Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Your Old Droog Recruits Quelle Chris, RUFF MERCY & Matt Lubansky for "Transportation" Video Clips (Mongoloid Banks/Nature Sounds)

Your Old Droog's newly-minted Bandcamp page lacks much in lieu of a typical Artist Bio/Release Description and only contains a simple proclamation: "Y.O.D. is the best." Droog has come a long way from his early days as a Ukrainian-American immigrant, whom most people initially thought was an alter-ego of Nas; early on in his career, Your Old Droog received stamps-of-approval from both Sean Price & Prodigy (Mobb Deep,) as well as Sascha Jenkins, Edan, Homeboy Sandman, and countless others. I can recall the mass amounts of hype, mystery, and sheer confusion surrounding 2014's self-released Your Old Droog EP/LP, but my personal favorite Droog release was 2015's KINISON EP with its Rock "N" Roll & Stand Up Comedy-indebted edge. Droog's second proper studio full-length, PACKS, was released in early 2017 and boasts collaborations with Heems AKA Himanshu (Swet Shop Boys,) Danny Brown, Chris Crack, Wiki, Edan, and comedian Anthony Jeselnik, as well as The Purist, RTNC, 88-Keys, and The Alchemist on the production tip. For the remainder of 2017, Your Old Droog released a series of extremely strong non-album singles, which were later re-collected on Daupe!'s appropriately-titled "Looseys" comp. Y.O.D. and his "Help" collaborator Wiki once again teamed up for a collaborative 2017 EP entitled What Happened to Fire? with production work throughout from Black Milk, RTNC & Droog himself, Statik Selektah, !llmind, araabMUZIK, and Tony Seltzer.

Earlier this year, Your Old Droog & Edan returned, seemingly out of NOWHERE, with the first episode in what appears to be an ongoing series fittingly dubbed "Witch In The Kitchen." Seated in Edan's kitchen, alongside his record collection, Droog effortless freestyles atop a sample culled directly from Chrome Smoke & BBQ: The ZZ Top CD Box Set, namely, "Cheap Sunglasses" (2003 Remaster.) Just a matter of days later, also, completely unannounced—are you starting to notice a pattern here?—Y.O.D. self-released his third proper full-length, It Wasn't Even Close, on Gogul Mogul/Mongoloid Banks. Executive Produced by ever-mysterious emcee Mach Hommy, It Wasn't Even Close features collaborations with heavyweights such as DOOM, Daringer, Evidence, Sadhugold, Mono En Stereo FKA RTNC, Roc Marciano, Ohbliv, and more. Now, less than two months after It Wasn't Even Close, Droog has once again returned with his fourth full-length, Transportation, on what appears to be his own imprint, Mongoloid Banks in conjunction with Nature Sounds. Not counting producers, Transportation is a largely featureless affair, aside from two Bonus Tracks boasting rhymes from Quelle Chris & Wiki. Interestingly enough, a double-music video for Transportation's "The Cheese" & "Under The Train (Transporting,)" directed by Matt Lubansky and animated by RUFF MERCY, was quietly unleashed a matter of days after It Wasn't Even Close. Now, there's, also, a Transportation Animated Short or "BASTARDS OF THE UNIVERSE;" it was, amazingly, fully "illustrated, animated, colored, written, voiced, and directed by ya boy, @quellechrist." Both Your Old Droog's It Wasn't Even Close & Transportation are now available from Gogul Mogul, Mongoloid Banks & Nature Sounds.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Lewis Express Share "Clap Your Hands" & "Stomp Your Feet" 7-inch Featuring Infectious Dancefloor-ready Single Edits (ATA Records)

The Lewis Express are a Leeds, UK-based Jazz/Funk/Soul ensemble, whose name is, actually, a homage to beloved American Jazz composer, pianist, and radio personality Ramsay Lewis. The Express currently consists of pianist George Cooper, bassist Neil Innes, drummer Sam Hobbs, and percussionist "Bongo" Pete Williams; Innes & Williams are the founders of Leeds-based ATA (All Things Analogue) Records, while a number of The Lewis Express' players have previously functioned as part of The Sorcerers, The Magnificent Tape Band, Abstract Orchestra, The Joe Tatton Trio, The Mandatory Eight, and Dread Supreme, as well as releases backing Matthew Bourne, Tony Burkill & Rachel Modest. ATA Records previously released The Lewis Express' self-titled 7-song EP last August to wide-spread fan and critical acclaim. Now, less than a year later, George, Neil, Sam & Bongo Pete have triumphantly returned with their next 7-inch/digital single, "Clap Your Hands" & "Stomp Your Feet" from an upcoming, as-yet-unreleased album, also, entitled Clap Your Hands.

"It features 2 exclusive dancefloor-friendly alternative versions of tracks originally recorded for the forthcoming LP, Clap Your Hands," explains a press release from Pete Williams & Neil Innes. "The band channel Eddie Cano and Pete Terrace for the Latin Boogaloo of Side A's "Clap Your Hands," while Side B's "Stomp Your Feet" takes the baton and races off with some storming, Mod-Jazz aimed squarely at the dancefloor," it continues. So far, only Side B stand-out "Stomp Your Feet" has been released digitally "to the masses," but it's definitely a scorcher that's "PERFECT FOR A LATE NIGHT, SWEATY HOUSE PARTY - SHOES OFF AND BEER IN THE SINK!" as an ATA promo perfectly suggests. The Lewis Express are currently hosting a pre-order for their "Clap Your Hands" B/W "Stomp Your Feet" 7-inch/digital single on Bandcamp, which are, somehow, both going for just £7 GBP—about $8.77 USD + $1.88 for Shipping & Handling—so, how could anyone NOT pick up this glorious piece of Ruby Red wax?!!!??! Also, the first 100 copies of this limited edition Lewis Express 7-inch will be personally hand-numbered by the band/label, as well.

Monday, June 17, 2019

@PIAPTK & Soild Gold Recordings Unveil Vinyl-only Re-issue of @moneymark's 2001 Album changeiscoming (Twitter AMA-style Q&A)

"Soild Gold #11 - Money Mark! The keys man behind the music of some of the biggest hits for the Beastie Boys (Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head,) Beck (he played the intro to "Where It's At,") and lots of other artists, is slumming it with Soild Gold. changeiscoming is an instrumental record that features a ton of collaborators, including Sean Lennon, Los Lobos, etc. has been out-of-print for years, and is a fan favorite. You will almost definitely recognize some of the tunes, as most of them have been featured on TV shows, commercials, movies, etc.; a really chill dinner party vibe.

All in our patented "Soild Gold-style" paste-on covers with hand-stamped labels on Translucent Gold Vinyl and 12x18" cardstock poster. 50 copies of the special "Coins & Bills" Splatter vinyl—Trans. Gold mixed with Silver & Green, which gives it a crazy wavy look!—will be randomly inserted into orders. As always, Soild Gold is ANALOG-ONLY... DOES NOT include downloads. You can, also, join the "Test Pressing Guessing Game" by adding some extra change onto your "Pay-What-You-Want" [pre-order/order]. For example, if you pay $22.38 and Mark chose the number "38" for this release, you win a FREE Test Pressing, along with your order."

- PIAPTK & Soild Gold Recordings (@PIAPTK)

001. @SharpCheddar856: Is it true you first met @beastieboys when Mario C. asked you to fix a wooden gate at the entrance of the property where the band were staying while recording Paul's Boutique? đź› 

@moneymark: It was called The G-Spot [because] of a giant letter "G" on the gate. One of The Boys had accidentally crashed into it. While I was there fixing it, Horowitz pulls up and invites me to a party. That's my initial interaction with them. Later, I built the studio, G-son [Studios]... * Oops, "Horovitz"—The Dust Brothers shared the house, too. In the closet, there was crazy wardrobe and they "borrowed" some for the "Hey Ladies" video. I started making record shelves for the crew and I was a set carpenter on The Hollywood Center Studio's lot.

002. @SharpCheddar856: What initially made you decide to join forces with @PIAPTK & Soild Gold Records for this special limited edition vinyl-only re-issue of your 2001 Emperor Norton/Modular Recordings album, changeiscoming (or Change Is Coming?)

@moneymark: I made a post on [Instagram] on Jan. 9th. I currently own my entire catalog. I met @PIAPTK when I did a show for a Joseph Gordon-Levitt/HITRECORD party at Sundance. Mike Dixon's portable lathe set-up was impressive. Basically, I can do whatever I want with my songs/albums.

003. @SharpCheddar856: How much involvement did you have in the creation of @PIAPTK's Soild Gold #11 "Faux Bootleg" hand-assembled sleeves, "Soild Gold-style" paste-on covers, Translucent Gold vinyl, "Coins & Bills" splatter vinyl, 12x18 cardstock poster, etc. for changeiscoming?

@moneymark: I wasn't too involved. I supplied the files and the photo. @PIAPTK sent me a test copy to approve. That's it. It's a small 250 [record] run, so y'all should get one [before] it sells out! Do some research: I played this entire album on 9/11 a few blocks from [The World Trade Center].

004. @SharpCheddar856: In addition to the inclusion of collaborators @seanonolennon, @LosLobosBand, Mario "C." Caldato, Jr. Alfredo Ortiz, Jose "Crunchy" Espinoza, and more, how would you say changeiscoming differs from the rest of your solo discography?

@moneymark: It's the only time I recorded core tracks live with a band. In [San Francisco] at an Allen Sides studio and Sean's Upstate facility. The sick video for "Information Contraband" was Hello Logan's debut into the music video-making biz. They became Video Rockstars from it.

005. @SharpCheddar856: What would you say are some of your fondest/wildest memories (you're able to share!) from the making-of changeiscoming? And why do you think it's still important for people to hear this album now? Thanks again for agreeing to do this impromptu AMA-style Q&A, @moneymark!

@moneymark: There's no "crazy stories;" nothing subversive. The Mission in [San Francisco] was still a real place and some of the O.G. coffee shops and bookstores were still rockin'. TOAST was the name of the studio. Craig Silvey went on to win a GRAMMY for Arcade Fire. We did 'shrooms/pot... The album prophesied The [World Trade Center] Attack. Read the titles of the songs an look at the artwork. We all got stuck in Manhattan and suffered a little P.T.S.D. We "escaped" two weeks later on a ferry ride to New Jersey, where our tour bus was. The drive to LA was looong!

006. *BONUS* QUESTION?!!!??! - @SharpCheddar856: This one? There's a few different cuts uploaded to @youtubemusic... but this seems to be Hello Logan's original version of "Information Contraband."

@moneymark: This is it! I "star" in it and my character smokes some mad chemical substance and puts me into The Twilight Zone, where I end up 2-D. My favorite [part was] getting slapped in the face. This was 100% green-screened. The only video made for this album.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Ahead of Connie Price & The Keystones' LUCAS HIGH, Dan Ubick Speaks On Various Rap-centric Collaborations (The Witzard Interview #3)

Dan Ubick has either played with, recorded with, backed up, or been sampled by everyone from Lily Allen to DJ Z-Trip. His own note-worthiest/most critically-acclaimed projects include Breakestra, Connie Price & The Keystones, The Lions, Rhythm Roots All-Stars, and most recently, The Mad Geezers & Night Owls. We've previously spoken with Dan Ubick AKA Constantine "Connie" Price on a number of occasions, over the years: once, in 2013 coinciding with the release of The Lions' This Generation on Stones Throw, again, in 2015 right around the time of The Lions' SOUL RIOT release, and just a year later, for Now-Again Records' 2016 re-issue of Connie Price & The Keystones' Wildflowers: The Expanded Edition. We were, also, fortunate enough to run an exclusive premiere for The Lions' music video for their cover of The Clash's "The Magnificent Dance" from their 1980 genre-eschewing 3-LP magnum opus, SANDINISTA! as well as various coverage these last six years. I've always heard rumblings from Dan about The Keystones fabled emcee/singer-assisted Lucas High album orchestrated in tribute to Doug Lucas... but, honestly, wondered when it would ever, actually, be released!

Back in 2013, Dan Ubick graciously gifted me a CD copy of pre-album warm-up, Lucas High EP featuring a few tracks from the album, but, then, silence. Wrangling paperwork for two dozen rappers, getting samples cleared, and doing it all independently, proved to be quite an undertaking, but, luckily, all is finally sorted and the LP drops next week! I've been hearing about this album nearly all the way through the process of its creation and I'm very excited for the rest of the world to hear it next Friday, June 21, 2019! Lucas High features an extremely talented cast of characters including Doug Lucas, Alex DĂ©sert, Malik Moore, John Bigham, Big Daddy Kane, Rapsody, Lady of Rage, Soup and Marc7 of Jurassic 5, Brand Nubian, Macy Gray, Kelly Finnigan, Kendra Morris, Talib Kweli, Nini Monroe, M.O.P. Jovi Rockwell (Major Lazer,) X-Clan's Brother J, and Wildchild. Pre-orders for Connie Price & The Keystones' Lucas High are currently available from FatBeats/A Man Called Horse Records. Dan Ubick has graciously agreed to speak with us again, this time, primarily, about his Hip-Hop/Rap-centric collaborations through his career, which, in part, have led to the aforementioned collaborations housed within Lucas High.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Founder/Senior Writer & Editor

I. First off, how did you start backing different Hip-Hop/Rap artists? Weren't there a series of Scion A/V releases featuring Connie Price & The Keystones backing various emcees?

Well, I first started backing up emcees when I was playing with Breakestra. Miles [Tackett], our keyboard player, Carlos [Guaico], and our friend, Terry, were throwing a night in Los Feliz called The Breaks (later, morphed into Root Down) and Miles & [Mixmaster] Wolf were old friends with Cut Chemist & DJ Nu-Mark, Marvski, J.Rocc, DJ Babu, [Rhettmatic], and The Beat Junkies; so, different dudes would DJ each week and different emcees would get up and freestyle over live breaks. In LA, we had everyone from Freestyle Fellowship, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Black Eyed Peas, and Medusa, so they'd get up and rock with us; but, also, people like The Quannum Crew came from The Bay, so, there was Lateef [The Truth Speaker], Lyrics Born, and DJ Shadow coming down and hanging/performing, too.

Anyway, we did this for a good two years and it was a blast. We occasionally had bigger names come through... I remember RZA had his birthday there one week... huge guest list at a club that was already packed every week. Ended up playing "Nautilus" with a bunch of the Wu-Tang dudes... there were so many people on stage, our flute player, James [King's] flute got bent, drinks were spilled, etc. but it was a night to remember.

So, I started "backing... Hip-Hop artists" because of my time in Breakestra, I guess, and then, because of the stuff I started putting out with The Keystones, artists around town, like Madlib, Macy Gray, and started using me for recording and such. One person, who is a dope DJ/collector that I knew and still love like a brother, Daniel Hall, had ties to Scion 'cause his lovely, Jeri, worked for them and they recommend us to Scion to be a touring backing band for these promotional runs they were putting together. That's where I started meeting folks like [Big Daddy] Kane, EPMD, Slick Rick, and Brand Nubian. It was a dream come true to play with all these folks 'cause I'd admired them for so long. And yes, through Scion A/V, we put out a really dope 12-inch with Big Daddy Kane, "Give A Demonstration, Pt. 2," on Side A and Percee P, "International Hustler," on Side B. One of LA's most gifted artists, [Augustine Kofie], did the album art in tribute to Lalo Schifrin's Enter The Dragon cover 'cause me and the guys were (and still are) deep into soundtracks.

II. Where exactly did you play when The Keystones were backing up Big Daddy Kane? And any memorable stories from this period?

We backed Kane for a good 3-4 years off-and-on, so, we played all over the place. He took us to Japan to play two nights at Tokyo's Billboard Live with Kurtis Blow in tow, both nights sold out. We got to play "The Breaks" with Kurtis and rocked it with Kane, while all these Japanese B-boys got down on the floor. Muro came, it was super-fun.

Man, what else? We played The Brooklyn Bowl in Prospect Park with Kane and Scoob, Scrap, Master Ace & Craig G performed with us in front of a huge crowd. I remember, Tommy "TNT" Brenneck and some of The Budos Band dudes and Lord Jamar came out and hung backstage. Perfect Summer day, BBQ in the air, and cool people loving a free show by Kane and a full band.

We, also, played B.B. King's in New York off of Times Square for the Cold Chillin' Anniversary party—got to do "Just Rhymin' with Biz" with Biz [Markie] & Kane; Busta Rhymes showed up in a fancy car (a Maybach, I think?) wearing some big, crazy fur and I got to meet Roxanne Shante & T.J. Swan.

So many shows with Kane, though... He came and did Root Down at Little Temple with us, which was crazy fun. We did "Lung Collapsing Lyrics" with Percee P that night and it KILLED. We played Sunset Junction [Street Fair] here in Silver Lake, Los Angeles; turned out to be the last year they did it. It was The Keystones with Big Daddy Kane & Soup (Zaakir) from Jurassic 5, Fishbone, and then, Bad Brains.

III. I remember, late last year, when a Big Daddy Kane track called "Act A Fool" Feat. Busta Rhymes, which, also, featured Connie Price & The Keystones. Now, there's a full unreleased/shelved Kane album with The Keystones, correct?

"Act A Fool" is super-dope; glad that one made it out there! As far as the shelved Big Daddy Kane stuff... I wouldn't say there's a "full LP," but definitely some SICK singles that I hope, one day, see the light of day. We did one with our dearly departed Sharon Jones that is so good. Another kind of fast, funky Willie Hutch-meets-Dennis Coffey-type thing. I'd say, there are a 4-5 [songs] that would make a SICK EP.

IV. You, also, backed Slick Rick, EPMD, M.O.P. Brand Nubian, De La Soul, and Redman on those Scion tours, right? Any crazy stories?

I don't know about "crazy," 'cause I was always working and band leading, but, man, so much fun. Those tours were great 'cause we got a nice per diem and [Dan] Hastie and I would bee-line to record stores all over the country, when we pulled into town. Pull up to the hotel, drop our bags, and then, head to the record stores before soundcheck lol. Big up to Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis and Friends of Sound that used to be in Austin.

So, stories... uh-mm, Slick Rick was super-cool and let me wear his patented "Gold Ropes" with an eagle pendent for a pic we took.

We got to play the famed Metro Theater in Chicago with Billy [Danze] & [Lil'] Fame (M.O.P.) and I think, that might have been one of the most wild and amped shows we ever did. When we went into "Ante Up," the place just erupted... people in the crowd were waving their arms wildly, while holding onto their beers, so beers went everywhere lol. Had to towel down my pedal board afterwards. The Beatnuts were a super-close second, in terms of crowd response. When we did "Turn It Out" with them, people lost their sh*t.

Redman, I just remember being cool as Hell and wanting to stay and play all our instruments after rehearsal. He sat at Danny [Hastie]'s Rhodes, sat at the drums, and tried my guitar. Super-pro dude and a cool hang.

V. So, what exactly is the story behind The Sand Dollars' coveted 2003 "Get Thy Bearings" 45 Feat. Chris Manak (Peanut Butter Wolf) released on Now-Again Records. What's its relationship to Donovan & Biz Markie?

Well, it's been a while, but I feel like it was Egon's idea 'cause he knew Chris loved that song. When he found out I was, also, a huge Donovan fan, he was like: "you gotta do a version and have Wolf sing it!" So, Todd [Simon] and I went to work. My friend, Jeremey Ruzumna, has this KILLER old 60's Rheem compact organ—kind of like a Farfisa, but with fuzz bass—that I had been borrowing, so we went super-Pysch on our version. The horn parts at the end of Donovan's version, Todd re-wrote for horns and then, I played drums, bass, and guitar. Soon after, Lily Allen used it for her song, "Sunday Morning" and her producers tried to tell me they "re-played" it, but that's horsesh*t; they lifted our version and didn't want to share! lol

VI. What was your favorite experience working, recording, playing with, etc. an emcee/group? And what's the craziest story (you're able to tell!) from said experience?

Man, so many fun experiences. Playing EPMD's set was fun 'cause we go to do some things we didn't do with other acts. I got to play the [Zapp "More Bounce to The Ounce"] talk box guitar on "You Gots to Chill" and [The J.B.'s] "J.B.'s Monorail" loop with the guys for "Let The Funk Flow"—that is the closest to my dream of being in James Brown's "band" as I'll ever get. Coincidentally, that Beefs show (Quincy Jones' nephew QD3's doc. series) had on the EPMD episode, while we were on our tour bus between gigs, which was surreal, to say the least.

One memory I'll treasure is getting to hang with Heavy D soon before he passed. We did a show at the old House of Blues on The Sunset Strip with Kane and Heavy D was on the bill. We were gonna back him, as well, [but], for some reason, it didn't work out. I think, he realized he should have used The Keystones after we crushed it with Kane 'cause he invited me to a studio he was working at in North Hollywood [to] hang. We connected over Jamaican music, so [we] sat there for a couple hours chilling and playing each other different songs, as well as the Reggae LP he had just finished (won a GRAMMY, I think?) and The Lions stuff I had just finished. Super-kind dude. R.I.P. Heavy D.

VII. I know you've known DJ Nu-Mark (Jurassic 5,) Method Man, and "fifth" Beastie Boy, Money Mark for years... but how did it feel finally working together on Nu-Mark's recent Record Store Black Friday single, "Zodiac Killah?"

Well, I've known Nu-Mark for years 'cause Breakestra's first tour was the West Coast run of their Word of Mouth Tour (J5, Dilated [Peoples] & The Beat Junkies,) but I have never met Meth. Would love to, of course. Mark knows him from the TV show they do together [Drop The Mic]. So amped he jumped on board 'cause the result is just FIRE. As far as Money Mark, I just, finally, got to meet him face-to-face at Shawn Lee's movie premiere and he was super-chill. So, yeah, he played the KILLER organ lead on "Zodiac Killah," but I didn't meet him until recently.

I, actually, also, got lucky enough to meet Mario "C." Caldato a few months before that, as well, 'cause he DJ'ed a night with my buddy, Danny Holloway. I just say that 'cause [it's] such an honor to get to "rub elbows" with guys like that who have inspired me so much and find out that they are just cool dudes, who, also, love making music.

VIII. Who are Doug & Zach Lucas and how did they help directly influence and create The Keystones' Lucas High?

Well, Matt [Fife] wrote a beautiful little history inside the new LP, but the short story is that Doug Lucas was a bada$$ musician (trumpet player,) song-writer, and member of incredible groups, like Chakachas, Plus, The J.J. Band, and The S.S.O. Orchestra and is the muse for this entire record. My partner on this record, Matt, has known Doug's sons, Zach & David, for years and we were lucky enough to have Zach play horns and keys on almost every track on the LP.

All of the tunes on Lucas High have either a sample from one of Doug's LP's, lyrics based on his life, or music inspired by his legacy. My job as producer was to craft these samples and samples I created with the band into cohesive Hip-Hop tracks and in the case of "Gimme Some More of That," just re-do one of Plus' classics, but a little heavier and with Kelly Finnigan (The Monophonics) & Kendra Morris singing their behinds off.

IX. How would you say, working with all of the aforementioned emcees and artists over the years has led to The Keystones' long-awaited sophomore album, Lucas High? Happen to have any particularly "wild" stories from the making-of the album?

Well, I just kept in touch as much as possible, is all. I'm just so lucky they were feeling the tracks and decided it was worthwhile to add their flavor to this new LP. I am grateful to all the artists for trusting and working with me and I'll let any "wild" stories I know stay in my memory; don't wanna blow people up lol.

X. Finally, yourself and some of The Keystones, also, played in a band called Rhythm Roots All-Stars (RRA-S) backing Ghostface Killah, Rakim & Aloe Blacc and then, ended up recording And The Anonymous Nobody with De La Soul after touring with them, correct?

Yeah, RRA-S is a group started by my bro, Davey Chegwidden, who plays with every group I've ever done. Anyway, a bunch of us Keystones—as well as Philip "Fish" Fisher, the drummer from Fishbone—played in that group, backed up Ghostface, Rakim, Aloe Blacc & De La Soul. I played one wicked SXSW with Ghost & Rakim and went all over Europe with De La Soul doing their 20 Feet High & Rising Tour with that band, played Coachella, Bumbershoot in Seattle with Os Mutantes, and many more. I moved on to other things right as [the And] The Anonymous Nobody LP was being made, but that is all my bros on that LP: Davey, Jordan [Katz], James King, Dan Hastie, [Dave] Wilder, Ethan [Phillips], Josh Lopez, etc.

Chubby & The Gang's Jonah Falco-produced "All Along The Uxbridge Road" Single & Warthog's "Brainwasher" Music Video (Static Shock Records)

Chubby & The Gang are the latest signees to London, UK-based Static Shock Records, along with Barcelona's own Minima. "Chubby" is, of course, Straight Edge Punk/Hardcore player Chubby Charles AKA Charlie Fresh AKA Charlie Manning-Walker, who's previously played with Abolition, Arms Race, Crown Court, Guidance, and Violent Reaction over the years. According to Static Shock, Chubby & The Gang, also, consists of "three members of Gutter Knife," although, it doesn't specify which members exactly. Gutter Knife are a Brighton, UK-based Hardcore/Punk band consisting of Ethan Stahl on guitar, Ted Faux behind the drums, Sam Rack on bass, Luke Austin providing vox, and Luca Selvaggio on guitar. Chubby & The Gang are preparing to unleash their debut 7-inch/digital single on July 5, 2019 and Static Shock Records has released "All Along The Uxbridge Road" as a single online. Ahead of the single physical release, "All Along The Uxbridge Road"'s Acton center label has been uploaded to Static Shock's Bandcamp page; just beneath the single title, it reads, "(Austin, Stahl, McMahon, Manning,)" which would, then, be Gutter Knife's Luke Austin, Ethan Stahl, and "?????" McMahon, as well as Charlie "Chubby" Manning/Walker. So, I'm guessing, the mysterious "McMahon" might either be Gutter Knife's Ted "Faux" Foster, Sam "Same Hrachevoc" Rack, or Luca Selvaggio. "All Along The Uxbridge Road" is being billed as a Double A-side, which, also, features as-yet-unreleased "Mockba" on Side AA. Both songs were produced/recorded by Jonah Falco of F*cked Up fame, as well as Career Suicide, GAME & Pavilion, and mastered by Will Killingsworth at Clean Plate Records/Dead Air Studios. Another recent Static Shock release, Warthog's self-titled 2018 7-inch, has just received music video treatment, as well; ch-ch-check out Warthog's Robin Pak-directed Claymation/animated video for "Brainwasher" down below the break.

"Debut double A-side from stalwart London face, Chubby Charles (Arms Race, Violent Reaction) and three members of Gutter Knife. Chubby & The Gang has a particular way of playing, easily summed up in one word: "SPEED!" Like an engine-modified Wilko Johnson driving too quickly through tiny familiar Northwest London streets. Debts duly paid to the preceding Punk & Rock "N" Roll goalposts nailed in at one end by The Kids and at the other, by Cyanide or The Carpettes. This is today's Punk in Britain."

- Jonah Falco (Static Shock Records)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Griff & Alex Ludovico Share Creed-directed "Watch Me Mane" Music Video from Collaborative SCARF TISSUE EP (#MedicineMondays 2019)

I've still been trying to get back on track following our 2-week honeymoon/vacation to Italy back in March, but, at this point, I'm probably not gonna get fully "back on track" until next year. However, with that said, one of my favorite releases since returning home was and still is SCARF TISSUE EP, the first collaborative release from Alex Ludovico & Jason Griff—sometimes, simply, referred to as "Griff" or "Jason/Griff." It's a quick 5-track burst, less than half the length of your standard Extended Play (EP) although, it's an extremely strong offering! While travelling across Italy, I was luck enough to get in touch with both Griff & Alex Ludovico and we were able to set up an track-by-track EP breakdown exclusively for The Witzard. I've very recently been hearing rumblings about a music video for Jimmie "J.J." Walker-referencing "Dy-No-Mite!" as well as a rumored 3-way collaboration between Griff & Alex Ludovico AND Philly emcee Scorcese... but, instead, Griff & Alex Ludovico have surprise-released a music video for SCARF TISSUE's "Watch Me Mane." Directed/Shot/Edited by Creed for xodustudios, "Watch Me Mane" only spans the duration of 1 minute & 13 seconds, but it's an undeniably fun clip, nonetheless; Creed has artistically inter-spliced grainy footage of a dimly-lit Alex Ludovico frantically rhyming along with "Watch Me Mane" juxtaposed against 1990's Basic Cable-reminiscent TV static, as well as footage from, what looks like, a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Alex Ludovico & Griff's SCARF TISSUE EP is now available to purchase, stream, or download wherever fine music is still sold. Plus, stay tuned for additional details concerning that purported Griff x Alex Ludovico x Scorcese super-spittin' emcee/beat team-up.

Alex Ludovico: "IT'S. ABOUT. THE. BARS. I heard this beat in an even shorter form and I just knew that this was designed for me to go in. A lot of times, as creatives, we're always looking to expand things. I have always been about minimalism, before Marie Kondo was a thing! I wanted to make sure I murdered this beautiful beat Griff gave me. I feel like I stepped up to the challenge; punch listeners in the face and get out!"

Jason/Griff: "When Alex sent me the first draft of this song, I asked him when he was going to do a second verse or if we want to do a feature or whatever and he was like, "nah, that's it. That's the whole song." At first, I was hesitant, but, then, realized this is a Rap version of, like, a Charles Bronson song. Just a short intense blast and then, it's over in under a minute."

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I GRIZ's 1969 Italian Private-press "La Donna Che Toccò Il Diavolo" 7-inch Re-issued Digitally (Superspectrum Music Library)

"The Devil Smiles Back [Il Diavolo Ricambia Il Sorriso] (1969) follows Father Ezra, a Catholic priest in 1920's Milan, who is haunted by the re-appearance of his long-thought-dead first love, Francesca. Upon her re-appearance, Francesca seeks to rekindle her relationship with Ezra and sway him from his vows, but the priest is preoccupied by a series of mysterious and grisly killings, which have plagued the diocese. Taking it upon himself to investigate, after the local authorities have all but abandoned the case, Ezra stumbles upon evidence that the murders are at the work of a den of vampires living within the cathedral's sunken catacombs. As he digs deeper, he discovers that The Bishop and his deacons are in league with the unholy night-dwellers, leaving him with no choice but to exterminate the vampire epidemic single-handely with fists, stakes, and silver bullets.

After the bloody and brutal rampage, the final pieces fit together, as Ezra realizes that Francesca did, indeed, die those 13 years ago and was taken into the service of The Devil himself; she has been feeding the priest information throughout the film, manipulating him into slaying the other vampires, so that she could assume the mantle of The Queen of Night. The film ends ambiguously, with Father Ezra approaching the seductively sinister form of Francesca, a tall being behind her in the shadows, a revolver gripped in the priest's bloody hand..."

"The soundtrack marked the debut of I GRIZ, a session band, who would go on to play for various soundtrack and Library Music recordings over the next 17 years, often, recording compositions by Salvi, Massimo e Massimo, and Pia Cafaro. Named for its four members (Graziano, Rafaella, Ignazio & Zelda,) I GRIZ became known for their unique blend of Psychsploitation & Soulful grooves, most notably, Allam's sparse guitar treatments and Olovetti's heavy baselines."


Father Erza has the staggering realization that his lost love,
Francesca, took Satan as her lover 13 years ago, plunging her
into the nightmare of unholy eternal life.


Can Father Ezra purge the vampire Bishop and his deacons
from the cathedral and maintain his humanity, or will the thirst
for bloody revenge consume the man of God?

Composed By: Giacomo Salvi

Music Performed By: I GRIZ
Graziano Allam - Guitar
Rafaella Macchi - Drums
Ignazio Torossi - Organ, Piano
Zelda Olivetti - Bass

Additional Instrumentation:
Bogdan Tsereteli - Trumpet
Livio Galigani - Tenor & Alto Saxophone
Hal McDermott - Trombone, French Horn

Created By: Dakota Crane & Kyle Tierce
Based On A Concept By: Malcolm Brooks
Produced & Arranged By: Kyle Tierce
Engineered By: "Dusty" Jim Moreland

- I GRIZ (Dakota Crane & Kyle "Quandary" Tierce)