#10 on the 2011 Musical Bacon Calendar
The Youth Die Young by Mad Rad
The Top 10 of the 2011 Musical Bacon Calendar starts with an album that won’t be found on any other Best of 2011 list anywhere, because it came out 2010. As the list starts counting down on Dec. 1, I can’t very well include albums that come out in December on the list. Additionally, I feel an album needs at least a month of listening for me to really have an opinion about it, so I likewise do not include albums that came out in the month of November. So in reality, the Musical Bacon Calendar runs from November through October, rather than January through December. That said, #10 is a phenomenal local hip hop album that came out on November 30, 2010: Mad Rad’s The Youth Die Young.
I don’t listen to enough hip hop to be able to write intelligently about it, so unfortunately this review may feel rather lacking. But I’ll try. Mad Rad is part of a musical genre that could be called Hipster Hop, although I really hate that term (due to it’s negative connotations both due to “hipster” backlash and how whitebread the words “hipster hop” sound). The term does paint a fairly accurate picture of the band, which consists of three vocalists (named P Smoov, Buffalo Madonna and Terry Radjaw). Any comparisons to other all-white hip hop acts, like the Beastie Boys, are a miss, as Mad Rad definitely embraces the hard core, raunchy side of hip hop. Consider yourself warned, these lyrics are not for everybody.
Beyond the rapping, the music that flows throughout the album (about which Buffalo Madonna says at the beginning of “I Want Your Blood”: “I wanna fuck this music”) is quite good. Danceable beats, techno bleeps and bloops, plenty of rhythm to get you moving in your seat.
Mad Rad have played numerous shows around Seattle in the last year, and I got to see them at Sasquatch as well as Bumbershoot. It was a bit jarring seeing them at 2pm on the lawn at Bumbershoot, with families gleefully listening and singing along. I wrote about the performance:
The guys in Mad Rad are some of the hardest working musicians I’ve ever seen. They truly give it all up on the stage, and the adrenaline is so high it stretches its tenticals out into the crowd and infects even the whitest among us. Even children can’t deny their body’s desire to move to the beat. (That video was recorded during a song “about marijuana and vaginas” — apparently some parents don’t give a damn what their children hear.)
A few of these songs have made it on to my running mix, providing the perfect beat to jog along to. Overall, this is an album that will stick with me for a long time, and if you’re open to it I think it will for you, too.
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12. Codes and Keys by Death Cab For Cutie
13. Valley of the Headless Men by Ravenna Woods
14. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys
15. James Blake by James Blake
16. Hysterical by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
17. An Argument with Myself by Jens Lekman
18. The Whole Love by Wilco
19. My Goodness by My Goodness
20. My Head is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men
21. Gloss Drop by Battles
22. Showroom of Compassion by CAKE
23. A New Kind of House EP by Typhoon
24. EP by Grouplove
25. Fan Chosen Covers (Best of) by Eef Barzelay
26. TKOL RMX 1234567 by Radiohead
27. Organ Music Not Virbraphone Like I’d Hoped by Moonface
28. Heavy Boots & Underwoods by Ben Fisher
29. The Rip Tide by Beirut
30. Collapse Into Now by R.E.M.
31. I Am Very Far by Okkervil River