solos that consist chucking out one note over and over again, moe. keeps things interesting.   “What happen to the La Las” is another example of that.  In addition to jamming, the band has that rare thing that sets them apart from the rest: they can make songs.  Real songs.  With a beginning, middle and ending.  Weird, I know.

Union – Analogtronics [Fat Beats]

If you like some El-P or Company Flow, then Union will be the perfect fit for you.  Union are two Parisian producers that uses strictly analog(hence the title) methods to do their tracks.  Think El-P but with a more minimalist and melodic approach to beats.  Some of the stand-out tracks on the album are “Time Leak” featuring the lyrical stylings of Talib Kweli and “Coco Mango” with M.F. Doom. 

Bluebird – Cannonball!!! [Fake Four Records]

While Union merely changed the face of hip-hop, bluebird broke it into a million pieces and put it back together sloppily with crazy glue.  What can you call this album?  Hip-hop?  Spoken word?  Folk rock?  Who the hell knows.  So, yeah, if you’re comfortable with the familiar, stay away from this album, because you mind will be predictably blown.  Songs like the acoustic guitar track “Christian Wife” and the weird-ass “Hand Holdin’” will rewire your brain patterns to more open-minded circuitry.

Music Rundown Guide for January 19, 2012

New releases from Ani Defranco and Asian Kung-Fu Generation

So after a couple of weeks of slow releases, this week seems to be shapen up nicely.  Below are some albums that are worth checking out.  You’re welcome.

Ani DeFranco – “Which Side Are You On?” [Righteous Babe]

Whether you love her music or think it’s ultra-feminist trite, you have to respect Ani Defranco’s tenacity towards creative independence.  With all the Britney Spears out there chucking formulaic crap that thinks to be music, the lady was doing her own thing, releasing seventeen albums through her Righteous Babe label since 1990.  “Which Side Are You on?” has Defranco maintain her creativity, writing poignant songs like “Life Boat” and “Promiscuity”.

Asian Kung-Fu Generation – “Best Hit AKG” [Ki/oon Records]

Anyone that’s even somewhat familiar J-Rock will know Asian Kung-Fu Generation.  Formed since 1996, the band has been doing pretty good for themselves, garnering numerous rewards and gaining international acclaim.  If you have no idea who these guys are, fear not, because “Best Hit AKG” is here.  I’m sure that “Best Hit AKG” is an attempted Japanese-to-English translation of “AKG Greatest Hits”.  The compliation to the typical list of best-selling tracks from the group, including “Far and Beyond”, “Rock N’Roll, Morning Lights Fall On You”, and the more recent “Marching Band”.  A good introduction to the band.

Pete Rock and CL Smooth – “The Main Ingredient” [Elektra Entertainment]

This week offers the re-release of the classic 1994 album “The Main Ingredient” featuring the legendary duo of producer Pete Rock and emcee CL Smooth.  Though the album wasn’t as popular as the classic “Mecca and the Soul Brother”, “The Main Ingredient” have tracks that are sure-fire bangers.  Take the title track for example, with its suave drum patterns and CL rhyming with his traditional cleverness.  The re-release includes and second CD of remixes and instrumentals and a 20-page booklet. 

Mellow Madness – “Mellow Madness” [Kay Dee Records]

Now we conclude this article with some funk, courtesy of Mellow Madness.  The band wsa the idea of school principal Frank McNeil and high school band teacher Malachi Sharpe in the early ‘80s.  After founding Play-Rite Music, a school for young, talented musicians, they formed Mellow Madness.  The album happened due toKay Dee Records recovering  the band’s master tapes.  Hearing the tracks, like “Save The Youth” and the title song, you would think it came out in the ‘70s with its disco sound.  Still if you’re one of those people that pines for the obscure, put this in your collection.

Rundown Guide for January 5,2012

January is prime with hidden gems to check out. Including stuff from Modern Action, Soularz, and a collection of Soul classics featuring Barbara Lynn

With the holidays behind, I know people are finding it hard to get into the groove of school and/or work.  God know I’ve been going through a bit of lag.  But I’m here and there are some new stuff for to check out.  Enjoy!

Modern Action – “Molotov Solution” [Dirty Faces (Broken Silence)]

It’s been a while since I heard some good ol’fashion punk rock. And I don’t mean that crusty, gravel voice, punk either. I’m talking about the ones whose voice is a brilliant cataclysm of fun and violence. Modern Action is undeniable proof that punk is still alive and isn’t going nowhere. “Molotov Solution” is their debut full length album by the band and it contains moslty two minute songs of destruction that punk fans need in their lives, like the title track and “Self Destruction”. 

Soularz – “TIME(To Insight Minds Everywhere)” [Finding the Sun Records]

Once in while there comes a group that reminds people of what Hip hop was, is, and will be. Soularz could be counted as one of those people. The group is attempting to make listeners think with their heads and they’re banging it with positive messages and tight beats. Check out the track “The Industry” and “It’s Our Time” to see what I’m talking about.

Viktor Vaughn – “Vaudeville Villain” [Sound Ink]

I’m sure most of you heard of DOOM by now. The metal faced rapper who spit rhymes through a garbled voice, yet we’re somehow captivated by his presence alone. Since he came to the scene in the late 90s, he’s been making himself pretty busy with instrumental projects, making cameos on other people’s records, and his alter egos, particularly Viktor Vaughn. Originally released in 2003, this re-release includes a second disc features instrumentals, acapellas, remixes and the track “Monday Night at Fluid”.

Various Artists – “Lost In Time: More Northern Soul Treasures” [Backbeats]

For those who want a little old school soul in your life, here’s a little something from the Backbeats catalog.  With tracks like Barbara Lynn’s “I Don’t Want a Playboy” and Saxie Russell’s “Psychedelic Soul Pt.1” the album will quench the palate of any RnB fan. There are twenty – nine tracks here, do they’ll be at least a song or two that will get the repeat button over and over again. Good find for Soul fans new and old.