Rhymefest

Rhymefest & Thom Yorke Review

This week on the show Jim and Greg welcome a hip hop star on the rise—Rhymefest. Plus, they'll review the new record from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and take a look at the life and times of Syd Barrett.

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Music News

The 2006 Nielsen Soundscan midyear report came out this week, and some of its findings are surprising. While the buzz seems to be that the music industry is being killed by digital music sales, which increased by 77% from 2005, albums are only down by 4.2%. So Jim and Greg aren‘t consoling record executives just yet. The more significant revelation? The disconnect between what critics enjoy and what people buy may be even greater than previously thought. The number-one selling album of the year so far is not by a venerated rock artist or a hip-hop star — rather, it’s the soundtrack to High School Musical, a Disney made-for-TV movie. The tween phenomenon shows how young girls still have much of the buying power in the industry. Coming in second is country/pop act Rascal Flatts. And a further scan of the list reveals that Jim and Greg were only compelled to review two of the records on it: Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough and Taking the Long Way by the Dixie Chicks. Hopefully that trends turn around in the months to come. Otherwise Jim and Greg will have to score that interview with Zac after all…

Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett died this week at his home in Cambridge, England. Barrett started the band, which he named after two American bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, in 1965. After releasing The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (which was recorded at Abbey Road the same year as the other British psychedelic hallmark, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band), Barrett became a superstar. However, as Jim and Greg explain, this natural frontman shunned the spotlight. Barrett became a heavy LSD user and was likely suffering from schizophrenia. By 1968 he was forced to leave the band. He subsequently made two solo albums, but eventually went into virtual exile. Yet his influence on the band, and on future musicians, remained strong, as bandmate Nick Mason tells Jim. Mason, like all Pink Floyd fans, understood what a talent Barrett was and wished he had intervened to prevent such a tragic end. Still, Barrett's legacy lives on through his music. Listen to "Baby Lemonade," one of Barrett's last performances with members of Pink Floyd, as well as David Bowie's cover of "See Emily Play."

interview

Rhymefest

Rapper Rhymefest joins Jim and Greg on the show this week. Rhymefest, born Che Smith in Chicago's Jeffrey Manor neighborhood, is one of many Chicago rappers slated to be the next Kanye or Common. But Rhymefest is no novice to the scene. A longtime staple of the city's battle rapping scene, Rhymefest initially claimed fame after defeating Eminem in an emcee tournament. He later helped to pen Kanye West's Grammy-winning song "Jesus Walks." But now listeners can hear some of Rhymefest's own work, from his major label debut Blue Collar, released this week.

Two of the tracks you'll hear are "Devil's Pie," which is based on a sample of The Strokes' "Someday," and "Bullet," which samples Citizen Cope's "Bullet and a Target." Rhymefest plays“Bullet”and explains the story behind this track to Jim and Greg. He recounts being at the mall, and seeing a promotion to win a brand new Hummer. But upon further investigation, the rapper discovers that this is not a sweepstakes he is signing up for, but rather the U.S. Army.

reviewThe EraserThe Eraser available on iTunes

Thom Yorke The Eraser

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke recently put out a new album, The Eraser. It's his first solo album, though as he explained to Jim and Greg a few weeks ago, it's perhaps unfair to label it as such. Many of the tracks were composed by members of the band, and it was produced by longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich. But the record is credited to Yorke, so Jim and Greg decide to stick with the term“solo.”Jim has long resisted jumping on the Radiohead train, though he's always enjoyed their rhythm section as well as their live performances — so it's interesting that this album, which lacks the bombast of their live shows, is the one to finally teach Jim to“stop worrying and love the Yorke.”He gives it a Buy It rating. Greg, a longtime Radiohead fan, is actually the dissenter here. He likes the record, but finds it to be merely a modest production, earning a modest Burn It.

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reviewTestimony: Vol. 1 Life & RelationshipTestimony: Vol.1, Life & Relationship available on iTunes

India.Arie Testimony: Vol.1, Life & Relationship

The number-one album this week is India.Arie's third release Testimony: Vol.1, Life & Relationship. It's the first number-one record for the neo-soul singer, who previously achieved success with Acoustic Soul and its hit single, "Video." But while they admired the earlier album's stripped-down and sensual approach, neither Jim nor Greg find the new effort to be successful. Even though it means well, Jim says that he“despises”Testimony and its pseudo-self-help lyrics. Greg agrees, citing cliché after cliché as reasons he won't be going back for another listen. This number-one record gets two Trash Its.

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Jim

“Someday”The Strokes

Just as Rhymefest was inspired by The Strokes' song "Someday," which he sampled in his track "Devil's Pie," Jim, too, was inspired to choose it as his Desert Island Jukebox song. While the Strokes don't have a typical hip-hop sound, Jim explains that their rhythms, which echo a New York subway train, have a very hip-hop beat and momentum. The man largely responsible for that sound is drummer Fabrizio Moretti, who Jim admires for being a masterful, simplistic drummer, if not for a few other reasons.

Featured Songs

  1. High School Musical Cast,“Start of Something New,”Original TV Soundtrack to High School Musical, 2006
  2. Rascal Flatts,“I'm Moving On,”Rascal Flatts, 2000
  3. Pink Floyd,“Shine on You Crazy Diamond,”Wish You Were Here, 1975
  4. Pink Floyd,“Astronomy Domine,”The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967
  5. Syd Barrett,“Baby Lemonade,”Peel Sessions, 1970
  6. David Bowie,“See Emily Play,”Pin-Ups, 1973
  7. Rhymefest,“Devil's Pie,”Blue Collar, 2006
  8. Rhymefest,“Bullet,”Blue Collar, 2006 Live in Studio
  9. Rhymefest,“Chicago-Rillas (instrumental),”Blue Collar, 2006
  10. Thom Yorke,“Black Swan,”The Eraser, 2006
  11. Thom Yorke,“And it rained all night,”The Eraser, 2006
  12. India Arie, India Song, Testimony: Volume 1, Life and Relationships, 2006
  13. India Arie, I Am Not My Hair, Testimony: Volume 1, Life and Relationships, 2006
  14. The Strokes,“Someday,”Is this It, 2001

Footnotes

wikipedia.org Nielsen Soundscan usatoday.com Album sales stay sleepy amazon.com High School Musical soundtrack disney.com Disney amazon.com Sound Opinions on ‘The Breakthrough’ jimdero.com Sound Opinions on ‘Long Way’ dixiechicks.com The Dixie Chicks' homepage pinkfloyd.com Pink Floyd's homepage guardian.co.uk Syd Barrett obituary wikipedia.org Pink Anderson wikipedia.org Floyd Council amazon.com The Piper at the Gates of Dawn allmusic.com Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band wikipedia.org Syd Barrett's legacy drummerworld.com Nick Mason allmusic.com“Baby Lemonade” allmusic.com Barrett's last album allmusic.com“See Emily Play” neiu.edu Jeffrey Manor kanyewest.com Kanye's homepage soundopinions.org Common on Sound Opinions wikihow.com How to win a freestyle rap battle eminem.com Eminem's homepage mvwire.com About the“Jesus Walks”video amazon.com Rhymefest's ‘Blue Collar’ stereogum.com About Devil's Pie citizencope.com Citizen Cope's homepage hummer.com Hummer goarmy.com U.S. Army radiohead.com Radiohead's homepage soundopinions.org Thom Yorke on Sound Opinions theeraser.net The Eraser nigelgodrich.com Nigel Godrich indiaarie.com India Arie's homepage allmusic.com Testimony: Vol.1, Life & Relationship amazon.com Acoustic Soul youtube.com“Video”video thestrokes.com The Strokes' homepage youtube.com“Devil's Pie”video wikipedia.org Fabrizio Moretti