Friday, August 15, 2014

Stones Throw Presents: Silk Rhodes - "Pains" & "Face 2 Face" (formerly Royal Kush)




Even though I've been an avid Stones Throw record collector for about 10 or so years now, I still managed to learn a lot of interesting facts and tidbits from their Kickstarter-funded, Jonah Hill-approved documentary, Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton. For example: Aloe Blacc's HBO-backed "I Need a Dollar" nearly saved the label, Peanut Butter Wolf was childhood friends with Stones Throw employees Jeff Jank and Steve Helmer (aka Baron Zen), Kanye and Roots bandleader ?uestlove are fervent supporters of the prolific label, the years following J Dilla's untimely death are generally regarded as Stones Throw's "post-Hip-Hop" phase, etc. It's funny because while I'm pretty familiar with Stones Throw's ever-growing label roster, I noticed a few names through out Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton that even I didn't recognize; Royal Kush, extraterrestrial songstress Diva, and righteous Punk band The Cliftons in particular. This past Tuesday after watching the documentary, I noticed newly-signed band Silk Rhodes' "Pains" 45 on Stones Throw's front page, which after consulting with Peanut Butter Wolf, I learned were formerly referred to as "Royal Kush." "This Baltimore duo garnered notice from Hip-Hop heads when their glittery Disco jam "Face 2 Face" was included on the soundtrack to Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, the documentary about storied California indie label Stones Throw," noted Rolling Stone's recent profile on Silk Rhodes, a fragment of their monthly 10 New Artist You Need to Know short-list (July 2014).


Silk Rhodes consists of vocalist Sasha [Desree] Winn and producer Michael Collins, who played their "very first show ever" along with Peanut Butter Wolf and fellow fresh meat Mild High School Thursday night in Glendale, California. "We were on tour together doing separate projects. At some point in the Southwest – Arizona, probably – we started turning our car into an impromptu recording setup," Winn and Collins told Rolling Stone. "It was very minimal, lending itself to vocal processing, looping and long-form meditative music [that we worked on] while crossing through the desert," road-trip sessions which likely help make up Silk Rhodes' forthcoming Stones Throw full-length. "Face 2 Face" is the more upbeat track of their currently brief discography, both of which resemble minimalist Electronic-leaning Soul-Funk; it's almost reminiscent of what it might sound like if Mayer Hawthorne were the frontman of Hot Chip, while "Pains" doesn't sound unlike a smooth bedroom slow jam that D'Angelo & J Dilla could have very well crafted together. Silk Rhodes first 2-track record pressed up for Stones Throw, "Pains" is currently available in either 7-inch or digital formats, which are reasonably priced from $1.98-7.00.

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