Dizzee Rascal tours U.S. with El-P, Busdriver


Fresh on the heels of the Bun B-assisted lead single “Where Da G’s,” the third full-length from English MC Dizzee Rascal has finally taken its stateside bow. Released on April 29th via Definitive Jux, Maths + English, finds the UK phenom at the top of his game. Waving the Union Jack and Stars and Bars with equal pride, Dizzee invited guests from both sides of the pond to add their talents to his genre-defying concoction of crunk, drum and bass, classic old school rap and grime. In addition to the aforementioned UGK cameo, British hitmakers, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and Lily Allen also lend their vocals to the proceedings. The freshly-released album includes several bonus tracks (both digitally and physically) not originally available on the UK version, in addition to tracks exclusive to iTunes, eMusic, and Amazon’s digital store.

Later this month, Dizzee embarks on a North American tour with labelmate El-P (whose recently-launched blog, Bastards Delight, is definitely worth checking out). Chicago spitsmiths Kidz in the Hall will join the Def Jux duo for dates in New York and Philly, while LA-based Busdriver will tag along through the Minneapolis date. And, of course, last but not least, still rolling on the wild success of None Shall Pass, Def Jux mainstay Aesop Rock will take the stage at Webster Hall in NYC and at the 1015 in San Francisco.

Music and dates after the jump…

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Trash Titans Conquer All, MTV Included


Metallica, Schmatallica.

Though I’d sell my soul to hear Kill Em All for the first time again, James Hetfield and that failed Danish tennis prodigy he calls a drummer get more credit than they deserve for the whole Bay Area Thrash boon of the 80s. I’ll attribute the overstatements and hubris to narrative-padding or well-meaning revisionism. Considering how arena-sized Metallica’s pock-marked grilles would go on to become (peep this video for stats, egos, etc.), it’s tough to believe they didn’t invent THE GUITAR ITSELF, RIGHT?????

But back when Exodus, Death Angel, and the rest of the longhairs were rubbing elbows and shot-gunning beers with Cliff Burton (R.I.P., thanks for “Anesthesia,” dude), the Bay seemed filled with bands contributing equally to the creation of this new, frantic brand of metal. Granted, I wasn’t there, or even born yet. But all the member-swapping, shared bills, and production hook ups (ex: Kirk Hammet founded Exodus, and recorded Death Angel’s first record), suggests more of a communal sitch than the Metallica-Lords-Over-The-Bay plotline VH1 Behind The Music likes to spew.

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Small Sails On A Vodka Advert


Portland, OR post-electronic / film-making collective Small Sails can currently be heard in a new Absolut Vodka commercial. “Somnambulist,” the opening track from their 2006 album Similar Anniversaries [Other Electricities], was chosen by the Swedish vodka brand for a TV spot that began airing in the UK on May 10th and will soon be appearing in the US as well.

Watch it here.

You can also check out the original video for the song, which was directed by band member Ryan Jeffery.

The New Yorker’s “100 Essential Jazz Albums”


When I was in high school, I only owned a handful of jazz CDs. One was a discount “intro to jazz” sampler called Columbia Jazz Masterpieces that lumped together Miles, Armstrong, Holiday, etc. It was like an “intro to rock” sampler that goes from “Johnny B. Goode” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

I loved it.

This week, The New Yorker posted its 100 Essential Jazz Albums. It’s like a grown-ass version of my Columbia comp. Now I can compare notes with my own grown-ass collection and dive into juicy classics I haven’t fully explored, including these vintage Orchard-distributed sets (hubba hubba):

1. Fats Waller, “Handful of Keys”
(Proper, 2004; tracks recorded 1922-43).

9. Django Reinhardt, “The Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order”
(JSP, 2000; tracks recorded 1934-39).

17. Coleman Hawkins, “The Essential Sides Remastered, 1929-39” (JSP, 2006).

27. Chick Webb, “Stomping at the Savoy”
(Proper, 2006; tracks recorded 1931-39).

30. James P. Johnson, “The Original James P. Johnson: 1942-1945 Piano Solos” (Smithsonian Folkways, 1996).

Bears Scheduled To Play New American Music Festival


Cleveland’s indie popsters Bears will play the inaugural edition of the New American Music Festival which will be taking place on August 8th and 9th in Pittsburgh, PA. The full line-up, which was curated by Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, also includes The Raconteurs, Gnarls Barkley, The Roots, Spoon, The Black Keys, and headliners Bob Dylan & His Band.

Bears will release their first single “Who Knows” on May 20 via IMPOSE Records.