Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Tom Gabel from Against Me! becomes a woman

The same week that North Carolina approved an amendment banning gay marriage and President Barack Obama came out in support of gay marriage, singer Tom Gabel from the punk band Against Me! made his own bold announcement: he will become a she. And, in a sign of support for Gabel’s transgender journey, media outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Wikipedia, have already begun calling the singer she. So far be it from us to not follow suit. Gabel, who has suffered from gender dysphoria for years, will undergo hormone treatments and electrolysis. She will go by the name of Laura Jane Grace in her new life, and will remain married to her wife, Heather. Just try and stop ˜em, North Cackalack!

No Doubt releases sneak peak of new album

Are all your old No Doubt MP3s worn out from overuse? Fear not, a new album is on the way. This new webisode from No Doubt shows the band hard at work in the studio, recording their track Push & Shove. Check it out below, and curse Gwen Stefani for looking younger than ever.

The Bad

Beastie Boys’ Adam MCA Yauch dies

Very sad news this week. Founding Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, better known as MCA, passed away from cancer this week at the age of forty-seven. Anyone alive during the ˜80s knows the influence Yauch and his bandmates Adam Ad-Rock Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond had on bringing hip hop to the mainstream through hits like Sabotage and No Sleep Till Brooklyn. Yauch was also known for his humanitarian efforts as well as the films he produced through his company, Oscilloscope Laboratories. Musicians from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to fun. paid tribute to Yauch in concerts over the weekend. Check out Coldplay’s version of (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) below.

John Hamm raps about Taxi

If we knew the cast of Taxi, we probably would be laughing at this. But, since we’re far too young and fresh-faced to ever have watched that show, all we can say is, Keep your day job, Draper.

The Ugly

M.I.A. designing beer label for Beck’s

The foolish folks at Beck’s Beer are letting M.I.A. design a new label for their brews. We all know how much the pop star loves sparking controversy. So what’ll it be? Photos of Sri Lankan atrocities? Her middle finger? At least we’ll be wearing beer goggles this time.

Things Kanye doesn’t like

Hot on the heels of his new single, I Don’t Like, Kanye West has announced an expanded list of things he can’t abide. It includes: cargo shorts, big ass striped scarves and unruly sideburns. Read the entire list here, so you don’t risk offending Yeezy next time you’re out and about.


Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch Dead At 47

Reported earlier today and later confirmed by Billboard; Beastie Boys founder, Adam “MCA” Yauch has passed away at the age of 47. Yauch had been undergoing treatment for a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland since he announced his diagnosis in 2009.

Yauch and the Beastie Boys originally formed as a Brooklyn-based hardcore punk band in the late ’70s, but by the release of their 1986 debut album Licensed to Ill, the boys had followed their initial experimentations and become a full-fledged hip-hop group.

Writing rough-edged rap lyrics and layering them over hard rock riffs, MCA, Mike D, and Ad-Rock changed the culture of hip-hop forever. And although their sound matured and diversified drastically over the years, they remained a constant and formidable force in the world of hip-hop and popular music in general.

Yauch became increasingly interested in humanitarian efforts and spirituality as his career progressed. He co-organized the wildly popular Tibetan Freedom Concerts in the late ’90s, and became a vocal advocate for Buddhism. Other projects included his extensive music video direction for the Beastie Boys (Under the pseudonym “Nathanial Hí¶rnblowér”) and the creation of the film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories.

Yauch is survived by his wife and daughter, and will never be forgotten by the legion of Beastie Boys fans around the world.

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Rapper's Delight: Beastie Boys Kick It Old School With 'Hot Sauce Committee Part Two'

Let’s take a minute and remember where the kings of mischief came from. Originally a hardcore punk band, the Beastie Boys didn’t transform into a rap trio until the mid-80s. By the time Licensed to Ill dropped in ’86, they were parodying frat boys, jocks, b-boys and just generally upsetting parents everywhere. Or, as MCA puts it, “being bad news is what we’re all about.” Well not a whole lot as has changed with their most recent release Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, which, of course, is great news.

That’s not to say that the Beastie Boys are trapped in the past; they certainly have no illusions about their age. It’s just refreshing to see that they’re not trying to tamper with their sound or style for the sake of sounding “new.” They’re not rapping about family, Adam Yauch’s throat cancer or current events either. The Beastie Boys are just as funky, fun, boastful and immature as ever. Ad Rock, in “Nonstop Disco Powerpack,” claims: “now get your ass on the floor, I got total control / I flow like the water out your toilet bowls.”

One noticeable difference in this album is the production value. It’s somehow grittier than before, but also flashier. Not in an obnoxious way at all, though, if anything it compliments their style and jacks up the energy level. “Lee Majors Come Again,” “Make Some Noise,”  and “Crazy Ass Shit” are some of their more danceable tracks, but they still steer clear of anything resembling pop. As for the two guest rappers on the album, we have to say that they fit in surprisingly well. Nas and Santigold aren’t exactly the first artists that spring to mind when you think “Beastie Boys,” are they? Well “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win (featuring Santigold)” is a catchy reggae jam outside of their typical realm, but works well with the album. “Too Many Rappers,” with Nas, actually has one of the dirtiest beats we’ve heard from the group in a while. Nas blends right in with the crew and doesn’t miss a beat. As usual, the trio calls in outside help sparingly but with great success. Notice the absence of newer rappers such as Lupe Fiasco or Kid Cudi.

If you like the Beastie Boys’ older albums, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. It’s probably their best release since Ill Communication and it’s good to see MCA back on the mic. We’ve posted some of our favorite tracks below for your listening pleasure: