Los Angeles MC Busdriver (born Regan Farquhar) is set to release his follow-up to 2007's RoadKillOvercoat this summer and has tapped friends, tourmates and fellow wordsmiths to lend a hand on the ambitious new record. Legendary underground battle rapper Nocando guests on a classically witty Busdriver track "Least Favorite Rapper" while Islands' precocious Nick Thorburn's influence can be heard on an almost ELO-flavored song "Happy Insider," and many more.
Busdriver explained the recording process for Jhelli Beam, which was whittled from 30 songs to 13 while he was making the rounds of local Los Angeles home recording studios: "A bulk of the songs were written on planes somehow. I listened to Sublime Frequencies records, Bollywood soundtracks and electronic music rather than indie rock and rap. I was able to shed a good amount of self-awareness that way. Still, this was definitely the most grueling stint of recording that I've undergone...I nearly quit doing music twice."
Lucky for us he didn't, for Jhelli Beam is both smart and smart-ass, theatrical without being pompous, and, as always, funny as hell. Busdriver's legendary breath-defying flow teeters precariously on top of samples of classical music, jazz drumming and proggy guitar parts, without ever losing sight of the electronic music that helped define BD's sound, enthralled fans and stood out from the soggy beats that weighed down much of his contemporaries' work. Sound schizophrenic? It's not. The sum of Jhelli Beam's seemingly disparate parts creates a record that is mindfully engaging and physically palpable at the same time - a wholly unique take on what an underground hip hop album should be.
Jhelli Beam tracklisting: 1. Split Seconds (Between Nannies and Swamis) 2. Me-Time (with The Pulmonary Palimpsets) 3. Handfuls Of Sky 4. Scoliosis Jones 5. Least Favorite Rapper (featuring Nocando) 6. Quebec And Back 7. Do The Wop 8. World Agape 9. Manchuria (featuring Mikah-9) 10. Unsafe Sextet/Gilded Hearts of Booklovers 11. Happy Insider (featuring Nick Thorburn) 12. I've Always Known 13. Fishy Face (featuring John Dietrich)