EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints

Ema

Dear Brothers,

We’ve done a full 4 month cycle. Congratulations. No one has fallen out, no blood has been shed. We have agreed. We have disagreed. This is good. Now, cycle 2;

I have chosen ‘Past Life Martyred Saints’ by EMA (Erika M. Anderson) a lady not a band. That’s her there on the cover with the magic finger. She used to be in a band called Gowns who apparently performed ‘Noise-Folk’ a genre I am neither familiar with nor interested in being familiar with. The album was well received by critics but made no commercial impact as far as I can tell. It ended up in loads of 2011 ‘Best of Lists’. I think it is a very ‘Pitchfork’ type of album so it was no surprise that it made their top 50 albums of 2011 but also made SPIN, Popmatters and BBC Music lists placing as high as 4th. But hey, critics liked Alabama Shakes too and that proved not to meet this blogs standard.

So why have i picked this? A number of reasons. I like it. I’ve always had a soft spot for emotionally unstable talented young women. I like albums that pour out raw & real emotion with little disguise or metaphor (this maybe the reason that you don’t like it, who knows). This emotion is well-done-emotion ‘I wish that every time you touched me left a mark’ a repeated refrain that feels as if addressed to you.

I also chose it as I thought it would be totally new to you. I know there is a temptation to read reviews before you listen but its as new as I could muster as it seems none of you have heard too much about it.

Another reason is that I find it quite difficult to place genre wise. The closest comparison for me is that she is like a contemporary Patti Smith. Maybe listen to this then ‘Horses’ for an intersting double bill.

Anyway, it’s on its way. Enjoy Brothers.

 

Where and How?

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Where and how do you listen to music? Silly question? Or important element of if/how we enjoy music? I’ll try not too bang on too much about having kids or not having a tv cause you’ve heard it all before … BUT ….

2 years ago I listened to music on my home system first thing in the morning till I went to or started work (at home). I used to drive long distances for work. This was 50% music time 50% podcast time. Evenings were then editing photos / webbing next to Stacey while listening to music. Basically, loads of time to listen to new things. When I was working at home I listened to instrumental or foreign language tunes as lyrics distract me massively. Hip hop being the worst culprit in the distraction stakes, lyrically and skit related.

Now I have a child, a TV and a new job with less long distance driving, much less. This means I have to fight to have music in the morning vs. Igglepiggle and Makapaka searching for the pinky ponk. I still struggle to listen to vocal music when I work and evenings are often catching up with work of flaking out in front of the TV.

My point is that this change has had a big impact on my music listening. Most of my car journeys are about 20-30 minutes long. This takes away my main showcase for listening to whole albums in one go, a real luxury these days. Trying to keep a calm relaxing environment at home means that child-unfriendly hip hop has almost disappeared completely. My main stay is instrumental or ‘vocals low in the mix’ (which admittedly represents about 80% of my CD collection) music which I can listen to while I work.

I have found myself making similar critical comments across the board on this blog and think the above is largely responsible. The Issues i have with First Serve can be largely explained by the issues above. When will I listen to it? When will I choose to hear 2 grown men pretending to be teenagers in the basement while ‘sweary mamma’ curses them? The tracks I would normally listen to in the car or perhaps while exercising.

I was in London for a wedding at the weekend. I have 5 albums that I always listen to on headphones while walking around London. This is not planned, its always the same 5!

My environment/lifestyle has a huge impact on my listening / critique of music. Does yours?

First Serve (De La Soul)

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So brothers, I present to you a hip hop concept album. Now before you get it in your head, Kanye’s 808’s wasn’t concept, it was experimental; two VERY different things. 

 

I must admit when I read about this album I left it alone. I don’t generally like concept albums because they rarely stick to the concept.. they become experimental, or are a compilation with in between links (Handsome Boy Modeling School). More – so a hip hop concept album? The thing is that actually many artists have done concept albums; first to mind for me is Scarface – The Diary.  More recently there is no better example than Plan B – Striktland Banks which pushed the concept to the max. So it can happen, some good and bad. 

 

I digress; let’s talk about ‘First Serve’. I like this for so many reasons. You’re not going to be blown away, this is De La through and through. This isn’t a good thing, it’s a great thing. 

 

The best way to do this for me is point form. I like this album because….

– Plug One and Two do what they maybe did on one or two songs an album traditionally; made party joints and told a story at the same time (think ‘It Aint All Good’)

– They stick to their story the whole way through and actualy show and interesting beginning, middle and end.  

– The album makes me dance, has catchy lyrics but still gets you into the story. 

 

The reason that this isn’t a De La album is that it’s the brain chils of another producer. I like that fact. I’m glad they’ve done this album but not as De La Soul. Enough can’t be spoken about having an alias. They have got to do this with this album. 

 

When listening, give it a couple listens, some tracks are more and club radio than others. All are very catchy.  The interlude’s are important to the story (some very funny) and keep it all consistant.

 

I’m so looking forward to more De La Soul hip hop, but I do hope First Serve get a guest spot on a track or two. 

 

It took me a few months to buy but I’m happy that this album is in my life and I hope you feel the same. 

 

Enjoy brothers!

 

 

Soul Khan

I seem to be putting a fair bit of Hip Hop on here as of late, but it seems to be in a bit of a purple patch. 

Brothers, may I introduce you to Soul Khan. Basically he’s pretty bad ass. There’s tons of fantastic tracks kicking about the internet that have been a big part of my life over the lastr 6 months. I have been tempted many times to post one on here, but maybe I was just waiting for the right one…. I think this might just be it: