Guru of Gang Starr reportedly in coma

Guru, one-half of the highly influential hip-hop duo Gang Starr and a man who possesses one of the most recognizable voices in the game, is reportedly in a coma after suffering cardiac arrest. Roots drummer ?uestlove tweeted that Guru’s partner, DJ Premier, confirmed the reports on Sirius on Sunday night. Guru is scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday.

Here’s hoping for a full and speedy recovery. Think positive thoughts for a true hip-hop icon.

Video for the classic Gang Starr track Mass Appeal is below:

Walter Schreifels: Arthur Lee’s Lullaby

walter schreifels

For his role as frontman/songwriter for post-hardcore heroes Quicksand – a band whose two-album resume is far too brief – Walter Schreifels holds a permanent and dear place in my music collection. Short-lived as Quicksand’s existence was, the band has had a lasting influence. Listen to Quicksand, then listen to a band like, say, Cursive and you decide. (On a side note, would someone please release a reissue/remaster of Quicksand’s damn-near perfect 1993 debut Slip already? Some bonus tracks and liner notes would be nice, too. Thanks.)

These days, it’s fair to say Schreifels, also a former member of hardcore act Gorilla Biscuits, has mellowed with age. After Quicksand, he went on to play in Rival Schools for an album (though a new record is allegedly on the way?!?) and Walking Concert for another album. Now, he’s on the verge of releasing his first solo album, An Open Letter to the Scene, a mostly acoustic record in which he “reflects on his legacy,” quoth the press materials. It’s due out May 4 on Academy Fight Song.

Arthur Lee’s Lullaby is the first single off the album, and it comes with a video, too. Quicksand this is not, but, hey, we can’t always be 18 and angry.

  • Walter Schreifels | Arthur Lee’s Lullaby
  • New Born Ruffians: Sole Brother


    Add yet another album to get excited about in 2010: Born Ruffians unveiled cover art (above), tracklisting (below), release date (June 1) and a new song (Sole Brother) on their Web site on Thursday for the album Say It, a follow-up to the 2008 favorite Red, Yellow & Blue.

    You can hear the working origins of Sole Brother from the band’s Daytrotter session in November 2008, so it’s pretty clear the song has been a long time in the making.

    The track seems to make good on what singer Luke LaLonde told me to expect from the new album in an interview in October ’08: “Our newer songs are going to be more singing and less chanting. I think I hear a lot of bands who are doing the chanty things. And, I don’t know, it’s just something we’ve made a conscious effort and decided on more singing.”

    As promised, Sole Brother shows LaLonde’s bandmates adding some vocal chops. In this case, if his Daytrotter explanation of the song still holds, that would be drummer Steve Hamelin.

    Tracklisting for Say It:
    1. Oh Man
    2. Retard Canard
    3. Sole Brother
    4. What To Say
    5. The Ballad Of Moose Bruce
    6. Higher And Higher
    7. Come Back
    8. Nova-Leigh
    9. Blood, The Sun & Water
    10. At Home Now

    Incoming: The Twilight Sad, May 5, the Clubhouse

    After seeing the Scottish triumvirate of We Were Promised Jetpacks, Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad on one bill in September in Tucson, we’ll be seeing each of them again on separate dates over the next four months, starting tonight with WWPJ at Rhythm Room.

    Frightened Rabbit is booked for a Phoenix show on April 19 and now The Twilight Sad – authors of my favorite album of 2009 – are coming through Tempe on May 5 for a show at the Clubhouse with Japanese band Mono. Tickets ($15) go on sale Wednesday.

    Sadly, The Twilight Sad will set out on this tour with a new bassist (who that is, I’m not quite sure) after original member Craig Orzel recently left. I still expect to be shaken to the core by the band’s typically loud and dramatic set. I also have my eyes set on some merchandise featuring their always-eerie/disturbing artwork, if not the new 7-inch single for The Room, due out on March 29.

    Be sure to check out an interview/live performance video of The Twilight Sad, filmed in Birmingham, Ala., by Alabama Public Television for We Have Signal.

    Spoon: Something to Look Forward To
    (live for KCRW)

    On Monday, Los Angeles public radio station KCRW celebrated the 1,000th song of its Today’s Top Tune podcast by offering a live version of Spoon’s Something to Look Forward To that the band recorded after its recent Morning Becomes Eclectic session.

    Here’s what KCRW had to say about it:

    Today’s Top Tune marks the 1000th song offered as a free download and, to mark the occasion, we asked Spoon to record a special song after their recent Morning Becomes Eclectic performance. After some debate, the band decided on “Something to Look Forward To,” a song from the early album Kill the Moonlight, that they rarely play live.

    While you’re at it, check out the Morning Becomes Eclectic session, which, naturally, features a good chunk of songs from the new album Transference:

    The New Pornographers: Your Hands (Together)


    Please allow me to be another in a long line of music bloggers who have or will be posting this new track from The New Pornographers today. Your Hands (Together) is the first song to be unveiled from the forthcoming album Together, due out May 4 on Matador.

    Your Hands is not one of the three Dan Bejar contributions – and those have typically been my favorites – but the song bursts with that vibrant New Porn energy and Neko Case’s soaring voice.

    Full tracklisting for Together:

    1. Moves
    2. The Crash Years
    3. Your Hands (Together)
    4. Silver Jenny Dollar
    5. Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
    6. My Shepherd
    7. If You Can’t See My Mirrors
    8. Up In The Dark
    9. Valkyrie In The Roller Disco
    10. A Bite Out Of My Bed
    11. Daughters Of Sorrow
    12. We End Up Together

    Stream Frightened Rabbit’s new album at MySpace


    Frightened Rabbit has opened up a full stream of their upcoming album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, at MySpace. The album, the group’s third and the follow-up to the outstanding The Midnight Organ Fight, is due out March 9 on FatCat.

    As a companion piece to the album, Clash talks with singer Scott Hutchison, who walks us through the album track by track. You can pre-order the album here.

    [STREAM]: Frightened Rabbit | The Winter of Mixed Drinks

    Frightened Rabbit: Nothing Like You (video)
    Frightened Rabbit on Daytrotter
    Frightened Rabbit: Swim Until You Can’t See Land (video)

    BRENDAN BENSON CONTEST: We have a winner for the two tickets and it’s Nina M., whose name was drawn randomly out of a hat by my wife. She’ll be seeing Benson on Monday night at Rhythm Room.

    Source Victoria: Acetylene Torch Song (demo); show tonight

    Given my status as an elite blogger brother, I usually get to hear Source Victoria songs before most and in all their iterations. It’s fascinating to be able to follow the evolution of a song – from a rough recorded-at-home demo to a polished final product, with numerous live renditions shaping it along the way. My iTunes library is loaded with ruffs, roughs, demos, rough demos, edits, bad mixes, no-bass mixes, etc. I have about three rough versions of a song called Congratulations, none of which may ever see the light of day – which would be a shame … HINT – but I still relish and listen to all of them.

    As the band prepares to head into the studio next week (!) with producer and Grammy-winning engineer Chris Testa, they’re offering a new demo for all our ears, a track called Acetylene Torch Song. Unlike a recently heard demo, Black Luck, Black Label (a song whose finished product I’m really looking forward to), Acetylene Torch Song dials back the intensity, wrapping the warm vocals with just the right touch of instrumentation.

    Download it below or listen to it above while watching a collage of photos, carefully crafted by drummer Scott Hessel.

    I’m sure the band will be showcasing new material Friday night, when it plays at Teakwoods (28th St. and Indian School in Phoenix) with Kings of Last Call. You should probably go.

    Source Victoria | Slowburner (Traindead cover)

    Incoming: The Besnard Lakes, May 14 (Sail Inn)


    I sort of assumed that when I saw The Besnard Lakes play to a disappointingly sparse crowd for the second time in Phoenix in 2007 that it might be the last time we saw the Montreal-based outfit come through town.

    I’ve never been more happy to be so wrong.

    The group announced a batch of new dates, and it includes stops in Tempe (May 14 at Sail Inn) and Tucson (May 15 at Plush). So not only are they giving Arizona two dates, but they fall on ever-valuable Friday and Saturday nights. There’s really no excuse this time, Phoenix. (Well, unless you’re younger than 21, in which case you won’t be seeing them at either show.)

    And besides, the Besnards will be rolling out new material from The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night, which you can pre-order now and receive an instant downloadable copy. (The album is due out March 9 on Jagjaguwar.)

    If you missed it last month, here’s the first single from the album, Albatross.

    Tickets ($12) for the Sail Inn show go on sale Friday. Check Stateside Presents for more info.

    The Soft Province: One Was a Lie (Besnard Lakes side project)
    The Besnard Lakes: Albatross
    The Besnard Lakes: Devastation (video)

    Contest: Two tickets to Brendan Benson (Feb. 22)


    I told you in January that Brendan Benson would be rolling through Phoenix for a Feb. 22 stop at the Rhythm Room. And because I really, truly believe you should witness/hear Benson’s pristine pop in person, I’m happy to be able to give away a pair of tickets to one lucky winner for Monday’s show.

    As always, I’m not interested in making you do tricks to win — just leave a comment with your name and e-mail address and a random winner will be selected out of a hat. Because of the quick turnaround, please leave your comment by Friday at noon Arizona time (or 2 p.m. Eastern time / 11 a.m. Pacific).

    If you’re feeling really lucky, you can also win some swag via a Twitter contest. Find out more at Brendan Benson’s Web site.