Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"One of These Days:" The Life & Times of Dave Grohl (Post-Grunge Foo Fighter)

Born in 1987, I really can't say that I remember the events surrounding the tragic deaths of Biggie, Kurt Cobain, and 2Pac. But I do recall that these people meant a lot to many adoring fans and that everyone was really sad. Over the course of the past 15-18 years since, I've grown to know and love the music of 2Pac & Biggie. The older I get, the more I grow to appreciate Nirvana (Nevermind) and now I [fully] understand Kurt's vast artistic vision. I must say though, that I'm a bigger Foo Fighters fan, hands down! In no way would I ever "knock" Nirvana's legacy... maybe simply because of age, Foo Fighters is the band that I've grown to know, love, and favor instead. We all know that lead Foo, Dave Grohl used to be Nirvana's drummer and prior to that, he ripped it up along with legendary DC Hardcore band, Scream. I can honestly say that I vividly remember watching the "Big Me" video on MTV way back when (1995), and have loved a large chunk of every progressive Foo Fighters album that's been released since!

The Foo Fighters' most recent album, Wasting Light is essentially the amalgamation of all of it's members' collective past works. Quite a vast, yet triumphant undertaking for a batch of seasoned musicians easily nearing their 40's. Wasting Light was entirely written/recorded in Dave Grohl's garage, produced by mastermind Butch Vig (Garbage), and recorded directly to tape. yes, that means raw, Balls-to-The-Wall Rock "N" Roll, recorded in one take (no overdubs); A style which has essentially become a long-forgotten artform in the recent years of this "Digital Age." Foo Fighters have managed to remain a constant Rock "Titan," even throughout the ever-changing pace of music: a gradual shift from cassette to mp3 format.

To fully understand the creation of this [instant] classic album and the sheer lexicon of Foo Fighters, I strongly recommend watching their recently-released documentary, Back & Forth. Said film is a must-have for any Foo Fighters fan - be they new or old... as it covers the band's entire career from inception (1994) to present-day, with a slightly larger focus on Wasting Light. Anyways, "These Days" has slowly become my absolute favourite cut amongst all of the great album tracks and singles. I think it's a solid representation of the entire album and the current mindset of Foo Fighters. Issued as a radio single back in January, a companion music video for "These Days" has finally emerged. Filmed whilst on the 2011 Australian/New Zealand Tour, the clip's overall atmosphere and tone matches up pretty well with that of Back & Forth's free-form, DIY nature. THE END!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Man of Words/Man of Music: D'Angelo & The Testimony - "Space Oddity" (Le Zénith Bootleg)

After 12 long years of "soul searching," The Soul Man is [FINALLY] back in the building! Following a successful Occupy Music Tour opener in Stockholm, Sweden, D'Angelo continues his quick, yet effective comeback jaunt across Europe. The place was Le Zénith, Paris, France - last night: D'Angelo & The Testimony proceeded to rip through a dusted off selection of his greatest hits... this including "Brown Sugar," "Untitled," "Devil's Pie," and "Chicken Grease." Later in the show's setlist, the band even treated the crowd to a number of Funked up new jams.

Then, The D'Angelo-led Testimony kicked off a familiar acoustic-driven tune penned by yet another reclusive Rock "N" Roll legend, "Space Oddity" (1969). With such a spot-on cover in toe, it almost makes you wonder if a [slightly updated] David Bowie-assisted version of "Space Oddity" will appear on D'Angelo's soon forthcoming album, "James River!?" I really hope that some stateside Occupy Music Tour dates and an album release are slated for 2012... Welcome back, D'Angelo!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

TEENS FOUND SLAIN: Heems & Mike Finito - "WOMYN" (HITCH 2... Saved By The Bell)

Himanshu "Heems" K. Suri is really the only [rapping] person who can ACTUALLY pull off sounding so smart/dumb all @ once, without coming off as a complete and total toolbag. It almost seems like "WOMYN," which was the premier track debuted from Nehru Jackets (June) and still my personal favourite... is being told through the voice of Saved By The Bell's very own "AC Slater." Indeed, yet another fine Pop Culture reference from America's favourite brown Indie Hip-Hopper! Remember that one time that Jessie told him that girls don't like being called "chicks" and would much rather prefer "women" instead?

Well, this is kinda like after that, when Slater [trying his absolute best] continued to use "women" in the totally wrong tense. OK well, maybe that last part didn't really happen on Saved By The Bell. But it's highly plausible and that what Heems & Mike Finito Lakutis proceed to do here, anyways. "WOMYN"'s chain of non-sequiturs are then overlaid atop Mike Finito's simple, yet effective production: "do do do doot," piano lick, Boom Bap drums. Nehru Jackets (mixtape) was released online roughly 2 weeks ago and showcases LAVISH bars from Action Bronson, Childish Gambino, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Danny Brown, and H.H. Ravi Shankar ("The Beatles").

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Wave Cloud Rap: MondreMAN - "Belly of The Beast" (M A N EP & Remix Tape #100)

For all intensive purposes, MondreMAN is the "Rakim" of up-and-coming Oakland "Cloud Rap" duo, Main Attrakionz. Aside from the fact that they quite obviously love weed, beer, Pro Wrestling, and "airy" [Ambient] beats... little else is known about the illusive rapper/beatsmith team, nor their Green Ova crew. Since bursting onto the Indie Hip-Hop scene back in 2010 along with fellow stream-of-conscious artists like Cities Aviv, Danny Brown, Lil B, Clams Casino, A$AP Rocky, Das Racist, and Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire... Squadda B & MondreMAN have branched off to record separate solo projects. MondreMAN liberated his latest effort, M A N EP back in December, which has easily become his most well-received release. Surf on over to Main Attrakionz' Bandcamp page to pick up selections from their newest batch of solo, group, and Killa Beez-esque releases.

During his latest promotional push behind M A N EP, MondreMAN released a companion Remix EP and a pair of simplistic Sam Fuller-directed music videos: "Belly of The Beast" and "Cloud." Barely hitting the 2-minute mark, both clips do their absolute best to match the atmospheric, "Cloud Rap" beats beneath. The bulk of "Belly of The Beast" was filmed using that side-by-side mirror image effect and showcases MondreMAN casually walking through his neighborhood; While "Cloud" showcases a VERY RARE black & white stylized look into Green Ova's DIY recording process @ Squadda B's home studio.

The companion M A N Remix EP was released to The Internet just last Tuesday (Jan. 24th) and is a true "must have" for anyone who loved the original EP or the casual Indie Rock fan. Crash Symbols then commissioned artists from their label roster to remix, cut/paste, and re-hash M A N's 9 featured cuts. Note-worthy submissions include: Shady Blaze, Julian Wass, Pariah Carey, Ryan Hemsworth, Sea Things, and BlueSky BlackDeath. Head on over to Crash Symbols to pick up a Limited Edition (100) cassette tape version of M A N EP/Remix; Jam-packed with 18 Electronic-driven originals and remixes for the reasonable price of just $5.00!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WAVVES & Former Jay Reatard & The Reatards Bassist Stephn Pope "Just Wants His Pants Back" (The Witzard Interview)

(1.) I'm currently reading David Rosen's companion book, on which the TV show is based. Being a fresh-out-of-college writer at a similar life stage as the main character - Jason, I can relate very well to his short-comings. What's your take on I Just Want My Pants Back's overall story? I have not read the book but I did get to see a bunch of scenes in the first season when we were writing the music for it. As far as I can tell it's pretty dead on about how people our age act. Everybody is depressed. Everybody "self-medicates" with drinking and drugs. And everybody f*cks everybody in their social group. (2.) So, what was your first experience composing a score like? Maybe describe the writing process a little bit for the fans. It only took a few days to do this. The first day was definitely really awkward. Nathan and I sat in a room with like 15 different people involved with the show and watched scenes from the first season over and over again. There were writers, producers, directors, actors, etc. etc. etc. Nathan and I stepped outside to go smoke weed in my car and we were both just like, "This is so fucking weird!" We decided to make a few calls from the parking lot to get everybody in the studio to LEAVE. We sat in my car for like 2 hours and didn't go back in until everybody but the music director and engineer left. This made for a much more comfortable environment then we were able to get down to business. We recorded probably 20 different 30 second snippets of songs, then maybe 5 full songs. Nate put vocals on some too, but it was mostly all instrumental. I think they're going to use some old previously recorded WAVVES songs also.

(3.) After your hard-partying ways and past run-in with the people at MTV... were you surprised that they invited you back to work on music for a high-profile, new series? Hahahaha. Luckily I don't think MTV cared that much that I got kicked out of the VMA's. It was the hired security and LAPD who were not happy. Plus doesn't sneaking in weed/booze and getting out of hand kind of go along with what MTV is these days? (4.) Remember when MTV actually used to play music videos!? - Care to name a few of your personal favourites from "back in the day?" I really like all the Foo Fighters videos: "My Hero" and "Everlong" are both great. Meat Puppets "Backwater," Weezer "Buddy Holly," Beastie Boys videos are awesome too: "Intergalactic" and "Sabotage," Busta Rhymes "Gimme Some More," Ol' Dirty Bastard "Baby I Got Your Money."

(5.) I heard that WAVVES are working on new material! King of The Beach was great, man! What's the status of the new album and when might we be able to hear some of it? Nathan and I are recording right now. We're using a producer but I don't know if I can say who it is yet. It's going to be awesome, though. We're taking a whole new approach at things while still maintaining a "WAVVES sound." It'll hopefully be out this Summer but we'll see. We've just started recording. (6.) Did you find it difficult to write short-form score snippets, as opposed to your usual full-length tracks? How were the two processes similar/different? It wasn't difficult at all. The biggest difference in the approach we took to writing was a lot of the stuff didn't need vocals. A lot of times I'll play bass off of the vocal melody or vice-avers, so we didn't do that this time.

(7.) How was it trying to write music to go along with a theme/scene... some scenes which I guess might be pretty emotionally-driven or comedy-filled? Not very hard actually. Lots of just like "OK, let's play this one slow and make it sound dark." (8.) Question I've been asking people a lot lately: What were some of your favorite new artists/albums of 2011? Smith Westerns, Yuck, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Mikal Cronin...

(9.) What's the most surreal, zany thing you've experienced during your time with WAVVES? It just happened: The Weezer Cruise was so surreal because my 2 favorite bands growing up were Weezer and Dinosaur Jr. And I just spent 4 days on a giant boat with them drinking fruity drinks out of coconut shells. (10.) What's your fondest memory of late friend and former bandleader, Jay Reatard? Hmmmmmm... One day we went and got a full day "couples package" at a spa after buying purple velvet suits. We spent the entire day drinking champagne, getting massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and a 2-hour private hot tub with chocolates and rose petals. We were drunk and happy the entire time.

(11.) Heathcliff Berru manages and does PR for a lot of relevant Indie Rock bands that I personally know and love! What's it really like working, PARTYING, and hanging out with him? Working with Heathcliff is awesome because he's one of the few people in the "industry" who is close to our age and that we actually like hanging out with. He's always down to party, too. (12.) Are you currently working on any other projects [or side projects] which you'd like to talk about, man? EXCLUSIVE details? ha Right now I'm devoting most of my time to WAVVES. My old band, The Barbaras, is in the process of mixing an album that Jay Reatard recorded. We thought that the recordings had been lost but we ended up finding them on one of his old recorders so I'm pretty excited that it will finally come out (we recorded it about 3 years ago).

Thanks for doing this interview, bud! It's been a true pleasure dealing with you and Heathcliff! Take your time with the questions and I can't wait to read your replies... But I'd really like to have this post online before or in conjunction with the Feb. 2 debut of I Just Want My Pants Back [after Jersey Shore].
Thanks! I'm barely functional right now since I got back from the Weezer Cruise. Hope these answers make some sort of sense!

- Stephen

Odd Future 8-Track Sessions: BADBADNOTGOOD & Tyler, The Creator - "Orange Juice" (2008-12)

For their latest "viral" cover selection, the boys of BADBADNOTGOOD decided to flip one of Odd Future's most seasoned tracks, "Orange Juice." The now Jazz-tinged number originally appeared on Wolf Gang's premier mixtape, The Odd Future Tape (2008). It should be noted that BBNG initially emerged under the guise, "The Odd Trio" and have since been closely linked to the righteous Hip-Hop crew. A wide array of Jazz-stepped OF covers have been included on their numerous releases, as well as a few previously-released "viral" videos of similar nature along with Tyler, The Creator himself.

But wait just a minute there, partner... both BADBADNOTGOOD and Odd Future are currently working on a wide assortment of various projects - specifically "BBNG 2" and The Odd Future Tape, Vol. 2 (respectively). Eager fans can also expect to see/hear Tyler's second third album "WOLF," Frank Ocean's long-awaited Def Jam debut, and MellowHype's new album, Numbers... in addition to a handful of currently unannounced efforts from the 11-man posse in 2012. Stay tuned, ladies & gents!

VICE & Project X Present: Snoop Dogg "PARTY LEGENDS" (Episode 1)

VICE loves to party. And so does Snoop Dogg. For its newest video series, "PARTY LEGENDS," VICE teamed up with the upcoming feature film, Project X, and rounded up its favorite celebrities with legendary party pasts; Asking them to tell us their most ridiculous party stories... then we animated them. Boom!
In the first [episode] of VICE's "PARTY LEGENDS," Snoop Dogg goes to the Playboy Mansion, hangs with some Bunnies, drinks from his Pimp Cup, and then SHIT HITS THE FAN.

- Meka @ 2dopeboyz

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Play That Funky Music: Vanilla Ice - "Ice Ice Baby" (Hipster-Fried Indie Rock)

Whether you love or hate his music... one can @ least acknowledge the fact that Rob "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle has been one of Pop Culture's most consistent figure-heads for the bulk of the last 20-some odd years. Now, we all know and love "Ice Ice Baby" and... well, yeah, that's really it. Onlookers from both sides of the coin can most likely relate a story of great joy and/or disdain to Vanilla Ice's 1990 break-out single. if nothing else, Van Winkle seems to be a driven, hard-working entertainer, who has ultimately re-invented himself time and time again. Vanilla Ice was essentially one of the first white rappers to break into the mainstream market, along with the Beastie Boys, of course. "Ice Ice Baby" is based around a sampled chunk quite notoriously pulled from Queen + David Bowie's cross-over hit, "Under Pressure" (1981).

Vanilla Ice has always teetered the fine line between irony and reality. naturally, Ice and his PR team have done their absolute best to stay on top of the semi-dated trends - Whether it be: sample-based Hip-Hop, "Nu-Metal" [Rap Rock], reality TV, or honorary Juggalo. Vanilla Ice's most recent endeavor just might be his most ironic and humorous attempt to date... Hipster-Fried Indie Rocker. Setting up shop @ a trendy, California coffee spot, Ice and newly-assembled pick-up band run through an acoustic, ukelele-tinged rendition of "Ice Ice Baby." Even though it seems to be an intricate joke, isn't that the sheer essence of Hipster-dom anyways? - Taking something so immensely corny/ironic and making it "cool" (once again). Shit, if this Soup-created video goes "viral" enough, Vanilla Ice might really end up playing Coachella 2012!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bittersweet Symphony: A$AP Rocky - "Wassup?" (VICE Records & Andy Capper)

Yeah, sometimes Hip-Hop seems pretty sexist, egotistical, and uninspired @ times. But everything doesn't always have to be über-complex and life-shattering... so, yeah whatever! I feel as though A$AP Rocky's latest music video: "Wassup?" is miles away from uninspired; In fact, it's highly-conceptual and well thought out. A collaboration with London-based Journalist/Editor, Andy Capper (VICE), laid over Clams Casino's typically lush production work, which showcases Rocky's creative side. The track stems from A$AP Rocky's nearly instantly popular post-label contract mixtape, LIVELOVEA$AP.

Dually billed as co-director, Pretty Flacko displays his "acting chops" and pays tribute to a few of his favourite films: The Warriors, Scarface, Willy Wonka (1971), Belly, and Enter The Dragon. Purple background tints, plenty of "40's," scantily-clad women, weed, Benjamins, etc. are of course thrown in for good measure. A$AP Rocky is currently prepping a group album from his crew, "LONGLIVEA$AP" [Mob] for a February release... as well as a reported collaboration with fellow New York rapper, Theophilus London. If you can, catch A$AP Mob on tour because from the looks of it, 2012 is definitely gonna be their year!

America's Next Top... Rap Singer: Action Bronson - "Strictly Business" (Parts 1 & 2)

Based on the slight amount of information [conveniently] provided on the vast inner-workings of The Inter-Web, one can assume that frequent collaborators, Action Bronson & Statik Selektah are putting the finishing touches on an upcoming New Jack Swing-themed mixtape. The premier offering from said tape, "Strictly Business" (Parts 1 & 2) was liberated to the masses earlier today, in honor of Selektah's 30th birthday. Delicately constructed around a Swinging, Jazzy sample which may very well be pulled from a cappella Gospel group, Take 6. Action Bronson properly laces up the beat with his notoriously "gully," intricate rhymes schemes. Just take a quick listen and see/hear for yourself. New Jack City: Chopped & Screwed is amongst a number of projects that Bronsonelli is currently working on; Expect it TBR ahead of "the pack," sooner than later, and unveiled along with Party Supplies-driven Blue Chips (Fool's Gold).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

War with The Dragon: Jay Electronica - "Dimethyltryptamine" (Dilla Beat CD's)

Jay Electronica is quite arguably the most prolific, storied, and mysterious rapper(s) of our current generation all rolled into one; A man who's painfully short backcatalog speaks nearly endless volumes. Aside from a few batches of tracks with unknown origins, Electronica has only released about 5 single-worthy tunes since quietly appearing on the scene in 2004: 16-minute [debut] opus "Act I: Eternal Sunshine (the pledge)," "Exhibit A (Transformations)," "Exhibit C," "Shiny Suit Theory," and "The Announcement." Since Act I's initial release (2007), it's proper Nas-assisted follow-up has often been long-rumored, time and time again. Frankly @ this point, I'm beginning to wonder whether or not it even exists. Soon after signing to Jay-Z's very own Roc-Nation label in 2010, Jay Electronica announced the supposed completion of "Act II: Patents of Nobility (the turn)" via Twitter.

Don't hold your breath... and in the meantime, let's take a trip back to a more positive, productive period of Jay Electronica's fledging young career: The early 2000's. After fleeing post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, Electronica essentially became a nomad - Living and quickly leaving major cities including: Philly, Baltimore, Detroit, New York, and Atlanta. During his stay in Detroit, Jay Electronica managed to spark up a friendship with producer-engineer, Mike "Chav" Chavarria, who in turn introduced him to both J Dilla and Mr. Porter [Kon Artis]. From what I can tell, there are about 6-8 Jay Electronica tracks flourished with Dilla-crafted beats:

"Well, they were songs that I recorded before he passed [2006], but we didn't work on them together. The songs of mine over Dilla beats are from an album I did back then called War with The Dragon and we hadn't had the opportunity to work [together] then."

I'm almost positive that the bulk of these J Dilla donuts were pulled from Beat CD '05 #1-3, a set which leaked online shortly after Dilla's death but was surely floating around industry circles for a while. "Dimethyltryptamine" was alternately used to soundtrack DOOM's flow on a segment of "Gazillion Ear" from Born Like This (2009) and "Suckas" originally appeared on Busta Rhymes & Mick Boogie's Dillagence (2007) as "Takin' What's Mine." Eager fans can expect Jay Electronica's proper Roc-Nation debut, "Act II: Patents of Nobility (the turn)" TBR sometime within the next 3-5 years.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paint By Numbers: Django Django - "Default" (Bandleader & Pop Artist, David MacLean)

Currently on a quick promotional jaunt for their upcoming self-titled debut, Django Django recently took some time off to finalize and release their latest music video: "Default" was initially shot by Dan Brereton and executed as a fairly simple performance clip, which showcased the band's unique sound. I'd categorize Django Django's overall sound as something like: Pop-tinged Post-Rock music. Slight touches of Hip-Hop [sampling] are also noticeable throughout. Drummer and bandleader, David MacLean then rifled through some 4,000 printed stills... went in and hand painted colorful accents over top of his favourite shots, which Brereton re-shot and animated to create the final cut of "Default." The resulting music video is mildly reminiscent of a-ha's seminal hit, "Take On Me" (1985).

An equally-infectious and nearly just as note-worthy "Default" (Walls Remix) is available for "Like" [download] over @ Django Django's Facebook. The Dalston, London-based band who's name sounds close enough to "Banjo Banjo" has managed to quietly release 3 vinyl singles since it's 2008 inception. The group's core line-up consists of Vinny Neff, Dave MacLean, Duncan Marquiss Jimmy Dixon, and Tommy Grace - supplying vocals/guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards (respectively). Django Django seem to have a pretty storied, albeit short career soundtracked by rhythms which online Journalist, James Wilkinson further describes as "experimental, Electronic music [similar] to Joe Meek's productions... surf guitars, Art-Rock, and Psychedelic." Pick up a copy of bedroom-recorded Django Django when it's released this coming January 30-31st on Because Music.

Friday, January 20, 2012

French-Fried Arena Rock: Justice - "On 'N' On" (Alexandre Courtes' Space Jam 2.0)

Gigantic scantily-clad floating ladies, skeletons, shaded band members, diamonds, and of course, geocentric shapes: All present throughout Justice's most recent music video. "On 'N' On" is very much comparable to Justice's Arena Rock-inspired sophomore album, Audio Video Disco - Complex, yet amazingly simple pieces of work, which @ any given time, you aren't entire sure if they paying homage or mocking a few of your favourite things. Now don't get me wrong, Audio Video Disco was hands down one of my personal Top Albums of 2011... maybe it's simply the language barrier, but I'm never entirely sure how to take what Justice is doing. Admittedly un-talented "musicians," Xavier de Rosnay & Gaspard Augé essentially taught themselves how to play the album's featured instruments and then pain-staking dis/re-assembled it's primary components. Needless to say, Justice's Audio Video Disco is now available and undoubtedly worth picking up!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Party & Bullshit: STS GOLD Rush - "We Threw a Party" (Drake Care This Weekend)

I've really been meaning to dub up a GOLD Rush-themed STS post for quite some time... easily a solid week or 2 now. The latest edition of Sugar Tongue Slim's weekly jam-flipping series is "We Threw a Party." Based around short, choppy vocal samples culled from a couple of Drake & Beyoncé's most recent radio hits. Drake's previously somber, pity-filled romp, "Marvin's Room" has now been transformed into a celebratory, albeit brief tune... just in time for the weekend! David Mack recently filmed the companion music video @ this year's OKP Holiday Jam, which sports quick cameos from the likes of The Roots Crew, Shaggy, and Big Daddy Kane. Fans should expect the complete GOLD Rush (mixtape) to drop in early February over @ STS's own personal "gold claim" [website].

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Master of My Make-Believe: Santigold - "Big Mouth" (Switch & Buraka Som Sistema)

After a lengthy 4 year-long "hibernation," Indie Rock's favourite Philly-bred wanderlust wonder child, Santigold has finally emerged with some new, buzz-worthy music in toe. Nearly out of the blue, "Big Mouth" was released for FREE download yesterday to wide-spread critical and fan acclaim alike. Santigold's PR rep. later stated that the track is merely a promotional [teaser] single; But you would never know so from the looks of it's accompanying over-the-top, glammed up cartoon-ish music video. The high-ppofile audio/video talents of Switch, Buraka Som Sistema, and director Cody Critcheloe were brought in for back-up assistance in Round #1. Between albums, Santigold managed to work with a wide array of distinctive collaborators including: Christina Aguilera, Q-Tip, Jay-Z, Lily Allen, M.I.A. The Lonely Island, Pharrell, N.A.S.A. Beastie Boys, Julian Casablancas, and Karen O.

Master of My Make-Believe was additionally out-fitted with the production work(s) of a few Indie Rock greats: Dave Sitek, Nick Zinner, and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin. While Santogold (2008) yielded a number of playlist-closing POWER tracks like "L.E.S. Artistes" and "Creator," Master of My Make-Believe seems to be leaning in a more Dance-based New Wavey direction. One can assume that the distinctive rhythms of [musical cities] Los Angeles, Jamaica, and New York were picked up during recording sessions. When describing the album to Billboard back in Summer 2011, Santigold said that:
"I still have the songs that sound very Electronic and Clubby, but I have a couple ballads on this one -- my own type of ballads, where they just sound big, like the way some old Kate Bush or Peter Gabriel songs were..."
Master of My Make-Believe will see a wide release through Downtown Records this coming Spring; Although a firm release date has yet to be set @ press time. Fans should expect to see/hear Santigold's official lead single within the next month or 2. Hey, maybe it'll end up being one of those interesting-sounding "Power Ballad"-esque jams.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cold Day In Hell: Madlib & Freddie Gibbs - "Thuggin'" EP (Medicine Show #13: Black Tape?)

Although I really can't relate to the gun-slinging experiences outlined by the average rapper these days... as an aspiring, young Journalist, I can however, relate to the sheer "hustle," which is commonly detailed throughout Hip-Hop. Especially the sort of hard-as-nails actions seen across Freddie Gibbs' recent Madlib-produced lead single, "Thuggin.'" Indie director, Jonah Schwartz (DD172 Films) has now teamed up with "MadGibbs" to produce a truly chilling visual accompaniment for the hard-hitting track. Over the course of the music video, Freddie Gibbs proceeds to surprise attack, murder & pillage a number of "sinners:" drug dealers, pimps, hookers, etc; Therefore it might be particularly fitting to dub "Thuggin'" as Crack Rap. Madlib & Freddie Gibbs' debut collaborative 6-track EP is now available over @ Stones Throw and they're currently working on a proper full-length album together. The untitled Madlib Invazion album is slated for a first 1/4 (2012) release.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Power of Equality: Yasiin Bey for MLK Day - "Nig_as In Poorest" (Kanye & Jay-Z Remix)

The Artist Formerly Known as "Mos Def," Yasiin Bey has finally taken a long-overdue break from his day job (film actor) to make an undoubtedly triumphant return to his first true love: Hip-Hop. In what appears to be The Soulquarian's premier offering under his newly-adopted guise, Bey proceeds to remix a familiar Top 40 hit. "Niggas In Poorest" is the first in a series of socially-conscious Top 40 Underdog freestyles... and Yasiin Bey drastically flips Kanye & Jay-Z's uncanny "radio single" (2011) on it's head. The weekly series will seemingly re-appropriate some of the year's finest Hip-Hop/Mainstream hits, albeit in thought-provoking, new light.

The formerly lavish tale of over-indulgence has now been morphed into a painfully accurate lament of modern-day society. Of course though, @ it's stereophonic heart, "Niggas In Poorest" is in fact a politically-driven, racially-charged social commentary released just in time for today's holiday: Martin Luther King Day. Mos Def Yasiin Bey is also currently finishing up a number of other projects - Black Star Aretha (mixtape) with Talib Kweli, his own solo offering for new label: G.O.O.D. Music, and a label-wide compilation with Kanye & Rap Friends. With involved parties including: Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Common, Teyana Taylor, D'banj & Don Jazzy, Pusha T, Mr. Hudson, and No I.D.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fork & Spoon Potluck: Those Lavender Whales - "Growth In Question" (Lunch & Recess)

Drummer-turned frontman Aaron Graves started writing Folk-driven Pop tunes somewhere between Columbia, SC and Nashville during college. He adopted the musical moniker "Those Lavender Whales" and started writing, recording, and self-releasing songs with friends. By the time 2006-07 rolled around, Graves had assembled 3 hand-made EP's, which were recorded with a troupe of borrowed instruments and a rotating cast of surprisingly talented acquaintances. Roughly during the same time span, Aaron Graves formed a "loose collective" with local musicians, Chris Gardner and Jordan Blackmon. After a solid batch of self-released projects, Fork & Spoon began operating a a legit record label in 2010.

Jessica Bornick (drums) soon linked up with Graves & Gardner, rounding out Those Lavender Whales' current line-up. The band's most recent output, Tomahawk of Praise is being marketed as their proper debut full-length. Filmed @ one of Fork & Spoons' notorious potluck dinners, "Growth In Question" features green-bearded Whales and friends "air guitaring" along with the track while @ a lavish house-party. The Lunch & Recess-directed music video also chronicles a recent record release party for Tomahawk of Praise, which will see a wide release this coming Tuesday, Jan. 17th. All 12 album tracks can now be streamed and ordered [on CD/LP] over @ Fork & Spoon for the EXTREMELY reasonable price(s) of $5-12.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"You Know What I Mean:" Cults @ Union Transfer, Philly - Friday The 13th (Live Review)

Madeline Follin was even more beautiful and sultry live in concert than I could have ever even imagined! Her voice was a tad bit deeper than on record, but I think it actually sounded better in a larger-scale [concert] setting. A drummer, bassist, and multi-instrumentalist were brought into the fold to help beef up the band's sound, just for the special occasion. Follin belted out each and every passion-filled note as if she were a seductive, slithering Jazz songstress playing a gig @ a hoppin' Lounge joint back in The Roaring 50's. Cults proceeded to rip through the entirety of their 11-track Columbia debut. A few appended tracks were also added into the mix for good measure: "The Curse" (Cults 7" EP), a BRAND NEW Leonard Cohen cover, miscellaneous noodling and banter.

At the imminent close of said blistering set, guitarist Brian Oblivion muttered something to the effect of "Fuck that corny shit where the band walks off stage, pretends to hang out, and then comes back out for an encore!" Cults then played one final tune; After which the walked towards a cab, en route to Tony Luke's. Almost any acquaintance of mine knows that I go to a shit-ton of shows, but I've never really attempted to write a live concert review for the blog... an initial review which I can only hope did Cults' stage show some degree of justice. With that said, the overall experience was without a doubt one of the most utterly enjoyable shows I've been to in a while! - Babbling under-aged drunks and passionate, PDA-displaying lovers, of course not included.

Cults' aesthetic and stylistic elements almost constructed a dark sometimes mildly "creepy" undertone, which acted in stark contrast to Madeline Follin's cheery, 50's Girl Pop-esque vocal arrangements. The majority of Cults' highly adored set took place in near darkness; a lone dimly-lit spotlight cast on Follin as she aimlessly grooved along with the beat. Brian Oblivion & Friends [touring band] produced a layer of carefully constructed feedback-drenched guitar distortion. These backing effects were then backed by images projected onto a large film screen, which lay behind the group.
Oblivion's sampler produced snippets of pre-recorded cult-like banter, then under-laid against various images: black & white live feed of Madeline Follin, simple computer-generated effects, alternate Cults music videos, and random stock footage. An unknown sense of "Hip-Hop," maybe it wad the keyboard stylings or Boom-Bap drum beats... further meshed all of these miscellaneous elements into one Hell of an interesting stage show! In closing, if you ever get a chance, catch Cults' live show, my friends - I promise, you won't regret it! Cults are reportedly working on a Hip-Hop-tinged mixtape version of their self-titled debut. Complete with appended bars from some of Hip-Hop's most talented up-and-coming MC's.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Just Want My Pants Back: Wavves - "Hybrid Moments" (Glenn Danzig Misfits)

Wavves were always that obnoxious Indie band that just irked me. To be completely frank, I think that Wavves (2008) and Wavvves (2009) sounded like complete and total shit... and their instant success/immense mass media cover-age simply dumbfounded me. I'm open to nearly all forms of music, but theirs just seemed like musically-backed noise. So, when King of The Beach-related tracks started leaking online back in 2010, I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard! It seems as though head Wavve Nathan Williams is staying true to his reckless roots, while toning it down just a tad but @ the same time, in an effort to become a little more "mainstream" commercially viable.

In the months since, Wavves have managed to pick up Jay Reatard's old band, "The Reatards," performed on national TV with GZA, released follow-up effort, Life Sux EP... and inked a licensing deal with MTV! Nathan Williams' official title @ the music television network is "Guest Composer" as part of I Just Want My Pants Back [prod. crew]. Following a well-received early post-VMA's screening, MTV will debut the novel-adapted-for-TV scripted series on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 @ 11pm. With that said, the "icing" on the "cake" in my eyes, has to then be this most recently-released Wavves cover, "Hybrid Moments." A sloppy, Lo-Fi version of [my personal favourite] Misfits tune from their "lost album," Static Age (1978), which Williams haphazardly laid down on his out of tune guitar late last night.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brutalize Me with Music: Peanut Butter Wolf Presents... Jonti - "Sine & Moon" (Re-mastered)

Sine & Moon's deep "roots" date way back before any seasoned listener would ever even believe: The mid-1990's. "Saturday Night Songs," the album's inaugural track, was recorded by Jonti Danilewitz in his homeland of South Africa Australia @ the ripe, young age of 13. Essentially a collection of old, new, re-mixed/mastered, and appended tracks, which starts out with that first song Jonti ever recorded. Jonti initially configured the album in the form of a mix CD commissioned by Stones Throw and released back in August 2011. Essentially, a wide array of 13 [15] genre-jumping 4-track records; Plus an MF DOOM-esque rapped co-starring appearance from partner in crime, Jonwayne (2007) to top it all off.

Since it's original release, Jonti has been hit up with such an abundance of fan requests for individual tracks... that Stones Throw decided to re-release an updated, albeit FREE version of Sine & Moon. In preparation of the Jan. 10th wide-release, Jonti re-mixed, swapped in alternate cuts, and even added on a bonus track. Sine & Moon (The Album) sports a new, Jeff Jank-designed cover and is practically the proper "follow-up" to Jonti's recently-released debut, Twirlgig. After such a wide, positive fan response, labelhead Peanut Butter Wolf is actually thinking about pressing up a vinyl edition of Sine & Moon. I can personally confirm that Jonti is nearly completed with yet ANOTHER album, which is seemingly on track for a first 1/4 [translation: "early 2012"] release!

Southern Hospitality: Diarrhea Planet's Jordan "Hodan" Smith (Loose Interview)

(1.) What are some of your favourite Punk records - sources of inspiration, if you will?

As far as Punk is concerned probably Latterman's "We are still alive..." and Against Me!'s "The Disco Before the Breakdown." Truth be told though, I don't know if most of us still listen to Punk that much anymore. There is a lot of Punk bands that are really fun to see live but it's hard to relate to a lot of the anger that the bands portray and write about.

(2.) Can you briefly discuss Diarrhea Planet's use-age of Pop & melody?

Sure. I know that we all have always been suckers for a good/memorable hook within a song. I feel like most of the scene that we participate in here in Nashville is based more heavily upon hooks and attitude than anywhere else. The "Punk" or probably more appropriately "DIY" scene here is different than any other I have ever been part of in that the bands still portray aggression and attitude in their songs but choose to do so through hooks and great melodies as opposed to anger, screaming, and heavy/aggressive guitars. I think that we would all agree that Nashville's sound has definitely influenced our songwriting in that above all else, a good melody is king.

(3.) Is "Orange Girls" a love letter to any specific Jersey Shore guidette... or am I totally missing the mark on this one? ha

Hahahaha, well, I hate to disappoint you, but you have missed the mark. It's sort of a coming of age/parody of sort on wanting to date the super hot, spray tan girl that you know will probably never talk to you or have anything in common with you.

(4.) What were a few of your favourite new artists/albums of 2011? A few of my personal favourites include: Frank Ocean, The Stepkids, Cults, and James Blake.

Oh gosh, that is actually a kind of tough question as I honestly do not listen to much music other than a few bands that I have always listened to. My favorite bands of the year though hands down were JEFF The Brotherhood from Nashville, Hooking Up from Harrisonburg, VA, and SKIMASK from Boston, MA. All three of those bands are ones you gotta check out if you haven't heard them.

(5.) What's next for Diarrhea Planet? Casey mentioned a new album & a 7-inch or 2 in a previous email... Would you care to elaborate a bit?

Sure. We have a split 7-inch coming out I believe in March sometime that will be pretty cool. Keep an eye out for it because everyone will definitely be surprised about who is on the other side of the record. We will most likely be releasing a 7-inch after that featuring a single from our new full-length that is currently in-the-works that will also contain 2-3 B-sides from the album, as well. We are aiming to have our new full-length completely finished and released by Fall/Winter 2012. It will probably contain around 12 songs and be a much fuller release than last year's "Loose Jewels." We also may be recording a collaboration record with another band wherein we plan on recording several songs with both bands playing together on all of the tracks. Needless to say, 2012 is already shaping up to be a super busy year for DP releases.

(6.) Can you briefly describe the general concept behind the Loose Jewels album cover? It's a very interesting, clustered "mess"/great piece of art!

Honestly, it was mostly a creation from the mind of our dear friend, Perry Shall. He does most of the great art for Infinity Cat and I have always loved the art he has done. I actually even have a tattoo that he gave me because I love his stuff so much. I literally just told him that I wanted to cover to be a teal/turquoise-esque hue and that I wanted it to look similar to a 90's Indie release. Perry took that idea and ran with it. I feel like he did a great job on it.

(7.) In your eyes, what's the ideal Loose Jewels listening format - CD, LP, digital (mp3), or cassette tape?

I definitely prefer the vinyl. Due to limitations, the recordings were kind of small sounding and I feel like the vinyl does a good job of mashing them together into a sort of wall of sound, which is what we were sort of going for on "Loose Jewels."

(8.) Madonna or Cyndi Lauper? 2pac or Biggie?

Definitely Lauper, definitely Biggie. We actually listen to Biggie a lot in the van.

(9.) Who was your favourite up-and-coming rapper to emerge in 2011? I think I'm gonna have to say mine was Lil B BASEDGOD. He's all over the place – Check him out, if you haven't already heard of him!

I don't know. Most of the rap I listened to this year was a few years old. We played an Odd Future after-party in Baltimore. But I was not really impressed with those guys. Not to mention they were also total dicks. Evan Bird, one of our guitarists, could probably name a lot of great rap releases this year. He even made some rap this year that [was] really cool.

(10.) What might your dream Diarrhea Planet T-shirt graphic look like?

Probably our own version of The Cramps "Bad Music for Bad People" album cover. That artwork was so amazing. I've been really wanting to make a sort of iconic DP album cover or T-shirt like that.

(11.) If you could choose any current Late Night show to perform on, which one would it be? I personally see Diarrhea Planet as a "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"-type of band... and you'd HAVE to get The Roots to back you guys! Now that'd be a TV debut for the books!

I would definitely agree with you on that one as well. Since Conan left the late night game, there hasn't been much to choose from since. I wish he would come back so we could play on his old show. Letterman would be alright too. But for now, definitely Fallon.

(12A.) Could you list a few of DP's favourite songs to cover live?

- Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself"
- Meemaw's "Headdress"

(12B.) Can you explain the idea behind having 4 "Lead Guitarists?"

- Obviously we don't all play lead the whole time. Most studio records feature ridiculous amounts of guitar tracks. When you see bands live, they usually do not sound anything like their records because of this. I wanted to make sure that we could cover all the bases live that we do in the studio. A band should always sound just as big on record and they do live.

(12C.) I'm sure you guys get asked this ALL the time - But what's the (short) meaning behind "Diarrhea Planet?" Defiantly the most interesting band name since... Foo Fighters!

- Diarrhea Planet was a sort of jab at both the college we went to and the city we live in. Our city hates bands from our school and our school hates bands that sound like us. We just wanted to make a name that would annoy both.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where's The Beef?: Common vs. Drake - "Stay Schemin'" (Aubrey Diss Remix)

Hip-Hop "Beef" is essentially a long-forgotten art form/promotional exercise. Infamous beefs of the per-Internet Golden Boom-Bap Era (1980-90's) include: 2pac-Biggie, Nas-Jay-Z, "The Bridge Wars," LL Cool J-Kool Moe Dee, and "The Roxanne Saga." A carefully designed marketing tool, beef is usually kick-started when one rapper does/says something that the other doesn't exactly agree with. Beefs are usually all in good fun and most times, end in a truce... One exception however, is the tragic deaths of former friends, 2pac & Biggie. Recent Internet-based beefs have included: Kanye-50 Cent, Nicki Minaj-Lil Kim, [The] Game-everyone, Eminem-Canibus (Mariah Carey).

In what may very well be the first size-able Hip-Hop beef of 2012, Common released a diss track aimed @ Drake just yesterday afternoon. Common-Drake's feud stems back to Nov. 2011 when Common released "Sweet." The third single from The Dreamer/The Believer notoriously contained the not-so subtle rapped couplet, "Some hoe-ass nig-as. Singing all around me man, la la la. You ain't muthafuc-ing Frank Sinatra." While Common soon thereafter clarified the true identity of his "soft" target to Sway, Drake seemingly failed to respond... until this past Friday, adding a quick diss verse onto Rick Ross' pre-album mixtape track, "Stay Schemin.'" A verse which, by nearly all accounts feels pretty uninspired, lackluster, and vague.
Never one to bow out early, Common eagerly fired back with an appended version of "Stay Schemin'" (Remix), which was premiered over @ MTV Monday afternoon. Drake has [again] yet to respond and I really hope he decides against it... because honestly, that Common verse BURIED him, Drake doesn't even realize how "out of his league" he actually is, and Common's a modern Hip-Hop legend who's credibility shouldn't even be questioned in the first place. Whichever side your on, Common/Drake's new albums -- The Dreamer/The Believer & Take Care -- are now available @ your friendly neighborhood record store.