Here’s a look this week’s new releases from Drake:
Another low key week as we look towards a hopeful Summer. The new burgeoning Seattle hip-hop scene climbs a few notches with Blue Scholars latest album, and new releases from Queens of the Stone Age, John Doe and Scissors for Lefty round out the highlights.
Playlist: New Releases 06.12.07
Album: Blue Scholars – Bayani
Seattle hip-hop has been waiting to pop “since big butts and teen spirit” and at the forefront of this 2-0-Sickness is Blue Scholars. Their self-titled/released debut created a slow groundswell, with several groups vying for the crown of being the next Mix-a-lot. Blue Scholars have that opportunity, but their far too principled to make their mark in that way. They turned down many label offers and instead created their own label (RAWKUS) and made an album that remains very Seattle-based in it’s lyrics and scope. Not much chance for them to break out based on it’s lack of universality, but MC Geologic and DJ/producer Sabzi understand that there’s still matters to be taken care of on the streets of Seattle, and if that means invoking the name of Sonic great Xavier McDaniel (“Fire for the People,”) dropping zip code clues (“North by Northwest,”) street names, landmarks, neighborhoods, and telling the story of the WTO battle in Seattle from a native’s perspective (“50K Deep,”) so be it. Sabzi’s beats are still fresh, and Geologic’s lyrical turns hit their mark and those not in the 981XX ZC will either have to wait, or spend some time googling the references, because they’re still all ours (for now.)
More: ‘Bayani’ means ‘the divine word’ in Farsi (Sabzi’s Iranian) and it means ‘hero’ in Tagalog (Geologic’s Phillipino.)
You get the feeling QOTSA frontman Josh Homme spent a lot of time honing the sound on this album, as it’s stoner licks are sticky icky. But once you get past the incredible assortment of chunky goodness for your ear, the songs themselves leave something to be desired, like he’s treading water or just bored with the process. As a result, there’s a lot of throwing things on the wall to see what sticks. And when you got the sticky icky, your wall can look a little disorganized when you’re through. If “Make it Wit Chu” seems like a fine exception, it’s probably because it was originally a Desert Session song.
The latest from this half of X is a synthesis of his past: Punk roots over rockabilly polished with country blues. Doe seems to have finally carved out his sound outside X, and with help from Dave Alvin (guitar,) Kathleen Edwards, Jill Sobule, Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Greg Leisz and Aimee Mann, has probably his most focused solo album yet. The duet “The Golden State” (with Edwards) is a soulful highlight here, a song that’s so good it’s likely to define his solo career. While he turns up the amps a bit more (“Hotel Ghost,” “Unforgiven” – w/ Mann) there a lot of songs that Nashville should love (“A Little More Time,”) instead of the sorry lot that passes for country music these days.
More going (or already in) the Sansa
Scissors for Lefty – Underhanded Romance
Joan as Police Woman – Real Life
Datarock, Datarock Datarock (Free album stream from AOL)
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (Reissue) (Free album stream from AOL)
Porter Wagoner – Wagonmaster
Nada Surf – Karmic
Abra Moore – On the Way