Music

Watching the new episode of The Shop on HBO and I was today years old when I discovered Jay-Z wrote “Still D.R.E.”. 🎶

🔗 Seattle’s Long Lost Punk Record

Before Seattle’s Duff McKagan went on to become the bassist for Guns N’ Roses and before Mother Love Bone started influencing the city’s grunge sound, there was The Living.

I’ll give this a listen tonight, but I’m loving the animated cover art on Apple Music for Royal Blood’s new album.

I keep forgetting Shock G produced much of 2Pac’s Me Against the World album. I keep thinking it was all Easy Mo Bee, but Shock has production credits on about half the songs. #RIPShockG

I loved “Humpty Dance” and “Doowutchyalike” like many. “Oregano Flow” is my favorite Digital Underground joint though. It features Shock G beautifully without reverting to Humpty.

RIP Shock G! Huge Digital Underground fan here. Peace and humptiness forever.

Ben Gibbard talks “Black Sun” and having his own line of custom Fender guitars

Since the late 1990s, Ben Gibbard has been a prominent voice in indie rock as singer-songwriter for the platinum-selling band Death Cab for Cutie. The Ben Gibbard Mustang brings his melodic style to the stage with a modified ‘70s Mustang, featuring a chambered ash body, a 3-way rotary pickup selector switch and a rock-solid hardtail bridge. Watch Ben dive into his songwriting process using his Signature Mustang in our latest episode of Tracks.

For more info on the Ben Gibbard Mustang: fender.com/ben-gibba…

🎧 Listening to Keep It Like a Secret by Built to Spill

🎧Listening to The Blue - EP by Death Cab for Cutie

The lost art of deep listening

Randall Roberts, writing for Los Angeles Times:

But most of us are half-assed when it comes to listening to albums. We put on artists’ work while we’re scrolling through Twitter, disinfecting doorknobs, obsessively washing our hands or romancing lovers permitted within our COVID-free zones. We rip our favorite tracks from their natural long-player habitat, drop them into playlists and forget the other songs, despite their being sequenced to be heard in order.

I previously mentioned listening to just one album in this manner. Three would definitely be a full on exercise.

Randall also mentions one of my favorite albums:

In 2006, the Staten Island rapper Ghostface Killah, best known as a founding member of Wu-Tang Clan, issued his fifth studio album. It’s about wine’s evil cousin, cocaine. Called “Fishscale,” the album is an hourlong, Tarantino-style action-adventure film, and one of three albums I programmed for a recent night with music.

After a cuss-heavy intro, “Fishscale” commences with “Shakey Dog,” a cinematic punch akin to a car chase opening an action movie. We’re with Starks on the way to a robbery. He’s in the backseat eating fish and dipping French fries into ketchup. He drops tartar sauce on his shoe, a portent that the advancing plot might not go as planned. By the end of the song, nearly a dozen people are dead and a bullet has grazed our hero’s ear.

I’ve always felt “Shakey Dog” should get the short film treatment, because that’s exactly what it is. Just that track alone. And there’s still a whole album ahead of it.

But, I feel like one of the only people on Earth who knows about the glory of Fishscale. I listened to this album back when I used to listen to albums more. I would pickup something new, listen to it track by track, and score every song from one through five stars. I distinctly remember Run the Jewels’ first album getting fives across the board. I miss doing this.

No, I Am Not Getting Rid of My Thousands of CDs

Anthony Tommasini, writing for The New York Times:

Most of these recordings are available online. But not organized in volumes like archival documents, with extensive notes, essays and information.

I too still have many of the CDs I’ve collected over the years. I even have prized possessions within those. That said, I can’t say I’ve pulled them out in quite some time. As I speak, I don’t currently have any piece of equipment out to listen to them on. Still, I don’t see myself giving them up. There’s things about CDs (or LPs) that make it worthwhile to me. The photos within the liner notes and even the liner notes themselves. I like reading through the liner notes of each album by The Roots, as Questlove always tells backstories within them.

There is something to be said about listening to albums in their entirety. Many albums are meant to be heard from front to back. Each of Kendrick Lamar’s past few albums have been concept albums, for example. Even if it’s not a concept album, the artist and producers often have a reason for why songs are ordered the way they are. I feel like I need to get back to this.

An idea bouncing around in my head is to listen to an album a day. This is where I sit down, but headphones on, and just listen to an album from front to back uninterrupted. I’m not saying I’ll do this every day, because life is life and I’m not trying to put pressure on myself like that. But, I like this concept. I’m up for suggestions.

Listening to: Lo Tom - LP2

It’s a bit brief (only 25 minutes), but this eight track project from members of Pedro the Lion & Starflyer 59 hits hard. David Bazan’s lyrics are introspective & thought provoking as usual.

“I may be covered in cat hair, but I still smell good.”
Thundercat

I found my new theme song.

D’Angelo's Masterpiece 'Voodoo' Laid Out the Blueprint for a New Masculinity

Luis Minvielle, writing for Okayplayer:

D’Angelo was able to create this state of expression, of inclusive intimacy and universal love, by embracing his own femininity, and embracing what’s feminine in soul music. The liner notes are exact: “If we are to exist as men in this new world many of us must learn to embrace and nurture that which is feminine with all of our hearts.”

Voodoo is still one of my favorite albums to date. Its expression of love in its deepest and most intricate ways with a soundtrack which captures the mood beautifully are what keep me coming back to it. It’s deep, but not inaccessibly deep.