After Wu Tang had run it’s course I sort of fell out of love with rap for a few years. The I got around to listening to theRawkus Records: Sound Bombing compilations and landed on “Mayor” by Pharoahe Monch. Pharoahe’s been killing it for over a decade and when he dropped “Desire” in 2007 I was blown away. Desire’s the cleanest rap album I’ve heard in years. His verses are so Goddamn clever. (see: “Layin a cut like Neosporin”, “Relax, mack like fleetwood”, and “Y’all MCs can’t see me like Matt Murdock”) He’s dropping his newest album “W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)” later this year, but until then you’ve got enough to be listening to. Hit any of his shit on the link, it’s all tight.
Monsters of Folk is exactly what it sounds like. Conor Obert, Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), M. Ward, and producer Mike Mogis form the Traveling Wilburys of 21st century folk music. In theory this should completely fail as everyone in that room should have an ego bigger than Lady Gaga’s adam’s apple, but it’s fantastic. Really it all comes together in their harmonies. Jim James can hit notes Oberst and M. Ward can only pretend to sing, Conor’s voice is as haunting as ever, and M. Ward adds a weight to the whole sound that would be missed without him. Check them on tour if you can, but failing that hit up “Dear God (sincerely M.O.F.)” and call it a night.
The Avett Brothers have been releasing music at a Ryan Adam’s like pace since 2000 and recently dropped their 13th studio release “I and Love and You”. Instrumentally theres not much seperating them from other Carolina folk bands, but they have an ability to tap into this psuedo pop sound with out sounding vapid and that is very tough to come by. The two brothers have some fantastic harmonies and are one of the better song writing pairs I’ve heard in some time. When he sings on “Distraction #74″: “And if I could gather up the damage that I rendered in my life / Place it on a scale and weigh against the damage done that night / Then it’d be safe to say the weight of all I did and didn’t do Would surely float against the lightest straw I ever did to you.” Check “I and Love and You”, it’s likely going to make some appearences on the tops of 2009 lists.