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Filtering by Tag: LP

Beastie Boys

Christopher Locke

Let's face it- Hip Hop has gotten a lot of bad press over the years, and some people don't even think it qualifies as "music."  But thorough analysis will reveal the depth at which Hip Hop (or "rap music") is woven into not only other genres of music, but many other facets of life and culture.  It's hard to look at modern fashion, art, cinema, television, or literature, and not see the influence that Hip Hop has had.  What started out as a method of expression for kids too poor to buy real instruments, has now become one of the most influential movements in living memory.

Hip Hop has traditionally been dominated by African American artists, which makes it very difficult for a trio of rowdy semi-jewish white boys from NYC to turn their punk rock band into a household name in the rap industry.  It's completely implausible!  Not only that, but the DJ who used to spin records for them later became Rick Rubin, founder of Def Jam Recordings.  Not bad for a handful of honkies!

In honor of Hip Hop's influence on the world, and the Beastie Boys' influence on Hip Hop, I bring you Hello Nasty.

Rigorously written, majestically performed, and expertly arranged, this album really showcases the Beastie Boys' diverse musical talents.  They are more than just rappers, they're poets and composers.  Each song has its own flavor, its own personality, and while the track list is eclectic, it's very cohesive.  It's got a flow like the mix tape you wish you could have made for Deborah, so she would pay more attention to you in pre-algebra.  It's playful, but not silly.  It's deep, but not heady.  But most importantly, this record is truly masterful.

Furthermore, the Boys brought Mix Master Mike on board for this record, and he takes it to a whole new level.  If you listen closely, you can hear the Tweak Scratch through voicemail.

Give your Pandora disco station a rest, and listen to this record.  I'm telling you.

Dismemberment Plan

Christopher Locke

Emergency & I

I always thought of the Dismemberment Plan as a "local" band.  Growing up in Norginia, I had a couple of friends who were big fans of "the D-plan," and they had this album on constant rotation.  The band's members were all from Norginia, so there was a certain amount of pride in knowing they were "one of us."  This feeling was compounded by the experiences I had at their shows.  The fan base was rabid, and full of silly inside jokes.  The band invited us on stage to dance during part of the performance, then they hung out with the crowd after the show, talking, drinking, and selling merchandise.  The members of the band autographed my 7-Eleven shirt, and made me promise not to put it on ebay.

I was shocked years later to meet a guy from Minnesota who was a huge fan of this album.  I didn't know anyone outside of Norginia knew about them.  As it turns out, this is a little band that really made it big.  I'll spare you the details of their career, but I'm sure if you're really curious, you can find a wikipedia entry or something.  Trust me, though...  They're huge.

This record is pure genius.  Every song is right where it belongs.  The album rocks, but not too hard.  If I hear just one of the songs on this album, I need to stop what I'm doing and listen to the whole record.  It's that good.

If I could only listen to ten records for the rest of my life, this would absolutely be one of them.  Do yourself a favor and listen to it twice.

Postal Service

Christopher Locke


Give Up

The Postal Service is one of those amazing side projects, where the side project becomes way better than the members' regular gigs.  The group is mostly made up of the guy from Death Cab For Cutie (who toured with the Dismemberment Plan), the girl from Rilo Kiley (and Troop Beverley Hills) and the guy from Dentl.  But together, they form a group that makes my earbuds drool.

The upbeat tempo and soothing melodies provide a perfect soundtrack to working or driving.  Most songs on this album have simple singable lyrics, layered over gently computerized beats and synthesized tunes.  The compositions are simple and elegant, leaving each component room to breathe.  I like this album for a lot of the reasons I like 80s music, even though it's not 80s music.

The band briefly reunited, maybe as a thank-you to their fans who constantly demand more more more!  The reunion tour was phenomenal.  It looked like a concert Bill and Ted would have imagined, 30 years into the future.  It was excellent.

You'll love The Postal Service for making this record, and then you'll hate them for not making another one.

Side note- If you already know and love this album, but you haven't bought it on vinyl, you're missing out.  There's a whole second disc of remixes and extras.  It's like listening to an album you know and love, but haven't heard yet.