REVIEW: CasUno’s “Sticks Out Like A Sore Thumb”

Photobucket Hip-hop seems to be in a very lofty place, and has been in the last decade. I like how high it has been able to go, but it’s as if artists reach that height and forget why they’re there in the first place. While CasUno is not on the level of a major hip-hop superstar, he has every right to be. Sticks Out Like A Sore Thumb (Labeless Intelligence) sounds like working class hip-hop, and I don’t mean it’s the hip-hop equilalent of Bruce Springsteen‘s Nebrasksa. It does sound like an MC who is hungry, understands the love and craft of the music, and does it with a spirit that defines what an MC is: a master of ceremony, the mic controller, the microphone commando. He may not have the perfect voice all the time, but would you want perfection 100 percent of the time? Even the best MC’s are advised to switch up a little, and maybe that’s what I’m hearing, someone who doesn’t want to come off like a robot. When he does deviate, it’s not radically different.

This is a feel good, laugh-at-your-ass type album, it’s not pure comedy but CasUno knows when to be a wise ass when needed. Otherwise, it’s an album where, through his music, he says “this is me, I know how to write, I know how to speak, now I’ll entertain you for an hour. Welcome to my world.” He’s not afraid to make a reference to a blumpkin, nor is he afraid to talk trash at groupies or people in general who come off one way but behind-the-scenes are someone else. Yes, maybe he feels his Sticks Out Like A Sore Thumb, but since he does stick out, find out what makes him stick in the first place. In other words, if you’re going to stand there to gawk, he’ll bust out some nice rhymes for you.

My favorite tracks here include “Electric ‘Ukulele” (the song with the blumpkin reference), “The Spit Pit”, and “The Simplistic Intricacy” and intricacy is what he’s all about. If he’s not an immediate favorite for you, come back to him later on. Once you hear something that blows you away, you’ll become a fan.

REVIEW: Pigeon John’s “Dragon Slayer”

Photobucket Oh, Pigeon John, where have all the good times gone? I was a huge fan of his 2006 album Pigeon John & The Summertime Pool Party and wished he could’ve went platinum, all while being protective of him getting too big. Now with the release of Dragon Slayer (Quannum) he’s ready for the big time, but he’s also hushed the good part of what I liked about his music.

It’s not that Dragon Slayer is a complete failure, it’s just not to my liking. He sings a lot more, and really he has been doing that off and on over the years, but it’s as if Andre 3000 gave everyone license to stop speaking and start singing, even if they can sing in a mediocre fashion. I mean, is this really hip-hop? If so, give it back to someone who knows and cares about it. Or is everyone wanting to be N*E*R*D? I know Richard Pryor once said you have to sing to get the pussy, highlighted by Ol’ Dirty Bastard on his debut album, but sometimes I wonder if it’s really that good for artists to huli over and make lackluster music?

Yes, I do realize that “this music is not for you” and I’m happy with that. It just seems too many artists are changing formulas, and I’m fine with that. It’s when they abandon what they became known for. Pigeon John, just become a cast member of CSI: New York, I’d be more happier with that than this album.

REVIEW: Camu Tao’s “King Of Hearts”

Photobucket Upon listening to this album by Camu Tao, I thought “wait, this is Camu Tao?” I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be another rapper’s attempt at being hipster, new wave or what. I had to stop, I couldn’t listen to it. I then pressed play once more, and some how I felt that this had to be based on someone simply making an album he wanted to make, not just someone jumping in on the latest trend.

King Of Hearts (Def Jux/Fat Possum) has become Camu Tao’s last album, as he passed away two years ago. I did not have this in mind as I was listening to the album, so as I’m listening to these tracks, I realized the guy had a knack for making music not unlike Prince or Terence Trent D’arby without it moving into the cheese factor. It’s not unlike DâM-Funk, where the influences are straight out of the late 70’s/early 80’s but with enough of a smirk and attitude in the music where you know they know what they’re doing, honoring a bit of the past while turning people now to the good grooves. That’s very much what King Of Hearts is about, and it’s a shame that he will not be able to make more music like this, as he could have been greater than what he was able to do in his lifetime. He honestly could have given a run for the money, I would have loved to have seen Camu Tao world tours with a bevy of artists collaborating with him on stage and on tour.

It wasn’t until after did I realize that this is the same Camu Tao that is no longer with us, then again who else is named Camu Tao. Sometimes you forget for a brief moment, and maybe it’s a nice way of saying “it feels like he’s still present, and I’m ready for new music to come.”

RECORD CRACK: Buy a turntable from, get a free record

Need an incentive to buy a new turntable, replace an old model, or give one as a gift? The people at are having a turntable sale with a gift incentive. With each turntable purchased, you’ll get a coupon towards obtaining a free LP. Click the following links to see what turntables are available:

  • Audio-Technica AT-LP60-Automatic Turntable
  • Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB Turntable with Recording Software
  • Audio-Technica AT-LP120USB Turntable
  • Crosley Revolution
  • Crosley Memory Master
  • Crosley Keepsake (black)
  • Crosley Keepsake (tan)
  • Crosley Traveler (black)
  • Crosley Traveler (tan)
  • Crosley Archiver
  • Crosley Tech (mahogany)
  • Crosley Encoding (mahogany)
  • Grace Digital GDI-VW00 VinylWriter Pico Turntable (USB to PC)
  • Grace Digital GDI-VW03 VinylWriter Boca Turntable (USB to PC)
  • Ion LP Dock – USB Turntable with Universal Dock for iPod
  • Ion TTUSB USB Turntable with Direct-to-Digital Conversion
  • Ion TTUSB10 USB Turntable with Dust Cover
  • Ion iPTUSB Turntable – Vinyl Archiver
  • Music Hall MMF 2.2 (White)
  • Music Hall MMF 2.2 with Tracker Cartridge (Gloss Black)
  • Music Hall MMF 2.2LE with Tracker Cartridge (Ferrari Red)
  • Music Hall USB-1 Turntable
  • Nu-Mark PT01-USB Portable Turntable with Archiver
  • Project Audio Black Debut III Turntable with Ortofon OM-5E Cartridge
  • Project Audio Blue Debut III Turntable with Ortofon OM-5E Cartridge
  • Project Audio Yellow Debut III Turntable with Ortofon OM-5E Cartridge
  • Project Audio Red Debut III Turntable with Ortofon OM-5E Cartridge
  • Project Audio White Debut III Turntable with Ortofon OM-5E Cartridge
  • Project Audio Debut III USB Turntable
  • Pro-Ject RM 1.3 Turntable – High Gloss Black with Pearl Cartridge
  • Thorens TD-158 Turntable
  • Thorens TD 170 Turntable (Black)
  • ThorensTD 170 Turntable (white)
  • Vestax BDT-2600 Belt-Drive Turntable (Black)
  • Vestax BDT-2600 Belt-Drive Turntable (white)
  • Vestax HandyTrax Portable Turntable (Black)
  • Vestax HandyTrax Portable Turntable (white)
  • VIDEO: Mac Miller’s “Knock Knock”

    The video begins in a very sexy, 1950’s motif but then it is realized: it is hip-hop. It changes the feel just like that. Check out what Mac Miller has to say with “Knock Knock”. One person on the YouTube pagefor the video says he may not be the next Eminem but maybe the next Wiz Khalifa. I think he is more the next Molo Falakian and should be doing some tracks with Prie, Tassho, Creed Chameleon, and Donwill.

    OPINION: WWw.i.a.S (What Would say?)

    November 30th is the release date for the new Black Eyed Peas album, The Beginning, don’t expect an in-depth review of it from me. I have listened to it, and it’s embarrassing. What would say to that? “Yeah, but now I’m embarrassingly rich.” The album is a steamy load of crap, but anyone who has heard the Black Eyed Peas for the last eight years will at least know there are people who hate what they have become. How do you become a success? “Just add white girl.” The thing is, Fergie has an incredible voice, and yet her work with BEP is shit. “Yeah, but now I’m shit rich”, well good for you. Now do better, or will you become this generation’s Sheryl Crow and Jon Bon Jovi: famous worldwide, but famous for shit? “Yeah, but I’m rich and famous”, yeah okay.

    Nothing I say will change your view, but I want to address something quick. I do not like the music has done in the last eight years, in their Fergie-era. I was down with the group for their first two albums, especially the first two, and yet critics and hip-hop fans were accusing them for dickriding the Native Tongues. Yet I felt their music was more interesting, was doing some daring stuff in his music and truth be told, he showed a pop touch long before they made it their sole bread and butter. Not “soul bread and butter”. I really liked what did on his first solo album, really thought he would take off towards that direction.

    Now, while I am not a fan of his music, I admire his business plan. He knows what makes money and he has taken that route to the bank. It would be too easy to say “he abandoned his audience” but he might me someone who would say “audience? Half you fuckers didn’t like a damn think I did.” Anyone remember when he had his own show on MTV, and he would be in the studio with his band, jamming as if he could be the next Stevie Wonder? He was that close, but he jumped from “Fingertips Part 2” to “I Just Called To Say I Love You”, surpassing the potential to make his own versions of Talking Book, Innervisions, or Fulfillingness’ First Finale. The man is more than capable, and yet why bank on greatness when you can make great bank? Whatever formula he has chosen, it has worked, and any artist would love to be on the path he is on. To be able to influence a generation is amazing, but he’s not doing it on that level. He’s making people party and dance, and maybe in a time when it seems the world is falling apart, people need to smile and get down. BEP are the masters of a good time. It seems what did do is take advantage of people calling them a “worldly group” with different ethnicities contained within the group. What they did is take their music around the world, they’ve become worldly for fans who could care less about ethics, issues, and integrity. It’s just “just, dance, and smile.”

    I do wonder this: what would today say to from 1997? Would the of yesteryear be blown away by the self who exploited himself in the future? Would the of now look back at his younger self and tell him “you’re struggling now, but be open to change. You love a good pop song, and you can write a good pop song. You’re going to milk it, and milk it dry. When you have a chance, hang on because this ride is fucking incredible.” Would the younger tell the older to buzz off, because musical integrity is everything, or would the now tell him “hey man, as Jaleel White will say, you gotta fake it to make it, even if it means dressing up like Urkel.”

    In the 2010 Grammy Awards, was in the audience and someone looked at him from the stage and said “there is no industry anymore”, and the only think could do is smirk. What could he do, stand up and say “I make more money than most of you assholes in this room combined?” Or something like “there may be no industry, but I’m getting paid over the bullshit music everyone wants me to make”? Which leads me to two quotes:

    There isn’t a music industry, just do it yourself. If you’re not Christina Aguilera or Pink or Kelly Clarkson or anyone from American Idol, you’re screwed. So try to do it yourself.” -Wendy Melvoin

    No matter how carefully and assiduously and how deeply you bury shit, the American public will find it and buy it in large quantity.” -Artie Shaw

    Got sprinkles?

    FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: DJ Nu-Mark’s “Take Me With You”

    DJ Nu_Mark is someone who I’ve been wanting to hear a lot more of for the last ten years. I’m a lifelong devotee of the Cut Chemist way of life, but there were moments on Jurassic 5‘s albums where I said “yes, now Nu-Mark will get some prime time shine too.” He has been relatively low-key compared to his Less Than Six partner, but he’s about to drop what is said to be the first of a number of mixes and productions to come in the new year, here’s the first.

    This one is called Take Me With You, and is described as an audio guide on your musical trip around the world. This has an island/tropical feel, perfect for those of us who are suffering from the bone chilling temperatures. You can download an excerpt of it right now by clicking here (19.1mb). The full mix will be released on January 18th.

    REVIEW/RECORD CRACK: Unearthly Trance/Wooden Wand split 7″

    Photobucket Tell two indie artists, both very different from one another, to record two songs for a record release, and it’s not a problem. Tell those bands that they will be doing cover versions, and it may get them excited to enter the studio. Now tell those two bands that they will be covering Charles Manson songs.

  • For the outsider, the idea of a tribute to Manson may be as psychotic as the man himself. However, if you know his history, Manson was someone who roamed the streets of Hollywood in the mid-60’s, recording his own songs and demos in the hopes of being a pop sensation. He made an impact on the Beach Boys and his notoriety made people believe he had auditioned for The Monkees. Had things been not so evil for him, Manson could have been a major influence on pop and rock music, but because of his actions, Manson makes Wild Man Fischer seem like Justin Bieber.
  • Unearthly Trance and Wooden Wand are the artists who recorded Manson songs for this tribute record. If you are a fan of either, you may be thinking “yes, this is going to be brutal” but in fact it’s not brutal. Now, instead of calling this a tribute record, which is to say that it is “in honor of”, to be nice let me say that it’s two bands covering the musical works of Manson. To hear these songs in the way they are presented here may make you think this is the work of Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, or Gram Parsons, and I’m not being sarcastic in anyway. Then to have these bands record them in a way that is unlike their own known sounds is a trip, because these could be given a good amount of airplay if radio stations were more open to playing music of integrity. In fact, play these songs to someone who may love the inner juices of indie rock and pop, and they may say “wow, maybe these bands should open up for Coldplay or Radiohead. As you’re listening to these songs (Unearthly Trance covers “People Say I’m No Good” in a dirge fashion while Wooden Wand handle “Get On Home” as if it was a folk/pop anthem-to-be), keep in mind the man who wrote them is the man on the cover with the crazy eyes, the same man who once told an interviewer “I know, God knows, and the holy spirit knows”. Manson is not a part of any holy trinity, but he actually recorded some very good songs. Listening to them will make you think how someone who wrote them could have done what he did. Then again, fans of Unearthly Trance and Wooden Wand will not second guess them recording Manson, but they may ask how someone like them could record something like… that. Unearthly Trance fans may find a new reason to enjoy their favorite group, while “Get On Home” is simply a continuation of the music James Jackson Toth seems to never stop doing.
  • It’s a twisted record project, but one that works beautifully, if not beautifully wrong. But it’s wrong in the sense that it’s crazy, but someone was crazy and bold enough to record one of the more interesting records of the year. Thank you Unearthly Trance, Wooden Wand, and Chrome Peeler.

    (The split 7″ can be ordered from Chrome Peeler while supplies last.)

  • VIDEO: Kaigen’s “Spear & Shield”

    I’m loving this. This is Kaigen, who had Thavius Beck do a track for him. The end result is “Spear & Shield”, which is incredible. If Kaigen sounds (or looks) familiar to you, you may remember him from his work with Curse Ov Dialect. Kaigen has been popping up in a number of places this year, you may have heard his collaboration with Sole.

    Kaigen is hard at work on his new album, due out sometime in 2011.

    VIDEO: Blue Scholars’ “Coffee & Snow 2”

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are dealing with bone chilling temperatures and finding ourselves stuck in snow and making excuses for everything. With Blue Scholars, they decided to just make a video and this video is about making said video.

    You can download the song by heading to Bandcamp.