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 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!