This week's collection of stupefying tunes is on loan from Stephen Brackett, AKA Brer Rabbit
, one of the two emcees of Flobots
. With this collection of eclectic and potent refrains, it's easy to see how Rabbit's rhyme vocabulary came to be.
Their new album The Circle In The Square
New! Listen to (most of) the mixtape on Spotify!
1. "I Found You" - Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
The music world is full of love songs, just as it is full of revolution anthems. Amidst these things it is always essential to hear someone singing their heart out cuz they mean it, they lived it and they are telling it with such power that you can sit back and say "me too, me too."
2. "Com' By H'yere" - Nina Simone - It Is Finished
On the topic of revolution anthems the song Kum Bah Ya has come to stand for sancitmony and posturing. This is a sad occurance Kum Bah Yah and Com By Hyere are from the same source, the slaves of the South Carolina Gulla Islands, and the way Nina lays it out you can hear the power still in this song.
3. "One Time" - The Roots - Undun
The Roots are an impecabble group of musicians and one the the best bands going right now. I have been listening to them for most of their 16 years and throughout the are constantly pushing and finding new things to say. With their latest 'Undun they personalize the struggles of the streets through the story of one protagonist and his choices or lack thereof. In this age of by-lines it is always important to highlight the human aspect above the headline.
4. "Grown Up" - Danny Brown - Grown Up
I love Danny Brown, he reclaims hiphop from the tired and artificial Gangster/Conscious split and raps about his life. Brown is fearless in his approach, and that only gives more power to his art. This track is substanially lighter fare than most of his work, but you get the idea.
5. "Whitey on the Moon" - Gil Scott Heron - Small Talk at 125th and Lenox
Personally I love NASA, and yet the seniment of having a wealthy government that is irresponsive to the needs and concerns of the not wealthy resonates just as much now as is did in 1976. Plus I always love listening to one of the progenitors of the art form that I love so much.
6. "Cartoon and Cereal" - Kendrick Lamar ft. Gunplay - Cartoon and Cereal
Kendrick Lamar is one the best in the rising class of super talented emcees coming out of the west. Jonny 5 shared this track with me and I cannot stop listening to it. It has actualized swagger, incisive commentary, virtuostic performances, and honesty.
7. "September" - Earth, Wind & Fire - The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1
Honestly, I just saw the French film 'The Intouchables and loved it from the minute this song started playing in the opening credits. With such a fond recent memory I had to include it on the list, also because if you play this anywhere in the vicinity of Kenny0(our drummer) he will start dancing, for real.
8. "Bright Whites" - Kishi Bashi - 151a
If I were to take a road trip to a magical land where people danced on rainbows betwixt castles made of cotton candy and laughter, this would be the entire soundtrack.
9. "Pink Matter" - Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
There is so much space in this song, it is used so well it has to be called 'positive space. The subject matter, goes from whimsy to poignant in one line, I love the stream of conversation feel to the whole thing. And then Andre 3000 comes in after the bass line and murders it the lovely way he always does.
10. "Last Donut of the Night" - J Dilla - Donut
Dilla is a legend, and the is the last song he produced while actually on his deathbed. The sadness is over powered by the triumph in both the song and his legacy.
The title track from Flobot's new album: