Monday, February 19th | Doors at 7pm
The final words sung on the sixth album by WHY? are an apt place to begin: “Hold on, what’s going on?” Because while there’s much familiar about the oddly named Moh Lhean—mastermind Yoni Wolf’s sour-sweet croon, his deadpan poet’s drawl and ear for stunningly fluid psych-pop-folk-whatever arrangement—a great deal has changed in the four years that’ve passed since 2012’s Mumps, Etc., an LP that honed the band’s orchestral precision and self-deprecating swagger to a fine point. It’s significant that this is the first fully home-recorded WHY? album since the project’s 2003 debut. Made mostly in Wolf’s studio and co-produced by his brother Josiah, the result is obsessive, of course, but also intimate, and flush with warmth and looseness. But the biggest transformation is a bit subtler. After years of eying his world, in part, with a cynical squint, Wolf here learns a new mode. While Moh Lhean never stoops to outright optimism, it chronicles our hero finding peace in the unknowing, trading the wry smirk for a holy shrug, and looking past corporeal pain for something more cosmic and, rest assured, equally weird.
Saturday July 26th | Doors at 8pm
Strictly Business 30 Year Anniversary
Raashan Ahmad of Crown City Rockers
Hailing from Long Island, NY, EPMD’s first album, Strictly Business, appeared in 1988 and featured the underground hit “Strictly Business,” which sampled Eric Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” Many critics cite this first album as the group’s most influential. The group’s brand of funk-fueled sample-heavy hip-hop proved to be a major force in the genre. Unlike old school hip hop, which was originally based on disco hits but eventually became more electronic, EPMD based its music mainly on lifting funk and rock breaks for samples and helped to popularize their usage, along with Marley Marl and Public Enemy. “You’re a Customer” combined snippets of Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle,” Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie, the bass line from ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses” and drum beat (Roger Linn LM-2 machine). “Jane,” about a romantic rendezvous gone bad, would be revisited on no less than five sequels; a first for hip-hop, and, perhaps, rock and roll as well. “You Gots to Chill” used 1980s funk band Zapp’s “More Bounce to the Ounce,” which has become one of the most enduring sample sources for hip-hop. EPMD later appeared on the single “Everybody (Get Up)” by Zapp frontman Roger Troutman on his last solo album, Bridging The Gap, in 1991. “I’m Housin'” was covered some 12 years later by Rage Against the Machine. Managed early on by Russell Simmons’ RUSH Management, the group toured with such hip-hop luminaries as Run-DMC, Public Enemy, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.