and Michael John Hancock
Life & Art Senior Writers
Iron & Wine
The Sea and The Rhythm
Through a week riddled with frustration, I had but to press play on the stereo and let my head drop like a leaf to the sweet sound of this new five-song EP.
Miami, Florida offers very few local acts that rival the upper crust of the nation’s underground music scene, and in terms of subtle, soft songwriting, there’s but one: Sam Beam aka Iron & Wine.
Disregarding past releases, this collection stands on its own as one of the most endearing records of the Fall, a season set perfectly to the gentle hiss of the home tape recorder and overdubbed guitars on The Sea & the Rhythm. Particularly on “Jesus the Mexican Boy,” Beam has a knack for letting the songs slip past you the first few times before you have a chance to grasp everything he is saying.
Comparing this to that other solo guitar/singing recording from yesteryear, Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, still oft-sighted in respected critiques of albums like this one (and in Volvo adverts, etc.) would be unfair. I&W’s music overflows with a sense of optimism heightened by guitar stylings. The long gone and aforementioned songwriter simply layered his depressing omens in the same soft acoustic style.
Where the two are similar, however, is in the quality of their work, and that is something Sam Beam should be proud of. Need a break? Pick up The Sea & the Rhythm.
– Michael John Hancock
Soul Position (RJD2 and Blueprint)
No boners about it, RJD2 has hopped over the ranks of the no-name producers (which would explain why I can’t cite any) and landed cozily next to the likes of DJ Shadow and other white producers that would get melanin injections if offered. See: Soul Supreme for a corny instance.
8,000,000 Stories should really be 8,000,000 Beats, as rapper Blueprint pisses on every shiny hydrant, ruining any chance of Spike Lee-esque frolicking in the amazingly refreshing instrumentals. Every word sounds like it’s a product of getting Indian burns in the studio while trying to rhyme – they’re delivered with emotion but that doesn’t change the fact that they sound like crap and don’t mesh with any of the beats.
What the hell is RJ thinking? I’m just getting more and more pissed as the album goes on, any emcee could rip these beats better; if you’ve ever heard Deadringer, follow me, the whole album suffers from “Final Frontier” syndrome, no one wants to hear Blueprint rap when there are such amazing sounds surrounding him.
The lyrics aren’t really that bad; okay, they are: if I hear one more line about snares and kicks, being the savior of this hip hop shit, or the malcontent complaining about his awesomeness and how there’s not a soul in the world that can reach his heart, I am going to shit my bed like Trainspotting (wait, I don’t have a bed right now).
At least it’s good to shit everyday, so maybe pre-poop I’ll bump a little Soul Position; I’m sure the bass’ll wiggle out what rhymes like “at age 18 I didn’t wanna run/ but I had to run from the shot fired by a gun” don’t.
Jeezus. So lame dude (thanks Dean).
– Sven Barth
No Luck Club
Here’s a spot of homo-ness for you. Now, albums that feature nothing but instrumentals are one thing; then, albums like The Shiggar Fragger Show! volumes that feature nothing but the apex of scratching are another; the No Luck Club has produced neither.
A compilation of funky breaks, Happiness is slapped together by the Cummunist brother and brother team of Matt & Trevor Chan (one scratches, the other mixes – what in the fuck is this Hunter?).
Ragging on your ethnicity is the only way to make it; sooo that explains the name of their horizontal mambo combo, and the fact that they’re reppin’ the red flag to the fullest while obviously not caring about it – at all – makes this sentence have very little impact at all.
Have you every seen that movie Hackers? Well, if so, try and remember, aside from Angelina Jolie’s tits, those two gay Japanese dudes that were always wearing neon kabuki make-up and iridescent robes; they’re most definitely behind this album. (Sven, what the fuck are you talking about? – Hunter).
Whatever their goal was with this disc, I’m sure the Chan Clan is more than happy with it; this is definitely some happy frolicking music with no real social relevance: perfect for leotards and back hand springs.
So, if your boy’s a gymnastics coach and needs something to keep those little milk duds hopping around, try putting his life in check; also, while driving to the temp office listen to Matt and Trevor and beat off onto yourself for double the auto-erotica.
– Sven Barth just said yes