Thought I’d give a few recommendations today for some cool finds in the book and music world.
Quick, name me one Japanese-American rapper from Berkeley. If you name one, it’ll be Lyrics Born. I’ve been an LB fan since “Callin’ Out” and every album gets better than the last. And his new one, “Real People” is really fantastic.
The Prince influence has often been front and center in his work. This album dives whole hog into Sly and the Family Stone territory. And it’s fantastic. LB has always had a flair for uncommon subjects for hip-hop music and it’s refreshing to hear a real person in the music instead of the cartoonish figures we see in mainstream hip hop.
If you listen to just one song on this album, make it “Holy Matrimony”. And then don’t stop there. Listen to the whole damn thing. Twice.
Next up is a challenging album from my favorite songwriter, Butch Walker. One thing I value in any songwriter is depth and variety. Butch has that in spades. (And also has an album called The Spade, strangely enough.)
Butch’s new album, Afraid of Ghosts, is the downtempo acoustic-y side of Butch. The album is a response to his father’s death, so you can’t expect party music here. But it’s a solid album as always. I’m seeing Butch live next month, so I’m boning up on the new stuff.
The record was produced by Ryan Adams. And I’ll admit, I’m not really a fan of Adams’ work or production style. But Butch’s songs make it worthwhile.
Check out “21+” for a stand out track.
On the book front, “Seafaring Women” by David Cordingly is really great. It’s the mostly untold story of the women of the 1600’s on dealing with their seafaring men on land and also how they got on the sea themselves.
Outside of the obvious Anne Bonny and Mary Read stories, which he doesn’t spend a lot of time on, there are plenty of other “women in disguise” tales. There are also stories of women stepping up to helm the ship when the captain goes down. There are a couple in here that deserve screenplays really bad.
I also just finished Alan Light’s “Let’s Go Crazy” about the making of “Purple Rain”. I’m a Prince nut, so this is right up my alley. Not to mention, Mr. Light’s book about the song “Hallelujah” is also fascinating.
Any writing on Prince is always tough to do since the guy won’t talk to anyone. But Alan gets in deep with some of the members of The Revolution for a great behind the scenes look at the making of both the album and the movie, and the cultural impact it had in the very crowded pop music scene of 1984.
If you even have a passing interest in Prince or 1980’s pop music, this is definitely worth a read.
Heads up for next time… I’m reading a ton of pirate books. You’ll see why sometime soon. 🙂