On record :: KJHK new music reviews

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Papa M
"Hole of Burning Alms" (Drag City)

Rainy days. Just like the Trix Rabbit getting his cereal snatched away, they're inevitable. Luckily, David Pajo aka "Papa M" knows exactly how to turn these dreary days and others similar into something truly powerful in nature.
On his latest album, "Hole of Burning Alms," Drag City assembles a collection of singles he's done over the years under different aliases. With the exception of a Misfits cover, the album consists of mainly instrumental tracks that hearken to rock's back roads long left behind by pop culture.
The guitar, bass, and drums come together marvelously as the simple yet beautiful melodies melt away notions of time and space. Tracks like "Vivea," "Wedding Song No. 3", and "Turn Turn Turn" best exemplify this audio experience. On a couple songs, Pajo transitions into electronic synth beats, yet never strays too far before returning to the album's signature laidback grooves.
Derek Zarda
New music rotation, Mondays 2-4am

Royce da 5'9"
"Death is Certain" (Koch, 2004)

Death is certain. And the truth seems to have set much-maligned Detroit MC Royce da 5'9" free. After being a victim of Rule # 4080 a few times, an ill-advised collabo with laughable teen tart Willa Ford, and a falling out (and subsequent beef) with former mentor Eminem, Royce was poised to become a failed underground legend, dropping a series of 12" singles and one convoluted album in the U.S., then dropping off of the map. His new release on upstart Koch Records guarantees that he has escaped that fate, however.
Royce wastes no time stating his rightful place in the game with "Regardless," establishing a kind of manifesto and mood for the album -- highly personal and rugged, battle rhymes and challenges dropping left and right (plus a little venom for Slim Shady and D12), backed by Six July's excellent guitar-driven production. Elsewhere, Royce teams with old comrade DJ Premier for "Hip-Hop" and closes with a dark self-examination of himself and the state of hip-hop on "Something's Wrong With Him."
With this record and a couple more solid outings, there's no reason that Royce shouldn't stake a claim at the top with names like Jay-Z, Nas and 50 Cent. On "Death is Certain," he's got more hunger than all of them combined, so stay tuned.
Phil Torpey
Breakfast for Beatlovers, 9-noon Tuesdays

"Milk Man" (Kill Rock Stars)

The cover of Milkman features an odd character stabbed and bloodied with a couple bananas and a strawberry. Musically, Deerhoof does the same to audiences, taking the sweet sound of Tokyo-born Satomi Matsuzaki's voice and jabbing listeners with a sometimes-serene, sometimes-mangled soundscape that could very well be the soundtrack to a lost episode of the Power Puff Girls. Deerhoof likes to experiment, and this album is no exception. Expect nonsensical lyrics amongst drum loops, bouncy guitar solos, and sounds that can only be called noise -- played backwards. Still, they do manage to rock out on several tracks that will undoubtedly draw new listeners. With so many apples and oranges on the rock music scene these days, it's refreshing to know you can still find some strawberries and bananas out there.
Marc Ricketts
New music rotation

"Hard Fixed" (Estrus)

Scream out your soul Miss Diana Young-Blanchard, people still don't realize a new '60s R&B revival/revolution is about to happen (or at least it should). The dT's are a foot-stomping soul survivor who rampages through the discographies of both the MC5 and Tina Turner while punching Ike in the face. "Hard Fixed" is a soul record that sweats Detroit through all of its pores and bleeds when it needs to. For anyone still thirsty after the the BellRays' excellent soul-punk "Red, White, and Black" or The Dirtbomb's rowdy bashing that is "Dangerous Magical Noise" then rejoice, this is your fix for the month.
Chris Knudsen
New music rotation, 2-4am Fridays