Jay Electronica Channels Biggie Smalls

jayelectronica

If you’ve read a music magazine any time in the last two years, you’re probably aware that Drake is the hottest new rapper in the game right now.  If you’ve read a music blog any time in that period, you may also be aware that the man pictured above, the elusive Jay Electronica, is the hottest new emcee in the game, and depending on who you ask, he just might be the savior of hip-hop.

You can read about his curious methods on Wikipedia, but here’s a few key details.  He’s from New Orleans.  He likes to rap over movie scores.  He’s released most of his material via posts in random web forums and his mysteriously disappearing and reappearing MySpace and Twitter accounts.    He just had a baby with Erykah Badu.  He has produced for and toured with Nas.  There is intense speculation as to when, if ever, he will release a proper debut album.  And oh yeah, he can rap his ass off.

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Pavement Reunion, or Malkmus is God

Pavement

Malkmus is God.

With all due respect to Clapton and Lemmy, it’s 2010 and bluesy guitar rock and speed metal aren’t exactly in vogue. Meanwhile, indie rock, if we can even call it that anymore, is the hottest thing on the interwebs since LOLcats, and men’s v-neck t-shirts are so ubiquitous that hipsters have replaced hippies as everyone’s favorite “dirty” target of derision. Which is ironic since Gen X, the definitively indie generation, hated Deadheads almost as much as they hated hair metal and loved grunge. And they really loved their grunge. At least until it got co-opted by all the wrong people, then they turned to their savior – the almighty Pavement! The indie-est of the indie.

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A Thin Line Between MGMT and Hate

MGMT - Congratulations

The above image is the cover art for Congratulations, the new MGMT album due in stores on April 13th.  If you pre-order now you can get a limited edition CD or vinyl with a “scratch off front cover” and “custom metal coin.”  I’m not kidding.  As for a first single, the group said in a recent interview with NME that they’d prefer not to release any from the album, because they’d “rather have people hear the whole album as an album.”  We’ll see how Sony/Columbia feels about that.  In a year that has already seen new discs from Spoon and Vampire Weekend, and will include new offerings from LCD Soundsystem, and possibly even The Strokes, this new MGMT disc might still be considered the most heavily anticipated release.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Animal Collective

Animal Collective

The web has been inundated with Best of 2009 lists the last few weeks, and before that, we got previews of these lists from the placement of 2009’s music on Best of the Decade lists, which have been coming out steadily since October.  And now finally, over the next few weeks, the print editions of the End of Year issues from Spin, Rolling Stone and other music and entertainment publications will be hitting newsstands and a lot of people will be seeing these lists for the first time.  Undoubtedly, Merriweather Post Pavilion by noise rockers Animal Collective, probably the most critically acclaimed album of the year, will be very near the top, if not #1, on most of these lists.  But with nothing remotely close to a hit single in their repertoire, many will wonder, who this band is or what their music sounds like.  So now, without further ado, I present… the beginner’s guide to the musical stylings of Animal Collective.

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Vampire Weekend 2 – The Sequel

vampire-weekend-horchata

Vampire Weekend’s self titled debut was one of the finest albums of 2008, and was even recently crowned the 51st best album of the decade by Pitchfork. This was all well deserved in my opinion, Vampire Weekend was solid from start to finish (give it a listen below), included four great singles (“Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” “Oxford Comma,” “A Punk,” and “Mansard Roof”), and had a very new and distinct sound (the band calls it Upper Westside Soweto) that heavily incorporated African rhythms. The band also stood out of the pack with their Ivy League beginnings and preppy attire to match (Alice Cooper called them pussies). Without comparing the two musically, it is a bit reminiscent of the arrival of Weezer with the Blue Album.

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