Earlier this year, someone asked William Hughes — aka Skinny DeVille — about this, the latest album by his band, Nappy Roots.
His reply — “It ain’t all about rolling into the club with $100,000 around your neck” — was a promising sentiment from a group that made its hip-hop bones by unconventionally playing on its rural Southern roots.
Like on past albums, the best songs are in the vein of the 2002 breakthrough “Awnaw” — slurred, easy-going and a little country. The first single on “The Humdinger,” “Good Day,” features its share of hip-hop clichés, but the vibe is a good contrast to meaningless dance gibberish from hip-hop chart-toppers. “Down ‘N’ Out” is even better, with a tone that more than touches Tupac at his best. Still, some songs are tiresome club fodder: “Pole Position” — it’s not about auto racing — and “Flex” cover well-worn hip-hop topics and muddle an otherwise interesting album.
There was a moment in the ’90s when the kids took over the school in Louisville music. It’s an oft-cited generalization, but the favored flavor among the young’uns was loud, crunchy and screamy.
The preference for hardcore and punk slowly shifted as punkish Metroschifter flirted with country while hardcore Falling Forward begat ethereal Elliott. Good music from bands like the Loved nearly went forgotten. Thank God for the spat of re-releases that labels big and small are pushing.
“Everything, Anything, Nothing,” from Temporary Residence Limited, exhibits powerful ’60s and ’70s pop-rock riffs under guitar god hooks that are closer to Yes than Fugazi. Active in the late ’90s and featuring inspired singing/guitar work from Michael Weis, bass from Benny Clark (Elliott, Broken Spurs) and drums from Joey Yates (Parlour, Sapat), the Loved released a five-song EP in 2001, which is included here along with five more songs. It’s the band’s entire recorded history, all of which would blend perfectly into today’s tastes.
Louisville’s jazz scene took a hit when the Jazz Factory closed, but a glimmer of hope was captured on a chilly February night at the Nachbar in Germantown.
The members of coolie jazz outfit Vamp — alto saxophonist Duncan and drummer Tiemann — teamed with Goldsby, a well-traveled jazz bassist, to record a live album. The trio is captured playing a tight, emotive set of originals, as well as an interesting rendition of Thelonious Monk’s classic “Misterioso” and an improved version of Randy Newman’s “In Germany Before the War.”
“Live at the Nachbar” gleefully evokes those old dim clubs of the “Mad Men” years, when respectable folks were still wary of that whole jazz thing.