Friday, May 29, 2015

Yours Truly & adidas Originals Present: Spoon x DJ Quik - "Inside Out" (Remix) Feat. IAMSU!, Kurupt & Boogie (Songs from Scratch)

"'They did this as an ode to the Dr. Dre-era sound that he doesn't even do anymore... I miss that sh*t, too," says Quik, who slid into the Death Row [Records] family during its wildest years," Songs from Scratch columnist Frances Capell wrote in her recent DJ Quik-centric profile; Yours Truly and adidas Originals recently recruited iconic West Coast Hip-Hop producer to hand-craft a G-Funk-indebted remix of Austin-bred Indie Rockers Spoon's third and final They Want My Soul (2014) single, "Inside Out." "The vocals are great, and that's it. It's like the song's done, and I just get to draw another picture of music around it," DJ Quik then continues, speaking of Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, whom he seemingly worked closely with while re-recording "Inside Out" in his Burbank-based Little Big Room recording studio. Quik even went as far as to hand-selected three sharp-tongued West Coast rappers: "Death Row veteran Kurupt, HBK Gang's lovable leader IAMSU! and Compton's rising new talent, Boogie" to tack on three newly-penned appended verses.

Yours Truly filmed a short making-of style mini-documentary during the January recording sessions for DJ Quik's "Inside Out" Remix, in which Britt Daniel brazenly lamented: "Of all the songs on the record, this was the one that had the sorta Hip-Hoppy [vibe]... but it was just a piano ballad kinda song. But I wanted to make it more interesting than that, so we were just like, "we've been listening to this Dr. Dre record [2001] over and over and over again. So, well, why don't we just do it in this style?" DJ Quik willingly self-describes his re-imagined version of "Inside Out" as "heavy, a little more dicey, sibilant, punchier, and swirlier," as well as vaguely Pink Floyd-esque; although he really doesn't astray too far off from Spoon's stuttery string-laden original, to which he only ended up adding nearly 30 seconds onto its overall run time. "Inside Out" is just the latest in a long line of Songs from Scratch-indebted originals alongside past contributing singer-producer pairings Jeremih x Shlohmo, Chance The Rapper x Nosaj Thing, Danny Brown x ARAABMUZIK, Jacque Greene x Tinashe, and TĀLĀ x How to Dress Well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hear Your Old Droog's 'George Benson from Remulak' Impression on DJ Skizz-produced "Senseless Killin' II" (Droog Recordings)

"Before I head out across the pond for The #EuroDROOG Tour, I'm dropping this joint produced by my man, DJ Skizz, that showcases my famed yet underutilized 'George Benson from Remulak' impression — it's basically me scatting and rhyming along with the different sounds in the beat," Brooklyn/Ukrainian and uncannily Nas-sounding emcee Your Old Droog wrote on Soundcloud along with his latest track. "Senseless Killin' II" is the unofficial follow-up to Droog's latest sonic 1-2 punch of non-album Soundcloud loosies, "Hidden Persuaders" and Statik Selektah-produced "Unlimited Metrocard." The #EuroDROOG Tour will kickoff in Dublin, Ireland this upcoming June 6th and wrap up nearly one month later in Dour, Belgium on July 17th; but not before Your Old Droog is scheduled to make seven stops in-between, hitting England, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany presumably for the first time(s) in his all too brief career.

"If you're in London, come check out the virtuosity live [in-the-flesh] on June 8 at The Jazz Cafe (hence the jazzy joint). Bring tea for The Republican Teaparty National Convention! Cop the YOUR OLD DROOG LP and KINISON EP on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and all that sh*t, and check for the KINISON EP on vinyl [out] July 10, too," @YourOldDroog poetically continued. Droog is of course, referring to his critically-acclaimed 11-track Johnny Cash, Sam Kinison, and Beastie Boys-sampling Rock-inspired KINISON EP. It would almost appear as though Your Old Droog has been actively compiling tracks for the follow-up to his widely-championed and aptly-titled debut, YOUR OLD DROOG EP, which was later expanded and re-released as an 18-track LP on his own home-grown imprint, Droog Recordings; if Your Old Droog's Soundcloud description is to be believed, eagerly awaiting crate-diggers like myself should finally be able to listen to KINISON EP on glorious wax this upcoming Friday, July 10th.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jamie xx Recruits Young Thug & Popcaan for 'Song of Summer 2015' Contender, "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" [Young Turks]

Despite the fact that London-based Electro-Dubstep producer "Jamie xx" Smith is just now getting around to putting out his "debut" album, In Colour, on Young Turks, he's already managed to release countless [read: "three"] non-album stand-alone 12" singles, produced a nearly flawless remix album for Gil Scott-Heron, and has worked with everyone from Florence + The Machine to Drake & Rihanna; believe it or not, Florence Welch's stripped down Drake cover, "Take Care" actually flipped Smith's own production work from Scott-Heron's We're New Here (2011), a full-length remix of his first album in some 16 years. One of the first times I ever heard Jamie xx's music was actually on his string and marimba-laden xx-assisted "You've Got The Love" re-work from Florence + The Machine's critically acclaimed debut, Lungs. "Young Thug did a whole version of the song and Popcaan did a whole version of the song. I ended up splicing it together for the final version..."

"I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone that people wouldn't expect because the rest of the album is so sort of personal. This is the one thing that is a bit more out there," Jamie xx recently revealed to XXL concerning his left-field collaboration with "Danny Glover" rapper Young Thug and Jamaican Dancehall superstar, Popcaan. "I was living in New York for a couple months and I was doing a drive to Manhattan while I was listening to Hot 97. It was the perfect setting and it made me want to make the track like that," Jamie xx continued, describing what he calls a "sort of summer vibes and upbeat" track. "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" is quite arguably, already an early contender for Song of Summer 2015 and ironically, its backbone is built around a silky smooth sample culled from The Persuasions' 1972 Jazz-Blues $1.00 bin LP, Street Corner Symphony. Jamie xx's 11-track album, In Colour is currently available for pre-order from Young Turks; ranging in price from $11.24-37.49, Jamie Smith's "debut" is available in either CD, standard LP, or deluxe LP "triple LP cut on coloured vinyl at 45 rpm" formats.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hebru Brantley Presents: Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey-scored Flyboy In: "Revelations" Animated Short (Downtown Records c. 2009)

Brooklyn veteran emcee Yasiin Bey, aka infrequent actor Dante Smith, recently "released" and 8-track video "collection" of expertly re-rapped MF DOOM covers, but BEYONDOOOM isn't exactly his first foray into Stones Throw-related material; Yasiin Bey's 2009 album, The Ecstatic, his last record released under the Mos Def moniker, was essentially a loosely compiled Stones Throw beat tape. It's littered with cleverly re-purposed production work from the likes of Oh No, Madlib, J Dilla, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and MADVILLAIN: "Several Stones Throw artists and Stones Throw [released] instrumentals are included on Mos Def's new album The Ecstatic, which will be released June [9th]," Stones Throw wrote in a detailed beat-oriented 2009 mini-press release. "Revelations," lifted from MADVILLAINY 2: The Madlib Remix album has very recently been used to score a 2-minute animated short created by Afrofuturism-centric graphic artist Hebru Brantley... assembled nearly six years after its initial Downtown Records release.

"The visual follows the adventures of Brantley's hallmark Flyboy character as he encounters a mortal foe en route to nabbing the girl of his dreams, taking on a very Dr. Robotnik-esque (that's for you Sonic fans out there) type of villain," okayplayer wrote in a charismatic Zo-penned write-up over the weekend. "It's a short one, criminally so, but we think you'll get a kick out of it. And with Black Dante on the score, it's a must-see and hear type of joint," Zo then continued. Yasiin Bey has supposedly been out of the country recording new material since sometime after the release of The Ecstatic; "I played [Kanye] some new material and the whole song played and there was no words... he goes, "let me hear that again," a jovial Bey lamented to Beats By Dre about playing rough cuts of his new music for his G.O.O.D. Music label boss and former "Two Words" and "Drunk and Hot Girls" collaborator. Ahead of his as-yet-untitled new album, Yasiin Bey is rumored to be appearing on an unnamed track within A$AP Rocky's soon forthcoming At.Long.Last.A$AP (ALLA).

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Uptown's First Finale: Pint-sized Bryant Tardy Executes His Best Swagger-filled Mystikal Impression in "Feel Right" Video (RCA/Columbia Records)

While he isn't preoccupied melding together the sultry melodies of Rod Stewart and Miguel for an A$AP Rocky track or recruiting his sharp-tongued Albanian-Jewish buddy Action Bronson for a widely unreleased "Uptown Funk!" remix, super-producer Mark Ronson somehow managed to record and release one of the most downright Funky, yet commercially accessible albums of 2014-15; Uptown Special has already yielded one undeniable world-wide mega-hit with Ronson's infectious Bruno Mars-assisted "Uptown Funk," but now they're attempting to score similar chart success with it's proper B-side, "Feel Right." "PARTY PEOPLE, I'M VERY PROUD TO PRESENT THE VIDEO [FOR] "FEEL RIGHT" FT. @ItsMystikal DIR. BY @brunomars & @cameronduddy!!" @MarkRonson exuberantly Tweeted this past Monday afternoon. Although they make a quick cameo appearance towards the end, "Feel Right" solely features mini-Mystikal look-alike Bryant Tardy, rather than showcasing performers Mark Ronson, Mystikal, or Bruno Mars.

Florence Henderson introduces Tardy and his aptly-named Sunnydale private school band, Uptown Special with a rather endearing tongue-in-cheek dedication: "This performance is dedicated to all the player-hating teachers that won't let a little gangsta shine." It's an utterly hilarious and extremely cute nearly 5-minute cinematic adventure watching adorable Bryant Tardy, who's previously appeared on film alongside Cedric The Entertainer and Kevin Hart, strut around stage doing his best swagger-filled Mystikal impression; directors Bruno Mars & Cameron Duddy even managed to sneak in a mid-song milk break and a pint-sized version of Mark Ronson's Antibalas & The Dap Kings-assembled horn section. Just in case, "you've been living under a rock" since January 2015, Ronson's nearly flawless Stevie Wonder, Kevin Parker, Andrew Wyatt, Jeff Bhasker, Bruno Mars, and Mystikal-assisted Uptown Special is now available for your backyard BBQ listening pleasure.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Music Discovery: Brooklyn's Own X Ambassadors - "Renegades," "Jungle" & "Naked" (Interscope Records/KIDinaKORNER)

Although Brooklyn-based "Indie" Rockers X Ambassadors have yet to unleash their proper major label "debut," they've somehow already managed to log studio time with the likes of Jay Z, Eminem, and Rihanna. Ahead of their nostalgically titled VHS full-length, brothers Sam & Casey Harris, guitar player Noah Feldshuh, and drummer Adam Levin have preemptively landed pre-album singles "Renegades" and "Jungle" within nationally-aired commercials for the newly-redesigned 2015 Jeep Renegade, time-traveling blockbuster, Project Almanac, and even a female-led a cappella rendition recorded for Pitch Perfect 2. X Ambassadors have previously released three Alex da Kid-produced EP's (even one recorded as "Ambassadors") under their current Interscope Records/KIDinaKORNER label contract, which was supposedly first facilitated by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds after hearing the band on Virginia radio and strongly suggesting Hip-Hop producer Alex da Kid immediately sign them.

Despite the fact that they've already unleashed a batch of EP's, there are only about 3-5 VHS-era X Ambassadors tracks floating around online; three of which I just so happened to hear this past Sunday at Radio 104.5's 8th Birthday Show across their "New Music Discovery"-centric second stage. I would say, my first impression of X Ambassadors was that they possessed an Imagine Dragons-like flawless genre-blending quality, thus making each of their tracks performed live arguably sound like three separate bands. Heavily-spun Philly single, "Renegades" reminds me of Sea Change-era acoustic Beck, while "Jungle" evokes a modern day Gary Clark Jr.-inspired brooding Classic Rock romper, and last, but not least, "Naked," almost hearkens back to a sax-infused, glass-shattering falsetto "Let's Go Crazy"-reminiscent Prince Funk-Rock jam. Just behind their recent chart-shattering single, "Renegades," X Ambassadors are currently prepping their long-awaited proper VHS full-length, which is finally expected to see a June 23rd release on Interscope Records/KIDinaKORNER.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mark Ronson Effectively Samples Python Lee Jackson's "In a Broken Dream" for A$AP Rocky's Rod Stewart & Miguel-assisted "Everyday"

"With bluesy organs, descending basslines, and one of the slowest, hardest-swaggering beats we've heard in a good while, "Everyday" calls upon [Rod] Stewart's classic number "In a Broken Dream," re-contextualizing it as a tale of modern ennui (read: boredom)," as okayplayer effectively describes A$AP Rocky's latest At.Long.Last.A$AP (ALLA) single, "Everyday;" recorded with a very unlikely cast of magnificent characters... Rod Stewart, Miguel, "Uptown Funk" super-producer Mark Ronson, and co-producer Emile Haynie. When it comes to ridiculous left-field collaborations, "Everyday" falls somewhere in between The Fat Boys' utterly awesome Beach Boys-backed "Wipe Out" and Kid Cudi's surprisingly smooth Michael Bolton & King Chip-assisted "Afterwards (Bring Yo' Friends)." Ronson ingeniously managed to convince R&B crooner Miguel to passionately sing: "Everyday I spend my time drinking wine / Feeling fine / Waiting here to find the sign / that I should take it slow," which he re-appropriated from Python Lee Jackson's 1970 single, "In a Broken Dream" and cleverly flanked with sampled snippets of Rod Stewart's original pre-panty-dropping fame performance.

It's our first listenable taste of what A$AP Rocky has repeatedly alluded to as his Classic/Psychedelic Rock-inspired new album, ALLA, which is soon forthcoming, not as soon as initially expected, but still soon enough — June 2nd; as Billboard noted in a recent Rocky-centric profile, his reference points during the album's sessions included Portishead, Massive Attack, Thom Yorke, "old 60's psychedelic sh*t like The Kinks and The Stooges," T. Rex, and greenhorns Tame Impala. At.Long.Last.A$AP is rumored to include appearances from "Crazy" producer Danger Mouse, Lykke Li, Juicy J, FKA Twigs, Clams Casino, and none other than Pretty Flaco himself aka Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, in addition to Rod Stewart and Miguel. ALLA may or may not end up showcasing A$AP Rocky's three previously released singles, "Lord Pretty Flacko Joyde 2," "Multiply," and "M.'$," 2/3rds of which were effectively re-released on white vinyl last month as a stand-alone Record Store Day exclusive 7-inch. "Rock, soul, pop, disco, standards & now hip-hop. Soon I'll have more genres than children!," @rodstewart jokingly Tweeted Friday afternoon, just so "happening" to coincide with "Everyday"'s iTunes and Internet-wide digital retailer release.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Chemical Brothers Recruit Be Kind Rewind Director Michel Gondry for Q-Tip-assisted Dance Number, "Go" (Astralwerks)

"Tom & Ed met in history class at Manchester University in 1988. They started off as DJ's known as "The 237 Turbo Nutters" (named after the number of their house on Dickenson Road in Manchester and a reference to their Blackburn raving days). They then opted for "The Dust Brothers," which they nicked from the L.A. producers of Paul's Boutique (as they thought they would never be famous). In 1995, they changed their name to "The Chemical Brothers" after the real Dust Brothers threatened to sue," reads The Chemical Brothers' eerily cryptic abridged Discogs profile description. Electro-House pioneers Tom Rowlands & Ed Simmons are effectively back with their first album in nearly five years after taking a self-imposed hiatus following their seventh studio album, Further. All the while, The Chemical Brothers haven't remained entirely inactive during this gestation period: Rowlands & Simmons prepared a hand-crafted soundtrack composed for British-German Thriller, Hanna as well as a their Fuji Rock Festival-culled live album, Don't Think, which were simultaneously released throughout 2011-12, and even submitted a genre-blending track recorded with Lorde & Miguel for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.

Ahead of their soon forthcoming Born In The Echoes album slated for a July 17th world-wide release, The Chemical Brothers have re-teamed with "Galvanize" collaborator and legendary A Tribe Called Quest emcee, Q-Tip. "Go" would ultimately end up receiving a video treatment spearheaded by esteemed Be Kind Rewind, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, and Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind director, Michel Gondry; somewhat questionably opting not to include either The Chemical Brothers or featured emcee Q-Tip anywhere within the completed video. Instead, focusing the camera angle solely on a six-woman dance troupe dressed in some sort of retro-futuristic German lederhosen-esque get-ups, walking around while performing a nearly 4-minute color guard-reminiscent interpretive dance routine with assistance of two 10-foot poles. "The track finds [Q-Tip] going to work over a hyper-driven dance number, sparing no beat from his dagger-like delivery," as okayplayer fittingly manages to describe "Go," which they further allude to as "a conceptual wonder from the music video king," Michel Gondry. Born In The Echoes will reportedly include guest vocal deliveries from the likes of Indie Rock darlings Beck, Cate Le Bon, St. Vincent, and Ali Love, in addition to Q-Tip's aforementioned sharp-tongued feature.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Titus Andronicus Unleash "Dimed Out" from 28-track Punk-Rock Opera, The Most Lamentable Tragedy (Merge Records +@)

"I love Rock 'N' Roll — just regular LP's give me a lot of pleasure. I have another, equally strong love for pieces of art that have different standards in place for, like, what makes them excellent, you know? I wanted to work on a macro level and a micro level. You can enjoy [this album] for three minutes and it's just a good time... or you can invest 93 minutes and hopefully, you'll get something else out of it," Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles recently lamented to Grantland concerning their just-announced Punk-Rock Opera, The Most Lamentable Tragedy (TMLT). It was initially announced in a since long-dated September 2013 interview, wherein Stickles summarized it as the story of a "young man, his doppelgänger, and a superhuman race [that] has this curse upon it;" Grantland additionally mentions that in its early gestative phases, was to consist of 30 tracks and would be accompanied by a companion film upon its planned November 2014 release. The Most Lamentable Tragedy was co-produced by frequent collaborator Kevin McMahon and lead guitarist Adam Reich and in addition to +@'s long-time contained rhythm section, includes musical accompaniment pianist Elio DeLuca, violinist Owen Pallett, and a cast of New York's finest aggression-filled Punk Rock players hand-plucked from The So So Glos, Baked, Bad Credit No Credit, Lost Boy?, etc.

"The central narrative of TMLT concerns an unnamed protagonist whom we meet in deep despair. Following an encounter with his own doppelgänger (an enigmatic stranger, identical in appearance though opposite in disposition), long held secrets are revealed, sending our protagonist on a transformative odyssey, through past lives and new loves, to the shocking revelation that the very thing that sustains him may be the thing to destroy him," reads The Most Lamentable Tragedy's press release album summary, which is indeed, comparable to a full-throttle Action blockbuster tagline. +@'s new-found label home, Merge Records let loose the five act album's lead-off single, "Dimed Out" this past Thursday afternoon; "Then I make them hand over the white cloud and then they're leaving me with a polite bow and I've got plans I haven't time to write down... I only like it when it's dimed out," Patrick Stickles intensely wails. The Most Lamentable Tragedy is currently available, in all of its 28-track 93-minute Punk Rock magnum opus glory, for pre-order from Merge Records' web-store in equally lengthy 2-CD or 3-LP formats, ranging from $14.98 to 44.98 39.74. While we wait for TMLT's impending July 28th release, Titus Andronicus' aptly-named +@ #SEVENSEVENINCHES +@ mail-order series is still on-going, although its 400 subscriptions have been maxed out.