After one hell of a year, things are starting to slow down in the music scene, no matter what Coldplay or Beck are up to these days. Yeah, every month something big from someone you've been hearing about over and over again -- how many albums does Christina Aguilera have anyway? -- hits the stores and, yeah, maybe you should buy some of them. But the RIAA aren't suing the bejeezus out of peer--to-peer file-sharing networks and independent braodcasters for no reason at all. They know perfectly well that while there may be a truckload of discs released each month, there are only a few deserving of your hard-earned money. Here's some of them.
Apples in Stereo
Velocity of Sound
But, hey, it's Thanksgiving, right? It's a holiday
so forget all the depression and drug crap -- put on the Apples in Stereo and
feel that good vibe flow like you know it can. Once a proud member of the lo-fi
collective known as Elephant 6 (along with Neutral Milk Hotel and the Olivia
Tremor Control), the Apples are today's version of the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd,
Sonic Youth and all things in between. Which means that Velocity of Sound is
literally an album for everyone. Shot through with hook-filled tunes featuring
addictive guitar, retro soundwork and a lyrical snarl not seen since the Dandy
Warhols, the Apples' newest release will leave them vulnerable to the type of
adoration laid at the feet of flash-in-the-pans like The Strokes, The Hives
and whoever else is in heavy rotation on MTV these days. Pick it up now and
say you were there when.
Power in Numbers
Think rap, and what do you see? Bling-bling wannabes with ghetto fabulous chicks in tow, partying it up in some South Beach mansion. That is, until the video is over, at which point they all go home to their broken-down apartments to manufacture their next image. Now think hip-hop. What do you see? The same as rap? That's where L.A.'s Jurassic 5, and their newest release, comes in. If you're tired of the same old boring beat music, hitch a ride to J5's old-school comet tail. Full of hard-hitting, pitch-perfect poetry from Marc 7even, Chali 2Na, Zaakir and Akil and ear-busting production from two of the finest scratch-masters in the biz, Cut Chemist and Numark, Power in Numbers is J5's clarion call to a new multicultural day minus the money-grubbing drama. But just don't buy the clean version -- J5's politics are rough and rugged, and deserve to be blasted in their uncompromising purity. So burn your Puff Daddy (or whatever he's calling himself these days) discs and keep it real without keeping it real dumb.
Sly and the Family Stone
The Essential Sly and the Family Stone
One of the most egregious crimes ever committed
in the annals of music history occurred when the brilliant Sly Stone destroyed
the immeasurable legacy of his synergistic songcraft for the cheap thrills of
drug and alcohol addiction. Without Sly, there would be no hip-hop, little interesting
about Lenny Kravitz, and a gaping hole in funk's prodigious output. So while
that particular dream is over, there's nothing wrong with trying to stretch
it out a bit further by cramming as many of Sly's positivist philosophies into
one release as you can. Featuring some of the group's most compelling tunes,
such as "You Can Make It If You Try", "Don't Call Me Nigger,
Whitey", and "Just Like a Baby", this compilation takes the eager
listener on a journey through The Star's light and dark periods, because it
knows you can't have one without the other. But look for that journey to end
on a down note, because when it's over, you'll realize how much you miss uplifting,
honest music that fills out every corner of your soul. And Sly.
For more "Must Have CD's" click here to view back issues.
Visit Scott at www.Morphizm.com
© Melt Magazine 2002