Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review: Soulcrate Music's The Heartland Panic

Sixty-second promotional video for The Heartland Panic

I didn't think they had it in them.

Having seen Soulcrate Music perform several times, I had the hip hop group pegged as inspired amateurs, long on enthusiasm but short on talent.

The Heartland Panic, however, represents a huge step forward. Honestly, I didn't think Soulcrate Music was capable of producing an album this solid. It's shockingly good. Even their most devoted fans- the ones who drive the 500 hundred miles from Soulcrate Music's base in Sioux Falls to see them play in Kansas City- must be secretly surprised.

The act shares the same general musical sensibility as labelmate Mac Lethal. But where Mac is misanthropic, Soulcrate Music shrug their collective shoulders and smile. The sibling MCs come across as an updated, Midwestern version of Run-DMC. That makes DJ Absolute their Jam-Master Jay. Songs like "Let It Shine" exude the old-school good times of '80s hip hop.

It's not as if the three men in Soulcrate Music are trying to be something they're not. They wholeheartedly embrace their Midwestern roots. So even as they rap over funk samples on "Clouds In My Head" and "Keep Hope Dead," it's still obvious that they're melanin-challenged dudes from the Dakotas.

They make no claims, thankfully, to be hip hop purists. Not unlike P.O.S., they mash up electro and punk on "Electric Heavy Glow." "Think About Me" brings the solo work of Rancid's Tim Armstrong to mind. And "Sleep Awake" would slip comfortably between the Cure and Passion Pit on an alternative rock playlist.

The Heartland Panic is the sound of guys headed to an epic party.

I call shotgun.

A friend recently mocked my predisposition to love everything issued by the ECM label. It's true. A video documenting a recent performance by the Tord Gustavsen Ensemble buckles my knees.

I not sure which version of 72 Musicians I'm going to download.

It's so nice to hear this Sarah Buxton song on a local terrestrial radio station. The operative word is "cute." The Kansas girl recently spoke with Tim Finn.

The new video from There Stands the Glass favorites Grace Potter and the Nocturnals is a cover of "White Rabbit." It's the final track of the Almost Alice soundtrack. The band's next album streets June 8.

I'm looking forward to reading the Mac Lethal interview in the forthcoming issue of Demencha magazine.

Kansas City Click: Ron Ron and J. Stalin are among the hip hop elite performing Thursday at America's Pub.

Country fans will "Get Off On the Pain" with Gary Allan Friday at the VooDoo Lounge.

Dave Frishberg visits the Folly Theater on Saturday.

Dropkick Murphys play the Beaumont Club on Sunday.


bgo said...

Do you know what Manfred's first release on ECM was? You might be surprised. I used to have an import copy (only available way at the time)until it was stolen along with the rest of my very large collection of vinyl at the time (February 1977).

Happy In Bag said...

Wiki pegs it as Mal Waldron. Interesting.

Hey, you're probably working today but I intend to catch Ben Kynard at the jazz museum this afternoon. See Plastic Sax for details.

bgo said...

This IS my Saturday to work. Drat.
I love Ben K. One afternoon at MMF in the mid-1980's he played a solo that surprised even himself. It was truly a magic moment in music. Gone to the ether.

オテモヤン said...


Happy In Bag said...

BGO- Not only is Ben Kynard alive, he's sharp as a tack. The talk was wonderful. More to come.

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