Thursday, May 31, 2012

Future Pop Sounds: Purity Ring - "Belispeak" (BREWER-Directed, No. 1)

Purity Ring are a band that have easily been on my "radar" for a good for a good 6 or 8 months-1 year. I've simply been captivated ever since Chris @ Gorilla vs. Bear posted "Lofticries" up on his music news website. But with little band info, sheer musical content, or visual accompaniment, I had a hard time trying to figure out an angle for a [possible] Purity Ring-themed blog post... especially since Hulkshare banned me from uploading mp3's.

Earlier this afternoon, Megan James & Cornin Roddick finally decided to drop a band-sanctioned music video for their genre-blending track, "Belispeak." Along with "Ungirthed" and new track "Obedear," it will appear within Purity Ring's long-awaited debut record on Last Gang/4AD, Shrines (July 24th). While it's very difficult to describe the band's unique brand of music, here goes a shot @ some [descriptive] adjectives: Future Pop, glitched out, man-made, Hip-Hop, pretty, Electronic, melodic, "colorful," etc.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2 Turntables & a Microphone: Childish Gambino & Beck - "Silk Pillow" (Glover-Hansen)

After 2 cancelled re-schedulings, I finally managed to see Childish Gambino live up in Sayreville, NJ with my buddy Ryan just about a month ago. Complete with lots of lights, "pyro," guitars, and violins, it seemed more like a KISS concert than a Hip-Hop show... definitely much more showmanship than I could have ever imagined! Donald Glover acts weekly on Community (NBC) and in his downtime, has begun to flesh out a pretty solid career moonlighting as an Indie rapper. Childish Gambino's recent wide-spread release, Camp really helped solidify his unique brand of raps about [college] girls strewn across Dance-laden beats. Gambino previously self-released a slew of mixtapes and online albums between 2008-10, but Camp was still semi-misleadingly totted as his "debut album."

Generally not one to enlist fellow emcees, Donald Glover seems to be changing his ways, as he's secretly complied a forthcoming feature-driven mixtape. 3 of 6 recently "leaked" tracks have housed a few guest bars: Heems, ScHoolboy Q, Nipsey Hu$$le, and most unexpectedly, Beck! Glover co-produced "Silk Pillow" along with Beck, who's largely remained a musical recluse since his expansive Record Club initiative (2009-10). Beck kicks off "Silk Pillow" with a glorious half-rapped/spoken intro segment, which vaguely reminds me of John Legend on "Blame Game," and then Childish Gambino comes in rapping about lady troubles over an 8-bit-infused Hip-Hop beat. Beck has supposedly been "working on a record for a few years... [since] Fall 2008," between producing records for Indie Rock vets, but only a few random tracks have slowly materialized since. In fact, his new 7" single for Third Man, "I Just Started Hating Some People Today," was released just yesterday afternoon. Childish Gambino's untitled mixtape should be expected sooner than later, especially @ this rate!

"Hardcore Cracka Punks:" Trash Talk Sign to Odd Future Records (Lionel's Press Release)

So, them muthafu***** ova at Odd Future Records done signed a fu***** group of crackas and ni**** in a Hardcore Punk band called Trash Talk. I mean, it makes sense since Odd Future fans is them white ni**** anyway. Trash Talk is supposed to be releasing they album called "119" or some sh** thru they Trash Talk Collective label in the fall... Don't ask me what the f*** that means, cuz I don't fu***** kno. I asked Tyler's trick-ass what he thought about that sh** and I really didn't give a f*** so, I'm not gone put that sh** on here. Them Trash Talk ni**** is currently over in Europe with them "musty muthaf******." If you give a f*** about they sh**t, then listen to them ni**** EP on iTunes called Awake or watch the fuckin' [music] video, ni***.

- Lionel "L-Boy" Boyce

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Liberty Bell Cracked In 1/2: Ween - "Freedom of '76" (Gene Ween's Final Send-Off)

Chocolate & Cheese (1994) was one of the first albums I bought with my own money. I was in some sort of BMG Music Club, where you'd buy 5 CD's and then get 10 for "FREE." It was all sent through mail order and you picked the titles from some special booklet. I'm almost positive that Chocolate & Cheese's side boob-baring album cover was what initially drew me in... mind you, I was 12-15 and the zany Ween logo/middle finger CD graphic really didn't hurt either. Honestly, I forget how I really felt about it @ the time, but a few years later, my older cousin Josh told me that Ween were this BIG college "jam band." CKY did some sort pf 93.3 radio takeover to promote their new album and played "Freedom of '76" late that night on air. Needless to say, I re-visited Chocolate & Cheese @ about 20-something this go 'round and I fucking loved it! Ween were really weird, yet talented... almost too talented.

I can vaguely remember downloading 2 rejected Pizza Hut jingles: "Where'd The Cheese Go?" and "Where'd The Muthafuckin' Cheese Go At?" (2002). The true masters of portable 4-track recording, Gene Ween recently told Rolling Stone that Ween had broken up, an article which partially went live on The Internet Tuesday afternoon. Friends since the 8th grade, Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo [Dean] has a solid 25-year run as "Ween." The band recorded some 11 full-lengths between 1990-2007... excluding countless critically-acclaimed Indie releases, live albums, and demo tapes that date back to 1985. Freeman says he's been contemplating Ween's disbanding for the past 8 years, but is still on good terms with Melchiondo. Aaron Freeman's solo debut, Marvelous Clouds (Rod McKuen covers) was recorded after a 2011 rehab stint and is now in stores. Ween's high-pitched ode to hookers, Philly, Boyz II Men, etc. "Freedom of '76" is available for your listen/viewing pleasure up above. LONG LIVE WEEN!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Do You Want More?!!!??!: The Roots Picnic #5 - 20mixtape12 (DJ Low Budget)

The Roots became Jimmy Fallon's in-house band [comedic relief] when Late Night originally kicked off back in 2009. All the while, they've still somehow managed to produce 2 studio albums (How I Got Over & undun), as well as supply session work for John Legend, Duffy, Booker T. D'Angelo, and the late Amy Winehouse. ?uestlove recently became little Blue Ivy's godfather and started a road-side food service truck, "Quest Loves Food." Since re-discovering this new-found sense of fame that came along with their 13th full-length album, The Roots have been asked to curate 2 separate yearly festivals: The Roots Picnic and July 4th Jam (Philly).

One of the first BIG festivals of Summer [concert] season, The 5th Annual Roots Picnic is actually taking place this upcoming weekend - June 2 & 3rd. The Legendary Roots Crew will be playing a full "solo" set, backing De La Soul, and re-creating Paid In Full with Eric B. & Rakim; They also hand-selected this year's complete Roots Picnic line-up, which now includes current favourites like... Wale, Diplo (Major Lazer), St. Vincent, Kid Cudi, James Murphy, tUnE-yArDs, Danny Brown, Star Slinger, Kids These Days, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Shabazz Palaces, The Hood Internet, and Flosstradamus. okayplayer recently commissioned DJ Low Budget to assemble a "Best of The Roots Picnic" playlist/mixtape. It's a mashed-up, remixed, genre-blending sampler of this year's bill, which will hopefully entice possible ticket-buyers to join in on the fun! The Roots Picnic will be held @ Festival Pier on June 2-3rd. 2-day passes, Saturday, or Sunday tickets are still available over @ Ticketmaster from about $25-80.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Boys Are Back In Town: JEFF The Brotherhood - "Sixpack" (Dan Auerbach Edit)

Nashville Rock "N" Roll revivalists JEFF The Brotherhood recently inked a record deal with Warner Bros. Hypnotic Nights (July) was co-produced along with Dan Auerbach, who's band The Black Keys also "sold out" semi-recently and have remained quite successful ever since. Jake & Jamin Orrall's very own family-owned/operated record label, Infinity Cat will co-release the new album and it's companion [digital] EP, Hypnotic Knights. I downloaded a copy of JEFF The Brotherhood's lead single, "Sixpack" before I skipped town for Maryland on Friday... No, "Sixpack" isn't a Black Flag (Rollins) cover; But honestly, it's damn near just as ferocious! After a quick first listen, I was instantly reminded of Weezer's guitar-driven Pop melodies backed by CKY's West Chester-bred Experimental "Skater Rock."

JEFF The Brotherhood are currently touring across The USA along with Best Coast up until June 2nd, and then a headlining trek running through August 3rd. Hypnotic Knights EP will be available @ JEFF's "merch booth," digitally on May 17th, and look out for Hypnotic Nights on July 17th (download card with EP). Hypnotic Knights EP is set to feature 4 Dan Auerbach-produced tracks, which will eventually re-appear on Hypnotic Nights, LP. In the meantime, check out JEFF The Brotherhood's [storied] backcatalog, which depending on who you ask... includes anywhere from 3-6 full-lengths. Infinity Cat issued their first widely-released album, Heavy Days back in 2009.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

King of Limbs: Guilty Simpson & M.E.D. - "Fitta Happier" (The Quakers All-Star Brass Band)

Numbers-wise, Stones Throw's Quakers [collective] is just about as MASSIVE as it's earth-shattering name-sake: 41-track album, 35 members, 3 producers. Because of Quakers' sheer size, it's almost ludicrous to try and summarize the wide scope of their self-titled debut... I have a copy, but have yet to listen straight through in one sitting. Guilty Simpson & M.E.D. are 2 of the countless featured rappers that Geoff Barrow (Portishead), Katalyst, and 7-Stu-7 recruited to come in and lay down verses. Quakers and Quakers (Instrumentals) are both now available for purchase over @ Stones Throw on vinyl, 2-CD, or mp3.

Temporarily backed by The Quakers All-Star Brass Band, Guilty & M.E.D. abrasively lace up "Fitta Happier." Barrow pulled samples from 2 separate 1997-2000 era Radiohead tracks, "Fitter Happier" and "The National Anthem," now re-interpolated and complete with a horn section. It's companion Eric Coleman-directed music video was just released earlier today, features Guilty Simpson & M.E.D. dressed in suits, matching The Brass Band, and rapping into a "wrestling" mic that's hanging from the ceiling.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Life Is Mos Def AMAZING: Yasiin Bey - "Bey" (Lil' Wayne & Biggie Smalls)

Mos Def is not merely a rapper, he's a fucking lyrical assassin! Born Dante Smith (1973) and formerly known as "Pretty Flaco," the man now replies to Yasiin Bey. Take it as a mid-career re-invention, of sorts for the seasoned rapper who's worked with everyone from The Black Keys-Gorillaz. In late 2010, Mos Def signed a record deal with Kanye West's very own G.O.O.D. Music, but an album for his new label has yet to fully materialize. Yasiin Bey is currently working on a number of assorted projects: 5th solo album (G.O.O.D. debut), Black Star Aretha with Talib Kweli, and Kanye's label comp. - "Cruel Summer." My personal favourite Mos Def album is The New Danger, which was released in 2004... right around the time that I was first getting into Hip-Hop and forming my own unique "musical ear." It's essentially a Blues-inspired Hip-Hop album that was recorded with African American Punk musicians, Black Jack Johnson. In fact, after I publish this very post, I'm gonna head over to Amazon and pick up whatever Mos Def albums that are missing from my CD collection!

I'm really hoping that Mos Def Yasiin Bey is still poised to remain one of the most talented rappers in the [ever-crumbling] Hip-Hop game. Bey is currently gearing up to release some sort of warm-up project, titled Top 40 Underdog. So far, 2 freestyles from the forthcoming collection have been issued, "Niggas In Poorest" and yesterday's cut "Bey." While he's indeed a highly skilled/witty rapper and humorous wordsmith, Mos Def has always retained a certain level of social consciousness. First, he did it with Black Star, following the after-math of Biggie & 2pac's tragic deaths and I think it's a tradition that he'll continue with Top 40 Underdog. Instead of adhering to a rigid weekly deadline, Yasiin Bey has been releasing tracks to co-align with important dates: Martin Luther King Day and [what would've been] Biggie's 40th birthday. With that said, Dante Smith is much more than just a veteran rapper - A true Renaissance Man who's capable of wearing many "hats:" dapper fashion icon, skilled actor, passionate activist, Golden Age Boom-Bap historian, youth role model, comedian, Blues-Soul musician, etc.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Somethin' Bout Kreay: KREAYSHAWN & 2 Chainz - "Breakfast" (Bay Area PJ Party)

KREAYSHAWN is definitely hot in that "Ghetto Fabulous" sort of way. She's the type of girl that if I saw her on the street, I'd still attempt to spit game @, even though I'm sure we'd have absolutely nothing in common ha. Anyways, Columbia reportedly signed a $1 million record deal with KREAYSHAWN on the sheer strength of her premier single, "Gucci Gucci." Since dropping out of Berkeley film school in 2009-10, Natassia "KREAYSHAWN" Zolot has self-released 2 mixtapes: Kittys X Choppas and Kreayshawn X The Bay, in addition to shooting music videos for a number of [famous] friends. During this formative period, KREAYSHAWN also submitted guest verses to a wide variety of Hip-Hop artists: The Madden Brothers, Juicy J, Theophilus London, Millionaires, and Insane Clown Posse.

"Breakfast" (Syrup) fully employs KREAYSHAWN's witty, inventive sense of building rhyme patterns... Ex(s)ample: "I'm hungry. Hungry for this money. Call me Kreay Hefner, Playboy Bunny. Got that juice, cheese, bread - Breakfast. Stackin' dough." KREAYSHAWN self-directed the drug and indulgence breakfast food-laden music video for her album's lead single, which debuted across The World Wide Web early Monday morning. Her long-awaited debut, Somethin' Bout Kreay is now slated for an August 14th unveiling. KREAYSHAWN has supposedly enlisted the rapping/production talents of Kid Cudi, 2 Chainz, Diplo, V-Nasty, Cool & Dre, DJ Two Stacks, and Boys Noize. Zolot recently Tweeted that she wrote a treatment for another album track, "Go Hard (LALALA)," which should be expected to materialize sooner than later!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Erxpress_og: Cocaine 80s - "This Can't Be a Crime," "Queen to Be" & "Take My Keys" (Tweet$)

And I'm back from a nice, relaxing weekend getaway to Ocean City, MD: friends, cars, chicken, girls, beer, scooters, sun rays, etc. But it's great to finally be back home in good ol' Jersey! Upon my re-entry to The Inter-web earlier this evening, I was pleasantly surprised with 3 FRESH Cocaine 80s tracks, which were slowly unveiled over the past 3 days. "This Can't Be a Crime," "Queen to Be," and "Take My Keys" were recently recorded by Chicago mega-producer, No I.D. While Cocaine 80s' choice nom de plume might implies a certain level of excess and debauchery, their collective musical output is far from it... Cocaine 80s is a Chicago-based group of talented behind-the-scenes players, which includes the likes of James Fauntleroy, Kevin Randolph, Rob Kinelski, Steve Wyreman, and Makeba.

Since quietly forming roughly 1 year ago, the loose collective has released 2 digital projects, The Pursuit EP and Ghost Lady EP. The attached file info [labeling] along with "Queen to Be" mentions something called Erxpress_og, which may or may not be the title of Cocaine 80s forthcoming effort #3. Similar to their past releases, Cocaine 80s' batch of new tracks can be "purchased" online through a clever Pay with a Tweet monetary exchange; When it comes down to it, essentially leveling out to [FREE] user-friendly self-promotion. Keep an eye out, 'cause I feel like we're going to be getting a repeat-worthy full-length from No I.D. & Cocaine 80s any day now!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Unleash The Double Dragon: Fat Tony & Tom Cruz - "Bad Habits" (Nick Diamonds @ Letterman)

It's no secret that I stay in quite close contact with Das Racist's inner [rapper-producer] circle: Victor Vazquez, kechPhrase, Kassa Overall, and Daplib (Pedro) @ Illuminati Zone. Talking with these Brooklyn-based artists as of late, "Fat Tony" is a name that comes up in conversation pretty damn often! Originally based out of Houston, Fat Tony is currently prepping the follow-up to his last effort, RABDARGAB (2010); Double Dragon, which was produced along with Tom Cruz, will be released by newly-formed Indie Hip-Hop imprint, Young One this upcoming June 1st. It's set to feature contributions from 10ille, MURS, TECLA, Main Attrakionz, and Ninjasonik.

Fat Tony's record label roster also includes the likes of Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Cities Aviv, Main Attrakionz, and Children of The Night. Along with Young One's formative announcement and mixtape sampler release, Fat Tony & Tom Cruz debuted Double Dragon's premier single: "Bad Habits," which features Bun B and Nick Diamonds. Widely known as an Indie Rock crooner of Islands, Mister Heavenly, Man Man, etc. fame, Diamonds performed on Letterman last night as part of El-P's pick-up backing band. Pick up a digital copy of Young One's RARE/unreleased mixtape and keep an eye out for Fat Tony's Double Dragon project (June 1st).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Slightly Demented R&B: Yeasayer - "Henrietta" (Fan Club CD-R & June Tour)

If you ask me, Yeasayer
really "hit it outta the park" with their last release, Odd Blood (2010)! The Brooklyn Psych-Rockers have been earnestly chipping away @ their follow-up third album, which singer-keyboardist Chris Keating describes as a mix between "an Aaliyah album if you played it backwards and slowed it down" and David Bowie's [1979] Art Rock album, Lodger. Yeasayer's new album is expected to materialize and be released by late spring or early summer of 2012; Back in October 2011, the band had already compiled 22+ songs and were thinking about recording to separate LP's: a real album of 3-4 minute Pop songs and an [Internet] soundtrack.

Fast-forward to May 2012... Yeasayer released the first taste of their untitled album just yesterday, "Henrietta." We All Want Someone to Shout For notes that the band recently shipped out CD singles of the track to members of their fan club and now, it has appeared online. "Henrietta" seems to have a couple different phases, which mash-up a handful of assorted genres: Reggae, Dance, "Demented" R&B, Pop, etc. Yeasayer have a string of 6 June tour dates pre-lined up... so, I'd expect them to play new songs and even announce further album release details fairly soon. Check out another new joint: "Devil & The Deed," one which Yeasayer debuted on Conan [above] roughly this time last year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jay-Z Plans to Invite President Obama to Perform @ "Made In America" Festival (Philly, September)

You said you're looking for artists that embody the American spirit. I've got a guy: He's got a beautiful voice and he sings Al Green songs well. The only problem is that he's super-busy and Donald Trump thinks he was born overseas.

[Laughs] "Ah, yeah, THAT guy. I'm gonna try. I'm gonna tell you guys right now: I'm gonna give him a call and I'm gonna try to get him to perform - Do a little rendition of Al Green - but I doubt it. I think that opens up the political season. He'll be so far into helping the world that he probably won't have time, but I'm absolutely going to ask him."

- Jay-Z (Rolling Stone)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Any Given Thursday Evening: John Mayer - "Video Games" (Lana del Rey, Guitar)

In my eyes, John Mayer is pretty much a d*ck, who's last memorable body of work was Try! (2005). Man, I lost a lot of respect for him after that slur-laden Playboy interview detailing his supposed "escapades" with Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, black women, etc. Plus everything post-John Mayer Trio has been under-whelmingly lackluster and honestly, that's pretty damn sad for such a talented guitar player. But I digress... John Mayer has partially redeemed himself with this recently unveiled cover of "Video Games." Here, Mayer can be heard re-constructing a riff-heavy interpretation of Lana del Rey's break-out hit. I guess John Mayer lost his voice [twice] and had to cancel some tour dates - Instant Karma! I, personally WILL NOT be picking up a copy of his new album, Born & Raised when it's released this upcoming May 22nd. "Video Games" however, appears on Lana del Rey's major label debut, Born 2 Die, which is now available for purchase. YouTube Presents: Danny Brown "Detroit State of Mind" (Rock-umentary)

Danny Brown is most likely far from your average rapper; Granted he regularly brags about "drinking & smoking," but he's been somewhat weirdly well-received by Indie Rock blogs and endearing fans alike. Maybe it's Brown's affinity for non-Hip-Hop beats, stark realism, cutting-edge threads, outsider appearance... or that Trent Reznor-reminiscent side-swoop haircut. Whatever the reasoning behind it, ex-Pitchfork contributor Eavvon O'Neal felt compelled to shadow and film Danny Brown for a few days back in February. The final edit has been dubbed Detroit State of Mind, a mini-documentary which Brown himself simply describes as, "really like a movie/reality show pilot or some shit ... you laugh, u cry and someone dies at the end lol."

Overall, Eavvon O'Neal's filmed account is a candid 20-minute look into Danny Brown's everyday life. Un-charistically "normal" happenings include: hanging out with family, getting a FRESH haircut, recording tracks with Bruiser Brigade, heading to Dilla Day in the snow, backstage interviews, and Tweeting. A few of the more blunt moments reveal that Brown never intended to become a "famous rapper," still doesn't drive, and his initial reaction to hearing about Whitney Houston's death. Danny Brown's most recent full-length efforts, XXX and Black & Brown EP (2011) were great, but aside from a few randomly released tracks and features... we have yet to hear a proper follow-up. Word on the street is that Danny Brown has been [secretly] working with SKYWLKR, The Avalanches, Childish Gambino, and labelboss A-Trak.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Am Not a Human Being: Mr. Moot & Lil B - "Macaulay Cokin'" (3 Stacks) #VERYRARE

Prince supposedly has 500+ written, recorded, fully completed albums and films just sitting locked up inside a giant dusty vault somewhere. Only a certain breed of artist can be that prolific/guarded, while remaining successful all @ once; Lil' Wayne and Bob Dylan also come to mind when taking about insanely fruitful singer-songwriters. But this here post is actually about none of the above... they may be discussed @ a later date. It's simply meant to set up the groundwork for tonight's "Main Attraction(s):" Lil B and local legend, Mr. Moot!

A former member of The Pack, Lil B is still rockin' those same scruffy-looking brown [white?] "Vans" until he banks $1 million. BASEDGOD is essentially so prolific that he releases a new stream-of-conciousness mixtape nearly every week. It's increasingly hard to keep track of his rapidly unveiled output, but Lil B's full-length album, I'm Gay (2011) was truly LEGENDARY! The track presented here, "3 Stacks" mysteriously samples that Celine Dion song from Titanic and is featured on Trapped In BasedWorld will seemingly appear on an upcoming, as-yet-un-announced Lil B mixtape. Keep an eye out for Lil B's "Garage Punk" album: California Boy, which was recently mentioned during BASEDGOD's insight-filled NYU lecture.

Even though he was largely raised by vicious flesh-mauling wolves, Mr. Moot has managed to re-adjust fairly well to civilized metropolitan society these last few years. I spent some quality time with The Beatmaster himself this week. Mr. Moot constructed a new beat on Wednesday, wrote and recorded vocals Thurs, and shot a music video for the hard-hitting new track, "Macaulay Cokin'" by Friday. It's 1 of 4 tracks recently liberated to PureVolume, but that's just "the tip of the iceberg" ... I have 35-40 original Mr. Moot tracks on my iPod and he has to have anywhere from 150-300 completed tracks sitting on his laptop. While "Macaulay Cokin'" just might be Mr. Moot's most ferocious Boom-Bap Hip-Hop track yet, he's currently working on a Rock album... or maybe a mix of all genres. I'll most likely be documenting the recording process on camera this time. So, stay tuned, my friends!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two Sides of George: Iron & Wine - "One More Try" (Suicide Squeeze 45, Limited)

Limited to 750 copies! Iron & Wine covers George Michael and Lowell George's [band] Little Feat on the limited edition Two Sides of George 7". The single will be available as part of Suicide Squeeze's single series and will be limited to 750 copies worldwide (250 opaque yellow, 250 opaque red, 250 black vinyl). The 2012 series boasts an impressive array of talent that also includes the likes of King Tuff, White Woods, Nobunny, Wax Idols, Cloud Nothings, and Julianna Barwick.

* Includes a coupon for a free digital download of the single in mp3 format. Pre-order will ship on or around June 18, 2012.

- Suicide Squeeze

TURN IT UP, A [little] LOUDER: J Dilla - "Jay-Dee's Revenge" (Danny Brown Donut)

Ma Dukes is prepping to release her son J Dilla's long-awaited third posthumous album, Rebirth of Detroit this coming June 12th. Following Dilla's sudden 2006 passing, 2 other incomplete records were eventually finished and released: The Shining (2006) and Jay Stay Paid (2009) at the hands of producers, Karriem Riggins/Pete Rock. Throughout his short career, J Dilla supposedly recorded troves of music that only his inner circle had ever heard; But now that his estate has gained back the rights to most of these "lost recordings," I'm hoping to see a few more proper releases like this fairly soon! Danny Brown, Guilty Simpson, Amp Fiddler, Illa J, Frank Nitt, Chuck Inglish, and Phat Kat are set to appear over 25 unreleased J Dilla donuts on Rebirth of Detroit. In preparation for the album, "Jay-Dee's Revenge" & "Birthright" will be issued as a limited edition 10-12" single on May 25th. So, don't forget: Rebirth of Detroit... June 12th (Ruff Draft Records).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Honorary Roots Member: Aaron Livingston - "I Admit" (Bandcamp Loosie)

Philly Reggae-Soul singer Aaron Livingston has laid down some vocal tracks for 2 separate Roots albums, The Tipping Point (2004) and their latest effort, undun. Therefore making Livingston an "Honorary Roots Member" and putting him amongst the [fine] company of John Legend, Mos Def, Blu, Dice Raw, Sugar Tongue Slim, and Peedi Crakk. Aaron Livingston's most recent full-length project, an RJD2-produced album titled The Abandoned Lullaby was released back in Fall 2011. While Livingston's solo discography may appear to be pretty "scattered," he's also recorded tracks with Hot Sugar, The Mean, Young Vipers, and Hezekiah... as well as Greatest Hits, Vol. -1. That aforementioned "Odds & Sods" compilation album is available for $5.00 (FREE) download over at Bandcamp, along with a slew of slightly-dated, yet fleshed out loosies.

"I Admit" was unveiled on Thurs. May 3rd, but kind of cast aside in the wake of MCA's sudden passing. It's a Soulful Illadelphia-bred Blues jam with a touch of added Reggae-fied Funk. Aaron Livingston leaked the track via his Bandcamp/Soundcloud pages and it's unclear where it will eventually end up. But Livingston recently revealed on Twitter that he's currently trying to compile a second Greatest Hits collection: Vol. 0... which has been imminently shelved "due to [Livingston] sleeping all day for 2 days." Sans any official announcement, I'm personally hoping to hear a full-length from Young Vipers sooner than later! Aaron Livingston formed the group with producer, Hot Sugar sometime between November-June 2011, quietly debuting at The Roots Picnic that very Summer.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gonna Break My Rusty Cage & Run: Soundgarden - "Live to Rise" (The Avengers, Soundtrack)

That horrible Timbaland-produced "Dance album" aside, Chris Cornell has really worked with a wide array of talented friends-musicians over the years; Whether it be Audioslave (Rage), Maynard James Keenan, Eddie Vedder Temple of The Dog, "Alice Mudgarden," Rick Rubin, or his Seattle-based Grunge band... Soundgarden. While they originally formed back in 1984-1997, Soundgarden re-formed in 2010 along with the simultaneous rise/demise of both Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave. Back in the day, Soundgarden released a string of successful Alternative Rock hits, Superunknown will soon celebrate it's 20th anniversary [2014], and they definitely managed to forever change the face of Modern Rock music. But frankly, having an original song attached to a $200 million opening weekend film, The Avengers, is an entirely different animal!

"Live to Rise" is Soundgarden's first new track in roughly 15 years, since Down on The Upside; Grafting Chris Cornell's signature wail against Kim Thayil's heavy guitar riffs and Matt Cameron & Ben Shepherd's aggressive, yet rhythmic drum/bass work. Surely to the immense delight of fans far and wide, Chris Cornell recently alerted Rolling Stone that Soundgarden's forthcoming [comeback] album has in fact been recorded. After sessions were wrapped last week, it was sent off to be mixed and mastered... if all goes well, the new album should see a September-October release! Honestly, if you have yet to see The Avengers, you're slacking. Great movie, equally great song, and look out for "Live to Rise" during the closing credits.

"For a band like Soundgarden, being associated with [The Avengers] - for what it's about and what they accomplish in it - it's a pretty good way to have a partner in the entertainment business to get your songs out in front of people... It used to be absolutely the forbidden fruit for any band - if you put your song in a commercial you were screwed. I've never felt like that was a no-no."

- Chris Cornell (May 2012)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Three MC's & One "MCA:" The Life & Times of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch with Words from The Roots Drummer ?uestlove, Radiohead Frontman Thom Yorke & Stereogum Senior Editor Tom Breihan (8/5/1964-5/4/2012)

I was pretty bummed out yesterday afternoon when I first heard about the sudden passing of Adam "MCA" Yauch, after three years of fighting cancer. Growing up with four older cousins (I was born in 1987), I've been a huge Beastie Boys fan since I was 10-12... enjoying their music for as long as I can remember! They were the first to do a lot of things: NYC Punk, massive sampling on Paul's Boutique, being the first white Jewish rappers, intricate Pop Culture-referencing rhyme schemes, making music for both frat dudes and Punks, etc. Those of you who just know "Brass Monkey" and "Fight for Your Right"—now, come on, let's get real; The Beastie Boys were so much more than that and those radio hits are merely just the tip of the iceberg!

All the teenage debauchery aside, gruff-voiced MCA really seemed to grow into a fine young man, post-License to Ill. Earnestly standing up for what his heart believed in: women's rights, Tibetan freedom, Hardcore Punk... mullets, basketball, skateboarding, film-making, creativity, Hip-Hop, and good, clean fun! Under MCA's direction, Beastie Boys managed to release 8 albums between 1986-2011 and were inducted into the Rock "N" Roll Hall of Fame just last month... essentially, shaping the musical/cultural identity of our generation. My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to Adam Yauch's family, Ad-Rock, Mike D. and anyone associated with Beastie Boys' inner circle. Rest In Beats, Adam "MCA" Yauch!

Excluding Jagged Little Pill and Fantasy, Paul's Boutique was the "first" real album that I bought with my own money and really got into. Everyone seems to have a favourite Beastie Boys album... whether it be License to Ill, Check Your Head, Hello Nasty, etc. with specific monuments and memories attached. In my eyes, Beastie Boys' second album (initially a commercial failure) is their magnum opus. Paul's Boutique was a righteous follow-up to License to Ill's alcohol-fueled, debauchery-filled PARTY anthems (1987). Meticulously constructed from roughly 105+ samples pain-stakingly assembled by production team, The Dust Brothers; The album features a few well-known tracks like "Hey Ladies" and "Shake Your Rump." Inter-woven with countless Pop Culture references and grafted against a bunch of old Funk-Soul samples. I could honestly talk about Paul's Boutique for days... I've read a book about it's creation, own the re-released CD version, and even did a college paper/project on it!

Over the years, I've endlessly listened to Paul's Boutique on repeat, trying to understand it's immensely well-crafted sound collage of sample sources. Honestly, it's still pretty hard to process. In today's world, it would be nearly impossible to legally release a similar record and even if you could, it would cost upwards of $1 million to clear all of the obscure samples! Paul's Boutique essentially helped kick-start my ever-lasting love affair with all things Hip-Hop (sampling), Pop Culture, and Hardcore Punk. It's a record that I dearly love and still listen to on a regular basis. I can recite almost every lyric... it always has been and still is my favourite album. Over the course of the past 10-15 years, I feel like I've gotten to know Ad-Rock, Mike D. and MCA through their lyrics, videos, public image, etc. So, it kind of feels like losing a friend. Once again, Rest In Beats, Adam "MCA" Yauch. You lived one Hell of a life in your short 47 years: Ideally, the perfect mix of recklessness and refinement! That's my personal Beastie Boys story/experience. Check out a few music videos featuring some of MCA's greatest bars below... read a handful of celebrity stories, and feel free to leave yours down in the "comments" section. Remember, "(You've Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)"

This is mid-80's Madonna we're talking about here. Basically the most desired woman in the world. The Beasties opened her Like a Virgin tour, almost getting kicked out because Madonna's audience hated them. Here's Yauch in that SPIN oral history: "Russell [Simmons] came up to me and said, 'They're going to kick you off the tour. If you want to stay, you need to go ask Madonna.' I went into Madonna's dressing room and was like, 'You know, we really like being on the tour. Can we stay?' And it worked." And here's Madonna: "I think I made out with Adam Yauch once in their dressing room."

- Tom Breihan (Stereogum)

"...that was my first taste in tour life in america. everything that i've ever learned and applied to this day started with this tour:

custom backdrops can add a sense of drama to the stage? that tour. lights are just as an important element as the music? that tour. "the opening act cannot be louder than the headliners!!!!" ha ha we heard that EVERYNIGHT. setting the musical soundtrack in the audience with a cool mix of songs or actually djn music before the show starts? that tour. quadrophonic sound and the engineer being just as important as the band itself? that tour. rider?! wait i can have a fresh box of peanut butter capn crunch AND 6 fresh bottles of dr. bonner soap everynight?!?!!? that tour. record shopping in EVERY CITY?!?! that tour. you mean each member has his own tour bus?! THAT keeps the peace? that tour. wait you have a separate room to practice music in backstage?!?! that tour. this basketball court goes wherever you go?!?! that tour. you determine the dinner everynight on the rider?!? that tour. you mean this go kart racing track is gonna stay open for us after midnight when the show is over? that tour. you don't have to do the same songs every night? like a new show every other day? that tour."

- ?uestlove (The Roots)

"I was very sad to hear the news of Adam Yauch's death yesterday. We looked up to the Beastie Boys a lot when we were starting out and how they maintained artistic control making wicked records but still were on a major label, and the Tibetan Freedom Concerts they organized had a very big influence on me personally and the way Adam conducted himself and dealt with it all impressed me a lot. He was a mellow and [very] smart guy. May he rest in peace."

- Thom Yorke (Radiohead)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Freedom, That's What I Need Now: Cut Chemist & Blackbird - "Outro (Revisited)"

Cut Chemist has remained fairly quiet since parting ways with long-time Hip-Hop crew, Jurassic 5 (2006). Currently readying his first solo album in roughly 6 years - Die Cut, Cut Chemist apparently spent some time holed up in a jail cell semi-recently. Somewhat fittingly then, Lucas MacFadden's premier track back is a frantic-paced, Punk-inspired Hip-Hop DJ jam; For "Outro (Revisited)," Cut Chemist assembled a pretty solid pick-up band featuring members of The Mars Volta and Weapon of Choice, Deantoni Parks and Lonnie Marshall. Veteran underground MC, Blackbird steps in to handle vocal duties... Cut Chemist may still be best known for his legendary 7" record-scratching magnum opus with DJ Shadow: Brainfreeze, which has been heavily bootlegged since it's 1999 limited release.

While Die Cut is currently without a concrete release date, "Outro (Revisited)" was issued as a 12" single back on April 10th. The best interpretation that I can figure out for it's companion Corey Brandenstein-directed music video is a fugitive [Blackbird] being chased by bounty hunters scenario... but don't expect to see any "stylish" Dog The Bounty Hunter moves here. Cut Chemist and Demitri Parks relentlessly chase Blackbird through the city streets in a flatbed semi-truck, complete with functioning turntable/drumset. "It feels good to work with different people with different musical backgrounds to explore new musical boundaries," Cut Chemist recounted to Rolling Stone just last month. Additional release info concerning Die Cut should be expected from A Stable Sound within the next few weeks... stay tuned, my friends!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ikechi Nnamani - Kechstrumentals: Live from Nigeria, Tape 1 (Veehead Re-release)

Ikechi Nnamani decided to head to Nigeria for "Winter Break" [2011-12] in a combined effort to take a much needed break from UPenn, visit with family & friends, and simply de-stress a bit. It's 16 rudimentary Boom-Bap beats were largely recorded on laptop programs in a grass hut... likely adding to the album's overall "Old School" aesthetic. While they were originally released back in April, kechPhrase & Veehead issued a slightly re-packaged re-relased version of Kechstrumentals: Live from Nigeria, Tape 1 earlier today. Mishka is currently hosting a stream-able player containing the complete mixtape; So far, kechPhrase's beats have been [or will be] rapped over and further embellished by Kool A.D. Fat Tony, Epic, Bill Ding, Chakuza (Germany), and a few other talented wordsmiths. Pretty sample-heavy and chock-full of strings, synth flourishes, 808 drum patterns, and vocal excerpts... Kechstrumentals is definitely worth checking out! Stay tuned for Volume #2, a companion album & EP set for Victor Vazquez's newly-formed Veehead imprint all by Fall 2012. If you'd like to get a hold of a FRESH instrumental beat or 2, shoot an emailed request over to Ikechi Nnamani @

Hard Bop, Booze & 26 Hookers: Charles Mingus - "Take The 'A" Train" (BBNG Excerpt)

Who would you rather challenge to a drinking competition: Tom Waits or Charles Mingus?

"From what I know about Charles Mingus, he was one of the most fucking badass Jazz musicians of all time. I think I read in his book that he slept with nine hookers in one night or some shit, pretty crazy. Have you seen the video of him with a shotgun where the cops are trying to evict him from his house? [...] I also heard this story about how he drank a ton of wine once before a show. One of his horn players screwed up and he literally picked up his upright bass and hit him with it."


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spray Paint & Ink Pens: Aesop Rock - "Zero Dark Thirty" (Block Block Chop)

Honestly, the only primary element missing from "Zero Dark Thirty" is pre-choreographed breaking [breakdancing]. But collaborators Aesop Rock, Coro, and Isaac Ravishankara really managed to do a pretty good job incorporating a few other Golden Age Hip-Hop elements: between that hard-hitting Boom-Bap rhythm, intricate lyrical pattern, and stop motion graffiti art backdrop. Comfortably seated on the ground, Aesop Rock laments about "brown grass both sides" and "sugar skulls in the rain," amongst other quote-ables. Coro simultaneously proceeds to paint and un-paint a series of beautiful/sinister graffiti pieces on the blank wall directly behind him.

While Skelethon (July 10th) is Aesop Rock's first solo release in nearly 5 years, he's remained far from silent during this "Lost Weekend" period... contributing to a wide array of side projects: Felt, The Uncluded, Hail Mary Mallon, Nike+iPod, 900 Bats, Jeremy Fish, etc. Skelethon was entirely self-produced by Aesop Rock and then re-mixed by Joey Raia; The proper follow-up to None Shall Pass (2007), Aesop Rock's new record is slated to feature guest contributions from Kimya Dawson, Hanni el Khatib, Rob Sonic, Grimace Federation, and Allyson Baker. Additional joint albums with Cage and Kimya Dawson are currently nearing completion and likely in the cards for 2012-13