Black Sheep: Birds of a Feather
(Native Tongues reunion)


I’m sorry, but some 15 years later, I can’t help but be excited by a Native Tongues collaboration. Black Sheep’s Dres (above) has brought together Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, Trugoy of De La Soul and Mike Gee of Jungle Brothers for the track, Birds of a Feather, for his new album From the Black Pool of Genius (due out June 29).

I was so entrenched in the music of the Native Tongues crew that even still it’s hard for me to be an objective critic of this song in the current context of my own musical tastes. Nostalgia trip or not, it seems like accomplishment enough just to get four of these guys together on the same track.

Frankly, I think this song is on point, but, hey, these guys have earned a lifetime achievement award from me, so you can be the judge.

Saturday night: Domo CD release show

domo_smallI’m fortunate to have gotten to know Jason Sukut a bit during his time as keyboard player/backup singer/all-around entertainer during his time in Source Victoria.

Though he and the band recently parted ways, Sukut continues to lead his main project, Tempe pop-rock outfit Domo. The band is celebrating a CD release on Saturday at Yucca Tap Room for its new album, With Friends Like These … We Need New Friends, an unrelenting collection of pop-punk gems that don’t fuck around (the longest track is 3:35).

And for what it’s worth, Sukut’s Men at Work-inspired handbill earned him his second Flier of the Week nod from Phoenix New Times’ Up on the Sun blog. His other winning submission borrowed the cover of classic Nintendo game Metroid.

Download Heart Attack below, a song that fondly name-checks Quicksand and Wilco – two bands dear to my heart. Sukut talks about this and more in a Q&A with Ed Masley at The Arizona Republic/

Frightened Rabbit on Morning Becomes Eclectic

Frightened Rabbit made its national TV debut on Tuesday on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (making a believer out of ?uestlove), and just a few days before that the band stopped by KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic for an in-studio session.

We’re treated to eight songs in a somewhat restrained full-band performance and a fun interview in which singer Scott Hutchison talks about his hometown of Selkirk, Scotland (“It’s a wonderful place to grow up and it’s a wonderful place to leave”) and reveals the inspiration behind the song Swim Until You Can’t See Land (the 2008 film The Wackness).

Check out the entire performance above or a stand-alone clip for Swim Until You Can’t See Land below.

1. Swim Until You Can’t See Land
2. Living in Colour
3. The Wrestle
4. Old Old Fashioned
5. Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
6. Foot Shooter
7. The Twist
8. Nothing Like You

Frightened Rabbit: Stream Living in Colour alt. version/remix
Q&A with Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit
Frightened Rabbit: Swim Until You Can’t See Land (acoustic video)
Frightened Rabbit: Nothing Like You (video)
Frightened Rabbit on Daytrotter
Frightened Rabbit: Swim Until You Can’t See Land (video)

Far: Man Overboard (live at the Troubadour)

A reunited Far is at Rhythm Room on Monday night, so I spent some quality time on YouTube tracking down video from this tour and streaming the new album, At Night We Live (out on Tuesday), on MySpace.

I found one user that had just about the entire May 21 show from the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif. It was enough to convince me that my first Far show will be worth the wait after all these years.

I’m also excited to see Man Overboard – my favorite Far song that I unabashedly requested Jonah Matranga play during an acoustic set three years ago – has made the set list. Well, it did at least on this night. Check it out below, with pretty great audience participation.

Pearl Jam and Ben Bridwell: Hunger Strike

I’ve been transported to freshman year of high school. Honestly, that might be the last time I’ve listened to the self-titled Temple of the Dog album – but I listened to it a lot. In fact, I continually pushed it on this one girl, who 13 years later would become my wife. Crazy how that works.

So Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, Pearl Jam invites Ben Bridwell, whose Band of Horses opened the show, to play the part of (a less shrilly) Chris Cornell in a live revival of Hunger Strike.

What a great moment – sincere and free of pretension. Bridwell continues to be one of just the seemingly coolest and most endearing dudes in rock. Witness his parting line to the crowd after an “adorable” (my wife’s word) hug with Eddie Vedder: “Pearl Jam’s the best band!”

Royal Rhino Flying compilation: The Queen’s Jew


I’ve been a fan of electronic/hip-hop duo Meanest Man Contest since our friend Hunter at Gold Robot Records introduced me to them way back when with the Throwing Away Broken Electronics 7-inch. You’ve probably come across a post or two on them at some point on this site.

Well, I’m adding one to the collection thanks to a new MMC song on this free Royal Rhino Flying compilation, The Queen’s Jew. I’ll fess up and admit I’ve not heard much by any of the other groups on the 23-track comp – though GOBBLE GOBBLE’s contribution recently got some love from Stereogum. But what better way to explore new music than with the cost of free?

On You Need to Grow Up, MMC’s Eriksolo trades verses with guest Mad Squirrel (best emcee name ever?) over a buttery piano loop about the joys of being a grown-ass man in the game: “They call me silver fox / I’m the rap George Clooney.” It’s a playful dis track that all those “whipper-snapper rappers” should pay heed to.

Pete Rock and CL Smooth: They Reminisce Over You (demo mix)


In the early to mid ’90s, buying the hip-hop I loved in any format – vinyl, cassette, CD, whatever – was a bit of an obsession … and an expensive one, at that. Still, all these years later, I’m pretty proud of the collection I’ve amassed, from cassingles to imports and everything in between.

I spent plenty of time and money at Swell Records back in the day, hoarding anything I could with those fancy dreams of being a DJ (haha … yeah, right). One vinyl gem I plucked – marked down to $10 from $18.99 (the price tag is still on it) – is a 1994 promo import from Pete Rock and CL Smooth, the Never Coming Out EP (1994).

It must have come out after the release of The Main Ingredient because it features one of the tracks from that album (In the House) and a remix of another (Take You There). Even better, it features a demo mix of the classic joint, They Reminisce Over You, from the 1992 debut Mecca and the Soul Brother.

Inspired by The Main Ingredient cafe/ale house in Phoenix, I finally got around to converting the EP to digital files. So check out the T.R.O.Y. demo mix below, and then head over to the Matador Records blog to hear a new Pete Rock remix of Yo La Tengo’s Here to Fall.

Guilty Simpson and Madlib: Cali Hills


A Stones Throw collaboration between Detroit emcee Guilty Simpson and Los Angeles-based producer Madlib seemed only destined for greatness, and now a freshly minted 8.0 rating from Pitchfork for the OJ Simpson LP helps validate it.

In my hunt for the first great hip-hop album of 2010 (what am I missing?), I’ll be spending some time with this one today.

Check out Cali Hills, an ode to the late J Dilla (via Stones Throw).

The National: England (live at BAM)

Did you watch the webcast of The National show from the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Saturday night? It was, predictably, amazing and made me long for an Arizona tour stop. The band hasn’t been to Arizona since October 2005, when it came to Modified on a co-headlining tour with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in support of Alligator (a show I regrettably missed because of work). And to think: People were apparently leaving after CYHSY on nights The National played last – the same band that’s now selling out shows in mere minutes.

Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to see The National on a High Violet tour – either in this state or elsewhere – if only so I can see beauty of England in person. I hardly hesitate to say this is my favorite song of the year, a track that immediately grabbed me after the first few listens of the new album.

Like most great National songs, England swells slowly into a triumphant climax. Even then, it shows some wonderful restraint – never quite coming unhinged the way singer Matt Berninger now famously does during Mr. November. England takes you to the edge, but never jumps, and just the suggestion of a frenetic culmination is sometimes sexier than actually realizing it.

I’m not even sure what to make of the lyrics – someone please explain them to me – but for the time being they seem secondary to the glory of the music, aided here by strings, horns and Doveman on the piano.

The Besnard Lakes: Albatross (video)

I’m not even going to attempt to decipher this new video for the song Albatross by The Besnard Lakes, who are coming to Sail Inn on Friday night for a show I’ve long been anticipating.

There are spies and secret code, the sort of noir-like visual mystery you’d expect from this band. The video was directed by Kara Blake, who also gave us the Devastation video.

The Besnard Lakes on Jimmy Fallon
The Soft Province: One Was a Lie (Besnard Lakes side project)
The Besnard Lakes: Albatross