- LOCAL TRADITIONAL
- THE REST
you guys, remember when st. mark's place used to be cool? i used to go there to get spikes for my boyfriend's jean jacket. they had all shapes and sizes for cheap. the place has totally transformed into trustafarian central. nowadays i gotta get him his spikes online. i know, lame. hey, you guys wanna go see this band play in bushwick? they're playing at this place called the mckibbon lofts. it's not even a venue, it's just an apartment building where a lot of tatted-up dumpster divers live who ride their track bikes to work eleven months out of the year because they're too cool to be straphangers. you've seen them texting on their flip phones as they zoom cross the willamsburg bridge. i heard there's a major bed bug epidemic at this place, so try not to drink too many pbrs because this is not the type of house show where you can just pass out on any old couch.
in their video for carrion prophesy, incantation's guitar player sports a do rag like sil from the soprano's when he rocks out with the e street band. it's a good look. i decided to check out this record because i really liked a record that came out last year by a band called ruinous, and the guitar player for that band plays on this record. it was a pleasure to discover that this band, who's been at it since 1989, can still crank out a solid death metal record two and a half decades later.
recently i found myself debating the merits of the recent r.u.n. t.h.e. j.e.w.e.l.s. record with promise and warning cohort, dj coco relax. both of us are long term fans of company flow, a classic group of rap giants from the late 90s, which consisted mainly of e.l.-p. (half of r.t.j.) alongside queens rapper b.i.g.g. j.u.s.. coco and i agreed we both had always prefered the smooth flow of b.i.g.g. j.u.s. to the more abrasive rhymes of e.l.-p. however, i contended, after the demise of co-flow, j.u.s. produced one unbelievable lp called l.u.n.e. t.n.s., only to drop off afterwards. his songs sounded more like university lectures to me than songs. add to that his raps were often railing against the g.w. bush administration. while tunes like p.u.b.l.i.c. e.n.e.m.y.'s 'f.i.g.h.t. t.h.e. p.o.w.e.r.' will always remain timeless, do i really want to listen to how abominable the bush administration was now that it's 2017? no, i do not. coco relax's rejoinder to this was telling me i had to hear j.u.s.'s 2005 lp, 'p.o.o.r. p.e.o.p.l.e.'s d.a.y.' c.m.j. described this record as an 'anti-globalization opus of dusty beats and multi-syllabic rhymes that sound like Ghostface, RZA and Noam Chomsky having a threeway.' i really couldn't put it better. this record is an unsung classic.
back in 1996, at the tender age of seventeen, i landed a summer job picking up dead bodies at the coroner's office in pittsburgh. at that time, i was quite impressionable, and was voraciously soaking in all the music i could stomach. i will never forget seeing the music video for 'operation lockdown' by underground brooklyn rap duo, heltah skeltah, and thinking it was the sickest rap video i'd ever seen. it feels like overdosing on peyote as you question the nature of life and death as your body overheats in a sweatlodge. nearly two decades later, in 2012, dj intelligencer turned me on to the existence of the record 'mic tyson', which he'd upped to this site, by one hald of heltah skeltah, sean price. i was blown away and listened to it on repeat. in 2016, price died an untimely death at the age of 43. the rap community mourned, and raised some $73k for his family, with help from prominant emcees like jay-z and eminem. feeling nostalgic recently, i realized i had not ever spent time with price's first solo record, 2005's 'm.o.n.k.e.y. b.a.r.z..' perhaps unsurprisingly, i discovered this record to be a classic. hopefully his legacy continues to reach wider audiences going forward.
with rave reviews on the new york times, a cover appearance on wire magazine, an appearance on portlandia, an appearance on the tonight show, and so on and so forth, it is fair to say that this group has generated a significant amound of buzz lately. they caught my attention when they published a 'protest playlist' on innauguration day here in the states. i listened to the new record on youtube a couple of times, thought it maritorious enough to download into my collection, and was pleased to discover that the band offers its album for free over on its website. i'd like to see them on their upcoming tour, but area shows are already sold out. i've been a fan of el-p, one half of rtj, since his late 90s run with seminal rap group company flow. his raps are dense and intellectual and angry. a problem i had with el's solo career was that, in focusing so much on being innovative and countercultural, he sacrificed listenability. on r.t.j.3., i am pleased to report, el-p and killer mike have added heaps of pop sensibility to their angry and innovative music, and done so with excellent results. \
Imagine you've fallen rather hard for someone. Yet, despite all this person's wonderfulness, their favorite music is something you just can't get behind. It goes against your instincts. You turn it over and over in your head. This stuff seems like it's the provenance of stadiums, you think to yourself. And you're right. It is. This stuff seems like it's intended for fans of Spiritualized, Radiohead, MGMT... shit, you could easily imagine these guys warming up for a late era U2 concert. At first, it makes you wretch. But you stick with it. The experience of acquainting yourself with this person who lives this music has opened your eyes to that which you haven't seen before. Now some years have gone by. That person wasn't right for you. Good riddance. In a moment of solipsistic introspection, you think to yourself, did that person really and truly open me to new experiences, or did that experience simply awaken something within myself that had previously been lying dormant? It's a rhetorical question, you realize. This music could be the soundtrack to that. In spite of yourself or not, please don't stop the please don't stop the please don't stop the music.