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Showing posts from February, 2017

Dr. Quandary, Humpasaur Jones & Louis Mackey Announce World Around Records Are Closing "Digital Doors" with Label-spanning We Are World Around Vol. 6 (Comp. Breakdown Part I)

I'm currently working on ironing out the fine details for a premier of a Zilla Rocca remix of CURTA's "Rap Trope Questionnaire" (or CURTA ZR remix), which should be making its digital debut here at The Witzard shortly. While emailing back and forth with Zilla, Jake & Brent, Zilla nonchalantly mentioned he had a track on a compilation released by "the guys from this label I rocked with for a while, World Around Records;" said compilation was uploaded just one day prior on Valentine's Day and was fittingly titled, We Are World Around Vol. 6. Zilla further detailed that "World Around was based out of New England and put out some good, spacey East Coast Art-House records over the years, if you're not familiar with them" within his initial email. As a matter of fact, the deeper I dug into We Are World Around Vol. 6 (WAWA V6, for short), I realized that while I hadn't previously heard of the label, I previously had worked with a number o…

Dr. Quandary, Humpasaur Jones & Louis Mackey Announce World Around Records Are Closing "Digital Doors" with Label-spanning We Are World Around Vol. 6 (Comp. Breakdown Part II)

Creative Director Kyle Tierce (Dr. Quandary) with some final words on World Around Records: "One of the things we had always really enjoyed putting together, and which had also always been hugely successful, was our annual We Are World Around compilation series. Starting in 2010, we made it a tradition to kick off each new year by releasing a collection of new material from our roster and our extended family. We'd invite the whole gang, as well as whoever else we might be digging or working with at the time, to throw down some exclusive music, which we'd then weave together to create a tracklist. It was always amazing how well they would come together—in hindsight, they always sounded pretty polished and cohesive, even though they weren't pre-planned in terms of theme or whatever.

We Are World Around, Vol. 6 wasn't any different. Within a couple days of emailing everyone, we had already received something like seven tracks, so we were well on our way to having a f…

Edmonton's 2009 Poet Laureate, Rapper-producer & Writer Cadence Weapon Returns with Ferocious First Single In Four Years, KAYTRANADA-produced "My Crew (Wooo)" [eOne Music Canada]

"There's a sense of personal freedom that's unique to Montreal and "My Crew (Woooo)" is a representation of that feeling... It's a song about defying the labels that people try to place on artists. Is it Underground? Mainstream? Conscious? Trap? Who cares, as long as it sounds dope," rapper-producer, acclaimed writer, and Edmonton's 2009 Poet Laureate Roland "Rollie" Pemberton (Cadence Weapon) wrote within a recent statement sent to EXCLAIM!Cadence Weapon is finally back in full form, after taking a nearly 5-year break following his last full-length album, 2012 Polaris Music Prize-nominated Hope In Dirt City. Pemberton made a few short-lived attempts at a proper comeback: first, with 2013 Jarrell Perry-assisted non-album single "When It's Real" and then, seemingly teased a temporary re-branding as "Rollie" throughout 2015 with Summer Cool Music Two comp. submission "Come See Me" and a featured appearance o…

3 Feet High & Rising: Jazz Pianist & Beat-maker Kiefer Evokes Herbie Hancock, J Dilla & Vince Guaraldi On Debut Sinlge, "Kickinit Alone" (Stones Throw/LEAVING RECORDS)

"Californian keyboardist and beat-maker Kiefer (birth name Kiefer Shackelford) drops his debut LP with enough Jazz piano chops to transform LA's Low End Theory into a smokey speakeasy. Catch Kiefer crushing the stage NOW in the touring Mndsgn LIVE trio (Ringgo, Swarvy & Kiefer). Kickinit Alone is available now exclusively through our partners at Stones Throw Records. World-wide digital and cassette release March 3rd, 2017," reads an album-announcing statement uploaded to LEAVING RECORDS' on-site blog Wednesday. Kiefer's only prior studio appearances were on LEAVING label mate Swarvy's "Spam Grease" from his Electronic/Soul-Funk album Elderberry and "Akasha (Piano)" from Mndsgn & Nanna B's collaborative Akasha 7-inch from Stones Throw & LEAVING RECORDS sister label, Akashik Records & Tapes.


Along with the album release announcement, Kiefer unleashed title track, "Kickinit Alone," which in my humble opinion, sou…

Height Keech Announces Brooding New Album MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN Revamped from Unending Blaze, Vol. 1 EP & Unleashes "DEAD RIDER RIDE ON" Single (Cold Rhymes Records)

Mind Moves The Mountain by Height Keech
"Mind Moves The Mountain is the eleventh album from Baltimore's Height Keech. Reflecting on 17 years of DIY touring, the record asks what happens when your dreams lead you into parts unknown; what's down in the lonesome valley from the Folk songs? What happens when you venture out there and never come back?"Baltimore rapper-producer Dan "Height" Keech cryptically wrote within a recent emailed statement. Mind Moves The Mountain is actually parts 1-3 of a planned and since-abandoned EP trilogy, which started with Height's Unending Blaze, Vol. 1 EP and an accompanying nation-wide tour, which was released at the top of 2016. "After one EP and one tour, I realized this was all wrong. I sold out of my small run of CD's quickly (which is a good thing), but I sensed that my concept of a EP trilogy hadn't really made a dent in people's minds. I got this feeling that I was going to go in circles (literally …

Jumbled & Dwell (Bully Preston) Unleash Family Guy-sampling "Bully Kong" Ahead of ROTTEN TONAL ANGER CLINT.'S 40TH BDAY BASH! at Baltimore's The Sidebar (Friday 2/24 at 9:30pm)

"Are you havin' a bully day? I'm havin' a bully day! Is everyone havin' a bully day? Bully! Bully! Yes, bully!" Peter Griffin's great-grandfather Turn of The Century Take On All-Comers Griffin proclaimed during a boxing match with a kangaroo within a 2007 Family Guy episode titled The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou. John "Jumbled" Bachman, Baltimore engineering teacher by day and cartoon-loving beatsmith by night recently utilized the aforementioned bit of Family Guy-culled dialogue and expertly turned it into the introductory sample for "Bully Kong" from his newly-minted rapper-producer group, Bully Preston with long-time collaborator Dwell. "Bully Kong"—billed as "[the] new single from the Bully Preston project"—serves as the second release from Bully Preston, preceded by fittingly-titled "Bang The Bongo" from Jumbled's recent Action Shots EP; Jumbled & Dwell first worked together on Harford and …

The Witzard Premier: Nashville-based Acoustic/Alternative Rock Duo Heatseaker's "Keeping Secrets" Music Video (Bree Lefler & Shannon McArthur)

"'Keeping Secrets" is actually one of our favorite songs from this project. The lyrics portray the struggle of being in a toxic relationship and trying to come to terms with that reality and let go. Our goal was to use the stripped down version of this song to really draw the listener in on a deep level. Needless to say, we’re both so exited to finally be releasing this!"Heatseaker wrote within a recent emailed statement; one half of Heatseaker, Bree Lefler, wrote to me after I published a review of The Mountain Goats' frontman John Darnielle's"The Ultimate Jedi Who Wastes All The Other Jedi & Eats Their Bones," which was jokingly written (and ultimately, released) following a lengthy Twitter conversation with Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. Lefler is joined by seasoned singer/song-writer Shannon McArthur. Bree Lefler and McArthur first met when he co-produced her 2015 Bree Lefler EP along with Aaron Sprinkle and…

Parquet Courts & Bun B Unleash Perfectly Grimy Indie Rock-Rap "Captive of The Sun" Remix White Label 12-inch with DJ OG Ron C & DJ Candlestick B-side Edit (Rough Trade Records)

"I was riding in my friend Drew's black Honda Civic down Major Drive, past the soccer fields in Beaumont, and he was playing UGK's Ridin' Dirty, which I recall as an enlightening moment. It was the first time I had heard the Underground Kingz (UGK) on CD, or any Houston Rap that wasn't on the radio. I experienced a true epiphany, realizing the beauty at the core of Houston Rap music... Not long after that car ride, I bought Best of UGK (2003) at Best Buy. The opening track, "One Day," samples The Isley Brothers'"Ain't Been Good to You." The hook is: "one day you're here and then, you're gone." When it's slow like syrup, it sticks with you."Parquet Courts (sometimes Parkay Quarts and PCPC) frontman Austin Brown is a "Big Money" Texas native himself, who over the years, has made his love and admiration for Houston Rap pretty apparent; Brown even penned a piece for Talkhouse about Houston Rap—"a 26…

Anderson.Paak & Knxwledge Make Their Late Night TV Debut As Nxworries with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson-assisted "What More Can I Say?" Performance Video (The Tonight Show)

"Following the release of their debut album YES LAWD! in October, Nxworries makes their TV debut with a live performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night. The duo [performed] their song, "What More Can I Say?" off of YES LAWD! backed by a string quartet arranged by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. The performance can be viewed online on NBC's website now," reads a fragmented chuck of a Wednesday morning press release I received from Duncan Will at Orienteer (formerly Liberal Arts and Life or Death PR). Anderson.Paak & Knxwledge made their collective late night TV debut on a special Valentine's Day episode of The Tonight Show alongside Ice Cube's Fist Fight co-star Charlie Day and socialite Kendall Jenner. I have to admit, "What More Can I Say?" was entirely unlike anything I had ever previously seen on late night TV; playing out more like a live-shot music video than your run-of-the-mill pre-recorded late night performance. Ande…

"High School Hero" Darko The Super Announces Second Album of 2017, Rock Sample-based Apocalyptic Bastard & Already Dead Tapes Pre-order (The Witzard Interview)

Just about two months ago, my friend and frequent collaborator Darko The Super sent me an early Ruff Draft of his upcoming Rock sample-based album, Apocalyptic Bastard. I must say, it's a surprisingly accessible and dare I say, commercial album from the charismatic rapper-producer who released a whopping 10 full-length albums throughout the course of 2016. Apocalyptic Bastard contains samples and interpolations culled from the likes of Twisted Sister, Loverboy, Tears for Fears, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Slaves, They Might Be Giants, Steve Miller Band, Men Without Hats, Wheatus, and Comfort Food, in addition to countless others, and originals from All These Fingers and BLKrKRT; to the best of my knowledge, since December, it's been sent around to De La Soul producer Prince Paul, The Fabulous Downey Brothers, Wheatus, and Zilla Rocca. It seems a bit odd to say, looking back now, but over the course of the past 4-6 months since I first met Darko The Super—despite coun…

Eric Biddines Unleashes @TheInfamousJC-directed Slow Jam "Rushing Forever" from The Local Cafe Just In Time for Valentine's Day (Juggernaut Sound Productions)

"In "Rushing Forever," it starts me trying to impress this girl with my game. We thought it would be cool to incorporate tennis because they have the love term "and... sometimes relationships can be a back-and-forth thing." Obviously, from my reaction at the end, I didn't win her over. I then take her to the park for a little... one-on-one picnic that seems to break through. There's an hour glass showing my impatience and some clips in the woods during the final performance where she's... showing resistance, but in the end, we find each other and walk off... "Rushing Forever" is produced by HulyOnTheBeat and I actually recorded this six years ago."


Palm Beach rapper-producer Eric Biddines wrote the above statement within a series of texts he sent me over this past weekend. Biddines released three albums and two EP's-worth of material on his own planetcoffeebean label imprint between 2010-12, before signing with Juggernaut Sound Pr…

Leon Michels Unveils Newly-reformed El Michels Affair with Lee Fields, Lady Wray & The Shacks Songstress Shannon Wise for Return to The 37th Chamber (Big Crown Records)

"I don't know how y'all see it, but when it comes to the children... Wu-Tang is for the children! We teach the children! You know what I mean? Puffy is good, but WU-TANG IS THE BEST!" sharp-tongued Shaolin prince Ol' Dirty Bastard (ODB) once proclaimed during an impromptu 1998 GRAMMY's acceptance "speech" during Shawn Colvin & John Leventhal's "Sunny Came Home"Song of The Year win. It also appears that Wu-Tang is for aging 40-something suburban Hip-Hop heads that can still hang; as is the case with El Michels Affair's forthcoming Jazz/Funk/Soul-tinged Wu-Tang Clan covers collection, Return to The 37th Chamber—otherwise known as the pseudo-follow-up to their critically-acclaimed Enter: The 37th Chamber (2009). El Michels Affair is fronted by multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, founder of newly-formed Big Crown Records, and former alumni of Soul Fire, Misty/Daptone Records, and now-defunct Truth & Soul, Leon Michels. El Michel…

"Movin' On Slackers Like They Know No Joke:" Career Crooks Emcee Zilla Rocca Channels Raekwon On "Faster Blade Redux" from Ghostface Killah's Ironman (The Witzard Premier)

"Ghostface [Killah]'s Ironman is still my favorite album in all of music. And Raekwon is one of my favorite rappers ever, so I wanted to take a stab at his solo cut off Ironman and pay direct homage, since Raekwon has had a big influence on me as a writer of visual Crime Raps [over] the past 3-4 years," Philly emcee Zilla Rocca wrote within a recent email sent to The Witzard. Zilla's "Faster Blade" (Redux) expertly flips RZA's Persuaders-samplingRaekwon cut from Ghostface's 1996 debut, Ironman. Not entirely unlike Zilla Rocca's recent Son Raw-produced "98 Avirex Flow,""Faster Blade" was uploaded to Wrecking Crew's SoundcloudZilla's Philly-based collective formed with fellow rapper-producers Small Professor and Curly Castro. Like much of Wu-Tang Clan's discography, "Faster Blade" takes its name from 1982-83 Hong Kong Martial Arts Action film Faster Blade, Poisonous Darts, which is referenced within Raek…

The Witzard Proudly Presents: DJ Manipulator's 6-track Breakdown of His Hip-Hop & Jazz-fusing "Jazz Is Everything" (mix) & Herbie Hancock Remixing Cover Art (Jesse Racusen)

I'll keep this intro rather short and sweet, as this one's pretty self-explanatory and cut and dry... while watching the Atlanta Falcons honorable attempt at a Super Bowl LI Champion trophy last night, I saw this rather intriguing @2DopeBoyz-premieredDJ Manipulator (@dustymanip) mix prop up within my Twitter timeline. Its Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters Head Hunters re-appropriating cover artwork is the first thing that caught my eye (I've been obsessed with "Watermelon Man" ever since RS500). After a brief, yet highly informative listen, I decided to write a quick email to the self-proclaimed "DJ/Producer/NERD Contact'"s Twitter-listed email contact, which ended up being his manager, Derek "Kas" Kastal. Long story short... Kas quickly got me in touch with DJ Manipulator himself and we decided the best form of "attack" might be some sort of playlist of "Jazz Is Everything" mix breakdown; by around 1:00 am, DJ Mani…

Your Old Droog & RATKING Emcee Wiki Unleash What Happened to Fire? EP with Production from Black Milk, RTNC, Statik Selektah, araabMUZIK, !llmind & Tony Seltzer (Letter Racer Download)

"Today, New York-bred emcees Wiki & Your Old Droog are sharing a new collaborative EP. What Happened to Fire? is a 5-track joint effort that demonstrates a chemistry between Wiki & Droog that could only come from both artists growing up in New York City; narrated by found samples of Kool Keith, the focus of the EP for Wiki & Droog was having fun while putting down the best bars possible," read a press release I received late last week from Nick X Dierl at Orienteer (formerly Liberal Arts and Life or Death PR). What Happened to Fire? EP was recorded in tandem with an art installation under the same name, which ran at Romero Gallery in late 2016. "What Happened to Fire? was recorded at Wiki's Chinatown apartment as the installation was being formulated and displayed and the art that accompanies the EP contains imagery from the gallery." Your Old Droog was compared to Nas early on in his career and was even believed to be some sort of new-found alias

3 Feet High & Rising: Band of Bearded Brothers Cellar Door Moon Crow Unleash Rollicking Single "Whistler" from Upcoming Blues Rock EP (Bandcamp, self-released)

Whistler by Cellar Door Moon Crow
British Rock 2-piece band Cellar Door Moon Crow mysteriously found and Followed The Witzard (@SharpCheddar856) on Twitter a few months ago. Their FacebookAbout section simply lists a brief, yet fitting, mission statement:
"Band ~ Beards ~ Brothers
Goodwin brothers Phil & Tommy.
Sheffield, UK" and their accompanying Biography section contains a similar refrain: "Band ^ Beards ^ Brothers," as well as their Bandcamp page. There really isn't much else to be known about twin brothers Phil & Tom Goodwin, aside from the fact that they make infectious, down and dirty Rock "N" Roll—all entirely written, recorded, produced, and mixed in-house by Cellar Door Moon Crow (CDMC) themselves. CDMC's Bandcamp page often tags their musical output as "British Rock, Rock, Blues Rock, two-piece band, Sheffield" and I would best liken their sound to a stylistic mix between The Black Keys, Third Man Records founder Jack W…

The Mountain Goats Frontman & Wrestling Aficionado John Darnielle Pens "The Ultimate Jedi Who Wastes All The Other Jedi & Eats Their Bones" for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Director Rian Johnson (rcjohnso Soundcloud)

"I was joking around with Rian Johnson on Twitter and I was saying how there’s an urgent need to speak out about the many deeds of the ultimate Jedi who wastes all the other Jedi and eats their bones. Rian agreed, and told me to get to work, that the story must be told! So, I wrote the song and recorded it with a little help from my kids, who you’ll hear excitedly jumping in and out of the room while I work. Enjoy!"

The Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle charismatically wrote within the band's on-site blog upon the Monday Jan. 30th release of "The Ultimate Jedi Who Wastes All The Other Jedi & Eats Their Bones." It all seemingly started when Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer and director Rian Johnson Tweeted "Excited (and relieved) to finally share this!" along with a link to an article dubbed THE OFFICIAL TITLE FOR STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII REVEALED; @mountain_goats (Darnielle) promptly replied, "my five-year campaign to sell Rian on the title…