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k-os – Collected

First off, he missed a real opportunity, here, to call it k-os: kollected. Alas.

This is mostly a compilation of singles (some remixed) from this excellent Canadian rapper’s first three albums. There are a couple of new tracks here (leftovers from Atlantis: Hymns For Disco), too.

Kool beans.

Crabbuckit Ahead By A Century

Here’s a place-holder post because we saw Slayer last night and I am still in Taranna today, probably record shopping and eating good food (and most definitely recuperating). It’s a tough life…

So I was driving along with the kids in the car, playing an MP3 CD I’d made, one song per artist, so 700mb at 4mb per song is about 175 songs on the disc… anyway, it’s just to introduce them to a bunch of new stuff, see what they like and what they don’t. On came K-OS’ Crabbuckit (which they knew from some other car disc anyway), it’s a great song with a Hit The Road Jack Ray Charles bass line, with lyrics about positivity and moving forward.

I’d forgotten the wee bit in the middle breakdown where he mentions the Tragically Hip. And (probably) Leonard Cohen. The Hip song he references is a great one about life and possibility and curiosity, so his own chorus of “No time to get down ‘cos I’m moving up” fits perfectly.

Here’s the lyrics of the section (at 2:16 in the video below)…

It’s a conniption fit when the microphones lit
I take it higher like a bird on a wire, retire the fire
I’ll never ’cause I’m just moving on up
Choosin’ to touch, the unseen, craving the clutch
The most inevitable, legible pyromania
Slaying the devil, and send him back to Transylvania
Strangely enough, I avoid that side of the ghetto
From my heavy metal, will settle the puppets like Geppetto
Damn, if mirrors were created by sand
Then I’m looking in the water for reflections of man
Understand the minds above time when it’s empty
Emcee, Tragically Hip, ahead by a century (rrrah)

Another Batch Of Randomness

It’s A Long Bloody Time, Alright

Man, that Trooper song “We’re Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time) totally negates its own message. I mean, if we’re not here for a long time, why in the hell are we still listening to you repeat an catchy little sound bite interminably? Does that sound like a good time to you? This is a tune that could be great if it were at least half its original length. Yeesh.

Fresh Breath Of Mint! Issue #12

Hooray! It’s here, and Immaculate Machine are on the cover! Hot Panda gives us tour stories, the Superfantastics talk Halifax hotspots, cub offers up shots from their photo albums, Rennie Sparks tells us some, er, interesting things about the Hollow Earth… yeah. And then there’s many Minty favourite roadside attractions, Dustin and Cup of I Am Spoonbender share tour spots and insights, the Smugglers at Mt. Rushmore, and lots of snapshots from SXSW in Austin.

But that’s not all. Oh no, not by far. Nardwuar interviews the San Diego Chicken (haha yes!), Shane Nelkin of Awkward Stage answers Andrew Apostle Of Hustle’s question, the Pack A.D. talks snacks and breakfast, Carolyn Mark shares her fish taco recipe, Immaculate Machine appear in another awesome cartoon, and Montreal’s Phonopolis gets a nod as a cool record shop. It wasn’t there when we lived there… I wish I could visit it right now. Plus all the usual checklists… er, I mean discographies are here too, so you can all keep up with the releases you need to complete your Mint collection! I totally want to order some of those Mint candles, too. So awesome.

Thanks Mint, this is a superb issue. Hey you! Get yours NOW!!

ALSO: Go Team Mint!

I hadn’t really thought about it until I recently got a parcel from Mint in the mail with a pile of the new FBoM (see above) in it… The package also came with a little card that pointed it out in plain ol’ black and white… because I gleefully distribute their zine, I am a proud member of Team Mint! This rules.

Really, it should have occurred to me sooner. I’ve been touting their incredibly awesome roster’s output in these pages for a long time now. Surely you’ve read every review of the brilliant records they send to us for review. I’ve been happily taking their Fresh Breath of Mint magazine (get yours now!) to the proper places in my little town so that they can be placed in the hands of the people who’ll care the most. I’ve been telling everyone I know about their bands for a long time now, letting word of mouth drum up even more interest. I’ve been going to shows of their bands when I can… Yeah, it was staring me in the face but I guess it never hit me: I’m a member. Hooray for Team Mint!

Morning Moon

I’ve been hearing ‘Morning Moon’ from the Tragically Hip’s latest (and awesome) record over the piped-in music “station” at work. I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand I’m thrilled they’re getting their stuff played. We should all play them, and often. On the other hand, it doesn’t deserve to be wedged in there with all that Lite FM pap that I hate with a burning passion hotter than the burning sun. Still, it’s a nice lift to hear in an otherwise craptastic day at work.

Michael Jackson, Pt. 2

C’mon, people. Get over yourselves. Why is everyone still going on and on and on about this guy? Seriously, the guy’s dead and yes, it’s a tragedy. Wouldn’t wish it on anybody. But all of this nonsense now is, if you’ll pardon the pun, capitalizing on a dead horse while you Beat It. Look, just let him go and move on, people. For the sake of us all. Please.

K-OS – Yes!

There’s something extra-musical about K-OS’ output. It’s very thoughtful, creative and highly listenable. His lyrics contain hope and they come from a good place. This new effort definitely continues his flow in great directions. It’s funky, funny and fun. Musically it’s all over the map but it works. I could do without the synthesized vocals that appear in places, but whatever, I always say that. Happily, this is the logical, excellent next step in his discography. Well done.

K-OS – Yes! Remixed (It’s Yours)

Rap fans get all atwitter about remixes. As we all know, usually it’s a DJ or another rapper who get their hands on somebody else’s perfectly fine song and mess it up to how they would have done it differently. They’ll change the beat, add vocals or other instruments, take away essential elements of the song, speed it up, or slow it down… you know the drill. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard a remix that was better than its original. This disc is no exception. I didn’t hear anything here that I couldn’t have lived without. Still, I bought this because it seemed like half the set would be missing if I left this behind when I bought Yes! last week. Oh, it’s fine. But I liked the original record better. This added nothing.

Gordie’s Due For A Make-Over

Round 2 of filling up Gordie, my new MP3 player (it has 2GB! Imagine!) is due about now. I love what’s in there, but I’m thinking I’d have more to post here if I filled it with stuff I actualy intend to review. If the content level goes up in these pages, you’ll know I was successful.

K-OS – Atlantis: Hymns For Disco

If you scan far enough back into these pages, you’ll find a posting that raves about K-OS, and how it makes me really happy that his songs have some pretty deep, philosophical and introspective things going on, which is way better than the bitches, nines and bling bullshit that gets passed off as some of the popular rap these days. His albums make you think, and that’s the best thing in the whole wide world. 

I’m here to report (as if you didn’t know it already, since this has been on the streets over a year now) that Atlantis: Hymns For Disco is yet another lyrical salvo in K-OS’ assault on your apathetic, lethargic brain. It picks up right where Joyful Rebellion left off. The beats are fresh, the lyrics kick ass, the samples are fun, the music is well-constructed and thoughtful (not just that repetitive, lazy 8-bar loop shite other rappers employ) and while you’re nodding your head you realize that, hey wait a minute, the dude’s got something to say. Scan that back and spin it again so I can pay closer attention… Yeah!

I really liked this record. Like its predecessor, it full of positivity and a call for unity. He’s efficient, with everything right where it needs to be and with nothing wasted. The additions of Buck 65, L’il Jaz and even a chorus from Sam Roberts on various tracks are a nice touch, and if you let the disc keep playing at its end you’re treated to a hidden track where he talks about a kid asking what was up with MC Murder, and he tells the kid that was yesterday, this is today. Amen to that, Brother. Nowhere to go but up.

Look, if you’re in a funk and you want something that’s gonna lift you up, dust you off and show you a few things about the way things are and how they could be, any of this man’s records are for you. If you start with this one, I promise you that you will want to work backwards and get the rest too.

This stuff is addictive. Tell ‘em I told you so.

Track Listing:
01 ELEcktrik HeaT – the seekwiLL
02 The Rain
03 Flypaper
04 Equalizer
05 Sunday Morning
06 Mirror In The Sky
07 Born To Run
08 Valhalla
09 CatDiesel
10 Black Lee – Hymn For Disco
11 AquaCity Boy
12 Highway 7
13 Ballad Of Noah

K-OS – Joyful Rebellion

I can’t say enough about this record. It’s one of the best complete albums I’ve heard in a long time. It stands up on first impressions and gets better and better with each play. Really, it’s that good.

Now, I’m no expert when it comes to the genre of hip hop. You won’t find too many of these records reviewed by me in these pages, as it’s not generally where my interests lie. But I know what I like to hear, and this album has it.

For me, rap has to tell a story, and it has to have something of worth to say. It’s got to engage my brain. Few artists manage this feat. As you’re aware, the Corporate Bastard record shop at your local strip mall is chock full of crappy records about bitches, nines and bling – pointless posturing that is, frankly, really bloody boring.

Joyful Rebellion is the antidote. It’s K-OS using his head, being introspective and giving the listener the gift of genuinely good music. His raps are insightful and refreshingly devoid of the flash and hype that weaker MCs use to cover their inadequacies on the mic. There’s enough here to give you something fresh with each spin. This is intelligent, creative music.

Highly recommended, indeed.

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