Charles Aaron

writer

Biography

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    Gang Starr's Guru Recovering from Heart Attack

    Keith "Guru" Elam, the MC for Brooklyn-based, jazz-tinged outfit Gang Starr, who suffered a heart attack over the weekend, is recovering after treatment in a New York City hospital. The news about Guru, 43 -- first reported by hip-hop blogger and Hot 97 radio personality Miss Info -- broke late Sunday night, as well as word that the rapper had slipped into a coma. But Tuesday morning, Guru's Gang Starr partner DJ Premier posted this update on Twitter: "Good news: Guru surgery was successful, keep sending him love." Guru himself followed with this statement: "I am doing fine and I am recovering! I'm weak, though...I appreciate your well wishes and all the love." The impact of Keith "Guru" Elam transcends quotable rhymes or dope records or his notable outreach between hip-hop and jazz musicians.

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    Top 10 Who Super Bowl Moments

    British classic-rock coots the Who played a much-discussed halftime set at the 44th Super Bowl Sunday night, and we've got the Top 10 highlights: 10. Zak Starkey's bull's-eye RAF cymbals! You go, Zildjian! 9. Stage set provoked nostalgia for late-'70s computer memory game Simon among key fortysomething CBS demographic. 8. We totally nailed the over/under on Pete Townshend's windmilling. 7. No Roger Daltrey wardrobe malfunctions (Yikes!). 6. Surprise cameo by "Laser O'Riley," Baba's technically savvy cousin. 5. NFL Today pundit and former Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe inspired to wail chillingly dead-on a cappella version of"Love, Reign o'er Me." 4.

  • Thirty Seconds to Mars, 'This Is War' (RCA)

    Thirty Seconds to Mars, 'This Is War' (RCA)

    There's a stunning scene from the storied teen-TV tour de force My So-Called Life in which earnest waif-heroine Angela Chase (Claire Danes), dyslexic rocker-rebel Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto), plus their attendant cliques, lock into a protracted, wordless group stare-down. As the edits flick from one expectant face to the next and the music yearningly jangles (alt-rock foot soldiers Buffalo Tom), time ticks ever more slowly and the kids' drab high-school hallway is gradually transformed into a hormone-detonating theater of operations -- it's inevitable, hearts are going to be trampled.When inscrutable Jordan approaches pensive Angela, it's as if his words will determine the fate of the universe. "Can we," he murmurs gravely, "go somewhere?" It was the '90s pop-culture equivalent of Truman ushering Marshall into the Oval Office in 1945 to discuss deployment of the atomic bomb.

  • Reigning Sound, 'Love and Curses' (In the Red)

    Garage-punk mensch Greg Cartwright has been refining the Reigning Sound's frayed, soulful bleat since the band's 2001 debut (after his rowdier crew, the Oblivians, screeched their last). And here he's at his most tenderly heartworn yet. On Love and Curses' midtempo ballads ("Trash Talk," "The Bells," "Something to Hold Onto"), Cartwright's rasp is warmed by Dave Amels' swirling organ, and the melodies move with bruised girl-group ease. Even a potential sod-off stomper like "Debris" betrays not a whit of petulance. Garage rockers have rarely aged gracefully -- here's how. BUY: iTunesAmazon

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    5 Reasons Against a Ramones Biopic

    After hearing the recent news of a Fox Searchlight deal to produce a feature film about the Ramones -- based on the memoir I Slept with Joey Ramone, written by Joey's brother Mickey Leigh and former SPIN staffer Legs McNeil, set to be published in December by Simon & Schuster's Fireside imprint -- the only appropriate reaction by any semi-sane fan of the punk icons had to be OH MY GAWWWWD NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Hollywood's virtually spotless record of churning out cheeseball music biopic atrocities has done as much or more irreparable damage to the reputation of the pop recording industry as collegiate file-sharing and illegal downloading combined. Entire generations of kids are now too horribly embarrassed to listen to the Doors after witnessing Val Kilmer's desert peyote scene in Oliver Stone's 1991 wankorama about the Lizard King, et al. (the most they can risk is Jay-Z's "Takeover").

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    Jay-Z's 'Blueprint 3': A Track by Track Review

    Once again, the enormous and increasingly joyless shadow of Jay-Hova has been cast over the vast, still-Auto-Tuned expanse of hip-hop. Set for official release on September 11 in conjunction with a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden for the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund (but already leaked online to mixed reaction), The Blueprint 3 is the latest full-length attempt by the kid humbly born Shawn Carter in Brooklyn's Marcy Projects to create a world-historical event horizon around what is essentially another slab of professionally produced rap product. Sure, his contribution to the 9/11 cause is a wonderful, hometown gesture, and only fools question whether Jay-Z is still an ace MC-his meticulously composed lyrics are full of challenging flows, witty punning wordplay, and admirable attempts at social significance amid the usual narcissistic hoo-ha.

  • Slaughterhouse, 'Slaughterhouse' (E1)

    Even if the industry wasn't totally FUBARed, this feistily gifted MC foursome -- Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5'9", and Crooked I -- would be a hard sell. Each comes with a mixed bag of previous releases and a history of nagging fallouts and feuds. Their rhymes tend to feed off settling scores rather than giving pleasure, and as a result, this group debut favors punch lines ("I ain't shabby with the nouns / I ain't shitty with the verbs / When I reach heaven, I want the nigga Biggie to be, like, 'Word!'" belts Ortiz) over crafted songs. Still, the single "The One," which emits a stanky, rock-starry panache, could be an edgy crossover hit if such a thing still existed. BUY:

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    First Listen: Drake's All-Star Collabo with Eminem, Kanye, Lil Wayne

    Hyped by some Kool-Aid-gulping outlets as "one of the greatest collaborations in hip-hop history," the four-MC weave of Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem on a remixed version of the track "Forever," available Aug. 29 via iTunes (but available for streaming in a leaked version below), may be somewhat historic -- Weezy and Em have never rhymed on the same song -- but it's more notable for the airhorn-blowing, naggingly infectious production than the MCs' contributions. "Forever" -- concocted by Toronto up-and-comer Matthew Samuels, a.k.a., Boi 1da (Drake's "Best I Ever Had" and "Uptown") -- will be included on a compilation of songs supposedly inspired by the documentary More Than a Game, which follows LeBron James' high-school hoops odyssey in Akron, Ohio.

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    Nine Inch Nails: What Does 'Goodbye' Mean?

    Being confined in a small dark room snout-to-snout with Trent Reznor and his music for two-and-a-half hours -- which was the case at Nine Inch Nails' "goodbye tour" show Saturday at New York City's tiny Bowery Ballroom -- is a rather startling experience for everyone involved. (See a photo gallery of the show here.) Sure, he could scoot up to the tiny Bowery dressing room for a B12 shot (or whatever uber-healthy 44-year-old rock stars resort to these days) or we could flee to the pissoir and pound another $7 draft, but after Nine Inch Nails' pistoning programmed beats and power-sawing guitars jacked into their relentless, familiar schematics, and Reznor assumed his clenched crouch behind the mike (imagine an NFL fullback picking up a blitzing linebacker), we were all locked in the ritual together. And make no mistake, despite the towers of cornea-lashing strobes behind the piles of e

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    20 Worst Album Titles of 2009

    Weezer can be counted on for a variety of things: Undeniably catchy choruses with gnomically nonsensical lyrics, disappointing post-2001 albums that exclude superior songs you'll eventually find on B-side collections, and somewhat amusing photos of a teenaged Rivers Cuomo sporting Aquanet metal hair. Now, with the announcement of the band's seventh album, Raditude, set for release October 27 on Geffen, we can add to that list pointlessly goofy, sadly banal, bad-pun album titles. So, inspired by Weezer's example, and in tribute to REO Speedwagon's immortal You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can't Tuna Fish, SPIN presents the Top 20 Worst Album Titles of 2009. 1. Weezer - RaditudeWe preferred the rumored second choice: Radatouille 2. Cursive - Mama, I'm SwollenShouldn't this sort of thing be dad's department? 3.

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