Disco Doesn't Suck and Opinions on Beach House & Killer Mike

Jim and Greg remember Disco icons Donna Summer and Robin Gibb and defend the much-maligned genre. Later they review new albums from Baltimore indie pop outfit Beach House and rapper Killer Mike.

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Donnasummer Last week Disco queen Donna Summer died at age 63. Jim and Greg talk about her gospel and musical theater roots and her contributions to pop music. People relegate Summer to the disco ghetto, but really she spanned many genres and didn't stop working after the 1970's. Her work with Giorgio Moroder also greatly contributed to the development of electronic music.

robingibb Only days after Summer's passing, we learned of the death of Bee Gees founder Robin Gibb. The 62-year-old had been battling cancer for some time. But before you say,“Groan…the Bee Gees,”know that the trio sold 200 million records worldwide, and not all of them copies of Saturday Night Fever. Their music from that 1977 movie defined the disco movement for many people, but the Bee Gees had hits in five different decades. And they thought of themselves more as blue-eyed soul singers. To honor Gibb, Greg highlights one of their tracks from the British Invasion period called "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You."

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Disco

"Disco Sucks!" some would have you believe. But not so, say Jim and Greg. The genre often gets a bad rap—silly songs, silly clothes, silly people. But, the music and the scene surrounding it were much more. Songs like "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer and "Good Times," by Chic are as artful and influential as anything pop music has produced. And, as opposed to the exclusive disco world of Studio 54, authentic discos and disco music gave a sense of community to many outsiders, much like punk did. You can hear this in tracks like "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," by drag performer Sylvester.

reviewBloomBloom available on iTunes

Beach House Bloom

Baltimore duo Beach House has released a fourth album called Bloom. And fans can expect more of what they love about the band: Victoria Legrand's beautiful, but deadpanned voice and Alex Scally's shimmering keyboards and muted drums. Greg likes this sound, but feels like he's on a merry-go-round with the band. They seem afraid to go anywhere further. So he says Burn It. Jim explains that even hipsters need make out or chill out music. This is no Cocteau Twins or Nico, but a great addition to your collection if you are looking for something quiet. If you are going to get one Beach House album, Bloom is the Buy It.

JimGreg
reviewR.A.P. MusicR.A.P. Music. available on iTunes

Killer Mike R.A.P. Music.

Killer Mike made his debut with a great cameo on the 2000 Outkast record Stankonia. Now he's released his 6th album called R.A.P. Music. Jim admits this is a "gangsta rap" record, but it manages to rise above all the clichés you associate with that. Killer Mike goes back to black music's earliest influences, and his belief in the power of music is nothing short of inspirational. Greg agrees, calling R.A.P. Music a hip hop classic. He and producer El-P are celebrating hardcore rap, while spanning a huge range in terms of subject matter and sound. Killer Mike gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Gnarls Barkley,“Crazy,”St. Elsewhere, 2006
  2. TV on the Radio,“Wolf Like Me,”Return to Cookie Mountain, 2006
  3. U2,“City of Blinding Lights”How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, 2004
  4. Spiritualized,“Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space,”Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space 1997
  5. !!!,“Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story),”Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story), 2003
  6. Judas Priest,“You've Got Another Thing Coming,”Screaming for Vengeance, 1982
  7. The Ramones,“Teenage Lobotomy,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  8. The Ramones,“Cretin Hop,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  9. Sex Pistols,“God Save the Queen,”Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols, 1977
  10. The Ramones,“Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  11. Rolling Stones,“Tell Me,”The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers), 1964
  12. The Ramones,“I Can't Give You Anything,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  13. The Ramones,“Rockaway Beach,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  14. The Ramones,“I Don't Care,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  15. The Ramones,“Do You Wanna Dance,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  16. The Ramones,“We're a Happy Family,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  17. The Ramones,“Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,”Rocket to Russia, 1977
  18. Lucinda Williams,“Are You Alright,”West, 2007
  19. Lucinda Williams,“Come On”West, 2007
  20. Beirut,“My Family's Role in the World Revolution,”Lon Gisland, 2007
  21. De La Soul,“Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey),”De La Soul is Dead, 1991
  22. Tokyo Police Club,“Cheer It On”A Lesson in Time, 2006
  23. The Gossip, "Listen Up!" GSSP RMX, 2006

Footnotes

donnasummer.com Donna Summer chicagotribune.com Greg 's Donna Summer Obit moroder.net Giorgio Moroder guardian.co.uk Robin Gibb Obit beachhousebaltimore.com Beach House chicagotribune.com Greg's Beach House Review myspace.com Killer Mike chicagotribune.com Greg's Killer Mike Review