This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sage Francis' life-affirming death dance

I'm tired of doing multi-part series for now. Besides, I'm going to be in Georgia for the weekend to see Andrea graduate. Instead, I'm going to catch up on some recent killer releases rather than keep digging through the archives. So you're getting 2k7 tunes instead of me finally getting off my ass and using my Ion to turn all my old Slickee Boys seven inches into mp3s.

First up is a record that dropped today, Sage Francis' eagerly anticipated third album Human The Death Dance. I have to say, having listened to it most of today, I think it might be his best record yet. It's a well-produced, streamlined record that doesn't stifle Francis' off-the-cuff post-Beat stream-of-consciousness so much as frame it accessibly. His first record, while having high points, consisted largely of song scraps, like incomplete torn diary entries that were intense but lacked beginning and end to complement the wrought middle. The follow-up, A Healthy Distrust, was amazing, but moments found Francis struggling to combine his raps with his spoken word, going off the beat jarringly in order to cram in a few more syllables.

This new one is definitely his most accessible effort to date. It's certainly the most varied production-wise. "Underground for Dummies" reminds me of nothing so much as Raising Hell-era Run-DMC, a taut rocker that sounds equal parts churning metal and old-school party starter, while at the same time sounding like DJ Young Einstein sampling Marble Index. "Got Up This Morning" quite frankly is the best blues-rap beat I've ever heard, and Jolie Holland's inspired guest spot sounds completely natural, like a backpack version of Ja Rule and Ashanti's old collaborations, but, yanno, good. The speed-rap of "Civil Disobedience" rivals his past triumph "Escape Artist."

Even with all the bangers, though, the real stunners are the short gut-punches like "Good Fashion" and "Waterline." Akin, at least in terms of album construction, to Morrissey's "Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together," both songs are fragments that still are jaw-droppingly affecting in their conciseness and make you believe his claim that he's largely influenced by Johnny Cash.

One of the raddest records of the year. Check it, holmes, and check back here for posts on Brother Ali, Ted Leo, the Queers, and possibly more.

Underground for Dummies:

Civil Disobedience:

Good Fashion:

Midgets and Giants:


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