Monday, April 23, 2018

3 Feet High & Rising: Portland's Bloodmoney Perez & B!LLY WH?T Join Forces to Form Hip-Hop Duo Bouquet of Bones (Damn That Noise Music)

Bouquet of Bones (@wearebouquet) are a Portland-bred rapper/producer duo in the same vein as Jaylib, Run The Jewels, Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman, Career Crooks, and their like-minded peers; consisting of the tag-team lyrical assault that is Bloodmoney Perez & B!LLY WH?T, Bouquet of Bones recently unveiled their inaugural release, "Sonic Truth" B/W "Flex Pistols." "@wearebouquet is a new group aiming to deliver gritty, sonically thick Hip-Hop throughout the remainder of the foreseeable future," Bouquet of Bones wrote Instagram post teasing their 4/20 debut release on Damn That Noise Music. Bloodmoney Perez (@DrBloodmoney) & B!LLY WH?T (@_murn_) list their collective interests as beat-making, writing rhymes, and drinkin' beer. "Sonic Truth" has been billed as both a mini-EP and 1990's-evoking maxi-single backed with "Flex Pistols" on Side B. Bouquet of Bones attained a neck-snapping instrumental from long-time friend and fellow rapper-producer Blu for "Sonic Truth," as well as a "rugged-as-f**k" verse from Tomorrow Kings & War Church emcee SKECH185 for Bloodmoney Perez-produced B-side "Flex Pistols."

It seems as though "Sonic Truth" B/W "Flex Pistols" was merely a call-to-arms, as Bouquet of Bones write within a press statement: "the maxi-single is just the beginning for the duo in 2018." Bloodmoney Perez & B!LLY WH?T vehemently "promise to deliver another maxi-single, again, assisted by Blu on production, with B!LLY WH?T handling the sonic canvas." Following Bouquet of Bones' second maxi-single will be their untitled debut album coming this summer, which "will be filled with every bit of fire, dedication, and swagger that the forefathers demanded of a gifted emcee." Bouquet of Bones promise a slew of expectedley neck-snapping releases to be dropped throughout 2018, including, but not limited to, various group and solo releases, namely, Bloodmoeny Perez's upcoming solo album TIME IS A MOTHERF*CKER co-produced by Messiah Musik coming out 6/29 on Damn That Noise Music with features from Curly Castro (Grift Company,) Sleep Sinatra, and MCF. "Sonic Truth" B/W "Flex Pistols" is now available to stream or purchase from Bandcamp, Spotify, and like-minded digital retailers across the Hip-Hop-loving Internet.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Baltimore/DC Punk Vets Form Power-Pop Band Blue Streak & Release "No Guns On TV Hill" B/W "Dog" 7-inch Single (Painter Man Records)

Blue Streak is a DC/Baltimore-based "super-group," of sorts, consisting of current and former members of local area Punk/Hardcore bands Angel Du$t, Give, Pure Disgust, and Red Death... although, they're playing jangly Power-Pop, rather than your typical Hardcore/Punk fare. Blue Streak consists of guitarist/piano player Ben Schultz (Give,) drummer/percussionist Robin Zeijlon (Red Death, Pure Disgust, Lackluster,) bassist Nick Heitman (formerly Angel Du$t,) and vocalist/guitar player Mike French (Angel Du$t, In Between.) French, Heitman, and Zeijlon previously played together in "Throwback Pop-Punk" outfit Dizzy Pleasure Club (DPC) with Pat McCrory of Turnstile & Angel Du$t, who released a 5-track EP entitled D.C.P. on Photobooth Records back in 2016. As you might have already gathered, Blue Streak is named after 1999 Buddy Cop Comedy film Blue Streak starring Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, and Dave Chappelle; "Nick thought it would be funny to name a band after a painfully average Comedy, instead of a painfully average Hardcore song," frontman Mike French told The Witzard, via email. "Also, a lame band from the UK [already] took Gun Shy." French readily cites XTC's Andy Partridge and Big Star's Alex Chilton as two of his personal musical heroes—"people who can write a song and play their instrument."

Blue Streak recently played their first show together as part of acclaimed DC music festival Damaged City 2018, which was held April 5-8th, along with the likes of BLACKSAGE, Limp Wrist, Nosebleed, Primal Rite, and Wildhoney. Coinciding with their debut show, Blue Streak released a 2-track EP entitled "No Guns On TV Hill" B/W "Dog" recorded with esteemed Minor Threat, Q and Not U, Fugazi, and Minor Threat producer Don Zientara at his Arlington, Virginia-based Inner Ear Studio. Here's Blue Streak's origin story, as told by Mike French: "Nick and I ran a label together and toured together in Angel Du$t. I wrote "No Guns [On TV Hill]" in 2015 as a joke song, but he liked it too much, so here we are. A year later, I moved into Nick and his girlfriend's guest bedroom and we wrote "Dog." Ben and I met over some hot gossip on my last Angel Du$t tour. Robin played in a regionally important band called Lackluster that I love." French says Blue Streak are currently planning a West Coast tour, as well as "hopefully, a sequel." Blue Streak's "No Guns On TV Hill" B/W "Dog" is currently available to stream or download on Bandcamp, Spotify, and like-minded streaming platforms, as well as limited edition black/blue 7-inch on Seattle's Painter Man Records.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Stones Throw Records Quietly Unleash Homeboy Sandman & Edan's First Collaborative Single "#NeverUseTheInternetAgain" (Sand & Edan)

Last month, Stones Throw (@stonesthrow) mysteriously posted "@edanexists & @homeboysandman are working on some music together, which will debut at our SXSW showcase this Friday" on their Instagram page, which has since garnered 2,667+ Likes. As should be expect, for anyone interested in Indie/Underground Hip-Hop, a few of my writer friends and I went nuts on Rap Twitter. About for weeks have passed with no additional mention of Sandman & Edan's rumored collaborative efforts from Stones Throw. Just this morning, on a whim, I decided to check Stones Throw's home page and BAM! there it was: "Homeboy Sandman & Edan #NeverUseTheInternetAgain"—right there in the middle column of the front page. It seems as though no one (aside from RAW DRIVE) had noticed or even checked Stones Throw's site for the past 7 hours or so, this including myself! While on a roll about the downsides of The Internet, Sandman jokingly(?) rhymes: "Internet journalism, here's what you're gonna find / Everyone who can't get paid for it, does it online / Most of the ones online that's getting paid suck, too / F**k you!!!"

Despite his apparent disdain for music writers, I actually, had the rare opportunity to meet Homeboy Sandman at Union Transfer, Philly after his 2016 "LICE Tour" stop with Aesop Rock and he was kind enough to sign my LICE EP 12-inch. I seriously, can't express how stoked I am to finally hear what Edan & Sandman have cooked up together; especially, after hearing "#NeverUseTheInternetAgain," as well as "Talking (Bleep)" from Homeboy Sandman's 2016 album, Kindness for Weakness. Judging by these, as well as Edan's recent work with Your Old Droog & Wiki, Mr. Lif, Memory Man, and most recently, Cut Chemist's DIE CUT, this unspecified collaborative effort from Sand & Edan is likely going to "Break The Internet!" Homeboy Sandman & Edan's "#NeverUseTheInternetAgain" is now available on Spotify, Google Play, DEEZER, junodownload, YouTube, and like-minded digital streaming platforms. For now, here's a bit of Hip-Hop Forum speculation on Sand & Edan from UndergroundHipHop's message boards, as well as some cell phone footage of "EDAN & HOMEBOY SANDMAN @ Empire Garage (Stones Throw Showcase) 3.16.18 SXSW" and "Rock And Roll" [Excerpt], as filmed by tech-savvy concert-goer Jeremy Cargill.

Grass-roots Canadian Imprint Wandering Who Recordings Unleash Easy Ruckus' Glitchy Single "Pretty Face" (New Label Profile)

Easy Ruckus (or "ESY RKS," for short) are a Canadian Acoustic/Blues/Folk band hailing from Golden, British Columbia. While, at one point in time, it consisted of 3-6 members, ESY RKS currently features founding members Landon Bushell & Matt Downie. Matt & Landon, actually, both grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada and oddly enough, attended the same elementary, junior high, and high schools, but didn't really connect until after graduation upon forming Easy Ruckus in 2011. Landon Bushell & Matt Downie have collectively, recorded, produced, and self-released two EP's—entitled Winter, Part 1 and Take Me Away—through 2016-17, after a nearly 3 year-long hiatus; as far back as Summer 2012, Easy Ruckus was holed up in Golden, British Columbia recording their first proper full-length, when Matt accidentally, spilled a cup of coffee across his laptop and the nearly completed album was lost for good. Since then, Matt Downie taught himself how to play drums and ESY RKS effectively recorded and independently released over 40 original tracks on their Soundcloud page, which have collectively garnered them a staggering 50,000 plays on the platform. Easy Ruckus producer, sound engineer, and drummer Matt Downie partnered with Australian alpine ecologist, botanist, and music enthusiast Brodie Verrall at the start of 2018 to form an artist-driven grass-roots independent record label dubbed Wandering Who Recordings.

The label's inaugural release, "Pretty Face," is the latest single from Easy Ruckus, which will be featured on their proper full-length debut, TANGO, coming out on Wandering Who late April-May 2018. Wandering Who Recordings plans to release four additional albums from artists based in or around The Canadian Rockies by Summer's end. "Take the time to appreciate you; find the light and find your own truth" is the first phrase heard on "Pretty Face," which seemingly marks a stylistic shift for Easy Ruckus or at least, a more Electro/Indie/Dance-Pop-driven sound that hasn't been heard since their Electro-minded 2013 Sean Ash-assisted single, "Skys Are Blue." Although, ESY RKS' Facebook page has always described their musical output as, "a unique sound, fusing between Rock, Blues, Folk, Reggae, and Psychedelic—resulting in a style and feel yet to be truly shaped." Landon Bushell & Matt Downie readily cite The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, The Black Keys, LCD Soundsystem, and Current Swell amongst their greatest sources of inspiration and influence. However, I would personally, compare "Pretty Face" to a bit more Indie Rock/Pop-minded fare, such as short-lived The Postal Service, Owl City, Death Cab for Cutie, and even Beck's notoriously genre-eschewing output. "Pretty Face," as well as a 6-track Easy Ruckus Compilation (Special Edition) are currently available to stream or download from Wandering Who Recordings' newly-launched label site, as well as select digital streaming services.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dragon Fli Empire Return with "Hold Down The Fort" B​/​W "Right On Time" 7-inch (Beats House/Radio Krimi/Makebelieve Records)

Dragon Fli Empire (DFE) are a Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based rapper-producer duo consisting of emcee Teekay AKA Tarik and producer DJ Cosm AKA Cosmix. "Keepin' the Funk alive since 2002..." DFE have released four albums on Calgary's own Makebelieve Records since 2004—Conquest, The Invasion LP, Redefine, and Mission Statement—as well as a slew of singles, EP's and compilations on Bigfoot, P-Vine, and Traveller Records. Dragon Fli Empire's last proper full-length, Mission Statement (Deluxe Edition) featured a coveted guest verse from Brand Nubian's Sadat X and an incorporated sample from Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," as well as a collection of bonus remixes and edits; Teekay & DJ Cosm have previously collaborated with the likes of Cadence Weapon, Djar One, Moka Only, and Masta Ace. Throughout the course of their storied 16-year career, Dragon Fli Empire have shared the stage with De La Soul, Jay Electronica, Joey Bada$$, Mos Def, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Public Enemy, The Roots, and even, Joni Mitchell.

Dragon Fli Empire have returned this week with their first release since 2013's Mission Statement, "Hold Down The Fort" B​/​W "Right On Time" released digitally and on limited edition 7-inch available through Beats House/Radio Krimi/Makebelieve Records. DFE deliver a nostalgia-inducing one-two punch of Boom-Bap-inflected Hip-Hop on their freshly-pressed 7-inch/digital single: Side A - "Hold Down The Fort" was produced by Beats House Records founder and frequent collaborator Djar One with cuts throughout from DJ Cosm and sounds like a Jazz-inflected "lost" Native Tongues or Soulquarians posse cut from the early 90's. Side B - "Right On Time" was produced by DJ Cosm & Metawon and alternately, features cuts from Djar One with vocal assist from Tanya Morgan/The Lessondary emcee Von Pea, which is a bit more of a laid-back, smooth crooner of a Hip-Hop track with squalling horn sample accents. Dragon Fli Empire's "Hold Down The Fort" B/W "Right On Time" is now available digitally and on limited edition 7-inch via Beats House/Radio Krimi/Makebelieve Records.

"We had already been working on a new full-length album, so we decided to approach a few labels about releasing a vinyl 45. We weren't that confident that we would get replies, but we ended up getting interest from Beats House Records and Radio Krimi in Europe, plus, another label in The States. So, we decided to do a unique vinyl 45 with each of them. For the Beats House/[Radio] Krimi release, we custom-made a couple of brand new songs with them in mind; this is why you can hear the shout-outs in the hook for "Hold Down The Fort." When I heard that beat, it immediately made me think of "Don't Sweat The Technique" by Eric B. & Rakim, so that song is essentially, an homage to them, but also, kind of acts as a mission statement for our "comeback." We're here to keep that Boom-Bap spirit alive that made us fall in love with Hip-Hop, in the first place. It's becoming viewed as a relic in the mainstream, so I think another active example of that style serves our purpose to "hold down the fort" for this artform.

As for "Right On Time," we wanted to have a guest on each project that we respected and also, could help more people, who would probably enjoy our music, discover us. There's a bit of strategy involved there, too. So, DJ Cosm and I were bouncing around potential guest ideas and one of us brought up Von Pea, as a possibility and we both agreed that he would be a great fit for this song. "Right On Time" is a kind of a playful braggadocio joint, which I felt Von Pea could vibe with, given the humor and style of Tanya Morgan and also, his solo projects. So, through a mutual music industry connection, we hit him up and he was down with it. He hit us back with the verse right away and we both were extremely stoked with the flow, the vibe, and the wordplay. We knew he was the cherry on top to really make this joint special. "Right On Time" is kind of a cheeky preemptive answer to the question, "where have you guys been?," as if we were "late" with new music and the answer is: "No, we're right on time and we're just picking it up where we left off." When I say in the song, "I went to India, I went to South America", I actually did; it was for my day job in I.T. working as a trainer for off-shored call centers. General life stuff that kind of gets in the way of being as productive as you'd like."

- Teekay (Dragon Fli Empire)

Monday, April 16, 2018

All-around Breakdown: Drew Scott Breaks Down Bedroom/"Basement Pop" Debut As Giddeon Gallows - CRITTER (ILL VESSEL MUSIC)

"Navel gazing in my basement for a decade plus / I f**kin' lied when I said it wouldn't take long / Hope you got all day maybe two / It's work, it's hard work / It took two weeks to climb down this hole," Drew Scott sings on "Avoidant" from his debut as Giddeon Gallows, CRITTER. I've been hearing about Scott's Giddeon Gallows side-project for about 6-8 months and now, it's finally out in the world and I'm able to write about it; to my ear, it sounds something like a stylistic mix of Kanye's "Auto-Tune album" 808's & Heartbreak, The Postal Service's Give Up, and early TV On The Radio à la Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. "Giddeon Gallows is basically, just a pen name, it's not an alter-ego or anything. I have a deep appreciation for Pop music, not in a mainstream sense, but more as a vehicle," Drew Scott wrote, via email, describing CRITTER. "While I was finishing ILL VESSEL, I was experimenting with Auto-Tune, feedback, and delay on my vocals as an "instrument," while using these beats that I didn't want to necessarily, rap on," he continued.

While it's been half-joking referred to as his "singer/song-writer" debut, Scott admits, he can't play guitar... so, Giddeon Gallows' CRITTER is just him, an SP-404SX, and a vocal effects pedal. Although, it's technically, been touted as a Bedroom Pop/Chillwave/R&B-minded album, Drew Scott affectionately calls it "Basement Pop;" he's been recording and largely, self-producing his own music starting with BLACKSAGE's SIXTAPE (2014) with Josephine Olivia in his basement studio; since SIXTAPE, such projects as Luvadocious with Al Rogers, Jr. Pale Spring EP's 1-2, Vans_Westly's QUILLS, Warmest Regards (BLACKSAGE & Owen Ross,) as well as all of his solo efforts, have been recorded in Drewcifer's Basement, Baltimore, MD. "There's a vulnerability involved when you can feel the cobwebs, the chill in the room, the creaking floor above. When recording, I like to keep the "less desirable" take, if it works and conveys a certain emotion," Drew Scott further detailed. Giddeon Gallows' CRITTER is currently available to stream or download on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, and like-minded digital retails. Below, you'll see a rather in-depth track-by-track CRITTER breakdown penned by Drew Scott himself exclusively for The Witzard.

1. "Perpetually" [-feat. Owen Ross]

"This beat is a couple years old and I nearly forgot about it, but I did it in one take, after strewing together some random notes I had typed in my phone. Bounced the acapella, ran the vocals through my [SP-404SX] and recorded that glitchy stuff live, as I recorded. It's a song about fear, but it has an optimism to it. I think, it's about severing ties with toxic elements in your life. Whether that's a person or the constant f**ery that the world operates on or all the above. Owen Ross really gave the ending atmosphere and momentum."

2. "Foxglove"

"This song is many things, kind of like a stream of consciousness dream sequence; by the end, I'm wishing I never woke up buried in all this feedback. The opening line is an apology to my partner for the way the world makes women feel and it spirals from there."

3. "Avoidant"

"Some days, just leaving the house is hard work. It's an ode to anxiety and I like juxtaposition, so I made it laid-back and vibey."

4. "Forbid (Further)" [-feat. Al Rogers, Jr.]

"This is about self-sabotage. I like to blame my lack of happiness on outside elements, but usually, it's a self-made coffin I've built myself. Al comes through with some spirituality and brightness. "Tread lightly, pack lighter" is some advice an old man once gave me. Made this beat on my episode of FLIPS."

5. "Cell Division"

"This may have been the first track I did; the chorus was meant to be this repetitive thing I say to myself. How many times have I said, "this is the last time you do this sh*t to me..." ? Splitting cells is a nice thought, but easier said than done."

6. "Static" [-feat. Pale Spring]

"I really love this track. It's like a ballad, but such a bummer. I think, in relationships, we tend to end up in the same place over and over, like static. Eventually, you get through it or you don't, but you know when you're in the sh*t. The verses are pretty much responses to one another. * Sidenote: Pale Spring should, technically, be Executive Producer of this album; from background vocals to actually, pushing me to sing more, she was a huge influence."

7. "Shoreline" [-feat. Infinity Knives]

"It's about drowning. I grew up near the beach and almost drowned a couple times in my life, so I know the feeling well. It's also, about how a town or city becomes small, after a while, no matter where you are. Infinity Knives is really a brilliant musician and knew exactly the mood to bring out, in the end, with that guitar part: nightmarish and frantic."

8. "Critter" [-feat. 83cutlass / co-prod. Jumbled]

"I asked for some "sad-a$$ beats" and Jumbled sent me the first half of this. I kind of just freestyled it. I thought back to all the times I would just wander around manically in the night in a drunken haze feeling less than human. I made the second part of the beat and 83's voice just made sense in my head and I knew he’d be perfect."

9. "Foggy"

"Recorded this with my sh**ty scratch mic in a real dark moment on-the-spot and I just kept it the way it was."

10. "Cell Division (Reprise)"

"I like to put reprises on albums as a sort of "bookend." Plus, I tend to make a few versions of a beat. I guess, this one's about acceptance, reckoning with yourself about all the mistakes you’ve made, and all the pitfalls we succumb to. "This is the last time..." plays in reverse thoughout."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Action Bronson & The Alchemist Reunite On Lunch Meat EP Single "The Hopeless Romantic" (Original Artwork Created By: E$ @theedollarsign)

Action Bronson and long-time friend, collaborator, and food travel cohort The Alchemist have once again teamed up for 2 minutes and 47 seconds-worth of Jazz-inflected Boom-Bap bliss; previously having worked together a number of times since Blaxploitation-like Rare Chandeliers (2012) but not on a proper collaborative full-length project since, Bronson & Alchemist have reunited for "The Hopeless Romantic" from the latter's Lunch Meat EP. The Alchemist also drafted sharp-tongued emcees Roc Marciano, Westside Gunn & Conway (Hall N' Nash,) Styles P, and Benny The Butcher for his Lunch Meat EP, which features instrumentals for all four emcee-assisted tracks on Side B. To coincide with the release of Alchemist's Lunch Meat EP this past Friday, Action Bronson & Alan The Chemist recruited artist E Money (@theedollarsign) AKA E$ to create a series of original illustrations and pieces of artwork inspired by Bronson's excpectedly zany "The Hopeless Romantic" rhymes schemes for a collaborative black-and-white music video.

"When I met [Alchemist], he mentioned doing an audio/visual collaboration and I could not be more excited that it came to fruition and this was the end result," E$ (@theedollarsign) charismatically wrote on Instagram. Lunch Meat EP is currently available to download or stream on The Alchemist's Bandcamp page, while Season 3 of Action Bronson's F*ck, That's Delicious is poised to debut on VICELAND this upcoming Monday, April 16th at 10:30pm. Since December 2017, Alchemist has released a series of Bandcamp-only releases including French Blend, The Good Book: Chapter 1 (Joyful Noise,) French Blends Pt. 2, Big Body Bes' solo debut "Homicide," Paris x LA x Bruxelles Instrumentals, and now, Lunch Meat EP. Rapper's Best Friend 4: An Instrumental Series, Budgie-assisted The Good Book, Vol. 2 and Moving Parts EP with TNGHT producer and DJ Lunice were additionally, released exclusively on Spotify. Action Bronson's latest release was 2017's Blue Chips 7,000, which showcased production work from Party Supplies, The Alchemist, composer Woody Jackson, Harry Fraud, Knxwledge, and Daringer.