Major Stars "Roots Of Confusion Seeds Of Joy (Drag City)"
Psychedelic masterminds Major Stars are back with another dose of face-melting madness. Roots Of Confusion Seeds Of Joy (Drag City) is like a giant wall of psychedelic sounds and riffs, with plenty of distorted guitars and evocative lyrics. You might find yourself staring off into the distance contemplating the big things as their Jefferson Airplane meets groove rock sound has you nodding your head without even knowing it. If you have even an inclination towards things rock and roll, then Major Stars are here to rock your rock and roll-loving socks right off (quick! put your socks back on before the dog starts chewing them!). Check out the epic jamming of “Spun Around.”
Kool Keith "KEITH (Mello)"
“Hmmm… let’s see what’s next up for me to blurb about…. uh…. WHAT!?! THE NEW KOOL KEITH!?!?!” Yup. That was me 15 minutes ago. Seems so long ago. I can barely remember a time before I started listening to the new Kool Keith record. If you are already a fan of his, then KEITH (Mello) won’t be a total surprise, at least lyrically. Is he still, um, sex obsessed? Well, if you listened to Dr. Octogon as much as I did in ’96 then the answer is an obvious “YES” but don’t let that come off as dismissive. This is John Waters levels of creative dirty-ness. But also, that’s not the only motif here. Trying to guess what Keith is up to next is an exercise in futility. Just know that his rhymes and verses are as creative as ever, with songs covering all sorts of topics. The production here is also as creative as ever, which finds beats slightly trap-influenced and skewing towards sorta horror-tinged sounds. This is a heady, late-era instant classic in Keith’s 30+ year career. Check out the anthemic “Turn the Levels.”
Connie Price & The Keystones "Lucas High (Fat Beats)"
Connie Price & The Keystones have teamed up with Zach Lucas, the son of jazz-funk pioneer Doug Lucas for a record teeming with great beats and amazing verses from some of the most beloved hip hop artists of the ‘90s. Lucas High is a musical conversation Zach never was able to have with his dad, who passed away when he was a teenager. Here, together with producers and musicians, he’s created an album full of both sampled tracks from his dad as well as new music written meant to sound like the kinds of things he was famous for. One listen and it’ll be no wonder why the likes of Busta Rhymes and Nas were known to sample his beats. Here, these beats and live instrumental backing tracks are treated to verses from the likes of Big Daddy Kane, Talib Kweli, members of The Pharcyde and Jurassic 5, as well as vocal turns by Macy Gray, and tons of other guests. This is as fun as it gets. Well, maybe it would be more fun if it came with an eggplant lasagna, but that’s not gonna happen. What is gonna happen is you are gonna check out the laid back cool of “Three Kings (featuring Brand Nubian & Macy Gray).”