Posts Tagged ‘beastie boys


Thievery Corporation – Culture of Fear: Free Stream

Thievery Corporation has been around for a while and they have a strong underground following; their beats are infectious and clever; it was not until recently that I actually learned about them and felt it was worth sharing with HiFi readers.  

Theivery Corporations music historically has been a culmination of electronica and root beats that offer a variety of auditory twists and turns that provides a very pleasing listening experience; rarely have vocals been introduced that have overshadowed the beats, but this new album offers something different with vocals being much more in the mix.  This new album named Culture of Fear offers an excellent assortment of crisp, clean, and sharp rhythms that break away from the mundane dated instrumental albums of the past;  it has the feel of an album that has a timeless sound that can be well kept in a collection for years to come. If you are familiar with the Beastie Boys instrumental album “The Insound from Way Out” this is an excellent addition and complimentary type album, again, this album provides a excellent addition to an existing collection of  instrumental beat albums.

The founders of Thievery Corporation were interviewed on NPR this past weekend.  Both founding artists  were surprisingly very down to Earth about their success; they were not arrogant, nor self-depricating on how their music has evolved and how they’ve gained success as a lesser known musical act.  The interview mainly focused around what past musicians have influenced them and who they decided to collaborate with on this recent album; especially since it strays from the norm of prior releases.  I’ve been on a bend lately with instrumental beat albums such as those offered by Thievery Corporation, Hooverphonic, Portishead and another group who uses Middle Eastern & South Asian cultural rhythms with modern beats called Balkan Beat Box.   Instrumental beat albums offer a fun exploration and variety of creative groove rhythms, beats, effects, and sounds while keeping a constant tempo.  These albums offer excellent background music at a party, when cooking, or just relaxing around the house.  

Unfortunately the free stream was for a limited time and is no longer available as of 9/8/11


Spike Jonze Music Video Appreciation Post!

For no other reason than to have fun on a Friday, here are some of the best music videos ever made, courtesy of the great video/film director Spike Jonze.

The first is “California” by Wax, and it’s the first Jonze video I remember seeing. I’m not a big fan of the song, but the video is amazing…the end is pure genius.

The next one is very well known – it’s a great song made even better by Jonze’s 70’s cop show video. Unfortunately I could not find a version without an ad before it, sorry:

The next offering is an odd song by tat odd Icelandic nymph Bjork. And who better than to direct a video of an odd song by an odd artist? Spike Jonze of course:

The Pharcyde was a pretty cool group back in the 90’s, and Jonze puts his mark on this video of theirs…backwards!

This last one is more famous for the actor dancing in it than for the song itself. It’s all-around genius at work here:


And the 2011 inductee is…the Beastie Boys?

I felt compelled to comment on the newly announced inductee’s to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2011.  One of the main acts is the Beastie Boys; talented yes, but deserving?  I’m not really sure.

I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys in high school and college; although I must admit that at this point in my life I absolutely dread when I hear “Fight For Your Right”; however, I do remember it as a pivotal song in my early adolescent years that contributed to the legitimacy of Rap as a form of artistic expression.

With that said I still find myself at a crossroads with regard to the recent announcement that the Beastie Boys will be inducted into the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  First of all, clearly the hall of fame should be “The History of Music Hall of Fame” and not Rock and Roll. Clearly the Beastie Boys are not a rock act, however they may have contributed some influences to the evolution of todays rock music, but only slightly if so.  Actually, if I were to think of a contemporary band that has incorporated both Rap and Rock and would be more deserving of this award I would consider bands like Rage Against the Machine or perhaps 311; clearly these bands have played a larger part in influencing todays Rock/Rap style, no?  Sorry, but the Aerosmith / Run DMC doesn’t count folks, actually that is probably the tipping point for any respect that I had for either of those groups (makes me cringe just thinking back, yuck!).  Yes, Kerry King of Slayer did play guitars on “Fight For Your Right” and “No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn” but I think he has contributed more to Rock than the album Licensed to Ill.

What the Beastie Boys DID do was change the social perception of Rap;  Rap was  no longer restricted or defined to be performed by African-American artists. White kids (and further, Jewish White kids!) could participate as well, and be taken seriously.  Although I’m not sure how much of the African-American community ran out to by anything they have released.  The Beastie  Boys clearly expanded the diversity of that form music as a whole.  Acts like Vanilla Ice, may have inspired some at the time, but as we all know who lived in the 80’s, that reality came crashing down in full form and very little respect was earned in the end. 

When the Beastie Boys originally entered the scene with the realease of Licensed To Ill (1986) I thought they were more of a goof act that was attempting to disassemble the Rap stereotype, intentionally or not.  Clearly after the commercial success of the Licensed To Ill and the release of Pauls Boutique (1989) they were for real, and clearly were intent on making their mark in music business.  Pauls Boutique, although not the strongest follow up album initially,  has become a landmark album for the band and is probably the most popular by hardcore fans if asked today.

Check Your Head (1992) was a much stronger album and in my opinion did much in revitalizing the band after the lukewarm reception that Pauls Boutique initially received.  Subsequent albums have been successful, actually every one going Platinum or multi-Platinum in the US.  Although they have sold millions of albums and touched the lives of many, perhaps inspiring some successful bands today, I still don’t feel that inducting them into the Hall of Fame is still deserving, if it is, ahem, a true “Rock and Roll” hall of fame.  Actually, we know that it isn’t and perhaps my blog entry should be more about bashing the Hall of Fame rather than the Beastie Boys, which is not my intention.

It has been noted that the RR Hall of Fame inductions are kind of a joke; they are not basing their decisions solely on those groups who influenced bands of today, rather on bands that will draw attention (and a crowd at the ceremony) and ultimately increase funding towards its expansion and growth.  There are so many groups from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s that paved the road for todays music scene and will never be recognized;  the Canadian band Rush (third all  time in album sales under The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!) are not worthy of being inducted this year, but the Beastie Boys are? Huh? It just doesn’t smell right in my opinion.  “Popularity” is what reigns supreme in the induction process and not bands that no longer draw a crowd or are no longer household names.  It’s sad but true, and perhaps the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has seen its sustainability and longevity in having to take the low road and cater to popular music of today rather than yester year.  Granted they have inducted some old timers, but its often rare.  Oh, don’t forget that LL Cool J is being inducted as well, great.

What are your thoughts about the induction process?

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