Tag Archives: Wu-Tang Clan

Riot Fest 2017: No Dicks on the Dancefloor

Riot Fest once again proved itself to be the music fest for grownups. Grownups in black t-shirts.

While all the other big festivals rotate the same dozen headliners, it’s great that Riot Fest has retained its punk rock focus. Maybe not as strictly as during its first several years as a multi-venue festival, but most of the performers still fall somewhere along the punk rock spectrum. And even the ones who don’t play distorted guitars could be said to have a punk rock attitude. Gotta respect that.

Riot Fest sometimes gets accused of cashing in on nostalgia. Sure, a lot of the bands peaked 20 or 30 years ago (or more). But the fact that they’re still around and kicking ass is a testament not only to their survival but to our own. We should all hope we age as gracefully as the most of these artists (Al Jourgensen excepted).

Headliners this year were Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and a reunited Jawbreaker, playing their first full show in 21 years (other than a couple warm up gigs around San Francisco last month). The headliners get the big font on the poster, but fest diehards know that the undercard is always where the action is.

It was hot and sunny when we got to the park on Friday. You never know what you’re going to get in September in Chicago, but you can usually count on at least some rain. The line to get in was down the block and security was being thorough. I heard one guy complaining that they had opened his cardboard cigarette case the wrong way and wrecked it. A woman behind me was worried she was going to miss X, who she had last seen in 1983 with the Replacements opening up for them! Don’t worry, she made it in with time to spare.

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Ghostface Killah – Apollo Kids

Ghostface Killah - Apollo KidsGhostface KillahApollo Kids (Island Def Jam)

After making what was essentially an R&B album in 2009’s Ghostdini, Ghostface Killah returns to form with his latest, Apollo Kids. Wu-Tang Clan is well represented here – Capadonna, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, and U-God all make appearances. Production by RZA is noticeably absent, but the production work still gives that Wu-Tang flavor, even if it’s more focused on the 70s soul part than the Eastern vibe part.

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New Vampire Weekend tennis video: Giving Up The Gun

Video: Vampire Weekend – "Giving Up The Gun"

I think they’re trying to get the “cool” people to hate them. Vampire Weekend‘s latest video off Contra features a tennis tournament directed by The Malloys with cameos from Lil Jon, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Jake Gyllenhaal, and a Jonas Brother. RZA plays the judge. Lil John plays a French speaking coach. Ezra Koenig makes eyes at the camera, doing his best to look as dreamy as possible.

Bourgeois trappings aside, Robert Christgau correctly points out that despite attending Columbia this is “no closer to ruling-class power than it is to the affluence of the average American geekboy who gets to insult music he resents online.” Still, indie blog Hipster Runoff has predicted that VW will be 2010’s Kings of Leon. Next stop: The “Today” Show for a morning concert? We’ll see…

Vampire Weekend: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles – Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers

Wu-Tang vs. The Beatles - Enter The Magical Mystery ChambersWu-Tang vs. The BeatlesEnter The Magical Mystery Chambers (Tea Sea)

Get your Friday Facial from Glorious Noise in the latest installment of our ongoing series, Faces Don’t Lie: Expressive Record Reviews with Dylan Burr.

See Dylan’s reaction to this album after the jump…

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Del The Funky Homosapien – Bring Da Ruckus

Del The Funky Homosapien

MP3: Del The Funky Homosapien – “Bring Da Ruckus” (Wu-Tang Clan)

I suppose the kids call this a remix. But it’s got an entirely different beat and all new lyrics, so… Ah, who the fuck am I to question hip hop jargon? Regardless of what you call it, this new Del track is unquestionably dope.

Apparently, a bunch of former and current Dap-Kings got together, called themselves El Michels Affair, and released a full-band instrumental version of Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) earlier this year. They called it Enter the 37th Chamber. And now a bunch of rappers are rhyming over those instrumentals and it’s being released next year as…what else? Enter the 38th Chamber, of course. Can the 39th Chamber be far off?

Del The Funky Homosapien: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

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Wu-Tang Clan – The Heart Gently Weeps

MP3: Wu-Tang Clan – “The Heart Gently Weeps” featuring Dhani Harrison, Erykah Badu and John Frusciante, from 8 Diagrams. Courtesy of loud.com.

The song interpolates “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by the Beatles. The Wu initially claimed it was the first cleared Beatles sample, which it’s not. George’s son gave it the thumbs up and played “a bit of guitar” on it: “[The RZA] asked me to see if he could use the song, which is owned by us [the Harrison Estate], and we said yes. It’s not the original master — they’ve never been cleared — but the song is used compositionally.”

I’m going off to listen to “The Sounds of Science” now.

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Ghostface Killah – Fishscale

Ghostface Killah - FishscaleGhostface KillahFishscale (Def Jam)

I’ll say it: Tony Starks is the best thing to come of the Wu-Tang Clan. Ever.

Probably the least celebrated of the legendary hip-hop collective (at least above ground), Ghostface Killah has quietly put together an impressive discography of his anarchic delivery. When we last visited the Staten Island native, he was spitting venom over uber-large soul samples on the The Pretty Toney Album. With a Shortlist nom and some incredibly fawning attention from the press, it seemed all but inevitable that Starks had reached his artistic pinnacle. Toney firmly entrenched Starks as an icon in the eyes of intellectual hip-hop fans, a spot he embraced by joining forces on tracks with a few other heavyweight notables—whether Kweli or Doom, et al, over the last two years Ghostface Killah upstaged everyone he worked with.

Fishscale adopts the narrative style of pal and collaborator MF Doom (who produces a few tracks on the album) by loosely stringing a tale of the drug trade by song and interlude alike. The tracks themselves find Ghostface backed by a who’s who of emcees and producers—his most name-heavy release to date. Despite the absence of the GZA, who had previously been a producer on each of Ghostface’s albums, Starks seems unfazed. Why not? Doom, Pete Rock, and Jay Dilla (R.I.P.) are nothing to sneeze at, either.

These tracks retain the raw production of Ghostface’s previous work, which admirably accomplishes the task of making each song sound live—turn up the volume and you can practically feel Starks spitting on you. His delivery is my favorite Ghost mannerism—whether it is over Dilla’s slow, doe-eyed “Whip You With A Strap,” or the glam-rock Just Blaze production on “The Champ,” Starks never changes delivery. He’s constantly breathless and frantic, sharing a similar audible insanity with compatriot ODB. Lyrically, Ghost has always been great at melding violence, hope, and humor (when he croons a quick line in the first verse of “Jellyfish,” it’s almost laughable and loveable at the same time) in a single couplet—with all of these emotions fusing with his delivery and constantly-evolving production, the result is a schizophrenic bomb of explosive energy.

It’s easy to delve headfirst into Starks’ work from an analytical sense and still find tons to be impressed over, but one only need listen to the first line of “9 Milli Bros.,” the Wu-Tang reunion track, to fall in love with Ghostface. “Ya’ll be nice to the crackheads!!!” he screams completely out of cadence, and it’s incredibly addictive. Fans of punk would appreciate Ghost’s dismissal of consonance, and anyone with a pulse should feel the energy oozing from each crevice of Fishscale.