Friday, I feel smug

The Game, “Let’s Ride” (The Amps remix) (exclusive?!)
I owe The Amps a bit of an apology. Last time I reviewed one of their remixes I embarrassingly called their Willie Hutch sample “plastic white boy funk,” a fact Amps member Abraham pointed out to me recently. This is what happens when I haphazardly blaze through reviews while blazed — a reminder that fastidiousness is often more important than firstness. Anyway, Abe was kind enough to give me their new remix of The Game’s “Let’s Ride,” a tune which surely needed retooling. Unable to cope with losing the support and production of his own personal savior, The Game turned to Scott Storch to emulate Dr. Dre’s g-funk. That’s kinda disrespectful for a guy who still licks the Doctor’s Timberlands, even if they no longer touch studio floor. The Amps manage to create the same West Coast feel with a decidedly Eastern sound, sampling an excellent Asian-flavored tune and dropping in their own head-compacting kick drum. Whatever stringed instrument is used to make the nimble main melody is catchy, oddly reminiscent of the progressions used on g-funk melodies, and a bigger draw than the dross name-dropping leaking from Game’s crooked scowl. Though there’s not much variation, this remix is vastly superior to the original. More rappers need to hire The Amps on the pronto.

Patrick Wolf, “Bluebells”
I have to admit I slept right past Wolf’s last album, Wind in the Wires, without a second thought. Sure, his oh so urgent moans about lycanthropy and relatively lo-fi beats grabbed my attention four years ago, but the appeal wore thinner with each passing year. Pitchfork’s ambitious mp3 blog, the Forkcast, reminded me Wolf still existed earlier this week so I’m giving him a second chance. “Bluebells” finds him no less cinematic or obtuse, but the addition of a few years has steadied him out, focused his aim. The attention paid to detail is readily apparent in the bottlerocket percussion, buzzing synth undercurrents and even the piano motif which flutters gracefully when it’s not charging forward. Wolf’s maturity is also apparent in his voice, which conveys all of the tune’s tender emotions without spazzing out (especially nice are the wordless backing vox in the song’s latter half). I won’t pretend “Bluebells” has renewed my devotee status or anything, but I have a greater respect for Wolf and some anticipatory feelings for the forthcoming Magic Position, which is hopefully just as good.

Samim, “Papsd” (ft. Big Bully)
Now I don’t know Samim from a bar of soap, but this bass-heavy thumper calls to mind the more vocal pieces of Troy Pierce. Big Bully more or less scats over small blippy motifs, sometimes finding his soulful pipes taken down an octave or two to sound double-barrel-chested, not unlike recent favorite, “25 Bitches.” The tune heats up during the midsection with an ascending synth swell that stops just short of taking the tune to hyperspace, overheated engines or something. I have to say, I’m looking forward to more tracks from Samim and any more excuses to mix to and from a certain song about bitches.

Sebastien Grainger, “When You Go Out”
You know that period after a rough break up where you’re all mopey and unable to do anything properly? Ex-Death From Above 1979 member Sebastien Grainger seems stuck in that coping stage based on this new cut from his forthcoming split with Jewish Legend. Much lighter than DFA1979 material, “When You Go Out” makes Prince-aping guestures that sound forced from Grainger’s hands and lips. Chipper glockenspiel and a fuzzy guitar lead (Ratatat, anyone?) bounce around to the simplistic drum programming (programming a frickin’ drummer should be able to jazz up), giving the song a cheerful feel clashing with Grainger’s mope-a-dope lyrics about places “for the broken-hearted.” With as talented as he’s proved to be on DFA1979 material, Grainger needs to wait until he’s sufficiently over this break up to try his hand again at songcraft. No one needs to hear him crying in his pop-chop Cheerios.

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