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I am saddened by the loss of Gang Starr MC, Keith Elam AKA Guru, to a battle with cancer Monday. And while I think that his memory should be for his life’s work, contribution to hip-hop and culture as a whole, I am troubled by the letter that was purported to be his final message to family and fans. If Guru was indeed in a coma since February until his passing, the letter would seem an obvious forgery. There are 5 other points in the letter that I find hard to swallow.
when you ban bands from doing a proper tour to coincide with your expensive festival:
[photo from the balcony by eurekaiv]
Apparently unencumbered by any Coachella-enforced touring restrictions, Pavement played their first U.S. show in 10+ years last night. In Pomona. As much as a pain of a drive that Pomona is, it was actually a pretty awesome fringe L.A. crowd, maybe with the exception of the superfan next to me continually screaming “we missed you” like Spiral Stairs was her younger brother home from college and requesting “Debris Slide” as if knowledge of the relatively obscure b-side was her ticket backstage. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t.
I guess this week hearsay is basically a video site. I think the problem is that I’m a sucker for videos shot with good cameras. And the color, lighting, and editing of this Future Islands show in North Carolina definitely fits that mould. I was aware of Future Islands from the split 7″ they did with Dan Deacon, but “An Apology,” a track from their upcoming album, In Evening Air has me pretty hyped to hear what else they have up their sleeves. Baltimore by way of Chapel Hill; I love the perceived discrepancy between the upbeat dance-pop of the synthesizers and programmed drums (think DNTEL/The Postal Service) against the Sam Herring’s howling voice. Especially when his voice sounds like Jermaine Clement’s snooty sci-fi writer from Gentlemen Broncos. The vocals remind me a bit of fellow Marrylanders, Wilderness, both for the dedication in delivery, and in how the contrast works so well.
This seriously is the anthem of the past year, isn’t it? Aloe Blacc‘s first single from his upcoming album, Good Things, has been floating out there since the beginning of March, but Stones Throw just posted the video. Apparently it is also the theme song for some TV show that a non-TV owner such as myself has no access to.
It’s so refreshing to see a beautifully shot, romantic video of beautiful people that embraces rather than denying what shit relationships can be. The nonlinear pace fits and tells the story well. And I really like the back and forth vocals between singers, Christine Hale and Harris Shper. I’m going to keep checking for The Hoof & The Heel. They have 2 other live session videos for “King Finds Out” and “Tigers” by my friend Elliot of The Fall Trees (who are playing a free show at The Silverlake Lounge on Monday, by the way).
Aquarium Drunkard deserves an assist on this mix… first I guess for putting together a pretty amazing lineup for a post-SXSW festival last weekend, featuring Family Portrait. but he also gets credit for a consistently great blog that I think is one of the best music blogs out there, and easily the most interesting local L.A. one. Don Cavalli was featured recently, and “I’m Going To A River” absolutely floors me. I suppose I could do a “listen if you like” sort of thing for The Black Keys or Muddy Waters, but hopefully if you are even reading this you just listen to the mixes blindly like I’m a cult leader. Don’t make me go there.