Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Third Man Records Presents: The Dough Rollers - Gone Baby Gone 12" EP (Josh Homme-produced)




Just the other night, during one of my post-Christmas cyber "record-diggin'" sprees, I picked up copies of The Whooliganz & The Dough Rollers 12-inches, bands whose sounds couldn't be further apart; aside from the fact that both groups feature the talented off-spring of Hollywood elite (Scott/James Caan and Harrison/Malcolm Ford). While they previously self-released a seemingly long out-of-print 2010 10-track album, The Dough Rollers have recently co-aligned with Jack White's Nashville-based imprint, Third Man Records. "The Dough Rollers formed in 2008 when Malcolm Ford and Jack Byrne first decided to put their passion for American roots music to work by trying their hand at earnest, neo-revivalism," reads a recent Third Man press release. "But [with] the addition of Graham Norwood on bass and Kyle Olson on drums, their sound evolved, loosening, swarkening, and darkening... [occupying] the sometimes salty, sometimes sweet spot smack dab in between Rock and Soul," it exuberantly continued.


The Dough Rollers recently unleashed the proper follow-up to their Third Man Records debut, their "Little Lily" Blue Series 7-inch; Ford & co. recruited Queens of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme produced their November unveiled Gone Baby Gone 5-track EP, which sees "their swampy new swagger fully realized." Rolling Stone previously debuted EP opener and title track, "Gone Baby Gone" nearly a year ago, which the band described at that point in time as, "[It's] like a distant relative to the song we were rehearsing before we went into the studio. It really transformed into something with a totally different character after we sat with it for a while and kept stripping it down and re-layering it. It became almost a whole new song." The Dough Rollers' second Third Man Records release, Gone Baby Gone EP is currently available at the Third Man Store for the reasonable asking price of $10.00, with their proper full-length tentatively soon forthcoming in 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pharrell Reunites with Defunct Funk-Rock Band, N*E*R*D for "Squeeze Me" from The SpongeBob Movie (Sponge Out of Water)




"We're trying not to think too much in a cartoon sense, but more just like a psychedelic, otherworldly type of thing. If you want to draw a parallel, maybe think of what The Beatles did with Yellow Submarine," Chad Hugo, one half of hit-making production team The Neptunes, recently told Variety about their forthcoming work on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. "Squeeze Me," which was released online Friday afternoon, is the first track accredited to N*E*R*D since their 2010 group album, Nothing; Hugo, Pharrell, and Shay Haley's critically-acclaimed Funk-Rock fusion side-band has remained largely inactive over the past 4-5 years since its release. While Pharrell seemingly confirmed that N*E*R*D's "nature-based" fourth album has been in-the-works since around 2013, nothing of any magnitude has yet materialized. But to their credit, "Squeeze Me" is a jangly Caribbean-infused track that's likely comparable to something along the lines of Pharrell's light-hearted commercial success formerly achieved with "Happy." Odd Future rapper-producer and self-proclaimed N*E*R*D super-fan Tyler, The Creator even went as far as to speculate that "IT'S [PROBABLY] A ROUGH DRAFT FROM '08... [RE DONE] FOR THE PURPOSE OF A KIDS MOVIE WITHOUT GOING LEFT FIELD, BUT STILL KEEPING IT UNIQUE." N*E*R*D's long-awaited reunion single, "Squeeze Me" will see an official release on January 6th, while the film it's lifted from, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, is out in theatres nation-wide on February 6th.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hip-Hop Stocking-Stuffer: Blu & Homeboy Sandman - homeboy sandman is the sandman EP (Bandcamp)




"I understand you've been running from the man that goes by the name of the sandman," echoes an eerie back-laid sample delicately lifted from America's 1971 Folk Rock album track, "Sandman." It's actually the lead-off track from illusive super-producer from Blu and seasoned underground rapper Homeboy Sandman's surprise four-track download-able EP, homeboy sandman is the sandman. While they've previously worked together on a number of non-album tracks, most notably "Atlantis," which was released on Stones Throw this past June, this marks their first cohesive long(er)-form project. homeboy sandman is the sandman EP was released with little to no release information, aside from "homeboy sandman is the sandman produced by blu" and a handful of vague Bandcamp genre tags: "hip hop, hip-hop/rap, nwc rap, Los Angeles." It's largely a Jaylib-style rapper-producer affair, aside from a lone John Robinson feature on EP closer, "Poet." Let's just hope homeboy sandman is the sandman EP is something along the lines of a holiday sampler or precursor to a full-length Blu & Homeboy Sandman project; but in the meantime, both Homeboy Sandman and Blu's latest solo albums, HALLWAYS and Good to Be Home, are now available on Stones Throw and Nature Sounds respectively. Merry Christmas to all and "a Festivus for the rest of us!!!"

Monday, December 22, 2014

Red Bull Music 20 Before 15 Presents: iLoveMakonnen, Ezra Koenig & Despot - "Down 4 So Long" (Remix)




Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig has had a pretty buzz-worthy year; having appeared on genre-blending tracks with Major Lazer, SBTRKT, Chromeo, @Seinfeld2000, and even a duet with Karen O on the Her soundtrack. Koenig's latest outer-band activity includes a Twitter-esque "rapped-sung" verse on new-comer iLoveMakonnen's Red Bull Music-backed "Down 4 So Long" Remix, which was released over the weekend along with 1,000 free downloads as part of their 20 Before 15 singles series. "@iLoveMakonnen5D and @despotroast (Despot) could both put out greatest hits albums and neither one has ever made an album," @arzE Koenig affectionately Tweeted about his fellow collaborators and new-found buddies upon "Down 4 So Long"'s release. Koenig and Despot's appended verses add an air of fun and familiarity to Makonnen's "Down 4 So Long," which is reportedly about the accidental shooting death of his high school friend; "Summer 2014 / Shmoney dancing with some goth teens / Motherf**kers leaking nudes / Why they gotta be so rude?," Ezra Koenig awkwardly raps in his mid-song verse, all the while, effortlessly managing to reference convicted rapper Bobby Shmurda, Reggae-Pop band MAGIC!, exploits in The Hamptons, samurai swords, Mary-Kate Olsen, knock-off Ray Bans, and seasonal jacket shopping. iLoveMakonnen, who's currently signed to Drake's OVO Sound imprint, recently re-released his critically-acclaimed ILOVEMAKONNEN EP, as well as a forthcoming project with producer Mike WiLL Made-It, effectively dubbed "MikeWiLLMakonnen."

Friday, December 19, 2014

RCA Records Presents: Miguel - "nwa.hollywooddreams.coffee EP" (Untitled Soundcloud EP)


Not entirely unlike the three-volume Art Dealer Chic EP set released leading up to his 2012 commercial break-through, Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel suddenly uploaded a three-track EP to Soundcloud in the wee hours of Friday morning; seemingly titled either nwa.hollywoodreams.coffee EP or WILD EP, similar to the tattoo scrawled across Miguel's knuckles on the rather suggestive album cover. It's a painfully brief 10-minute burst of guitar-fueled Soul-Funk/R&B, part of which okayplayer effectively refers to as "a swagged-out Spaghetti Western with Curtis Mayfield wheeling and dealing on the score, driven by fuzzy guitar and total impropriety." EP opener, "NWA" features Snoop Dogg-affiliated Philly rapper Kurupt atop a stuttering 808 drumbeat and slinky guitar-accented quasi-rocker flanked by Miguel's seductive hook and bridge refrains, "she just wanna ride with a N.W.A... Got you walkin' with a gangsta lean." "NWA" is then followed my a like-minded track, "HollywoodDreams," which seems to be a tale about the highs and lows, and the perils, of celebrity; "Lost angel with an urgent silence / Changing eyes, and lipstick in fixation / Sweet Hollywood sight, you're my salvation."




Roughly the last 20-30 seconds of "HollywoodDreams" features a rather bizarre fade-in into WILD EP's closing track and likely lead single from Miguel's forthcoming third album, "Coffee." Miguel initially uploaded a brief preview of "Coffee" onto his miguelunlimited Instagram profile about two months ago, which featured a mysterious hashtag: #liveartdealerchic that may very well allude to the title of his upcoming album or yet another EP. It would seem that of the three self-contained tracks, "Coffee" is arguably the most similar to Miguel's former critically-acclaimed Kaleidoscope Dream material and typical R&B, Pop, Neo-Soul branded output. For whatever reasons, "Coffee" suddenly cuts off, about 2:52 into its duration, seemingly before its proper end, which again, would lead me to believe that it'll eventually be re-released as the lead-off single from Miguel's currently in-the-works RCA album (possibly featuring Jai & AK Paul).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Terrace Martin, Bilal & Anna Wise Debut "Untitled" (The Colbert Report)


"You are the last Colbert Report musical guest. Honored to have you on, but keep in mind: Paul McCartney, R.E.M., Jack White, and Nas were your opening acts," Stephen Colbert cleverly quipped at Kendrick Lamar during their pre-performance interview on last night's show. Lamar premiered a brand new "Untitled" track reportedly produced by French beatsmith Astronote; its world-premier performance was delivered by a pick-up band consisting of bass virtuoso Thundercat, Terrace Martin on sax, and back-up vocals from Soulquarians affiliate Bilal and Sonnymoon sogstress Anna Wise. In stark contrast to Kendrick Lamar's previous Isley Brothers-indebted "i," "Untitled" is more of a sparse experimental, Jazz-leaning affair, which seems to be a multi-faceted narrative; "In Lamar's story, an Asian man tells him to worry about his health and not his career, an Indian man recommends he invest in real estate, the black man reveals "nookie is power" and the white man: "a peace of mind / that's what the white man wanted when I rhymed / Telling me that he selling me for $10.99 / if I go platinum for rapping, I'll do the company fine," Rolling Stone diligently assessed. Here's hoping the fully fleshed-out studio version of "Untitled" will feature the same talented cast of unlikely characters, which should likely appear on Kendrick Lamar's as-yet-unannounced third album. But judging by the widely-acclaimed combined success(es) of "i," "Untitled," and Lamar's eerily memorable recent SNL appearance, his good kid, m.A.A.d. city follow-up could very well materialize sooner than later... it's plausible he may even attempt to pull a "D'Angelo" and just suddenly drop it out of the blue!

Monday, December 15, 2014

D'Angelo Emerges from Self-Imposed 15-year Sabbatical to Unleash Black Messiah & "Sugah Daddy" (Red Bull Music/RCA)




"Black Messiah is a Hell of a name for an album. It can easily be misunderstood. Many will think it's about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I'm calling myself a Black Messiah," illusive Neo-Soul/Funk singer D'Angelo explained in a statement at his Sunday night Red Bull Music Academy & Afropunk-hosted listening party. "For me, the title is about all of us. It's about the world. It's about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah... Black Messiah is not one man. It's a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader," he powerfully continued. Black Messiah, once tentatively titled "James River," has been in-the-works for nearly 15 years; imminent release details suddenly began to trickle out over the course of this past weekend. While a brief 16-second Black Messiah teaser trailer first surfaced Friday afternoon, 1,000 downloads of piano-laden comeback single "Sugah Daddy" became available as part of Red Bull Music's 20 Before 15 series at 3:00am Sunday morning. Seemingly referring to the fact that D'Angelo and prouder-buddy ?uestlove have continually teased the completion of his third album since around 2011-12, okayplayer lamented: "For all those nonbelievers, here's 15 years of "I told ya so" rolled into one of the finest (and fawnkiest) sonic specimens you'll come across for ages." Following D'Aneglo's triumphant return to form at Bonaroo 2012, ?uestlove told Rolling Stone, "he's about to take a radical 180 turn with this record," upon citing recently discovered Classic Rock luminaries David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, and Frank Zappa as influences.


okayplayer Editor-In-Chief, Eddie "STATS"' listening party track-by-track review seems to allude to the fact that tracks #1-5 of the 12-track affair are all single contenders; while "Side B is truly the b-sides. Where the former is composer off all single-status cuts, the flip is made up of deeper and somewhat darker cuts." Its cast of characters includes Q-Tip and Funkadelic member Kendra Foster, who both contributed lyrics, as well as longtime collaborator Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, bassist Pino Palladino, and drummer James Gadson, according to a leaked lyric sheet after said Red Bull Music Academy listening party, Black Messiah saw a no frills, virtually promotion-less Beyoncé-style digital release at the stroke of 12 midnight Monday morning, while a CD/2LP release is rumored for next week (maybe even as early as Tuesday 12/16). But for those awaiting Black Messiah's digital release, not unlike myself, the full 12-track album, once referred to as "the black version of [The Beach Boys'] SMiLE," is now available for your listening pleasure on streaming platform, Spotify. "I never made a purchase off iTunes, but tonight I'll be purchasing that D'Angelo Black Messiah. Brown Sugar and VOODOO made me who I am," rapper @ActionBronson affectionately proclaimed upon his purchase.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Disbanded Noise-Rap Group, Death Grips Unleash New Single, "Inanimate Sensation" (Third Worlds)


Even though they amicably disbanded back in July, experimental Noise-Rap group, Death Grips still have an as-yet-unreleased double-disc album in their back pocket; part one of the powers that b, eloquently dubbed ni**as on the moon, was released for FREE download online prior to their break-up. "Death Grips just uploaded a video," read a stock YouTube email which suddenly appeared in my Inbox late Tuesday night... "Inanimate Sensation - Disc 2 - Jenny Death from the upcoming double album "The Powers That B,'" it continued. The entirety of "Inanimate Sensation" is strewn across a fallen NBA Jumbo-tron and it was supposedly directed by Death Grips themselves. Its bonkers, unconventional Hip-Hop beat vaguely reminds me of something that could've soundtracked Saturday morning/after school cartoons like The Animaniacs or even Looney Tunes and isn't all that dissimilar from Daft Punk's now patented brand of Future-Funk.


"Live show on a banner / Axl Rose in a blender / Slash on Satan's fender / Rick James on the cover / Running through your lover / Like mean Mr. Mustard," reads a fragmented chunk of MC Ride's frantic fourth and final verse, which effortlessly manages to shout out Guns N' Roses, Rick James, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Ol' Dirty Bastard. While Björk's re-purposed vocal fragments appeared across ni**as on the moon and Twilight heart-throb Robert Pattinson played guitar on "Birds" from Government Plates (2013), the powers that b doesn't appear to feature any additional all-star guests (nope, no Beyoncé). It's still unclear as to when exactly Death Grips plan to re-release ni**as on the moon along with disc 2 jenny death, but fans are beginning to speculate that the complete 2-disc project could likely surface as early soon December 27th, in typical deathgripz guerrilla fashion.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mad Decent Presents: Diplo, Ed Droste & Rostam - "LONG WAY HOME" (Ty Dollar $ign Remix?)




"[a] beach boys meets ty$ kinda vibe," @diplo Tweeted early Thursday afternoon, attempting to best describe his latest Soundcloud upload, "LONG WAY HOME;" a quasi-remix, or more so a loose cover, of Ty Dollar $ign's non-album single, "Stand For" re-recorded with Grizzly Bear/Vampire Weekend members Ed Droste & Rostam. "its about time that indie rock acts started to co-opt rap beats," Diplo lamented in the track's short-lived Soundcloud description, which Pitchfork points out, was imminently deleted. I was just telling my beautiful girlfriend, in terms of sheer line-blurring concept, "LONG WAY HOME" vaguely reminds me of Vampire Weekend's middle-of-the-road Indie Rock/Hip-Hop hybrid track, "Step (Wintertime Remix)" featuring appended verses from Danny Brown, Heems, and Despot.


"Stand For," the structural basis for "LONG WAY HOME," was actually co-produced by Diplo & DJ Dahi and is supposedly set to appear on Ty Dollar $ign's forthcoming Taylor Gang/Atlantic debut, Free TC; resident Stereogum Hip-Hop writer Tom Breihan recently described "Stand For"'s incredibly zonked out video as "a version of hardscrabble present-day LA reality, with the crucial distinction that everyone has living balloon versions of their own faces." Diplo, Ed Droste & Rostam's unexpected mega-collaboration just might allude to the fact that the world-renown super-producer may very well be contributing production work to Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear's respective long in-the-works fourth and fifth albums (fingers crossed). "LONG WAY HOME" is currently available for download from Diplo's goodie-filled Soundcloud page, alongside everything from Lorde to Mad Decent's holiday-themed comp. A Very Very Decent Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Have Yourself a Funky Little Xmas: Tuxedo - "Wonderful Christmastime" (Stones Throw)




"Tuxedo Xmas jam dropping for all my gentiles (Santa emoji)," @MayerHawthorne Tweeted in the wee hours of the morning, preceding his newly unmasked Disco-Funk duo's yuletide single. "Happy Holidays from Tuxedo. Original by some guy named Paul McCartney," reads the Soundcloud description scribed beneath "Wonderful Christmastime." While most of us have known it since day one, about two years ago, Hawthorne and producer buddy Jake-One just recently revealed themselves as Tuxedo, along with their self-titled Stones Throw-backed album announcement. Jake-One manages to keep the majority of the former Beatles' holiday track intact, but adds a little more Disco-Funk/kazoo-fueled Hip-Hop swing to "Wonderful Christmastime;" while Mayer Hawthorne delivers his now signature buttery smooth New-Wop vocals, without disgracing McCartney's arrangement and even appends a couple Prince-level high notes, for good measure. Now, mind you, this isn't exactly Hawthorne's first go-round with a Christmas classic... as he previously unleashed "[his] favorite Christmas tune, sung over the Vince Guaraldi instrumental," "Christmas Time Is Here" (2011). Hopefully, this Funky little stocking-stuffer will help tide over those anxiously awaiting Tuxedo's forthcoming March 3rd LP (myself included), which is conveniently available for Stones Throw pre-order.


Monday, December 8, 2014

James Franco's Art School Band, Daddy, Recruits The Smiths' Bassist Andy Rourke for "This Charming Man" (VICE Records?)


Actor, comedian, author, director, painter, scholar, cell phone salesman, and apparent sleep-less human, James Franco has seemingly decided to add yet another "notch to his belt;" he's currently finishing up a full-length album with his art school band/multi-media project, Daddy. Franco formed daddy with fellow forward-thinking Rhode Island School of Design classmate Tim O'Keefe around 2011. Daddy's formative Motorcity EP and companion "Love In The Old Days" Remix EP were recorded on location in Detroit during the making of James Franco's 2013 Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz The Great & Powerful and featured a Polaroid of his scantily-clad Spring Breakers co-stars on Motorcity's cover. Franco and Tim O'Keefe even went as far as to recruit local golden-voiced legend and Motown founding father, Smokey Robinson for additional vocal duties on early video-single, "Crime." "We took a 10-poem sequence called "The Best of The Smiths: Side A and Side B." I originally wrote this sequence as a way to use one medium (music) to influence another one (poetry)," James Franco explained to VICE, who recently premiered the heavily-filtered video for "This Charming Man."


"The Smiths' songs provided inspiration for the poems, lending tone and situation. Once I had the sequence, Tim [O'Keefe] and I took the material one step further and turned the poems inspired by songs, back into songs of their own," he somewhat confusingly continued. Daddy then managed to recruit Smiths founding member and original bassist, Andy Rourke to appear across their forthcoming Let me Get What I Want LP (2015). It seems as though VICE will sporadically release a short film/video for each of the album's 10 tracks, which were created by Mrs. Franco's Palo Alto high school film class; flanked by 10 original James Franco paintings inspired by his 1993 high school yearbook and created during his time spent studying at RISD. Fresh off of stints hosting SNL and Naked & Afraid this past weekend, James Franco and buddy Seth Rogen are preparing to release their long-awaited, feather-ruffling North Korean Action-Comedy flick, The Interview, on Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Purity Ring Suddenly Drop Unannounced New Track, "push pull" (4AD/Last Gang)


Purity Ring have kept a relatively low profile since releasing their major label Dream-Pop debut, Shrines, nearly two years ago; aside from a handful of Electronic-tinged remixes crafted for everyone from Soulja Boy to Lady GaGa and non-album tracks recorded with Danny Brown and Jon Hopkins. Purity Ring have reportedly been working on their as-yet-untitled second album for about a year or so no and then, all of a sudden, without any rhyme or reason, they quietly uploaded a brand new track late Wednesday night. "push pull" was crafted at the hand of in-house producer Corin Roddick and has seemingly already won over the approval of frequent collaborator, @xdannyxbrownx, who ecstatically Tweeted, "nothing short of amazing!!!!!! ... I love these guys." It really seems like the next logical natural progression for Purity Ring as a band, a little less murky and lo-fi, but still just as glitchy, jittery, and eerily beautiful as their early material; "You push and you pull and you tell yourself no / It's like when you lie down, the veins grow in slow... You push and you pull / but you'd never know / I crept in you and I wouldn't let go," frontwoman Megan James delicately whisper-sings over Roddick's crunchy, stuttering beat. "push pull" is currently available to stream as part of a lush YouTube visualizer with artwork designed by Renata Raksha, as well as further available for purchase on iTunes. While nothing official has been announced at this point, all signs would lead me to believer that Purity Ring are planning their second album roll-out on 4AD/Last Gang for sometime early next year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mayer Hawthorne Returns to Stones Throw: Tuxedo Full-Length LP (Prod. Jake-One)


It's been widely speculated since their mysterious 3-song Tuxedo Funk EP drop that illusive Disco-Funk duo Tuxedo were in fact composed of New-Wop crooner Mayer Hawthorne and his producer buddy, Jake-One. It's also been a sort of "music biz" insider joke since day one that Tuxedo's name itself was a discrete, yet tasteful, jab at Justin Timberlake's then just-released "Suit & Tie" and apparent assimilation of Hawthorne's whole old-school-meets-new-school Doo-Wop shtick he's adopted in recent years. "The Tuxedo collaboration began with an exchange of mixtapes back in 2006. The fruits of a long-standing kinship were three tracks that mysteriously showed up on Internet doorsteps nearly two years ago. In between personal projects, these three tracks became a full album's-worth of Tuxedo," Stones Throw exuberantly wrote in a December 1st album press release. "[Tuxedo] are descendants of the one-word moniker family of Funk, where you will find groups such as Chic, Shalamar, Plush & Zapp." Their March 3rd album unveiling will additionally mark the triumphant return of golden child, Mayer Hawthorne, after he left Stones Throw for the major leagues upon the release of his flawless 2009 career-shaping debut, A Strange Arrangement. Tuxedo's 12-track self-titled album was mixed by "original Disco don dada," John Morales of 1980's Dance record editing and remixing team, Morales & Munzibai (aka M&M). Hawthorne flew out to Morales' South Plainfield, NJ-based home-studio during the mixing process, wherein he laments, "his wife made me spaghetti and everything!" Tuxedo's Funk-drenched album is currently available for pre-order over at Stones Throw, as well as iTunes, nearly three months ahead of it's March 3rd 2LP/digital world-wide release.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bastille vs. Other People's Heartache Pt. III: Bastille & HAIM - "Bite Down" (Virgin Records)


"tbt after a long day at the pub, we went to sing on an untitled bastille song - now it's out and called "bite down," @HAIMtheband Tweeted along with the above photo on Thanksgiving night; seemingly unaware that Bastille had planned to unleash their Electro-laden collaboration as a pre-release single to their forthcoming [Bastille] vs. Other People's Heartache Pt. III mixtape/album. "It's always been really important to me to constantly make new music and also to collaborate with people, something we don't really do on our proper albums," frontman Dan Smith said of the feature-heavy project in a recent statement. "It was really enjoyable to make and [was] a nice way to get together with people that we like and respect and have fun with it... I love having the side lane of our mixtapes as a place where we can make music people might not expect," Smith continued. From its initial bars, "Bite Down" comes off as a vaguely Electronic-tinged, crunchy guitar-drenched Indie Rock romper, which seems to be in the same vein as the direction Bastille are looking to take on their currently in-the-works Bad Blood/All This Bad Blood (2013) follow-up. In addition to California-bred songstresses HAIM, [Bastille] vs. Other People's Heartache Pt. III is set to feature contributions from Angel Haze, Braque, F*U*G*Z, The Gemma Sharples Quartet, Grandes, Lizzo, MNEK, Rag N Bone Man, Rationale, Skunk Anansie, and Tyde. But those interested don't have to wait too long at all, because Bastille's third "vs." mixtape compilation will see a world-wide release this upcoming December 8-10th.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"It's the story of a Native American going out like a champ..." Homeboy Sandman - "Happy Thanksgiving" (Stones Throw)




"There [aren't] too many Thanksgiving tracks in Hip-Hop. Here's one by Homeboy Sandman," @stonesthrow Tweeted, along with a link to "Happy Thanksgiving," late Tuesday afternoon. Not entirely unlike Eugene McDaniels' own 1971 anti-Thanksgiving anthem, "The Parasite (for Buffy)," Homeboy Sandman's latest tells the gritty truth behind Thanksgiving's rather gruesome origins; "This cut is called "Happy Thanksgiving." It's the story of a Native American going out like a champ before being slaughtered by European settlers. It was produced by Psycho Les of The Beatnuts," Sandman explains. "Happy Thanksgiving" sees a FREElease on the heels of Homeboy Sandman's latest Stones Throw-backed project, HALLWAYS, produced by Jonwayne, Oh No, Knxwledge, DJ Spinna, Blu, and a multitude of inventive beat-makers. Homeboy Sandman's latest festive-leaning release consists of roughly 57 bars-worth of dense lyrical wordplay, parts of which include: "All I had left was 2 arrows and 1 bow. Basically, my tribe is all gone, all slaughtered by assault from the blonde-haired Johnsons and Monroes... How I'm going down still remains a mystery. One thing's fo' sho' I'ma go down in history." Feel free to add this one onto your Turkey Day Playlist, right alongside Adam Sandler and Eugene McDaniels. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, my friends; but lets all take a few minutes to acknowledge the horrific post-feast events on which this "holiday" is allegedly based.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Reggae Revivalists, The Lions Breathe New Life Into The Clash's Dance-Punk Hit, "The Magnificent Seven" (Stones Throw)


It's no big secret that I've been laid up and out of work for about 2 weeks after having minor corrective hernia surgery; during my time off, I've sent out a handful of emails to my musical friends and acquaintances seeking out new music updates. The Lions founder and in-house producer Dan Ubick readily replied with, "Forthcoming music..... yes, the new LP "Soul Riot" is due out Feb. 10th on Stones Throw and I can confirm that we will be opening for The Abyssinians at Dub Club the following night (Feb. 11th) for the release party." Ubick additionally attached an audio stream of The Lions' early single, "The Magnificent Seven," a spirited cover of The Clash's 1981 Hip-Hop-tinged Sandinista! hit single. Not entirely unlike their Doo-Wop-drenched rendition of "Jamie's Cryin'" from their second album, The Lions are successfully able to amplify and honorably re-create The Clash's genre-blending, Reggae-indebted Dance-Punk sound. Dan Ubick and his ever-growing cast of world-renowned players "have managed to take The Clash's "Magnificent Seven/Dance" and give it even more of that crossover weird/eclectic/roots/dance/gritty bad-old-days-NYC-of-my-youth in such an honest in genuine manner," YouTube uploader Ben Velez ecstatically writes in his description. While we patiently await The Lions' third album, Soul Riot, and it's recently filmed lead video-single, their Stones Throw debut, This Generation, is currently still available in a number of varied formats; standard edition CD/LP packages, as well as an "old school"-stylized eight 45 7-inch box set, and This Generation In Dub, meticulously re-dubbed by Dub Club visionary, Tom Chasteen.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"You can just imagine how sexy, crazy & dangerous my daily life is;" a Conversation with Pissed Jeans Frontman & White Denim Founder, Matt Korvette (The Witzard Interview)


I recently had the opportunity to reach out to Philly-area punk rocker and frantic Pissed Jeans frontman, Matt Korvette; following their brief West Coast tour, Korvette and I were able to catch up and conduct an all-inclusive 11-question interview — outlining his home-grown vinyl record label, White Denim, his "passion for fashion," new-found affinity for the self-proclaimed "Neon Icon," RiFF RAFF, monthly-updated record review site, Yellow Green Red, and everything else in-between. Indulge yourself below, if you're interested in finding out just "how sexy, crazy, and dangerous" Matt Korvette's daily life is; Pissed Jeans' long out-of-print 2005 Parts Unknown debut full-length, Shallow has very recently been re-issued and re-mastered on CD and vinyl, via their current label, Sub Pop.
(1) I know that you guys just recently re-issued your first album, Shallow... but do Pissed Jeans have any immediate plans to start recording the follow-up to Honeys?

As soon as we've got enough songs, we plan on doing another album! It just takes us a while, but we work in bursts. Definitely eager to do another record though.


(2) Can you confirm or deny your involvement in Philly area pro wrestler UltraMantis Black's debut Hardcore EP, which featured "members of beloved punk band Pissed Jeans?"

Sure, it's no big secret, but I play bass guitar for Ultramantis Black. Honestly, it's by far the most serious band I've ever played with.


(3) For those unaware, you run a monthly updates music review blog, Yellow Green Red; would you be able to run us through a handful of your favorite 2014 reviewed releases?

Hmm... thus far, I'd say Vessel's Punish, Honey, Morgan Buckley's Shout Out to All The Weirdos In Rathmines, and Powell's Body Music are my personal favorites. Oh and that recent Sheer Mag 7" is killer as well. There's been a lot of great records this year!


(4) What would you say are five essential pieces of clothing or fashion accessories that every "modern man" should own for the upcoming fall/winter season?

Well, I am by no means interested in speaking for all men, or telling a majority what should be done, but if you live in The Northeast, you need a good hat, a thick coat, durable boots and clean underwear. Not sure about the fifth.


(5) Hypothetical question: if you could assemble a dream "super-group" of Punk musicians, living or deceased, including or not including yourself, who so you think you might select?

I'd go with Nick Cave, Bobby Soxx, and Sakevi trading off vocal duties over SPK's drum machines. I could listen to that all day long.


(6) Is your Philadelphia-based record label, White Denim, not to be confused with Austin's own White Denim, still functioning and I'd so, what do you have planned as per future releases?


Not to be confused at all, and yep, still functioning! Up next is a 7" by DC's Young Trynas and a 12" by Westov Temple. Still putting out any killer Punk/Electronic/Noise music that strikes me as exceptional.


(7) Are you still in contact with your current Sub Pop label mate and former White Denim signed Daughn Gibson... any chances of a future Pissed Jeans team-up collaboration?

Yes, we are the best of friends. No plans for a collaboration, but you never know! We are constantly collaborating non-musically, but socially.


(8) Late last year, a flurry of "selfies" taken with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl were uploaded to Pissed Jeans' members' personal social media accounts [above]; I'm dying to know the circumstances behind those photos!?

He was at a show we played in DC, hung out, and naturally he insisted that he take photos with all of us. It was kind of embarrassing, but we felt bad telling him "no."


(9) Considering your band membership, passion for fashion, home-run record label, Yellow Green Red site, etc. could you please run us through a "day in the life" of Matt Korvette?

I dunno, I'd rather not. You can just imagine how sexy, crazy, and dangerous my daily life is.


(10) I myself, am a die-hard fan of both modern day and Golden Era Hip-Hop, much of which is covered here in The Witzard. What are some of your personal favorite Hip-Hop releases of the past year or so?

RiFF RAFF's Neon Icon is my favorite of the year by far. There is so much to unpack there, and I've been having a blast trying to do it. He's probably the best male entertainer around.


(11) Pissed Jeans is often wrongly associated with the misguided genre tag "Pig-F*ck," but how exactly would you attempt to best label/describe your band's overall sound?

I would say "Heavy Punk Rock" to a stranger, but honestly I don't care what genre or tag we get labeled with. So long as people are actually interested in our existence, I'm not too concerned with what they wanna call us.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pusha T, "The Only Dopeboy Quotable," & Kanye Present: "Lunch Money" (King Push?)




"Jesus Christ, #LunchMoney make me wanna sucker-punch 14 Elk in the nose. Might be my fav @PUSHA_T backdrop since #Trill or #RideAroundShinin," Tonight Show bandleader @questlove exuberantly Tweeted. Former Clipse emcee Pusha T is supposedly holed up in the studio with Pharrell/The Neptunes, Kanye, and rookie producer Hudson Mohawke, earnestly working on the follow-up to his impeccable solo debut, My Name Is My Name (2013), tentatively titled "King Push." Early Tuesday morning without any prior rhyme or reason, a new thumping Kanye-produced track appeared on Google Play all of a sudden, which quickly disappeared; it was later premiered on Funkmaster Flex's radio show and soon thereafter, spread like wildfire across The Internet. "Kanye's best for ["Lunch Money"] is a gurgling, lurching soup of confusing, disorienting sounds, but all those sounds are built around a very basic, very funky pulse," Stereogum's very own Hip-Hop Head In Chief, Tom Breihan writes. Kanye's first seemingly self-destructive post-Yeezus beat is anchored around a particularly neck-snapping sample culled from Gang Starr's 1991 Jazz-Rap masterpiece, "Just to Get a Rep," according to SPIN's diligent digging. "That's the type of energy I'm looking for in creating this new King Push album," Pusha T revealed to MTV News on the set of his soon-to-be-released "Lunch Money" music video. "It needs to be rebellious and angry. I was trying to go for that, I have expressed that to [Kanye] so many times, so I guess when he was cooking up [beats], this is what he came up with." Pusha T recently appeared alongside G.O.O.D. Music affiliates French Montana, Future, and Travi$ Scott on a brooding Hip-Hop-infused remix of Hudson Mohawke's Apple MacBook Air-endorsed "Chimes." While King Push currently lacks a proper release date, it's already quite arguably one of the most anticipated albums of 2015.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mayer Hawthorne & Jake-One "Do It" as Disco-Funk 2-piece, Tuxedo (Stones Throw?)


"Tuxedo [first] emerged last year with three tracks of smooth, synth-heavy Disco-Funk, and accompanied by no information whatsoever about the group except a greeting – "Tuxedo is here! Stay classy," Stones Throw wrote in an unannounced Tuxedo-centric post Wednesday afternoon (the former label home of New-Wop crooner Mayer Hawthorne). The 2-pieces' former download-able Tuxedo Funk EP featured vocal effects that sound suspiciously similar to those of Hawthorne, atop rumored Funk-drenched production work crafted by veteran beatsmith, Jake-One. Mayer Hawthorne's quick milli-second cameo as a valet within Tuxedo's latest "Do It" video, would seemingly add a little "fuel to the fire." While it's far from solid full-proof confirmation, I recently discovered a Nissan Murano commercial within the depths of YouTube, which features usual suspects Mayer Hawthorne & Jake-One, billed as Tuxedo, performing "So Good" OFF THE STAGE gallivanting around in a sleek 2015 model Murano. As okayplayer perfectly puts it, directors Ross Harris & Henry DeMaio's video treatment "finds an earnest prospective dancer earning his stripes in front of a group of non-believes, until, of course, he converts them to his gyrating ways." Stones Throw further notes that we should be able to expect a proper Disco-Funk-soaked Tuxedo full-length in 2015; "more Funky music comin' real soon, y'all!"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Alexandre Moors & The Little Homies Present: Kendrick Lamar & Ron Isley - "i" (TDE)


"It's music that's gonna thrive in the club... it's not anything like what you've heard from Kendrick before. It's not like anything else that's out there right now," Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg ambiguously lamented about a fragmented chunk of Kendrick Lamar's highly anticipated, as-yet-untitled forthcoming third album. Lamar recently told Rolling Stone that he's recorded "a bunch of tracks" with illusive super-producer Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Rahki, and in-house TDE production team Digi+Phonics. While he additionally referred to the album as "aggression and emotion"-filled, lead single "i" is a light-hearted, self-affirming affair. It seems as though Kendrick Lamar even recruited bass virtuosos Thundercat to add an appended Funked up bass intro onto "i" for its recent Alexandre Moors & The Little Homies directed video treatment. "Stop! Stop! We talkin' about peace... a piece of yours... a piece of mine... a piece of mind... one nation, under a groove," a dapper white suit-clad man feverishly exclaims, as two men start brawling amongst dancing club-goers whilst Lamar getting his hair braided; atop Rahki's stuttering Isley Brothers-indebted neck-snapping groove, he abruptly starts dancing/walking his way towards the front door.


It's nearly a milli-second glimpse, but "Dr. Funkenstein" himself, George Clinton is seated by the door with a copy of his premier, rather long-winded, memoir: Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You? in hand. "And I love myself / The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs / I love myself / But it can do what it want whenever it want, I don't mind," Kendrick Lamar ferociously raps as he dances through the city streets, a trove-full of jubilant club-goers in toe, as they weave in and out of a barrage of real life injustices. Juxtaposed against the impending daylight, "i" suddenly morphs into an echo-voiced almost Chopped-N-Screwed ditty, Lamar leaves an impromptu dance party and jumps into the back of Ron Isley's slick purple-hued Cadillac; wailing his impassioned verses out of the car's rear window, nearly splattering onto the freeway below. "i" speeds back up to nearly double-time syncopation, amongst blaring car horns, as Isley's Cadillac pulls back up to the same club wherein the video began, in fact, quite similarly, as an entranced Kendrick Lamar gets his hair re-braided following the night's events.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mikael Stornfelt Presents: oUzu BazooKa - "Southern Winds" (Tel Aviv, Israel)


"The music video is about people from different worlds connecting through music. And it's surprising how what eventually came out when everything was finished, was somehow so similar [to] the production process itself: Uri [Brauner Kinrot] and I connecting across the globe to get this project done and him flying from Israel to Peru to shoot it. It seems like a great parallel to the finished work, were Uri's almost arcane musical world gets connected to The Hermit's darker underworld all for the sake of a good time!," director Mikael Stornfelt lamented about the making-of Mediterranean Psych-Rock band Ouzu Bazooka's latest single, "Southern Winds." While frontman Uri Brauner Kinrot (UBK) is largely based out of Tel Aviv, Israel, he's toured the world and recorded with his "drunken wedding, Balkan-surf, guitar-tuba-drums power trio Boom Pam," as well as jet-setting acts such as Balkan Beat Box, Shantel, Firewater, and countless others. "Southern Winds" is the third strategically "leaked" single from Ouzu Bazooka's long-delayed self-titled album, which has thus far only been released in Israel with Japanese/European issues coming this forthcoming winter and a North American release date still pending. It almost reminds me of a tasteful stylistic mixture of 1970's-bred Psych-Rock meets modern day Prog-Metal, à la "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" hit-makers Iron Butterfly and Dave Grohl affiliates Queens of The Stone Age. Although I must admit, UBK's promotional team first reached out to me last winter, I'm assuming having searched American Rock bands I had written about, he's seriously the most talented musician who's ever cold emailed me; it still boggles my mind that people in Israel are EVEN aware of The Witzard's sheer existence! (haha)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Witzard Presents: Peanut Butter Lovesicle - "Dragon Disease" (self-released B-side)




"Trust this trio to make contagiously vibrant Psych-Rock that's this hideously cool. Prepare to have your brain cells stolen and shoved in a Rock "N" Roll grinder," laments Spoonfed UK... Even having grown up a proud New Jerseyan, it's still a little hard to believe that a modern Hard Rock band such as Peanut Butter Lovesicle was essentially birthed at The Jersey Shore. While they're currently based out of New York City, brothers Mike & Jake D'Arc grew up in Pennsylvania along with their cousin and drumming frontman, Timmy Miller; not unlike most East Coasters, PBL seemingly spent their childhood summers down at Ocean City, NJ, where they still frequently record at Ice Box & Ice Palace and play shows at local venue, Yesterday's Restaurant & Bar. Peanut Butter Lovesicle gained notoriety when their two singles, "State of I" and "Black-Eyed Blues," were featured on a recent season of Gossip Girl. @PBLovesicle's newly-released single, "Dragon Disease" is actually an unreleased B-side from the same sessions that yielded last year's non-album single, "Jealous Minds."


"[It] will be the last single we release before we take a break to peruse some other musical projects," Peanut Butter Lovesicle stated in an email transmission dated late last week, adding that bassist Mike D'Arc is featured on lead vocals throughout the duration of "Dragon Disease." It's evocative of their hybrid-Rock sound, which I would best describe as a mix of the unique stylings of The Black Keys, Cage The Elephant, and Classic Rock forefathers, Cream. Uploaded to an array of music streaming services last Thursday, "Dragon Disease" is currently available as a name-your-price download and in stark contrast to it's softer-leaning A-side, Peanut Butter Lovesicle's latest concoction is a little more of a brooding, Heavy Metal-influenced composition. While D'Arc often sings secondary back-up vocals on many of the band's tracks, hearing him sing lead vocals should be a welcome change for long-time fans. It's unknown what exactly Peanut Butter Lovesicle's members have cookin' up next, but in the meantime, their Dirty Pride & Heavy Daze Wildcat Craze EP's are currently available for purchase, in addition to a number of non-album "loosies."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Now-Again Presents: Madlib, Freddie Gibbs, Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$ & Ransom - "Knicks" (Remix)




Not entirely unlike his previous rapper-producer efforts – Jaylib, MADVILLAINY, and OJ Simpson – veteran Stones Throw beatsmith Madlib's latest collaboration with Freddie Gibbs (MadGibbs), might be one of his most ambitious, critically-acclaimed projects in years. Madlib and Gibbs rolled out three preemptive annually-released teaser EP's between 2011-13, leading up to their recent [Cocaine] Piñata full-length. "Bittersweet moment: the last @freddiegibbs 'Piñata' related release #Madlib and I will have the honor of releasing on Madlib Invazion. It's been a great ride, and I'm proud of every release," Now-Again founder Egon wrote in a heart-felt Instagram message Monday afternoon; hot on the heels of Madlib & Freddie Gibbs' just announced Knicks Remix EP assisted by XXL Freshmen alumni Action Bronson & Joey Bada$$, along with Brooklyn-based emcee Ransom. Despite "Knicks Remix"'s apparent basketball-referencing title, okayplayer further notes that "the trio respectively warn of the perils of the dimes and nicks game," which I'm assuming is a thinly veiled allusion to drug trade.


"Same night Chris Childs punched Kobe / It was a Sunday, I had the Hyundai / Then I crashed it, leather jacket like Slash did / Face melted off like acid," Bronson ferociously raps in his newly-appended 16 bar second verse, which additionally includes effortless references to Christopher Lloyd, Downtown Julie Brown, Mike Tyson, Don Johnson, Little Richard, and of course, "rosemary on the strip [pork] loin." It's really an excellent coast-to-coast posse cut, but Action Bronson is the undeniable Rap super-star here; while Egon confirmed, as I expected, that they were never actually all in the SAME studio... it's pretty awesome that Bronson was able to rhyme atop a hand-crafted Madlib beat! Their freshly-pressed 6-track Knicks Remix EP is now available for pre-order on Madlib Invazion via Rappcats, which they expect will start shipping around Halloween and will become available world-wide soon thereafter on November 18th.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pissed Jeans Cast Jennifer Lawrence's BFF in "Boring Girls" Video-Single (Sub Pop)


"Power-dirge from Pennsylvania; Pissed Jeans are noisy as a motherf*cker and proud of it on this, their debut full-length, which sounds like a big pile of mud and broken glass ripping through your stereo speaker in the most killer way imaginable," reads a juicy chunk of Sub Pop's overtly descriptive Shallow re-issue mini-press release. Frontman and part-time music critic Matt Korvette along with his fellow Pissed Jean-ers enlisted frequent collaborator Joe Stakun, who previously directed Honeys stand-outs "Bathroom Laughter" and "Romanticize Me," to shoot a clip for "Boring Girls" from their newly-remastered nine-year-old Shallow album (2005). Not entirely unlike Stakun's former creations, "Boring Girls" is an oddly disjointed visual presentation, which perfect matches Pissed Jeans' whole self-imploding Noise-Rock aesthetic; it starts out resembling your run-of-the-mill clip, with our long john-outfitted protagonist, Clay Tatum, seemingly getting ready for bed... until a sudden squealing guitar-backed gust of wind ushers in a flurry of multi-colored birthday balloons and an eerily ecstatic bed-side tap dancer.


For reasons largely unknown, Tatum receives an urgent night-time mail delivery, as the mail lady exclaims, "Are you ready for your big date... You have a big date tonight." Clay Tatum frantically jumps into a suit, as his bedroom suddenly morphs into a quaint Italian restaurant and his date, (Jennifer Lawrence's BFF) Laura Simpson arrives at his door. "There's only one type of girl on my mind. She's always on my mind," Tatum passionately bellows across the table, but before long, his date abruptly goes sour, as Simpson storms out after noticing her picture on his nightstand. While I'm not entirely sure what happens next, "Boring Girls" seems to transform into some sort of twisted, strobe light-laden nightmare/reality, wherein Clay Tatum plunges from the sky back into his bed. And it just gets more and more demented from there on out for the final minute-long duration of Joe Stakun's latest video treatment, until Tatum awakes, choking on his retainer backed with a stock laugh track. Pissed Jeans' newly-remastered and re-issued 10-track Shallow is now available in a variety of audio formats and assorted bundle packs on Sub Pop's online mega-mart, preceding their week-long West Coast mini-tour this upcoming November.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Party Supplies, Action Bronson & Black Atlass - "The Light In The Addict" (Fool's Gold)




"BEAUTIFUL NEW MUSIC BY MY BROTHER @xpartysuppliesx AND I. ADD @BlackAtlass AND WE HAVE A MASTERPIECE..." @ActionBronson exuberantly Tweeted, along with a link to the Billboard premier of "The Light In The Addict." It was seemingly debuted live at a colorful Sonos Studios/Soundcloud showcase held about a week or so ago, wherein "PS frontman Justin Nealis [was] clad in jogging shorts and a David Lee Roth tee, while Bronson sported a Brazilian flag doo rag." "The Light In The Addict" will likely be included amongst a gaggle of previously unreleased Soundcloud-debuted loosies on Party Supplies' long-rumored Tough Love vinyl/CD re-issue, which is currently slated for a November 25th release on Fool's Gold Records. Party Supplies simply summed up the track's underlying theme as "nothing is perfect... It's the sound of hope and survival and the crossroads of good and bad," when recently speaking with Billboard.


Nealis himself likened "The Light In The Addict," or at least it's scat-singing close-out riff, to Van Morrison's 1977 chart-topper, "Moondance." Not unlike Action Bronson & Party Supplies' most recent genre-blending collaboration, "Easy Rider," their latest creation could be described as off-kilter Hip-Hop; borrowing more characteristic elements from Psych-Rock and Blues-Smooth Jazz than traditional sample-based Golden Era Hip-Hop. Bronson and Fool's Gold Records' own budding crooner, Black Atlass take turns belting out hyper-emotive lines like, "I nearly lost my mind... All a mothaf*cka got is time, time, time" over Party Supplies' billowing piano-laden instrumental, in what has quickly become one of my personal favorite moments during "The Light In The Addict"'s all too short 5-minute run-time. Ahead of Tough Love's long-awaited November 25th re-release, Action Bronson & Party Supplies' former critically-acclaimed Blue Chips 1-2 mixtapes are currently available online for your mass consumption and enjoyment.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Warp Records Presents: Flying Lotus & Kendrick Lamar - "Never Catch Me" (Electro-Jazz Fusion)


Flying Lotus' latest Warp Records-released creation, You're Dead! features a wide array of contributions from an unlikely gamut of collaborators including Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, Angel Deradoorian, frequent collaborator Thundercat, and even Lotus' own rapping alter-ego Captain Murphy; but according to a flurry of late night Tweets the other night, for whatever reasons, additional tracks recorded with super-star guests Pharrell, Chance The Rapper, Mac Miller, and supplementary Kendrick Lamar material were ultimately scrapped. Aside from dwelling on what could have been... Flying Lotus unleashed the first Lamar-assisted single from You're Dead!, "Never Catch Me" nearly one week prior to the album's release, last Wednesday, October 1st. It's an oddly heartwarming life-affirming, death-defying clip, which only showcases a brief milli-second glimpse of Steven Ellison (Lotus) himself, who's quietly seated at the funeral mass of two young children.


Director Hiro Murai has managed to create a brilliant music video treatment, which perfectly suits "Never Catch Me"'s jittery piano-laden beat; "I can see the darkness in me and it's quite amazing / Life and death is no mystery and I wanna taste it," Kendrick Lamar ferociously raps as our two life-less corpses miraculously rise from the dead. None of the seated church on-lookers seem to notice the morbid/awesome event that just occurred right before their eyes, as the kids dance and twitch down the length of the aisle along with Lotus' infectious beat, fleeing their own Requiem Mass. Bursting out into the sunlight once again, they perform a quasi-choreographed dance routine outside the church in front of a group of school children, yet still, no one appears to notice the two undead adolescents; before long, they hop into the back of their own hertz, in which they decide to go for a triumphant "joy ride," ultimately cruising off into the sunset as "Never Catch Me" abruptly fades out. Flying Lotus' genre-blending 19-track Electro-Jazz Fusion album, You're Dead! is now available in a number of assorted audio formats on Warp Records.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Somewhere In America: Mastodon - "The Motherload" (Reprise Records)




"Somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is still TWERKIN,'" that now-infamous Jay Z line single-handedly sums up the cultural assimilation of yet another once "cool" African-American trend, TWERKING. It's just something that "white bread" middle American women, not entirely unlike Taylor Swift, really shouldn't even be attempting to do in the first place. Atlanta-based Prog-Metal behemoths, Mastodon's latest video treatment, "The Motherload" could likely coexist somewhere in the unlikely cross-hairs nestled in-between Sir-Mix-a-Lot and Danzig. "We weren't trying to make fun of Hip-Hop videos. It was a fine line, because I didn't want to come off as being sexist, so I thought that maybe the females took center stage and looked powerful and had this dance battle," Mastodon drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor recently explained to Pitchfork. Dailor additionally notes that he and his Mastodon bandmates along with directors Jonathan Rej & Thomas Bingham drew inspiration from 90's-era MTV Heavy Metal videos from Marilyn Manson, Metallica, and Nirvana. "The Motherload" is essentially a Hip-Hop-inspired TWERK-fest with Satanic undertones that could likely be the end-all-be-all of an outpouring of 2013-14 TWERK-based videos ass-tastically ushered in by Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke's now-infamous "cheeky" VMA's performance. The Brann Dailor-fronted track's accompanying video treatment is littered with black-and-white scenes of what appears to be Adam & Eve, side show freaks, lizard people, numerous "dance battles," and one particular zebra print-wearing TWERKER who's suddenly morphed into kaleidoscopic images, all inner-spliced amongst some seriously badass Mastodon performance footage. "The Motherload" is the third single extracted from the band's sixth studio album, Once More 'Round The Sun, which for whatever reasons, doesn't include their recent brooding Adult Swim singles creation, "Atlanta," recorded with one of the forefathers of 90's Alternative Rock, Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

SSENSE & Surface to Air Present: Chromeo, HAIM & Napoleon Dynamite - "Old 45's" (Last Gang)


It all starts out innocently enough, at a Road House-stye "dive bar" that's seemingly located out in the middle of the desert; Dave 1 seductively croons, "if you think romance is dead and gone, found an old jukebox full of 45's, pop a nickle in it, and it all comes back to me" at "Old 45's" gorgeous dark-haired protagonist. Chromeo multi-instrumentalist P-Thugg can be seen seated by himself up at the bar, where our leading lady eventually settles, and in certain frames, sisters Danielle, Este & Alana Haim are seated alongside Dave 1 in a booth. "You know what? I tried out these new pants. I didn't think I'd like 'em... thought they'd be a little bit too tight. But hey, I'll tell ya... I kinda like the way they grip me," laments our cocktail-pouring bartender, right before a sensual bar-top dance routine suddenly breaks out. And before too long, yet another dance routine erupts, as the lights dim down and Dave 1 sings directly to our mysterious leading lady. The camera abruptly pans over to the dive bar's light-stricken front door and Jon Heder, who seems to have been cast as a slightly aged Napoleon Dynamite-esque character, awkwardly enters. Heder approaches the bar as the mini-movie pauses and "Ezra's Interlude" faintly plays in the background; he clumsily attempts to spit game at our brown-eyed temptress and somehow, manages to start a ridiculously splat-stick bar fight. She and Heder quietly sneak out the front door hand-in-hand, while Dave 1 & P-Thugg duck under a nearby table, making sure not to scuff up their spiffy Surface to Air FW14 Collection duds. Chromeo's nearly flawless retro/future Electro-Funk album, White Women is currently available for your listening pleasure on their Toronto-based Last Gang Records.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

2DopeBoyz & Jackson Browne Present: Ab-Soul - "W.W.S.D." (What Would Soul Do?)




It seems as though veteran TDE emcee Ab-Soul has ripped a page right out of one-time "label-mate" Action Bronson's book of tricks, essentially rapping over an untouched Jackson Browne track, "These Days," once recorded by both Nico and Gregg Allman. While Browne's track shares it's title with Ab-Soul's recent third album, These Days... "W.W.S.D." is actually an apparent non-album left-over; "What Would Soul Do" doesn't really even sample Jackson Browne's original recording, Ab-Soul more or less manages to rap in-between or along with "These Days," which was included on Browne's second album, For Everyman (1973). "Yo, how the f*ck my new girl got me jealous of other girls / I think I live in another world," Ab-Soul ruthless raps as he fades in and out of Jackson Browne's subdued crooning, "And I had a lover / But it's so hard to risk another / These days," a clever back-and-forth which continues into about the 2-minute mark, as Ab-Soul effortlessly laces up two introspective, hard-hitting verses. "So many pills I should have slipped already / My lungs the same color as my lips already... Can't achieve success without failure, baby." I'll willingly admit, I was pretty quick to deem "W.W.S.D." "the most gangster thing Ab-Soul has ever done," which is currently available for FREE download online, while These Days... is available for purchase from your preferred local or Internet-based retailers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TDE & Swiffer Wet-Jet Present: Kendrick Lamar & Ron Isley - "i" (non-album single)




Kendrick Lamar's latest non-album single, "i" has a seemingly unlikely sample source, The Isley Brother's 1973 Soul-Funk hit, "[Who's] That Lady," which many of you may recognize from Swiffer's hilarious long-standing "Who's That Lady" campaign. Right off the bat, "i" itself is more blatantly "commercial" than the combined the whole of it's predecessor good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012), but in the best way humanly possible. It's almost reminiscent of OutKast or even Native Tongues' 90's era brand of light-heated "conscious rap." Kendrick Lamar has supposedly recorded about 30 tracks for his as-yet-untitled second album, including "a bunch of tracks" with Dr. Dre. "Lamar says to expect "aggression and emotion" from the album, as well as some straight-up freestyling" laments a recent Rolling Stone profile; "if I can say anything about this record... is that it will connect again," Lamar vaguely continues. It was revealed just this morning in a brief Power 106 radio interview that not only did Ronald Isley approve of producer Rahki's clever "[Who's] That Lady" sample flip, but he even went as far as to record new ad-libs for "i," which are randomly scattered amongst Kendrick Lamar's repeated self-empowering "I love myself" refrains. While Kendrick Lamar's forthcoming album currently lacks a firm release or title, but he coyly brushed off "United States of A.L.A.R.M.," I'd imagine TDE issuing a lead single is a fairly good sign; even though Lamar divulged Rolling Stone that he's "not sure at all" if the album will even be out this year.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Freddie Mercury & Michael Jackson - "There Must Be More to Life Than This" (Queen Forever)


It's almost unfathomable to me, as both a home-grown music writer and music-buying all-American 20-something, to hear that musical luminaries Michael Jackson and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury once recorded a number of incomplete tracks together that have been sitting in a vault somewhere in "Neverland," collecting dust for nearly 30 years! Mercury supposedly brought the potentially über-fruitful 1983-84 sessions to a screeching halt after Jackson attempted to bring a llama into the recording studio. Head Stereogum writer, Tom Breihan basically conceptualized the whole mind-boggling scenario perfectly: "[it's] like finding a giant pile of money under the bed in your hotel room and deciding, what the Hell, you'll just leave it there" ha. But now, Grammy-winning producer and Madonna collaborator, William Orbit has gone back in and meticulously re-produced/mastered the long-lost Queen-backed track, "There Must Be More to Life Than This," which after three decades-worth of endless set-backs, will finally see an official release on the band's upcoming Queen Forever compilation. While it seemingly wasn't ready for inclusion on Michael Jackson's recent cut-and-pasted posthumous release, Xscape, a Jackson-less version of "There Must Be More to Life Than This" originally appeared on Freddie Mercury's premier solo album, Mr. Bad Guy. It was first penned by Mercury during the writing sessions for Queen's 1981 album, Hot Space wherein the piano-accompanied track ultimately went unfinished and shelved, but was resurrected just three years later during the recording of The Works; Michael Jackson then recorded his vocal parts in Los Angeles around 1984, although for whatever reasons, Mercury decided to include it within Mr. Bad Guy (1985). "There Must Be more to Life Than This" will see it's first official Queen/Jackson-sanctioned release on Queen Forever, which is currently slated for a November 10-11th release, along with two additional unreleased 1980's era Queen treasures, "Let Me In Your Heart Again" and "Love Kills."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mass Appeal Purrsents: Run The Jewels - "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" (Meow The Jewels)




"Run The Jewels will self-produce a new episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey, with Mike and El both playing Gordon Ramsey. We will travel to a restaurant with you of your choice, completely uninvited and attempt to force them to change the menu. All the while, verbally abusing and insulting the entire staff to hilarious effect," reads the utterly side-splitting RTJ2 We Are Gordon Ramsey Package ($150,000). It's one of 11 totally outlandish too-good-to-be-true RTJ2 pre-order "BONU$" packages ranging from $7,500-10,000,000 in "price," which Run The Jewels blatantly admit that they'll "take your money and not fulfill any of [their] obligations as outlined in any package priced at 35k or more." There's even a Meow The Jewels package, wherein for the right purrice, Killer Mike & El-P will supposedly "re-record RTJ2 using nothing but cat sounds for music." Run The Jewels unleashed the second single from their forthcoming RTJ2, "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" Monday morning as part of Adult Swim's annual summer singles series. Killer Mike & El-P somehow managed to recruit Police Academy actor Michael Winslow, who ended up contributing a unique human beatbox/robot vocal effect to "Oh My Darling Don't Cry." Not entirely unlike the majority of Run The Jewels (album 1), "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" is a frantic multi-layered Space-Rap-sounding track that's effortlessly laced up with Killer Mike & El-P's rapid-fire rap ferocity and Winslow's robot sounds. Run The Jewels' latest track is now available for download through Adult Swim's summer singles program, ahead of their aptly-titled Mass Appeal Records FREE-release, RTJ2, which will become available for download online this upcoming October 27th; coincidentally, just on day before the end of @MeowTheJewels' Kickstarter campaign that's attempting to raise $45,100 so that El-P & Killer Mike will re-produce a cat sounds instrumental version of RTJ2. @therealelp has expressed his interest in making what's now been dubbed "Meow The Jewels" and pledged to donate nearly all of it's profits to charity; with the help of a mainstream media push, MTJ has already managed to raise upwards of $7,000 in less than two days, at press time.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dr. Romanelli Presents: The Alchemist, Samiyam & Action Bronson - "Which Ways The Beach? Mix" (British Knights)


"IF [YOU] LISTEN TO THIS, [YOU] WILL HEAR ANOTHER SNIPPET OFF MR. WONDERFUL. SHHH, DON'T TELL [ANYONE] @Alchemist THIS EXPLAINS IT," @ActionBronson quietly Tweeted late Thursday night, alluding to his recent "Which Ways The Beach Mix;" commissioned by Dr. Romanelli (DRx) and footwear company, British Knights and jointly produced by The Alchemist & Samiyam. The newly-minted rapper-producer beatsmith team painstakingly culled right around 8-minutes worth of audio snippets and vocal effects harvested from a series of 1980-90's British Knights TV commercials. It's without a doubt, an interesting sound collage, which fittingly provides viewers and sneaker-heads with a self-proclaimed "contemporary musical travelogue through BK History." Action Bronson bulldozes in at about 6:15 as the beat suddenly morphs into something, shall we say, a little more rap-able; "I know you seen me on the TV lookin' like a hunk of beef / When I smile, your baby momma sh*tted dungarees / Somebody get the he kid a deal... he sound like me." Its kinda hard to go ahead and make unprecedented assumptions as to what Bronson's forthcoming VICE Records debut will sound like based off an all-too-brief 35-second snippet, but judging by "Which Ways The Beach?" and "Easy Rider," Mr. Wonderful is poised to be one of the most ferocious genre-blending Hip-Hop albums since Kanye's recent Aggro-Rap magnum opus, Yeezus (2013). "This new album I'm about to present to you is all me, Success or Failure, Critical Acclaim or Disappointment. I'll accept it either way... But trust me, [you're] gonna sh*t [your] pants from enjoyment," Bronson recently lamented on Twitter in 140 characters or less.