Should You? is a weekly roundup of what’s come through my inbox. Should you listen / watch / download / buy / read whatever the PR folks are pimping? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s run through.
GNUČČI, “Fuck What They Want We Are What They Need” Feat: Charity (Zean Remix)
“Ana Rab, better known by her stage name GNUČČI is an exuberant performer proving herself a reckoning force as a DIY artist. Today, GNUČČI is ecstatic to showcase her versatile skill with the release of a remix of “Fuck What They Want We Are What They Need,” with Shanghai producer Zean and Chinese hip-hop prodigy, Charity. The remix applauds the original (Rachel Green & Subp Yaoas) as GNUČČI playfully mingles her raps over Zean’s hard-hitting bombastic bass, and bridges the East and West, with lucid Chinese spitfire bars from rapper Charity. A catalyzer of energies, GNUČČI implants her high-spirit and frenetic creativity on the mix, aiming to soundtrack the good times.”
Should You Listen? Yeah. Not exactly as much of a banger as I’d hoped for — it’s pretty laid back — but Charity’s verse is pretty hot. This is definitely an end-of-the-night track, more than anything else.
Sorry To Bother You trailer
“In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.”
Should You Watch? Someone on Twitter described the feel of this as Bamboozled meets Brazil, and I feel that. Plus, the talent involved — written and directed by Boots Riley, with Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, and Danny Glover — would have me going to see it, even without this amazing trailer.
Available: In theaters July 6.
Bad Wolves, “Zombie”
“The unstoppable hit single was first released by The Cranberries in 1994, the original track hit #1 across the globe, including the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart. The song returned to the Top-Ten on the US Rock Charts shortly after news of Dolores O’Riordan’s passing earlier this year. O’Riordan was slated to record vocals for Bad Wolves’ cover of the track (which she described as “killer”) on the day of her passing. The band decided to release the song in her honor with all Bad Wolves’ proceeds going to her children.”
Should You Listen? God, no. I appreciate all the money from the song going to the singer’s children, but I was opposed to a hard-rock cover of a song I never really liked in the first place. Personally, I was always more into “Dreams” or “Linger,” but the point of a cover is to do it your own way, so the fact that O’Riordan was going to be on it is kind of ridiculous in the first place. It’s the same song as before, but now there’s some gravel-voiced dude yelling instead. Yay.
“Titled “Funk Forever,” the new single stands as the first cut from a soon-to-come EP of the same name due out on March 30th. Playing into the obvious theme of the record, “Funk Forever” delves into a heavy dose of groove that could easily be mistaken for a classic tune from the genre’s 1970s heyday. The jazz flavored boogie affair with soul inspired song-writing evokes old school vibes thanks to the use of horn lines, Yamaha dx7 keys, and snapping hip hop inspired drum programming. For the remainder of the ‘Funk Forever’ EP, expect to hear four additional tracks including collaborations with Elive, Potatohead People, and Ishtar.”
Should You Listen? Fuck and yes. Somehow, the Pendletons figures out a way to bridge ’70s and ’80s soul and funk into something which instantly reminds you of an entire decade’s worth of music, while also existing outside all of that as something new. It’s fresh, despite the myriad nods to any number of artists, and it’s fucking infectious as hell. I was fully blown away, and yo — that jazz flute? It’s sick.
Available: You can pre-order the EP digitally or on vinyl from Bandcamp, and it drops March 30.
“Wells Fargo’s Watch Out! is the reason one joins a record subscription service like Vinyl Me, Please. It’s an excellent album, but so far outside the mainstream, one might easily overlook it. And the music within is so fascinating that having it delivered to your door, without having to give the effort attached to discovery, seems like a reward for having recently done something right.”
Being familiar with pop culture memoirs, I understand the purpose of the the “with” which comes after the ostensible author’s name. The celebrity, musician, actor, whomever — it’s their story. They sit down with a computer, knock out some stories, do an interview with their collaborator, and then that person shapes everything into a narrative. Some are better than others, allowing the voice of the subject to come through, while authors are basically cranking out something.
Word to the wise: if an “autobiography” has not one, but two “with” credits on it … it will suck. Terribly. Oh my god. Philip Bailey‘s Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire was written with Keith and Kent Zimmerman, and I just don’t know what happened. It’s written in such a way that the historical context often takes over the story, because while Bailey’s story is the constant, every other page features some sort of historical digression. You’ll go from a fine piece of malapropism like “her nice round booty ass” to a stentorian explanation of Juneteent which might as well have been taken directly from a textbook: “an American holiday celebrated by African Americans in more than forty states, commemorating the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865. Continue reading →
Kansas City trio Not A Planet have the potential to be that next band to step to the next level. Much like the ACBs or Cowboy Indian Bear, the group has mastered the art of taking familiar sounds and recontexualizing them into something fresh and exciting. Unfortunately, Not A Planet has yet to direct their sound into something consistent.
While, yes, a band needs to diversify and do more than perform the same song repeatedly over the course of 10-12 tracks, some sort of thematic or tonal through-line helps. While the gentleman of Not A Planet are indisputably talented musicians, one gets hesitant applying the same compliment to the band as a whole. Continue reading →
Legendary psychedelic soul bluesman Swamp Dogg‘s first two albums, Total Destruction to Your Mind and Rat On! see reissue today via Alive Naturalsound. I’ve had a chance to listen to both, and they sound amazing. They’ve still got that swamp funk to them, but the remastering job is just absolutely stellar. For those used to vinyl rips and bootleg CDs, these brand-new LP reissues (and first-time official CD releases) will blow your mind.
Hopefully, this will lead to a new generation of folks getting into this somewhat lost musician. While Swamp Dogg’s songs have been covered by the likes of Galactic, it don’t mean shit to be known if folks can’t get your music. Now that’s the case. Both LPs are available from the Bomp! store. Check out two tracks from the reissues below.
Perennial favorites down here in the Nuthouse basement, Mixtapes, have yet another 7-inch on its way. Due out May, it’s entitled Hope is For People, and will be out on Animal Style Records. You can, of course, pre-order that sucker via the label’s store.
The pressing is limited to 500, with 200 each on pink and blue, and 100 on white. Preview the whole thing via the embedded Bandcamp widget below.
Also up for pre-order and preview, this next 7-inch (actually, a 45) comes from Ubiquity Records. Funk and soul heads already know that anything Ubiquity puts out is worth your money (just go buy everything they’ve done with Shawn Lee or Clutchy Hopkins and thank me later), and this new release comes from the Brooklyn act, Ikebe Shakedown.
Playing what can best be described as funk African boogaloo, their single “Tujunga” (also limited to 500 copies) comes out a week after the new Mixtapes, on May 10. Pre-order it from Ubiquity and stream the a-side below. If you like it enough, you can get a full-length on June 7.