Pod Picks for July 5, 2012

July 3, 2012 

This week we recommend a superstar rap collaboration, a Crowe flying solo and some Carolina folk rock which you can download (legally, of course) or stream to your personal media device.

"No Church in the Wild" by Kanye West and Jay-Z

Another single from the Kanye West and Jay-Z collaboration that is an instant rap classic. Working together must force both of these guys to bring their best to the studio. On this track, with its simple, ominous beat, they brought in newcomer, Frank Ocean, who sings the chorus using his digitized falsetto to link together the Jay-Z and West verses. The best part is listening to West delve deeper into his own brand of hip-hop psychoanalysis – “Sunglasses and Advil, last night was mad real…When we die, the money we can’t keep. But we probably spend it all cause the pain ain’t cheap. Preach.”

"Bright Lights, Big City" by Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood

The first single off Chris Robinson’s new project sounds a little thrown together. He’s directing musical traffic at the beginning, talking as the band meanders into the tune of a song. But soon they get the beat under them and chug into a shuffle. It’s a big departure from the mood swings that gave his vocals extreme dramatics in the Black Crowes. Robinson ventures into jam-band territory. It’s reminiscent of the laid-back swing of early Grateful Dead. Robinson’s voice doesn’t sound tortured, it sounds like he’s having fun. His mood is obvious at the end of the track, as the music fades out and he says, “That’s fucking rad, dude.”

"Bottom of the River" by Delta Rae

It’s not often when you hear chains used as the lead instrument in a song. Well, it appears this six-piece band from North Carolina bangs out this percussion-heavy song with anything they could find around the studio that would make some noise. But it’s not a mess. A march rises from the chirp of cricket-bows. Harmonies come at you in four parts and chants and strained screams. Often labeled as folk or Americana but this song proves Delta Rae could rock a hubcap with a dog bone, pour on those gospel choir vocals and make it go down as smooth as Southern sweet tea.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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