The band Darkside is made up of two men - two halves really. Dark, scary electronics and a funk, rhythmic guitar line. The electronic half is Nicholas Jaar. He got noticed as a laptop music prodigy when he was a student at Brown University. And up until a year or two ago, he mostly worked alone. Then, the other part of Darkside entered the picture - Dave Harrington, a composer and jazz bassist. Now, they've got this first album out together. It's called "Psychic." Nicholas Jaar explains why he chose a bass player as his guitarist.
When you think about the geography of hip-hop, chances are you're thinking East Coast, West Coast, probably not north of the American border. That's why you probably haven't heard of Canadian hip-hop star Shad.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SHADRACH KOBANGO: (Rapping) (unintelligible) Warmest wishes of snow (unintelligible) the show (unintelligible) what I'm spitting. Oh, Michigan snow. Listen, no, I don't put on airs. I'm conditioned to blow...
Short of seeing her live and in person, this is the best way to encounter Valerie June's heartfelt sound. Her new album Pushin' Against a Stone is terrific, but when I first heard that voice unadorned, I was hooked. The same may happen to you.