It seems as if popular rap music these days has slipped into a serene coma of empty braggadocio and I-smoke-better-weed-than-you bull. There’s an ever-lengthening list of well-paid lyricists who are young and anxious and have access to well-connected producers with fancy studios and promoters with deep pocketbooks. Rapping is not an easy game and though it may not necessarily involve the gun battles of Tupac and Biggie’s day, it’s a landscape where the ones who are saying things of poetic worth fall somewhere far below the music industry’s Star-
It’s not likely that you’ll see any of the emcees in the Doomtree Collective making commercials for Bing or gracing the Grammy stage but all of that stuff matters very little because, in true Doomtree style, they delivered an amazing show at the Shadow Lounge on Monday night. It was all about the energy.
The room was packed with hip hop and poetry aficionados staring at the empty stage, tapping their feet and anxiously waiting for anyone to grab a mic. When Lazerbeak finally stepped behind his drum machine and started playing a blend of hip hop and electro-house beats you could feel the crowd force some dance moves. They were clearly there for the words.
The members of Doomtree — P.O.S., Dessa, Sims, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger — have been performing together for over a decade and the years show in the tightness of their stage presence. They flowed together like a group of siblings, all knowing each other’s words verbatim but always bringing their own charm when leading a song. The performance had the truth-fueled angst of a punk show, beats that begged for dancing and the organic flow of a cypher.
They’re lyrics are always deep and poetic but they remained party-minded, no matter what. With all the call and response, they made it so that whether you were one of the sixty percent of the people there who knew all of their lyrics or not, everyone was a part of the party.
Getting all seven performers together was a recognizably rare occurrence. Chemistry like that doesn’t happen very often and after the experience it might be kinda difficult to tune in to any rap oriented radio programming, but with roots deeply planted in the slam poetry circle, they’d probably be proud of that deterrence.
There are few things more heartwarming to a music fan than a group of musicians who linger after the show signing CD inserts and posing for pictures; it was hard not to be star-struck after that presentation of lyricism over challenging beats. Doomtree promised a rap party and a rap party is what they delivered.
It's almost the end of Monday, so let's cut to the chase: This week's MP3 comes from our friends in These Three Words. I reviewed their self-titled debut last month -- this week's they're offering up a track from that CD for free download here on FFW>>. The pun-ishingly titled "Cinderblock Ella and the Freudian Slipper" is available below for streaming and download. Enjoy!
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You may remember last year when I profiled White Wives, the punk band headed up by Roger Harvey and Anti-Flag's Chris No. 2. Harvey used to play under the name Dandelion Snow; his new project, though, is called Bluebird Midwest.
Today, we're premiering a brand-new video from Bluebird Midwest. If you like it, feel free to check Roger out tomorrow night at Brillobox; Bluebird Midwest is playing there on a bill with Eureka Birds and Horse Or Cycle, in a show put on by the local music blog Draw Us Lines.
Without further ado — "I've Always Loved You," the new video from Bluebird Midwest:
With a tranquil voice that glides over notes like silk, East African flutist Samite delivers twelve tracks of entrancing folk music on his album My Music World.
Samite, who produced the album himself, has toured the world expanding his music’s reach to countries such as Tanzania, Liberia and Kenya. He travels to Pittsburgh this week to perform at the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland on Sat., Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. His performance is presented by Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society.
My Music World reveals several of Samite’s strenghs as a songwriter and vocalist. He demonstrates an impressive control over his breathing in “If I Could Fly I Would Fly to This Song,” in which his voice does not quaver even during the longest notes. His ability to blend his voice well with a background of percussive instruments can be heard in “Ninze,” a playful tune with an upbeat melody.
The high point of the album comes with “Tusimbe Emiti,” a slow, airy song with female background vocals that complement Samite’s rich tone. Each percussion part can be heard clearly, and the steady rhythm makes it relaxing yet energizing. Overall, My Music World triumphs by lulling its listeners into a mellow atmosphere of colorful instrumentation and calming vocals.
Tickets for Samite’s show are $38 in advance, $43 at the door and $20 for student rush. For more information, call Calliope at 412-361-1915 or visit www.calliopehouse.org.
This Monday's MP3 comes from local rapper Sneaky Mike, who was featured in our Local Beat section a few weeks ago. The song is "I Look Like Lil B (RSK remix)" and comes from his recently released EP I Look Like Sneaky. If you want to hear more from Sneaky Mike, you can buy the album here. Enjoy!
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Attention, goodly sirs and damsels:
Tomorrow evening at Stage AE, Pittsburgh most ridiculous and most popular metal band, Dethlehem, returns to the stage after a lineup change. The show is $8 and doors open at 8, but you can WIN two tickets for FREE right now via FFW>>.
How? I will tell you how.
I am going to roll a 12-sided die. Right now. I will tell Dethlehem's Overlord Brom what number I rolled. You, below, in the comments, will guess one (1) number between 1 and 12. The first person to guess the right number — or the closest guesser by 2 p.m. today, if no one has hit it by then — will win two spots on Dethlehem's guest list for tomorrow night's show.
Play fair; I can tell if you're stuffing the ballot box entering multiple times. Also, please use your real e-mail address when you comment, so that we can contact you.
Thanks for playing!
They used to be called sponsorships; now they're ambassadorships. Regardless, the point is: If you're a local band, this is your chance to open up an Iron City Embassy and bank serious ca$h.
Iron City Sound is a contest to find the Next Big Iron City Ambassador. The current crop is a respectable bunch: 1,2,3, DJ Bonics, Kellee Maize, Bear Cub and Dream Job. Iron City is looking for one more, and you can apply online now. Once the applications are complete, public voting will begin (at the end of April). The winner will receive $5,000; duties, according to the contest website, include:
Brand Integration on Social Networks
Public Music Performances
That's right. "Brand consumption." I think you know what that means. Get on it.
A couple months ago, I told you all about The Long Time Darlings. This week, we're premiering the band's brand-new video, for the song "Downtown Sugar." It's directed by Chris Lockerman, who's done a number of other local music vids. When last we talked with frontman Brett Staggs, he said his dream was for "things to get out of hand." In this delightfully ridiculous video, they seemingly have.
The Long Time Darlings play this Saturday, Feb. 18, at Club Cafe; it's the late show (10:30) and Molehill and Casino Bulldogs (who are releasing a record) play as well. Without further ado:
Locals Slices, who basically land in the "Local Tweets" feature every time I put it in the paper, are getting ready to release Still Cruising, the long-awaited follow-up to Cruising. Today, they have some songs posted on Brooklyn Vegan, in a weird format wherein tracks 1,2, 4 and 5 are together, then track 3 is below them. And in fact they've already garnered some haters in the comments section — who may or may not in fact be the members of Slices. Whatever, listen to them now and prepare yourself for Iron Lung Records' release of Still Cruising next month.
Happy Monday everyone! Two weeks ago, we introduced you to Pet Clinic. This past Friday they released their EP The Dust That Made the Fire That Made the Light. Our MP3 this week is the first track from the EP "Stop Wasting My Precious Time." Stream or download it below!
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