Baltimore’s Videohippos got our attention last year with the release of their hip-shakin’ Monitor Records‘ debut, Unbeast the Leash. Filled with driving beats and fuzzy 8-bit sounds not unlike those of their Wham City compadre Dan Deacon, Unbeast can be described kind of as a roller coaster ride through space.
The duo has been far from inactive since the Monitor release – touring, touring, and making a little documentary about… you guessed it, touring. But especially exciting is the fact that they’ll be back in their hood (and ours) this week, supporting LA Smell-collective party-starters HEALTH. Thanks to The Tripwire for the news.
Friday night brings the bands to New York’s Knitting Factory, where they’ll be joined by Dirty Projectors’ Angel Deradoorian, and Monday finds them back in Baltimore at monolithic venue Sonar. If you’re in either area, check ’em out, but make sure you’re ready to dance!
Jack Allsopp found solace in hip hop and house music during the days of his youth in North London. Now as an artist with the modest pseudonym Just Jack, his rhythmic vocals lay down catchy melodies over pop-funk dance beats that’ll satiate your electro-inclined taste buds. Jack’s rap delivery is also distinctly British sounding, similar to Mike Skinner from The Streets, especially on such tracks as “Glory Days,” where his calm reflection rides comfortably over a Stevie-worthy beat.
Even with such mainstream success as grabbing number two on the UK Singles Chart for “Starz In Their Eyes” and collaborating with Kylie Minogue on “I Talk Too Much,” Jack’s groove-inducing jams don’t lack on the side of lyrical substance. The weight of Just Jack’s newest album, Overtones, wasn’t lost on Benjamin Squires at Music Spectrum either. In fact, Ben’s found that “there’s a way to outline a whole adult Bible study based on each track of Overtones.” It’s a rare gem to find so much room for reflection with such danceable music.
Various Artists Serve3: Artists Against Hunger & Poverty / Hard Rock International & The Orchard / BUY
‘Tis certainly the season for political discourse. Yet regardless of party affiliation or political creed, there is one belief for which we can all reach across the aisle: no one should have to go hungry. This ideology has fueled the anti-hunger organization World Hunger Year (WHY) since its founding in 1975 by revered singer/songwriter Harry Chapin and New York radio personality Bill Ayres. Along the way, WHY has garnered fervent support from musicians both legend and nascent, from Grammy winners to underground heroes, including rockers, rappers, crooners and everything in between.
Hard Rock International, living up to its decades-old motto of “Love All, Serve All” has partnered with WHY for the third annual installment of the Serve benefit series, appropriately titled Serve3. My Morning Jacket, Joss Stone, the Boss, Starsailor, Avril Lavigne and many more lend their voices and songs to this star-studded compilation featuring rare, remixed, or previously unreleased material. The notable rarity exception: John Lennon’s masterpiece “Give Peace A Chance” is included courtesy of Yoko Ono, who succinctly sums up WHY’s mission: “Let’s all work together to make a world without hunger as soon as humanly possible.” Now there’s a sentiment we can all vote for!
As the political campaigns on both sides of the fence beat their drums louder, election day draws nearer and we find the time to make a decision upon us. It has already been a historical campaign thus far – with a female up for Vice President on one side, and an African American leading the Presidential polls on the other. Tensions are high as people strengthen their opinions and passions boil to a fervor. It is in such a heated political climate that great music has been produced in the past, and the 2008 election is no different. We’ve put together some of our favorite tracks to soundtrack this year’s election day.
Mr. Lif – I Heard It Today
First in a series of political singles recorded in anticipation of the 2008 presidential election by acclaimed Boston/Philly MC. Mr. Lif reaches out to build awareness on current political issues and agendas for not only Americans, but for the entire global community. Since he is releasing a new single every few weeks as part of this ambitious project, he is able to react to and comment on immediate topics.
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – This Land Is Your Land
The funk revivalist and soul sensation that captured our hearts with such tracks as “100 days, 100 nights” and “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” brings us another timeless favorite with her rendition of the Woody Guthrie classic. Ms. Jones plays “high-fiber soul that recalls the best of the JBs and The Meters. Nary a gutbucket beat, horn blast, or chicken-scratched and honeycombed guitar riff are wasted.” [Pitchfork]
Bono and the Soweto Gospel Choir – One
U2’s world famous Bono pairs up with this internationally acclaimed 26-member vocal ensemble. The Soweto Gospel Choir earned an American Gospel Music Award for “Best Choir” and a Gospel Music Award for “Best International Choir.” The choir’s debut Voices From Heaven went to number one on Billboard’s World Music chart, while their second and third albums Blessed and African Spirit won them the Grammys for “Best Traditional World Music Album” two years in a row.
Sunnyland Slim – Be Careful How You Vote
This remastered reissue from Sunnyland’s own Airway label features blazing guitar solos behind his deep vocals and rolling piano. Mr. Slim uses his famous Chicago blues style to both inspire and motivate us. Even though this song was written long ago, the core message is timeless and still rings true today.
Syracuse indie pop troupe Ra Ra Riot recently played a show to tons of eager LA fans at Sunset Blvd’s The Echo. Mania TV’s At The Show was lucky enough to snag some footage of the band in action. You can take a look at all four episode’s at Mania TV’s website where you’ll find performances of “Each Year”, “A Manner To Act”, “Can You Tell”, and “Dying Is Fine”. And, of course, after their stellar performance, At the Show host Brendon got a chance to hang out with the band for a little chit chat and tomfoolery. The result? He took two Ra Ra representatives to a swealtering video store to peruse movies about Michael Moore stalkers, shy people, and sky pirates. Yes, sky pirates…