Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Flying Lotus Recruits Buddies Shabazz Palaces, Thundercat & George Clinton for WOKE: "The Lavishments of Light Looking" [adult swim single]




"The WOKE project started about three years ago. I, myself, and some screenwriter friends of mine started writing a script for feature film called WOKE. It was something that we developed for quite a while. Initially, it was going to star Ishmael [Butler] from Shabazz Palaces and Jeremiah Jae. We worked on it for a while, started work-shopping, but there's always the financial issue — I haven't found anyone who is going to invest in the film," Flying Lotus recently revealed during a Pitchfork-prompted phone interview upon the release of his [adult swim] single, "The Lavishments of Light Looking." Despite the fact that he has yet to acquire adequate funding to produce a WOKE film, Flying Lotus aka multi-instrumentalist Steven Ellison decided to instead focus on the musical accompaniment for said unmade film first; "We started working earlier this year on music. We did a few songs. We have a few things. We're just going to let it build naturally, see what happens. We're not going to rush to finish it," @flyinglotus haphazardly continued. Ellison further adds that WOKE currently have about nine songs in various stages of development, including a few more recorded with Parliament-Funkadelic founding member George Clinton, all of which have been recorded organically, together in the same room over the course of the past year.


Although WOKE's core members have all previously worked together in a number of session musician-esque facets, Steven Ellison, Stephen Bruner (Thundercat), Ishmael Butler, Tendai Maraire, and George Clinton have never collectively worked together on a piece of new, original material quite to the effect of "The Lavishments of Light Looking." Flying Lotus has worked with each of his fellow WOKE members over the course of his brief nine-year career; having worked closely with right-hand bassman Thundercat on countless projects, most recently, his latest full-length album, You're Dead!, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly opener "Wesley's Theory" alongside Clinton, and non-album loosie "hide me" with Shabazz Palaces, which appeared on his Ideas+drafts+loops left-overs collection. To paraphrase 1990's R&B vixens En Vogue, "Free your mind... and the rest will follow," a common phrase often uttered by Parliament-Funkadelic frontman and reigning Godfather of G-Funk George Clinton over the past 40 or so odd years. "The whole point of doing it this way was we were like, let's just see what happens if we put this one out there, see if people f*ck with it, see if people want this to continue... I really hope that it just kind of unfolds naturally, as most things tend to in my creative life," Flying Lotus stated when asked what his future plans for super-group WOKE might, in fact, be.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Burgundy EP Collaborators MED, Blu & Madlib Recruit DOOM for "Knock Knock" from Bad Neighbor Full-length (Rappcats)




"DOOM's verse was [an] interesting one. DOOM's concept was that it's a text message. He text messages me while I'm not home, so he comes to my house anyway and starts borrowing all kinds of sh*t, you know, villain-style," veteran Oxnard-bred emcee MED (aka Medaphoar) revealed about his recent sample-heavy collaboration with fellow West Coast emcee Blu, prolific Stones Throw producer Madlib, and masked rhyming supper-villain MF DOOM, "Knock Knock." "I was like, 'what the f*ck is that?' So, there's this whole verse about him going to my house, drinking my beers, [and] going through my DVD's. It's so hilarious and genius," MED ecstatically continued. MED Blu Madlib, as they've been collectively referred to as of late, first linked up on MED-curated Bang Ya Head 3 label comp. cut, "Your Life" produced by Blu's Below The Heavens collaborator, Exile. Madlib was almost accidentally brought into the fold when Blu unleashed an unauthorized "street album" composed entirely of 14-15 of his dusty, soulful hand-crafted beats titled ucla (2012) which was abruptly pulled offline almost as quickly as it was mysteriously uploaded to Bandcamp; MED appeared alongside Blu, Jimetta Rose, and Jack Spade on ucla cuts "burgundy whip" and Prince-evoking "what u c." Although, a few select ucla tracks would ultimately end up re-appearing in re-mastered form on Madlib-authorized The Burgundy EP and Mayer Hawthorne & Dâm-Funk-featuring The Buzz EP (2013).



"A couple years ago, Blu got a few Madlib instrumentals and put together a few demos. The rough collection became the foundation of what would become Bad Neighbor. MED, a long-time collaborator of Madlib, put the pieces together, bringing together an impressive group of [emcees] and vocalists to complete the album;" managing to recruit and unlikely cast of characters including Mayer Hawthorne, Dâm-Funk, "Wake Me Up" vocalist Aloe Blacc, Dilla affiliate Frank Nitt, DJ Romes, former Odd Future emcee Hodgy Beats, Jimetta Rose, Black Spade, Oh No, DOOM, Stones Throw's latest signee Anderson.Paak, Phonte, and "B*tch Betta Have My Money" (1991) wordsmith AMG. "We weren't in a rush, because we knew we were working with one of the most classic producers of all time [who produced] some of the biggest classics: Jaylib, MADVILLAIN, Quasimoto, Lootpack, you know what I'm sayin'? So, we had to give the people something nice. We had some great records to follow up on," Blu recently revealed to Rolling Stone, concerning the nearly three-year gap between The Burgundy EP and long-awaited Bad Neighbor. Rappcats currently has MED Blu Madlib's proper full-length "debut," Bad Neighbor available for pre-order in either CD or 2LP formats, which are scheduled to start shipping on October 30th and December 1st, respectively. "LA is the best place to be in the world. I just hope they feel the same way with having us here," @HerFavColor remarked in closing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Director Ross Harris Presents: The Lions & Black Shakespeare's Long-delayed Soul Riot Single, "The Magnificent Dance" (The Clash Riddim)


"We have filmed a new video for our cover of The Clash's "Magnificent Dance" with director Ross Harris. It is currently in England being animated and should air sometime in the next month or so," Lion-master Dan Ubick wrote in an emailed conversation about a month ago. "I am excited, as we've attempted a couple videos for other songs, and they didn't pan out. Even Ross' rough cut looks amazing because he brought great energy, ideas, and professionalism to the set. Super psyched to see how [our] tribute to Joe Strummer & The Clash turns out," Ubick enthusiastically continued. The Lions let loose their Stones Throw-pressed second album, Soul Riot back in February and it quickly became one of my favorite albums of 2015 right alongside MR. WONDERFUL, Detroit's Son, Uptown Special, and recent addition Yours, Dreamily. Not too far off from their first album, This Generation, Soul Riot is a well-executed R&B-leaning, horn-accented multi-genred tribute to Reggae's founding fathers, yet a welcomed addition to the genre's burgeoning "4th Wave" tier. Not only as a music writer, but as a tried-and-true Lions fan, I'm overjoyed to see that Soul Riot is finally getting the proper media push it's deserved all along because it really is a fun-loving Reggae album that the masses (young and old) really need to hear. I can vividly remember spotting a "Making movies with The Lions" post uploaded to Stones Throw's label Instagram page back in mid-August, while I was at my Uncle Bob's dentist office, seemingly one of the days Ross Harris, Dan Ubick, Black Shakespeare, and The Lions players were filming "Magnificent Dance" on-location in downtown LA.


Resident Stones Throw-affiliated director Ross Harris' opening shot for "The Magnificent Dance" starts with Lions emcee Black Shakespeare chanting, "DON'T YA EVER STOP... LONG ENOUGH ENOUGH TO START... TAKE YOUR CAR... OUTTA THAT GEAR" down in a dimly-lit alleyway, a powerful scene which is suddenly interrupted by Betty Rox's gyrating dance crew. Harris' raw black-and-white video footage was sent overseas to artists Ruff Mercy & Patch D. Keyes who overlaid simple scribbled accents throughout "Magnificent Dance;" including split-second cartoon-worthy motion lines, sonic bursts, flashing tunnel arrows, nearly step-by-step dance moves, ALL CAPS lyric fragments, geometric shapes, winking and quickly disappearing eyes, and maybe best of all, a dance battle-inflected "R.I.P." tombstone. Ross Harris and The Lions recruited Jamacian-born dancer Betty Rox to choreograph an uptempo dance routine befitting "The Magnificent Dance," which additionally features the slick dance moves of Kaleila J, Ivy Morrison, Giulia Mancini, Victoria Olopherne, DHQ Moiika, Tango Leadaz, Jason Facey, Stunna, Lorenzo Hanna, and Lyndon LBoogie. "WHAT HAVE WE GOT? MAAAAAAAG-NIFICENCE," mysterious YouTube user Ben Velez proclaimed, as he unintentionally debuted The Lions' then-unreleased "The Magnificent Seven" cover on his channel way back in November 2013. "It's very rare that musicians can approach a truly iconic song and cover it properly. It's like Icarus, flying too close to the sun only to get his wings destroyed... It stinks of [Dillinger's] "Cocaine In My Brian" and [Singing Melody's "Money Love"] and everything in between," Velez wrote in his fitting description.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Father John Misty Reinterprets "Blank Space" & "WELCOME TO NEW YORK" In The Style of The Velvet Underground (Ryan Adams' "1989")




"My interpretation [of "Blank Space"] from the classic Ryan Adams album "1989,"' former Fleet Foxes drummer and semi-ironic, self-loathing Indie-Pop superstar Josh Tillman aka @fatherjohnmisty Tweeted Monday evening on the heels of Ryan Adams' just-released Taylor Swift 1989 covers album. Tillman was seemingly riffing on Adams' 1989 re-imagined in the style of Bruce Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge of Town meets The Smiths' Meat Is Murder, sloppily crooning Swift's chart-topping "Blank Space" and "Welcome to New York" in the style of Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed. "In the studio working on a [song-for-song] reinterpretation of Ryan Adams "1989," gonna be great! Ryan's amazing," Father John Misty sarcastically wrote in a since-deleted "so psyched"-hashtagged Tweet. While Tillman's rendition of "Blank Space" is, to say the very least, a little hard to digest, his take on Ryan Adams' reinterpreted Taylor Swift cover, "Welcome to New York" is in fact, a beautifully-executed Rolling Stones "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)"-reminiscent version. However, in Father John Misty's defense, Ryan Adams somehow, rather ridiculously managed to jam-pack sonic threads of Americana, "Punky Power-Pop," 1980's U2, Jawbreaker, Sonic Youth, Springsteen, and Eddie & The Cruisers throughout his Taylor Swift covers album!? It's unclear as to whether or not Tillman recorded a full-album cover of Ryan Adams' Taylor Swift covers collection... or if he just got drunk and recorded a couple of late-night, tongue-in-cheek Indie-Pop gems whilst f*cking around in his home-studio over the weekend; I guess only time will tell, if we'll ever see Father John Misty's "Ryan Adams 1989" covers album manifested and released into "the real world," as well as Ryan Adams' modern-day classic, 1989 pressed up onto CD-LP formats.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"We Talkin' About Survival and Brothers and Sisters:" Guilty Simpson Takes Fans on a Gritty Walking Tour Throughout "The D" (Stones Throw)


"If my mother knew I was in show business now, she would worry herself just sick... she thinks I'm in Philadelphia sellin' dope," reads a comical Richard Pryor-esque bit from an unknown comic; it acts as the spoken-word intro to Guilty Simpson's "Blunts In The Air," which dually serves as an unofficial mantra throughout Guilty's hard-as-nails Katalyst-produced Detroit's Son. Guilty & Katalyst first met during the recording sessions that would ultimately yield Geoff Barrow's 35-member Hip-Hop collective Quakers' self-titled Stones Throw debut (2012). Detroit's Son's introductory track, "R.I.P." is actually a vocal version of Katalyst's "R.I.P." instrumental lifted from Quakers, which seamlessly ties the two projects together right off the bat. Although it was initially billed as a "Guilty Simpson x Quakers" project upon the release of THE SIMPSON TAPE, Detroit's Son was solely produced by Katalyst, with beat-making partner Geoff Barrow acting more along the lines of a mentor and sonic advisor; "Geoff is always there to give me his honest opinion about the music. One of the hardest things as an artist is finding someone whose opinion you really value and them giving you honest feedback about your work. I can always rely on Geoff to give me that feedback," Katalyst recently revealed during our Detroit's Son-centric interview.


"I'm thinking August will actually be when it's released. I won't put out a mixtape, but there will be unreleased songs coming out that aren't on the album. My album features Steve Spacek, Cysion, Elzhi, Phat Kat, and Fat Ray. I will definitely have visuals for quite a few songs on the album," Guilty Simpson replied when asked about his then still untitled album Detroit's Son. He was of course, alluding to ruthless non-album tracks "Vanguard Organization" and "Animal," which were slowly leaked out leading up to the album's impending September 11th release. Although "Fractured" was unveiled in conjunction with Stones Throw's initial album announcement, and if you ask me, has single written all over it, Peanut Butter Wolf and company decided to enlist Newport Beach-based photographer Eric Coleman to direct a stark music video to go along with Guilty & Katalyst's "The D." Coleman's simple, no frills video treatment presents viewers with a unique cinematic, yet gut-wrenchingly realistic, look into Detroit's uncharacteristically beautiful landmarks and local hot spots that most outsiders don't ever get a chance to see. Luckily, our sharp-tongued tour guide, Guilty Simpson takes us on a virtual walking tour throughout "The D," passing by recognizable landmarks like: The Hitsville USA Motown Museum, Philip A. Hart Plaza, MotorCity Casino Hotel, "DANGER! REALITY ahead" bridge-top tagging, The Monument to Joe Louis aka "The Fist," graffiti artwork featuring J Dilla's iconic Donuts hat, and countless areas of authentic suburban disarray.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

To Be Young Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High: Ryan Adams Readies Full-album Cover of Taylor Swift's 1989 & Smiths-indebted "Bad Blood" (PAX-AM)




Jacksonville's very own genre-blending Alt. Country superstar Ryan Adams is in fact, no stranger to recording full-length cover albums; Adams reportedly recorded, and ultimately scrapped, a stripped down 4-track revision of The Strokes' critically-acclaimed debut Is This It? (2001). But for whatever reasons, Adams' "Blues cover version" has rather discouragingly still only been heard by members of his former backing band, The Cardinals. Ryan Adams' second attempt (or third, if you count his unheard Vampire Weekend album), at a full-length cover album: a self-described Smiths-indebted version of Taylor Swift's recent career-redefining 1989 has been very well-documented through his own personal social media accounts. "Ryan's music helped shape my song-writing. This is surreal and dream-like. Countdown to [Ryan Adams' 1989] @TheRyanAdams," @taylorswift13 frantically Tweeted Thursday afternoon, upon the sudden announcement of Ryan Adams' 1989... which will seemingly be rush-released to digital retailers as early as this upcoming Monday, September 21st. However, I myself, find it slightly disturbing that Swift very well could have been 'influenced' by Adams' coming-of-age Heartbreaker deep cut, "To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)." Anyone else share the same sort of semi-awesome sentiment or is it just me!?


Although he unleashed snippets and fragments of various 1989 songs throughout the just wrapped August-September recording sessions, Ryan Adams let loose his full-length version of "Bad Blood" Thursday afternoon on long-time friend and supporter Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show. "'Bad Blood" #1989 What a song. Damn," misterryanadams wrote on Instagram about five weeks ago, accompanying a brief unmastered snippet of Swift's Kendrick Lamar-featuring single. "Badass tunes, Taylor. We're sandblasting them and they're holding steady," Adams continued; alluding to tunes he's tediously stripped own and re-recorded along with La Sera guitarist Todd Wisenbaker, bassist Charlie Stavish, drummer Nate Lotz, Bright Eyes keyboardist Nate Walcott, and added string arrangements. Ryan Adams' own home-grown label PAX-AM will release 1989 this upcoming Monday, September 21st, although it's currently available for pre-order on Apple Music and iTunes; those who purchase 1989 this weekend, will receive an instant download of "Bad Blood" and Adams assures eager crate-diggin' fans like myself that 1989 "CD + vinyl [are] coming soon." Even though we've only heard one track thus far, Ryan Adams' 1989 is poised to be one of his strongest comprehensive pieces of work since his Spider-Man-referencing Lost Highway effort, Easy Tiger (2007) based solely on his past covers repertoire: nearly flawless renditions of everything from Iron Maiden's 1986 single "Wasted Years" to Vampire Weekend's jangly Surf-Rock jam "A-Punk."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Presents: Run The Jewels & TV On The Radio - "Angel Duster" Live Remix (Mass Appeal Records)


"I did [approach TVOTR]. They have been my friends for years and I knew it could be something special," @therealelp replied when asked by a fan what the story was behind Run The Jewels' Colbert-facilitated collaboration with "the most under-rated band of all time," TV On The Radio. "HUUUUGE shout out to our friends @TVonTheRadio, Kareem Bunton, @littleshalimar, and everyone who made last night happen. Love y'all," El-P exuberantly Tweeted Wednesday morning, following his Late Show with Stephen Colbert performance along with unlikely partner in crime, Killer Mike. El-P and TV On The Radio's working relationship would seemingly date back to around 2006 when El-P was commissioned to remix "Hours" from their Return to Cookie Mountain LP, while Killer Mike was still running with OutKast-affiliated crews Purple Ribbon All-Stars and Dungeon Family. It should additionally be noted that TVOTR lead guitarist and in-house producer Dave Sitek submitted his own remix of Run The Jewels' "Sea Legs," which was later attached onto their 2014 Run The Jewels (Deluxe European Edition) 12" re-issue.


Run The Jewels' blistering high-energy TV On The Radio-backed and string section-assisted "Angel Duster" revision was performed in memoriam of beloved Mars Volta and Jack White keyboardist Isiah "Ikey" Owens, whose last recorded performance was actually on "Angel Duster," as well as friend, Los Angeles-based costume designer, and avid surfer Desiree Zondag; "tonight's performance on [The Late Show with Stephen Colbert] is dedicated to our friends Ikey and Desi... we love you and we miss you." While nothing has been either 100% confirmed or denied whatsoever, I almost wouldn't be surprised if RTJ x TVOTR's Indie Rock-leaning "Angel Duster" revision turned out to be their submission to this year's annual Adult Swim Singles series, which will be unveiled as the series' "closing track" this upcoming October 5th. Although, for the time being, Run The Jewels' RTJ2, a precursor to crowd-funded cat sounds-centric remix album Meow The Jewels, and TV On The Radio's latest album, Seeds are both currently available for your listening pleasure.

Monday, September 14, 2015

[adult swim] Singles Series '15 Heralds Ghostface Killah & DOOM's Unofficial Return-to-form, "Lively Hood" (DOOMSTARKS, Gas Drawls?)




"We reached out to DOOM to see if he was interested in giving us a track, and were told that the DOOMSTARKS project was close to completion and there was a song we could have... we jumped on it! I mean, it's [Ghostface Killah] and DOOM rapping together. It's pretty much my rap nerd dreams coming true. I think they bring something out in each other that's very exciting for me as a rap listener," Adult Swim's own glorified fan-boy Jason DeMarco recently gushed to Uproxx, concerning of course, the cartoon network's acquisition of DOOMSTARKS' unofficial return-to-form, "Lively Hood." While his official title may be Vice President/Creative Director of Adult Swim On-Air, DeMarco himself simply managed to distill his responsibilities down to "basically, if it's on Adult Swim and it's NOT a show, it's my group's responsibility to make;" this including, but not limited to promo campaigns, network ID's, animated shorts, partner-created content, and network text 'bumps'. Wu-Tang expert swordsmen Ghostface Killah's relationship with the sharp-tongued masked villain MF DOOM seemingly dates back to around 2006-07, when DOOM produced a handful of nearly flawless beats utilized within Ghostface's magnificent career re-defining Fishscale and its companion album, More Fish; albeit, even before these impeccable fishy albums, DANGERDOOM producer Danger Mouse recruited Tony Starks to appear alongside DOOM on their Adult Swim-fueled The Mouse & The Mask heavy-hitter, "The Mask."


However, not long after their critically-acclaimed back-to-back releases, rumblings started to travel across The Internet concerning a collaborative DOOMSTARKS (or then, known as GHOSTDOOM), joint full-length, tentatively titled "Swift & Changeable." Since it's nearly decade-old initial announcement, DOOM & Ghostface have reconvened on a number of various occasions; most notably on 2011 Nature Sounds cassette/12" single "Victory Laps" and even more recently, DOOM appeared alongside Ghostface Killah on his BADBADNOTGOOD-produced Sour Soul album on stand-out "Ray Gun." With that said, DOOMSTARKS' end of summer Adult Swim singles series submission, "Lively Hood" duals as the first official single and their unofficial long-awaited return-to-form. It's currently available for FREE download through Adult Swim's on-going Soundcloud singles series playlist, as well as on a limited edition Gas Drawls-pressed piece of "Lively Hood" 7-inch wax, which will reportedly ship on November 15th. Although this isn't exactly the first time Swift & Changeable has been "close" to an allegedly release, Ghostface Killah haphazardly announced it's indeed "coming out [in] 2015" last December during a Reddit AMA. DOOM & Ghostface are somewhat surprisingly scheduled to appear together at Miami's III Points Music Festival that will offer a unique, "one-of-a-kind, interactive performance" where DOOM will be "transported Star Trek-style directly onto the III Points Festival stage," via a live screen "from the other side of time."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

You Can Call Me Al: Stephen Colbert Welcomes "The World's Preeminent Paul Simon Tribute Band," Troubled Waters as First Late Show Musical Guest


"Throughout its storied three-year existence, Troubled Waters has emerged as the world's preeminent Paul Simon tribute band, attracting a passionate fan following in multiple states. Evoking the heavenly vocals, poignant lyrics, and sensible wardrobe of the greatest Folk-Rock artist of all time. Troubled Waters has taken every effort to mimic that classic P-Sim sound, withe exception of some of the more complex arrangements on Graceland," reads the brief artist biography on mysterious Late Show with Stephen Colbert inaugural week guests, Troubled Waters. "So sit back, feel groovy, and remember what the man himself said: "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls, and whispered in the sound... of Troubled Waters," the band's rather sparse website continues, making a few clever allusions to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Simon solo hit "Feelin' Groovy." While it was widely assumed to be an intricate joke upon its initial pre-airdate August 24th announcement, Colbert's first musical guest Troubled Waters were speculated to be either "a reunited Pavement or sort-of-actual-Paul-Simon-tribute-act Vampire Weekend" by the diligent sleuthing writers over at Stereogum. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert's first self-proclaimed "Friday show ever" featured vastly different, yet equally great, guests comedienne Amy Schumer and Stephen King during it's first half; "I've always wanted to do the whistling solo to "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard" and so, I called Paul Simon... and he said, 'I will not do that with you.' Have you ever met him?" Colbert angrily asked Troubled Waters frontman Alan. "Technically, no," he replied, after which he added, "you know, Paul Simon is a bit of a jerk," after being further prodded by host Stephen Colbert. Troubled Waters then ripped through a spirited, laid back rendition of Simon's 1972 hit (re-released in '88) "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard," which was accompanied by Colbert's drunk 20-something-esque dance moves, feverish whistling, and spot-on closing verse lead vocals.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Detroit's Son Producer Katalyst Talks Recording with Guilty Simpson In Australia, "Quakers 2," New Space Invadas Material & The Possibility of Delving Into Stones Throw's Roster (The Witzard Interview)




"It's Katalyst [Ashley Anderson] and Geoff Barrow that produced my album. I met Katalyst in Australia and we had dope studio chemistry. Me & Phat Kat did features for the Quakers album & later, I found out they were on Stones Throw. When I met with Stones Throw, their name came up & it made sense because I really liked their production. Now, here we are," Guilty Simpson exclusively revealed to The Witzard on the inception of his hot-off-the-press new album, Detroit's Son. Anderson runs the Australian-based headquarters of Invada Records along with long-time friend, Portishead founder, and fellow Quakers bandmate Geoff Barrow; he's been releasing music under a number of aliases since launching his music career back in 1998... Moonrock, Katalyst, 35-member Hip-Hop collective Quakers, and Space Invadas with Steve Spacek. Having previously worked with everyone from Gift of Gab to Jack Johnson, Detroit's Son is Katalyst's first full-length project recorded with a sharp-tongued rapper. "Detroit's Son distills the essence of what made Ode to The Ghetto an underground classic; with the subject of life in The Motor City placed front and center, Guilty's uncompromising rhymes fit seamlessly with Katalyst's hard-hitting beats."
(1) Are you able to reveal the sample source material(s) behind Fat Ray-featuring "Fractured?" It kinda sounds reminiscent of Link Wray's "Rumble" guitar riff and even No Doubt's "Hella Good" drum break to me (haha).

I never reveal sample sources. Think you'll find most Hip-Hop producers will give you the same answer to that question, but I can tell you neither of those sources mentioned are where I was looking for inspiration.


(2) How's the progression of "Quakers 2," your 35-member posse project with Geoff Barrow, coming along? What sorts of projects are you currently working on producing and recording?

"Quakers 2" is almost cooked. Once the last couple of guest have recorded, "it's a wrap," as they say in film. I'm also working on mixing another Space Invadas album with my partner in that project, Steve Spacek. So, that's real close as well. I have a few other things [in-the-works], but I don't talk about projects until they are done, or at least near completion; so, stay tuned for more on those, as they near completion.


(3) I remember you mentioning that you had previously recorded the beats contained within Detroit's Son before Guilty Simpson arrived to Australia; but what was the album's recording process like? Would I be correct to assume that all of his vocals were recorded live "in the flesh" right at Geoff Barrow's Invada Studios?

Not all the beats were done before Guilty toured here last year, we did record a number of cuts while he was here in Australia. The rest of the vocals were recorded at various studios in Detroit. All the beats were made here and all the vocals/tracks mixed here in my studio, home of the Australian branch of Invada Records. None of the vocals were recorded at Geoff's Invada Studio in Bristol, actually.


(4) I'm curious to know: what's your beat-making process like? Let's just use "Fractured" for example... where do you even begin when constructing a multi-layered beat like that?

The process varies from track to track, depending on what required and what sound I'm going for, actually. With Detroit's Son, I took a similar approach as I took on Quakers; keeping the beats gritty and raw. Detroit is a gritty place and Guilty is a heavy MC. Both those factors played into the production and [the] style of beats on the album.


(5) I've noticed a definite underlying Rock-influenced sound running through Detroit's Son, which makes me curious to learn... where did the bulk of its contained samples come from? Did you purposely focus on any specific bands, genres, albums, etc?

No, I never really focus a particular genre. One of the great things about Hip-Hop is it incorporates a wide variety of sounds. From Soul to Rock, Classical to Electronic. All genres are represented in some form on the record. Since it's Guilty's record and I'm the producer, he chose what tracks he was feeling from the variety of beats I sent him. So, in that sense, he helped determine [the overall] mix of sounds on the album.


(6) I know that you and Guilty initially linked up when recording Radiohead-sampling "Fitta Happier" and "War Drums" for inclusion on Quakers (2012). But what made you guys decide to reconvene and what ultimately led to the recording of Detroit's Son?

We recorded "War Drums" here at my studio for Quakers when Guilty and Phat Kat toured [Australia] in around 2011. We hung [out] in the studio over a couple of days and vibed on lots of music, including the "War Drums" [which was] cut in those sessions. Both MC's were feeling the vibes and the beats and we talked about working together on some more music outside of Quakers. When Guilty went to LA to shoot the video for "Fitta Happier," he mentioned that to Stones Throw, who thought it could be a good idea for his next album. Everyone was down and so, the process of writing and recording the album began. Now, here we are.


(7) Even though Detroit's Son contains some 17 neck-snapping tracks, Stones Throw unleashed two non-album tracks, "Vanguard Organization" & racially-charged "Animal," prior to its release. How many more dusty, unreleased non-album tracks did you and Guilty manage to record?

I think there [are] still 3 or 4 cuts that didn't make the album for various reasons. I'd have to go back and look that up, but at least that many I can safely say.


(8) Now that you have a full-length recorded with Guilty Simpson under your belt, who else from the Stones Throw roster, or even "extended family members," could you see yourself potentially working with to a similar effect; do you happen to have any such collaborations currently in-the-works?

They have had a lot of dope MC's on their roster for sure. I'm not really sure who I'd like to work with most. Some [Stones Throw MC's] of course, might appear on the next Quakers LP. I don’t really like talking about things til they are done either, so you never know what the future holds, in that respect.


(9) What would you say have been some of your greatest influences on your career, the overall sound which you’ve melded over the years, and most recently, Detroit's Son?

Always a tough question, so many producers and influences. Back in the day, it was cats like Marley Marl, Prince Paul, RZA, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Madlib, and of course, the late J Dilla. I don’t like to put it down to any one person. However, I work closely with Geoff Barrow and still regard him as one of the all time greats; so, I guess it would be fair to say he has had the most direct influence on me and my sound over the years.


(10) While I remember the early press material labeling Detroit's Son (then untitled) as a "Guilty Simpson x Quakers" project, the more recent album release press material seems to allude to it as a sole Katalyst production. What was your Quakers production partner Geoff Barrow’s role in the creation and recording of Detroit's Son, then?

Geoff is always there to give me his honest opinion about the music. One of the hardest things as an artist is finding someone whose opinion you really value and them giving you honest feedback about your work. I can always rely on Geoff to give me that feedback. He was busy with soundtrack work like Ex_Machina, BEAK>, and also touring Portishead over [that] period, so he left the production duties up to me on this one. He has a great studio in Bristol, Invada Records Studio, where he [could] listen to the music I [sent] and give me that perspective, as well. He’s a Guilty Simpson fan, for sure, and a fan of the album.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dan Auerbach's The Arcs Weigh In on Drake vs. Meek Mill Beef & Discuss Chinatown Hood Passes Within "Outta My Mind" (Nonesuch Records)


"Now accepting all reasonable offers for Nick's Honda. Contact The Arcs or Eddie Huang. Oh yeah... and new Arcs video drops this Tuesday... Go get the album too!! Bump it in your new Honda?" Dan Auerbach's The Arcs wrote on Facebook Saturday accompanying a brief 30-second trailer advertising their then-forthcoming "Outta My Mind" music video, as well as director Nick Walker's Honda. It would appear to be a purposely lo-fi, back seat-shot clip in which two unspecified Arcs members discuss the prospect of the brief hybrid trailer-web ad, which Walker commissioned that "might help save us;" anyone interested in buying Nick Walker's Honda can either contact The Arcs directly or apparent Dan Auerbach affiliate and Fresh Off The Boat creator, Eddie Huang. "These are people that I either met in the studio, or was a fan of the records that they made before I even met them... Richard Swift, I met him six years ago; we made a record together, and we've been great friends and made music ever since," Dan Auerbach recently told NPR in their Yours, Dreamily-centric profile. Dan Auerbach's second proper "solo" album, Yours, Dreamily, is now available in a number of formats on Black Keys-affiliated label, Nonesuch Records.


"And Leon Michels — every single day I was listening to this record by Lee Fields called My World. It just inspired me so much. And that was Leon — Leon, Nick [Movshon], and Homer [Steinweiss], they made that record together. So, it's weird how it's always been so connected," Auerbach further elaborated on the rather organic conception of The Arcs. Yours, Dreamily's 14 contained experimental-leaning tracks were recorded in over just two weeks at studios in Los Angeles, Nashville, Manhattan, and Queens and Auerbach says they were inspired by "old Soul records, Captain Beefheart, [and] newer Hip-Hop records." Leon Michels, Richard Swift, Home Steinweiss, and Nick Movshon have all previously worked alongside Dan Auerbach on records he produced for the likes of Lana del Rey, Ray LaMontagne, Dr. John, and even main band The Black Keys' critically-acclaimed 2010 effort, Brothers. The Arcs' second proper video-single lifted from Yours, Dreamily, only behind El Oms-animated "Put a Flower In Your Pocket," "Outta My Mind" is a trippy, psychedelic color blotted sensory experience; wherein Dan Auerbach & The Arcs rip through a rockin' and rollin' live rendition of their latest single, which is inter-spliced with an odd cell phone-shot Chinatown pass-revoking scuffle and bookended by about 10 seconds-worth of head-scratching banter on Drake & Meek Mill's recent beef.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Homeboy Sandman Recruits Your Old Droog Producer EL RTNC for Live Date-promoting "Nonbelievers" (Stones Throw Playlist)




"Holy sh*t! Here's a new song we made [with] Homeboy Sandman for our show together Friday," now-defunct New York Hip-Hop revivalists Das Racist Tweeted way back when in 2010, promoting a then-upcoming November 5th Southpaw gig along with a pre-Stones Throw Angel del Villar II; if I remember correctly, "I'm Up On That" was the very first time I had ever been treated to the sweet, rhythmic sounds of Homeboy Sandman, who's comfortably seated as one of Stones Throw's sharpest emcees. "Here's a new track from Homeboy Sandman, as the MC (and amazing live performer) kicks off a couple weeks of live dates through the east and southern states, culminating with a couple Texas shows with Stones Throw crew [Peanut Butter] Wolf, J Rocc & Guilty Simpson," Stones Throw wrote in a recent quick-strike press release accompanying Sandman's latest non-album Soundcloud loosie. '"Nonbelievers" produced by EL RNTC. The photo used here is courtesy of Province photographer James Soldan, who got this shot out at Boom Bap Festival. See below for a playlist of a few of the singles Sandman has dropped in the past year," which additionally includes "Arrows," "Holiday," "Problems," and Jonwayne-produced "America, The Beautiful." Although there's currently no word as to where a few of Homeboy Sandman's album-worthy, wordplay-laden non-album singles may ultimately end up re-appearing, he's previously worked with Your Old Droog producer EL RNTC on their collaborative Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent EP. And for what it's worth, my friends: Homeboy Sandman's entirely Blu-produced surprise released and now, mysteriously disappeared America-sampling homeboy sandman is the sandman ep was without a doubt, amongst one of the strongest Hip-Hop projects from 2014-early 2015.



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rappcats Presents: Madlib & Future Islands Frontman Sam Herring Are Trouble Knows Me - "Streetsweeper" (Madlib Remix)




It's really a wonder how Future Islands frontman Sam Herring came to be the highly-scrutinized then "unnamed emcee" behind Madlib's latest masterpiece, Trouble Knows Me EP; unlike his fellow Hip-Hop-loving Indie Rock brethren Paul Banks and Peter Bjorn & John, Herring is front and center with some surprisingly sharp-tongued rhyming skills. Sam Herring has quietly been playing Baltimore club gigs under his Hemlock Ernst rapping alter ego between Future Islands album cycles since around June 2013, in addition to "waxing poetic" wordplay alongside the likes of Gangrene & Earl Sweatshirt, Scallops Hotel, Du Blonde, and Rapdragons. "Madlib x Hemlock Ernst project Trouble Knows Me officially dropped today [September 1st]. The Master & The Student. Double Dragon," @futureislands ecstatically Tweeted Tuesday afternoon upon the release of Herring's first widely-available "solo" project. Trouble Knows Me EP, which was initially available for pre-order last month, has now become available to the general public on Gustavo Eandi & Jeff Jank-designed, hand-printed Hit & Run silk-screened vinyl in 15-20 unique variations; "three rap tracks + three instrumentals on Side A. Flipside has instrumentals for the rap tracks." When asked if Madlib's newly-rearranged "Streetsweeper" (Remix) would ultimately see a vinyl release as well, Now-Again/Rappcats founder @nowagain quickly responded, "probably not... but hopefully, they'll make more official music soon." And with that said, Madlib's latest celebratory "Streetsweeper" (Remix) is really an all too brief, albeit beautifully orchestrated, flute-accented number anchored by Sam Herring's gritty, almost Atmosphere-reminiscent vocal chops.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

From Louis Vuitton & Yves Saint Laurent to Action Bronson: Black Atlass aka Alex Fleming - "Haunted Paradise" (Fool's Gold Records)




"Black Atlass is quite literally the only artist on earth to soundtrack Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent ads while featuring on Action Bronson songs," reads part of a recently published Fool's Gold Records press release. "This diverse appeal is a testament to the captivating voice of Alex Fleming, the young singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who created Black Atlass as a vehicle for his unique vocals, heart-on-sleeve lyrics, and experimental production techniques," it descriptively continues. Fleming is of course, the deeply soulful voice crooning "I nearly lost my mind. All a motherf**ker got is time, time... I nearly lost my brain dealin' with this motherf**kin' pain, so bad" on Action Bronson's infectious Party Supplies-produced MR. WONDERFUL stand-out, "A Light In The Addict." Alex Fleming previously unleashed his critically-acclaimed debut, Young Bloods EP and a beautiful, free 10-track album titled Jade this past spring, following his unheralded Bronson assist. Black Atlass' latest Fool's Gold-backed single, "Haunted Paradise" made its world premier last Saturday on Fresh Prince offspring Jaden Smith's MSFTS FREQUENCY Beats 1 radio show; "awash in stark guitar riffs and dubby reverb... the moody beauty of "Haunted Paradise" sets the stage for a new creative phase of Black Atlass." It's just the first of three forthcoming newly-minted Black Atlass singles to be released on Fool's Gold, which will eventually "be accompanied by a series of self-published zines featuring original work from [Alex] Fleming himself." "Haunted Paradise" is now readily available for download/streaming on digital platforms like iTunes, Spotify, etc. with a companion zine-accented vinyl and CD re-release only imminent.