The White Stripes: Elephant
Daniel Higley: KCSU Music Director
The White Stripes consist of Jack and Meg White. Elephant is their 4th release, and their best to date. This record, easily the best release of 2003 so far, incorporates bass, blues riffs, and songs that could have been straight off the Beatles’ Abbey Road. The opener is also the first single “Seven Nation Army,” and is lead by one mean bass line, and a sick groove that will have you foaming from both ends. In the middle of the record we find an interesting track “In The Cold, Cold Night” which is led by a simple guitar riff, and Meg’s simple charming vocals. The meat and potatoes of Elephant are the second half, where we are met head on by the bluesy rocker “Ball and Biscuit,” which sounds good the louder you play it. The closer is a goofy track, which was probably made up at the end of a long recording session, don’t forget the album was recorded in less than two weeks in England. “It’s True That We Love One Another” is a funny take on the media hype of Jack and Meg’s relationship. Are they brother and sister, or lovers? Who cares, they are the most exciting musical act on the big tube today.
The Jayhawks: Rainy Day Music
Zach Ginsberg: KCSU Program Director
Think Abbey Road. Clicks, pops, analog record making in all its glory – purity of the artist’s vision. Now combine this style and all it entails with the purest, most honest of songwriting methods and you have
yourself the latest record from folk rock mainstays The Jayhawks. Rainy Day Music is a simply written, simply arranged and simply recorded album. Displaying extensive back-porch harmonies and an ever-present pop sensibility on “Save It For A Rainy Day” and “Stumbling Through The Dark,” The Jayhawks
provide a helping-hand back onto the bandwagon for those who gave up on them after their previous two releases. Rainy Day Music effectively harkens back to the finest works from 60’s era Crosby, Stills & Nash and provides those of us who came around too late for the originals, something refreshing and new. Rainy Day Music is a fine record for a rainy day or otherwise. Enjoy!
King Britt: Adventures in Lo-Fi
Rebecca Rodriguez: KCSU Urban Director
King Britt: you know him as the DJ of hip-hop’s group Digable Planets where he laid down smooth jazzy beats with slick lyrics to match. Inevitably, he has evolved as a producer and this album seems to be another progressive step in this peculiar time in hip-hop. If you want to get hyped up, this isn’t the album for you. The beats are down tempo – they’ll put you in a mellowed out groove, but you can’t just casually listen to this album’s mix of spoken word and poetic flows. The lyrical content is carefully planned by Britt and requires a careful ear to catch the unique concept of the album- I’ll leave the concept for to you to figure out. Lyrical contributions by Cherrywine (of Digable Planets), Bahamadia, Quasimoto, Posdonus and Trugoy (of De La Soul) backed by Britt’s chilled-out beats make for an intriguing LP. Britt utilizes technology to enhance his music and it draws you in until you’re locked into the sound. Adventures in Lo-Fi is a contribution to hip-hop worthy of appreciation.
The Fleshtones: Do you Swing
Sharon Gaudreau: KCSU Public Affairs Manager
Imagine throwing southern rock, 60s to 70s influenced jam sessions, punk riffs, a couple harmonicas, maybe a tambourine or two, and a pint of beer into a blender. What’s the result? Each song on Do You Swing, the latest album by rock veterans The Fleshtones.
After 25 years in the music business, Do You Swing proves these guys still have a decent knowledge of good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, something we don’t hear too much on Top 40 radio these days. The songs range from bouncy, catchy “Alright” (perfect for a day on the beach), to the grungier, more in-depth “Right On Woman.” However, with all this alleged diversity, each song still contains the same musical flavor, and gets repetitive near the end of the album. Lyrically, it seems the Fleshtones follow the same trend (hence the pint in The Fleshtones’ musical blender.)
So how do I swing? Right up the middle. The lack of musical diversity makes this album difficult to appreciate. However, for hardcore Fleshtones fans, don’t worry. Do You Swing serves up another course of hook-laden rock ‘n’ roll just the way it was meant to be.