Wednesday, December 23, 2009

FREE HOLIDAY DOWNLOAD: The 'Blitzen & the Hoof Gang' Mixtape

'Dunkin' on that reindeer, dunkin' on that reindeer...'

In honor of the only Christmas commercials to ever surpass the old-school Eat'n'Park sentimental fave - and in tribute to my folks, who split my early Christmas present with me, the Hercules beat mixer - I present a special holiday gift to one and all: 'Blitzen & the Hoof Gang: the Mixtape,' a blend of hip-hop to liven up the holiday, mixed in with bits of "Bad Santa" and the three Nike MVPuppets back-and-forth diss raps between Santa, a.k.a. The Blastmaster KRS-One, and Blitzen, a.k.a. Lupe Fiasco.

Click here to download, courtesy of YouSendIt.com. The link is good until Dec. 30.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
("That was Mrs. Lewis from downstairs...... she said YOUAIN'TGOTNODEFENSE!!!")

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Greatest.... Christmas Commercial.... Ever



This tops my previous favorite, the Eat'n'Park 'Christmas Star Needs Help' commercial. That one will always be the sentimental favorite, but how can you argue with the Nike puppets, Kris Kringle vs. the Reindeer in hoops and the Almighty Alrighty KRS-One as Santa?

Also, "Dunkin' on that reindeer/Dunkin' on that reindeer" has surpassed "Dat baby don't look like me" as my favorite chopped-and-screwed phrase.

Sports vs. Athletics: A DP-Inspired Exploration


This morning on the Dan Patrick Show, DP and the Danettes rekindled a debate that has raged far and wide throughout the world of physical exertion and organized competition. It started with the announcement that Jimmie Johnson was being named AP's male Athlete of the Year, and the question was basically: what is a sport and what isn't?

The debate kicked into high gear when Paulie took exception to McLovin's assertion that NASCAR was definitely NOT a sport, or more specifically, that NASCAR drivers (and runners) aren't athletes.

I am somewhere between Paulie and George Carlin ("If there ain't a ball, it ain't a sport") on this. I've had this debate about any number of "sports" with any number of people, so without further ado, let's go one-by-one here:

For me, you have to distinguish between "sport" and "athletic activity," and for some reason, people who are relegated to the "athletic activity" seem to take it as a personal affront, even though some of the most physically-demanding activities (weight-lifting, running) belong in that category for me.

BASEBALL, FOOTBALL, SOCCER, BASKETBALL are SPORTS
These are all sports, mainly because they have a ball. You can throw hockey in here, too, because it's got a ball-substitute in the puck. Also, you have two teams competing against one another, with one team having the direct potential to affect the other team's chances of winning, which is also very important to me in qualifying something as a sport.

GOLF is an ACTIVITY
Yes, it has a ball. But if a 50-year-old can beat a 20-year-old at it, it's not a sport. Sorry, it's just not. Additionally, golf is primarily a competition against yourself. You can play golf by yourself. Can't do that with basketball, football, baseball, or hockey.

NASCAR is an ACTIVITY
Again, Paulie seems to have taken this part really personally; I agree that it takes tremendous physical stamina and baseball-caliber coordination to be a race-car driver, and they are indeed athletic. But you could say the same of a fighter pilot. I wouldn't call them an athlete. Another important consideration for NASCAR is that there is a machine involved. The human, unlike cycling, is not providing the sole source of power. And on that note...

CYCLING and RACING are ACTIVITIES
Great athletes? Yes, no doubt. Are they sports? No, they are not. Someone whose name escapes me once said, "Running is what you do to train for a sport," and I tend to agree with that. Doesn't mean that the world's fastest runner isn't a great athlete. Another of my important considerations for a sport is direct competition, along with having a chance to directly affect the opponent(s)' chance to win. Even in NASCAR, you can swap paint and cut off your opponents; can't do that in track and field.

Other SPORTS
• Volleyball
• Lacrosse
• Rugby
• Ultimate frisbee (that's right, I said frisbee is a sport and NASCAR isn't)

Other ACTIVITIES
• Cheerleading
• Bobsledding
• Skiing
• Snowboarding (most winter sports, let's say, in the interest of saving time)

I welcome any and all debate.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gotta Love Rae

[WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT AND ITTY BITTY TITTIES (well, at least one)!]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Steelers vs. Packers: It Never Felt So Good to Be At .500

WHEW!

Getting back to .500 never felt as good as this. True, it was an ugly game in which the Packers racked up yards almost at the same clip as the Steelers (final count for Big Ben, I believe, is 503 yards, 3 TDs), Mike Tomlin called for an inexplicable onside kick just as the Steelers took a 2-point lead and then managed to put together a game-winning drive thanks mainly to the Packers being the most-penalized team in the NFL.

I can't discount Ben's lights-out passing day, but consider this: Roethlisberger is having a career stat year... and the Steelers are only 7-7. A significant portion of that can be attributed to defensive injuries and the Ignominious-Yet-Ubiquitous Late-Game Defensive Breakdown, but it also speaks to a real difficulty with the run game, despite having an able running and possible rising star in Rashard Mendenhall.

Two things that Joe Buck mentioned stand out to me today (which is rare; the only thing that usually stands out is my everpresent hate of Joe Buck): Ben's career year, and the fact that not a single Steelers cornerback has had an interception this season. Not a one of 'em. That's terrible. Some of it is attributable to Polamalu being gone. He causes all kinds of havoc and - when he's not getting the INTs - opens things up for other D-backs to get INTs.

Stan Savran is describing on 'Steel City Postgame' right now how, in a massively-convoluted way, the Steelers can still squeeze into the wild-card spot. If they can win out over Baltimore and Miami, they can hand 'em both important losses. They need Denver to lose (they play the Eagles next week), and they need Jacksonville to lose (they play the Pats to close out the season).

I really don't even wanna think about it, or do the math.

So, without further ado, my dream off-season:

Gots-to-Go Situations
• William Gay - I've heard his name called too many times this season giving up big plays. He blew tackles allll day today.
• Willie Colon and possibly Max Starks - Again, their names come up every single week. Starks had an especially bad game today and has been fair-to-middling this year, but Colon specializes in the late-game, momentum-killing penalty, whether it's a false start or holding.

Probably Going
• Willie Parker - I love him, but he just hasn't been the same since he broke that leg. I have a feeling he'll probably be gone after this year.

Off-Season Moves
• Trade some combination of Colon, William Gay and Limas Sweed for one solid offensive lineman. Sweed is young, and he might have an upside yet to come, despite his "Nice hands, feet" performance this year.
• Use the draft picks to try and pick up one more solid addition to the O-line.
• This will probably never happen, because it's not the Rooneys' style, but I really think they should try and throw some cash at a shutdown corner. It's probably going to be a tough year for that; I'll admit I don't know who may be available in the offseason... but they can't go back to the days where teams just abandoned the running game and passed all day on the secondary. Rodgers went wild on 'em all day today.
• I have no solution for the special teams. Steelers just can't seem to do special teams. My only recommendation is trading for Josh Cribbs, so he can't run back two kicks every single &$^!ing game.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Steelers vs. Browns: The End of the Season is Nigh...

The proper words fail me...

So much for any chance of a Steelers Super Bowl repeat.

I started getting that sinking feeling last week with the Oakland loss. It was a slight tickle in the back of my brain when we dropped one to Kansas City, but I wrote that off as a fluke, even though really it was yet another case of Defense - Polamalu = FUBAR. And you could even rationalize The Big Gradkowski's win, what with the CBS commentators yapping on and on about Oakland being a real scrapper of a team.

But a loss to the always-hated-but-more-recently-not-even-so-much-of-a-rival-anymore Cleveland Browns, in which Roethlisberger was sacked five times in the first half? In which the Steelers put up a pathetic six points against the worst team in the NFL?

Unacceptable. To be perfectly honest, I can't even give an intelligent account of why I think they lost the game. I was too busy watching the Penguins come back twice against Montreal. And I gotta say, with the Steelers season basically over at this point barring at least three miracles, including a Lost-style plane crash involving the entire Baltimore Ravens team and David Garrard lapsing into a spontaneous sleep-induced coma, it's nice to have hockey. I haven't watched it since I was probably 15, and got back into it during the Stanley Cup runs.

As for the Steelers, I'm not sure what to say. It will be great to have Polamalu back next season, but he's getting older, and with two knee injuries in one season, I hate to say it, but I don't know how much longer he can be freewheeling around like a maniac. They have to get better players for the secondary. Bryant McFadden was a great corner during the Super Bowl run, and unfortunately, Ike Taylor's star-turn year in 2008 looks to have been a high-water mark. Tyrone Carter has done his best to try and fill Polamalu's shoes, but he's a second-stringer at best. William Gay? That's a gots-to-go situation. He fell apart trying to step up with Troy out.

On offense - and makes me weep to say it - I think Fast Willie Pee is probably moving on in one way or another. I love him, and he made me scream like a little girl in Super Bowl XL, but since the broken leg, he's just not the same. Mendenhall stepped up just the way we all hoped he would, and I'd love to see Colbert pick up a big bruiser-style back to set up Mendenhall and Moore. The receiving game is solid. I don't know if Hines is going to retire or not, but Mike Wallace and Santonio have the potential to be the best wideout combo in the league, between their shared speed and skill.

What I'd hope for in the off-season:

• At least one solid O-lineman to shore things up. Get Willie Colon outta there.
• A bigass running back, like Lendale White or Brandon Jacobs (and not ONE of them, one LIKE them)
• Help in the secondary

I've come to the unfortunate realization that the Steelers' special teams is just fucked. No matter what. They just can't get it done. I have no possible solution.

With the injuries, it's hard to call this a "hangover" season. The Steelers are just a mediocre team in a year when there are a lot of better-than-average teams, particularly in the AFC.

GO PENS!!!

Fisher Price: My First DJ Mix

"He'll tweak ya' ass across the crossfade..." - Beastie Boys

So I highly recommend this Hercules DJ Console RMX. Just like Garageband fulfilled my decade-long dream of creating beats, this digital console is fulfilling my other lifelong dream of being able to mix and blend it.

I realize that, strictly speaking, as a relative hip-hop purist, I should hate this machine and call it a monstrosity. You're supposed to DJ on two Technics 1200s. But what can I say? It's way too late for me to start a vinyl collection. And I'm not out to win the next DMC Championship. I'm not going to be an Invisibl Skratch Pikl.

But for what I want to do - be able to create, blend and mix banging mixes of hip-hop, dancehall, reggae, etc. - this console is perfect. My only real complaint is that the "scratch" option leaves a bit to be desired. Unlike a regular 45, where you scratch a record and stop it with your hand, the RMX console doesn't stop when you do; it just continues the record immediately after the scratch. For someone like me who doesn't have real crossfader dexterity yet for that type of thing, it's kind of annoying.

But again, I'm not looking to be a show DJ; I'm trying to create a danceable mix that I'd actually like to hear, as opposed to a bunch of Top 40 rap that just fades one track into another.

I have been able to achieve some minor scratch-based mixing. For example, I can create a continuous juggle of the Guru sample in Ghettosocks' "Pink Lemonade," and you can make a nice little break out of Cyne's "Plight About Now" and Steve Spacek's "Dollar," which both use the same sample. (And you could blend in the only Jeezy song I enjoy as well, "Circulate")

Basically, what I'm saying is that my already-limited social life is now over, thanks to this mixer, unless I can get some gigs DJing in the area. Here's hoping...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Steelers vs. Raiders: Me and Coach Have the Same Feeling Right Now

"I think I just threw up in my mouth."

I have found a name for my pain, and it is Ryan Mundy.

True, I'm paraphrasing Jack Nicholson's Joker from the original Batman movie, but it seems apropos. A cruel joke has been played on the 2008 Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. How else to explain a four-game skid that includes a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and A SHOOTOUT LOSS to the Oakland Raiders?

In amongst his many inane ramblings, I believe I've heard Jim Nantz refer to Polamalu as "the linchpin of the Steelers defense," and it's hard to argue with that. He's missed seven games this season; the Steelers have lost six of those games, and they've given up fourth-quarter leads in at least four. Ty Carter is a serviceable replacement, and has even shown a few flashes of Polamalian vision on the field.

But William Gay is not up to the task. My boy said he'd settle for Gay putting on a new pair of cleats, but his play has been suspect for most of this season. And Ryan Mundy was definitely not up to the task, seeing as how in the space of about three minutes, he:

A) Knocked out William Gay
B) Committed a crucial interference penalty to set the Raiders up to take the lead, and then
C) Gave up the game-winning TD to a rookie Raiders receiver, and not even one named Darius Heyward-Bey--

*OOGMF* ... sorry, I haven't had much to eat, and I just dry-heaved a little there. In fairness, Ike Taylor wasn't exactly "the tits" either. But the Steelers were in a decent position to hold 'em when Mundy went headhunting on a receiver who had already dropped the ball.

Six losses doesn't look like it's going to cut the AFC playoff mustard this season. The Jaguars and Broncos both won today, so no help there... When I looked at the schedule back in August, it looked great! Now? Not so much. Packers, Dolphins and the Ravens' rematch are all still on the horizon, and the hell Coach Epps promised we'd bring is quickly freezing over.

Any other year, I'd call this Thursday-night conference game against the Browns a no-brainer, even on short rest, but who the hell knows at this point? The only reason I can think of for Polamalu to be back is if the Steelers have a realistic chance of getting a wild-card spot. And there's really no reason to think the Browns can't put at least 17 points on the board, now that the ball isn't bouncing off Braylon Edwards' stone-hands anymore. They put up 23 against the Chargers, whose defense is certainly performing on a par with - if not better than -- the Steelers'.

An astute caller to Stan & Guy last week said "every time Sepulveda pins the opposing team inside the 20 during the fourth quarter, I go and get another glass of whiskey," and I'm inclined to agree. This late-season skid has been like the Bad Old Days all over again, when no one could run on the Steelers' D, but everyone had a field-day passing. Add the special-teams woes, and it's the '06 Super Bowl Hangover come back around. Although I don't know that it's a "hangover" as much as it's the devastating loss of Polamalu. He really covers a lot of ground out there, and he has an eye for what's happening on the field better than almost any defensive player I've seen. It's hard to admit, as a born-and-bred Steeler fan, that defense is the problem, but it really is. The offense sputtered a little today, but they put up points when it mattered, didn't have crucial turnovers and gave 'em the lead with the clock running out.

Matter of fact, I'm actually a little numb to the loss right now. I'm actually a little glad to see that hometown kid Bruce Gradkowski had a decent day. Who am I kidding, though? The Raiders scored like 2o percent of their season's touchdowns in this game.

This one hurts. Bad.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Few Day-After Thoughts on the 'Sons' Season 2 Finale


One thing I started thinking about today - but which didn't occur to me last night - is the parallel between Clay and Zoebelle over the full season-two story arc.

Both of them were basically putting on a front the whole season: Clay was trying to keep a lid on the Donna mess, and Zoebelle was not only selling out his racist buddies, but also cooperating with the authorities. I might write more on this later....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sons of Anarchy S02E13: 'Na Trilóbloidí'... My Pathetic Attempt at Blogging the Season 2 Finale

Are these episode titles Latin? I'll be honest, I just don't wanna do the research... [Editor's note: I did the research... it's Gaelic for 'The Troubles']...

And now, my pathetic attempt at live-blogging the Sons of Anarchy season 2 finale:

10:10 p.m. - Lookin' good so far. Kind of surprised that Zoebelle is an FBI rat. Didn't really see that coming. I can see the practicality of his guns-for-drugs plan, but this doesn't make as much sense... can't wait to see what the Mayans are gonna do while they're visiting.

10:12 p.m. - I really hate these Windows 7 commercials. Really.

10:15 p.m. - To be honest, I'm kind of disappointed in Henry Rollins' role this season. He plays the stone-cold Aryan hard-on well enough, but I think he had the depth to put a little more meat on the character, and he was really just sort of a dumb thug the whole season.

10:17 p.m. - That father and son outside the store are dressed exactly the same. That's kinda creepy.

10:23 p.m. - DAMN! So that's why cons volunteer to work in the library. Good for you, Otto. You deserve a little payback.

10:27 p.m. - NICE. Lt. Dangle guesting on The League. F/X is leading the way hands-down for quality cable shows, and the Always Sunny/League combo is probably the best hour of comedic television since Seinfeld and, uh, whatever came after Seinfeld... also, Nip/Tuck is just too awful. Ever since season three, it's all been downhill. When I tuned in for the season 4 finale, a.k.a. "Rent" With Scalpels, I'm pretty sure I puked in my mouth a little bit.

10:45 p.m. - "Where are we going?" "Forward, sweetheart." Yeeeeah. Git 'er, Gemma.

10:47 p.m. - OHHHH, nice move, Stahl. Not only could he not shoot her, but he just gave the gun up? What a puss--BWAAAAAA!!! Crotch punch on a girl! She deserves it, but still, that's a party foul. She shouldn't have killed his ass, though.

10:55 p.m. - Would Zoebelle's daughter REALLY not have heard a motorcycle coming up the block? I want this nasty little bitch to get her comeuppance, but c'mon now... also, Half-Sack, this is a NEED-TO-KNOW SITUATION for the club.... Aw, man, I thought she was comin' to the Irish kid's house. This is gonna go badly...

10:57 p.m. - Oh shit. EVERYBODY'S armed! ... Is Stahl just gonna let this slide? Gemma: "Bloody day for both of us." True dat. Half-Sack, pleeease phone this shit in.

11 p.m. - Nope. I guess she's not gonna let this slide. Unless she wants to set it up so it looks like Edmund killed the girl. That way she can get herself off the hook... here it comes. OH SHIT! She's gonna set Gemma up for the whole thing?? Edmund's dad is gonna go after the Sons on this. Gawd-DAMN, I hate this Stahl bitch!

11:02 p.m. - Dammit, Half-Sack, what did I say? NEED TO KNOW. If you'd have called this in, some Sons backup might have been able to help handle this. Now it's all bad, and you're leading the trouble straight home...

11:12 p.m. - Why do I have a feeling that Jax-Chibs-Opie is going to be the breakaway faction if there's a season three?

11:14 p.m. - HALF-SACK! NOOO! I'm gonna miss him, for sure. He was the source of many of the show's funniest moments.... Surely this Irishman's not gonna kill a baby on F/X...

11:15 p.m. - This Justified show should be called Shane & the Sheriff. Walton Goggins and Sheriff Bullock as a couple of loose-cannon rednecks? I'm down for that.

11:21 p.m. - Nice. Hale left Zoebelle out to dry.... 11:22 p.m. ... And now they're just gonna leave him? Not let ANYONE go in and deal with it??

11:24 p.m. - "Well.... we.... adjust and we adapt." Is Zoebelle gonna be back next season? I think he's probably had just about enough of Charming.

PREDICTIONS FOR NEXT SEASON:
• Gemma is going to take refuge with another charter. Either that, or she's gonna let Unser keep driving her until he dies from the cancer.
• The Irishman is gonna take Jax's son to Mexico. A chase through Mexico could make for a nice two-to-three-episode arc. If Unser takes Gemma that direction, it might could all come together very neatly. I can see a tie-in with the Mayan charters south of the border as well. I can't imagine they're too happy about having several members gunned down because of the Sons/Zoebelle beef.
• At some point next season, Clay's arthritis is going to get the better of him. He's going to have to officially pass the crown. I can see a nice slow-mo shot near the end of season three with Jax leading the crew away as Clay and Piney lean back on a Teller-Morrow bench and clink a couple beers together.
• Hale unconsciously settles into Unser's old role. He comes to appreciate the good the Sons do, in spite of their other negligible activities. I can see him passing by in the squad car during that slo-mo shot I mentioned above.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Beat Doctor's Abstract Mix

Blast off into the abstract-soul stratosphere...

Click here to download a 22-minute mix of abstract soul, off-kilter jazz and general spacey R&B weirdness, featuring everyone from Eric Dolphy and VLooper to Koushik, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Exile, 14KT, the Heliocentrics and more. As a special Christmas bonus, I also included two recent remixes of Biggie's "Thangz Done Changed" and "Brooklyn's Finest," with Jay-Z.

There's also a super-special holiday extra, an original track penned by none other than my lovely-but-questionably-musically-talented fiancee, MC Aub Zee. It's a three-part suite that somehow manages to only be 1:30, pieced together using three of my beats, and entitled, "Dance: How-To Jam." I really have no explanation for it, other than, listen and laugh. I know I did.

Download for free courtesy of YouSendIt. The link is good until Dec. 8.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sons of Anarchy S02E11: 'Service'

His is much better-looking than the plastic one I used on Halloween... oh well...

Okay, so I skipped nine episodes when I had intended to blog the whole season, but what can I say? I just... didn't have much to say, I suppose. I will say that these last couple episodes have finally gotten me emotionally involved in this season the way I was most of the first one and during the first episode of this second one. It was gut-wrenching to watch Tig following the truck, knowing what was going to happen but hoping it wouldn't.

The spectre of the the Nation coming to town had all kinds of nasty implications, and they have indeed done some nasty, evil things, but I just haven't been as involved in this season. I care about what happens to Jax, but even Tara is hard to generate a lot of sympathy for.

As the weight of keeping her rape to herself has continued to push Gemma further and further down a dark hole - she was right a couple of episodes back... she should have brought this up earlier, just like she told Chibs at the end of last night's show. I'm not gonna say she's directly responsible for much of the bloodshed that followed the season premiere, but you saw how quickly the Jax/Clay rift healed when she finally got it out.

Speaking of getting it out, I can't believe Clay gave Tig those shrooms. He should have known better. I knew the second he ate 'em that he was gonna end up spilling the secret to Opie - who took it in remarkable stride, by the way. I thought he showed quite a bit restraint with Tig and the ATF, and a good shaming was just what Agent Stahl needed. She just blew into this little tow, fucked the deputy sheriff, tried to tear the town's tightest-knit, most dangerous family apart, and got an innocent woman killed.

Regardless, it's great to see the fam more or less back together - except for crazy-drunk-ass Piney, who it appears is still with the program - and to see them finally taking Jax's advice and doing some PLANNING... and it didn't take too much planning to figure out what the Nation was up to and how to hurt them. I'd like to see Zoebelle's daughter get some comeuppance; she helped put this whole thing in motion in the first place.

Love me some Titus Welliver. He was great in Deadwood, and even though it's tough to get though that thick-ass brogue sometimes, I like him here as well. The preview next week of every gang in northern L.A. pointing gats at one another looks great. Two episodes left!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Don't Know Who This Joe Smith Fellow Is, But He Sure Makes a Mean Tie

L-R, all by Joe Smith Homme

I don't usually - or ever - run a plug for an eBay seller, but having just received a beautiful crop of winter ties in the mail for the grand total of $9.99 including shipping, I have to give some props to Digibadge for this pick-any-five lot of about 200 ties. Mine range from wafer-thin but really nice (far left) to a fat, thick single- and seven-folder (two on the far right). I can't really find any information on this Joe Smith design label... I have a real nice seven-fold tie by Joe Black... no Joe Smith, though.

But fuckit, who cares? My mark of quality for a good tie is a tie loop in the back made from the same material as the tie. Generally speaking, if you got that, you got yourself a good piece of neckwear.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jones Cheap Ass Prepaid Legal & Daycare Academy


Hell yeah. Thanks to my boy 'Kapo for putting me up on the "Jones" series, which I advise you to look up once you get done laughing your ass off at this video. I recommend, in particular, "Jones Good Ass BBQ & Foot Massage," and "Jones Big Ass Truck Rental & Storage."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

128 Oz. of Haterade: The Rundown

The cover? Awesome. The album? Well... did I mention the cover's awesome?

Swollen Members, Armed to the Teeth - Look, it's not that this is a bad album. It's not. The cover is fucking sweet, and the production is decent. I don't know. It's just not my thing. I've listened to a fair amount of Moka Only (a fourth of the group), and I get the same sort of feeling about him. He's okay, and there are like three of four songs that I can really get with. But overall, it just feels a little empty to me.

Georgia Anne Muldrow, Early - Just what the name says, this is a collection of early unreleased Muldrow recordings. I like her music, but she kind of goes a little too out there for me sometimes. This is just straight-ahead Rhodes-and-piano neo-soul, light, bouncy and really, really good. There's a slight detour back into more-modern sounds toward the end ("In Love Again"), and it's excellent as well. Muldrow is up there with Badu and Joss Stone in my short list of awesome modern soul singers.

• 
The Formula Project, Evolve - Maybe Nelly's to blame, but I'm just not a big fan of sing-rapping. Can't explain it. I'm a big fan of E. 1999 Eternal, but for the most part, it's not my cup of tea. A fair amount of Evolve could be considered R&B, but even with that caveat, it's still just kinda pedestrian. On the positive side, "She's Gone" kinda sounds like a DJ Cam b-side. Hopefully getting KRS-One to drop a verse on "Shine Again" pays off.

Gift of Gab, Escape 2 Mars - Blackalicious may go down as one of my favorite hip-hop groups. I just like everything they do, whether it's their albums or side projects (Mighty Underdogs, the GofG solo albums), and Escape 2 Mars is no exception. His last solo record had the same sort of space theme, and it works once again. "Richman, Poorman" smooths out the beat from Black Milk's "Bounce," "El Gifto Magnifico" rides a Latin beat and "Some of the People" works a bouncy piano, all with Gift of Gab's constant-motion lyrics.

128 Oz. of... Taintstick?

"I got a load, who feels like catchin' it?" - Taintstick

I'd like to take a moment to talk about Taintstick, and no, it's not some new category of porno. It's actually a hilarious satirical rock band that was once even more hilariously known by the slightly-extended moniker Tony Hawk's Taintstick, which I imagine was forcibly shortened by Hawk's legal staff.

Hawk, however, must have lightened up, or gotten the joke, because he appears in the video from this album, "Apple Juice."

Suburban Noize Records sent me their new album, 6 Lbs. of Sound, to review, but with song titles like "Motodick," "Sir Eagle Cock III," "Fuk Ur Face" and - best of all - "Fuk Ur Face (Clean Version)," it's not exactly in line with the company's Web content policy.

But I can't just ignore it, because it's actually pretty enjoyable, even when they're sweetly singing "Just leeet me blooow a loooooad on your face." Also, the band supposedly features Good Charlotte's Benji Madden on bass, since the band's original "bass player" apparently does, uh, "play bass," and currently is the group's triangle and cowbell player, according to their Wikipedia entry.

They're kind of like hard rock band meets The Conchords or, probably more accurately, The Bloodhound Gang. Hear samples at Amazon.com.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meatwad's Christmas Album

The first song, "Santa Left a Booger in My Stocking," isn't nearly as hilarious as the second, Carl's cover of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" ("...watching the Papa-John's-Dot-Com Booooowl...") [NOTE: I've made the executive decision to remove the embedded player, since you can't stop it from playing every time the page loads, which is really fucking annoying, despite my love for Meatwad.] Click here to listen.

Friday, November 6, 2009

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Beat Doctor's Striptease Mix

'Cause really, who wants to strip to Dem Franchise Boyz?

So, over here at the Beat Doctor's Lab, a.k.a. my computer room, we're lookin' out for the fellas' well-being. This particular set, "The Striptease Mix," isn't what you might think. We're not lookin' to make it rain out this bitch.


We're thinking of your girl. Not in that way. Well, then again, I guess that depends... anyway, I'm getting off track...


Anyone can throw on a Franchise Boyz track and try to convince their girl to do a cornball striptease. But your girl doesn't wanna strip to the same song as the $10-a-lap-dance chick from the local strip bar. In fact, she might not wanna do a striptease for you at all.


But toss this mix in next time you're feeling a little randy, and see if you don't achieve the desired result in the form of some rare soul tracks, some Marvin Gaye, Sister Nancy, Sarah Vaughan and just the right amount of slow, slinky rock. And a little Henry Mancini for good measure. And a Brasilian chick covering "Light My Fire." That's right.


Click here to download free, courtesy of YouSendIt.com. The link is good until Nov. 13. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who's Surprising Me Lately - Good'n'Bad Edition

So I'm on a mad tear to try and burn a ton of CDs and get some memory cleared on my computer. I need to get a terabyte drive. Or two. Anyway, while I'm going through all this stuff, I figured I'd put together a brief list of who's been surprising me lately, both good and bad.

Fashawn, Boy Meets World
GOOD: This dude is nice, and the whole album is ably produced by Exile, working some nice soul chops.

Wale, Attention Deficit
BAD: Given the wide-ranging creativity on a whole bunch of his mixtapes, this record is surprisingly dull at times. There are a few flashes of excellence, and as always, he brings it lyrically, but it's not quite there. (Editor's note: Having took'n a few more listens, the first third of this album is starting to grow on me. I've been a Bun B fan ever since "Pocket Full of Stones (Port Arthur Remix)," and the guitar on that track is nice and fat. But given the awesome, intricate production on older Wale mixtapes like Broken Jazz 101 and Africahot!, I was expecting a little more. The middle third is a prime example of what I'm talking about... pretty pedestrian beats, in my opinion.)

K'naan, The Messengers mixtape series
GOOD: Working with J. Period and using beats crafted from Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, this series is awesome in every possible way. I'm waiting to hear back on an interview request from K'naan - should be pretty cool.

Robert Glasper
GOOD: My boy put me up on this jazz pianist, and he's real nice. Very bouncy sound, and on Double Booked, he works his neo-soul/hip-hop side to excellent effect.

Tech N9ne, K.O.D.
GOOD/BAD: I kind of like his new album, but apparently if you try to have a legitimate discussion about the darker aspects of the album - you know, the parts where he talks about going down on a girl and accidentally committing cannibalism, or questioning whether he really shot a friend by accident, or on purpose? - you get shouted down by a chorus of Juggaloes. I'm not denying that he's a good, nay, great rapper, who explores a lot of genuine emotional turmoil and personal reflection. Krizz Kaliko says it's just Tech provokin' us, "and y'all fall for it." I'm just sayin', Jason Whitlock might be stretching it to call Tech a devil worshiper, but you don't have to get booed out of the building just for asking.

Joss Stone, Colour Me Free!
GOOD: Despite the negligible UK spelling of "color," this is a fucking fantastic record. In the exact same retro mode as Raphael Saadiq's The Way I See It - Saadiq even provides background vocals - Colour captures the Motown sound all the way. Stone started out as an interesting oddity - the white girl who could really belt like the classic soul singers - but with this album, she's really come into her own as a name to be considered among modern soul legends. Say what you will about Beyoncé or Rihanna. They can't deliver the emotional wallop of tracks like "4 and 20" and "I Believe It to My Soul."

Hudson Mohawke, Butter
GOOD: When I last heard from Scottish producer Hudson Mohawke, he was remixing a Taz Buckfaster track for Jay Scarlett's excellent New Worlds compilation, and it sounded like a berserk Gameboy raiding a chicken coop. But Butter is almost a whole new genre: turbo-soul-pop, a crazy pastiche of buzzes, whirs, drums and vocals. It's best in small doses, but it's something to behold.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

'Burgh Sports Wrap: Purple Jesus Throws Two Picks; Horn-Helmeted Christians Everywhere Weep...

Okay, so I predicted one pick-six too many in my Facebook prognostication. What can you do?

STEELERS
Skippy Reed owes Kieran Fox his reputation and place in Steeler history. If not for Fox's miraculous pick-six, 70-plus-yard touchdown return late in the fourth quarter, Skippy might have gone down as the second football player referred to as "our idiot kicker who got liquored up" and beat the shit out of a Sheetz towel dispenser.

Luckily, the memory of his junior-varsity-benchwarmer tackle attempt, on what could have been a cock-chopping, soul-crushing, permanent-momentum-changing touchdown runback, is now just kind of funny.

Even Brett Favre made a better attempt, when he "tried to tackle" LaMarr Woodley, and Skippy outweighs him by about 30 pounds. That's the real shame here. Jeff Reed is a BIG BOY, and he could have (and SHOULD have) made that tackle.
Don't give me that "he's the kicker" shit. He's a solid 220 lbs. The game's on the line. Put a hit on someone, byaatch.

That said, here's to the D for standing tall in the fourth quarter, even if they let Purple Jesus and Purple Jesus Jr. (Adrian Peterson) drive all the way inside the 10 before taking one to the house on 'em. I predicted Favre would have one of his patented triple-INT days, and I was one off. And the Steelers beat the spread. I'll take that.

The bad news is that the Vikes ate up a lot of clock, and looked reasonably good doing it most of the time. They're a good team, no question. But I'm very glad I don't have to hear Jared Allen woofin' about the Steelers. I like him, and he's a beast, but it wouldn't have been nearly as funny this week.

PENGUINS
Well, the one Pens game we missed was a loss. Oh well. I get it. Marty Brodeur is great. Two losses through Oct. 28? That's fine by me.

I recently made a return to watching hockey. I was never a huge fan before, but I do remember watching some Pens games, particularly the first Stanley Cup runs. But then during the playoffs one year, the Pens were interrupted by the OJ chase, and for some reason I never watched hockey again. OJ ruined hockey for me. I don't know how the logic works on that one, but fuckit.

Anyway, my girl got me back into it during the '07 playoffs, when the Pens lost to Detroit, and we watched all the Versus games, playoffs and Cup win last year, which was awesome, I have to say. As a recent hockey re-convert [and someone who really doesn't know much about hockey play or strategy], the Pens are really exciting to watch, most of the time. Right now it seems like they're still getting into a groove - I know, 8-2 is a pretty great groove already - but I'm talking about the high-octane scoring threat that kept pace with the Ovechkin Machine and rolled right over the Hurricanes... Malkin and Crosby firing on all cylinders. Malkin has showed a few little flashes of it, maneuvering right around people and setting up sick goals, but it's not on like Donkey Kong just yet.

Canadiens tonight... I was just watching some History Channel documentary about how the Cosa Nostra boss in Montreal had a huge share of the drug trade in NYC back in the day. How 'bout that, eh?

OHH! A Quick Sneak Peek at the New Madvillain Record


J-Rocc spins a few snippets from the forthcoming Madvillain sequel. Sounds pretty damn good to me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

'Burgh Sports Wrap: Why I Told Yo' Ass to Watch Out for Daunte Culpepper!

Oh, Rashard... let's hope you can make it look this easy against a team that isn't 1-19 in their last 20 games...

STEELERS
"I wouldn't say I'm worried about Culpepper. Would rather have a rookie back there, though."

That was my boy's general feeling about Matthew Stafford rocking the backwards hat and the clipboard this week against the Steelers. I was a little more concerned, what with the whole "fourth-quarter meltdown" thing and Culpepper being a seasoned vet who dropped 30 pounds in the offseason and is STILL bigger than Big Ben.

My concern was justified.

Culpepper led multiple successful drives against the D this afternoon, and looked pretty damned good doing it, too. True, it wasn't enough to catch up to the Steelers, and wouldn't have been nearly enough without a bad pick-six giveaway to the Lions' defense.

I was glad to see they left Polamalu out for this game. They (mostly) didn't need him, and he can rest up another week and get stronger. I will give the D all the credit in the world on the Lions' final drive, though. They just piledrove the whole damn organization into the ground, and that was pretty great.

Browns up next. And while a conference game is always important, this one is almost crucial. They really need to catch up to the Bengals and Ravens, and Baltimore gets the Minnesota Brett Favres next week (oops, I mean the Vikings), so they could easily take a loss. That would be nice. 'Nati gets the Texans, which is basically a toss-up with a slight edge for the Bengals. I would say probably Bengals minus 4.5.

PENGUINS
We saw about three-quarters of the Pens-Flyers game before the streaming TV channel got shut down (sonofabitches...), and even though we had already seen plenty of scoring by that point, there was apparently a bunch more. After the lazy layabout that was the Coyotes game, it was nice to see the Pens hustle and get a nice win against the Philth. Then another high-scoring win, 5-2, against Toronto. Ottawa up next.