Zach de la Rocha

Over the Weekend (Feb. 2 Edition)

Videos, news, and other fun stuff as you recover from the worst playcall of all-time…

The coffee in Seattle probably tastes extra bitter today after yesterday’s Super Bowl loss, but the weekend wasn’t a total bummer for them since Friday night saw the “reunion” of supergroup Mad Season for a special event.  Blabbermouth has videos of the show which featured original members Mike McCready and Barrett Martin joining the Seattle Symphony to perform a trio of the group’s songs.  The evening also featured guest appearances from other Seattle grunge superstars like Chris Cornell, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Matt Cameron, as well as native Seattleite Duff McKagan.  As an added bonus, the stars also performed a couple of songs from the classic Temple of the Dog tribute album.

Back on the other coast, there was an epic Jack White concert that included a special appearance from Q-Tip, as well as openers Run The Jewels performing with Zach de la Rocha on the fantastic “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)”.  Consequence of Sound has videos of both performances because in all likelihood, you weren’t there.  Elsewhere in the city at a fall smaller venue, Hamilton Leithauser was performing, and with guitarist Paul Maroon debuted a few new songs that may be released in the future.  Considering how much we loved his solo debut, our excitement level is pretty high.

That said, you still had the chance to watch some excellent live performances from your couch this weekend, but if you missed out, we got you covered.  D’Angelo made his Saturday Night Live debut with songs from his new album Black Messiah, and The Black Keys went through a quick set on Austin City Limits featuring mostly recent material.  Stereogum has the links to the appropriate videos.

We also have a couple of new music videos this week.  First, Deerhoof released the video for “Black Pitch” from La Isla Bonita, and it revolves around singer Satomi Matsuzak enjoying the coastal scenery despite the cold temperature outside.

Then we have Run The Jewels’s second appearance in today’s linkfest, since they just put out a video for “Lie, Cheat, Steal”.

If you’re in the mood for lists which prominently feature the Pixies, we have a couple for you.  First, there’s PASTE ranking the 80 Best Albums of the 80’s, and then there’s Consequence of Sound looking at the Top 10 4AD albums for that record label’s thirty-fifth anniversary.

Have some fun thinking about the fact that Rick Rubin is now doing annotations for Genius, and then hurrying over to see what the guru has to say about the great songs that he worked on (and his thoughts on songs he did not).

Finally, spend the day listening to albums from the one holiday-appropriate band that there is for February 2.  We’ll help get you started.

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Review: Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

“Run the Jewels” is the answer, your question is “What’s Poppin’?”

Since the announcement in late October that they had leaked the much-anticipated sequel to their thrilling debut album, Run The Jewels has been the talk of the music world.  And it’s with good reason: Run The Jewels 2 is even better than the original collaboration between El-P and Killer Mike.  Their self-titled debut was among the best-reviewed albums of last year, and found a spot on most year-end lists, including our own.  The sequel does an even better job of mining and improving upon the best trends in hip-hop from the past twenty years, and finds the connection between the duo stronger than ever.

So while the quoted lyric above is certainly not the most acerbic or clever line on the record, the closing line of opener “Jeopardy” does sum up RTJ’s place in music right now.  If you need a better sampler of the album, you should listen to the banging “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”, which will fully abuse your car stereo’s subwoofers with its pulsing bass.  The two MC’s trade verses fast and furious, picking up their speed and intensity with each round as the music grows more chaotic around them.  Another highlight is “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) which builds a bouncy, stuttering beat off a guest appearance from Zach de la Rocha, recalling the era when turntablism reigned.

Run The Jewels 2 is a treasure-trove of brilliant beats and production from El-P, switching up styles and moods on the fly that accommodates the desire for variety while never sacrificing flow.  Grimy, serious material like “Angel Duster” and “Blockbuster Night Part 1” fits in easily with more fun tracks like “All Due Respect”, which takes the fun elements of rap-rock without the negative connotations that term has taken in more recent years, thanks to some excellent drumming from Travis Barker.  It’s a lean and efficient album too, clocking in at less than forty minutes, so it never wears out its welcome–but it’s likely that you’ll be putting the whole thing on repeat.

Note: there seems to be a difference between the free download version and the physical copy you can buy, with the former including an extra verse from Gangsta Boo to provide the female counter to the duo’s claims on “Love Again (Akinyele Back)” that’s missing from the purchased disc.