Results for Atlanta
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Van Hunt grew up in funk-soaked Dayton, Ohio. Today he counts Frank Zappa and Ray Charles - not to mention Bach - among his influences. That musical adventurousness is just one reason Jim and Greg were drawn to his latest album, 2011's What Were You Hoping For? Van dropped by the studio to perform tracks from the record, and he let Jim and Greg in on the story behind his first independent release. Van got his start in the music biz a decade ago producing R&B and hip-hop tracks for the likes of Dionne Farris in Atlanta. When he went solo in 2004, it was on a major label. But the higher ups at Capitol weren't so thrilled when Van shunned the standard R&B format for a freewheeling mix of sounds that recalled the soul and funk of Sly Stone as much as it did the glam of David Bowie. In 2008, they shelved his third record Popular. Now that he's on his own, Van's free to indulge his genre-blending impulses.Go to episode 344
Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Outkast rapper Big Boi has released his first solo album called…wait for it… Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Big Boi is often thought of as the more down to earth of the two Atlanta hip hop artists, but both Jim and Greg think the record is very inventive and ambitious. Greg does miss Andre 3000's presence, and thinks the two make each other better. But overall, Sir Lucious Left Foot is full of great beats and oddball touches and gets a Buy It rating. Jim agrees and was pleasantly surprised to hear these tracks, especially after all the torture that went into making it. It has a tad too many vulgar and juvenile lyrics, but he still thinks listeners should Buy It.
Van Hunt The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets
Atlanta multi-instrumentalist Van Hunt has flirted with mainstream R&B success, but his genre-hopping tendencies have kept him from a wider audience. Jim thinks that's a shame, as his latest album The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets confirms that Van Hunt is one of the most innovative voices in neo-soul music along with Kendrick Lamar and D'Angelo. Jim sees both depth and joy in the record. The lascivious, erotically charged moments are naughty, yet never offensive. Van Hunt's musical prowess is on fine display, as he plays every instrument himself. Greg hears The Fun Rises as more narrowly focused than the previous album What Were You Hoping For? in a good way, showcasing a more uniform trippy funk style. For Greg, it's a record that works equally well for headphone listening as for dancing. Both critics give Van Hunt a Buy It.
Mastodon Emperor of Sand
The Atlanta metal band Mastodon has just released its seventh album, Emperor of Sand. Like previous Mastodon albums, the album follows a thematic concept. This time it follows the tale of a man sentenced to wander the empty, desolate desert. Greg thinks the thematic elements work well, along with a slightly“pop-ish approach”with a turn towards melodic vocals. In addition to the smooth vocals, Greg believes their integration of different instruments is extremely strong (tubular bells!). He gives it a Buy It. Jim likens Mastodon's sound to mid-period Rush, especially when it comes to their progressive rock sound and detailed lyricism. He thinks it's as good as Mastodon gets and gives Emperor of Sand an enthusiastic Buy It.
Mastodon Once More 'Round the Sun
At the peak of its popularity, the Atlanta metal band Mastodon has just released its sixth album Once More 'Round the Sun. The band is favored by hardcore and mainstream fans alike, with its melding of influences including progressive rock, classic rock and classic metal. Jim thinks the success streak continues with Once More 'Round the Sun because the hooks and riffs are prominent and irresistible. He gives the album a Buy It rating. While still a Mastodon fan, Greg, wonders if the band has watered down its approach in order to read a mass audience. He likes the Once More, but misses the inventiveness and cohesiveness of the previous 5 albums. Greg says Try It.
Black Lips Underneath the Rainbow
The incendiary live shows and southern punk sound of Black Lips have been hallmarks of the band for over a decade. With their latest album, Underneath the Rainbow, the Atlanta, GA rockers take a turn for the mature. Patrick Carney of The Black Keys and Thomas Brenneck of The Dap-Kings were recruited to take turns producing, and Jim notices the difference. The sound is cleaner than previous Black Lips outings, but still retains the same killer garage rock melodies. Underneath the Rainbow wins a heartfelt Buy It from Jim. Greg thinks cleaning up is the last thing the band needs to do. They're at their best when they are raw, loud and are not playing nice. Greg hears the compromises Underneath the Rainbow, and says Trash It.
Big Boi Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours
We may not have heard new Outkast since 2006's Idlewild, but one-half of that groundbreaking Atlanta hip hop duo has a new record out. Big Boi's first solo album, Sir Lucious Leftfoot…The Son of Chico Dusty, came out in 2010 to positive reviews. Now he's followed it up with Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours. How does the new record stack up? Well Jim calls it“hip-hop at its best.”Big Boi's been playing the rock festival circuit and he's nothing if not ambitious with his collaborations on Vicious Lies. Everyone from indie band Wavves to more traditional hip-hop guest Kid Cudi makes an appearance on this record. For Jim, the songs succeed or fail on the strength of the guest, which makes this only a Burn It album. Greg agrees. Big Boi's solo records mostly remind him of how much he misses Outkast. Can't those two guys get back together already? Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours gets a Burn It.
This week's show begins with a discussion of the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince. The enigmatic musician made news this week when his new album 3121 debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard charts. Hard to believe, but this was Prince's first number-one debut. He has since been dethroned by Atlanta rapper T.I., but it was certainly an impressive comeback for this revolutionary pop icon. Before giving reviews of the album, Jim and Greg discuss other late-career comebacks. In the '90s the Grateful Dead found a new audience with their only Top 40 song, "Touch of Grey." Santana is another artist whose first couple of albums went platinum, but did not find further success until 1999's Supernatural. That album, which paired the guitarist with contemporary pop artists like Rob Thomas, Wyclef Jean and Everlast, sold 15 million copies. Clive Davis tried this same approach with Prince on the album Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, but the results were not as, um, fantastic. Other late career successes include Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and most recently, Mariah Carey. So is 3121 an artistic comeback as well as a commercial one? For Jim, it is not the achievement that Prince's earlier albums were, but still merits a Buy It rating. Greg is not so kind. There are a handful of tracks that are worth sampling, but this critic only suggests you Burn It.
A few times a year Jim and Greg take off their critics‘ hats and put on their doctors’ coats. They talk to listeners in need of a dose of new music or musical therapy. Today, they respond to an urgent plea from Katie in Atlanta. She filled out our patient form on behalf of her fiancé Daniel. According to Katie, Daniel is addicted to Phish. She admires his passion for the jam band, but wishes he‘d expand his listening palette more. Plus, following a forever-touring band can be time-consuming and expensive–especially when planning a wedding. The Rock Doctors conduct their musical intervention for Daniel. He doesn’t think“addiction”is a fair description for his relationship to Phish, but he's wiling to take his medicine and try some new music.
Dr. DeRogatis gives the first prescription: Minus the Bear. He thinks Daniel will appreciate their musical experimentation and skill. Daniel spends a week with their new album Omni and reports back with positive results. He loves the lead singer's voice, and the group's production.
Dr. Kot prescribes Dan Deacon's record Bromst. He hopes Daniel will hear Deacon's impressive classical training. Unfortunately, this medicine didn't go down as smoothly. Daniel is confident that Deacon live would be a great experience, but the music was too out there for him.Go to episode 234
Last week the Atlanta Police Dept., in conjunction with the RIAA, raided the Aphilliates Music Group office in Atlanta. The result was the confiscation of 81,000 mixtape CDs and the arrest of DJ Drama. Drama is one of the top mixtape DJs working today, having created pre-release buzz for rappers like T.I., Young Jeezy and Lil' Wayne. 50 Cent, Lupe Fiasco and The Clipse can also credit mixtape CDs with laying the foundation for their careers, and many of the best hip hop tracks released each year are put out by these underground DJs and not by the major labels. The question is why some members of the record industry are now treating this useful form of publicity as contraband. Jim and Greg invite hip hop historian and journalist Jeff Chang to join them in a discussion of the role of mixtapes in hip hop and the effects of this recent raid on the rap industry.Go to episode 61
It's no secret that Lil Wayne and his label, Cash Money, are not the best of friends these days. In fact, Cash Money boss Birdman and rapper Young Thug were recently named in an indictment for the attempted murder of Lil Wayne back in April during Wayne's tour in Atlanta. While Thug's manager Jimmy Winfrey was the only person charged with the shooting itself, the incident is yet another installment in the decade old conflict between Weezy and his label. To add to the drama, Wayne sued Cash Money earlier this year for $51 million over losses from the recorded but unreleased Carter V album. Instead of settling the suit, Cash Money has responded with its own $50 million suit against Jay Z's Tidal streaming service. Wayne's The Free Weezy Album was released earlier this summer as a Tidal exclusive, and Cash Money claims that Jay Z is using the profits in a“desperate and illegal attempt to save their struggling streaming service.”
German/Swiss electronic musician Dieter Moebius has passed away at the age of 71. The Krautrock experimentalist had a prolific career, releasing a total of 17 albums credited to his name in one way or another. Moebius is best known for his work with Harmonia and Cluster, his collaboration with Jim's old friend Brian Eno. The musician's passing was confirmed by bandmates Michael Rother (of Harmonia and Neu!) and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (of both Harmonia and Cluster) on their personal Facebook pages. Eno once called Harmonia“the world's most important rock band,”and Jim agrees that the band has influenced the work of many modern rock artists. Jim plays "Dino" by Harmonia to honor the great electronic pioneer's legacy.Go to episode 504