Shot Of Rhythm

[ Friday, August 04, 2006 ]


We tip our hat

Another day, another sad loss...word came down today that Arthur Lee, the founding spirit behind the genre-busting LA band Love, succumbed to leukemia. Love is, for my money, one of the more underappreciated bands in the rock canon, an interracial collective whose sound blended styles and atmospheres with the ease of Sly and the ingenuity of Zappa. There are few LA bands who sound more like the city's hazy eclecticism, and their mixture of chaotic noise-rock, good-vibes pop and smooth soul hits the mid-60s political moment with particular poignancy. Lee, apparently, was a rather difficult figure, who ran-in with the law and his bandmates on a regular basis, but there's no denying the music that he helped create. It's too bad that he's gone, just as it seemed that - with a couple successful tours in Europe after his last release from jail - Lee might be gaining some of the adulation that he so richly deserves.

Here are three of my Love favorites, capturing the range of their sound:

Love - "7 & 7 Is"

Love - "Alone Again Or"

Love - "Always See Your Face"

By the way, for another eloquent tribute by David Cantwell, this time eulogizing Sammi Smith, hop over to Living In Stereo. Beautiful stuff.

On the box right now: DMX, YEAR OF THE DOG...AGAIN.


Dove With Claws [8:06 PM]

[ Wednesday, August 02, 2006 ]


New release round-up

Only one album worth spotlighting this week, the new DMX album that - thanks to the usually-prolific artist's three-year hiatus - almost qualifies as a comeback. Creatively, that label definitely applies, as there are a few moments on this record that stand with the best and most powerful music he's ever made. To me, DMX is one of hip-hop's truest hit-or-miss artists, with truly exceptional highpoints ("Who We Be" is among the 21st-century's best singles) and embarrasing lowpoints (nearly all of his last album). While the streaky nature of his work continues, there is no denying the intensity of the tracks below. "Come Thru" is pure club-banging bliss, with another great guest spot from Busta Rhymes, himself enjoying a recent renaissance. "Wrong Or Right" is probably my favorite song in the world at the moment, loud and proud with a bubbling creativity that (as our buddy Dave Gilbert would say) "totally sounds like a Funkadelic record." I've posted "Lord, Give Me A Sign" before, but its gospel fire is worth revisiting.

DMX (feat. Busta Rhymes) - "Come Thru (Move)," from YEAR OF THE DOG...AGAIN

DMX (feat. Bizarre Royale) - "Wrong Or Right (I'm Tired)," from YEAR OF THE DOG...AGAIN

DMX - "Lord, Give Me A Sign," from YEAR OF THE DOG...AGAIN

Oh, one more thing...I was hoping to spotlight a track from The Who's new EP, WIRE AND GLASS, a "mini-opera" meant to preview their upcoming full-length record. Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to post any of the tracks. It's not that they're outright terrible, but not one of them comes close to measuring up to even the top two-thirds of the band's previous work. Which is too bad. And it ain't just that they lost their mojo somewhere years back, as demonstrated by the track I have posted below, "Old Red Wine," which was released on a greatest-hits compilation after the death of John Entwistle. I was hoping for something of at least this quality from WIRE AND GLASS, but - at the moment - I find myself sorely disappointed.

The Who - "Old Red Wine"

On the box right now: The Roots, GAME THEORY. Can't stop listening to this one...


Dove With Claws [10:17 AM]

[ Monday, July 31, 2006 ]


We tip our hat

Here is the late, great Jessie Mae Hemphill, the recently departed, "she-wolf" queen of the Hill Country blues, delivering an all-too-relevant sermon.

Jessie Mae Hemphill - "Lord, Help The Poor And Needy"

For more from Ms. Hemphill, check out Way Down In The Hole, which also has a nice tribute to Floyd Dixon, who also moved on recently.

On the box right now: The Roots, GAME THEORY.


Dove With Claws [5:49 PM]