Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Sound to Fill the Void

Clutchy Hopkins

Filling the void of last year's disappointing "Third Hand" by my beloved RJD2, has been Clutchy Hopkins, whose slew of underground releases, work with the enigmatic MF Doom, and all around secretive viral marketing mystique has been a welcome presence in a somewhat stagnant year. Whether Hopkins is one man or merely a pet project composed of various underground heads is a complete MacGuffin; as long as it results in more work like "Walking Backwards," I'll willingly stomach more aimless debate over his identity.

Clutchy Hopkins meets Mickey Mouse's "Steamboat Willie." Yum.


Lykke Li

Swedish is the new black. And pretentious indie music heads have been a buzz over Peter Bjorn and John collaborator Lykke Li: cute, young purveyor of all things catchy, Swedish and pop-like. Of course we'll all be forced to shun her and publicly admonish her once "Little Bit" is featured in a new Apple ad, driving us to enjoy her within the privacy of our strategically mislabeled iPod playlist (I still like you Yael Naim ;).

Till then, let's enjoy.


The Roots

Anyone that knows me, barely knows me, or had the misfortune of spending an evening/dating me during my formative teenage years knows I love the Roots. LOVE the Roots. But as the years progress, and the releases accumulate, the notion of the Roots breaking through into the mainstream is seemingly a lost cause. Sure, the hardcore fans may say they want their beloved Legendary Crew from Philly to make it big, but like that first love who said they loved you for who you were instead of how you looked for fear of losing you once you realized you were way too fucking hot to stay with them, they would just as well be happy if the Roots never graced the Top 40 ever again.

Not like the Roots haven't tried- for every "Seed 2.0" there was a misunderstood "Don't Say Nothin'"; for making the jump from a label that didn't appreciate their non-mainstream sound to major hip hop label Def Jam who would finally give them the big budget pub they desperately needed, they churn out "Game Theory," arguably their angriest and least accessible album.

Now comes "Rising Down" their 2nd Def Jam release, and lo and behold: another attempt at a pop friendly single. "Birthday Girl" features Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, cause obviously, if FOB fans could love Gym Class Heroes they should definitely love the Roots, right? Right? (Sigh...)

Here's a cute fan vid of "Birthday Girl" (Obvious an FOB fan who probably thought working with Gym Class Heroes gave FOB street cred), enjoy:



Sometime during my shameless Top 40 period (the Wallflowers, Spice Girls, any soundtrack featuring Billy Corgan, Puff Daddy, or both) I went through a trip-hop phase, cause it seemed like a perfectly logical syllogism:

A: Hip hop is cool

+ B: British things are badass
= C: British trip hop must be fucking badass cool.

While my collection of Morcheeba and Sneaker Pimps albums haven't necessarily stood the test of time, Portishead's work has consistently delighted me and provided the perfect soundtrack for the gradual death of my youthful optimism.

From their forthcoming album "Third," here's the simple, yet anticipation anxiety inducing video for "Machine Gun" :



Okay, I know most people remember him for being responsible for the creation of the abhorrent genre title "neo-soul" (and possibly the inexplicable popularity of man-whore Maxwell) or for having the gall (or balls?) to have a video dedicated to his personal trainer's fine work while being suggestively fellated onscreen, but he's also responsible for two of the finest genuine soul albums to be released in the past twenty years: the much heralded "Brown Sugar" and the greatly underrated wonder that is "Voodoo."

I don't normally make a point of showing my love for D'Angelo publicly (damn that video) but in my deserted island top five, "Voodoo" is definitively my number one. It's the only album I can honestly say I listen to at least once a month since I've owned it (way back in 2000) and just continues to connect with me in ways I never fathomed.

That being said, D'Angelo's fall from grace has been a quick and abrupt one (obesity, drug use, car accidents not withstanding) and his guest appearances have been sporadically few and far between but there's part of me that will always hope he returns with a glimmer of the soulful essence "Voodoo" has brought me.

From his possibly forthcoming release "James River," a demo single "Really Love" :

0 painful displays of affection:

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