Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lost Puppies: Eddie Vedder - "San Diego Petroleum" (1989-90 Cassette)

Guess what? Eddie Vender's got a "NEW" solo album out! No, not really; Just a cassette tape that's [been] unearthed from someone's Seattle basement of the Pearl Jam frontman doing originals and covers sometime in the late 80's, pre-Pearl Jam existence. Believed to have been recorded for a co-worker, this-13 track tape includes covers of the Kenny Rogers ballad, "Something Inside So Strong" and "Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke. It's not the first time early recordings from Vedder have surfaced that included some of these tracks (I've personally heard around 50 versions of "Betterman" prior to this collection), but the sound quality for this tape beats out most on the market.

How is it? Well, let's take into account the fact that at the time, Eddie Vedder and his previous band, Bad Radio, were doing live covers of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yes, Eddie Vedder covering the Chili Peppers, I'm talking about their 80's stuff, folks. "What The Funk!?" (Yes, that's the name of one of Bad Radio's songs found on this album). So, some of it is quite embarrassing and cringe worthy even to the biggest fan and probably to the man himself. Other sections showed the true potential Eddie had as a singer/songwriter. There are a lot of goofy moments here that fail because Eddie Vedder has a shitty since of humor. He would soon learn never to smile or laugh, if he wanted to sell any albums. If you're a casual Pearl Jam fan, you should probably skip over this but if you're a hardcore fan, like myself, give it a listen. It's no Into The Wild, but it's a Hell of a lot better than that piss-poor ukulele album; Amen!

- Steve "Hollywood" Kain

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

McFarland & Pecci Present: CZARFACE - "Air 'em Out" (Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric)

I was gonna write up something about Lil B & Joey Bada$$'s Twitter-fueled Rap beef that went down last night. But after a quick 1-2 punch/mediocre track release, that one had already fizzled out by daybreak Wednesday morning. Man, Hip-Hop sure as Hell isn't what it used to be; So, it's a good thing there are still groups like CZARFACE that manage to keep 90's Boom-Bap traditions alive! Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric first linked up for the "Speaking Real Words" 12" (1999) and finally ended up reuniting now, some 14 years later. "We are CZARFACE because they know our faces and they know us for being dope rhyme suppliers, like Tony Montana we are known for our balls and our word; Lyrically we will conquer the world and everything in it," Inspectah Deck began to vividly detail in a press release ... "CZARFACE is a vigilante. He's and anti-hero character who serves as the face of the project and his focus is on annihilating the Hip-Hop media darlings [that] the mainstream caters to," Esoteric concluded.

Despite having raked in a long list of LEGIT features/production from dudes like Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, Oh No, Ghostface Killah, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, DJ Premier, and Cappadonna... lead video-single, "Air 'em Out" just houses bars from the 3 primary CZARFACE swordsmen. I already pre-ordered a copy of CZARFACE last night, which is out nation-wide Feb. 19th, based solely off that star-studded tracklist and Marvel/DC-leaning album cover! "Air 'em Out" almost plays out like an abridged Tarantino flick, premiered over @ Noisey, and was co-directed by McFarland & Pecci. 7L & Esoteric star as 2 deeply indebted drug dealers turned hitmen who are then asked to take care of some of kingpin, Inspectah Deck's light work. All the senseless bloodshed, mean muggin', hook-chanting bodyguards, hand saws, etc. even out to a cinema-quality short film and hands down, one of 2012-13's best music videos! It's like a cheesy 1970's Blaxopolitan meets B-movie Slasher flick, starring 2 rappers and a producer ha.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Future Sex/Love Sounds: Surfer Blood - "Weird Shapes" (West Coast Tour)

Despite or maybe because of frontman John Paul Pitts' little "domestic dispute" SNAFU, Surfer Blood's long-awaited Astro Coast (2010) follow-up is finally nearing release; Pythons is the West Palm Beach band's first album for new label Warner Bros. and will see a nation-wide release during Summer 2013. Surfer Blood quietly unveiled lead single, "Weird Shapes" Monday afternoon, which was uploaded to their website for email subscription/download. Pythons was recorded in Hollywood with producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters), amplified through Pixies guitarist Joey Santaigo's stack, then mixed by Rob Schnapf, and somehow received the Timbaland stamp of approval. Surfer Blood have a few California dates lined up, running from Feb. 24-March 3rd, and wrapping up @ SXSW.

"Weird Shapes" sounds like a sun-soaked Power Pop hybrid between Weezer and Blink-182. I can faintly hear someone shouting, "shaking down, breaking ground/hit the ground" @ the end of each verse, which vaguely reminds me of Fall Out Boy's minor break-out hit, "Saturday" (2003). Pythons will essentially be Surfer Blood's first LP with a new, slightly altered line-up: John Paul Pitts, Thomas Fekete, Tyler "TJ" Schwarz, and Kevin Williams. Marking the departure of founding members Brian Black and Marcos Marchesani, who're hopefully planning to focus full-time on their Noise-Punk [Hardcore] band, WEIRD WIVES.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Manic Monday! Review: Pusha T - "Wrath of Caine" (G.O.O.D. Music x Re-Up Gang)

Pusha T is 1/2 of Clipse, which was basically 2 drug fiends-turned-rappers poetically bragging about their assorted exploits over The Neptunes' glitched out production work. Malice changed his name to No Malice last year, found religion, published a book called "Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind & Naked," and decided to peruse a solo career... Right around the same time that his brother, Pusha T inked a deal with G.O.O.D. Music (2010-11). Under Kanye's frantic direction, he soon released Fear of God [mixtape] and it's re-packaged companion EP, Fear of God II: Let Us Pray. I must admit, while I had a Neptunes phase and really got into Hell Hath No Fury/Til The Casket Drops, I haven't delved too far into Pusha T's solo material. He's also been featured prominently on Kanye's recent projects, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) and label comp. Cruel Summer (2012).

Serving as an audio palate cleanser/teaser for his upcoming debut full-length, My Name Is My Name, Pusha T unleashed Wrath of Caine to The Internet(s) late Monday night. After a few early listens, it sounds like a STELLAR 11-track mixtape; Sound-wise, drawing influence from Reggae-Dancehall, Trap, Prog Rock, Soul, Underground Hip-Hop, G-Funk, etc. Wrath of Caine features previously leaked singles "Blocka," "Millions," and "Only You Can Tell It" as well as guest spots from Rick Ross, Wale, Troy Ave, French Montana Popcaan & Travi$ Scott, Kevin Gates, and Re-Up Gang soldier, Liva. The beats are pulled from a wide variety of mainstream and underground producers: Kanye, The Neptunes, Harry Fraud, !llmind, Young Chop, B!nk, and Jake-One. My Name Is My Name, which I guess gets it's name from The Wire (Season 5), is slated for a rumored March 2013 release.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thirsty & Miserable: Black Flag/"FLAG" Reunite for 2013 Tours!? (Ron Reyes, Keith Morris)

Re-assembling Black Flag without righteous frontman Henry Rollins (1981-86) is like if Ford just suddenly decided to release their 50th anniversary Mustang sans that iconic, silver-plated pony emblem. But I'm sure founding guitarist Greg Ginn thinks differently, which is probably why Rollins isn't being included in EITHER Black Flag reunion. Whether or not Ginn realizes it, Henry Rollins is basically the sheer genesis of Black Flag! ... It was announced late Friday afternoon that 6 of Black Flag's 16+ assorted members are planning to re-form and tour the nation/across the pond as part of 2 separate groups. Greg Ginn, Ron Reyes, "Dale Nixon," and drummer Gregory Moore are playing 3 summer festival dates @ the moment, supposedly putting the "finishing touches on a new album," and are plotting a "BLACK FLAG US Tour Fall 2013." FLAG, on the other hand, includes Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Bill Stevenson, and Stephen Egerton (Descendents) have a string of April-May festival dates booked so far, too. FLAG is planning to announce more dates fairly soon and will play "sets that pull from all eras of Black Flag's history." Shouts to cartoonist Brian Walsby for the awesome "CAN'T DECIDE" (Board Game) artwork, featured up above!

While both Morris and Reyes pre-date Henry Rollins' stint, Black Flag-13's line-up played on the band's second release, Jealous Again EP (1979-80). Damaged is a fan-fucking-tastic early Punk album that kinda changed my life as a rebellious teen, without a doubt still holding a solid spot on my Top 10. Rollins single-handedly changed the face of Hardcore, bridging the gap between East/West Coast scenes. Black Flag somehow managed to work in elements of Heavy Metal, Free Jazz, Breakbeat, Classical music, and even Spoken Word into their subsequent records; Eventually spearheading progressive hybrid genres like Sludge/Doom Metal. 20 years later, Rollins Band collaborated with former Black Flag members Chuck Dukowski, Keith Morris, and Kira Roessler for an infamous covers album benefiting The West Memphis Three, Rise Above (2002). Black Flag has largely been broken up since their sudden 1986 split, aside from short-lived reunions in 2003 and 2010-11. Ron Reyes Band and Greg Ginn played 2-3 tunes together @ Reyes' 50th birthday party/concert (July 2010) and started recording what morphed into new "Black Flag" material with Gregory Moore and "Dale Nixon" soon thereafter. Here's to hoping that Henry Rollins and Ginn will just bury the hatchet, come out of his self-imposed retirement, and miraculously re-appear onstage @ one of the upcoming Black Flag-13/FLAG live dates!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ascending Melody: Dirty Projectors - "Climax" @ Triple J (Usher & Diplo)

I first discovered Brooklyn's premier Indie Rock experimentalists, Dirty Projectors, quite a few years ago; Right around the same time that frontman Dave Longstreth decided to re-record an entire Black Flag record from memory (2007). The band's line-up seems to morph/permeate a little bit with each album and has previously included cats like Angel Deradoorian, Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend), Adam Forkner, and former-drummer Brian McOmber. Dirty Projectors-13's latest line-up consists of Longstreth, Nat Baldwin, Michael Johnson, and the sultry 3-part harmonies of Amber Coffman/Haley Dekle/Jenn Wasner Olga Bell. I guess I'd almost describe their overall sound as some sort of post-Destiny's Child R&B crooning. Case in point: "Stillness Is The Move," which Beyoncé's little sister Solange just so happened to cover, too. I just ordered used copies of Rise Above, Bitte Orca, and Swing Lo Magellan from Amazon and so should you, if you're slackin'!

Dirty Projectors are currently over in Australia, touring behind their latest album, Swing Lo Magellan (2012). Dave Longstreth and the girls stopped by Triple J [radio] on their day off... where they performed a laid-back rendition of Usher's recent Electro-R&B smash, "Climax" as part of the station's notorious Like a Version series. It's mildly reminiscent of their a capella take of "When The World Comes to an End" backstage @ Fallon or breath-taking Roots-assisting album opener, "A Peace of Light." When compared side-by-side against either Usher Raymond's original recording or even Dave Sitek's glitched out remix, Dirty Projector's spirited "Climax" cover really manages to hold it's own! The stripped down 808 drum-based instrumental let's Longstreth/Coffman's smooth, complimentary vocals, which add another layer of depth [emotion], shine through. But check out Dave Longstreth's latest creation, "Hi Custodian," a 20-minute short film and companion piece to Swing Lo Magellan. It's a surreal narrative about life, death, and spiritual re-birth that was inspired by Purple Rain/Runaway, which co-stars his fellow Dirty Projectors in various roles. The film has since been broken down into 4 shorter music videos: "The Socialites," "Swing Lo Magellan," "Offspring Are Blank," and "About to Die."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Momma Said Knock You Out: Single Mothers - "Christian Girls" (Re-mastered)

Single Mothers are a righteous Hardcore Punk band hailing from Ontario, CAN who "broke up in 2009 - and have been playing shows ever since." They had re-formed by 2011 and disbanded again soon thereafter, but released one final EP, Single Mothers 7" (Secret Voice). But it seems like Single Mothers are back in saddle again!; The band's currently hanging out in LA, working on their Hot Charity/Dine Alone full-length with guitarist-producer, Joby J. Ford @ Big Game Lodge Studio. For what it's worth, Single Mothers is the best Hardcore band name since... Athlete's Foot, my non-existant Punk band ha. While it was originally released on Bandcamp roughly 1½ years ago, "Christian Girls" was mysteriously re-uploaded to Soundcloud just 16 days ago. Andrew Thomson, Michael Peterson, Matt Bouchard, and Evan Redsky are headed out on a MASSIVE 37-date "reunion tour" across the US/UK with The Bronx from Feb. 2-March 24th.

"For Single Mothers, bullshit came early. It's members were born throughout Ontario in the late 80's and early 90's, all to lower class families and many to single parent households. Some grew up on native reservations while others were raised by maternal grandparents. Some were the by-products of one-night stands. Some have 20 siblings ... Single Mothers quickly ran through 9 members. Known to fire his entire band outright - which he did in 2009 - and to have 2 different versions of the band existing at the same time, [Andrew] Thomson would simultaneously dissolve the band and keep it going. At one point, the band even continued on without him."

- DINE ALONE (Canada)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Notorious K.I.T.T.Y: kitty timberlake - "R.R.E.A.M." (Wu-Tang Clan?)

I just turned 25 a few months ago, but "Tumblr rappers" like kitty pryde really make me feel like a terribly out-of-touch old man! Thanks to my older cousins, I was raised on a steady diet of Wu-Tang Clan, No Doubt, Beastie Boys, Blink-182, Now #1-5, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Biggie, Sublime, etc. The 20-year-old, freckle-faced songstress manages to shout out "CHEETAH GIRLS, HILLARY DUFF, JUSTIN BIEBER, S-CLUB 7, ATOMIC KITTEN & CLAIRE'S INC." on her Facebook Influences section; AKA a bunch of 90's-bred shit that I'd really be surprised if she was actually influenced by, cause I was about 11 in 1998 (S-Club 7), but maybe. Bottom line, a lot of kitty's [sarcastic] Tumblr-fied inside jokes and punchlines fly right over my head. I guess that 5-year age gap really does make a difference sometimes! Like what's up with all these weird acronyms? - D.A.I.S.Y. Rage EP and R.R.E.A.M. = Rash Rules Everything Around Me. I mean, I get the Wu-Tang "C.R.E.A.M." reference, but WTF is rash!? @kittaveli cryptically Tweeted, "HEY this is my new single about rashes and mean ppl prank calling me" late Wednesday afternoon.

Whatever the case may be, kitty pryde's rapping skills have most def improved by leaps and bounds since haha, i'm sorry EP (Summer 2012). I'd imagine she's had a steady diet of Danny Brown, Wu-Tang Clan, Greedhead, MF DOOM, Britney Spears, and J Dilla since kick-starting her Hip-Hop career last summer, party as a joke gone super-serious. "R.R.E.A.M." is the third and final pre-single pulled from D.A.I.S.Y. Rage EP before it's release (Jan. 31st), right behind "dead island" and "ay shawty" with Lakutis... unless you count "hittin' lix" and "how 2 b a heartbreaker???" (Remix). For what it's worth, it should be noted that pryde also subbed in "Bena-Bena-dryl" instead of Shalolin's CLASSIC "dolla dolla bill" refrain throughout "R.R.E.A.M." In addition to her own NEW material, kitty pryde supposedly laid down a few verses for Danny Brown and LE1F's upcoming projects, Old/Fly Zone; and hopefully something's brewin' between her Twitter BFF's, KREAYSHAWN and Grimes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Talkin' Bout My G-G-Generation:" A Conversation with The Lions' Producer, Guitarist & Founding Member, Dan Ubick (The Witzard Interview)

(1) I read that you've known Peanut Butter Wolf (Chris Manak) for quite a while now. So, what made you sign with Stones Throw after all these years for the joint release of This Generation?

Yeah, I met Wolf back when he started Stones Throw and was still up in San Francisco. He signed a group I played in for 5+ years called Breakestra that my friend Miles Tackett leads. I signed with Stones Throw because Wolf is an artist himself and really believes in the groups he signs. He and the guys at the label put in a ton of time strategizing about how to best help get the band heard by more and more people. I obviously am into that (Laughs), plus they have a great track record and very loyal followers.

(2) For those who aren't exactly familiar with The Lions, would you care to go through each member and their companion instrument/role in the band?

Sure. On drums we have Blake Colie, bass is Dave Wilder, percussion is Dave Chegwidden, organ and piano is Dan Hastie, on guitar is myself and Devin Morrison, on saxophone is Eddie Felix and sometimes James King, and on trombone is David Ralicke (sometimes Kincaid Smith on trumpet instead). Mixing us live has been our friend Bill Wendt [DJ Prophecy], but Steve Kaye mixes our LP’s and does dub mixing for us live whenever he can. On the frontline vocals are; Alex Desert, Malik "The Freq" Moore, Deston Berry, and Black Shakespeare. Deston also plays keys for us live a lot.

(3) You and your fellow 11 Lions bandmates appear/have appeared in countless genre-blending bands including: Big Daddy Kane, Black Eyed Peas, Hepcat, Macy Gray, De La Soul, etc. As a music fan yourself, what are a few of your favourite tracks from those past projects?

All the guys have played with a variety of great artists, so I know between us there are probably tones. Hastie and Sergio did some stuff with Alicia Keys, Ralicke played with Beck for years, Davey did the percussion on Ocean's 13 for David Holmes, Wilder played on Norah Jones' [2009] LP a bit, etc. For me personally, things that I've played on I love? Hmnn.... "Rather Hazy" by Macy Gray, "Song for My Father" on Madlib's Shades of Blue LP, "The Shadow of Leaves" & "Doubledutch" off the first Connie Price & The Keystones LP and "Give a Demonstration (Part 2)" from a 12" on Scion A/V I did with Big Daddy Kane. I believe I'm also on a track on Snoop Lion's new LP, which I'm looking forward to hearing!

(4) Considering that the band is 12 members-deep... I was curious as to how This Generation was recorded; Live-in-studio, separate tracks, through email, etc. What's The Lions' studio set-up/recording situation like? I'd imagine you guys are spread out all over the country, touring and whatnot, too!

Good question, we recorded at Ocean Way. Ha-ha! Just kidding. No, all the basic tracks (drums, bass, organ, or piano and guitars) were recorded to tape at Orgone's Killion Floor Studio in NoHo on the Tascam 388, which has 8 tracks. But Sergio and I use the same tape machine, so when we were done tracking basics and were happy with them, I'd take the reels and dump them into ProTools. From there I'd usually track the vocals, then the horns, then the percussion, etc. up at my studio in Topanga.

(5) In addition to it's CD/digital release, I know that This Generation's being packaged in a special 8-45 box set complete with dub remixes, too. Sounds like some pretty sweet, vintage-looking album packaging. How'd The Lions & Stones Throw come up with all that?

The 45 Box was Wolf's idea, if I remember correctly. Most music in Jamaica came out on 7" so it made perfect sense with what we're trying to pay homage to. 45's when they're not scratched up and when they're pressed on thick vinyl sound amazing, too. Plus if you buy the box set, you get 3-4 dub versions that aren't on the CD!!

(6) Pretty sure I saw a Facebook post the other day looking for extras to participate in the "Roll It 'Round" music video shoot/interactive art gallery"" (party). How'd that go and when might the finished clip see an eventual online release?

The shoot went well, that was last night actually! The crew did a beautiful job decorating the scenes. The director Jon Casey has a really cool vision for the look of the video and seemed happy with the takes he got, so I'll be excited to see what the final edit looks like, I think the turn around will be pretty quick though as I think Stones Throw wants it released before the LP drops on Feb. 26th, so look out on or for it soon!

(7) I was wondering, how did the untimely passing of Hip-Hop legend Adam "MCA" Yauch (Beastie Boys) last year affect you personally, Dan? I've been a die-hard Beasties fan since I was like 10-12 and it almost feels like I lost a close friend; It's definitely an event that'll change the face of Hip-Hop from here on out! Agreed?

I worked at Music Plus (aigh) when I was like 20 or so right when Paul's Boutique came out and still have the circular fish-eye pic promo poster I grabbed from there! Like many out there I'm sure, Paul's Boutique changed the way I thought about music forever. I love what the Beasties achieved and so it's sad just to know that force that they created together is no more. Yauch did so much outside of music, too that benefited the human existence as well with Milarepa. He seemed like a stand-up dude, wish I could have met him.

(8) Which fellow Stones Throw label singers and rappers, past or present, would you ideally like to collaborate with on future recording and why? What are the chances of us seeing any of these "dream collabos" ever come to fruition?

Hmnn...good question. It's always a pleasure working with Madlib and I'd love to see how he'd remix The Lions. Oh No is incredible, J.Rocc of course is a master. As far as singers...Aloe [Blacc] I have loved for years, Mayer Hawthorne. The Stepkids are really cool, too. We've been talking about collab'ing with MC's as well and Stones Throw's cup runneth over in that department, of course...Guilty Simpson, Wildchild, Percee P, etc. It'd be really cool to see if we could pull Quasimoto out of the woodwork at least for one track. So many possibilities. We'll see....

(9) Did any of the tracks selected for your "LIVE FROM W-LION" (podcast #77) influence the record during it's creation? That dreaded lion behind the boards on the podcast's cover is f*cking GREAT, too!

All of The Lions are constantly listening to different stuff, so it's all inspiration. We did that podcast well after the record was done though but Devin and I, who selected the tracks for it, have been digging on those particular cuts for a while. The Nairobi Sisters Dub has been one of my favorites since Cosmo Baker turned me and Dan Hastie onto it a few years back. Jeff Jank at the label did the great artwork for it.

(10) Leading up to This Generation's February 26th release, a handful of The Lions' tracks have appeared in a wide variety of popular films and TV shows (Young Adult, This Means War, Breaking Bad, Burn Notice). Would you care to explain your thought process behind delving into that alternate realm of promotion?

Third party licensing is just part of the game these days. It's good for PR and helps keep things going. With all the younger generation either streaming music or buying mp3's, licensing to film, TV, and video games is one of the only ways to stay in business and be able to continue making music. That and touring, which we hope to be doing a lot of in 2013 once the LP drops.

(11) What are the current where-abouts of Black Shakespeare's i&i Soundsystem (ice cream van), which is featured on This Generation’s cover? Any idea if it's still street legal and running around town?

Oh, it's still running and spreading good vibes. We used it for the album cover obviously as it's part of LA Reggae culture’s make-up at this point. Hoping Shakes and Aurelito will bring it to our LP release party (details TBA)!

(12) What sort of overall message do you ultimately hope to convey with the album title, "This Generation" and what does that phrase really mean to the band?

The song says; "This generation will use the music to fight" and we will fight, but not with guns. We will fight with our words, sound, and power like many before us and rally all those out there that believe in peace, unity, and tolerance (and who love good music!)

(13) This last question's pretty simple, but I think it's necessary to ask: What’s next for The Lions?

It's all sort of coming in as we speak, but it looks like some good stuff; SXSW in March is looking like it's gonna happen. We also just finished a really cool version of THE CLASH's "Magnificent Dance" for a Clash tribute LP that's coming out mid-year via Spain's Liquidator Music (Ernie B's will carry it, I think!). Check in at OR www.TheLionsReggae for updates!

BONUS: (14) I was just listening to This Generation on my computer while I was editing together our interview...and I stumbled upon your Van Halen cover, "Jamie's Cryin.'" Wow, what a beautifully-executed cover, my friend! Would you be oh so kind to walk us through it's conception, players on the track, and why you chose that particular 80's Metal tune?

Thanks man, glad you like it! Well, I have always been a huge Van Halen fan but mostly for their great songwriting. Most people focus on Edward [Van Halen]'s incredible technique on the guitar (which is amazing of course), but I always just liked their hooks and style when David Lee Roth was in the band. Michael Anthony and Eddie's backing vocals were always so hip and Alex [Van Halen]'s drumming is super funky in a Rock kind of way. They were just absolutely crushing things in the late 70's/early 80's, nobody knew what hit them.

Anyway, music is music to me and I'm always just exploring, looking for good chord sequences in everything...whether it's Hard Rock, Soul, Country, Classical, whatever it's classified as. "Jamie's Cryin'" is a classic early VH song that if you strip off the production of the original, is just some classic Soul changes. Once I thought about the arrangement and how Alex, Malik and Deston could do it in three-part harmony, I set up a session to try basic tracks for it. I thought it turned out really good and hope Diamond Dave is inspired to do some splits or Kung-Fu moves to our version (Laughs).

- Thanks a million, Dan! I really appreciate you taking some time out to answer my questions! Best of luck with promotion, sales, and touring behind the record, man!.. Make sure to go pick up a copy of The Lions' Stones Throw debut, This Generation, when it's released nation-wide Feb. 26th, my friends!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bikini's & Big Booties... Harmony Korine Presents: "Spring Breakers" (Trailer #1)

Spring Breakers seems like one of those Pop Culture-ragging statement piece/art films that NO ONE's gonna get, which'll likely get dismissed as yet another alcohol-soaked PARTY flick. Having directed a handful of "cult classic" status short films and music videos for everyone from Die Antwoord to The Black Keys, Harmony Korine is finally attempting to bridge the gap between independent semi-success and mainstream recognition. After months of post-Cannes Internet buzz, Spring Breakers first full-length trailer was unleashed late Friday afternoon. It's primary cast includes former Disney starlets Selena Gomez & Vaness Hudgens, James Franco, Gucci Mane, Ashley Benson, and his wife Rachel. Some of Harmony Korine's past work(s) encompass Gummo, Kids, Above The Below, Mister Lonely, and The Fourth Dimension.

It all starts when "Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a [drug-dealing rapper] who wants them to do some dirty work." While the trailer's pretty brief, we still manage to catch a glimpse of a corn-rowed James Franco, Day-Glo bikini's galore, gun-toting hotties, ski-masked armed robbery, a sloppy Britney Spears cover, an original Skrillex/Gucci Mane score, etc. Like the bulk of Harmony Korine's past work, Spring Breakers has an eerie underlying sinister tone juxtaposed against youth rebellion; It's set to ROCK theatres nation-wide come March 22nd, which'll probably inspire college co-eds to commit debaucherous acts and upset Dr. Phil, Maury, and your mom!

Friday, January 18, 2013

VICE Records Presents: SAMUEL L. BRONSON? - "Larry Csonka" (New Zealand)

Action Bronson has quickly risen through the ranks of [New School] Hip-Hop since releasing his Indie debut album, Dr. Lecter (2011), partially due to his charismatic personality and sheer rapping skills. He managed to produce 2 of last year's best mixtape collections with Rare Chandeliers/Blue Chips. Even though he semi-recently inked a major label deal with VICE Records, Bronson still manages to keep his good ol' Internet hits in regular rotation, too; Artsy Films shot live footage of Action Bronson performing "Larry Csonka" @ San Francisco Bath House (New Zealand) from last Friday, Jan. 11th.

It's really the kinda thing that makes you slightly re-evaluate your life and ask yourself, "Why the fuck haven't I been to an Action Bronson show yet!?" The top chef-turned-rapper aimlessly navigates his way through the wall-to-wall packed Wellington, NZ venue, mic and milkshake in hand... as fans [sloppily] attempt to pass him blunts, beer, a baseball cap, lace panties, and even a vacuum-sealed steak! In addition to his 2013 VICE Records full-length, Action Bronson's pretty busy working on a few mixtapes, too: Mr. Wonderful, Saab Stories, and Blue Chips #2, which're each fully produced by Tommy Mas, Harry Fraud, and Party Supplies (respectively).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

19th Nervous Breakdown: Pissed Jeans - "Cathouse" (Milkboy Studios)

Pissed Jeans are probably the most sobering, un-Rock "N" Roll Hardcore [Noise-Rock] band since like... Straight Edge pioneers, Minor Threat/Fugazi. Weasel-voiced frontman Matt Korvette is an insurance claims adjuster by day, for Christ's sake! "Bathroom Laughter" and "Cathouse" (released Monday) chronicle relate-able, everyday mis-doings that the average Middle American can easily relate to; I mean, we're talking about "crippling pert allergies," hallway screaming/kitchen crying, a "blistering fear of going to the doctor," and unrequited rhapsody with saucy women. "Cathouse" is most likely gonna be our last FREEBIE 'til Sub Pop drops the band's fourth studio album, Honeys, this upcoming Feb. 12th. Former Japanther director/graphic artist, Joe Stakun supposedly made [filmed] a music video for the band, which @PissedJeans' Twitter feed says should be unleashed to The Inter-web sometime during February, too. Heads up, if you live in the Tri-State area, Pissed Jeans are playing a record release show @ Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill)!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Insensitive Hip-Hop?: Sean Price - "The Genesis of The Omega" (Ruck Down)

On some REAL levels, the only emcees that could/should even attempt to lyrically out-rap Sean Price are Action Bronson, Raekwon, and Ghostface. After while, they'd probably have to somehow channel and combine their skills into one MASSIVE "sonic punch," which still wouldn't even make a dent! What I'm trying to say is that Sean Price is a FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC, criminally under-rated rapper, who's well-respected by Hip-Hop heads, Illuminati and critics alike. Price spreads a thick layer of clever, buttery smooth rapid-fire verses across his latest full-length, Mic Tyson. Honestly, it's a surprisingly short 15-track Hip-Hop album that clocks in @ just under 38 minutes. But even in a 2-3 minute time frame/track, 40-year-old Sean Mandela still manages to conjure up aggressive rhyme schemes that would easily knock out [scare away] almost any run-of-the-mill rapper.

Eccentric hood rich Hip-Hop blogger BIG GHOST fittingly describes your typical Mic Tyson fan as "muthafuckas who sniff battery acid n brush they teeth wit bleach," amongst other zany attributes ha. Now, we're talking about a record that effortlessly manages to name-check Hanna-Barbera, Malachi York, Ronald McDonald, Richard Bey, Ving Rhames, Soloman Grundy, Heatmiser, etc. in roughly 20+ minutes! "The Genesis of The Omega" [beginning of the end], Mic Tyson's opening track is laid over a hard-hitting Prog Rock beat that The Alchemist pulled from a band called Ananta (1978). Sean Price laces it up with simple, yet effective one-two punch wordplay; It's hard to pick favourite tracks here cause they're all so Goddamn strong, but "Genesis" is one Hell of a memorable album intro! Todd Angkasuwan directed a creepy companion music video that features an axe-wielding, flannel-clad Sean Price in the woods with a bound, tied, and gagged blonde chick ... Duck Down/Red Bull released a bunch of highly amusing clips leading up to Mic Tyson's October 30th release date: Ace of The Baseline (Tennis), Reviews Twilight, Sean-wuar vs. Pharoahe Monch, Hurricane Sandy, Painting with Sean Ross, and How Sean P! Stole Christmas.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Call It a Comeback!: Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z "Suit & Tie" (Timbaland)

Justin Timberlake makes the kind of music that's supposed to help you get laid; Let's call it "baby-making music," for lack of a better term. But JT has spent the bulk of last 6-7 years since his last album, Future Sex/Love Sounds (2006) doing damn-near everything besides writing/recording music: re-launching MySpace, sharpening his acting chops, launched a designer clothing line, recorded a few seriously good comedy tracks, and just being charming in general. During his time off, Justin Timberlake managed to record vocals for a gaggle of hits and misses for his musical friends' albums, too... 50 Cent, Jimmy Fallon, [The] Game, Ciara, The Lonely Island, T.I. Madonna, Timbaland, Duran Duran, Diddy-Dirty Money, Talib Kweli, Rihanna, and Chris Cornell? Timberlake finally took the plunge and "wifed up" his long-time on-again-off-again girlfriend, Jessica Biel @ a private ceremony back in October 2012.

Following nearly a solid week's-worth of teasers/rumors, Justin Timberlake unleashed his BRAND NEW single, "Suit & Tie" just before 12 midnight Jan. 13-14th. It was released online along with a lengthy open letter to his fans, which likely positions his third album, The 20/20 Experience for a tentative mid-late 2013 release. Timbaland's unsurprisingly smooth, horn-laden production gradually progresses and switches tempo leading up to the 6-minute mark. Timberlake promises to show the lucky lady in question "a few things... about love" until about 3/4's of the way through, when the beat slows up for Jay-Z's laid-back flow. I can't seem to find the interview online anymore; But I guess HOV was originally supposed to appear on Future Sex/Love Sounds, sessions which were ultimately cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. While "Suit & Tie" probably isn't the most down-right Funky thing Justin Timberlake has to offer, it definitely proves that he's still got it and should keep fans happy until The 20/20 Experience hits shelves later this year.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

$800 Polo with No Logo: OG Dutch Master - "Raw Dope" (Fiona Apple)

First off, I have to give credit where credit is due: Thanks, Mishka Bloglin for turning me onto OG Dutch Master this weekend! (shouts to David C.) Before even hearing a lick of his music, I was almost instantly reminded of Golden Age Hip-Hop household names like Grandmaster Flash, Biz Markie, Digital Underground, Puff Daddy, Run-D.M.C. etc. based solely off that goofy/AWESOME stage name. There's very little background info online to go along with OG Dutch Master's currently brief discography. But the East Baltimore native's roughly 19-20 and rolls with 7th Floor Villains [LL7FV]. It basically sounds like the "desert island" playlist for a recovering 90's Hip-Hop absorbed Hipster 20-something, ha.

OG Dutch Master's latest output, "Raw Dope" was released right around DOOMSDAY Dec. 21st and features a vocal riff pulled from Fiona Apple's comeback single, "Every Single Night" (2012). Up-and-coming producer Mohlz is essentially The Neptunes/RZA to OG Dutch Master's throwback Pusha T meets Wu-Tang Clan infused cadence. This guy's career is definitely going places in 2013 and he's already got a few co-signs from his peers - A$AP Mob, Chase N Cashe, and Spaceghostpurrp. Hard-hitting jam "Raw Dope," which was co-directed by OG Dutchy & Nic'DaViL7, and "PSA" might appear somewhere on his rumored Art of War mixtape/project that's tentatively slated for a 1/30/13 release.

Are You Experienced?: Frank Ocean, Big Boi & André 3000 - "Pink Matter" (OutKast Remix)

While Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2003) was a great album, it kinda seems more like 2 re-packaged solo albums, rather than a cohesive collection of Southern Hip-Hop. In my eyes, OutKast effectively "broke up" after the release of Idlewild [film-soundtrack] around 2006 and they've just been fucking with us all these years since, making empty promises of a long-delayed new album. That was most likely the original post-Speakerboxxx/Love Below plan: Big Boi solo album, followed by an André 3000 record, and then finally, an album full of new OutKast tunes. Now, Big Boi has whole-heartedly kept his promise unleashing Purple Ribbon All-Stars, Sir Lucious Left Foot, and Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors back-to-back since about 2005! Meanwhile, André 3000 has kept busy doing pretty much everything BUT rapping... cartoon shows, selling Gillette razors, acting roles, random left-field remixes, etc. But André 3000 was in fact featured on "Royal Flush" (2008), which Jive/LaFace Records subsequently had removed from Sir Lucious Left Foot due to conflicting contractual agreements.

Looks like Odd Future's resident R&B crooner, Frank Ocean managed to facilitate a pseudo-OutKast reunion to kick 2013 A.D. off with a BANG! André 3000 originally appeared on "Pink Matter" from Ocean's critically-acclaimed debut from last year, channel ORANGE. I guess both André 3000 & Big Boi were supposed to appear on the track outta the gates, but "Dre didn't want an OutKast record coming out on anybody [else's] LP." It seems that after hearing his old pal's apologetic verse on that new T.I. track, "Sorry," Big Boi finally came around and started penning an appended verse. Now, just nearly 2 short weeks later, we have "Pink Matter" (OutKast Remix), which Big Boi uploaded to his Soundcloud page over the weekend. While it isn't really the proper OutKast reunion die-hard fans have been patently waiting to hear ... Big Boi & André 3000 sound pretty great rapping back-to-back, juxtaposed against John Mayer's[?] Funky guitar lick! I kinda feel like OutKast's repeatedly "shelved" seventh studio album is either never going to be released or just appear outta the blue one day; So, stay tuned and keep your eyes/ears peeled, my friends!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Burning Down The House: Just Blaze - "BEHOLD! (Exhibit J)" _ Rough Draft

Shouts to critically-acclaimed Hip-Hop producer, Just Blaze for bravely stepping into unknown, spray tan-glazed new territory; His latest genre-blending masterpiece, "BEHOLD! (Exhibit J)" was released online Wednesday afternoon. While it may come to a surprise to quite a few Hip-Hop heads, Just Blaze has been fucking around with House music for a little under 10 years now. While he wasn't producing countless hits for Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Saigon, Busta Rhymes, and Jay Electronica... he managed to sneak in a few Hip-House influenced tracks: Cajmere Remix, Joe Budden - "Pump It Up," unreleased Rah Digga, and "Exhibit G, F & P" [Guido Fist Pump].

It sounds like Just Blaze ran into Fool's Gold label-head/resident DJ, A-Trak @ a holiday party a few years back, who's now gearing up to unleash his debut House EP. "Exhibit J" is a rough, NEAR[LY] FINAL cut that won't be featured on the EP, but you get the idea. Just Blaze dipped into his own backcatalog and pulled out a piano sample from Jay Electronica's criminally under-rated "Exhibit C" (2009). "Big shout to JFKMSTRKRFT and ST MANDREW. more to come soon.. very soon." Make sure to catch Just Blaze on tour across North America with fellow Mad Decent Bass DJ and rumored collaborator, Baauer Jan. 24-Feb. 16th!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hit Me, Baby... One More Time: Iceage - "Coalition" (You're Nothing, Denmark)

While I think my overall musical tastes are pretty cultured and broad-spanning/sound, I must admit that I'm not too keen on current world music. Honestly, when I hear "World Music," what first comes to mind is African Tribal drums, Middle Eastern Acid Rock, Swedish Pop, Mariachi, and South African jam bands. I'm vaguely familiar with Asian Jazz-Fusion, Grime, bagpipe-led Celtic Punk, and Finnish/Norwegian Death Metal. When I first got my learner's permit [license] back in high school, my buddy Ryan and I were driving all over New Jersey, searching for terribly assembled D.I.Y. Punk shows @ dirty VFW halls and seedy hole-in-the-wall bars/clubs. 1970-80's Hardcore Punk is generally associated with it's formative New York, California, and UK scenes... But I guess we, myself included, tend to forget that there are rebellion-fueled, aggressive, socially awkward teens all over the world! Somehow, throughout my 10-12 year relationship with Punk Rock, I've only just recently stumbled upon "worldly" Hardcore bands like Refused (Sweden) and Iceage (Denmark).

Refused have broken up, re-formed, and broken up (again) since their mid-90's "reign of terror." But Iceage on the other hand, are a band of 20-something Danish Punks prepping the release of their second album, since initially forming in 2008. You're Nothing (Matador) is the follow-up to New Brigade and their proper state-side debut. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Dan Kjær Nielsen, and Johan Wieth's ages range from about 19-22 ... and the band's shows are supposedly a bloody AWESOME mess! Iceage unleashed a hard-hitting sample from the album, "Coalition," late Tuesday afternoon; It's a fast-paced sex-fueled romper, but trust me, it bears no resemblance whatsoever to Ke$ha or Britney Spears' promiscuous exploits ha. Iceage are headed out on a MASSIVE 26-date tour across America, which'll run from Jan. 24-May 30th. They'll be making a stop @ Fist Unitarian Church [Philly] on April 19th, roughly 2 months after You're Nothing's slated Feb. 19th world-wide release.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Appetite for Destruction: kitty pryde & Major Lazer - "dead island" (D.A.I.S.Y. EP)

"It's some random butt-head who told me if I wanted to use his song, I'd have to rip it off Soundcloud myself, so I did..." kitty pryde exclaimed when one of her trusty Twitter Followers asked who produced her #BRANDNEW track. "Dead Island" is pryde's latest stand-alone release, which pulls a sampled drum lick from "Pon de Floor" (Major Lazer) and also has a pretty iced-out STEAMCLAM-directed music video to go along with it. kitty pryde's a Daytona Beach, FL 20-something[?] who's currently prepping the release of her new EP, D.A.I.S.Y. Rage, that should be out online later this month. kitty pryde's cadence and rapping skills seem to have seriously improved since she unleashed haha, i'm sorry.

But let's face it, kitty pryde's just a goofy/socially awkward/love-struck teenager who simply raps about what she knows best... she won't be on the same level as Missy Elliott or Jay-Z any time soon, but that kind of lyrical wordplay just takes sheer time and life experience to conjure up. I bet I, or any of us really, would've rapped about pointless high school shit as well, if we had that level of Rap superstar-dom @ that tender, awkward age. Right!? kitty pryde supposedly laid down a few verses for Danny Brown and LE1F's upcoming projects, too. I'm almost expecting her 2 recent Bandcamp Loosies, "how 2 b a heartbreaker???" (Remix) and "hittin' lix" to re-appear in some sort of altered form on D.A.I.S.Y. Rage EP.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Extraordinary SWAG & a Mouth Full of Gold:" A$AP Rocky - LONGLIVEA$AP (Early Review)

Depending on who you ask, LONGLIVEA$AP is easily the most progressive/digressive Hip-Hop album of the last 5-10 years! A$AP Rocky sprinkles in stylistic touches [musical nods] to Public Enemy's youthful rebellion, Wu-Tang Clan's expert swordsmen-ship, Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right to Party" mentality, and Kanye's worldly fashion sense throughout the record. While it leaked back in early December nearly a full month a head of it's impending Jan. 15th release date, it's the sheer power of featured rappers and producers that's either gonna make or break the eventual fate of LONGLIVEA$AP. Shit, almost 1/2 of the album's rapping friends are housed on 2 MASSIVE posse cuts, "F*ckin' Problems" and "1 Train:" Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Drake, Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T. and 2 Chainz. Florence [-The Machine], Gunplay, Pharrell, Gucci Mane, and Waka Flocka's assorted talents are all evenly spread across 5 bonus tracks.

I'm guessing A$AP Rocky must've made some serious phone calls, cause he managed to rope in beats from all across the Hip-Hop spectrum, Cloud Rap-Dubstep? We're talking heavy-hitters like Clams Casino, Hit-Boy, Noah "40" Shebib, Emile (Kid Cudi), Danger Mouse, and Skrillex! "Wild for The Night" was recorded on a whim @ Skrillex's home studio one night after a WILD rave/show, the track's a great mid-album break, and it's most likely genre-blending single #4. LONGLIVEA$AP does what any great debut album should. I mean, it's solid Hip-Hop through and through... But Rocky really manages to show his versatility as a young rapper artist: hanging out with Grammy-winning Indie Rockers, KILLING Boom-Bap 808 beats, crafting "Jersey Shore"-ready EDM bangers, etc. If you're looking for some introspective [Conscious] Hip-Hop, you're in the wrong place; But this is one Hell of a weekend PARTY-starting record that'll most def make Sony/Polo Grounds Music back that reported $3 million advance ha.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chateau Marmont Presents?: Death Grips - "Come up and get me" (silent short film)

Man, Death Grips had one Hell of a 2012: signing and ultimately getting dropped from Epic Records, released 2 full-length albums, made an interactive "I've Seen Footage" video for MTV, teamed up with Galen Pehrson/MOCA for an art project, leaked a few private e-mails, etc. Despite [or maybe because of] all the controversy, The Money Store and NO LOVE DEEP WEB are definitely worth a couple highly attentive, aggression-filled listens. Looks like Zach Hill & MC Ride decided to start 2013 with an Internet-shaking BANG... "Come up and get me" (short film). It's a 13-minute black-and-white, 3/4's silent film/music video clip that was filmed @ Hollywood's infamous Chateau Marmont. "Come up and get me"'s hard-hitting audio track doesn't even kick in til around 9 minutes deep and the rest stars Stefan Burnett [Ride] as a "leading man," of sorts.

Hill & Burnett filmed a bunch of self-directed footage while the band spent nearly 2 months @ the swanky $435/night hotel, hatching their master-plan to leak NO LOVE DEEP WEB; It's one of the more commercial-sounding track from Death Grips' catalog - Well, as soft as tunes from a Hardcore Hip-Hop record with a dick on the cover can get ha! NO LOVE DEEP WEB is slightly less abrasive-sounding, but somehow a little more mainstream @ the same time, reminiscent of EDM or Glitch-Hop. The rugged "Come up and get me" short film is chock-full of strange stock reel inter-spliced between chilling footage of MC Ride generally acting a fool: fully clothed in the shower, lounging in a chair on a bed, violently eating flowers, hanging from the ceiling, dripping... Zach Hill flailing around chained up under water, rapping in a fur coat, Kim Kardashian, old boxing matches, etc. Death Grips' 2 2012-spun efforts, The Money Store and NO LOVE DEEP WEB are now available online. But I must admit, I'm still pretty partial to their EXCELLENT sample-heavy, Indie blog-shattering mixtape, Ex-military (2011).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Martin Had a Dream... Kendrick Lamar - "Backseat Freestyle" (Black Hippy)

It took Kanye nearly 5 album's time to write something as densely-layered and reflective as Dark Twisted Fantasy. But Kendrick Lamar managed to achieve equally revealing results on his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d. city (if you don't count #Section.80, Overly Dedicated, or Kendrick Lamar EP) that quite honestly, rivals even Mr. West's seasoned talents! What Lamar ended up penning is a semi-autobiographical tale based around his childhood, growing up on the "mean streets" of Compton. good kid, m.A.A.d. city's stone cold grizzly narrative briefly touches on slingin' dope, money, bitches, pizza, freestyling, bloodshed, etc.

"Backseat Freestyle" is easily my favourite [non-]single pulled from the instantly CLASSIC album; Kendrick Lamar weaves a crazy/AWESOME tall-tale that's partially about a neighborhood chick with a fat ass, Sherane, and compares his manhood to the structural integrity of The Eiffel Tower. Lamar took the reigns and self-directed "Backseat Freestyle"'s black-and-white music video clip along with Dave Free and Jerome D. [Hurd] on location across Compton/Paris. Believe it or not, the footage just might be re-used as part of a larger good kid, m.A.A.d. city album-length short film project... which is rumored to be co-starring either Janet Jackson or Taraji P. Henson. good kid, m.A.A.d. city un-surprisingly topped a shit-ton of reputable "year end" album lists and needless to say, it's available @ a local record store near you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You're Living All Over Me: California X - "Spider X/Pond Rot" (Don Giovanni)

I usually try to stray away from conjuring up those vague, strangely obtrusive analogies to describe what a band "sounds like." But here's one for good ol' time's sake: Black Flag/Dinosaur Jr./Motörhead. Now, that's a pretty damn accurate description of Amherst, Mass' very own California X's scuzzy brand of guitar-driven Garage Punk/Rock; Lemmy, Dan & "Cool" (guitar-bass-drums) also incorporate stylistic touches of Rock "N" Roll, which sound similar to The Stooges and Foo Fighters. The band's self-titled [untitled] full-length, California X, is out on Don Giovanni this upcoming January 15th. It's the follow-up to their Damage 45, "Sucker/Mummy" from early 2012 and overall, they're describing it as "noisy 80's Western Mass. Rock, fuzzy 90's Garage Pop, and classic Post-Hardcore SST sounds."

While California X and their crew are currently cutting together a SCARY final edit of "Pond Rot," I've included the B-movie Horror-esque clip for "Mummy" up above. California X definitely took a page or 2 from hometown heroes, Dinosaur Jr.'s hand-written Grunge/Alternative Rock playbook when penning the album's lead-off single, "Pond Rot." Even though it was secretly uploaded to YouTube roughly 2 weeks ago, "Spider X" is an undeniably catchy Sludge Rock thumper! If it's any sort of testament to California X's likeability and sheer greatness... I randomly stumbled upon "Spider X" @ like 2:30am last night while perusing Pitchfork's Tracks section, was almost INSTANTLY hooked, and now I can't wait for California X to come out! Oh yeah, make sure you listen all the way through til the track's last 15-20 seconds for a cool little hidden musical nugget.