Posted inArts & Culture

MF Doom

Last year this uberprolific underground MC (aka King Geedorah, aka Viktor Vaughn, aka Metal Fingers) collaborated with producer Madlib for Madvillainy, a dusty, disheveled masterpiece. This fall he and producer Danger Mouse released their highly anticipated debut as Dangerdoom, The Mouse and the Mask (Epitaph), a playful tangle peppered with skits by characters from Cartoon […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blackalicious

Listening to Gift of Gab rhyme on Blackalicious’s 1999 EP, A2G, was like watching someone juggle flaming chain saws: he spewed a seemingly endless supply of offbeat images with the kind of speed, breath control, and stamina that made me wonder if his lungs weren’t transplanted from an elephant. To match that energy, Chief Xcel […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Cage

I’m sure lots of people thought hell would freeze over before this sick ‘n’ twisted New York MC went straight. It must be snowing in the underworld right now, because the erstwhile Chris Palko has ditched the drugs, and on the new Hell’s Winter (Definitive Jux) he’s dropped the viciously misogynistic lyrics too. His cartoonishly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lyrics Born, Pigeon John

Most MCs are all about asserting their alpha-male status, but PIGEON JOHN is content to be an omega male. He’s a relentlessly self-deprecating dork, and really he barely even qualifies as a rapper: on Pigeon John Sings the Blues (Basement) he croons more than raps, about the sad state of his Toyota Tercel, his love […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Little Brother

After Little Brother’s 2003 debut, The Listening, the North Carolina trio were widely hailed as the latest incarnation of the playful, feel-good spirit of the old Native Tongues posse. Since then Phonte, one of the group’s two rappers, has put out a well-received album with Dutch producer Nicolay (last year’s Connected), and Little Brother’s own […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Non Phixion

Why hasn’t Non Phixion put out an album of originals since its 2002 debut, The Future Is Now? Well, their songs are so thick with antigovernment suspicion–“They got a file on every rap group,” Ill Bill asserts on “The CIA Is Trying to Kill Me”–that I wouldn’t be shocked to hear they’re afraid some federal […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 19 ABIGAIL WASHBURN Stylistic purity doesn’t seem to be much of a concern for banjoist Abigail Washburn: on her recent debut full-length, Song of the Traveling Daughter (Nettwerk), she blurs the boundaries between blues, bluegrass, and prewar folk and includes a pair of tunes written and sung in Chinese (she’s studied and performed in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

I Self Devine, Psalm One

Bio: Chemistry II: Esters and Essays (Birthwrite, 2004), a remastered and revamped version of the 2002 debut by local MC PSALM ONE, sometimes sounds less like a cohesive record than a sampler of her abilities. Luckily, her skill set is enormous. An impressive shape-shifter, she can rap in double time, effortlessly dish out complex rhymes […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 29 THE CHERRY VALENCE, GAYS IN THE MILITARY The cover of GAYS IN THE MILITARY’s People Is Beautiful (Gulcher) is a first for comics artist Peter Bagge: he actually made the band’s members look more attractive than they are in real life. These local perv rockers hit the stage sweaty, in too-tight camo underwear […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 8 THE SOUTHLAND It’s hard to keep track of all the crimes against taste this LA quintet commits on its debut, Influence of Geography (Ruffworld), between the rampant AORisms (“They’re neon, the signs, they’re burning in your eyes”) and “Radio,” which uses drug addicts and homeless people as a lyrical backdrop for twentysomething drama. […]