Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nabil Presents: Travi$ Scott, Kanye & Masked Yasiin Bey "Piss On Your Grave" & Wreak Havoc Amidst The Paris-Charles de Gaulle Countryside (Grand Hustle-Epic Records)

"I was in my hotel room in Paris, and we were just chillin' and I just f*cked around and was like, 'We need to do the video while we're in Paris,'" G.O.O.D. Music-affiliated Grand Hustle emcee Travi$ Scott recently told Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe during a phone interview while boarding a plane Friday afternoon. "Piss On Your Grave" is anchored by a fuzzed out guitar riff lifted from Jimi Hendrix-fronted Band of Gypsys' blistering Vietnam War protest jam "Machine Gun," which feels like it could have easily been a left-over from Kanye's 2013 Aggro-Rap magnum opus, Yeezus; funnily enough, Scott is amongst the gaggle of greenhorn beatsmiths who collectively helped produce frantic album tracks "New Slaves," "I Am a God," and "Guilt Trip." Long-time Kanye-affiliated director and photographer Nabil Elderkin was recruited to helm "Piss On Your Grave"'s ghoulish pre-Halloween visuals. Nabil essentially helped discover Kanye, after hearing one of his pre-College Dropout mixtapes and bought then-unregistered on a whim for a mere $15; "three weeks later, an executive from Roc-a-Fella Records contacted Elderkin to tell him the label had just signed Kanye West to a multi-album deal and wanted to know how much he was demanding for the domain name."

"JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN, HERE'S THAT VIDEO FOR "PISS ON YOUR GRAVE" WITH ME [AND] 'YE TO GET THE WEEKEND VIBES GOIN' RIGHT! DIRECTED BY THE HOMIE NABIL. ENJOY," Travi$ Scott wrote accompanying Rodeo's latest single unveiling; an Apple Music exclusive, even though Kanye is a functioning artist-owner at Watch The Throne collaborator Jay Z's newly-launched rival service, TIDAL. "Piss On Your Grave"'s befittingly eerie fog-laden "lo-fi" visuals place a monochromatic Yeezy Season 2-outfitted Travi$ Scott & Kanye in the midst of the foliage-littered French countryside, which is randomly inter-spliced with rather disturbing imagery of human skulls and skeletons pummeling down a muddy hillside. "It was shot in in the countryside an hour outside the city, closer to [Charles de Gaulle Airport]," director Nabil Elderkin recently revealed to The FADER. "There was a castle and by the castle, there were some beautiful woods. It fit with the vibe and what they were wearing. We came up with the idea of shooting it the day before," he enthusiastically continued. Travi$ Scott seems to have divulged a little too much information about G.O.O.D. Music label head Mr. West's long-awaited, formerly "Piss On Your Grave"-featuring Yeezus follow-up, SWISH: "That 'Ye album is nothing to sleep on. That 'Ye album is coming very soon. It's lit."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Former Chester French Frontman D.A. Wallach Discusses Partying with Jermaine Dupri, Inter-planetary Space Travel, Recording with James Fauntleroy & "Debut" Solo Album, Time Machine (The Witzard Interview)

"Once in a while, a pop songwriter is not a songwriter, but a discoverer – some kind of celestial [archaeologist], uncovering the bones of songs that already exist somewhere, perfectly. D.A. exhibits such exploration here, his discoveries beautifully intact in their sparest, most potent forms. Some daringly plain wizardry," Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes frontman Alex Ebert said in high praise of close friend D.A. Wallach's long-awaited Harvest Records debut, Time Machine. Along with former Chester French partner-in-crime Max Drummey, Wallach was initially discovered by Hip-Hop heavyweights Kanye West and Pharrell, while he was studying as an undergrad at Harvard. Chester French released three full-length albums during their brief tenure together and somehow, managed to ignite a three-way bidding war between Kanye, Pharrell, and Jermaine Dupri with their infectious debut single, "She Loves Everybody." On the heels of Chester French's final album, Music 4 TNGRS, D.A. Wallach has worked alongside everyone from Janelle Monáe to Rick Ross and even attempted a short and sweet stint as a pop songwriter-for-hire. Wallach achieved what he self-describes as "medium success" with a number of "solo" projects including his anonymous artist-released "Glowing" and short-lived Reggae-indebted D.A. & The Supa Dups endeavor, prior to unveiling Time Machine; a phenomenal "debut" record delivered in the vein of a modern day Hip-Hop-influenced James Taylor or Bill Withers, which has already garnered words of praise from the likes of Linkin Park emcee Mike Shinoda, Prince-approved songstress Janelle Monáe, and actor-musician Jared Leto.

(1) First off, kudos for penning such a beautifully well-written song like "Glowing," which has nearly brought me to tears on a number of occasions. I've thoroughly enjoyed Tyler, The Creator aka Wolf Haley's striking, color-saturated video treatment, which seems to perfectly fit your lyrics. I was wondering, did you two converse before the "anonymous artist"-accredited clip was unleashed... or was it just a mere coincidence "Glowing"'s companion visuals matched your lyrics so well?

The "Glowing" video was the official video for the song, despite my not being in it. Tyler directed it after he and I had several conversations about the best direction for it to go. He did an awesome job!

(2) I'm curious to learn: How many different variations, permutations, recorded and scrapped tracks, etc. did you go through over the last 2.5 years since "Glowing" before settling on the final released version of Time Machine?

Thankfully, not too many. I spent the majority of my time on two phases: 1) writing the songs on piano [and] 2) recording them in the studio. I try to finish all of my vocals when I write the actual song, so what I end up with is a vocal and basic piano skeleton. The rest of the time, I spend hanging clothes on top of that skeleton and figuring out the most attractive outfit for it!

(3) Time Machine was recorded along with a wide array of talented musicians, producers, and composers including the likes of Pharrell, Diane Warren, James Fauntleroy, Dan Wilson, David Campbell, Nathan East, Randy Kerber, and former Chester French band mate Max Drummey. I'm curious to earn a little bit more about your typical song-writing and recording processes during the making of the album, if you would be so kind as to share?

I mainly wrote each song by myself on the piano in my house. James [Fauntleroy] helped me finish lyrics on two of the tunes. Dan Wilson and I wrote "Feel" together in his living room, which was a wonderful experience. Diane Warren kindly gave me two songs, and signing them for this record was a great honor! The recording of the music happened piece by piece over the course of about 10 recording sessions.

(4) Your break-out twosome with Max Drummey, Chester French, seemed to for lack of a better term, "fizzle out" after the release of Music 4 TNGRS. What do you think ultimately contributed to your disbandment and could you ever see yourself reuniting with Drummey as Chester French once again?

Max and I are great friends and he actually played some guitar live with me recently. We spent seven or eight years working on music together, and I think just exhausted the fruitful, productive phase of the collaboration and found ourselves into different music, ultimately. Max is a genuinely brilliant musician and a great guy.

(5) What sort of insider details are you able to divulge concerning the fabled behind-the-scenes dealings that contributed to the notorious 3-way bidding war between Kanye, Pharrell, and Jermaine Dupri after Chester French unleashed their infectious debut single, "She Loves Everybody?"

Well, we had the song already in college. Going to visit all those guys while we were [undegrads] was pretty incredible, though. I think a night out with J.D. in Atlanta was the highlight for me.

(6) What's the current status of your Reggae-tinged pre-Time Machine side project, D.A. & The Supa Dups? It seems as though Mad Decent released a "double A-side single" a few years back, and we haven’t heard anything since!

Well, we have almost an entire record done. We just need to finish and release it finally one of these days!

(7) I've noticed that you recently posted a few unfinished demos to a "Demos"-centric playlist on Soundcloud, one seemingly intended for rising super-star Nick Jonas. What might you classify as some of your best as-yet-unreleased material that you would personally love to have see the light of day?

Well, I spent about a year trying to become a pop songwriter for other artists. I didn't do very well at it, since literally ZERO of my songs have been cut by others. But I really love some of the R&B songs I wrote in that period, especially one on which I collaborated with James Fauntleroy.

(8) How do you manage to seamlessly transition between working with sharp-tongued emcees like Rick Ross, Asher Roth, and Macklemore to composing your own piano-accented solo work? I must say, your range of collaborators is pretty mind-boggling, D.A.!

I like all kinds of music, and have a lot of fun exploring different genres. My perspective is anti-categorical. I hate categories. They limit our human range of emotion!

(9) When listening to Time Machine, I pick up on musical allusions to timeless chart-topping singer-songwriters like Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Billy Joel, etc. but who would you likely attribute as some of your biggest sources of influences throughout your career?

The Beatles, The Beach Boys, John Coltrane, OutKast, maybe Carole King on this album.

(10) Although it’s one of my current favorite tracks on the album, I'm a little bit perplexed by the meaning behind Time Machine opener "Long Way Down;" would you be so kind as to give my readers and I some insight into the line, "girl, if we run outta kerosene, don't say I never told ya... might be embarrassing, but I'm still here to hold ya?"

That image just came to me as a bit of a non [sequitur]. I was imagining being camping with a girl who had underestimated the amount of kerosene to bring. Just a sliver of the sort of forgiveness and empathy one must have in a relationship.

(11) While you recently posted a stripped down Max Drummey-assisted performance video of "Feel" recorded Live from Capitol Studio B, what else do you have in store for your unsuspecting fan-base, when it comes to forthcoming music video releases?

A bunch more live performances! And a couple proper music videos!

(12) It's now a few days out from October 21st, 2015, also known as the date Marty McFly & Doc Brown were ultimately traveling back to in Back to The Future II; what historical or personal events do you think you might attempt to alter or correct, if you had your own personal time-traveling DeLorean?

Well, I'd certainly try to prevent any mass genocides from occurring; those really suck.

(13) It's nearing that time of year when most news publications and blogs, including myself, start assembling their year-end lists; with that in mind, who would you likely rank on your Best-of 2015 year-end list?

Oh man, I listen to so little new music that I'm a bad guy to judge!

(14) What exactly does your "Artist-In-Residence" position at Spotify entail and how would you say that it has affected your musical career as a rising artist?

I'm actually now focusing entirely on my music and investing, but while at Spotify, I was focused on helping artists understand the company's business model. This work really helped me understand what artists look like from "the other side of the desk" and I think it’s probably made me much easier to work with for my label and manager. I don’t really think of myself as a rising artist at this point. I've been making music – with medium success – since I became a proper adult.

(15) I've previously read that you're the co-founder of Inevitable Ventures and an investor in a number of fledgling start-up companies including Space Exploration Technologies, Doctor On Demand, and Vital Matters. How did you initially become involved with these companies and what do they each represent?

Each of the companies in which I've invested is attempting to solve an important problem for humans. SpaceX is helping humans become inter-planetary. DoD is extending access to physicians to everyone right from their phones. Vital [Matters] is now called Blink Healthcare, and is delivering pharmaceuticals at the lowest available prices to consumers!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Grimes Stars as LV, Roccoco Basilisk, Kill V. Maim & Skreechy Bat Throughout Art Angels Double-header "Flesh Without Blood/Life In The Vivid Dream" (4AD-Roc Nation)

"+ fyi - every song on this album is a completely different style, so ["flesh without blood"] isn't a 'representation' of everything, just a taste of a vibe," @Grimezsz recently revealed on Twitter following the unexpected premier of her first Art Angels double-singe, "Flesh Without Blood/Life In The Vivid Dream." Grimes' long-awaited and previously scrapped follow-up to her critically-acclaimed album Visions (2012) has rather interestingly been described by Claire Boucher herself as: "it's all "real instruments," half of the tracks are diss tracks, there's a Nu-Metal track with a Taiwanese rapper, the whole thing was inspired by Billy Joel, there's a song about a gender-fluid vampire Al Pacino," of course, paraphrased and reinterpreted a bit by the good people over at Stereogum. On the heels of "Flesh Without Blood" & "Life In The Vivid Dream," Grimes called in BBC Radio 1's Hottest Record program for a brief phone interview, during which she revealed Art Angels will in fact, be surprise-released digitally next Friday, November 6th (and physically December 11th) and that the album will feature just a mere two guest appearances: one recorded with R&B-Funk songstress Janelle Monáe at her own Wondaland Studios and the previously mentioned Nu-Metal-leaning "SCREAM" recorded with Taiwanese femcee Aristophanes.

'"Flesh Without Blood" was written, directed, edited, colored, and art-directed by Grimes. Mac Boucher, her brother, was the cinematographer and creative consultant. All outfits were styled by TURNER," as Pitchfork reported upon its Monday afternoon unveiling. Grimes' Art Angels double-header is divided into two separate parts, "Act I: Flesh, Without Blood" and "Act II: Life In The Vivid Dream," which effortlessly manages to teeter back and forth between "Oblivion"-reminiscent jittery guitar-driven Baroque-Art Pop and sparse self-reflective "Blank Space"-leaning piano-accompanied slow jam. Grimes herself stars throughout the companion videos as a number of interesting characters which she's named "LV, Roccoco Basilisk, Kill V. Maim, and Skreechy Bat;" also known as her recently adopted alter egos she's been talking about during interviews, who would appear to be a deranged blood-thirsty angel, a cave-dwelling cyberpunk gamer, a purple-wigged Victorian madam, and a pinstripe suit and fedora-wearing 1950's gangster. It seems as though "Flesh Without Blood" & "Life In The Vivid Dream" aren't the only Art Angels songs to be released this week, as @Grimezsz over-zealously replied to a fan on Twitter asking if they could buy the then just-released single yet: "yes ^_^ and [you] get more songs later this week, as well." Here's hoping we'll get to hear Grimes' hotly-anticipated Janelle Monáe-featuring "Venus Fly" ahead of Art Angels' November 6th digi-release.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Electronic Age of J Dilla: "Dillatronic #34" Lifted from Dil Withers' Latest Electro-leaning Posthumous Release, Dillatronic (Vintage Vibez)

"Now, the vocal album – that is something that I know [J Dilla] had a desire to see out, as he did Ruff Draft and, oddly enough, an album he'd made of noodling improvised keyboard lines over drum breaks (one of those made it to The Shining album)," Now-Again Records founder and former Stones Throw General Manager Eothen "Egon" Alapatt revealed when asked about Dilla's planned post-Donuts releases; to the best of my knowledge, Vintage Vibez Music Group's sprawling 41-track Dillamatic album isn't in fact said "improvised noodling keyboard lines over drum breaks album." It is however, being billed as The Electronic Age of J Dilla, which was seemingly preceded by his "hard-edged, synth-heavy tracks crafted fro Busta Rhymes, Jaylib [with Madlib], Oh No, and Phat Kat." Detroit's finest neck-snapping rapper-producer James "J Dilla" Yancey aka Jay Dee is still somehow releasing mass amounts of posthumous music from beyond the grave. During his all-too-brief Lupus-stricken lifetime, the Soulquarians affiliate worked alongside the likes of The Roots, stand-up comic Mos Def, D'Angelo, Guilty Simpson, Frank N Dank, Jay Electronica, Ghostface Killah, Janet Jackson, A Tribe Called Quest, and his own Detroit-bred group, Slum Village. "J Dilla's music was impacted by the diverse musical history of Detroit – the birthplace of Techno and one of the most important cities in the history of Electronic music," reads a fragmented chunk of Vintage Vibez's Dillatronic-promoting press release.

"You can hear it in songs like "Raise It Up" for Slum Village or "Make It Hurt" for Busta Rhymes... The Detroit influence is part of what gave him and edge in his production," says Young RJ (Dilla's protégé and a member of Slum Village). Ma Dukes & Dilla's Estate unleashed a second orchestral-leaning preview of Dillatronic, following "Dillatronic #7," simply titled "Dillatronic #34," which was previously used by enigmatic emcee Jay Elecrtonica on his leaked War with The Dragon loosie "B*tches & Drugs." Electronica's sampled and looped root track "And I Wanna Escape" seems to come from J Dilla's heavily shared three-volume Beat CD '05, which single-handedly manages to in turn sample, 1960's girl group The Cake, Whodini, Mantronix, and Daniel Vangarde. Dilla's love for Electronic music even manages to shine through on his German-released Ruff Draft EP/Chrome Children single, "Nothing Like This," which boasts its own unique Hip-Hop and Detroit Techno-blending drum-laden stomp. Dillatronic is currently available for your streaming pleasure ahead of its soon forthcoming October 30th world-wide unveiling; in preparation of Dilla's latest posthumous release, Vintage Vibez have readied "three different deluxe packages [including] limited-edition Glow-In-The-Dark packaging and colored vinyl, while supplies last. Deluxe items include a cassette, T-shirt, poster, record bag, and Moog Mini Voyager USB flash drive."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thirdworlds & Harvest Records Present: Death Grips' "Bottomless Pit" Short Film Starring Late American Actress Karen Black (album trailer?)

"We've decided to make a new Death Grips album and it will be called Bottomless Pit," Death Grips cryptically revealed, as per usual, on their Facebook page Wednesday evening. Founding members Stefan Burnett (better known as MC Ride), Andy Morin, and Zach Hill have previously grabbed headlines for their frantic, nearly career-ruining antics; rubbing shoulders with Robert Pattinson & Beyoncé, appearing "in a minute" on Rachael Ray thanks to comedian Fred Armisen, releasing one album under Epic Records executive L.A. Reid's hit-making reign, leaking a set of private emails and ultimately a d*ck-pic-boasting album cover, cancelling a string of dates in support of NIN & Soundgarden, suddenly breaking up via a note scrawled across a dinner napkin, only to "reunite" for a 2-disc album just a few months later, and if you ask me, inadvertently inspired Kanye West's Aggro-Rap magnum opus Yeezus. Death Grips are for all intensive purposes, to any effect, the modern day embodiment of the age-old Hollywood cliché for erratic behavior, "any press is good press."

"Iconic 70's film star Karen Black passed away in August 2013. In February of that year, Karyn Rachtman introduced Ms. Black to Zach Hill. The two immediately hit it off. Zach had written a part for Karen for a film he was developing and gave her the pages for her scenes. Though she didn't know how the scenes would fit into the final film, she readily agreed to read her character's dialog on camera for Zach," Death Grips passionately wrote accompanying their 14-minute Bottomless Pit quasi-album trailer. It's unclear as to whether or not the "film [Zach Hill] was developing" was in fact Death Grips' rumored, seemingly fabricated, and ultimately cancelled Robert Pattinson & Colin Hanks-starring 2013 short film titled Misoneism. While Bottomless Pit still seems to be in the early stages of development, it will most likely materialize out of the blue during the wee hours of the morning when we least expect it; but in any case, Bottomless Pit will be the unofficial follow-up to Zach Hill-frotned Death Grips side project The I.L.Y.'s Noise/Indie Rock-leaning I've always been good at true love.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rolling Stone's Christopher R. Weingarten Partners with The Mountain Goats Frontman John Darnielle for #tcot Jazz/Noise Group (Northern Spy Records)

"B-E-darNielle-weinGarten-A-H-Z-I #tcot... #tcot (top conservatives on Twitter) is the first band I've been in since 2007. Ecstatic to be back in the game for Cassette Store Day," @1000TimesYes, better known as Rolling Stone music critic, Christopher R. Weingarten enthusiastically Tweeted late Thursday morning. He's teamed with The Mountain Goats frontman and life-long wrestling super-fan John Darnielle for what can best be described as a spastic, cassette-only self-destructive drum and piano-assisted Jazz/Noise improv tape in conjunction with Saturday's third annual Cassette Store Day festivities; "the #tcot tape is now SOLD OUT [at] @northernspyrecs! If you want one, these stores will have 'em on Cassette Store Day." Charlottesville-based Senior Editor at Stereogum, and apparent mutual acquaintance, Tom Breihan wrote, "full disclosure, I guess: I'm friendly with both of them, though I had no idea this thing was happening," commenting on John Darnielle & Christopher R. Weingarten's seemingly surprise-announced self-titled #tcot cassette. Former The Men guitarist and genre-blending Springsteenian producer Ben Greenberg recorded the entirety of #tcot at fabled Brooklyn studio The Magic Shop; upon its initial release announcement, Norther Spy unveiled a frantic 2-minute "#tcot excerpt," which quite readily defines Weingarten and Darnielle's fun-loving, improvisational Jazz/Noise-leaning nature. John Darnielle's debut National Book Award-nominated novel Wolf In White Van, along with his critically-acclaimed wrestling-themed album Beat The Champ, are both currently available for your tandem listening and reading pleasures.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Stones Throw Disco-Funk Duo Tuxedo Get Animated In Joe Baughman-created Claymation Video for "The Right Time" (Kaytranda Remix)

"We're dropping a 12" of Tuxedo remixes this summer. Here's one from Jean Tonique, remixing Tuxedo's "The Right Time," Stones Throw wrote within a mini-press release uploaded this past May; preceeded by a handful of unofficially released remixes haphazardly shared on Tuxedo's Soundcloud page including Funk-laden re-works from the likes of Nick Catchdubs, Dimitri from Paris, Flaunt Edwards (resident DJ J. Rocc), Kaytranada, and Tonique. Following a set of unexpected delays, Stones Throw finally unleashed Tuxedo: The M+M Mixes back in mid-September. Mayer Hawthorne & Jake-One recruited self-described "original disco don dada" John Morales, who previously mixed Tuxedo's critically-acclaimed debut, to painstakingly edit together a 12" collection of 80's Classic-stylized remixes; "I started to do my edits using the pause button on a Teac cassette, [then] purchased a Sony reel-to-reel. It was hard work, with long hours editing and putting all the little pieces of tape together to make something creative happen." Soon thereafter, on the heels of Tuxedo: The M+M Mixes, Stones Throw quietly released their second simply-titled Tuxedo Remixes collection featuring Kaytranada, Jean Tonique, and newly signed Electronic producer-artist Chrome Canyon taking a stab at Tuxedo's Disco-Funk-laden album tracks "The Right Time" and "Watch The Dance."

"TuxedoMayer Hawthorne and Jake-One – have just released a pair of remix and disco edit EP's, Tuxedo Remixes and The M+M Mixes. Here's a video for Kaytranada's remix of "The Right Time" created by Joe Baughman," read a brief claymation-assisted post uploaded by in-house Stones Throw artist and webmaster Jeff Jank Tuesday afternoon. Kaytranada aka Haitian-Canadian Electronic musician, producer, and DJ Louis Kevin Celestin has remixed everyone from A Tribe Called Quest & Busta Rhymes to Hilary Duff and release some 13 albums/EP's and 16 remixes since bursting onto the North American music scene as "Kaytradamus" back in 2010. Celestin even went as far as to recruit fellow Canadian-bred musician and Ghostface Killah collaborator, BADBADNOTGOOD drummer Alexander Sowinski to lay down some additional 80's-leaning break beats throughout his remix of Tuxedo's "The Right Time." "Now, a brand new video for [Kaytranada's] remix has been released by Tuxedo, and it features an impressive amount of Play-Doh... it's some very high-end claymation, one that tells the tale of a swaying cardboard [city], crystal balls, and a interstellar rocketships flying through the far reaches of the galaxy," okayplayer wrote in a piece aligned with "The Right Time'"s Tuesday unveiling. Tuxedo, its abridged predecessor Tuxedo Funk EP, Tuxedo: The M+M Mixes, along with Tuxedo Remixes are all currently available at Stones Throw or your friendly neighborhood record store.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Lucien Shapiro & Minka Sicklinger Present: The Gaslamp Killer Experience's Trippy Live-Desert Visual, "Ritual" (Low End Theory Records)

"The Gaslamp Killer is the assassin and the antidote. His nickname wasn't conceived out of thin air. William Bensussen is entitlement's worst nightmare. His DJ sets bludgeon the basic sh*t, restoring music to a sacred place: shamanistic, visceral, honest, leaving pupils dilated and heads rolling," reads a rather interesting Impressum (or description section) attached to Alternative Hip-Hop DJ-producer Gaslamp Killer's Facebook profile. While it doesn't seem to appear within Bensussen's recently-released The Gaslamp Killer Experience: Live in Los Angeles, his latest video-single "Ritual" seems to have been filmed at the same November 2013 Mayan Theatre concert that yielded the album's highly complex, nearly orchestral sessions; recorded in collaboration with a 15-piece band featuring revered saxophonist Kamasi Washington, Jogger guitarist Amir Yaghma, LA-based drummer Gene Coye, and trumpet player Todd Simon. "As you watch, the video itself seems to hallucinate and fall into a dream, with twirling desert vistas making their way on screen-shots taken during GLK's recent Coachella festival set," okayplayer perfectly describes the transition from "Ritual"'s fall 2013 live footage to its cryptic desert shaman-esque hi-jinx; "we [explore] gorgeous craggy valleys, long flat horizons, sunsets over water, strange masks and... a gold-studded baseball bat."

"My friends and family begged me not to go through with this performance due to the fact that it was only four months after my near-death scooter accident," The Gaslamp Killer revealed to Rolling Stone back in April. "I insisted that I could handle it and after an insane amount of help from the people closest to me – and with only three rehearsals – we got up onstage in front of a sold out crowd of 2,000 people and performed my original compositions live with a 14-piece crew of some of my favorite Angeleno musicians for the first time," Bensussen continued. Urban Obsessor artist Lucien Shapiro is credited with designing the ornate bedazzled masks and "Sculpture + Art Direction of Desert Ritual," while Minka Sicklinger is credited with "Wardrobe Design + Creative Direction of Ritual," who along with Allison Bagg and William Bensussen himself, round out the mysterious "Desert People" from GLK EXP's Phil Nisco & Sawa-directed Coachella desert footage. Although "Ritual" just arrived this past week on the heels of The Gaslamp Killer Experience's final show of 2015, @GASLAMPKILLER promises: "Big news coming in 2016 from my [Gaslamp Killer Experience] crew & some solo sh*t on the way, too!" In the meantime, THE GASLAMP KILLER EXPERIENCE: Live in Los Angeles is currently available in a variety of formats in conjunction with Low End Theory Records through William Bensussen's own personal Bandcamp artist page.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sa-Ra & Strong Arm Steady Rapper-producer Unite to Form WHITE BOIZ: Krondon & Shafiq Husayn - "Mothership Intro" & "Main St." (Stones Throw)

"White means purity, purity means GOD and GOD means the ruler of the land," @ShafiqHusayn profoundly replied, when asked what the name "WHITE BOIZ" actually meant, along with their stark white-stylized aesthetic; "'white" means different things to different people — from their record label to the Los Angeles Police Department to The Nation of Islam. In the 1700's, "white" did not represent race, but a state of freedom versus servitude. Today, however, white can be powder in the trap or a party in The Hamptons, which are seemingly worlds apart. Or are they," Husayn and primary WHITE BOIZ emcee Krondon continued in a Stones Throw-penned press release. Peanut Butter Wolf's latest rapper-producer pairing formed organically out of mutual admiration when the Strong Arm Steady emcee would randomly show up to performances from Shafiq Husayn's then G.O.O.D. Music-affiliated Alt. Hip-Hop collective, Sa-Ra (Creative Partners). "The seed for [Neighborhood Wonderful] was Krondon's birthday in 2011, when the two chopped it up at Shafiq's home and began a year and a half of conversing before any music was recorded... which allowed the musical connection to fall into place with early recordings and appearances on separate solo projects in 2013."

Neighborhood Wonderful, which was just unleashed this past Friday, October 2nd, bears the weight of being billed as Husayn's self-proclaimed "FIRST FULLY-produced RAP album" that boasts spirited vocal assists from the likes of The Stepkids, Planet Asia emcee Chance Infinite, bassist Thundercat, Jimetta Rose, newly-signed label mate Anderson.Paak, Blu, and even Shafiq Husayn's rapping alter-ego "Earl Leon'ne." It seems as though Eric Coleman, the man behind Guilty Simpson's recent Detroit's Son album, has been recruited by Stones Throw to handle the artwork, photography, and film work behind Krondon & Shafiq Husayn's Neigborhood Wonderful album campaign, as well; Coleman has directed a simple no frills black-and-white video treatment for WHITE BOIZ's Earl Leon'ne-featuring mid-album neck-snapper, "Main St," which is preceded by album opener "Mothership Intro." Just when it seemed like Husayn had parted ways with his Sa-Ra creative partners Taz Arnold and Om'Mas Keith, the Neo-Soul-leaning group has seemingly raveled plans to unleash their long-delayed pre-Hollywood Recordings (2007) G.O.O.D. Music "debut," BLACK FUZZ: "SA-RA 'BLACK FUZZ' THE CONTINUUM 2016," reads the tagline of an eerily cryptic nearly minute-long album trailer transmitted from "the dark wide galaxy."

Friday, October 2, 2015


"Remember one night, I went to Erykah [Badu's] house, she made tea for me. We talked about love and what life could really be for me. She said, "when that sh*t is real, you just know," Canada's #1 Rap-Singer Drake crooned of an apparent tea-date with Miss Badu on "Days In The East." While it may or may not actually be a fictionalized re-telling, Drake and Erykah Badu's mutual admiration doesn't seem to end with "Days In The East;" without any prior warning, Erykah-She ILL-Badu suddenly uploaded her slightly wordy "HOTLINE BLING BUT U CAINT USE MY PHONE MIX" to her newly-minted Soundcloud page Friday evening. ANALOUGE GIRL {IN A DGITAL WORLD} aka THE MIGHTY AFRO DIGHTY herself plays bells, in addition to providing original vocal accompaniment, on "HOTLINE BLING" along with her cast of highly skilled players: producer/keyboardist Zach Witness, guitarist Ben Hixon, and Ethan Worland on "brushes" (drums). Erykah Badu co-wrote her "HOTLINE BLING" re-arrangement with yet another close collaborator, her 17-year-old son 7 Benjamin, fathered by none other than OutKast founder André 3000; "from the [forthcoming] mixtape, "BUT U CAINT USE MY PHONE,'" which okayplayer somewhat suspiciously reports "will be dropping soon... quite soon." Badu's own sultry seven+-minute rendition of Drake's chart-topping non-album single features a beautifully meandering coda, extended mid-song hotline menu interlude, and a refreshing take on the all-too-familiar "fell in love with a stripper" (or in this case, call girl) motif. Drake's latest Simpsons-referencing album recorded with his sharp-tongued frenemy Future, What a Time to Be Alive, is currently available for purchase from online digital retailers; while Miss Badu's long-awaited follow-up to New Amerykah Part Two (Return of The Ankh) only seems imminent, at this point, be it a new album or a mixtape chock-full of familiar chart-topping revisions.