Quick Spins: Rusko, Drew Danburry and Psalm One“Quick Spins” are expedient, pretension-free music reviews. This installment tackles rapper Psalm One’s free album “Woman @ Work,” Drew Danburry’s folk pop masterpiece “Goodnight Dannii” and Rusko’s dubstep milemarker “O.M.G.!”
WHAT IT IS: The full-length solo debut from Rusko (née Christopher Mercer). The Leeds-raised musician, aka the world’s foremost purveyor of the “dubstep” genre, has been steadily solidifying a fervent following thanks to high-profile remixing jobs for Basement Jaxx, the Prodigy and Little Boots.
WHAT ONE JERK THINKS ABOUT IT: While nothing on “O.M.G.!” entirely lives up to the “Whoa!” factor of leadoff single “Woo Boost” (or non-album tracks like “Da Cali Anthem”), it’s still more thrilling than a majority of the other albums released this year. Following in the much-buzzed-about footsteps of his labelmates in Major Lazer, this forward-thinking producer is truly helping to pioneer another exciting form of electronic-based music. “O.M.G.!” should also be of special interest to fans of M.I.A., as it shows how Rusko — who is putting down some tracks for her as-yet-untitled third album — works with vocalists. The Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, rapper Gucci Mane and on-the-rise dub favorite Rod Azlan all make appearances here, and the Redlight team-up “Scareware” is one of the most unforgettable tracks outside the aforementioned album opener “Woo Boost.”
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT: I hate to support the MP3 “single buffet” model, but do this album à la carte; there’s just too much disparity between the quality of “Woo Boost” and some of the flow-stifling collaborations.
… BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: Listen to Rusko’s “focus tracks” at www.myspace.com/ruskonfire. While there, you can also find links to a number of free MP3 downloads the artist has graciously offered up for our listening pleasure.
Drew Danburry’s “Goodnight Dannii”
WHAT IT IS: It’s official: Marc Gartman’s got nothing on folk pop troubadour Drew Danburry. Ever since his catchy-as-can-be alt-rock group the Danburrys called it a day in the early ’00s, this occasional Utah resident has released a mountainside of albums: “An Introduction to Sex Rock” (2004), “Besides…” (2005), “Live in France!” and the “Mother” EP (both 2007), “This Could Mean Trouble, You Don’t Speak for the Club” (2008), the “Geraniums” EP (2009) and, earlier this year, “Goodnight Gary.” “Goodnight Dannii” is the latest addition to his already-remarkable body of work.
WHAT ONE JERK THINKS ABOUT IT: How does this guy do it? In the past five years, Danburry has played more than 750 shows throughout the world. On top of that, the songs that make up “Goodnight Dannii” were recorded in not one or two but five cities (Provo, Fargo, San Francisco, Huntington Beach and Chico, in case you were curious). So, not only is he working himself to the bone playing his (predominately) happy-go-lucky sing-alongs from that aforementioned slew of releases, but he’s also been busy writing and recording his most consistent batch of material since “Besides…” — on some sort of coast-to-coast suicide trek, no less. I’m just amazed at what he is capable of.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT: Buy it! While the value of this album’s deluxe edition* is debatable for non-diehards, you must find a way to get your hands on this impeccable release. You and your new favorite songs — like “Optimus Prime is Dead” and “Aubrey Debauchery” — depend on it.
… BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: Grab a free download of the Terrordactyls-friendly “Artex Died in Truth or Consequences, NM” at www.drewdanburry.com/freedownloads.html.
*“Goodnight Dannii” comes in two configurations: as just a boring-old CD or as a book with lyrics and illustrations by Lady Danburry (with the CD stuffed in for good measure, of course). Choose your own adventure at www.drewdanburry.com.
Psalm One’s “Woman @ Work”
WHAT IT IS: The first in a series of complimentary releases from Chicago’s pre-eminent female rapper (whose “commercial releases” are sold by Minneapolis’ Rhymesayers Entertainment).
WHAT ONE JERK THINKS ABOUT IT: As far as free downloads are concerned, this album is right up there with Self’s “Porno, Mint & Grime” and the myriad gratis releases put out by her RSE labelmates in Atmosphere. Like Doomtree’s Dessa, Psalm One has quite a range; on “Woman @ Work,” she is equally adept at rapping over in-your-face knockouts (“Better Than My Last”) and taking it down a notch for classy R&B numbers (“It’s Worth It”). Other highlights include the slightly grime-y anthem “Open for Business,” the Ándre 3000-evoking “Quickfire Challenge” and “My Bucket Song,” her frenetic, dubstep-leaning ode to her hometown. There’s a lot to love here — and, not to disrespect her album “The Death of Frequent Flyer” or anything, but it’s easily her most consistent release to date.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT: Download it, ASAP. Come on, it’s 100 percent free. Even if you only dig one of the tracks, it’ll be worth your time and/or bandwidth usage.
… BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: Download “Woman @ Work” in its entirety for free at http://psalmone.bandcamp.com/album/woman-work-free-download-here. Seriously!
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