SURPRISES FROM OUT OF THE BLUE
"So I get this email and it's from this woman who wants me to review her rap CD. I did the right thing. I emailed her back, thanked her, and told her that I lost my love for rap around the time I lost my love for Transformers. To me, the days of Public Enemy and Ice T are sadly gone, and we're left with a bunch of hip hop gangsta jackass corporate sellout cash grab fat guys in a pissing contest. Frankly, it disgusts me to see what was a passionate, political art form chummed up and turned into commercial garbage where the artists are defined by their possessions."
by Jim Martin
COPYRIGHT © 2004, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
It's a funny thing, really. I'm a punk rocker. I front a punk band. I go to metal shows just about weekly. I like it loud, hard, angry, militant, and vile. I couldn't tell you what it is about that sort of music that does anything for me, it's just what touches me. But that said, I'm a long way away from a purist. As a kid, my mom went through getting a degree in music from the local university, and as a result my formative years were swamped with jazz, blues, opera, classical music, and that weird-ass 20th Century stuff where they roll golf balls down piano strings. But I do love my punk rock.
All of the CDs I'm going to review today came to me out of the blue, and all were delightful surprises, so I thought I'd throw the two reviews together, and hopefully inspire you to buy a couple of CDs in the near future.
Dayze - TruthSeeker (more info)
So I get this email and it's from this woman who wants me to review her rap CD. I did the right thing. I emailed her back, thanked her, and told her that I lost my love for rap around the time I lost my love for Transformers. To me, the days of Public Enemy and Ice T are sadly gone, and we're left with a bunch of hip hop gangsta jackass corporate sellout cash grab fat guys in a pissing contest. Frankly, it disgusts me to see what was a passionate, political art form chummed up and turned into commercial garbage where the artists are defined by their possessions.
I figured that was the end of that, but she emailed me back and described to me her CD. She told me it was political. She told me it was thoughtful. She gave me a link. I figured I'd humour her.
And there I sat, learning how to get out of paying my taxes while this beautiful African/British voice rattled around my head. This was exactly the kind of thing I used to love about rap music, and that I didn't even realize how badly I missed.
It really is a great CD. Dayze has a phenomenal presence on it, and the guests (who, because of my knowing sweet fanny adams about the world they work in are all new to me) add a nice flavor to the album. It's everything she promised, featuring songs and skits about topics from so-called history lessons in African classrooms to Big Brother watching us.
So as much as I'm a bad ass punk rock guy, and as much as rap has let me down, I have to say that this album is more than just worth the purchase. It's not every day you find an album with this much venom that is so damned nice to listen to.
Mick Fleetwood - Something Big (more info)
I get home from work and find a CD waiting for me. Giddy, I open it up.
Who in the green twinkly lights of hell is Mick Fleetwood?
Fleetwood... as in Fleetwood Mack?
Where in the hell did I get this from?
It became obvious to me in time (and with queue cards) that this CD came from a group who sometimes sends 3am review materials. I don't remember asking for it, but them's the breaks. So I figured I'd give it a listen.
I was never a fan of Fleetwood Mack. That's not to say I don't like them, frankly I haven't got a clue. They were never really on my radar. I was raised in an envrironment where either you liked the country-esque sound (which I've always associated Fleetwood Mack with) or you didn't. Me? I didn't. Oh sure, there were exceptions to every rule, such as the Crash Test Dummies, but I never paid attention to the Mack.
The album at times reminds me of Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Black and the Catholics, and even Doug and the Slugs. And yet, it's a style all his own. It's definitely a solid, down home rock and roll album with a great groove to it, but there's a lot more happening under the hood, proof that Mick hasn't given up on his self-improvement.
All in all, it's another great album. I wonder what else we got...
Classical Ass - After Lunch We Kill Tony (more info)
Ah, an actual punk rock CD. I'm pretty sure that a long time ago I got a message on GarageBand after reviewing one of their tracks saying they'd like to send me this CD. To be honest, I forgot about it. That works out well, because once again I had no notion of what this was going to be like.
This is probably one of the coolest punk CDs I've heard in a very long time, and I have a fairly sizeable collection of punk stuff. What sets this band apart in my mind is the fact that they actually know how to play their instruments. I mean, I'm a punk rocker. I know that ability isn't really all that high on the list of things one must possess in order to be a decent punk rocker. And yet, here they are with talent oozing out of their pores.
The songs are infectious. My personal favorite is either Crab Racer, which is a song that appears to have had the vocals recorded backwards, though I have yet to sit down and check it out, or Let's Become What We Hate, which echos a lot of my own anti-pop sentiments. It's just a fun, wild CD.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Jim Martin is one of 3AM's Chief Editors. He is also a computer programmer, writer, and fronts the unknown punk band Johnny Incognito.