Saturday, September 13, 2008

Buck 65 Vinyl Week, Day 5 - Dirk Thornton

After "Wicked and Weird," Buck 65 put out two more really strong singles off Talkin' Honky Blues, but unfortunately, in both cases, he made the CD singles far superior to the vinyls (including quality, exclusive tracks not featured on the 10"s). What? So, unfortunately, we can't count them amongst his great vinyl releases for this series. :(

So instead we jump right ahead to 2007 and his Dirk Thornton singles. Dirk Thornton is either another alias for Buck, a la Stinkin' Rich or DJ Critical, which he uses when he records with his collaborators DJ Flip and Freezemaster Slick, OR it's the collective name of the trio. It's not really clear which. Regardless, if you hear a Dirk Thornton song, it's Buck 65 with those two guys.

So, yeah. There's two limited (I've talked to some pretty serious Buck 65 fans online who were surprised to hear me tell them that these singles actually did come out) 7" singles on All City Records. This is the first:

"Chokehold" b/w "Catwalk." The first thing you'll notice on listening to this is that, after some... let's say uneven at best collaberations Buck has been doing in these last couple years, Flip and Slick really understand how to produce for Buck. It's not crazy, experimental French rock/new wave he's been doing a lot of, and it's not the ineffective attempt at hip-hop throwback of Situation. If I didn't know who did the music, I would've assumed it was Buck back by himself.

"Chokehold" is a slow, moody banger with Buck offering up some slick wordplay - seriously, some of his delivery seems to be taken out of a Project Blowed playbook; and it really works for him here. The hook is a little dull (couldn't you've added a few scratches or somethin'?), but it's a small mark against a really dope cut. And "Catwalk" is almost as good, with a strong, jazzy loop coming dangerously close to drowning out his vocals. The hook is more effective here, too, with a new piano riff played over his whispered voice. Quality lyrics, delivery (especially on "Chokehold,"), music... highly recommended on all fronts.

Part Two
is another 2 song 10", featuring "Yesterday's News" and "Run." Everything is just as good on "Yesterday's News" as it was on the last single. Once again, I just have to say how well these guys' music compliments Buck's rhymes. "Yesterday's News" is a simpler song, evoking more of an atmosphere through images than telling a story or making a point.

"Avenue of the Americas, Hollywood Boulevard.
Blood on the sidewalk, and the night sky is full of stars.
Pain in the left knee at four in the morning;
Cold to the bone, and the old man is snoring.
Hand written letters: 'please lend me a hand;
The fish ain't bitin'. Could you send me a grand?'
Reading the phonebook, wondering who to call.
Girl with my rings sticks pins in a voodoo doll.
I pray to the wind to send you fine weather,
A hundred percent cotton and genuine leather.
Fire on the coastlline following plain;
A whale on a beach, a dog on a chain.
Sellin' my stories to the violent and perverted;
All eyes are on me and I don't deserve it.
Nothin' to do except I guess to play blues;
I sleep in the car... I'm yesterday's news."

"Run" is up to par with the rest, but this time the vocals are really mixed to low. It's a shorter song, with just a brief bit of musical flair separating the two verses. It's another dope song in a series of nothing but dope songs, though I do hope that this might someday see another release with Buck's rhymes and the scratching at the end up turned up to match the instrumental a little more evenly.

Now, these two singles were originally meant to be followed up by a Dirk Thornton EP, which would include a couple more songs, plus instrumentals. It's been a long time and there's no sign of it yet... I think it may not be coming. The fact that Buck later included the only other DT song from their myspace, "Temporarily In Love," on his limited Heck CD probably isn't a good sign. But we can hope. Dirk Thornton has his/its own myspace page, so keep a faithful eye on that from time to time for hopefully future word.

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