It’s been over a year since the last time I did one of these? Really?
Quasimoto -- The Unseen. Quasimoto is a collaboration between hip-hop producer Madlib and his alter ego Lord Quas. It’s got a strong stoner vibe, heavy on odd/kitschy spoken-word samples, smart and funny lyrics and smooth jazzy beats. It’s not far from Madlib’s other project, MF-Doom, which I’ve liked for a while. So, this was a nice discovery.
DJ Spooky -- Songs Of A Dead Dreamer. Spacey, old-school record-spinning stoner hip-hop with lots of fun samples and occasional guest rappers. This and Quasimoto turned up on a few of the best-of lists I found when I was searching for ‘alternative’ hip-hop / turntablists.
Fiona Apple -- Fetch The Bolt Cutters. I’m finding this much tougher to get into than her previous stuff. I think I need to sit down and really listen, because it’s just not grabbing me. It’s dense. There’s a lot of repetition in the songs, almost mechanical. And when it’s not repeating, it’s taking hard, sharp turns and big leaps. So, a very up-to-date record. But, everything else she’s done I’ve liked, so I’m going to give this some more time.
Tame Impala -- The Slow Rush. Much clubbier than their [his] past records with big beats and thick, lush production. But it’s still got that classic Tame Impala retro psychedelic thing. Good stuff.
The Daisy Age -- Various. This is a compilation of tunes hip-hop groups from the early 90s, most of whom formed a collective called Native Tongues. It was originally centered around NYC groups like the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, etc.. But it eventually included groups from other places, including the UK. They pioneered a jazz-centered, upbeat, playful and positive (and sometimes silly) hip-hop that contrasted strongly with the macho and often violent west-coast ‘gangsta’ rap. The style didn’t last much beyond the mid 90s, but it’s the one that grabbed me.
Seinfeld’s latest stand-up show has a joke about how a man’s casual fashion choices stop keeping up with the times the day he gets married. I got married in 1996.