Creeper Lagoon, "Naked Days"
At first, I thought this was one of those random tracks that got sucked up into my music collection by an overly aggressive upload process in my past. But no, I appear to have this entire album. And, uh, I have no recollection of this record. Zero. It kind of sounds like somebody was trying to write an album to try and smuggle it into the rotation of a classic rock station. Also, Creeper Lagoon? Like, a reboot of Gilligan's Island, only the tour was just Reddit users?
J Dilla, "Lightworks"
Legendary producer J Dilla largely made Donuts while in the hospital, battling a blood disease and autoimmune disorder. He put it together to try and explore as much space as he could in his music, checking every track to make sure it brought something new. He also created the album so the final track flows back into the first, providing a perfect cirlce. The tracks are all short, and the only lyrics are little sampled blurts here and there. It's a unique album, and it's one of the true gems of instrumental hip-hop. Nothing sticks around too long to lose its interest, and the variety he went for shines through.
Alas, it would be his swan song. It was released on his 32nd birthday, and three days later, he passed away in his home. Hip-hop lost one of its great talents, but Donuts is a treasure that he left behind, and I'm glad that we all get to listen to it.
DJ/rupture, "Eiterherd - Masturbator / Roberta Flack - Killing Me Softly"
I really like mashups, when done well. You know, when it doesn't just sound like a bit of one song played before another one, maybe with a few extra drums on the second half.
US Maple, "Magic Job"
It's been too long since we've had US Maple around here! There's nobody who has ever sounded that much like them, before or since. OK, that's a lie, Shorty sounded like them what with having half of US Maple in it. And yeah, OK, there's more than a little Sonic Youth in their sound. I'll come in again.
From Al Johnson's bizarre loud whispering vocals, to Mark Shippy's unhinged guitar wandering, US Maple always kind of sounded like everything was off-kilter. But not random - they knew exactly what they were doing, and they executed it all masterfully. You were never bored listening to US Maple.
Lifesavas, "Livin' Time/Life: Movement 1"
Portland, OR's Lifesavas were closely affiliated with Blackalicious, releasing this record through the same label, working with Chief X-Cel on production, and of course, Gift of Gab shows up here for some guest verses. They were never really as good as Blackalicious, but this album (Spirit in Stone) is pretty good, and worth a listen.