30 October, 2005

Save Arctic National Wildlife Refuge & the Gwich'in people that live there!!!

Please sign the petition. I cannot stress how important this is for human rights as well as the environment!!!


11 October, 2005

Cold Duck Complex: Figureheads

Cold Duck Complex: Figureheads
Produced by Cold Duck Complex and Doug Hewitt
Recorded at Watercourse Studios in Amherst, MA
except for: Wake Up (Zing Studios) and Backburner (Face the Music)

Four ordinary-looking guys were wading through the crowded room toward the stage. In their wake the crowd quickly pulled together, a mixture of eager teens and self-confident college students as well as a couple of parents looking extremely out of their element. All in the crowded room were waiting to see Apollo Sunshine, and the men onstage were definitely not Apollo Sunshine.

After a sound-check and an extremely brief introduction (“Hi. We’re Cold Duck Complex.”) the four men began to play their strange blend of thoughtful hip-hop over jazzy rock. The crowd edged closer to the stage as the band became more comfortable, settling into their music and becoming increasingly more playful with their instruments. By the third song I was hooked, and had decided to buy their latest record, a much more worthwhile purpose for the $10 burning a hole in my pocket than my previous plan for an Apollo t-shirt. Note: Apollo Sunshine is amazing, but I have limited funds.

Figureheads is an excellent album, the kind of album that grows and reveals itself to you as you listen, the kind of album that cannot be appreciated in one listen or even two for that matter. The lyrics are written intelligently and the rhymes make sense, providing certain songs with a clever humor and irony that is never reduced to hip-hop clich├ęs. Politics (Backburner), religion (God’s Grill), and love (Upstream) are some of the subjects addressed with maturity and humor in Cold Duck’s clever poetry. Platypus Complex is Cold Duck’s rapper, he does his job well bringing the essential emotion to his rhymes. He sometimes seems to be channeling Zack de la Rocha, especially on Wake Up, an intensely political song that sounds quite a lot like Rage Against the Machine. Staying the course and mastering the groove is very talented bassist, Joe Cardoza, who’s bass (a gorgeous fretless Ibanez) I fell in love with on first listen. An excellent player and soloist live, his bass skills are not as prominent on Figureheads as I had hoped. He certainly does a fine job of keeping the beat, but his genius solos were mostly left out. Not to fear though because Jeff D’Antona and Makaya McCraven save the day as the remaining members of Cold Duck Complex, playing keyboards and drums, respectively, with enough energy to make up for Cardoza’s missing solos.
Altogether a very pleasing album, with thoughtful lyrics and music that could certainly stand on it’s own at any jazz club.