Monday, August 29, 2005

I got my (Hilltop) Hoodie on...

Continuing on with the look at Australian hip-hop, here's two more links for your body poppin' pleasure.

* By popular request, I've got to mention The Hilltop Hoods. Their casual style is a refreshing change, and the fact they don't need to rap with a Stateside twang is just one of the many reasons why they've built up quite a following in their home country. Check The Sentinel from 2003 album The Obese for a quality Aussie hip-hop cut.

* Here's what Nation Master Wiki says about Aussie beats and rhymes.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Little Brother / Nicolay

For those in the know, one of the best hip-hop albums of 2003 came from Little Brother. Comprising of MC's Phonte and Big Pooh and beat-maker extraordinaire 9th Wonder, the group's debut The Listening is reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory and De La Soul's Stakes Is High - soulful production from 9th (of Jay-Z, Murs and Jean Grae fame), and clear, witty rhymes from Pooh and Phonte.

Those that slept on The Listening should pick it up in preparation for the group's major label debut, The Minstrel Show, which is so hot it caused the editor-in-chief of The Source magazine to resign last week over a dispute on the planned 4-and-half mic rating it was going to get (an issue that may be more complicated than it seems, although this isn't surprising considering The Source's diminishing status amongst hip-hop heads).

4-and-a-half mics or not it's out on September 12 (and the following day in the States). Here's the video for The Minstrel Show's first single, 'Lovin' It' featuring Joe Scudda.

Speaking of Little Brother, one of 2004's best hip-hop albums came from LB rapper Phonte and unknown Dutch producer Nicolay, who together as Foreign Exchange created Connected through the wonders of e-mail (for you indie kids, that's just like The Postal Service!). It's an especially impressive joint considering the pair had never even met each other in the flesh until after the album came out! Nicolay is about to drop a new instumental album 'City Lights Volume 1.5' this September, and if you go to the man's site you can browse through his discography whilst listening to his last beats-a-plenty mixtape 'The Dutch Masters Vol. 1' which is worth getting just for his remix of Common's 'Come Close'. Hot. Shit.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Nada Surf - The Weight Is A Gift

Nada Surf - The Weight Is A Gift Posted by Picasa

Yes, this little indie lad is very excited. 'Let Go' was one of 2002's true gems, so to say I've been waiting for a follow-up is a bit of an understatement. The Weight Is a Gift is out on September 19 here in the UK (one week earlier in the US, Australia, Japan and Canada, while Germany gets an extra week on top of that....huh?) and the tracks I've heard so far are fantastic. Check out the band's MySpace page to hear 'Do It Again', another melancholic slab of power-pop. Ace.

Oh, and Nada Surf are playing a sold out show at The Spitz here in London on the 5th of September, but if you miss them fret not because tickets are now on sale for their return gig in November at the Scala, but be quick to snap them up!.

Hip-Hop from the land down under....

So someone asked me the other day about hip-hop in Australia, and what the scene is like down below the equator. Well, I told him the 411 in detail, and now over the next few days I'm going to spread the word right here. This week Major Leaguer will focus on upside down beats and rhymes for y'all to check out, so here's your first daily dose...

*One of the best places to start is the grandaddy of Oz hip-hop writing, Stealth. Still going strong after 15 years, Stealth is so respected that you can even pick it up in the States, and focuses on the local Australian scene as well as the cream of world hip-hop (ie. not just Fiddy and Snoop) as well as graffitti and breakin'.

* Australian documentray maker Oriel Guthrie's flick Skip Hop takes a look at the the scene as a whole, and features battles, b-boys and b-girls, and interviews with key people in the scene. Definitely worth seeing if you can track it down.

* Although The Black Eyed Peas have fallen by the wayside in recent years with a glut of sing-a-long chorus driven drivel ('Don't Lie'? What's next, songs about road safety?), king B.E.P. Will-I-Am is planning to take a six month sojourn to develop Aussie hip-hop talent. A chance for redemption perhaps...

*Speaking of prodcution, one of the maestros of the boards in Australian hip-hop is Danielsan from Koolism (ARIA Best Urban release winners in 2004 for Part 3: Randon Thoughts). The duo, Danielsan and MC Hau, are currently working on new material at the moment, but if you haven't heard of them Part 3: Random Thoughts is a perfect place to start (check out Nite Time to hear Danielsan and Hau's skills)

* Elefant Traks are a Sydney label that focus on several top-notch hip-hop and electronic artists, and when the Trax lads aren't wheelin' and dealin' they produce beats and rhymes under the moniker of The Herd. Quali-tay all around.

Back with more tomorrow....

Monday, August 22, 2005

R.I.P. Robert Moog

Sniff....Dr Robert Moog, one of music's true innovators, died on the weekend at the age of 71. Moog was the man responsible for revolutionising music through the creation of the electronic synthesizer. The instrument allowed musicians to create synthesized keyboards sounds on small, relatively cheap keyboards. Musicians from the 1960s to today owe much of their signature sound to the use of Moog keyboards, such as Brian Eno, Frank Zappa, The Doors, The Grateful Dead and many more.

Five ways to pay your respects...

*You know you want one. Pick up a Moog doll today.

*Grab a copy of the classic Moog edition of The Beastie Boys affiliated Grand Royal magazine (the same issue in which Bob Nastovich from Pavement shares his horse racing tips!).

*Watch the fantastic Moog documentary, featuring interviews with the likes of Stereolab, Mix Master Mike and DJ Spooky.

*Learn how to make your own theremin, the electronic wave-based device that first attracted Dr Moog into creating his own electronic instruments.

*Bone up on the winners of the Polar Music prize, Sweden's musical equivalent of the Nobel prize which was awarded to Moog in 2001 (past winners have included Stockhausen, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, and Pierre Boulez).

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Goodbye La Latina, Hello Dalston

zzzzzzzzzzzz.....whoa.....So it seems the Madrid adventure is o.v.a.h - ovah.

Pictures in the next week or two (no digital camera, so it'll have to be the Boots 7 day wait). WARNING: There will be snaps of cute babies. Can't say I didn't warn you.

Meanwhile, I leave you with these feline gems.

*As pointed out today by The Guardian, here's some fun games involving cats and stacking (No, it's not cruel. Yes, I love cats. It is quite funny though, and very cute).

*If it suddenly all goes pear-shaped (or your cat stack comes unstuck), then the least you can do is help your injured kitty with the help of this Robot Wars-esque invention (ta to the Protein Feed kids). Ain't technology grand?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hasta Entonces.... / The Rakes

So, Spain huh? At the moment it's around 34 degrees on a hot Madrid night, and the Major Leaguer holiday has consisted of walking around La Latina, a visit to a lil' football stadium, countless beers and sangrias, and nuthin' much else. I heart holidays.

Record of the week

The Rakes - Capture/Release

Major Leaguer favourites, and damn good guys too, The Rakes perfectly capture the after work, down the pub, at the club, kebab on the way home style of British life. Capture/Release is one of the summer's best releases, with an Ian Dury-esque 'everyday' lyrical slant, and tunes to boot. Plus, they're one of the best live bands around at the moment, and with the festival season still in full swing, you'd be foolish to miss catching The Rakes at your nearest sodden field.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Spain? / Death Cab For Cutie 'Plans'

Well, this may be the last post for a week, or it may not (if British Airways staff continue to strike and deny me my summer holiday).


Record of the week

Death Cab For Cutie - Plans

 Posted by Picasa
First outing on a major label for Seth Cohen's favourite band, and it's another strong collection of tunes about hearts (both broken and mended) from Ben Gibbard and the gang. Indie purists fearing complacency and over-production due to the band's jump to the murky waters of the mainstream should fret not. Songs such as first single 'Soul Meets Body' are as beautiful as The Photo Album's 'A Movie Script Ending', while 'Different Names For The Same Thing' uses the same mid-song detours that characterised Transatlanticism's stand-out track 'We Looked Like Giants'. Sure, it'll shift units like hotcakes, but right now I can't think of a band that's more deserving of commercial success than DCFC, and that's a statement Seth and Captain Oats would no doubt agree with.

Danger Doom taster here!

The folks at Freemotion have something special for lovers of masked villains and men in mouse suits.....check the Toney track! Yeah, Major Leaguer's become an MF Doom love-in....

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

BBQ in Brixton this weekend? I think so...

This just in...

Chloe's Party Summer BBQ
starring...optimist club....tiger force...jeremy warmsley...jamie t...hands on heads...emmy the great....manic cough.....Brixton windmill...Sun Aug 14th

join our myspace on

no bananas!

Sounds like a damn fine gig, and Jeremy Warmsley and Emmy the Great are worth checking if you haven't seen them yet (yes, Jeremy still gets more Major Leaguer hits then the Arctic Monkeys!). If I wasn't in Spain this weekend trying out for Real Madrid, Brixton Windmill is where I'd be. Yup.

Just like a Rakes song really

Wake. Eat. Bus. Work. Eat. Work. Bus. Nap. Eat. Blog. Sleep. That's about the short of it recently. Am counting down the days to my Spanish siesta in Madrid (three more sleeps kids!) which should enable me to get tanned, drink quite a bit, see H & S's new baby Xander (hooray!) and just relax. Any suggestions on what to see and do in Madrid?

Newsy stuff...

* It seems David Gray is miffed that he didn't get chosen by his Bobness for Live8. NoRockNRollFun reports that the warbler is trying to get to grips with this whole 'erasing foreign debt' concept, but it sounds more like sour grapes really (that's because your music's sh8...ha! See what I did there? Huh? Wha? Fine, sod you then...grumble)

* Mojo + Dylan = 100 reasons why Bob is king. Props for including Mississippi at number 9 too.

*Things you really should stump up some cash for this week

Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch
Blimey, this is great. The icy group return with the second single from their major debut, Witching Hour. This is only out on promo at the moment (the folks at Pure Groove should help you out), and the Archigram mix is definitely stokin' my coals the moment.

Goldfrapp - Ooh La La
Allison and Will return for another slice of elecro-pop jiggery. Sure, it sounds a bit like half the other tracks on Black Cherry, but still miles ahead of most Top 40 records you'll hear this year. It's all about the Tiefschwarz mix though... (again, hit up Pure Groove for your fix)

The OC - Series Two
What? You think the world of Major Leaguer is just about backpack hip hop, indie, and electro stylin'? No way, there's always time for the Seth and Summer show! Now with added two Atwood brothers for the price of one (Ryan and his jailbird bro!)...and a great big side order of indie rock to wash it down! You do feel guilty after watching it though, like when you've just had McDonalds and you get the 'fast food' regret afterwards. BURP! Oops, sorry.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

News-o-rama (Ryan Adams, Hazey Jane and more)

Music. News. Here. Now. Thank. You.

*Pitchfork has the lowdown on the new albums from the man with no sense of quality control, Ryan Adams. Bless his cotton socks...

*If you find yourself in Edinburgh for this year's Fringe Festival, check out the stylings of the lovely Hazey Jane. No confirmed dates yet, but I'm sure all will be announced shortly on her MySpace site, and after Edinburgh she'll be heading Stateside for a short tour.

*Danger Doom leaked! However, instead of bringing the release date forward, UK distributor Lex will are holding tight to the October 10 release date for The Mouse and The Mask.

(Oh, and in a related story, Danger Doom is providing almost 20 times as many hits for Major Leaguer than the Arctic Monkeys. Indie Hip-Hop 2, Indie Rock'n'Roll 0).

* New Boards of Canada! Warp have set a tentative release date for the follow-up to 2002's gorgeous Geogaddi, so if you walk in to your friendly record store on a yet-to-be confirmed date in October, and have the appropriate amount of local currency (pounds, dollars, euros, clam shells, pebbles) then I'm sure you can reach an agreement with the peeps behind the counter to trade your hard earned for BOC's latest. No title or details yet, but keep checking here for details when they come to hand.

* The second Burn to Shine DVD is out on August 22 (August 23 for you chaps and chaplettes in the States) and is a fine accompaniment to Burn to Shine 1 in which a select few of the US's finest underground bands were filmed performing at full volume in the living room of a derelect house, which was then knocked down the following day (and yes, the bands had left the house before the wrecking ball came along. I hate seeing hardcore kids cry). The stellar idea of Fugazi's Brendan Canty, the first Burn to Shine featured the likes of Ted Leo, Q and Not U (who have recently called it a day), Weird War, and The Evens (the drums/guitar duo of fellow Fugazi member Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina). The second instalment looks even better, as the focus is on Chicago this time. Performances come from Wilco, Tortoise, Shellac (noise!), The Ponys and Freakwater. Sounds tasty huh? That's not all though, as Burn to Shine 3 has just finished lensing, with Portland's finest providing the tunes for the pre-demolition party. Expect appearances from Sleater Kinney, Quasi, The Shins and The Decemberists. I'm in feedback-soaked heaven...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Mmmm...Bowling shoe fresh / Bye Bye Tyrone (sniff!)

Bowl-a-rama madness for Will and Woodrow's birthday bash last night. Despite getting off to a slow start, your correspondent quickly found form and was soon turning those gutterballs into spares (well, sometimes), and finished the final game with a flourish - three strikes in a row. Oh, I did have the aid of the kids bowling frame, but that's just our lil' secret ok?

*Bad news folks. It looks like Chappelle's Show isn't coming back for a third series. No more shouts of 'I'm Rick James, bee-aaatch!' Even sadder still, no more Tyrone the crack fiend!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

Lazy days indeed. Cricket, selling my soul to Audioscrobbler, and reading Spin and Plan B (and Spin is starting to get good again, despite the entirely non-musical feature on soccer hooliganism - huh? Wha? What does that have to do with Death Cab or New Pornographers?)

Speaking of Neko Case's band...

*New, New, New, New Pornographers album coming out on August 22. Having had my excitement built up late last year thanks to Neko's fabulous live album, The Tigers Have Spoken, it'd be an understatement to say that I'm eager to hear what new material Case, Carl Newman and the rest of the band have in store. Here's the title track to wet your whistle... (thanks to the gang at Mindjack for the heads up)

* has had a facelift for the August issue, and looks very swish indeed.

*Don't send your kids to Mexico, or they'll be taught songs of death!

*Christmas is just around the corner, and I know I've got my gifts ready. Well, at least my carols are sorted anyway....mew....

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

So sweepy...yawn! Oh, rekkids too...

Yawn....Wednesday really is the hump day of the week. Felt tired for most of the day, especially after having homemade chilli burger for lunch which only made me want to have a kip straight afterwards. Slept on the bus home from work for the second day in a row, which is a pretty remarkable feat considering it's a rattling ol' Routemaster model (which will soon be taken out of service in the next two months...sniff!).

Tomorrow will be a much needed day off watching cricket, reading newspapers, and maybe even cleaning the house (well, at least putting some laundry on. No escape from domestic chores!). Oh, and catching up on some music too....

Simian Mobile Disco - Sick
The Simian lads have gone and made another minor classic, this time a shouty anthem about being sick of...well...everything. Expect a bleepy remix in the not too distant future at a club near you.

The Juan MacLean - Dance With Me
Absolute stunner of a finale from one of the best albums out at the moment. (not made by me unfortunately, despite the eerie similariies in our names!) Another winner from the white-hot DFA stables, and not to be confused with...

Cosmo Vitelli - Dance With Me
An oldie but a goodie that I recently re-discovered on an old Kitsune compilation. Love songs for robots anyone?

Scout Niblett - Uptown Top Ranking
In a perfect world, Scout and I would be married and living in the Catskills raising kittens. can only dream. Great cover, if slightly unsettling at first listen.