Well I know karate, and voodoo too!

Everyone knows Tom Waits is one of those totally essential artists. You know, the ones your older brother or your first serious boyfriend/girlfriend constantly sung the praises of, reminding you that you *have to* listen. Often these artists slip by without due attention in a mixture of defiance and incredulity – how could anything be truly essential? This is a case of those people being right. And only those who have delved into his somewhat vast discography know why. Here’s exhibit A in the argument as to what the big deal is.

tomwaits-bonemachine

This album has been oft-described as sounding as if it were recorded in a cave – a distinct feeling evoked by the creaking, shambling, darker-than-ink atmosphere of which both the primal songwriting and spare production share credit. That statement may give the impression of some Albini-tinged grindingly rough sound, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Despite its medieval surgical title and tough-as-nails demeanor, Bone Machine has a tender, wounded heart at its center. The defiant, rabble-rousing spirit which marshals this ramshackle train of songs may be the only true constant, but what a binding glue it is: no matter the dour subject matter (environmental destruction, murder, etc) this measure of well-earned cocksure aggression ensures a fun, heady time.

If you’ve ever been put off by Wait’s vaudeville tendencies in the past, simply do your best at an attempt to keep those prejudices at bay and allow yourself to take in this dirty, clanging masterpiece of a primal rock juggernaut. This woozy, dark-humored beast will jab your soul through the ribs. You won’t be able to shake it after a full listen. So please, just take a taste of that feel.

[purchase this exquisite album at Amazon or CD Universe]

Dimlite – This Is Embracing

So I’ve been on somewhat of an instrumental hip-hop kick this year, and Dimlite has been one of the unequivocal gems I’ve discovered. He is Swiss producer extraordinaire, Dimitri Grimm. And here’s a little blurb I found on the label website: “During the week that he was allowed to toy around with this first piece of real gear, he filled a whole tape with all kinds of circling noises and atmospheres with the purpose to make «music to smoke to».” I Like how they put it.

dimlite-thisisembracing

This Is Embracing is one of those albums which may seem cold and distant at first blush, but, as always with these things, is anything but. It is a dubbed- and psyched-out jazz-inflected hip-hop diamond awaiting discovery.

Although placed in the running with current heavyweights like Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, or Samiyam, this album (in my opinion) aspires more to the smoky intellectual, jazzy majesty of a DJ Spooky LP like Optometry or Songs of a Dead Dreamer.

And to be perfectly (and possibly sacreligously) honest, although I wouldn’t place it on the same level, this LP reminds me of a certain DJ Shadow masterpiece. That’s right, Endtroducing… It’s not that I’m comparing the two, but as a reference point, this fits the bill. If you’re into the sound of that now-classic masterpiece of sampling savvy and instrumental finesse, you’re almost certain to enjoy Dimlite‘s creation.

There really isn’t much more I could say at this moment. Sure, I could go on and detail every track but this is one of those albums made for listening all the way through. A track-by-track breakdown is beside the point with music like this. Get brave.  Dive in. Now Walk.

[purchase this at Sonar Kollektiv (label) or Amazon]

My Desert Island

avalanches-SILY

Since this is the first post on my blog, I feel the need to share one of the truly essential albums in my life. Since I Left You, by The Avalanches.

Continue reading