Louis C.K. may have the most emotive brow of all time. It scrunches and wrinkles as he listens. He sighs. Sometimes a smile plays across his lips. Sometime his face falls. Sometimes he weeps, holding his head in his hands. In his latest series, Horace and Pete, he stars as a chronically sad bar owner, Horace Wittel, alongside a fantastically manic Steve Buscemi as Pete Wittel, his brother/cousin and co-owner of the bar. The confused familial relationship of the duo is just the tip of an iceberg that extends deep into the history of televised drama and the subconscious of a uniquely American dysfunctionality.
Micah: I used to hate Drake. A lot. I’m a total bandwagon Drake fan. I used to hate Drake in the same way I hated Lil’ Wayne when he was in everyone’s face ten years ago. At the time Wayne was dropping endless mixtapes and features and it was way too much for me. Later when I heard he had signed a Canadian singer who was writing for him and making songs like “The Motto” I was not stoked.
Have you ever dreamed that you were wide awake, or gone through a day feeling as though you might actually be sleeping? That’s kinda what it’s like listening to Wake Up, the debut release from Toothbone, a project springing forth from the mind of multi-instrumentalist Dan Rossi.
I first came to Portland as a fresh-eyed eighteen year-old cellist whose interest in the formal world of classical music had all but disappeared. I began playing the cello at the age of six and remained immersed in music throughout my teens, but by the time I was a Junior I no longer harbored an intrinsic motivation for etudes. My desire to improve my classical chops had steadily waned. I stopped taking lessons–they had become something I had to do as opposed to something for which I yearned.
Henry: It’s tough working with a dead person’s art. How can we know if we’ve stayed true to their vision? The obvious answer is that, well, we can’t. Posthumous releases will necessarily be a projection of what we thought the artist would have wanted, and the degree of the projection depends on the completeness of the work as it has been left to us, and the extent to which the creator gave instructions for how they wanted their legacy to be fulfilled.
Talking to Matt Takiff, you get the feeling that every word he says is true, or is a truth, or is not a lie, even if he made it up. The difference between those three things is subtle, but that difference lies at the heart of good songwriting, which could also be called something like emotional honesty.
Henry: There’s a distinct personality in the tone of every great horn player, a character that comes not from the instrument but from the sheer physicality of the embouchure, the strength of the lungs and the lips and the patterns that the fingers come to know. Timbre is derived in a very literal way from the body, such that when played correctly, the horn transcends its status as instrument to become voice itself.
Micah: No one could start a verse life Phife. His charisma, off-kilter lyricism and delivery are often the first thing to stick with me when I get into a new Tribe song. It’s tragic to hear that the Five Foot Assassin has departed, leaving A Tribe Called Quest permanently unwhole for the first time. He will be missed, but we still have his music. Thank you Phife. Rest in peace.
Henry: Phife Dawg was one of the first rappers I ever heard to unabashedly rap about whatever happened to be on his mind. In a genre so often caught up in beefs and battles and debates over who is the GOAT, it’s easy to take oneself too seriously, to try too hard and end up forcing it. Phife never did, and that’s what makes A Tribe Called Quest the most listenable rap group of all time. His style finds a universality in its easy humor, always putting smiles on faces, never losing sight of just how much fun it is to rhyme.
I run the simulator. That’s my job and pretty much my life’s work. I had one job before this one. I used to work at the Pudgy Burger. I made the fries. I hated it because I’d always get burned by the grease, and Randy the manager said I was too slow. I’ve never been very strong or quick of a person, but I have a good mind for things. That’s what my uncle used to say. I told Randy that I wanted a different job but he told me to stop being such a baby and just fry the fucking fries. When I finally quit there, he said it was about time, and called me a weird little pussy.
Micah: Kendrick officially entered my personal top 5 emcees of all time with his last release. I know he’s still very new compared to the greats, but his progression and domination of the culture are undeniable, and barring an unexpected misstep, Kendrick might be the greatest to ever do it. The one-two-three punch of his first albums is not only comparable to Kanye’s first trilogy, but arguably better. Kendrick has shown drastic artistic growth along with a doubling down on his integrity. If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon already, it’s time. This mix begins a bit dense, but gives you an idea of what kind of experience you can expect from Kendrick. If you want the lighter stuff, start around track four.
Henry: What he said. Just listen to the music.