Hey folks. Sorry for being so late, it's just been...a week. We were originally going to try posting on Friday, but something tragic happened...
As most of you probably know by now, on Friday the music world lost an amazing man. Adam "MCA" Yauch passed away at the young age of 47, leaving a legacy of greatness behind. The man was a legend. A revolutionary. There will never be another person like him. His iconic voice and flow and groovy bass lines were inimitable, and his directorial work on various music videos were some of the most entertaining videos I've ever seen. He will truly be missed. In light of this recent tragedy, a few of us Stereotoiders (including a guest submission from Maxwell Roahrig of Flixist fame) have taken the time to speak about our thoughts on MCA. We had originally planned to embed various songs by the Beasties in this post, but I had completely forgotten that that is no longer possible. Therefore, we hope that you will click the links each of our writers have provided so you can be reminded of just how great and diverse the Beastie Boys' extensive category really was.
"Like I said in my Flixist memoriam piece, I was twelve-years-old when I first heard the Beastie Boys. MCA, and the rest of the Beasties, meant a lot to me growing up in small-town Indiana. Because of my brotherís supreme forces of corruption, I listened to a lot of ďweirdĒ music by my peers standards. While everyone else was going through their Blink-182 and Green Day phases, I was busy sinking my teeth into the Pixies and The Dead Milkmen. But I digress. Since middle school, I got teased for being ďweirdĒ. I really didnít accept the social norms of the time; liking popular music and movies. But whenever I was down, I could always listen to my copy of Paulís Boutique, and instantly be in a better state of mind.
Not only was his music a constant source of feel-goodery, MCA was the first person to make me care about the bass (and partly inspired me to start playing bass). He was the epitome of cool when I was a teenager. I started adopting some of his rhymes in my everyday speech (to this day, I still say ďCooler than a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce). He taught me to get up and groove with the rhythm in my soul. He was beyond my favorite rapper; he was one of my few role models. Hell, all of the Beasties are."
Yauch, thanks for making my life a little more bearable.
"Even when I wasn't into hip hop, I loved the Beastie Boys. They had a style all their own that no one else could come close to. I don't know what I can say that hasn't been said already, but Adam Yauch was an inspirational man in many ways that was taken from us far too soon. Rest in peace MCA."
"I have to be perfectly honest: I dislike rap. Sometimes, I'll like a song here and there, for reasons completely unknown to me, but these songs are few and far between. However, there are a couple of groups and artists out there that I can stand. One of those groups has always been the Beastie Boys. Songs like Sabotage (directed by Spike Jonze, a personal hero of mine) and Intergalactic, among a few others, always grabbed me thanks for their rock edge. The group also released the phenomenal and criminally overlooked instrumental jazz/groove/magic album "The Mix Up," on which Adam "MCA" Yauch played a groovy and driving bass. His skill as an instrumentalist drove the album. While Ad-Rock and Mike D played with drums and guitar during the songs, MCA kept them on course, making, in my opinion, one of the smoothest and coolest instrumental electro-jazz albums of all time. Just check out Off the Grid and The Gala Event (which sounds like a throwback to the soundtrack for Rockstar's Bully). MCA was also a filmmaker and film distributor, co-creating Oscilloscope Laboratories, which has in its short lifespan released phenomenal independent films from all over the world, including indie darling Bellflower, Finnish slasher flick (staring Santa) Rare Exports, and Oscar nominee Exit Through the Gift Shop. We have truly lost a brother in arms not only in the way of a ridiculously talented musician and an ally of micro-budget indie films, but we have lost one of the most positive role models the music industry has had to offer us. Since he was a practicing and highly active Budhist, perhaps he will be reborn as an even more awesome person. However, words cannot express how much of a long shot that would be; my scale goes from Hitler to MCA."
"May 4th the world lost a music icon. The world has lost many musical icons in the past but since I was born, this may be the one that's affected me the most. Adam Yauch, aka MCA, passed away on Friday. The Beastie Boys always meant a lot to me. They were my first real taste of hip-hop, they made me happy when I was sad, they made me laugh, they inspired me. Yauch was arguably the most talented of the three. His rhymes always made me laugh and think and his directorial work was nothing less than fantastic. More recently Yauch directed the video Fight For Your Right Revisited. The video focused on the B-Boys coming into the future from the Fight For Your Right music video. This 30 min video had more celebrities in it than any feature film you could think of. There's a reason for that, people loved an respected MCA. The Beastie Boys have, and will always, be one of my favorite groups. It saddens me that I never got the chance to see them live, but saddens me more that MCA has dropped the mic for the last time. RIP MCA."
Sorry for the somber vibes everybody, but we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves if we didn't pay our respects to one of hip-hop's greats. Now we're going to return to our regularly scheduled programming with some excellent reviews by JTHomeslice, Daxelman, and the debut from one of our secret members: The one and only Spencer Hayes.
Album: Streetlight Lullabies
Artist: Toh Kay (Tomas Kalnoky of Streetlight Manifesto)
Label: Pentimento Music Company
Released: November 22, 2011
Genre: Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: Acoustic Renditions of Streetlight Manifesto
Do you love the musical stylings of Ska-punk bands but need to pretend to have a sensitive side in order to score with the ladies? Do you hate the sound of horns, but love Thomas Kalnoky's lyricism? Well, you're in luck. Released late last year Toh Kay's (Thomas Kalnoky) album Streetlight Lullabies is precisely what the title implies: stripped-down versions of some of Streetlight Manifesto's best songs.
As a ravenous fan of everything Streetlight I was ecstatic that I would get a chance to hear some of my favorite songs done in a different style. The first thing that impressed me about the album was how technically proficient Kalnoky is with the guitar. It doesn't show much when Kalnoky plays with Streetlight, but I was surprised when I heard the man start shredding on an acoustic guitar.
The song selection on the record is fantastic, and features songs from Streetlight's first three albums although Keasbey Nights is a bit underrepresented with only one song on the disc. One of the most dramatic reinterpretations on the album is We Will Fall Together. What was once a song punctuated by violent outbursts of both guitar and brass becomes a ballad that is simultaneously intimate and heartbreaking.
Other highlights from the CD include a fantastic rendition of A Better Place, A Better Time. It's really hard not to imagine this song saving someone's life. What was already one of Streetlight's top songs takes on an entirely new dimension as a song that sounds like a letter sent to someone that everyone has known at one point or another.
I can't really think of someone whom I wouldn't recommend this album to. It has some of the most fantastic lyricism in a contemporary musician, it highlights Kalnoky's mastery of his instrument, and the songs all work well together. Simply put: if you're a fan of Streetlight you need to hear these reinterpretations of some of your favorite songs, and if you're not a fan you should give this disc a spin anyway as the songs stand up as more than just covers of other songs.
Artist: Brendon Small
Label: BS Records
Released: April 29, 2012
Genre: High-stakes, intergalactic, extreme rock (As described by the man himself)
*Sub-genres Metal, rock
Sounds like: The man behind Dethklok stretching his creative muscles and having a lot of fun In the process.
Brendon Small is a super talented and creative dude. He created, wrote, and starred in Home Movies and Metalocalypse and wrote and performed music for both. Heís been focused musically on Dethklok for the past few, so one has to imagine that heís got some other ideas that donít fit in with death metal. Those ideas have become Galaktikon.
Galaktikon is, as described by Small, ďan audio comic book, an over acted chamber drama, a ridiculous premise that takes itself way too seriously all the way to the end.Ē It revolves around our hero Triton and his recent divorce from his wife. He receives the divorce papers and goes on an angry space drive to cool off. He starts seeing a therapist to get himself back together. The Lazer Witch then appears before Triton warning him of upcoming danger. She also tells him to not rescue his ex-wife if she is in danger. But then Tritonís arch enemy escapes from prison and seduces and kidnaps his ex-wife. Triton learns of this and questions whether he should save her. He eventually decides to travel across the galaxy to save her, running into plenty of trouble along the way. Itís absolutely ridiculous but nothing else would be expected from the man behind Metalocalypse.
Musically Galaktikon is much lighter and melodic than Smallís work in Dethklok. There isnít a death growl to be found on here. Small has a good voice, which you donít get to hear from Nathan Explosion. Heís got a kind of gruff, aggressive delivery that suits the music well. He reminded me of Devin Townsend in a few spots, certainly not a bad thing. The album is just straight up rocking. Itís packed full of catchy riffs and cool solos. There are definitely parts where you can hear some Dethklok in the songs. Itís hard not to see Toki and Skwisgaar wailing away during the instrumental Dangertits (Front runner for best song title of the year). It has nice varied sounds throughout, from the sludgy Deathwaltz, to the solo frenzy of Dangertits, and the insane catchiness of On My Way. It just rocks all the way through.
I like when musicians go a bit out of their comfort zone and come out with something cool after. Galaktikon is just pure fun. It just sounds like Brendon Small had a lot of fun writing and recording this album. I can only hope he keeps having fun and making cool music as himself, Dethklok, or anything else.
Album: Tourist History Artist: Two Door Cinema Club Label: Kitsune Music [b]Released: 2010/b]
Genre: Indie Rock/Pop *Sub-genres: Dancefloor/punk Sounds like: The Strokes, Bloc Party
Iím not gunna lie, this band was turned onto me SSX style. As in, one of their tracks was selected for the newest SSX and I fell in love with it and therefore this became my favorite band for a good 3 weeks. It just that with this band, Iím really looking forward to what comes after Tourist History, because I like Tourist History a lot.
Put up back in 2010 (thatís such a long time ago), every track starts off with that familiar 4 to 8 beat hook. Whether itís just the tapping of sticks/cymbals or sometime a bit more complicated, every song has a catchy 4/4 hook that grabs you instantly. Par for the course of indie punk at this stage, but itís refreshing to hear it done so well and effortlessly.
Every track then goes into a gradual build up of similar 4/4 stylings, usually ending up on the happy dancefloor/punk end of the spectrum of sounds. Things can go from Maximo Park/Futureheads punk to Phoenix/Foster The People indie or stay in a nice little spot in between. When the styles do mix, itís a very nice, calm yet jumpy bend thatís sure to get one tapping their own foot if not outright dancing.
This is definitely an album to listen to if you want to dance or just overall feel happy about anything. All of the sounds Two Door Cinema Club use to compose Tourist History are generally uplifting, upbeat, and up tempo. Lost of quick yet simple guitar, bass, and drums work done here, like good indie punk should be.
Overall, Iím just going to say ďSomething Good Can WorkĒ is the perfect example of why Iím looking forward to Two Door Cinema Clubís sophomore effort. Fast, upbeat, happy indie punk rock that makes me feel good and will probably make you feel good and is the perfect music to carve up mountains to in SSX. It was a great break from the wub wub, if thatís what swallowing your ears right now, youíll be right pleased with Tourist History.
Seriously, the whole album fits with SSX. Thatís how good it is. Go buy it.