Archive for April, 2010
I’ve considered myself a pretty big Cypress Hill fan ever since I first heard ‘Insane in the Brain’ back in 1993. I think I’ve actually picked up each one of their albums up until this newest one that came out last week. I had heard about it a couple months ago but then completely forgot about it until I saw it on the shelf at the store last night. So, I just downloaded it a little bit ago and I’m giving it a go right now.
I got through the first couple songs and was pretty bored. They were the basic intro track and then a song that had a hook that repeated 26 times over in 3 minutes. From there came the song that I had already heard, the title track featuring Tom Morello. That song is the shit. It’s got a ‘Rock Superstar’ kind of feel to it, and it’s a really cool song.
After that there was a song about weed. Then, another song about weed. And… another song about weed. Then, I skipped a few tracks because I was losing interest. I went to the track featuring Everlast because I just assumed that song would be really cool. Not so much. It was pretty boring and didn’t catch my attention at all. So now I’m currently on track 14 of 15 which is another song featuring Tom Morello, which is just as good if not better than the title track.
So all in all, I’m not impressed. I know that complaining about Cypress Hill doing weed songs is kind of silly, but still. I know that’s what they’re about but in the past they’ve still at least mad the albums enjoyable. I don’t smoke weed, and I’m really not even much of a hip hop fan but they always managed to entertain me. This time… not so much.
I was browsing my Twitter account when I came across a link that said “Play Super Mario Bros with Link, Samus, Mega Man and more!” I had to check it out.
I came across a flash game called Super Mario Crossover. You can play through the original Super Mario Bros with Mario, Mega Man, Samus, Link, Bill(the guy from Contra) and Simon(from Castlevania). Each character has its own music and abilities. Take Contra guy for example, when you get the mushroom, your gun becomes the machine gun. When you get the fire flower it becomes the spread.
I played through the 1st few levels with various characters and these guys didn’t miss a beat. The jumping is a little off but I think its because im used to controlling just Mario. The controls are a little hard to get used to on the keyboard. I think it would be much better with a controler.
In short this would make an awesome Wii Ware title and I would gladly pay to have it. Everyone needs to at least try it once. Go. NOW!
I’m excluding Girl Talk from this because he is clearly number one, and the reason most of these artists even exist. When his third album “Night Ripper” was released in 2006, it set the standard for mash-ups and inspired a million imitators. At the time it was released, it was groundbreaking to say the least. Mash-ups weren’t new, however they were never done like this before. One look at the wiki page for the album which painstakingly chronicles the samples used in every song, its clear mash-ups had never been done on this grand, a.d.d riddled fashion before. Music nerds love it because they love nitpicking the samples, and kids love it cause you can dance your ass off to it. And his last album Feed the Animals expanded on the formula and improved on it to the point where even mags like Rolling Stone couldn’t ignore what he was doing as anything other than genius. You can download both of his albums as a “pay what you want” deal here. Now onto artists that have benefited from GT’s genius and success and have done their own creative spin on it.
8. Legion of Doom http://www.myspace.com/tlod
Legion of Doom are slightly different than most of the list in the sense that they don’t have the same spastic style as Girl Talk and have a more traditional “this mixed with this” format. What sets them apart from the pack though is their source material. They normally mash-up one rock song with another rock song, usually in the emo/screamo/punk/indie hip hop genre. I’m not really a fan of those genre’s, but what they do with the songs is mindbending and makes normally unlistenable songs spectacular. Their album “Incorporated” is nothing sort of awesome. Stand out tracks are “Hands Down Ghandi” which mashes up hip hopper Sage Francis with emo darlings Dashboard Confessional and “Destroy All Vampires” which takes from A Static Lullaby and My Chemical Romance whilst adding in a new element in the form of rapper Triune, whom they collaborated with on their newest, “Vs. Triune”. Here’s a link to download “Incorporated” Best Moment Hand’s Down Ghandi. Somehow it works perfectly and Sage’s political rapping and Dashboard’s melodic style just fit.
7. Ludachrist http://www.myspace.com/worshipludachrist
Ludachrist is an odd duck to put it mildly. He definitely comes from the old school of more traditional mash-ups, but has seemed to adapt to the times by making a more spastic, stream of conscious album with his latest “Bangfest”. It’s unique in the sense that he takes less obvious samples(Ghostbusters theme, movie quotes, Snoop Dogg’s DEEZ NUUUUTZ skit), unlike most Girl Talk imitators. It isn’t for everyone, but anyone that’s a fan of the craft will very much appreciate his creativity. Bangfest mega mix link Best Moment From the 3:00 minute mark to about the 5:20 mark. Makes you wanna fight someone.
6. Easter Egg http://www.myspace.com/eastereggmusic
As the newest artist on this list, Easter Egg has made a very good first impression. His debut “Jackin’ for Beats” has its faults, but they are few are far in between. For the most part, his mash-ups work and the thing I like the most about his album, is that he doesn’t seem to be blatantly ripping off Girl Talk. He definitely took his style, however he takes samples that Girl Talk hasn’t used(yet), which is something I can’t say for some of the other artists on this list. Also as the newest artist, he has the benefit of having the freshest/newest songs, which is good, because I can only listen to the same Cassidy “Drink and My Two Step” sample so many times before I would like these guys to do something, well, more original. Jackin’ for Beats link Best Moment You Don’t Know, particularly the moment where Deltron is mashed up with Clipse’s Grinding beat.
5. The Hood Internet http://www.myspace.com/therealhoodinternet
The Hood Internet are fucking dope. They have something for everyone, and they put out albums very regularly. They, much like Legion of Doom, are more traditional in their mash-up styles. Their albums usually follow a theme, for example their “Vs. Chicago” album takes rock/indie bands and mashes them up with chicago MCs. I’m a huge fan of their first mixtape(link to dl here). Their blend of Rick Ross’s “Push it to the Limit” and CSS’s “Alala” is catchy, thumping, and infectious. Best Moment Push it to the Alalalimit
4. TRVSDJAM http://www.myspace.com/trvsdjam
No mash-up list would be complete without mentioning the late DJ AM and Travis Barkers foray into the world of mash-ups. Their “Fix Yo Face vol 1″ album is good, but pales in comparison to their Coachella setlist “Vol 2″ which takes elements from their first album and adds onto it. It’s really a shame we will never get another one of these due to AM’s untimely death, but Travis Barker I’m sure will continue to remix hip hop songs into shit I can stomach(ie. Flo Rida’s Low). I highly recommend downloading both of these, but if you only download one, have it be Vol 2 from Coachella. Both albums are in their download section on their site Best Moment actually comes from their first album “Fix Yo Face Vol. 1″. Track one, there’s this badass breakdown that mashes up “Grinding” with “Ring of Fire”. They actually have a performance on Youtube of this:
3. Super Mash Bros. http://www.myspace.com/sprmshbros
These guys are very good at what they do, and that is make danceable mash-ups, but their influence is clear. Their second release “All About the Scrillions” isn’t a classic like “Feed the Animals”, but there are some very cool moments on this record. “@LaurenConrad Get Us on The Hills”(Goofy title I know. Their album is full of them.) the opening mix is Jimmy Eats World and “Sexy Can I”, and they make it work. Later on in the same track they mash up “Down with the Sickness” with Missy Elliott’s “Get UR Freak On”. Missy has never wanted me to throw down before this. Heres a link to dl “All About the Scrillions”. Best Moment “This is Defiantly Not the 405″. The first minute and a half will have you rewinding over and over again to jam out to “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with “Right Thurr” and Pharoahe Monch’s “Get the Fuck Up”.
2. E-603 http://www.myspace.com/e603
He isn’t the most original artist on the list. Actually he probably is the most blatant Girl Talk rip-off. Even his album art looks strikingly similar to “Night Ripper”. That said, the man knows his way around Adobe Audition. I love his “Torn Up” album. It’s hard hitting, has some pretty creative mashes(Pharcyde’s “Ya Momma” with Beck’s “Loser” is a stroke of genius) and has the amount of re-playability that’s rare nowadays. I’m still catching samples I missed before, and that’s half the fun. And just like Girl Talk, his album is pay what you want, so here’s a link to it. Best Moment Besides the aforementioned mix, “Dirtbag Baby” takes elements from Wheatus’s “Teenage Dirtbag” and a very silly rap song called “Wipe a Pimp Down”. It rocks.
1. Speaky http://www.myspace.com/speakymusic
Ahhh Speaky. Speaky is the first to admit he was 100% inspired by “Night Ripper”. Infact when his “Mashcore Vol 2″ album was being passed around by his friends, they renamed it Girl Talk as a joke. Well, file sharing sites eventually got it and it was being spread AS Girl Talk. GT caught wind of this, squashed the rumor that it was his, and released “Feed the Animals” a couple months later. I will say this, his first two albums aren’t really anything worth talking about too much. They have their moments, but the main reason he is number one is because of his most recently released mash-up masterpiece entitled “Greatest Spits”. It is very good. Like, I almost hold it on the same regard as Feed the Animals. It’s a must for any music fan. Infectious, original, banging, and will get the girls to drop it low. Too many good moments for me to even pick a best one. Download this bad boy NOW
Army of the Pharaohs is a kind of hip hop super group concocted of Jedi Mind Tricks, Celph Titled, Apathy, and a handful of Philadelphia hip hop affiliates. The Unholy Terror album finally dropped at the end of March after being delayed for a few months and has not left my car CD player since.
This album is the third in the group’s library and marks the return of fan favorite Apathy. He was missing on The Ritual of Battle to work on his solo career. He should have stayed on.
The Unholy Terror has the feel of both the previous albums The Torture Papers and The Ritual of Battle combined. The two albums were completely different in tone and instrumentally opposites. The Torture Papers was kind of a early-mid 90s throwback hip hop album with some hard hitting beats and very lyrically driving. Their sophomore album took on a much darker and violent tone, though not cartoonish or horrorcore by any means. The beats are more menacing and pulsating while the lyrics had become more about murder and violent acts. The Unholy Terror takes on both tones from the previous two albums and mashes them into something relatively unique, while still having that throwback feel to it.
Keep in mind this is not your dorm roommate’s “hip hop” (if you want to even call it that nowadays). AOTP is not creating an album for you to dance to or vibrate your back bumper off. The beats are on point and have that head-nod feel to them, but they are not the selling point of this group, nor is it meant to be. It’s pure hardcore hip hop at its finest. No one’s getting silly. You’re not going to be called a jerk from Vinnie Paz, but something more explicit and homophobic. This album is not for the easily offended. They will not hold back on the “tight jean wearing rapper” of today. Trust me.
There is a lot of charisma from a good portion of the group. Vinnie Paz of JMT, Celph Titled, Apathy, Planetary, and Reef the Lost Cause all have not fallen short of their lyrical prime and they each have something to bring to the table. Some of them will have more comical and vile approaches to a track (Celph), while others have more anger and aggression driven verses (Vinnie Paz). The blend gives each member a moment to shine over a beat. When one starts out with a darker verse, the other counteracts and we get a much more well rounded track.
There is, however, a few drawbacks. The album falters halfway through. The first 5 or six tracks are pure fire and can easily be listened to many times. Then it cools down with a few pick ups around tracks 11 and 12 and ends with another banger. There’s a track called “Suicide Girl” with a beat by Apathy and the tone is completely reverse from the rest of the album. There’s three verses about girls with issues. It does not fit. It’s not a bad song, but it should be on an Apathy solo if you ask me.
Another drawback is the other faceless and nameless rappers in the group. These include Des Devious, Demoz, King Magnetic, and others I don’t care to try and remember. There’s nothing “wrong” with them necessarily, it’s just that they have no personality. When the more prominent members of the group all have such driving personality and power to their verses and flows, it’s kind of a let down to have a verse in the middle of the track by some guy who is just another rapper. These guys don’t have horrible lyrics or flows, there’s just so little to them. Even Jus Allah, a man I despised on Jedi Mind Trick’s last album, who only has one verse on this entire album, brings something actually worthwhile to the table. Personality is a must if you’re trying to create a name for yourself in the underground rap game.
The album is a definite buy for real hip hop fans. This isn’t any Lil Wayne or Kanye hip-pop. It’s just pure, raw, hardcore hip hop at its finest.
4 BLLLAATs out of 5
Key tracks: “Agony Fires”, “Ripped to Shreds”, “Bust’em In”, “Godzilla”, “Spaz Out”
Here are a couple songs via Youtube:
This morning I got a text from my friend Adam that simply said, “Did you hear about Peter Steele?” I replied back to him and said no, then quickly went to Wiki to find out how he died.
Music is a large part of my life. It always has been. When I was 12 years old my birthday cake had the cover of Metallica’s Master of Puppets on it. I was turning 12 and my cake was filled with a cemetery of crosses. From that young of an age music has been a very large part of me. I use it as a crutch to get through the good times and the bad. I use it for just about every occasion. I remember the song that was being played on the radio when my first son was born (I’ve Had the Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing). I remember what song was being played the very first time I walked into a strip club (Kenny Wayne Sheppard’s Blue On Black). I remember the song I heard after mine and Liz’s grandmas died (Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here), and it’s reasons like that in particular that music is so much a part of me.
I also remember the first time in 1993 when I heard Type O Negative’s Christian Woman. There was this public access radio station that on Saturday night’s at midnight they had a 2 hour show of nothing but heavy metal music. At that time, that was my stuff. I was a little metal kid. I was 12 when I heard that as well. I bought the album the next time I made it to the store, and had to hide it from my mom because she never would have let me have something like that.
From that point on I was a Type O Negative mark. I bought every single album and VHS or DVD that they came out with. Even recently when I stopped buying music because it was free on the internet, I still bought their material. They deserved it, so I gave them my money. I saw them in concert every time I had the chance. I even had the privilege of meeting Peter Steele a couple of times after the concerts. I have pictures of me and him but sadly I couldn’t find them today so that I could post them.
Like I said, music has always been a crutch for me. Type O Negative was my go to for when things just weren’t going my way. When I’m down I should probably listen to some nice upbeat music to try and cheer me up, but that’s just not how I do things. I would rather listen to Peter Steele sing about the darker things in life… and death. Somehow I related to the things he said. Songs like ‘Bloody Kisses (A Death in the Family)’, ‘The Dream is Dead’, ‘Love You to Death’, and ‘Everyone I Love Is Dead’ made sense to me. As twisted as it is, those are the songs that I understood most. I’m not some emo or death metal kid that hates everything in the world or anything, but those songs just always spoke to me. They were so true and real. I’m not even a goth metal fan. I think that’s what kind of music Type O Negative is considered. I couldn’t even name another goth metal band I don’t think. But their music and Steele’s lyrics were so above everything else that it just made it so beautiful, even though it was so dark.
So today I’ve been pretty down. I found out the news while I was at work and my first reaction was to fire up YouTube and watch the video for ‘Love You to Death’. While I do believe that listening to his music is by far the best way to pay tribute, it really hit me then. In my generation there has been a few big rock stars to die. Certain ones have hit me really hard. I named my youngest son after Layne Staley and Kurt Cobain. Peter Steele’s death will go down as day’s just like when those guys died for me.
I’m glad I got to experience Type O Negative and Peter Steele. His music will be apart of me and my life until the end. I’m glad I own all of their albums and have each one of them autographed by Peter. I’m glad I got to meet him a couple different times. Like Steele said, “The Dream is Dead” but at least his words will live on forever.
R.I.P. Green Man
In her place one hundred candles burning
As salty sweat drips from her breast
Her hips move and I can feel what they’re saying, swaying
They say the beast inside of me’s gonna get ya, get ya, get…
Black lipstick stains her glass of red wine
I am your servant, may I light your cigarette?
Those lips smooth, yeah I can feel what you’re saying, praying
They say the beast inside of me’s gonna get ya, get ya, get…
I beg to serve, your wish is my law
Now close those eyes and let me love you to death
Shall I prove I mean what I’m saying, begging
I say the beast inside me’s gonna get ya, get ya, get…
Let me love you too
Let me love you to death
Hey am I good enough
Hey am I good enough
Am I good enough
1up.com posted this video earlier today. It shows what I believe is the end credits of Modern Warfare 2 with the names of those who have been fired or left the company in the last couple of weeks crossed out. I don’t know if you’ve been following this news, but Infinity Ward (Call of Duty series developers for the 2 people who may not know) executives Jason West and Vincent Zampella were recently fired from Activision and have since formed their own studio called Respawn Entertainment.
Since then, employees have been resigning from Infinity Ward. Notice how most of their job titles have the word “lead” in front of them. Also, almost all of their writing staff said goodbye. So the only people left are the ones who have been working under the leadership of all the current staff who are jumping ship. Is this staff leaving for Respawn Entertainment? Nothing has been said. I would hope so though.
I’m sure Infinity Ward isn’t technically dead. The company will have to hire 11 new employees and have completely new leadership. Will it be the same Infinity Ward without these key individuals? Only time will tell. I guess we’ll find out when Modern Warfare 3 takes in trillions. All I can say is that I hope Activision has learned something about how to keep those they hold dear closely. Probably not.
When I saw the commercial for the new Double Down at KFC, my initial reaction had nothing to do with the preposterous “sandwich” being portrayed on the commercial (2 chicken breasts as the “bread” with cheese and bacon in between. Goodbye heart, hello toilet seat). No, that reaction came a little later.
What I found to be the most outstanding and outright hilarious is KFC’s blatant use of an African American gentleman who loves chicken so much it puts a heart warming (burning?) grin on his face. They obviously didn’t think through to the fact that they have this guy with his gap-toothed grin saying “and two pieces of chicken” with such a lustrous tone in his voice I thought he was going to spit watermelon seeds at me and say “zippity do dah!”
Now am I accusing KFC of being racist? No, but I think they’re not being conscious to the fact that they are in a way enforcing a stereotype that’s been around for decades. Their commercials always seem to star predominately black people with a few white guys thrown in to try and cool the racial flames. It’s usually pretty silly, but this time takes the cake. This man might as well be drooling over the fried chicken sandwich he is holding.
My question to KFC is this: Really? You produced this commercial and not a single thought to its ridiculousness, nor its possible racial connotations came to mind? A black man talking about chicken like it’s his second wife doesn’t raise any red flags? Really?
On April 12th Roger Waters, founding member of Pink Floyd, announced that he will be doing a 36 date tour of North America and will be performing The Wall in it’s entirety to celebrate the 30 anniversary of the album’s release.
Here is what Waters had to say about it:
“Thirty years ago when I was kind of an angry and not very young lad, I found myself driven into defensive positions because I was scared of stuff, and I’ve come to realize that in that personal story, maybe somewhere hidden in there exists an allegory for more general and universal themes, political and social themes,” he said. “It’s really for that reason that I decided that I’d try and create a new performance of this piece using a lot of the same things that we did all those years ago.”"Projection systems now are completely different from what they were then, which means that I would be able to project over the entire 250-foot expanse of the wall … which we couldn’t do in those days,” he said
So yes, he will be doing a huge 250 foot long and 25 foot high wall that will be constructed, and torn down, on stage during the show. Pink Floyd did that same thing almost 30 years ago on The Wall tour but it ended up only happening for the first couple dates of the tour. They said it was basically too hard and too expensive to pull off every night. But now Waters is going to do it for this tour.
I can’t wait for this one. I’ll be going to Columbus on October 22nd to see this live. Even though I’m more of a David Gilmour fan than Roger Waters, this will basically be probably my one any only chance to see “Pink Floyd” live in concert.
Here is a video of Roger Waters doing Comfortably Numb from The Wall Live in Berlin in 1990. Even this video is amazing. I can’t imagine how much cooler it’s going to be with the technology that they will be able to use 20 years after that video was made.
Complete tour dates can be found at http://tour.rogerwaters.com/tour/.
Tickets go on sale May 10th.
Last night Apple shocked the world by approving the very first browser that isn’t Safari. Opera announced about a month or so ago that they had submitted their mini version of their browser to the App Store and were waiting for either approval or denial. There was basically nobody out there that though Apple would approve the app. Apple has a very good history of not approving apps that they have already made that comes stock on the phone. Basically they don’t want anybody to realize that somebody out there can make a better program than they can. But, for whatever reason, this time they gave Opera the go ahead.
The app was relaased late last night and I grabbed it first thing this morning. Right off the bat I liked it better than Safari. I liked the look and the feel of it much better. It actually feels like a real internet browser. Your main screen in a nice tiled 9 box quick launch menu, just like most people are familiar with on most PC browsers now a days. You can edit all 9 and change them to whatever sites you frequent the most. The tabbed browsing is great. Safari does allow for multiple pages to be opened at the same time but the way you scroll through them just wasn’t very cool. This is more like tabbed on a regular browser but actually even a little bit cooler the way that you can flick through them to pick which page you want to open.
The main thing is the speed. I’m not a big enough tech nerd to even pretend like I understand the reasons why, but Opera did something so that the pages load much faster than they do in Safari. So that alone is a huge selling point for making the switch.
Now, the app is far from perfect though. There is a couple glitches that I noticed right away. The pinch and zoom and the scrolling are both kind of choppy. Also some of the smaller words on the screen basically become just little blurry lines that you can’t read at all. I’ve compared NY Times on Safari and Opera and for whatever reason that site in particular looks much better on Safari. But I’m sure that all of those things will be fixed in time as Opera starts rolling out some updates.
I’m really hoping that because Apple approved this one that maybe now they’ll start letting some other 3rd party browsers onto the App Store. Hopefully it actually starts a nice little browser war of sorts, ’cause let’s face it Opera isn’t quite the big dog in the PC browser market anymore. Maybe Firefox will give an iPhone browser a go, even though they’ve said they flat out wont’, but you know they’re going to want to get their fair share of the iPhone market. I would love to see a Google Chrome browser but we all know that just won’t happen now that Apple and Google aren’t really friends anymore because of the whole Android thing. So I’m not going to hold my breathe for that one.
So good for Apple on this one. This time I think they really listened to what the actual users wanted and not just give us what they say we want.
I’ll leave you with a little video that Opera posted a month or so ago showing off Opera Mini on the iPhone…