By Mike Breen
MGMT – Oracular Spectacular: I loved this album’s weird dynamic, the mystery and vibe of it all, and the amazing songs, which mixed warmer modern Dance music ideas with folksy Bowie musings and subtle Psych freakouts. I also loved the seemingly organic build of the album’s success (it came out in January, but still seems to be snowballing new fans) — it’s like a cult classic that millions have fallen in love with.
Cincinnati Entertainment Awards/MidPoint Music Festival: Cheating somewhat, since CityBeat runs both events, but I’ve never been prouder of our company. The CEAs blew my expectation out of the water and MidPoint seems well on its way to becoming something much bigger than it already has become.
The Seedy Seeds CD release party for Count the Days: If you are ever feeling down, instead of reaching for the heroin or Prozac, get yourself to a Seedy Seeds show. The local duo’s release concert was exploding with optimism and good cheer and the set (which featured a live drummer on some songs and a roof-tearing version of “Sweet Caroline”) made for one of the best shows I saw all year. The Seedy Seeds — fighting cynicism one Rock show at a time.
The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale: This album by some more Windy City Hip Hop whiz kids is incredibly simple — pulsing, minimal tracks and old-school flavored rhymes — but it’s more addictive than a bowlful of crack. “With a little bit gold and a pagah”!
Of Montreal in concert: There’s no way to accurately explain what this formerly straightforward Indie Pop band (turned Glam Rock-meets-Prince freakshow) does in concert these days. Dripping with sex, sexual ambiguity, sexual tension and a little more sex, OM in concert is a mix between a community theater production of Hair, Peter Gabriel and David Bowie at their theatrical peak and Mummenshanz. Uh, in a good way.THE HATES
Those “FreeCreditReport.com” commercials featuring some frumpy, scraggly dudes singing about being broke make me scramble for the remote faster than a Reba marathon.
“Political music”: Normally at least mildly interesting. In 2008 — boring! That will.i.am video featuring an Obama speech was cool for about a second. You know things are bad when even artists can’t express their frustrations and hopes properly.
Chinese Democracy: It’s official — Axl’s latest opus is the Ishtar, Waterworld and Heaven Can Wait of the music world, all rolled into one. Now where’s my Dr. Pepper, bitch!
Auto-Tune: OK, we get it, you sound like a robot! Now, for the love of Cher, please stop!
Vampire Weekend — Vampire Weekend: The “big album of the year that I just don’t get.” I hear people say it’s like Paul Simon’s Graceland mixed with Indie Pop. And I always say, “That sounds like the music that will be playing if I ever blow my head off with a shotgun.”
The Best Hip Hop 3.0 Players & Moments of 2008
By Kevin Britton
Lupe Fiasco: So, he stumbled through a few classic ATCQ lyrics. Lupe still remains a true leader of the new school.
Q-Tip (The Abstract): How a Golden Age poet manages to remain relevant in today’s fickle age escapes me, but get Tip’s The Renaissance now. Instant classic.
Illa J: If the name doesn’t say it all, J is Dilla’s younger brother. Not much going on lyrically, but it’s good to hear more of his big brother’s mesmerizing beats kept within the Detroit fam.
The Cool Kids: Honestly, I don’t quite get the whole Hipster thing (those sunglasses are way too big for my face), but this Chicago-based team is doing it … differently.
K’naan: A little bit Rap, a little bit Reggae, all revolutionary. Watch for this Somali-born artist in the months and years ahead.
Immortal Technique: Not his first time on my list, but this conscious emcee’s tireless efforts to rebuild communities — including offering a writing scholarship to teens — is what Hip Hop should be about.
Blue Scholars: This Seattle-based duo, along with Gabriel Teodros and Common Market, are combining sharp lyricism with political action and empowerment.
Hip Hop and Obama: Blame it on my “Three Minute Challenge” joint (September 30, 2008, issue of CityBeat), but you gotta love how even some of the least political artists (Jeezy?) jumped on the campaign bandwagon.
Jay Electronica: He may sound just like Nasir Jones, but the enigmatic producer/emcee brings an intriguing and haunting sound to his tracks.
While we’re on the topic of Electronica: Is it just me, or is everyone trying their best to recreate that mid-80s Kraftwerk/Soulsonic Force sound? Do I need to lose 20 and dust off those old parachute pants?
Top 10 Places to Stalk Local Rockers
By C.A. MacConnell
10) I recently ran into Brendan Bogosian (Cash Flagg) at Kroger. He was buying imported beer. Nothing else. We chatted it up near the Diet Mountain Dew, which is what I was buying. Bogosian looked very, very confused at my beverage choice.
9) I also spotted singer/songwriter Matt Shelton at Kroger. He was buying produce, getting ready for a camping trip. I wanted to go, but he never invited me. We shared an odd, long stare.
8) Again, at Kroger. Lance Kaufman (The Stardevils, Cut in the Hill Gang) was checking out and I was at the bank. He was trying to bag his shit, but I distracted him, pissing off the whole line. Kaufman was heading out on the road, stocking up on supplies. I was heading home to shower, since I hadn’t done so in three days. Nice.
7) Apparently, singer/songwriter Nathan Holscher likes to rent movies at Blockbuster. When I said hello to him there, we were both empty-handed. Neither one of us could find anything good. Either that, or he didn’t want me to see what he was going to pick. I run into Holscher a lot. Bookstores, bars, you name it. Last year, Brian Lovely (Faux Frenchmen) followed me around. This year, Holscher. Hmm. A conspiracy.
6) I spotted Billy Alletzhauser (The Hiders) at Yagoot frozen yogurt in Hyde Park, but I didn’t say hi because it was weird to run into him so far away from Clifton and I had no idea what to say other than, “How’s your yogurt?”
5) In case you wondered, looker Abby Cox (The Happy Maladies) likes some UDF ice cream every now and again.
4) I spied Pearlene singer Reuben Glaser on the Clifton back streets, trying to break into his own car. He wasn’t very good at it. I drove by and waved, but I didn’t help him. I just laughed.
3) Michael McIntire (and The Marmalade Brigade) is my Sitwell’s Coffee Shop buddy. Sometimes we venture outside the shop to smoke, but we never hang out too far from Sitwell’s, because that would be too scary.
2) Once a year, I run into Electronica/Hip Hop artist Abiyah at IGA. We have yet to make eye contact. I usually just stare at the back of her hair, which is always interesting.
1) A while back, I ran into Jason Ludwig (noctaluca) at Kaldi’s. A mutual friend introduced us. I acted like I didn’t know Ludwig. We shared a quick handshake. Ludwig obviously had no idea who I was, even though we’d formally met twice before. Not to mention, I’d been to numerous noctaluca shows, I knew he played a yellow guitar and I had all of his CDs. And a T-shirt. And a button. With every ounce of my small being, I tried to keep the conversation going. Nada. His skinny frame bolted outta there lightning fast. He must’ve been late for something.
Bright Eyes, Bon Iver, Bonnaroo and the Boss: An Almost Alliterated Top 10
1. Bruce Springsteen in concert at Nashville’s Sommet Center: This is the third and best show I saw on Springsteen’s Magic tour. Never miss the Boss if I can help it, and nights like this remind me why. He lives for this and makes you want to as well. This was toward the end of the tour and though Bruce usually changes set lists from show to show, this one was unbelievable. Taking song requests from fans on the floor, he must have played 15 song-audibles that were different from the show before. No one else does this — ever (okay, maybe Dylan to a lesser extent). It’s why he’s bootlegged so much.
2. Dylan’s Telltale Signs: Bootleg Series 8: What more can we say about this guy, other than ask if he’s mortal? Another installment from his vintage Bootleg Series and, surprisingly, it’s one of the best. These are alternate versions, castoffs and soundtrack entries from his later period records in the ’80s, ’90s and more recently.
Bob wouldn’t be Bob if he didn’t leave several classics off each record and bury them in the studio vault. I can’t wait for the next chapter.
3. Centromatic/South San Gabriel’s Dual Hawks: It’s beyond me how Will Johnson, the Texan songwriting leader of these two bands, does not have a higher profile. Few writers are more prolific with quality material. Blend the Flaming Lips with Wilco and you’re in the ballpark. This two-disc set ranges from Centromatic’s fuzzed-out Rock to South San Gabriel’s more existential desert Folk. These guys deserve a wider audience.
4. The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive: Just the latest kick-ass tumble of distorted guitar, hallucinogenic street imagery and Craig Finn’s punk vocal attack. This guy can write. Think Lou Reed‘s Street Hassle, Jim Carroll’s Basketball Diaries and early Springsteen’s hyper-verbosity and you’re in touch with The Hold Steady. Less keyboard and more guitar here than on their last one. This time out Finn actually tries to sing a bit instead of just ranting, but it works either way for me.
5. Conor Oberst’s self-titled solo album: This is his solo debut, which is negligible since Bright Eyes always seemed to be Oberst’s own project as well. Regardless, this is his strongest set of songs in years. Best of all, it’s without much of Oberst’s whiny, emo mannerisms that mar many of his records. Word is, he traveled down to Mexico and wrote and recorded these songs below the border.
6. Sigur Ros’ Med Sud Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust: Ambient, instrumental hymns aren’t really my thing, but seeing Sigur Ros at Bonnaroo last summer convinced me. I remember watching their midnight set from atop a Ferris wheel and their glacial beauty hypnotized all of us. Celestial sparks lit up the Tennessee night and I wanted to hear more. A choir of strings and otherworldly voices float into slow-building arias that melt with majesty and burn with the beauty of the Ages. Just try not to be moved by this sonic symphony.
7. Sun Kil Moon’s April: This is ex-Red House Painters’ Mark Kozelek’s third project with his little San Francisco combo. You don’t listen to Kozelek if you’re looking for something radically different than what he released before, which is not a bad thing. This suite of songs is as languidly gorgeous as anything else in his catalogue.
8. Kathleen Edwards’ Asking for Flowers: This is the Canadian singer/songwriter’s third record, and it’s as strong as what came before. Lucinda Williams gets all the press in the Alt.Country world, but Edwards is quickly emerging as her peer. Her sultry voice, twang-fueled guitar and songwriting prowess have put her on the Roots map. She’s got a long career ahead of her and I look forward to following it.
9. Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago: Justin Vernon’s spare, burnished song project resounds with me. The record’s back-story goes that Vernon holed up in a cabin in the Wisconsin woods after a breakup to write and record this song-cycle lament. Reminiscent of Ray Lamontagne, though Vernon’s delicate songs are more rugged on repeated listening. This one’s a keeper, and perfect by firelight for the long months of winter to come.
10. Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn.: I’m biased because I got to cover this four-day event for CityBeat last summer. This was my third time down to the summer fest, though, and I’ll keep returning with or without a press pass. If you’re a music-lover and don’t mind missing a shower every once in a while, this is for you. Around 80,000 people checking out over a hundred bands for a long weekend sounds like a potential nightmare, but you’d be surprised at how well-coordinated the whole shindig is. Just for starters, I saw Iron & Wine, Pearl Jam, Jacob Dylan, Robert Plant/Alison Krause, Metallica, The Raconteurs, My Morning Jacket, Levon Helm, etc. And then the second day started!
A Randomly Abnoxious 2008 Top 10
By Shawn Abnoxious
The birth of my daughter, Olive Leah Siana, and watching (local musician) Mark Zero interact with her for the first time whilst on Fountain Square.
Creativa Convergence Free-Mic every last Saturday of the Month in Fairfield.
The procedure of the Dinka Tribe and how they stimulate cow vaginas to get them to produce good milk. Or how they bathe in urine. Or how they play in cow shit every morning … you choose.
The Nightman Cometh! (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia)
Witnessing a messy hair Lil’ Billy Catfish eating fruit while shopping in Shake It Records and trying to pick up chicks.
The Pure Digital Flip Video Camera and how much of my life now revolves around it.
“In your bedroom … That place where we get comfortable” (The Cincinnati Suds’ Bedroom)
The discovery/birth of The Juice by Jerry’s “Fuck Yeah Thumb.”
Teetering on the Brink of Science.
The Return of The Panther and the subsequent defeat of the Red-Haired Dragon.
Best Shows to Shoot: The View Behind the Lens
By Keith Klenowski
1. Radiohead - Verizon Music Center (Indy)
2. Black Keys - Lifestyles Community Pavilion (Columbus, Ohio)
3. Ryan Adams - Taft Theatre
4. Andrew Bird – MusicNOW (Music Hall)
5. Wilco - White River State Park (Indy)
6. The National - Vote Early, Rock Late (Fountain Square)
7. Vampire Weekend - Gypsy Hut
8. Band Of Horses – Southgate House
9. Bruce Springsteen - US Bank Arena
10. Cincinnati Entertainment Awards – Emery Theatre
[See a slideshow of Keith's favorite photos of the year here.]
Salty Songs for the iPod Shuffle after Election 2008
By Mildred C. Fallen
Many did manage to feign indifference about the election results until happy hour, and even then they whooped or wept in their cars. But suppose President-Elect Barack Obama’s win caused a hungover McCain supporter to burst into boo-hooing sobs in the semi-privacy of his work cubicle, letting this wretched playlist repeat until his battery died:
“Crying” - Roy Orbison
“It’s the End of the World” - R.E.M.
“Didn’t We Almost Have it All” - Whitney Houston
“Only One Can Win” - The Sylvers
“Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” - Crystal Gayle
“Aw Naw” - Nappy Roots
“A Salty Dog” - Procol Harum
“Good Morning, Heartache” - Billie Holiday
“Judy’s Turn to Cry” - Leslie Gore
“Loser” - Beck
“Crime of the Century” - Supertramp
“Are You Drinkin’ With Me Jesus” - Mojo Dixon
“I Don’t Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling” - Thom Sharpe
“Willful Suspension of Disbelief” - Modest Mouse
“Elected” - Alice Cooper
“It’s a Mistake” - Men at Work
“Hero Takes a Fall” - The Bangles
“I Wanna Be Sedated” - The Ramones
“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” - Vicki Lawrence
“There’s a Tear in My Beer” - Hank Williams Jr.
A 2008 Baker’s Dozen (Minus Three)
By Brian Baker
If the music industry suffered another 12 months of woe, music itself experienced a banner year. From indies to majors and across wide genre divisions, greatness poured out of speakers in 2008 with fire hydrant force. Only 10? I think we’re missing a zero...
1. Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal: It only makes sense that erstwhile punk/Americana/singer songwriter/genius Alejandro Escovedo would create a career album by creating a sonic scrapbook about his career and amazing life.
2. Elvis Costello and the Imposters - Momofuku: Elvis Costello has conclusively proven he knows his way around Country, Jazz, Opera, Classical and R&B. With Momofuku, he showed that he hasn’t forgotten how to snarl like an angry young punk in his middle age.
3. Randy Newman - Harps and Angels: Combining all his estimable skills — storytelling troubadour, sharp-tongued cultural observer, intuitive film scorer — Randy Newman offered up a brilliant album that was both headline contemporary and transcendently timeless.
4. Kathleen Edwards - Asking for Flowers: For her third album, Canadian Roots singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards sharpened all her skills to a raggedly fine point, nailing everything from swaggering guitar squall to hear-stopping lyrical emotion.
5. Nada Surf - Lucky: With Lucky, Matthew Caws and Nada Surf expanded beyond their early hyperkinetic Pop mastery to encompass a more reflective yet equally powerful perspective without ever forgetting the rush and appeal of their first four albums.
6. Lucinda Williams - Little Honey: When Lucinda Williams is miserable she wipes the floor with most Country acts. On Little Honey, she proved that love’s giddiness gives her a similar advantage in the Rock realm. She even gives a twang and bounce to AC/DC‘s “It’s a Long Way to the Top.”
7. David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today: Only Byrne and Eno could find the blissful Pop heart at the center of Disco, Gospel and African music and combine them into a spine-tingling hybrid that got better with every successive spin.
8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!: Nick Cave has always done quiet desperation better than most. This one showed, in bone-crunching fashion, that the only thing he does better is loud desperation.
9. The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia: Both former frontmen gone solo, The Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli and Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan combined forces to create a dark and compelling set that channeled Iggy, Bowie and Led Zep with a psychedelic Jazz/Folk frenzy.
10. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely: On their sophomore album, The Raconteurs coalesced as an honest-to-God group under a Classic Rock/scorched Blues/muscular Pop umbrella.
Hot Dates in ’08
By Sara Beiting
March 1 - Prince Fest benefiting The Drew Campbell Memorial Fund, Southgate House
What better way to ring in a friend’s 30th than shakin’ ass to the sounds we grew up on. Local delights including Abiyah, Buckra, Joe Hedges, Matt Shelton, The Slacks, The Seedy Seeds and Wake the Bear ran the royal realm from “Darlin’ Nikki” and “I Like it There” to “Alphabet Soup” and “Joy in Repetition.” All for a cool cause.
April 15 - The Panderers, Southgate House
My most anticipated show of the year, I do believe. All I will say is that The Panderers met and exceeded my simplest hopes. My heart goes out to these mates because their hearts go into it.
May 10 – The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker at the King Records 65th Anniversary Panel Discussion and Photo Exhibit, Main Library
Through the devoted efforts of advocates such as Bootsy Collins, Elliott Ruther and Brian Powers, King Records’ 65th Anniversary has honorably been an ongoing celebration this year that kicked off in May with two panel discussions covering the components of the label’s melting pot: Country/Bluegrass and R&B/Blues. After ingesting a full plate of local music history, I was ready for a little action. Charles Walker and The Dynamites, an old-school R&B/Soul band from Nashville, heard about the King Records anniversary program and were happy to perform a sneak-peak of their Southgate House show that night. Simply put, they blew the words off the pages out of the books off the shelves that afternoon as if they were playing Madison Square Garden.
May 22 – DeVotchKa, Southgate House
It had been years since I’d first seen these whimsical wizards at First Avenue (Minneapolis) and I’d been yearning to catch another glimpse ever since. Cincinnati made it on their tour map and, despite a raw gullet, Nick Urata and his troupe cast their enchanting spell upon the eager ears and eyes of the circus crowd. T’was quite the night to close one’s eyes, open one’s ears, take in the spectacular spectacle and misplace the mind for the moment. Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune …
July 16 – JJ Grey & Mofro, Southgate House
Happy Birthday to Me: Night One. I have had the good fortune over the past few years to lay claim to JJ Grey & Mofro’s mid-summer local shows as my own birthday revelry. This year was no exception, nor was the summer heat. Those Southern boys took the stage and not a Midwestern minute later we were sweltering in the sultry sweet ’n salty pit of the Southgate House hot box. Even Grey, a native Floridian, couldn’t handle our heat; poor boy had to shed his shirt (ahem, photos please). Damn shame. And a gritty good time.
July 17 – Medeski, Martin and Wood, Madison Theater
Happy Birthday to Me: Night Two. The last place I expected to be the following night was front row and center stage at any venue in town. I was stoked for MMW but best-case scenario had me perched on a stool chilling in the distance. Apparently a few espresso martinis compliments of Keystone, the David Blaine sighting on the Suspension Bridge and, of course, the musical majesty of John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood. It was the perfect storm that sent me sailing to unexpected seas. It was one of those euphoric experiences where expectations were big and a certain trumping force sent it above and beyond.
Sept. 27 – Flow, MidPoint Music Festival
I could do a Top Ten for MidPoint alone, but the band Flow was a definitive standout. They didn’t simply submit their EPK, get an invitation and drive their van a few hours to Cincinnati. Coming all the way from Israel, Flow successfully built a tour in the US prompted by their invitation to perform at MidPoint. They got busy writing proposals to the Jewish Federations in their country and ours for sponsorship money and support to aide in airfare and travel expenses. They got busy booking gigs in Chicago and New York. Gracious as ever, these six foreigners were humble and most appreciative for the opportunity. Their seemingly reticent demeanor faded as they warmed their instruments and then, my friends, Flow rocked America.
Oct. 16 – The National and The Breeders at “Rock Early, Vote Late,” Fountain Square
If you’re reading this, you were there (or wish you could’ve been). They spoke it; they sang it; they played it. You heard it; you saw it; you felt it. You supported it. Friends. Strangers. Friendly strangers. Stranger friendlies. You were a part of it. You voted it. Thanks to them, thanks to you … it is happening.
Oct. 30 – Beastie Boys at “Get Out and Vote,” Hara Arena
This was 45 minutes (give or take) of pure MC and DJ bliss for Beastie Boys fans. Mix Master Mike got us on our feet and Adrock, MCA and Mike D slid on stage and busted out “Super Disco Breakin’.” Ben Stiller, who spoke earlier in the night, took stage as an Adrock look-a-like and MC’d his way through “Root Down” until the real McCoy returned. Badass. We were at a constant boiling point throughout the entire set but we blew the lid when Adrock dedicated the last song to George W. Bush and “Sabotage” was declared.
Nov. 23 – Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, Emery Theatre
For one unprecedented night, the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards and King Records brought the Emery Theatre alive with the music of James Brown and the songs of Ralph Stanley. It was such a literal, almost tangible ghost embodying the Country and R&B bookends of the King Records legacy. There was an uncanny (and very real) chill with that taking place in the historical Emery Theatre that made it a surreal deal. I was in a sweet rendition of the Twilight Zone with the reality of today’s local music makers blending with the solidarity of yesterday’s music makers to create tomorrow’s marvel.
A Garganolicious Top 10
By Jason Gargano
(in alphabetical order)
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)
This beautiful mess needs time to simmer, something our ADD-riddled age rarely allows. New Amerykah is a sprawling, stream-of-consciousness epic that penetrates via Badu’s sexy, soul-stirring voice and textured arrangements that zig and zag like a stealthy, new-millennium There’s a Riot Goin’ On.
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours and MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
While each of these psych-flavored ass-shakers has its flaws, both feature a handful of buoyant, addictive singles that had my turntable begging for mercy. None was given.
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
I wasn’t convinced of FF’s laid-back charms until the Pitchfork Music Festival, where the scruffy Northwest fivesome’s affecting harmonies hit even deeper amid the mass of grass- and sweat-stained humanity.
Fuck Bottoms - Street Horrrsing and Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
They have more in common than the obvious. The former delivered the best horror-movie soundtrack that didn’t actually accompany a horror movie — well, besides the one in my head — while the latter’s front-dude had me laughing for days before I even heard a peep come out of his mouth. What happened when I did hear his potbelly-sourced roar? I stopped laughing. Well, at least until he started talking about how “the algrebras of the earth speak the worth.”
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
The title says a lot, as does the addition of drummer du jour Janet Weiss. Malkmus’ wordplay has rarely been as intriguingly oblique. Better yet, his guitar playing flies off in all kinds of expressive directions, channeling Black Sabbath one minute, Velvet Underground the next.
M83 - Saturdays = Youth
During a year in which the apocalypse seemed imminent, M83’s wistful, synth-driven anthems hit the sweet spot. In fact, these mood-altering nuggets beg for the existence of a new John Hughes movie. I guess the next Sofia Coppola flick will have to do.
The Roots - Rising Down
Curiously under the radar, which is too bad — this might be the hardest-hitting effort in the band’s impressive existence. ?uestlove’s Bop-informed grooves still set the pace, but it’s the collection of organically employed guest performers that gives Rising Down its urgent thrust.
She & Him - Volume One
The duo’s banal name and spare, image-free album art signaled a reassuring emphasis on songs. Far from a vanity project for actress-turned-songstress Zooey Deschanel and ace tunesmith M. Ward, Volume One mines sweet, AM Pop gold by reviving the nearly extinct traits of grace and simplicity.
Sigur Rós - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endaluast
Lighter and less studio-labored than past efforts, the Icelandic lads’ latest remains yet another collection of sweeping, drop-dead-gorgeous soundscapes. One complaint: What’s with the cover art? Sure, it’s conceptually accurate, but do we really need to see what Shaggy’s ass looks like?
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
At one point singer Tunde Adebimpe reveals that he’s “scared to death that I’m livin’ a life not worth dying for.” That’d be him, not me. I think. The Brooklyn-based band’s textured, space-age Funk Rock has never sounded as glorious as it does here, which means that Adebimpe has little to worry about. Or does he?