Sunday, June 30, 2013

Matangi, Indie Hip-Hop Chinese Democracy: M.I.A. - "Bring The Noize" (Interscope?)


Matangi is slowly but surely becoming the Chinese Democracy of Indie Hip-Hop; Initially delayed from December 2012 to January to April 15th and then seemingly shelved due to what they're calling an excess of positivity ha. M.I.A. was supposedly told by her label, Interscope that "[she needed] to darken it up a bit" (Gold Coast). "Bring The Noize," sadly no relation to the similarly-named Public Enemy/Anthrax track, is M.I.A.'s first proper single since earning a Grammy nomination with "Bad Girls" (2012), which will most likely end up re-appearing on Matangi. It's companion music video casts M.I.A. as a slightly more ethnic-looking hot pink-haired "Barbie Girl" who anymore, I think sounds a lot like Die Antwoord's sharp-tongued frontwoman, Yo-Landi Vi$$er. Based off it's opening scenes, "Bring The Noize" kinda looks like one of those now infamous early 2000's P. Diddy-orchestrated all-white-everything parties.


M.I.A.'s festivities however resemble an access-only underground London rave inter-spliced with footage of various action shots, a mysterious "healing" dry ice smoke, and scenes of a gorgeous-looking, pink-haired M.I.A. ferociously spitting rhymes. You might have also noticed a few strange gold-plated scenes towards the end, which M.I.A. has since expanded upon since "Bring The Noize"'s initial release with a secondary "Matangi Gold Edition" music video. Matangi is rumored to feature production work from former-G.O.O.D. Music beatsmith Hit-Boy, So Japan, Danja, Switch, and Surkin, amongst others; The album still lacks a solid release date, but let's hope that the combined online success of "Bad Girls" and "Bring The Noize" prompts Interscope to finally unleash Matangi into the world!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Return to The 36 Chambers: Joey Bada$$ - "95 til Infinity" (Summer Knights EP)




While no one else seems to have really noticed it, I think Joey Bada$$ sounds a Hell of a lot like Wu-Tang Clan's long-deceased Mad Hatter of an expert swordsmen, Ol' Dirty Bastard aka Dirt McGirt aka Big Baby Jesus aka Dirt Dog (ODB). Honestly, that's the first thing I thought after I heard Bada$$ enter the stage immediately after Action Bronson at the XXL Freshmen 2013 Tour's Philly stop about 2 weeks ago. The 18-year-old rapper eventually ended by flanked by his Wu-Tang-sized Pro Era posse, which I'm sure includes it's own 90's Hip-Hop-obsessed, new age versions of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Redman, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, and the remaining "Shaolin" by way of Staten Island emcees.


Joey Bada$$ is currently prepping the release of his first widely-publicized mixtape since 1999, Summer Knights EP for a July 1st unveiling; Bada$$ did however release 2 smaller projects since breakthrough 1999 (2012), a collection of left-overs fittingly titled Rejex and a Killabeez-style group album with Pro Era, P.E.E.P: The aPROcalypse between Sept-Dec. 2012. Summer Knights has been preceded by 3 meticulously leaked singles: "Amethyst Rockstar," "95 til Infinity," and "Word Is Bond." Pitchfork reports that Summer Knights EP will feature production work from The Alchemist, Oddisee, Statik Selektah, Kirk Knight, DOOM, Lee Bannon, and Chuck Strangers. Self-directed by Joey Bada$$ himself, who's credited here as oG $wank, "95 til Infinity" essentially showcases a bunch of Pro Era-related hi-jinx, while walking around their collective stomping grounds of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Joe Stakun Presents: Pissed Jeans & Braden Overett - "Romanticize Me" (Sub Pop)


Although he largely retired from competitive figure skating around 2009-10, Braden Overett has decided to make a comeback, of sorts... call it a "blaze of glory" by way of Pissed Jeans new Joe Stakun-directed music video, "Romanticize Me." While the phrases Hardcore Punk and figure skating don't exactly line up, Stanuk makes it work much better than I could've (n)ever imagined; Upon announcing his retirement nearly 4 years ago, Overett penned an insightful article for USFS SKATING magazine, which blatantly laments, "In my mind, I was different... When I was done, it would either be because I had won the Olympics 19 times and broken all possible world records. I would have reached the pinnacle of sports fame, driving a different exotic car every day of the week and buying small countries with my 900 bazillion dollars. Or, I'd walk into the rink one day and there would be a giant neon sign reading: "Braden Overett's Retiring Today!" as though it were the day fate assigned me to launch myself whole-heartedly into my next great adventure. Guess what? None of that happened." Extremely well said, if I say so myself!


Braden Overett's Pigf*ck-tinged hybrid "Romanticize Me" skating routine is so well done, that you almost INSTANTLY forget that you weren't ever really into bedazzled figure skating routines, until about 30 seconds ago ha. But I mean, Pissed Jeans seem like a group of fairly well-traveled, cultured men and if you look close enough, director Joe Stakun has included 4 headshots of the band members right above the "Information Center." Overett is initially introduced as a Zamboni-riding ice rink janitor with pipe dreams of becoming a world class figure skater. Yeah, I'm not even gonna front and pretend like I'm even vaguely familiar with a bunch of skating terms and fancy tricks... But Braden Overett's definitely kicking, spinning, nailing mid-air splits, skating backwards, and righteously shreddin' all over the blank ice canvas. Notorious Seattle-based label Sub Pop released Pissed Jeans latest album, Honeys at the top of the year and man, it's an adult angst-filled, 12-fingered punch to the face! I was lucky enough to see Pissed Jeans live at an incredibly shitty hole-in-the-wall venue/bar in South Philly back in the winter-time with my buddy Jay Morroni; Needless to say, it was easily the most enjoyable Hardcore show I've seen in 10+ years!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's Like a Fresh Start On a New World: El-P & Killer Mike - "Run The Jewels" (Fool's Gold)




Since voluntarily self-dissolving his long-functioning Hip-Hop label Def Jux around February 2010, El-P has somehow managed to release 3 full-length records over a 2 year span, straying away from his previous crippling album/5 years pattern. Run The Jewels is actually El-P's first proper album with close friend and fellow veteran rapper, Killer Mike; It's Proto-Rap that pays homage to Hip-Hop's "golden era" and even lifts it's boastful group name from a old school LL Cool J track, "Cheesy Rat Blues" (1990). Preceded by 3 equally glitched-out teaser singles: "Banana Clipper," "Get It," and Adult Swim-backed "36" Chain," Run The Jewels [album] was uploaded to Fool's Gold Records early Wednesday morning (June 26th) for FREE download. But for diehard record collectors like myself, Fool's Gold has also pressed up a limited number of specially-designed 2xLP/T-shirts/herb grinder/standard CD sets available for a very reasonable price.


While Run The Jewels is far from a feature-heavy project, El-P & Killer Mike still managed to phone in a few powerful guest spots: UK singer-producer Until The Ribbon Breaks, super-producer Prince Paul (De La Soul), and former Dungeon Family general Big Boi. It's more or less a care-free and less politically-charged affair in stark contrast with El-P & Killer Mike's slightly more serious, collectively gloomy past work(s); "Five tracks in and so far, Run The Jewels is a real good soundtrack for feeling pretty good about the world," Tom Breihan cheerfully Tweeted, so I guess it shows! Maybe it's a little early to go ahead and crown a Record of The Year and all... But I think Run The Jewels is already amongst the top of the class for 2013's strongest albums (so far), right alongside modern day Industrial-Rap masterpiece Yeezus. Anyways, if you aren't convinced by now, maybe you should just go ahead and get back to that One Direction CD ha. But for those that can hang and self-admittedly enjoy the finer things in life, see if you can track down a 6-pack of Run The Jewels x Goose Island's micro-brewed pale ale!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fool's Gold Records Presents: Duck Sauce - "It's You" (QUACK IS BACK!)


Super-producers/DJ's A-Trak & Armand Van Helden (together Megazord-ing as Duck Sauce) finally unleashed their latest, long-awaited video-single, "It's You." Throughout their short career, Duck Sauce have previously been miscast as a 70's Soul-Funk group, hairy human genitalia, and Barbara Streisand enthusiasts; Their short and sweet output includes "aNYway," Greatest Hits EP, "Barbara Streisand," "Big Bad Wolf," and I'd personally like to think an unconfirmed full-length. A-Trak & Armand Van Helden recently teamed up with director Philip Andelman to conjure up an interesting music video for "It's You." Building off it's underlying ol' timey barber shop quartet vibe, "It's You" enlists Duck Sauce as 2 sharp-edged barbers in a parlor where the hairdos, patrons' eyeballs, barber chairs, etc. all move in sync with the glitched-out track. Here's a few of my favourite highlights, which shouldn't really ruin anything: that little afro-man cuttin' a rug, #5 on the haircut poster, and "Mr. Disco Ball Afro," and our Day-Glo dreaded Jamaican friends! "It's You" was coincidentally released today, June 25th, on iTunes and Beatport, compliments of Republic/Fool's Gold Records.

We're Making an Album About Nothing: Wale & Jerry Seinfeld - "Outro About Nothing" (The Gifted)


It's about damn time that Jerry Seinfeld (AKA "Jerry Seinfeld" of Seinfeld fame) linked up with DC emcee and self-proclaimed super-fan Wale, who's already released 2 Seinfeld-themed projects, The Mixtape About Nothing and More About Nothing (2008-10). Propelled by Mrs. Seinfeld's love for Hip-Hop, the comedian-rapper team are supposedly working on a full-length collaboration that's been ingeniously dubbed, "The Album About Nothing." While that one's presumably still in-the-works, Wale's new Rick Rubin/Maybach Music Group-backed album, The Gifted, is in stores today, June 25th; some footage culled from the recording sessions for it's closing track, "Outro About Nothing," leaked mid-Monday afternoon. Filmed in stark black-and-white, it's essentially just an average conversation between Wale & Jerry Seinfeld recorded between takes, which employs Seinfeld's dry sense of humor. The Gifted houses a wide array of features submitted by everyone from Rihanna to Juicy J, and still utilizes a strong DC Go-Go influence, much like Wale's previous formative work(s).

Monday, June 24, 2013

5-Track Album Review: Transplants - "In a Warzone" (Tim Timebomb & Friends)


It's almost hard to believe that Transplants have already been a band for the better part of 13 years; Initially forged as Tim Armstrong's experimental Rancid side-project with roadie-turned-rapper and aspiring Punk Rock frontman "Skinhead Rob" Aston, Transplants soon recruited seasoned Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, rather than continuing to use pre-recorded ProTools drum loops. Their overall sound is a mildly weird hybrid of Hardcore Punk, Hip-Hop, Reggae (Dub), Drum-N-Bass, and an underlying Pop sensibility. During a lengthy 8-year long gap between Haunted Cities (2005) and this year's In a Warzone, Rancid remained fairly active as always, Blink-182 broke up and re-formed, Aston worked with his [other] D-beat Punk band Death March, and Armstrong released an album and singles/covers series as "Tim Timebomb." But with that said, In a Warzone is a pretty straight-forward Hardcore album, sans Bun B and Paul Wall features, of course ha. I was lucky enough to get an early pre-release vinyl copy of the album, ahead of it's Tuesday June 25th release, at the co-headlining Rancid/Transplants show at the Electric Factory (Philly) this past Saturday night; It was an unbelievably great show, granted my buddy Jeremy and I left the sold-out venue drenched in a bunch of smelly mosh pit rejected strangers' sweat.


Album opener "In a Warzone" is a righteous call to arms that's shouted back and forth between Skinhead Rob and Tim Armstrong, which sounded completely awesome in a live setting. "See It to Believe" is is one of In a Warzone's longer tracks (clocking in at 3:06). This is another call-and-response track, of sorts. It just comes out a little less hostile and features a squalling guitar riff smack dab in the middle. "Back to You" kicks off with Travis Barker's madman drumming chops and segues into a karma-cetric track about how you gotta "watch what you say an who it's said to." Based solely off it's acoustic guitar intro, "Come Around" kinda reminds me of The Smiths; it's one of the album's softer tracks, which has been pushed as an early singles. The last track I'm going to quickly review, "Something's Different" is what I'd call weirdly awesome and I mean that in the best way possible... Here's why: veteran rapper Bun B, a shouted chorus, and a kinda Soft Rock under-current. Hopefully that piques your interests enough and coxes you to buy Transplants comeback album, In a Warzone, which is out this upcoming Tuesday, June 25th. In any case, there's still plenty of time to catch Transplants & Rancid on tour together, running through June 23rd and featuring openers Crown of Thornz and The Interrupters. Rancid however, will continue the last leg of their unofficial "21st anniversary" tour solo, which wraps up on August 3rd.

Friday, June 21, 2013

XXL Freshmen Live 2013: Action Bronson & What So Not - "Every Time You See Me" (The Quack)




It's been proven time and time again that Action Bronson can essentially rap on almost any beat (or lack thereof), generally Party Supplies-produced: Peter Bjorn & John, "A Very Bieber Christmas," Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins, Guns N Roses, etc. Bronson's a highly-skilled rapper, who I can attest, can even rap impeccably sans beat; I had the honor of catching him on the XXL Freshmen Live 2013 mini-tour (Philly) last night, along with Joey Bada$$ and Big K.R.I.T. Far from the rookie of the group, Action Bronson somehow managed to go on first around 8:30pm, bummed a hearty joint off a crowd-goer... and completely SLAUGHTERED the majority of SAAAB STORIES, "Steve Wynn," a couple choice cuts with Meyhem Lauren, and of course, some shit-talking compliments of Big Body Bes.


For his latest featured track, Bronson teamed up with a very unlikely set of collaborators, Skrillex-signed Dubstep group What So Not (OWSLA). "Every Time You See Me" (The Quack) is a glitched out bass-wobbling kinda jam that debuted over at SPIN roughly 2 weeks ago and will see an official release on The Quack EP on June 25th. Bronson is joined by rapper D. Mac and acting "mixer" Blood Diamonds on the WUB WUB WUB/club-ready track. "'The Quack" is everything we love about this project," What So Not lamented on the track's sheer genesis... "Create the strangest sound possible and turn it into an infectious rhythm. It's a stomper with character, not your everyday 808 banger. It's raw and real!" Honestly, both the guys have tremendous skills, cause I don't know how anybody could rap so well on such a crazy non-Hip-Hop, essentially pocket-less track like "Every Time You See Me!" While he's currently still working on his VICE Records/Atlantic long-player, Action Bronson and producer buddy Harry Fraud just unleashed their new sun-soaked 7-track EP, SAAAB STORIES, back on June 11th.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

RE-INVENTING THE METAL-FACED VILLAIN: JJ DOOM - "BOOKHEAD" (Steve Powers)




I read some fragments from a partially disjointed Noisey interview with Jeff Broadway and Peanut Butter Wolf, the director of forthcoming documentary "Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records" and the Indie Hip-Hop label's co-founder the other day. One particularly interesting [tid]bit dealt with the film's star-studded interview section; when the interviewer said, "Kanye must've been a hard get," Broadway quickly responded, "Actually, as far as who took the most convincing, that'd be DOOM." Yep, 1/2 of MADVILLAIN, the walking enigma formerly known as MF DOOM was hard to track down - Go figure! ha Preceded by a behind-the-scenes making-the-video segment the other day, Noisey UK (DOOM currently resides in South London) released the Steve "ESPO" Powers-directed "BOOKHEAD" clip late Wednesday afternoon.


Lex Records must really have DOOM in a tight nut-hold, cause they're already re-releasing Keys to The Kuffs (Butter Edition) on July 8th... Long before DOOM's storied/shelved work with everyone from Ghostface Killah to Thom Yorke! Falling terribly behind on Lex Records' packaged album artwork/re-designed mask deadline, ESPO honorably forfeited the last 25% of his pay, soldiered forward with the creation of a new DOOM mask, and eventually linked back up with the label for "BOOKHEAD." Where he's basically designed a corner store security system meets 2-way mirror "mask," which may or may not remain DOOM's permanent new face-plate. Butter Edition features a gaggle of old and new cuts from the Jneiro Jarel-produced Keys to The Kuffs sessions, including [unreleased] "RETARDED FREN," "BOOKHEAD," and "VIBERIAN SON" with Del The Funky Homosapien (Deltron 3030). Lex Records managed to wrangle up Beck, Clams Casion, Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood, and Dave Sitek for special remixes, which will be available in either digital, double disc, or triple 12" vinyl editions come July 8th.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Give Up, 10 Years Later: The Postal Service - "A Tattered Line of String" (unreleased)


The Postal Service are what you could call a "guilty pleasure," a band that represents a certain phase in my life, and about as far as I ever delved into Electro-Pop/Emo, thankfully ha. It's Ben Gibbard's side-project that released one widely-acclaimed album, Give Up (2003), which most fans, including myself, actually prefer more than Death Cab for Cutie. While swirling rumors about a follow-up and band reunion have always gone unrequited, the only thing to really materialize since Give Up is a recently re-released 10th anniversary 2-CD set. Sub Pop even managed to convince Ben Gibbard and in-house producer Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) to finally reunite for a lengthy 36-date summer tour, along with sometime(s) members Jenny Lewis and Laura Burhenn on background vocals and additional instruments.


"A Tattered Line of String" is one of 2 new, previously unreleased tracks included on Give Up: Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition, which is currently available at a record store near you. Give Up's re-issue now includes nearly every Postal Service song ever recorded and released: Phil Collins, Flaming Lips, and John Lennon covers, plus a gaggle of glitched-out remixes, and spirited re-cover album versions from Iron & Wine and The Shins. "A Tattered Line of String"'s companion AB/CD/CD-directed music video follows an average guy just trying to do his laundry in a laundromat that curiously spins along with it's washing machines; like the bulk of The Postal Service's material, it's a tale of love at first sight, loss, and utter confusion. Here's a handy-dandy little Tweet from Sub Pop, "The decade-in-the-making @PostalService television debut is tonight on The @ColbertReport! Tune in at 11:30/10:30c."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Brassy Misadventures of Tom Bone: The Stepkids - "The Lottery" (Stones Throw)




The Stepkids are kinda like a Hip-Hop-infused modern day version of Steely Dan; equal parts sleaze, cheese, and white-bred Funk-Soul! In-between The Stepkids (2011) and it's upcoming follow-up, Troubadour the band leaked a string of Jazzed up cover tunes: Daft Punk, Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake. Last year, Stones Throw even teamed them up with sharp-tongued emcees Homeboy Sandman, Percee P, and Pharoahe Monch for an all too short-lived remix project. The Stepkids' latest Funk-drenched concoction is "The Lottery" a freshly tracked video-single preceding Troubadour, which hits shelves nation-wide Sept. 10th. Guitarist Jeff Gitelman described the album's creation as "deep musically, there are whole sides to us [that] we haven't really explored yet." Gitelman further laments that The Stepkids haven't even discovered some of their "most exciting stuff" thusfar. "The Lottery" co-stars trombone dancer Jonathan Arons right alongside Jeff Gitelman and his bandmates, Dan Edinberg & Tim Walsh. Directors Nicki Chavoya & Lisa Amadeo chronicle the America's Got Talent contestant's fictional journey from making dollars as night-crawling stripper "Tom Bone" back to his brassy passion, inter-spliced with some groovy-looking live Stepkids performance footage.

Kanye West Presents: Scott Disick & Jonathan Cheban In "[Black] American Psycho" (Yeezus)


"Scott Disick's dreams come true in the promo that I originally wrote for Kanye's new record, but not a lot was used: kanyewest.com," Tweeted American Psycho (1991) author Bret Easton Ellis. Rather than Christian Bale & Jared Leto, it co-stars Kourtney Kardashian's "baby daddy" Scott Disick and Kim Kardashian's BFF, Jonathan Cheban re-creating an infamous scene from the film; effectively subbing Huey Lewis & The News psycho killer talk for an interesting commentary on Yeezus. It's essentially the same footage that was projected on a few building sides, post album listening sessions, across the world this past weekend. Disick as Patrick Bateman impassionately laments about Yeezus, "It should be obvious by now that "New Slaves" is the undisputed masterpiece on Yeezus. A song so catchy, most people wont even remember the lyrics... But they should," as he walks into a side room and pits on a raincoat. "Then there's the song, "I Am a God." The title practically speaks for itself, but of course, the insecurities of the mainstream music press will never understand it's true meaning, because it's about me!," before taking an ax to a tragically oblivious Jonathan Cheban (Paul Allen). With one final blood-splattered swoop, Scott Disick wails, "Try getting the Yeezus album now, motherf*cker!," which it just so happens, is available in stores today for right around $10. For what it's worth, Scott Disick is a mild douchebag and a pretty sub-par actor, but somehow,it works; While Yeezus sounds 100x better @ night, if you ask me! I guess that could have something to do with the album's dark, brooding undertones juxtaposed against the rainy night sky.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Downward Spiral: Kanye & Rick Rubin - "Yeezus" (Early Review, Leak)


What kind of madman would spend the better part of a year recording and re-recording an anti-commercial mainstream Hip-Hop album (if that's even a thing ha) all while his celebutante girlfriend is carrying their unborn baby and steadily nearing her dude date, only to have mega-producer Rick Rubin come in and re-work the entire 10-track collection mere hours before it's deadline!? - Unsurprisingly, Kanye West. It's almost mind boggling how much steam Yeezus has garnered without a proper single or music video, aside from "New Slaves"' building-side projections across the world, and virtually no album track leakage until the Friday before it's Tuesday June 18th release! Aside from all that, Kanye decided to boldly stray away from any sort of legitimate-looking album artwork/packaging, instead opting for the ghetto bootleg CD-R look: no cover or booklet, empty jewel CD case, sparse tracklist on the reverse side, and only a Yeezus-marked piece of red tape along the side. Largely written and recorded between Paris and Hawaii, it sounds like everyone from John Legend to Daft Punk helped craft Yeezus, with countless other feature-heavy tracks presumably left at the wayside. Kanye supposedly unveiled some sort of American Psycho-inspired short film after an LA listening session late Friday night upon the album's imminent leak, which stars Kardashian family affiliates Scott Disick (playing Christian Bale) and Jonathan Cheban (as Jared Leto). "Tryna play Yeezus for the first time, baby won't stop screaming, kinda adds to the experience," Tweeted Stereogum writer Tom Breihan. "Ugh, why is there no Hennessy in my house!? I have to just like eat marshmallows listening to Yeezus, it's not the same," he begrudgingly continued.


Once you're able to accept the fact that Kanye is a complete ass*ole and realize that nothing he does or says should even be taken as offensive anymore, dare I say it and I've been saying it for years, should he then be taken as the most prolific rapper (or even musician) of the 21st century! Yeezus is chock-full of dark brooding undertones, Nine Inch Nails-sounding Industrial Rock, plenty of adult angst, Marilyn Manson samples, inter-racial dating, Bon Iver juxtaposed against Chief Keef, and just general weirdness; Rolling Stone arguably hit the nail on the head, "at it's nastiest, [Yeezus] makes Kid A or In Utero or Trans all look like Bruno Mars!" For all intensive purposes, Yeezus' sparse Electro-Rap hybrid sound is almost the polar opposite of Mr. West's grandiose My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), which notoriously featured Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and Nicki Minaj all on one track, housed beneath it's 5 inter-changeable gold leaf-framed covers. Veteran Def Jam producer Rick Rubin was frantically called in during the final hour [literally] to help finish and "reduce" Yeezus' 10 sprawling tracks; with that said, "Bound 2" is quite easily the most old school Hip-Hop, Rubin minimalist-approach-stamped track of the bunch. Sturdily anchored by 2-3 Soul-drenched samples, "Bound 2" is a stark shift from the rest of Kanye's Electro-Rap and Dancehall-inspired tracks.


Daft Punk expertly produced Tracks #1-4: "On Site," "Black Skinhead," "I Am a God," and "New Slaves" with additional production work from RZA, Travi$ Scott, Mike Dean, Hudson Mohawke (TNGHT), No I.D. Gesaffelstein, Symbolyc One, The Heatmakerz, and Ackeejuice Rockers. Kanye, Rick Rubin, and their rag-tag team of producers/collaborators have really manged to assemble a genre-blending, and is it too early to say timeless(?), album that easily transcends the bounds of modern Hip-Hop. After a few early late night Yeezus run-throughs, I think I'd honestly have to say that "Black Skinhead," "Bound 2," "Send It Up," "Guilt Trip," and "I'm In It" are amongst my favourite tracks simply because of their sheer lef-field sample usage, semi-sonic disarray, and trunk-rattling goodness! While a large chunk of The Internet, including myself, has presumably already illegally downloaded Yeezus, please support G.O.O.D. Music this upcoming Tuesday June 18th and go pick up a hard copy; Granted, Kanye will be going head-to-head against new albums from Mac Miller, J. Cole, and seasoned producer, Statik Selektah. Honestly, my full-fledged review won't really come to fruition, until I've heard the LEGIT CD-quality version complete with possible bonus tracks. Congrats to Kanye & Kim, who happily welcomed a healthy baby girl into the world this past Saturday afternoon, although she came out about 5 weeks early, as well. Happy Father's Day, Mr. West!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Robin Thicke Presents: Jimmy Kimmel & Guillermo "Blurred Lines" (Asher Roth Freestyle)




Blue-Eyed Soul brother and Growing Pains offspring, Robin Thicke finally scored his first Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit with "Blurred Lines." The infectiously Funky track teeters the [blurred] line between mainstream success and Internet weirdness. While it was initially pulled from YouTube and then edited/re-uploaded, "Blurred Lines" has gained most of it's wide success without much label promotion, strictly based off word-of-mouth and social media shares. We're talkin' about Robin Thicke, Pharrell & T.I. singing, dancing, and getting generally weird with a bunch of scantily-clad models (It's just something you HAVE to see for yourself)! Robin Thicke & Pharrell stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday night to celebrate their #1 spot; actually filmed @ MySpace's re-launch party the night before, where Miley Cyrus and label-mate Leah LaBelle danced on stage during a slightly more Caribbean-sounding "Blurred Lines" rendition.


Anyways, Kimmel and his trusty sidekick/security guard Guillermo even manged to film what they're toting as an "un-un-uncencored" video version of said mega-hit; Much to Robin Thicke & Pharrell's dismay, wearing matching outfits and ineffectively attempting to crash the sultry "Blurred Lines" video shoot. Rest assured, plenty of awkward hilarity ensues! It kinda seems like everyone has been trying to jump on the #THICKE bandwagon as of late... with everyone from Philly emcee Asher Roth to Stoner Rockers Queens of The Stone Age recording their own unique covers of "Blurred Lines." Simmer down ladies, Robin Thicke's long-rumored 11-track Blurred Lines LP is currently slated for a July 30th release on Star Trak (Interscope) and only features a few, albeit very strong, guest spots: Pharrell, T.I. and Kendrick Lamar. While Blurred Lines is said to be a little more Poppy and less Adult Contemporary than Thicke's previous albums, but if it sounds anything like Love After War (2011), Justin Timberlake might have some competition when trying to maintain his newly-crowned Blue-Eyed Soul throne.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sub Pop & Gaucho's Electronics Present: No Age - "C'mon Stimmung" (not the video)


It's pretty safe to say that No Age have effectively re-defined the all too commonly-used phrases "make a record" and "do-it-yourself." Dean Spunt & Randy Randall have written, produced, performed, recorded, and even manufactured their upcoming fourth album, An Object. No Age physically manufactured, prepared, and assembled 5,000 LP's and 5,000 CD's along with Grammy-nominated designer/close friend Brian Roettinger; long-time collaborator Facundo Bermudez also lent a hand during the record's production [music] phase, too. No Age's lengthy discography includes a lot of fuzzed out weird, slightly fucked up-sounding Art-Punk EP's and whatnot, which were quietly released across a number of small label imprints: Sub Pop, FatCat Records, Teenage Teardrops, Youth Attack, Upset! The Rhythm, Deathbomb Arc, Soundscreen Design, Spunt's own Post Present Medium (PPM) somewhere in-between 2007-12.


Roughly 2 months ahead of it's planned August 19-20th release, Sub Pop unveiled "C'mon Stimmung" Wednesday afternoon and it's uncharacteristically No Age-less sounding. While it's really just a feedback-drenched "ragged, anthemic Punk banger," veteran wordsmith and former disgruntled youth Tom Breihan further describes "C'mon Stimmung" as "one of the most straight-forward and mosh-able songs [No Age has] ever recorded!" It's still unclear @ this point in time which piece(s) of possible artwork match up with each assorted format... I've seen 3 different images floating around: a vibrant orange and green An Object cover, an image of Dean Spunt & Randy Randall with song titles behind them, and orange or green "press box" promos sent out to a few major blogs. No Age have planned a very long and expansive American/European tour behind An Object, frantically running from June 19-Oct 24th (excluding July dates).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Paul Rudd & Diddy Present: The Lonely Island & Robyn - "Go Kindergarten" (Universal Republic)


The Lonely Island have now released 3 albums-worth of "Frap" (fake rap) comedy tunes in just under 5 years; While making fun of nearly any and every genre, sub-genre, and lifestyle choice imaginable, it's done so well that Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone's thinly-veiled/slickly-produced laughable anthems usually manage to surpass their predecessors' initial success. In my personal opinion, "Go Kindergarten" is amongst the strongest and side-jerking material released since Samberg's SNL departure last year. This particular Lonely Island track ingeniously knocks what Stereogum's Miles Bowe has quite cleverly dubbed "commanding club anthems," a trend arguably spearheaded by Lil Jon/Ying Yang Twins' extremely over-played high school dance smash hit, "Get Low" (2003). Preceded by a fairly well-orchestrated, DIY-looking #dancetroupe #lyricvideo a couple weeks ago, "Go Kindergarten" now co-stars self-proclaimed best friends Paul Rudd & Sean "Diddy" Combs.


It's littered with a stream of ingeniously well-crafted non-sequitors that I guess in some sort of weird alternate Hipster-verse, could dual as slick dance moves ha. Not to mention, The Lonely Island have successfully recruited Euro-Dance queen Robyn to sing obnoxious things, too... It's all 1/2 rapped-shouted in an all too painfully realistic double-it-up style, but some of "Go Kindergarten"'s most instantly memorable lines would likely include: "Now punch your friend - punch, punch your friend," "Now ladies, whip your dick out - whip, whip your dick out. Don't ask how, just fuckin' figure it out," "Now make your booty speak - teach that ass English," and Robyn's soulful closing hook, "So raise your glass, then break the glass. Then stomp your bare feet on the glass." The Wack Album is out today (June 11th) on Universal Republic and features a handful of all-star guest spots from Justin Timberlake, Billie Joe Armstrong, Solange, Hugh Jackman, Kendrick Lamar, Lady GaGa, Pharrell, and gruff veteran rapper Too $hort.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Adult Swim Singles, 2013: Run The Jewels - "36" Chain" (El-P & Killer Mike)




Have you ever heard of one of those couples that've been "romantically involved" for FOREVER and have a couple kids together, only to finally get married 10-15 years later? Well, that's basically the kinda relationship El-P & Killer Mike have; 2 long-time rapper/producer friends who have been working together for years, released a joint R.A.P. Music album last year, and have finally locked down an official, albeit LL Cool J-inspired group name: Run The Jewels. While preparing their self-titled street album [mixtape] debut, Run The Jewels have teamed up with Adult Swim & Williams Street Records to unleash a glitched-out new single, "36" Chain." It's the first in a series of 15 weekly digital singles, which this year, is set to feature choice cuts from... Lil B, kitty pryde, Marnie Stern, Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, Lightning Bolt, Dan Deacon, Captain Murphy, Miguel, Pig Destroyer(?), and more! Karriem Riggins, Viktor Vaughn [MF DOOM], Hot Sugar, and Mykki Blanco are also set to make a few special appearances. Adult Swim will upload a new single each week for the remainder of the summer, in addition to some special content (supposedly the "36" Chain" music video, too).


But back to "36" Chain," it's a LEGIT trunk-rattling sonic assault! Unlike their previous collaborations, El-P manages to step out from behind the boards long enough to effectively split vocal duties with buddy Killer Mike, and a spirited battle of lyrical wits ensues. Run The Jewels are currently on tour across America with Kool A.D. & Despot, which runs through August; ahead of their FREE Fool's Gold album (June?) that'll also be re-released in some sort of "deluxe, limited edition 2xLP vinyl," version on Williams Street Records soon thereafter, too. Run The Jewels' team has configured one Hell of an album roll-out plan, leaking 2 buzz-worthy tracks so far, "Banana Clipper" [-feat. Big Boi] and "Get It." I must say, even as a mega-fan of both Cancer 4 Cure and R.A.P. Music, El-P & Killer Mike really managed to craft some exciting, next level Hip-Hop! This is where it could get a little confusing, if you don't pay close attention: Now, Run The Jewels is not only the title of El-P & Killer Mike's newly-formed group and upcoming album, but also a special brand of Goose Island-crafted beer! Okayplayer notes that in celebration of the Pitchfork Music Festival's return to Chicago this summer, Goose Island Brewery has brewed up "a two-headed, sucker-MC destroying monster and a dry-hopped Belgian wheat ale, with 5.4% alcohol content," conveniently named after Run The Jewels ha.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Greenhouse Effect, Vol. 2: Asher Roth - "Numbers" (Pusha T Freestyle)




Asher Roth is hands down one of the most talented rappers in the game. But I feel like I always have to defend him because of his well-known semi-shitty single, "I Love College" and his scattered album release schedule or lack thereof. Roth is currently working on his long-awaited follow-up to Asleep In The Bread Aisle (2009), although I personally feel that his mixtape game is generally stronger. Not too long after Bread Aisle, I saw Asher Roth put on a show @ Club Roxxy (Philly); I'd somehow lost track of my friends by the time he got on stage, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself nonetheless. The second time I saw Asher Roth was yet another hometown show @ Milkboy on the tour behind Def Jam-backed mixtape, Pabst & Jazz (2011). My buddies Pat, Pauly, and I were essentially FLOORED when Roth came on stage with a full, Roots-esque Jazz band and effortlessly ripped through choice selections from Pabst & Jazz. Since signing with Def Jam a couple years ago, Asher Roth has released a string of disjointed singles and non-album tracks in preparation for his untitled sophomore album (formerly titled Is This Too Orange?): "G.R.I.N.D." " "Party Girl," "Wrestling Is Fake," "Last Man Standing," "Turnip The Beet," "Outside," etc.


Lately, Asher Roth has been mysteriously teasing something called #GEV2, which savvy Hip-Hop heads know presumably stands for The Greenhouse Effect (Vol. 2). It'll be the [also] long-rumored follow-up to Roth's similarly-titled pre-album mixtape with Don Cannon & DJ Drama. Preceded by a short 52-second teaser clip, "Numbers" was uploaded to Asher Paul Roth's plentiful Soundcloud page late Friday afternoon. Before a single syllable is even uttered, I'm already an instant fan of this because Asher Roth's successfully managed to flip one of the hardest hitting, not to mention Kanye/Don Cannon co-produced, beats of 2013, "Numbers On The Board!" Fully decked out in regulation Flyers gear and cleverly sub-titled "Game On!," Roth sluggishly stomps on-camera as blocked pucks are fired his way in exchange for quite a few righteous bars: "I'm a word's-worth, four score, some odd years ago / I appeared like a miracle, maybe you didn't hear me, dog... Only pause for long when I stand up and faze / Blonder than Dolly Parton that's in a Pamela phase." Hypetrak interestingly points out that The Greenhouse Effect was released 5 years ago this upcoming June 15th, so it might be safe to say that GEV2 could be arriving much sooner than originally expected!

Friday, June 7, 2013

TDE's Latest Non-Signee: Action Bronson & Wiz Khalifa - "The Rockers" (SAAAB STORIES)




Yeah, it's 1am and I have work in about 7 mere hours, ugh; But "The Rockers" just seemed too good to be true, without hearing it before I get some zzzz's. Action Bronson has recruited Taylor Gang general Wiz Khalifa for the second leak from SAAAB STORIES, just a few days after unveiling "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" (Queens Day Remix) with LL Cool J & Lloyd Banks. Based around a weirdly catchy pseudo-hook, "I'll hit you with the dropkick Marty Jannetty," Bronson & Wiz sound better than you'd expect lacing up a slick Harry Fraud-produced beat together. The gap between mainstream and underground Hip-Hop has seemingly been bridged, and all it took was a shared love for weed, women, and wrestling ha. It almost pains me to say this, but Wiz Khalifa has really grown a lot since "Black & Yellow." What can I say, the man is good at what he does, which is making Dance-inspired Hip-Hop for suburban white kids... and with that said, "Young, Wild & Free," "No Sleep," and "Work Hard, Play Hard" are LEGIT genre-blending party-starting anthems, for what it's worth! Action Bronson's long-rumored SAAAB STORIES EP is finally hitting iTunes this upcoming Tuesday and my wonderful girlfriend just bought tickets to his June 20th show at The Troc (Philly) with Joey Bada$$ & Big K.R.I.T. - OH YEAH!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Trent Reznor Re-visits The Downward Spiral: Nine Inch Nails - "Came Back Haunted" (Columbia)




Trent Reznor abruptly disbanded his pride and joy, Nine Inch Nails, nearly 5 years ago now; Rumblings of a re-formed band reunion started to trickle out just few months ago and in almost one fall swoop, Pitchfork uploaded 3 separate stories late last night... album title/release date, a "leaked" radio single, and a 50-date world tour trek. Since splitting up NIN, Reznor formed another band with Atticus Ross and his wife, How to Destroy Angels_ (2010) and composed a few acclaimed film soundtracks for The Social Network/Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. I guess you could say that my hippy cousin-turned-lawyer Adam turned me onto NIN, who I always associated with the weird Goth kids in grade school, about 8-10 years ago. Starting with their new albums @ the time, Dave Grohl-assisted With Teeth and Year Zero, I slowly delved backwards into Trent Reznor's lengthy discography; a few of my personal favourites include The Downward Spiral, Further Down The Spiral, Still, The Fragile, and "I'm Afraid of Americans" with David Bowie. Although, I must say, for no apparent reason, I never really got into NIN's latest albums, Ghost I-IV and The Slip (2008).


"Came Back Haunted" is already being widely regarded as a triumphant return to Nine Inch Nails' mid-90's-early 2000's often dance-able brand of aggro-Industrail Rock. NIN's revived touring line-up now includes Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini, Ilan Rubin, Josh Eustis, and in-studio multi-instrumnetalist Adrian Belew (King Crimson). Trent Reznor recently lamented to Billboard, "For the last year I've been secretly working nonstop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly, fucking great." It can all be summed up, more or less, with one semi-cryptic late night Tweet: "halo twenty eight: hesitation marks. 9.03.13." In support of Hesitation Marks (Columbia Records), Nine Inch Nails are planning to head out on a MASSIVE North American "Tension 2013" tour spanning from Sept. 28-Nov. 25th with alternating openers Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

LIVE from Queens, New York: Action Brosnon, LL Cool J & Lloyd Banks - "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" (Remix)




While you patiently await SAAAB STORIES' June 11th release and contemplate what the Hell could be happening on it's highly amusing, head-scratching cover... Here's a neck-snapping Boom-Bap remix while you wait! Action Bronson expertly recruited 2 veteran Queens emcees, LL Cool J & Lloyd Banks for his official "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" (Remix), which debuted on Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show late last night. Chopping the bulk of his previous verses and then adding on a newly-written one the track order now seamlessly flows between Bronson, LL Cool J, and Lloyd Banks. Granted, I still haven't heard Authentic, LL Cool J's verse seems like a return to form since the slight MASSIVE fall from grace that is "Accidental Racist" with Country super-star Brad Paisley.


I'm actually kinda glad Harry Fraud didn't really do anything to re-tweak the beat, cause "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" is almost tailor-fit for LL Cool J's laid back 80's reminiscent flow: "Murder these mics boys, felon after the predicate / Fuck what you heard baby, that shit's all irrelevant / Third as fly or half as intelligent." G-unit foot soldier Lloyd Banks hasn't really been on my radar since Hunger for More, but he quite arguably SLAYS the tail-end of Bronson's track. All you audiophile completists out there can even tag "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" (Remix) onto the end of SAAAB STORIES as a bonus track, if you'd like; Action Bronson & Harry Fraud's long-awaited EP will finally hit iTunes thus upcoming Tuesday, June 11th. It be Bronson's first cohesive effort since inking a deal with VICE/Atlantic Records last August, which likely helped rope in a few all-star features from Raekwon, Wiz Khalifa, and Prodigy (Mobb Deep).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Life Is Passion Presents: Mr. Muthaf*ckin' eXquire - "Kismet" (cosmic-tape, 2013 A.D.)


Ladies and gentlemen of The Internet, it looks like The Grand Mufti AKA Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire has risen from the ashes and is finally back with a BRAND NEW 16-track mixtape, Kismet; For all intensive purposes, it's eXquire's first project since his critically-acclaimed debut, Lost In Translation (2011) and only his second release for Universal Records (since no one really had a chance to score a copy of The Man In The High Castle). Mr. MFN eXquire definitely brought in some added muscle for Kismet, recruiting a few of his highly-skilled rapping friends like Danny Brown, Nacho Picasso, Flatbush Zombies [all on one single track], Goldie Glo, and Gorgeous Black. Kismet seems to represent a certain level of personal and spiritual growth for eXquire, who recently took a break from the world of Hip-Hop to tend to his ailing mother and in turn, got sober cold turkey. VICE-employed writer Drew Millard laments that "this is not the same dude you'd associate with that one song about drunk driving on a Wednesday. That's the thing, though. He's not that guy at all."


"Kismet means fate or Destiny... I have a propensity for Hindi-like things such as Himanshu, Ganesha, and Curry Goat (so ignanat I know) I love everyone. Someone told me that I changed, so I didn't listen... #Passion" as haphazardly self-defined by Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire in a fairly prolific attached text file, AKA modern-day liner notes. Whether it was all approved by Universal or not, Kismet was preceded by a pretty solid roll-out initiative: "Medicine for Nightmares," an 11-minute short film/mixtape preview recorded @ SXSW, impressive B-sides "Draped In Gold" and "Fat Fool," "Nightfall at The Thames," which dually serves as the music video for both "Noble Drew Ali/The Cauldron," and a gaggle of interesting semi-revealing interviews. Production-wise, Kismet features hard-hitting beats from Mr. MFN eXquire's in-house producers CONSTROBUZ and The MFK, as well as re-hashed beats from Georgia Anne Muldrow and Soul-brother Curtis Mayfield. The EXCELLENTLY-titled "Orbz AKA Some Wise Quote Drake Never Said" somehow manages to diss Drake and Obama, kinda interpolate "Swimming Pools" (Drank), and sample some random 1981 "Frank Zappa on schools" TV interview all in one fall swoop!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Odd Future Records Presents: Hodgy Beats & Lee Spielman - "Goodbye" (Trash Talk)




"Goodbye" and "Wicked" are comfortably nestled towards the tail-end of Hodgy Beats' just-released 7-song EP, Untitled 2; More often than not, this type of blatant Hip-Hop/Punk Rock fusion are relegated to cheesy one-off single status. But it sounds like MellowHype & Trash Talk are planning something a little more long-term: "No one knows about it. That shit is on the super-low," Hodgy Beats told Red Bull, referencing an upcoming album. "We spent last week [April] jamming and shit, finishing up writing and stuff," added Trash Talk bassist Spencer Pollard. Looks like "Goodbye/Wicked" are amongst the first tracks culled from those very sessions, while a full joint Odd Future Records-backed album still lacks any sort of solid release date. Honestly, "Goodbye" is my personal favourite of the 2 and man, it's one Hell of a brooding, heavy, Lee Spielman-assisted, guitar-filled closing track. It's a damn shame than no one's really giving the trail-end of Untitled EP 2 (arguably the 2 strongest tracks) the credit they're due. Until that rumored MellowHype & Trash Talk team-up LP or "MELLOWHYPEWEEK 2" finally materialize, enjoy this incredibly strong and painfully brief Hodgy Beats offering!

The Last Supper with Sky Ferreira: Vampire Weekend - "Diane Young" (Lemon Sounds)


Following a largely un-fullfilled search for a copy of Modern Vampires of The City that aimlessly led me across Cumberland County, I realized that aside from 2-3 well-executed lyric videos, Vampire Weekend have yet to release a proper music video in support of their new album; Whilst still grabbing headlines by torching a couple Saab 900's and hanging out with "distant second cousin" Steve Buscemi, the New York-based band finally unleashed a "Diane Young" video Monday morning. Continuing a long-standing trend that started with "Giving Up The Gun" (2010), director Primo Kahn somehow managed to recruit a very interesting cast of characters: Chromeo, Dave Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Sky Ferreira, Despot, Santigold, Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen), and a ski-masked man that just might be cameraman Kahn himself.


What starts out looking mysteriously like a modern-day Last Supper slowly morphs into a righteous "dinner party where guest star Despot packs a saxophone with weed and smokes it," as The FADER perfectly describes it. From the sound(s) of it, Vampire Weekend have produced yet another well-constructed Indie Rock/Pop album; and quite frankly, "Diane Young" is a prime example of Ezra Koenig & Rostam Batmanglij's shared ability to craft wondrous post-Columbia Preppy Rock tunes time and time again... We're talkin' about progressively-building, brooding, Electro-Pop, wailing echo-filled, guitar feedback-drenched Ariel Rechtshaid co-produced jam. Vampire Weekend's long-awaited third Romantic Comedy-inspired album, Modern Vampires of The City was released on XL Recordings back on May 14th, a week wherein it sold 134,000 copies.