Shots Fired

Ask Sam, my fellow 3hiver, just how utterly amazing the Seaweed/Quicksand show was back about ten years ago at the old Club DV8 in Salt Lake City. It changed our lives. I’d venture to say 3hive wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for that concert. At the risk of exposing ourselves as the complete geeks we are, I’ll admit we were screaming every word of every song at the top of our lungs, working our air guitars as if possessed by a locomotive. Shots Fired, this Kansas City trio, would have made a perfect opener for that night. Check the chorus in “Squires @ Bristol.” I just about keeled over from a brain aneurysm rocking out to that guitar riff. But wait! It only plays through once!?! AAAAAAAA! Rewrite! Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Chorus, CHORUS!!

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If you listen to the critics (and who doesn’t?), this is Kanye West’s year. If Archetype have it their way, all eyes will be on their native Lawrence, Kansas, not Chicago’s South Side, in 2005. They’re starting their takeover by offering better than half of their music for download, so take advantage while the getting’s good. Nezbeat’s refreshingly ecclectic mix of samples (from opera to gospel) and tempos (from old school breaks to drum ‘n’ bass) along with I.D.’s unflinching flow won’t keep them on the fringe for long.
Note: This isn’t the metal band of the same name that you’ll see if you search on Amazon or Insound (so, just this once, ignore those links and go to the artists’ site for purchase information).

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DJ Riko

Our friend Jacob sent my wife a link with the following note: “Heard this tonight on KCRW and immediately thought that Sam would dig it…” I’m not sure if he thought I’d dig it because it comes from an album called Latter Day Taints (a knowing nod to my Mormon peeps) or because I’m a closet whistler. Either way, he’s right, I dig it real good. DJ Riko is a plundering masher-upper cat from Columbus, Ohio who either doesn’t have a day job or doesn’t sleep ’cause he’s mad prolific. For “Whistler’s Delight” he pulls a crateful of whistled “riffs” from various songs, beginning with Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers,” and takes us on a spotter’s field trip. By the way, if you can name all 22 songs used herein by year’s end, email Riko and he might award you with one of his fancy bootleg CDs. See his site for more details, and many more downloads — including a nice 55MB holiday mix.

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Air King Sound

San Francisco experimental sound posse who create very brilliant haunted soundscapes, perfect for moody film scores and a certain sense of isolation. Owing a lot to Brian Eno, but still managing to claim their own sound. Favorite track: “Gomez Gomez.”

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These “original” tracks feature some swell breaks ‘n’ beats ‘n’ what-not but, to be honest, the Kleptones aren’t nearly as interesting when abiding by copyright laws… This post is merely an excuse to plug their new mash-up-and-more theme album, A Night at the Hip Hopera. After giving the Flaming Lips a b-boy makeover with Yoshimi Battles the Hip Hop Robots, the audio kleptomaniacs are back at it with a similar tribute to Queen. To have a listen, head over to, where you’ll find the complete album for download as well as a collaborative dissection of the countless samples used therein.

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Cat Five

Another shot from the suggestion box… Cat Five’s madcap samplerama Kataphonics finally has a sibling, a new 12-inch called “On the Rise.” This may seem like a thin body of work for a five-year-old group. That is, until you discover the hours of original or heavily refurbished live tracks available on their site and realize what a fool you were for ever doubting them. These MP3s in particular were recorded directly from the mixing board and could easily pass for studio material. Cat Five are Avalanches on a budget; Negativland with a beat; whatever comparison you use when you find yourself nodding and smirking at the same time.

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The Shifties

West Coast slowpop vibe via Windy City. The pace picks up by “Can’t Go On”: the verses spunky like “Kids in America” while the chorus jangles like something off Reckoning. A fun find from the suggestion box.

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“Nostalgia” has always been the phrase at the heart of what could be called the entertainment equivalent of conservatism, i.e., it’s a dangerous reaffirmation of not just the status quo but of “the way things used to be.” Yet I just can’t fight that good ol’ feeling Spiraling gives me: classic keyboard melodics, arena-rocking riffs and cymbals — heck, there’s even an organ in there. Tom Brislin knows his history, that’s for sure, but I’m ready to throw down with anyone who tries to call these tracks, as much as they’ll make you think of the glory days of new wave, anything but the new new thing.

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Experimental Dental School

You’re tossing and turning in your sleep. A nightmare. You’re in your bed, in your room. But it’s not your room. It’s a carnival fun-house. A band is playing the most beautiful music ever heard…in a nightmare. The singer sounds like Jello Biafra, but it’s not Jello Biafra. Dreams are like that.

Note: This is the entire album Hideous Dance Attack.

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