Archive for August, 2008

Jackson Jackson – The Fire is on The Bird

Sunday, August 31st, 2008 | Reviews | No Comments
Jackson Jackson - The Fire is on The Bird

Australia has produced another quirky, innovative, laid back bunch of performers in the new form of Jackson Jackson. Based in Melbourne, Jackson Jackson began as a side project of Harry Angus, who is best known for his role in The Cat Empire, and producer Jan Skubiszewski, who Angus met through working together with The Cat Empire. Thankfully, this side project album ‘The Fire is on The Bird’ avoids the common situation where artists simply reproduce a familiar sound under a new name. The only similarity between these two groups really… is how unique they are.

Jackson Jackson manage to deliver a type of cheeky music that is very representative of the relaxed Australian humour, most obvious in the songs that they use very limited instrumentals, and yet carry your interest with random tales over downbeat old school drum tracks. The fusion of electronica, folk, hip hop and fun also reminiscent of many of the genres you would have been hearing in any major Australian city over the last ten years, just not usually played together.

Surprised by the initial positivity to the album Angus told “When we finished the album we realised that it was a lot more acceptable to our peers than we thought it was going to be. We thought it was really out there, but everyone seems to think it’s not too strange.”

Well I think it’s kinda strange, but that’s a good thing yeah?

Jackson Jackson – Cats, Rats and Pigeons

With some funky beats, a nice mixture of instruments blending (especially the accoustic guitar), and plenty of smooth beat doctoring, the album is extremely varied and appears to cover a lot of ground for just one album. Its nice to have lyricism which manages to touch on issues… but all the while not taking them too seriously taking the time to make fun tracks or one’s which are thought provoking  like “A hairy man in a waxed man’s world”. An album for chilling, driving, in the office, on the tram, and i’m sure pretty soon, in summer backyard BBQs all around Australia where it belongs.

Jackson Jackson Track by Track

You can check out more of Jackson Jackson at:

www.myspace.com/jacksonjacksonmusic

and for anyone who has missed them, it’s well worth checking out The Cat Empire:

www.myspace.com/thecatempire

…bs

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Pendulum Swings for Bushmen

Friday, August 29th, 2008 | News | 3 Comments
Pendulum Swings for Bushmen

Wellington artist Warren Maxwell has been involved in some well respected musical projects in recent years. He was the lead singer of Trinity Roots a now defunct dub/roots group that broke up in 2005, some would say at the height of their success. They only released two albums that were highly acclaimed and built them a dedicated (but mellow) fan base. Since then Warren has been playing sax (as Fulla Flash) with his mates in Fat Freddy’s Drop a funky jazz/dub group who received attention originally for their great live performances, with lengthy Jam sessions and solos that can last as long as they have to. They have toured around the world and were noticed by some big names in the music biz, even getting the remix treatment on the odd occasion.

Maxwell’s latest group is the Little Bushmen, is a four-piece group based again in New Zealand’s capital, who are being described by some as psychedelic blues. Now whether this is a new genre or just a convenient pigeon-hole, will be decided by the test of time, as terms like this only seem to become relevant or not in hindsight. With their influences listed with names like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and John Coltrane you can get an indication of the musical well they are tapping to power their engine. Experimental and moving it is music that takes you on a journey with many stops along the road. They have so far released two albums which are are available to be purchased on CD and by downloadable MP3 format, this can be found by going to their myspace site, as the official band website is not completed yet. Debut album ‘Onus of Sand’ was released in 2006 and was followed this year by the second album ‘Pendulum’.  The band describe their sound sum and themselves up with the following quote:

“Love, Hate, Turmoil, Moonbeams, Politics, Family, Pegasus & The Universe. All of the above with the lights off. Unashamed self indulgence resulting in sated emotional exhaustion… beautiful.”

After several successful tours of New Zealand earlier this year the boys have confirmed three tour dates for their upcoming Australian Tour in October, and will possibly add other shows in Byron Bay and other locations to be confirmed. Here are the current gig dates:

Melbourne: The Palace With Blue King Brown & Guests
October 4th

Sydney: Metro With Blue King Brown & Guests
October 25th

Stradbroke Island: Island Vibe
26th October

If you are in these areas and like to hear something you can sink your teeth into, I recommend you get along check them out and support artists seeking to push the envelope!


You can check out more of Little Bushmen at:

Official Myspace Page

Amplifier Interview

…Yossarian

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YaHeard? Y Society, Travel at your own pace

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | News | No Comments
YaHeard? Y Society, Travel at your own pace

I’m all about quality feel good hip hop. The kind you can put on and listen to and enjoy every track. And when I come across these kinds of albums, it really reminds me of why I started listening to hip hop. This weeks Ya Heard? looks at Travel at your own pace by Boston based duo Y Society, comprised of Insight, on the Mic, and Damu The Fudgemunk (unusual name, I know) on the boards and dropping some turntable wizardry. The title is certainly appropriate given the way Insight’s flow perfectly combines with Damu’s laidback beats. What results is a positive energetic brand of hip hop that is fun to listen to. What more do you expect from and artist on Tres Records, featuring labelmates such as Giant Panda and the Lightheaded crew, and founded by Thes One of People Under The Stairs.

Obviously influenced by the likes of Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Gangstarr and A Tribe called Quest, Damu and Insight work off each other amazingly in what is a truly dope MC and DJ combination. Insight’s flow is noticeable from the first track, “This is an introduction”, where he rolls along rhyming with ease and finesse over a jazzy beat. The production style Damu brings to the table is a bit of a mixture of DJ Premier, Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow; hours must have been spent digging for the crisp drum loops and ingenious samples worked into the albums production.
And Damu’s skills on the decks are evident throughout the album, dropping tight scratches regularly in reply to the lyrical bullets from his partner in crime.
“Hole in your pocket” kicks off with an old funk sample that grabs your attention instantly, before dropping into an tight head nodding beat laced with Insight’s laid back rhymes. The track is about the importance of staying positive in the face of financial difficulties, and is littered with some beautifully appropriate samples that are torn up by Damu. In “Good Communication” the duo trade blows with their respective tools, barbed verses from Insight are rebutted by Damu’s consistenly dope sample selection and beatmaking. Other album highlights include “Never off (On & On)”, “Good Communication”, “Scientist” and “Dizzy”.

Damu of Y Society – “Travel At Your Own Pace” vinyl mix

All in all, this is an awesome album by two very talented artists. The jazzy boom-bap based production and depth of lyrical creativity takes you on a pleasant ride that will have you bouncing the whole way. Staying true to what hip hop is all about is important in this day and age, well to me it is anyway. And with that in mind I encourage you to listen to Travel at your own pace; from Insight’s lyrics and subject matter, to Damu’s beats and scratching, it effortlessly displays everything that is good about hip hop.

For more on Y Society check out

www.myspace.com/ysociety

or look them up at

www.tresrecords.com

…Crack

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Very Good site update

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 | News, VG News | No Comments

Hey everyone,

Obviously, we have now updated the site’s look and feel.

Thanks to ‘eep! productions’ for all of their work.

We welcome any feedback or comments on the design layout, or features that you might like to see on Very Good as we continue to develope and grow our community.

Ciao for now..

The Very Good Team

YaHeard? Ohmega Watts

Thursday, August 21st, 2008 | News, Reviews | 2 Comments
YaHeard? Ohmega Watts

YaHeard?

Welcome to another entry from the YaHeard? handbook, where we look at albums that you should’ve heard. As an underground hip hop fan whose interest was matured by the likes of Jurassic 5, People Under The Stairs, Eric B and Rakim and DJ Premier, its always refreshing to come across new music that pays homage to the Old School era. Ohmega Watts does exactly that, and he does it well. His debut album, ‘The Find’ (released in 2005), is a well crafted blend of organic and energetic hip hop, funk, jazz, soul and reggae, resulting in a sound that sits comfortably with the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Gangstarr and Pete Rock. Known as a triple threat, Watts is a skilled Emcee, DJ and Producer; something you’ll be well aware of after listening to this album. From start to finish it takes you on a journey to the golden age with laid-back hip-hop stylings to party rockin bangers; this is an album you need in your collection.

Appropriately, the album kicks off with “Where it all started”, a ride in time through Ohmega Watts hip hop development, touching on all his influences along the way. It then launches into the funked up vibe of “That Sound”, which features Lightheaded (the crew that Watts cut his teeth with), The Procussions and the silky smooth Noelle from The Rebirth on the hook. This is easily one of the best tracks and the bouncy party beat will have your heading nodding for sure. The build up and drop into Braille’s verse is true party-styles, and the breakdown towards the end of the track illustrates Watts‘ impressive abilities on the cut.

Although guests appear on over half of the tracks, you’ll probably find that its predominantly artists you’ve never head of, such as Neogen & Deacon on “Full Swing”, Braille on “The Treatment”, and the talented Tiffany Simpson on “Your Love”. Don’t let this discourage you, Watts has arranged the perfect supporting cast for his masterpiece. The artists all add sublimely to their respective songs; Tiffany Simpson’s husky voice is amazing on her funk-infused RnB track, Sugar Candy (don’t let the name fool you now) takes it back to Ohmega Watts’ Jamaican roots with the dubby reggae-inspired rhythm of “Treasure Hunt”, and Stro The 89th Key trades verses with Watts with style on the title track, “The Find”.

Ohmega Watts – The Making of Platypus Strut

The track that set off Watts‘ success was “A Request”, a beautifully complex beat that perfectly demonstrates Watts’ talent on the production side of things. His laid-back rolling flow rocks the beat, which is so good you won’t even notice that he only actually raps on the first half of it. Watts‘ keeps the tempo up with the urgent, loud and hard hitting “The Treatment”, where he’s joined by Manchild, Braille and Big Rec for some more slammin’ beats and rhymes. His production skills are again highlighted in what is one of my favourite tracks, “Floor Rock”, which (except from a couple vocal samples) is an instrumental track with a foot-tapping uptempo beat supported by funky trumpet and guitar solos. I say one of my favourite tracks, although in all honesty probably over half the album could fall into the same category.

During a time in which the art of hip hop music is drowning in banal B-rate lyrical thuggery, crunk, and a painful dirty-south uprising, it’s refreshing to be able to tune into a rapper with no hidden agenda. Ohmega Watts’ confident delivery, positive lyrics and well-timed rhyme scheme brings a real sense of the Old School back, and when fused with all the best parts of the New School, what results is a classic summer party album that will keep you bouncing for sure.

For more on Ohmega Watts check out:

www.myspace.com/ohmegawatts

He also has a new album out, ‘Watts Happening’ released late last year, however, I implore you to check out ‘The Find’ first; you will not be disappointed.

See y’all next week…

…Cracked

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