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December 21st, 2005 Casey Jarman, Jessi Kramer | Album Reviews
 

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The Voice of Northeast Portland Cool Nutz (Jus Family Records)

Jus Family's boasts and boosterism can't beat its abilities in selling this label.

[HIP HOP] Mix-tape CDs are often nothing more than extended advertisements for a label, and Cool Nutz's The Voice of Northeast Portland is no exception. E-40 "hosting" the album, for example, mostly consists of the Bay Area rapper saying "visit www.jusfamily.com." Still, Nutz and crew have crafted an impressive 80-minute, 29-track compilation.

Nutz kicks off the disc giving shout-outs to such unlikely places as Medford and Walla Walla over a classic West Coast gangsta-rap sample. "The entire Northwest, stand the fuck up," he says after rattling off a half-dozen obscure rural area codes. You have to hand it to Cool Nutz for being proud of his Northwest roots, the hard-coreness of which he defends shortly thereafter on "Northeast Streets." "Kendra James and dead niggaz is sittin' on my mind," he says. "It's real foul here in these Northeast streets." It isn't long before the label-selling starts again, though. On "Jus Fam Unit," Nutz (tongue only partially in cheek) asks G-Unit to throw him a record deal and Maniac Lok throws some lyrical fire.

Some of the strongest tracks on the album are the ones produced by Jus Family standout Bosko. "Off my chest" finds Nutz addressing his shit-talkers diplomatically and insightfully over steel drums and a Superman-esque trumpet line. And "That Fire," a track Jus Family has been pushing as "the cut" for a while now, lives up to the hype, its bright Latin guitars complementing Bosko's wandering falsetto and E-40's intriguing vocal, a soft sell more convincing than any of the mix-tape's hard sells. CASEY JARMAN. The CD is free with admission to the Jus Family Records Christmas Party, featuring Cool Nutz, Bosko, Maniac Loc and DJ Chill on Friday Dec. 23 at the Ash Street Saloon. 8 pm. Cover. 21+.

Sound Seen Music Video Review

Wet Confetti "Laughing Gasping" (Director: Jeremy Brown & Scott Blais)

I always knew Wet Confetti were out for world devastation. But what I didn't know is that the local purveyors of that rifling death disco sound were also the ones who could save us. The video for "Laughing Gasping," a song the trio contributed to the 2005 PDX Pop Now! compilation, tells a story of world obliteration at the hand of bassist-singer Alberta Poon. After being injected with an unknown substance, Poon, unhappy at work and fraught with apathy, jumps in her car and heads to an alien headquarters. Meanwhile, the rest of the band, drummer Mike McKinnon and guitarist-keyboardist Daniel Grazzini, wake up to discover she will destroy the world unless they can stop her. The two jump on their 10-speeds and take to Hawthorne Boulevard, and a silly yet sort of dramatic chase ensues. What happens next is anyone's guess, but it looks like it involves a sort of "Press Your Luck" approach to cataclysm and a concert with the band as futuristic neon-glow mummies playing cardboard-box prop instruments. As with all things Wet Confetti, the video possesses a creative tension—provided by the band's dueling properties of great potential and limited resources—that gives it an atypical appeal. Created by local team Jeremy Brown and Scott Blais of Whiplax Productions, the video has a warm, handheld-camera, amateurish quality that works well with the song, a noisy pop ditty with understated keyboards and the band's patented frenetic dancy beat. Overall, this is the work of a fun band having fun with the end of the world. JESSI KRAMER.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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