Thursday, August 17, 2006
Bay Area Heat - I Got My Vans On
The Pack, "Vans"
The Pack, "Fight Fair"
DJ Shadow (feat. Keak Da Sneak and Turf Talk), "3 Freaks"
I said that I would try to make this a weekly feature, Bay Area heaters, still tryna hold to that. This is a strange one, however, as these are not two songs I would hold up as examples of the new sound coming from that region. "Vans" sounds made for a snap rap set, sinister minimalist music, crazy raps about goofy shit. "3 Freaks" comes from DJ Shadow's next album, Outsider, and while it's interesting that he is doing his take on the music, he's got to be considered an interloper.
Whatever, I love "Vans," totally love the throbbing bass, whispering background voices and cymbals. Plus, Vans deserve their own theme song, as they should get way more love from people; clean, simple kicks that don't cost you an arm and a leg to cop. Plus, have you seen the shit that Nike has been putting out lately? For real, give this song a chance, as I know that everyone has heard the story how these guys got heard on myspace and everything leads a person to believe that this is a novelty. It doesn't sound like one to me; this works just fine for me, as does the even scarier sounding "Fight Fair." Again, this doesn't sound like go dumb shit to me, but maybe I'm wrong. Listen to that Halloween piano sound, great stuff.
DJ Shadow doesn't come off as much of a carpetbagger, bringing in heavyweights Keak Da Sneak and Turf Talk to rhyme over his production. The song sounds siiiiiiccccckkk, lots of scratching and odd percussion, an almost Eastern feel at times. However, Keak and Turf make this a real winner, as they both bring great verses and energy to the song. I've never been a real huge fan of Shadow, as his music always leaves me cold. It's like the dudes who are amazing on the instrument and do all kinds of accomplished shit, but in the end it feels like an academic excercise. It's the same with Shadow, who is clearly talented. I feel like rappers bring out the best in him, like the whole Quannum jawn, and make him more interesting to my ears. Keak and Turf are far more interesting than any of the rappers associated with the Quannum project; I only hope that this isn't the last we hear of something like this.
-Great article by Fred Kaplan at Slate on how out of control the Pentagon's budget has gotten. It's frightening to consider that the military will be spending $530 billion in the next decade, not including the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan missions! I don't have one of those The Military Should Be Throwing Bake Sales bumper stickers, but this is ridiculous. Think of how a fraction of that money could go to international aid to fight AIDS, combat poverty and disease in the Third World, in essence fight the conditions that cause terrorism.
-I was at Tower on Broad Street today, buying my one millionth pair of headphones. While there, I noticed that nearly the entire Bob Dylan catalogue is on sale. I'm talking all of the bootleg volumes (1-3 boxed set $33, 4-7 $17), albums cheaper. Not sure if this is going on at all Towers around the country, but it's worth a look to see if you can finish your collection or get started with some of the classics (Blood On The Tracks, Blonde On Blonde, Highway 61 Revisited).