One of the best ways to find new dope musicians is to search and listen to your favorite artists’ favorite artists. In my case, I found out about Actress after seeing his name mentioned in a Thom Yorke interview. After going on to bump some of Actress’s impressively strange songs, I decided to be a good person and buy his album Splazsh. While dude is mainly known for his way with interesting beats, the track that left an impression on me was the only song on the album that lacked drums: Supreme Cunnilingus (and no, not just because of its amazing title). It sounds a bit like your computer breaking and feels a lot like having a panic attack. I had to hit replay immediately.
Steely Dan is easily my favorite band named after a dildo in William S. Burroughs’s The Naked Lunch of all time. Featuring their signature biting lyrics, complex instrumentation, and jazz-funk influence, “My Old School” is one of their best. It has one of my favorite horn parts ever. I don’t know where this recording is from, but it’s cool to see Donald Fagen and Walter Becker with long hair and wearing ’70s rockstar clothes. Whoa no, Guadalajara won’t do.
One of Bowie’s best. It’s the standout track (and the closer) on his 1976 album Station to Station – an album defined by restrained anguish, which is never more heartbreaking than here. Bowie had a very serious drug problem at the time, and says he barely remembers anything from the production of the album. The song was originally written for a movie of the same name, released in 1957. It was covered by Nina Simone twice, and hearing her versions and meeting her inspired Bowie to record his. The video captures the mood of the song perfectly. There’s very stark lighting, no set, and everyone is reading from sheet music, which adds to the dispassionate atmosphere. Bowie remains straight-faced even while performing vocal acrobatics, and there’s a saxophone player there who never plays.
I don’t know much about this dude, except that he’s on Heems’s Greedhead label. The song is solid, as is the video, dominated by shots of Lakutis looking unhealthy. Cameos by Heems, Despot, Dapwell, some guy with a goatee and sideburns, and two women who I assume are acquaintances of Lakutis.
This has been one of my favorite party songs for the past 6 months or so. The beat goes hard, and the verses all have the right amount of skill and humor. The video is very clever, too – Tony, Kool A.D., and Tom Cruz (the producer) are having a 3-way video chat on “Froogal” at their respective parties, and are joined later by Despot. At the end, everything gets crazy, but I won’t spoil things for you. I like the purposeful glitching of the individual video feeds. Cameos are made by Bun B and Jadakiss (I think it’s Jadakiss) at Tony’s Houston party. Best line: “Stop asking where Brooklyn at, coulda just looked on a map.”