Monday, September 24, 2018

"Where Everybody Knows Your Name:" Otayo Dubbs & Tahaj The First (The Regulars) Unleash Regular Rap On FWMJ's Rappers I Know

Last Friday morning, I received a Bandcamp Notification email from FWMJ's Rappers I Know concerning Otayo "Tayo" Dubb & Tahaj "The First" Edwards AKA The Regulars' Regular Rap (Instrumentals.) However, prior to listening, I already knew it would be Hella dope, judging by a handful of FWMJ's Rappers I Know's past releases: Jay Electronica's Act I: Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (the pledge,) Danny Brown's THE HYBRID, Chris "Daddy" Dave's Chris Dave & The Drumhedz Mixtape, Denmark Vessey's Martin Lucid Dream, Jake One's #PrayerHandsEmoji, and King Mason x Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. (King Mason Remixes.) Needless to say, Tayo Dubb & Tahaj The First's Regular Rap is an impeccable 11-track listen; I would, personally, say Regular Rap/Regular Rap (Instrumentals) is strongly suggested for fans of Black Star, The Cool Kids, The Foreign Exchange, Little Brother, Tanya Morgan, and honestly, even The College Dropout-era Kanye West. Actually, before discovering that there was, in fact, a vocal version of Regular Raps, I listened to the Tahaj The First-produced instrumental version of the album once through this past weekend; I would, also, strongly recommend listening to Regular Rap (Instrumentals) as well, for any beat-minded listeners.

A running theme through Regular Rap is something to the effect of, "Rap's a neighborhood bar and [we're] The Regulars" and it really does feel like Otayo Dubb & Tahaj The First are just a couple guys, who hang out at your local neighborhood Cheers-esque bar, who just so happen to rhyme extremely well and produce neck-snapping beats. "One could say that "The Regulars" have existed for along time now, actually, at least a dozen years or so, if you were to add up all of the times him and I appeared together on a "label release,"' according to Tahaj The First himself. While Regular Rap was released earlier this month on FWMJ's Rappers I Know, both Otayo Dubb & Tahaj The First have long self-released their solo and collaborative projects on their own labels, Otayo's Beat ROCK and Tahaj's now-defunct Drumdealer Music (or DRM DRL) with the latter, actually, having released The Regulars' debut 2016 single, "REGULAR BASIS." In addition to Tahaj The First & Tayo Dubb, Regular Rap features vocal assists throughout from rhyming friends and friends of friends, such as: Tha Alkaholiks' J-Ro, Rasco of Cali Agents, D-Wiz, Z-Man, L*Roneous, Sakima of The Co-Deez, The Watershed's EQUIPTO, and White Mic. The Regulars' Regular Rap & Regular Rap (Instrumentals) are both currently available to purchase or stream on FWMJ's Rappers I Know's Bandcamp page. RIK.Supply, also, has a variety of Cheers & Reynolds Wrap-evoking The Regulars T-shirts and miscellaneous accessories available to purchase, as well.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Rolled Gold Returns with Lunchtime Special Boogieman Dela "Hustler" (Remix) from Rolled Gold's Healthy A$$ Breakfast Follow-up

Rolled Gold is the production alias of Philly-based beat-maker, multi-instrumentalist, and charismatic remixer Harry Metz. Over the course of the past year or so, Rolled Gold has become something of a mainstay and frequent collaborator, as you may have already noticed, here at The Witzard. It's been great to personally see Harry's whole sound, style, and musical approach grow and progress since his 2016 EP, The Great Fallback, with fellow Philadelphian, Uncle Crimson. What I have noticed, however, is Rolled Gold's tendency to continually construct and release easily-digestible "bite"-sized projects, which are generally, very short and concise, yet extremely enjoyable and exceedingly well-orchestrated. For an example of what I'm talking about, I would strongly suggest checking out Rolled Gold's SALTY (3P) EP, "The Field" Feat. No Headliner, "Nite Owl's Theme" Feat. Ai​-​Que & Reef The Lost Cauze, and Rolled Gold's Healthy A$$ Breakfast on his Bandcamp & Soundcloud pages. Now, Rolled Gold has "returned to the table" (no pun intended!) to deliver the first "taste" of his as-yet-untitled "lunch tape," a remix of Boogieman Dela's "Hustler."

"Lunch tape" is poised to be the natural follow-up to Rolled Gold's Healthy A$$ Breakfast and was more or less, constructed in a similar manner; a 10-12 minute mini-mixtape/continuous mix constructed from original compositions and instrumentals played by Rolled Gold himself and his go-to cast of characters and then, painstakingly sampled and re-constructed from the ground up. Although, I digress... "While the second installment of this series is in-the-making, he's selected a single full remix to release as a preview single: "Hustler" by Boogieman Dela, originally from Boogie's Future Currents EP," Rolled Gold writes within a press release. "Hustler" (Remix) now contains, in contrast to the Rolled Gold-produced original, a pitched-down, almost Chopped & screwed, Bluesy quality to Boogieman Dela's unique half sung/half rapped vocal delivery. However, as Rolled Gold fittingly describes it, "Hustler" (Remix) "still holds a Funky groove with the drums, bass line, and birds chirping in the background." Rolled Gold's as-yet-untitled "lunch tape" will become available on his various digital/streaming platforms by or before November 2018.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tranzformer's Dirty Dome Records with Dankery Harv AKA Dank from Frank-N-Dank, Dusty Crates & Toxic Thoughts (Record Label Profile)

Airic "Tranzformer" Estala is a San Diego-based producer, emcee, beat-maker, and Punk Rock/Experimental artist born in raised in El Centro, California. Estala has previously collaborated with Blu, J57, Blame One, Guilty Simpson, Frank-N-Dank, ILL BILL, Rick Gonzalez, Planet Asia, Johaz, CashUs King FKA Co$$, Koncept, and more. Tranzformer is affiliated with producer J57's newly-launched FiveSe7en Collective (@FiveSe7enCollective,) New York-based record label and digital distributor Soulspazm Records (@Soulspazm,) and his own label imprint, Dirty Dome Records (@dirty_dome_records_.) Since launching his Bandcamp page around 2013, Tranzformer has self-released a staggering 29 projects, be they beat tapes, albums, mixtapes, singles, or EP's. For the purposes of The Witzard's introductory feature on Tranzformer & Dirty Dome Records, I would, however, like to primarily focus on Tranz's currently released and as-yet-unreleased body of work with Dankery Harv AKA Dank of long-time J Dilla affiliated group, Frank-N-Dank. Airic Estala & Dankery Harv first met during the earliest aughts of The Internet and social media on MySpace and organically started working together, as Tranzformer produced a few beats for Frank-N-Dank.

Their first album-length collaborative release, ALL AMERICAN HOOD was a 2015 EP issued on Dirty Dome Records with rhymes from Dank AKA Dankery Harv and beats constructed by Tranzformer & J-Science AKA Smash Bro$. It will soon be followed up by a full-length Dankery Harv x Tranzformer x Smash Bro$ LP called Late Night Labour. In addition to the 3-man group, Dank & Tranzformer are also, part of a Hip-Hop group together called Dusty Crates; they released a 2017 5-track EP together, simply called DUSTY CRATES, which was attributed to "Tranzformer & Dankery Harv" on the project's cover artwork. About 9 months ago, Dirty Dome Records quietly released a track on their Soundcloud called "Solar System" Feat. CashUs King FKA Co$$ from Tranzformer X Dankery Harv's impending Late Night Labour EP/LP. Last, but not least, is Tranzformer & Dank's third and final group (for now!) together: Toxic Thoughts. Here, Tranzformer is known as "Rugged Spitter" and Dankery Harv is referred to as "Big Heavy." Toxic Thoughts is more of a Punk Rock/Hip-Hop/Experimental music-leaning duo and is deeply influenced by Airic Estala's Punk/Hardcore roots.

Toxic Thoughts have, so far, released one track, "Real Friends"—no, not a Kanye West cover—which was uploaded to Tranzformer aka Dirtydome's Soundcloud page about 10 months ago. "Real Friends" sounds vaguely similar to Rancid's Tim Armstrong, Skinhead Rob, and Blink-182's Travis Barker's Punk Rock/Hip-Hop super-group, Transplants, and their extremely strong genre-blending 2005 album, Haunted Cities. Toxic Thoughts are currently finishing up their self-titled debut EP, which will, likely, be released at some point within the next few months. Also, coming soon on Dirty Dome/Soulspazm Records: Tranzformer X Dankery Harv (Dusty Crates)' Late Night Labour with Smash Bro$, Tranzformer & Spray Money's Voyage One album dropping on Halloween, and plenty more as-yet-unannounced solo and collaborative projects. Since August, Tranzformer has unleashed a new album, Raw Odyssey, with Grey Era and a slew of talented emcees, as well as his own Random Flips EP, which was just re-released earlier this week with 2 newly-added Bonus Tracks. All of the aforementioned projects are now available on Dirty Dome Records/Tranzformer's Bandcamp & Soundcloud pages.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Zipsquad Emcee Scorcese Shells Returns with "Untitled" (@ZillaRocca Remix) Feat. @KillerMike & @PastorTroyDSGB from A Remix Only Gods Know

A World Only Gods Know is a collaborative project from Dallas-based producers Alpha Davis & Chris Wright (The Directors) and Philly-bred emcee Scorcese Shells AKA Alpha X Scorcese/God Knows, which was released this past March. At the time, I got a number of emails about the project and really dug it, but, unfortunately, for whatever reasons, was unable to cover A World Only Gods Know within the pages of The Witzard. I've since gotten to know Brooklyn-based producer Jason/Griff (@iamJasonGriff) who's worked with Zilla Rocca, My Man Shafe, PremRock, Curly Castro, Kid Sister, Mr. Lif, and Akrobatik. Lo and behold, Jason Griff is currently working on a project with Scorcese Shells called Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint in collaboration with independent wrestler and "1996 Source Awards winner" Stokley Hathaway slated to be released this December. I've since been in touch with both Jason Griff & Scorcese Shells and have heard a number of rough, unmastered, yet extremely promising cuts from Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint. I've learned that in addition to Griff X Scorcese's Dream Team project, Scorcese Shells is currently putting together a comprehensive A World Only Gods Know remix project, cleverly dubbed A Remix Only Gods Know.

It will consist of Sides A-B, much like a dusty old vinyl record of cassette tape; with "Side A" containing 8 remixes using the original vocals from Alpha X Scorcese's A World Only Gods Know and "Side B" containing new remixes with entirely new vocals, guests, etc. A Remix Only Gods Know will feature original remixes hand-crafted by Camoflauge Monk, Disco Vietnam, Doe Pesci, Farma Beats, Jason/Griff, L'Orange, Tony Dark, and Zilla Rocca. Ahead of the project, Gods Know have bestowed "Untitled" (@ZillaRocca Remix) Feat. @KillerMike & @PastorTroyDSGB upon the terribly unsuspecting World of Hip-Hop; this is, actually, Zilla's second time remixing a Killer Mike-assisted composition, as he previous remixed "This Ecstatic Cult" Feat. Killer Mike, Kool A.D. & Gabriel Bryant from Lushlife's 2017 ACLU charity comp. MY IDOLS ARE DEAD + MY ENEMIES ARE IN POWER or IDOLS + ENEMIES. Below, you'll find artist statements on "Untitled" (Remix) from both Scorcese Shells & Zilla Rocca, as well as the original version of "Untitled" from Alpha X Scorcese's A World Only Gods Know for comparison. Griff X Scorcese's Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint, as well as Scorcese Shells' A Remix Only Gods Know are both expected to be released to the masses before year's end.

"For "Untitled," I wanted to pay homage to two of my favorite records ever: [Mobb Deep's] "Hell On Earth" and [Pastor Troy's] "Vica Versa." I approached the song as a broken man—someone who was willing to give in to his worst instincts—and, although, I'm not religious, I felt that the metaphor of "arguing with The Devil" was an easy way to convey that emotional track. Being able to get Killer Mike & Pastor Troy on the record was mostly luck, but their approach turned the record into something special.

I chose Zilla Rocca to remix this record because of [Career Crooks'] "Angel Dust" and "98 Avirex Flow." He infused a very, very dark record with the menace that reminded me so much of Goodie Mob & DJ Muggs' "Decisions, Decisions!" I really love all the elements of the record and Prodigy at the end just makes it a perfect introduction to A Remix Only Gods Know, which remixes some of my supporters' favorite records from my solo project, A World Only Gods Know."

- Scorcese Shells (@Zipsquad_JihaD)

"For the remix, I was going for an Alchemist meets UGK vibe. There's heavy imagery and symbolism to God and devils—plus, Killer Mike & Pastor Troy—so, I went with a burnt Southern Goth-type of bounce, too."

- Zilla Rocca (@ZillaRocca)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band's Björn Wagner Talks Steelpan Drums, Re-working Hip-Hop Hits, The Serpent's Mouth & More (The Witzard Interview)

Hip-Hop recently celebrated its 45th "Birthday" this past Saturday, August 11th on the anniversary of DJ Kool Herc's now-infamous Back-to-School Jam at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue AKA The "Rec Room" in The Bronx. Hip-Hop has gone through many stylistic permutations in the 44 years since, inadvertently birthing multiple sub-genres including: Boom-Bap, Gangsta/Mafioso Rap, Electro-Rap, Trip-Hop, Noise Rap, Chopped & Screwed, Trap/Drill, Horrorcore, New Jack Swing, Backpack Rap, and more. However, one of my personal favorites sub-genres of Hip-Hop is Instrumental Hip-Hop—no, not Breakbeat or J Dilla's Beat CD '05-style beat tapes—think, something more along the lines of The Roots with self-played interpolated "samples," rather than sampling actual records, tapes, CD's, etc. Aside from The Legendary Roots Crew, one of my favorite Instrumental Hip-Hop groups is Truth & Soul/Big Crown Records co-founder Leon Michels' El Michels Affair, who painstakingly constructed Wu-Tang Clan-flipping genre benchmarks Enter: The 37th Chamber & Return to The 37th Chamber. A few additional note-worthy artists within the sub-genre are Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, Brownout/Brown Sabbath, Butcher Brown, Clutchy Hopkins & The Misled Children, DJ Premier & The Badder Band, The Menahan Street Band, The Whitefield Brothers, and Madlib's Yesterdays New Quintet. Now, one of the aforementioned groups, The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band (BRSB) have returned with their second album and thank to Mike Lewis at Lewis Recordings/Rap & Soul Promo/Three Pin PR, I was fortunate enough to interview their band leader and multi-instrumentalist, Björn Wagner. Across two albums and various singles, The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band has re-interpreted everyone from 50 Cent to Cat Stevens. Please, feel free to peruse our comprehensive interview below, while you listen to BRSB's phenomenal steel pan-accented The Serpent's Mouth. It's now available to purchase or stream in multiple formats from Brooklyn-based Big Crown Records.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Senior Writer & Editor-In-Chief

I. How, in your opinion, has Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band (BRSB)'s sound progressed and grown between The Serpent's Mouth and the band's 2016 debut, 55? I was recently reading this record implements some newly-discovered recording techniques, as well.

The sound has improved, as I used a room with a wooden floor and walls for the pan recordings. It has a beautiful air, so I could mic the instruments from a greater distance. Concrete and carpets require closer mic placements, which, in turn, emphasize the noise portion. That wooden room has a ring that emphasizes the actual tone nicely. Another key factor is that I put the mixing in the trusted hands of my brother, Steffen, who worked a miracle to make the recordings sound "as one," which is crazy, when you consider in how many places and with how many different musicians they were recorded.

II. Who are the members and various players within Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band? How did you first meet and decide to start recording music together?

The Bacao started as a side-project of The Mighty Mocambos, which is a horn-led Funk band. We had been playing together since we were teenagers and so, [we] just added another family of instruments and gave it a different name to hint at the sound.

III. How exactly do you go about deciding which songs to re-imagine in your unique steel drum-accented Soul/Funk style? For every song that appears within 55 & The Serpent's Mouth, how many more compositions did BRSB attempt to record and ultimately, end up scrapping?

I go by what I would love to hear, personally, and bounce ideas back-and-forth with Danny Akalepse from Big Crown, who always comes up with a list of suggestions, out of which, I cherry-pick the ones that I 100% "feel." A cover has to have a certain twist to make it worth-while and I usually know within seconds, if I can get there. I scrapped only one track, for which I had already recorded the rhythm section, when I found out that it did not sound good on pans and that I could not bring it any further.

IV. For those who may be unaware, would you mind briefly describing how a steel drum/pan is typically played? How many different types or styles of steel drums can be heard throughout The Serpent's Mouth?

Once the instrument is made with its wok-like sink and hammered tone fields out of an oil barrel, you play them with rubber-tipped wooden sticks. In physical acoustic logic, the bigger the field, the lower the note. Orchestral bass pans have as many as 6 to 12 barrels. We have two different "tenor pans," which are the highest and despite their name, sit in the soprano range; and one "double second," which consists of two drums (as the name implies,) together, making one chromatic instrument. That gives us the range of a horn section, while the lower registers are covered by bass and electric guitar.

V. Now, I instantly recognized Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive," Mobb Deep's "Burn," Amerie's "1Thing," and Gang Starr's "All for The Cash," but what else appears within The Serpent's Mouth?

There's also, a cover of Lennie Hibbert's "Real Hot," which, itself, is a vibraphone-led instrumental of the Rocksteady tune, "Tonight" by Keith & Tex. This came so naturally, playing the vibraphone lines on steel drums. Then, there's "Crockett's Theme" from Miami Vice. I always loved that melody and its cosmic vibe and I am thrilled how it works without synthesizers. Not to forget Mary J. Blige's "I Love You" with the memorable piano line from Isaac Hayes' "Ike's Mood."

VI. What exactly is the album title, "The Serpent's Mouth" intended to mean or convey?

The Serpent's Mouth is the 8-mile strait between Venezuela and the South-western tip of the island of Trinidad. This sea passage—with all its beauty and danger—is a synonym for our musical travels on this album.

VII. What does Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band's typical recording process generally entail? How does a song, such as "Great to Be Here" (The Jackson 5) for example, get re-imagined and created from start to finish?

It always starts with the rhythm section. The drum sound, in particular. Then, the different steel instruments are arranged in sections: the lower "double seconds" for chords, doubling the bass guitar line, as in "Great to Be Here," and the high "tenor pans" for melodies. If there are counter melodies, we add horns. You hear a lot of interplay between pans and horns on the album.

VIII. Following a string of 7-inch singles on Mocambo/Plane Jane, what made you decide to start releasing BRSB's music exclusively on Brooklyn-based Big Crown Records?

We had been putting out 45's on our own Mocambo Records label and then, Danny Akalepse—then, of Truth & Soul—approached me. We swapped some records and he, then, told me that The Bacao version of [50 Cent's] "P.I.M.P." was smashing dance floors. I had already [been] thinking about following the singles with a long-player, but took some time, as I enjoyed keeping the mystery of the band. Danny not only encouraged me to, eventually, do the first album, but provided great ideas and inspiration. Truth & Soul and then, Big Crown are among my favorite labels and to have someone in The US does certainly help to reach a wider audience.

IX. Have you taken any inspiration and influence (direct or indirect) from Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels and his band, El Michels Affair's Wu-Tang Clan-flipping Enter: The 37th Chamber & Return to The 37th Chamber?

Not so much, at first. When we first did "P.I.M.P." there were a couple of Funk bands doing versions of Hip-Hop staples that were based on Soul samples, so they were basically re-playing stuff that had already been played by a band. The clue with "P.I.M.P." is that the steel drums on it are from a keyboard, so we re-imagined it as if it would have been a "band original" with real instruments. Later on, when I signed with Big Crown, I would, of course, have a closer look at El Michels' work. Leon's Wu-Tang interpretations are amazing; he really took it somewhere else. I could never have done that, especially, when restricting yourself to just one band.

X. Why have yourself and your fellow BRSB band mates chosen to remain largely anonymous and instead, have been represented by dapper-dressed, alien-like steel pan drum-headed creatures on your album covers and public imagery? Who designed 55 & The Serpent's Mouth's album sleeves?

There was a lot of mystery around the first 45's. Instead of promoting them as a side-project of The Mighty Mocambos, we left it open as to who was behind the band, as we wanted the music to speak for itself. It went as far as people taking it for an obscure group from the 70's that had provided original samples. People like to create their own "head cinema"—they need aliens and fantasy in their lives. An accurate group shot would not represent the music we do. Our passport names are on the record, though. The art direction is by Danny Akalepse, Sesse Lind took the photos, and Nicole Ras did the graphic design.

XI. Amidst an album largely full of re-imagined covers, there are a few original pieces featured within The Serpent's Mouth, correct? Would you mind briefly speaking on these original Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band compositions?

Half of the songs are originals. We enjoy great creative freedom, when it comes to our own compositions. The greatest thing is that we are not supposed to be a real "steel" band, but a Funk band with a section of pans, which is something that does not usually exist—so, there are no rules or boundaries: we can set our own standard. Take the title track: there are 10 parts made out of 5-6 different ones, which never appear in the same order. The best part of writing our own music is to combine the pans with the horn section—the possibilities are endless! Apart from the "get down" aspect that runs through most of our tracks, there is always a cinematic vision behind a song, which should take the listener to another place.

XII. Now that The Serpent's Mouth has been effectively unleashed into the world, what else does The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band have planned for its release roll-out (ie: singles, music videos, tours, etc.)?

There will be more singles. We love 45's. The band is not touring regularly and does not intend to do club or festival gigs; however, we like to do shows in a special context, say, award shows, TV, or a surprise two-song set within a Mighty Mocambos show.

XIII. Do you have any immediate plans to perform or record vocal versions of your BRSB covers with any of the original artists? Have you ever gotten any particular responses/feedback from either the original artists or their camps?

I would certainly not turn down an offer to perform with the original artists, but it's nothing I have planned for. We've received great feedback from some of them, though: DJ Hi-Tek, for instance, said he dug our version of "Round & Round" from the first LP. We had really hoped to play our version of Mobb Deep's "The Learning (Burn)" to Prodigy, but he sadly, passed away before we finished mixing it.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Former Members of Creep Division, The F---ing Wrath, The Missing 23rd & No Motiv Form Dad Brains & Release 7-inch EP (Pirates Press Records)

Oxnard/Ventura, California-based Punk/Hardcore band Dad Brains are, without a doubt, the epitomy of "Dad Rock" or, as they're calling it, "Dadcore." Drummer-turned vocalist Patrick Pedraza, guitarist Matt Kash, drummer John Crerar, and bassist Craig Kasamis formed Dad Brains—a tongue-in-cheek homage to Bad Brains—in the fall of 2017 around the sheer ideology of playing kid-friendly music for Punk dads and, of course, their families. Dad Brains' members previously spent time playing with No Motiv, The Missing 23rd, Creep Division (members of Sick of It All, Good Riddance & No Motiv,) Night Demon, and The F***ing Wrath. While it appears as though Dad Brains have been playing the local Oxnard Punk circuit for a while now, they quietly released their debut 5-track self-titled EP digitally on, of all days, Father's Day 2018. Now, just three short months later, Dad Brains have effectively re-released their EP on "Rastafarian" Red, Green & Yellow, as well as standard black, 7-inch vinyl on Pirates Press Records. Dad Brains' EP was recorded and mixed by Roger Camero (No Motiv) at The Captains Quarters & Bright Lights Studio and mastered by Paul Miner at Buzzbomb Studios.

Over the course of less than 10 minutes over 5 frantic tracks, Dad Brains deliver a striking representation of what it's like to be a Punk dad with their mantra being: "Hardcore Punk made by Dads, about Dads, for everyone!" A perfect example of which can be heard on Dad Brains EP closer, "I'm Old" with Pat Pedraza wailing: "who's The Fat Jewish? I don't really know. I'm not in with the scene. I only play local shows. Yeah, I gotta get home to my fam and be a dad; watch The Fixer Upper or maybe, Breaking Bad 'cause I'm old!" When recently interviewed by LA Weekly, Pedraza stated Dad Brains intend to release an EP "every Father's Day" for the foreseeable future. "We hope to get a bit of a cult following. Maybe, [release] a couple of tracks around Christmas. There's always something to write about, as your kids get older and there are different experiences," he continued. Dad Brains' self-titled debut EP is currently available to stream or purchase on the band's Bandcamp page, as well as multiple streaming platforms, and colored 7-inch vinyl records are available to purchase from Pirates Press Records.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Reverend Al Green Releases First New Music In 10 Years with "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" (Produced By: Matt Ross-Spang)

The Reverend Al Green is a world-renown Soul/Gospel singer, song-writer, and record producer. Rev. Green has released countless hits and irresistible classics over the course of his 50+ year career. Although, The Reverend Al Green is likely, best known for a string of 1970's chart-toppers including: "Take Me to The River," "Tired of Being Alone," "I'm Still In Love with You," "Love & Happiness," and Former President Barack Obama's personal favorite, "Let's Stay Together." Now, Rev. Al Green has returned with his first proper single in 10 years, a cover of Freddy Fender's 1975 English/Spanish language hit, "Before The Next Teardrop Falls." It was produced by GRAMMY Award-winning record producer, engineer, and mixer Matt Ross-Spang for Amazon Music's newly-launched Produced By singles series. Matt Ross-Spang has either produce or engineered albums for Margo Price, Lucero, Chris Isaak, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, The Sheepdogs, Elle King, and even a posthumous 2016 Elvis Presley album for RCA/Legacy Recordings.

Produced By: Matt Ross-Spang is an artist-curated playlist, which was released over the course of this week and features Ross-Spang's recent works with Margo Price, John Prine, The Reverend Al Green, of course, and William Bell. Amazon Music promises "future Produced By installments will feature acclaimed producers and artists from a variety of genres including Latin, Indie, Country, and R&B." It's also, worth noting The Reverend Al Green & Matt Ross-Spang's rendition of "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" features his long-time organ player, The Reverend Charles Hodges, who hasn't played on an Al Green song since appearing on 1976's Full of Fire as part of The Hi Rhythm Section. The Reverend Al Green's last full-length album was Lay It Down (2008) released on Blue Note Records and produced by Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson & James Poyser of The Roots. "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" is now available to stream or download exclusively on Amazon Music, as part of their on-site Produced By: Matt Ross-Spang playlist.

"As a lifelong Memphian, I've always been a massive fan of Al Green and his producer Willie Mitchell. Together, they created some of the most enduring Soul music. Sonically speaking, Willie & Al, also, really invented a distinct sound that separated them from STAX or Motown [Records]. Growing up in a such a rich musical heritage, I became captivated by these records and long dreamed of working with Al Green. I've always loved the Linda Martell version of "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" and kept it back pocket as a great cover idea for him. It follows in the footsteps of Willie & Al re-interpreting Country songs, like "For The Good Times" and "Funny How Time Slips Away." I still can't believe we actually got to do it! As first and foremost, a music fan and now as a producer, I've always been drawn to artists with unique voices whose gift transcends genre and time. I'm excited and honored to play a role in this innovative opportunity Amazon Music is providing these extraordinary individuals. As my hero, Sam Phillips said: "if you're not doing something different, you're not doing anything!'"

- Matt Ross-Spang (Southern Grooves)