One of my all time favorite albums is Handsome Boy Modeling School’s So How’s Your Girl. I could write a 2 page article on the influence this 1999 release has had on me as well as the overall state of pop music, but I will try to condense it to one paragraph. Super producers Dan the Automator and Prince Paul joined forces on this outlandishly experimental concept album that was for some reason inspired by an episode of Chris Elliot’s sitcom “Get a Life.” They invited just about everyone to join them on this album, including members of Beastie Boys, Cibo Matto, Spain, Brand Nubian, and De La Soul just to name a few. This album single-handedly opened my eyes to a lot of experimental indie bands that I would have otherwise never discovered. I just picked up the new Gorillaz album Plastic Beach today, which is a direct decedent of this album. Dan the Automator, who works with Miho Hatori and Del the Funkee Homosapien on this album, joined with Damon Albarn to create the first Gorillaz album. Damon even appears with Del and Dan on 2000’s Deltron 3030. This is maybe the most eclectic album ever made and should be in everyone’s record collection.
Archive for Old School Sundays
So since I kind of took the week off, for the first time ever I’m going to post TWO albums for Old School Sunday. Today I will be profiling the best girl group of all time ….. CIBO MATTO! I discovered these girls in ’99 after lead singer Miho Hatori appeared on the flawless debut from Handsome Boy Modeling School. In 1996 the duo of Miho and producer Yuka Honda released their food inspired debut LP Viva! La Woman. The album is extremely off the wall and ventures through every genre imaginable; Hip-Hop, electronica, funk and even punk. It’s such an unexpected album from two tiny Japanese girls. In 1999 they released their follow-up Stereo Type A, which was a more polished, yet equally eclectic album. They received help from talents Sean Lennon (Yuka’s boyfriend at the time) and GB favorite Dan the Automator. Cibo Matto broke up around 2002, though Yuka and Miho are still doing their own thing and at times even collaborate.
Viva! La Woman:
Stereo Type A:
Daft Punk – Digital Love (2003)
Dir. Kazuhisa Takenouchi
Was there any doubt that Daft Punk would be the #1 Most Influential Dance Artist on this countdown? Their influence transcends genre. Not only does every current dance act hold them at the highest of esteem but Hip Hop stars like Kanye West and Busta Rhymes have sampled them, Pharrell and J Dilla appear on their Daft Club album, and even R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan, along with help form Missy Elliot, took their own take on Daft’s “Veridis Quo.” Just the other day I heard a Daft Punk song on historic LA Hip-Hop radio station K-Day. But most importantly their presence, success, and sound is the biggest contributor to this current wave of new dance acts in America. There would be no MSTRKRFT, No Crookers, No HARD Festivals, if the love for Daft Punk was not so high. Last year around this time I wrote an article on how Daft Punk’s appearance at Coachella in 2006 changed the World, and I stick by my bold claim. Besides their music being the best dance music I’ve ever heard, they have done things that no other dance artist has even attempted to take on. They teamed with Toei Animation to create Interstella 5555, a full length film interpretation of their album Discovery. Their music has been used to promote Adidas, iTunes, DJ Hero and they even appeared in a Gap ad with Juliette Lewis. And to top it off this December they will be scoring the Disney film Tron: Legacy. There’s nothing these guys cant do and I cant wait to see them on their next global tour.
I was at Goodwill the other day just looking around and everytime I’m at Goodwill I will peruse their music section. You can find some classic gems in there. And I found an old school CD that was on top of my list. It was Bobby Brown’s 1988 album Don’t Be Cruel, the album that finally established him as a pop superstar. He had been in New Edition since the early 80’s but after they kicked him out for being the original bad boy he started getting all the ladies panties wet with his solo act. If you saw Bobby Brown in the 80’s you know where Usher got all his moves from.
In 1998 Air released their debut album Moon Safari which introduced the world to a new category in the Electronica genre called Chill-out. Their sound was so smooth, Air was the perfect name for the band. It was a different, slower approach to the Trip-Hop sound Massive Attack had started earlier in the 90’s and a stark contract to the harder dance sound on fellow Frenchies Daft Punk’s debut released the year before. They are by far the most influential Chill-out band and directly influenced Zero 7’s debut album Simple Things. If you’re not familiar with Air, you should check out the movie Virgin Suicides. They did the score for the movie and that shit is bananas.
Canadian band Esthero released their debut album Breath From Another in 1998. Esthero was the name of the singer and the name of the band that also featured producer Doc. ’98 was right around the time when Trip-hop was making it’s move into the mainstream and had finally crossed the pond and spawned a lot of North American Massive Attack wannabes. The mixture of electronica, Hip-Hop, and slow girl was an infectious blend that still gets me hyped to this day. Singer Esthero was also involved with Nelly Furtado’s rap group Nelstar when they were teenagers. Very hot! I’m only posting 3 songs, but if you can find this full length album cop it real quick. Fucking classic.
Anyone remember Bilal? He was that amazingly talented soul singer that released his debut album 1st Born Second in 2001. He was on top of the world. His album features tracks from Super-Producers Dr. Dre, Jay Dee, Rapheal Saadiq, Scott Storch, James Poyser and more. Not to mention guest appearances from Common and Mos Def. It may be the best male soul album of last decade, but after his debut, Bilal disappeared from the public eye. He struggled trying to get a second album out and then lost ground to other singers like Anthony Hamilton, Van Hunt, and Dwele. I have no idea why Bilal couldn’t get another record deal. So record labels if you are out there, find this guy and sign him!
Bilal – Fast Lane (Prod. by Dr. Dre)
Bilal ft. Common and Mos Def – Reminisce (Prod. by Jay Dee/ J Dilla)