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.