2012 was big for music. John Mayer made a comeback. Green Day dropped three albums. El-P put more than his name into every critic’s mouth. Frank Ocean and the rest of OFWGKTA came out of the closet. A band named “fun.” existed. Pussy Riot happened and cries of injustice saturated Facebook statuses until it was time to Instagram lunch. And Barack Obama signed to Roc Nation. Lucky for me, things I care about also happened in the past three-hundred and sixty-five days. This is my 2012 year-end post. An alphabetized breakdown of the year’s highlights in music. I hope you enjoy. Creek my gangnam style:
“A” is for APOLLO BROWN — with O.C. & GUILTY SIMPSON:
I’m uncertain if Apollo Brown linked with these two on his own, or if Mello Music Group is on point with their A&R game. Either way, the pairing of Detroit’s most active soul-sampler with rhyme legend O.C. on Trophies and D-Town dirt-dog Guilty Simpson for Dice Game were nothing short of genius.
Not since Word…Life have I heard O.C. so confident and sound with his rhymes. On “Fantastic,” the album’s closing track and refreshingly honest career retrospective, the New York veteran states, “Take away the music, listen to my a capellas. My shit is art with textures, depth, and colors.” Omar ain’t lying, either. The man is one of the most lyrically gifted in hip-hop’s history, and Trophies is yet another reason why he should be heralded as such.
Dice Game is the sleeper pick-of-the-year. Most people underestimate Guilty on the mic, and I’ve personally heard people accuse Apollo of not digging deep enough for samples, but the Motor City duo really put the pedal to the metal with this one. Guilty proves flippity-dippity rhyme schemes unnecessary with his straight-forward structure and cohesive writing, while Apollo manipulates sound over pounding drums to create the sweetest sixteen tracks of his lifetime.
Headcrack after headcrack: That’s what you can expect from Dice Game. And you can bet on Trophies just the same. Both are 2012 essentials.
“B” is for BIG CITY BUMPUS:
Heard of Brother Ali before? He’s one of the most prolific players on Rhymesayers Entertainment, the independent hip-hop powerhouse label, who released an excellent LP this year produced by Jake One. This spot in the ABC’s was reserved for Ali until about a month ago, but, when Big City Bumpus hit the internet with the release of his new EP, I had to make room for the Fall River badass. Nevermind the Haters, Here’s Big City Bumpus, the long-awaited follow-up to his debut LP, is a six-pack of songs that hit harder than Chris Herren and guardrails in ’08.
Like few rappers in the modern-day, Big City still flosses traditionalist values. He’s how I would define an “emcee’s emcee” — his rhymes are fun, his songs stand alone without a need for features, and the kid shouts-out his disc jock whenever possible. DJ Crown, Big City’s resident DJ and producer, handled the beat-work for the project, each of the productions fitting the big man to a tee. They’re a classic example of the one MC-one DJ combination. Nevermind the Haters… is just a lil’ sumthin’ from City and Crown, but the promise of making “a hip-hop Sgt. Pepper” suggests the possibility of future tunes being bigger than Bumpus himself.
“C” is for CHINOISERIES PT2:
I know Onra’s Chinoiseries Pt2 was from late-2011, but I’m treating it as a 2012 release because the All City Records import wasn’t in my hands until after the new year. The album, a follow-up to ’07′s Chinoiseries, is a collection of thirty-two new instrumentals from the Parisian producer. Although the theme ultimately remains the same here — crafting hip-hop productions out of vintage Chinese and Vietnamese records – the format of the two installments are noticeably different.
Chinoiseries packs the heavy punch of a beat tape for boom-bap enthusiasts, while Pt2 is a slower burning collection of weaved-together samples, intended to play more along the lines of a film score packed with hip-hop aesthetics. Both are tremendous listens and each is rewarding in its own way — Pt2 more so in that Onra is able to transport listeners to overseas atmospheres with what may be his most concentrated work to date.
“Oh, and, uhhh… J.Dilla. Yeah, J.Dilla.”
“D” is for DEER TICK and DIAMOND RUGS:
I’m a little ashamed in how long it took me to discover Deer Tick — me and the group both hailing from Rhode Island and all — but once they blessed my eardrums I was quick to become an avid fan. I was able to see them in concert three times this year, and, as good as their studio albums play, there’s something even more special about seeing Deer Tick live.
I can honestly say their homecoming “DudeSmash” show at The Met Courtyard in June (where the bulk of War Elephant was performed) and their trip over the Pell Bridge to rock Newport Blues Cafe in November (for an electric crowd and amazing set that included a cover of Nirvana’s “Breed”) are two of the best shows I’ve ever attended.
John McCauley, Deer Tick guitarist and lead singer, has been an integral part of a couple of side projects as well. The more recent of two, Diamond Rugs, an outfit made of six members from five different groups, released a self-titled debut at the end of the first quarter. McCauley handles the majority of the singing and song-writing on the fourteen-track LP, but perhaps the strongest contributions come from the others, namely Ian St. Pé of Black Lips and Dead Confederate’s Hardy Morris.
Out of all the people I talk music with, this album has been a constant on the positive end of 2012 discussion. Actually, it’s likely the only people not digging this record are the Gerber babies over at Pitchfork.
“E” is for EMILIO LOPEZ:
“I come from an era when emceein’ was militant,” spits Emilio Lopez on “How Do I Survive,” the gut-busting single off of February’s Demolition Deluxe. Thankfully, some artists still carry that torch lit in the 90′s — a time heralded for its onslaught of talent and boom-bam excellence — and preserve the sound hip-hop junkies long for. Emilio Lopez is one of those artists. The Connecticut rhyme-slinger released two commanding EP’s in 2012, both of which received high praise from those wise enough to be in the know.
Vice City Nights, the latter of the two EP’s handled exclusively by Barcelonian production team RJBeats, was a stepping stone for Lopez to reach parts outside of the Northeast. The exposure is well-deserved, too, as Emilio has been putting quality work into his hip-hop career for years now. E’s devotion to his trade is apparent on Vice City Nights, and, in a lot of ways, the project feels like a slate-cleaning effort, readying the rapper for a new beginning.
“F” is for FIONA APPLE:
In June Fiona Apple released her fourth studio LP, The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Chords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. (Still with me?) A few days after the album hit the shelves I was able to see her in concert at MGM Grand in Foxwoods. She played a few of the new songs, the classics from Tidal, and damn-near all of When the Pawn…, the crown jewel of her catalog. Aside from the laughably overzealous guitar player in Fiona’s band, my friends and I thought the show was fantastic.
The Idler Wheel… took a couple of listens to grasp. Characteristically, it’s unlike any of Fiona’s other albums. Nothing has changed with the songwriting, which is as strong and occasionally frightening as ever; It’s the production and song arrangements that differ from her past work. There’s more of a unique, raw sound to be heard here, and, while I feel the album’s overall accessibility is somewhat compromised because of it, I admire and truly enjoy the chances she took on this record.
Lastly, Fiona hit the pages of Blackbook, Billboard, and Interview this year. And she looked good. Attractive-good. I felt the need to write that down since she always gets a bad rap for her appearance. Her strange rants and hash-smoking don’t exactly put a shine on her image either, but that’s what I’ve always loved about Fiona Apple. Skin and bones; Drugs; Long album hiatuses; Even longer album titles; This LP. She doesn’t give much of a shit about what we think.
“G” is for GALAPAGOS 4:
I ordered the new Typical Cats a couple of months ago from Galapagos 4, but the wrong disc was sent by accident. After I contacted them about the shipping error, the Windy City imprint was quick to send out the correct album, and also kind enough to include a copy of Batsauce’s new instrumental project along with it. That’s good business practice, accompanied by good music. Can’t ask for much more.
I checked for Typical Cats back when I first discovered Qwel, and the decision has paid off bountifully. The group, comprised of emcees Qwel, Qwazaar, and Denizen Kane, along with beat maestro’s DJ Natural and Kid Knish, embodies the essence of hip-hop like no other. What makes TC so aesthetically pleasing is their versatility and willingness to stand in contrast of each other. Furthermore, I believe it’s this contrast of styles and cadences — conceivably most apparent and triumphant on 3, their latest full-length album — provide the complimentary and balanced aura that makes their music ever-fresh. “Certified organic, bruh.”
In the press description to Batsauce’s Starcrossed, it states the album ”…tells the story of an alien who falls in love with a woman on Earth.” It’s a pleasure to hear artists taking advantage of their creative liberties with concept albums, especially when the results are as stellar as this Batsauce production. Story lines are left to the imagination and the range of sample-heavy instrumentals leave a variety of questions to be answered. Who made the first move? What do the pair see in each other? When did they meet one another’s parents? Where will the future take them? Why do I ask these questions? How is star-struck love possible between two different life-forms?
At the close of the album, do they live happily ever after? Were hearts broken? Was it not meant to be? And, most importantly, will we be expecting a sex tape to surface? Music like this promotes space-bound curiosity, and, with questions kept unanswered, Starcrossed pens a new script with each spin.
“H” is for HY-DEFINITION:
Hy-Definition, the group composed of emcee K.Wiz and producer SoulChef, digitally released The Voices free of charge back in September. Coincidentally, after I co-signed the holy hell out of the project, Blue Bottle Records made the decision to take if off the bubble. OK, I’m kidding. It’s probable one has nothing to do with the other, but, hey, to keep a site as under-the-radar as TECB going for the long run, I need to go ego tripin’ every now and again.
Back to the real world. This was my one and only hip-hop discovery in 2012. We’ve had thousands of submissions this year, so that statement is left wide open to your interpretation. Either I’m far more of a music snob than I imagined, or new artists just aren’t making music like this anymore. A bit of both, I’m sure. Regardless, I’m happy to have had come across this brief yet becoming effort from the HD crew.
“I” is for I BET ON SKY:
I’ve always felt that there isn’t much of an in-between for Dinosaur Jr. fans. You’re either a devout listener, or no listener at all. Their sound has never really left any room for indifference. That said, I Bet On Sky, Dino Jr.’s tenth full-length release, might be the one to break the mold. After almost three decades of making music, the original trio of J., Lou, and Murph have cut what I’d consider their most consistent and easy-listening record to date.
Not Josh Groban easy-listening or anything of the sissy like, either. Dinosaur Jr. is the same rock band as they’ve always been — hard and heavy, melodic and mopey — but, simply put, their sound is tighter than it ever has been. The riffs are cleaner, the music catchier, and J. Mascis has never been easier to understand. D.J. purists may have a gripe with this album’s lack of distortion and its potential for mass appeal, however, the group deserves more recognition than most could imagine, particularly but most certainly not limited to what they’ve accomplished on I Bet On Sky.
Album of the year, without question. Creek that.
“J” is for JACK WHITE:
The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather. In the last ten-to-fifteen years, Jack White has created some of the best rock and roll of his generation. Considering White’s ambitious track record, it surprised me how a solo venture from the Rock City kid was such a long time in the making, but no surprise at all that once his debut came to fruition he would nail it –like a boss, blacking out in the sewer and meeting a giant fish.
Blunderbuss, White’s self-produced debut from April, is possibly the most stunning of any project he has ever had a hand in making. And that’s a giant accomplishment with outstanding releases like White Blood Cells, Broken Boy Soldiers, and Sea of Cowards under his belt. Unlike any of those, however, Blunderbuss is exclusive to the mind of White. Meg’s drumming is out of the picture, tones of The Greenhornes are nowhere to be found, and Alison Mosshart’s fly ass isn’t seducing the microphone. With one small exception, the terrific Little Willie John cover, Blunderbuss is a declaration of White’s expert approach to built-from-scratch, do-it-yourself music making.
Finally, I know “Fell in Love with a Girl” is old news to any fan of White’s, but something else I was excited about this year was its 7″ re-issue on red vinyl via Third Man Records. Needless to say, I happily made the purchase when it hit stores on Black Friday. It’s a favorite of mine. The lyric “I must be fine because my heart’s still beating” is one that has always stuck with me.
“K” is for KILL SWAG™:
If you need a lesson in perseverance or work ethic, do yourself a favor and learn from Meta P. The Rhode Island wordsmith faced some serious adversity in 2012 — the height of which came in June with the tragic passing of his twin sister Lindsay — but he still managed to come out above it all. A few of the year’s biggest achievements include winning ”Best Rap Act” at The Providence Phoenix Music Awards, the staggering “Dragonfly” tribute to Lindsay, a collaboration with The Rubix Cuban, and the trademarking of his clothing label Kill Swag.
Kill Swag’s concept spawned from Meta’s outspoken feelings towards roody poo rappers and their detriment to the genre — Drake, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj being on the top of the hit list. The clothing line has received an abundance of support from locals, with the limited Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street prints, designed by our buddy over at Third Electron, already selling out of stock. Meta has continued to push forward with new threads to feed the frenzy, and the upcoming “Kill Swag” single featuring Demigodz member Celph Titled has the potential to catapult the label onto the backs of thousands.
“L” is for LOCKED DOWN:
Everyone knows The Black Keys have been on a tear. If you somehow don’t know of the Akron, Ohio rock duo, put your television on for an hour and you’ll hear an albums worth during the commercial breaks. That’s The Black Keys and their widespread appeal. Even when Keys frontman Dan Auerbach isn’t heard ripping through vocals and guitar riffs, in ’12 his influence could also be heard behind the production boards. He was the main man behind Dr. John’s Locked Down, recruiting the band and providing guidance to see through his vision of a quintessential Dr. John record.
Admittedly, I hadn’t heard anything from Dr. John until this point, but the press that Locked Down was receiving encouraged me to take the leap. It was a fine choice, too, as the New Orleans big shot slammed-out ten killer songs for his latest long-play via Nonesuch Records. For listeners like myself new to the good doctor, Locked Down serves as an ideal starting point before delving into the rest of the Dr. John catalog — which this record has certainly pushed me to do.
“M” is for MOKA ONLY:
Moka Only, also known as Ron Contour, is an emcee whose style I’ve often classified as nonchalant (Ron-Chalant?). Or lackadaisical. Or half-baked. Yet, somehow, even with his totally off-the-wall and often-irrelevant subject matter, the man’s music appeals to me. His lyrics confuse and amuse. Here are some samplings of Moka’s space-shot mind, all taken from his latest exceptional LP, the Ayatollah-produced Bridges via Nature Sounds:
1.) “I remember one girl called me to shave her. I went with the razor and I shaved the shit out of her. And then I did business, plugged her like a jukebox. Digging through the kitchen, do you got some Fruit Roll-Ups?!?” –off “Get a Soda”
2.) “Ronnie’s like robotic scrotum.” –off “Heavy As I Used to Be”
3.) “I pick a topic and just stick to the script. You pick a Wal-Mart and buy a tissue and shit for your cornhole.” –off “Everything”
4.) “Gargle my left nut. I’m righteous.” and “I take a dump in the middle of some emcee’s.” –off “Betcha Neva Thought”
Plus Moka rhymes about bologna more than anyone in history. Awesome stuff. I’m serious.
“N” is for NORAH JONES:
When I heard Brian Burton, the producer most commonly known as Danger Mouse, was handling the production for Norah Jones‘ Little Broken Hearts, it made my decision to look into the Grammy award-winning artist an easy one. Burton has made some real gems. And now he’s in the studio with one of the industry’s biggest hotties? You can bet I made the purchase.
It was a wise one, too, as the pair yielded results that are nothing short of pop-perfection, and one doozy of a break-up record. LBH, Jones’ fifth studio LP, isn’t your everyday trip to Splitsville, either: more like a chilly reminder of why fidelity is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship. Because if you’re not faithful, you may find yourself sleeping with the fishes. Seriously, that’s what we’re dealing with here.
Needless to say, the album has character. A lethal dose of which can be heard on “Miriam,” Norah’s little ditty about the satisfaction she gets from killing a bitch for creeping with her man. It’s quite haunting, yet oddly appealing, at least for an apparently twisted mind like my own. Little Broken Hearts is a phenomenal piece of music, through and through, and more than enough reason for me to dive into Jones’ back catalog. (Tweet.)
“O” is for ODDISEE:
Diamond District’s critically-acclaimed In the Ruff exposed three of the DMV’s best, and, if there’s one of the trifecta who has capitalized on the opportunity, it’s Oddisee. There have been a few successful instrumental outings, but his People Hear What They See — yet another solid 2012 LP from the Mello Music gang — is the acme of his time in beat and rhyme.
Oddisee’s production throughout PHWTS is rich with boom-bap influence, occasionally infused with the mannerisms of funk and jazz. Concerning Oddisee’s spoken content, I’d go as far to say the double-threat’s lyrical dexterity is unmatched by any producer-emcee who has remained active. His delivery and punctuation are pretty impeccable, both of which I hold in high regard. And, for what it’s worth, the DC-representative has an ill fashion sense. Very dapper — with the music, with the style.
“P” is for PSYCHEDELIC PILL:
If 2012 was the year of the old farts, Neil Young & Crazy Horse had the ripest release of them all with Psychedelic Pill. I’m talking about dusting crops here, too, folks. Every person I know, young and old, speaks of this album whilst wearing a stink-face. To clear the air of possible ambiguity, these gas-passing references have positive connotations. The record is exceptional. Critics say Young has lost a step in his writing; I say he’s publishing memoirs, creating the crunchiest music since Rust Never Sleeps, and making single songs that are longer and better than most LP’s being released nowadays.
In November I scored a ticket to Neil Young & Crazy Horse in concert at Boston Garden. Catching these guys perform together was otherworldly. Their stage presence displayed how tightly knitted they are as musicians, and being witness to it has made Psychedelic Pill all the more appealing. The fact that Neil Young and Crazy Horse can crank out face-melting music – forty years and counting after their debut, sounding like they haven’t aged a day — is absolutely mind-blowing to me.
“Q” is for QUARTER LIFE CRISIS:
This is where the alphabet gets tricky, but I caught a break this year when my dude FourOhOne put me on to some fresh new vinyl courtesy of Low Budget producer x DJ x emcee Quartermaine. The project — Quarter Life Crisis — is another dope release from the East Coast imprint Redefinition Records. (They’re the label behind The Alexander Green Project, my favorite from last year.)
The tunes are reminiscent of some Mecca Don and Soul Brother goodness. The lyrics are smooth, the beats are funky — with Quartermine displaying his production chops on a few of the album’s tracks, and Low Budget family Kev Brown and Ken Wood coming through for a couple pops a piece, as well. This is most definitely a piece you want to get your hands on before it sells out.
“R” is for RUSSIAN ROULETTE:
As far as hip-hop goes in 2012, not a solitary soul messed with what The Alchemist brought to the table. His album with Dr. No (see “V”) was the cream of the crop, and Russian Roulette, Al’s latest and greatest solo venture behind the boards, isn’t too far down the line. The album’s thirty tracks were pieced together as a collage of sorts — with everything from Method Man samples to sound clips from Rocky III to lyrical haymakers from indie’s elite to Joan Rivers interviews — but still manages to take shape regardless of the number of artists or how obscured the sources.
Rhyme highlights come from Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, and a show-stealing contribution from Willie the Kid (who I had never heard of before this) on “Life On Another Planet,” one of the LP’s closing songs. Truthfully, all of the guest emcees pull their weight on Russian Roulette, just not everyone kicks lines like “Bokeem Woodbine with mine when I combine minds with The Alchemist,” whatever that may mean.
The interludes are equally as entertaining. Dolph Lundgren’s smart-dumbness on “Training Montage – Getting Stronger” and Adrian Balboa lacing into The Italian Stallion on “Adrian’s Words – Champion Song” are just a couple of the album’s knockouts. And, of course, all of this happens over the eccentricity of Al’s instrumentals — easily some of ’12′s finest work in any genre.
“S” is for SUNSET BAR & GRILLE:
After years of cancelled dates and conflicting schedules, I was finally able to see Keith Murray tear the roof off. And that isn’t a figure of speech. In early February, at the venue no longer named Sunset Bar & Grille or host to anything hip-hop related, Mr. Quick to Fuck Shit Up in a Hurry finished approximately one-and-a-half songs before demolishing the drop ceiling from surfing the rowdy North Providence crowd.
He left the venue in shambles — particle board over everything and everyone, broken framework hanging, exposed wires drooping into arms-reach — and the ownership/staff in a state of bewildered furiosity. I would have much rather seen a better musical showing from one of my all-time artists, but watching Keith wreak havoc at a watering hole my friends and I used to frequent (circa ’04, Charles Street days) still made for a fun and very memorable evening.
“T” is for TEMPEST:
When I was young, I viewed Bob Dylan as the end-all be-all of music in general. Until my tastes progressed as a teenager towards groups like Nirvana and The Wu, no artist(s) could hold a candle to Bob. Now I still listen on the regular, but, as you can see here, my palette has expanded significantly. That said, at the ancient age of 71, the man is still making some bang-up new tunes. With Tempest, the latest display of his elephant-like memory, Dylan cuts another sure-shot for the history books, this time with a body count that would make the likes of Wes Craven blush.
On the album’s marathon title track, Billion-Bar Bobby sinks 1,600+ including Jack Dawson, ABO is turned into steady cash flow on “Pay in Blood,” and “Tin Angel” tells the story of a love triangle put to eternal sleep by way of their own gunshots and stab wounds. Yeah, it’s some pretty brutal stuff for such an old-bag, but who better to hear these stories from than the gravely-voiced music authority. Like Rolling Stone‘s Mikal Gilmore stated in conclusion to his preface of the September interview — “This is Bob Dylan as you’ve never known him before.”
“U” is for “UNDERGROUND SOUND”:
This is the second year running that these cats have made the grade, and it’s not solely because of their constant support of The Echo Chamber Blog on the WRIU airwaves. Every Monday, DJ Primitive and host FourOhOne hold down the 3-6PM “Underground Sound” slot of the heralded 90.3FM college radio station. The two provide a premier outlet, likely one of the best in the Northeast, for local and independent hip-hop exposure. Occasionally they even let me join the party to rap about what Verbal and I have going on over here on TECB — a blessing, considering how our site no longer caters to strictly hip-hop.
For the Rhody radio-mates, 2012 was bigger than just having a successful broadcast show. At The Providence Phoenix Music Awards in June, Primitive topped a stacked category, taking home some golden vinyl for his award as “Best DJ.” And in October, FourOhOne tapped his inner-Buckwild to produce “Island of Rhodes,” one of the year’s strongest singles featuring trusty-dusty veterans Milez Grimez on the mic and DJ Mekalek on the cuts. Their respective resumes are bulking-up on a weekly basis, and, with the new year open to even more opportunities, who knows what I’ll be writing about them in 2013′s ABC post.
“V” is for VODKA & AYAHUASCA:
Vodka & Ayahuasca, the sophomore release from the Gangrene collective of Oh No and Alchemist, is the perfect hip-hop record. Disagree if you please, but in my mind there isn’t much to debate. The rhymes, the production, the concept, even the artwork and fine packaging courtesy of Decon Records leave nothing more to desire. Especially if what you’re asking for content-wise is that real Filthy McNasty gutter music.
On the album’s title track, Al classifies the duo’s journey on record as a “psychedelic expo.” He’s right, but you’re not going to discover any spiritual mumbo jumbo like the meaning of life. This is the type of expedition where people end up institutionalized or in the ICU. At times the production is menacing, during others it’s, well, menace on a full head of bad acid. The lyrics follow in the same suit, with talk of charred flesh, blood drinking, heroin blunts, paint huffing, malaria, stranglings, bone-sawing, canoeing through sewage, vomit, pizza wheels rolling over eyeballs, organs on the black market, and that’s barely scratching the bacterial-infected surface.
But I suppose this is all to be expected from a group named after bodily decomposition, or an album bearing the name of a hallucinogenic concoction so potent it’s known to make you puke and shit yourself almost instantaneously. The doctor and chemist are excessive with the grime; the exact reason Vodka & Ayahuasca sits high above each and every hip-hop release to come out this year.
“W” is for WHAT WE SAW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS:
Regina Spektor hit the road this year to tour for her sixth LP, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats. I was able to see her in Boston when the tour kicked-off and again in Providence on the second leg. On each occasion I was able to score balcony seats facing Regina that were close if not directly in front of the railing. Neither were easy on my pocket, yet both were worth the price I paid.
Although my thoughts on Spektor’s post-2006 over-production have been well documented here on TECB, most recently and specifically with the re-working of “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” I’ve remained a Regina die-hard of Nakatomi proportions. She’s an artist that’s important to me and I plan to stay loyal as a puppy dog no matter how much pop polish goes into her music — because she’s a talent, because I’ve never read any bad press about her, because I’d be a faithful to any artist who cut an album as flawless as Soviet Kitsch. My reservations aside, Cheap Seats has gone on to catch some serious wreck from critics and aid in the expansion of Spektor’s college-girl plus one creepy old dude fan base.
“X” is for X-RATED:
In February The Echo Chamber Blog was mentioned in The Providence Phoenix, a weekly newspaper circulated around Rhode Island. It was a minuscule name-drop, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a mulligan over our name in a legit, printed publication — one I’ve been faithful to for a decade-plus. Ironically enough, what landed us in ink wasn’t one of our hundreds of posts about local hip-hop, a common ground of TECB and The Phoenix. Nope. We were noticed by way of hosting the Dirty Hank interview with former X-rated starlet Sasha Grey.
It’s been over a year since we published said interview, but we’re reminded of its presence on a daily basis because of our statistic page. Listed on the page are referrers (the almighty Wikipedia being one of them) and the search terms people have used to find TECB. ”Sasha Grey likes licking pussy,” “pornographic light switch covers,” ”how dirty is Sasha Grey,” and “Sasha Grey I don’t want you to make love” are just a few of good ones, but “Sasha Grey + interview + my mom” may reign supreme.
You know how TECB do. “We peddle smut like paper routes with no droughts.”
“Y” is for YOKAN:
“Jellied bean paste” is the Japanese to English translation of “yokan” when used by itself, but when spoken in the phrase “koi no yokan” it takes on some Shakespearean-type shit. Koi No Yokan — defined simply as
“schwing” or “love at first sight” — is the title to the seventh and most recent studio album from Deftones. They have been a favorite of mine since Adrenaline in ’94, and, in my opinion, not many to blossom from that era have had such a consistent and progressive body of work. They’re experimental yet completely identifiable. Not to mention really fucking good musically.
As heavy as the Deftones are, the band has always been capable of creating some of the most dense, melodic, and beautiful soundscapes in the genre. And while Chino always enjoys a good scream, the man also knows how to finesse his soft-spoken lyrics with the thrashing guitars and pummeling drums that back him. Koi No Yokan is proof once again of Deftones being one of the top teams in the game.
“Z” is for ZONE:
Root for the Villain is what landed J-Zone near the end of the alphabet in last year’s post, and this time around I’m closing out the ABC’s with the release of his new wax. Only five-hundred copies of Zone’s brief return from rap retirement were pressed, each on randomly colored 7″ vinyl, so I’m pleased to have the rarity as part of my collection. I was lucky enough to receive the creamsicle-colored record you see pictured above, personalized and autographed by the man himself.
The A-side, “The Drug Song (Remix),” is a breakneck instrumental track featuring some of the illest drums of J-Zone’s career as a producer.
On the flip is Breeze Brewin of The Juggaknots accompanying J for ”The Fox Hunt,” an anthem dedicated to grizzly girlies and the mental and sexual benefits of dating said skirts.
Yup. The Old Maid Billionaire breaks his rhyme-silence for the first time in years and it’s to draw parallels between ug-mug females and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Nothing has changed with Zone. And that’s the way I like it.
That’s all I have for 2012, folks. Expect more from me in the upcoming year – I plan to stick with it just the same. Please feel free to leave some feedback, whatever it may be, and share this publication where you see fit. Thank you tenfold.
TECB! Creek iiit!!!!!
Filed under: 401 Gettin' It Done, Album Talk/Review, CA All Day, Events, For All The Broke Willies, Hip-Hop, Instrumental, Interviews, Music, News, Recent Purchases, This Is Not Hip-Hop, Yo! TECB Raps Tagged: | 3, 90.3, All City Records, Apollo Brown, Ayatollah, Batsauce, Big City Bumpus, Blue Note, Blunderbuss, Bob Dylan, Breeze Brewin, Brian Burton, Bridges, Chinoiseries Pt. 2, Crazy Horse, Dan Auerbach, Danger Mouse, Decon Records, Deer Tick, Demolition Deluxe, Diamond Rugs, Dinosaur Jr., DJ Crown, DJ Mekalek, DJ Primitive, Dr. John, Emilio Lopez, Fiona Apple, FourOhOne, Foxwoods, Galapagos 4, Gangrene, Guilty Simpson, I Bet On Sky, J-Zone, Jack White, Jagjaguwar, Keith Murray, Kill Swag, Little Broken Hearts, Locked Down, Low Budget, Mello Music Group, Meta P, Milez Grimez, Moka Only, Nature Sounds, Neil Young, Nevermind the Haters Here's Big City Bumpus, Newport Blues Cafe, Nonesuch Records, Norah Jones, O.C., OH NO, Old Maid Entertainment, Onra, Providence, Psychedelic Pill, Quarter Life Crisis, Quartermaine, Redefinition Records, Rhode Island, RJBeats, Russian Roulette, Starcrossed, Sunset Bar and Grille, TECB, Tempest, The Alchemist, The Echo Chamber Blog, The Idler Wheel..., The Met, The Phoenix, Third Man Records, Tommy Twinks, Typical Cats, Underground Sound, Vice City Nights, Vodka & Ayahuasca, WRIU