Pod Picks

June 20, 2012 

Check out this grab-bag of eclectic tracks we recommend for downloading (legally, of course) or streaming to your iPod, iPad, iPhone or other personal media device.

"Oh Hail No" by El-P

The samples and beats are reminiscent of Wu-Tang in its prime. This track features the most balanced guest-list ever with raps coming from Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire and Danny Brown – their names are as differing as their styles. The approaches to their rhymes take the song in different directions but El-P makes it as dramatic as scene changes. El-P is making underground music for a mass market. It’s intelligent hip-hop that you won’t hear on a Top 40 station. El-P is out to make a point with a sound that’s in your face.

"See and Don’t See" by Afghan Whigs

This is the first new material from Afghan Whigs in six years. But you can’t tell from the way vocalist Greg Dulli attacks this acoustic track. This is a cover of a funky, horn-riddled song by Marie “Queenie” Lyons from the ‘70s. Not much is left from the bouncing original. Dulli’s voice is passionate as the band transforms the song into an ambient ballad that sounds like it was recorded in an abandoned stairwell leading to the roof of a burned-out building. This is a nice first step from a great band of the ‘90s.

"Trembling Hands" by The Temper Trap

The meager keys of a piano intro lead into the warbling guitars accompanied by the quick sync of the drums with an active snare. Then, Dougy Mandagi lets his voice go and it’s clear, he takes his vocals seriously. Mandagi reaches-out for range – both in vocal power and emotion. This band is from Melbourne, Australia, but the sound aims for the sentimental heights of the late, gone before his time, Jeff Buckley. The Temper Trap’s music mirrors the vocals, taking the emotional and attempting to make it epic.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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