Thursday, November 29, 2012

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



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


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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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


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


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

Monday, November 26, 2012

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



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


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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

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


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

- FADER Holiday Special (2011)


Saturday, November 24, 2012

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



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


Thursday, November 22, 2012

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


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


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

Monday, November 19, 2012

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



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


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




Friday, November 16, 2012

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


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


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

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



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

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

- Heems (Rolling Stone)


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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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



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


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

Sunday, November 11, 2012

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


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


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

Friday, November 9, 2012

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


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


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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

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


"Die Young" is a mildly apocalyptic, sugar-coated "dance til we die" jam along with some half-assed satanic rituals/pseudo-orgy-tinged visuals... complete with that inherent layer of Hipster sleaze and over-produced shitty-ness. Ke$ha's your typical she'd-be-hot-if-she-showered-more-often kinda dirty [blonde] girl; But I must say, she's really cleaned up a lot since first bursting onto the music scene with Animal/Cannibal EP (2010). Nate Ruess, who scored 2+ MAJOR hits this year with fun., helped Ke$ha co-write "Die Young" and Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, and Cirkut all had a hand in the production end of the Electro-Acoustic hybrid track. Ke$ha's second album, Warrior, is slated for a December 4th release and will also include a handful of note-worthy appearances from Iggy Pop, Wayne Coyne, Ben Folds, 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$ha's visual accompaniment for the first video-single pulled from Warrior is honestly one long, strange twisted trip. "Die Young" abruptly kicks off with a morbid image of Ke$ha being pulled and carried out of a hearse and into a dust-filled ghost town by a few chiseled men. Miss Sebert and her scantily-clad, cult-like followers then manage to slither their way into a boarded up abandoned Mexican church. What ensues next seems to be a slightly choreographed Dance PARTY/softcore orgy, which is accented by quick flashes of either a pretty, glammed-up Ke$ha or wrestling wolves, Illuminati idols, and things of that nature. A shit-ton of boob-grabbing, pelvic thrusting, and all sorts of sleazy hi-jinx goes down... until Ke$ha eventually surrenders to the PARTY-wrecking Federales outside.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Black Bart Simpson: Kool A.D. - "Manny Pacquiao" & "BROBAMA" (2012 Re-master)



Shouts out to Barack Obama, congrats on scoring that second term, Cochise! I didn't even vote, but everyone deserves a second chance. Before the whole Presidential arms-race even started [Monday], kechPhrase & Kool A.D. re-mastered and re-released a demo track from last year, "BROBAMA." kechPhrase somehow manages to edit down a found sample of an old Presidential Address so that it incorporates Kool A.D.'s name instead during it's final sign off/intro. While he's already "got 50 tracks @ this point, [his] next "release" is gonna be a triple skreet album: 63 (oceanic), 19 (syncretic) & O (magnanimous)," plus Peaceful Solutions, PARTY ANIMAL, and a Proto-Post-Rap project called Cult Days ... Kool A.D. just unveiled a new music video for "Manny Pacquiao" from April's 51 mixtape late Monday afternoon over @ Pitchfork.TV. It was directed by Piranha Brothers, features friends-musicians Kassa Overall/Lakutis, and a bunch of trendy, Hipster chicks.


Kool A.D. even manages to incorporate a few fragmented 90's punchlines pulled from "Baby Got Back" and "I Wish" inter-woven throughout "Manny Pacquiao," which oddly enough finds Kool A.D. frolicking around a country-bumpkin farm ... He's busy drinking Coke, smoking grass, gnawing on some pizza, Pop-Locking, wailing numerous AK-47 homeruns, spittin' game, wildly dancing in the rain, etc. all over an EDM-inspired Trackademicks beat. Who knows which Kool A.D.-related project will mysteriously appear across the blog-osphere next; Whether it be one of those solo albums, side-projects, Das Racist's sophomore LP, or something entirely different! Himanshu [Heems'] Nehru Jackets follow-up, WILD WATER KINGDOM should be out any day now, since it's currently being re-mastered in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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


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


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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"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 released his nearly straight edge "Swimming Pools (Drank)" as a lead video-single. Rather than glorify the hard knocks life like his countless peers, Lamar weaves a densely-layered and semi-autobiographical precautionary tale into a fully fleshed out 12-track album [short film]. It keeps in line with the youthful, yet drug-aided Compton neighborhood painted in brutally honest detail throughout Section#80 (2011). Sonically, good kid, m.A.A.d. city utilizes beats from some 16-20 different producers... chopping up left-field samples from Beach House, Kanye, Janet Jackson, Twin Sister, Grant Green, and Boom Clap Bachelors.


"Backseat Freestyle" falls into place on good kid, m.A.A.d. city's first 1/4 and plays a pivotal part in it's overall storyline; Showcasing a young, naive Kendrick Lamar incorrectly rapping about what he thinks Hip-Hop's all about: money, POWER, bitches, and his dick, which he repeatedly brags is "as BIG as the Eiffel Tower." Creeping up with a [deep] pitched-down intro, "Poetic Justice" is based around a sparse 808 drum-backed Janet Jackson sample. Scoop DeVille somehow manages to seamlessly meld Kendrick/Janet's voice together so that it says, "You can get it, anytime, any place." Lamar traveled across the nation with Drake on his 2011-12 Club Paradise Tour, along with A$AP Rocky. The 3 rising emcees recently teamed back up for Rocky's "Fuckin' Problems," too - It's expected to eventually appear on his long-overdue LONGLOVEA$AP album. Aftermath released a few different Deluxe Edition versions of the album @ retailers like iTunes, Target, and Spotify, which collectively feature 8 extra tracks. Kendrick Lamar got his 3 fellow Black Hippy swordsmen in the studio to record STELLAR remixes of good kid, m.A.A.d. city's early singles. "The Recipe" (Black Hippy Remix) eliminates Dr. Dre and effectively subs in Ab-Soul, Jay Rock & ScHoolboy Q ... playfully lamenting about the out-pouring of beautiful "women, weed & weather" out in LA.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

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 LP3 to stop by Jimmy Kimmel's temporarily Brooklyn-based TV studio to play a couple tracks. Decked out in festive Misfits meets I Like Turtles skull face paint, Vampire Weekend played a BRAND NEW track called "Unbelievers" with a 3-piece horn section and then laid down "Oxford Comma" as a special web exclusive. LP3 has been in-the-works since roughly 2010 and may or may not be semi-inspired by failed Romantic Comedies like The Love Guru, Bride Wars, The Rocker ... "Dwight" from The Office, and Kate Hudson. Koenig recently sent Team Vampire Weekend a progress update, via Twitter exchange: "We've been working like maniacs for a long time. The time is not far away, we promise... start getting ready for the next VW ONSLAUGHT OF INFORMATIONMUSICIMAGESVIBESETC!" Ideally, it sounds like Vampire Weekend's new album [LP3] should be in record stores by late 2012-13.