The first time I heard it was in Peru. The pea-colored haze of la garúa the fog of polluted drizzle that swallows Lima fell about the airport as I waited in line for my preflight pat-down last spring. Suddenly, a fake-Baped tweener cut to the front, blaring a bootleg Kanye MP3 on his dinky Motorola cell. Poor Ms. West sounded like she'd been graduated into a bigger, stronger, faster chipmunk. Read more »
Beeda Weeda, "(I Rep Oakland) I Don't Rep the Bay"
It was a strange year for my long-running obsession, Bay Area rap. After two years of steady building, the scene reached a plateau in 2007, for various reasons. On the one hand, many of the hottest acts from OGs San Quinn and E-40 to youngsters J-Stalin and Beeda Weeda dropped discs in '06 and have spent this year prepping follow-ups. Read more »
I've been slowly falling out of love with pop in 2007. The ambulance-chasing addictions of the late George W. Bush era are sick. But I've been slowly falling more and more in love with Keyshia Cole.
Not only is Cole the only pop star I care about, but she's also an Oakland-raised inspiration. Not only am I kinda crushed out on her, but I've also been looking to her as an example of how to live better. Read more »
Judging from the hoo-ha on the message boards and the late-blooming stories coursing through the mainstream media, this may have been the year the music industry business model truly broke. Read more »
I meet B-Legit in Concord for lunch at the Elephant Bar, an appropriately massive venue for a rapper of his stature and talents. With three albums by the Click a group including his cousins E-40, D-Shot, and Suga T and five solos under his belt, B-La hardly needs an introduction. Along with Too $hort, the Click started the Bay's independent hip-hop scene, beginning with their 1989 12-inch under the name MVP. Read more »
Take it from me: with our purist hearts and crate-digging proclivities, we true-blue soul believers and bright-eyed funk freaks tend to be a pretty devoted lot, but Brooklyn Stax-Motown revivalists Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings inspire a level of commitment that would make even Dr. Phil blush. A friend of mine loves to tell me about the time she spent her last $15 to get into their show in Austin, Texas. There she was, penniless, thirsty, and without a paycheck in sight for another week, and none of it mattered. Read more »
Did Ian Hunter kill rock for Cleveland? Growing up in that blue-collared grime zone of fiery rivers and industrial blur, I never saw much rock rolling through my old haunt, and I never really understood what drove the former Mott the Hoople frontman to patronize us with "Cleveland Rocks" and provide my hometown with a surefire anthem for our flawed sports teams. While the city does get cited for a lot of proto-punk activity (the Electric Eels, Rocket from the Tombs), its influence on the rock world abruptly screeches to a halt there. Read more »
Question: What's the biggest annoyance at rock shows?
Guardian calendar editor Duncan Scott Davidson answers: Loudmouths. Hecklers are usually silenced quickly enough, but it's the person who thinks his or her banal conversation is more important than the band that drives me apeshit. A few months ago at 12 Galaxies, some guy behind me talked through 16 Horsepower's set. I guess he thought he'd score underground cultural cred by asking his date to see a random band she'd never heard of. Read more »
"I was just on the Farne Islands, off the northeast coast of England, near where I live, and at this time of the year they are covered with Atlantic gray seals that have come to birth their pups," environmental sound recorder and musician Chris Watson explains, recounting his latest field trip over a shaky Skype connection. "There are whole communities of female seals that sing and have these beautiful haunting voices. It's sort of this siren voice. Read more »