Next to Del (recently discussed), Opio of Souls of Mischief ranks right up there as my favorite member of Hieroglyphics. His delivery always feels loose but intense, and his ability to clearly enunciate without rushing – he got into a habit of really stressing the last syllable on words that ended in “er” – is an art in itself. And his verses in the classic ‘93 Til Infinity are hard to top (”Here’s a 40, swig it / you know it’s frigid / I got ‘em chillin’ in the cooler / break out the ruler”).
After releasing Triangulation Station, his solo debut, in 2005, Opio returns with Vulture’s Wisdom, due out April 8. From what I can tell, the album was produced by Architect, a member of Homeliss Derilex, a group that boasts a history with early Stones Throw material.
Here’s the video for Stop the Press, the new single from Vulture’s Wisdom, which will be packaged as a CD/DVD and include videos of almost every song.
And here’s a video for Don Julio, in which Opio namechecks Soundgarden:
A kind taper has made available his/her recording of the Editors’ Feb. 12 show in Tempe at Marquee Theatre, the band’s first Arizona concert. Files are in flac format, which, in layman’s terms, means you have to do a little work to turn them into mp3s. I discovered a free program called xAct for coverting to wav files; then use iTunes for converting wav to mp3.
Here’s the set list from the show:
1 - Camera.
2 - An End Has a Start.
3 - Blood.
4 - Bullets.
5 - The Weight Of The World.
6 - Escape the Heat.
7 - Lights.
8 - When Anger Shows.
9 - Spiders.
10 - All Sparks.
11 - Munich.
12 - Push Your Head Towards the Air.
13 - Bones.
14 - Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors. Encore:
15 - You Are Fading.
16 - The Racing Rats.
17 - Fingers in the Factories.
I’m happy to see this available because I wasn’t familiar with the first song after the encore, You Are Fading, apparently a rare B-side (via). I can’t believe this song didn’t make The Back Room cut. Drummer Ed Lay just goes to town on the snare in this one, pretty much fueling the song’s frantic energy.
While I wait for that, Stinkweeds was cool enough to hook me up with a five-song promo CD by Doughty called Busking, a word used to define the art of performing in public places for tips.
According to Doughty in a note on the back of the CD sleeve, he busked between the 3 train and the F train at 14th Street in New York when he was 19: “I lasted about ten minutes.” He went back recently with gear to record for this pretty unique release, which seems more like an experiment in sociology than field recording. This time around he was a little more successful: “I got lots of smiles, and made $3.10. Two dollar bills, four quarters, and a dime” (via).
The CD is great because you can hear all the incidental (and sometimes deafening) noise of subway stations – people chattering, trains roaring past, echoes. You can even pick up Doughty chatting with a few passers-by, presumably those who chipped in a few cents.
1. Looking at the World From a Bottom of a Well.
2. F Train.
3. The Only Answer.
4. 40 Grand.
5. Sunkeneyed Girl.
Mike Doughty | Looking at the World From a Bottom of a Well
In more Doughty news, I posted the 27 Jennifers video last month. Well, MySpace is hosting an alternate, if not sorta creepier, version here.
The new record, Lucky, has crept up on me. Certainly it’s what you’d expect from a Nada Surf album: catchy melodies with sing-along choruses. But the band’s unabashed positive spirit comes through stronger than ever; hell, singer Matthew Caws (or, at least, I’m assuming it’s Caws) writes a treatise on the word “lucky” in the liner notes. It’s either the hokiest thing you’ve ever read or the most uplifting. It all depends on your outlook, and I suppose that’s the point the band is trying to get across on this record: Are you appreciative of what you have or do you take it for granted?
At the very least, we can be thankful the band made exquisite use of liner notes, a lost art in our digital world.
A quick note about this set: See These Bones, the final song they played, faded out before conclusion, so I didn’t include it here. You might try streaming this performance (with interview) at KCRW Web site. (I got it from the podcast.)
Nada Surf on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, 2/5/08:
1. Whose Authority.
3. Ice on the Wing.
4. I Like What You Say.
5. Are You Lightning?
6. Here Goes Something.
7. Beautiful Beat.
Anti sent out a release about Tim Fite’s upcoming release, Fair Ain’t Fair (more below), which gave me good reason to poke around his MySpace page.
Lo and behold, Fite is offering a download of Out on the Line, a B-side to a 7-inch released in the UK that I actually found at Academy Records in Brooklyn in September for $2. (white vinyl; A-side is No Good Here [mp3].)
Small detail: On the 7-inch, the song is called On the Line; Fite lists it as Out on the Line on his MySpace page. Either way, it’s a downer of an acoustic track, a bit out of the ordinary for the eccentric Fite (remember his I Used to Love H.E.R. entry?).
Tim Fite | Out on the Line
As for that new record, Fair Ain’t Fair – the proper follow-up to 2005’s Gone Ain’t Gone – is due out May 6. Fite earned plenty of praise for his free 2007 album Over the Counter Culture (previous post), a send-up of/commentary on commercial rap culture. (You can download it here.) So it’s not like we haven’t heard from the man in three years.
Tracklisting for Fair Ain’t Fair:
1. Roots Of A Tree.
3. The Barber.
4. Big Mistake.
5. Inside Man.
6. Rats And Rags.
7. Yesterday’s Garden.
8. Thought I Was A Gun.
9. The Names Of All The Animals.
11. More Clothes.
12. Harriet Tubman.
13. My Hands.
14. Heaven Is War.
15. Sing Along.
16. Line By Line.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Mobius Band is offering a free six-song EP of covers called Love Will Reign Supreme. I got particularly excited to see they covered the National’sBaby, We’ll Be Fine, a song, in my estimation, that is romantic in its vulnerable and contrite writing (”I don’t know how to do this / I’m so sorry for everything.”).
Mobius Band definitely gives the track an imaginative reworking, one that feels uplifting … like the clouds are parting from the original’s somber tone.
Tracklist for Love Will Reign Supreme:
1. Razor Love (Neil Young)
2. Baby We’ll Be Fine (The National)
3. True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston)
4. Mobius Band In A Green Cotton Sweater (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone)
5. I’ll Keep It With Mine (Bob Dylan)
6. Digital Love (Daft Punk)
Download individual songs or the album in a zip file (which includes cover art jpg) here.
Mobius Band | Baby, We’ll Be Fine (The National cover)
With a foreword by J-Zone and afterword by Sacha Jenkins, the book features 48 pages of drawings of rap artists that you can color. Cypress Hill, Mobb Deep, Ice Cube, you name it. Apparently, the book has caused a bit of controversy as well.
But District Attorney Lynne Abraham calls the book a disgrace. “With all the terrible things happening, shootings, gang warfare, Mac 10’s, Tec-9’s and here is this company that is supposed to be a responsible company that’s totally unresposible, so I’m disgusted, I’m horrified.”
Well, I hate to tell District Attorney Lynne Abraham, but I think this is a great intersection of art, irony and music. Though I gotta say, I’m kinda nervous to even put a crayon to the book, even though Aye Jay has kindly left the last portrait blank for you: “Draw your own gangsta rap superstar here.”
If I were to color the pages, I’d probably have to start with the rendering of KRS-One from the cover of Boogie Down Productions’ By Any Means Necessary.
I interviewed bassist Russell Leetch and wrote a bit about it here. Favorite quote, after I asked him how critics differ in England and the U.S.: “We always get totally mixed reviews. We’re not one of those bands people wet themselves over like the Arcade Fire or LCD Soundsystem.”
Also, here’s a flier for the March 8 show I’m putting on with Source Victoria and Birdmonster, among others. Come on out, won’t you? (Click for larger image.)
Go to Aquarium Drunkard for an acoustic session with Radar Bros. frontman Jim Putnam.
Mr. Mammoth has a new Cadence Weapon track, Juliann Wilding.