He was born in Pittsburg, California in 1981, he started with Mob Figaz in 1999, he did a stretch in prison and he was rumored to have died in prison due to a stabbing. He’s collaborated with many great Bay Area rappers including Legends like the Godfather of the Game, Mac Dre, the Jacka and Fed-X. He can roll around in a Chevy Caprice with a dookie chain and a haircut like Kid from Kid n’ Play and look doper than dope. He’s the only person I’ve ever seen wear black leather pants and I’ve actually thought “Damn, that guy looks cool as hell.” In case you haven’t guessed who referring to, I’m talking about the Bay Area rapper Husalah.
Husalah was only 18 when he joined the group Mob Figaz which was formed by C-Bo, Rydah J, Klyde who were from Pittsburg, the Jacka and Fed-X who were from Richmond and AP.9 from Oakland; all of which are pretty famous Bay Area rappers. As a group Mob Figaz rapped about what they knew and what they do, and with that they put out some pretty good albums.
Husalah’s first solo album Dope, Guns and Religion was released in 2006. This album features Keak Da Sneak, Dru Down and the Jacka. This album’s title perfectly describes the album—it’s all about dope, guns and religion and they way he lives.
In 2007 he released Huslin’ Since Da’ ‘80s. This might be my favorite rap album ever. His lyrics are so hard and almost every song can be played at the loudest volume and not have to change a song or turn it down. The first song on the album “Mamaco” samples Manu Chao’s song Mama Call and it sounds so tough.
The second song “Wild Child” is supposedly featuring Love Fist, the fictional ‘80s rock band from the video game Grand Theft Auto Vice City. That right there is one good damn reason to listen to that album. I’m pretty sure the song “Yea Baby” samples Carol King but I could be wrong, but it sounds just like her. The song “Pretty Young Thang” is probably my favorite song on that album. I’ve had that song set on my alarm to play in the morning for days. It’s such a good song.
If you’re looking for Husalah or Mob Figaz albums we got ‘em at Streetlight Records.
Also follow Husalah on instagram @golasoaso
The Beatles – On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Capitol, 2013)
The Beatles saved my life when I was 11 or so. At the time I was in the middle of a heavy top 40 R&B phase and my favorite albums included Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged and SWV’s (not) classic It’s About Time. I think my mom was a little tired of this ongoing slow-dance hit parade (did I mention, though, that I was also infatuated with Ace of Base? I know, I know), so she took me to the local branch of the county library and together we checked out three Beatles albums: A Hard Day’s Night, Rubber Soul, and Revolver.
For whatever reason, these three records connected with me in a way that, up to that point, nothing had ever done before. I became mildly obsessed with all things Beatles. I needed to hear everything ever recorded by them, see every film, look at every photograph, read every book and magazine article. It helped that this was 1994/95, which was when when the Beatles Anthology and Live at the BBC Volume 1 had just surfaced and the band was enjoying a second wave of huge popularity. The anthology and the BBC sessions gave uber-fans a glimpse into the unscripted (though heavily edited) secret-feeling world of the Beatles; a chance to sit in on studio outtakes and live performances, which of course wasn’t possible really, since all the action happened three decades earlier.
I’m 31 years old now, and the Beatles fan in me is quite happy that Capitol Records has released a new slough of BBC Sessions from the years 1964 and ’65, featuring unheard live performances of various Beatles classics and covers. Also present on this extremely well-put-together 6-sides of wax are snippets of interviews and the characteristic witty-Beatles banter that fans love so dearly. Listening to the BBC Sessions Volume 2 is like stepping into a time machine, landing in 1964 and clicking on the radio. In short it is an awesome treat for fans and a window into a different time for everyone.
Watch the AWESOME video for the Beatles cover of Buddy Holly’s “Words of Love”:
Of Montreal – “Lousy with Sylvianbriar” (Polyvinyl, 2013)
Kevin Barnes and company return with a British-pop inspired major work, and a sonic departure from the heavily programmed midi glam-pop that made them famous. Lousy with Sylvianbriar is an emotional, cheeky, exhibitionist fantasia – satisfying both lyrically and musically.
The arrangements are lush and the songs range from the dynamic pop of “Fugitive Air” to the stark-but-stylish “Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit.” Of Montreal prove they are masters of the subtly surreal on this record — not wearing their psychedelic merit-badges with the same gusto as, say, MGMT, but wrapping themselves in a cloak of understated hallucinatory soundscapes.
Listening to this record is less like taking acid at Coachella (dear god) and more like drinking a little mushroom tea in the woods with friends. This is felt most convincingly on gems like “Colossus,” “Triumph of Disintegration” and “Raindrop in My Skull.”
Listen to “Fugitive Air” by Of Montreal:
Paul McCartney – New (Hear Music, 2013)
I have to say, right off the bat, that I was completely floored by “New”, the first single released from the album of the same name by Sir Paul McCartney. The production is perfect, the song is full of hooks, the melodies are reminiscent of Revolver-era Beatles; I honestly couldn’t imagine Sir Paul coming out with a better song six decades into his career.
I probably listened to “New” about a million times before New was released – and so I was prepared for a bit of a let down (I love Sir Paul, I love the Beatles, but the man has clearly passed his peak). In a delightfully shocking turn of events, New is without a doubt the best Paul McCartney solo work since Band on the Run (unless you don’t count that as solo, which some don’t) or even Ram.
Yes, predictably there are some stinkers (I could’ve lived without “Appreciate”), but for the most part this album is genius and in true McCartney style has a little bit of everything, from the bubblegum of “New” to the strummy folk pop of “Early Days” to the Wings-esque rocker “Save Us.”
Standout tracks “Alligator”, and “Queenie Eye” burst with Beatle-esque energy and brit-pop sensibility, and my personal favorite track, “On My Way To Work” finds Sir Paul up to one of his best tricks: revealing a subtly surreal world hidden just beneath the surface of mundane everyday life.
Watch the video for “Queenie Eye”:
Bill Callahan – Dream River (Drag City, 2013)
“Drinking / while sleeping / strangers / unknowingly / keep me company / in the hotel bar / looking out a window that isn’t there / looking at the carpet and the chairs / The only words I said today / were beer / and thank you / beer / thank you…”
These are the innocuous and transcendently-gorgeous words that open Dream River, the latest masterpiece by Bill Callahan. Sung by any other voice, in any other cadence, this sort of dry poetry might fall flat. But in Callahan’s commanding baritone and with his absurdly-perfect timing, these words are capable of piercing the heart like a hot knife.
Dream River picks up right were 2011’s Apocalypse left off. If someone told me that these sessions were recorded at the same time, I would believe them. This is really great news for Callahan fans – more really good work, with essentially the same masterful production values and performances as the last two extremely satisfying Callahan releases on Drag City, but new songs! New words! New sentiments!
Imagine if the Beatles had recorded another album between Rubber Soul and Revolver – this is sort of what that’s like (maybe this is a stretch, but stay with me) for Callahan-lovers; just more of a really good thing that works really well.
by Mat Weir
“Broken bottles at the bottom of the pool/what the hell happened here last night?” a great opening for underground artist Jonny Fritz’s third full-length album, Dad Country.
If Fritz’s name doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe his pseudonym, Jonny Corndawg—who released two albums, Down on the Bikini Line and I’m Not Ready to Be a Daddy—will jar some memories. And if you do know the name Corndawg, then give yourself bonus points.
Dad Country differs from Fritz’s previous work in its slick, Nashville production style. While the two albums under Corndawg’s name had more of a trucker-barreling-down-the-highway feel, the 2013 release is more laid back, matured and riddled with a twinge of heartbreak. While his previous work could be compared to Jerry Reed ala Eastbound and Down, Dad Country is more personal, intimate and seems more influenced by Charlie Rich or Willie Nelson.
Songs like “Have You Ever Wanted To Die,” “Shut Up” and the all-too-eerily-resembles-my-last-relationship, “All We Do Is Complain,” exemplify Fritz’s transition as an artist. He’s grown into his own by strapping on the big kid boots, getting his heart broken and then writing about it like all great country artists. Sometimes, the formula ain’t a bad thing.
That’s also not to say the entire album is a “girlfriend left me, took the dog and I spilled my beer” tear fest. Tracks like the opener “Goodbye Summer,” or “Holy Water” are upbeat and fast paced, for some reason reminding me of the Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon albums my parents listened to when I was a kid. Hoaky, but so damn catchy and upbeat you can’t help but dig it.
And that’s really Fritz’s niche in this game and why he originally hit the scene as Corndawg. He’s satirizing the money-fueled, ’70s country sound while still paying homage to the cliché. Even now that he’s trying to have a more serious career, the over-produced sound and abundant lap steel give the album a corny sound. But who doesn’t love faire food?
Dad Country is a great, new album for those of us who can laugh at the country sound while still loving it. The record might not promise a brand new artist in the genre, but instead delivers greasy diners, married bar flies and plenty of hangovers. If that ain’t country, then what the hell is?
Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day (Rhymes Of An Hour, 2013)
I’m not going to talk about how this is the first Mazzy Star record in five thousand years like every other blogger in the universe, but I am going to talk about the music on this record, because that’s the important thing right? (I’m generally disgusted by the way music bloggers just regurgitate press releases endlessly – get a job, hippies).
I’m also not going to talk about how everyone and their mother has basically lifted Mazzy Star’s sound in the last reverb-soaked decade, because EVERYONE IS SAYING THE SAME THING ON THE INTERNET! Weird, right?
This is a gorgeous new record from a wonderful band, that should delight fans and maybe confuse younger people who don’t know what guitars and drums sound like when they are perfectly in tune and when the beat isn’t edited by a machine. There are (happily) moments where you can tell that a band is in a studio performing music, where you can hear the sounds of the room, where you can almost feel the warmth of the tubes in the amps and the thwack of the sticks on the snare.
I haven’t smoked a cigarette in two months now, but goddamn – if I did I would turn out all the lights, pour myself some bourbon on put this record on.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor 12” Single (Merge, 2013)
The Grammy Award-winning, Canadian, Springsteen-worshiping band Arcade Fire released a mysterious new 12” single of “Reflektor”, the first offering from the group’s highly anticipated follow up to 2010’s The Suburbs, out in October on Merge. The single (and the album, which is also called Reflektor) was produced by LCD Soundsytem’s James Murphy, which is evident from the minute the beat kicks in.
In the past, Arcade Fire might have flirted with the idea of getting their massive audiences to dance with songs like “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” but here, Win Butler and company have released the flood gates of groove, accomplishing in a somehow-tidy seven minutes what Daft Punk attempted to do with the (forced at gunpoint) “song of the summer” “Get Lucky”: making us move without telling us to.
If the title track is an indicator of what the rest of the record is like, Reflektor is shaping up to be worth the hype.
Hailing from Belfast, Ireland, Girls Names emerged on the music scene with their debut album Dead To Me. Filled with a jangle-pop, surf-infused, ’80s new wave sensibility, the album did its best to catch the musical attention of both the youngster who sees the 1980s as retro and old school, as well as the authentic “old school” 30-something reminiscing about those “good old days when guyliner actually meant something real”.
In fact, upon my first listen of this band, I mistakenly wondered how I missed out on their music in the ’80s! Soon enough, I found out they only came into existence in 2009, and released their debut, Dead To Me, in 2011. Just a few months ago they came out with their second album, The New Life.
Initially consisting of singer/guitarist/songwriter Cathal Cully and drummer Neil Brogan, they added Claire Miskimmin on bass a year later, and then guitarist Philip Quinn in 2012.
The New Life is aptly named, as Cully has been quoted as saying that their debut Dead To Me was, “Literally dead to us by the time it was committed to wax.” The new album reintroduces the band’s sound as a darker, post-punk, more thought-out and refined entity.
Though they haven’t lost that lovely surf-reverb dreamscape achieved in their last effort, the more menacing and moody basslines provide for an early Cure a la Seventeen Seconds atmosphere, as opposed to an early Depeche Mode a la Speak and Spell sound, if you catch my drift.
The New Life mesmerizes and makes you wonder if they would have been signed onto Factory Records in years past. The prominent instrumentation in this later effort, especially the hypnotic basslines (Hooky in Joy Division, anyone?), simple yet catchy and jangly guitar melodies (Johnny Marr in The Smiths or Robert Smith in The Cure, anyone else?), and distorted vocals and trippy feedback (Pixies, Stone Roses, well you get the picture…) take me back to some of the best parts of the dreamy 1980s music scene while still maintaining a fresh and clean new sound with original lyrics and musical journeys.
Check out The New Life in our listening station at Streetlight, and get it while it’s still on SALE!!”
by Mat Weir
Born in the smoggy coven of Los Angeles in 2012, Witches of God emerge upon the metal scene with their debut LP, The Blood of Others.
The Witches of God (WOG) are a new band with an old sound and perfect for anyone who loves classic metal with a stoner/doom/occult twist. If your collection contains either Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Jerusalem, Hawkwind, Venom or all of the above, then make room for The Blood of Others.
Don’t believe me? Eddie Solis (It’s Casual, Revolution Mother) and the man, Scott “Wino” Weinrich (Saint Vitus) both make vocal appearances on separate tracks and it was Eddie who turned Wino onto WOG in the first place. THAT’S how you should know you need this album.
Recorded in only seven days with an additional three in mastering/mixing, The Blood of Others is a perfect mix of leather-clad mayhem and occult imagery. Doom-laden riffs, teetering on the border of space, soar throughout the record, begging to be blasted at top volume on a kamikaze motorcycle run through the woods.
The vocals are a blend of clean and rough, with actual singing throughout, making this a nice vacation from the death growls gracing the scene today. The final track, “Chasing Coffins,” is a self-deprecating, heroin-rock ballad ala ’90s hair metal.
The album comes with creepily seductive art by Tom Neely and the LP version is a gatefold with an inner-spread worth having. Plus, the LP even has a free CD inside which is a bonus I’ll never turn down.
It might have taken me a little time to find the groove in The Blood of Others, but once I did it quickly became an album I’d listened to repeatedly. If their debut doesn’t make a name for them now, you’ll definitely be hearing about the Witches of God in the future.