O2 Love Music Column – June 2013

Preview by Darren Carle | 31 May 2013

Trying to encapsulate the sprawling career of Todd Rundgren (O2 ABC, 6 Jun) is a particularly difficult task. Perhaps best known for eternal pop hits such as I Saw The Light and Hello It’s Me, whilst being revered for an eclectic and progressive slew of albums too numerous to list, it’s fair to say he remains a cult concern among devotees. And at an age when most of us would be looking to collect our concessionary bus pass, Todd is embarking on a frankly gruelling world tour on the back of new album State. An inspiration for us all.

Having recorded with the likes of Public Enemy and Pharaohe Monch, Immortal Technique (O2 ABC, 11 Jun) has come a long way from selling his self-released debut album by his own hand. Yet with his vocal prowess and uncompromising subject matter, it’s hardly surprising that he has found himself in such esteemed company. With three critically-acclaimed albums already under his belt, ‘Tech’ is now gearing up for the release of his long-delayed fourth album The Middle Passage. “I really want to go all out and have an organic sound,” he told Hip Hop DX on the delay. “But it’s still hip hop – this doesn’t sound like an opera album or some crazy shit like that.” Glad to hear it.

Though their sound is steeped in Jamaican and African musical styles, Misty In Roots (O2 ABC2, 15 Jun) are firmly credited with helping bring reggae to a white British audience (via John Peel, natch). After a string of political and environmentally driven works in the late 70s and 80s, the group returned in 2002 with the no-less-charged Roots Controller. As of yet, there’s no word on a new album for this reunion, but after another decade on simmer, it seems the burgeoning collective are ready to hit boiling point once again.

Talking of popularising reggae across the world, it’d be rude not to doff your beanie to Jimmy Cliff (O2 ABC, 23 Jun). Though Cliff may never have quite broken the mainstream in the way many expected, his string of instantly recognisable hits, from Wonderful World, Beautiful People to Many Rivers to Cross, have ensured his place in reggae, nay pop history. Not content with sitting on his laurels though, 2012 saw the release of the aptly-titled and well-received album Rebirth. Be sure to witness this continued resurrection for yourself.

Finally, Fatlip and Slim Sid Tre of Los Angeles hip-hop collective The Pharcyde (O2 ABC, 30 Jun) are also making something of a comeback. Band in-fighting, substance addiction and line-up changes have done little to dampen the spirit and appeal that trailblazed its way into the hearts of alternative rap fans in the early 90s via their influential debut album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. Though Imani and Booty Brown have gone onto their own paths, The Lip and Slim Kid will be joined on this run by original producer J-Swift. Don't let it pass you by!