Staff Trax: Rusko, INXS, Big Dumb Face, MIracle Legion, Glass Candy, Rival Schools
Rusko - "Woo Boost"
Over the past three years or so, dubstep has changed the face of urban music, incorporating many of the gritty ideologies of its predecessors while simultaneously having access to technologies only dreamed of by previous generations of musicians. Rusko, a dubstep producer and DJ known for his bass-heavy rhythms and insane live show, is one of the tastemakers moving the genre forward. Check out the above video for his track "Woo Boost," which comes from his forthcoming debut album O.M.G.! due out in May. And catch his live show at Trees on April 30. --Nic. Hernandez
I've been a longtime fan of INXS. In fact, Shabooh Shoobah was the first non-Smurfs album I ever bought with my own money. Along with Crowded House, INXS is one of the two bands that I've consistently listened to since I could earn money for chores. I even made my ultimate INXS mixtape after meeting the band on the Elegantly Wasted tour shortly before Michael Hutchence's death. So, when Beck's Record Club convened to cover INXS's Kick in its entirety, I got pretty excited... except that it's not the best album they could've covered. It was huge, no doubt, and it's got a wide variety of influences, but frankly, it's just not my favorite. So I've been bouncing back and forth between my INXS 1980s triumvirate--1985's Listen Like Thieves, 1984's The Swing and 1982's Shabooh Shoobah (their first worldwide release)--figuring out what songs I would've preferred the Record Club cover, if not an entire album. "Listen Like Thieves" and "Red Red Sun" would've definitely made the short list. "To Look at You," "Don't Change" and "Soul Mistake" would definitely be on it. Ah, "Soul Mistake"--just listening to it makes me nostalgic. --Merritt Martin
I'm not sure what made me think about it (that is a lie, I was watching the "Dog Police" video on YouTube), but I recently re-purchased Big Dumb Face's Duke Lion Fights the Terror album. It's crazy that an album that hasn't entered my conscious for nearly a decade is back at the top of my rotation, but I can't get enough of its eclectic mix of songs. For those that don't remember, Big Dumb Face was Wes Borland's quirky project for the brief period in the early 2000s when he quit Limp Bizkit. Duke Lion was a concept album in the vein of Ween, The Buggles and Devo--only way more metal. The album's subject matter revolves heavily around a hero named Duke Lion who is represented by a Ween-style speed country track. Each subsequent track is about creatures he battles, all sung fittingly enough with alien or other vocal effects to help paint the picture. It was a disc that never took itself too seriously, although neither did critics. But to be fair, this album was probably a decade ahead of its time anyway. --Cory Graves
Another artifact from my college years, Miracle Legion was always considered a second-rate R.E.M. And, yes, since the quartet from New Haven featured a singer name Mark Mulcahy who did sound a little like Michael Stipe, the band never outlived the initial criticism. But that's all a shame because all four full-lengths Miracle Legion put out contain some quality material. "You're The One Lee" is a beautiful indie-pop song recorded when the band was reduced to a duo in 1989 for the album Me and Mr. Ray. The band's best effort, 1987's Surprise Surprise Surprise, is only available on CD in Japan. Mulcahy, meanwhile, has recorded three reasonably decent solo albums, but nothing on the level of Miracle Legion. --Darryl Smyers
Italians Do It Better duo Johnny Jewel and Ida No aka Glass Candy, have a new 12" single out, and yes, a video to go along with it! After years of shamelessly cooing over the duo, I am pleased to see that the band has finally released a music video. And while "Feeling Without Touching" has been available on the band's MySpace page for some time, the video is brand-spankin'-new, check it out! --Catherine Downes
Talking with Pete (and reading his write-up on its SXSW performance), I was reminded that Rival Schools is back, and not just as a one-off reunion. With a new album set for release this year, I'm quite excited that this band is back together. No offense to Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, or Walking Concert fans, but this is my favorite band Walter Schreifels has been a part of. There's plenty of melodious abrasion on Rival Schools' debut, United By Fate, and it's still an amazing album. --Eric Grubbs