Follow the Tunes You Should Fucking Know in 2014 playlist on Spotify.
- Young Rapids – “Odd Numbers”
Here’s some shitty news for you…
Young Rapids, a D.C. band I enjoyed, respected and (ironically) always believed in has decided to call it quits. And while I can’t say they were the D.C. band I promoted or even listened to the most, they really were one of those bands that I just thought would always be around for me to eventually get into.
They had that Yellow Ostrich-esque “it factor” that elevated their indie rock above the faceless hoards. They had something special that made me want to come back to their album Day Light Savings on more than a few occasions. I once dated a girl who loved them. They seemed like they were always slowly bubbling, just waiting to really boil.
Alex Tebeleff of Paperhaus fame already gave them a great eulogy over at his new DIT column, but Young Rapids’ real celebration-of-life will be this Saturday at Rock and Roll Hotel with another local band I believe in and need to cover more, The Sea Life.
Enjoy their last official release, “Odd Numbers” and try not to feel like this song is a last will and testament after you read the lyrics.
- Lil Wayne – “Believe Me”
Back in March, I stumbled across “The Moment,” Lil Wayne’s solo offering on Young Money’s Rise of an Empire, and I sensed something was different.
This song felt more Lil Wayne-y than the half-assery he’d released lately (and by lately I mean the better half of a decade). It just had this energy.
I was so intrigued by it that I emailed one of my favorite Lil Wayne experts, former guest writer Justin McCarthy, and wanted to see if he would validate my optimistic positive review. Instead, he told me he “didn’t feel inspired” one way or the other about it, citing that was kind of his feelings on Lil Wayne in 2014 as a whole, so I let the thought go.
But then the other day, while perusing Grantland, I saw Zach Dionne’s headline, “This Is What It Feels Like to Get Excited About a Lil Wayne Song Again.” At first I thought he had only just now come across “The Moment,” but I soon realized that he was getting downright giddy over a completely new one, supposedly a single of The Carter V. Then I saw Justin McCarthy eat his words in an article for ATG heralding the new track.
I was very cautiously very optimistic when I hit play…
First off, let’s bring up that Drake is getting paid strictly to avoid the spotlight in this song, and he actually does a great job giving a really solid but ultimately unmemorable verse that was always meant to be a tee-up for Weezy’s grand reintroduction.
And Weezy nails it!
What’s great about this verse is that it’s a throwback to vintage Wayne, back when he would build endless stacks of bars on top of bars. He hinted at that ability again with this verse; we saw a glimpse of the Peter Pan magic in Robin Williams’ wrinkled face.
Having said that, this re-debutante isn’t perfect…
His second verse is a little aimless, and he is continuing to mooch off Drake’s 40-based production sound. In fact, isn’t he relying on Drake too much altogether? Drake used to be the guy writing Birdman Jr. Jr. on his notebooks a few years ago, and now it’s Wayne that has to call up Drake for a favor? It feels a little weird.
But it makes complete sense.
Drake is (arguably) the biggest name in hip-hop; he might not be (/he isn’t) the most talented, but not many other stars can outshine him.
And that’s all part of Lil Wayne’s master plan.
He’s been preparing for this moment since he first took Drake under his wing, like when parents pony up for the private school education knowing it will pay off in the long run, he knows that an ever-grateful Drake now holds the key back into the spotlight…
– “A NEW @Drake song!” that sounds like any Drake song these days hits digital newsstands.
– Everyone listens to the song that was actually built for Wayne.
– The headline shifts to, “Lil Wayne’s verse is pretty good!”
– With enough hype, that then turns into “Is Weezy back? When is The Carter V coming out again?!”
– We all forget how little we trust Lil Wayne these days and buy his album/download it illegally.
See? This wasn’t a miracle or a fluke. This is a good investment paying off.
So when is The Carter V coming out again?
- Pup – “Guilt Trip” and “Dark Days”
You’re most likely hearing “Pup“ the first time, just like I was the other day. You’re dealing with that cacophonic introduction to “Guilt Trip” and trying to decipher that fuzzy guitar riff.
But then you hear that voice.
You may have recoiled at it at first — it’s just so…grating — but then within a few seconds, there’s this enticing element to it.
And to the whole song.
It grows on you pretty quickly thanks to a crank-it-to-11 intensity and colorable inclusive attitude courtesy of gang vocals and the raw, anthemic feel of the song as a whole.
And it makes these punks from Toronto, Canada (what?!) a really intriguing concept.
They play with a unique attitude that is part celebrated aggression and part aggressive celebration which (skipping over the easy comparisons to Japandroids or Fang Island…) reminds me of something in between Bomb the Music Industry! and (#tbt) the more aggressive third wave ska bands which were basically punk bands that turned off the distortion at times.
The self-titled album that “Guilt Trip” leads off is a whirlwind of earnest but frenetic rock music that takes back some of the fire that punk stole and melds it with the showmanship of metal, all built around the intentionally “fuck it” structure of post-punk. And I promise you that is not all Pitchforkian-gibberish.
Which is a blessing and a curse…
There is so much to like — and even love — in this album, but because it’s so hard to immediately categorize, Pup has to bank on the fact that audiences are going to actually dedicate a portion of their day to properly listening to it before contextualizing and critiquing it. And then the band has to pray that those dedicated, curious listeners are able to mobilize others with their seal of approval, growing their fanbase in a really organic way.
Basically, they have to hope people like me are doing people like this…
Here’s hoping it works out for them.
And now, it’s time for a very special edition of…
AURAL PLEASURE WITH FRIENDS: Charles Bramesco Edition
Editor’s Note: Charles Bramesco, a former Guest Writer You Should Fucking Know, just got snatched up by the All Things Go team. I assume it was for his knowledge of esoteric Indian trip-hop remix albums.
- Dan The Automator – Bombay The Hard Way: Guns, Cars and Sitars
Like the catalogue of Tangerine Dream or the works of Isaac Asimov, Indian cinema is endlessly fascinating but intimdatingly dense.
The sheer volume of material to consider can scare off the uninitiated and make it impossible for newbies to find a point of entry. Due to the rigid regionalism of Indian sub-states, nearly two dozen distinct movements have emerged complete with their own genre trappings, stars and even languages.
The most lavish — and certainly the most well-known — is Hindi cinema, more popularly known as Bollywood (a handy portmanteau of “Bombay” and “Hollywood”). For decades, Bollywood steadily cranked out eye-poppingly elaborate musicals, where inter-caste love stories unfolded amidst visuals of unimaginable opulence.
Once the ’70s hit, however, Indian filmmakers got hip to the jive being slung stateside and realized that there were rupees to be made from snappy crime thrillers.
Suddenly, a deluge of cops-and-gangsters flicks flooded Hindi cinema, each with its own timelessly cool score. Brothers Kalyanji and Anandji Virji Shah masterminded the glut of these soundtracks, leaving a huge body of work that smoothly binds golden-era funk with traditional Indian music.
Enter Dan the Automator, hip-hop producer extraordinaire and, along with Kid Koala and Del the Funkee Homosapien, one third of Deltron 3030.
He judiciously curated the greatest hits of Kalyanji and Anandji and remixed them into slinky trip-hop transcendence on his overlooked album Bombay the Hard Way: Guns, Cars, and Sitars.
For starters, the track titles are scraps of brilliant pastiche; Dan bridges the gap between India and America’s hip-hop underground with cuts such as “The Good, The Bad, And The Chutney,” “Ganges a Go-Go” and “Fear Of A Brown Planet.” Traditional Indian music had been filtered through emerging genres before — Charanjit Singh’s album “Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat” practically invented electronica — but never with such a sense of unshakable cool. “Uptown Bollywood Nights” sounds like a sports car speeding through the Bombay blackness, with the driver not even breaking a sweat.
The India that Dan the Automator conjures here doesn’t lie east of Pakistan or south of China; it’s located in a superfly twilight zone, where men in pinstripe suit-and-turban combos grip tommy guns behind every corner.