Throwback Thursday: “The Rat” by The Walkmen

Continuing on from last week with songs that would make my all time greatest “indie” songs without a shadow of a doubt:

 

 – MCG.

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Throwback Thursday: “Reckoner” and “Videotape” by Radiohead

It’s a double feature!  Radiohead’s magnificent album In Rainbows came out ten years ago this week, so I figured I’d do a track from that for this week’s throwback.  Problem is, every track on that album is so damn near perfect, and I couldn’t pick just one.  The first one, “Reckoner”, is one of the most beautiful pieces of modern music that I can think of.  It’s the feeling of watching the ocean wax and wane all alone in the early hours of a chilly morning.  The second, “Videotape”, is the album’s closing track, and it cuts me so deep and wrenches on my heart every time I hear it.  It’s the feeling of losing someone but knowing it’s still okay.  Both videos I selected are from the Live From the Basement concert which you can, and should, watch in its entirety on YouTube.

 

– MCG.

West Coast Wednesday: “Rapper’s Ball” by E-40 ft. Too $hort, K-Ci

I knew I was going to pick an E-40 song this week, and being that they’re frequent collaborators, I figured I’d get Too $hort in on this one too.  K-Ci from Jodeci on the hook is the cherry on top.  Three legends at once.

 

 – MCG.

West Coast Wednesday: “Blue Suede” by Vince Staples

So far I’ve used this spot to highlight a handful of classics from the West Coast rap archives.  Today I’d like to shine the spotlight on one of my absolute favorite guys from the new school – Vince Staples.  Vince can do no wrong in my book, and he’s accomplished a lot since his 2014 debut Hell Can Wait, including the best rap album of 2015, Summertime ’06.  That said, when I go to introduce someone to him, I still lean on this gem from his debut.  It’s going to be the song people are still screaming for when he’s doing his festival victory lap in spite of all the great things I’m sure he still has in him.  Behold:

 

 – MCG.

West Coast Wednesday: “Set It Off” by Snoop Dogg ft. MC Ren, Ice Cube, Nate Dogg, The Lady of Rage)

With this column, besides rehashing the classics, I’m going to attempt to highlight a lot of possibly lesser known tracks that are collaborations between all the greats.  For example, this song, which features one of my favorite rap verses ever, by the irreplaceable yet often underrated MC Ren.  He was the dark horse, the George Harrison of N.W.A., and he went harder than all of them.  Throw Ice Cube on the chorus and Nate Dogg on the bridge and clearly it’s a must listen.

 

 – MCG.

Album Review: The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

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The War On Drugs’ music sets a certain mood very well.  I liken it to the feeling I got when I first heard Radiohead; it’s a calming, peaceful feeling that induces bouts of melancholy.  I’m not comparing The War On Drugs to Radiohead in any way, all that I’m saying is that I feel the same sort of self-reflecting existential dread when either band is playing.  It’s a strange feeling, very unique to certain experiences.  It’s heavy, it’s sad, it’s happy, and most of all it’s beautiful.

The War On Drugs’ previous two releases, Slave Ambient and Lost In The Dream are  great, and I have spent a fair amount of time with both of them.  It seems as though Adam Granduciel is a very meticulous person, at least with his art, and with this latest release he has compounded, concentrated, and improved upon everything he’s previously done, amounting to something truly epic.  If he was an artificial intelligence program, before now he was an extremely efficient one that got the job done just about perfectly, as he was programmed to do.  On A Deeper Understanding, he became self-aware, which allowed him to make the necessary adjustments to not only produce something as great as he is capable of once more, but to improve upon it in a way that was previously thought to be unattainable.  It’s a culmination of his lifetime experience as a musician that has been arranged and sequenced into a sprawling and absolutely gorgeous journey.

Take, for example, the slightly off-center highlight of the album, “Thinking of a Place”.  It was the first single released back in April of this year, and has been an unavoidable entity in my life since.  It’s eleven minutes long, and so in the traditional sense of a “single” it makes the least sense out of any song on the album, but it exists as a microcosm of the calculated wandering and transcendent perfection achieved on the album as a whole.


By stepping outside of his own box he was able to view everything from a new vantage point, shore up the weaknesses, and improve on the already unique and enthralling strengths.  It’s a great leap forward, which makes me wonder about where he can go from here.  I’m looking forward to bearing witness.

  A Deeper Understanding is out everywhere 08.25.17.

 – MCG.

Throwback Thursday: “Physical (You’re So) by Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails have released two EPs in the past 9 months, Not the Actual Events at the end of last year and Add Violence a few weeks back, both of which are great.  In 1992, on the heels of his incredible, supernova burst onto the music scene debut album Pretty Hate Machine, and a couple years before his game-changing magnum opus The Downward Spiral, Trent Reznor released another EP called Broken, and it is perfect front to back.  Here’s a gem that hides in the shadows cast by a few of the other tracks.

“…TOO.  FUCK.  KING.  PHYSICAAAAALLLL”

 

 – MCG.