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The Witzard Presents: Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique 30th Anniversary All-around Breakdown, Part I (PB30 "Side A")

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Glass Animals Recruit Denzel Curry for "Tokyo Drifting" Latest Installment of Fresh Fruit Series (Republic Records/Wolf Tone Ltd.)

British Psychedelic/Art Pop four-piece Glass Animals have returned with their first entirely new taste of music since 2016's How to Be A Human Being. "Tokyo Drifting" is the latest addition to Glass Animals' ongoing Fresh Fruit series; previous installments have included "Gold Lime," a Yeah Yeah Yeahs & Erykah Badu mash-up and "Lose Control" featuring Joey Bada$$. For "Tokyo Drifting," Glass Animals frontman Dave "Wavey Davey" Bayley recruited Florida-based emcee, singer, and song-writer Denzel Curry. Glass Animals have previously worked with Joey Bada$$, Rome Fortune, Chester Watson, and Stones Throw signee Gabriel Garzón-Montano. Wavey Davey, on the other hand, has previously worked with a slew of Hip-Hop-adjacent artists on his own, as well, including 6lack, Khalid, DJ Dahi, MorMor, Safe, Mustafa The Poet, Suzi Wu, and Flume. Here's hoping this is just the first in a string of upcoming releases from Dave Bayley, Joe Seaward, Ed Irwin-Singer & Drew Macfarlane. Glass Animals' "Tokyo Drifting" Feat. Denzel Curry is currently available on digital steaming platforms through Republic Records/Wolf Tone Ltd.

"The first thing Denzel said to me about the track was "this is fire." Then, he said, "is this you flexin'?" and I said, "yeh... it is... sort of. It's an ironic internal flex—me as a narrator describing/[talking] the p*ss out of an extreme alter-ego version of myself; a version of me that can do things that I'm uncomfortable doing. Wavey Davey is my f**ked up Sasha Fierce [Beyoncé]. He's a geezer, a street fighter, he can dance, he parties hard, he's spontaneous. He can take hits and be told he is sh*t and not care because he's confident. He can fight everything the world throws at him. I think, this kind of character is someone we all create for ourselves now, to some extent. We have these curated versions of ourselves on The Internet—beautiful, edited, cool, distilled versions of us, all slightly super-human. You can push and push and push yourself to hide and ignore your vulnerabilities like that... but it comes at a cost. It's not real and it isn't sustainable."

- Dave Bayley (@GlassAnimals)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"(All I Want for Christmas Is to) Rage with My Friends" from PIEBALD Presents to You, A Musical Christmas Adventure EP [Photo Finish Records]

PIEBALD are a crew of Indie Rock/Emo bridge-builders hailing from Andover, Massachusetts, who initially "cut their teeth" within the same Hardcore Punk scene as both Converge & CAVE IN. PIEBALD were originally active from about 1994-2008 and started out as a Hardcore band, who always teetered the line between Post-hardcore, Emo, Emocore, and Alternative Rock, eventually, becoming a mainstay in the Greater Boston area Indie Rock scene. PIEBALD's last album's-worth of original music, Accidental Gentlemen, was released on SideOneDummy Records upon the band's dissolution in 2008; a live DVD/documentary set entitled NoBodY's RoBoTS: A Farewell to PIEBALD was issued in 2010 and chronicled the band's final two shows at The Bowery Ballroom & The Middle East. Since their 2008 disbandment, Andrew "Andy" Bonner, Lucian "Luke" Garro, Travis Shettel & Aaron Stuart have reunited as PIEBALD on multiple occasions between 2010-19.

Now, PIEBALD have returned with their first proper release in 12 years, "(All I Want for Christmas Is to) Rage with My Friends" from an upcoming holiday-themed release. PIEBALD Presents to You, A Musical Christmas Adventure EP is their first proper studio release since 2007's Accidental Gentlemen and will be released this upcoming Friday. It will contain three original PIEBALD-penned Christmas songs that were recorded over a long weekend just this past September with Accidental Gentlemen producer Doug Batchelder in North Reading, Massachusetts. PIEBALD will be embarking on a string of tour dates between 12/18-21 and will be going on the road with Dashboard Confessional next February as part of their 20th Anniversary Tour. PIEBALD Presents to You, A Musical Christmas Adventure EP will see a wide release this upcoming Friday, November 15, 2019 through Photo Finish Records.

"This whole sonic and photographic project escalated quickly, but it started from knowing that Christmas shows are happening again this coming Winter season. We are hoping to make the most of those few shows and we thought making or covering a Christmas song or two would be a fun idea. As it turns out, we're much more about making than we are about covering. Maybe, you're thinking, "this is weird of PIEBALD—who haven't made new music since 2007—to musically re-birth themselves with a 3-song holiday release." Well, our response to you is this, "you're not wrong..." However, we have never really done anything the right or proper way. Weirdly, it's just how we do things at Camp PIEBALD."

- PIEBALD (@piebaldmusic)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

J57 Unveils Widely/Re-released Version of Sophomore Album We Can Be Kings. FKA "LP2" (FiveSe7en Collective/Soulspazm)

James "J57" Heintz is a Brooklyn-based rapper, song-writer, producer, and record label owner. J57 is an active member of both Brown Bag Allstars & Jamo Gang with Ras Kass & El Gant and runs his own imprint, FiveSe7en Collective. Jay has previously worked with the likes of Method Man, Homeboy Sandman, Joey Bada$$, and La Coka Nostra featuring members of House of Pain & Limp Bizkit with ILL BILL & Slaine. J57 has now returned with the long-awaited follow-up to his 2016 solo debut, I'm The J57, entitled We Can Be Kings. Many of you may remember, We Can be Kings. was previously release last year (as LP2) for a brief one-week stint between December 8-15, 2018. We previously reviewed LP2: WE CAN BE KINGS. upon its initial 2018 release, which can still be read or perused here. We Can Be Kings. is an "eclectic offering" that features appearances from a wide of array of musicians—both Hip-Hop and non-Hip-Hop—including Katiah One, The Audible Doctor, Jamo Gang, Devin Malek, DeeJay Element, Tenacity, Ports, Akie Bermiss, Choosey, YAYennings, SID Wilson, Aerika Monique, Tiffany Topol, Matt Stamm of MAK3RS, and Eliot Glazer of Broad City & New Girl fame.

We Can Be Kings. is a phenomenal, genre-eschewing album and a genuinely fun listen that really shows J57's progression as an artist since I'm The J57. Two tracks of particular note are the title track, "We Can Be Kings." Feat. Akie Bermiss of Lake Street Drive & Choosey and "The Loner" Feat. YAYennings & SID, otherwise known as Jay Jennings of Snarky Puppy & Sid Wilson AKA DJ Starscream of Slipknot. Honestly, even today, in this digital age, it's pretty impressive to think J57's had enough determination and hutzpah to put together a collection of songs with collaborators from so far outside of/parallel to his own genre. J57's We Can Be Kings. is now widely available to stream, download, or purchase on digital platforms through FiveSe7en Collective/Soulspazm. F7C has also, made We Can Be Kings. (Commentary Version) available, as well, which features J57 himself meticulously breaking down the creation, features, making-of, etc. for each track included within We Can Be Kings. We're still not entirely sure if well be putting together a year-end/Best of 2019 list this year, but J57's We Can Be Kings. would definitely rank high, if so!

Monday, November 11, 2019

FRND CRCL Return with "Famous" Music Video & Digital Single from Upcoming 2020 Full-length (Ghost Killer Entertainment)

New Jersey-based Pop-Punk/Alternative band FRND CRCL have returned with their first single of 2019. "Famous" follows FRND CRCL's self-released 2018 EP, Promstarr. FRND CRCL's current line-up consists of Zac Johnson, Adam Skirvin, Dom Giacalone & Aaron Smith; oddly enough, I actually, used to work with Aaron at Shop Rite and went all through high school with Zac's older brother, Nick. FRND CRCL readily list blink-182, Green Day, Sum 41, Weezer, Good Charlotte, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles, Post Malone, Foo Fighters, Pinegrove, Moose Blood, You Me at Six, and My Chemical Romance amongst their "Artists We Also Like" on Facebook. FRND CRCL's "Famous" music video was premiered late last week at Minnesota-based Ghost Killer Entertainment. "Famous" features Adam Skirvin & Zac Johnson sharing vocal duties à la blink-182's Mark Hoppus & Tom DeLonge juxtaposed against a stark peach-colored background. FRND CRCL's Aaron Smith & Dom Giacalone appear throughout, as well, as the backgrounds gradually progress, mutate, and change. "Famous" was recorded at Bridgeton, New Jersey's own Monoplane Recording Studio with Tyler Skye, where FRND CRCL have been working on a new album to be released in early 2020. FRND CRCL's "Famous" is now available to purchase, download, or stream on your digital streaming platform of choice.

"A little background information on the song... It is mainly about how people, young and old, try to fit the mold of today's "trendy" society and almost lose sight of who they, actually, are as a person. As a band, we have been recording this song (and many other songs) for the past 13-14 months in a studio called Monoplane Recording Studio" [run] by our good friend, Tyler Skye. He is based right out of Bridgeton [New Jersey] and has been able to bring out the best of us by catering to what we wanted with this single and knowing our history as a band. We've been working relentlessly as a full 4-piece band for a while now and only want to push even farther and see how far we can go. We have big plans for 2020, which includes weekend tours around the Tri-State Area and, of course, an album. This single is just a glimpse of what we will offer early next year."

- Aaron Smith & Zac Johnson (@FRNDCRCL)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Written Words: A Conversation with HAMMERED HULLS' Frontman Alec MacKaye & Guitarist Mark Cisneros (The Witzard Interview)

CREDIT: Claire Packer

Not only will Alec MacKaye forever be immortalized as the iconic "cover model" for multiple 7+12-inch releases for his older brother, Ian's bands, Minor Threat & The Teen Idles, he has, also, been in countless Punk/HarDCore bands of his own: Untouchables, (The) Faith, Ignition, The Warmers, and Bells Of.. MacKaye has not been part of a band, let alone any musical project, for 20+ years, following the demise of The Warmers with Amy Farina & Juan Carrera in 1997. After an extended self-imposed musical sabbatical, Alec MacKaye has finally returned with a new band. HAMMERED HULLS, featuring an array of Punk/HarDCore mainstays: Mark Cisneros, Mary Timony & Chris Wilson. Together, Cisneros, Timony & Wilson have played with Acquaintances, American Hearts, Autoclave, Chain & The Gang, Deathfix, Des Demonas, EX HEX, The Firebird Suite, Green 4, Helium, Hound, KID CONGO & THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS, Led Byrd, THE MAKE-UP, The Mary Timony Band, Medications, Mind Science of The Mind, Open City, Shake Ray, The Spells, Ted Leo / The Pharmacists, Titus Andronicus, Turbine, and Wild Flag.

"Every person in this band is a fan of every other person in this band. Mutual respect drives this train. To say they are an odd collection of influences is to understate the point. If you tried you couldn’t imagine what this band might sound like..." reads part of a HAMMERED HULLS band bio penned by Brendan Canty of Fugazi, Rites of Spring, and The Messthetics. Just this past summer, HAMMERED HULLS unleashed their debut 3-song self-titled (S/T) EP on Dischord Records in both digital and 7-inch formats, as recorded/produced by Don Zientara & Ian MacKaye at Inner Ear Studios. A few months ago, we were fortunate enough to send some HAMMERED HULLS-centric interview questions over to guitarist Mark Cisneros, who, in turn, sent them over to frontman Alec MacKaye, as well. So, now, we, here at The Witzard, are proud to present our comprehensive interview with 1/2 of HAMMERED HULLS!


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Punk/HarDCore Diehard

I. Prior to forming HAMMERED HULLS, had any of you previously played together in any capacity?

Mark Cisneros: I think, only Mary [Timony] & I had played together before? I played bass for a couple shows in The Mary Timony Band with Faraquet/Medication's Chad Molter on drums. We were doing that brilliant solo stuff of hers, along with some Helium tunes. That was really great. I also, played some bass on an early EX HEX single. Mary's an absolute genius and one of my favorite guitarists and people of all time. Oh, come to think of it, I think, maybe, Alec once got up and did a Faith song with Ted Leo + The Pharmacists a little while back?

Alec MacKaye: Mark is correct—aside from a couple of spur-of-the-moment cover songs with The Pharmacists, I hadn't played with any of these folks (or anybody, at all, for the past 20 years) before.

II. What's HAMMERED HULLS' "origin story" like... I mean, how did the band initially form?

Mark Cisneros: Well, Chris [Wilson] & I had been talking about playing together for years. He's one of my favorite drummers and favorite people. Alec is, of course, a legend and one of our favorite singers and people, as well. Over the years, we had both asked Alec when he was going to start another band; so, Chris got the idea of the two of us starting a band and seeing if we could pull Alec out of "retirement." At the time, Mary & I had been starting to work on a new project, but once we told her about our plan, she was all for it. So, we asked Alec if he wanted to start a band with us, I did some rough demos of song ideas I'd been sitting on, he was into it, and, then, we got to work.

Alec MacKaye: That about tells it.

CREDIT: Claire Packer

III. How did you decide to partner with infamous D.C.-based imprint, Dischord Records to properly release HAMMERED HULLS' debut self-titled (S/T) EP?

Mark Cisneros: Dischord was our first choice. In our minds, it really had to be on Dischord. If they'd take us, of course. We recorded a 10-song demo for Ian [MacKaye] and he gave us the green light. It was his suggestion that we do a 7-inch first before the LP. Given our hectic individual schedules this year, the single serves as a placeholder, of sorts.

IV. What was it like working with Alec's brother, Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat) & Don Zientara again to record/produce your S/T EP?

Mark Cisneros: Classic Dischord recording team. We definitely wanted this release to be with Ian & Don at the helm over at Inner Ear [Studios]. Don is a legend and Ian always has great ideas. Ian is a real student of song craft. His musical tastes are incredibly varied.

Alec MacKaye: Most of the records I have worked on have happened in that studio, with those two people, starting in 1981 in the furnace room of Don's basement. So, for me, it felt like home and family, because it is.

V. Is it true the entirety of this 3-song EP was recorded in a single-day session at Don Zientara's own Inner Ear Studios!!?

Mark Cisneros: Yes, recorded and mixed in a day there at Inner Ear. Ian & Don work fast.

Alec MacKaye: ...and the players are some solid senders!

VI. What kind of traits would you say with of you bring to HAMMERED HULLS from your experience with your past bands, projects, recording entities, etc?

Alec MacKaye: I can only do it the way I always have: work and think and explore and drill deeper into the places where we are, rather than worry about what we "should" be doing. I don't know what that might produce, but I do know whatever it is, it will be ours and that makes it good.

CREDIT: Christopher Grady

VII. What type of meaning or connotation is the phrase "Hammered Hulls" intended to mean or possess as a band name?

Alec MacKaye: [It] comes from old advice on acquiring a wooden boat. You should stab it with a knife and hammer the hull. The knife will detect soft wood between the partner and the step: rot that may have set in near the mast. One should, also, "hammer the hull" and listen for the "thock" drumbeat sound of solid wood or the dull, deadblow tone of a rotten strake. A sound craft makes for a good journey.

VIII. Following the release of your S/T debut EP, what's next for HAMMERED HULLS (ie: more shows, music videos, singles, new material, etc.)?

Alec MacKaye: We have enough material for a long-player and are working on new [material]. We are game to play more shows, tour, as time permits, and if someone wants to pay for it, I can imagine doing video work. There is a lot being discussed and folks wanting to set up shows all over, but we don't have any concrete plans, aside from a show in D.C. in January [2020].

IX. Assuming you're all mutual fans and admirers of each other's pre-HAMMERED HULLS output, do you have any particular recommendations for new fans to the genre/band(s)?

Alec MacKaye: I don't really understand the question... so, I'll just recommend that HAMMERED HULLS fans spend a few hours chasing down all the varied and amazing bands and projects we have been a part of and enjoy the journey.

X. In addition to HAMMERED HULLS and your own active projects, what other D.C.-area artists/bands might you recommend fans of Dischord Records & HarDCore check out?

Mark Cisneros: There's a lot going on in D.C. right now: Amy Farina, Ian MacKaye & Joe Lally's new group, CORIKY, has just started playing shows and have an LP ready to go. Very cool stuff. Of course, there's The Messthetics with Brendan Canty, Joe Lally & Anthony Pirog. They're blowing the doors off of places! There's, also, The Effects, also, on Dischord, and T.K. Echo. And a lot of young bands really mixing it up, like Sneaks, Clear Channel, Priests, Mock Identity, Foul Swoops, Blacks' Myths, Janel Leppin [Priests,] Knife Wife, Time Is Fire, and more.

Alec MacKaye: Lightbeams, Puff Pieces, Gauche, Quattracenta... too many to list... D.C. keeps cranking! All the time and for all time...

(CR)EDIT: Matt Horowitz/Dischord Records

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Grave Danger Re-emerge with TOMB IT MAY CONCERN EP Featuring A "Skath" Cover of The Misfits' "Halloween" (Spooky Action Records)

"The world needs more Ska songs about skeletons and ghosts and stuff. 666th Wave Ska," reads the Bandcamp Bio of Berkeley, California-based Ska band, Grave Danger. Technically, Grave Danger have forged an entirely new genre for their releases: "Skath," which combines elements of both Ska & Goth, as well as Punk, Hardcore, and Rock. "The idea of a "Skath" band stems from a strange place: what would a Goth/Ska band sound like, one [that] combined The Misfits' aesthetic with Reel Big Fish's goofball schtick?" explains a Grave Danger press kit. Grave Danger is the brainchild of high school buds, David "Dave" Schwantes & Dane Erbach, who "spent the bulk of their gym class brainstorming fake bands with their friends, in an attempt to avoid whatever physical despair their P.E. teachers had in store for them that day." A selection of these faux groups included a "Death Metal" band called Throbbing Reaper, 80's "Hair Metal" rockers, Live Wire, and, of course, Grave Danger.

Grave Danger's current line-up includes Dave Schwantes on guitars, bass, keyboards, tenor/baritone sax, and backing vocals, drummer Dane Erbach, lead vocalist Chris Marcanti, trombonist Margaret Miller, trumpet player Andy Miller, Emily Erbach on theremin, and Elliot Schwantes with Alan Erbach, Josh Marcanti & Eileen Hays-Schwantes appearing frequently as part-time members. Grave Danger re-emerged from their crypt this Halloween with the proper follow-up to their 2018 debut EP, "LET 'ER RIP!" TOMB IT MAY CONCERN consists of four fun-loving, tongue-in-cheek originals and one cover, an updated Skath cover of The Misfits' beloved 1981 Horror-Punk single, "Halloween." TOMB IT CONCERN opener "Give Up The Ghost," additionally, seems to be a thinly-veiled allusion to American Nightmare's short-lived/one-time nom de plume, Give Up The Ghost, as well.

Mere days before All Hallow's Eve, NEW NOISE ran an exclusive premiere of Grave Danger's lead-off TOMB IT MAY CONCERN EP single, "Undead End Job." Song-writer Dave Schwantes told NEW NOISE: "'Undead End Job" is Grave Danger doing what it does best. The song has bouncy horn parts, a driving groove, and the line "had half a doughnut, though, I'm hungry for blood.'" Making spook-tacular usage of Grave Danger's typical four-piece horn section, synths, organs, and harmonies galore throughout, Schwantes says, "we tried to focus on giving each song on this record exactly what it needed to create a big sound, without muddying things up and "Undead [End Job]" is a great example of that spooky mix coming together." Grave Danger's TOMB IT MAY CONCERN EP is now available on your preferred digital streaming platform of choice, via Spooky Action Records, ghouls and gals!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Amerigo Gazaway & Xiomara Unleash "THAT OLD ALARM" Music Video & Single from Joint Album 1990 (The Soul Mates Project/Records)

Amerigo Gazaway is a Berkely, California-based producer, emcee, multi-instrumentalist, and DJ, who is known for his remixes/mash-ups, original instrumentals, and digital sampling. Gazaway is the son of internationally-known Jazz trumpeter, Gary "El Buho" (The Owl) Gazaway from The Ozark Mountains and Brazilian vocalist, Tatiana Mindlin; with his brother, Rickey Mindlin, Amerigo Gazaway formed The Soul Mates Project/Records as a vehicle to present his lush, conceptual collaborative efforts. Soul Mates are best known for their documentary-style conceptual collaboration albums, which have famously incorporated the music of A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, Fela Kuti, De La Soul, Marvin Gaye, Yasiin Bey FKA Mos Def, James Brown, OutKast, and many, many more. Said critically-acclaimed remixes and mash-ups have garnered Amerigo Gazaway guest spots on releases from the likes of Aaron "Son Little" Livingston, Blu, and Oh No, as well as a gig re-orchestrating Miles Davis' infamous "lost" 1985 Rubberband sessions for a recent wide release.

For his latest release, Amerigo Gazaway recruited Bay Area songstress, producer, and player, Xiomara. "Leaning [heavily] on Xiomara's song-writing and arrangement chops, the newly-formed duo spent the last year crafting a collaboration as original as it is reminiscent," boasts a Bandcamp description. Earlier this morning, Amerigo Gazaway & Xiomara unleashed their first proper single together, "THAT OLD ALARM," unto the terribly unsuspecting masses; primarily, a Soul/Jazz/Blues hybrid with a dash of Hip-Hop, Soul Mates Records' "THAT OLD ALARM" digital single, also, features an Extended Mix with beloved Indie Hip-Hop emcee Blu, as well as an instrumental on "Side B." Amerigo & Xiomara, additionally, dropped a music video for "THAT OLD ALARM" directed by Ya'Shalan and filmed completely in black-and-white, bringing the whole old school feel full circle. Surprisingly, Amerigo Gazaway & Xiomara's full-length project, 1990, is scheduled to drop tomorrow, Tuesday, November 5, 2019.