Friday Link Session

Looks like an all-hip hop edition this week.

  • Animal has posted pages from an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan comic that tied into the Raekwon/Method Man/Ghostface Killah album Wu-Massacre, with art by Chris Bachalo.
  • Speaking of hip hop and comics, if you haven’t been reading the Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor over on Boing Boing, we have your afternoon all planned out for you.
  • And if you like some musical accompaniment for your reading, NPR Music has started “Microphone Check”, a hip hop stream curated by NPR music editor Frannie Kelley and A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad. It’s a great, eclectic mix, spanning styles and decades.

Bits: Atlas Sound, Justin Townes Earle, The Wu-Tang Clan, Conrad Plymouth, The Black Keys

  • Atlas Sound has released two free albums this week. Download Bedroom Databank Vol. 1 here and Bedroom Databank Vol. 2.
  • Justin Townes Earle has updated his tour schedule, including some European dates and a show at the Kent Stage on February 8 with Jessica Lea Mayfield.
  • The Wu-Tang Clan has announced a full tour.
  • Our friends and internet drinking buddies Conrad Plymouth have announced a series of Wisconsin and Minnesota live dates, including the Muzzle of Bees 6th Anniversary show.
  • It’s been 11 days since I’ve mentioned anything Black Keys-related, but our friends at Rubber City Review have afforded me the opportunity to do it again. They have joined the dark side and finally become a part of the Twitter stream, and to promote this new foray, they have a special contest to win a pair of tickets to the sold-out Black Keys New Year’s Eve show in Chicago.

This isn’t really news, but Gorilla Vs. Bear posted their favorite videos of 2010, and it gives me the opportunity to mention one of my favorite albums of 2010 as their #1 video is Gil Scott-Heron’s “Me and the Devil” from his gorgeous album I’m New Here.


Bits: Wu-Tang Clan, The Black Keys, Mumford and Sons, Robert Johnson, Drive-By Truckers

  • The Wu-Tang Clan are touring in December (and possibly beyond), including a New Year’s Eve show in Pittsburgh.

    12/4/10 San Diego, CA, 4th & B

    12/5/10 Los Angeles, CA, Club Nokia

    12/10/10 Dallas, TX, Granada Theater

    12/22/10 Boston, MA, Wilbur Theater

    12/26/10 New Haven, CT, Toad’s Place

    12/28/10 Providence, RI, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel

    12/30/10 Philadelphila, PA, Trocadero

    12/31/10 Millvale, PA, Mr. Smalls Theater

  • Re-issuing relatively new albums with additional live material is the new black. The Black Keys will be releasing limited edition numbered vinyl package of Brothers on November 26 as part of a special Black Friday Record Store Day, which will include the original double vinyl and CD of the album, plus a 10″ of a live session recorded in Akron of select Brothers tracks (different from their recent iTunes session) and a poster
  • Mumford and Sons will be re-releasing Sigh No More on November 29 in a limited edition package that will include the original album on CD, a DVD and a bonus disc of songs recorded at a pair of live gigs at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last March.
  • Blues legend Robert Johnson would have been 100 years old next year. In tribute, a tour called Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts will begin in January and will feature legends David “Honeyboy” Edwards and Hubert Sumlin, as well as Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The group of musicians will also record an album which will be released in conjunction with the tour.
  • Having apparently attended the Robert Pollard School of Never Sitting Still, the Drive-By Truckers are releasing a Black Friday Record Store Day 10″ which will include brand new songs “Used to Be a Cop” and “The Thanksgiving Filter”, with their new album Go-Go Boots being released on February 15. A download of their song “Your Woman is a Living Thing” is available via the band’s Facebook page.

Drive-By Truckers “Used To Be A Cop” from Jason Thrasher on Vimeo.

Bits: Conrad Plymouth, Infantree, Megafaun, Folgers, Wu-Ta

  • Conrad Plymouth’s beautiful EP is available on 10″ clear vinyl. Get it.
  • Another gorgeous song from Infantree, “Slaughterhouse”, is available for free download.
  • Megafaun and Fight the Big Bull will be joined by guest Justin Vernon and Sharon Van Etten for a series of shows, taking place September 17-19, that will cover songs from Alan Lomax’s Sounds of the South collection. The shows will be recorded for a future live album release.
  • If your life has heretofore been incomplete due to a lack of Johnny Cash singing to you about coffee from your phone, be ready to experience nirvana. Folgers has posted a series of free ringtones of their jingle performed by Cash, Aaron Neville and Michael McDonald, among others. I can’t make it all the way through the Michael McDonald one for fear of suffocating from laughter.
  • The Wu-Tang Clan are in the middle of the Rock the Bells tour, during which they are performing 36 Chambers in its entirety. Check out the Clan turning out “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man”.


Slackday: The Black Keys Vs. The GZA

What happens when a pair of white boys from Akron, Ohio…

…meet one of the killingest MCs around?

That’s right, just another excuse for me to post more Black Keys and GZA.

(Dan looks positively giddy to meet GZA. Can’t say that I blame him.)

Bits: Les Savy Fav, Walkmen, Lissie, RZA, A.A. Bondy

  • Les Savy Fav will release a new album, Root For Ruin on September 14.
  • Also dropping September 14 will be the Walkmen’s Fat Possum debut, Lisbon. The band will hit the road next month.
  • Lissie, who has been a cover song powerhouse this year, will release her first full album, Catching a Tiger, on August 17, and you can pre-order it from Fat Possum now.
  • Via RZA’s Twitter: Post a picture of yourself with the Swarm cover/logo to RZA’s Facebook for a chance to win an autographed copy of Pollen: The Swarm, Part 3. Winner will be chosen June 26.
  • NTSIB favorite and part of the inspiration for turning this blog into a reality, A.A. Bondy will be hitting the road again in October, sharing dates with his new label-mates the Walkmen.

Speaking of Lissie’s great covers, here she is doing Cleveland-native Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness”.


Bits: The Wu is coming through, Strummerville by Letts, the story of K Records

  • There’s never a shortage of news from the Wu-Tang Clan, and our first four items are devoted to them. Up first: The Wu will be playing the Rock the Bells festival tour at the end of August, performing their masterpiece Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) in its entirety. This year’s bill also includes Rakim, KRS-ONE and Slick Rick, among others.
  • Raekwon has released a new mixtape, Cocainism, Vol. 2, and you can download it here.
  • Pollen, The Swarm Part 3 is on its way, and you can download the first track, “Roll with Killer Beez”, here.
  • It was inevitable: RZA is making a kung fu film. The Man with Iron Fists was co-written by RZA and Eli Roth and will be directed by and star RZA.
  • Filmmaker Don Letts has produced a documentary about the creation of Strummerville, the foundation that carries on Joe Strummer’s work of promoting music from beyond the fray, and the DVD of the film is being sold exclusively through the Strummerville site where you can also watch a trailer for the film.
  • Pitchfork’s One Week Only feature this week is The Shield Around the K, the story of K Records, the independent label founded by Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening in 1982 and still operating to this day.

And because you know I can’t let an opportunity to push the Black Keys pass, here’s a web exclusive of the guys performing the excellent “Ten Cent Pistol” during their appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week. (And you can see their televised performance of the bangin’ “Howlin’ for You” here.)

Slackday: Hip Hop, Ya Don’t Stop

Hi, I’m white. Very, very white. As the subtitle of this post has probably already informed you. But I grew up in the time when hip hop was breaking into the mainstream, when Run-D.M.C. was as big as any rock band. It was just as divisive a genre then as it is now, and some people – those who didn’t know that the roots of hip hop went much deeper – were convinced it was only a novelty that would fizzle out after a year or two. But then, as now, there was really good music to be found for those willing to listen.

I’ll admit, I’ve never been as into hip hop as other genres, but there have always been MCs I’ve been excited about. I’ll be seeing one of those MCs in my first non-festival hip hop show when GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan hits the Grog Shop Saturday, and I’m fucking jazzed about it. In tribute, Slackday is about some of the hip hop songs that stuck with me from my youth.

First up, it’s gotta be Run-D.M.C. I still think “King of Rock” is pretty badass.

This next clip is dedicated to my friend Amanda because, as we are linked at the brain, when I brought up the idea of an old school hip hop Slackday, we both thought of this admittedly terrible song – “I Got a Man” by Positive K. (And Amanda informs me that K did both the male and female vocals.)

A Tribe Called Quest’s “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” stuck with me from the first time I heard it playing at a friend’s house back in 1990.

Enter the Wu-Tang Clan. (Yes, I know that was cheesy. It’s Slackday. Shut up.) Along with predecessors like Public Enemy, N.W.A. and Ice-T, Wu-Tang came stronger and more aggressively than the hip hop the mainstream was used to hearing. They scared the shit out of white people. That’s right: Ice-T used to be scary. But unlike many “gangsta rappers”, these artists had depth and style.