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A lot of what attracts me to music is the lyrics. The music definitely plays a part, obviously, but if the lyrics aren't there, I probably won't like it as much. My friend turned me on to underground hip-hop a year or so ago, and I feel like a pretty big tool for not listening to it earlier. What I love about Immortal Technique is that he raps about shit that matters: class warfare, institutional racism, the way globalization is modern colonialism, and how all that shit comes together to keep people in poverty. Here, I'll let some of his lyrics tell you the story.

Harlem was once red line district rated
Designated ghetto like the yellow star of David
And you wonder why people don't own they homes
Cause the racist bank wouldn't fuckin mortgage a loan
- Harlem Renaissance

After WWII, with the establishment of the GI Bill and the suburbanization of America, the FHA, real estate agents, and insurance companies classified neighbourhoods by how "safe" they were; the more Black people there, the more "dangerous" they were, and they were red lined. If Blacks began moving in (assuming they got a mortgage to begin with; they were only given about 2% of all federal money designated for mortgages), bankers would go back in and offer whites cash at less than market value for their homes, leading to depreciating market value in those neighbourhoods. And don't think housing discrimination ended; it still goes on today and there are more claims for discrimination in housing than ever :) And that's to say nothing of the way these policies contributed to the racial wealth gap~!

Once upon a time, we were told that nationalisation would prevent growthy by limiting competition -- that our countries were nothing without the companies that invested in us and so they privatised everything. Everything in our country was owned by people that had no connection to our culture, by those who never had our interests at heart; they didn't care about our survival or well being, they just wanted to turn a profit by raping our land, by exploiting our people, our industry and our resources.

They took everything we built and made it theirs: first by creating racism to justfiy slavery, building the capital for capitalism and then when they gave us what they call liberty, everything we had was still owned by them. Our governments told us that socialism was the real enemy and that we would have freedom, but the foreign powers and corporations were the ones with real freedom; the freedom to take all the wealth generated by our work and our land and give us only a small percentage of the scraps from the table
- Open Your Eyes

And then there's globalization and industrialization which seems like such a nice thing initially: help underdeveloped, newly independent nation-states break free of colonialism. But whoops, what's that? They want to be socialist? Well we can't have them going over to those damn Reds! So we went through and toppled democratically elected leaders like Salvador Allende in Chile, only to replace them with dictators like Pinochet; assassinated clergymen like Salvadoran Oscar Romero who was down with liberation theology; we just basically went around the rest of globe forcing Chicago school super free-market capitalism on the rest of the world through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans.

That song is basically Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine in song form. You should still read the book, though. I'm not playin.

I hope you enjoyed my primer on global oligarchy. I'll hand it back to Immortal Technique. And buy his fucking CDs, yeah? He stays deliberately underground, so show him some goddamn respect and be a good little capitalist.

01. "Death March"
02. "That's What It Is"
03. "Golpe De Estado"
04. "Harlem Renaissance"
05. "Lick Shots"
06. "Apocrypha"
07. "The 3rd World"
08. "Hollywood Driveby"
09. "Reverse Pimpology"
10. "Open Your Eyes"
11. "Payback"
12. "Adios, Uncle Tom"
13. "Stronghold Grip"
14. "Mistakes"
15. "Parole (Evil Genius mix)"
16. "Crimes of the Heart"

YEAR 2008
BUY IT Amazon

DOWNLOAD : [ mediafire ]
When I think wordsmiths, the first thing that comes to my mind is the concept album. A cohesive story condensed into a series of well-written songs. In my mind, the best aren't spelled out for the listener, leaving an enormous amount of room for interpretation. Probably the greatest one of all time, or at least in its genre, is Operation: Mindcrime by Queensrÿche. That's not the one I'm bringing to you today. (Largely because Operation: Mindcrime II came out and removed all the mystery in one fell swoop.)

One of the more complicated concepts I've run across, Coheed and Cambria's The Amory Wars details the story of adventure, love, betrayal, angels, demons, space travel, dimension hopping, deus ex speculo, and the end of the world. I am not, in fact, making this up. In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 brings us the meat of the story. Claudio Kilgannon, the protagonist, meets up with Ambellina, Chase, Sizer, and Jesse and traverses the Keywork, eventually ending up on Paris: Earth. The quintet travels to Supreme Tri-Mage Wilhelm Ryan's doorstep at the House Atlantic on Shylos Ten with the help of a trucker named Al the Killer. I could go on, but it gets less comprehensible from there. Just... trust me when I say that Cobalt and Calcium will be more of a help than I ever could be.

01 The Ring in Return
02 In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
03 Cuts Marked in the March of Men
04 Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow)
05 The Crowing
06 Blood Red Summer
07 The Velourium Camper I: Faint of Hearts
08 The Velourium Camper II: Backend of Forever
09 The Velourium Camper III: Al the Killer
10 A Favor House Atlantic
11 The Light & the Glass
12 21:13

While not quite as hard-hitting as Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume II: No World for tomorrow (and I'm pretty sure Coheed gets paid per word in their album titles), In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 gives the listener a huge amount of story and wanders across several genres to do it. I've classified it as progressive, but some songs dabble in metal, pop, and that ineffable chasm in between. It's worth checking out even if you don't think you'd be interested. I wasn't particularly interested in this album until I read up on the story and started understanding all the things Claudio Sanchez was writing about. I think that speaks to the strength of the lyrics, and that's why it's my nomination for this theme.

You can download this album on MegaUpload here. (91.5MB) If you like what you hear, don't forget to support the artist by picking up the album. Be sure to check out The Second Stage Turbine Blade and both volumes in the Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV saga.
Hey all your groupies out there. I know the band hasn't been very active as of late. Most of us are pursuing solo projects, but we can still keep this alive! On to the next theme! This one involves music with great lyrics. Let's try not to get too wordy (oh ho i crack myself up...?).

As a special treat for being away for so long, I'm uploading an artist's discorgraphy this time! Here are the two full lengths by the band Los Campesinos! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the name). The septet is from Wales, and the accents are really obvious, but that adds to their charm. Lead singer Gareth Campesinos! writes all the lyrics, and they contrast perfectly with the hyperactive instrumentation the rest of the band puts forward.

LC!'s first album Hold on Now, Youngster... is a collection of all of their previous demos, which surprisingly worked together as an album, ranging from sad ballads (Knee Deep at ATP) to incredible pop songs (You! Me! Dancing!), all with parts that will get stuck in your head for months. Their second album, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, is a much more angry affair about breakups and passive-aggression. The instrumentation is the same, but the lyrics are much darker, compared to their rather cheery debut.

What makes LC!'s lyrics so amazing? For one, LC!'s average age is around 22, which is frighteningly close to my age, so I relate to what they talk about a little too well. They write songs overflowing with social commentary, as Gareth spouts paragraphs in a matter of seconds. He details emotional situations with clever tongue-in-cheek wordplay, and with just enough specificity to feel like you're there with him, feeling the same thing he is. The excitement, pain, and suffering all feel so real that you don't even realize that you're listening to music anymore. You're listening to his life, and it feels incredible cathartic. Yeah, it all sounds trite and overblown and angsty, but isn't that exactly what being a teenager is all about?

These two albums were my favorites of 2008. I've replayed them endlessly. To me, at least, this music really hits home. Lyrical examples below.

Hold on Now Youngster
1. Death To Los Campesinos!
2. Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats
3. Don't Tell Me To Do The Math(S)
4. Drop It Doe Eyes
5. My Year In Lists
6. Knee Deep At ATP
7. This Is How You Spell "Hahaha, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics"
8. We Are All Accelerated Readers:

And I'm not Bonnie Tyler, and I'm not Toni Braxton
And this song is not gonna save your relationship
Oh, that's shit
And this sentimental movie marathon has taught us one thing
It's the opposite of true love is as follows-

9. You! Me! Dancing!
10. ...And We Exhale and Roll Our Eyes in Unison
11. Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks
12. 2007, The Year Punk Broke (My Heart)

Year: 2008
Genre: rock, punk, pop

Download:[mediafire (43 MB)]

We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
1. Ways To Make It Through The Wall
2. Miserabilia
3. We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed:

You feel terrified at the thought of being left behind
Of losing everybody, the necessity of dying
I'm just practising my accents, picking at old sutures

4. Between An Erupting Earth And An Exploding Sky
5. You’ll Need Those Fingers For Crossing
6. It’s Never That Easy Though, Is It? (Song For The Other Kurt)
7. The End Of The Asterisk
8. Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown # 1
9. Heart Swells/Pacific Daylight Time
10. All Your Kayfabe Friends

Year: 2008

Download: [mediafire (51 MB)]
So I finally posted my summer mix. Unlike most people, the music I listen to doesn’t really change throughout the year. (Or maybe it does and I just don’t notice.) I think my mix is a little weird, but these are the first songs that popped into my mind when thinking about my favorite summer memories. With summer there's always trips to the beach, freedom from responsibility (except that I have a job now), and it's always way too damn hot.

01. wada kouji - fire!! : this is the opening to the fourth season of digimon – digimon frontier. it's a pretty nerdy first track, but this song gives me fond summer memories because I spent a lot of time on a digimon forum back when I was watching this show as it aired. plus the title is coincidentally appropriate for this mix.

02. they might be giants - the sun is a mass of incandescent gas : i think anyone who knows about TMBG has heard or has this song, but I associate it with summer cause it reminds me of the SC heat.

03. the aquabats – pool party : when I was younger, we had a pool in our backyard. I remember good times playing water sports and Slip ‘n Sliding with my friends and neighbors. except for the time someone accidentally shat in the pool. that wasn’t cool.

04. lemon demon – stick stickly : of course, when I was a kid I watched a lot of cartoons (and played my sega genesis) when there was no school. let the nerdy stylings of lemon demon remind you about a googly-eyed nickelodeon mascot.

05. janne da arc - shining ray : another appropriate song title and another song I enjoy during the summer months.

06. the pillows - ride on shooting star : fooly cooly first aired on cartoon network in summer of 2003 and I've been hooked on the show and music ever since.

07. sum 41 - fat lip : i'm not a huge fan of sum 41, but I remember blasting this song a lot on my walkman at the beach when I was a punk kid. i can also relate to the lyrics.

08. the beatles – lovely rita : if you don’t know, this track is on the album sgt. pepper’s lonely hears club band, which I like to listen to on the hotter days while looking at the ladies in their skimpy seasonal clothing.

09. spamalot - always look on the bright side of life : the first play I saw on broadway was spamalot in summer 2007 with __darkmatter and his family. good times. :)

10. porno graffiti – swallowtail butterfly : this is the band that sang the first opening for full metal alchemist. (their name of course makes me giggle.) this song of theirs makes me picture tropical flowers and attractive spanish women. give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean. if not, well, then maybe it's just me.

11. save ferris – under 21 : the energy of ska reminds me of the heat of the sun when you’re close to the beach. last summer I listened to a lot of reel big fish, catch 22, and save ferris. i picked this song because it’s sort of how I feel at the moment where I’m counting down the months til my 21st birthday (which will be epic).
Ah yes. Summer is fast approaching. Unlike most students, I’m still in school, writing final papers and freaking out. Still can’t pass up an opportunity to make a mix though! My mixes usually max out around 70 minutes with 20+ tracks, but that’s a little much for something someone pops into a car stereo or listens to off-handedly. Also, less tracks means less time writing why I love them. It was still difficult as hell to narrow it down to 14 tracks.

My summers usually consist of hanging out with friends and partying, but this summer is different. I’ve spent so much time away from the west coast that summer signals a time of returning to my real home. These tracks just feel so nice and easy-going. A lot of them are relatively short, too, like little bursts of sunshine.

1. The Avalanches – Since I Left You: I got the Avalanches’ debut recently and it’s wonderful. This song is the first track on the album, and it just feels so breezy and calm like a nice day at the beach.

2. Digitalism – Pogo: This was a song that me and my friends shared at parties. We’ play it and we’d bliss out to how fantastic it was. I love this song.

3. Santigold – Lights Out: I love how poppy this song is. It’s about going out and having a good time, which is what I do a lot of summer nights.

4. Matt & Kim – Daylight: Matt & Kim are so enthusiastic, and this song is just so uplifting. I smile whenever it comes on.

5. Jamie Lidell – Another Day:
6. Kanye West – Homecoming:
Here we come to the Lollapalooza section of the mix. I went to Lolla last year and it was phenomenal. Jamie Lidell was one of the best acts I saw there, playing soul-infused electronic music, and Kanye West was the headliner on the last night, playing to his hometown of Chi-city.

7. Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Alive 2007 Radio Edit): Daft Punk live was the best concert I’ve ever been to. I was psyched for this concert in March, and it took place in July. So worth the wait.

8. Cut Copy – Time Stands Still: Welcome to side 2! I love Cut Copy tons, and this song reminds me of one night when me and one of my friends danced to this song alone while everyone else was around a dinner table taking shots. Such a good night.

9. Stardust – Music Sounds Better with You: A song about good feelings. A must on any summer mixtape.

10. Cake -Shadow Stabbing: There was one summer when I was around 15 where I would play this song nonstop. It rocks.

11. The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t it Be Nice: No summer mix is complete without a song by the Beach Boys.

12. Green Day – Maria: My summer camp counselor in 5th grade would put on International Superhits every morning to wake us up. This was the first track, and I haven’t been able to find this song on any other album.

13. Weezer – Holiday: One of the best Weezer songs ever about road trips, which I hope to go on this break.

14. Dromoland – 10 Weeks: My friend made this song at the end of the 2007 school year for a video project, and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. It’s a really catchy electronic song that I’ve probably pushed more than I should have, but it’s so good! Also, summers usually last 10 weeks, so this is fitting as a closer.

I’ve uploaded all the individual tracks as well as the whole mix onto Mediafire. You can pick and choose which track to download here. The mix surprisingly works as something to play all the way through though, so give that a go too.