Monthly Report: June 2014 Singles

Saturday, June 28, 2014

1. Bleachers - "I Wanna Get Better"
I hated all the fun. singles, so I was skeptical of anyone from that band doing anything good, but Jack Antonoff doesn't sing anything like Nate Ruess, and beyond that this song is just fantastic. His girlfriend is Lena Dunham, which only matters insofar as she directed the song's video and it's awful, but otherwise who cares. Everything else I've heard from this album has been pretty good, too, hope it has a ton of hit singles. Check out my favorite 2014 singles playlist on Spotify btw.

2. Michael Jackson f/ Justin Timberlake - "Love Never Felt So Good"
Although the whole enterprise of raiding Michael's vaults for posthumous releases is a little distasteful, I do kind of like the way they handled Xscape, picking out a small selection of songs, and giving you both the original demos and the more polished remixes by Timbaland and other modern producers. The results are mostly uninspiring, but this song is so good that it almost justifies the enterprise to have this out in the world -- I love the idea that all these circumstances conspired to give us a Michael Jackson song written by Paul Anka and produced by Timbaland. This is just such a warm, lovely tune, with the cheesy sentimental side of MJ intermingled with a dance track. I kind of prefer the Michael solo version to the single with Timberlake, but whatever.

3. Katy Perry - "Birthday"
When "Unconditionally" stalled at #14 on the Hot 100 after nine consecutive Katy Perry singles that went top 3, it wasn't that surprising because "Unconditionally" was dreary garbage and "Dark Horse" was quickly stealing its thunder. But "Birthday" recently stalled at #17 and it's been kind of a shock to hear something so good and so firmly in the mold of #1s like "California Girls" and "Last Friday Night" not perform similarly. That video is pretty awful, though, I think the lack of YouTube hits may be actively hurting its chart performance (it currently has less than 25% as many views as even the "Unconditionally" video). Even the lyric video has more views than the proper video.

4. Blake Shelton f/ Gwen Sebastian - "My Eyes"
"The Voice" has become such a pyramid scheme, consistently boosting the careers of the celebrity coaches while doing virtually nothing for the aspiring singers it's supposed to be helping, that it makes total sense that the most a finalist like Gwen Sebastian has done with her career since the show is appear on the 7th single from an album by her coach on the show, Blake Shelton. This track is pretty great, though.

5. Miranda Lambert - "Automatic"
Never been a big Miranda fan, so it's unsurprising that the lead single all her fans were disappointed by seems totally fine to me, other than the annoying car sound effects towards the end. It's funny to hear her sing longingly about the days when "staying married was the only way to work your problems out," though, considering that Blake Shelton left his first wife for her.

6. Mila J - "Smoke, Drink, Break Up"
Jhene Aiko's "The Worst" has really been the worst thing about R&B radio in the last few months, no pun intended. So it's a pleasant surprise that she has a sister who also makes music and can actually sing and has a dope single.

7. Rich Homie Quan f/ Problem - "Walk Thru"
I'm bummed that this has seemingly already stalled on the charts, it really felt like an endlessly likeable song that really stood a good chance of being a proper follow up to "Type of Way" after Quan started blowing up with features.

8. Rick Ross f/ Lil Wayne - "Thug Cry"
Ross has really hit an odd career patch where he's still a big star and appears on hits, but he can't seem to make any for his own albums. God Forgives squeaked by with "Diced Pineapples" doing okay, but Mastermind hasn't had gotten a single track into the top 20 on urban radio (which has never happened with any previous album): not "No Games" (which didn't even make the final tracklist), not "The Devil Is A Lie," not this. I actually like "Thug Cry," unlike the other songs, though, wish it was doing better. One of Wayne's best verses in recent memory, too.

9. Eli Young Band - "Dust"
Of all the acts making fake Tom Petty songs on country radio nowadays, these guys might be the best at it. It still blows my mind that this band is led not by a guy named Eli Young but by a guy with the last name Eli and a guy with the last name Young.

10. Eric Church - "The Outsiders"
I generally like Church's softer tracks like "Springsteen" and "Give Me Back My Hometown" and find his rocker side pretty unappealing, so I was pretty kneejerk about deciding "The Outsiders" sucked and put it on the worst list on my round up of 2014 country singles. My local hard rock station, 98 Rock, has picked up on "The Outsiders" in the last few months, though, and I realized it actually sounds totally good there, would be fine with Church making a crossover to rock radio with his uptempo stuff. The tempo changes in the instrumental section at the end are just killer, and kinda balance out the terrible lyrics in the verses for me.

Worst Single of the Month: Calvin Harris - "Summer"
I kinda respect Calvin Harris for being able to have hits on US radio with his own voice on them, which pretty much no other EDM producer has been able to do if they also release singles with established pop stars on them. But his voice has such an unappealing croak to it, and this song really feels like it couldn't be a more lazy and cynical 'summer jam' if he just said the word "summer" and then dropped the generic dance breakdown.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I wrote a piece on Noisey about Lil Wayne's Tha Carter, which turns 10 years old on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
This week's Short List.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I compiled and wrote about the 20 biggest summer jams of the 1950s for Rolling Stone, and I'll be covering other decades over the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The latest installment of Mobtown Studios' BSides series features the Philadelphia-based band DRGN King, playing and discussing 2 new songs from their as-yet-unreleased second album: the Baltimore-inspired "Saint Tom's" and "Don't Trust The Sad Boys." I really dug these songs and enjoyed writing the article that accompanied the songs/video, one of my favorite installments in the series to date (besides, obviously, The Dismemberment Plan).

Deep Album Cuts Vol. 21: The Pretenders

Saturday, June 21, 2014

This month, Chrissie Hynde released her first solo album ever, Stockholm. This is remarkable both because she's 62 years old (and amazingly well preserved), and because I never thought she'd have any need to make an album outside of The Pretenders. Half of the band's founding lineup died tragically after their 2nd album, and the only other surviving member besides Hynde, drummer Martin Chambers, has sat out a couple albums since then (1990's Packed! and 2008's Break Up The Concrete) while remaining a touring member most of that time. She'd collaborated with other artists many times before, and in 2011 released an album with the group J.P., Chrissie & The Fairground Boys that was pretty good, but that record was done with another singer/songwriter. Stockholm is all Chrissie Hynde, and it really sounds like a Pretenders album, really one of the  best in a while. Still, a good time to look back at the catalog of a great, great band.

The Pretenders Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist): 

1. The Wait
2. Mystery Achievement
3. Up The Neck
4. Tattooed Love Boys
5. Bad Boys Get Spanked
6. The English Roses
7. Jealous Dogs
8. Watching The Clothes
9. I Hurt You
10. I Remember You
11. Light Of The Moon
12. Downtown (Akron)
13. When Will I See You
14. Love Colours
15. Nails In The Road
16. One More Time
17. Complex Person
18. Walk Like A Panther
19. Almost Perfect
20. The Last Ride

Tracks 1, 2, 3 and 4 from Pretenders (1980)
Tracks 5, 6 and 7 from Pretenders II (1981)
Tracks 8 and 9 from Learning To Crawl (1984)
Tracks 10 and 11 from Get Close (1986)
Tracks 12 and 13 from Packed! (1990)
Track 14 from Last Of The Independents (1994)
Tracks 15 and 16 from ¡Viva El Amor!  (1999)
Tracks 17 and 18 from Loose Screw (2002)
Tracks 19 and 20 from Break Up The Concrete (2008)

I did something with this mix that I hadn't done in any of the 20 previous Deep Album Cuts mixes: I presented the artist's career in chronological order. I've often considered the possibility of doing that, but there's always been some compelling reason not to, usually because I had some particular sequence in mind or a killer opening track not on the first album (not an issue here since "The Wait" has always been my favorite Pretenders song) or a killer clocking track not on the most recent album. This does have the consequence of the frontloading the mix with the great James Honeyman-Scott/Pete Farndon stuff from the first two albums and leaving the often unfairly ignored later albums to try and live up to those. But from a sequencing standpoint, it worked for me, and I think the whole thing holds together and shows how consistent The Pretenders have been over the years. And while Get Close is a bit too glossy and Break Up The Concrete is a little too lo-fi, I think the band has survived the changing fashions in rock production well and it's nice to just hear the very gradual changes in sound over the decades.

Pretenders is one of my favorite albums of all time, and Pretenders II is a fine sequel, although at times it feels very much like a sequel -- another Kinks cover, and "Bad Boys Get Spanked" is such a clear successor to "Tattooed Love Boys" that I enjoyed putting them back-to-back on this mix. Learning To Crawl has the Thriller-like distinction of only having 2 tracks that weren't released as singles, and both are included here. Johnny Marr briefly joined The Pretenders right after The Smiths broke up, and a very good track he co-wrote with Hynde, "When Will I See You," showed up on Packed! a few years later. Highlights from the later albums including the incredible vocal performance on "One More Time," and a couple odes to Hynde's native Ohio, "Downtown (Akron)" and "Almost Perfect," to set alongside the hit "My City Was Gone."

Although several Pretenders albums have featured covers of songs originally by notable artists (Bob Dylan, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Divinyls), Get Close is the only album that features a couple of previously unknown songs not written by Chrissie Hynde. The hit "Hymn To Her" was supposedly written by an old friend of Hynde's while the track "Light Of The Moon" is a more mysterious case. One of the song's three co-writers, Carlos Alomar, wrote on a blog that it was a song by an unnamed band he was producing that he decided to submit to Jimmy Iovine for the Pretenders. Iovine had the band go back in the studio and add the song to the already-finished album as a potential hit, although it ended up not being released as a single at all. But Alomar was also an auxiliary member of Simple Minds, and at the time Hynde was married to Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr, and "Light Of The Moon" bears a conspicuous similarity to "Don't You (Forget About Me)," which was a huge hit just a year earlier. Weird stuff. Another interesting cover in the Pretenders catalog: "Walking Like A Panther," a UK hit by The All Seeing I co-written by Jarvis Cocker (come to think of it, I'd love to hear a proper Jarvis/Chrissie collaboration someday).

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I wrote about Baltimore rapper Mike C.'s song "New Shoes" for WAMU's Bandwidth site.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
This week's Short List.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I wrote a piece for Complex called The First Songs by Legendary Rap Producers, looking at the early careers of 20 different beatmaking vets. Was really cool to see the other night that the article got tweeted by Jermaine Dupri.

Monday, June 16, 2014

I finally, finally, finally saw The Kids In The Hall live in person for the first time in Washington recently, and wrote about the show for Splice Today.

Monthly Report: May Albums

Saturday, June 14, 2014

1. IamSu! - Sincerely Yours
I didn't know what to expect from this album since I was never really especially impressed by IamSu!'s verses on any of the handful of big hits he's been featured on the last few years, I was just kinda checking this out since there's been a lot of good west coast rap coming out this year. This really grew on me quickly, though, has a surprisingly warm, low key sound than most current Bay rap, and Su's personality comes across better than it did on those features as a likeable, down-to-earth guy. And the whole thing is just gorgeously produced, all those lush, melodic tracks and good vibes, gonna be a great summer album. Here's the Spotify playlist of all the 2014 albums I've listened to, btw.

2. Jay Wyse - Choose Wysely EP
Jay Wyse made one of my favorite Baltimore rap projects of last year, and he's already back with another one, one of those EPs that really feels like an album. Really happy to see one of these young guys in the city coming into his own with a real personal, emotional perspective. Check out the record on Audiomack.

3. JuegoTheNinety - Sonny September CD
Another young Baltimore rapper, but one who's on some really really different shit, real animated delivery and dark subject matter and crazy production. There are parts that annoy me a little but I feel like that's kinda what he's going for, and there are more parts that are just straight up entertaining. Check it out on Soundcloud.

4. Mariah Carey - Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse
Working on my playlist of Mariah's deep cuts gave me a real appreciation for her as an albums artist, and this may not be one of her very best, but it's definitely in the upper half of her catalog. And that's kind of a relief given the long, troubled singles campaign for the album and the goofy title it ended up with. The first three new tracks running into "#Beautiful" sound really great and that song doesn't even feel out of place like year-old singles often do on albums. From there the quality of the songs goes up and down for the rest of the album, but there's a really lush, luxurious vibe to the whole thing that only gets interrupted a couple times by straining attempts to sound current.

5. 2 Chainz - FreeBase EP
It seems a little odd to me for 2 Chainz to throw an EP out to the mixtape circuit just 8 months after his underperforming second album, although I loved that album and this is nearly up to the same bar of quality, so I appreciate it. Even when he opens the first song with the kind of triplet flow that's been getting played out lately, he redeems it with the offhand shoutout of "this flow come from Drizzy, he got it from Migos, they got it from Three 6." Love the Boosie verse on "Wuda Cuda Shuda" too.

6. Coldplay - Ghost Stories
It's weird but at this point I find myself actually rooting for Coldplay since Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, they've really got a good amount of music I enjoy the hell out of now. And I was primed to really fuck with this one heavy since I love "Magic" and consider it to be more moving than I thought a song about Gwyneth Paltrow could be. But that song still kinda towers over the rest of Ghost Stories for me, only maybe "Always In My Head" and "True Love" have production alluring enough to overcome the lack of hooks. Still a really pleasant, moody album to listen to, but Coldplay's career has always basically been like Sting's solo career, and this is like one of those later albums where he kinda gave up on making undeniable pop jams.

7. Trans Am - Volume X
I'm glad Trans Am are still going and I feel like, in some ways, certain aspects of their sound and their persona, their sense of humor, are better understood by listeners now than they might've been back in the early days. This is probably the hardest rocking record they've made in a good while, although it hasn't really hooked me as much as the last couple, Sex Change and Thing, did. So far my favorite track is "Failure," which is only 2 minutes long, and I wish it was longer.

8. The Roots - ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
It seems like ever since they signed with Def Jam and, later, got the Jimmy Fallon gig, The Roots have been kind of freed up to just make whatever records they want to make and not even bother with the slightest effort in ever having another hit single. In a way I admire that, that they're just going for it, but as much as I loved Game Theory, I've enjoyed every album since then less and less (not counting Wise Up Ghost with Elvis Costello, which was awesome). This one just feels like they're pulling back further and further to see how little they can concede to the listener -- they still do choruses on a lot of songs but they're often so annoying and unpleasant (especially "Never)" that I wish they wouldn't bother. And that Greg Porn guy has gotten a bigger and bigger cut of the last few albums and I'm just sick of dude, don't know why he's here. It actually feels like this huge relief when someone as unremarkable and competent as Raheem DeVaughn shows up to sing on the last two tracks.

9. Cher Lloyd - Sorry I'm Late
Cher Lloyd's first album was released in the US almost a year after it originally came out in the UK, which is a pretty typical thing that happens with British artists. Now, very unusually, the opposite has happened with her second album, which came out in American (and several other countries) in May and isn't due to come out in the UK until July at the soonest. The singles haven't been hits in either country, but for some reason they actually put the album out here anyway. And there's nothing that feels like it deserves to be as big as "I Want U Back" (although "Killin' It" feels like a hit to me), but it's a really solid pop record, a shame that she seems to be suffering such a big commercial slump. For some reason I just think Cher pulls off the obnoxious-white-girl-who-likes-rap pop star thing better than Miley or Ke$ha.

10. Boots - WinterSpringSummerFall
I've probably listened to Beyonce more than any other album in the last 6 months, and I give Boots a lot of credit for the sound of the record even if B really brings it all to life. So it was with mild trepidation that I ventured into his solo mixtape, and over the course of an hour there's a lot of great stuff and some pretty terrible stuff too. He has what I would call a Ryan Leslie skill set: great producer, decent singer, and appalling rapper who does way more of the latter than anyone could possibly want.

Worst Album of the Month: Wiz Khalifa - 28 Grams
I actually really liked O.N.I.F.C., the album that came close to killing Wiz Khalifa's career, because the production was just amazing. And I have zero affection for his moronic comeback hit "We Dem Boyz" (or, as I like to call it, "Weed And Boyz"), and never had a whole lot of time for Wiz in general, so obviously I'm not really the audience for this. Still, I remain kind of fascinated by what a blank slate this dude is -- you really have to have absolutely no ideas or personality to be defined by something the majority rappers do like smoking weed. The closest he ever gets to humor or wit is, like, "I'm in her mouth like I'm a dentist." Even with the promising production lineup, this just gets samey and boring real quick. At one point he raps over Missy's "The Rain" and it's appalling. And the faux raggamuffin flow on "Pure" is just painful. At least the Juicy J-produced track is good.

Friday, June 13, 2014

This weekend Strictly Hip-Hop is doing a 24-hour broadcast for its 24th anniversary, I wrote a blog post for the Baltimore City Paper to get the word out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
This week's Short List.

Movie Diary

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

a) 12 O'Clock Boys
There are so many little unique, unheralded subcultures in Baltimore that it's nice to see one like the dirt bike kids get explored in a fairly high-profile documentary like this. I don't know how many times I've driven down Monument Street and heard those engines growling and waited to see those bikes race by. I thought this did a pretty good job of showing all the angles, the good and the bad, although the camera work on some of the bike scenes was so great that they probably couldn't help but glorify it all a little bit. I love the little slice of life stuff, like the kids dancing to Blaqstarr's "Hands Up, Thumbs Down," and how they kinda let you draw your own conclusions, didn't feel like hype or propaganda.

b) Thor: The Dark World
The first Thor was probably the least entertaining of the movies I've seen in the whole Avengers franchise thing, but not bad at all. This one maybe a little better on the action side of things, although I wouldn't mind if it had more rom com stuff with Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings. The cosmic viking funeral scene was pretty cool, I guess.

I'm never a good audience for pop culture biopics and period pieces, especially when they have to do with music that I've obsessed over. But even as I tried to sit down and take this movie at face value and not get all pedantic about facts or actors' resemblances to the people they were playing, this whole thing just came out a hilarious farce. Some of the actors did a decent job, but the direction was just piss poor and the whole thing kind of low rent -- the Punk Magazine comic illustration framing device could've been cool, and in some ways helped organize a messy story with a lot of different tertiary characters, but in the end it just felt obnoxious and clumsy. By the time Taylor Hawkins-as-Iggy Pop jumped onstage with Malin Akerman-as-Debbie Harry it was pretty much a comedy to me.

d) We're The Millers
One of the better R rated mainstream comedies in recent memory, really just ran wild with the possibilities of the fake family premise and had fun with it. Kinda glad Jason Sudeikis is doing well in movies, he was really the glue that held together "SNL" for a few years there. Will Poulter definitely the standout performance in this, though.

e) R.I.P.D.
I tried watching this twice and never got to the end, went to bed the first time and then just took an afternoon nap in the middle the second time. Jeff Bridges gets a few funny moments but it really just feels like a flop through and through.

f) The Purge
It always seems pretty easy to make a plausible movie about America going horribly awry in the not-too-distant future, but this one just seemed kind of stupid -- 10 years from now, we've completely fixed crime and unemployment AND THEN we decided on a wacky annual day of murder and chaos? Like, c'mon. Once it gets going there's some tense moments but it mostly felt like they did all this work building up a stupid premise just to do a boilerplate home invasion thriller.

g) Alex Cross
I had to watch this just to see how hilariously incompetent it was and I was not disappointed, although I think I still had more fun reading reviews of it than actually seeing it.

h) Laurel Canyon
I remember ages and ages ago, being a big Sparklehorse fan and following the band online, hearing the unlikely news that there was gonna be a movie about a band and the music used as their songs in it would be Sparklehorse songs. So it was weird to finally sit down and watch it, 10 years later, and catch the quick cameo by the late great Mark Linkous himself. Really seemed like a boring indie drama with a bunch of cliche love triangles, though, some good acting but hard to care about.

Deep Album Cuts Vol. 20: Mariah Carey

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Mariah Carey is one of the most successful singles artists of all time, with various chart records for her 18 songs that have hit #1 on the Hot 100. But unlike some of the other big-voiced divas she's often compared to like Whitney Houston, Mariah wrote nearly all her songs, and had a big hand in the artistic direction of her increasingly idiosyncratic catalog. Rich Juzwiak of Gawker, who's kind of the internet's poet laureate of Mariah, has done great posts including a glossary of her vocabulary word-packed lyrics, and a compilation of her having to remind people over and over that she's a songwriter as well as a singer. I mean, let's be real, if there was one co-writer on all of her hits, we'd be calling that person a genius. She deserves to be in the songwriter hall of fame for "All I Want For Christmas Is You" alone.

So on the occasion of the release of her latest and most strangely titled album, Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse, I thought I'd look at her best deep cuts while lists of her best singles are floating out there.

Mariah Carey Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist): 

1. Vulnerability (Interlude)
2. Long Ago
3. To Be Around You
4. Music Box
5. I'm That Chick
6. Circles
7. Lullaby
8. How Much (featuring Usher)
9. One And Only (featuring Twista)
10. Ribbon
11. Migrate (featuring T-Pain)
12. Clown
13. Looking In
14. And You Don't Remember
15. Babydoll
16. Petals
17. I Am Free
18. Close My Eyes
19. Vanishing
20. Last Kiss

Track 19 from Mariah Carey (1990)
Tracks 3 and 14 from Emotions (1991)
Track 4 from Music Box (1993)
Tracks 2, 13 and 17 from Daydream (1995)
Tracks 15 and 18 from Butterfly (1997)
Tracks 1, 8 and 16 from Rainbow (1999)
Tracks 7 and 12 from Charmbracelet (2002)
Tracks 6 and 9 from The Emancipation Of Mimi (2005)
Tracks 5, 11 and 20 from E=MC² (2008)
Track 10 from Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (2009)

It's funny how you can almost trace her evolution, from a bland balladeer to one of pop's great goofballs, just through her album titles. Going through her discography, though, I'm impressed by what a gradual, fairly organic progression it traces. Butterfly is often seen as the big departure point, but while it marks a break in her personal life and her public image, she was already leaning toward hip hop production on great Daydream tracks like "Long Ago."

I decided to leave off anything from the new album, which is good but I'm still digesting it, as well as anything from her two Christmas albums. The lack of anything from the Glitter soundtrack is simply because the album isn't on Spotify -- it was released on Virgin Records, unlike all her other albums, but the absence of her most embarrassing failure certainly feels like it could be deliberate. I'd like to hear it sometime -- it certainly seems like the albums that are most lacking in hits, like Charmbracelet and E=MC², also tend to be among the richest in deep cuts. And of course, Charmbracelet has "Clown," the very amusing first subliminal shot at Eminem that became the more public feud with "Obsessed."

Often when promoting albums, Mariah has been prone to pointing out her favorite song on the album, and it's frequently not one of the big #1 hits, or even a single at all -- some of her eagle-eyed fans have kept track of these and listed the songs on this YouTube video and elsewhere. So the last 8 tracks on this mix, from "Looking In" onward, are all songs Mariah has expressed particular fondness for, put in a row to maybe give some sense of what her taste is. I would've picked quite a few of those songs myself, too -- the Missy Elliott co-write "Babydoll," the stripped down piano ballad "Vanishing," and some of her most personal songs including "Close My Eyes" and "Petals," which was written about Mariah's estranged sister.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott

Friday, June 06, 2014

Derrick Jones, better known as OOH (or Yo Slick), passed away this week, and I had the difficult task of writing his obituary for the Baltimore City Paper. I had seen his group Brown F.I.S.H. several times over the last 12 years and interviewed him in 2011, but I didn't know him like countless other people around here did. He was an incredibly generous, kind, smart guy who made great music and did a lot of amazing things in education and youth outreach in Baltimore. Talking to his bandmate Jahiti and going to the vigil and seeing the outpouring of grief this week has really been moving and overwhelming, and I hope I did that justice with my article. He will be missed.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014
This week's Short List.