Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reviews:: D-Sisive - Jonestown

D-Sisive is still sad. He's also angry, and of those two emotions, it's definitely the anger that's the most relevant when you're discussing his new album, Jonestown. Released last week as a free download on D-Sisive's website, Jonestown finds D in a jubilantly foul mood, with a Tyson-in-his-prime caliber right hand cocked and aimed at the face of things that piss him off, like haters, shitty hip hop, and the random unfairness of life in general.

In reality, one would hope D-Sisive's mental state has brightened at least somewhat over the last year and change. After being M.I.A. for a number of years, he released two albums, The Book and Let The Children Die, that had jokers like me fawning over them (reviews here and here respectively) and garnered plenty of critical acclaim. He made the Polaris long list, and just recently won the Socan Echo songwriting prize for the awesome Nobody With A Notepad, and so, although life has dealt D a pretty consistent downpour (the well-documented deaths of both his parents, some rather crippling depression), it would seem that he's finally changed into some Milhouse-style high-waters, and everything is coming up D-Sisive.

Or at least one would think so anyway. But when your new album is called Jonestown, and has as many allusions to suicide and/or death as it does to awesome pop culture minutiae, then you aren't exactly the Stuart Smalley of Canadian hip hop (see what I did there). But that's ok, as we've seen over the last year, and we're seeing again on Jonestown - an angry D-Sisive is a good D-Sisive. Seriously, despite it's free download status, I think D's new release is every bit the equal of its two predecessors. I can only assume it is being given away to capitalize on the word of mouth things like the Polaris and Echo have generated there likely won't be a better time to spread the gospel of Reverend Christoff.

This is certainly a welcome development my book, and once The Message-inspired intensity of album opener In The Jungle kicks in, I'm sure you'll be a convert as well. What is with the deal with Canadian rappers and Jason Schwartzman? First k-os (I Wish I knew Natalie Portman, samples Phantom Planet's California) and now D-Sisive (samples Coconut Records' West Coast, which as an aside, has a pretty awesome video that features Vision Skates legend Mark Gonzales freaking some long-board funk in a German museum)? I'm certainly not complaining, as it has resulted in two great songs - D's is a great combination of catchiness and great lyrics that could please a wide arrange of tastes (he mentions Lloyd Christmas and Andy Dufresne in the opening verse, and that pleases me). The original, Lou Rawls-laced version of mind-as-prison/suicide contemplation anthem One Way Ticket is pretty solid, but the MoSS remix is ruggedly delicious (its the little things: there's a little flute bit that gets phased in and out, which takes it from a good beat to a great beat in my humble).

Considering D's fondness for Tom Waits, his collaboration with the, shall we say, eccentric, Slim Twig, on the ominous Around the World (and previously on Slim's mixtape too), is not surprising. If you're looking for a song that encapsulates what makes D-Sisive such a great lyricist, 1974 is a perfect example. He ties Married With Children, Sinatra and the Cougar Mellencamp into a deep, witty, and entertaining analysis of D's relationship with his late father, and really just father/son relationships in general. Great stuff. Boom Baba Boom is the other side of D-Sisive lacing pop culture obscurity like the Stand By Me pie eating contest story, the Robbie Alomar juice commercial (which is now one of my favorite rap song references ever - if you're of a certain age and Canadian, you remember Robbie's "Catch the Taste!" ad), a Biggie/Tupac/Juice reference breakdown with a razor sharp wit few possess. And then there's just some good old fashioned face-bashing raps over trunk-rattling beats, like the 9th Uno produced, call to arms for the cult of oneself, Believe, which I will always welcome.

So here's where we stand: I know D-Sisive is awesome, critics and other music nerdish types know D is awesome, and so now it's time you found out for yourself. Jonestown is free, so there's no need to hesitate, go ahead and drink the Kool-Aid.

MP3:: D-Sisive - West Coast

MP3:: D-Sisive - One Way Ticket
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/dsisive

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