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!

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.


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!