Thursday, August 11, 2011

Myxem Playlist: Side One, Track One 2006-2011

As Spotify Week continues here at Myxem, the editors put together a special playlist, the first in a series. This playlist focuses on the best album openers of the past five years, in no particular order.  With artists as diverse as LCD Soundsystem and Neil Young, this playlist is a tribute to the rare moment that an album grabs a hold of you from the very start. Click the banner above to see our choices.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Watch The Throne" by Jay-Z & Kanye West

Watch The Throne by Jay-Z & Kanye West
was released on August 8th, 2011
After Kanye West stormed back into the limelight once again back in 2010 by introducing G.O.O.D Fridays to the world and making his Twitter presence do all of his hyping for him, Kanye was bound and determined to reach a level of cultural excellence that many couldn't dream of achieving.  Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was deemed one of the best albums of 2010, receiving a coveted perfect 10 from Pitchfork and being hailed as an instant classic by many, indie mindset and mainstream alike.  All of the Jay-Z/Kanye collaborations in the past have been stellar whether it be production or rapping with one another, but with all of the hype behind Watch The Throne, the two's new collaborative effort, and seeing these two hip-hop titans finally meet for an album, it all just feels incredibly underwhelming.  While the production shines through, to no surprise, the lyrics tend to mostly fall flat with the exception of a few standout tracks.  It feels like Kanye and Jay have fallen into the habit of rapping more about their money and lavish lifestyles than bringing up the emotional grit and intellect that got them to their level in the first place.

The production on this album is stellar, make no mistake.  Kanye is and always has been one of the best in the industry when it comes to producing an album and I see no change in that in the near future.  I'll admit that after hearing the Lex Luger produced "H.A.M" I was hesitant of the "Watch The Throne" project, mainly because it all felt so contrived to hear a Lex Luger beat on a Kanye/Jay album.  It seems like it also led to a downgrading of lyricism for the songs that fell into these categories, actually for most of the album.  Tracks like "Illest Motherfucker Alive" are almost cringe-worthy at times, the opening lines of "I need a slow-motion video right now/'Cause I'm moving in slow-motion" sloppily drawled out by West are off putting.  He then raps off a list of famous Russel's and talks about "zero, zero, zero, zero, a whole lot of 0's".  The whole album isn't this bleak though, so don't count it out from off the gate.  Opening track "No Church In The Wild" features Odd Future sensation Frank Ocean singing the chorus and Jay-Z opening the album by rapping in prime form, standing out with lines like "Jesus was a carpenter/Yeezy made beats" showing the grandiose mindset of this whole project within a line.  Kanye immediately follows Jay-Z by rapping about cocaine, threesomes, and weed.  It's a little offputting to hear the man who once asked if "Anybody makes real shit anymore" but then you get to hear glimpses of the past and shimmers of light shining through with tracks like "New Day", "Murder To Excellence", and "Made In America".

Myxem Picks 'Em - Week of 08/08/2011

As you may recall, a while back we wrote a hands-on report regarding the revolutionary new music streaming service, Spotify. We were immediately enthralled at the program's ease of use and the diverse, comprehensive catalog. But perhaps what we've loved most about Spotify in the time we've used it is its potential for the legal, social sharing of music. From a blogger's perspective, it's like a gift from above; it's a quick and easy way to not only recommend music you've enjoyed, but allow anyone interested to listen to it and see for themselves almost instantly. This is why we've decided to take advantage of this amazing new tool and bring you playlists of our personal recommendations for your enjoyment. Just click the banner above to hear what music we've been enjoying recently.

We are so delighted to be able to enjoy and share Spotify, we're declaring this Spotify week. To kick things off, the Myxem staff has been sitting down listening to some new music that's available in Spotify's library and each of us chose five tracks we thought you should hear in the first playlist in the weekly series "Myxem Picks 'Em."

The Horrors | Wye Oak | Typhoon | Ghostpoet | Dinosaur Feathers | All Tiny Creatures | Parts and LaborArmy Navy | R.E.M. | Active Child | Mystery Jets | Noah and the Whale | Tall Ships | Part Time | Pursesnatchers

Editor's Note: The artist for the track "Cargo Maps" featured in our playlist is mistakenly listed as Harbors in Spotify's library. The song is actually by All Tiny Creatures, and Harbors is the name of their newest album.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Portugal. The Man's Van and Gear Stolen From Lollapalooza

Portugal. The Man had their van, trailer, and gear
stolen after their set at Lollapalooza this weekend
Shortly after their set at Lollapalooza, Portugal. The Man joined the growing group of bands to be involved in what's always a disheartening piece of news to read, after their Lollapalooza set the band's van, trailer, and gear was all stolen from an attended parking lot near festival grounds.  The band dropped the news of their van theft on Twitter, announcing that their Red Ford 350 fifteen passenger van with a black trailer and Alaska plates FJH244 had been stolen with all of their gear in it.  As if that already didn't make you feel bad enough for these guys then they dropped the list of all of the gear that was in the trailer...enough to make a musician weep.  Among the stolen gear was a Gretch White Falcon, Fender Twin Reverb, Epiphone Banjo, Roland Keyboards, Gibson Acoustic, and much more (all of which is listed here, some including serial numbers).

From the 'Net: Affirmations of the Mindheart

Mike Leffingwell, currently tenured on both Twitter and working with the Upright Citizen's Brigade, also finds time to create "Affirmations of the Mindheart." As seen at left, they're humorous takes on the idea of inspirational photographs, not unlike the demotivational poster meme. Excluding, of course, the fact that Leffingwell is both intelligent and, on an average day, pretty hilarious. Ranging from simple jokes, as seen on the left, to more adult themed work (think copulation, horses), Leffingwell covers the gamut of humor, but is always guaranteed to make you laugh.