Sunday, May 07, 2006

Two For Tuesday

This Tuesday, two fantastic albums drop on the same day. While the styles vary between the two, they are both solid releases from proven innovators in the music world.

First up is the much discussed release from Cee-Lo and DJ Danger Mouse, collectively known as Gnarls Barkley. Really, this purchase is a no brainer. While Crazy has the potential to become the overplayed hit of the summer, there are plenty of other great tracks on the album that you can put on your own permanent rotation. Smiley Faces alone is worth the price of the CD in my opinion. But on top of the few slammers, you also get some noteworthy hip hop innovation from both members of the tag team.

Cee-Lo claims he doesn't "sing" but he can "sang" and I have to agree. His voice is just melodic, and his vocal delivery spans the gammit on this album. I have been a huge fan of both of Cee Lo's solo albums, and Gnarls Barkley really showcases his abilities as a songwriter more than just an MC (love him or hate him for it, but he penned the Pussy Cat Dolls' hit "Don't Cha"). But don't get it twisted, the rotund one can still spit fire, so be on the lookout for the Goodie Mob reunion album later this year.

Meanwhile, Danger Mouse continues to evolve, not falling into any one signature style despite the successes of The Grey Album, his work on the recent Gorillaz album, or his critically acclaimed effort on the DangerDoom album. While many producers wait for success and then become nothing but beat factories churning out versions of the same style, Danger Mouse claims he is constantly learning and improving. Word from Gnarls Barkley's recent 14-piece ensemble, Wizard of Oz-themed Coachella performance also indicates that their innovation will carry over to their live performances as well.

The album is called St. Elsewhere and is in stores on Tuesday.

Also hitting shelves on Tuesday is the new double album from PRADE's favorite rock band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, called Stadium Arcadium. I listened to the album while it was streaming on VH1 last week, and it is another in a long line of fantastic RHCP releases. While some fans chide the Peppers for straying from their early punk/rap/rock style, I enjoy the fact that each of their albums has its own unique sound, while still retaining elements of the band's signature style. This release is no different - with some tracks continuing the sound explored in 2001's By The Way, but others pushing new funk-rock boundaries and giving guitarist John Frusciante room to flex his musical inventiveness.

The Peppers will also be touring to promote the new album, so look for them at a Stadium near you shortly.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Scion Dashboard: San Francisco

Scion recently opened set up shop on Hayes St in San Francisco, opening up a gallery space for one month that will have weekly showcases of some of the most promising emerging artists.

There is a Saturday opening night event every week, and I went last Saturday to drink Heineken and wax intellectual with the hipsters and indie rockers. Apparently, you really shouldn't come in unless you have tattoos, cool sneakers, and some type of hat. I squeaked in because I went with two girls, and combined the three of us met all of the prerequisites (because you know my sneaker game is tight).

Below is by far the coolest piece I saw at the show - and to be honest, one of the most disturbingly original pieces I've seen. The artist's name is Michael Hussar.

All in all, it was a great event - good music, free beer, and plenty of people watching to undertake. While Scion is obviously trying hard to associate their brand with the cutting edge of the art world, I think they tastefully reserved their marketing efforts and let the art take the main stage.

Tons more info here and here.

There are two more opening night events left, so if you are in the area, definitely try to make it out ot Hayes St. Although, I suggest making sure to come correct with your tats, hats, and kicks.