Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Sugar Tongue Slim (STS) is a criminally under-rated "Atlantadelphia"-bred rapper and honorary Roots Crew member. From what I can tell, his first recorded appearance was on The Roots' Indie Rock-tinged dark/light "concept album," How I Got Over (2010). STS additionally represents 1/5 of Money Making Jam Boys and his solo output [thusfar] includes: Demand More I-II, Sole Music EP, The Illustrious, and a gaggle of assorted Remixes & Indie Rock flips. After slowly leaking out short, weekly music videos over the course of the past few months, Sugar Tongue Slim finally unveiled his latest Starting Line-Up-produced mixtape effort earlier this morning: GOLD RUSH.
It's basically a collection of 15 Top 40 flips (2009-11), which are often slightly re-appropriated with STS' unique storytelling and acute Boom-Bap flourishes. STS and his team of certified in-house gold diggers [producers] hand-selected singles from contemporary artists such as Britney Spears, Gotye, Foster The People, Lady GaGa, Drake, Coldplay, Wale, and The xx. For all intensive purposes, GOLD RUSH is essentially a "nostalgic" look back @ 2011, the year which just passed roughly 2 months ago... Surf on over to Sugar Tongue Slim's web-space to download a personal copy of this completely FRESH/inventive 15-track collection, #GOLDrush.
I've been a hardcore music fan for about 10-15 years now; An admitted lover of all things Hip-Hop, Indie Rock, and Punk (Pop Culture). OutKast, Gorillaz, and LCD Soundsystem have been atop my list of favourite artists for some time and were quite arguably the 3 most eclectic musicians of the last decade! So, much to my delight it was pretty exciting to hear about Converse's latest "3 Artists, 1 Song" installment: Damon Albarn, André 3000, and James Murphy. "DoYaThing" premiered online earlier today, in conjunction with the release of 4 SPECIAL EDITION Jamie Hewlett-designed Gorillaz "Chucks."
Pitchfork's very own Ryan Dombal reports that while in the studio over 3 days back in September, the eclectic trio also recorded a Dirty 12-minute version of "DoYaThing" in addition to the [previously released] Radio Edit.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
3 righteous Sheffield, England blokes collectively known as "Arctic Monkeys" initially burst[ed] onto the music scene in early 2006 along with the release of Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. It's essentially a concept album that follows young club-goers, I can still remember picking up a CD [single] copy of "When The Sun Goes Down" @ Hot Topic ha... and the album eventually ended up becoming the fastest-selling debut in British history, even ahead of The Beatles' Please Please Me (1963)! Arctic Monkeys even seem to record @ a lightning-fast speed that's comparable to Classic Rock's figureheads; Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Matt Helders, and Nick O'Malley have managed to release 4 albums and 2 EP's over the course of their 10-year career. All the while, recording material with various side projects, Punk bands, award-winning rappers, and deep in the desert with Josh Homme.
Arctic Monkeys quietly unveiled their latest music video-single, "R U Mine?" online early Monday morning. The Rock "N" Roll-tinged, stand-alone track was seemingly left off their most recent album, Suck It and See for unknown reasons. The black and white clip is aptly introduced by KQOQ [radio] DJ and former Sex Pistol, Steve Jones and chronicles a car ride en route to a "secret" Monkeys gig. Throughout the course of "R U Mine?" we see Alex Turner & Matt Helders ensue in a number of hi-jinx while driving: lip-synching, an air drum battle, rockin' sunglasses @ night, picking up masked hotties, and generally just goofing off. In it's final scene, Arctic Monkeys end up @ a shady-looking, pyro-assisted street-side gig. "R U Mine?" reminds me of the band's righteous, Punk Rock roots and maybe it'll end up on an eventual album that holds up against Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. But for now, snag a copy of "R U Mine?" @ your local iTunes store and catch Arctic Monkeys on The Black Keys' continent-spanning tour (January-May).
Monday, February 27, 2012
Against all odds... Sacramento's very own Experimental Hip-Hop/Thrash Punk band, Death Grips have now dotted the "I"s and crossed the "T"s of a major label deal with Epic Records. MC Ride (Stefan Burnett) and his motley crew released their second single in just as many weeks, "Get Got" along with the titular announcement just yesterday afternoon. Death Grips previously revealed their plans to liberate 2 full-length albums throughout 2012 and now, we have the semi-complete details: The Money Store is slated for an April 24th release, which will be preceded by a limited-run vinyl pressing on April 21st [Record Store Day]... with No Love close behind and expected during Fall '12. Together, the pair of righteous records will act as the proper follow-up to Death Grips' exceptional genre-bending self-released mixtape, Ex-military (2011).
Death Grips' in-house producer, Andy Morin will seemingly step behind "the boards" once again, juxtaposed against Zach Hills' Animal-esque drumwork. The group's recent batch of digital singles, "Blackjack" and "Get Got" are expected to [re-]appear within The Money Store; Album #3, No Love will be unleashed sometime this upcoming Fall. I just really hope that Epic Records doesn't try to tone down and "commercialize" Death Grips' completely unique sound by bringing in some "mainstream" cats like Pharrell or Timbaland. Plus, I kind of get the feeling that a mildly aggressive dude like MC Ride probably doesn't take too well to direction, authority, moderation, etc. Keep your eyes/ears peeled and gauze handy, 'cause The Money Store and No Love are coming soon... to shred a blood vessel near you! Shit man, like Bon Scott once said, in the true spirit of Rock "N" Roll, "If you want blood, you got it!"
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell: "Hardcore" Interview with Victor "Kool A.D." Vazquez (PARTY ANIMAL & Formerly Das Racist)
(1) Coming from such a predominantly "Hip-Hop" background, what really compelled you to start a Hardcore Punk band?
I used to play drums in Punk and Hardcore bands in middle school and high school. This side project is with two dudes I used to be in a band with.
(2) What were some of your favourite & most influential Punk albums growing up? Hip-Hop albums?
I think the first Punk album I got into was Static Age by The Misfits. Other favorites are Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Germs, Flipper. I grew up in "The Bay" and liked local Grind/Thrash like Spazz, What Happens Next, Godstomper. Went to a lot of Subincision and Fracas shows as a youth. First Rap CD I got was MC Hammer 2 Legit 2 Quit, but I was a little kid. The Rap I grew up with was A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Busta Rhymes, The Coup, Pharcyde, Snoop, [Dr.] Dre, Black Star, Public Enemy, N.W.A. The Fugees, The Roots, Nas, Biggie, pac, E-40, Beastie Boys, and whatever was on KMEL and CMC.
(3) Who else is in the band with you... and what are their musical roles? How did all of you guys meet?
Loren [Moter] is my dude since 7th grade. He's the lead vocalist and plays bass and some guitar on the recordings. Malosi joined our Hardcore band late... like end of high school. He plays guitar on the recordings.
(4) What's your personal favourite Teenage Dream-era Katy Perry track?
I don't know. Maybe "Teenage Dream?"
(5) Who's your favourite member of Das Racist & why?
They're both nice dudes.
(6) What does the future hold for PARTY ANIMAL? Album(s)?
We're putting out this 7" ourselves, playing SXSW, and hopefully setting up a US and European Tour at some point this year. We got a show with Andrew W.K. too.
(7) Was that the same couch on [mixtapes] Shut Up Dude, Sit Down Man, and Relax... "Where's the beef?"
First couch was the couch at the spot where me and Hima lived and Dap used to crash at. Second couch was Despot's couch. Third couch, we bought from our neighbor so we could set it on fire.
(8) In your eyes, how are the genres of Hip-Hop and Punk different/alike?
They both developed from situations/aesthetics/ideologies opposed to and/or outside of the norms of society. And, sadly, they both have been co-opted and assimilated into mass culture in a way that has made them significantly less dangerous and "revolutionary."
(9) Might we hear a few Das Racist verses lace up an eventual PARTY ANIMAL release? Now, that'd be cool!
I don't know. Maybe.
(10) Always looking for exciting, new music... Can you tip me off to any interesting, new artists?
Leif, Big Baby Gandhi, Lakutis, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Danny Brown, Dopehead, Main Attrakionz, Trackademicks, 1-O.A.K. Beeda Weeda, Safe, Kate Ferencz, Invisible Circle, Keepaway, ScHoolboy Q, Acts of Sedition.
(11) What's the basic concept behind the "PARTY ANIMAL" music video?
1 second cuts between the "Niggas In Paris" video and the Odessa Steps scene from Eisenstein's Soviet Russian Cinema classic, Battleship Potemkin.
(12) Madonna or Cyndi Lauper? Please explain your selection.
I love Cyndi Lauper, but Madonna is slightly more... prolific, more versatile, more consistently good, more visually interesting, fucked Basquiat, kicked it with Keith Haring, has aged better (musically and physically), tends to make better artistic and business decisions, fell off a horse and broke her back and was playing shows less than a year later, etc.
(13) Man, HYPHY BALLADS was great... Nice Björk beats! How'd that mixtape ever come to fruition?
Big Baby Gandhi hit me up like, "I made hella beats with Björk samples. You want to rap on them?" and I was like, "Yeah." I did all those tracks in one day and put them on The Internet that same night.
(14) Care to tell me a little bit about your most recent solo effort,
It's called The Palm Wine Drinkard. It's the songs I had made that I listened to and didn't hate on January 1st of 2012, which was the day I said I would put it out.
(15) Have anything else lined up for release in the not-so-distant future, Kool A.D.?
[I'm] about to drop a mixtape called "51" with Main Attrakionz, Young L, Amaze 88, Trackademicks, Kassa Overall, and kechPhrase. And an album I think it's going to be called "Moneyball" for sale on Greedhead.
(16) What were some of your "favourite" [most interesting] Pop Culture happenings of 2011?
The Arab Spring and The Occupy Movement(s).
Friday, February 24, 2012
I'm quite pleasantly surprised to admit that in today's world of over-saturated online [Hipster] "Journalism," no one else has snatched up the term, "Renaissance Man" to aptly describe Chicago-bred singer-songwriter/artist, Willis Earl Beal. He gained an initial burst of notoriety and a pseudo-cult following after hanging a number of hand-drawn flyers, complete with his digits, up around town. Beal managed to slip away @ some point in between 2007-09, moving down to Albuquerque, New Mexico, assembled a pick-up band of local musicians, and record a demo CD-R chock-full of simple Blues ditties. After a whirl-wind of media coverage, Willis Earl Beal soon inked a deal with XL Recordings off-shoot label, Hot Charity in 2011-12... a hodgepodge of un-sequenced CD-R's and hissing cassette tapes would eventually wind up being Beal's debut "album:" Acousmatic Sorcery, which the label plans to release on April 3rd.
Willis Earl Beal pain-stakingly wrote, hand drew, and directed the companion music video for the album's lead single, "Evening's Kiss." Executed in the same rough, skitchy style as Chicago's [self-]promo flyers, I can only begin to imagine how long it took Beal to create! For that matter, nothing particularly "Earth-shattering" ever really even happens... Willis Earl Beal can be seen leading his everyday life: walking/biking around the city, coffee shop pit stop, breaking & entering, deep thought, and even eyeing up a local diner's waitress - Seemingly the object of affection, whom "Evening's Kiss" is directed. Feel free to contact Willis Earl Beal @ (773)-295-2135 or P.O. Box 4718881, Chicago, IL 60647. Be sure to save a few bucks and pick up a copy of Acousmatic Sorcery on Tuesday, April 3rd; Willis Earl Beal is currently gearing up for a short, nation-wide tour jaunt along with SBTRKT & WU LYF (March-April).
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The Windy City Soul: Action Bronson, Rockie Fresh & Macie Stewart (Kids These Days) - "Dear Heather"
While on a recent holiday [trip] to "The Windy City," Action Bronson managed to link up with a number of Chicago's finest up-and-coming musicians: Dangerously accurate rapper Rockie Fresh, sultry songstress Macie Stewart (Kids These Days), and talented beatsmith Thelonious Martin. Bronsellini proceeds to lace up a descriptive tale of passion, lust, and debauchery over Martin's sparse Jazzy, brass-tinged beat... which is effectively bookended by a modest helping of Rockie Fresh's SWAGGER-filled flow and a dash of Macie Stewart's Soulfully smooth croon.
Quite aptly titled "Dear Heather," the sum of it's various parts essentially equate the story of a joyous fan encounter a la Eminem's
Claire Boucher seems to be flirting with the idea of becoming a "Hip-Hop producer," as of late. The Montreal-based Experimental artist who's alternatively known as "Grimes" is currently on a promotional jaunt for her third full-length and major label debut, Visions. It was liberated across North America just yesterday [Feb. 21st], self-recorded @ Claire Boucher's apartment over a 3 week period, and then skillfully mixed/mastered along with her manager, Sebastian Cowan. Following a minor water-borne run in with the law (2009), Boucher's "street cred" was slightly boosted.
Grimes' initial exploration into the world of Hip-Hop was released in conjunction with Visions: Cadence Weapon - "88." The 2 Canadian-bred artists struck up an Internet-based friendship a few months back and Claire Boucher willingly handed over a bare-bones beat version of "Eight." Cadence Weapon then morphed it into a tender ode to Hip-Hop (1988), which was unveiled as a "gift" to loyal fans on his own 26th birthday. Weapon noted that while Grimes essentially let him have his way with "Eight," she did however produce a remix of his upcoming lead single. Cadence Weapon's currently untitled 2012 effort will reportedly be precursed by a track/music video/mix each week leading up to it's eventual release.
Grimes additionally orchestrated yet another Hip-Hop-tinged jam, "Christmas Song" (Bonus Track), which features bars from her rapping stepbrother, Jay Worthy. Grimes initiated a 12-18 hour-long
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Charli XCX is a young, 19-20 year old British songstress who's slowly gaining notoriety and managing to niche out her own unique genre: Goth [Dark] Pop. She has a semi-androgynous style that can be easily likened to that of Ziggy Stardust era David Bowie... and her fashion icons include Spice Girls, Wednesday Addams, and Winona Ryder from "Beetlejuice" (1988). Although she essentially self-released a full album back @ 14, Charli XCX has been garnering a lot of blog-love for her recent batch of singles and a proper 2012 debut is soon expected.
"I'll Never Know" was released just yesterday, in conjunction with the kick-off of London Fashion Week; Recently written and recorded @ Red Bull Studios, Charli XCX's tune was re-appropriated as the soundtrack to Fred Butler's "Tank Top-Ranking, Tongue-Tied & Twisted" runway show. Soundcloud is making Charli XCX's Tropical-tinged romp, "I'll Never Know" available for roughly 5 days (London Fashion Week). Charli XCX is currently working on her Pop Culture-inspired "Goth Pop" debut full-length along with Ariel Rechtshaid & Patrik Berger... so, eager fans really shouldn't have to wait too much longer for some fresh, new music!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Feb. 17-18th... Wee hours of the morning, after Philly Less Than Jake show. Easily my 5-6th time seeing the band live and yet another wild night in Illadelphia: Troc, The Irish Pub, NJ train station, assorted antics and hi-jinx, [impromptu] post-show signing!
@SharpCheddar856: "Nice meeting you after the Philly show last night man! I run a blog... interview? Hit me up @ email@example.com please."
@lessthanRAJ: "Just Tweet me individual questions... I'll try to be informative and savvy in 140 characters or less..."
(1) I personally love Anthem & Pezcore (cassette from my cuz)! What are your personal favoutite Less Than Jake (LTJ) albums?
B Is for B-side, GNV FLA, and The TV/EP.
(2) I'm all about Black Flag, Misfits, Fugazi, The Specials... What Punk/Ska bands have & continue to influence your guys' sound?
Descendents, Bosstones, Iron Maiden, Josie & The Pussycars (soundtrack), Weird Al.
(3) You play in a variety of bands - LTJ Rehasher & Greenhorn. Which instrument is your favourite to play & why?
Playing guitar and not singing would rule! I love playing drums, but with bass, you can control so much of the song #POWER.
(4) I noticed that you have dreadlocks ha. Would you say Reggae is an influence on LTJ's music? Any cerain bands specifically?
[Operation] Ivy, Bob Marley, Toots, [Dancehall Crashers], more upbeat than traditional Reggae. The fun show vibe, I feel we take from that world.
(5) Big fan of Indie Punk & Hip-Hop. What type of shit do you listen to in your free time? Anything that might surprise people?
Surprise! I like Les Paul, Mozart, Aerosmith, Steve Miller, Beastie Boys, [System of a Down], Beatles - Guilty pleasure = Katy Perry.
(6) I don't smoke, but I really dig the whole rolling papers/code combo! How'd you come up with that idea?
People don't buy CD's much, papers is an attempt to sell music with a useable "token." People can't download papers!
(7) Can we please talk a bit about LTJ's logo? Is he based off Elroy Jetson (Pezcore back)?
He is The Evolution Kid. From an old T-shirt we had. It had a regular looking dude, "Jake", an overweight dude "More Than.. Jake," and he was holding a Pez, energetic and alive, titled "Less Than Jake." We've heard he kinda looks like Chris, but... He's just supposed to be a mascot. PS - created by www.peterwonsowski.com.
(8) LTJ do a lot of great recorded and live covers! What are a few of your favourites to play?
"I Think I Love You," "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang, Animaniacs - Covers are fun to record, but we don't play them that much.
(9) Is LTJ planning to release an EP for each of the other seasons... following suit of Summer/Winter EP's?
Prob more EP's and singles, prob not the same theme. Maybe. LP? We may - time will tell!
(10) So, tell me a little about your Moathouse home studio/production company/label, man?
Moathouse is my recording studio. I've recorded the last few LTJ things there, Rehasher, and other bands -- I love recording... Just did the label to release that 'hasher record - Bands, let's make records!! www.rehasher.com/moathouse
(11) Congrats on the 20-year anniversary! What's your craziest, most zany story from being on the road with LTJ?
Just surviving is the craziest story!! 20yrs goes by fast as fuck - Enjoy each day, kids. It [flies] by.
(12) Combo: Fav Hip-Hop artists/tracks? Best venues/bars across USA? Thanks for doing this Twitter-view, man! Any final words?
I like live drums too much to get into Hip-Hop. Beastie Boys still rule me... Oh, venues - The Rave in Wisco, most House of Blues, anywhere in Japan, and where ever we are playing tonight! ["Nice telescope... can you see Uranus?" Thanks, man.]
Saturday, February 18, 2012
"PARTY ANIMAL" is the
"PARTY ANIMAL" is the lead single from PARTY ANIMAL [album], which by all accounts, is expected TBR in the not-so-distant future; The track's companion music video is featured below and re-purposes clips from Kanye & Jay-Z's recently liberated "Niggas In Paris" concert film and other assorted facets of Pop Culture. Full Disclosure: Kassa Overall is gonna help get me in touch with Kool A.D. and then we'll probably do an interview. So, stay tuned for that one, ladies & gents!
Friday, February 17, 2012
I've always really been a sucker for a solid cover or remix. The whole idea of an artist giving their own unique take on someone else's "vision" [admiration] has always intrigued me. I think that the specific Willie Nelson cover presented here is hands down the most compelling/inventive cover I've heard in a pretty long time! It really doesn't even matter that it might have been commissioned by Chipotle for use in a TV commercial; Nelson's rendition of one of Coldplay's earliest hits is still just as original and heart-felt. And isn't that really the sheer genesis of a "good cover:" When you definitely know that you recognize the lyrics, but just can't seem to place it @ first because the vocals or instrumentation are just slightly tweaked?
While it actually debuted online way back in August, "Back to The Start" (Johnny Kelly) made it's nation-wide premier during The Grammy's last week... right after Coldplay exited the stage, following their performance. Willie Nelson is currently on tour and his unique cover of "The Scientist" is now available on iTunes with all proceeds benefiting Chipotle's "Cultivate Foundation." If you haven't already, check out their latest album - Mylo Xyloto, which I highly recommended! I bought a copy of said Brian Eno-produced Coldplay CD for his birthday and made sure to rip myself a copy prior to gifting. Essentially, based solely off the strength of Coldplay's inventive, yet fun-loving "Paradise" music video. I wonder if Coldplay & Willie Nelson will link up on the road to perform "The Scientist" together? Now, THAT'D be pretty cool! [read: Butt-Head voice]
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The go-to phrase has always been, "Party like a Rockstar," but in recent months, I've almost learned that rappers party even HARDER! In a unique promotional effort for their upcoming film, the people behind Project X teamed up with Vice Records... producing a series of short animated YouTube clips dubbed, "PARTY LEGENDS." Delicately sub-titled as "an oral history of absolute insanity," a handful of colorful rappers/actors have re-told the tales of their craziest party-fueled experiences. Precursed by the likes of Snoop Dogg, A-Trak, and Tyler The Creator _ Nas is the latest rhymesmith to present his own f*cked up story. He proceeds to lay down the details behind some random Queens[bridge] "kegger" gone terribly wrong, which was then re-re-animated by Jesse McLaren.
It's nice to hear these generally "HARD" [tough] rappers mellow out a bit and tell some fun-loving stories! Tales that I bet we can all relate, even if only in the slightest sense, Remember: It's really only a "good night" if you really can't recall jacksh*t about it in the morning and are missing @ least one article of clothing! ha ha. Nas is supposedly working on 2 separate albums with Common and DJ Premier; Project X, which I figure almost HAS to have some sort of crazy/shocking "someone's dead" plot twist... is in theaters nation-wide, this upcoming March 2nd (Friday).
In the wake of R&B/Pop songstress, Whitney Houston's untimely death this past weekend, an a cappella version of "How Will I Know?" from her self-titled debut (1985) seems to have emerged. Now a batch of aspiring young Dance producers have already started transforming Houston's vocal into their own unique, buzz-worthy edits for 2012. The particular remix featured here @ "The Witzard" is in fact a mash-up from The Hood Internet; In addition, STV SLV also made good use of Chromeo's infectious single, "When The Night Falls" [instrumental] from their 2010 Electro-Funk revival record, Business Casual.
The Hood Internet's
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
While they might sound like an unlikely pairing on paper, Ed Sheeran & Yelawolf actually have a whole lot more in common than you could ever even imagine. Surely "BIG" on their respective shores (England/Alabama), The Slumdon Bridge EP just might push these 2 up-and-comers into uncharted waters on either side of "The Pond." These new-found musical buddies wrote, recorded, and re-mixed 4 tracks over the course of 10 hours-worth of stashed studio time. A genuine mutual admiration really seems to exist between multi-instrumentalist and Redneck rapper. Early favourites from the painfully brief Slumdon Bridge EP include: "London Bridge" and "You Don't Know (For F*ck's Sake)."
The best term that I can possibly begin to find to describe The Slumdon Bridge EP is "Alternative Hip-Hop;" Here, we have 4 home-grown, Down Country acoustic Hip-Hop jams - properly laced and flourished by Yelawolf's very distinctively accented brand of storytelling. I'm briefly reminded of Bubba Sparxx and Ben Lee @ various points throughout. Ed Sheeran & Yelawolf's organic, hand-crafted EP is essentially a fresh start for anyone who's new to either party's music. Help "bridge the gap," tack it onto that unfinished mix CD... and let's all hope that The Slumdon Bridge EP's [imminent] future success leads to a collaborative companion full-length!
Monday, February 13, 2012
Bon Iver head honcho, Justin Vernon has somehow managed to become quite the "enigma" in the world of Popular music over the past couple years: An independent, New Age Folk artist who's been able to bridge the gap between Indie Rock and Hip-Hop _ commercial obscurity and "mainstream success." On the heels of his feverishly-awaited 2011 "comeback" album - Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Vernon laid down some studio time in Hawaii with Kanye & Friends (Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, John Legend), which eventually ended up on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Following generally wide-spread fan and critical acclaim alike, Bon Iver, Bon Iver was nominated for a set of 4 Grammy awards near the close of 2011. Shortly after the announcement, a slightly dated and previously unpublished Justin Vernon interview (The New Yorker) was issued; Included within it's pages were a handful of not-so kind words for the people behind The Grammy's. Vernon was then asked to perform @ the televised awards ceremony, albeit along with a few other up-and-comers, to which he graciously declined. Justin said he'd much rather collaborate spontaneously with friends. Man, I could only imagine Bon Iver's rapping buddies walking out onto the nationally-aired stage and spitting some luxurious bars for American TV!
Bon Iver ended up winning The Grammy for Best "New" Artist last night, which now don't get me wrong, is a great and well-deserved feat... But Justin Vernon is far from a "new artist." Quite the contrary - he's actually considered something of Indie Rock Royalty, amongst his peers and just about ANY college hipster; Oh, the irony of it all! Justin Vernon's past efforts include a wide array of local area Eau Claire, WI bands with friends: GAYNGS, "Hazeltons EP" (2006), JD Vernon, DeYarmond Edison, and Mount Vernon. While a new Bon Iver album might not surface for 3-5 or so years, Justin Vernon sure is keeping busy. He's currently working on a number of assorted side projects @ "April Base:" The Shouting Matches, Alicia Keys, Volcano Choir, The Flaming Lips, etc.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
In the midst of The Roots' latest concept-heavy 13th album (undun), I nearly forgot about The Black Keys' most recent release; El Camino was issued on the same day as undun and now that "the smoke has cleared," I've gotten an opportunity to fully digest The Keys' latest Blues-drenched offering. By now, it's pretty widely known that Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney are a couple of pranksters... and they've chosen to align themselves with a cast of equally "zany" characters: Frank The Dinosaur, Mos Def, Danger Mouse,
So, many long-time fans were quite surprised after initially viewing Akron, OH's finest BRAND NEW music video, "Gold on the Ceiling." Said Reid Long-directed video features a continuous stream of grainy, behind-the-scenes footage filmed while on tour. It's very reminiscent of Classic Rock, which really lends the focus to Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach's work ethic and the sheer Rock "N" Roll steez ["swagger"] of "Gold on the Ceiling." A fine representation of The Black Keys' overall "Throwback Rock" sound, I highly recommend picking up El Camino and it's companion album, Brothers (2010). If they keep up the rate @ which they've been going the past few years, it wouldn't be unlikely to expect a new Black Keys album in 2012!
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Eventhough they're from Huntington Beach, CA, EdstanleY's brand spankin' new 9-Track Demo CD somehow manages to effectively channel the sheer angst and passionate, DIY nature of "D.C. Hardcore" (1980's Punk). I've personally known the guys for about a year now and it's been great to see them gradually progress and morph into what EdstanleY is today. Scott Gripe, Justin "Bobby" Brescia, and Dave Rees have been holed up in the studio these past few months; Steadily chipping away at what has now become this very LP-length demo [read: rough album]. Without giving too much away: EdstanleY Demo is the true audiofile embodiment of what this band really stands for... originality, sun-drenched Rock "N" Roll, peace, respect, and a good fucking time! Genre-wise, I'd say they fit somewhere between Nirvana and Metallica.
Following a few days of repeated listenings, my personal [albeit early] favorites from the advance I received include: "Devil Inside," "Just Another Reject," "Little Respect," and of course, "Out West." The latter of which is seemingly being pushed as the set's "lead single," for all intensive purposes. EdstanleY have been secretly cooking up a companion music video clip for "Out West" - assembled from various found footage... surf films, Jim Morrision, skate videos, bikini-clad montages, muscle cars rallies, cowboy flicks, 2pac, etc. It's a carefully planned ode to the all-important formative birthplace(s) of the band, Southern California, [Colorado & Oregon]. "Out West"'s unique, Lo-Fi video clip was pain-stakingly directed and edited by EdstanleY themselves.
EdstanleY are currently shopping 9-Track Demo CD around to various Indie labels, "industry" types, managers, and related parties. If you think you're a master of your craft and could possibly help Scott, Justin & Dave out in some sort of way, please hit the band up: firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-309-7503 (Scott). Additionally, if you're based in the Huntington Beach area as well, you can catch EdstanleY at "Perq's on Main Street pretty much every Thursday night for the next few months!" A full list of upcoming shows can be found over at EdstanleYMusic and I bet that we'll all be hearing much, much more from these guys within the next few months!
Friday, February 10, 2012
Back in 2004, Raphael Saadiq opened his studio doors to Spacek (band) to produce an album for one of his sub-labels. The album was supposed to be called "Pookie Blue Room" and feature 10 songs produced by both Steve & Morgan [Spacek] with Raphael singing on all of them and featuring guest appearances by Common, Q-Tip, Ledisi, Steve Spacek, and Sir [Fonzworth] Bentley. Anyhow, the album was never completed and therefore, never released. As one of the executive producer of this album, I have been sitting on those tracks for years now... sharing my fav with you now.
- Mathieu Schreyer (executive producer)
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Pretty simple premise for a "music video" and companion blog post here, if I do say so myself: Philly Dubstep Master and Mad Decent label head honcho, Diplo recently teamed up with Dutch DJ-songwriter, Don Diablo to record the sheer bo(o)mbastic goodness that is "Make You Pop." Soon after laying down and properly "lacing up" said track, Diplo & Diablo quickly sent the final edit over to their Dutch compadres, Zanger Rinus & Romana. Legend has it... the music video below showcases their honest, eccentric reaction(s)
Internet-savvy fans just might liken Zanger Rinus & Romana's escapades to something that exists somewhere in-between Napoleon Dynamite and Major Lazer's recent Lo-Fi comeback clip, "Original Don." Almost positive that a segmented portion of "Make You Pop" was previously featured @ the tail-end of Diplo's nationally-aired Blackberry Bold 9900 TV commercial. Semi-sadly and unfortunately, the track's only currently available for purchase over @ iTunes Holland. Let's all cross our "10 digits" in hopes that "Make You Pop" gets a wider release in the not-so-distant future!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Despite [or maybe because of] the fact that he's been mysteriously absent from the Odd Future click since their 2010-11 rise to fame... Earl Sweatshirt quickly became the group's most storied and sought-after member. Sweatshirt managed to release one sole, albeit spectacular, album before disappearing: EARL (2010). Depending on who you ask, Earl Sweatshirt's mother sent him to "Coral Reef Academy," a boarding school-like facility in Samoa for either drug use, rapping, disobedience, or depression. It's all somehow morphed into a tangled web of truth, lies, and deception that involves an attention-hungry man named "Tyler Craven." But the one thing I think we can all unanimously agree on: EARL was and still is an AMAZING album - Quite arguably one of Odd Future's strongest, most consistent releases to date!
There's been little blog-worthy Earl Sweatshirt-related news since back in Summer '11. While recent web rumblings seemed to allude to Earl's imminent return to Los Angeles, nothing was ever really confirmed by anyone @ Odd Future's camp. But wait... all of that suddenly changed, after Tyler The Creator cryptically Tweeted about Earl Sweatshirt's newly-formed Twitter handle (@earlxsweat) late Wednesday night. Shortly thereafter, YouTube user "terttlefer" uploaded a 35-second snippet of what seemed to be a BRAND NEW Earl Sweatshirt track; Packaged along with a brief message, which alluded to the liberation of the full version: "You want the whole shit, give me 50,000 Twitter Followers."
Needless to say, by about 12 midnight (Thursday morning), a nearly 2-minute edit of "Home" was released online as promised. I quickly noticed that the beat sounded very familiar, although I couldn't exactly place it. Minutes later, after a trusty Soundhound search, I soon realized that it was in fact "Theme from Paris" pulled from James Pants' Stones Throw debut, Welcome (2008). Only time will tell what will become of Earl Sweatshirt's triumphant "return" and I must admit that I readily shot an email over to OFWGKTA's publicist, Heathcliff Berru. If Earl is in fact back and once again aligned with Odd Future, 2012 may very well become their most WILDLY successful year so far!
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
"I wanna be a trillionaire;" a beautifully disjointed interview with jj frotnwoman elin kastlander (gothenburg, sweden)
Mysterious, Hip-Hop-loving Dream Pop duo, jj burst onto the Indie music scene sometime back in 2009. Elin & Joakim soon inked a deal with Sweden-based label, Sincerely Yours. In a similar vein to Nine Inch Nails' "Halo" system, each of jj's major releases thusfar have been labeled, "jj n° 1-3." My personal favourite jj project, "kills" was quietly liberated over Christmas Break 2010-11; Elin & Joakim's interpretation of "the mixtape" was pretty similar to the American ideal... and featured 10 well-done, lush flips of a handful of 2010's most Popular hits: Dr. Dre, Taio Cruz, M.I.A. Jay-Z, T-Pain, Diddy-Dirty Money, and Kanye.
jj essentially released an album's-worth of complementary material online over the course of 2011, some of which may [or may not] eventually end up re-appearing on "jj n° 4" (IN ETERNITY). A few weeks ago, I emailed a batch of 10 questions over to jj and just the other day, Elin emailed back the companion answers! Said interview and a selection of music videos are featured below... I must say, it was a true pleasure working with jj - Thank you kindly, Elin & Joakim! Can't wait to hear what's next!
HERE'S OUR ANSWERS!
THANK YOU FOR HAVNG US!!!
WE SO DELIGHTED!
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
KEEEEP IT RILLL!"
1. I know it was already released a year or 2 ago... But what's the basic ideology [concept] behind "kills?" Now, that is one of my all time favorite mixtapes, my friends!
e - Oh, Thank you Matt!
We wanted to do what we do on beats that we wanted to kill! Smoke ganja in the studio, have fun! The beats was already there! Of course not always fun. With laughter comes tears. There is so many inspiring humans out there! doing things we admire and care about! and today the technology gives us the opportunity to go deeper into realities people never been, and as quick as a snap! the singularity is approaching, tihi! baby!
2. Who were a few of your favorite rappers to emerge in 2011?
e - ASAP! YMCMB!, TOP DAWG ENT!, they are bringing so much love into this world!
3. What Hip-Hop artists were really big in Sweden when you guys were growing up?
e - I really don't know. I listned to what my parents listend to..often preatty sad,
by that I mean that it was music that didn't inspire me.
But in our car we often listned to songs from the 60's on the radio, I really liked that.
But the bands that really changed my life was Hanson, Nirvana, Hole, Oasis.
Hip Hop just hopped into my life, can't remember how or when.
4. How did you 2 meet and decide to form a band? And what does jj mean?
jj means jag & joakim. jag = me in english. In school, joakim saved me from the dark side.
5. Please name a few of your dream collaborators.
THE Dream & Pete Doherty
6. What's next for jj - New album, remixes, tour?
WE ARE GOING TO OUR FIRST AWARDSHOW EVER AND A BIG PARTY IN GOTHENBURG WITH OUR FRIENDS, TOMOROW! PAOW!
7. Where will recently-released tracks like "eve of destruction," "vi," and that embassy cover eventually end up?
8. What other musical genres were big in Sweden growing up? Would you consider Hip-Hop a "BIG" childhood inspiration?
HMMMMMM, NO IDEA. A WHOLE LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS, WE DON'T CARE ABOUT GENRES, IT IS TOOO BORING, SORRY.
9. 2pac or Biggie? Black Flag or Descendents?
CHANGE THE OR TO A &, KAY?
10. Which movies did jj enjoy and/or draw inspiration from in 2011?
The Color of Pomegranates
ABOUT A SON
OUR DAY WILL COME
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
HOWLS MOVING CASTLE
THE SKY'S CASTLE LAPUTA
Musicians have been releasing additional video content ("Bonus DVD's") along with their albums since the decline of the CD format - roughly since the early 2000's. I literally have a stack of 10-15 band DVD's in jewel cases down in my basement, but TV on the Radio have quite arguably executed the strongest DVD format-utilizing release. Nearly a year after it's original [digital] release, TV on the Radio have since decided to give Nine Types of Light a proper re-release. Now available on DVD for the first time, the film helps transform 11 lush, Experimental tracks into an intricate, yet completely "sound" video album. Nine Types of Light has since been nominated @ the upcoming Grammy's (2012) in the category of "Best Long Form Music Video."
TV on the Radio commissioned various directors and friends to create clips for each of Nine Types of Light's 11 tracks... an album which was then slightly re-arranged to form an hour-long short film. Native New Yorkers were interviewed concerning a number of topics: life, death, love, dreams, etc. and inter-spliced between the 11 separate music videos. Some may be surprised to learn that the final product is actually one well-thought out, cohesive work of film. I've included TV on the Radio's [abridged] trailer below, Nine Types of Light can also be pre-viewed on YouTube, and alternatively ordered over @ Amazon. Trust me - It's one truly unique piece of work! Kick back and enjoy, my friends!
Monday, February 6, 2012
It's fairly safe to assume that by now, most of us have heard about D'Angelo's well-received European "Comeback Tour" and impending, triumphant return after a 12-year self-imposed exile. This is your typical quick rise, great success... EPIC fall, drug problem, arrest(s), companion rumor mill, and long-awaited comeback story. I faintly can remember watching "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" on either MTV or The Box back in like 7-8th grade and not really knowing what to think. It was a suggestive music video which had potential to be pretty "scarring," but look how I turned out: Well-grounded and open-minded nonetheless ha. I can quite honestly say that D'Angelo was my first favourite R&B crooner!
Arguably the break-out "King of Dubstep" (2010-11), James Blake is roughly the same age as me and I bet he saw D'Angelo's batch of Brown Sugar-Voodoo era music videos on British TV, too. Anyways, fast-forward to present day... On the heels of D'Angelo's upcoming album, "James River" (2012), Blake recently got caught up in The Internet-based hoopla right along with the rest of us. For all intensive purposes, James Blake decided to express his immense joy, gratitude, and simply enough: "celebrate the return of the master."
Hey, I have to admit that Blake effectively cooked up a Dubstep-tinged, Neo Soul-inspired, mildly creepy Tribal remix of "Left & Right." The occasion marks the return of his Harmonimix moniker, which has been largely inactive since early 2010. James Blake is currently working on his second full-length, while D'Angelo seems to [finally] be plotting a proper comeback effort! Surf on over to The Roots' very own okayplayer for the latest D'Angelo & The Testimony-related updates.
While I honestly can't say that I physically own any of her 3 critically-acclaimed CD's... I can however admit that I've thoroughly enjoyed and loved what visual artist-turned musician, Maya "M.I.A." Arulpragasam has been able to do for both Pop Culture and humanity since 2000-05. I'm just gonna go ahead and go out on a limb, cause we're all "friends" here - Right? There isn't very much ACTUAL news to report on here... But I'm just gonna give it my best shot! While M.I.A.'s latest Romain Gavras-directed music video was debuted online Friday afternoon, along with that new Nicki Minaj-featuring Madonna track, "Bad Girls" is far from BRAND SPANKIN' NEW; It originally appeared on M.I.A.'s post-/\/\ /\ Y /\ odds-and-ends mixtape, Vicki Leekx (2010) and was produced by Timbaland-associate, Danja.
M.I.A. performed [a segment of] "Give Me All Your Luvin'" alongside Nicki Minaj, Cee-Lo, and LMFAO during Madonna's Superbowl medley last night... flipping off the cameraman during her verse, much to NCAA censors' dismay. M.I.A. will reportedly appear on 2 tracks within Madonna's upcoming new album, MDNA (May) and is currently working on her own, as yet untitled fourth studio album. Details are scarce, but it should be released by Summer, and M.I.A. just might be collaborating with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, The Cataracs, Swizz Beatz, and Polow da Don. Anyways, don't fret - "Bad Girls"' companion clip, which premiered over @ Noisey Music (VICE) the other day, features plenty of cliché Hip-Hop hi-jinx and has already raked up 3 million+ hits!
"It was dope to have so many people from so many different backgrounds speaking so many different languages come together to create something that we believed in," says M.I.A. about the video. "I thought I was gonna die on the shoot when I saw the drifting. It was a 4-day shoot so everyone was on edge the whole time specifically ME when I had to do "Bluesteel" singing to the camera while the cars did doughnuts on the wet road 10 feet away. In my mind I was thinking how I was gonna deliver the video to VICE with no legs."
- M.I.A. (Press Release)
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Blue Scholars - Cinematropolis:
Seattle Hip-Hop! These guys have been on the top of my list since The Long March (2005). These guys are from Seattle and they're not exactly new, but Cinematropolis is definitely a departure from some of their earlier stuff. It's been badass to watch these develop all the way from The Long March EP because a lot of the other Hip-Hop guys from Tacoma and Seattle are only relevant if you live there. Blue Scholars, Macklemore, and The Saturday Knights were and are continuing to give me some hope. I probably listen to "Motorin'" by The Saturday Knights everyday on the road with DP. There's some dudes making noise in Portland too, but my finger isn't quite on that pulse.
Big Sean - Finally Famous:
This one was another surprise. I had only heard that song "My Last" with Chris Brown and was kind of on-the-fence. But a girl that I'm crushing on real bad (SC's own Kate Loveless) inadvertently pointed me in the direction of the song "Dance (A$$)," which led me to "Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay" despite Roscoe Dash... and then I just pulled the trigger. I think I like the production better than the lyrics though.
Chris Brown - F.A.M.E.:
This started out as a guilty pleasure of mine, but now I don't care who knows. Like I said, I spend a lot of time listening to Top 40 and I think Chris Brown had a little more balls on this release. I've always liked Chris Brown because he's never tried to hide the fact that he draws a lot from other artists (particularly Michael Jackson), and his performance of "Man In The Mirror" post-Rihanna at the 2010 BET's was the some of the realest shit. For a short time, I was planning to sell two of my guitars for money for plane tickets to LA to see him in October with my friend Shayna, but I blew it. Next time...
OverDoz. - Live For, Die For:
For me, these guys are like Odd Future without all of hype. These guys are really in the pocket, and a lot more tasteful. I consider LA my home-away-from-home and a lot of my best friends are living and going to school out there. One of my friends in particular, Paul Morgan was playing in a band based in Pasadena, but goes to LMU, and I know he'd bump the track
Taylor Swift - Speak Now (World Tour Live):
First of all, I'm a huge Taylor Swift fan. I probably listen to something everyday in the road. Everybody thinks I'm trying to be cute or funny when I tell people that, but I really am a fan. I'm not really a fan of the Country/Pop crossover stuff, but "T-Baby" stole my heart. I like her songwriting because it is so vulnerable but it's confident too. Plus Speak Now had a ton of really vindictive stuff that kind of caught me off guard, but I love it. I wish I could write multi-platinum smash-hits every time somebody treads on me. Probably more than her actual music, I admire that she is a positive role model for young people. If I ever become as famous as I'd like, I'm certainly going to blow it. Anyway[s], this is album is great because not only is it a "Greatest Hits," but it also goes to show that she can back it up live.