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Showing posts from April, 2016

Iceland's Answer to Aloe Blacc-helmed Soul-Funk Revival, Júníus Meyvant Unveils Rollicking "Neon Experience" (Floating Harmonies Live On KEXP)

"Westman Islands singer-songwriter Júníus Meyvant [Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson] has recently caused big waves in Scandinavia after being the star of the Icelandic Music Awards-winning Best Newcomer and Best Song, as well as being nominated for Best Male Singer and Best Song this year," read the opening of Mystic Sons'"Neon Experience"-accompanying press release. While his music has already been compared to the works of "Wake Me Up" Funkateer Aloe Blacc, Ben Howard, Lucy Rose, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, and Graffiti6, I would personally liken Meyvant's unique throwback sound to that of an Icelandic Rod Stewart backed by a Mark Ronson-produced rendition of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles or even something to the effect of critically-acclaimed Stones Throw New-Wop crooner, Mayer Hawthorne. Ahead of his forthcoming July LP, Floating Harmonies, Júníus Meyvant has honed in on a trademark sound that's been described as a rather unique fragmented mi…

WATCH SHARP-TONGUED EMCEE HOMEBOY SANDMAN NARROWLY ESCAPE THE CLUTCHES OF VILLAINOUS BIG-MOUTHED BADDIES IN JAY BROWN-DIRECTED "TALKING (BLEEP)"

"Edan had the ill beat and was like, 'Yo, this sounds kinda like when people talk mad sh*t, you should speak on that.' I was like word. The onslaught of people talking mad copious amounts of sh*t is the ongoing barrage. That's what the video is about," Queens-bred emcee Homeboy Sandman recently revealed to The FADER, who premiered said video, "Talking (Bleep)."Sandman's Edan-produced sh*t-talker lamenting creation stems from his upcoming Stones Throw album, Kindness for Weakness and is instantly evocative, to me at least, of The Peanuts' often used droning "WOOT WOOT WOOT" adult talking voice. Its companion Jay Brown-directed visual treatment is vaguely reminiscent of The Avengers: Age of Ultron meets let's say, Pierce Brosnan-helmed 1990's James Bond flick GoldenEye, but instead of your friendly neighborhood chiseled caped crusaders, starring sharp-tongued emcee Homeboy Sand-Man!!! For whatever reasons, it's never actuall…

"For Fans of The Black Keys, Hanni el Khatib, The Black Angels & Cream:" Mediterranean Garage Rocker & Ouzo Bazooka Frontman Uri Brauner Kinrot On SIMOOM (The Witzard Interview)

It's a rather unlikely story, which almost sounds too good to be true, but it all started with a single White Denim-centric piece I published back in October-November 2013; "I saw you recently featured White Denim [on The Witzard], and thought you might find UBK's (Israel) new music video interesting," read an email from a publicist named Emma. Uri Brauner Kinrot-fronted UBK would soon effortlessly morph from a mere solo project into a full-fledged band called Ouzo Bazooka. I've been in sporadic contact with UBK's people, fellow band mates, and most recently, Kinrot himself over the course of the past three years and have been honored to feature a number of their videos here on this very site. I would, if pressed, likely attempt to best describe Ouzo Bazooka's unique Israeli Rock sound as a stylistic love child between The Black Keys, Eric Clapton-helmed Cream, and a Mediterranean-influenced version of The Rolling Stones. Ouzo Bazooka's genre-blending…

Master of None Co-star & Ironic Folk-Rockstar Father John Misty Unleashes Flawless, Note-perfect Rendition of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" (Chicago Riviera Theater Bootleg)

The Internet really is a never-ending Twilight Zone-esque worm hole of a place sometimes; case in point, just last night, after returning home from rollicking Sweat N Soul-filled a Har Mar Superstar concert in the depths of Philly around 1-1:30am, I wasted nearly an hour aimlessly Googling covers from Sean Tillmann's one-time touring mate and fellow Tillman(n), Father John Misty... starting with two unabashedly ironic Taylor Swift in the vein of Ryan Adam's 1989 covers and ultimately, ending up at a sparse SiriusXM cover of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box." Somewhere down the seemingly endless sonic worm hole I created, I stumbled upon @fatherjohnmisty's sprawling, wonderfully executed renditions of widely-known Leonard Cohen, The Arcade Fire, John Lennon, Rihanna, and most recently, Nine Inch Nails classics. Former Fleet Foxes drummer and ironic "rockstar" Josh Tillman unexpectedly covered NIN's breakout anti-pop hit, "Closer" as recently…

Now-Again & Mass Appeal Records Present: Reading Between The Lines with J Dilla "Historian" & THE DIARY 12-inch LP Liner Notes Writer, Ronnie Reese (The Witzard Interview)

Chicago-bred writer Ronnie Reese has had the unique opportunity to pen a number of Stones Throw on-site press releases – including Mayer Hawthorne, WHITE BOIZ, Myron & E, and Tony Cook – J Dilla's online biography, countless pieces for Wax Poetics, a number of Blue Note re-issues, and Dilla's posthumous 2007 Ruff Draft EP re-issue; although, Reese very well may have just written the single most important pieces of his career... the expansive liner notes for Now-Again's recently assembled compilation of Dilla's long-lost "MCA album," now re-titled THE DIARY. J Dilla's nixed MCA album, otherwise formerly known as "Pay Jay," would have featured outsourced production work from the likes of House Shoes, Nottz, Karriem Riggins, Hi-Tek, Madlib, and Pete Rock and is arguable, as coveted by Hip-Hop heads as a beat-laden version of The Beach Boys' long-fabled and heavily bootlegged SMiLE. I've recently been in contact with Ronnie Reese, whose …

NEW ICONS OF A VILE FAITH: Genre-defying Denver Band, Echo Beds Bridge The Gap Between Nine Inch Nails & Death Grips with "SEEK SAFE HAVEN" (sole's Black Box Tapes)

NEW ICONS OF A VILE FAITH by Echo Beds
Denver-bred genre-defying Echo Beds are the latest signees to politically-charged emcee and former Anticon founder Tim "sole" Holland's latest label venture, Black Box Tapes. I would likely describe Echo Beds' rather long-winded "overdriventapehissnoisewall- landscapemetaldrumpummelpainfacevolumetherapy" sound of something strangely evocative of what an imagined missing link between late 80's-1990's Industrial Rock forefathers Nine Inch Nails and their critically-acclaimed modern day counterparts, Noise/Aggro-Rap group Death Grips; an obtuse indefinable sound, better yet, self-described by vocalist/bass player Keith Curts and beat-maker Tom Nelson as "a caterwaul of contact-mic'd oil drums, broken cymbals, battered basses, unrecognizable tape loops, and dilapidated voices with the expressed intention of volume as therapy and put it through the grinder of self-practiced D.I.Y. ethos." Echo Beds'

VICELAND's F**k, That's Delicious Host Action Bronson Enlists Fellow Outdoorsmen Meyhem Lauren & Jah Tiger for Infectious Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters-sampling "MR. 2 FACE" (Blue Chips 7000)

"I began to feel that I had been spending so much time exploring the upper atmosphere of music and the more ethereal kind of far-out spacey stuff. Now there was this need to take some more of the earth and to feel a little more tethered; a connection to the earth... I was beginning to feel that we (the sextet) were playing this heavy kind of music, and I was tired of everything being heavy. I wanted to play something lighter," revered Jazz-Funk pianist Herbie Hancock wrote within the liner notes to the 1997 CD re-issue of his Headhunters-assisted Head Hunters (1973). Mere hours after making his first ground-breaking appearance on late night TV, giving Fallon's predecessor Seth Meyers a rather laxed, yet incredibly amusing, tutorial on how to cook char-grilled octopus, rapping chef Action Bronson unexpectedly released our first taste lifted from his long-rumored Blue Chips 7000 (formerly titled Blue Chips 7) in the form of Meyhem Lauren & Jah Tiger-assisted "MR.…

New Era White Sox Baseball Cap Designer Chance The Rapper Throws First Pitch at Season Opener, Whilst Debuting "Very Chicago" Austin Vesely-directed "Angels" (Chance Three?)

"I made "Sunday Candy," I'm never going to Hell. I met Kanye West, I'm never going to fail. He said, let's do a good-a** job with Chance three. I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the GRAMMY. Let's make it so free and the bars so hard that there ain't one gosh darn part you can't Tweet," Chance The Rapper ferociously rhymed during his show-stealing verse within Kanye's The Life of Pablo opener "Ultralight Beam." He's of course referring to his long-awaited and currently still untitled Acid Rap (2013) follow-up, since last year's SURF as actually a Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment-helmed project. It's quite a daring, and almost unheard of, feat that Chance The Rapper has garnered so much wide-spread fandom and critical-acclaim without ever having released an album or even single song for purchase; ultimately culminating with Chance's appearance last year on SNL, becoming the first unsigned independent …

Australian Folk-tronic Singer-songwriter Hayden Calnin Unleashes Sprawling 2xLP "Cut Love Pt. 1-2;" Champions Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$ & Twin Fires (The Witzard Interview)

It all started about two months ago now, when I received a rather intriguing cold sent email from James Barker at London-based PR company Mystic Sons, which read, "First Listen – New Album from Australia's [Answer to] Bon Iver – Hayden Calnin, Cut Love Pt. 1;" described as a "fantastic artist" whose debut single, "Cut Love," at the time, already garnered 40,000 digi-spins at Hype Machine and had received stylistic comparisons to the likes of Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), M83, Dawn Golden, Beach House, and whom, I, myself, immediately likened to Electro-Soul crooner James Blake. "'Cut Love Pt. 1" the album is a testament to Hayden's creative abilities, demonstrating that each track can resemble a new chapter. It is experimental to say the least, but an experiment that certainly works. It's exhilarating, truthful, and vicariously touching," Mystic Sons befittingly wrote within their initial emailed press release. Leading up to Cut…

The Witzard's Week In Rap: Fresh Cuts from One-time Rivals Ice Cube & Common AND The Roots Emcee Black Thought & Royce 5'9" as "Black & Nickel" (March 27-April 2nd Ed.)

Let me just preface this week's slightly abridged edition of The Witzard's Week In Rap by first explaining that while I could be covering Kanye's "newly updated, remixed, and remastered version" of haphazardly-assembled steaming pile of s*it The Life of Pablo, I'm not even going to be giving his second of what could likely end up being umpteenth mixes, recently dubbed a "continuous process" by Def Jam, the sheer satisfaction of even buying into and covering it; however, with that said, his Sampha-assisted "Saint Pablo" (formerly titled "Closest Thing to Einstein") from his second of three rumored in-the-works albums, Turbo Grafx 16, is likely as strong, lyrically verbose, and dare I say, self-reflective as Kanye's sounded since Jay Z-helmed Watch The Throne or even 808's & Heartbreak. For what it's worth, a couple contenders for "honorable mentions" released sporadically throughout the week spanning Sund…