I threw on Staring Down the Barrel this afternoon which is mind-bogglingly good straight through but after hitting The Ones track I stayed there for a while, getting up to start it over a couple-two-tree times1. This song —listen here—ranks with The Dogs "Slash Your Face" or "Sonic Reducer" in the pantheon of monster riff air guitar jammers. It loses points on the G45 scale for being a new discovery, thus no legacy, and on the P452 scale for having no pic sleeve, but on music alone it is absolutely one of the best.
"The Third Unheard: Connecticut Hip Hop 1979-1983" compilation (Stones Throw 2004)
I was fascinated to discover this collection of early CT hip hop. I shouldn't be surprised that this scene existed but when the "early hip hop" synapses fire in my mind I think "Bronx"—a specific locale as opposed to "New York" which often means "Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island, Connecticut, Northern Jersey, & Westchester/Putnam/Orange Counties". But here it is, proof positive that the scene had arms that reached outside of the borough borders. This collection is centered around New Haven and Bridgeport, many songs touched by Mr. Magic, including the standout "Get Up (And Go To School)" by Magic's nephew Pookie Blow3 . I will be petitioning The Hall of the Guitar Solo to include Pookie's kazoo solo as it deserves to be admired alongside "Band Aid" and "All Wasted". In "Rappin' With Mr. Magic" he shouts out a roll call of cities around the state, including some towns that seem hard to imagine a vibrant scene of any sort, let alone graffiti/music (sorry, Ansonia). Stylistically, the tracks featured here are very similar to their Bronx-born cousins: re-appropriated disco beats looped and rapped over; shout outs and hand claps; "c'mon party people...", "'til the break of dawn", "throw your hands in the air", and more of the cliche-yet-essential call-out lyrics that are, really, perfect.
Cider 1st EP (Non-Commercial Records 1994)
I picked up this spare a while back and wanted to give it one last spin before sending on to its new home.
Gary Glitter "Hello! Hello! I'm Back Again" 7"
A while back I was listening to this album of Post-Regiment demos. It was mostly B- takes on their A+ songs, but tucked in was a cover of this Gary Glitter song. After I couldn't get it out of my head for a week I decided to pick up a copy of GG's original. So good.
1No typo, just thinking about Terre T's in studio interview with Veedee, which is one of the best.
2As I recall, this only existed in old emails unless one of the parties involved spun it out into the real world but was our toying around with the G45 scale to fit punk better...add a slash for pic sleeve, maybe another for early/late for the trend. Actually, not sure if sleeveless helps or hurts the cause but I suspect that planned sleeve never distributed is a bonus.
3Pookie was apparently of no relation to Kurtis but I believe any confusion on that point was deliberate by PB and/or Magic.