Friday, August 24, 2012

A Quick Note & Reveiws - The Ad-Libs and BBU [PopMatters]

Hey internet, sorry for the long absence, August has proven no less busy than July. I've been busy writing but less so here at OWM. Fortunately, I can promise that September I will be back with some more great amazing concert reviews including Jennifer Hall and the Hideout Block Party as well as some reviews (did someone say Spider Bags?), a mix and more of my barely-coherent ramblings.

In the meantime, check out a couple of albums I've been jamming to and saying things about. The Ad Libs were famous for their 1964 hit "The Boy From New York City" but the recent release of their complete works from Blue Cat Records is worth checking out for more than just that.
The ten songs following “The Boy from New York City” were all released during 1964 and 1965 and they reveal a group with a firm grounding in the pop tropes of their time. The b-side to “Boy”, “Kicked Around”, is a masterpiece, employing just a soft organ, scratch guitar and hyperactive triangle to back Thomas giving a clinic on how to sing happy songs about sad subjects and turning a litany of romantic woe into a hopeful preface to a new boyfriend. Though the recording here is unfortunately marred by some dodgy stereo tracking, the song is one of those gems that you’ll be delighted to surprise friends and mixtape recipients with for years to come. Other highlights include the wonderfully mid-century American pastiche of “Ask Anybody” (wherein Thomas tells her lover, behind some punchy horns, to inquire with everyone from her butcher to the police as to her devotion to him) and the catchy “Johnny My Boy”. “On The Corner” clearly sought to capitalize on both the burgeoning hippie trend and the Drifters urban oasis fantasies such as “Under the Boardwalk” and “Up On the Roof” and mostly succeeded. The Ad Libs even threw their hat into the ring of dance craze songs with “The Slime”, a tune notable for urging teens throbbing hormonally on the edge of the sexual revolution to “get down in the gutter / then melt like butter”.
Check out my full review here.

You might also remember my fondness for the newest release from BBU? Yeah, I still won't shut up about it.
With bell hooks, BBU has produced a statement of musical purpose that places them firmly above the legions of mixtape-hawking MCs and wannabe message rappers. They spend much of the album listing their influences like an encyclopedia of radicalism, hood culture and cultural icons - Mumia, Malcolm X, Lil’ B, Cypress Hill, Prince, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and NPR are all part of BBU’s universe. That mixture of righteous anger, musical savvy and self-aware humor make bell hooksone of the most arresting musical and political statements of 2012 and point to BBU as one of the most compelling up-and-coming forces in hip-hop.

Read the full PopMatters review here.

Thanks for reading, I can't wait to getting back in September to my first internet love - you.

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