In the early ‘90s, Seattle native Sir Mix-a-Lot proudly proclaimed: “I like big butts and I cannot lie” on 1992’s Mack Daddy, his third studio album and first for Def American. However, little do people know the two albums that preceded Mack Daddy contained some of his best material. From “Square Dance Rap” and “Swap Meat Louie” to “Posse on Broadway” and “Beepers,” there’s more to Mix-a-Lot than just big butts.
“420,” pronounced “four-twenty,” has established itself quite definitively in the pop culture zeitgeist as a blanket term for all things marijuana, spawning everything from straight-faced legitimacy to raucous Internet memes. The exact origins of the term 420 are heavily contested, with theories ranging from connections to Bob Marley and Grateful Dead to the number being shared with the quantity of ingredients in cannabis and the code for marijuana consumption. All are untrue. Instead, 420 originated with high school students in San Rafael, California in 1971, who decided on a time—4:20 pm, though probably not on April 20th—to meet at a statue and smoke together. It stuck as a broader allusion to marijuana in general, and now enjoys its status as a flagship term for the drug.
For the last few years, Aaron Paul has been known for playing a character whose catchphrase is, “Something-something-something, bitch!” Now that Breaking Bad is off the air though, he’s moving into film, and his first lead role in a Blockbuster is an adaption of EA’s car racing game Need For Speed. It’s not as horrible as other critics have portrayed it. Those that are into cars, such as myself, won’t be that disappointed, but it’s not perfect. Then again, it’s an adaption of a car racing simulator; no such film is aiming for high art. It is entertaining though.
If one were to compile a list of directors that would be a suitable fit for a Biblical epic, Darren Aronofsky likely wouldn’t rank very close to the top at first glance. With his topics ranging from drug abuse (Requiem for a Dream) to fatally fame-obsessed delusional ballerinas (Black Swan), a story from the Bible doesn’t exactly fit into that class. But one needs look no further than a smaller, earlier film called Pi, in which a man was struck with the unflinching belief that the number 3.14 was a message from God detailing the apocalypse. It’s interesting then that Aronofsky’s latest film, Noah, is about a man speaking to God about just that topic. And what a film it is.
As always, In the Whale boasts a driving, electrifying power that takes up an incredible amount of sonic space despite being composed of just two guys. The basic guitar-and-drum formula works, and while there’s nothing at all elaborate about the band’s music, it’s the earnestness with which they perform it that makes it so damn fun.
People who consume music on a casual basis don’t realize what a strange process it is to start a band. Local acts are constantly splitting, joining, or reinventing themselves. So when former members of The Heyday, Randall Kent and Ryan Buller, teamed up with a new rhythm section comprised of Jesse Spencer and Chris Beeble in October last year, it wasn’t anything unusual. What is unusual is the remarkable sounds they’re making in such a short time together. Their new EP, Lesson Learned, is releasing late March. Fortunately we got a streaming preview to let you know why you should check it out.
Once a beacon of progress and success, Detroit has become the standard modern example of what can go wrong in an American city. There’s poverty, crime, corruption–the myth of the city itself has transformed from the quintessential American Dream, to a less affluent Gotham swathed in a brutal struggle for its own soul. Art that emerges from Detroit is expected and often possesses a certain tint of nihilism, but most interesting are those artists who manage to both own the new myth of their city and transcend it. Hip-hop artists like Eminem and Danny Brown have done it, and now Protomartyr emerges almost fully formed with Under Color of Official Right.
It’s difficult to liken comparisons to Musketeer Gripweed. Maybe hints of Zakk Wylde vocalization and Black Keys catchiness can be sought, though such associations only apply sporadically—Musketeer Gripweed is ferociously singular in their style and genre, whatever that specifically may be. Either the band doesn’t know either or they don’t care, given that their official Facebook page refers to their genre as “American Revival Stomp Ass Shake Holla!” The description is fitting: Floods and Fires is a rip-roaring album with very few moments of weakness.