Monday, December 31, 2018

Hip-Hop/Metal Producer, Composer & Engineer William J. Sullivan Re-emerges with Chapter I: Transition EP (Wreckin' Joint Productions)

To be completely honest and transparent, our first ever brush with William J. Sullivan was very recently while we were assembling our comprehensive track-by-track breakdown for Zilla Rocca's POW Recordings debut, Future Former Rapper. Sullivan produced FFR stand-out "Make The Sickness, Sell The Cure" Feat. Curly Castro and graciously revealed the story behind making the track, as well as his long-standing relationship with Zilla. I have since learned, through a series of detailed email conversations, that, in addition to being a skilled Hip-Hop/R&B beat-maker, William J. Sullivan is, in fact, a Los Angeles-based composer, engineer, producer, and label owner. Over the years, he has worked on a series of projects including film and TV scores, as well as engineering and producing a slew of LA/Philly Metal albums. Wreckin' Joint Productions' credits include Kanye West Presents: G.O.O.D. Music - Cruel Summer, American Pickers, BELDINA, 070 Shake, ScHoolboy Q's Blank Face LP, Kanye's The Life of Pablo, YE & Kids See Ghosts with Kid Cudi, and many, many more. William J. Sullivan either is or has been part of Heavy/Death/Thrash Metal-minded projects such as Architects of A Broken Design, Closed Casket, Priesticide, and Upon Creation, as well as his now-retired nom de plume, Memo.

Wreckin' Joint/Memo has now decided to exclusively release his own original music as simply, William J. Sullivan; over the course of the next few months, Sullivan plans to slowly unleash a 4-part EP series under his given name—Chapter I: Transition, Chapter II: Other People, Chapter III: They Always Think... There's More Time, and Chapter IV: Memo. Chapters I-IV will be released on Bandcamp and like-minded digital streaming platforms on December 28th (Merry Christmas!) January 25th, March 1st, and March 22nd, 2019, respectively. Chapter I: Transition is a 7-track display of what William J. Sullivan has to offer recorded between 2012-14; chock-full of glitchy, Boom-Bap-leaning Electro/Industrial-indebted Instrumental Hip-Hop beats, which perfectly represent his wide array of talents. In addition to Chapter I: Transition, one track from each of Chapters II-IV is currently streaming on William J. Sullivan's Bandcamp page. However, it appears as though a special "Cure Mix" of Zilla Rocca & Curly Castro's "Make The Sickness, Sell The Cure," will be re-appearing on Chapter IV: Memo this upcoming March 22, 2019. Below, you'll see a recent THREAD on Chapters I-IV @Wreckinjoint Tweeted out while on a flight from Philly back to LAX, explaining his inspirations behind each separate installment.

"I'm on a flight back to LA and thought I'd break down Chapter I: Transition, as well as the next two EP's that are coming out in the next few months. The first 3/4 EP's are all instrumental. They started as either placements for film and TV or tracks for other artists. Once I decided to move to California, I made a conscious decision to collect my favorites and release them in some form. After years of shelving them because of commitments to other people's projects, I took 2 months off this summer and started organizing and creating the artwork. I thought it would be cool to see what happens to these songs, once they're out. A lot of the material has a sentimental value to me because it was written during challenging moments in my life.

The second EP, Other People, was written specifically for other people—the titles are very literal! I intended to release everything in the summer, but again, life stepped in; hence, the title for the third EP, They Always Think There's More Time. I got the name for the third EP from @TheWalkingDead Season 1, when they're in The [Centers for Disease Control & Prevention]. I thought it was an interesting quote and very universal. I had to release all of these songs because I felt they were good bodies of work. Moody, cinematic and at points, angry. The fourth EP, Memo, is the closest to me, as I got to voice my feelings on some issues and events I always felt a certain way about. Check our the first EP, Chapter I: Transition, and join me on my journey."

- @Wreckinjoint (William J. Sullivan)

Friday, December 28, 2018

South Philly's Own Hoagie-core/Noise Rockers Body Spray Unveil "Edgy" Music Video from Music to Fall Down To (Coming March 2019)

Body Spray are a Noise Rock band hailing from South Philly, who first met while competing in a local bowling league. Back in March 2017, I attended Pissed Jeans' WHY LOVE NOW? Release Show at Philly venue/watering hole Boot & Saddle and Body Spray, along with M Ax Noi Mach, were the were the show's openers. From what I can remember, Body Spray tore it up and played a completely frantic, rousing set to help get everyone amped up for The Jeans. I've since been in contact with the band, via email, and have learned that Body Spray consists of bassist Adam Black, vocalist Dan Haddigan, guitarist Eric Kenney, and drummer Ian Kiesel. For a Punk/Hardcore band, Body Spray have a surprisingly impressive social media presence, actually; their Facebook (@bodysprayband,) Instagram (@bodysprayband,) and Twitter (@BodySprayStinks) pages are all regularly updated with show flyers, recording information, and interesting quips. Body Spray's Bandcamp page declares: "We met in a bowling league. First, we rolled together and then, we Rocked together," while their Instagram page clarifies that "we're okay at bowling." I would personally, describe Body Spray's raucous sound as something in-between Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not-era Arctic Monkeys, Philly's finest, Pissed Jeans, and Henry Rollins-helmed Black Flag, otherwise know as "Hoagie-core." Adam, Dan, Eric & Ian's current catalog consists of 2016's Frampton-evoking BODY SPRAY Comes Alive! and Hell EP both self-released by the band on their Bandcamp page.

Although, Body Spray have recently been posting about a test pressing of their new record that's dropping at a currently unspecified date in February 2019. It appears as though said "record" will, in fact, be a 12-track full-length entitled Music to Fall Down To. Body Spray says, "the album was recorded and mixed over 4 days in July of this year by our long-time friend and collaborator, Steve Roche, who runs and owns Permanent Hearing Damage Studio." While Music to Fall Down To has garnered interest from a handful of labels, Body Spray have, instead, decided to produce and release it themselves on multi-colored 150 gram 12-inch vinyl. "We plan on touring for 2-3 weeks in March/April to start promoting. We are heading down South and into Texas before circling back home [to Philly]," Body Spray ecstatically added. Now, Body Spray have unleashed our first Cheez Whiz-filled taste of Music to Fall Down To with lead-off single, "Edgy." Its companion music video was shot by Brad Corbit & Chris Waldo and later, edited by Adam Black at a Disco ball-lit roller rink/arcade with Body Spray sweatin' it out and delivering an "Edgy" performance to entranced onlookers, as well as The Grim Reaper himself. Body Spray plan to unveil 2 more music videos prior to Music to Fall Down To's February Sunday, March 17, 2019 "street" date.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Luke Sick & Damien Return with Strike The Clutch Full-length Released On Cassette, Digital & Lathe-cut Bundle (I Had An Accident/Megakut Records)

It's been a big year for Spokane, Washington-based I Had An Accident (IHAA) Records. Just this year, they've released a staggering number of releases from EQUIPTO & Brycon Present: The Watershed, Rabbi Max, Tenshun & Bonzo, BRZOWSKI/MC Homeless, C$ BURNS, Audiosiris, Bonzo Speechless & Damien, Namo, Blood Monk Consortium, Mhaze, The Deaf Index, SKRAPEZ AKA Tenshun & Psychopop, and countless others. Now, IHAA have returned with what's poised to be their last release of 2018: Luke Sick & Damien's Strike The Clutch. As many of you may well remember, Luke Sick & Damien previously released a similarly-titled EP together, which was featured within an edition of The Witzard's Rap EP Wrap-up earlier this year. Damien Miller is, actually, the current owner and label-head at I Had An Accident, as well as a skilled producer on their roster, while Luke Sick is an emcee and founder of Megakut Records. Damien has previously issued collaborative releases with IHAA's own Psychopop, Amputee, Bethaniens Dust, Namo, Diamond Lung, Bonzo Speechless, and 10shun/Tenshun, as well as a number of limited edition solo projects.

Luke Sick AKA J. Luke Oakson AKA Clell Miller, on the other hand, has put out releases with Grand Invincible, Grand Killa Con, Grand Collab, Brougham, CCCRRCCSSLLRRKKRRSSS, Dwarves, FTA, G-Pek, J-Eazy & Brycon, Get The Hater, Motel Crew, Mutual Daps, ON TILT, Rime Force Most Illin', Sacred Hoop, The Disturbers, Underbucket, Yole Boys, Sour Patch, DANK GOBLINS, and Gurp City, amongst others. Luke Sick & Damien's Strike The Clutch (LP) was, actually, released by I Had An Accident/Megakut Records on Christmas Day. It consists of 11 tracks, clocks in at just under 30 minutes, and boasts one lone feature from ON TILT's QM, as well as cuts and scratches provided by DJ Marz, DJ Traps, Tenshun, DJ Defie, and Luke Sick himself. All beats contained on Strike The Clutch were produced by Damien, except for "Age Quod Agis" & "Rave In The Cemetery" pause-mixed by Luke Sick and "Liquid Plumber Lady" produced by Yelir. Overall, Luke Sick & Damien's Strike The Clutch, not entirely unlike its predecessor, has a dusty mid-90's Boom-Bap/DIY feel and a charismatic charm running throughout. Although, they're currently sold out, there's a lathe-cut/digital-only track entitled "Dusty Cig Dubbed Out" produced by Tenshun. However, there are currently less than 20 Strike The Clutch (LP) cassette tapes available from IHAA's Bandcamp page, as well as an unspecified number from Megakut Records.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pre-release Review: Moodie Black's MB I / I I Follow-up MB I I I EP Ahead of 0 1 0 4 2 0 1 9 Digital/Physical Release (Fake Four Inc.)

Earlier this year, Moodie Black released their phenomenal third full-length album, LUCAS ACID, on Fake Four Inc. It features two lone features: one from French singer and song-writer p i e r r e m o t t r o n (Pierre Mottron) on "v a n o w e n" and another from rapper, singer, and Fake Four founder c e s c h i (Ceschi Ramos) on "l i p s." Moodie Black consists of long-standing members, frontperson Chris "Kdeath" Martinez and multi-instrumentalist Sean Lindahl; they have been self-releasing their own music since 2011 and over the years, have partnered with Ceschi & Fake Four for a number of critically-acclaimed releases. I recently received a mysterious email entitled "MB I I I" from Kdeath, which contained a Zip file and what appeared to be lyrics for a selection of songs called "I. MOSS," "II. PINK POUT," "III. - Privilege," and "IV. Gasp, Then." After speaking with K, they soon informed me that MB I I I was, in fact, the third installment in their MB EP series, which started with 2013's Moodie Black AKA MB EP and its 2015 follow-up, MB I I. Kdeath's journey through Hip-Hop/Noise-Rap as a transgender woman of Mexican/Black descent has been chronicled across Moodie Black's often deeply personal series of releases since 2011's Sana Sana.

MB I I I is Moodie Black's first collection of long-form material since April's LUCAS ACID, although, they self-released a one-off single entitled "Ye.Death" back in October and Kdeath recently lent her production duties for MC Homeless' recent Fake Four FREECEMBER release, Sex & Death EP. Moodie Black themselves have referred to MB I I I as their "freshest work since Nausea" and in my opinion, at least, sounds something like a stylistic cousin to LUCAS ACID. MB I I I evokes sonic allusions to like-minded artists, such as MANIKINETER AKA Carl Kavorkian, Nine Inch Nails, and DΓ€lek, whom, actually, appeared on "Last Griot" from the aforementioned Moodie Black EP. MB I I I's lead-off track, "MOSS," features a sparse, echoing Industrial/Noise-Rap beat created by Kdeath and the EP's only feature from Vienna-based multi-media artist, illustrator, music producer, composer, singer, and song-writer Squalloscope AKA Anna Kohlweis. "MOSS" also, showcases jarring self-reflective lyrics such as, "the postal service to the parents dressed in shame / my daddy all in shambles that his hey boy is his daughter" and "when will I parish, will I quit / I've seen the way the elders kinda limp when they don't fit."

Track #02, "PINK POUT," features a spacey, cascading Electro/Hip-Hop-leaning beat that sounds something like what El-P might, in fact, be currently composing for Run The Jewels 4. It's also, a bit evocative of Death Grips' NO LOVE DEEP WEB, mostly, due in part to an echoing, droning vocal delivery that encompasses the majority of "PINK POUT." Next up is "Privilege," which features K rhyming: "we all got PRIVILEGE / We all want privilege / We all less PRIVILEGE / We're beyond our privilege..." in a manner that's very evocative of Kendrick Lamar's sneering high-pitched delivery he's been using these last couple years. MB I I I EP closer "Gasp, Then" features, as its title conveys, some sort of guttural gasping sound peppered throughout its duration. The beat starts out as one single piano melody and gradually, builds up before ultimately, collapsing upon itself. Kdeath ferociously rhymes: "Not Drake light no Indie rapper sad with a Trap aesthetic / See what I've done is my own will with a feather finish," which, itself, is vaguely evocative of JPEGMAFIA's Veteran. Moodie Black's MB I I I EP will become available on all digital platforms on Friday, January 4, 2019 with 10-inch vinyl to be released on an unspecified French label to be carried Overseas and on Moodie Black's upcoming tour dates. A MB I I I Release Party/show will be held on January 4th at ICEHOUSE located in Minneapolis, Minnesota with openers Mutant, Inhumanity, and New Primals for anyone travelling through or back home after the holidays.

"MB I I I 0 1 0 4 2 0 1 9

On Friday, Jan. 4th, 2019 we will be releasing our new EP, MB I I I. This release will be available on all digital platforms on that date. We have signed a deal with a new label in France, which will be releasing a limited edition 10-inch vinyl only available Overseas with the exception of copies we will have on tour and a handful carried by Fake Four. Speaking of Fake Four and 2019, MB has re-signed with Fake Four for our next full-length record, which will be available at the end of 2019. We are excited to be a part of Fake Four's insane plans over the next year. Y'all really have no idea. More announcements soon..."

- Chris "Kdeath" Martinez (Moodie Black)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Various Artists VI: How Compilations Influenced a Generation - A Santa Cause (It's A Punk Rock Christmas) Penned By: John E. Swan

INTRODUCTION: Maybe, it's in the gray hairs that I've started finding in my thinning hair. Maybe, it's that dreaded third decade of life that seems to have been rearing it's ugly face around every corner. Maybe, it's a quarter life crisis, but something has been keeping me up at night. I sometimes, stay awake into the early hours of the morning spinning records and fumbling with CD jackets from high school, grasping hold of my youth for dear life. I search out elusive first presses of albums I'd somehow, lost to time, hoping that they'll somehow, tighten the thread leading from middle school to adulthood.

To be clear, I'm not fishing my torn band T-shirts or bondage pants from the depths of my closet, but as I make the transition into my 30's, shedding roommates and getting oil changes at regularly scheduled intervals, I can't help ruminating on where these albums came from and how they've shaped me. I can't help begging the question, "How did I get here?"

How I've come to be surrounded by this specific collection of music is largely, the consequence of efforts made by larger labels and their annual sampler CD's, but even today, I search out small Indie labels that pump out quality collections of exclusivities and excellent representations of a variety of music scenes.

Typically, priced at $4-5.00 and featuring sometimes, up to 40 songs from just as many bands, compilations have always served as convenient and affordable ways to discover new and obscure bands. This is imperative to the formative years of a generation of listeners; compilations were the compass that one used to navigate the endless sea of Punk Rock and consequently, Hip-Hop, Hardcore, Indie, Reggae, etc. etc. ad infinitum. Many of these discs were used as shovels to tunnel into cozy nests of Punk records and artistic eccentricities.

It's this ability to influence and inform listeners that I'll be here every month to discuss. I'll be stopping The Witzard by to shed light on those discount albums in the so often overlooked "Various Artists" bins of the world, along with their influences within their communities, within their genres, and within the chronology of listener interests all across the globe, here in, Various Artists: How Compilations Influenced a Generation.

VARIOUS ARTISTS VI: The holidays are among us and for many, this is a time punctuated with creamy cocktails and partially frozen beers; efforts to round the edges of rampant consumerism and casually racist extended family members, all while drowning out the consistent buzz of holiday music. Unfortunately, even the counter-culture is subject to this scrutiny.

In an effort to reach a demographic of slightly marginalized young suburban pre-teens, Immortal Records offers an attempt at organizing a more updated collection of classic holiday favorites with their 2003 charity compilation, A Santa Cause (It's a Punk Rock Christmas.) Though, Immortal's altruistic efforts are commendable, this effort is somewhat lacking and misrepresentative, leaving something to be desired in the way of authenticity; further alienating the exact demographic they sought to capitalize on in the first place.

Admittedly, this disc features an admirable roster for its time, collecting major players in the Fourth Wave Emo and Pop-Punk explosion of the early 2000's, featuring the likes of Fall Out Boy, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Blink-182. Although, this inaugural line-up still bears some resemblance to its intended representation, it turns out that even drenching Christmas music in Hot Topic aesthetic and Manic Panic hair dye can't save this awful season from its unbearable music.

As evidenced by New Found Glory's "Ex-Miss" and Blink-182's "I Won't Be Home for Christmas," the general sentiment found on this disc seems to echo my own: cynical and eager for season's end. Still, I'm left wondering why I feel so misrepresented when Jordan Pundik sings, "this holiday is over-rated." Once again, it seems I'm lumped in with fans of over-produced Pop bands with dollar signs for eyes. All of this, due to my arrogant cynicism and terms like "Punk Rock" and "Emo" being thrown around middle schools with such reckless abandon.

If the franchise's first installment offers only a passing resemblance to its intention, this double-disc follow-up brings to mind something found on the end cap of a "New Releases," section at your local Target anywhere between Black Friday and Christmas Eve.

Holiday compilations seem to be an unfortunate tradition in the counter-culture; appropriated by the DIY scene with the intention of fostering a sense of home and warmth during a time of year so often associated with the biting cold of winter and the loneliness of broken homes. More unfortunate still, is this re-appropriation of that same tradition by larger labels posing as "Indies," as evidenced by the second installment of A Santa Cause.

Perhaps, it's in recognition of this that Immortal Records passes the torch to Japanese label, Twilight Records, four years after the series' freshman release. With Twilight as curator, any mention of philanthropy has been removed from the disc's cover art and the tracklist has been mostly stripped of it's already waning amount of original songs, leaving us with only over-done renditions of quarter-century-old songs in the way of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" and a disorienting Pop-Punk take on "Feliz Navidad," as performed by New York natives, It Dies Today. As though being subjected to the endless loop of Mariah Carey's grating rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" wasn't bad enough, neither Hot Rod Circuit nor Sonny "Skrillex" Moore's From First to Last was able to offer any originality to this beaten dead horse.

Not that Punk Rock has contributed much to the world, but it has given a lot to a small community and with Twilight edging this collection further and further away from its target demographic, it seems misrepresentative to refer to any of this as a "Punk Rock Christmas," when it's so criminally lacking in Punk Rock music. It seems clear that this effort was little more than a means by which to manipulate vaguely edgy suburbanites into spending more money during the holidays.

Meanwhile, Johnny Thunders has died under a coffee table in New Orleans with only a needle hanging from his arm. It's hard to say whether disdain for these songs is derivative of the holidays themselves or an aged bitterness directed toward a youthful optimism not yet checked by over-drawn bank accounts and miles-long shopping lines. It's likely that some of us are just jealous of young people for being young; of happy people for being happy.

Probably, it's more accurate to describe this frustration as class-driven. So often we're told that this time of year is about showing love and compassion, but that goodwill and seasonal cheer is neither conditional nor exclusive. Collectively, we seem more than willing to treat people in food, retail, and shipping industries as less than human so that we can show love to only a select few.

To be fair, it's the execution of this series that is most frustrating. Much like the holiday season, there are moments of antiquated grace throughout this collection, though, they are few and far between; outweighed—where they're not ruined entirely—by commercial pandering and outright existential anxiety.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than with the series' 2012 third installment, A Santa Causes. With the franchises sub-title being more accurately updated to, "It's A Pop Rock Christmas," Volume 3 enlists already overly-done renditions that were previously performed on Volumes 1-2, inducing something akin to a holiday-inflicted amnesia.

With this series finale, A Santa Cause has fully embraced the Pop sensibilities of the mainstream with stale and safe classics, like "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" performed by Fat Prop and Alex Goot's "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" stripping the series almost entirely of whatever original titles it once had, replacing it, instead, with kid-friendly takes on "Here Comes Santa Clause" and "Winter Wonderland" pandering to a white upper middle class suburbanite clientele.

Mostly, one feels as though they're wandering the halls of an outlet mall during the holiday season with this disc, though, there are brief moments of crisp and bassy drum tones; crunchy guitars layered with crystal-clear harmonious vocals that bring to mind, specifically, the dressing rooms of a Forever 21. Clearly, this is all indicative of the overall influence that the counter-culture has had on the country's collective conscious; how the phrase, "Punk Rock" has permeated and evolved to fill every crack and nook and cranny in the Western lexicon.

Largely, this is derivative of something larger than ourselves; larger than our silly concepts of genre; our tendency to keep gate. By the end of this series, there's something akin to heart-warming, though, likely, it's more accurately described as Stockholm Syndrome. Though, this borders on masochism for some, there's comfort in knowing that my mother is 500 miles away listening to these same songs and enjoying herself very much!

John E. Swan (@midwest_stress) is a novelist and short story writer, as well as freelance editor and journalist. His first novel, Any Way to Elsewhere, takes its name from a compilation cassette that he curated during his time with Berserk Records. It can be ordered here. When he's not writing, he can be found making music in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lives with his girlfriend and their dog, Diesel.

Friday, December 21, 2018

dj BC Presents: The Beastles' Christmas Jingle "A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS CARD TO NYC" (Plus, 12 Days of Stocking Stuffers 2018)

Last we heard from dj BC, we were posting about the re-release of his MENORAH MASHUPS: crazy chanukah mixes & mashups (a dj BC compilation) just in time for Hanukkah. Now, a few days before Christmas, @realdjbc posted "Get it while it's cracklin' like fire..." on his Instagram page, along with a mysterious link to When clicking on the image that reads, "A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS CARD TO NYC," a song of the same name plays, attributed to The Beastlesdj BC's infamous Beastie Boys/Beatles "super-group"—seamlessly blending together The Beasties' "A Letter to NYC" and Paul McCartney & Wings' "Wonderful Christmastime." This isn't, however, the first time dj BC has juxtaposed The Beatles & Beastie Boys' music together, as he has previously released collections entitled dj BC Presents: The Beastles, Let It Beast, and ILL COMMUNICATION, as well as a single entitled "2 Many Beastles."

dj BC says the concept behind "A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS CARD TO NYC" was loosely based on The Fab Four's beloved series of fan club Christmas singles sent out between 1963-69 and later, compiled and re-released a From Then to You in The UK and The Beatles' Christmas Album here in The States. Also, this isn't exactly dj BC's first time tinkering with festive jingles, as he has previously released SANTASTIC Vol. 1-9, a very Re:Composition Christmas, A VERY dj BC CHRISTMAS, and "Wicked Hardcore Christmas" with Boston cohorts Big D & The Kids Table. All of the aforementioned Christmas compilations, as well as MENORAH MASHUPS: crazy chanukah mixes & mashups, are currently available to stream or download from his site. It sounds like dj BC has plans to "reunite" The Beastles for a "short X-mas EP," but that will have to wait until next year... Happy Holidays from The Witzard and a Festivus for the rest of us!!!

12 Days of Stocking Stuffers (2018 Honorable Mentions)

πŸŽ„ Aloe Blacc - Christmas Funk

πŸŽ„ Amerigo Gazaway - A Christmas Album

πŸŽ„ Cookin' Soul - DOOM XMAS (MF DOOM Remixes)

πŸŽ„ Dad Brains & The Ramoms - MERRYXMAS Split 7-inch

πŸŽ„ Desperate Band Appreciation Society - 8 Crazy Nights

πŸŽ„ ILL CONSIDERED - An Ill Considered Christmas

πŸŽ„ John Legend - A Legendary Christmas

πŸŽ„ Jonwayne - Yuletide Bangerz

πŸŽ„ Leonard Charles - Have Yourself A Very Moogy Christmoog EP

πŸŽ„ Purple Dialect - Rare Gifts (* 100% proceeds donated to charity!)

πŸŽ„ Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse - A Very Spidey Christmas EP

πŸŽ„ Tyler, The Creator - Music Inspired By Illumination & Dr. Seuss' The Grinch

Thursday, December 20, 2018

New Jersey's FRND CRCL Return with Promstarr EP Recorded at Ace Enders & Nik Bruzzese's The LumberYard (FCMEDIA Productions)

FRND CRCL are a Vineland, New Jersey-based Pop-Punk/Rap-Rock band consisting of vocalist/guitarist/piano player Zac Johnson, vocalist and bassist Adam Skirvin, guitarist Dom Giacalone, and drummer Aaron Smith. Full disclosure: I actually, used to work with Aaron at Shop Rite until about three years ago and I went to high school with a couple of his band mates' older siblings, as well. It's great to see FRND CRCL getting some well-deserved attention and success on a local level and it appears as though the South Jersey Punk/Hardcore scene I used to be a part of is back on the rise! Oddly enough, FRND CRCL are influenced by a lot of the same bands—both local and mainstream—my friends and I used to listen to while we were skateboarding or attending local shows all around South/Central Jersey back in the early 2000's, including: Blink-182, All Time Low, and Green Day, as well as Eminem, Mac Miller, Beastie Boys, and The Dirty Heads.

FRND CRCL initially formed in 2015 as a 2-piece consisting of Zac & Aaron, who met in college, but over time, has morphed into a full-fledged 4-piece band. "The sound of FRND CRCL is in the band's song-writing capabilities, as well as the fusion of two genres that are derivative of street culture: Pop-Punk & Rap. While the root of the music is mainly Rock & Punk, the quartet has been able top make music that appeals to a wide audience of people," reads the band's Spotify Biography. Now, following their 2017 debut full-length, IMMUNITIVERSITY, FRND CRCL have returned with their Promstarr EP. Just in time, before The Year of The EP, Prommstarr is a perfect 4-song collection displaying what FRND CRCL have to offer; it's a nearly perfect summation of their Pop-Punk X Rap-Rock sound! FRND CRCL recorded Promstarr at The LumberYard in Hammonton, NJ, which is owned and operated by Nik Bruzzese of Man Overboard and Ace Enders of The Early November/Ace Enders & A Million Different People.

"Chasing Phantoms"
reminds me, in addition to their previously listed influences, of Sum 41 and A Day to Remember and its companion music video boasts a zany early 2000's Pop-Punk scenario reminiscent of Blink-182's "What's My Age Again?" A second single was also, pulled from Promstarr, "UnXpTbL" (read: "Unacceptable") which is reminiscent of bands such as The Early November, Jack's Mannequin, and Fall Out Boy. "UnXpTbL"'s companion music video features FRND CRCL's members working in a restaurant with a new employee, who quickly learns about their time-transporting walk-in freezer. FRND CRCL's Promstarr EP definitely packs a festive punch and if you haven't yet already, you can stream or download it on Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, and like-minded streaming services. FRND CRCL will be playing a Promstarr EP Release Show/Holiday Party at Bojo's Ale House in Millville, NJ this Saturday, December 22nd with LRS. Festivities will be starting at 7:00pm and LRS will go on from 7:30-9:30 with FRND CRCL playing from 10-10:45, LRS closing out the night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas with DOOM: Cookin' Soul Unwraps DOOM XMAS (MF DOOM Remixes) Collection Mixed with Villainous Holiday Classics

"Why spend X-mas Eve waiting for some extra-fat white dude to come bursting through the ceiling... when you can spend X-mas Eve with yours truly, The Super-Villain, DOOM!!? HO, HO, HO!" DOOM himself proclaims within the opening bars of "Xmas with DOOM (Intro)." It appears as though the holiday greeting stems from [adult swim]'s 2006 Christmas with DOOM holiday special, which was used to help promote either Danger Mouse & MF DOOM AKA DANGERMOUSE's THE MOUSE & THE MASK or its follow-up, Occult Hymn EP. DOOM's jolly refrain has now been re-purposed as part of Spanish beat-maker and producer Cookin' Soul's latest creation, DOOM XMAS (MF DOOM Remixes) a collection of re-works of The Metal Face Villain himself. DOOM XMAS serves as a quasi-follow-up to Cookin' Soul's like-minded 2012 Ready for Xmas (Biggie Remixes.) Earlier this year, DOOM reunited with "Ka-Bang!" collaborators DJ 7L, Esoteric & Inspectah Deck for a full-length album entitled CZARFACE Meets Metal Face, as menacingly produced and arranged by The Czar-Keys. However, in recent years, DOOM's earliest material has experienced something of a resurgence, being remixed and tastefully re-interpreted by artists such as Abstract Orchestra, ayyy__donkey, Gorilla Glock, MURS, Old City, Seanh, Spute Ardell, and Yasiin Bey FKA The Mighty Mos Def.

After a number of repeat listens and a bit of digital sleuthing—major shout-out to Genius!—we figured out the majority of the DOOM acapellas Cookin' Soul used: WESTSIDEDOOM's "2STRINGS" & "Gorilla Monsoon," J Dilla-produced "Gazzillion Ear," "Untitled" AKA "Change The Beat" & "Raedawn" from Viktor Vaughn's Vaudeville Villain, "My Favorite Ladies," and De La Soul's "Rock Co.Kane Flow" from The Grind Date. Now, on the not-so-villainous side of things, it appears as though Cookin' Soul sampled a slew of holiday favorites, including: [adult swim]'s aforementioned Christmas with DOOM special, 1966 TV special How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Nat King Cole's "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire," A Charlie Brown Christmas, Paul McCartney & Wings' "Wonderful Christmastime," Vaughn Monroe's "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and Marvin Gaye & The Funk Brothers' "I Want to Come Home for Christmas," amongst other seasonal stand-outs. For anyone looking for that last-minute present for your favorite Hip-Hop head, DOOM XMAS (MF DOOM Remixes) is now available to purchase or stream on Bandcamp. Plus, an extremely limited edition vinyl version of DOOM XMAS is currently available from QRATES, as well!

"Just some remixes I made with DOOM acapellas over some new beats I created to fit the raps. I made the beats by sampling and chopping X-mas tunes... I love DOOM and I love X-mas, too and X-mas music. I always loved it since Home Alone dropped back when I was a kid... [Christmas] is my favorite time of the year I already did a Biggie X-mas tape, also, that was very successful some years back, so I decided to get back to it with a different twist. I always liked the 1966 Grinch, also, so I started with that tune and built from there. I see The Grinch as the first Quasimoto-style character; a cartoon, but still filthy and raw haha!"

- Cookin' Soul (@CookinSoul)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Dutch Beat-maker & Producer Reinier Thijs Returns with Third Jazz-inflected Release of 2018 DOKKUM EP (Thijsenterprise)

Thijsenterprise is the recording alias of Dutch beat-maker and producer Reinier Thijs, who currently resides in Barcelona, Spain. Earlier this year, Thijs self-released his 42-track debut, STEPBACKS & SETBACKS, as well as Je Hebt De Boem En De Klap with Laurens Beijer (Drumma Sheen) as 2-Two Legged Dogs. STEPBACKS & SETBACKS even received critical acclaim from The Find Mag, Beat Tape Co-Op, and Sampleface, amongst other reputable music publications. Thijsenterprise says "Side A" of STEPBACKS & SETBACKS is inspired by the city of Barcelona and serves as a loosely-orchestrated tribute/homage to J Dilla's Donuts, while "Side B" of the record "deals with much more personal issues [such as] cheating, heartbreak, and solitude." Now, just before year's end, Reinier Thijs has returned with his staggering third full-length project of 2018: DOKKUM EP. It's named after Thijs' home city of Dokkum in Friesland, The Netherlands and consists of 14 dusty Jazz-laden tracks clocking in at just under 15 minutes total runtime.

"This EP contains straight up chops and loops of drum breaks and catchy basslines with no singers allowed. This is a personal tribute to the place where the beat-maker was born and raised: Dokkum, The Netherlands," reads part of Thijsenterprise's DOKKUM press release. For DOKKUM, Reinier Thijs cites Hip-Hop heavyweights J Dilla, Madlib, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and Knxwledge as his greatest sources of inspiration on his beats. Although, Thijs says he's been playing sax for almost 20 years and readily cites "saxophone players, of course, like John Coltrane, Michael Moore, Benjamin Herman, and Don Byas" as well piano players, and bass players. He frequently listens to Jazz, Funk, Soul, African, Brazilian & Latin music, Hip-Hop, and "everything in between. Old and new stuff, doesn't matter." However, unlike 2-Two Legged Dogs' Je Hebt De Boem En De Klap, Thijsenterprise's DOKKUM is a 100% sample-based EP with primarily utilizing drum and bass samples from Jazz, Soul, Funk, and even Punk/Hardcore records. Thijsenterprise's DOKKUM EP is now available on Bandcamp, along with STEPBACKS & SETBACKS and Je Hebt De Boem En De Klap.

Monday, December 17, 2018

How Warzone Drummer Eric "E.K." Komst Ended Up On New Kids On The Block's "This One's for The Children" (REVHQ FUN FACT Re-print)

December 14, 2018: "Last week, we told you about the 80's boy band New Kids On The Block having recorded at Syncro Sound in Boston, a studio with a clients list that boasted notable Hardcore acts, such as Bad Brains, Wrecking Crew, etc. but there's another Hardcore connection to NKOTB that goes back even further than their recordings at the famed studio, but this time by way of one specific NYHC drummer.

Eric Komst, better known in Hardcore circles as just "E.K." played drums for legendary Hardcore band Warzone on their 1988 LP, Open Your Eyes and their self-titled follow-up LP in 1989 and later, did time in Sick of It All, recording on their We Stand Alone 7-inch in 1991; but years before, he was playing in NYHC bands, E.K. was living in Boston and playing drums in a band called Miracle Boy all the way back in 1983. Miracle Boy featured a 13-year-old E.K. on drums and none other than Jordan Knight from New Kids On The Block on guitar and vocals. The group was rounded out by a friend of E.K.'s named Kevin Cradock with the trio playing numerous shows around the Boston area before eventually disbanding.

And we can now confirm the long-standing rumor that "the drummer of Warzone played for New Kids On The Block," as it was this childhood friendship with Jordan Knight that led to E.K. playing drums on the song "This One's for The Children" on the NKOTB holiday album from 1989, Merry, Merry Christmas. This also, gives further explanation to Jordan Knight's older brother, Jonathan, wearing a Youth of Today T-shirt in the New Kids On The Block "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" video. Special thanks to E.K. for the help this week!"

December 7, 2018: "We've mentioned that 80's group New Kids On The Block had worked with Hardcore/Punk producer Tom Soares at Normandy Sound, a studio that recorded bands, such as Mission of Burma, Leeway, Cro-Mags, Sick of It All, Killing Time, Judge, and more, but that wasn't the only time the boy band shared the same recording space with bands from the Hardcore/Punk scene.

While NKOTB's debut, Hangin' Tough, lists Normandy Sound as a recording location, the band ended up doing some work at Syncro Sound in Boston on their Christmas album in 1989 and their LP, Step By Step in 1990. Syncro Sound, of course, was run by Ric Ocasek from 70's Rock band The Cars and was the recording location for a good number of HC & Punk bands itself, including Bad Brains, Ministry, Wrecking Crew, Eye for An Eye, and others. On a side note, the old Syncro Sound location is just a stone's throw away from legendary HC/Punk store Newbury Comics' namesake (Newbury Street) location."

- RevHQ (@RevelationRecs)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Black Feminist/Sistah Punk Band Big Joanie Talk Debut Full-length SISTAHS, The Daydream Library Series & Much, Much More (The Witzard Interview)

Big Joanie are a Black Feminist/Sistah Punk band hailing from London, UK. Big Joanie initially started as the "solo" project of singer/guitarist Stephanie Phillips, who self-released 2013's "Out In The Country" & Demos EP before turning Big Joanie into a full-fledged band. Phillips and newly-recruited members Chardine Taylor-Stone on drums/vocals and Kiera Coward-Deyell on bass/vocals were enlisted for 2014's Lounge Sessions and Sistah Punk EP, as well as 2016's "Crooked Room" 7-inch EP. However, in true Punk/Hardcore fashion, the most recent incarnation of Big Joanie features Stephanie Phillips & Chardine Taylor-Stone, along with newest recruit, bassist Estella Adeyer.

Big Joanie have been creating a lot of buzz, garnering critically-acclaimed reviews, and amassing a slew of fans through a largely DIY/grass roots campaign for just about six years now. Miraculously, Big Joanie have now signed with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) & Eva Printz's newly-launched imprint, The Daydream Library Series to unleash their proper debut full-length, Sistahs. I was fortunate enough to conduct a concise 6-question emailed interview with Stephanie, Estella & Chardine in recent weeks; the final product, which you will see below, has been lightly edited for general clarity. Big Joanie's Sistahs is now available to stream, download, or purchase from The Daydream Library Series/Ecstatic Peace Library & Cargo Records.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Punk & Hardcore Purveyor

I. What were some of your greatest sources if inspiration and influence, while recording Big Joanie's debut full-length, Sistahs?

For "Fall Asleep" we were thinking of Joy Division and 24 Hour Party People. Then, "How Could You Love Me?" is a pretty obvious reference to 60's girl groups and Phil Spector-esque songs. The drum part and the recorder on "Eyes" is inspired by field recordings by Alan Lomax and Harry Smith. Fife and drum music is a really early form of Blues and we felt that it suited the song. The dramatic ending to "Eyes" was inspired by Throwing Muses. "Cut Your Hair" is inspired by Kate Bush's single "This Woman's Work."

II. How did you end up joining forces with Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) & Eva Printz's The Daydream Library Series/Ecstatic Peace Library to release Sistahs?

We were playing at Electrowerkz in London supporting The Ex and unbeknownst to us, Thurston, Eva, and their colleague, Abby Banks, were dancing to our set in the audience. They had gone over to our merch table and asked where our album was, so we told them how we'd recorded it all, but hadn't found a label willing to put it out yet. They invited us for iced coffees the next morning and asked if we'd be cool with them putting out the album on their new imprint. Unsurprisingly, we were extremely cool with that.

III. How would you personally say your overall sound, style, and aesthetic has changed since Big Joanie's earliest "official" release, 2014's Sistah Punk EP?

Since Sistah Punk, we've all gotten more comfortable with our instruments and what our sound is and how to work with it. We still have the same references, but now we know how to draw them out better. Recording Sistahs was our first experience of working with a producer, so the sound on the record is much fuller and a bit more polished than our previous releases.

IV. I recently read a piece of press from The Daydream Library Series, which read, in part: "Big Joanie described themselves as being "similar for The Ronettes filtered through 80's DIY and Riot Grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis..." would you care to quickly break down these various points of reference?

We're all influenced by 80's DIY and Punk and we're a trio, like The Ronettes. We're also, a political band, who were influenced by the way Riot Grrrl combined Feminism & Punk and dashikis references our cultural heritage.

V. The Daydream Library Series states the vinyl/cassette release of Sistahs will come with a "pristine "collector's edition" package" complete with a hand-made fazine. What will likely, be included within Big Joanie's Sistahs 'zine?

The Sistahs 'zine has some pretty excellent childhood photos of the band, along with a description of how each member got into music, all the lyrics to the songs, the story behind how the band formed, and an explanation of what Big Joanie means.

VI. Now, that Sistahs has been effectively unleashed into the world, what's next for Big Joanie? Also, where can eager fans get their hands on a physical edition of Sistahs?

We're currently touring Sistahs in The UK and in 2019, we'll be playing more shows in mainland Europe. We are also, very keen to come and play in The USA, so if anyone wants to help make that dream a reality, then, get in touch! Fans can get a physical copy of Sistahs from Cargo Records.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Uncle Russie Returns with Dragon Ball Z/Super-themed Bulma3 & TrunksEP2 Co-produced By Baltimore's Graffititech (self-released)

Over the course of the past year, Timothy "Tim" Chester AKA Baltimore-based producer and beat-maker UncleRussie (no spaces!) has become something of a staple here at The Witzard. Thanks to a recommendation from Jumbled, we featured his January-released Trunks EP. and soon after, Russie submitted not one, but two remixes for The Witzard's Andy Cooper "THE PERFECT DEFINITION" Remix Comp. and most recently, Bulma3 & TrunksEP2 [Album Preview]. Now, UncleRussie has returned to properly release both projects simultaneously: 16-track Bulma3 AND 20-track TrunksEP2. I'll be the first to admit, I'm far from a Dragon Ball Z/Super expert, but I do know that the bulk of Russie's work, especially, these two most recent projects are largely influenced by the beloved manga. Bulma3 is the third and final album in UncleRussie's ongoing Bulma Tape series, preceded by 2016's The Bulma Tape and its 2017 counterpart/follow-up, The Bulma Tape: Side B.

While TrunksEP2 is the sequel to the aforementioned Trunks EP. which, this time around, was co-produced by fellow Baltimore DJ and producer, Graffititech. Not entirely unlike Trunks EP. UncleRussie recruited an extremely talented who's-who of primarily Baltimore and East Coast-based artists including Benjamin Banger, Dot-Com Intelligence, Malcolm Maximillion, Swellthy, Maitro, Die$el Mac, eu-IV, Action Bastard, MGNTK.'s own logic marselis, and of course, TrunksEP2 co-producer Graffititech. Now, while these collections are without a doubt, definitely required listening for your weekend, I'm not gonna sit here and pretend like I know anything about Dragon Ball Z/Super... so, I'll let UncleRussie himself explain a little bit more about DBZ and its deeply-rooted connection to his vision heard throughout Bulma3 & TrunksEP2 down below "the break." However, in the meantime, both Bulma3 & TrunksEP2 are now available to stream on UncleRussie's Soundcloud page.

"Bulma3 is The third and final installment to The Bulma Tape series that began in 2016. What started out as just a idea to make an instrumental project dedicated to Dragon Ball Z character, Bulma Briefs, turned into another idea to expand and interpret the series itself into a "Hip-Hop/Electronic musical;" one [wherein] the backdrop would enhance—or even, bring light to—different parts of the series, as well as modernize it prior to 2017's revival of the TV series, Dragon Ball Super. The songs and sounds were inspired by the show's long-time theme of hero vs. villain, teamwork, technology, various relationships, and random mishaps. Bulma3, however, was not, actually, supposed to happen. After the tragic death of Japanese voice actor and original voice of Bulma, Hiromi Tsuru, I felt inspired to make a sort of tribute.

This was coming on the heels of finishing the project, Trunks EP. a project based on Bulma's son, Trunks. The Trunks EP. was created as a snapshot of storyline or "saga," in which Trunks travels back in time to warn Bulma, the show's hero and main protagonists, Goku, as well as The Z-Fighters of an eminent danger coming three years in the present day. The album starts off with "Future" Trunks as a kid recovering from an attack, in an attempt to fight alongside his long-time mentor and son of Goku, Gohan. The seeds for this album start on ["Capsule Corp. (Reprise​)​*" from] The Bulma Tape, in which he mentions the aforementioned danger ahead and the thread continues throughout The Bulma Series until TrunksEP2.

TrunksEP2 is based on the saga created in the Dragon Ball Super series. Years after the threat he warned about has been thwarted, a new threat emerges, but to his surprise, comes in the form of a previous ally. This album was, initially, going to be a one-off of random DBZ/Super-themed beats and instrumentals, but shortly developed into a continuation of the Trunks saga that was reignited in the recently-revived series. Both TrunksEP2 & Bulma3 tie together, though Bulma3 is less linear and more of a light-hearted send-off, while Trunks is more of a darker, serial tone, which tells a story of a struggle to win for the fate of not only the future, but the entire universe. Overall, both projects represent a fan's appreciation of a long-running series that has inspired and made a cultural impact across the world."

- UncleRussie (@PeaceRussie)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

J57's Unveils Limited-release Album LP2 Featuring Slipknot's Sid Wilson, The Audible Doctor, Jamo Gang & More (Only Available 12/8-15)

It's honestly, not often we, here at The Witzard, feature music that you (the listener) can't hear for yourself... but we figured we would give it a-go, before the year's up! I actually, first heard about Brooklyn-based emcee and producer James "J57" Victor Heinz's latest effort, LP2 through this very Tweet from @HomeboySandman: "New sh*t from Tha God available for one week only better peep that stat." It Re-Tweeted a previous statement from @j57 himself, which read, "J57 LP2 is out now, for 1 week. You can only get [a copy] via, before it's gone. Enjoy!" Acting fast, as it would only be available from December 8-15th, I reached out to J57 directly and was soon able to procure a copy of LP2, sub-titled WE CAN BE KINGS. from the man himself. Whether you've been fortunate enough to hear LP2 or not, I'm just gonna jump right into it now... LP2 is the follow-up to J57's 2016 limited-release album, I'm The J57, which was only released on streaming sites with 100% of the proceeds from his I'm The J57 Deluxe Edition CD's (2017) donated to The Flint Water Crisis. However, LP2 was released in an even more limited fashion and will only be available from for the next few days, although, it sounds like J57 plans to properly re-release the album at some point during 2019-20. LP2 is J57's second limited-release, his fourth overall as a solo emcee, and first project he's fully produced in its entirety.

"It's a journey inside my mind and it really showcases my eclectic ear, which will make more sense to everyone in 2019 & 2020 when more of the non-Hip-Hop stuff I'm creating comes out," J57 exclusively told The Witzard within a string of Twitter-sent messages. LP2: WE CAN BE KINGS. features, as J57 puts it, his "friends and family," which includes Katian, The Audible Doctor, Jamo Gang (Ras Kass & El Gant,) Devin Malek, DeeJay Element, Tenacity, Choosey, Akie Bermiss of Lake Street Dive, Sid "#0" Wilson AKA DJ Starscream of Slipknot, Jay Jennings of Snarky Puppy, Aerika Monique, Jordan Quin, Matt Stamm of MAK3RS, Tiffany Topol of Goldie Haunt, and Eliot Glazer. As J57 previously alluded, LP2 is a full-on Hip-Hop/Boom-Bap record with sonic allusions to a wide range of eclectic styles and largely, genre-eschewing sounds. A handful of LP2's tracks—namely, "Track 1" AKA "Live Your Life/I-75," "Track 2" AKA "Skywalk/Geminarius," "Track 4" AKA "Peter Venkman/Silhouettes," and "Track 5" AKA "Doc Brown/Glory"—are, actually, split up into two "separate" tracks, so for $11.57, you're really getting 15 tracks for the price of 11! J57 has, also, intricately woven a number of vocal samples and lyrical allusions to Rick Flair, The Goonies, Back to The Future, Seinfeld, and more throughout LP2. Again, J57's LP2: WE CAN BE KINGS. is only available for download directly from for TWO MORE days, until Saturday, December 15th and it's definitely worth $11.57!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Defcee Unveils A Mixtape As God Intended, Vol. 1 with Beats from The Alchemist, Goodie Mob, Nas, Rick Ross & More (Machine Wash Music)

"J.I.D. Saba, and Defcee have been the best rappers of 2018. It's not even close," Chicago emcee Lamon Manuel (@LamonManuelFCLA) recently proclaimed on Twitter. Defcee is a fellow Chicago-based emcee, also, known as Adam Levin, who has been ferociously rapping and actively releasing music since 2007; at the tender age of 17, Defcee self-released his debut album, One Eye Open. It was soon followed by 2011's The Panama Sessions and Out from Under EP's, as well as a full-length entitled Selves fully produced and mixed by Moses. Then, four years later, Defcee released his next project, 2015's Damn Near Grown, which featured appearances from Saba, Noname, Sev Seveer, goldenbeets, and Otis Brown Jones III, as well as artwork by Dewey Saunders. Defcee's most recent guest verse was on GrownUpRap-premiered "Babel" from Curly Castro's forthcoming Backwoodz Studioz album, TOSH, alongside Collosoul Structure & ELUCID, as produced by Wrecking Crew head honcho, Zilla Rocca. Now, nearly four more years later, Defcee has returned with his next neck-snapping sonic offering: A Mixtape As God Intended, Vol. 1 on Machine Wash Music.

"With A Mixtape As God Intended, he makes his mark with a display of lyricism that's miles above most of what's out there now. Creating music that instantly makes a connection with the listener is something he's incredibly good at and he delivers that with food for thought in spades," Machine Wash Music writes within a mixtape-announcing email. "This mixtape both serves as a preview of what's to come and an early warning for The New Year. Defcee is here," it continues. A Mixtape As God Intended, Vol. 1 is structured similarly to an old school hand-made with a variety of original and widely-recognizable beats from Modern Rap Radio; with "The Basic Caveman Foundation," "Twenty-Four AM In Chicago," "Three Sixteens," Rivals' "Forty, Jr." "Sixteen In The Dungeon," and "Thirty-Six Months" on "SIDE A" and "Vigil," "Sixteen In The Dungeon," and "Five Courses" appearing on "SIDE B" (you can see the full tracklist below.) Defcee's A Mixtape As God Intended, Vol. 1 is now available from Machine Wash Music digitally, as well as on super-limited edition cassette tape. Defcee is currently working on a two separate projects with CRASHprez & knowsthename as defprez, as well as a 2019 full-length entitled Unlegendary entirely produced by goldenbeets.

@defcee's A Mixtape As God Intended, Vol. 1

0:00 - "The Basic Caveman Foundation" (Produced By: goldenbeets) / includes an excerpt from Sean Price, Buckshot & 9th Wonder's Sway In The Morning interview with Sway & Heather B. released on November 27th, 2012

1:35 - "Twenty-Four AM In Chicago" (uses the instrumental for Drake's "4PM In Calabasas" Produced By: Allen Ritter, Frank Dukes & Vinylz)

3:00 - "Three Sixteens" (uses the instrumentals for Rick Ross' "Santorini Greece" Produced By: Bink!, Nipsey Hussle's "Clarity" Produced By: Lamar "Mars" Edwards & MIKE & KEYS, and 6LACK's "PRBLMS" Produced By: NOVA)

6:01 - "Forty, Jr." - Performed By: Rivals (uses the instrumental for "Hold You Down" Produced & Performed By: The Alchemist)

9:06 - "Sixteen In The Dungeon" (uses the instrumental for Goodie Mob's "Goodie Bag" Produced By: Organized Noize)

10:02 - "Thirty-Six Months" (uses the instrumentals for Group Home's "Interlude," "Outro" & "Up Against Tha Wall" (Getaway Car Mix) Produced By: DJ Premier)

12:12 - "Vigil" (Produced By: WHOLESQUAD)

13:32 - "Sixteen for Our World" (uses the instrumental for Nas' "The World Is Yours" (Remix) Produced By: Q-Tip)

14:46 - "Five Courses" (Produced By: knowsthetime)

Monday, December 10, 2018

ialive Returns with "Little By Little" from Upcoming Self-produced Full-length DON'T DO NOTHING Mastered By C$ BURNS (Cold Rhymes Records)

Donovan "ialive" Phillips is a self-described "Rap-singer-songwriter/beat aficionado/musical collector" hailing from The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ialive has released numerous collaborative and solo projects over the years, but hasn't released a tried and true "solo" album since 2015's Awake In The Snake Hole. However, in recent years, he's released collaborative projects with both Darko The Super as The Hell Hole Store and TIMEWAVE ZERO with Height Keech, as well as Four to The Floor 1-2 EP's with Cody Cody Jones... just this past week, ialive announced his long-awaited third solo album, DON'T DO NOTHING, which will be dropping on Height's Cold Rhymes Records Friday, January 11, 2019. DON'T DO NOTHING was fully produced, recorded, and mixed by ialive himself at The Green Gem in Philly with mastering done by Vinyl Cape's own C$ BURNS. On the most recent episode of THIS COLD RHYMES PODCAST, Mister spoke with ialive and premiered the first single, "Little By Little," from DON'T DO NOTHING.

Just a few days later, its companion music video was quietly debuted on Cold Rhymes' Facebook page. It was directed by frequent Zilla Rocca/Career Crooks collaborator Bob Sweeney, who, amazingly, shot the whole music video backwards. "The hardest part of working on this video was figuring out how to do everything backwards. Not only was @ialive moving backwards, but all of the camera moves had to be shot in reverse, as well," @sweeneybob wrote on his Instagram page last week. "Little By Little" is about as inexplicably Philly as it gets with on-screen allusions to Rocky, Wawa Hoagies & Chocolate Milk, those classic Philly Pretzels AKA "One-twisted Jawns," and much, much more. C$ BURNS boasts: "My dude @ialive is combining Indie Rap with some cool organic Psychedelic sounds, sung hooks, and a super-solid flow. This new record (mastered by me!) is definitely doing something new with Rap," which makes it seem like DON'T DO NOTHING will sound similar to last year's Height Keech-produced TIME WAVE ZERO. ialive's DON'T DO NOTHING is currently available to pre-order from Cold Rhymes Records with The Hell Hole Store III, supposedly, coming fairly soon, as well.

"We shot backwards so we could flip the motions of everything else. I wanted the world around me to be moving backwards with me moving against it to metaphorically represent the feeling of struggle and banality. I often feel the strain of existing, as an artist in our society can seem like an uphill climb or as if you're moving backwards in the world. Aesthetically, I think it adds a surreal and uneasy feeling; a feeling that things are slightly off and in turn giving it a unique look that can't be achieved any other way."

- ialive on "Little By Little" (@ialive_)

Friday, December 7, 2018

James Mercer & Danger Mouse Return with First Proper Broken Bells Single "Shelter" Since 2015's "It's That Talk Again" (30th Century Records)

Broken Bells (@broken_bells) have been teasing something since about August with cryptic black-and-white in-studio Polaroid-esque photos, some dated as far back as 7/26/18. Broken Bells is, of course, the collaborative duo of James Mercer & Brian Burton. Mercer is the long-time frontman of The Shins/Flake Music and Burton is also, known as super-producer Danger Mouse; who has worked with everyone from MF DOOM (DANGERDOOM) to The Black Keys, A$AP Rocky to Parquet Courts, and likely, most famously, as Gnarls Barkley with Cee-Lo. Since initially forming in 2008-09, Broken Bells have released two full-lengths, 2010's Broken Bells and 2014's After The Disco, as well as a 2011 EP dubbed Meyrin Fields and a number of non-album singles. Honestly, we, here at The Witzard, personally, favor Broken Bells' self-titled 2010 debut, but their entire cannon of music is phenomenal! Lest we forget, Broken Bells courted a then-relatively unknown Christina Hendricks (Good Girls, Mad Men) to star within their 2010 Broken Bells LP stand-out "The Ghost Inside"'s phenomenal space-themed music video/short film.

It's a near-perfect amalgamation of both James Mercer & Brian Burton's separate "solo" endeavors: a bit of Indie Rock/Pop from The Shins, some Hip-Hop from Danger Mouse's Grey Album era, and of course, a bit of melody and Experimental tendencies, and a dash of Prog/Space Rock, for good measure. Now, after a few weeks-worth of mysterious build-up, Broken Bells have officially returned with this first single in nearly three years, "Shelter." While there has been no proper announcement in regards to Broken Bells LP3 (yet!) one has to wonder if "Shelter" and 2015's post-After The Disco non-album single "It's That Talk Again" will, eventually, end up appearing on Brian Burton & Danger Mouse's third as-yet-to-be-announced collaborative full-length. Danger Mouse is currently working on yet another mysterious project, apparently titled LUX PRIMA, with Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and frequent Broken Bells collaborator Jay "J-Zone" Mumford. For now, however, Broken Bells' latest single, "Shelter" is currently available on their assorted channels, as well as digital streaming platforms through Brian Burton's own 30th Century Records imprint.

South London Beat-maker Charles Edison Unleashes "Electrifying" 9-track Filaments - Season 1 EP (Remix Challenge Announcement)

Aside from being an extremely talented beat-maker, emcee, and producer, South London's Charles Edison is simply, a phenomenal human being. He, like all of us, has his vices and admittedly, had a substance abuse problem, but seeked help through treatment and is now celebrating over two years clean and sober. Earlier this year, The Witzard partnered up with Charles Edison on the one-year anniversary of his Waking Up EP/sobriety. Together, we cooked up a comprehensive track-by-track breakdown of Charles' Waking Up EP, paired with the moving story of his journey to a completely clean and sober lifestyle. It's a truly inspiring story and we've already received a plethora of phenomenal and equally inspiring feedback since initially publishing. Just throughout the course of 2018 alone, Charles Edison has self-released his Everything Is Fine EP and long-rumored Beats from The Seventh Floor beat album, as well as a special Beats from The Seventh Floor EP with John Memorex from Beat Tape Co-Op. Now, out of nowhere, Charles has returned with one final release for 2018: a 9-track EP entitled Filaments - Season 1.

It's a thematic sequel, of sorts, to his 2014 electricity-charged releases, Bitstorm EP—including "Light Up The Night"—and Lightbulbs full-length. Not entirely unlike his previous string of releases, Charles Edison's Filaments - Season 1 EP features a wide array of beats reminiscent of J Dilla, Kanye, Madlib, Gorillaz, The Streets, and DOOM. Fully produced, mixed, and mastered by Charles Edison himself on The Seventh Floor, Filaments - Season 1 is fittingly described as "warm, hazy, and familiar; like a drunken hug from an ex." Aside from Charles' electrified hand-crafted beats, Filaments - Season 1 features one lone guest, DJ Jabba The Kut, on the Ones & Twos throughout "What We Do." Charles Edison's Filaments - Season 1 EP is currently available on Bandcamp and like-minded digital streaming platforms. Honestly, we, here at The Witzard would really like to hear some sharp-tongued emcees or even producers, multi-instrumentalists, singers, etc. do their thing on some of Charlie's complexly layered beats. If you're interested in doing so, please, send your completed submissions to The Witzard at or @Charles_Edison himself on Twitter. Happy Holidays to all and best of luck to our potential remixers!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Witzard Presents: John Morrison's 93-song BEASTIE BOYS BOOK (Influences, Samples & Rarities) Playlist & Exclusive Mini-breakdown

"I'm a huge Beasties fan and have been since I was a kid. Coming out of Hip-Hop and crate-digging culture, I'd always find records like The Moog Machine's Switched-On Rock (1969) and Led Zeppelin IV (1971) that The Beasties had sampled. As I was going through the BEASTIE BOYS BOOK, I noticed in a few chapters, they'd talk about the mixtapes that they'd make and trade with samples, skits, weird Jazz records, and stuff. I remember a great interview that Wax Poetics did with The Beasties years ago that mentioned these tapes, as well. I figured I could make a playlist equivalent.

The early chapters of the book are fascinating to me, as well. They really capture this culturally-rich time in New York in the late 70's/early 80's when you had early Hip-Hop like DJ Jazzy Jay and The Zulu Nation playing at The Mudd Club, as well as No Wave/Post-Punk bands, like Sonic Youth and Arto Lindsay's DNA playing Punk clubs and art galleries. The mixtape aspect of their history is really fascinating to me because it seems as though, they'd make tapes that corresponded with the albums they were working on. Kind of a way of pulling together whatever was influencing them, at the time. I have a similar process when making music, which I may have stolen from them."

- John Morrison (@John_Liberator)

I. Treacherous Three - "The Body Rock" (1980)

"Throughout the BEASTIE BOYS BOOK, Mike D & Ad-Rock speak highly of this song and for good reason, it's perfect! Besides being an incredible group, The Treacherous Three are significant because stylistically, they represent a bridge between the original "routine"-based MC'ing style of groups, like Cold Crush and the more "lyrical" styles that would come later. They were a big influence on The Beasties and pretty much everyone else who came out in the 80's and early 90's. Its also, worth noting that "Body Rock" was produced by Erol "Pumpkin" Bedward, a drummer/multi-instrumentalist who is considered by many to be Hip-Hop's first super-producer."'

II. Bad Brains - "I" (1982)

"In high school, I used to review records for Punk 'zines, so I have a little bit of knowledge about Punk's development as a culture and musical style. That being said, Bad Brains is a mystery to me. Like, I know where they came from, but I don't know how they came about, you know? This sh*t is still so next level, 40 years after the fact.

I heard H.R. lives in my neighborhood now, but I don't know if that's true. A couple years ago, I went to BBQ/Punk show and the host announced that H.R. would be joining the band to play a few songs and people got hyped and starting chanting "H.R...... H.R..... H.R...." but when the guy grabbed the mic, he turned out to be some other dude and not H.R. at all!"

III. Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe - "When The Levee Breaks" (1929)

"Everybody knows the famous Led Zeppelin song that The Beasties sampled those massive drums for their song "Rhymin' & Stealin'" but not a lot of people know the original "When The Levee Breaks," which is credited to a Louisiana-born guitar virtuous named Memphis Minnie. The song was recorded in 1929 and just goes to show how many deep and old connections come alive within Hip-Hop through sampling."

IV. Luscious Jackson - "City Song" (Supernatural Mix) - 1994

"I've been a huge Luscious Jackson fan and this song was my introduction to them. I remember being at my cousin's house and seeing the video for "City Song" on MTV. There were these beautiful, hip grown-up ladies playing this Funky music and it blew me away. Back in the mid-90's, anything that was abstract or alternative sounding with samples or breakbeats on it was bound to be at least someone cool (Beck, Forest for The Trees, Whitetown, Land of Loops, etc.) I included the Todd "T-Ray" Ray remix because he's kind of an unsung figure in 90's Hip-Hop. He produced a lot of dope, grimy tunes for Artifacts, Kool G. Rap, Cypress Hill, and more."

V. Beastie Boys - "And Me" (1998)

"This is, arguably, my favorite Beastie Boys song. I remember hearing it when it came out and being struck with the feeling that I had been transported into a deep emotional space. It's an incredibly complex production for it's time, the synths sound like farfisa's and the drums sound like chopped and pitched up Amen breaks. It's quirky and futuristic and stylistically, it fits in perfectly with all of the music The Beasties were releasing on Grand Royale, at the time. Ultimately, "And Me" is some B-Boy sh*t, but it's more than that kinda like The Beasties and Hip-Hop itself."

John Morrison is a Philadelphia-based DJ, producer, and writer (Red Bull Music Academy, Jazz Right Now, Bandcamp Daily, etc.) His debut Instrumental Hip-Hop album, Southwest Psychedelphia, is a cosmic, psychedelic trip through a day in the life in his Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood available now on Deadverse Recordings. John is currently working on his follow-up, Memorabilia, a remix album centered around childhood and nostalgia.