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Busta Rhymes

The Big Bang

One must think of a good hip-hop song, or any sort of pop song for that matter, as a sandwich: lettuce and mayo add to the flavor but essentially all the eater wants is the meat. The meat of a good pop song is whatever makes the listener listen, be it the lyrics, the hook, or the beat, or a combo of all three. The Big Bang is Busta’s most recent accomplishment since 2002’s It Ain’t Safe No More. Dr. Dre and Erick Sermon superbly produce this newest effort, and the album is one delicious sandwich after another. The problem is that it’s neither Busta’s voice nor his lyrics that are the tastiest parts.


Van’s Warped Tour

2006 Compilation

To enjoy “extreme” genres like skate-punk or emo, one must be between the ages of 12 and 16, or have smoked so much pot during this time period that they don’t know any better. Unfortunately this writer does not fall under either category, but he does recommend the former to play this particular piece of music as loud as he may in mom’s car on the way to the skate park, and to the latter to play it right after toking a bowl and chugging a two-liter of Mountain Dew while dreaming of the day he goes pro. I hate to tell you this, but that’s as good as you’re gonna get.

You can see the Van’s Warped Tour at Columbia Meadows on July 16.


So Many Dynamos


Some of pop’s greatest attributes are its repetitive/hypnotic qualities. So Many Dynamos play alternative/indie pop in an almost Fugazi/Minutemen vein. As musicians they are above par, but this may be a hindrance rather than an advantage. Their new effort, Flashlights, could be “pop” but there are just too many changes: there are plenty of great melodic parts and these individual segments could carry the listener on their own, but abrupt juxtapositions cut them away by some new part in a completely different tempo, so in the end there’s nothing really to latch onto and the whole thing turns into a big headache.

So Many Dynamos will play at Food Hole on June 22 at 9 p.m.



Among Brothers

World music gets a bad reputation as something New Age, earth-tone-wearing hippies listen to while making some disgusting tofu concoction. If you get past this particular bias (that is, if you have it to begin with) you’ll realize that traditional music is rad! Traditional and world folk musicians know how to get right down to the primitive, fossilized bone of it, as they have been doing for thousands of years. On his new album, Algerian composer/mandola player Abdeli plays with traditional musicians from all over the Maghreb, as well as from South America, Burkina Faso, Azerbaijan and other far off lands. This album made me want to dance like a harem girl.


Daby Toure


The first album by this African musician is great light pop with a very traditional African-sounding bent. Think Fela Kuti mellowed down to a Donovan level, or Nick Lowe’s “Heart” but with slightly more of a driving/dance beat.

Daby Toure will play at the Oregon Zoo Amphitheater on July 26.


Rock Kills Kid

Are You Nervous?

Don’t listen to this album! Buy Gang of Four’s Entertainment, Public Image Ltd.’s Paris Au Printemps, and the Pop Group’s Y. Everything that’s good about those albums is on this album but done in a really inoffensive/neutered/KNRK way.

Rock Kills Kid will play at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, Wash., on August 12, and Bumbershoot on September 4.


Thievery Corporation


If there were a genre name to call the sort of music on this album, it would be fuck-dub. On it are songs from artists spanning the spectrum from The Doors to Sarah McLachlan, dubbed out King Tubby-style with an added sex-beat. It is total boner music.

Thievery Corporation will play at the Roseland Theater on July 19.


Thomas Mapfumo

Rise Up

Most musicians are best when young, pissed off, dangerous and constantly fucked with by the powers that be, but if they don’t die (as in the case of Fela Kuti or John Lennon) or break up (as in the case of Plastic People of the Universe), they mellow (as in the case of Bob Dylan). The latter would apply to the Zimbabwean Thomas Mapfumo, who, in 1977, according to, was “sent to a prison camp for subversion.” One can only imagine what the music from this time period would sound like. Most likely it would be something along the lines of another politically charged African, Fela Kuti, who also was repeatedly harassed by his own Nigerian government and authored some of the best riot/dance music on either side of Timbuktu. With titles like “What Are They Dying For” and “I’m Not Afraid,” one would think this album would also have the same James Brown-inspired, pissed-off, repetitive, hypnotic dance flavor that Fela’s music has. While the fare is repetitive, it is not hypnotic nor all that danceable; while he says that he is pissed (“I’m Mad As Hell”), I think Mapfumo’s past the age of wanting to stir up a mob and overthrow the state.


?”Tage Savage