White people like Santogold. She’s almost the incarnation of an artist that Stuff-White-People-Like- White People must like. Let’s go over the basics.  She went to Wesleyan, home of artistic minded white people and the breeding ground of hipster extraordinaries MGMT. Her music is a combination of 80s pop that White People “ironically” like, world-beat-y international hip hop a la MIA, dense dance-y MGMT stuff, new wave, the Pixies, reggae, Bloc Party style dance rock and R&B. Did I mention that she’s black, lives in Brooklyn and wears chunky gold jewelry?

Here’s her single, L.E.S. Artistes

Hot Tubbin’

June 18, 2008

This song is tight

It’s from the bay.

In honor of George W. Bush needing two 747s, a 757, four helicopters and shutting down Heathrow for about seven hours, I thought I’d post a little video that’s a wee bit relevant to our favorite American boy:

Tha Bonus Tracks

June 15, 2008

Is one album of Lil Wayne not enough for you? Did the five bonus tracks included on the second disc not sate your attitude for a certain Weezy? Well, thanks to Google Reader (specifically, Jamelle), I found that there are two more tracks! Awesome.

Da Link.

For about the first third of the Hulk, there is little no dialog, and just about zero expository writing. And since the Hulk’s backstory is exceptionally uninteresting (Bruce Banner is pretty boring and his story doesn’t really speak to anything greater than itself, unlike say, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne), they got through it with during the credits and advanced pretty quickly to the Hulk smashing shit up.

It was also nice how all the non-action scenes were merely set up for more action scenes. Since the Hulk doesn’t exist in a larger, more interesting world (which Ironman and Batman do), any movie must survive on being lots of HULK SMASH, and very little of EDWARD NORTON TALK! Which is weird, because Norton is a very charming, talented actor. Him trying to explain in Portuguese that “you won’t like me when I’m…hungry” was a comedic high point, as were all the refrences to purple pants and Lou Ferringo.

The big downside of the movie was, ironically, its special effects. The Hulk still looks rather clumsy and animated, despite the high level of detail in its musculature and vasculature. It was also particularly annoying how much of the military equipment, be it helicopters or tanks, were also animated. Other comic book movies can avoid this trap by having the animated hero be relatively small and mostly interact with real objects (like Spiderman or Batman). With The Hulk, however, you are focused on the animation all the time.

Also, it doesn’t speak well for a movie when the part that elicits the most cheers during an opening night showing is a hero from another, better regarded superhero movie waltzing in to set-up the forthcoming Avengers film.

No Fun

June 14, 2008

One of the great things (perhaps the only one) about the The Happening SPOILER WARNING is the number of hilarious reviews its spawned. Chris Orr’s, which isn’t even techincally a review, is one of the best. Well, his TNR colleague James Kirchick decided to spoil the fun by getting all huffy and puffy at M. Nigh Shyamalan for harboring misanthropic views. It seems like Jamie is taking the conceit a bit too seriously, it’s much more likely that the plot device is a vehicle for Shyamalan to include all sorts of bizarre deaths and to have a faux-deep meaning to the entire project. But really, is Shyamalan the first director to include a message that human’s are ultimatley responsible for what they do to the Earth? Ever see the Japanese Godzilla? And comparing Shyamalan to Al Gore is just over-the-top. But really, you to got to read it to believe it:

After 90 minutes of this, the culling of humanity ends. We catch a brief television news segment in which a scientist warns us that what the Northeast just experienced was akin to a terrestrial occurrence of oceanic “red tides.” The earth warned us, but thankfully we get another chance to amend the errors of our ways. Like the end of An Inconvenient Truth, we’re left with some hope that environmental catastrophe is not a foregone conclusion. Buy a plug-in car. Use public transportation when available. Turn off the light when you leave a room. An unoffensive, and indeed positive message. The second to last scene depicts the female lead waiting nervously in her bathroom to read the results of a home pregnancy test. To her delight, she is with child. Her husband comes home, they embrace. Humanity soldiers on. What a warm feeling after so many scenes of horrific death.

But Shyamalan is obsessed with conceits at the expense of every other aspect — the script, character development, and most importantly, good taste. He lives by the conceit, and, in this case, dies by it. After the pregnancy scene, the screen goes dark and we find ourselves in Paris, the Jardin des Tuileries to be exact. It’s eerily reminiscent of the film’s opening, with two men walking, engaged in pleasant conversation about their plans for the evening. A gust of wind! One of the men starts to stutter. People freeze. Screams. Mon Dieu!. Roll credits.

This isn’t just radical environemntalist fare; it’s perverse and anti-human. Shyamalan cuts immediately from the natural joy of pregnancy to its consequence: mass, nature-inflicted murder. It’s not carbon output, styrofoam cups or the clearing of the rain forests that so angers Mother Earth and, thus, her self-appointed human spokesman. It’s us.

While I agree that U2 peaked in 1989, Amy Holmes just sounds silly in her attempt to bash them:

Dems love them some Bono, even though U2’s best anthems are long behind them.  I went to a U2 concert years ago at the MCI Center (is it called that anymore?) as a guest of Bobby Shriver who was escorting Bono around town.  I told him that it says a lot about a rock star’s appeal when all of the black people at the stadium are outside scalping tickets.

Umm, have you ever been to a rock concert before. I’ve been to plenty – and from the Rolling Stones to the Arcade Fire (even The Streets and Lyrics Born), the dynamic was the same. White people inside, black people hawking tickets. Hell, for every event that has tickets, it’s black people scalping them, in the Bay Area at least. This is as true for sporting events as for concerts. For some reason, the overwhelming majority of ticket scalpers are black (in the Bay). And the overwhelmingly majority of rock music fans, of all ages, are white. Nothing shocking here.


June 2, 2008

Bo Diddley

June 2, 2008

Bo Diddley is one of those legendary early-rock and roll figures who, despite having been alive up until today, had seemed to past into some mythical place along with Elijah and Sirius Black long, long ago. His influence on the genre can’t really be stated in words, so I’ll post some famous songs that use the Bo Diddley Beat.

U2 – Desire

The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?

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And, of course, Who Do You Love

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I don’t know if Bo Diddley really can “rest in peace.” I more hope that he rocks into eternity.

Dylan Matthews and Spackerman also have some good stuff on Bo.

Could Lil Wayne transition from mixtape master beloved by hip hop heads and bloggers everywhere to a crossover superstar a la Kanye or Jay-Z? That’s the question that must be answered by Tha Carter III, which is by far the most hotly anticipated hip hop album of the year. But first, let’s go over what Wayne had to accomplish to finally make the transition. He needed to find a way to balance his amazing charisma and sheer personality with some better rhymes. His songs often feature a  bunch of warmed over pop culture references, and him talking about how hot he is. The worry about going away from his status quo style is that if he gets bogged down in complex rhyme patterns, he could very well lose the bravado that makes him such a star. So how do these 18 tracks break down?

The Super Hot Ones:

3 Peat
Mr Carter
Got Money
Shoot Me Down
Playin With Fire
La La

The Good Ones

A mili
Phone Home
Lollipop Remix
Got Money Remix
Nothin On Me

The Rest

Let The Beat Build
Dr Carter
Tie My Hands
Mrs. Officer

What’s remarkable, and rather unexpected, is the high average quality. Because it’s so easy to produce songs, most big rap albums are horribly bloated and full of filler. And because Wayne released a track a week for all of 2007, I was pretty sure that his first full length in so long would be full of mediocre tracks he recorded on a whim. And despite the presence of six or so such tracks, most of them are marked by Wayne at least trying to try things outside of his comfort zone. The problem is, as always, that when he turns off the charisma and craziness, he’s left to survive purely on the strength of his rhymes, which aren’t always strong.

What’s surprised me about the promotion of the album is the fact that I’m not watching the Got Money video every other hour on BET or listening to it on both the hip hop and pop radio stations. Although Lollipop is beloved by teenage girls of all races, thus expanding Wayne’s demographic past his hard core teenage boy followers, Got Money captures the pop zeitgeist perfectly. After all, T-Pain does the hook. There’s no reason this track couldn’t appeal to the wide-angle demographic that lead singles are supposed to hit.

This album, however, leaves the question of where Weezy can go next. He already reached the peak in pre-album hype, exposure and anticipation. And it’s not clear if he has the artistic sense to really take his music in new directions, like Kanye and Jay-Z were able to. I think that Wayne should follow Kanye and try to find some non-hip hop producers for his next album. Since his best songs aren’t really dependent on his rhyming or flow (like Kanye) some more pop-oriented production could serve him incredibly well. It would be a risk, but at this point, he’s already accomplished everything he could appealing to hip-hop bloggers, so he might as well experiment. Also, he should do some blockbuster tracks with a big female star like Beyonce or Rihanna.

Ultimate conclusion: Very solid album in which Wayne just about prefects his entire shtick. It does not, however, reach the level of Graduation, The Black Album or The Blueprint. But the fact that I’m even mentioning Tha Carter III in such exalted company shows how far Weezy has come since his guest verse on Back That Azz Up.

Underneath the fold are my live reactions listening to the album for the first time. Beware, totally unedited:

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