Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Eve Anthems, 2012-13: Drake & Soulja Boy - "We Made It" (Freestyle?)




Right around Thanksgiving, one Aubrey "Drake" Graham made a pretty lofty promise to release 4-6 new tracks online before year's end; not unlike the four-song combo-pack released online nearly three months ahead of his latest album, Nothing Was The Same. The first in a series that's since been effectively dubbed New Year's Eve Anthems, "We Made It" is in fact a Soulja Boy freestyle remix, with a Kenny Powers-led intro: "The only thing I'm seeing I'd like to put an amend on... perhaps a little more room here for the fixinsssss!" It previously appeared on Soulja Boy's recent The King mixtape, sans Drake's added lyrical assist. Thematically, "We Made It" has a similar underlying tone to "Started from The Bottom" and Drake's unhinged fierce delivery seems to be cut from the same cloth as his former "Versace" remix. "Drake probably has almost an album's-worth of stuff recorded that he could put out at any time," OVO Sound in-house producer Nineteen85 told Vibe back in November. "Songs that basically are ready to go. And I'm not talking about throw-away records. I'm talking about finished songs that most artists would beg to have," he continued; likely alluding to non-album tracks like "Trophies," which should see a web-release any day now, as well as that long-rumored eight swordsmen-assisted "Wu-Tang Forever" mega-remix.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Annual Stereogum Holiday Cover: Sondre Lerche - "Wrecking Ball" (Miley Cyrus, 2013)




It's become something of an annual tradition; every December, Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche picks his favourite year-end track, re-records his own unique version, and sends it over to Stereogum's headquarters. This yule tide season, he's conjured up a sparse acoustic-laden cover of "Wrecking Ball," effectively eliminating any remaining ounce of TWERKIN', debauchery, and mega-studio sheen. But in it's own right, "Wrecking Ball" is an incredibly well-written, dare I say... modern day power-ballad (for lack of a better term), and maybe Sondre Lerche's version can help some naive-minded listeners finally see that! In recent years past, Lerche has sent Stereogum staff writers a few interesting Animal Collective, Owen Pallet, and Beyoncé covers.


"I had trouble finding [a song] that I felt truly motivated to interpret. So, while "Wrecking Ball" may not be my very favorite song of 2013, it turned out to be the one I would most likely play to at 3am last night," Sondre Lerche lamented in a quick web-statement. "It was my friend, producer, and drummer on this recording, Matias Tellez, who suggested we try a little Miley Cyrus this season. We recorded it live at Skogen, [his] studio in Bergen where half of my next record [was] recoded... It's a robust little f**ker. A song that can withstand inhumane acts of TWERKING, over-exposure, and yet another unwarranted cover," he continued. For those interested, I've also included a couple Miley Cyrus-related tidbits within this very post: a step-by-step "Wrecking Ball" ornamant and Terry Richardson's now-infamous companion video. Merry Christmas to all... "and a Festivus for the rest of us;" It's about time to eat, drink, and be merry!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

El-P & Killer Mike Present: Run The Jewels - "A Christmas F**king Miracle" (Joey Garfield)




Alongside modern day Aggro-Rap masterpiece Yeezus, Run The Jewels' self-titled/untitled premier album is quite easily amongst the "Best Albums of 2013." While Killer Mike & El-P have already unleashed a number of music videos behind the album, I haven't really bothered re-posting anything since "36" Chain" because they've all been uploaded to semi-unreliable, non-YouTube video platforms. But needless to say, Run The Jewels let loose a new holiday-themed video Saturday night, just in time for Christmas; album closer "A Christmas F**king Miracle" now has a companion retro holiday card-indebted video directed by Joey Garfield, who previously starred as Dreadloctopus in the Beastie Boys' infamous late-90's smash-hit, "Intergalactic." According to Joey Garfield's own Ghost Robot posse-site, "He has created memorable music videos for RJD2, The Cool Kids, and Lupe Fiasco, and ads for Dos [Equis], Pepsi, Visa, and Ford."


Garfield, El-P & Killer Mike have melded together an ingenious anti-holiday video that bounces back and forth between scenes of a Boom-Bap-infused Christmas Carolre-make, awkward retro Christmas cards, Killer Mike as your friendly neighborhood mall Santa, and some sort of redneck Christmas festivities. "A Christmas F**king Miracle" itself is essentially split into two separate halves, which Killer Mike refers to as when "the beat breaks and your teeth break," one lead by each Run The Jewels emcee. Whether you've been naughty or nice this year, make sure to add Run The Jewels' upcoming European album re-release (shipping around January 13th) to your Christmas list; featuring newly-designed artwork, an unreleased bonus track, and 2 Dave Sitek/Blue Sky Black Death remixes. And if you've been living under a rock these past 6 months, head on over to Fool's Gold for a FREE album download, or numerous hard copies - You surely won't regret it!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

@veeveeveeveevee Presents: Kool A.D. - Not O.K. B-sides & "Swole" (Nick Knight)


"still no release date from [the] label for my finished album, word o.k. so, here's the tracks that didn't make the album," Tweeted Bay Area rapper-producer Kool A.D. late Friday night. The 15-track Not O.K. collection is now available over at Bandcamp on a name-your-own-price basis. @veeveeveeveevee somehow managed to recruit Oh No, Thelonious Martin, Toro Y Moi, Derek "DJA" Allen, Amaze 88, and the awesomely-named Eyes & Teeth on the production end of things; Hip-Hop legends Del "Sir DZL" That Funkee Homesapien & Ladybug "Santos Vieira" Mecca (Digable Planets) appear together on "CNN," while Amaze 88, Milo, Raheem Recess, Jabee, B.E. Labeau, and Alim spit sharp-tongued bars elsewhere. Since parting ways with his Indie-Rap crew Das Racist around December 2012, Kool A.D. has self-released an astonishing three mixtapes/"street albums:" 51 and double-album 19-63, as well as separate full-lengths with buddies Kassa Overall and PARTY ANIMAL. Recent Kanye collaborator Nick Knight directed a companion music video for non-album track, "Swole" with what appears to be a heat-seeking camera. While they seemingly released a separate video for quasi-lead single "Naughty By Nature," Kool A.D.'s label (his own Veehead?) has yet to issue proper release details for Word O.K., which should still be expected fairly soon. It's unclear as to whether or not Word O.K. is[n't] a slightly re-tweaked version of the same studio album Kool A.D. previously discussed in our September 2011 Witzard interview, which then seemed to be loosely titled "Moneyball."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Less Than Bromance: Dustin Wong - "Foggy Cliffy Night Drive" (Thrill Jockey Records?)




After establishing what could best be described as a budding "bromance" with seasoned Less Than Jake bassist Roger Lima (@lessthanRAJ), experimental guitar virtuoso Dustin Wong simply Tweeted a rough new track, along with a quick micro-message: "some new sounds from a week ago : )." It's 2:34-worth of guitar-drenched hiccups that Wong's dubbed "Foggy Cliffy Night Drive" and essentially, the latest output to be added to his ever-growing post-Ponytail solo discography. Fresh on the heels of the conclusion to an expansive three-album arc, Meditation of Ecstatic Energy (2012), Dustin Wong seems to already be working on the proper follow-up to his latest September-released Thrill Jockey album. A self-proclaimed guitar loop and pedal innovator, Wong recently lamented to Ad-Hoc, "I had a show about a month ago [August] where I was using three loop pedals with different set-ups; it was all improvised, looping guitar and vocals. I was actually running my vocals through an Auto-Tune pedal and putting them through the same sequence as the guitar..." concerning his currently in-the-works, fragmented new album. It's unclear as to if and when a fully fleshed out version of "Foggy Cliffy Night Drive" could re-appear, but I'd say something with this much unhinged prospect could very well end up on said forthcoming album.

Four Tet - "gravediggaz SID rmx 2000?" (Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide)


Fresh on the heels of collaborative full-length albums with Omar Souleyman and Neneh Cherry, Post-Rock and Electronic multi-instrumnetalist Four Tet (Kieran Hebden) unleashed about 10-15 tracks upon hitting 100,000+ Twitter followers Monday evening; "let me go through the hard drives and see what's there..." The bulk of the tracks included on what we'll just call Twitter 100k CD-R, for the sake of convenience, were all written-recorded between 1999-2012, according to Hebden's calculations. Four Tet then continued to liberate a generous batch of rarities and unheard remixes, which includes but isn't limited to solo fragments, on-again-off-again pseudo-band Percussions, and Welsh musician David Wrench, as well as a Grimes re-work and separate Atoms for Peace and Gravediggaz remixes. "gravediggaz SID rmx 2000" is a slightly glitched-out remix of "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide" from their 1994 Horror-core debut record, 6 Feet Deep (link below). It's pretty safe to say that Kieran Hebden was inadvertently years ahead of Girl Talk's genre-blending mash-up grafting sound; "SID rmx" quite honestly sounds like an off-pitch jumbled mess, but somehow, it works out perfectly! Four Tet stumbled his way into uncharted Wu-Tang sonic ground, Electro-Dance, which has gotta be hard to do since RZA is such a seamless Hip-Hop/Rock/Soul/Jazz innovator. All 12-15 recently unearthed, Twitter-released tracks are either available online via @FourTet's original hyper-links or in a handy-dandy little Soundcloud playlist over at Self-Titled Mag's site. Here's a Psychedelic-infused clip from recent Hebden collaborator and Middle Eastern super-star, Omar Souleyman, who's actually a successful former wedding singer, in his own right.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Murs & Curtiss King - "Christmas Rules Everything Around Me" (C.R.E.A.M.)




It's pretty safe to say that Hip-Hop doesn't exactly have the same type of strangle-hold on semi-traditional Christmas music that most other genres do; I mean, besides "Christmas In Hollis" and Peanut Butter Wolf's hand-selected Badd Santa "mixtape" (Stones Throw), I'm not really too familiar with a whole lot of Boom-Bap-infused yule tide carols. But with that said, Felt-affiliated and White Mandingos quasi-frontman Murs is a self-proclaimed Christmas nut who's "always wanted to make [an] X-mas song. ["Christmas Rules Everything Around Me"] is corny, it's silly, it's fun, and I LOVE it!" It's inherent acronym, C.R.E.A.M., is a stylistic send-up to Wu-Tang Clan's similarly-titled genre-defining 1994 banger. Rising Inland Empire-based producer Curtiss King conjured up a "so soulful, don't you agree" holiday-accented beat, while Murs laces up a couplet-filled tale of Christmases past: "This time of year, everybody feelin' chipper-y / Ain't nothin' like the holidays to bring you out your misery... My homegirl made tamales after midnight mass / everybody got a glass and this song won't last / The holiday spirit, you can hear it round the block / from November up until the New Year, it don't stop / Pop the top on that brandy and hand me a gift quick / Joy to the world, everybody; Merry Christmas!" Lest we forget, the last line of Murs' included holiday note reads, "PS: yes, this is the real Carter family Christmas card," which is featured at the top of this very post!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Are You Experienced?: Charlotte Gainsbourg & Beck - "Hey Joe" (Pitchfork Premier)


It's kinda funny, because I just finished showing my beautiful girlfriend a few "Bonnie & Clyde"-era Serge Gainsbourg tracks just the other day, which I bookended by saying that his now-grown-up daughter Charlotte recorded a couple albums-worth of material with mid-90's Slacker-Hop kingpin Beck "Loser" Hansen; and now, today, by sheer coincidence, here's a new Charlotte Gainsbourg & Beck track, "Hey Joe" (a sultry Hendrix cover). It's from the soundtrack to often controversial film director Lars von Trier's hyper-sexed-up piece, Nymphomaniac. Gainsbourg seemingly stars as the leading lady in said art-film, which'll debut in two separate parts across select North American theatres, between March 21st and April 18th. Here, "Hey Joe" has gotten a breathy, semi-haunting re-work that still retains the Blues-Rock backbone of Jimi Hendrix's highly popularized 1966-67 cover. It has Beck's signature half-assed guitar-bass fingerprints smeared all over it, as well as his self-contained sparse pro[re]duction work.


Charlotte Gainsbourg's adult contemporary-tinged "Hey Joe" cover will see a December 16th digital release, ahead of Nymphomaniac's December 25th world premier in Denmark; Lars von Trier's latest film co-stars Gainsbourg alongside all-stars like former Disney tween Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, and Stellan Skarsgård (Thor 2). IMDb's self-contained Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 page briefly describes the art-film's underlying plot as "a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac [Gainsbourg] recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating," across eight inter-weaving chapters. The short Nymphomaniac micro-trailer featured below is pretty NSFW, but was somehow "accidentally" shown before kids CGI-cartoon flick, Frozen this past week!

Rolling Stone Presents: Red Fang & Fred Armisen - "Blood Like Cream" (Relapse Records)


While it would seem like Portland-based Sludge-Metal band Red Fang just accepted a big-ass super-check from Pabst Blue Ribbon to fund their awesome new video "Blood Like Cream," it's still arguably the best music video I've seen in about 2 weeks. Former SNL funnyman, and smashin' Punk-Rock drummer in his own right, Fred Armisen co-stars alongside the band's four members and an angry mob-full of zombies; But not just any zombies... flesh-eating AND beer-guzzling zombies with a thirst for destruction! The Rolling Stone-premiered havoc centers around a local watering hole, where Red Fang and a quickly dismembered Armisen are forced to go toe-to-toe with a slew of blood beer-thirsty zombies. "["Blood Like Cream"] is about the stress of balancing a touring lifestyle with having a family back at home, but who wants to see a video about that?" frontman Aaron Beam recently lamented to Rolling Stone. "Boring! Instead, we have a video featuring lots of blood, beer, and exercise - some of us did more running in this video [than] we've done the whole year to date!" It's kinda ironic, and awesome at the same time, that the only non-band member in "Blood Like Cream," Fred Armisen, has essentially made a living these last few years making fun of Portland, Red Fang's home city; their latest album, Whales and Leeches was unleashed back in October. Rolling Stone dually notes that Red Fang are gearing up to make their late-night TV debut on Letterman this upcoming January 10th.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Robin Thicke & Ron Burgundy - "Ride Like The Wind" (Neo-Yacht Rock?)


Depending on who you ask, Ron Burgundy is quite arguably actor-comedian Will Ferrell's coveted career-defining role and in recent weeks, he's somehow managed to supersede the confines of a mere film role; appearing alongside Daft Punk on an MTV EMA's promo, partnering up with Dodge to sell some 2014 Durangos, manning real-life news broadcasts, interviewing football mega-star Peyton Manning, getting his very own Ben & Jerry's flavor, etc. Tuesday afternoon amidst the impending East Coast snow storm, "Ron Burgundy" teamed up with Blue-Eyed Soul crooner Robin Thicke for a buttery smooth cover of "Ride Like The Wind." The original Christopher Cross version was released way back in 1979-80, and his self-titled Soft Rock magnum opus it appears within famously beat out Pink Floyd's equally great The Wall for an Album of The Year Grammy later that year. Christopher Cross' track, as well as Robin Thick & Ron Burgundy's new version are both set to appear on the Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which hits shelves December 17th, just mere hours before the film hits theatres nation-wide.


Will Ferrell takes on a role pretty similar to that of Michael McDonald on the original "Ride Like The Wind," pseudo-background vocals and humorous ad-libs; from "You mean Alan Thicke?" to "feel that draft up your skirt, ladies? That's me." McDonald's signature "bah-bah-bah-bada-bah..." refrain has been substituted with "3 feet of polished nickle, valves, and [Burgundy's] sweet breath" aka an appended flute solo. Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and rest of the former Channel 4 news-team are reprising their roles in Anchorman 2 this upcoming December 18th, nearly 10 years after its' predecessor. Christopher Cross' 1980 debut album, on the other hand, is a sonic masterpiece of Soft Rock tunes, assisted by none other than Michael McDonald, Don Henley, (The Eagles), Eric Johnson, a talented session band, and producer Michael Omartian. @RonBurgundy recently Tweeted, "Greatest singer ever? Christopher Cross. Guess what we'll be singing on @JimmyKimmelLIVE on December 19th?," seemingly implying that he and Robin Thicke (or maybe even Cross himself) will be performing "Ride Like The Wind" on late night TV, while a companion music video's supposedly in-the-works, too.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Peanut Butter Wolf Presents: The Stepkids - "Bitter Bug (Pyramid Vritra Remix)




Needless to say, "Bitter Bug" (Pyramid Vritra Remix) isn't exactly rapper-producer Hal Williams' first time re-imagining a track by fellow Stones Throw labelmates The Stepkids; Williams previously remixed Troubadour album track "Desert In The Dark" with Odd Future shoot-off, The Jet Age of Tomorrow. While working on his upcoming 2014 Stones Throw debut, Pyramid Vritra managed to conjure up a heavily Funk-laden, Hip-Hop-infused remix of "Bitter Bug," which was originally released as a play-able postcard 45. North of the 4-minute mark, as the track slowly draws to a close, Williams effectively chops-n-screws the Hell out of "Bitter Bug." The Stepkids seem to have already been flirting with the idea of a semi-Hip-Hop crossover; previously working with Pharoahe Monch, Homeboy Sandman, and now one of Stones Throw's newest signees, Pyramid Vritra. That's one area in which Stones Throw seems to be consistently lacking, inner-label collaborative work, but maybe the self-proclaimed Neo-Steely Dan are just the right artist(s) to spearhead a new-found tradition. The Stepkids' second album, Troubadour is now available online, and Pyramid Vritra's proper label debut is currently expected at the top of the year.

Philly Concert Review: King Krule at Johnny Brenda's (December 7-8th)


Rest assured, 19-year-old Londoner King Krule (aka Archy Marshall)'s stage "antics" might best resemble that of a young red-haired Elvis Costello, Woody Allen's über-neurotic film work, or even a slightly awkward teenager performing at his high school talent show: senseless flailing around the corner-centric stage, random fist-pumping along with drum beats, grizzly-voiced wailing, top button-unbuttoned debauchery, etc! Philly's infamous hole-in-the-wall venue Johnny Brenda's, which I'm pretty sure is an old apartment or home, only added extra character to King Krule's righteous 11 o'clock set. As far as I can tell, Marshall and his 3-piece band played the bulk of King Krule's roughly 20-track discography -- including "Easy Easy," "Has This Hit?," "Baby Blue," "A Lizard Estate," "The Krockadile," "Bleak Bake," and plenty more unheard mumbled song titles. But from what I can tell, I don't think King Krule and the fellas ended up playing newly-added track "La Lune," which is supposedly from his forthcoming second album.


Excuse my French, but King Krule frontman Archy Marshall has a deeply-weathered Baritone singing voice that's better suited for a whiskey-drinkin' black man, than a pimply-faced 19-year-old bloke! After an appended 1-track "encore," we waited around the side bar/stage for about 15-20 minutes, yet King Krule himself seems to have never re-emerged from the green room; either because of groupies or maybe he couldn't legally re-enter the bar area (being a minor and all). Needless to say, King Krule's highly-skilled drummer George Bass soon emerged and after wasting more than enough time talking to a drunk blubbering super-fan, my beautiful girlfriend Caroline & I made our way over to his general direction. George was extremely approachable and after some light small talk, we posed for a picture and once I told him it was officially my "birthday" (post-midnight)... he offered to take my coveted 6 Feet Beneath The Moon vinyl backstage for the whole band to sign! What he came back with is truly a one-of-a-kind signed and Sharpie doodled inner-LP and the night was a great start to my birthday weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stereogum Presents: Peter Morén - "Constant Reaction" (Broken Swenglish, Vol. 1)


1/3 of Swedish Indie-Pop group Peter Bjorn & John, Peter Morén is gearing up to release a series of Swedish-to-English EP's in the coming months; his four-track Broken Swenglish (Vol. 1) will see a Monday, December 9th digital-release on the band's Swedish-based collective imprint, INGRID. Stereogum premiered a new, previously unreleased Peter Morén track called "Constant Reaction" late Tuesday afternoon. It's a guitar-drenched romper of a track, which is a little bit more Rock-oriented that Peter Bjorn & John's typically super-chill output. "Constant Reaction" is more of less an aggressive six-string musical response "that plays [out] like The Smiths, if Morrissey had a lot more protein in his diet." Peter Morén personally sent Stereogum a little bit of introspective background info on it's creation: "I wrote this after the awful shootings against a youth-camp in 2011 on the island Utöya outside of Oslo [Norway]. I had nightmares and was transported back to my days as a student living in a dorm outside Stockholm's University feeling lost & young. Somehow, this was mashed up with the terror attack in my dreams."


Morén even makes note of the track's surreal undertones and mega-guitars... "Though it's wrapped in surreal pictures, I think you can feel the threat & desperation. There's lots of guitars on this track of different kinds. I like guitars!" For what it's worth, Peter Bjorn & John's 2 most recent albums, Living Thing (2009) and Gimme Some (2011), were absolute modern day Indie-Pop masterpieces! Living Thing even garnered a Mick Boogie-assisted Hip-Hop remix album treatment, dubbed Re-Living Thing; to the best of my knowledge, the band is currently hard at work on their untitled seventh studio album (#PBJ7), which should likely materialize sooner than later. Here's a pre-Blue Chips (1) Action Bronson & Party Supplies quasi-remix of "Nothing to Worry About" from one of the aforementioned Peter Bjorn & John albums because... well, why not!? It's also worth noting that SPIN-online debuted yet another Broken Swenglish EP track Wednesday morning, titled "Going Places," that's supposedly "about days when you want to hide from the world into almost a state of lethargy and just feel and travel through films," which sounds -- relate-able enough!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mediterranean Garage-Rock, via Israel: UBK - "I Got You" (Uri Brauner Kinrot)


About a week ago, I got an interesting email from a woman named Emma, which started out with "I saw you recently featured White Denim [on your blog], and thought you might find UBK's (Israel) new music video interesting." Down towards the bottom of the message, it also lists his music likely well-suited for fans of The Black Keys, Hanni el Khatib, The Black Angels, and Classic Rock super-group Cream. Uri Brauner Kinrot (UBK) previously toured the world with a Balkan surf guitar-tuba-drums power trio and an infamous New York Punk band; his debut solo album, Ouzo Bazooka, is a stylistic "mix of East and West, Martin and Morrison [that] sends you on a psychedelic high, a journey in time and space." Lead single "I Got You" is a scorchin' hot, down and dirty Rock "N" Roll romper with companion visuals directed by Guy J. Bolandi, which follows a gaggle of beautiful women performing post-apocalyptic ceremonies on the terribly oblivious frontman. The self-contained press release cites it as "a requiem to loss together with a ceremonial phoenix leading to a great new love" and further elaborates that each ritualistic act symbolizes a different woman and a corresponding people: African, Mexican, Ancient Mayan, Aboriginal Australian, and Gypsy. Mediterranean Garage-Rocker UBK's forthcoming Ouzo Bazooka album will supposedly "send Hell's Angels dancing on table-tops, breaking plates, grinning stupidly, and ending up on the floor in a group-hug pile-up;" it's expected to see a February 2014 world-wide release, although specific release date(s) have yet to be pinned down. So, stay tuned and have a Happy Hanukkah, my friends!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Justin Timberlake, J. Cole, A$AP Rocky & Pusha T - "TKO" (Black Friday Remix)




Mr. Sexyback himself, Justin Timberlake, unleashed a surprisingly Boom-Bap-ified remix to his latest 20/20 Experience 2 single, "TKO" late Black Friday evening, which is slowly becoming a FREE music-giving holiday. Timberlake somehow managed to recruit J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, and his former "Like I Love You" collaborator, Pusha T (Clipse). While it might kinda seem like part of a larger label-contrived chart-topping master-palm, Justin Timberlake is actually an avid late 1980-90's Hip-Hop aficionado; case in point, The History of Rap (Parts 1-4) with Late Nite host-buddy Jimmy Fallon. Roots band leader/drummer Questlove [Jenkins] simply Tweeted, "#TKOremix so official! @JTimberlake, @PUSHA_T, @ASAPRockyTRILL & @JColeNC (w/ that post-"Control" flow) = COTDAMNY," which almost instantly piqued my interests enough to go check it out!


It's very well-produced, which is rare for an after-the-fact remix of this caliber, but "TKO" (Remix) is nearly a studio-quality track. J. Cole's verse (number one) features a long over-due response to Big Sean Kendrick Lamar's infamous genre-rattling "Control" verse: Thought you was a down ass bitch / 'til I found that shit a couple days ago / I was home alone, next thing I know / That long-ass verse from a song called "Control" was on / The room got nearer, the tomb got clearer / That's when I seen the shit playin' on your phone..." And while you can almost tell that The 20/20 Experience 2 is essentially composed of left-over tracks from the former volume, the 22-track 20/20 Experience double-album is one Hell of a comeback after seven years out the the music industry; including plenty of Neo-Soul & Electro-Pop mega-hits like "Suit & Tie," "Pusher Love Girl," "Tunnel Vision," "Mirrors," "Take Back The Night," and of course, the aforementioned "TKO."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ma Dukes & Akomplice Present: Joey Bada$$ & J Dilla - "Two Lips" (unreleased beat)




18-year-old 90's Hip-Hop revivalist and head PRO ERA wordsmith Joey Bada$$ recently described his still brief discography in 140 characters or less, "1999 was the debut. Summer Knights [EP] was the "holdmedown" people. But B4.DA.$$ [full-length] will be the break-through!!!!!" While Bada$$ previously laced up a few Dilla beats on 1999, "Two Lips" marks his first Yancey family-approved, non-Pirate Bay'd instrumentals, which he promises is only the first of his upcoming posthumous J Dilla "collaborations." The fruits of their labors, "Two Lips" 7-inch (with optional Dilla-themed T-shirts or sweatshirt) will become widely available through Akomplice, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey's newly-formed record label/streetwear company, at 12 noon on November 29th. It's pretty amazing that even though "Two Lips" was essentially harvested from a vault-full of unused beat CD-R's, it still sounds like it was hand-crafted specifically for Joey Bada$$. While it's hard to say if it would ever really happen, I'd love to hear Bada$$ over an entire EP or album's-worth of bears produced by Stones Throw all-stars and affiliates: Madlib, Jonwayne, The Stepkids, James Pants, MF DOOM (who he's already worked with), Peanut Butter Wolf, Dâm-Funk, more J Dilla, etc... because I feel like their 90's aesthetic(s) would mesh very well with Joey Bada$$' similar-minded post-2000's throwback style!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bound 2 Falling In Love: James Franco & Seth Rogen - "Bound 3" (Kanye & Kim Parody)


Hyper-productive actor/director and sometimes writer/artist James Franco recently teamed back up with his This Is The End/Pineapple Express co-star and long-time buddy Seth Rogen to film a shot-for-shot re-creation of Kanye & Kim's grandiose "Bound 2" video, which debuted online just last Tuesday. From what I understand, Franco & Rogen are currently on-set filming The Interview (out Oct. 2014), supposedly centered around "an attractive talk show host and his producer [who] unwittingly get caught up in an international assassination plot" ... and this is what they've been doing in-between takes! "Bound 3" really doesn't do anything at all to help put to rest James Franco's oft-questioned [homo]sexuality, including but not limited to passionate lip-locking, romantic middle American landscapes, endearing bro-hugs, and a few vaguely insinuated dirty scenes. Lest we forget, this isn't exactly the first time Franco's had to channel a deeply troubled, rapping madman and he really has Kanye's alpha-male mannerisms down to a "T," especially during the double-flannel scenes. "I was asked to get axed in an American Psycho-themed commercial for Kanye, but instead of getting cut up, I made a cut-up American Psycho piece for him," James Franco lamented to GQ after graffiting his own Yeezus album cover.


It's kinda funny, because he's almost become some sort of Internet-fueled enigma since initially bursting onto Hollywood's radar opposite of Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man (2002); "So, when I go on Instagram, and do something that is basically what the gossip blogs are doing. But I'm doing it, I'm controlling it! But it looks no different than the stupid photos that they take of me, or try and take of me. Um, I'm taking some ownership over it. And then, they re-print it on their stupid blogs. They re-print it because of me," James Franco recently told super-interviewer Charlie Rose. "But just the fact that they had it on their page, I then have my assistants go an take a screenshot of my photo framed by their page, and the I will blow that up and I will make a painting out of that ha. So, that's the next step of that project." Franco's seemingly never-ending outpouring of material most recently includes Actors Anonymous, a novel, and 2 feature films: As I Lay Dying and Homefront with Jason Statham. Seth Rogen, on the other hand, is co-directing The Interview with buddy Evan Goldberg and has a role opposite of Dave Franco in Neighbors (coming this May).

TWITTER-UPDATE: "You nailed it!!! Sooo funny! RT @Sethrogen: #Bound3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3TTiHRrEBE Enjoy!!!!!!"
@KimKardashian thanks! Some of those positions were really uncomfortable. That shit is harder than it looks."
About 6 hours later... @Sethrogen Kanye says what's up!? He loves u guys! He laughed so hard at this"
@KimKardashian that's so awesome!! Ha!! Tell him what's up back. So psyched you guys like it!" (Nov. 25-26th)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

We Are from LA Presents: Pharrell & Friends - "24-Hour Happy" (Despicable Me 2)


Pharrell has long surpassed anyone's expectations who previously pigeon-holed him as a Snoop Dogg & Jay-Z-affiliated Neptunes producer, on-and-off Funk-Rock N*E*R*D frontman, or mere smooth-voiced hookman; he single-handedly co-fronted 2 of the summer's biggest mega-hits, "Get Lucky" and "Blurred Lines" (but you already know that much). Pharrell has recently started flexing his original soundtrack/composer chops as well, working on the original Despicable Me, it's sequel Despicable Me 2, and a rumored Amazing Spider-Man 2 super-score with composer Hans Zimmer, Mike Einzinger (Incubus), former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, and Dave Stewart (Eurythmics). Fresh on the heels of Bob Dylan's inter-active "Like a Rolling Stone" video, Pharrell and directing team We Are from LA unleashed the world's very first 24-hour music video for Despicable Me 2 single, "Happy" online Thursday-Friday. It reportedly features quick-strike appearances from voice-actor Steve Carell, Jimmy Kimmel, Tyler The Creator, Jamie Foxx, Kelly Osbourne, Magic Johnson, and Earl Sweatshirt, amongst countless others.


According to Fast Company, who investigated a little bit into the making-of "Happy," Pharrell performs the track at the top of every hour, in addition to 14 run-throughs within each hour, which took about 11 days total to film. The Despicable Me 1-2 soundtracks are essentially Pharrell's first solo output(s) since he released his "debut" solo album, In My Mind way back when, while I was a senior in high school (2006) -- Damn! While Pharrell's own art-house iamOTHER uploaded 6 separate 4-hour "Happy" mini-clips, he also released an abridged 4-minute-long music video version of "Happy" late Friday afternoon. Interestingly enough, "24-Hour Happy" is modeled after a standard round-the-clock am/pm alarm clock... But regardless of which edit we're talkin' about, "Happy" features a gaggle of people joyously dancing along with the upbeat track through out the sun-soaked LA streets. Pharrell's personal favorite moments include "Steve Carell (5:08pm) and the one where [he's] running down the hall of a school with two guys on their bikes (10:00pm)."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nick Catchdubs Presents: Danny Brown & Sleigh Bells - "Brown Bells EP" (Terminal 5 x 2)




Fool's Gold Records co-founder and sometimes club-ready DJ Nick Catchdubs recently took it upon himself to conjure up a Danny Brown/Sleigh Bells mash-up couplet, dubbed Brown Bells. It's in honor of the slightly odd pairing's 2 upcoming gigs at Terminal 5 (New York), November 22-23rd. While I'm not really the biggest mash-up champion, unless it's either Girl Talk of Danger Mouse, Catchdubs did it right; releasing a 2-track EP complete with cleverly-titled "Diggin' Demons" & "Grown Up Rivals," which sound more like a tried-and-true in-studio collaboration! Nick Catchdubs of course left in plenty of recognizable fragments from "Dip/Demons" (Diplo Remix) and "Grown Up/Bitter Rivals." When you consider Danny Brown's guest-list of fairly unexpected collaborations on his recently-released OLD album (ie: Purity Ring, Charli XCX, BADBADNOTGOOD, etc.), an anthemic full-fledged Sleigh Bells team-up doesn't seem all that unlikely. The Nick Catchdubs-selected Sleigh Bells tracks "Demons" and "Bitter Rivals" are culled from their 2 back-to-back marathon albums, Reign of Terror and Bitter Rivals (2012-13). AS a matter of fact, Potholes In My Blog notes that tickets are still available for Saturday's Terminal 5 show, which should start around 9:00pm Nov. 23rd.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Give Me One Reason: Action Bronson & Party Supplies - "Amadu Diablo" (Unplugged)


While it kinda looks like it could've been made fro about $20-30, Action Bronson & Party Supplies' new VHS-indebted "Amadu Diablo" video is really nothing more than an endearing (albeit weed-fueled) tribute to the long-forgotten glory days of MTV; Rik Cordero self-desribed it as "found footage from the 90's now playing @ComplexMag" aka Blue Chips 2 Unplugged aka MTV Unplugged. "Amadu Diablo" starts off with producer Party Supplies (Justin Nealis) wielding an acoustic guitar seated across from Bronson himself, long skinny joint in hand. Action Bronson 1/2 sings 1/2 raps "Amadu Diablo" while Nealis haphazardly strums along: "Every day I'm walking with my head up / Don't let up cause it's a set-up / Like Albanian marriage, from Haiti to Paris / The bath was 90 degrees / Tapping Heinies with ease (shit!)" The track slowly morphs into "Give Me One Reason," the 1990's era Tracy Chapman hit which it also samples, at some point and then into a pseudo-version of "Freefallin.'" Blue Chips 2 is available online now and trust me, it's an absolute monstrosity of an anti-Hip-Hop album, in the best way humanly possible; we're talkin' about crazy-ass samples from "Tequila," Van Halen, John Cougar-Mellencamp, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel (all on one track!), Isaac Hayes, random TV commericlas, Elton John, etc. Rik Cordero's recent Blue Chips 2 teaser finally gives some much needed context to Patrick Ewing's infamous missed lay-up heard 'round the world during the titular moments of the Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7 (1995).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Ellen Show Presents: Kanye & Kim Kardashian - "Bound 2" (Charlie Wilson)


The lone Soul-based track on Kanye's recent Death Grips-inspired Aggro-Hip-Hop album Yeezus, "Bound 2" essentially made me commit record-diggin' treason and buy a bootleg LP on South Street against my better judgement, which ended up being f*#king scratched mid-way through the coveted track! After performing it on a number of late night variety shows, Kanye finally debuted the official Nick Knight-directed "Bound 2" music video on Ellen Tuesday morning. It's a semi-strange trip across America's lush countryside, with new-found fiance Kim Kardashian awkwardly seated backwards on the front of Kanye's BITCHIN' motorcycle; Ellen kinda forgot to Tweet-ion [mention] that Kim's essentially topless and somehow, sans nipples, too. Knight manages to artfully inter-splice in images of wild horses, a Bald Eagle, Kanye in double flannel, and a bunch of all-American imagery that counter-echoes Kanye's Wes Lang-designed Confederate-leaning Yeezus Tour/Pac Sun line. Former Gap Band frontman and current G.O.O.D. Music signee, Charlie Wilson is physically nowhere to be found, but his unmistakeable vocal presence is littered throughout "Bound 2:" "I know you're tired of loving, of loving with nobody to love, nobody, nobody... Just grab somebody, no leaving this party with nobody to love, nobody, nobody!!!" While recently appearing on author Bret Easton Ellis' new podcast (on a completely unrelated note), Kanye offered up this interesting little tidbit: "I find myself now - when there's a Pop moment - like say the TV show Breaking Bad. Literally, me and my girl sat up in a hotel and had some days off and we said, 'Look let's just go ahead and watch this so we can be like normal human beings.'"

Oh My Lorde: Scott Bradlee, Postmodern Jukebox & Puddles The Clown - "Royals"


for their latest video-remix treatment, Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox recruited Puddles The Clown (aka Big Mike Geier), a 7-foot-tall sad clown and Atlanta-based performance artist with a voice not unlike Tom Jones; together, they recorded a sprawling "throwback"-style cover of Lorde's recent mega-hit, "Royals" in Bradlee's living room. It's a pretty amazing track, nonetheless, which wouldn't have been entirely possible without Robyn Adele Anderson, Cristina Gatti, Adam Kubota, Allan Mednard, and of course, Puddles' gold-plated vocal chords. "Royals" is far from Postmodern Jukebox's first go-round; in fact, they've recorded genre-shifting covers of everyone from Robin Thicke to Katy Perry and even laid down an entire Nickelback album, A Motown Tribute to Nickelback! Bandleader-pianist Scott Bradlee has composed a staggering mix of re-arrangements, including all sorts of broad-spanning styles: Doo-Wop, "Grandpa Style," 1920's Great Gatsby, Jazz, Country, 1940's Swing, "Bluegrass Barn Dance," Motown, Ragtime, etc. all under the veil of post-modern hits, mind you. Bradlee recently set up a Kickstarter-like Patreon campaign to help make better quality Postmodern Jukebox music videos, which has already raised $1,000+, and a little birdy told me that we'll actually see a new Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox video as early as this afternoon (Tuesday).

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jimmy Page Presents: The Notorious B.I.G. - "Hypnotize" vs. "Ramble On" (Ramblize Remix)


Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page Tweeted "on this day, Biggie Smalls" along with a web-link Friday morning; He's pieced together what kinda sounds like a semi-unfinished mash-up between "Hypnotize" and "Ramble On" that's been dubbed "Ramblize." 90's Hip-Hop heads might recall that this isn't exactly Page's first forre into Hip-Hop, as he previously re-recorded parts of "Kashmir" for Godzilla break-out hit, "Come with Me" with none other than Puff Daddy [included below]. "Ramblize" somehow teeters that fine line, where if it sucked (which it doesn't), it'd still be pretty cool simply because of the sheer fact that Jimmy Page remixed a Biggie track! From what I understand, Page recently uploaded a similar Snoop Dogg/Led Zeppelin mash-up of "Drop It Like It's Hot" (credited to Led Dogg). Lest we forget, Led Zepplin's now-deceased mondo-drummer John Bonham has been infamously sampled by Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre, Jurassic 5, Eminem, Fatboy Slim, and countless other break-beat savvy producers over the years. Sadly, it doesn't look like Zeppelin are getting back together any time soon, but maybe we'll get a Jimmy Page mixtape ha. Led Zeppelin's surviving members are however, in the process of re-mastering the band's complete discography, which was last re-issued nearly 20 years ago. It sounds like they didn't really record a whole lot of extra tracks for Led Zeppelin I-IV, "But there was an overage of material - different versions of things, different approaches to the mixes," Page told Rolling Stone last November.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Death Grips Channel Bob Dylan for "Government Plates!?" (Third Worlds, self-released)




Although it might seem like a pretty mis-matched pairing at first, Bob Dylan & Death Grips have more in common that you or they'd really like to admit. Dylan was the first Folkie to "go electric" and Death Grips have largely forged their own ground in their Proto-Rap sub-genre; Dylan never really adhered to generally-accepted social norms and the same could be said for deathgrips; Both artists make the kind of music that you either love or hate, there's no middle-of-the-road fans. Uploaded late Wednesday afternoon without any prior notice, Government Plates is Death Grips' fourth overall album (counting Ex-military) and the second self-released in such a guerrilla manner. Death Grips simultaneously uploaded 11 motion picture/music videos to YouTube, one for each album track, which may be part of drummer Zach Hill's long-rumored short film. "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for, it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat" and previously released "Birds" seem like the most music video-like clips of the bunch, most of which feature re-purposed 3-D models from BlendSwap. The former name-checks Bob Dylan's similarly-titled "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat," but that's about as far as the visual comparisons go; sadly, there are no lyrical cue cards here. While I have yet to give Government Plates a proper full-album run-through, it does seem to have a much more polished, semi-refined sound quality that the band's previous output. It's now available online for download at either Soundcloud, Megashares, The Pirate Bay, etc.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Privilege, Superiority, and Misconceptions: Lily Allen - "Hard Out Here" (Regal Recordings)


Even though she released a new John Lewis-backed Keane cover just the other day, British Indie-Pop star Lily Allen has finally returned with "Hard Out Here," which could be a sonic indicator of her forthcoming third studio album. It's titular refrain goes something like "Forget your balls, and grow a pair of tits / It's hard, it's hard, it's hard out here for a bitch" and Allen addresses jarring topics such as body image, media-propelled sexism, super-sexed up video vixens, non-equality, injustice, etc. "Hard Out Here"'s companion Christopher Sweeney-directed video essentially conveys everything that Lily Allen whole-heartedly despises about Hollywood/London elite: plastic surgery, TWERKIN', Robin Thicke, wasteful champagne-pouring, ridiculous weightless ideals, wildly expensive cars. It's done in a very tongue-in-cheek way though, whereas if you didn't know any better, you might think that Allen was a terribly misguided Paris Hilton-esque socialite ha.


"Hard Out Here" marks Lily Allen's long-rumored comeback and it's her first single since temporarily leaving music in 2009; somehow, it's already garnered nearly 1.3 million+ views since debuting online Tuesday afternoon! But with great success never comes without some sort of controversy... countless Twitter-assisted detractors "viewed Allen's use of black back-up dancers as racial exploitations," as writer Chris DeVille (Stereogum) simply put it. @lilyallen quickly fired back with a lengthy TwitLonger-appended post titled Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions: "If anyone thinks for a second that I requested specific ethnicities for the ["Hard Out Here"] video, they're wrong... if I could dance like the ladies can, it would have been my arse [ass] on your screens!" Tom Breihan recently lamented in a post, "Allen is planning to release her third album next year, which is good, since the world needs songs about babies with cussing in them," while "Hard Out Here" hits iTunes this upcoming Sunday, November 17th.

Monday, November 11, 2013

White Denim & The Bottom Dollar String Band - "Pretty Green Mash" (Downtown Records)




Purchased on a whim and the sheer strength of two Southern-fried rockin' Blues-Funk teaser singles, White Denim's recently released sixth album, Corsicana Lemonade is without a doubt one of this past year's late-blooming sleeper hits; While I've always seen White Denim's name strewn across various Indie Rock-leaning blogs (especially Gorilla vs. Bear), I'd never really given the Austin-based band a legitimate shot. It's just a solid, no frills 10-track Rock "N" Roll album that's equal parts Black Keys and Creedence (with some added Psych-Rock flavor). But in true Southern Rock fashion, White Denim recruited The Bottom Dollar String Band for "Pretty Green Mash," a reduced version of their lead Corsicana Lemonade single. From what I understand, the track's included on a "Pretty Green" online/tour-exclusive 10" EP, along with B-sides "Under mi Pretty Green" and rough album closer "[Looking for] a Place to Start."


Although, White Denim's re-recorded "Pretty Green Mash" is more along the lines pre-electric Bob Dylan or even Mumford & Sons; their new partners in crime, Bottom Dollar String Band, hail from "the hills of Central Texas," as well and was formed in 2011. Founding members Hunter Hollingsworth & John Moore [supposedly] started the band with only two instruments, mandolin and banjo, and soon recruited hometown buddies Devon Canady, John Ohlinger, and Ben Lemay. I can't honestly say that I've heard a whole lot of White Denim's semi-lengthy discography, aside from FREE-releases like James Petralli's Tascam Port-studio CD-R (2012) and their Last Day of Summer out-takes collection (2010). But if the rest of the band's older albums sound anything remotely like Corsicana Lemonade, they're poised to be some absolute guitar Funk-ified scorchers!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

John Lewis Presents: Lily Allen - "Somewhere Only We Know" (The Bear & The Hare)


Quasi-retired British songstress and walking firecracker Lily Allen has finally made a triumphant return to music, in one of the least Punk Rock ways humanly possible; covering "Somewhere Only We Know" (Keane) for a super-early John Lewis Christmas web-ad. But somehow, it really works and Allen's airy vocals synch up well with the playful, old school-looking Bear & The Hare animation work. Since releasing her sophomore album, It's Not Me, It's You (2009), Lily Allen got herself a husband and 2 kids, stared acting a bit, launched a record label imprint, changed her name twice (Lily Rose Cooper), and recently appeared on Pink's latest single, "True Love." "Somewhere Only We Know" is a pretty drastic shift from Allen's former potty-mouthed brand of Reggae-infused Indie Pop, which could very well echo her forthcoming third album. According to NME, Lily Allen recently lamented that "it's not an earnest "I'm a mum" kind of record... It's the same old me with a it of swearing going on." The currently untitled album, which features songs "about babies and nappies" is supposedly "shaping up pretty well" and should be out by mid-2014. I really hope that Mark Ronson, Greg Kurstin, or whoever's producing it decides to recruit a few sharp-tongued rappers to re-create something along the lines of Allen's awesome collaboration with conscious rapper Common, "Drivin' Me Wild." But hopefully, less along the lines of that horrid cut-and-paste track with T-Pain & Wiz Khalfia (2011) ha.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ride The Lightning: Broken Bells - "Holding On for Life" (After The Disco, short film)




After what even most die-hard Shins fans would consider a pretty lackluster album attempt, frontman James Mercer has reunited with producer-buddy Danger Mouse aka Brian Burton to write and record a new Broken Bells album, After The Disco. Broken Bells (1) was essentially Mercer's "solo" debut and once again, he's comfortably playing the Run-D.M.C. to Danger Mouse's Rick Rubin; who seems to play best with others, ie: Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, The Black Keys, Beck, Portugal. The Man, etc. Lead single "Holding On for Life," which was previously included within an album teaser, has been self-described by Burton as a mix between late 1980-90's Dr. Dre or Ice Cube and Bee Gees-style falsetto. After The Disco will become available this upcoming January 14th and will feature micro-appearances from Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes) on horns, Daniel Lupi-orchestrated string arrangements, man-made drum machine fills by Brian Burton himself, and "some back-up singers on a few of the songs."


After The Disco was seemingly recorded in James Mercer & Danger Mouse's downtime between Port of Morrow's touring cycle and other various projects; starting last October and recording for a couple days here and there, a week, another week until the album was completed. It's pretty crazy to think that this is the same guy [Burton] who hi-jacked beats from John, Paul, George & Ringo and ultimately, manged to piss off The Beatles' former label, EMI Records while piecing together his impeccable "The Grey Album" nearly 10 years ago. I'm not exactly sure how well-received Broken Bells' first album was by the greater music-buying public or even critics, but my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed it many months after it's original release... and if After The Disco ends up sounding anything like their last album, it's poised to be a fucking masterpiece! "To celebrate the forthcoming release of their second full-length record, After The Disco, [Broken Bells] created [a] short film, "After The Disco, Part One: Angel And The Fool," casting Star Trek's Anton Yelchin and Kate Mara of House of Cards to play star-crossed lovers in an otherworldly landscape," noted a recent Creators Project web-press release.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DISTILLED & BOTTLED by BANG YA HEAD: MED, Blu & Mayer Hawthorne - "The Buzz" (Madlib Beat)




While chances are kinda slim that this was recorded all at once (but you never really know with Stones Throw), Rappcats gave cyber-birth to an amazing-sounding MED, Blu, Mayer Hawthorne & Madlib track, "The Buzz" around 12-1am Tuesday-Wednesday morning. Not unlike The Burgundy EP, MED & Blu share vocal duties, Madlib produced the beat, and Hawthorne's relegated to the buttery smooth hook; an unreleased Dâm-Funk track will also appear on flip Side B. The Buzz 12" EP will include two vocal tracks, bonus beat, instrumentals, and a cappella. It's currently available for pre-order today (November 5th) at either Stones Throw or Fat Beats. Let's talk about the sheer talent Stones Throw managed to wrangle yup for "The Buzz:" prolific underground king Madlib chopped up a beautiful Boom-Bap-infused Soul sample, the label's former Blue-Eyed Soul crooner Mayer Hawthorne on the hook, and MED & Blu, two of the most talented and criminally under-rated rappers in the game; Not to mention G-Funk revivalist and recent Snoop Dogg/Steve Arrington collaborator, Dâm-Funk's presumed banger, "Peroxide" on Side B! The Buzz EP will see a November 26th wide-release (ship date?) through MED's own Bang Ya Head label imprint. It's companion cover "is a bottle of booze with a label wrapped around it, designed by Jeff Jank," as Stones Throw simply put it in a web-press release.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Stable Sound Presents: Cut Chemist, Chali 2na & Hymnal - "Work My Mind" (Funk Off)


Brainfreeze 45 extraordinaire and Jurassic 5 DJ Cut Chemist was temporarily locked up for unspecified reasons in recent years, but now he's back with a long-awaited new [compilation] album, Funk Off; partially previewed during "an excellent mix for the Stones Throw Podcast called Cassette Culture using four cassette decks and tracks from a release he was working on called Funk Off," it's a quasi-collaboration with 1980's French New-Wave groups Vox Populi! & Pacific 231. Cut Chemist unleashed two non-album singles leading up to Funk Off's October 29th release, "Outro (Revisited)" and "Work My Mind." The latter is essentially a re-imagining/remix of [Vox Populi!] album track "Alternative Fresh," which features select verses by Jurassic 5 frontman Chali 2na and Hymnal. "Work My Mind" is more or less a self-described "future-primitive analogue thriller," complete with a music video directed by Delaney Bishop, who previously conjured up sun-soaked "Concrete Schoolyard" (1998). But quite honestly, Cut Chemist has been making Dance-inspired Hip-Hop like this for years now; eons before EDM and Dubstep were even loose, formative sub-genres!


Cut Chemist's Internet-homebase dually notes that "Work My Mind"'s "concept was derived from a short video [Bishop] directed for Cut Chemist's "Rare Equations" mixtape snippet with Chali 2na, also released in '98." For whatever reasons, "Work My Mind" and "Outro (Revisited)" are nowhere to be found on Funk Off... however, the comp. album and it's companion singles are currently available from either Bandcamp or iTunes. Funk Off is seemingly the first phase in a full-album cycle that will end with a BRAND NEW Cut Chemist album, tentatively titled Die Cut, at the top of the year. While they broke up as recently as 2007, Cut Chemist & Chali 2na triumphantly reunited with their Jurassic 5 bandmates at Coachella this past April, plan to tour through out the remainder of 2013, and Billboard reports that "new music is not out of the question - just not on their current radar." It should be noted that Jurassic 5's middle two albums, Quality Control and especially Power In Numbers (2002), really helped shame my young, impressionable Hip-Hop muscle memory and I'm beyond stoked for a possible new J5 album!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

An Early Review: Action Bronson & Party Supplies - "Blue Chips 2" (VICE Records)




"If you want to laugh, cry, jerk off, take a shit, this is the music you want to have playing," Action Bronson recently told Rolling Stone of the general aesthetic for his upcoming VICE Records (Warner Bros.) album. "This is for when you're comfortable with who you are - whether it's your dick size or your tit size," which is actually a pretty good assimilation of Bronson's overall musical feel. His rap schemes are more often that not littered with vague references to mid-90's sports, pro wrestling, gourmet food, exotic women, "wax" [weed], etc. Action Bronson has somehow managed to release 7-8 albums/mixtapes over the course of the past few years, and I think it's justifiable to ay that his just-released Blue Chips 2 (November 1st) just might be his magnum opus. Even though a handful of Blue Chips 2 tracks were pre-released as early as January 2012, Party Supplies' slightly left of center anti-Hip-Hop beats are pretty fucking immaculate; now, we're talkin' about virtually un-heard of shit like John Cougar Mellencamp, "Tequila," Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, Phil Collins, Pharcyde, and a sparse "Runnin' with The Devil" a cappella.



"When you hear these fucking beats, this is next. This is not what anybody else is doing. Nobody sounds like this. Motherfuckers are too stuck in some one shit," Bronson lamented to Noisey. "This is how you fucking build a fucking legend. You do ill shit, people love it, and they're fucking constantly talking about it forever. The smart motherfuckers stay around." While I've already seen him LIVE twice in recent months, I'd really like to see Action Bronson on his own full-fledged solo tour, and I'm sure Blue Chips 2 would sounds pretty ridiculous in an arena setting. But it seems as though Bronson is currently taking some time off to straighten up his ailing health and "AS SOON AS [HE'S] BETTER, [HE'LL] BE IN A CITY NEAR YOU SINGING BLUE CHIPS 2." All the while, Action Bronson's slowly been chipping away at his major label "ALBUM" "ALBUM" for VICE Records, as well as various projects with The Alchemist, Funkmaster Flex, and frequent collaborator RiFF RAFF (GALAXY GLADiATORS), and a rumored Blue Chips 2 spin-off with Party Supplies.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tougher Than The Rest: Peanut Butter Lovesicle -"Jealous Minds" (Ice Box/Palace)




Ocean City, NJ's finest Brooklyn-transported Rock "N" Roll revivalist outfit, Peanut Butter Lovesicle (PBL) recently returned back home to record their latest single, "Jealous Minds." Drummer-frontman Timmy Miller and brothers Jake & Mike D'Arc laid down some righteous-sounding basic tracks at Ice Box/Ice Palace; "Jealous Minds" was produced by Andrew Wilson and PBL also included a special Soundcloud shout out to local record store, Grass Roots Music, for good measure. Sonically, I'd equate the band's new track to modern day Prog-Rock in the vein of Wolfmother or even along the lines of The Black Keys, but it's a pretty Aggro-Metal affair (post-spaced out intro ha). "Jealous Minds" was preceded by Dirty Pride EP roughly a year ago, from which one track in particular, "Black-Eyed Blues," Peanut Butter Lovesicle and their all-star team somehow managed to land a featured spot on Gossip Girl. While there are seemingly no plans for a companion PBL full-length... I can't really imagine that these fellas will end up keeping quiet for too long!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rock "N" Roll Halloween: Yelawolf & DJ Paul - "Black Fall EP" (Shady Aftermath)



Just in time for All Hallow's Eve, Yelawolf & DJ Paul unleashed a 5-track FreEP, Black Fall late Wednesday night. The former Three 6 Mafia producer crafted some pretty sinister-sounding beats using primarily Rock & Metal samples; so far, I've heard Metallica, Pink Floyd, Muse, Michael Jackson, and Black Sabbath (Dio). I never really used to like Yelawolf's hillbilly-tinged brand of Southern Hip-Hop, until I heard his genre-blending collaboration with singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, The Slumdon Bridge EP. It's a truly timeless Alt. Hip-Hop EP that I would've gladly paid good money for and I guess Travis Barker & Eminem's separate Yelawolf co-signs didn't hurt either. Leaked pre-release single "Light Switch" expertly manages to sample English Prog-Rock band Muse's radio-friendly hit "Uprising," while elsewhere, "Thriller" and Pink Floyd are sampled on one track. Yelawolf & DJ Paul previously worked together on "Go Hard," a track pulled from the recent Juicy J-less Three 6 Mafia Da Mafia 6ix "reunion album," 6ix Commandments (which may or may not have been released on 10/29). Have a safe and Happy Halloween Weekend, my friends... download a copy of Black Fall EP, and let it be the soundtrack to your ghoulish festivities!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Late Night Presents: Chromeo & Death from Above 1979 - "Sexy Socialite" (White Women)




Chromeo, David "Dave 1" Macklovitch and Patrick "P-Thugg" Gemayel, are without a doubt two of the forefathers of now über-trendy futuristic-leaning Electro-Funk; they've been making smooth Space-Funk together since the mid-90's, but somehow only unleashed their first album, She's In Control, as recently as 2004. While Chromeo's fourth album, White Women still lacks a solid release date, that indeed hasn't stopped them from kicking a promotional campaign into full gear! After releasing two teaser singles within the last few months, Dave 1 & P-Thugg stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Tuesday-Wednesday night, along with fellow Canadian buddies Death from Above 1979 and "The Sexy Socialites" (a fully fleshed out Gospel choir). The recently reunited 2-piece have seemingly been delegated to Chromeo's backing band, while Dave 1 & P-Thugg took on the role of a 1980's-minded Back to The Future-like Electro-Funk band, complete with Frampton Auto-Tune and all.


However, the most memorable Late Night moment just might have been when a "random" (obviously well-rehearsed) Gospel singer suddenly started melodically rapping "Sexy Socialite"'s mid-song break-down. "It's ambiguous - ethnic guys [Macklovitch is 1/2 Moroccan, Gemayel is Lebanese] making a tribute to black music with an album called White Women. We felt it was a challenge to this super conservative climate we're feeling in America these days," Dave 1 Macklovitch lamented to Rolling Stone back in October, "We just wanted debates like this to be engaged. It's interesting that the music we make can branch out into these conversations." White Women is rumored to include varied contributions from Vampire Weekend mastermind Ezra Koenig, Chaz Bundick aka Toro Y Moi, Solange, former LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney, and Tawatha Agee (Mtume). It's unclear as to exactly when, but White Women should be out by early 2014; for the time being, "Over Your Shoulder" and "Sexy Socialite" are now available as a digital maxi-single on iTunes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tyler, The Creator Presents: An Anonymous Band - "Glowing" (Harvest Records)


The Witzard was formed on three sonic pillars: Punk, Hip-Hop, and Indie Rock, which just so happen to be my personal go-to genres. And I guess you could say that I often times tend to favor Hip-Hop, but I really enjoy all three genres and it's always nice when they end up colliding organically. Case in point: Odd Future manager Christian Clancy initially introduced Tyler, The Creator to an Indie Rock band, who wishes to remain anonymous, after playing it for him on a plane a few months ago. Tyler liked the song so much, that he agreed to write and direct a video for the band's track "Glowing," under his Wolf Haley alias; "What people take from it is up to the viewer, I suppose," Clancy told NPR Monday night, "Controlling the narrative seems contradiction to the point. For me, it's a challenge to the assumption that ignorance is bliss, and that challenge is a timely as it's ever been."


Even though it's an anti-Hip-Hop super-saturated mini-movie, "Glowing" has Tyler, The Creator written all over it; slightly jaded, super artistic, inventive, original, and cutting-edge. He effortlessly paints a moving picture of a young couple in love that morphs into young adults and eventually, a white-haired old couple as the hyper-realistic world slowly crumbles all around them. While it might be a long shot in the dark, I'm pretty sure the mystery singer is D.A. Wallach aka Chester French frontman and sometimes member of D.A. & The Supa Dups. It would seem to all add up because of the Pharrell connection, underlying Pop sensibility, and links to Interscope through sub-label Harvest Records. But regardless, "Glowing" is an utterly amazing Indie-Pop track and I guess we'll just have to patiently wait and see who's really behind the mystery band... "WOW TYLER, I DIDN'T EXPECT ANYTHING LIKE THIS FROM YOU, CAUSE I ONLY LOOK AT THE STUPID SHIT YOU SAY AAND WON'T REALIZE YOU'RE TALENTED, WOW!"

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Albanian-Jewish Rick Ross: Action Bronson & Party Supplies - "Practice" (Blue Chips 2, Leak)




Editor's Note: I'm very proud to announce that I finally decided to purchase "thewitzard.com" last night. While the new site is currently under construction, thewitzard.blogspot.com and thewitzard.com are essentially one in the same. So, in a certain respect, this is my "inaugural" Action Bronson post ha... But make no mistake, Bronson is hands down one of my favourite rising emcees and Blue Chips (March 2012) is quite easily his most readily accessible project. "Practice" is the latest leak from his upcoming Blue Chips 2 mixtape with buddy Party Supplies, which is set to hit The Internet this upcoming Friday, November 1st. "I'M SUPPOSED TO BE THE FRANCHISE PLAYER, AND WE TALKIN' BOUT PRACTICE!?" beckons the voice of former Sixers all-star Allen Iverson (circa 2002) during the track's intro; and then, before you know it, "Practice" effortlessly morphs into a horn-laden Smooth Jazz in-debited BANGER!


I can vaguely remember reading during the initial press round-up for Blue Chips (1) that Party Supplies actually prefers recording, chopping, looping, etc. random raw beats culled from various YouTube pages for the sake of sheer originality and ease. Blue Chips 2's previously released/affiliated tracks have already taken artistic license with Guns N' Roses, an "Under The Sea" doppelganger, Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins, (and possibly) Tracy Chapman, and "Tequila." @ActionBronson recently stated in 140 characters or less that Blue Chips 2 will likely herald the end of his 90's Basketball-Drama-themed series and that he's next to start working on his "ALBUM" "ALBUM" for VICE Records; in addition to rumored full-length projects with RiFF RAFF, The Alchemist, and Funkmaster Flex. Mind you, "Practice" debuted on Real Late with Peter Rosenberg Sunday night, so it's largely un-mastered, and abruptly cuts off right around 2:45. Director and frequent collaborator Rik Cordero cooked up a pretty brilliant pseudo-back story for Patrick Ewing's infamous missed lay-up during the final seconds of Game 7 (1995). Now, I could attempt to explain it, but just do yourself a favor and check out the Blue Chips 2 teaser up above.