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Optimus Maximus

I’ve been meaning to write about Gatekeeper for a while now, and I just found out that No Coast has a few copies available so I thought now was a good time. Back in October Fright Records released the latest EP from the frighteningly talented producer Gatekeeper. Optimus Maximus is a dark and electronic album that delves into the depths of the macabre. The album is available digitally at I-tunes, but I recommend the limited edition granite colored vinyl edition. Fright is a strange German label “dedicated to exploring the realm of serial killer symphonies for back alley discos of the macabre.” Gatekeeper was their first signing and clearly a perfect fit.

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All I Want For Christmas is Moneypenny

If you weren’t already thrown into the Christmas spirit by the massive amounts of wet snow on the sidewalks this morning then let Moneypenny finish the job with another great mixtape. Spandexxxmas Mixtape (mp3) features some classics, lots of samples, and dance tracks from Felix Da Housecat, Green Velvet ft. Kid Sis, Fatboy Slim, and more. Moneypenny has also produced a Christmas single of their own which consists of two covers. The “A” side is “Christmas Time is Here” (from Peanuts) (mp3) and the “B” side is surprisingly a cover of Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (mp3). Nothing says Christmas like Joy Division.

Moneypenny will be performing a DJ set at sponsored by Puma and DJ Hero at Belmont Army Surplus on December 9th. They will also be hosting “After Dark” at The Art Institute on December 11th, and playing a live set at Darkroom’s Ghosts of Christmas on December 12th.

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Meah!

Meah!, a wild garage-funk band out of the Pilsen neighborhood, released a spastic 7” on Sophomore Lounge Records this past September. The other side of the 7” was provided the Louisville band Phantom Family Halo. Meah! contributed two tracks and the first is called Kids/Summer and it is aggressive, unpredictable, pure fun on vinyl. Meah! has been a part of the scene for the last three years, and have gained a reputation for loud and uncontrollable live sets. You can stream both tracks on Meah! myspace page.

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Hyde Park (I Miss You)

Here is a new video from director Jovan Jimenez for the track "Hyde Park (I Miss You)" from the 2008 release Neighborhood Suicide from Radius (TSLOS).

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These Things Happen

The easy comparisons here are to group like Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, and US3, but The J. Davis Trio (JDT) sound has something original and refreshing. True, Stuart bring the old school flow, but you can’t help but bop your head. It’s the Southside garage-jazz that group brings that really sets them apart from the rest. With Flav-R-Ice on bass, Benjamin Pendulum on trumpet, and The Planet on Drums, these four have constructed an album filled with soulful jazz tracks and passionate rhymes about the city we all love.

I think that’s what make JDT unique, is their perspective and entrench in the Chicago streets they are. Whether it is talking about chillin’ at The Vic (“These Things Happen” (mp3)) or DePaul or Homewood or Flossmoor or Hyde Park, JDT have created an album that is a tribute jazz and hip hop fusion, but also to Chicago. Another aspect of this album that I really enjoy is the guest appearances, from the violin of Susan Voelz to the vocals of Stolie to the rhymes of O Type Star and Luchbox Law. These Things Happen is the groups third album and it was originally released in April of 2007. They are re-releasing the album through their own label Yo Yo Smuggler Records on December 9th, and as I float through these tracks they still sound fresh and need to be heard.

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