Thursday, July 31, 2014

El-P & Killer Mike Present: Run The Jewels (2) - "Blockbuster Night, Part 1" (snippet)

"for those who spent tuesday in a coma or in the wilderness [here's] RUN THE JEWELS "BLOCKBUSTER NIGHT PART 1," @therealelp Tweeted Wednesday afternoon; he's of course referring to the 100 second snippet he and partner-in-crime Killer Mike let loose within the last 36-48 hours. Run The Jewels have been hard at work on the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed self-titled debut, reportedly even recording tracks with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and Rage Against The Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha. The forthcoming album, tentatively titled "Run The Jewels 2," is seemingly nearing completion according to El-P's stream of recent Twitter updates; "RTJ2 is one day away from being fully mixed... one song from having #RTJ2 mixed. That's 4 albums in 2 years for those keeping count. f*ck with me." While it's only about a 1:40-long snippet, Killer Mike & El-P still managed to deliver three verses-worth of sharp-tongued one-liners: "Bunches and bunches, punches is thrown until you're front-less... I'd lend a had, but they stuck in a fist and gun position." Run The Jewels 2 currently lacks a proper release date, but should be expected sooner than later and judging by their initial impression, El-P & Killer Mike's second coming is without a doubt poised to be a ferocious, noticeably "darker" lyrical assault.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Shape of Punk to Come: Dope Body - "Hired Gun" (Drag City Records)

Alright, full disclosure: I've been in top secret email transmission with Baltimore-based Noise-Rock band Dope Body since around mid-April and I've been fully aware that they were planning to drop an album's-worth of new material around September/October, too; that album, now titled LIFER, is currently slated for an October 23rd release on Drag City Records. While I'm not entirely sure if I discovered Dope Body's last album, Natural History (2012) or drummer David Jacober's solo cassette, Water Karaoke first, I guess my initial interaction with the band was a fateful 14-question interview conducted with Jacober a few years ago. LIFER was recorded back in January 2014 after roughly 19 months of non-stop touring behind Natural History, following a brief hiatus to work on the members' outer-band outlets: Nerftoss, Player Press, Holy Ghost Party! and frontman Andrew Laumann's gallery-displayed visual art exhibits. Drag City further describes LIFER as a "[refined] aural yawp [Dope Body] have been perfecting for some time, wild windmills honing into surgical strikes, the band's gut-busting repulsion-sound continuing to expand without losing any of the feral energy that made the group their reputation in the ever-insane Baltimore music and arts underground."

Lead/teaser single "Hired Gun" almost instantly reminds me of the guttural no-holds-barred Punk Rock that I cut my teeth on at the tender age of 13-15... Black Flag, The Misfits, Minor Threat, and even The Clash. It's almost impossible to judge a whole album from just one track, but it sounds like Dope Body have progressed leaps and bounds from Natural History; "at the end of the day, it doesn't boil down to much more than... the basic concept of music as a source of creative output," reads a recently issued Drag City press release. Leading up to LIFER's October 23rd release, Dope Body are planning to head out on a brief 12-city East Coast mini-tour and while they won't be performing, Dope Body have requested that I mention the three-day music festival, the inaugural Fields Festival, which is being held in the suburbs of Maryland, half-way between Philly and Baltimore. Dan Deacon, Matmos, Flock of Dimes, DJ Dog Dick, Nautical Almanac, Ghost Life, Nate Young, Needle Gun, comedians Ben O'Brien and Alan Resnick, as well as plenty more Baltimore "creative types" are scheduled to perform in Darlington, Maryland this upcoming August 22-24th. Tickets for both Dope Body's 12-city tour and Fields Festival are currently available online and presumably at your local ticket retailers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mr. Wonderful Prelude: Action Bronson & Herbie Hancock - "Get Off My P.P." (Cookin' Soul Remix)

It's almost hard to believe that chef-turned rapper Action Bronson's independently pressed Dr. Lecter album was already released nearly four years ago. He's somehow managed to unknowingly charm over middle [white] America, whilst rapping almost exclusively about fine dining, pro wrestling, sexual exploits, and drug trade. My beautiful girlfriend and I have been lucky enough to witness Bronson's charismatic stage show twice thus far, on the 2 High 2 Die Tour alongside Danny Brown & Trash Talk and as part of the XXL Freshmen 2013 Tour with Joey Bada$$ & Big K.R.I.T... both ahead of the release of his Blue Chips 2 mixtape, which is quite arguably his most cohesive body of work yet. While we're still patiently waiting for Action Bronson's long-rumored VICE Records debut, tentatively titled "Mr. Wonderful," Spanish production duo Cookin' Soul recently concocted an unofficial remix of Dr. Lecter stand-out, "Get Off My P.P." For the time being, I'll just let Roots affiliates okayplayer break it down for ya: "the righteous rehash swaps Jazz great for Jazz great, supplanting the original track's chop of Dizzy [Gillespie]'s standard "A Night In Tunisia" for Herbie [Hancock]'s brilliantly regal "Death Wish (Main Title)." Hancock single-handedly composed an original score for 1974 vigilante action film, Death Wish, which just so happens to have starred another notorious Bronson — Charles Bronson. No word just yet on a full-length Action Bronson vs. Charles Bronson by way of Herbie Hancock project, but as always, Cookin' Soul's cut, gutted, and well done production work adds a whole 'nother layer of depth and Soul-Funk to Bronson's aged "Get Off My P.P." "I'll tell [you] this, Nobody in the History of Rap music will ever have more Piano solos or Guitar face-melters on their Album than me," read a slightly overzealous note @ActionBronson himself posted on Twitter mid-Friday morning.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's a Ballroom Blitz!: SBTRKT & Ezra Koenig - "NEW DORP, NEW YORK" (Young Turks)

"did a song with @SBTRKT called "NEW DORP, NEW YORK" - listen 2 the radio 1 rip if u like" Columbia scholar @arzE Koenig Tweeted late Tuesday afternoon. The mysterious masked London-based producer has been hinting at the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed self-titled 2011 LP for quite some time now and recently released a series of mid-album Transitions EP's. Wonder Where We Land will see a wide release on Young Turks this forthcoming September 22-23rd; SBTRKT has recruited his frequent collaborators Sampha and Jessie Ware along with Chairlift songstress Caroline Polachek, A$AP Ferg, Warpaint, Denai Moore, Koreless, Raury, and Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig. The aforementioned Koenig-featuring track, "NEW DORP, NEW YORK," serves as the album's lead/teaser single; it's a weirdly fitting modern mash-up of Post-Dubstep break-beats and a slightly re-tooled infamous line cherry-picked from "Ballroom Blitz" ("and he thinks I'm the negative one"). Not entirely unlike his former "Step" Wintertime Remix collaborators, Ezra Koenig half-sings half-raps, "Flag flapping The Manhattan / New Dorp New York / Gargoyles gargling oil / Peak of the empire, top of the rock." It's a little hard to tell this early on, but it seems like Ezra Koenig and the above chronicled genre-blending guest list will likely help add another layer of depth to SBTRKT's already progressive sound.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just Another Manic Monday: Jonwayne & J Dilla - "No" (Stones Throw FREEBIE)

"Tired of [people] making this an issue of anything but the music. While you were spending time looking pretty, I was working on my craft," self-proclaimed neck-beard rapper @jonwayne recently sounded off on Twitter; "I can lose weight, cut my hair, trim my beard, get a tan.... none of that is going to make me a better emcee or producer. So, shut the f*ck up." Stones Throw sums up another recent Twitter-based turn of events pretty simply, "He made the announcement [Sunday] night, and here's the track. Simple as that. See you next week." Jonwayne effortlessly laces up 32 bars over an unspecified J Dilla beat, which he's re-dubbed "No" aka the first in a newly-announced Monday afternoon freestyles series. It was preceded last week by an unofficial starter track, "Special Herbs Medley," wherein Jonwayne rapped over 20 cut-and-pasted DOOM instrumentals in just under five minutes. While Dilla's characteristically off-beat instrumental drops in and out, Jonwayne seems to be warding off the haters: "You may lie to yourself, but unlike you, I can't put my d*ck on the shelf. I got a gut. That's where I'm hidin' my spells, but when I'm on the mic I'm just a picture of health... Yeah, you know I got more funk in my prose than all the f*ckin' farts that you ever smelled through your nose. So, who gives a sh*t if I'm rockin' sandals at shows; I'm f*ckin' in 'em, too. Now you know!" "No" was unleashed just in time to perfectly coincide with Stones Throw's Cassette On Vinyl, a re-mastered and hand-selected compilation pulled from Jonwayne's critically-acclaimed lo-fi Cassette 1-3 seriess, which just so happens to be out today. Just one day after he let loose "No," Jonwayne's back with yet another new track today; "America, The Beautiful," the lead single off fellow Stones Throw emcee Homeboy Sandman's forthcoming album, HALLWAYS, which they resourcefully commissioned Jonwayne to produced.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Arthur Baker Presents: Slam Dunk'd, Dave 1 & Al-P - "No Price" (Unearthed Disco-Funk)

Boston-bred multi-instrumentalist Arthur Baker worked, producer, or wrote music for popular artists like Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Dylan, New Order, and Hall & Oates during the 1980-90's, not to mention producing Afrika Bambaataa's legendary Electro-Hip-Hop fusion track, "Planet Rock" (1982). Baker recently unearthed a long-lost recording that was originally called "Can't Put No Price On Love" and was first recorded to tape about 35 years ago; he then sent the untouched 1979 masters over to MSTRKRFT producer Al-P for additional "looping, cutting, and mixing," who in turn, managed to recruit Chromeo frontman and self-proclaimed "Funk Lord" Dave 1. While "Can't Put No Price On Love" was initially intended for a planned 80's-era collaborative album with Filipino-African American Latin Soul musician Joe Bataan, Baker's then label, London Records USA suddenly shut down and any further recording sessions were ultimately scrapped. Arthur Baker, Dave 1 & Al-P's revitalized Funk-enstein creation, now titled "No Price" and credited to Slam Dunk'd, will see an unspecified release this upcoming September on Baked Recordings/Columbia. Pitchfork further notes that Al-P seemingly did his best to keep the spirit of Baker's rudimentary 1979 recordings intact, which were arranged by Ashford & Simpson affiliate Ray Chew, bassist Francisco Centeno, drummer Alan Schwartzberg, and Andre Carriere on guitar; Tony Carbone was the original lead singer, while Jocelyn (Shaw) Brown and Dennis Collins added additional background vocal effects. "For those who don't know who Arthur Baker is, do your homework! #legend RT @arthurhbaker: back with the disco shit," @Chromeo blissfully Re-Tweeted Thursday night on the eve of "No Price"'s sporadic release.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jenny Lewis, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart & Brie Larson - "Just One of The Guys" (Beck)

I'll be the first to readily admit that former Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis' latest Beck-produced single, "Just One of The Guys" isn't exactly your typical hyper-aggressive/Boom-Bap fan-fare here at The Witzard. But regardless, you really can't deny the inherent cuteness behind Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, and relative new-comer Brie Larson (21 Jump Street) acting as part of Lewis' faux all-female backing band. For those not familiar with Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis' past solo work, or her guest appearances alongside The Postal Service and Bright Eyes, I'd almost sonically equate "Just One of The Guys" to Hole's 90's-early 2000's lighter side or for lack of a better term, Soft Chick Rock. I'm not entirely sure if Jenny Lewis was in charge of the ladies' "business casual" white and rainbow accented pant-suits, but she definitely self-directed it's colorful video... which oddly enough, manages to juxtapose stark performance clips against footage of Lewis, Hathaway, Stewart, and Larson trotting around like rejected Fred Durst look-alikes (Adidas jumpsuits and all). Jenny Lewis' upcoming album, The Voyager, her first record in some six years, was collectively produced by Ryan Adams, Mike Viola, Beck, and frequent collaborator Jonathan Rice; "After Rilo Kiley broke up and a few really intense personal things happened, I completely melted down. It nearly destroyed me. I had such severe insomnia that, at one point, I didn't sleep for five straight nights. Many of the songs on The Voyager came out of the need to occupy my mind in the moments when I just couldn't shut down... This record was the hardest one I ever made. The Voyager tells that story: the longest night of my life and the journey to finally getting some rest." The Voyager will become available at the end of the month, July 29th, while the 12x12" LP version is currently available for pre-order at Urban Outfitters for a mere $24.98!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summertime Sadness: Rome Fortune & Four Tet - "Lights Low" (Track 2 of ?)

While it's largely unclear exactly how Atlanta emcee Rome Fortune and British Electronic producer Four Tet managed to record their recent series of cross-continental collaborations, I'd like to think they followed the Jaylib model; legend has it that J Dilla & Madlib's lone Stones Throw album, Champion Sound, was painstakingly assembled from dozens of beat/vocal CD-R's that were mailed back-and-forth between Los Angeles and Detroit. Rome Fortune & Four Tet unexpectedly released their second track together, "Lights Low" Thursday afternoon, which Fortune vaguely alluded is "Track 2 of ? between myself and Four Tet..." For those not exactly familiar with either artists' work, "Lights Low" and "One Time For" don't sound totally dissimilar from Daft Punk's Electro-tinged Hip-Hop collaborations with Kanye and Jay Z, "Stronger" and "Computerized" (respectively). Four Tet recently produced full-length albums for both Omar Souleyman and Neneh Cherry, while Rome Fortune's latest mixtape, Beautiful Pimp II, is now available for your downloading pleasure. It's still unclear as to where Rome Fortune & Four Tet's recent collaborative efforts will eventually end up... on their forthcoming separate projects or maybe even an unannounced rapper-producer-style EP/LP. But for the time being, please just enjoy their generous FREE downloads, "One Time For" and "Lights Low" whilst soaking in the beautiful summer-time sunshine!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bishop Nehru & DOOM Are... NehruvianDOOM - "Darkness" (Lex Records/Mass Appeal)

It's pretty wild to think that 17-year-old emcee Bishop Nehru's major label debut is entirely produced by mysterious rapper-producer MF DOOM and will likely see a release on Nas' newly-established Mass Appeal Records imprint. While he's currently touring across Europe with Nasty Nas himself, Lex Records unleashed "Darkness" (sub-titled HBU) late Monday afternoon, the first taste of Bishop Nehru & DOOM's long-rumored NehruvianDOOM LP. It's seemingly a dusty horn-assisted beat culled from DOOM's expansive 10-volume Special Herbs instrumental series, which @BishopNehru recently told a Twitter follower is "the only one" harvested from the nearly 90 track collection; Nehru promptly replied, "of course he raps" when brazenly asked by another fan if "DOOM [is] gonna be spitting on the album or just producing?" Bishop Nehru self-directed "Darkness"'s companion under his birth name Markel Scott, which was largely filtered through a monochromatic sepia after-effect. It's an inventive and loosely 90's Hip-Hop-inspired Native Tongues reminiscent video treatment, but sadly enough, DOOM is nowhere to be found; reportedly on a self-imposed sabbatical "across the pond" since being barred re-entry back into the United States following an ill-fated 2010 European tour. Mass Appeal alleges that NehruvianDOOM, which will technically serve as Bishop Nehru's full-length debut, will see a wide-release later this year... Let's just hope it materializes before DOOM's repeatedly delayed Chinese Democracy status collaborative albums recorded with Ghostface Killah and Madlib, tentatively titled "Swift & Changeable" and "MADVILLAINY 2."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Statik Selektah Presents: Action Bronson, Royce Da 5'9" & Black Thought - "The Imperial" (Duck Down)

Aside from his pseudo-brother-in-law Kanye West, I've never really heard tell of a rapper readily associating himself with Kardashian-bred entrepreneur Scott Disick; until the red bearded charmer himself, Action Bronson effortlessly proclaimed, "Yo, it's the rap Scott Disick / Come through the f*ckin' block with some hot lizards." Bronson's long-time friend and Well Done collaborator Statik Selektah recruited him for the introductory verse on his latest single, "The Imperial." While it's only been out for a few days, AllHipHop has already dubbed Selektah's recent efforts "the unofficial Make-a-Wish foundation for dream rap collaborations," presumably for pairing Bronson up with Slaughterhouse member Royce Da 5'9" and veteran Roots emcee Black Thought. Now, try to stay with me here, but Action Bronson really seems to be the missing link between everyone involved here: he previously worked with Statik Selektah on their Jaylib-style rapper-producer album Well Done (2011), Bronson supposedly recorded a verse for inclusion of Royce Da 5'9"'s upcoming Slaughterhouse group album, and Action Bronson recently headlined The 7th Annual Roots Picnic along with Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monaé, and The War On Drugs. It's no secret that I'm a die-hard Roots fan and that Action Bronson is probably my favourite rising emcee, but damn, Black Thought consumes nearly three minutes-worth of Statik Selektah's jazzy horn-assisted beat; "This is the big payoff, soliloquy of Chaos / Another rapper gon' get rocked like Amadeus / Defeat'll make a n**ga get ghost like a seance / It's triple entendre [André 3000], three stacks of, hey ya." Whether you're a new-comer or long-time Hip-Hop fan, this track is NOT to be slept on... Statik Selektah has managed to assemble one of the strongest posse cuts I've heard in recent years! Selektah's sixth studio album, his third in three years, What Goes Around... is slated for a world-wide release on Showoff Records/Duck Down Music next month, August 19th. Don't forget to pick up The Roots' latest Hip-Hop concept album, ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. While both Action Bronson's long-rumored VICE Records debut, tentatively titled Mr. Wonderful, and Slaughterhouse's third album, Glass House are slated for releases sometime this calendar year. No word on what ever happened to Action Bronson & Statik Selektah's second joint album, supposedly titled "New Jack City: Chopped & Screwed," which was only preceded by lone single "Strictly Business (Parts 1 & 2)" way back when in January 2012.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Death Grips Announce Break-up via Facebook Napkin Message (2010-14)

Death Grips have always been a band to defy convention; whether it be signing with a major label Epic deal and ultimately getting dropped for leaking private emails, self-releasing not one, but three full-length albums (one complete with dick pic cover art), cancelling an entire 2012 tour to record without informing nay of the pre-booked venues, and working on a mysterious [probably fake] short film with Robert Pattinson & Colin Hanks. Just last night, Death Grips posted a message scrawled across a napkin on their Facebook page, which reads: "We are now at our best and so Death Grips is over. We have officially stopped. All currently scheduled live dates are canceled. Our upcoming double album "the powers that b" will still be delivered worldwide later this year via Harvest/Third Worlds Records. Death Grips was and always has been a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision. Above and beyond a "band." To our truest fans, please stay legend." The announcement of their sudden demise comes as a surprise to many, especially since disc 1 of their upcoming double-disc, now final, studio album, the powers that b leaked just about a month ago; littered with vocal samples culled from experimental Icelandic artist Björk, n**gas on the moon was one of their most cohesive works since Death Grips EP (2011). The aforementioned EP along with Ex-military were the most blatantly "Hip-Hop" collections Death Grips ever put out, anchored with disjointed samples harvested from everyone from Pink Floyd to Black Flag. Aside from the consistently strung-along fans, I feel the worst for Nine Inch Nails & Soundgarden, who are about to embark on a 23-date US tour starting July 19th, now without an opener. Soon after the disbandment announcement, NIN frontman Trent Reznor posted a seemingly bitter Tweet, which read, "Sorry everyone... why would I have ever thought those dudes could keep it together?" Death Grips' final 2-disc album, the powers that b will seemingly be released at an unspecified time, likely before year's end. But I would imagine it's not exactly the last we'll hear from Death Grips, as drummer Zach Hill was actively working on a short film and companion band-composed soundtrack.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Funny or Die & Mallard Air Present: Chromeo - "Frequent Flyer" (Last Gang)

First, it was their suspiciously unprofessional @MallardAir Twitter handle, vaguely Street Boners-esque Chromeo's Airport Styles Instagram page, and their recently-announced 36-date Frequent Flyer Tour; all of this kinda seemed like an elaborate promotional campaign for Chromeo's latest White Women single, coincidentally titled "Frequent Flyer" or a possible tour with brother-band, Duck Sauce. Just this past Monday, Dave 1 & P-Thugg have teamed up with Funny or Die to present a hilarious Mallard Air in-flight safety video that dually functions as a music video for, you guessed it... "Frequent Flyer." The Funk Lordz bring their self-described and critically-acclaimed brand of "Larry David Funk" to Mallard's above average airline safety video, which includes precautionary guidelines like "in the event of a water landing, disco floor lights will illuminate the way." One extremely lucky Mallard flight attendant, of course flanked by Chromeo's two devilishly good-looking leading men, runs through necessary procedures like oxygen masks, inflatable life vests, emergency exits, "pretty dope" detachable slide/rafts, seat belt-fastening, and plenty of mid-flight dancing and canoodling. Interestingly enough, "Frequent Flyer" is actually the first album single unleashed since White Women's May release; "Over Your Shoulder," "Come Alive," "Sexy Socialite," and "Jealous (I Ain't with It)" were leaked months prior, even as early as October 2013. White Women is now available for your listening pleasure, in case you're looking for a Funky fresh airport terminal or mid-air layover soundtrack and please, don't forget to "Fly Safe [and] Stay Funky!"