I just got a glorious package in the mail today that made this gloomy Wednesday very happy. This is why I love DIY'ers and Minnehappiness... Details are what makes art ART and life worth living. I love all of the little things about this package. It's screen-printed on one side with the promo font, it has a Big Quarters sticker that resembles a stamp in the upper left hand side, on the the upper right is a stamp that reads "Free Shipping" (the last track on the album), they included stickers (who doesn't like stickers!?), pins (coming back in style), a lovely artist's EP that Zach has been working with, and the ultimate personal touch: a signed picture with a shout to yours truly. It all is very special.
Their attention to detail can be found in their music, especially in this album. Things like the background sample of Brandon's significant other laughing in mid-thought ("Wipe the Dust"), the unique recording of screams used as emphasis throughout the record, the balancing of heavy drums and basslines with airy melodies ("All Day Long") that match the lyrical content perfectly, and the extended instrumentals to let that 'ish breathe.
The intricate details are all finely aligned and all of the pieces come together to make a very cohesive album. It has all of the bases covered: knowledge drops ("Protection"), comments about the industry ("Barter System"), the grind ("Blessed"), tragic tales ("All Day Long"), dope instrumental ("Can't Won't"), one for the ladies that still bangs ("Ladies Know"), growing up ("One On the Lip"), and uptempo/experimental joint ("Free Shipping").
My favorite line on the album that I believe sums up what Big Quarters is all about:
"Forget what you put in, truth's in the puddin'. Made in an instant, wouldn't taste your cookin' - GOOD LOOKIN!"
Again, I'm late on giving you guys fair warning on this. I've had this pic in my camera for weeks and never got around to posting it. Well, it's TONIGHT at the Varsity Theater and is a must see. Peanut Butter Wolf has his roots in hip-hop way back and James Pants is on some 70's revival production that is obscurely accessible. Last but not least is the nu funk group, Dam-Funk, who will bring some live, funky, jazzy, downtempo-y goodness to the show.
Within the last week I have made two great finds in the 'used' sections. The first one came from a one dollar record found at a record show. Not only was the Rufus featuring Chaka Khan record a great album, but the seller must've missed the sweet insert in it. Otherwise he would've probably priced it a bit higher.
Then, yesterday I picked up Percee P's Legendary Status (a compilation of unreleased/B-sides/live performances) and lo and behold...
...dude's got nice handwriting. Oh, and he's got a wicked flow that goes way back.
As if you didn't know already, right? If you've ever seen him do his thing behind the decks, you didn't need City Pages to tell you. Congrats to Jimmy2Times! It is very well-deserved. Dude can rock a party better than anybody else.
Have I mentioned yet how much I love Black Blondie? I do just a little bit of a lot. I went to their sold out CD release show at the Triple Rock last Friday. The whole show was amazing. Chastity Brown brought some much-needed soul to Minneapolis and worked magnificently as back-up vocals to Samahra. M.anifest and Fundamentalist brought some of that old-school DJ/emcee chemistry with a bunch of new-school skittles. I can't say enough about how great it was to see Fundo work a perfectly executed intro/outro to the set and fit in a bunch of strategically placed scratchademiks. Muja even came through to perform "Dirty Ashes." And then there were the ladies... they all looked even more beautiful than they usually do. Nobody expected anything less because it was their big night and the Rock was packed with fans. If they're within driving distance of you, don't miss them. Before you know it, they'll be doing shows where the only way you can see them is on a jumbo screen. DJ B-Rock
Some local record stores either had exclusives, deals, in-store performances, food, or hosted record shows. My first stop was at Fifth Element where a lot of great stuff went down. They had 15% off the entire store, free burgers and brats, gift bags, and in-store performances by DJ's and Eyedea & Abilities. I didn't stay for E&A (had some used records to hunt down), but I did swing by Fifth Element just as they went on. The place was filled to capacity and supposedly hotter than a mofo (I'm getting too old to risk my life like that). I saw Otto all hot and bothered outside trying to catch a breather from the inferno inside. And in case they're reading this, I also spoke with some lovely Norwegian exchange students and forgot to give them some promo CD's that I had in my bag. I totally forgot that I had them on me. If you ladies swing through a show of mine, be sure to say 'hi' and ask me for some CD's!
After buying out Fifth Element and finally copping that Micranot's Return of the Travellah's I was off to a record show being held at Soo Visual Arts Center on Lyndale. I wasn't expecting much. The last time I went to a record show with the same hosts, it was a bunch of 50's & 60's rock-n-roll garbage. I was pleasantly surprised and ended up picking up 15 records for $14 (dude threw me The Supremes' Floy Joy for free because the cover was nasty).
I walked across the street to my favorite coffee joint, Bob's Java Hut, where I could take in the beautiful people and weather that were out and about in Uptown. After organizing my iTunes library, I walked a block to Treehouse. I dug through their recent used arrivals and probably paid too much for a few records that just looked interesting. I even paid too much for music from Miami Vice II. Really I just bought the record for the cover. Mmmmm, Testarosaaaaa. I heard that Treehouse got a bunch of the Record-Store-Day-exclusives, but they sold out with the hotness. Next year, I'm not staying up so late the night before.
It was an excellent day and appeared to be a very successful day for all of our wonderful record stores. All of them were bustling with action and, more importantly, had registers ringing off the hook. Viva la record stores!
I wasn't in the mood to snap any pics today which I regret now. Here's some examples of what lovely music you can find in the crates. Have a listen. That's what I'm about to do all night.
I picked up the much-anticipated album debut of Black Blondie, Do You Remember Who You Wanted to Be. It did not disappoint. They are my favorite band live and I was worried that their sound would not translate to a studio recording. But it does, wonderfully. The jazzy moodiness, the tempo changes, the cheekiness, the acute awareness of each instrument, and the playfulness of Samarha's vocals are all there.
On a scale of 1 to 10-thousand lakes, this album is a 10-thousand-laker: a certified Minnehappiness classic!
Tonight I will be joining my homie Tommy on the KUST radio show. We are fortunate enough to have special guests Zach and Brandon of Big Quarters in the studio with us. Check it out tonight from 10pm to midnight. We have a bunch of questions that every fan wants to know or at least should know. They were also kind enough to give Tommy an advance copy of their upcoming album, From the Home of Brown Babies and White Mothers. It drops May 5th, but you can hear it before the masses tonight.
If you have questions you'd like to ask Big Quarters, have a request or want to holler at your DJ: call 651-962-5830 during the show's hours (10-2)
Here's a 45 I recently came across. It's the official Harlem Globetrotters anthem. So sweet.
For those not familiar, before becoming strictly entertainment, the origins of the Globetrotters resided in Chicago as a very competitive group of local African Americans. The informally conceived team went on to become very good and even beat the preeminent, and all-white Minneapolis Lakers. Their back-to-back wins over the Lakers in 1948 and '49 had a large part in breaking down the color barrier in the NBA. 1950 saw the first African-American drafted into the NBA, Chuck Cooper.
As a competitive outlet for talented African-American ball players, the Globetrotters became less relevant. The team eventually became an entertainment act displaying individuals' skills in the form of flashy tricks.
The spirit of the original Harlem Globetrotters still permeates blacktops across the country, including the infamous Rucker Park. Of course, it didn't take long for the similarly flashy and original moves of the latest generation to become marketed for a profit. Upstart basketball shoe company, And 1, used Rucker Park legend, Rafer Alston, as their first spokesperson. As a promo tool, And 1 put out the first infamous And 1 Mixtapes on VHS. The first tape was a collage of lo-fi Rafer Alston, aka "Skip to my Lou", footage from Rucker Park tournaments set to underground hip-hop tracks. I was working at Footaction at the time of the release. Footaction received these tapes exclusively. It didn't take long for the videos to spread like wildfire across the country. Their demand far exceeded And 1's wildest expectations. There were a crazy amount of bootlegs and many sold on eBay for exorbinant prices. Absolutely incredible considering the videos were given away to anyone who tried on a pair of shoes initially. Many volumes were created and a TV show/traveling tournament was created by ESPN. Rafer Alston currently plays for the Orlando Magic.
Because this was the first track on an And 1 Mixtape, this will forever be And 1's anthem for me...
I couldn't get to this yesterday because I was hungover like a mofo. I blame Fundo who opened up the floodgates to the dance floor earlier than normal. His mixing was on some next level type ish. Straight merked it!
I went on another spurt away from the blog. That's okay, because it coincided with a spurt of records. I have probably 3 dozen new records, many of which I'd like to share over the nex few days/weeks. Of all the records waiting for their grooves to be popped, these two are appropriate. Because it's Friday. It's time to Get Cryphy!
I finally got my anxious hands on Mike the 2600 King's gem of a new-new dance EP. He only has one track on it, but I call it his because he brought all of his homies together for it, designed the packaging, and screen-printed it at his hotness factory, Burlesque of North America. I gave y'all a heads-up about this a while ago. So if you don't already have it, that's your fault. I got mine (after bugging Otto and the Fifth Element guys to check it into their inventory for the last week). I'm not going to write a review. That would be like writing a review of a new King & I Thai cocktail. It's what they do. You're guaranteed to lose your inhibitions and bust out dancing. The packaging is worth the price of admission by itself. It's an extra bonus that it houses bangers.
As before, I'm not going to post any tracks for many good reasons. Instead you can get a handful of other dope tracks via their BRLSQOTECH website.
While we're on the new-new dance topic, and since this came in the mail the same day that I had picked up Do It To It 2, I'll drop some knowledge. The name's Ninjasonik, "With The K, Not The C."