The problem with being recognized as a creative genius is that you've got to live up to it 24/7. Kool Keith was given such a mantle upon the release of the Dr. Octagonecologist album, and it's not something he seems happy about: on the first track of First Come, First Served, he--as Dr. Dooom--kills Octagon. It's the perfect move for Keith, and it sets the tone for the album, which is a mix of humorous tracks ("Neighbors Next Door," which asks you to imagine having Keith and Jacky Jasper living in the next apartment, and "You Live at Home with Your Mom") and songs on which Keith lays down the law ("No Chorus" and "Leave Me Alone"). Few MCs could hope to match Keith, but here--rapping over knocked-off Octagon grooves (produced with Kutmaster Kurt, they're still more innovative than most) and settling lots of personal scores--he sounds like he's just trying to get a bunch of ideas out of his head as quickly as possible. Still, there's an amazing EP's worth of material here, but it's spread over a full album. Minus the filler, Dooom might just be Octagon's better. --Randy Silver
KutMasta Kurt Digs deep into his archives to put together this compelling 6 track EP of previously unreleased recordings he and Keith recorded in 1996-1997. This Post Sex Style and Pre Dr. Dooom material helps further illustrate why they are one of Hip-Hop's favorite collaborators from the 90’s and beyond. Only 100 tapes pressed. 50 with Blue and 50 with Yellow colored shells.
Limited to 300. Over the past years Dave Dar has come from behind the boards & has been making an imprint as an Artist & an MC. As one half of the Bamboo Bros with his partner Kurious they released American Jibaro in 2011. Dave continued collaborating on projects with the likes of Blu , Kool Keith , AG & many others. As an essential part of the LUVNY Collective & the Red Apples 45 movement his time has come full circle. ‘The Sun Don’t Chill’ is his first solo effort entirely produced by Ray West & features Prince Po, Percee P and Red Apples’ own AG . Released on 7 inch black vinyl, contains 4 full songs plus 1 interlude.
On In Mind, the fourth full-length record from Real Estate, the band fine-tunes the winsome songwriting and profound earnestness that made previous albums—2009’s Real Estate, 2011’s Days, and 2014’s Atlas—so beloved and pushes the sonic terrain of their songs in a variety of compelling new directions. Written primarily by guitarist and vocalist Martin Courtney at his home in Beacon, NY, In Mind offers a mild shifting of the gears, positing a band engaged in the push/pull of burgeoning adulthood. Reflecting a change in lineup, changes in geography, and a general desire to move forward without looking back, the record casts the band in a new light —one that replaces the wistful ennui of teenage suburbia with an equally complicated adult version. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Cole M.G.N. (Julia Holter, Beck), the eleven tracks on In Mind deliver the same kind of warmth and soft-focus narratives that one has come to expect from the band—pastoral guitars, elegantly deployed arrangements, a sort of mindful melancholy—but there is also a newly adventurous sonic edge to the proceedings. Album opener—the ebullient pop number “Darling”—announces itself with a wash of synth tones rather than guitars. The band’s predilection for crafting airtight pop songs remains in full-effect here, with songs like “Stained Glass” and “Same Sun” occupying the same kind of rarefied universe as fan favorites like “Talking Backwards” or “It’s Real.” Glittering pop moments aside, the record’s most stunning moments are arguably its most restrained— “After the Moon” unspools in waltz-like fashion, while album closer “Saturday” offers In Mind’s most pointed take on moving beyond the fascinations of youth: ‘When a stranger is living in your old house / What does where you were born still say about you? / It’d be best to jettison what you can’t redo.’ Perhaps more than on any other Real Estate record, the lyrics on In Mind seem to reflect a struggle between youth and adulthood, the desire for escapism balanced against the increasing demands of responsibility. (‘There’s no place I would rather be right now,’ sings Courtney on “Stained Glass”, ‘I’d love to never leave but I just don’t know how.’) “I feel like it takes touring a record for a few months and playing the songs over and over for me to really start understanding my own lyrics,” says Courtney, “but so much of this record feels like it has to do with my concerns about taking care of my family.” The songs on In Mind reflect a kind of quiet ambition on the part of the band. A desire not to reinvent themselves, but rather to just be the best version of themselves that they can be. “We do want to grow and explore new territory and use the studio in a different way,” says Bleeker, “We didn’t want to change anything arbitrarily, but it felt good to reach out into some more exploratory space while still holding on to what makes us Real Estate in the first place.”
Limited to 300 copies. Alpha Pup Records announces the release of MAST’s second full length album Love and War_. Love and War_ is a highly conceptual and deeply personal new work based on jazz trained multi-instrumentalist MAST aka Tim Conley’s eventful love life over the last 2 years. Set up as a three Act Play structure (traditionally the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution) Love and War_ is 17 intense and unique compositions each flowing into the next with recurring musical themes or “characters.” Conley tells the story of (Act 1) finding love and the beauty and naivety that comes with exploring something new; (Act 2) losing that love due to her substance abuse, deception and Conley coping in unhealthy ways; (Act 3) learning to let go, heal and ultimately find a much deeper lasting love. The tone Conley sets is sometimes sarcastic, other times vulnerable and intimate, yet always musically intense and profoundly visual. Sonically, Love and War_ is mostly instrumental compositions consisting of rousing electronic elements perfectly intertwined with live guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. It’s performed and produced by Conley, along with some of the world’s leading Instrumentalists and vocalists. Keyboardist / producer Taylor McFerrin appears hot off the release of his latest on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label. Both LA transplants, Conley and McFerrin have been friends and musical acquaintances for over 10 years since their time in NYC and Philly during the early 2000s. Composing and creating Love and War_ was an efficacious way for Conley to heal and grow but he was very reluctant to share such a personal story so transparently. Through this vulnerability, he hopes that whatever anyone else’s Love and War_ story happens to be, to learn their own life lessons, find the humor in it and always trust in the most optimistic outcome.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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