Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rockin' with The Best "Anti-Post:" The Roots & Dice Raw @ House of Blues (Atlantic City)

Let me just start out by saying that I've been a die-hard Roots fan for about 10 years now, since The Tipping Point (2004). But after seeing The Legendary Roots Crew LIVE @ House of Blues last night [Dec. 28th], while their frequently-released studio albums are great sounding, they pale in comparison to the band's FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC stage show. We're talking about a gang of Classically-trained musicians playing blazin' solos and breaks... synchronized Motown dance routines throughout and when drummer ?uestlove accidentally pummeled into the wrong beat mid-song, he and his Philly-bred buddies just laughed it off and kept going. The best damn thing about a Roots show is the sheer unexpected, versatility of the material to pull from - Nearly 14 records-worth of Hip-Hop/Deep Soul, a feat which most seasoned Rock "N" Roll bands couldn't even rival.

Black Thought & ?uestlove proceeded to lead bandmates Captain Kirk, Tuba Gooding Jr., Frank Knuckles, James Poyser, Kamal Gray, and Mark Kelley through a dynamic 2 1/2-hour set full of spirited hits and covers: "Proceed," "All Night Long," "Sweet Child O' Mine/Mannish Boy," "Radio Daze," "The Seed 2.0," "Cosby Show Theme," etc. Looking back @ the setlist today, I think "Get Busy" and "How I Got Over" were the Funkiest re-tweaked versions that really got the crowd movin' & groovin' the best; The previously-recorded studio versions really do what The Roots managed to perform last night absolutely NO justice! But with that said, the Rising Down and How I Got Over edits are great in their own right and I've posted those down below. While I've tried to use my Grade-A Journalistic "chops" to describe The Roots/House of Blues show, mere words just aren't gonna cut it... But I guess IMMACULATE, AWESOME, SPECTACULAR, FUNKY, RIVETING are a good place to start. The Roots' LIVE performances are few and far between anymore, so make sure to catch them if you can! But until then, you can see The [Square] Roots perform on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon 5 nights a week.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Astronaut Records Track In a "Tin Can:" Chris Hadfield - "Jewel In The Night" (Int'l Space Station)

When taken quite literally, David Bowie's Folk Rock-laden "Space Oddity" (1969) is about an astronaut "sitting in a tin can, far above the world" gazing back down @ his home planet from the depths of outer-space. But I bet Ziggy Stardust, nor anyone else for that matter, would've ever imagined that a man could actually manage to write/record a song in a Canadian space shuttle orbiting over the Mediterranean. I've always been pretty fascinated with NASA, space travel, constellations, etc. But this most recent technological advancement is CRAZY/cool on a whole 'nother level!; Chris Hadfield has been steadily updating us mere Earthlings through Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit during his long, tedious process of launching into space.

The infamous space recording has been rumored for a while now and "Jewel In The Night" was finally released on December 23rd, just in time for Christmas. I'm guessing Hadfield somehow transmitted the raw audio/video files and recording back down to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), which were soon uploaded to Soundcloud and YouTube. Chris Hadfield penned "Jewel In The Night" on an acoustic guitar that's been sitting around the International Space Station (ISS) since about 2001. Hadfield's next inter-galactic musical project will include Barenaked Lady, Ed Robertson and ground-breaking new technology that'll "perfectly synchronize a transmission that travels @ least 600 kilometers." So basically, Hadfeild & Robertson will be collaborating through sheer space and time on the recording, appropriately dubbed "I.S.S. (is Somebody Singing?").

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Christmas-time In Illadelphia: Freeway - Black Santa EP (State Property & The Knicks)

Freeway pretty much pulled out all the stops for his latest mixtape, Black Santa EP: rapped verses from Iman Shumpert/Rasheed Wallace (The Knicks) and champion boxer Adrien "The Problem" Broner, a clever Kenny Loggins sample, spear-heading the State Property reunion, and releasing a DOPE holiday-themed mixtape just in time for Christmas. I've always thought that Freeway was a talented, criminally under-rated emcee and over the years, he's been affiliated with powerhouse labels like Roc-a-Fella, Cash Money, Rhymesayers, and G.O.O.D. Music. Freeway's critically acclaimed debut, Philadelphia Freeway (2003) was [executive] produced by Jay-Z, Just Blaze, and Kanye... as well as star-studded guest features from Snoop, Mariah Carey, Peedi Crakk, Nelly, and Nate Dogg.

Black Santa EP features some note-worthy production work from the likes of Jake One, Statik Selektah, DJ SNS, and Jumbo Beats; But one particular track, "Roc Re-loaded" (Reunion) showcases a State Property reunion with Peedi Crakk (The Roots), Young Chris, Memphis Bleek, and Neef Buck. Tracks #1-2, "Black Santa" and "This Is It" sample Christmas jingles and Kenny Loggins/Michael McDonald's 1979 hit single of the same name. Freeway's long-awaited fourth album, Diamond In The Ruff is now available through Babygrande Records, a label which he signed a deal with back in August. Merry Christmas to all... "and a Festivus for the rest of us!"

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have Youself a Merry METAL Christmas!: Christopher Lee - "Little Drummer Boy" (Silent Night)

Just wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a "Happy" holiday season: Christmas, Hannukah, New Years, Festivus, Kwanzaa, etc. I'm running on fumes, pretty drained from muling at the super-market all week, and man, am I ready to eat, drink & be merry! I'd like to wish everyone a happy, safe holiday with you and yours... Thought I'd take a few minutes this Christmas Eve Eve to upload a little somethin' about this here [oddly endearing] musical nugget, before taking a few days off to CELEBRATE; 90-year-old veteran actor, Christopher Lee seems to have quite the admiration for Heavy Metal - So much so that he decided to record/release a mini-EP appropriately titled, A Heavy Metal Christmas upon the masses this 2012-13 holiday season.

Christopher Lee, along with Hedras Ramos Jr. (guitar), Ollie Usiskin (drums), and Hedras Ramos Sr. (bass) dubbed up a couple spirited covers of "Little Drummer Boy" and "Silent Night," which are available over at Amazon for just $1.78. I think Mishka Bloglin described it best by simply stating that it's fitting, if you "really love Lamb of God, but I also enjoy seasonally festive music." Lee is best known for his roles in Star Wars II-III, Dracula (1958), Lord of The Rings, The Three Musketeers, Julius Caesar, The Mummy (1959), and the forthcoming Hobbit series. Honestly, it's pretty BADASS that a dude his age is even able to acknowledge what Heavy Metal music is, let alone perform it! Christopher Lee's fourth studio album, Charlemagne: The Omens of Death, is due out sometime in 2013.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sounds of The Lost Scrolls: Yancey Boys & Frank Nitt - "The Throwaway" (Dill Withers?)

"The Throwaway" was either lifted off an old mid-90's Beat CD or DAT, which might've come from J Dilla's hometown storage locker that Jeff Bubeck infamously stumbled upon last April. After a little bit of Internet-fueled confusion, Dilla's personal effects were rightfully returned to his mother, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey - This including: nearly 8,000 vinyl LP's, pieces of mail, Slum Village paperwork, hand-written notes, and a gaggle of cassette/Beat CD-R's, etc. "The Throwaway" is out first audio-file snippet from Delicious Vinyl's upcoming Frank Nitt-orchestrated Yancey Boys album, "The Lost Scrolls" (2013). It's the fifth posthumous J Dilla release... right behind The Shining, Jay Love Japan EP, Jay Stay Paid, and Rebirth of Detroit. Frank Nitt and J Dilla's little brother, Illa J, decided to cruise around LA and visit some of Dilla's favoutite sun-soaked landmarks, which Josh Polon ended up filming for the music video. "The Throwaway" b/w instrumental and accapella edits is now available for $4.00 over @ Amazon; Stones Throw, on the other hand, is currently fulfilling pre-orders for a re-packaged version of Donuts (2006) in a nifty little #VERY RARE 45 box set, slated to ship out on Jan. 14th.

"When Illa J played me what he'd done with Dilla's track, I thought it was incredible. I was suggesting other MC's who could jump on the track, but Illa J told me he wanted me to rhyme on it, so who was I to disagree? ... Fact is, a lot of beats J Dilla made were on tapes or discs that weren't always labeled with the date. But I believe the beat for "The Throwaway" dates from the mid-'90s, just from the tempo and where Dilla was at creatively. To me, it feels like the heat he was giving The Pharcyde [1995] at that time."

- Frank Nitt (Delicious Vinyl)

I Won't Be Home for Christmas: Blink-182 - "Dogs Eating Dogs EP" (self-released)

Blink-182 were my [first] favourite band through most of middle school and high school. while I own nearly all of their 8-10 CD's and rare pressings, the "Blink-182" section on my iPod is fairly short and sweet, cause their music's just engrained in my head! Take Off Your Pants & Jacket is HANDS DOWN one of my all time favourite albums, Cheshire Cat/Dude Ranch are late 90's Hardcore classics, and The Enema Strikes Back is quite arguably the best recorded live album since KISS ALIVE! (1975). Mark, Tom & Travis turned me onto great bands like Black Flag, Rancid, Misfits, Fugazi, Fall Out Boy, and Motion City Soundtrack through their well-written liner notes and interviews. I can vividly remember talking about Blink-182 (Untitled) during Gym class either junior or senior year; Like most of Blink's albums and side projects, it was released right on the cusp of spring/summer. It was a "perfectly progressive" Punk Rock album, written by 3 musicians-friends in their mid-30's and man, I was fucking pissed when Blink-182 decided to take an "indefinite hiatus" [break-up] in 2005. Granted, I got a chance to see (+44), meet Mark Hoppus & Travis Barker, and even saw Tom DeLonge's shitty Arena Rock band, Angels & Airwaves.

Fast-forward roughly 5 years: I was pretty damn STOKED when Blink-182 reunited during the 2009 Grammys after Barker's nearly fatal plane crash. While I was pretty hammered @ the first one, my buddies/cousins and I saw Blink twice on their 20009-11 reunion tour(s). But the band's latest full length album, Neighborhoods, was a sloppy mess that I saw the effort behind, but just couldn't really get into. Dogs Eating Dogs EP is Blink-182's first independent release since parting ways with long-time label, Interscope back in October. Hoppus, DeLonge & Barker self-produced it's 5 tracks, partly because producer-friend Jerry Finn passed away in 2008 right before the band re-formed. Mark, Tom & Travis recorded Dogs Eating Dogs together in one studio between Thanksgiving and early December and honestly, it's the comeback album [EP] that Neighborhoods should've been ... In a couple pre-release interviews, Blink described the overall sound of Dogs Eating Dogs as "Folky," Electronic, Punk Rock, aggressive guitars, slightly Hip-Hop, and "100x better than Neighborhoods!" In a recent interview with Billboard, Tom DeLonge alluded to the fact that it just might be the first in a string of "ambitious, artistic" EP's and they that may/may not ever put our another record, in the typical sense. There are glimpses of Blink-182's various side projects strewn across these 5 EP tracks: Box Car Racer, (+44), Transplants, AVA, etc. But the most interesting track here is probably "Pretty Little Girl" [above], which features a verse from Travis Barker's friend and recent Psycho White collaborator, Yelawolf. Supplies are dwindling, but Dogs Eating Dogs EP is now available over @ in 3 assorted packages, ranging from $5-100 and include everything from T-shirts to a signed lithograph.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Only The Good Die Young: Kassa Overall & TECLA - CABIN IN THE WOODS EP ("TOOTHPASTE")

(1) What's up, Kassa & TECLA!? First off, it's a pretty bold statement releasing your first mini-collection on the last day of the world! Was that intentional or just completely random?

Nothing is unintentional.

2) How would you guys describe the overall sound of CABIN IN THE WOODS EP? What sorta music influenced it's creation, cause it's pretty unique sounding!

Both of us come from musical backgrounds with extremely wide varieties. TECLA went from Classically trained pianist to Punk Rock front-girl, and Kassa went from Jazz drum virtuoso to mosh-pitting rapper so... When stuck in a cabin in the woods together, I guess this is what came out.

(3) Let's just say today is the end of the world, for arguments sake... What are your plans for the day/night, all things considered?

Same thing we do every day, pinky...

(4) Is the apocalypse a running theme on CABIN IN THE WOODS EP and if not, what were you going for?

We didn't actually have a theme. We decided to go to a log cabin in Maine for a week without expectations or distractions and this is what came out.

(5) What might your ideal last supper consist of?

Slice of cheese pizza. - Kassa
Everything besides a slice of cheese pizza. - TECLA

(6) How long has CABIN... actually been in-the-works? Kudos on the last-minute release! A lot of times, I think music sounds better without all the hype.

We actually only worked on it for 7 days in a cabin a few months ago. Robert Lux mixed it a few days ago. That's about it. We also agreed not to hype it up or play it for anyone until it came out.

(7) Aside from CABIN..., what sort of tracks might be featured on each of your apocalypse playlists?

Probably E-40 until it turns dark, then might throw on some Nina Simone and Radiohead for that depressing phase of the apocalypse... Then maybe some Bob Marley when you realize everything is actually fine.

(8) Can we talk about that cabin/log-filled cover for a minute? I'm always intrigued by album artwork and his it links to the music...?

That's the cabin we recorded in... That we chopped up and burned after we were done.

(9) What's your take on the whole Das Racist break-up announcement, Kassa? Did you really see this coming or were you just as surprised as all the rest of us?

We been known. All good. Much love to all 3 homies! - TECLA

Yeah we knew there were problems. Always were, but I kind of thought deep down that they would stay together and keep bickering like an old couple. - Kassa

(10) When can we expect to hear that full Peaceful Solutions project with Kool A.D.? What other musical projects are you working on, Kassa? TECLA?

I will be dropping a single and music video entitled "Fake Tears" in January followed by my solo album, "We Are The Lucky Ones" in March. Just signed with management company and label Mayimba Music and we are launching a full PR campaign with Girlie Action right after the new year so LOOK OUT YA HURD?????? - TECLA

Peaceful Solutions mid January. Kass solo soon after. - Kassa

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Man In The High Castle: Mr. Muthaf#_kin' eXquire - "F*ck 1 Time" (Rarities CD-R)

"Fuck 1 Time" is quite arguably the most gripping, utterly revealing music video of 2012. It was filmed in the post-apocalyptic-looking world that is Lower East Side [New York] after Hurricane Sandy; Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire's face is dimly lit by whatever lighting Shane Annas and crew could scrounge together... flashlights, police car "cherry tops," mag lights, cell phones, etc. It's an eerily realistic clip that chronicles one of the toughest, most unifying natural disasters our nation as a whole has been through since Katrina (2005). The track's pulled from Mr. MFN eXquire's guerrilla mixtape, The Man In The High Castle, which Universal has essentially pulled from the vast cyber-waves of The Internet. Sonically, he kinda sounds like a comic book/WWE-loving mix between Biggie & ODB.

Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire rolls with a crew of up-and-coming New York area rappers: Action Bronson, El-P, Danny Brown, Das Racist, Goldie Glo, and Despot. I was a little surprised when he signed a major label deal over the summer, but bow it makes perfect sense! Mr. MFN eXquire is a refreshingly different, immaculate rapper who harkens back to 1980-90's Boom Bap in this age of shitty "Ringtone Rap." eXquire's past work(s) include last year's SUPERB Lost In Translation, Power & Passion EP, The Big Fat Kill (2008), and Merry eX-mas & Suck My Dick. He's currently holed up in the studio, hard @ work on his debut full-length for Universal, which should be out sometime during 2013 A.D.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Richie Records Presents: SPACIN' - "Deep Thuds EP" (Illadelph Half-life?)

Yeah, I basically drafted up a few terms and then coined one, "Neo-Classical Psych Rock," to help better describe SPACIN's particularly unique, noisy sound. It's members all hailing from Philly, the band's sound seems like a by-product of Hardcore Punk and Noise/Garage Rock. SPACIN' is fronted by Jason Killinger and it's kinda a side project of his old band, Birds of Maya; In the studio, he's joined by Paul Sukeena, Sean Hamilton, and his wife Eva on guitar/bass/drums (respectively) on their righteous Richie Records debut, Deep Thuds EP... I think it'd be safe to assume that SPACIN' are influenced by guys like Iggy & The Stooges, Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, Ty Segall, and Pixies. While they've only unleashed roughly 8-10 tracks, SPACIN' really managed to effectively display a colorful, wide variety of styles on Deep Thuds: Psychedelic Rock, Noise Rock, riff-heavy Rock "N" Roll, Power Pop, Post-Punk, Garage Rock, etc. Midheaven Mailorder recently started re-pressing and selling copies of Deep Thuds for $6-13, complete with Rolling Stones tongue-less covert art.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hawaiian-Jamaican Punch: Bruno Mars & The Smeezingtons - "Show Me" (Supa Dups Riddim)

The Police were a 1970-80's Reggae-tinged Classic Rock band, who would in turn inspire Hawaiian Blue-Eyed Soul singer, Bruno Mars some 35 years later; an influence that's especially noticeable on his latest single, "Locked Out of Heaven," which was recently remixed by zombie-slaying Dancehall king, Major Lazer. Between recording/releasing Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010) and it's proper follow-up Unorthodox Jukebox, Mars got slapped with coke possession and slowly started straying away from his "cookie-cutter" image. Sound-wise, Unorthodox Jukebox is a little more edgy and Experimental... cause Bruno Mars & The Smeezingtons [production team] linked up with a bunch of A-List producers: Jeff Bhasker, Mark Ronson, Benny Blanco, Supa Dups, and Paul Epworth. If we're excluding his stripclub anthem - "Money Make Her Smile" (Diplo), "Show Me" is quite arguably one of the album's most interesting tracks. It's a tried and true Roots Rock Reggae jam that Mars pain-stakingly melded together along with Kingston's very own Supa Dups. I'll just go a head and let the good people over @ okayplayer-affiliate Large Ups explain the rest, but just give this album an honest shot... even if you're a "Just The Way You Are" hater. Unorthodox Jukebox is out now, and I really think it seems like the next gradual progression for Bruno Mars' ever-growing New School/Blue-Eyed Soul career.

"Say what you will about Bruno Mars - and we'll be the first to tell you we're not in love with a lot of his stuff - but Hawaii's first Pop Super-star makes music with broad appeal. His new album Unorthodox Jukebox lives up to its name, with a little sum'n for everybody, and that includes us... For track No. 8, "Show Me," Mars and his songwriting team The Smeezingtons linked with Supa Dups and his Black Chiney production partner, Mitchum "Khan" Chin. Dups and Mars have already established a strong track record with their work on 2010's Doo-Wops & Hooligans, most notably the Damian Marley collaboration, "Liquor Store Blues." Just like that one, this isn't your typical, watered-down Pop star version of Reggae. Right from the opening drum shots, you can tell "Show Me" is the real deal... While Dups' riddim brings the moody, rub-a-dub vibes, Mars' vocals conjure that era as well, with echoes of Sugar Minott and Gregory Isaacs. Any way you slice it, though, this tune is a scorcher."

- Jesse Serwer (Large Ups)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12-12-12: Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl & Friends - "Cut Me Some Slack" (Nirvana Reunion?)

Madison Square Garden held a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy last night, appropriately dubbed "12-12-12." I didn't get a chance to watch the concert, but I guess it was on TV from about 7:30-1am; Rock "N" Roll greats like The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, The Who, Roger Waters & Eddie Vedder, Eric Clapton, Chris Martin, and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band performed colorful sets. It looks like The Who ripped through damn-near a full album, while everyone else just plated 2-3 quick tracks. Adam Sandler covered "Hallelujah," Kanye, Alicia Keys, Michael Stipe, Bon Jovi, and Paul Schaffer (Letterman) managed to roll through, too. But arguably the most buzzed about moment of the night was when Paul McCartney performed with Nirvana's surviving members: Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and touring guitarist Pat Smear.

"So recently, some guys asked me to go and jam with them. So I showed up, like you do, ready to jam, and in the middle of it, these guys kept saying, 'We haven't played together for years.' The penny finally dropped - I finally understood that I was in the middle of a Nirvana reunion!" ... The band launched into a BRAND NEW track that they recorded about 6 months ago for Grohl's upcoming Sound City documentary/soundtrack, appropriately titled "Cut Me Some Slack." Unsurprisingly, it sounds a lot like how you'd expect a Beatles and Nirvana/Foo Fighters team-up to sound. I mean, we're talkin' about cigar box guitar, Grunge undertones, aggressive drumming, muddy basslines, etc. I'm happy they didn't try their hand @ [disastrously] re-creating any Nirvana or Beatles classics, but I think Kurt Cobain would have been proud since Meet The Beatles! (1964) supposedly inspired him to write "About a Girl." Rest easy, Chris Hendershot!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rock The Bells: Sufjan Stevens & Friends - "CHOPPED & SCROOGED" (Re-mixtape)

Hey, are you ready to get in "the holiday spirit," but you're growing tired of those same played out Christmas songs that seem to be on constant loop @ every super-market and department store/mall!? If that sounds anything like your annual winter-time scenario, then I'd recommend checking out Sufjan Stevens' latest release, CHOPPED & SCROOGED. Now, I spin all sorts of crazy X-mas albums -- Punk Rock, Steel Drum, Big Band [Swing], Tijuana Christmas, James Brown, etc... But this well-executed 9-track Hip-Hop mixtape even pleasantly surprised me! Stevens even managed to recruit a bunch of his musically-inclined friends and Asthmatic Kitty labelmates to remix select cuts from his second 5-volume Christmas compilation, Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas (Vol. 6-10). The collection's stand-out tracks easily include contributions from Das Racist Heems, kitty pryde/Fol Chen, and Busdriver/Son Lux (Looper).

Falsely billed as as posthumous Das Racist track @ first, "The Child with The Star On His Head" is really just a couple of Heems verses laid over a John Dieterich (Deerhoof)-produced beat. Heems' witty rhymes serve as bookends juxtaposed against Sufjan Stevens' re-hashed Christmas-themed mid-song ramblings. "Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling," on the other hand, isn't exactly so new; It was quietly leaked online, via asthmatickitty's Soundcloud page sometime back in October. Busdriver spits an immaculate rapid-fire verse, as usual, which honestly, mere words won't even begin to do ANY justice whatsoever... So, do yourself a favor, and give that one a few listens! kitty pryde has that late-90's sexified Britney Spears sing-songy vibe going on with her "Implants & Yankee Candles" delivery. It kinda sounds like a Florida teen's last-ditch plea to Santa Claus for useless, materialistic things. Asthmatic Kitty has made CHOPPED & SCROOGED available for your download/streaming pleasure. "Merry Christmas to all... and a Festivus for the rest of us!"

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beats, Rhymes & Life: Homeboy Sandman - "VerbalSoulClapMania" (Unreleased, 2009)

Almost anybody with a dictionary/thesaurus can rap these days and even your pimply next door neighbor can throw together an average-hard hitting Boom-Bap beat. But sheer personality, genuinely original ideas, SWAG, and top-notch rhythms are what'll really push an aspiring emcee into the limelight [success]. While he just recently inked a record deal with Stones Throw, Queens-based rapper Homeboy Sandman (Angel del Villar II) has been hustling his way towards the top of the Hip-Hop stratosphere for nearly 5-8 years. Since unleashing his full-length debut -- First of a Living Breed -- for the label back in September, Homeboy Sandman has already released some 5 unique music videos and counting. His latest clip, "VerbalSoulClapMania" actually dates back to 2009 and is a virtually beat-less track; But I'll just go a head and let Mr. Sandman explain this one in his own words...

"My boy Photo Rob [Robert Adam Mayer] shot 4 years ago when I was emaciated raw vegan status, rocking the mean George Jefferson cut and weighing 85 lbs. This was 2009, for a song on my 2007 album Nourishment. Yesterday, 3 years later, the director sends me the finished version. The original had my boy Rocky Brambles, but for the 2009 version 8THW1 was on board lending a hand. Dag I was skinny, sun!"

- Homeboy Sandman (Stones Throw)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Well, We're Living Here In Allentown: Pissed Jeans - "Bathroom Laughter" (Sub Pop)

One of the great things about Punk Rock is that it hasn't really progressed/digressed much sound-wise since it's late 1970-80's inception. I mean, most 21st Century Punks honestly don't sound all THAT different than pioneers like Iggy & The Stooges or Black Flag. So, I think it's all about sprinkling in personality and a dash of slight progress [style]. Allentown-based Pissed Jeans are kinda a hard band to label... Like is it Hard Rock? Hardcore? Sludge Metal? Indie Rock? Pigfuck? My insanely knowledgeable buddy, Jason Morroni basically coined the term "Power Thrash" through text earlier tonight and I'm just gonna go a head and run with that ha. The Jeans took about a 5-year break to "live life" a little bit and then re-formed over the summer to record Honeys with Alex Newport, which'll be out Feb. 12th on Sub Pop.

"Bathroom Laughter" is out first LEGIT taste of the album, a collection that Sub Pop fittingly describes as "a recorded loop of a marching band being pushed down a waterslide, with added distortion." While not a whole lot more than "in the kitchen crying ... You're in the hallway screaming" is audible, you can just sense the sheer pain and teenage adult angst in frontman/insurance claims adjuster Matt Korvette's growl; Maybe it's a little early to tell, but I'm betting that Honeys is gonna be an instant classic, swift-hit-to-the-face Hardcore Punk album! I've also included "False Jesii, Part 2" from King of Jeans (2009) and it's video just features Pissed Jeans Rockin' out while a bunch of hotties try their best to dance along to the music ha. If you wanna download some Pissed Jeans mp3's but already started pinching pennies for Christmas, head on over to Sub Pop to get 5 FREE Power Thrash tracks!

Smells Like Teen Spirit: Dave Grohl Guest Hosts "Chelsea Lately?" (Sound City)

Dave Grohl is quite arguably the hardest working man in Rock "N" Roll, having laid down drum tracks for everyone from Paul McCartney to Nine Inch Nails. Grohl is a self-taught drummer/guitar player and high school drop-out who's most notable work includes playing with Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and DC Hardcore band Scream. He really isn't your average drugged-out, middle-aged Rockstar. Since Foo Fighters went on a hiatus in October 2012, Dave Grohl has been hard @ work on a number of interesting side projects; He'll be filling in as Queens of The Stone Age's temporary drummer on their upcoming album, might "get back together and do stuff" with Them Crooked Vultures, has been tirelessly working on his directorial debut... centered around infamous Sound City [studio], recorded a Rick Springfield/Foo Fighters track, playing that 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy relief concert, and recently filled in for buddy Chelsea Handler on her talk show, Chelsea Lately.

Let's focus on "Dave Lately" for a few minutes: I guess Handler and Grohl became friends after he first appeared on her show a couple years ago and she asked him to do her a favor and fill in as a guest host, while she took a mini-vacation from December 3-6th. Dave Grohl managed to pen a pretty impress opening monologue, lampooned the day's celebrity happenings, played a few quick riffs and drum hits, and interviewed Ray Romano, which soon shifted to Grohl making out with Kid Rock's mom ... "She wanted to make her husband jealous, I think, and said, 'Dave, will you take a picture kissing me?' And I said, 'Sure!' And so I leaned in with this innocent, like, mmm, and before I knew it I was in her grips, just like, AHHH!" He's just enough of a celebrity/Hollywood outsider to make all of this mildly outlandish behavior oddly endearing and for what it's worth, Wasting Light (2011) was one Hell of a Rock "N" Roll album! Dave Grohl's long-rumored Sound City documentary should be in theatres nation-wide by Feb. 1st and look out for it's star-studded soundtrack, too.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Greased Lightnin'!: R.E.M. & James Franco - "That Someone Is You" (Anne Hathaway?)

Here's James Franco's infamous sun-drenched "That Someone Is You" clip; It's #2 of R.E.M./Franco's long-rumored music video collaboartion(s) unearthed in just under a month. Looks like James Franco carries around a handy dandy flip-cam just about everywhere he goes. "That Someone Is You" is very chill, fun, and laid back in comparison to "Blue"'s underlying Avante Garde [weird] feel. The footage seems to be culled from 2011, when Franco and Anne Hathaway were practicing for their Oscars co-hosting gig... specifically behind-the-scenes footage of them rehearsing a scrapped Grease-inspired bit. What blind dumb-ass decided to cut this CHERRY footage 2 Hollywood A-listers re-creating the closing, over the top "We Go Together" dance scene!? R.E.M. parted ways in September 2011, after 30+ years together, and released their 15th studio album, Collapse Into Now. Oh yeah, Anne Hathaway's head has been replaced by an over-sized CGI kitty noggin, which can most likely be chalked up to "legal reasons." James Franco's upcoming film projects include Spring Breakers, Oz: The Great & Powerful, The End of The World, Lovelace, and Black Dog, Red Dog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stop, Drop... Ruff Ryders Roll!: DMX - "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" (Power 105.1)

DMX has either gone completely bat-shit CRAZY or caught an early strain of Holiday Spirit. But I'm just gonna go a head and run with option #1 since in recent years, DMX has gotten locked up, collaborated with Swizz Beatz, picked up a nasty coke habit, and appeared on a couple D-grade celebrity "reality shows." Whatever the case may be, DMX performed a rapped-sung version of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" LIVE on Power 105.1 Monday morning; It kinda ended up sounding like a schoolyard cypher... complete with hand drum/desktop 1-2 beat and plenty of grizzly-voiced adlibs - WHAT's , COME ON's, and FOREVER's thrown in for extra emphasis. All I know is that mid-90's Ruff Ryders DMX would've whooped this guy's ass, but it's still a highly amusing holiday cover nonetheless. I'm assuming he probably put out a new album semi-recently, but whether or not you wanna risk it and buy a copy is TOTALLY on [up to] you.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Quentin Tarantino Presents: Rick Ross & Jamie Foxx - "100 Black Coffins" (Django Unchained)

Actor-turned-musician Jamie Foxx described a track he recently produced during a Django Unchained/Success Secrets interview as "more or less, an Ennio Morricore Spaghetti Western theme, except with Rick Ross rapping on it." Tom Breihan's article was published in Men's Health last month and now the track in question, "100 Black Coffins," was finally released to the masses late Friday afternoon. It's a pretty interesting juxtaposition overall because for a good chunk of his bars, Ross raps from the perspective of Foxx's character - Django, a la ODB's CLASSIC delivery on "Ghetto Superstar;" Django Unchained follows the story of a freed slave who ends up morphing into a ruthless bounty hunter @ the hand of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and seeks out revenge and his long-lost love, Broomhilda. Quentin Tarantino additionally cast Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Jonah Hill, Kerry Washington, and Don Johnson [Miami Vice] in supporting roles for his "Southern Spaghetti Western" flick, which hits theatres nation-wide on Christmas Day. Django Unchained's companion soundtrack is out about a week earlier, December 18th, and features a bunch of new/old tracks from James Brown & 2pac, John Legend, Jim Croce, Frank Ocean, and Ennio Morricore.

"In addition to the new original songs, I am also using a lot of older recordings on the soundtrack — many of which came from my personal vinyl collection. Instead of having the record companies give me new digitally cleaned up versions of these recordings from the 60's and 70's, I wanted to use the vinyl I've been listening to for years — complete with all the pops and cracks. I even kept the sound of the needle being put down on the record. Basically because I wanted people's experience to be the same as mine when they hear this soundtrack for the first time."

- Quentin Tarantino (Complex)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Close to The Edge, Back, Middle & Front: Yasiin Bey - "I Don't Like" (Top 40 Underdog & OMFGOD?)

The New Danger (2004), Mos Def's STELLAR Hip-Hop/Blues Rock album recorded with Funky cats from Bad Brains, Living Colour, and a few other pioneering African-American Rock bands... has to be one of my favourite albums of ALL TIME! Dante Smith has always been a stylish, righteous, socially conscious rapper, ever since forming Black Star with like-minded friend-musician, Talib Kweli in the mid-90's. Mos Def recently pulled a "Cat Stevens," whole-heartedly converting to Islam, and changed his name to Yasiin Bey. "I Don't Like" is the third release that's been slow leaked from Top 40 Underdog, Bey's upcoming G.O.O.D. Music flip of Modern Radio staples.

But don't get it twisted, this surely isn't Mos Def's first rodeo; He managed to effortlessly re-work both Jay-Z/Kanye's "The Takeover" and Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" (1982) on The New Danger. Chief Keef, Lil' Wayne, and The Throne 2011-12 favourites have all been brutally stripped and remixed so far for inclusion on Yasiin Bey's controversial Top 40 Underdog project. While he feverishly rallies against damn near everything from "sugar-ass crackers" to haggard stretch marks on "I Don't Like," @ his core Yasiin Bey is just a man ready for change/justice. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Top 40 Underdog, OMFGOD [Cruel Winter] with Mannie Fresh, and Black Star's long-awaited follow-up album, which should all materialize throughout 2013 A.D.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Come Fly with Me, Let's Fly Away: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - "Stars" (Paris)

I'm not even gonna lie, while I'm a self-proclaimed Indie Rock & Hip-Hop loving, tech-savvy borderline "Hipster" blogger... first heard about Grace Potter & The Nocturnals on The Voice when Team Adam [Levine] contestant Amanda Brown covered 2 of her songs just last month. After Googling the fragmented lyrics and matching song titles, I still wasn't 100% sure that "Paris (Ooh La La)" and "Stars" were the handiwork of the same original artist. I guess you could just say that the 2 years' time in-between Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (2010) and The Lion The Beast The Beat (2012) was a period of immense personal and musical growth for the singer-songwriter; "Paris" is almost a guttural Blues Rock romper that most likely about sex, drugs, and Rock "N" Roll. But "Stars," on the other hand, is a subdued acoustic piano-driven emotional ballad.

Grace Potter really makes a unique brand of sassy, well-penned Country-fried Pop/Blues Rock/Folk that sonically, falls somewhere between Ke$ha and Miranda Lambert. Unveiling "Stars" essentially helped give Grace Potter more depth and dimension, steering away from that alcohol-fueled PARTY hard image... and oddly enough, performing "Paris" on live TV helped Amanda Brown, a former background singer, step out of the shadows and prove that she has staying power as a rockin' frontwoman. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' latest album #4, The Lion The Beast The Beat, which also features Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) is now available for purchase. Potter performed "Stars" on VH1's Big Morning Buzz earlier this morning, dually promoting her Grace Under Fire chocolate bars and the band's impending 2012-13 tour dates. The Voice airs live every Monday-Tuesday nights and it's already down to the Top 6, setting the stage for the show's December 18th season finale.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Wish They All Could Be California Girls: HAIM - "Don't Save Me" (Basketball Show?)

HAIM are a band made up of 3 20-something sisters from LA who's only recorded output includes: the 3-track Forever EP, a Fleetwood Mac cover, some hook work for Childish Gambino, and now "Don't Save Me/Send Me Down." Ever since the imminent break-up of family band Rockinhaim about 5 years ago, Danielle, Alana & Este have been secretly recording together non-stop... fine-tuning their sun-soaked Rock "N" Roll meets 90's R&B sound. They seem to be equally inspired by everyone from Usher to The Beach Boys, but HAIM have somehow been able to meld together a unique brand of Power/Girl Pop. I personally think it's pretty SICK [AWESOME] that 3 hot, model-ish chicks like Danielle, Alana & Este Haim can Rock this hard, whether or not you really even dig their music!

While they're slowly but surely chipping away @ finishing up their major label debut, the Haim sisters unveiled a music video for "Don't Save Me" Monday afternoon. Austin Peters directs and it's a pretty wild and weird, yet oddly endearing clip; "Don't Save Me" flips back and forth between HAIM performance footage along with drummer Dash Hutton and an old school boys vs. girls pick-up basketball game. HAIM are currently busy prepping the release of "Don't Save Me" as a AA-side on Neon Gold/Rough Trade, which will see the light of day this upcoming December 10th. Bottom line is that HAIM a pretty hot right now and the next logical step in the buzz-building chain is that they just release a damn album already, before everyone decides to pull a "Milli Vanilli" and stops giving a shit.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

TOTAL F@#kery on a Plate: "At Home with... Action Bronson" (Thanksgiving Left-overs)

"Action Bronson lives in the apartment he's lived in his whole life, @ the southern edge of Flushing, Queens. Before he started rapping, Bronson dropped out of Bayside High School and cooked @ his father's still-open Mediterranean restaurant in Forest Hills, which specializes in Albanian dishes like Jani me Fasule, a white bean stew. Also a culinary school dropout, Bronson is a passionate chef, freestyling insane, flavor-piling recipes that reconcile what he calls the "peasant" food of his childhood with what he's encountered out in the world. On a rainy day [last year], he welcomed us into his home and showed us how to re-imagine Thanksgiving left-overs as sliders, or "total fuckery on a plate." Above, watch Action Bronson make a masterpiece between two layers of cheddar corn muffin with cold macaroni, gravy, corned beef, and more, and learn how to roast a marshmallow with a chopstick and no flame."

- FADER Holiday Special (2011)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

La Musica de Harry Fraud: Meyhem Lauren - "10 Dollar Lap Dances" (Greedhead/Mishka)

Let's face it, most of us in our mid-20-30's have probably "stumbled" our way into a couple sleazy strip joints by now. I've had my fair share of alcohol-fueled, cigar-accented conversations with shot girls about Portugal The Man and even an unexpected run-in with Joey Fatone (all in one night)! It sounds like Meyhem Lauren has chronicled a vaguely familiar experience on "10 Dollar Lap Dances." Released just in time for the season's traditional festivities, Mr. Thanksgiving himself laments about his [least] favourite gentlemen's club, which has an all-hours buffet, but still doesn't warrant his tips. Lauren and producer-friend Harry Fraud "walk in the dirtbag spot, shit down, and proceed to do wrong." He must've learned a thing or 2 about fine dining from chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson, who's featured on Mandatory Brunch Meetings (December 6th). Numbers-wise, it's guest list doesn't really seem to stack up against Respect The Fly Shit ... But Heems, Lakutis, Weekend Money, Maffew Ragazino, Carrie Wilds, Tommy Mas, and Mike Finito all manage to roll through for a few quick bars.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Girl with The Stones Tattoo?: The Rolling Stones - "Doom & Gloom" (Noomi Rapace)

Like most young people my age, I'd say I first got into Classic Rock @ roughly 12-15 because my older cousin Josh gave me a 4-CD Led Zeppelin box set and my parents passed down their Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, and Michael Jackson LP's. I guess The Rolling Stones were one of the first bands I really "discovered" on my own - Hearing about them based off their sheer Rock [mega]star-dom and insane hi-jinx. All these years later, The Stones are really the only Classic Rock band still in my regular rotation... Some Girls and Exile On Main Street are 2 of my favourite albums (plus all the hits, of course)! I'm pretty sure that Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts & Ronnie Wood are damn proud that they've never really pulled an "Aerosmith" [sold out] over the course of their 50-year career; Honestly, they have nothing to prove, they don't give a fuck, and that's TOTALLY fine. The Stones booked a few tour dates in honor of their 50th year together, which quickly sold out, and there are rumors of a MASSIVE world tour in-the-works for 2013. Just to be clear: We're talking about 4 men well into their 70's who could arguably Rock harder, "last longer," get 10x more women, and drink WAY more than your average awkward, pimply teenager!

"Doom & Gloom" is one of 2 new tracks appended onto The Rolling Stones' newly-packaged 50-track greatest hits collection, GRRR! It's their first new track in 7 years and supposedly stems from the early sessions for the band's long-rumored 23rd studio album, the proper follow-up to A Bigger Bang (2005). "Doom & Gloom"'s companion music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund and stars Prometheus/Girl with The Dragon Tattoo (Sweden) leading lady, Noomi Rapace. Åkerlund somehow manages to paint a vivid, slightly pre-apocolyptic picture of the world The Rolling Stones describe throughout the track, juxtaposed against Mick Jagger's DIRTY intro/lead guitar riff. Noomi Rapace brutally kills some zombies, flashes a boob or 2, frivolously burns money, does her best Flashdance impression, stuffs her face til she pukes, and subs in for assorted Stones members during performance footage. The Rolling Stones' 50th anniversary collections, GRRR! and Crossfire Hurricane, which is now view-able on HBO and should be coming soon to a theatre near you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Modern Day Revelations: Action Bronson & The Alchemist - "Rare Chandeliers" (VICE Records)

Action Bronson is kinda like the weirdly AWESOME love-child of Beastie Boys, Ghostface Killah, and Rick Ross. The Albanian-American rapper hails from Flushing, Queens and cut his teeth as a Top Chef before converting over to rhymin' roughly 2 years ago. In a true testament to his sheer prolific brilliance, Bronson has linked up with one sole producer @ a time for each project: Dr. Lecter/Tommy Mas, Well-Done/Statik Selektah, and Blue Chips/Party Supplies - Plus Mr. Wonderful, Saab Stories, "Blue Chips 2," and his VICE Records debut are ALL expected to materialize fairly soon, too. Action Bronson has already had a chance to work with everyone from Asher Roth to Wu-Tang Clan and was the undoubted MVP of Meyhem Lauren's hotel suite-recorded mixtape, Respect The Fly Shit. Bronson inked a deal with Warner Bros. back in mid-August and it seems like he has their full support to "spread his wings" a little bit on Rare Chandeliers, which was released just last Thursday, Nov. 15th. Filmed sometime over the summer, Back & Forth [below] is an impromptu interview between the 2 friends that really pre-sets the stage for their mixtape's simple, laid back vibe.

Maybe I'm just a little kid @ heart, but if that goddamn SWAGGED out album cover doesn't make you wanna automatically listen to Rare Chandeliers, then I don't know what will! Action Bronson wholeheartedly embodies every single crazy/outlandish thing on there: sheer elegance, brutality, drugs, money, bitches, uninhibited fun, wizardry, etc. But The Alchemist really is the album's true unsung hero, who came prepared with a secret stash full of Funky-ass beats. Señor Bronsolini, on the other hand, continues his long-standing tradition of naming tracks after weird [eccentric] people like Dennis "Mr. Belding" Haskins, Michael Vick, Sylvester Lundgren (Rocky IV), and Big Body Bess ... Sounds like Action Bronson ended up shackin' up @ The Alchemist's LA-based home studio, where they ultimately recorded some 40+ tracks for Rare Chandeliers with whoever happened to roll on through: Sean Price, ScHoolboy Q, Roc Marciano, Evidence, Meyhem Lauren, and Styles P. While Rare Chandeliers was eventually widdled down to 14 Boom-Bap heavy tracks, a few of them like "Randy The Musical," "Eggs On The Third Floor," and "Gateway to Wizardry" effortlessly riffle through 3-4 different beats during the short run-time(s). Surf the web and score a download of it now; I promise, you won't regret it!

Friday, November 16, 2012

James Franco Presents: R.E.M. - "Blue" LA (Lindsay Lohan In 36-D?)

I kinda feel like James Franco could [should] rightfully be labelled as the Über/Anti-Hipster all rolled into one; He's seems to have been secretly mocking that very idea of "celebrity" for the bulk of his career ... Smoothly aligning himself with Mila Kunis, wide-ranging roles, Avante Garde music, Indie films, grad school, writing short stories, General Hospital, Spider-Man (1), Harmony Korine, Doo-Wop, etc. Franco's latest project is "Blue" starring Lindsay Lohan, a music video that he directed for now-defunct Alternative Rock band R.E.M. nearly 2 years ago. It's unclear as to why the footage was temporarily shelved and it may or may not stem from either James Franco & Lindsay Lohan's long-rumored mystery film project or that infamous "nude photo book." Terry Richardson makes a cameo appearance as the sleazy, flannel-wearing photographer... while fuzzy images of Lohan on a stove-top, Franco dressed in drag, and the LA skyline are artfully juxtaposed against Michael Stipe & Patti Smith's spoken word vocals.

Basically, it's a shitty Post-Punk mess that I'd personally like to believe is James Franco's own Hipster-mocking, 21st century version of Spinal Tap ha! "Blue" originally appeared on R.E.M.'s 15th and final album, Collapse Into Now (2011). It was first announced that Franco was hired to direct 2 short films [music videos] as part of the band's track-by-track Collapse Into Now Film Project and obviously, only one ended up materializing. For what it's worth, the droning quasi-guitar solo starting @ around 4-4:30 and the images of James Franco being filmed shooting out of a helicopter are pretty damn cool! Lindsay Lohan is attempting a career re-bound of sorts... due in part to her latest role as notorious paparazzi sex-pot, Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime's made-for-TV biopic, Liz & Dick, which is set to air on TV next weekend - November 25th. James Franco's upcoming project alongside "witches" Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams, Oz: The Great & Powerful (prequel) is slated for a March 8, 2013 wide release in various 2-3D formats.

Singin' In The Ocean: Heems - WILD WATER KINGDOM (Han-solo mixtape #2)

I think one of the reasons that Das Racist works so well is because of the cross-section between Heems' great appreciation for Mainstream Pop melded against Kool A.D.'s desire to be weird/Experimental. While Nehru Jackets (January) was just a bunch of Mike Finito-produced beats made from Indian samples, WILD WATER KINGDOM is slightly more commercial... almost directly influenced by post-2001 Hip-Hop: shit like The Blueprint, Dipset, Kanye, Meek Mill, and French Montana. Heems managed to hand-select some Funky "liquified" beats from Harry Fraud, Crookers, Beautiful Lou, LE1F, Steel Tipped Dove, Mike Finito, and Keyboard Kid.

"I've become in touch with my astrological signs. I'm a Cancer, and I'm a Pisces Rising for my moon [sign], so I'm pretty fucking watery. I like water a lot and this past summer, I tried to be out by the beach as much as I could. I was out on the Hamptons, I was out on Martha's Vineyard, I was out in [West India] last year. I like going to Hawaii a lot. So, I've found that water is my friend. Water is also, on a larger level, everywhere - I'm water, you are water, we are water. Finally, it's a water park my family and I used to go to, like five or six cars filled with Indian people all from New York to Pennsylvania. We never went to Dorney Park, so we always went to Wildwater Kingdom."

- Heems (Rolling Stone)

Roughly 6 of it's 17 tracks have already been released/heard in some way, shape, or form; But WILD WATER KINGDOM is still chock-full of unexpected surprises and memorable moments. Friends-collaborators Childish Gambino, SAFE, Lakutis, and Bodega Bamz all rolled through for a few "radio-friendly" guest verses. "Death Is Not an Option" is an early favourite, which just so happens to feature the latter 2 emcees trading off brutally honest one-liners alongside Himanshu [Heems] himself. It's named after Dorney Park's sister water-themed amusement park and ironically, WILD WATER KINGDOM's mixing, mastering, and eventual release were plagued by Hurricane Sandy's crippling East Coast beat-down. Here's a few Heems-related multi-media items for your viewing pleasure: STELLAR Rolling Stone pre-release interview (above), a recent Reddit fan AMA, and the Hot Sugar-assisted "56k" music video. Sounds like Action Bronson and Captain Murphy's newly-liberated mixtapes, Rare Chandeliers/DUALITY, are pretty TIGHT, too!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Regions of Light and Sound of God: Jim James - "Know til Now" (Monster of Fo1k)

When he's not busy making TOTALLY spaced out Prog Rock with My Morning Jacket, melding together some Neo-Soul sounds with Monsters of Folk, covering classic George Harrison tunes, or gettin' Funky with The Roots and Erykah Badu ... Jim James has been quietly fine-tuning a loose concept album called Regions of Light and Sound of God. James essentially based the album around a 1929 woodcut book titled Gods' Man, which he managed to morph into a "hazy dream that a fully-realized android or humanoid capable of thought might have when it reminisces about the good ol' days of just being a simple robot." Once he's done touring behind Regions, Jim James plans to re-group with his fellow My Morning Jacket bandmates in April or May to start work[ing] on their upcoming seventh studio album.

Jim James self-produced the bulk of his solo record and played nearly every instrument on it; Effortlessly sprinkling in bits of Americana, Jazz-Funk, Disco, "old school R&B, Island Funk [and] Hip-Hop." Regions of Light and Sound of God will see a post-New Years release on February 5th and ATO Records unveiled a widget yesterday, complete with an email-triggered download link to it's lead single, "Know til Now." If you ask me, it kinda sounds like the strange, long-forgotten lovechild of The Bee Gees and Postal Service! While talking with SPIN back in July, James explained how working on remixes for Alt-J and Floating Action, really allowed him to exercise his creativity and focus all of his energy on producing his solo album. Regions of Light and Sound of God is now available for pre-order in a few packages, far a head of it's scheduled February '13 release date.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

She Hates Men, Women... EVERYTHING: Amanda Palmer - "Do It with a Rockstar" (Wayne Coyne)

"Do It with a Rockstar" seems to chronicle the semi-average, often mundane existence of a slightly washed up Rock "N" Roll legend. My best guess is that Amanda Palmer is a liberal-thinking feminist/bi-sexual "Punk Cabaret" cult hero, a former member of The Dresden Dolls. Palmer managed to fund and record her latest album, Theatre Is Evil, with nearly $1.2 million notoriously raised on Kickstarter. It was only following a pretty cut-throat, spirited, and publicized exchange with veteran producer, Steve Albini (Nirvana) that Amanda Palmer finally agreed to pay her crowd-sourced horn and string players with money over "beer and hugs/high-5's." "Do It with a Rockstar" isn't Palmer's first time behind Wayne Coyne's directorial lens; The Flaming Lips roped in Amanda Palmer for a re-recorded version of "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" after Erykah & Nayrok Badu pulled out of the slightly risque Heady Fwends video.

"Do It with a Rockstar"'s music video is augmented by a 2-minute "Thriller"-like pre-story, which shows a group of drag queens and snooty Hipsters getting ready for Palmer's club gig. Friends-collaborators Michael McQuilken & George Salisbury helped direct the opening scenes and one of the Hipster kids [redhead] is played by fiery pornstar, Stoya. Keeping in line with the song's underlying Plain Jane meets Rockstar storyline, her character manages to sneak backstage after locking eyes with Amanda Palmer and they eventually hook-up, "bum uglies," etc. Wayne Coyne even made sure to include a hearty dose-age of sex, drugs, Rock "N" Roll, glitter, debauchery... armpit hair, boobs, girl-on-girl action, sausages, and unexpected surprises making "Do It with a Rockstar" pretty damn NSFW! Amanda Palmer uploaded a lengthy blog post the other day about the video's creation and Theatre Is Evil is now available online in a number of CD, vinyl, and mp3-based packages.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kick Out The Jams!: Pearl Jam - "Instant Classics" #1 (Missoula Bootleg CD-R)

Eddie Vedder has always been a pretty rebellious, Punk Rock kinda dude, if you really think about it: sticking it to the laundry-mat by repeatedly wearing the same flannel, wedging out a genre of his own in this crazy, Post-Hair Metal world, fighting for what he believes in, making a ukelele-based album, and searching for long-lost love/freedoms! I can remember listening to Pearl Jam back when I was like 10-15 on Philly's own Y-100 [100.3 FM], when shit like that was still being labelled "Alternative Rock" ha. The band initially formed on the out-skirts of Seattle between 1984-90 and have been compiling everything form greatest hits to #RARE live takes ever since; Lost Dogs ("Leavin' Here") and Madison Square Garden, July 9th 2003 are 2 STELLAR releases that stick out in my mind... pulled from 100-200 official bootlegs the band's managed to re-release since 2000.

It was announced on Election Day, in the wake of Sen. Jon Tester's winning efforts, that Pearl Jam's recent Sept. 30th rally show from Missoula, MT would soon be released online. Earlier this afternoon, it was further detailed that the release would help launch Pearl Jam's high-quality "Instant Classics" bootleg series. "Shortly after finishing the show, the band declared it an "Instant Classic" and asked that it be made available quickly to the fans and for a limited time at a special price ... Every so often, performances like this stand out immediately as "one for the books" in the band's eyes. When they do, these "Instant Classics" will continue to be made available with this special offer." (Pearl Jam) Missoula Bootleg #1 is currently up for download @ the band's site for $4.99 between Nov. 6-13th and will be re-upped for $9.99 after that, with all proceeds going to a local homeless center. It looks like the album's chock-full of roughly 30 tracks - This including well-known hits like "Better Man," "State of Love & Trust," "Corduroy," "Small Town," a bunch of fan favourites, and worthy Creedence/"Last Kiss"/The Clash covers.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cult of Personality: Ke$ha & Nate Ruess - "Die Young" (Jungle Thunderdome?)

"Die Young" is a mildly apocalyptic, sugar-coated "dance til we die" jam along with some half-assed satanic rituals/pseudo-orgy-tinged visuals... complete with that inherent layer of Hipster sleaze and over-produced shitty-ness. Ke$ha's your typical she'd-be-hot-if-she-showered-more-often kinda dirty [blonde] girl; But I must say, she's really cleaned up a lot since first bursting onto the music scene with Animal/Cannibal EP (2010). Nate Ruess, who scored 2+ MAJOR hits this year with fun., helped Ke$ha co-write "Die Young" and Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, and Cirkut all had a hand in the production end of the Electro-Acoustic hybrid track. Ke$ha's second album, Warrior, is slated for a December 4th release and will also include a handful of note-worthy appearances from Iggy Pop, Wayne Coyne, Ben Folds,, and Patrick Carney (The Black Keys).

Like I was starting to say up there, before some debonair young fellow rudely interrupted, Ke$ha's visual accompaniment for the first video-single pulled from Warrior is honestly one long, strange twisted trip. "Die Young" abruptly kicks off with a morbid image of Ke$ha being pulled and carried out of a hearse and into a dust-filled ghost town by a few chiseled men. Miss Sebert and her scantily-clad, cult-like followers then manage to slither their way into a boarded up abandoned Mexican church. What ensues next seems to be a slightly choreographed Dance PARTY/softcore orgy, which is accented by quick flashes of either a pretty, glammed-up Ke$ha or wrestling wolves, Illuminati idols, and things of that nature. A shit-ton of boob-grabbing, pelvic thrusting, and all sorts of sleazy hi-jinx goes down... until Ke$ha eventually surrenders to the PARTY-wrecking Federales outside.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

21 Guitar Salute: Gary Clark, Jr. - "Ain't Messin' Round" (Texas-Fried Blues Rock)

I'm not really 100% sure if I'm gonna throw together one of those "Year-End Lists" yet or not. But But there were definitely quite a few strong releases littered throughout 2012, some unveiled pretty recently, too: Handwritten, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Wasting Light, Blue Chips, Audio Video Disco, Blak & Blu, etc. My 2 current favourites, good kid, m.A.A.d. city and Blak & Blu, were released roughly 2 weeks ago (Oct. 22-23rd). Gary Clark Jr. and Kendrick Lamar are 2 talented men in their mid-late 20's, simply aspiring to make it in their respective genres of Blues Rock/Hip-Hop and are making some pretty bold moves to do so. If you're interested, check out my separate reviews for both albums, which should still be on "The Witzard"'s front page [below].

Gary Clark Jr. liberated the officially-stamped music video for "Ain't Messin' Round" over @ Rolling Stone earlier this Monday morning. It marks the second recorded version of the track, the first one was filmed @ Live Room and sounds a little bit scuzzier/guitar-heavy. "Ain't Messin' Round" (2) is a grainy, vintage-looking clip directed by Nobel Jones and features Clark's backing band, which includes: J.J. Johnson, Mike Elizondo, and Zac Rae along with Danny T. Levin & David Moyer on horns. Gary Clark Jr. & Friends seem to be playing some sort of Funky dance PARTY or micro-show in an apartment, flanked by 2 record shelves. It's the first video-single pulled from Blak & Blu, since "Bright Lights" first appeared on Bright Lights EP (2011). He ripped it up on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last month and now he's headed into South Philly for a show @ The TLA this upcoming Saturday, Nov. 10th. Scored a 9-3 shift Saturday, so I might see if my pops wants to go check out Gary Clark Jr.'s infamous live show!