Tag Archives: beastie boys

Lollapalooza 2009: Day 2

I think I survived Day 2.  Here’s what I saw:

Santigold: Easily the best performance of the day.  It was the last day of her tour, and everything was polished to a tee.  She had probably the best atitude/morale I’ve seen so far and seemed geniuinely excited/thankful to be playing Lolla.  Annd, her vocals sounded the complete opposite of someone that is on the last day of tour.  Pretty amazing, expecially considering the strange vocals she does.  Santigold had two dancers with her, each one standing on either side of her on the stage.  The dancers wore matching gold and black costumes and did choreographed robotic/show choir/military type moves during her set.  So, dance party ensued.

Her setlist isn’t up yet, but she played all of her bigger songs from Santogold, including “I’m a Lady,” “Anne,” “Unstoppable,” “Lights Out,” and “Creator.”  She also played a cover of the Cure’s “Killing an Arab.”

Animal Collective: I’m not very familiar with this indie weird-noise band, but I do enjoy the song that has the iPod-ish music video.  I wasn’t incredibly impressed and we couldn’t see anything, other than the art-school looking animations they played on the jumbotron.

The video isn’t very good, but it kind of gives you idea of what it was like.

Tool: The headliner for Saturday is another band I’m not wild about, but I stayed long enough to see them play “Stinkfist” and to admire their 80-foot tall pentagram and skull.  Tool is one of those bands that has really cultish fans that sing along to every song and wear Tool shirts to Tool concerts.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: They played at the same time as Tool and were the last-minute replacement for the Beastie Boys.  I wandered to the other end of the park after thirty minutes of Tool (so like 2 Tool songs) to see them play.  As much as I like this band, I was a little disappointed, even with the last-minuteness in mind.  Karen’s outfits weren’t half as wild as I was hoping and thought she was known for.  Her outfits were 1) a slightly native looking flag drapped over her shoulders 2) a boring floral dress that could have been worn by any girl there 3) her leather jacket that she seems to love.  Also, she had to stop two separate songs because she “forgot the lyrics.”  One of those songs was “maps.”  Seriously, that’s one of her major songs with the easiest lyrics.  Maybe she was nervous or drunk or who knows?

1. Runaway
2. Phenomena (Listed as “Phenom (Beastie Break)” on setlist )
3. Heads Will Roll
4. Pin
5. Dull Life
6. Gold Lion
7. Cheated Hearts
8. Skeletons
9. Hysteric
10. Soft Shock
11. Honeybear
12. Zero
13. Turn Into
14. Maps (acoustic)
15. Y Control
16. Date With the Night

Bands I wish I could have seen on Day 2, but couldn’t cause it’s a huge, hot, crowded fest: TV on the Radio, Atmosphere, Diplo.  Today, my eye is bothering me and the heat is worse than yesterday.  And, there aren’t really any bands I’m dying to see, so I probably won’t be there as long.


Lollapalooza 2009 Rumors

Chicago is way excited about two things right now:  the 2016 Olympics bid and Lollapalooza.  I have compiled some rumors/facts and welcome any other rumors people have heard, especially concerning the $60 festival tickets, as they eventually jump to close to over $200.

  1. Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon and Jane’s Addiction are rumored to play.
  2. The ever-elusive $60 souvenier tickets go on sale this week.  An email was sent, I believe, Monday stating this.  Last year, the tickets sold out in either 1 minute or 10 minutes.  Ridiculous.
  3. My personal prediction was that Coldplay is going to play, but their tour schedule has since filled up, with dates on both August 7th & 9th.  They still could play August 8th, but I’ve heard that bands can’t have a show for a certain amount of days before and after they play Lollapalooza.
  4. Last I heard, which was probably on the Chicago Tribune, is that Chicago is one of the front runners for the Olympics bid, but recently someone important, whom I can’t remember his name or title, withdrew his association with the bid. 
  5. When I look at the evaluation scores, Chicago is third. 

**Update [2:41 pm]:  The $60 tickets came and went at 2:05 pm this afternoon.  Last year, they sent an email right before they released the tickets.  The year before, an email a day in advance.  And this year, no warning.  I don’t think my mind/blood pressure can handle this again next year…


Muzik Reviewz Part V: John Kreese vs. Apollo Creed

Unlike the other traditional Chinese recording I reviewed, ELEVEN CENTURIES is authentic, without modern or Western influence. Unfortunately, it’s also less interesting. The main drawback, ACCORDING TO MY TASTES, is that most of the pieces are totally solo. There’s nothing wrong with that but there are a lot of traditional Chinese arrangements for ensembles. This album should have been titled ELEVEN CENTURIES OF TRADITIONAL SOLO MUSIC OF CHINA. The melodies are all nice but the solo arrangements are a bit boring and straightfoward. Good for an academic listen but maybe not for pleasure. Grade: B-

DALEK – NEGRO NECRO NEKROS (Spokenwerds Music, 1998)
I know what you’re thinking but no, this is not an album by Ryan’s friend in England. I think her name is Dulax. Dalek is some MC from NJ I don’t think I’ve ever heard mentioned at all in the hip-hop world. The only reason I’m familiar with him at all is because his last three albums were released on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label. I haven’t heard those albums but I impulsively bought this particular “EP” at some used muzik dive. Long, boring story. Dalek is kind of a boring MC with little presence. In fact, I don’t think I remember a single line from any of the songs. The production, provided by Dalek and some asshole named The Octopus, takes center stage in the arrangements and in the mix. I have very, very mixed feelings on the production. I always complain about the lack of in-song variety in hip-hop beats and this CD addresses that complaint. The beats change a lot in a variety of ways – samples drop in and out, EQ is changed mid-song, effects are implemented, etc. Unfortunately, everything just sounds calculated. None of the beats are ever catchy, melodic, or clever. There’s no real feeling and the whole soundscape is sterile. Dalek and The Octopus are just too smart for their own good. Still, I’m interested in checking out their latest work and even this EP could be one of those releases that I just don’t GET right away, but for now . . . Grade: C

Despite what some people say, this album is not a classic unless “old and out of print” automatically = classic. Sadat X has a voice that I find very easy to listen to and he can never be mistaken for anyone else. That said, he doesn’t always use his distinctive voice in the best way, often sounding flat/uninterested and rhyming about stupid topics like the Nation of Gods and Earths religion (I’ll write more about that later). The beats, many provided by sometimes-awesome Diamond D, range from decent to pretty decent – nothing spectacular but nothing weak. Ennio Morricone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” theme is sampled but seems kind of wasted. Presumably, this sample was used to tie in to the ‘Wild Cowboys’ title but the whole theme is barely present, save for a few lines and the cover photo. It’s not a bad album at all but it’s just a bit boring. Sorry! Grade: B- (solid but unspectacular)

This is a really strange release for Def Jam. Ignore the fact that the Lady is white, female and British, her sound is just much wilder than the crap Def Jam has been dumping for the last decade. In truth, PUBLIC WARNING actually sounds like a bit of an update on mid-80z Def Jam, with sparse beats (mostly provided by some asshole named Medasyn) that still manage to be loud and heavy with charismatic, in-your-face rhyming. In other words, it’s the same formula found on the Def Jam classics LICENSED TO ILL (Beastie Boys) and RADIO (LL Cool J). Perhaps Lady Sovereign is a novelty that I will grow to hate in the future but for now I appreciate just how different she is from most MCs, everything from her voice, her accent, her strange/halting flow, to her penchant for making goofy noises. Grade: B+

Stones Throw is developing a strange habit of digging up underground MCs, some old and some new, featuring them on an album with the ‘Stones Throw sound’, and then spitting them out. Stones Throw is not a money-obsessed, mercenary label by any means so I’m not sure what causes this. Except for Madlib’s goofy Quasimoto alter ego, I can’t think of an MC that has released two solo albums on the label. So, you might think of this as the latest in the Stones Throw Solo MC Series. Guilty Simpson hails from Detroit, a place that he seems to like based on the lyrics. While the album still has that Stones Throw sound with beats by stalwarts Madlib, Oh No, there are several beats by Detroit natives Mr. Porter and J Dilla protege Black Milk, giving us a Detroit meets Stones Throw feel. Overall, Guilty is more abrasive than most Stones Throw MCs and the beats are a bit more thuggish than expected. This is all quite welcome and even though are no less than eight producers the album is surprisingly cohesive. One complaint I have has to do with the mix: many of the beats have mysterious, cinematic qualities but kind of sit in the background while Simpson’s vocals are right up front, mixed really dryly. Some more effects, reverb, vocal overdubs, etc. might have increased the haunting element of the album’s sound. Still, pretty decent! Grade: B+



The most overrated hip-hop album

Pauls Boutique by Beastie Boys

I personally love this album but it gets way too much love and attention from music critics and writers.  The greatest offense is that these writers repeatedly claim that the beats on PB are more dense, layered, and/or sophisticated than any previous hip-hop album.  UGH.  Not so.  Remember, critics/writers, the 2 Public Enemy albums that came out before PB?  Those albums have beats that are much thicker and sophisticated than those on PB.  And the whole layered beats thing was an emerging trend, anyway.  Other 1989 albums from groups like De La Soul and 3rd Bass had them.

I think the real reason these dumbass writers overpraise PB is because there are so many recognizable samples from people like THE BEATLES and CURTIS MAYFIELD and my mom.


Reviews of 2007 Albums

I didn’t buy very many albums that came out in 2007. Actually, I only bought 4 that I can think of off the top of my head. Here’s the skinny.

Beastie Boys The Mix-Up and Bad Brains Build A Nation

These albums were intentionally released on the same day and Beastie Boy MCA produced the Bad Brains album. That’s only one part of why I’m lumping these 2 albums together. These bands have long been associated with each other and have been recording for a million years (1980 Bad Brains, 1982 Beastie Boys). Another thing that these albums have in common is a lack of surprises. The B-Boys album is mostly made up of the funky instruental jams they’ve been making since 1992. It’s pretty much devoid of any hip-hop and I think the reason is clear: they were lazy. It takes a lot of time to put together a bunch of samples to make a good beat and just as long to come up with some stupid lyrics and memorize them. They probably wanted to avoid annoying fans complaining about long gaps between albums and they decided this would be the easiest way to get around that. There’s nothing wrong with the album but given the Beasties’ pedigree it doesn’t leave much of an impression. More than any other band I can think of, each Beastie Boys album was an EVENT, even including their lackluster 2004 effort. The albums never came out very close to each other and there was always something really NEW and exciting about each of them, not to mention that they were always jam-packed with 20-some songs. You didn’t even know which members of their extended backup band would be contributing.

The Bad Brains album certainly reflects more effort but not a great deal of innovation. It seems like they’ve been somewhat influenced by current trends, pouding out some bone-headed drop-D riffs while H.R. occasionally finds some strong melodies. Other tracks are stronger and, of course, there are the obligatory reggae tracks. Overall it just doesn’t have the immortal and iconic feeling that their earlier albums had. It’s a good album for Bad Brains fans but might not win anyone else over.

Both of these albums come across as a bit unnecessary.

Straight grade: B
Graded within the context of their overall careers: C

El-P I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead

lol – Nice fucking title. And the album? Booooooooooring. My overall interest in Definitive Jux Records was already on life support after weak efforts from Cage and Mr. Lif and this album may have completely killed it. El-P has always had some big weaknesses and this is the album where he gave in to all of them. One of these weaknesses is that he takes himself very seriously and clearly thinks he has some important things to say. He really lets this element run the show this time around, becoming as humorously dark and broody as Trent Reznor, who happens to be a guest on the album. This may be getting old, but El-P has also always been a pretty weak MC, but his beats have always kept him afloat. Now the beats are confused and boooooooooooring. I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t sound jut like his previous work but that doesn’t excuse it from being bad. Five years ago I found Def Jux to be a very exciting group of artists and now YAWN.

Straight grade: C
Graded within the context of his overall career: D

Tomahawk Anonymous

This is the 3rd album from the band that features former members of Faith No More and The Jesus Lizard and it’s easily their best. It’s also an interesting experiment in its own right. The band perused 100 year old transcripts of traditional Native American songs and arranged them for a 4 piece rock band. As Tomahawk is a metal-ish band with artsy leanings you might expect the songs to simply be typical metal songs with Native American melodies on top. Thankfully, the only thing hard rockish about the album are the instruments and the tones. The performances attempt to capture the feel and rhythms of the original songs. The band doesn’t riff away over straightforward rock beats. Instead, they play some variation of the main melody which results in a somewhat simple but haunting and powerful delivery. There are some missteps, like a section where singer Mike Patton does his dumb suave, talk-rap thing, but for the most part Native American feel is intact and works very, very well.

Grade: A


list of songs deemed inappropriate by clear channel following 9/11

oh man! i had forgotten all about this list! micah refreshed my memory earlier today.

check it out: “list of songs deemed inappropriate by clear channel following the septermber 11, 2001 attacks”

it’s so good. clear channel is cool. i cannot wait till they finally take over ALL the world’s airwaves!

some of my favorites:

safe in new york city

we gotta get out of this place

burnin’ for you

in the air tonight

bits and pieces

crash into me

learn to fly

great balls of fire

devil with a blue dress on






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