amc and madlib

Two music recommendations:
A Toast to You, American Music Club’s new live album, is quite fabulous. Good sound, and it captures the band in the much-finer-than-expected form of last year’s tour. Available only through their web site for $10; it’s sold out at the moment, but they expect stock by March 1.
– In the inconsistent world of hip-hop, one dictum always proves true: If Madlib is involved with a project, it’s going to sound fabulous. The man’s a stone-cold genius whose sound — basically a grand summation of black music circa 1972, soul, funk, jazz and radical Motown all rolled into one — is instantly identifiable, no matter what name he’s recording under.
Those would include: Jaylib (his collab with J-Rocc), Madvillain (his justifiably lauded project with MF Doom and certainly the only hip-hop record I can remember ever getting a multi-page review in The New Yorker), Quasimoto (his bizarro alter-ego, with the voice of a “tree-blazin’ ghetto chipmunk”), Yesterdays New Quintet (his jazz outfit, which does things like reimagine an album full of early ’70s Stevie Wonder instrumentals), or even under his own name (like like his remixing of the Blue Note catalog).
Anyway, what’s got my attention at the moment are Mind Fusion Vols. 1 & 2, his two new mix CDs. Volume 1 is all Madlib-style hip-hop; volume 2 is all straight soul, jazz, and funk — emphasis on the jazz. Both are great and, er, available at the illegal downloading site of your choice. Probably in some stores, too, although not in any I’ve been able to find.
Want a flavor of the Madlib sound? Go here to download a 69-meg zipped MP3 of a DJ set Madlib did in 2001 on KCRW’s Chocolate City.