Nature Sounds Records announces the eagerly-anticipated debut, The Kush, from Mobb Deep’s Havoc.

Havoc is one half of the musical force that rap fans have to come to know and love as Mobb Deep. Continue reading “Nature Sounds Records announces the eagerly-anticipated debut, The Kush, from Mobb Deep’s Havoc.”

V/A – Putumayo Presents A New Groove

V/A – Putumayo Presents A New Groove / 2007 Putumayo / 10 Tracks / http://www.putumayo.com /

Putumayo had a solid album on their hands with “Gypsy Groove”. That album was memorable because it blended together the traditional east European sound with a more current dance sound. This time, Putumayo seems to come out with a more normal type of dance mix. Normal is an ill-fitting word here, as the first track is Denmark’s Emo, with their “In the Back of the Car”. This track blends more chill and vibrant tracks to make something that breaks free of many of the constraints detractors of the genre are apt to place on dance music. Continue reading “V/A – Putumayo Presents A New Groove”

Northern State Celebrate The Release Of Their Third LP With An August Mini Tour

Northern State celebrate the release of their third LP with a mini Northeast US tour. Their up and coming stunner “Can I
Keep This Pen” out on Ipecac Recordings (Aug 28th), has already received new heights of critical acclaim. Continue reading “Northern State Celebrate The Release Of Their Third LP With An August Mini Tour”

The Aggrolites – Reggae Hit L.A.

The Aggrolites – Reggae Hit L.A. / 2007 Hellcat / 15 Tracks / http://www.aggroreggae.com / http://www.hell-cat.com /

The disc opens up with “Work It”, which  uses a reggae sound that has been digitized to give the overall sound a tweak that has not been done to my knowledge. The rest of the track is fairly normal reggae fare, with a slow beat, bassy vocals, and a laid-back arrangement style that will get individuals up and grooving slowly. “Faster Bullet” still uses the overall reggae sound to fuel the song, but the inclusion of a psychedelic rock and funk blend of style makes this song almost perfect for the “Deathproof” soundtrack or for seventies pop radio. Continue reading “The Aggrolites – Reggae Hit L.A.”

Jesse Harris – Feel

Jesse Harris – Feel / 2007 Secret Sun / 14 Tracks / http://www.jesseharrismusic.com / http://www.velourmusic.com /

The front cover of Jesse Harris’ “Feel” does not give individuals much of an idea how “Feel” will ultimately sound. The front cover is largely white and features the artist’s name and the title in a slightly nuanced style, with a “tail” of different colors running down the bottom center of the liner. What individuals should expect with ‘Feel” is an emotive, current style that plays on the sound of a Dave Matthews or a John Maher, albeit more tinged with a hippie/earlier rock style. While Harris goes through a number of different styles on “Feel”, there is a high amount of cohesion during tracks like “I Don’t Mind” with the rest of the album, as the same earnest and honest sound of both Harris’ vocals and the rest of the instrumentation shine through as clear as day. Continue reading “Jesse Harris – Feel”

The InterActivist #30

The InterActivist #30 / Free / 28L / theinteractivist@gmail.com /

The InterActivist is a zine that I have never seen before, but this is probably due to the fact that I do not make it to Athens, Ohio all that much. This issue reminds me a lot of the now-defunct Clamor magazine, which means that there are a lot of social justice pieces. While it seems like some of the pieces in this issue are taken in large part from social justice group press releases (such as Amnesty International, in the piece “Extraordinary rendition: Maher Ahar”. Regardless of where the pieces are coming from, some issues are given some space that would normally be left off the newspapers and magazine racks. The layout for this issue is pretty clear, with black text on white pages. However, the most interesting piece in this issue has to be an interview with Peggy and Art Gish, who are two Christian commune dwellers that are active in agitating for social change throughout the world. The couple has been to Nicaragua, Iraq, and Palestine, and attempt to right policies that went wrong and act in a way closer to the teachings of Jesus than many other Christians would. This magazine has been around since 2003 and has a whole set of strong pieces; whether individuals struggle for native rights, abortion rights, or freedom of speech in the military, there will be a piece for them. The writing style is clear without being dumbed-down, interesting without being too dense. Pick up this zine if you make it down to Athens anytime soon.

Rating: 8.0/10

Piebald – Accidental Gentlemen

Piebald – Accidental Gentlemen / 2007 Sideonedummy / 12 Tracks / http://www.piebald.com / http://www.sideonedummy.com /

Piebald starts off their “Accidental Gentleman” with “Opener”, and the band settles into an Offspring-type of sound. This means that there hints of rock along with punk, coupled together to create an energetic sound that will get individuals singing along. “A Friend of Mine” blends styles to include acts like Weezer, The Aquabats, and The Vandals; the resulting track is even more vibrant and bouncy than “Opener” and keeps the energy up high. The distinctive vocals of Piebald’s lead singer are the thread that glues together all of the efforts by the band. Continue reading “Piebald – Accidental Gentlemen”

Magic Bullets – A Child But In Life Yet A Doctor In Love

Magic Bullets – A Child But In Life Yet A Doctor In Love / 2007 Words On Music / 10 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/magicbullets / http://www.words-on-music.com /

The band starts off “A Child But In Life Yet A Doctor In Love” in much of the same style as a number of New Romantic bands did (calling forth New Order most clearly), and while the instrumental and vocal seem to oppose each other at times during “Yesterday’s Seen Better Days”, the band quickly solidifies and impresses. The bass played by Nathan on the track are a definitive contributor to the band’s sound, but the interesting drumming of Colin during the track cannot be overlooked. The tension that the band creates through the vocals on “Heatstroke” has to be some of the most delightfully irking time that one can spend listening to the album. Continue reading “Magic Bullets – A Child But In Life Yet A Doctor In Love”

Blue Skies For Black Hearts – Love Is Not Enough

Blue Skies For Black Hearts – Love Is Not Enough / 2007 King of Hearts / 10 Tracks / http://www.blueskiesforblackhearts.com / http://www.kingofheartsrecords.com /

Blue Skies For Black Hearts start off their ‘Love Is Not Enough” with “Here Comes The Rain”. The band wants you to imagine them as a seventies pop act, and the smoothed-out, half organic half electronic sound of “Here Comes The Rain” does a lot to solidify the band’s relation to that sound.  The band goes back a few more years to the styles of the fifties for “You’re Like Lead”. While there are a number of retro bands that are trying to make it big in the current period, Blue Skies For Black Hearts has a foot up on the other bands because their songs are short, terse, and to the point. Continue reading “Blue Skies For Black Hearts – Love Is Not Enough”