Week in Pop: Talib Kweli, Raekwon, Lower Dens

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banquet with kim jon il

Today we pack more excitement than an Of Montreal iTunes digital box set. Think of this Week in Pop as discovering a half enjoyed box of post-holiday confections. Indulge with abandon, while ignoring the saccharine ooze that always ends up being inside the truffle you mistook for a chocolate almond treat. Lame metaphor aside, here is a glance at what our pop idols have been up to and are planning this week, in no particular order.

Rap veteran Talib Kweli has a new release slated for the end of the month, January 25, on Javotti Media/3D entitled Gutter Rainbows. Given the following glimpses of the Beasties/Hammer samples on “I’m On One” and the sentimentality vibe on “How You Love Me,” Rainbows sounds like a conscious offering of party-starters and rap ballads of the romantic kind. Sounds promising.

Talib Kweli, “I’m On One”

Talib Kweli, “How You Love Me”

While Talib’s legacy seems pretty well intact, we here at the Impose vacuum are a little concerned about the state of things at the Wu-Tang camp.

Here within the legacy wrecking ball vortex comes Raekwon’s worst idea since OBFCLII. With a bored delivery that leaves much to be desired, the dubbed Kung Fu film sampled banter is at least aligned in the spirit of the 36 Chambers even if short on ideas. But for the sake of tradition and all fairness please judge for yourself. Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang hits the shops March 8.

Raekwon, “Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang”

With four days left before the January 18 release of Smith Western’s Dye it Blonde, you better believe we are excited. The lead off track “Weekend” is damn near anthemic with its Ed Buller-style production facsimile, and soaring guitar bliss aplenty.

The latest single “All Dye Young” is an elaborate TOTP 2, Slade-style clap-along refrain, done up with a spacey echo fit to fill most concert halls. From the accumulation of previews of Dye it Blonde, we can hear a sophomoric album that has tamed the fuzz n’ distortions that made the melodies of their ’09 self-titled debut so much fun. Perhaps DIB is the Westerns’ Darklands venture into those coming of age territories and reflections that do not require the aid of Big Muff pedals.

Smith Westerns – “All Die Young” by forcefieldpr

Check out the latest from our heroes Lower Dens with this stream of “Batman” from the projected January 18 drop date of the “Batman” 7-inch on Gnomonsong. We have mused ourselves with earlier demos and various session recordings. Now hear it for real here.

Batman by brunostroszek

If the much anticipated A-side weren’t enough, you get a top notch cover of Mayo Thompson’s “Dear Betty Baby” on the B-side. Score.

Dear Betty Baby by brunostroszek

Catch Lower Dens on any of these extended tour dates:

14 Asheville NC Grey Eagle Tavern with the Walkmen
15 Nashville TN Exit In with the Walkmen

11 Washington DC The Black Cat with Wye Oak
15 Norman OK Opolis with Wye Oak
16-19 Austin, TX SXSW

Sources have been raving about the upcoming Legendary LA Beat Music Showcase. Low End Theory lands in San Francisco January 21. The tagline goes something like, “blending futuristic hip hop with experimental electronic sounds,” and it will take place at 103 Harriet with Gaslamp Killer, turntablist D-Styles, DJ Nobody, and MC Nocando, along with Low End Theory and Alpha Pups Records founder Daddy Kev, Dials, Mophono, Baths and Daedelus. The Low End Theory will happen every first Friday in 2011 from March onward while tickets and further information are available at 1015.com.

Also Lord Huron will be performing with Calder Quartet at the Autry Museum in LA’s Griffith Park as part of Brand X’s LA Unheard series. You can also catch the good Lord on these following dates:

20 The Autry Museum Los Angeles, CA with Calder Quartet, Gamble House and Abe Vigoda 7pm
27 Detroit Bar Costa Mesa, CA
28 The Cellar Door Visalia, CA
29 Odd Fellows Hall Davis, CA
31 Mississippi Studios Portland, OR

01 The Crocodile Seattle, WA with Tennis
03 Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA with Tennis
04 The Echo Los Angeles, CA with Tennis
05 Tin Can Ale House San Diego, CA with Tennis

04 Snow Ball Music Festival / Nottingham Park Avon, CO

Oh, you guys won’t believe this but it would appear that Cloud Nothings and Toro Y Moi are paired up for a split 7-inch on their label Carpark. This promises to be new material from both artists with the ‘Nothings providing “For No Reason” and Toro y Moi with “I Will Talk To You.” The single will be available March 29 digitally, and on wax. If you think this is the best collision of titans since Bowie and Jagger, check out Cloud Nothings and Toro Y Moi as they take on a tour of the ‘States together.

19 New York, NY Mercury Lounge (Sold Out!)

11 Athens, GA 40 Watt
12 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
13 New Orleans, LA Circle Bar
14 Houston, TX Fitzgeralds
15 McAllen, TX M.P.M. Fest @ Ambiente
16 – 18 Austin, TX SXSW
19 Dallas, TX Club Dada
21 Tempe, AZ Sail Inn with Braids
22 Costa Mesa, CA Detroit Bar
23 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
24 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
25 Portland, OR Doug Fir
26 Kennewick, WA The Red Room with Braids
27 Seattle, WA Crocodile

It has also come to our attention that Screaming Females have a video for “Wild”. Enjoy the kaleidoscope lens effect, like an app off some