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Blogcritics Goodie Bag: The Octopus Project and Black Moth Super Rainbow, Daylight’s For The Birds, Qwel and Meaty Ogre, Johnny Cash, and Everybody Else

When two impossible to categorize bands attach at the hip for a freeform collaboration, the results may be even more gloriously confounding than thought possible. Both The Octopus Project and Black Moth Super Rainbow make bright instrumental post-everything that adequately blends the organic and electronic into honestly forward-looking alien pop.The House Of Apples And Eyeballs finds both bands using their powers for the good of groove-driven post-pop, creating a statement that reigns in its ambition with an extremely admirable sense of cohesion. The best moments recall a Standards-era Tortoise that possesses the pep and bounce of the more electro-lounge era of Stereolab. But it’s pretty plain from the outset that no apt comparison can do justice to what these bands set to tape. It’s experimental, but always welcoming, so those jaded folks who still love their melody in spades have reason to smile.

It has been thought that the shoegaze sub-genre’s been exhausted of its resources for a good while now, but here we have Daylight’s For The Birds completely bringing back both the brilliant pop smarts and the cavalcade of thunderous, waving guitar tones to the point where it feels like an unearthed artifact from the days when Ride and Slowdive proudly roamed the Earth. Trouble Everywhere has impeccable hands guiding the entire circular atmosphere, creating a surreal haze of momentous musicality and spacious stereo debris. Knowing there are connections to the late On! Air! Library! may also help to explain the firm command these young New Yorkers grasp in relation to their sonic output. Daylight’s For The Birds’ mindset may have a few years under its belt, but the fresh-faced enthusiasm with which the group approaches their music simply emphasizes a stunning maturity and energetic giddiness.

Galapogos4 returns with aesthetically advanced hip-hop straight out of Chicago. Qwel and Meaty Ogre are the kind of MC/Producer dynamic duo forming the backbone of the best hip-hop albums. Like Gang Starr and Soul Position before them, Qwel and Meaty Ogre connect as a unit with Qwel bringing an enormously literate flow reminiscent of Sole and Aesop Rock, and Meaty Ogre providing some break-heavy beats that could easily score the next neo-noire classic. In a nutshell, “Freezerburner” has the sample panache of RJD2’s most moody soundscapes with the avant-textures of classic Company Flow. The record has a flawless consistency that belies the glut of overstuffed hip-hop cluttering the market. “Freezerburner” stands tall and proud as an all-around compelling journey that pulls no punches and never demeans itself to popular trends.

An all-star list of artists and icons pay tribute to the late Johnny Cash in the new video for “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” is the first video from Cash’s gold-certified album, American V: A Hundred Highways, which was released this summer on American Recordings/Lost Highway. There are 36 cameos throughout the black and white video, including Iggy Pop, Bono, Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Keith Richards, Johnny Depp, Dixie Chicks, Terrence Howard, Patti Smith, Dennis Hopper, and Chris Rock. Each artist is dressed in black to honor Cash. The video exudes a vast pantheon of emotions, as each artist expresses themselves in their own unique way during each individual segment. The video was directed by Tony Kaye. The concept for the video was created by Kaye, Justin Timberlake, Rick Rubin, and Mark Romanek, who directed Cash’s award-winning video for the song “Hurt.” The YouTube version is below, but for better video quality, check it out on MTV’s Overdrive.

Out of the smog-fed palm trees and dingy, skateboarded sidewalks of L.A., emerges a band that is reinventing the tradition of raw pop music and northern soul. Everybody Else have collected an impressive grassroots following in America and overseas, have self-released an E.P. and single, and have just finished their debut album — which is slated for a Spring release on The Militia Group. Everybody Else, a trio named for a Kinks B-side, have toured the U.S. with Rooney and most recently, Ozma. It was just confirmed that an original holiday song, “Reindeer on Your Front Lawn”, written by Everybody Else for OLD NAVY has been selected as the music in the 2006 holiday TV ad campaign. Be sure to catch their video for “Rich Girls, Poor Girls“, directed by Ace Norton.

About Anna Creech

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