DOWNLOAD: Beg Borrow Steal – RA Scion

Click image to D/L.

RA Scion and his new hair dropped a fresh three-track EP and accompanying short film/music video. Beg Borrow Steal is available for download and viewing, here. I wrote about it in my weekly column, “The Home Row Keyed,” over at SSG Music. Click on over to read more.

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VIDEO: “Delusions of Grandeur” – The Physics

The Physics’ recent sophomore LP, Love is a Business, is the best Seattle hip-hop album of 2011 not called Black Up. Believe that. (And read the full SSG Music review here while you’re at it.) “Delusions of Grandeur” is the second video from LIAB and features direction by Michael Gaston and animation by Xavier Palin…

(Click here to continue reading at SSG Music.)

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DOWNLOAD: Aporia: In These Streets – Made In Heights

Click album cover to D/L.

Made In Heights recently released a new 11-track EP, Aporia: In These Streets, on Bandcamp. For those new to the duo, Heights is composed of Blue Scholars’ DJ/producer Sabzi and New York-based vocalist Kelsey Bulkin. They arrived on the internet scene last December with Winter Pigeons, an excellent collection of atmospheric electro-pop that vibed perfectly with a particularly brutal Northeast Winter…

(Click here to continue reading at SSG Music.)

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REVIEW: Watch The Throne – Jay-Z & Kanye West

The danger in scribbling down a hasty review of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne, especially for a writer who is quick to react to the bellow of so-called “significant” pop music projects like this album (tentative raised hand), is that said writer might immediately be taken by the triumphal calls of a track like “Lift Off” which, upon first listen, glistens with an orchestral rap radiance befitting such a pair of pop icons, when, in reality, the track is just a jumble of overwrought synth bloat, a wasted Beyonce cameo and lame half-sung half-rapped auto-tuned nonsense. On the other hand, the danger in waiting for the gold and platinum dust to settle before writing about the album is that one could be swayed by the reviews that came before, especially the negative ones accusing Jay and West of recklessly indulging themselves in their fame and excess, thereby further diluting hip-hop’s greater meaning within the mainstream context. So what’s a writer to do? I suppose some comfort can be taken in the old proverb about history ultimately determining the legacy of its people, places and things. It’s impossible to tell now if Pop Music will canonize Watch The Throne, but if there’s one thing this critic has gleaned from listening to the record at least a dozen times in succession, it’s that it’s much more fun to deliberate over the question than it is to actually listen to the music. And that alone should tell you something about this project…

(Click here to continue reading at SSG Music.)

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INTERVIEW: THEESatisfaction (New York, 8.25.11)

Photo courtesy The Stranger.

THEESatisfaction’s recent week-and-half long swing through New York City was hugely eventful. Group members Cat and Stas can thank both Mother Nature and their new label, Sub Pop Records, for that. They performed well-received shows at Bowery Ballroom, where they opened for labelmates the Handsome Furs, and were a featured act in the 14th Annual Black August Benefit Concert at S.O.B.’s the following week. And oh yeah, just for good measure they also survived the Virginia earthquake of August 23 and last weekend’s Hurricane Irene debacle.

(Click here to continue reading at SSG Music.)

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VIDEO: “Sweaters” – Nacho Picasso (prod. by Blue Sky Black Death)

Nacho Picasso might be Seattle rap’s Next Big Thing. And that definitely wouldn’t be all bad. This video was spotted over at SSG Music (#ConflictOfInterestAlert). All the insight needed (along with an exclusive leak) on Nacho is in SSG’s authoritative preamble to the MC’s next movement, For The Glory, featuring production work by electro savants Blue Sky Black Death. “Sweaters” sounds like trap music recorded underwater in slow motion, and it’s all about tattoos. Not that my opinion counts for anything, but Seattle needs hip-hop like this to pull itself out of a self-induced backpacker funk (and this is coming from someone who counts that style of rap as his preferred sh-t). Voices like Nacho’s are criminally under-represented in this Town. Time to stop the marginalizing.

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SHOW REVIEW: Blue Scholars Cinemetropolis Album Release Party @ Neumos on 6.18.11

Photo by Canh Solo

At Saturday’s sold-out Cinemetropolis Album Release Party, the second of a two-night run at Neumos, Blue Scholars had Seattle hip-hop fans eating out of their proverbial hands, as has been the case at all of the duo’s local shows for the last six years or so. The energetic all ages crowd followed Geo and Sabzi’s lead for nearly an hour and a half as the crew marched through a set list heavy on new material with a few select older favorites.

Click here to continue reading at SSG Music.

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LISTEN (& BUY): Cinemetropolis – Blue Scholars

Click album cover for Bandcamp link.

Breaking news from the Blue Scholars camp (via the good folks — and fellow colleagues — at SSG Music): the crew’s eagerly anticipated third full-length, Cinemetropolis, is now available for streaming and purchase at their Bandcamp page, a full two weeks before its official release date of June 14. Look for a full album review coming soon from 206UP.COM.

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