Review: dead prez’s “Information Age”

Like many others [I presume], I was very excited for dead prez’s new album.  Eight years waiting; the anticipation was at an apex.  Over fall break, a like-minded friend and I eagerly gave it a listen, and were absolutely baffled.  “Could this really be dead prez?” we asked each other.

dead prez – A New Beginning

If there was a music award purely for the element of surprise, dead prez would get my unequivocal vote.

Though they still retain their socio-political messaging, M-1 and stic.man have chosen to rap their wisdom over dance-pop Top 40 beats –> an interesting artistic choice, but one that is quite astonishing and potentially alienating to their fan base.  Shock value aside, it ultimately detracts from their profound poetics.  True to their reputation, they created another thought-provoking album, but instead of pondering the school-to-prison pipeline, it is equally tempting to ask: “is that a sample from Ke$ha’s new single?”

I should note: not every track is synth-heavy and reminiscent of strobe lights, but even so, the sharp and eloquent lyrics so signifying of dead prez have lost their edge.  M-1 and stic.man seemed to have stepped back from unabashed radicalism to embody a slightly more passive sage-like role.  Instead of encouraging their listeners to rob pizza delivery boys, they instead advise love, patience, spiritual renewal, and perseverant education.

“Through the course of life, you gon taste some humble pie”

dead prez – Learning Growing Changing

Definintely a message worth sending, but still an intriguing twist of tongue for M-1 and stic.man.

If you consider yourself a fan of dead prez, I would give this album a listen [or two].  The first time may be difficult and awkward, but I have found that Information Age is slowly growing on me.  Once over the initial shock of the pseudo-rave beats, one can easily find the provocative politik that endears, engages, and excites dead prez’s audience.  The vegan diet, the climate crisis, and the capitalist commercialization of Western religion all make an appearance.  Though the question remains: are dead prez still Revolutionary But Gangsta?  It is up to you to decide.


– Lindsey


Girls Broke Up, What’s Next for Christopher Owens?

My favorite band, Girls, broke up this summer. I wasn’t too distraught, because I held the hope that the two guys in the band would continue making music, but it was still upsetting; I had no idea what was next for Girls, so as a fan, I was in limbo. I was mainly focused on news from Christopher Owens, the lead singer and primary force behind Girls’ success. Aside from a few twitter posts from his account “Cri55yBaby,” there was no real news. It wasn’t until October that Owens resurfaced, announcing his intent to release his solo debut Lysandre in January 2013.

The only tracks from Lysandre released to this point have been “Lysandre’s Theme” and “Here We Go.” In my opinion, both tracks are successful, yet it’s necessary to acknowledge that musically, Christopher Owens solo project isn’t really similar Girls. Sure, the singer is the same, but the instrumentation is very different, with Owens citing classical guitar as one of his inspirations. It shows. “Lysandre’s Theme” is an instrumental, consisting of Owens on guitar, with a flute laced through the track. It provides an effective transition to “Here We Go,” in which the flute serves as continuation. Owens opens with guitar, largely similar to Girls’ “Just a Song,” before providing vocals, about 20 seconds into the new track. Hearing Owens’ voice for the first time provides relief and familiarity, and for a moment, it’s like Girls are back again. This nostalgia primarily was at the 2 minute mark, in which Owens solos on electric guitar, but it’s only for about 10 seconds.

Although there is only a glimmer of Girls in Christopher Owens’ solo project, fans should still find solace lyrically. The themes of heartbreak and love, focuses central to Girls’ prior success, are still present, and Owens still is able to convey the multitude of emotions he encompassed while still part of Girls. “Lysandre’s Theme” and “Here We Go” are both definitely work checking out, they’ll get you through until the album’s release.



Dear Vinyl Workgroup–

“I still like you, but I don’t trust you anymore.”

We chose this music for you.

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Lady BJ Crosby is from New Orleans. She is also a singer.

Here are her sweet tunes. Below you see a picture of Lady BJ.

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This singer, Michael Quatro, sounds like Bowie and Queen AND a glass of iced Malibu that has been left on the table since 1976. It’s good. We hope you like it.. He is pretty cute, then and now.

Then                                                                  Now


TOP 30 12/4

The Top 30 is a weekly section of the WOBC blog where we highlight the 30 most-played new albums each week. Check out what our DJs are spinning!

1 CUT HANDS Black Mamba
4 EMERALDS Just To Feel Anything
5 DAN MELCHIOR The Backward Path
6 NON/BOYD RICE Back To Mono
7 CULT OF YOUTH Love Will Prevail
8 FLYING LOTUS Until The Quiet Comes
10 CAN The Lost Tapes
11 AVETT BROTHERS The Carpenter
12 ZS ZS
13 ANDY STOTT Luxury Problems
14 THE ORB The Orbserver In The Star House
15 TYVEK On Triple Beams
17 MARSHALL STACKS Mannequin Dojo
18 BAT FOR LASHES The Haunted Man
19 THEO PARRISH Hand-made [EP]
20 MICHAEL HURLEY Back Home With Drifting Woods
21 TIMES NEW VIKING Over And Over [EP]
22 ALICE COHEN Pink Keys
23 MOUNTAIN GOATS Transcendental Youth
24 TY SEGALL Twins
25 DEATH GRIPS The Money Store
27 SCOTT WALKER Bish Bosch
30 SHANNON AND THE CLAMS “Gremlins Crawl” [Single]


From the Vault: Happy Mondays


The single ‘Loose Fit’ from the Happy Mondays came out in 1990.  Off of the label Elektra Records, the acid house band combines influences of funk, house, and dancehall hits.  Check ’em out in the WOBC vault!





Final(s) Thoughts

Finals are coming: What are you listening to?

I had a lot of work due right before Thanksgiving break; it wasn’t terrible, but it reminded me that finals are approaching. I know I’m going to be barricaded in the library soon, so it’s really important to have some music to listen to. Some people can work to music, others can’t, and I find myself in between. I can’t really read as I bump Drake, but I can write as I bump to Drake, albeit a little bit slower. I find it a reasonable trade-off, mainly because music helps relieve some stress and it’s great for keeping time, in the “I’ll take a break when this song is over” sense.
In picking music, it’s important to listen to something familiar. I’m all for finding new stuff, but it’s probably not ideal to catch up on some “Best New Music” when you’re swamped with work. Listening to new music requires divided attention, and it’s hard enough to focus on your work without any distractions; stick with what you know.

I already have some music lined up for my busy weeks. Here is some stuff that I think is work getting familiar with:

“Guillotine”, Death Grips – The musical equivalent of “I-smoked-two-packs-of-cigarettes-and-drank-too-much-coffee.” However, pretty good for subtly “going hard” in the library.

“Marvin’s Room”, Drake – Marvin’s room is just R&B, crooning Drake, which is great easy listening. He gets pretty emotional too.

“Vomit”, Girls – Girls broke up, which is terribly sad. So is this song, but it is definitely pop oriented and kind of perky in some parts. Make sure to check out the guitar solo around the 2 minute mark of the song.

“Last Kiss”, Jay Frank Wilson – This song was released in 1964, so it’s fairly dated. It’s really catchy and it’s generally an exciting, old, simple song. The bass is pretty cool too.


Vinyl Workgroup Finds

We picked this stuff from the vault this week:

These ladies are from New Orleans. They sounds like the Andrew Sisters. They are friends (see below).

Here is a sample of their music. This song is called Mood Indigo.

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This band is one of those bands from the 80s who made a website and never updated it. We like them anyways. They are kind of folk rock-ish. This picture is called Hanukkah Nights (see below).

This is a song by Antietam. Here- it is called Camp Folk.

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Exceedingly strange punk funk band out of Boston. “Dogzilla is made of up five people, each one of a different sex.” Here are some stills from their music video Lunch With Ed. Everything that happens in this video is crazy (see below).

Here is a sample of their music: The Sphinx.