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Showing posts from December, 2016

The Witzard's Best of 2016 Countdown: A Genre-defying List of 30 Albums, EP's & Mixtapes Worth Re-visiting (or Ch-checking Out) Before 2017

ALBUMS

1. J-Zone & Pablo Martin - The Du-Rites LP (Old Maid Entertainment/Ilegalia Records)


"Can you dig it? If so, get a plate of neckbones, beans, and rice and put on your Old Spice. The Du-Rites are here to pour some fried fish grease on your kale salad. They’ll out-Funk you so bad, you’ll give up the Funk and start making ballads. Rollin' with Soul like a 1979 Cadillac when you step on the gas. Groovin' so hard, they’ll knock the boogie man on his a**,” writes Neighborhood Wino & Music Connoisseur Pimpin' Polyester Pete on the LP's reverse sleeve. The Du-Rites LP is currently available digitally, with politically-charged bonus track "Moving to The Moon," on either J-Zone's personal or The Du-Rites Bandcamp profiles or on sunset orange wax from Old Maid Entertainment/Ilegalia Records in conjunction with Redefinition Records. "Ever order a kale salad and discover a neckbone in it? That’s Funk! Ever write a love letter on a chicken grea…

Yasiin Bey & Ferrari Sheppard Unleash 1 of 3 Final Albums, Dec. 99th; Perform "Seaside Panic Room/N.A.W." with ?uestlove On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (AWGE/A Country Called Earth)

"Dark bodies, bright crest, the kings grew nervous.
A boy drew a gun, and then sold the portrait. And then used the cash to heat the stove at the palace.
Soon. Very soon,"Yasiin Bey & Ferrari Sheppard (collectively known as Dec. 99th) wrote within a mysterious statement concerning the recent delay of their self-titled debut album; Dec. 99th—one of three final albums Bey has planned before his 2017 retirement from music and acting—was scheduled for a December 9th release exclusively on TIDAL, however, it never dropped, as expected and was finally unleashed earlier this week nearly two weeks late on December 21st. The Artist Formerly Known As Mos Def and writer turned producer Ferrari Sheppard have slowly been leaking out music as Dec. 99th for the past year or so... but I first remember seeing Sheppard's name attached to Yasiin Bey's A Country Called Earth-released Electric Wire Hustle remix "Marigolds (Chaser)" back in Summer 2015 when my girlfriend a…

The Witzard Premier: Mahatma Crowley & The Beholder's Trinity Unveil Part 1 of THE BEHOLDER'S MARK's Forthcoming 7-part Series, "AYAHUASCA" (Akashic Vibrations Records)

"In my early life, I forced break-throughs in danger to myself. I left these methods behind after realizing that everything I needed for self-discovery was already within me. I purged the facets of my being by compartmentalizing them into these living representations: The Beholder's Trinity. I needed to know who I was in order to understand who I could be. "AYAHUASCA" is my journey of self-understanding. It is my absolution. It is my sacred ritual," Occult Rap originator Mahatma Crowley wrote within a recent statement. "AYAHUASCA" is the first part of a seven-part "visual story that will play out over the course of 2017" to accompany Crowley's 2015 debut, THE BEHOLDER'S MARK [PROJECT 1] and its recently unveiled follow-up, iLLMAGIC [PROJECT 2]. I'm ecstatic to be premiering "AYAHUASCA" today, here at The Witzard, on December 22nd, The Winter Equinox—as was iLLMAGIC released on The Autumnal Equinox, September 21st. Even…

Peanut Butter Lovesicle Frontman Timmy Miller Lets Loose Queens of The Stone Age-influenced Solo Tracks, "Confess" & "Stronger Than The Wall" (The 303 Construct)

"Happy Friday people! Here is my newest track from 303 Construct, "Confess." It's a real toe-tapper and I hope you enjoy it nice and loud while you're... struttin' around on a FRIDAY!" Peanut Butter Lovesicle frontman Timmy Miller wrote within a rather tongue-in-cheek Facebook post this past Friday, December 16th. While his main band hasn't released any music since 2014's similarly-minded "Dragon Disease" (Miller and cousin Jake D'Arc released their Milky 22's EP back in 2015), sirtimmy-1 has slowly been leaking out nearly an album's-worth of material on his personal Soundcloud page over the course of the past two months or so; said project, The 303 Construct, will consist of 11 tracks and is set to explore a wide array of vocal styles, uncharted genres, and new-found instruments all played by Miller himself. "This one just has an awesome verse groove that goes into a much heavier chorus. Simple song, but I love the c…

Pat Van Dyke, Melinda Camille, DJ MentPlus & Friends "RE: Crate" Bob James' Jazz-Fusion Classic "Nautilus" & The Bee Gees' "Love You Inside & Out" (RE: Crates 001 45)

RE: Crates 001 by Pat Van Dyke
"After the release of Technicolor HI-FI, the fellas from Open Crates approached me about recording some music to launch a series of 7-inch vinyl releases that would feature remixes, re-works, and edits of existing music... essentially, a series of "bootlegs" or "white labels." I'd been anxious to take a stab at recording re-interpretations of songs that had influenced me over the years, so I was keen to make it happen," self-described drummer, producer, and band leader Pat Van Dyke (PVD) wrote within a recently emailed statement. PVD has once again teamed up with his "It's Alright" collaborators Melinda Camille & David Stolarz, as well as bassist Josh David, DJ MentPlus, and horn players Bryan Beninghove, Ted Chubb & Peter Lin to collectively unveil Open Crates' premier edition of their RE: Crates 45 series. "A few months passed and we had a show at Brooklyn Museum performing music from t…

Antonio "ANTWON" Williams Teams Up with Deafheaven Guitarist Kerry McCoy for "Changes" from Emo-Rap 25TH ST. SESSIONS Split 7-inch (Ghost Ramp)

"Kerry [McCoy] and I met at the last Caltrain stop in San Francisco, summer of 2012. Somewhat later on while working on Double Ecstasy, I asked Kerry to come in and make something for the record. He did and this became "Changes."Kerry said he had the riff forever in his head. My man Lars Stalfors helped us out overseeing and the rest was [history]," Antonio "ANTWON" Williams wrote within a recent "Changes"-premiering Noisey piece. ANTWON and Deafheaven guitarist Kerry McCoy previously collaborated on a live rendition of "(In) Dark Denim" from the album of the same name for a Converse Rubber Tracks: Ready, Set back in June 2013. Guitar Planet asked McCoy to name an artist whose music he loves that might come as a surprise to their readers, to which he responded, "we listen to a lot of Rap, which isn't really a surprising thing to anyone in my group of friends, but this seems to surprise a lot of people who like [Deafheaven'…

DJ Cummerbund Lets Loose Foo Fighters-approved "Freaktender:" Latest Volume of Rhonda Garbanzo Multi-media Saga (Rick James mash-up)

"Hi Matt... thanks for your interest in my work. While now is not the time to reveal everything, basically, the majority of my mash-ups that I've done connect to each other on several levels and tell a large, arcing story centered around the pursuit of pleasure, knowledge, and overall happiness in one's life. I've been dropping hints (Easter eggs) in each (starting from the "Uptown Funk" Macho Mix) that are pretty much impossible to find, unless you know what you're looking for, which I'll end up giving clues for at a later date... Twaddle.

This particular song deals with a portion of the story involving a young woman named Rhonda Garbanzo (hence, the usage of The Beach Boys' hit... couldn't find many songs with the name "Rhonda" in it) that finds herself close to death (hence, "Stairway [to Heaven]") after many years of abusing her body and ultimately, her soul. She is promiscuous, a severe alcoholic, and manipulates …

Jackson Whalan Unleashes De La Soul, Homeboy Sandman & Hiatus Kaiyote-influenced Funk/Glitch-Hop Souled Out EP... Just In Time for The Holidays (Adapted Records)

"A heartfelt tribute to and reflection of his upbringing in music, Jackson Whalan unleashes the Souled Out EP, out now on Adapted Records. Drawing on contributions from Jackson's own childhood friends and numerous talented contemporaries from The Berkshires, Souled Out explores a lush array of Hip-Hop sounds, not only through Jackson's multiple-flow lyricism, but with toasty-warm live instrumentation and arrangement. The result is a listening experience that bears full start-to-finish attention on a fine sound system—a fine departure into a side of Hip-Hop unique to Jackson Whalan," read a recent press release sent from Australian-based Adapted Records. Jackson Whalan is a lyricist and producer intent on "bringing a soulful blend of Hip-Hop & Electronic music with intentional rap, freestyle, and live instrumentation." Whalan lists his greatest sources of influence as Golden Era Hip-Hop emcees like De La Soul, The Fugees, Nas, and Eminem, as well as cur…

Portland Guitarist & Producer Teddy Presberg Teams with Garett Brennan & LeClare Stevenson for pigWar's J Dilla, Rod Stewart & Led Zeppelin-influenced Full-length (Outright Music)

pigWar by pigWar
"We’re mashing up classic 60/70’s Soul grooves with the 80’s Synth-aesthetic of guys like Lucio Battisti and the heavy guitar riffs found in Modern Rock by guys like Jack White... There’s an incredible throwback thing happening in Soul music right now. We love that sound, and we’re hugely inspired by it, but we want to take people to the edge. The edge is where new meaning emerges, new perspective; the weird stuff," Portland-based pigWar guitarist and producer Teddy Presberg detailed within a recent Outright Music statement. Presberg, along with core pigWar members frontman Garett Brennan and keyboard-bassist LeClare Stevenson, craft a unique blend of Hard R&B and spaced-out Psychedelic Soul that's equally informed by traditional 1970's Soul-Funk, as well as J Dilla, Led Zeppelin, Teddy Pendergrass, Rod Stewart-helmed The Faces, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Lee "Scratch" Perry. Prior to pigWar's January 2015 inception, Teddy Presberg

Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions' Pianist & Emcee Marek Pędziwiatr Speaks On PUZZLE Mixtape, Gil-Scott Heron's Influence & Dave Cooley-mastered "Waltzing Beyond" (The Witzard Interview)

Music really is a powerful entity that connects people across the world every day, as cliché as it sounds. Case in point: I think I first discovered Donuts-flipping Kiwi Basement Funk pioneer Jeremy Toy, who records as Leonard Charles, whilst scrolling through live screen-printing crate diggers HIT+RUN's Instagram page. Leonard Charles' phenomenal Basement Donuts, in turn, pointed me in the direction of Indian Classical band Jaubi's Stones Throw-highlighted "Time: Donut of The Heart" cover... now, are you still with me? Jaubi recently re-released their The Deconstructed Ego EP on Poland & London-based Astigmatic Records and the Hip-Hop and Jazz-melding collective spotlighted within this very piece, Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions (EABS), are their Astigmatic Records label mates! "The first single from the album Repetitions is the song, "Waltzing Beyond," which was first released on vinyl by Columbia Records in Germany, thanks to the influence of…

3 Feet High & Rising: London-based African-Spanish Guitarist Gutxi Bibang Evokes Jimi Hendrix & The Clash On Socially Conscious Solo Single, "System of a Gun" (Oskar Recordings)

"'System of a Gun" is basically about government corruption; I wrote the song with my girlfriend, who's also in the band, after reading the news. The song reflects today's politics and concerns—especially for the youth of multi-culturalism," London-based African-SpanishRock "N" Roll revivalist Gutxi Bibang wrote within an exclusive statement sent to The Witzard. He then, went on to quote his own lyrics: "Little by little / Got to get away / A leader on the search to kill today / Dystopia over-runs the ocean / The sand ain't washing up / System on the gun / Gotta serve and obey / The truth only strays / Plague of the system [dysfunction] / Cannot sway / Explain to me 'cause I don't know / Just how could you be so cold." Bibang recorded "System of a Gun," and likely an entire album's-worth of material, along with his American girlfriend Tabatha Beu on bass and fellow London-based drummer Gary Lee; "with his di…

Darko The Super & U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART Present: BLKrKRT's Chamber Rap & Sakanouye no Tamuramaro-influenced 40th Release, Okinato Black (The Witzard Premier)

Okinato Black by BLKrKRT
"Okinato Black is a reference to Yasuke, or Sakanouye no [Tamuramaro], the legendary African Shogun of early Japanese civilization. He was known to be the paragon of military virtues and regarded as one of the most distinguished Black warriors of antiquity, yet still, he is largely unknown. The project is a response to the resurgence of Chamber Rap beats, popularized by Wu-Tang [Clan], the proliferation of Experimental Hip-Hop producers using the legendary Roland SP-404, and my own fascination with the anime Samurai Champloo. The intention was to never limit the source or genre of samples, but through the usage, obtain a cohesion in sound," Texas-based Experimental Hip-Hop producer Phil Ford aka BLKrKRT (Blacker Karat) wrote within a recent emailed statement. Ford has fittingly self-described his unique sound as "Post-Dilla Hip-Hop Instrumental" and lists J Dilla, Madlib, KAN KICK, No I.D. Public Enemy, Prefuse 73, S1, and Boogie Down Produ…

3 Feet High & Rising: Toxit Members Justin Billinger & Ferry Ridderhof Re-form as Elektrostal; release Daft Punk, Iggy Pop & Justice-influenced Hello world 101 (Vinyl Recording)

Hello world 101 - Vinyl Recording (96Khz-24Bit) by Elektrostal
"We started out asking ourselves the question, 'if Daft Punk didn’t originate from France, but rather a dank dystopian nightmare of a Moscow suburb, what would that sound like?'" reads the brief, slightly tongue-in-cheek, description included on Amsterdam-based Retro-Future Elecrtonica band Elektrostal's Soundcloud page. Elektrostal consists of self-described "song-writer, agitator & synth whizz" Justin Billinger and "floppy label writer, Atari [engineer], vocals & synth [programmer]" Ferry Ridderhof. Billinger & Ridderhof unleashed their appropriately-titled 7-track debut EP, Hello world 101 on vinyl record and high-quality MP3, FLAC, etc. download as recently as November 11th, 2016; a mere six days later, Elektrostal uploaded a digitized vinyl copy of Hello world 101, which consists of "a 96 Khz 24-bit recording of the vinyl album with a classic Technics SL-1210

Sulu & Excelsior Founder & Frontman Steve "Sulu" Mallorca Speaks On Eddie Romero "Visual Album," P.I.C. ATCQ & Exclusive "Dam Foo's" Video Premier (The Witzard Interview)

"One of the running themes in Eddie Romero can be heard in the opening and closing tracks of the album, when I rhyme "shall I croon or shall I spit?" Basically, I wanted to play with the image of an old school crooner, a slow jam king, that all of a sudden, flips his ballad on its ear and starts rhyming all fast and frenetic. On the first single, "Up to You" this idea is in full effect; to me, I feel like the melody is really sweet and romantic, but I wanted to contrast this with a fast and somewhat hectic beat that hits hard and could be equally at home with Big Daddy Kane rhyming over it," Steven "Sulu" Mallorca wrote within a recent statement included along with my previous Sulu & Excelsior write-up. Mallorca's unique sound has been fittingly categorized as "Johnny Mathis meets Mos Def meets Stevie Wonder meets Nat King Cole," which I would almost equate to something along the lines of Mayer Hawthorne meets Eric B. & Rak…