Deltron 3030 and Beck Review

Deltron 3030

Jim and Greg welcome hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030. Dan The Automator Nakamura, Del the Funky Homosapien and Kid Koala perform songs from Event II. Later, Jim and Greg review the new album from Beck, and Greg drops a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox.

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Bob Casale, a founding member of New Wave group Devo, died of heart failure earlier this week at age 61. Although singer Mark Mothersbaugh and Bob’s brother Jerry usually get credit for Devo’s distinct sound, Bob 2 was there from the start, contributing keys, guitar, and vocals on all nine of the band’s albums. Strange and sarcastic as those albums may be, Jim notes, they came from a sincere place: the band started as a much-needed creative outlet after its Akron, Ohio-based members witnessed the Kent State shootings firsthand. Devo may not seem like a protest group, but their music was nevertheless a statement—one influenced heavily by Casale.

Deltron 3030

Welcome to the 31st Century: Earth is a wasteland ruled by roving gangs. Corporate greed, runaway technology and economic disparity have finally caught up with the planet. This dire, science fiction scenario is anything but ordinary hip-hop. And, that’s not surprising considering how extra-ordinary Deltron 3030 is. This supergroup is made up of Dan the Automator Nakamura, the man behind sounds by Gorillaz and Dr. Octagonecologyst; Del the Funky Homosapien, an innovative Oakland MC who wrote lyrics for his cousin Ice Cube’s group Da Lench Mob; and finally, turntable wizard Kid Koala. All three crossed paths during the making of other projects like Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz. And in 2000, with a futuristic comic-book inspiration, Deltron 3030 released its self-titled debut.

The world has changed a lot since then, and the sequel, Event II, presents a new idea of the future (one that made Greg’s Best of 2013 list) Del, Dan and Kid talk about their new, loftier goals for this album and how such dense, off-the-wall recordings get made. They also riff on everything from Transformers to David Byrne to 1984.

Morning Phase Beck

Morning Phase

It has been nearly 8 years since Beck released a new album, and there have been quite a few life changes in that time. He’s married with a child, and has moved from Interscope records to Capitol Records. His new album, Morning Phase, is a contemplative, introspective slow-moving record, akin to his 2003 record Sea Change. Beck also makes this record a family affair by having his father, David Campbell, arranging many of the string sections on the record. Greg didn’t enjoy the album initially, but grew to appreciate it by listening with headphones at night. He gives it an enthusiastic Buy It. Jim, on the other hand, thinks the material is slightly lacking substance lyrically and wishes Beck had more to say. Still, the music arrangements are beautiful, and so he gives Morning Phase a Try It.

Greg

Musician Nick Waterhouse recently told Greg that he’s always trying to make his music swing. Except instead of swinging like Benny Goodman, Waterhouse wanted to swing more like blues-guitarist Bobby Parker. Specifically, Parker’s 1961 track, Watch Your Step, which at the time of its release was a huge influence on everyone from The Spencer Davis Group, to Carlos Santana, to John Lennon. Unfortunately for Parker, the general public wasn’t nearly as smitten by the song, and it’s since faded into obscurity. Greg managed to find a copy of this rare release, and now he’s eager for Parker to earn the recognition his riffs deserve. You can hear Watch Your Step’s inspiration on songs like The BeatlesI Feel Fine and Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick.

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