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Showing posts from November, 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 …

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…

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. Au…

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)

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 again…

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 …

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 Thurs…

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 a…

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…

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&…

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 v…

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, tha…

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, will.i.am, and Patrick Carney (The Black Keys).


Like I was starting to say up there, before some debonair young fellow rudely interrupted, Ke$ha

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 vers…

"My Angry Adolescence Divided:" Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city (Early Review)

Kendrick Lamar generously unveiled a BRAND NEW non-album track, "The Jig Is Up (Dump'n)," to commemorate the sheer fact that good kid, m.A.A.d. city has already managed to move some 250,000+ units since it's initial [Oct. 23rd] release; It's a staggering call-to-arms aimed @ Lamar's critics and detractors, which just might end up being a sample of his long-rumored J.Cole-manned album. Kendrick Lamar even lets loose a couple quick jabs @ a washed up rapper who felt the need to voice his unwarranted opinions: "I pray to God this beat is good enough for Shyne, if not J.Cole your shit is trash" ha! For what it's worth, good kid, m.A.A.d. city sold 241,000 copies between Oct. 22-30th, taking second place on the Billboard 200 charts, just behind Taylor Swift.


Most likely against Aftermath/TDE's wishes, Lamar scrapped the potentially buzz-worthy Lady GaGa collabo track, bumped Dr. Dre & Mary J. Blige's features to mere bonus tracks, and rel…

Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood: Vampire Weekend - "Unbelievers" (Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Unreleased)

Without sounding like a TOTAL Hipster douchebag, which I can honestly assure you I am NOT.... I can vividly remember downloading Vampire Weekend's self-leaked 2007 demo tape and burning it onto a Blue CD-R before anybody else even knew about them! Vampire Weekend are "Tribal-infused" in the same sense that The Police were a "Reggae" band, riddim [rhythm] and Funky melodies; Evenly spread across their then upcoming self-titled debut record, Vampire Weekend somehow managed to find a way to seamlessly blend Indie Rock, Pop sensibility, "Yacht Rock,"Punk Rock ideologies, Tribal drums, keen fashion sense, and a wide variety of assorted influences. The band's follow-up, Contra (2010) is most def one of my favourite albums of the past 10 years and while it's chock-full of instantly catchy hit jams, nothing beats "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa!"


Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Baio & Chris Tomson took a little break break from recording L…