Eye on the Scene
Todd Steed at AC, Senryuâ’s homecoming, and new old-skool hip hop
Together for the First Time Two of the most influential people in Knoxville music over the last 20 years will finally come together officially when Todd Steed joins the staff of Ashley Cappsâ’ AC Entertainment in their new offices in the Regions Bank building on Gay Street in December. For the last 10 years, after stints in Indonesia and Lithuania, Steedâ"front man, at various times, for Smokinâ’ Dave and the Premo Dopes, the Suns of Phere, Apelife, and Opposable Thumbs, and the voice of local classics â“Get Bob Stonedâ” and â“North Knoxvilleâ”â"has worked with international students at the University of Tennessee.
â“Iâ’ve been studying AC Entertainment for years and really have been amazed at what has been accomplished there,â” Steed says. â“I wanted to be a part of it. Ashley Capps has more interesting ideas and enthusiasm than just about any entrepreneur Iâ’ve known. Also, there are lots of great people working there, and I can finally enjoy downtown lunch optionsâ"though I will still make trips back to Cumberland for Dynasty Express.â”
Steed says heâ’ll work with ACâ’s new branch of artist management and, in some capacity, with Bonnaroo Radio, an online radio station that streams music from Bonnaroo participants.
â“The last 10 years working at UT were fantastic but Iâ’m ready to try something new,â” he says. â“And itâ’s probably too late to become a lion tamer or a bush pilot in Botswana.â” ( Matthew Everett )
Physics 101 Senryuâ’s show with the Physics of Meaning and Distant Relatives at Pilot Light on Saturday, Nov. 17, will be a bit of a homecoming for Senryuâ’s Wil Wright and Steven Rogers. The pair have been on the road with Chapel Hillâ’s Physics of Meaning for the last month, working as the backing band for PoM front man Daniel Hart on a series of East Coast and Midwest dates.
Along the way they stopped at a studio in Rock Island, Ill., to record a few tracks for the Daytrotter Sessions, a recent Midwestern online indie replication of John Peelâ’s famous Peel Session recordings for BBC radio. Recent participants have included Okkervil River, Vampire Weekend, Andrew Bird, the Dirty Projectors, and, yes, Superdrag. Wright, Rogers, and Hart recorded a musical interpretation of an Edgar Allan Poe poem and a couple of new Physics of Meaning tracks, which should be available on the Web site ( www.daytrotter.com ) in a few days.
(Daytrotter contributor A.J. Landman describes Superdragâ’s sound as â“somewhere between The Beatles and HÃ¼sker DÃ¼, that is to say it is poppy, at times sugary, but also loud as hell and doesnâ’t let up,â” in an online review of the bandâ’s set in Chicago on their recent reunion tour.) ( M.E. )
Local CD Review 2nd String The Defiant Ones (New Varsity) Delivering old-school hip hop with a new slant, 2nd String is nevertheless charging into the future with this intelligent and downright fun album. The Defiant Ones is a good title, not because the group is rehashing gangsta clichÃ©s but because theyâ’re challenging the regressive stereotypes within the hip-hop genre that some rappers seem all too ready to conform to. The group rejects repels the gangsta pose with a positiveâ"but not self-righteousâ"message reminiscent of KRS One or Eric B. and Rakim. These guys have something to say, but theyâ’re going to have a real cool time saying it.
The Defiant Ones features mid-tempo beats with jazzy flourishes and measured, funky flow. And itâ’s nice to hear an actual group, as opposed to a single rapper. The MCs complement each otherâ’s delivery, bouncing from strength to strength as the vocal interplay progresses. Whatâ’s more, these guys have a confidence (but not braggadocio) that gives the album a strong and sexy foundation. To check out the groupâ’s music, visit MySpace.com/theyoungstars . ( John Sewell )
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