NEW MUSIC: “I’m @ The Ocean Kid” – Don’t Talk To The Cops!

Click image to download.

The press emails from Don’t Talk To The Cops! read like their songs sound: overflowing with exclamations, lousy with strategic emphasis, and more than a little haphazard — all good things. Stimulate your feet with “I’m @ The Ocean Kid,” more of that “raw punk dancing swamp music” (their words) on this day before TGIF.

Audio Downloads

REVIEW: They LA Soul (Mash Hall)

The truth is, I’m an eighties baby who is a sucker for any nostalgia-inducing music that reminds me of my formative adolescent years. So when a group like They Live! Mash Hall enters the scene, late eighties to mid-nineties pop culture references flying, I’m immediately taken. Show me a group that can borrow snippets from Jodeci’s Diary of a Mad Band (mind you, not even that r&b group’s career-defining record), cultivate the awesomeness and unintentional comedy of the foursome’s bad-boy loverman antics into hip-hop party music gold, and then sign me up.

They Live!’s Mash Hall’s full-length debut, They LA Soul (released for free download on 12.24.09 via the band’s blog) works that party magic. It’s a collage of many things eighties-nineties: Die Hard, Stevie Wonder, Total Recall, Shai, and New Edition are all given stage time via brief audio samples, the visual equivalent of which would be rapid flashes of ADHD-inducing klieg lights. The whole organized mess is then spray-painted with basic hip-hop treatment in the form of 808 kick drums, high hats and hand claps. And it’s all narrated with an intelligent stoner’s hazy wit by emcees Bruce Illest (who sometimes sounds a little like 50 Cent — if 50 were white, way more stoned, and significantly less menacing) and Gatsby, whose assertive West Coast style exists somewhere between the unapologetic party-rocking antics of Sir-Mix-A-Lot and the confident street sensibilities of Ice Cube. They’re a bit of an odd couple, but that’s why it works.

The production here isn’t completely based on sample mash-ups, but it comes close. Most tracks are built around familiar blasts of audio that are immediately recognizable to anyone who remembers awkwardly dancing in middle school to songs like Shai’s “If I Ever Fall in Love” (heavily featured on “Serve You”), The Brotherhood Creed’s “Helluva” (here reimagined as an ode to West Coast diction, “Hella Hella”), and New Edition’s “If it Isn’t Love” (on “Can You Stand the Reign”, where They Live! Mash Hall uses a familiar section of the source material’s synthesized drum pattern to similar, and thus ironic, rhythmic effect). The best track is “Up Early In Em”, a bare-bones drum and bass posse cut (featuring Tay Sean, Spaceman and Ronnie Voice) about being on your daily grind.

They LA Soul is a charming, catchy proposition because it reminds us that the very first hip-hop dance parties originated as massive collaborative endeavors, the music invented basically on the fly by turntablists who practiced a pure and free-wheeling extraneous form of musicianship. Or, maybe that’s digging a little deeper than the members of They Live! Mash Hall intended. Could be, Bruce Illest and Gatsby just want us to drink a little, smoke a little, find some shorties who remind us of the Fly Girls, and wild the f*ck out. Yeah, pretty sure that’s what this record is all about.

Album Reviews Downloads