SOME STUFFS: New Jackson 5 compilation CD ready for pre-order

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Just in time for the holidays, and it’s not your typical Jackson 5 compilation with the same 12 songs. It’s called I Want You Back: Unreleased Masters (Motown), featuring twelve never-before-released tracks including should have been hits and unique versions of well-known classics. This means a few alternate takes previously unheard. It will be released on November 3rd, and you can pre-order it now through Amazon by clicking the box below.

New releases for the week of October 27, 2009

Lots of new music coming out this Tuesday, here is a partial list of the albums you will be able to buy. All links below will take you to CD Universe, where you are able to buy them in CD or MP3 form, sometimes on vinyl.

Devendra Banhart-What Will We Be
James Brown-Live At The Garden (Hip-O expanded edition)
Creed-Full Circle
DB’z-Mannish Music
John Digweed-Bedrock Eleven
Gov’t Mule-By A Thread
Everett Harp-First Love
Michael Jackson-This Is It
Jack Johnson-En Concert
King Crimson-In The Court Of The Crimson King (40th anniversary 5CD/1 DVD box set)
Sean Lennon-Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead
Ramsey Lewis-Love Notes (Wounded Bird, 1977 reissue)
Ramsey Lewis-Live At The Savoy (Wounded Bird, 1981 reissue)
Ramsey Lewis-Chance Encounter (Wounded Bird, 1982 reissue)
Ramsey Lewis-Les Fleurs (Wounded Bird, 1982 reissue)
Los Lobos-Goes Disney
Taj Mahal-Recycling the Blues/Oooh So Good ‘N Blues (Wounded Bird 2-for-1)
Brian McKnight-Evolution Of A Man
Merzbow-13 Japanese Birds Vol. 10
Lorrie Morgan-Moment In Time
Morningwood-Diamonds And Studs
Kam Moye a/k/a Supastition-Splitting Image
Osibisa-Osee Yee
Pink-Funhouse Tour: Live In Australia (DVD)
Plies-36 Ounces
R.E.M.-Live At The Olympia In Dublin 39 Songs
Rick Ross-I Run Rap
Shyheim-Disrespectfully Speaking
Spirit-Fresh From The Time Coast: The Best Of 1968-1977
Rod Stewart-Soulbook
Stephen Stills-Live At Shepherd’s Bush
Sweet-Ballroom Blitz: The Anthology (2CD)
Swollen Members-Armed To The Teeth
Tech N9ne-K.O.D.
Tegan & Sara-Sainthood
U2-The Unforgettable Fire (25th anniversary special edition with DVD and book)
Zapp & Roger-More Bounce To The Ounce and other hits
John Zorn-Femina

REVIEW: Au’s “Versions”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Versions (Aagoo) may be a pit stop EP as Au are in the middle of recording a new album, but even if you have their earlier releases, you’ll want to pick this up as it primarily features new versions of songs from those old releases.

The new track on this EP is the powerful “Ida Walked Away”, but to hear revisions of “RR vs. D” and “All Myself’ are treats in itself. They create some nice power pop with hints of Afro-pop, punk, progressive rock, and new wave, what I like is that even with a song with a strong theme, they’re not going to go about it in a roundabout way, and that’s what has made them a favorite among their fans. At times their music sounds like a suicidal dirge, while other tracks are festive and come off like the kind of parade you wish you had in your city/town.

New fans can buy this and then go back to previous works. Older fans will love this and then protest somewhere for a new album to come out quicker.

REVIEW: Built By Snow’s “Mega”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Built By Snow are like a blend of The Cars, Green Day, and Jonas Brothers and while Mega could easily be a reflective look back at the brightness of late 70’s/early 80’s music, I think the trend is coming to a crusty end and this just ends up sounding like what everyone has attempted to do for the last five years.

There are some nice songs, but nothing that would make me want to hear this over and over and over. It’s Cars-ish, but if I want that, I can listen to The Cars, right down to the mention of the words “let’s go” in “All The Weird Kids Know”. It’s okay, but give it something that makes me want to hear it for more than its nostalgic factor.

SOME STUFFS: Gift Of Gab heads to “Mars” on November 3rd

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Gift Of Gab‘s new album, Escape 2 Mars, will be released on November 3rd, just in time for you to collect aluminum cans and turn them in to buy this. You can pre-order it now through (his online store), but to preview it, take a listen to a track he did with Del The Funky Homosapien and Brother Ali called “Dreamin’” (4.69mb)

VIDEO: J-Zone shows off his cassette collection

It’s all about the tapes, the clots of Kleenex and toilet paper where the recording tabs used to be, it’s about taking your mom’s Michael Bolton cassingle and dubbing something over it so you had your own custom tape.

The legendary J-Zone speaks and shares his cassette collection with the world. The racks shown look very close to what I used for my CD’s.

Real G’s Rock Tapes from richdirection on Vimeo.

To find out what J-Zone is doing, click to his official MySpace page.

REVIEW: Nine:Fifteen’s “Electric Blanket”

Electric Blanket cover At first I wasn’t sure what to make of Nine:Fifteen, where they a hip-hop group trying to be new wave-ish, where they a pop group using hip-hop just to act cool, was this on some hipster shit, or just something unknown? I was intrigued, so I listened, listened more, and then listened again.

Electric Blanket (Candlewax) are a group that aren’t about doing things in a straightforward or direct way, and that’s good. They seem to be a mixture of N*E*R*D*, Black Eyed Peas, Lupe Fiasco, Gym Class Heroes, and Big Tittie Nippleclips. There are moments where they’re rhyming in a way where you want to say “damn, that’s really nice” and other times they’re trying to convert pop and pop-rock sensibilities into a hip-hop context and it doesn’t quite work.

Songs that do work on here include “Rugged”, “Dr. Johnson”, and “Guarded Things”, and when it does work, they sound like the kind of guys that could open up for Time Machine and make the crowd pumped.

Now, when I don’t listen to it as a hip-hop album, it’s a really trippy listen and is less confusing, it makes me laugh a lot because it doesn’t sound like something that should be properly cohesive. In a time where ringtones are king, does it matter of any music cohesive? Maybe not, and maybe this could be just some random slices of boof baf sliced into it with a hint of pepper and paprika. If that’s the case, then they could the kind of group that would be alongside the likes of New Kingdom, but that suggests that their foot is planted firmly in hip-hop. If it’s not directly hip-hop, then one can hear a group who likes to flip flop, and hip-hop purists aren’t going to like this. If you like your music to be as unpredictable as a John Zorn attack of the senses, you’re going to find that within the context of Nike:Fifteen. I think it’s safe to say not everyone is going to understand this, but if you feel something while listening to it, let it molest your ears until it tingles your peepee hole. Then you will approach the dionysian. In other words, once you grasp onto something, pull it in until you are immersed in its juiceess. Then approach the dionysian.

REVIEW: Delorean’s “No More Heroes”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic “How much more can be done in hip-hop?” may be a question that people may ask themselves on a regular basis, but that’s only because their scope of what hip-hop should sound like is limited. What I hear on Delorean‘s No More Heroes is what it states in the spoken intro, and that is the thing that’s been missing all these years. You may not be able to describe it, but once you hear it, it unfolds to reveal something so incredible that you have to let the world know about it.

The first track tells the story of how we have lived in a world with such greatness. But now it feels as if that greatness is gone and everyone is running around with chickens without heads. Essentially they reveal that this world has the album title. Then “Chapter 7” begins and the beat sounds like impending doom. You realize this is hip-hop, but it sounds ugly, images are distorted, and then the blurriness becomes clear: this ain’t Kansas, and we’re not even near a damn rainbow.

5th Ave is the MC who begins by analyzing the scene in his lyrics, and while the music still sounds like there’s no hope, he basically says there has to be some optimism for survival. “My Most Favorite MC” gets into the ego of things, and while you still hear haunting choruses in the background, there’s still a tendency to headnot. “Look Alice” then begins and 5th Ave starts talking about how deep the rabbit hole goes, revisiting Alice In Wonderland and showing how non-related stories of our past can be given an effective hip-hop twist. Then things take a complete 180 with “Needy Girl” and he’s creating a love song towards those ladies who just can’t get enough. Things could get too comfortable, but with the help of Dahlak, C Plus and DJ Flow, it’s time to pop the truck and unload the funk and allow the vibes to flow through in “Chillin'” as they show pride to the city of Sacramento.

Jon Reyes knows what he’s doing behind the boards, keeping to what moves him from the past, but bringing in his own qualities in the beats and productions he ends up with. There’s a confidence in these tracks that bring to mind Chad Hugo and The Automator, with just a rawness that basically says “these are some funky bass beats, I’m going to move you, just let yourself go.” The dark tones of these songs help shape these songs, but when he turns around (as if it was the musical equivalent of seeing a hot lady in the club and your whole vibe is interrupted) and delivers something new, it doesn’t sound forced. It’s just right. It’s a Cali vibe, a Northern Cali vibe, but even without getting too territorial, it’s just damn good hip-hop, with lines you’ll want to remember, with beats that’ll make you go Goodwill hunting.

REVIEW: Inara George’s “Accidental Experimental”

Image Hosted by Curious about what others thought about vocalist Inara George, I typed out her name and the name of her new album, Accidental Experimental (Everloving) and I casually glanced through reviews. I only looked through one review, and she was combared to Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and Aimee Mann. I don’t know if the word wispy would be right, for I did a search for that word and came across this definition:
One that is thin, frail, or slight

Maybe one tends to hear a delicate-sounding female voice and says “oh, wispy”, but then I found this definition:
A fleeting trace or indication; a hint

I like that, “a hint”.

Inara George is a woman who seems to have the kind of love of pop that was plentiful in the 60’s and 70’s, where an arranger would receive was much accolades as a producer. She sings about the wonders of the world while pondering on the wonders of herself, through musical tales where guitar melodies are swept over by string sections. The music itself is not experimental, but it is definitely crafty and highly creative. “Can’t Say No” sounds like a semi-new wave track, but immerse yourself in the sound and its worse are as modern as they might have been in 1981:

if you believe what I believe
if you believe what I believe
I will drink all the water that you place in front of me
Bring it on and send it away
Do you remember what I said yesterday?
My machine is still working but my hands are cold as clay

In other songs you may hear xylophones and wooden percussion becoming the bed for her words, other sounds may sound like country music if the musicians had taken some peyote, and perhaps the tendency to call her a folk artist merely comes from the mood and tone of these songs. There are important messages here, but folk these isn’t, unless you want to call them modern day folk tales. Production junkies will love the way this album sounds, where everything has its place, and there’s room for surprises, such as George’s background vocals in “Greedy” with a hint of reverb that makes it sound like a curious rain. If someone like Inara George could have the same kind of attention that Norah Jones received years ago, it would show that people really do care about quality music made by someone who wants to move people as much as she wants to be moved. But Jones’ popularity was arguably pushed by publicists and… you know what, let me stop comparing her to Norah Jones. The only similarities these two women have is that wispy voice, and that’s it. For me, I would prefer to hear George over and over, as there’s something in her lyrics and the way she sings them that moves me. Her imagery becomes very vivid in my mind and I want to be taken on those journeys. Accidental Experimental makes getting lost in music a good way to spend an hour or two.

REVIEW: Imaad Wasif’s “The Voidist”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Imaad Wasif is an artist whose music combines the best of Jeff Buckley, Lenny Kravitz, and Beck‘s serious side. The Voidist (Tee Pee) is an album by someone who has a love for the craft of pop music but wants to do it in a not-so-roundabout way. If you like the rise of emotion that groups like Radiohead or Coldplay tend to have, Wasif takes these things but turns them into aggressive pop songs.

It tends to bring to mind the first time U2 started to make an impact, especially with songs like “Priestess”, “Fangs”, “Her Sorcery”, where he talks about the wizardy of a woman’s beauty with guitars and a tamborine, a method that would’ve been perfect if placed on Meddle or Wish You Here, right down to the singing to the solo with his guitar.

Even with all of the people I’m comparing him too (and again those are first impressions), one begins to hear what he’s trying to do on his own. When he’s electric, he vibrates. When he wants to relax with a cup of tea, it’s a nice smelling brew. Here’s to more nice smelling brews.