Monday, November 03, 2008

Mike Ladd - Nostalgialator

Nostalgialator (CD) – Definitive Jux

If you’re familiar Mike Ladd's previous work, you may know what to expect on this re-release of his excellent 2004 album, Nostalgialator. Or not. I'm not sure anything could prepare you for the disk’s opener “Dire Straits Plays Nuremberg.” Ostensibly a hip-hop album, Nostalgialator really proves a ragged pastiche that defies genre. “Sail Away Ladies” showcases a rumbling electronic blues sound, while “Trouble Shot” sounds more like Jon Spencer’s raucous brand of blues. Ripe with Ladd’s jabbing wordplay and cut through with discordant, more experimental material, Nostalgialator whiplashes between slinkier fare like “Earn to Fall” and “Off to Mars” and blaring tunes like “Afrostatic,” “Black Orientalist” and “Wildout Day,” the latter often making a political point or two along the way. “Housewives at Play” is probably the most memorable track. It sways its hips suggestively, detailing the lives of women, who are not at all quiet in their desperation, driving their family cars while “thirsty between the knees.” And on the bubbly headphone-friendly “How Electricity Really Works,” Ladd throws some wonder into the mix with all that sensuality and passion. – Robert Stribley 

This review was originally published in Skyscraper Magazine, Issue 28 (Summer 2008)

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