It’s time for everyone’s favorite (and perhaps only) virtual band! Although we’ve inspected the work of Damon Albarn before, this is our first chance to take on the Gorillaz, an unrelated ensemble of animated musicians — 2-D, Mudoc, Noodle, and Russel — who, as far as we’re concerned, are behind the music we’re hearing. On their latest album, Humanz, the Gorillaz introduce a bevy of artists, both old and new, to help with the project and take on its variety of subjects. Let’s follow along! And save room for a brief discussion on the subjectivity and flexibility of rating criteria where art is concerned.
Today we’re exploring the junction point of indi artistry, hip hop, comedy, and candidness… namely the self-described “Rhyme Minister” from Bromsgrove, Mr. Dan Bull. Having cultivated a devoted online following, in part owed to file sharing culture, Dan Bull is known for penning delightful odes to games and other media, for his comedic twists on familiar subjects, and for his intimate manner of encapsulating his own life experiences. On his latest album, Hip Hop Hooray, Dan Bull tackles subjects cheerful, silly, grim, and dire, offering fodder for celebration and analysis alike. Join us as we peer into the mouth of this “vicious beast”, and as we briefly address the topics of file sharing and fan art at the top of the show.
Today’s guest, Johnny Caligula, was “born in the back of a traveling show”… his “momma did dance for the money they’d throw.” At the age of 30, he decided to follow her example and took up the ancient, sexual art of burlesque. Fortunate to receive guidance from the likes of Lefty Lucy, Mary Cyn, and Sarah Tops, Johnny regales us with tales of his latest exploits in burlesque (along with some insights into the business), before presenting us with this week’s album pick: Coloring Book by the prominent collaborator of Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Chance the Rapper. After a lengthy group analysis, be sure to stick around to the bitter end for some quick plugs on Johnny’s upcoming shows!
Today, Matt welcomes back another “crossover guest” — that is to say, a guest who made an appearance on our other series, the Crash Chords Podcast, in Episode #77. That guest would be the rapper, writer, director, producer, and video editor hailing from New York City, known as Hops. Given the opportunity for a second interview, Hops updates Crash Chords on his latest exploits. Having stepped away from rap temporarily to work on a dance record, Hops discusses his current job doing video editing for Fortune.com as well as a short film he’s directed called Take Me With You. Seeing as there’s plenty afoot for the talented producer, the two also discuss the current state of the film industry and media’s effects on modern-day society.
Ready to take on the impossible, kid? Help us take on The Impossible Kid, the 7th studio release by veteran wordsmith Aesop Rock. You can thank listener Alex StarF Alverson for today’s pick as we hope you’ll join us in peeling back the layers of this complex self-assessment of an album: one of both the artist and the person. As wordsmithing will be of critical importance to today’s episode, we decided to conduct our own self-assessment in our topic [at 1:48:18] as we take a brief look at the importance of word choice in critical analysis, as well as in the art itself.
Two-thirds of the Wall Street Playaz—the hottest “financial rap” trio you’ll likely ever hear about (not to mention distinguished first-ever guests of the Crash Chords Podcast)—are back for their third appearance! Together with Future Money and the Profit Prophet, we hold an interview discussing the group’s music & comic influences along with a detailed origin of their concept. (Also keep an ear open for some track previews/throwbacks.) Soak ’em up!… because at [00:41:51] we tackle the guests’ pick of the week: Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels (a collaboration between rapper-producer El-P and Atlanta-based rapper Killer Mike). Enjoy!
At last we’ve snagged the veteran Burlesque artist, producer, and all-around conceptualizer, Nasty Canasta. To kick off the episode, we talk about all things Nasty; we hear about the esteemed performer’s turbulent journey toward her chosen art form and how it coincides with her love of theater, script writing, and production work. Nasty also brings us our album of the week! Join us in a discussion of Donker Mag by Die Antwoord, a rap-rave duo out of South Africa… a “Nasty” analysis, indeed. And of course, don’t forget to check out the curiously named 2 DESKS show at the Way Station, Thursday March 10th.
Today, Matt welcomes a rapper called Spose from Wells, Maine. Spose’s latest projects have included a collaborative record with Cam Groves called We Smoked It All 3: The Album and a solo record called Why Am I So Happy? Both were released in 2015. Matt had first seen Spose perform when he was in town with MC Chris and MC Lars in 2014—the same show in which MC Lars was interviewed for CCA Ep. #13. As that inevitably launches into a discussion of MC Lars’s uniquely supportive personality, Spose also chats about his dual influences from rap and rock, and who helped to inform his art & career. They also discuss Spose’s writing process, including an in-depth track breakdown of Why Am I So Happy? Finally, they discuss the effect that current events have had on Spose’s music, along with how he connected with the artist Watsky on the track “Nobody”. Enjoy!
Today Matt welcomes Storyville, a rapper, producer, and sound engineer hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. As a rapper, Storyville’s latest release is the collaborative album Soul Veggies, released in February 2015 with previous guest Mega Ran. With Matt, Storyville discusses how Soul Veggies came to be and how long it took to make happen. They also chat about the state of the music industry, the evolution of rap music, and Storyville’s work as a producer & engineer. Matt also dives into the accomplished engineer’s helpful audio production blog, The Pro Audio Files. Enjoy!
To close out this review season, we bring you the debut album by the most ambitious collaborators we’ve ever looked at… Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. Although they began with a core of five members, the band’s debut album Surf certainly lives up to their name, The Social Experiment, by introducing MANY more musical minds to the table. Offering the album up for free (exclusively on iTunes), the band appears to be as magnanimous as they are community-driven. Enjoy this thorough analysis along with, lastly, some quick thoughts on contemporary music trends — verily on our minds as we fast approach the 2015 year in review.