Saturday, May 31, 2014

At last, we meet again: JJ - "All White Everything" (Secretly Canadian)

While they generally make a unique brand of self-loathing, love sick Dream Pop, Swedish duo JJ (formerly known as "jj")'s music has always been heavily influenced by Hip-Hop and R&B; take their latest single "All White Everything" for example, sonically it's a crisp piano ballad accented by a sparse Hip-Hop drum pattern about mid-way through, who's title is seemingly an allusion to Jay-Z's Kanye & Rihanna-assisted smash single, "Run This Town." It's our first legitimate taste from JJ's forthcoming album for Sincerely Yours/Secretly Canadian V, which will be their first proper full-length since jj n° 3 (2010). Aside from it's August 19th release date, 12-song tracklist, and cryptic album artwork, little else is known about V. Roughly two weeks before unveiling the aforementioned information, bandmates and apparent couple Elin Kastlander & Joakim Benon quietly uploaded a 45-second JJ V album trailer to label Sincerely Yours' site, which was further accompanied by an all too vague statement/poem that I've included below. I'm currently working on a rough draft of a batch of about 10-15 interview questions centered around V and it's creation, which will soon enough be emailed to JJ, and will eventually be featured here on The Witzard as a full-form band interview; until then, please feel free to check out my former interview conducted with Elin & Joakim around February 2012, falling somewhere in-between the release(s) of their kills mixtape and jj n° 4 single.

"At last we meet again
and I'm like baby, what you doing here?
You stay on my mind.
We been up all winters for someone like you and we know that you been up all winters for someone like us.
We don't even know your name or where you came from
and someday this war will be over so we and our friends will stay together until the end.
Making our way through this motherf*cking life.
Come on, we have to do it."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pissed Jeans & No Age Members Form Band: Rat Fist - "Disrupt Yr DNA" (Sub Pop?)

"Rat Fist is the result of a friendship that began over a decade ago in 2003 when [Randy] Randall's former band Wives and [Sean] McGuiness' former band Navies played a house show together in Washington DC. It was then that the two quickly recognized they had a common love for loud, fast, heavy music," notes the newly-formed band's description on R5 Productions' upcoming events page. Rat Fist unveiled a string of six quick-strike East Coast tour dates, which are listed above, along with a righteous teaser single titled "Disrupt Yr DNA" late Tuesday afternoon. It sounds like a harshly grafted mix of both Pissed Jeans and No Age's Noise Rock/Hardcore Punk sounds; while I'm not entirely sure who's on lead vocals, Randall's crunchy feedback-drenched guitar riffs meld perfectly with McGuiness' skull-bashing drum lines littered through out "Disrupt Yr DNA"'s nearly 2:30-minute duration. Despite the fact that Sean McGuiness & Randy Randall's paths had to have crossed during the 11 years since their initial meeting, "after both becoming fathers, they realized there was no time like the present to fire it up." McGuiness flew from Philly to Los Angeles this past winter to work with Randall and producer F. Bermudez to record a collection of self-described "refreshing, face-melting, fist-pounding cuts." While it has yet to be officially announced, I'd almost automatically assume that Rat Fist are signed to legendary Seattle Punk label Sub Pop, since both Pissed Jeans and No Age are on their ever-growing roster. Randy Randall was previously interviewed by SPIN last year as part of a Pissed Jeans web-profile on the eve of their latest release, Honeys; within he commented on their shared anti-industry machine Punk Rock ethos, "There's an element of challenge in there, almost this disregard for the industry side of things, like, 'We get it, but there's not much we can do to fit in' ... because you're never the same. If you're working for an insurance company, if you have a straight job and kids, Punk is a perspective. It's not a fashion trend or a Twitter-like interest. It's not a passing fantasy. You're f*cked for the rest of your life." While Rat Fist's debut album currently lacks any form of solid release date, their primary bands' critically-acclaimed "new" albums, An Object and Honeys are available on Sub Pop.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Keeping Up with The Kardashians: Kanye - "God Level" (Adidas World Cup)

Kanye West, a man who very recently rapped something along the lines of "black Timbs all on your couch again / black d*ck all in your spouse again..." married his long-time girlfriend Kim Kardashian this past weekend. The Florence wedding ceremony held at the 16th century Fort di Belvedere was preceded by an extravagant pre-party held in Paris Friday night, which was seemingly attended by everyone from Rick Rubin to Jaden "White Batman" Smith; in lieu of James Fanco & Seth Rogen's tastefully declined "Bound 3" performance invitation, early reports suggest that Lana del Rey, Katy Perry, Andrea Bocelli, John Legend, and illusionist David Blaine performed at various point throughout the wedding reception and ceremony. It just seems to be a sheer coincidence that Kayne's new "YEEZi" sneaker partner, Adidas released a World Cup web-commercial complete with previously unreleased music on the same weekend as Kim & Kanye's star-studded wedding. "God Level" could very well be a Yeezus-era left-over, seeing the track was supposedly produced by recent collaborators Hudson Mohawke, 88-Keys, Mike Dean, and Noah Goldstein. Adidas seems to have really embraced Kanye for his aggressive post-wedding bliss self, already showcasing his music in a big-budget World Cup advertisement, more so than Nike ever publicly embraced him.

okayplayer further reports that the full-length "God Level" track, which has since been mysteriously taken down, "hammers all the way through. [Hudson] Mohawke's brand of weird mixes perfectly with the current Kanye brand of jagged acid-rap." Even during the brief 50-second Adidas snippet, Kanye manages to boast "You see sharks in the water / You don't see murder like this often / Provide a new coffin / You don't see murder like this often..." "The tense backing track grounding every second of "God Level" is all you hear for most of its 3ish minutes. Ye lays out for at least half its running time, but we promise you: the lines you don't hear in the Adidas spot are raw. Real raw," okayplayer continues. Kanye has been actively working on his long-rumored 2014 album, which he's boldly self-described as his own Born In The U.S.A, that Billboard reports will consist of "12 songs," six of which an unknown source has heard are "mostly a mixture of Soul samples and tamed Yeezus-esque darkness... nothing abrasive." While it's largely unclear as to whether or not this is even the same album that was previously reported to be a 3-hour long spoken-word rant (which okayplayer now reports was in fact an elaborate hoax), at this point, I really wouldn't put it past Kanye to release a brooding opinion-littered half music/half spoken-word double album.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Power In Numbers: Jurassic 5 & Heavy D - "The Way We Do It" (The White Stripes)

Aside from the Beastie Boys of course, I think it's pretty safe to say that Jurassic 5 were my first favourite Hip-Hop group that I discovered entirely on my own; if I'm not mistaken, "What's Golden" was featured on some sort of early 2000's basketball game for either N64 or PlayStation. Power In Numbers (2002) still remains in heavy rotation in my car stereo and is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite Hip-Hop albums. I remember having a burned CD-R copy of the album released either directly before of after Power In Numbers, which was always an enjoyable listen, too. After releasing four positive "Conscious Hip-Hop" albums and one EP between 1993-2007, Jurassic 5 decided to part ways and unveiled one final album recorded without previously departed DJ Cut Chemist, Feedback. Following the under-the-radar release(s) and luke warm commercial reception of a few side projects, including Ron Artiste and a compilation of 1980's French Post-Punk, Chali 2na, Cut Chemist, Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 & DJ Nu-Mark finally decided to re-form the band for a string of festival dates last summer; and then, completely out-of-the-blue Tuesday night, Jurassic 5 unleashed their first new track in eight long years! "The Way We Do It" is in fact a posthumous release that was produced by Heavy D, who somehow managed to expertly chop and sample The White Stripes' Blues Rock-influenced 2005 single, "My Doorbell." Cut Chemist's website-based blog further notes that '"The Way We Do It" was produced by Heavy D during J5's Feedback recording sessions. J5 immediately connected with D as a true Hip-Hop hero, as well as a great person. This is one of [four] songs recorded with legend. More exclusive songs and versions of songs are coming soon!" It's currently unclear as to where "The Way We Do It" and the other aforementioned tracks will eventually appear, but we can all only hope it's a new Jurassic 5 album; until then, you can catch Jurassic 5 on their expansive summer-long tour along with opener Dilated Peoples across the United States and Europe, spanning from June to early August.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

ATL to London: Rome Fortune & Four Tet - "One Time For" (Soundcloud Bootleg)

I'm about 98% sure that I first stumbled upon Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) during my early exploration of Jaylib-era J Dilla; the late great rapper-producer concocted a neck-snapping remix of Hebden's own "As Serious As Your Life" (2003) along with fellow Detroit emcee Guilty Simpson. While he's primarily regarded as a one-man band, Four Tet has branched out in recent years working with drummer Steve Reid, MADVILLAIN, Neneh Cherry, Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman, and has produced unofficial remixes for everyone from Lana del Rey to Justin Timberlake. Four Tet unleashed his latest foray into Hip-Hop late Tuesday afternoon; "One Time For" is one of two tracks recently recorded with rising Atlanta emcee Rome Fortune. Even though it may still be a little rough around the edges, "One Time For" is an extremely glitched out, drum-heavy Electronic Hip-Hop hybrid, which could very well be the start of a great collaborative effort. "For me, the existence of Twitter... has had a massive, massive impact on what's possible for me. On Twitter I chat with everybody from Rome Fortune to Ellie Goulding or Lorde, and they get back to me," Four Tet recently lamented to BBC Radio 1 personality Benji B. Rome Fortune most recently unleashed the long-awaited follow-up to his Beautiful Pimp mixtape, Beautiful Pimp II, back in February in conjunction with The FADER, while Four Tet unveiled a 15-track collection of previously unreleased material to commemorate his monumental 100,000th Twitter follower. It's largely unclear as to where "One Time For" and it's as-yet-to-be-released companion track will eventually end up re-surfacing.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Complex & Ricky Saiz Present: Cam'ron & A-Trak - "Dipsh*ts" (Fool's Gold)

My older cousins Ashley and James were always Diplomats (aka Dipset) fans growing up and while I never really listened to them back in the early 2000's, I guess I have a few vague memories... Juelez Santana's oft-delayed Lil' Wayne team-up I Can't Feel My Face, current reality star Jim Jones' lone hit "We Fly High," Cam'ron's eccentric pink fur collection and "Purple Haze," and the eventual rise and fall of Dipset. Long-time admirer/super-fan A-Trak has recently teamed up with Dipset general Cam'ron for an upcoming collaborative EP, Federal Reserve; fresh on the heels of his long-awaited and just released Duck Sauce album with DJ buddy Armand Van Helden, appropriately titled QUACK. Their Complex-premiered "Dipshits" is the second proper track to be unleashed from Federal Reserve EP, which A-Trak co-produced along with Just Blaze and his brother Dave 1's (Chromeo) recent collaborator, Fool's Gold signed Electro-Dance duo Oliver. Director Ricky Saiz, who's previously worked with both Beyoncé and Supreme, does a damn good job capturing that rough edged early 2000's aesthetic and somehow manages to effortlessly work in quick cameos from Chromeo, hook-man Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, "Champagne Dame" Dash, and Cat Power; "from kids in airbrushed A-Trak tees to Cam's floor-length mink, it's the most style you'll see in a video all year." While Federal Reserve EP currently lacks a proper release date, Complex assures that it'll be out soon on Fool's Gold/Poppington/Dipset. It seems as though Cam'ron is also concurrently assembling a monthly 6-track EP and web-series that's tentatively titled "First of The Month," which will begin on July 1st and will likely feature monthly collaborations with Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Estelle, and rapping fugitive Gunplay.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Funny or Die Presents: Har Mar Superstar - "Restless Leg" (Cult Records)

While I wouldn't exactly go as far as to automatically mislabel Har Mar Superstar's most recent album, Bye Bye 17 as "Blue-Eyed Soul" or anything resembling lazy new age Neo-Soul genre tags, frontman Sean Tillmann probably owes more to guys like Justin Timberlake, Mayer Hawthorne, and Robin Thicke than he would probably ever willingly like to admit. Tillmann's latest music video/single was directed by frequent Strokes collaborator Warren Fu, who's previously worked with long-time frontman Cult Records founder Julian Casablancas; at it's core, "Restless Leg" is a charming, yet vaguely disturbing video centered around an interesting man-on-puppet pseudo-love triangle, which was co-directed by contained Viva La Puppet puppeteer Michelle Zamora. No matter how you may feel about a little tasteful man-on-puppet action, Bye Bye 17 is a very easily accessible album, chock-full of white boy Soul-Funk/R&B; something to the effect of mid-90's "2 turntables and a microphone"-toting Beck. And if you're anything like me, a guy who's frequently heard Har Mar Superstar's name over the past 10-12 years, but never heard a note of his music, I'd say this is a pretty solid place to start! Bye Bye 17 is now available through Casablancas's own Cult Records imprint over at Amazon, your local record store, etc.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

GODMODE Presents: Shamir - "I Know It's a Good Thing" (Nick Sylvester)

Shamir Bailey is a self-described 19-year-old "musician, comedian, singer, rapper, twerker, chef, writer, film-maker, tumblr, [and] skinny fat ass" hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada. GODMODE founder and Mr. Dream drummer Nick Sylvester discovered and ultimately signed Shamir after hearing his DFA-style modern Disco-House music demo tape; even though Sylvester had previously sworn to never sign artists based outside of New York City. Slightly ahead of his forthcoming Northtown EP, Shamir and acting producer Nick Sylvester have strategically leaked two glitched out R&B/Dance tracks thus far, "If It Wasn't True" and newbie "I Know It's a Good Thing." From what I can tell, Shamir's first label-backed track, "If It Wasn't True" was released earlier this year on GODMODE's cassette compilation Common Interests Were Not Enough to Keep Us Together; it's a bona fide "Disco-House anthem with rare levels of badass self-assurance" as Stereogum head-writer (and Sylvester's close friend) Tom Breihan perfectly described it a few months back. Shamir & Nick Sylvester's latest creation, "I Know It's a Good Thing" was quietly uploaded to GODMODEINTERNET's label Soundcloud page about a month ago, but just started making the blog rounds this past week for whatever reasons. It's a simplistic Electro beat-driven and piano-accompanied little ditty that quite honestly, could have easily functioned as a self-loathing 1980's Smiths post-punk anthem. While GODMODE plans to re-release "I Know It's a Good Thing" as a multi-formatted single on June 11th, Shamir's proper debut, Northtown EP is supposedly scheduled for a June 14th release, which may both in fact be one in the same project. Now, this has absolutely little to nothing to do with his actual musical output... But does anyone else think that Shamir kinda looks like Jaden Smith with a septum piercing!? And when Shamir breaks into the mainstream, remember that you heard about him here at The Witzard first!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bringing It All Back Home: Action Bronson - "F#©k, That's Delicious" (VICE Munchies)

Just mere hours after somewhat cryptically Tweeting, "BLUE CHIPS & BLUE CHIPS 2... RARE CHANDELIERS ON VINYL?" Action Bronson (aka Mr. BAKLAVA) premiered the first episode of his latest non-musical endeavor, F#ck, That's Delicious; VICE's newly-established online food network, Munchies has partnered up with the gourmet chef turned-rapper for a monthly updated web-series "dealing with the often rapped about dining habits of our favorite rapper, Action Bronson." It was seemingly filmed during Bronson's string of New Zealand, South African, and Australian dates in support of Eminem's recently wrapped Rapture Tour. What they've managed to capture within is Action Bronson's New York homecoming from a world-wide tour that initially started back in January; while on his jet-setting journey (further detailed across Adventure Time), he dove off the top of a giant sail boat/yacht, got seasick while amidst a gourmet dinner, jumped into sweaty crowds from 400-50,000 people, had a chance to eat at an incredible South African open fire pit BBQ place called Mzoli's, and a buncha other more shit. Munchies' brave camera crew followed Bronson around New York as he dined at two of the city's best kept secrets, Roberta's and Eddie's Sweet Shop for the first time(s) since being back in the states. F#ck, That's Delicious' final scenes really ends up bringing it all back home for me personally, as Action Bronson is suddenly bombarded by three camera-ready 20-something female fans, which just goes to show how massively popular he's gotten in just a few short years ahead of his proper major label debut. Now, I think it's about damn time that Bronson breaches into [Food] network television, whether it be Beat Bobby Flay, Cut-Throat Kitchen, Chopped All-Stars, etc... we all know that would surely be some colorful, highly entertaining TV! While it isn't exactly a lead single from his forthcoming VICE Records album or anything, sister site Noisey recently premiered a new track from reclusive French DJ-producer Mr. Flash. "Number One" stems from his upcoming debut album Sonic Crusader, which Noisey perfectly describes as "a project where the lounge-core of Italian exploitation cinema intersects with Cold Wave over a Hip-Hop and Electronic background," and features three ferocious sharp-tongued verses from Action Bronson himself, Cities Aviv, and Madlib's little brother Oh No.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The FADER Presents: Seattle Jazz Drummer, KOOL & KASS, and TOOTHPASTE Member Kassa Overall's "CAULIFLOWER" (Slack Barrett)

Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist and rapper-producer Kassa Overall is a close affiliate of Kool A.D. and his now-defunct Hip-Hop crew Das Racist. I believe I first got in touch with Overall after discovering his stellar self-released Stargate mixtape, which featured him ferociously rapping over re-worked Katy Perry, Wiz Khalifia, and modern pop radio tracks, and he generously helped facilitate my 2011-12 interview with Victor Vazquez, otherwise known as Kool A.D. While he was previously signed to Vazquez's Greedhead off-shoot imprint Veehead, but since their disbanding, his current label situation is unknown. After years of preparation and recording, Kassa Overall is finally gearing up to release his first proper solo album consisting of entirely original production, which is tentatively titled Like Life, in the not so distant future; even though he's released countless group albums with PEACEFUL SOLUTIONS, TOOTHPASTE, and as an accomplished Jazz drummer has recorded and toured with a long laundry list of contemporary bands.

Kassa Overall himself confirmed in a late night Witzard catch-up email exchange that his upcoming project will include production work from Steel Tipped Dove, Keyboard Kid, Issue, Robert Lux, Carlos Overall, Amaze 88, Yuri Beats, and Francis & The Lights. The FADER premiered the lead video-single from a "forthcoming project that'll roll out over the next month" late Thursday afternoon; Overall self-produced "Cauliflower" and frequent collaborator Slack Barrett directed the inventive quasi-underwater tie dye-accented clip. It's a very simple, yet effective concept that features Kassa Overall rapping underwater in a bathtub (possibly under a piece of plexi-glass) as droplets of food coloring are evenly dispersed throughout the water. "We like to take simple shots and concepts and do them well, rather than show off with big budgets and pricey props," Overall explained about their unique approach to video production. "In the spirit of Hip-Hop, we like to take a couple simple ideas and see how good we can make it."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tough Love Re-release: Party Supplies - "Going Back to New York" (The Knocks Remix)

It's almost a little hard to believe that the same guys who produced Action Bronson's hard-hitting Blue Chips 1-2 also make Electro-Dance inspired Soft Rock in their free time. But I guess you could kinda consider Party Supplies' Pop-influenced beats crafted for Bronson as that seemingly grey area-fusing vehicle; Justin Nealis & Sean Mahon somehow convinced him to ferociously rap over John Mellencamp, Phil Collins, Tracy Chapman, "Tequila," Peter Gabriel, Guns "N" Roses, and plenty more note-worthy cats. Nealis recently compiled a list of his 25 favorite aka most influential albums, which includes everyone from Paul Simon to Raekwon. While it's been rumored for quite some time now, it seems as though Fool's Gold is finally planning a proper CD/LP re-issue of Party Supplies critically-acclaimed debut full-length, Tough Love later this summer. Tough Love 2 (as we'll refer to it from here on out) will likely include recent Soundcloud non-album tracks "(Searching for) A Crazy Love," "Security," "Danny Boy," and "4 More Months 2 Go." Fool's Gold has also seemingly alluded to the fact that Tough Love 2 may very well include a few spruced up remixes; "Going Back to New York" and "Beautiful Girl" by The Knocks and Lazerdisk respectively have been unleashed so far. Frequent Action Bronson & Party Supplies collaborator Rik Cordero has directed a companion music video for "Going Back to New York" (The Knocks Remix), which will be re-released as a proper digi-single next Tuesday, May 6th, backed with "Beautiful Girl" (Lazerdisk Remix). "Before shooting the video, Justin [Nealis] and I decided right away that we wanted to show parts of NYC that were relatively obscure and part of an Old New York that's been around for decades," Cordero described to Complex, who premiered his Super 8mm-filmed video. "We both grew up around places like the dystopian Willets Point, the classic 24-hour Cherry Valley Deli in Whitestone, and the historical Fort Totten in Queens so those locations felt more personal to us." Fool's Gold vaguely notes that "you'll able to snag these remixes on the upcoming Tough Love vinyl and CD release, so stay tuned..."