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Blakroc, Captain Beefheart, Disasterpeace, and The White Stripes



Usually, Xzyliac would be the one talking to you in this paragraph, but due to some technical difficulties, Daxelman is here to save the day and provide you with sweet beats. We've got some White Stripes, some Blakroc, some Disasterpeace, and some Captain Beefheart, so lets get to the nitty gritty.

Album: Blakroc
Artist: Blakroc
Label: V2
Released: November 27, 2009
Genre: Hip-hop
*Sub-genres Alternative hip-hop, blues-hop
Sounds like: WellÖexactly what youíd think. Get some of the Wu-Tang guys, that dude from A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Ludacris, some other guys, some R&B chick, and then put it all to the classic Black Keys sound.

Blakroc is an album that I tried not to get my hopes to high on. Much as I love the Black Keys, and a lot of the rappers on this album, the pairing sounded far too good to actually be true. Iíve heard the Black Keys remixed with rappers before and itís been very successful, but to actually have the Keys embrace that concept sounded almost too off-the-wall. Especially with rappers like Olí Dirty Bastard, Ludacris, and Raekwon.

Fortunately, all my past reservations were nullified. Blakroc speaks for itself with a style and sound that can be best described as a familiar newness. The muddy sound of the Keys is present, as is the varying vocal styles of rappers like Mos Def and RZA, but the marrying of these styles brings about a flavor that is truly unique. In a way itís a natural evolution of similar ďblues-hopĒ albums like Cherrywineís Bright Black, and it undoubtedly trumps its predecessors in quality and tightness of concept.

The sounds and composition is completely familiar territory. If youíve heard any recent Black Keysí albums like Attack & Release or last yearís Brothers than youíll feel right at home. Muddy guitars with blues-y solos, catchy organ riffs, suave bass, and rhythmic drums are all present and in effect. What obviously is different however is the vocal delivery. Dan Auerbachís signature blues vocals are reduced to a few hooks throughout the album, and even then they are often accompanied by singer Nicole Wray, who really just steals the show from Auerbach with great performances on tracks like What You Do To Me and Why Canít I Forget Him. The rapping, the star of the vocal limelight, is surprisingly diverse in terms of sound and delivery. You have the aggressive and abrasive Ludacris and Olí Dirty Bastard, the smooth Mos Def and Q-Tip, and finally the rhythmic and soulful rappers like RZA.

Lyrically the album also varies with each rapper obviously getting his own shot to rap his style. Songs like Coochie and Stay Off the Fuckiní Flowers are explicit but have moments of imagery that are just downright poetic (Flowers especially). Other tracks seem to follow the classic Black Keys lyricism of love and lose and really feel add to the blues-hop flavor. Telliní Me Things and What You Do To Me perfectly exemplify the confidence and competiveness of hip-hop and the soulful self-reflection of blues. Itís an interesting balance. One track in particular, Why Canít I Forget Him, is completely singing from the voice of Nicole Wray and harkens back to the older style of R&B while giving it a wonderful modern twist.

All in all Blackroc is probably the most successful blues-hop album to date. With it comes a variety of sounds all married by a superb execution. If youíre like me, and the idea of blues infused with hip-hop kinda makes you squeal a lot, Blakroc is definitely an album that exhibits that idea with flair and finesse.

Personal favorite tracks: Telling Me Things, Ainít Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo), and What You Do To Me

TL;DR: Definitely a wonderful practice in the art of blues-hop. If that sounds like your thing, this is for you.


Album: Trout Mask Replica
Artist: Captain Beefheart
Label: Straight, Reprise
Released: June 16, 1969
Genre: Experimental
*Sub-genres blues-rock, avant-garde
Sounds like: blues, rock, free-jazz, and experimental music all put into a blender.

Listening to a classic album years after it has been released will always be problematic. Youíll never be able to truly understand the impact it had on the music industry at that time. Whether it is because you werenít alive when it came out, or you happened to discover it ions after the fact. It doesnít mean youíre not going to be able enjoy it, but you might have difficulty understanding its true genius. This is exactly what happened to me when I listened to Trout Mask Replica. At first, I was completely disoriented, yet I was kind of expecting something unusual out of it.

Itís not the weirdest album Iíve ever heard, (the worst/best one being Sun Raís Space is the Place), but it is a serious contender. Upon first listening to it, Trout Mask Replica seems like a recipe for disaster. Once youíve looked in-depths however, the album isnít that horrible. Basically, take John Coltraneís and Ornette Colemanís free-jazz time signatures, the simplest blues vocals, add a sip of experimental music, surrealism, and absurdity; and you have Trout Mask Replica. Fact of the matter is; itís not an easy album to listen to. Youíll definitely need an ear for hardcore, gritty blues to enjoy it.

Captain Beefheart was one of rockís greatest surrealists. In fact, some of his songs were completely hectic and nonsensical. He refused to follow the standard rules of the genre, and dissected Rock and Roll into its purest form. Now, whether or not his genius transcends into the album is a matter of taste, but you canít deny Trout Mask Replicaís shier insanity. This is one of the best examples of complete artistic freedom and blatant absurdity.

Listening to Captain Beefheart is like plugging your brain into a continuous stream of Everything is Terrible clips while watching reruns of Ren and Stimpy; it is completely mental. I honestly recommend the album, but Iím not sure everybody will enjoy it. If you dig raw blues, wacky interludes, and can handle a little bit of Dadaism, youíll do just fine. Iíve heard weirder albums than Trout Mask Replica. Fortunately, weird isnít bad, (itís actually pretty entertaining).

Personal favorite tracks: Ant Man Bee, Hair Pie Bake 1, Moonlight On Vermont, Sweet Sweet Bulbs

TL;DR: A completely unconventional and abstract record. Trout Mask Replica is an odd case. A weird experiment, turned into a classic.


Album: White Stripes
Artist: White Stripes
Label: Sympathy for the Record Industry
Released: June 15th, 1999
Genre: Alternative Rock
*Sub-genres Garage/Blues Rock
Sounds like: a guitar orgasm in the keys of blues and rock

As most of you probably already know we recently saw the end of a legendary band. Bands like The White Stripes don't just come along every day. The White Stripes were headed up by former couple, Jack White and Meg White. For years they put out some of the best music in America and just last week they officially broke up and called it quits. This retro review is in honor of them both.

White Stripes is the debut album from legendary rockers Jack and Meg white and easily some of their best. I have a hard time saying for sure which album of theirs I like the best but it's for sure one of the first three. In the last two albums (Get Behind Me Satan and Icky Thump) their sound sort of changed, not in a bad way mind you, just not my favorite.

This album just has so much soul! It also has a couple blues covers that are absolutely fantastic (Stop Breaking Down and St. James Infirmary Blues). Jack also belts out a delicious cover of Bob Dylan's One More Cup of Coffee, but the rest of the album is all Jack White originals.

For the first three White Stripes albums they had a very definite sound, a sound that could easily be described as raw, dirty, blister inducing guitar with some very simplistic drumming. AND THATS IT. Nothing else, just guitar and drums. It's kind of primitive in that way but thats what makes them so great. Theres just so much pure energy and emotion, and thats what rock should sound like if you ask me.

So as you can tell, I really really like this album. I couldn't possibly recommend this album enough! I think you would be pretty hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like at least one White Stripes song. Some people may have never even heard this album, I understand that many White Stripes fans didn't jump on with them until Elephant when Seven Nation Army was released. One quick side note, if you enjoyed this album you should check out the new Wanda Jackson album with Jack White, called The Party Ain't Over. The White Stripes are a band that we may never see again in our lives, but at least we have their music to keep us company.

Personal favorite tracks: Stop Breaking Down, Screwdriver, One More Cup Of Coffee(EDITBYDAXEL: Coolio Ass Stop Motion Video!), When I Hear My Name



Album: Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar
Artist: Disasterpeace
Label: Bandcamp
Released: January 1, 2011
Genre: Chiptunes
*Sub-genres Concept, Space
Sounds like: A journey through space and time inside of an 8 bit console

Concept Albums are a funny thing. They are made or broken by the fluidity of the album, meaning how well the tracks flow together, much more than other albums. This is one of the only chiptune albums Iíve heard that feels like a concept album. Disasterpeace makes you feel as if youíre being transported through space and time in a 1960ís B movie. Each track feel big and epic and sprawling, just like how I imagine most people (including myself) feel space to be like. It could also be seen as the perfect accompaniment to a funky fresh space adventure.

Thatís not to say itís lacking the danceclub vibe that pervades chiptunes/electronic music either, but they contribute to the overall along with standing out on their own as fun songs The album is a rush to experience and while itís not all epic dancing beats, thatís to itís credit and helps it stand out in a growing sea of chiptune artists

I would go as far as to call it a crowning achievement of what is possible with chiptunes. Itís artists like Disasterpeace that break molds and help genres of music find solid footing.

Personal favorite tracks: Prolouge, Jump Error, Club Wolf, and Counter of the Cumulus

[NOTE]The entire album is on bandcamp.

Summary for lazy people: A Chiptune powered adventure through Space and Time that breaks and reshapes preconceptions about Chiptunes

I'm not good at looking for pancakes.
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About Stereotoidone of us since 7:53 PM on 03.05.2010