This whole CD is so good. Wounded Rhymes is the sophomore act from Sweden’s Lykke Li, and she kills it. You probably have heard the name before (Drake’s remix of “Little Bit” and N.A.S.A.’s “Gifted“) but you need to hear more of her. Rumored to be performing at this years Lollapalooza festival, Atlantic Chairman Max Lousada believes “she’ll be a hugely significant act globally.” Check her out as the cover girl for Spin’s March edition.
“Get Some” is heavy on tribal drums, and the lyrics find Lykke (pronounced Likk-ya) Li conflating herself with a prostitute as she writhes all over the track. Recently remixed by Beck as well as the Beastie Boys’ Mike D, I guarantee you’ll like this one.
Click the links to download the songs that interest you.
17 years ago today, Kurt Cobain allegedly committed suicide. I say allegedly because that’s what the police report says, but nobody knows for sure if girlfriend Courtney Love had anything to do with it. Cobain is remembered as one of the most iconic rock musicians in the history of alternative music. Ranked 12th by Rolling Stone on the Greatest Guitarist list, and 45th on their Greatest Singer list, he is viewed by many as the last “real rockstar.” He went out on top, claiming he lost his fire for making music and performing (“Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage”). His suicidenote closed by quoting Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My,” and “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
Today’s song is dedicated to him, and to Nirvana, one of the greatest grunge bands in history. Cobain was the voice and the face of a generation, and should be remembered for the music and lyrics he made. I end this post with a quote from him, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
Switching it up a bit, here’s New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous. If you’re a fan of Passion Pit or The XX, this is a band you have to check out. They offer a nice mix of the electricpop ballads and different singing (screaming?) that Passion Pit does, but also have the mellow, shared lead vocals that the XX have made huge. I would recommend checking out the whole album, called Passive Me, Aggressive You. The Naked and Famous are the next thing to hit it big in the US (they’re currently on a huge European tour), waiting for a Lollapalooza or Pitchfork to give them a little push.
Chiddy Bang did a remix of the song, which you can listen to here.
To download the actual version of the song, click here.
I’m writing this as I’m watching the White Sox destroy Cleveland 14-0 (and yes, it’s only the 4th inning). Who cares that they lost Lebron last summer, Cleveland sucks anyway, right Joakim? Back to the White Sox though, I’m feeling really good about this season. To be honest, I’ve felt really good about every season since the 2005 World Series, but the Sox have come up short. This year things will be different. We are going to win the division, win the pennant, and win another World Series…..Right???
That prediction may be a little farfetched, since high expectations have doomed the Sox since ’05, the AL East is STILL stacked, and the West always has a couple of contenders. But still, I’m feeling good.
Jerry Reinsdorf finally gave Ken Williams the green light to pursue a big name free agent this offseason, and the green light to spend all his money (if it helped the team). Williams delivered by signing Adam Dunn to a 4 year, $56 million contract, not to mention re-signing free agent Paul Konerko for 3 years, $37.5 million and free agent A.J. Pierzynski for 2 years, $8 million. Pierzynski statistically may not be the best catcher out there, but he’s a clubhouse, glue guy that everyone on the team loves. Plus, without him, we’d still be complaining about a World Series drought like those little bears on the north side. The Konerko signing was huge. Add him to a lineup that now features the reliable get on base guy Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, and Carlos Quentin, and the Sox should compete for league lead in runs scored.
That crazy line up isn’t the reason why I’m feeling so good about the Sox. It’s the pitching. Mark Buerhle started his 9th Opening Day game today, and for years he’s been the Sox most durable, reliable, and defensively awesome pitcher. He doesn’t get a lot of strike outs (4.24 per 9 innings last year) and uses a fast ball or a change up 90% of the time, yet he’s still very effective and finishes games in about 20 minutes. Following him in the line up is John Danks, who is arguably the BEST pitcher on the staff. After a great year last year (over 150 K’s in 200 IPs, posting a 3.82 ERA) Danks is in his contract year and is expected to improve those numbers. If he can keep the velocity up and be a little more consistent and effective with his pitch usage, I believe he’ll compete for the Cy Young. The underrated Gavin Floyd may be this years breakout player for the Sox. Fans know what to expect from Floyd, especially considering his “worst” year saw him win 17 games with a 3.77 ERA. Increasing his ground ball percentage to 50% last season helped him alleviate the home run problem he’d been having in previous seasons. Edwin Jackson is probably going to throw like 900 innings this year, which he can handle. Whether or not he actually helps the Sox is dependent on Don Cooper’s ability to help him relax late in games and keep control of his stuff. If he manages to keep his ERA around the 4.00 mark, pencil the Sox in for a 1st place Central finish.
All that without mentioning the money man, Jake Peavy. In a season that ended for him just as he was getting hot and dominant again, Peavy was the piece missing that left the White Sox just short of the Central title. Starting this season on the 15 day DL (probably will miss around 4 starts), it should take him a little to get into game shape. Assuming he averages around 6 innings for the first couple of months, and pitches around 150 for the whole year, he should still be fresh come playoff time. That’s why he’s the X-Factor this year. He has the potential to be any staff’s number 1 pitcher and that’s one hell of an asset to have in the playoffs. Throwing a 4 man rotation of Buerhle-Danks-Floyd-Peavy would defiantly compete with the Phillies for the toughest rotation. If Peavy can get healthy, watch out.
Please stay healthy. Please.
So the rotation is there. What about the bullpen? Former fan favorite (now on Ozzie Guillen’s hit list), Bobby Jenks switched his sock color this offseason, and is no longer with the team. Matt Thornton will most likely assume the closer role, with stud rookie (although he pitched in 21 innings last year) Chris Sale setting him up. Sale is a 6’5″ freak of nature, who could compete for Rookie of the Year if he pitches enough innings. Solidifying the bullpen is former Minnesota Twin, Jessie Crain. Don’t know much about him, but he pitched in the Twins bullpen last year that was flat out nasty, even without Joe Nathan. Once again, on paper, this is another part of the Sox that is very, very solid.
A guy that’s hit .260 his first two years in the league is my MVP? Yeah, I think Gordon Beckham will be that good for the Sox. He’s always been a guy that has pounded doubles into the outfield like they were nothing, and this season some of those doubles may turn into triples, or even homers. The clutch gene is alive and well in this kid, and at the 2 spot he’s going to get on base and wait to be driven in by that crazy 3-4-5-6 stretch the Sox boast. He’s one of the most important pieces this year, and if he’s on, it’s going to be a really good summer.
So to sum things up, here are all my picks. Hopefully the “good guys” can put something special together this season.
Common needs no introduction. From the South Side of Chicago, a guy that has truly stuck to his roots throughout his career, he’s in my top 5 all time. This song was recorded a while ago (10 years apparently, it just never made a Common album) and was finally given some life on DJ Eves I Know What You Did Last Mixtape, mixtape. Produced by Kanye West (Yeah, now you know it’s old since he rarely produces now), the two pair up for another great song. Common’s story telling is unmatched, and he has a nice flow on this one. Take a listen below, and click the link for the download of the tagless (no annoying DJ screaming over every bar) version.
Believe it or not, Clifford Smith isn’t just that incredible actor from How High, he’s also one of the best rappers of the 90s. One of only two members to get a solo song on Wu Tang Clan’s hit, Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers), and the only guest on Biggie’s Ready to Die, Method Man has been banging out hits like it’s nothing. His acting may not be the best, but his rapping is up there. Download the song here, and be ready to hear more from Clifford in the future.
“I don’t wanna care right know,” I really don’t, but Lupe Fiasco’s “Record Release Party” at the House of Blues in Chicago last night was absolutely awful. To show you just how bad it was, I’ll give you the run down.
All times are approximations
7:57 PM– Arrive at the House of Blues to find a line still outside waiting to get in, even though doors opened at 7:30. Good sign, the show is sold out. Lupe gets more hyped with a bigger crowd, and at capacity, the House of Blues is a pretty big crowd. I start drooling. Wasalu hasn’t had a show in Chicago for about a year, and I haven’t seen him for almost three. I take off my jacket to reveal my ’06 black St. Alfred “Listen to Lupe” shirt; which I chose to wear after anticipating large pit stains (which is normal for me) and hoping Lupe would spot me in the crowd and thank me for being such a dedicated fan.
8:30 PM– DJ Broadway Streetz and his hype man are doing an awesome job. Throwing on tracks such as Common’s “The Food” and Jay Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” the crowd is mouthing the lyrics, bobbing their heads up and down to the beat, and waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care. This show is going to be legendary. I feel it.
Aloe Blacc is an American soul singer, who started out as a rapper, and is now gaining headway thanks to his single “I Need a Dollar” featured as the intro to HBO’s How to Make it in America(which is a great show that will get a review soon). A guy that says his purpose for music is “positive social change” and has an old school type voice, this song is a must listen. “I Need a Dollar” is a pop like anthem, mixed with Aloe’s bold voice, with lyrics inspired by something we all need in this day and age. Recently featured as the iTunes single of the week and later dancing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, perhaps Aloe has a chance to become the next generation John Legend.
Here’s an extra really dope video of his latest single, Loving You is Killing Me.
Player most likely to have a “Bill Walton” Moment:
Jared Sullinger-Ohio State
I probably shouldn’t post a picture of the guy I’m picking to have a Bill Walton like game of domination, singing Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus… but whatever. For those of you that don’t know what Bill Walton moment I’m talking about though, prepare to get educated. Although he was on one of the best teams ever (in the midst of what would be an 88-game winning streak), Walton decided to assert himself as the best collegiate basketball player in the world in the 1973 NCAA Championship game against Memphis State. He went 21-22, scoring 44 points in what ended in a route for the UCLA Bruins. Wow. That’s 95%. I can see Sullinger pulling off something similar (not in the champ. game though because I didn’t pick them to get there…), just because of the way he treats all opponents like that 3rd grade bully we all hated back in the day. He won’t do it Friday against the play-in game winner, since that game is already over, but against teams like George Mason, Villanova, Kentucky, or West Virginia, watch out. The 6’9, 280, Freshman of the Year bruiser is always a threat to explode for a 30 point, 20 rebound game.
Team most likely to try on George Mason’s Cinderella slipper:
Kevin Anderson and the Spiders may have a little more celebrating to do this March
If John Jenkins of Vandy is off Thursday, the Richmond Spiders will be off and running. If John Jenkins of Vandy scores 30 Thursday, I still think the Richmond Spiders will be off and running. A team seeded way below their actual talent level, they fit the cinderella mold. An experienced team that’s been here before, a stud point-guard in Kevin Anderson (who may be the best point in the nation), and a legit NBA prospect that can shoot the ball with the best of them in Justin Harper; this team will be hard to stop. The fact that their predicted match-ups aren’t THAT tough (Vandy plays the awkward SEC slow it down style, and Louisville has been over-achieving all year) also helps them out. A-10 Tourney Champs, a record of 14-2 in their last 16, and I wide open Southwest region, I think the Spiders have a really good shot of getting at least to the Sweet 16, if not further.
Yes, he is also the guy that’s most likely to snap and score 180 points in a game. Throughout the season, he’s been absolutely insane, bringing BYU recognition for something other than being mormon. But couldn’t you see him breaking down after losing? He has to go to the NBA next year where he’ll probably just become another Morrison or Redick (if he’s lucky) so this is his last chance to shine. The fact that his team probably had an Elite 8 run in them if not for the Davies honor code thing, is also sad. Sad, but this may provide awesome comparison clips of who cried harder. The Heat need a say in this as well, we know Lebron/Bosh/Wade can cry with the best of them.
Ready for the dance my ass. I came into this season expecting the Illini to at least compete for the Big 10 title, at least win 23-25 games, at least beat UIC!?! Yeah, I didn’t get any of those. My expectation of at least a Sweet 16 run also seems like fantasy at this point. What let downs. Losses to UIC, Indiana, Northwestern, and an embarrassing showing in the Big 10 Tourney (Where they blew a 12 point lead with less than 8 minutes remaining) have led them to be the underdogs in an 8-9 game against UNLV and former coach Lon Kruger. This comes after being preseason favorites (along with Ohio State) to win the Big 10. Demetri McCamey refuses to step up when his team needs him, Jereme Richmond can’t shoot from further than 6 feet out, and Mike Tisdale is Mike Tisdale…bad. I can’t wait to see who gets to blow this game for the Illini.
So there you have it. A couple NCAA Tourney things to look out for. As for picks, here are mine:
Duke vs. Syracuse
I really think Kyrie Irving makes that much of a difference (I originally had them losing in the Sweet 16). I don’t have OSU up against them just because I think Kentucky will be able to match up with them, tire Sullinger out, and the Buckeye’s will panic from there.
Kansas vs. Wisconsin
That’s my biggest bracket shake up. The Badgers in the Final 4. I don’t think Pittsburgh is that strong, and I think this Wisconsin team is the best it has been in years. Also, other than Pittsburgh (barring a Belmont first round upset), who is there to stop Jordan Taylor and the Badgers?
Kansas vs. Duke… Winner Duke
Kyrie Irving. Yes, I like him that much. Him along with a very, very experienced Duke roster that proved us all wrong last year, I don’t see why not.