Music to Pick Up/Download
CRASS: FEEDING OF THE 5000
[Carrot Top/Crass, Jan. 25]
While other punk records of the late '70s may seem relatively tame to contemporary ears, the newly reissued debut by foundational anarchist punk combo Crass retains much of its savage brutality. Back in 1978, workers at an Irish plant refused to press the records due to blasphemous references to Jesus Christ, forcing the band to go the DIY route, which in turn led to a visit from Scotland Yard's vice squad. The album is 18 tracks of political and social commentary, drowned in passion, vitriol and kitchen-sink realism, and much of their rhetoric (e.g., "Fight War, Not Wars") is still relevant.
DEERHOOF: DEERHOOF VS. EVIL
[Polyvinyl Records, Jan. 25]
Formed in San Francisco in the early '90s and known for improvisational performances forced by broken equipment, lots of chance and audience confusion: Of course Deerhoof is cited by damn near every electro-indie, esoterically named current outfit (Grizzly Bear, Ponytail, Sleigh Bells, and on and on) as an influence. Held together by Satomi Matsuzaki's childlike singsong, their 11th album may not strike the most serious notes. But while the boppy choruses of songs like "I Did Crimes for You" will keep those Clinton-era babies dancing down their nostalgia trip, the jumble of lush synths and ragged guitars will keep the O.G. fans properly dazed.
KID SISTER: KISS KISS KISS
[Fool's Gold, available for free download online]
This is the year we stop complaining about the lack of female MCs and start giving shine to those who refuse to become (ahem) Barbie dolls in order to get signed. Kid Sister began her career with the single "Pro Nails," featuring a verse by fellow Chicagoan Kanye West, but her latest mixtape leaves the salon for her second home, the club. She's expanding her reach beyond the dance party to the 'hood, though. If the guest appearances by Gucci Mane and Paul Wall didn't tip you off, the samples (Fat Joe's Terror Squad, Laid Back's '80s classic "White Horse") will.
BART DAVENPORT: SEARCHING FOR BART DAVENPORT
[Tapete Records, Jan. 21]
You know your aunt who's way more into Jack Johnson than anyone in your family should be? Play her this instead as a gateway drug and you might eventually nudge her down the strange path that leads to Nick Drake's Pink Moon or Tim Buckley's Starsailor. Davenport has the clear timbre of a James Taylor and a gentle acoustic touch, but this impeccable selection of deep covers betrays a rarer sensibility: Bert Jansch, non-obvious Arthur Lee and Caetano Veloso, Bridget St. John, Gil Scott-Heron — yep, dude's one of ours.
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