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)