Jack's Pick's Vol. 10
After a brief hiatus, Jack's Picks is back to blast sweet jams and decades' worth of sonic exploration straight into your eardrums. This is sort of a milestone here. I'm not sure I've done anything more than nine times, so I'm feeling pretty happy about ten. At sweet last, my decennial.
Dr. Dog - Be the Void
How did I go so long without listening to Dr. Dog? Be the Void is the band's sixth full-length release. It's folk, it's psychedelic, it's twangy, it's downright tasty. This is one of those albums where each and every song is my favorite. I'll basically just take whatever journalistic integrity I'm supposed to have, some bias I'm obligated to reserve, and chuck it straight out the window. Whatever. I like that this album's not sad, or gloomy, but it's still most likely about being alone.
"What does it take to be lonesome?" belts the first track, pretty much jettisoning the rest of the album into one strange and utterly attractive lyrical space mission. Pretty much every song is catchy, energetic, and a little weird. Weird in an adult way, a way I understand because of my limited experience in the "real world." Weird in a way I'll probably understand more—or worse, stop understanding when I'm older. Enjoy it while it lasts, right?
In the best way possible, this album kind of sounds like it was made on tin cans and Kleenex box guitars. Like a few people got together in an alley and made this harmonious masterpiece out of scraps and crash-landed spaceship parts. Like the garbage cans and trash can lids opened like a barberhsop quartet during the refrain. "Mmmbop weebop, will you do the trick?"
The verdict: Please listen or buy this album.
Condition: New / Used
Where: Your local record store or Discogs.
MF Doom and Madlib - Madvillain
Madvillain is an EP featuring two singles from MF Doom's full-length LP Madvillainy. With just six tracks, this EP is super short. It's basically two singles ("All Caps" and "Curls") rolled into one 12" record. Make no mistake though, this is a solid album. I've mentioned it before, but MF Doom's sampling is pretty much unparalleled. At times it sounds like he's pulling SFX straight from a Bruce Lee movie, classic sci-fi, or a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
I like MF Doom's instrumentals as much, if not more, than some of his lyrical tracks, so it's nice to hear both versions pressed on this record. If you haven't listened to MF Doom, this would be a good release to make an entrance on. It's super affordable, and the tracks are pretty representative of what you get on his other releases.
The verdict: Pick it up, they usually have it in your hip-hop or rap section in the record store.
Condition: New / Used
Where: Stones Throw Records or your local record store.
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers - Terra Incognita
Lying in bed this weekend, scrolling through my Instagram feed, my fingers fumbled across a sponsored advertisement. The message read:
New Belgium Brewing:
Please join us for an exclusive,
VIP-access Chirp Radio event held
in your honor. We are huge fans of your picks,
and will be waiting at Schubas Tavern.
Hope to see you there. STOP.
Not one to turn down an invitation, I pulled on my jeans, leapt out of bed, and jumped in the first car to pass my way. Take me to Schubas!
New Belgium held a public event this weekend at Schubas Tavern. It was very cool and its sponsored advertisements were super effective. There were local record stores selling vinyl inside, live entertainment, and $3 refreshments. They were also selling merchandise in support of CHIRP Radio, a local and volunteer-driven radio station (I am underselling—definitely check them out).
JOE HERTLER AND THE RAINBOW SEEKERS were playing upstairs at Schubas. The entire event was completely free to enter and roam, including Joe Hertler's live performance. It was a sludgy, rainy day outside and the little rainbow playing inside was a nice, if not metaphorical, way to stay dry and groove a little at the same time.
I'm not sure how to best describe the Rainbow Seekers, but they do a pretty good job of describing their flavor on their website. What I liked most about their live performance was the saxophonist's Darryl Hall-style punctuation and the keyboardist, just tickling that ivory. Strange things to pick out, especially since their frontman has some seriously solid pipes and the backing band as a whole is incredibly tight.
I was deciding whether or not to buy an album when their singer, Joe Hertler, said his next song was about two gay samurai. Two gay samurai from opposing factions who couldn't be together, on account of 1) them being gay in feudal Japan and 2) them being sworn enemies. I bought the album.
I'm a little disappointed, though. I guess I should have known better. The live performance was so on-point and energetic. The studio material is really good—don't get me wrong—but it seems less funky, less unchained, less fun. This is basically the same problem I have with pretty much every band in this genre, though. I would equate Terra Incognita to a studio album from Umphrey's McGee. It's not at all bad and it is extremely well produced, but if you've seen the band live, it doesn't really hold a candle.
But what do I know. Give them a listen! Two of my favorite tracks are "Captain America" and "Future Talk."
The verdict: Check it out, you might just like it.
Where: Joe Hertler Store
And that wraps up this week's picks. If you have any comments, lay it down in the comments below and let’s start talkin’. I’d also be curious to see what you picked up this weekend, or what you’re planning on playing first on your Floating Record when it arrives. Until next time.