Thursday, May 19, 2011

To paraphrase a certain monster, 'me wild for Wildcookie.'

Though the album came out in February, I haven't heard too many people talking about Cookie Dough, the collaboration between Anthony Mills and Freddie Cruger - which is a shame because it's an excellent record, and one I keep going back to the well on.

Things start with the simple, repetitive, and entrancing "Song With No Ending" that puts the spotlight on Mills' voice. And what a voice - 'mellifluous' may in fact be selling it short (even with the hollowed-out effecting). Mills pulls the plodding keyboards along behind him as he intones the song's title over and over on the chorus. If it really was a song with no ending, I'd actually be alright with the loop that Cruger and he have created. But instead they end the song and dive into one of the two drug-themed standout tracks, "Serious Drug."

The song is about cocaine, and about some of the crazy things that have happened to the likes of Rick James and Richard Pryor as a result of using. The song is almost smooth enough to sound like it's endorsing blow, but when Mills sings "Smokey Robinson / he coulda wrote more songs" it's obvious Wildcookie isn't wild about the nose candy. Midway through the album, the duo return to the subject of drugs in music with "Heroine" [video below]. The lyrics take the tack that "heroin made / my favourite jazz." Having seen Ken Burns' Jazz documentary series and read more than a few biographies of jazz artists, the position has a great deal of merit. There were a lot of jazz artists riding the horse back in the day (including purveyors of the West Coast cool jazz which seems like the last thing someone strung out on heroin would make).

It's clear from listening to Cookie Dough that Cruger and Mills have a shared love of jazz - sounds creep into the production and song structure that owes a huge debt to the genre, but like most forward-thinking stuff released by Tru Thoughts (one of my favourite labels), there's broken-beat, nu-jazz, neo-soul and other elements thrown into the mix for something distinct and eminently listenable.

You can download "Heroine" via their Bandcamp page.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's in the water over there?

I've long thought the Swedish government is secretly putting soda-pop in their drinking water instead of fluoride. How else to explain the long line of note-perfect pop music coming out of that country? This Is Head is another example of what gorgeous music comes out of a lifetime of ingesting the stuff, though their water was also laced with Police's Ghost In The Machine era keyboards.

Personally I like "0007" best (video below)), but "0002" is the lead-off single, available at Spotify. The album is available for purchase through Adrian Recordings here.

This Is Head - 0007 from Adrian Recordings on Vimeo.