Sunday, November 30, 2008

Q-Tip's The Renaissance

I got Q-Tip's new album from Amazon's $5 Digital Download Black Friday Sale (still going on!!!).

It is a flat out fantastic record. From Track 1 to 11, ever song is a hit. He's solo now, but there's dipping back into that A Tribe Called Quest, and it serves him right. 'Gettin Up' sounds like an updated track from Midnight Marauders. It's got that funky little piano, and Q-Tip just breathlessly and effortlessly rhymes over the whole thing.

And like any major hip hop effort now, there's always guests. But Q-Tip uses them judiciously, and the effect is pleasant. Raphael Saadiq, D'Angelo and Norah Jones fit right in as backup singers; you'd almost miss them if no one pointed them out.

The truth is, this record owes much of its sound to the late J Dilla (he even gets production credit on two tracks, the single 'Move' and the aformentioned 'Gettin Up'). The laidback-ness is directly attributable to him, and Tip acknowledges as much on the ode to hip-hop track, "Life is Better."

It's hard to imagine that Tip's been rapping for over 20 years. He sounds young and as vibrant as ever. If you're looking for something to round out your hip hop collection, , from one of the giants and living legends of the game, get this now. It'll fit right in nicely with your Mos Def Black on Both Sides download I told you to get a few days back.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

50 Albums for $5 each

If you're looking to get your Black Friday music shopping on early, Amazon will feed your wanton consumerism with 50 albums for $5 each at it's digital download site.

Some of it is good (Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III is arguably the best rap album out this year) and some of it is not (you cannot pay me to listen to She and Him again).

But they've got Ra Ra Riot's The Rhumb Line, Colplay's latest, Q-Tip's Renaissance, and a host of others.

And it's all DRM-free.

SO belly up to some more turkey with rockin cheap music.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dance Biscuits

I've been trying to find a video of this for days now. I saw it on SNL two weeks ago and this might be the best clip this season next to Tina Fey's Sarah Palin.

"We're the dancers."

Kristin Andreassen - Kiss Me Hello

If I'm in the car between 6 and 8 pm on Saturday, odds are I'm listening to Garrison Keillor's A Prarie Home Companion. I've been doing this since I was a little boy. I've been to see the show live once, and it is truly something you should do if you have the chance. Each show is a masterpiece.

But something I forgot about APHC is that it's constantly introducing me to new music. And this week delivered a pleasant surprise.

Performing on the show was Kristin Andreassen. And the only song I caught was "Crayola Doesn't Make a Color for Your Eyes."

And I was hooked.

Her 2007 solo debut album, "Kiss Me Hello" is a happy mix of country, blues, folk, pop, jazz. Essentially, this is Americana music.

Andreassen is a masterful songwriter. A winner of the Jonh Lennon Songwriting contest, you can tell that ever word is deliberate, nothing thrown in or thrown away.

"Crayola" is a fun romp that starts off the album, with her searching through a big box of 64 trying to find Looking for a great song for your Valentine's Day mixtape/playlist? Might want to start here. The title track is a sweet, playful diddy that comes right in under two minutes. It's crammed with so many all-girl harmonies, horns, and light percussion, you'd think it'd be too much. "Pale Moon" might be my favorite after "Crayola," a bluegrass lullaby that I will no doubt sing to my next child.

She's also a multi-instrumentalist, playing virtually every single instrument on the album. The slow fingerpickin on "Fly" is just as good as you'd find on a Ralph Stanley album or Nickel Creek album.

I cannot praise this album or artist enough. But if you don't believe, check out the APHC webpage and listen first. Then go buy.

Get Kristin Andreassen's "Kiss Me Hello"

Buy from Amazon
Buy from CD Baby

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First the Fat Boys break up...

Yesterday, President Bush commuted John Forte's 14 year sentence.

With the man (partially) behind The Score, a seminal rap album by one of raps most seminal groups, out of jail, will The Fugees get back together?

I know it's wishful thinking. I mean, if Dave Chapelle couldn't do it, why should John Forte.

But if he's really abouthelping kids stay out of foolisheness, then I think getting the Fuges back together to record the followup to the Score is a great place to start.

Note: Do you know how awesome that would be? Can you imagine the producers who would line up for this event? Maybe it could keep Kanye West from sucking so hard right now.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I'm trying my best to wrap my head around what Kanye West set out to do with 808s and Heartbreak.

It's clear that Kanye is going through some stuff. He lost his mama. He had that weird assualt thing at LAX. His long-time fiance (two words that make most women mad) broke it off with him. And up to this point, he's released relatively flawless albums that have garnered critical acclaim, sold bazillions of copies, but been denied a Grammy for album of the year (last year was probably the worst, losing to Herbie Hancock's Joni Mitchell tribute).

Normally from this adversity, he releases a masterpiece. He got balled up in the car accident, he dropped College Dropout. Denied the Grammy, he worked doubly hard and put out Late Registration. And in an effort to top that album, he put out the skit free top, 10 perfection that was Graduation.

And with a ton of problems at his back, he releases his most personal album to date.

And it's garbage.

The whole thing. I don't think there's one salvagable song on here.

The beats are sparse and haunting, an theme that is intrguing in song one, tiresome by song two, and annoying by song three. It's like sad Daft Punk.

But if the beats don't get to you, it's the mindless singing through AutoTune. Kanye does almost no rapping on this album (I know, a God send to some who are perpetual haters on the man's rhyming ability). The problem with Auto Tune is that it flattens your voice out to the point it begins to sound unpleasant. T-Pain's a novelty act, and Lil Wayne is probably the only cat who really succeeds at screwing with the thing. Kanye just sounds horrible.

I don't think there's any need to get deep about Kanye's intention. No, I don't think him using autotune is some sort of critique on consumer automation. I know Kanye could have made a much better album that still got at his personal feelings and turmoil. Hell, he did just as much with Late Registration.

This album just plain sucks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This post is a conversation stimulator

"How can it be bullshit to state a preference?"

"Since when did this store become a fascist regime?"

"When you brought that bullshit tape in."

It's getting close to the end of the year, the time when you look back over the hundreds of songs you've downloaded/bought/burned/shared and decide which albums will make the best of the year list for 2008.

It has been, without a doubt, a great year for music. There are easily 20 albums i can think of that are vying for the top spot.

I'd like to see what you're placing on the top of your list. Since I'm going to be laid up for about a week, let's say send them to me no later than December 5. Then I'll start posting them and share your fail or success with the world.

Nothing lasts forever

I was in seventh grade when Use Your Illusion One and Two dropped.

I can still think of the ridiculous girl I had a crush on whenever I hear November Rain.

It was the first time I heard "Live and Let Die" and to this day, I more closely associate that song with Axl's screech than with Sir McCartney's dulcet tones.

Today is the date that Chinese Democracy drops. Or is available. Or something.

Doesn't matter. I won't be getting it.

The Rescues - Crazy Ever After

I'm not sure how I found out about the band The Rescues, since I don't watch Grey's Anatomy.

It sort of ended up in my eMusic Saved for Later file, and who knows how it got there.

But I'm glad it did.

The first thing that comes to mind when you here it is Fleetwood Mac. Lots of girl/guy harmonies, sweet pop melodies, personal lyrics. Say what you will about Fleetwood Mac (and I'm sure you will), if you own any Top 40 pop from the past 30 years, Fleetwood Mac was an influence.

The Rescues "Crazy Ever After" is a fantastic album from this L.A. quartet of singer-songwriters. It melds those pop melodies with some slight country undertones (think Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss) and 90s era soft rock (think Hootie and the Blowfish, Elliot Smith).

It's always refreshing when people who can sing, get together and sing at the same time. Much of the album is covered in these sorts of harmonies. The title track, in addition to being well written, is just beautifully performed. "Matter of Time" is just another perfect song, sounding more like Fleetwood Mac than not.

I'm told this group wants to make super pop music, and it seems fair to say that they've come close.
Buy The Rescues 'Crazy Ever After'

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I need help

Hi. My name is The DP and I recently purchased Jimmy Buffet's "Songs You Know By Heart."

I'm not sure why I did it. I'm not particularly a Jimmy Buffet fan. But dear Lord, I know everyone of those songs on that album. It's like some taunt with that album title.

"You know you want to buy me. You know all these songs already. You just try to hide it from your hipster friends. You think you're all indie rock, listening to Swedish pop. No you're not my friend. You're just a poser Florida refugee in the Nation's Capital. Margaritaville comes on in a bar and you start singing. You can order a cheeseburger in paradise with your eyes closed. You have spent three lonely days in a brown ugly haze"

I'm sure there's a woman to blame for all of this.

But it's my own damn fault.

Umi Says Buy This Album Now

You know you like Mos Def. He's kinda indie. He does awesome films. And like that site from earlier this year illuminated, he's a rapper that it's okay for white people to like.

If for some reason or another you don't own Mos Def's solo debut, Black on Both Sides, first, WTF is wrong with you? Seriously. WTF? This album is almost a decade old.

Second, it's today's Amazon Deal of the Day. You can have the whole digitally, instantaneously, DRM-free for $1.99.

Stop playing and go get it now.


Fail Whale
I have very much been slacking on this end, and for that I apologize.

It's been slightly crazy at my job, as I exit this one and start another (who says the economy is taking?). I also have had some knee issues, but rest assured, that I will be blogging with a vengenace soon (especially when I'm laid up, hopped up on goof balls and morphine!).

We also kind of stopped short in the middle of The Rosebuds feature. And that's because I didn't get a write back from Ivan. Which is cool, I understand that they're on tour and what not. Ivan, if you're reading this, please write me back.

Since I don't have any bands lined up right now for interviews, we'll probably be doing alot of of odds and ends to fill out the pages. You know, more free form blogging.

Anyways, so sorry for the fail on the blogging front.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stars - Sad Robots EP

I am a cheapskate.

Not really, but I refused to pay $5 for the Stars new EP Sad Robots, when I already cough up $15 a month for eMusic.

Yes, I'm aware of the way the economy for independent music works, and that bands probably make way more money from direct sales than from my eMusic purchase.

And yes, I realize that I'm coming to this EP over two months late. That is the price you pay sometimes.

A bad price really, cos this album is good. You kinda gotta ignore that steampunk Victorian era machine concept they got going on. I'm liking everything that's on the damn thing.

It's only six songs!

So short. So sweet.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I'm not sure why, but I'm captivated by the Auto-tune/vocoder sound. It makes Lil Wayne, who is arguably already pretty jacked up sounding, sound even more crazy.

The Washington Post has a great article on T-Pain and his use of the tool to give his songs that crazy robot noise.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mmmmmm... Cue

Ivan and Kelly ponder the menu at Allen and Sons

So, as some of you know, I run a somewhat profitable barbecue catering business when I'm not ranting about politics, blathering about music, or making sure your tax dollars are spent as inefficiently as possibly.

Sometime ago, the food website Chow did an interview with four local artists, taking them to various BBQ joints around the country.

Now seeing as how The Rosebuds hail from North Carolina, what is arguably the best place in the world for barbecue (pork anyways), they interviewed them at Allen and Sons.

Check it out. I think you might want to lick the screen when you're finished reading.

Get Up Get Out Video

So I totally stole this video from The Rosebuds blog, but it's a pretty awesome video.

It's a one shot of them singing 'Get Up Get Out' on a front porch at a pig pickin'. Already one of my favorite songs, it's also sadly the closest I've come to seeing them live. Things I need to remedy.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

The Rosebuds - Get Up Get Out (live) from tk on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Normally I shy away from remixes.

"What's that? You want to sell me a bunch of songs I already have? I'll pass."

And earlier this year, I was almost quick to dismiss the "Sweet Beats, Troubled Sleep" remix of The Rosebuds "Night of the Furies."

I'm glad I didn't. From the Merge website:
Night of the Furies contained songs of despair and loss that roused friends of the band to present them with personal reconstructions of these dark tales. The resulting assortment of dance tunes and lullabies delighted Ivan and Kelly, and inspired them to release Sweet Beats, Troubled Sleep (Night of the Furies Remixed) as a free download available only here at Merge.
There are songs that I like better than others, but the reinterpretation of what I thought was already a great album is really amazing.

Because I harbor some guilty love for big energetic dance/house music, I love the El Venado "Cemetery Lawns" remix, and both "I Better Run" versions (though I like the first one more). But it's the "Get Up Get Out" remix by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon that stands out the most. It slows down the urgency of the original and wraps it with these acoustic guitars and Star Trek-space sounds.

The best part is? It's totally free.

Check it out. I think you'll like it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shifted Sound Plays The Rosebuds

Have I told you about the best damn podcast on the planet?

Oh I haven't? Then allow me to retort.

Shifted Sound is the best damn podcast on the planet. A true labor of love by Shelby M., he puts together a brand new spanking show every week. And the music is always top notch. I'm not sure how he does it.

So, why am I talking about the best damn podcast on the planet?

Because this week Shelby is playing two songs by our featured band, The Rosebuds, from their new album, Life Like (that might be the most ungodly string of clauses ever in that sentence).

Check out Shelby and Shifted Sound. You can subscribe to it in iTunes, or you can get it from his site.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Wanted to say thanks to everyone who's been reading the blog. It's very gratifying to see that little number ticker click up everyday, sometimes with fairly large jumps.

If there's something you'd like to see, or something you don't like, or something you think I should hear, I'm very accessible. Leave a comment, drop me an email (shimmyshakeblog AT the Google Mail, or whatever.

And tell a friend. Tell two friends.

New Featured Artist - The Rosebuds

It's been the end of two weeks, so we must bid adieu to No Kids. Please check out their music and see them live if you can. All of their mp3s will be coming down today.

Up next however is the amazing Asheville, NC band The Rosebuds.

If you have not heard this incredible band you are missing out. Zak C. turned me on to them last year and I've been hooked ever since. The husband and wife duo of Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp just released their latest album, Life Like, last month. (I reviewed it here).

I simply have not been able to stop playing it. It's a really good album.

I just got an email back from Ivan, so we're going to be setting up an interview soon. Email me with any questions you might have. I'm also trying to line up a few other kind of surprises, so we'll see how that works too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bishop Allen at The Black Cat

Went to see Bishop Allen last night at The Black Cat, on the first date of their fall tour. A good mix of people showed up (including a guy from job who I did a psuedo interview with a few months back... always awkward).

Anyway, the first band up was the very impressive Electric Owls. A one man band, just Andy Herod, his acoustic guitar, and his MacBook. I checked out his MySpace page before going to the show and was really surprised at how solid he sounded. He did not disappoint.

The next band, Philly's Drink Up Buttercup... The less said the better.

Finally, Bishop Allen came on and didn't disappoint. They played mostly songs from their new album, and it won't disappoint. The stuff from Broken String was always exceptional, especially "The Monitor" and "Castanets." (note: Why DC won't you get down with the sing-a-longs? If he wants you to sing, you should sing. Bastards.)

All in all a good show.