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The Witzard Presents: Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique 30th Anniversary All-around Breakdown, Part I (PB30 "Side A")

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Brian Fallon Shares Single "You Have Stolen My Heart" from Third Solo Full-length Local Honey (Lesser Known Records/Thirty Tigers)

CREDIT: Kelsey Hunter Ayres

New Jersey's own Gaslight Anthem make/made a very specific brand of Heartland Rock-indebted Punk/Hardcore; the kind of music that makes you wanna slick your hair back with some pomade, throw on your favorite leather jacket and Chucks, and go drag race some hot rods down on Main Street... Since going on an "indefinite hiatus" during Summer 2015, The Gaslight Anthem briefly reunited for a 2018 tour in honor of the 10th anniversary of their second album, The '59 Sound, however, the future of the band is currently unknown. Guitar and bass guitar players Alex Rosamilia & Alex Levine formed X Squared Productions together; drummer Benny Horowitz currently makes music as part of Mercy Union, Wax Bottles, and Antarctigo Vespucci and co-hosts The Tune-Up & Going Off Track Podcasts. Frontman Brian Fallon is currently a member of both The Horrible Crowes and Molly & The Zombies, as well as his touring band, Brian Fallon & The Howling Weather/The Crowes. Fallon is currently gearing up to release his third solo album, Love Honey, which was preceded by critically-acclaimed albums, Painkillers (2016) and its 2018 follow-up, Sleepwalkers. Love Honey will be released early next year and was preceded yesterday by lead single, "You Have Stolen My Heart."

For this go-'round, Brian Fallon recruited GRAMMY Award-winning producer Peter Katis (The National, Death Cab for Cutie, Interpol, Frightened Rabbit) to helm Love Honey. "'You Have Stolen My Heart" is my most direct attempt at a love song. I wanted a song that wasn't aware of what it was or wasn't, it was just true. The rhythm has an almost Calypso feel inside of an Americana song," Fallon explained within a recent press release. Accompanied by a stark black-and-white music video, "You Have Stolen My Heart" is a bit more of a somber, stripped down number than Brian Fallon's usual fare, which, to my ears, at least, evokes comparisons to Bob Dylan's beloved 1969 effort, Nashville Skyline. "Every single song is about right now," Brian Fallon elaborated on Love Honey. "There's nothing on this record that has to do with the past or even the future, it just has to do with the moments that are presented and things that I've learned and I'm finding in my day-to-day. This record is 100% about the [day-to-day]. It's not about these glorious dreams or miserable failures, it's just about life and how I see it," Fallon continued. Love Honey will be released on Friday, March 27, 2020 on Brian Fallon's own newly-minted label, Lesser Known Records, launched in conjunction with Nashville-based Thirty Tigers. Brian Fallon & The Howling Weather will be embarking on a Love Honey US Tour from 3/12-4/5/20 followed by a separate European Tour 2020 running from
April 22nd through May 23rd.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Duncecap Returns with ELUCID-produced miserable then EP with Contributions from Quelle Chris, Samurai Banana & Willie Green (Backwoodz Studioz)

Mike "Duncecap" Petrow is a Brooklyn, New York-based director, editor, cinematographer, emcee, and we are the karma kids affiliate. As a director, Petrow has directed music videos for karma kids signees/affiliates BALD AFRO, BIG BREAKFAST, Blastmaster Baker, GooGiE, Gruff Lion, Impervious Machine, Lt Headtrip, MC Eleven, and OLD SELF. Mike Petrow has, also, directed music videos for artists such as ELUCID, The Front Bottoms, Mega Ran, PremRock, Quelle Chris, Tanya Morgan, and Uncommon Nasa. As an emcee, Duncecap has self-released two EP's and two full-length projects since 2011; as of Friday, December 6, 2019, Duncecap has returned with his next project before year's end. miserable then is a 5-track EP entirely produced by ELUCID (Armand Hammer, CULT FAVORITE, Nostrum Grocers, The Lessondary) and recorded, mixed, and mastered by Willie Green at The GreenHouse Recording Co.

miserable then opener "Waste of Money" features scratches throughout provided by Samurai Banana, guitar by Andrew Gialanella on "To Love Your Enemy Is to Love Yourself" & "What Have I Done to Myself?" and additional vocals on the latter provide by Quelle Chris. Contrary to Duncecap's previous largely self-produced body of work, miserable then is entirely produced by ELUCID and it's his first time ever producing a full project for another artist, as well. miserable then is a phenomenal juxtaposition of both Duncecap & ELUCID's own personal styles, sonically jelled into one, creating a great EP to be released before year's end. miserable then has arrived accompanied by a music video for "Waste of Time" directed by Rob Yaskovic/Mike Petrow AKA Duncecap, shot by Rob Yaskovic, edited by Mike Petrow, and a set piece built by Mo Niklz. Duncecap & ELUCID's miserable then EP is now available to purchase directly from billy woods' Backwoodz Studioz.

"Miserable Then is a collaborative EP from Brooklyn-based rapper Duncecap and producer ELUCID (1/2 of ARMAND HAMMER,) set for release by Backwoodz Studioz on December 6th, 2019. In a departure from his previous work, Duncecap sinks into ELUCID's brooding tones and soundscapes. It's a mature step for Duncecap, eschewing the whimsical slant of his earlier work for something closer to the bone.

The EP, also, finds ELUCID treading new ground; it's his first full project producing for another artist and this collaboration operates on entirely different wavelengths than his work with Armand Hammer or Nostrum Grocers. Miserable Then is an intimate affair; an unsparing examination of the artists' life and relationships that still covers a lot of ground in its short run time, veritably begging for repeat listens."

- Backwoodz Studioz (@BackwoodzHipHop)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Leonard Charles & Guilty Simpson Team Up to Form The Leonard Simpson Duo & Release Single "Nobody" from 2020 Album LSD (Jakarta Records)

A pair of unlikely collaborators, revered Detroit emcee Guilty Simpson and New Zealand-bred producer Leonard Charles, have joined forces to form a new rapper/producer group, The Leonard Simpson Duo. Both sharing a mutual admiration for and connection to J Dilla, Guilty & Leonard first collaborated on "Breaking Over You" for Japan-based WONDERFUL NOISE PRODUCTIONS in 2017, which we were fortunate enough to premiere right here at The Witzard. While working on his very own "Basement Funk" re-interpretation of J Dilla's magnum opus, Donuts, Basement Donuts, for HIT+RUN/WONDERFUL NOISE, Leonard Charles shared his then-progress with Guilty Simpson during a visit to his Auckland, NZ-based studio; "I asked him if he wanted to hear the versions I was working on. I was really nervous about playing it to him because I was f*cking with one of his close associates' music, but... he was feeling it and genuinely appreciated my creative approach to re-interpreting the tracks," Charles explained within our 2016 interview.

Now, following the wide success of "Breaking Over You," Leonard Charles & Guilty Simpson have joined forces as The Leonard Simpson Duo (AKA LSD) for a full-length album next year. I've, personally, been hearing rumblings about The Leonard Simpson Duo/LSD for months, but, now, Leonard & Guilty have finally released their first proper single together unto the masses. "Nobody" opens up with a lush sample pulled from Marlon Williams' "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore" featuring Aldous Harding from the former's 2018 album, MAKE WAY FOR LOVE. A press release explains Leonard Charles' wife, Anji Sami, sent him the 2018 APRA Silver Scroll Awards-winning track with a suggestion that "the chorus could come in quicker because it felt so good." Charles says he immediately "jumped in the studio and threw a draft beat together and looped up the hook." He, then, "sent it to Guilty that night and it was a no-brainer, he jumped on it." The Leonard Simpson Duo's "Nobody" premiered over at HipHopDX just this past Friday.

Guilty Simpson told HipHopDX: "the song is about the evolution a man should go through during maturity. Negative vibes will only get a person so far, before they self-destruct." The resulting single is a brilliant, fresh take on what many have deemed New Zealand's ultimate 21st Century break-up song. "Nobody" stems from an upcoming 40-minute, 14-track album entitled LSD attributed to The Leonard Simpson Duo that culls from a wide array of rare 1960-70's New Zealand Psychedelic/Acid Rock records, as well as late 60's Jazz/Rock Fusion, some fuzzed out African records, David Axelrod's compulsory leanings, and, of course, one of The Motor City's finest emcees. LSD features additional drumming from Jed Larson, a lone feature from Wildchild of Lootpack fame on "Heavy Organ," and was mixed by fellow Kiwi producer Andy Morton AKA Submariner (Che Fu, The Feelstyle, Sola Rosa, Tyra Hammond & The Tornadoes.) Additionally, artwork and design for this record were created by conceptual mastermind Simone Cihlar, who has previously worked with Anderson .Paak, Ta-ku & Raashan Ahmad, Habibi Funk/Jakarta Records, Tom Misch, and many more. "Nobody" is now available to purchase, stream, or download on digital streaming services and The Leonard Simpson Duo's debut album, LSD, will become available Friday, January 31, 2020 through Berlin, Germany's own Jakarta Records.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Preservation Releases "龍鎮 Dragon Town" Feat. YoungQueenz from Upcoming Album Eastern Medicine, Western Illness (MonDieu Music)

Yasiin Bey FKA Mos Def once said, "Three key steps to leading a rewarding and enriched life: (1) Wake up, (2) be awesome, (3) LISTEN TO PRESERVATION." Preservation, otherwise known as Dj Preservation, Dj Jun, and Jun TME is/was part of Dr. Yen Lo with Brownsville emcee KA, Sonic Sum along with Rob Sonic, Fred Ones & Eric M.O. and TME PRO. Preservation has long operated as the touring DJ for both Yasiin Bey & KA and has produced music for Mach-Hommy, RZA, GZA, Raekwon, U-God, Sean Price, Roc Marciano, Ed O.G. KRS-One, Jean Grae, Aesop Rock, billy woods, and Your Old Droog. I can, personally, recall knowingly hearing Preservation's work across the official 2013 re-worked companion to Mos Def's The Ecstatic entitled The REcstatic; although, Preservation previously contributed production work to Mighty Mos' 2006 album, True Magic, as well as the original aforementioned project, his "last" album as Mos Def, The Ecstatic (2013.)

Following a string of critically-acclaimed solo projects and a self-imposed 5-year sabbatical, DJ Preservation returned in 2018 with a 2-song single, February 4th; consisting of Mach-Hommy-assisted "Daddy Love You" and a solo B-side entitled "Dedicated Voyage." February 2019 saw a newly-reinvigorated Preservation issue a nearly 9-minute single-track opus entitled "East Winds Calling" and then, radio silence for nearly nine consecutive months... until Preservation re-emerged once again just this past Tuesday with a new composition being billed as "龍鎮 Dragon Town." For the first single from his upcoming 2020 album, Eastern Medicine, Western Illness, Preservation recruited Hong Kong's own emcee, YoungQueenz. Eastern Medicine, Western Illness was produced and created while Preservation was living in Hong Kong for three years; "during this time, he was sourcing Chinese vinyl and began exporting beats back home to his collaborators."

The final product, Eastern Medicine, Western Illness features collaborations with collaborators both old and new including A.G. Brownsville KA, Mach-Hommy, MC Tree G, Roc Marciano, Your Old Droog, and more. While working on the album, Preservation introduced YoungQueenz to Mach-Hommy, who included YoungQueenz on his latest Alchemist-produced single, "Clout Dracula," alongside emcees Tvoy, Navy Blue AKA professional skateboarder and model Sage Elsesser, and Your Old Droog(?) Actually, the music video for Preservation's "Dragon Town" and Mach-Hommy's "Clout Dracula" have been released in tandem, as directed by Karma Cheng and an unknown director/photographer, respectively. Preservation's "Dragon Town" Feat. YoungQueenz is now available on digital streaming platforms and his new album, Eastern Medicine, Western Illness is expected to drop sometime in early 2020 on MonDieu Music.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Sulu & Excelsior Return with "AntiMatter" Music Video from Second Album THE ANTIMATTER SUITE (Slow Jam King Productions)

CREDIT: Jean-Baptiste Sankara

Sulu & Excelsior AKA the one-man band/solo project of multi-instrumentalist/rapper/singer Steve "Sulu" Mallorca has returned with it's (his) second album, THE ANTIMATTER SUITE; released prior to Thanksgiving, THE ANTIMATTER SUITE is the proper follow-up to Sulu's critically-acclaimed 2016 debut, Eddie Romero. This time about three years ago, we were fortunate enough to premiere the second music video from Eddie Romero, "Dam Foo's," right here at The Witzard. Although, we've never, actually, met in real life (despite numerous attempts!) Steve Mallorca and I have become very close friends, mutual admirers, and frequent collaborators; our coverage concocted together here, for The Witzard, to date, includes two Eddie Romero-era interviews, two premieres, and countless hip-shaking tracks ranking on numerous countdowns. Eddie Romero, ultimately, ranked at No.1 atop The Witzard's Best of 2016 Countdown and nearly a year after its initial release, the album was re-released in Japan/State-side on CD. Sulu & Excelsior with a full band recently played a Record Release Party/Show on Friday, November 15th at New York's The Parkside Lounge with P.I.C.'s Un-G The Magnificent.

Unfortunately, The Mrs. & I were unable to make it to said show, but I've since had ample time to sit with THE ANTIMATTER SUITE and man, this album is phenomenal! I might even go out on a limb to say it's as good as, if not better than, Sulu & Excelsior's 2016 debut, Eddie Romero. Ghettoblaster Magazine recently ran a premiere of the first proper music video from THE ANTIMATTER SUITE for quasi-title track, "AntiMatter." Directed and edited by Steve "Sulu" Mallorca himself, along with the rest of the 13-track companion "visual album." A couple Easter eggs Sulu gifted us with: "AntiMatter" features appearances from his long-time P.I.C. bandmates and "brovas," Gary "Un-G" Gabisan & J.K. "J-Bomb" Grey. Actually, I'll just let Sulu take it from here... so, Scroll Down for his take on the newly-minted "AntiMatter" music video. Stay tuned for yet another comprehensive The Witzard/Sulu & Excelsior interview feature either before year's end or early next year. Sulu & Excelsior's THE ANTIMATTER SUITE is now available on Bandcamp directly from "the band," as well as on your digital streaming platform of choice. Steve Mallorca and his other band, P.I.C. will be playing a "short and sweet, gift-wrapped set" this Saturday, December 7, 2020, at The Parkside Lounge with Century Test & Red Datsun.

"The concept was inspired, actually, by this. I live in Uptown Manhattan and there are a lot of musicians in my neighborhood and I've always loved stories of when Jazz musicians back in the day would play gigs [in] Midtown, then, head back home to Harlem and keep the jam going, while people would be cooking late night meals and the party would, basically, just be starting. This woman, Marjorie Eliot, is a Jazz musician and, to me, this Parlor Jazz club is an extension of this, so I wanted to emulate this parlor club/house party vibe, but mix it up with my own experiences of the Filipino family-style party."

- Steve "Sulu" Mallorca (@suluandxlcr)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Night Owls Recruit Durand Jones for Vinyl-only Donny Hathaway "This Christmas" Reggae/Soul Cover (F-Spot/Colemine Records)

Just in time for Christmas, The Night Owls have returned with a new 45 showcasing a festive cover of "This Christmas" with Durand Jones. The Night Owls (or just Night Owls) are drummer Blake Colie, guitarist Dan Ubick, and bassist Dave Wilder of The Lions, along with The Aggrolites' long-time piano/organ player Roger Rivas. Durand Jones is, of course, the frontman and namesake of critically-acclaimed Soul/Funk revival ensemble, Durand Jones & The Indications. Following "There's A Break In The Road" B/W "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" released this past July, Night Owls have re-emerged to bring us a Reggae-tinged version of "This Christmas" first popularized by Donny Hathaway in 1970 for ATCO Records. "A perfect jam to have on deck this holiday season. Side B features an instrumental version, where the Funky and grooving organ stylings of Roger Rivas keep the tune alive to be played on the dance floor [year-round]. Sure to sell out, this 45 is not one to sleep on!" says F-Spot Records owner and founder David Celia.

There were only 500 super-limited edition copies of The Night Owls' "This Christmas" pressed, now split across F-Spot Records, Colemine Records, and various online/brick-and-mortar record stores; supposedly, Colemine Records' stock is already completely SOLD OUT, but a limited number of copies remain available directly from F-Spot Records, as well as said digital/physical retailers. "Happy to have a new take on this incredible tune, 'cause I love, love, love the original so much and hope more people find out about that because of me and Night Owls doing this with Durand," Dan Ubick explains. Night Owls' "This Christmas" Feat. Durand Jones' 7-inch is currently available for pre-order from F-Spot Records with orders expected to start shipping on December 9th with a wide release date of Friday, December 13, 2019. It appears as though Fishbone's Christopher Dowd (@thedowdjones) was recently down in The Lion's Den, as well, to track vocals on what's only been described as "a new Night Owls cover," which Night Owls (@nightowlsreggaesoul) adds "came out great!"

EDITOR'S NOTE: Although, by the time you're reading this, please, take note that F-Spot Records' web-store might be completely sold out... However, you're strongly urged to call or email your local record store to see, if they happen to have any copies of The Night Owls Feat. Durand Jones' "This Christmas" coming in on order before the holidays.

Monday, December 2, 2019

PICK IT UP! Ska In The 90's "Ska-cumentary" Narrated By: Tim Armstrong Now Available On DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital & VHS (popmotion Pictures)

Pick It Up! Ska In The 90's, which is being billed as "the definitive Third Wave "Ska-cumentary'" (AKA a Ska documentary) is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, digital, etc. Whether they're presently aware of it or not, anyone from about the age of about 28-45 should have either vague or vivid memories of Ska/Punk in the 1990's; most people are familiar with either No Doubt, Less Than Jake, The Mighty Might Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, or Rancid/Operation Ivy. 90's Ska is commonly known as Third Wave Ska, following in the traditions of both First Wave Jamaican and British Two-tone/2 Tone Ska through the 80's. For me, personally, I would say one of my earliest memories of Ska was hearing Goldfinger's "Superman" on the in-game soundtrack for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (1999) which, also, included selections form Dead Kennedys, Primus, Suicidal Tendencies, The Suicide Machines, and The Vandals. Pick It Up! was directed/produced by film-maker Taylor Morden, who has previously created documentaries, Here's to Life: The Story of The Refreshments and The Last Blockbuster, as well as shorts Gotcha, The Pick Up, and Sticker Shock.

Pick It Up! Ska In The 90's features first-hand accounts and commentary throughout from members of No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Rx Bandits, The Pietasters, Fishbone, Save Ferris, Let's Go Bowling, Dance Hall Crashers, The Specials, Mustard Plug, The Toasters, Skankin' Pickle, Hepcat, The Slackers, KEMURI, blink-182/The Aquabats, The Hippos, The Skatalites, Sublime, and many more with narration from Rancid/Operation Ivy frontman Tim Armstrong. I was fortunate enough to recently receive a digital screener of Pick It Up! from Mike Cubillos from Earshot Media and without giving too much away, let me tell you: this is a truly phenomenal documentary, whether you are/were a fan of Ska in the the 1990's or not! Morden and his collaborators tell their stories with so much passion and intensity, which I would assume is why Ska has remained alive and well almost 60 years since its initial conception in Jamaica. Below, you will find a comprehensive 117-song Pick It Up! - Ska In The 90's companion Spotify playlist assembled by film-maker, Taylor Modren. Critically-acclaimed documentary, Pick It Up! Ska In The 90's is now available to own on DVD, Blu-Ray, digital, and super-limited edition VHS. It will, additionally, be screening as part of the Ska Parade 30th Anniversary Tour from January 18-February 1, 2020.