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

Friday, January 17, 2020

Four Year Strong Return with "Talking Myself In Circles" & "Brain Pain" from Upcoming Album BRAIN PAIN (Pure Noise Records)

CREDIT: Lupe Bustos (Big Picture Media)

Worcester, Massachusetts-based Melodic Hardcore/Pop-Punk band Four Year Strong have finally returned with the announcement of their long-awaited fifth full-length album BRAIN PAIN, produced by Will Putney. Fans have been eagerly awaiting a proper follow-up to Four Year Strong's self-titled 2015 album, which was "followed-up" by a 2017 Odds & Ends-style compilation called Some of You Will Like This, Some of You Won't. Four Year Strong consists of vocalist/guitarists Dan O'Connor & Alan Day, bassist Joe Weiss, and drummer Jackson "Jake" Massucco. To be completely honest, I had never heard of Four Year Strong (FYS) 'til the other day, when my buddy at work casually mentioned "Four Year Strong had a new single out;" it soon clicked that I vaguely recognized the name "Four Year Strong" because I had received an email earlier that very same morning from a press agent at Big Picture Media. Come to find out, once I checked my email again, Four Year Strong had not only released ONE, but TWO new songs that fateful day!

Going into this completely blindly... I really didn't know what to expect, aside from the fact that FYS' label, Pure Noise Records, had recently released super-strong efforts from the likes of Bayside, Senses Fail, Microwave, Selfish Things, Save Face/Graduating Life, and Hawthorne Heights, yes, THAT Hawthorne Heights. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed by the overall sound, style, and feel of Four Year Strong's "Talking Myself In Circles" and "Brain Pain." Especially, lead-off single, "Talking Myself In Circles," which has, additionally, received an accompanying music video. It's a rather chilling, yet great video that, somehow, falls somewhere in-between Marilyn Mason's gut-wrenching early 2000's visuals and OK Go's unique brand of stop-motion/single-shot trickery. Also, major shout-out to drummer Jackson "Jake" Massucco for sporting a Gang Starr T-shirt throughout "Talking Myself In Circles." Four Year Strong's fifth studio album, BRAIN PAIN, will be released Friday, February 28, 2020 on Pure Noise Records. Four Year Strong's "Talking Myself In Circles" & "Brain Pain" are now available on your digital streaming platform of choice.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Spike Jonze-directed Beastie Boys Story "Live Documentary" Set to Premeire In IMAX Theatres & On Apple TV+ (Fresh Bread & Pulse Films)

CREDIT: Atiba Jefferson / Glen E. Friedman (Apple)

BEASTIE BOYS BOOK is a phenomenal 571-page historical document and mixed-media hardcover book written by surviving Beasties Michael "Mike D" Diamond & Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz released on SPIEGEL & GRAU in 2018. It was, of course, written following the untimely death of founding Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch on May 4, 2012, now known world-wide as MCA Day, but is without a doubt, a well-written tribute to his life and career. Last year, following widespread critical/fan-acclaim of BEASTIE BOYS BOOK, Mike Diamond & Adam Horovitz went on tour in support of their book somewhat confusingly billed as, "BEASTIE BOYS STORY: A 2 PERSON 1 MAN SHOW ABOUT 3 KIDS WHO STARTED A BAND TOGETHER." It wad directed by long-time collaborator and friend Spike Jonze and appeared to be, by most accounts, something to the effect of a live audio book version of BEASTIE BOYS BOOK. Now, it has been announced that a "live documentary," also, called Beastie Boys Story, again, directed by Jonze will see a limited release in IMAX theatres, as well "home video" on Apple TV+.

"The film is set to premiere on the heels of the 26th anniversary of the release of Beastie Boys' #1 charting 1994 album, Ill Communication, and reunites Beastie Boys with director Spike Jonze over 25 years after directing the music video for the album's immortal hit single, "Sabotage," explains a press release supplied by Nasty Little Man. Beastie Boys Story will open exclusively in select IMAX theatres for a limited engagement starting April 3, before premiering globally on Apple TV+ on April 24. According to a mysterious man named "Larry" (an allusion to "The Larry Routine?") this will all "make more sense once you see the trailer that the film-makers haven't finished editing yet..." Additionally, there's a new comprehensive photo book from the Beastie Boys & Spike Jonze, simply titled Beastie Boys, dropping on March 17, 2020, via Rizzoli New York. Long-time Beasties photographer and friend Glen E. Friedman recently put together a book of his own called Together Forever: The Run-D.M.C. & Beastie Boys Photographs, via Rizzoli New York, as well.

CREDIT: Tobin Yelland (2019)

"There are some friends you have lunch with so many times over the years, you know their order. Spike is one of those friends. And even when you don't recognize anything on the menu, he comes up with something good for the whole table. Like when we wondered what to do when our book comes out... then, Spike placed his order: you will put on a show for the children."

- Mike Diamond & Adam Horovitz

"I owe Beastie Boys a lot. One time, they pulled me out of a burning ship and another time, they helped me cheat on my college exam to get into Florida State. So, it was a real privilege to get to reunite with them and help them tell their story."

- Spike Jonze

"This is the eighth time I've re-written this thing, the film-makers kept telling me I was doing it wrong, but I'm really feeling this one. Here's what the film is: Mike Diamond & Adam Horovitz of Beastie Boys tell you an intimate, personal story of their band and their 40 years of friendship together. From the 1980's New York City Punk scene, to "[You Gotta] Fight for Your Right (to Party)" and becoming the first Hip-Hop artists to make a #1 record (Licensed to Ill,) through their evolution, which took them to "Sabotage," "Intergalactic," and beyond. Created with their old friend, their former grandfather, and collaborator, film-maker Spike Jonze, the film seamlessly mixes a live stage show and documentary to create a new format, a live documentary.

Does that make sense? It'll make more sense when you see the trailer that the film-makers haven't finished editing yet, despite constant badgering. But anyways, I'm not mad. In this film that was shot at Kings Theater in Brooklyn, Mike D & Ad-Rock discuss their evolution as musicians, artists, and people and a whole bunch of other crazy sh*t. Their co-conspirator, musician, activist, inventor, discredited astrophysics professor, and my favorite Beastie Boy, Adam Yauch, couldn't be there that night because he passed away in 2012. But even though he's not there, his spirit is very much felt onstage through Mike & Adam and the force of nature that was Yauch, their band, and their friendship."

- "Larry"

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Witzard Premiere: dubldragon. Share Joshua "Zeus" Thomas-directed "Marble" Music Video from Macroforms (Milled Pavement Records)

dubldragon. is a Bay Area, California-based Hip-Hop group consisting of emcee Chad "Skeptik" Porras and producer Dan "Danny G." Gensel. They have affiliations with The Lobetrotters Collective, Full Moon Freakz, and Deep Thinka Records and are currently signed to BRZOWSKI's imprint, Milled Pavement Records. dubldragon.'s latest album, Macroforms, was released in November 2019 on Milled Pavement. Macroforms has been described as "an examination of man's place (or lack thereof) in the universe. In a digital space, what meaning does physicality have? When man has depleted The Earth entirely, will we have anywhere to ruin next in its place? Where do the divisions lie between, wants, needs, and desires? As unanswerable as it may be, it sure is fun to think about, isn't it?" Skeptik & Danny G. have already released two music videos for "Case" and "The Aleph" from the album. Supposedly, there are, at least, TWO MORE music videos ready to go from Macroforms, as well.

Today, we proudly present The Witzard premiere of the third music video from dubldragon.'s Macroforms, "Marble." Directed and edited by Joshua "Zeus" Thomas, "Marble" is, as dubldragon. explains it, "a celebration of the artistic process." dubldragon. continues, "from dancers to musicians to painters to sculptors and beyond, we all face the trials and tribulations, the highs and the lows, and the successes and defeats that come along with being creative." "Marble" chronicles the unique creative processes, trials, and tribulations of San Francisco sculptor Amanda Maranca, San Jose emcee, producer, and painter Lyrics In Full Effect AKA L.I.F.E. Sacramoento's own singer, emcee, producer, and dancer Spacewalker, and dubldragon.'s in-house producer Danny G. "Marble," as well as the entirety of Macroforms, teeters the line between Hip-Hop, Electronic, and a wide array of genres and sub-genres. dubldragon.'s Macroforms is now available to download, purchase, or stream on Milled Pavement Records. Stay in touch with dubldragon. via their website, and Subscribe for regular non-invasive updates!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Henry Rollins Speaks On Upcoming Album FUNGUS II from Ty Segall & Brian Chippendale's New Band Wasted Shirt (Famous Class Records)

"Rarely, when formulating combinations of musicians you would like to hear play together, do you get to, actually, hear it. If Brian Chippendale & Ty Segall made a record, would you want to hear it? If the answer is "yes," read on. If the answer is "no," it's too bad you ended up canned, suspended in syrup with nothing but other peaches to keep you company.

Ty's 2019 album, First Taste, and the new Lighting Bolt album, Sonic Citadel, are easily some of the best material either entity has ever released; so, if these two happened to find themselves in the same recording studio, a fan just might entertain elevated expectation levels. In fact, some might, actually, show signs of enthusiasm, even excitement at the fact that from July 5-13th, 2018, in the air-conditioning free environs of Ty's home studio, the duo, eventually, calling themselves Wasted Shirt, wrecked the joint as thoroughly as you hoped they would."

"Prepare to Be Stoked Dept.: The album is exploding euphoria from start to finish. A morphing Day-Glo rainbow that will bring a smile to your face, like if you were on your way to Washington, DC for The Million Puppy March. Upon first spin, all boxes are checked and any previously held doubts are completely obliterated. The more you play it, the better it kabongs you upside your head. "Hectic" doesn't even begin to describe it. Brian & Ty, two mere particles in the grand scheme, collide at high speed, the technicians dive for cover, the reaction is recorded. Mutation is achieved. This is Freedom Rock. Turn up the volume. Hasten your emancipation. Sonic joy awaits.

It's a great time for music. As major labels continue their agonizingly slow march to total irrelevance, these masters of mediocrity, at least, provide great contrast. That is to say, the time has never been better for experimentation, spontaneity, and restraint-free creativity in music, lest we endure a never-ending post-modern stasis of cynical emulation. What would happen if Ty Segall & Brian Chippendale went to the studio in the dead heat of July? There was only one way to find out. Life is short. More assaults on the mordantly predictable need to happen because when it works, like with Wasted Shirt, it really works. Wasted Shirt['s Fungus II] will be available from Famous Class on February 28th, 2020. Perfect weather for cartwheeling to the record store."

- Henry Rollins (@henryandheidi)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Guilty Simpson & Leonard Charles Re-emerge with Second LSD Single "My Inspiration" Billed As The Leonard Simpson Duo (Jakarta Records)

ARTIST CREDIT: MC Blue Matter & Simone Cihlar

2020's most "unlikely" collaborators, Detroit emcee Guilty Simpson and New Zealand-bred producer and multi-instrumentalist Leonard Charles have returned with their second single, "My Inspiration," billed together as The Leonard Simpson Duo. Later this month, they plan to unveil their similarly named full-length debut, LSD on Berlin, Germany-based imprint, Jakarta Records. Last year, just before year's end, The Leonard Simpson Duo burst onto the scene with their Psychedelic/Acid Rock-tinged single, "Nobody," which sampled "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore" from New Zealand's own Marlon Williams & Aldous Harding. "Nobody" was debuted over at esteemed publication HipHopDX last year, as well as across Jakarta Records' Bandcamp page, along with a full-fledged LSD album announcement. For "My Inspiration," Leonard Charles sampled and, no pun intended, took inspiration from Citizen Band's 1977 Mandrill 7-inch single, "In A Lifetime." Citizen Band were, in fact, a New Zealand super-group, of sorts, themselves, consisting of former members of both Split Enz & Space Waltz. "I'm glad the sample worked out. The Citizen Band track is so bada$$ from beginning to end that I could have made a beat from anywhere in the song, but I chose the intro, as it has so much grit in the piano, a grit that Detroit music is, also, known for," Leonard Charles explained within a press statement.

Original Citizen Band/Space Waltz drummer, Brent Eccles comments: "A very enjoyable part of my life as a musician and [I'm] thrilled The CB are still getting into the spotlight. Geoff Chunn (lead vocal, guitar) is a great writer." Charles found the aforementioned "In A Lifetime" sample when digging through a box of 7-inches left to him by a close friend who had passed away and says it jumped out at him as soon as the needle hit the wax. "'My Inspiration" is really Guilty's story. However, for me, so much of the music I love and inspires me comes from Detroit musicians, from Kenny Burrell & Yusef Lateef to J Dilla & Anthony Shakir. It's an honour to have Guilty Simpson over one of my beats talking about the Yin & Yang that makes up his city," Leonard Charles continued. "My Inspiration" additionally boasts a charismatic animated music video illustrated by MC Blue Matter (@mcblue_matter.) Blue Matter, also, designed a new promo "photo" of both Leonard Charles & Guilty Simpson rendered in his unique style, laid atop Simone Cihlar's Neo-Psychedelia LSD album cover, which you can see displayed up above. The Leonard Simpson Duo's LSD is now available to pre-order in both physical and digital formats directly from Jakarta Records. LSD will see a world-wide release on Friday, January 31, 2020.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Bracket Return with Monstrous "Forget" Video with Behind-The-Scenes Commentary from Angelo Celli & Director Mike Sloat (Fat Wreck Chords)

"After years of depriving all of us adoring fans of a live performance, Bracket are finally embarking on a World Tour!!! They are set to hit exotic locales, such as Santa Rosa & San Francisco... well, that's it, really... but beggars can't be choosers," explained a recent post on Fat Wreck Chords' Facebook page. "For all you disappointed non-Bay Area residents, we've got a little something for you, too. We're rolling out the brand new video for "Forget" from Bracket's latest full-length, Too Old to Die Young," their tongue-in-cheek statement continued. Bracket's first shows in FOUR years will take place on Friday, February 14th and Saturday, February 15th in Santa Rosa, California at Shady Oak Barrell House (A FREE SHOW!) and in San Francisco, California at Thee Parkside, respectively. Bracket's aforementioned 2019 album, Too Old to Die Young, was their first album issued by NOFX frontman "Fat" Mike Burkett's imprint, Fat Wreck Chords since 2002's LIVE IN A DIVE.

Since publishing our comprehensive full-band All-around Breakdown with Bracket's own Marty Gregori, Angelo Celli, Zack Charlos & Ray Castro last year, I've heard rumblings about a mysterious music video for "Forget." It appeared as though it would "star" four Universal Classic Monsters in place of Bracket's members, as directed by film/video editor and director Mike Sloat. Now, nearly a year after Too Old to Die Young's May 2019 wide release, Bracket have finally unveiled "FORGET" DIRECTED BY: MIKE SLOAT! We recently reached out to Bracket guitarist Angelo Celli and "Forget" mastermind Mike Sloat, via email, in an effort to learn a bit more about their monstrous creation; below, you will find excerpts from said emails, along with details on Bracket's upcoming 2-day "World" Tour. Bracket's latest album, Too Old to Die Young, is out now on Fat Wreck Chords. It's an extremely strong effort (one of the best of 2019!) and it's great to have Bracket back on Fat!

Angelo Celli On His Action Figures: "The toys in the video are the same that made the album cover and they were mine as a child. The theme of the video, obviously, is a nod to our insecurity about "playing for crickets" (who end up leaving, as well hahaha.)"

Mike Sloat On His Relationship with Bracket: "I've known the guys from Bracket for many years—[we] used to play shows in the early 90's together—just as gig acquaintances, basically. They were ALWAYS one of my favorite bands and in the late 90's, my business partner at the time, Carlo [Silvio], and I did a few unofficial music videos for them ("Trailer Park" and... one I can't remember!)"

Mike Sloat On Meeting Bracket: "Fast-forward to a few years ago... I heard they were still around and tried to contact them to do a video, but they didn't sound interested. Then, a year or two later, they contacted me and wanted to do something. I met up with them and we started talking specifics, which was that they didn't want to be IN a video in any way!"

Mike Sloat On Angelo's Action Figures: "So, in hashing out the idea, we decided to have these Horror movie action figures from the album cover (and from Angelo's childhood) stand-in for the band members. From that point, they let me decide what to do to set the scene. They were always talking about "hearing crickets" after each song they'd play, so we thought... why not have an audience of ONLY crickets, who still don't even want to hear them? Pure Comedy."

Mike Sloat On Bracket's Miniature City: "Anyway, I had this miniature downtown city set from a previous project, just sitting around my studio, so I dirtied it up a bit, built a tiny stage and gear props, and spent a few days animating some very simple movements and shots that we could repeat, as needed. I had an Animation Assistant, Logan Thompson, that did most of the band movements, while I ran the camera movements and lights and took each shot."

Mike Sloat In Closing: "My partner, Jason Pedri, also, helped with some camera movement shots. I was a really fun project and the band had no changes to the first cut I showed them! This, basically, never happens and the guys from Bracket are super-easy and appreciative of what we did for them."

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Discogs & Thomas Draudt Present: THE HUSTLE IS REAL DJ Prestige Documentary (ACTUALsize Productions/Flea Market Funk)

THE HUSTLE IS REAL is a story about creating your own lane to make money doing what you love and the hustle and grind that goes along with it.

"If you have to work, you might as well do what you love."

DJ Prestige makes a living as a DJ spinning 7-inch 45 RMP vinyl records. He's, also, a freelance writer, graphic designer, and champion of all things vinyl. "I'm really a working-class DJ."

His lane is music that has soul, music that moves you. Funk, Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop, Latin, Disco, and more are what he delivers at his DJ night. Whether it's in the lobby of the ACE Hotel in NYC, The SHAKE Party in Brooklyn, behind the decks at various venues on the beach in Asbury Park, NJ, or as a guest DJ at Boston's SOULELUJAH, Prestige is known for his impeccable selection that controls the vibe and moves the dance floor.

"90% of what I play, people don't know, but, they get down and dance anyway because it's good music. It's the beat, the sound, the vibe, all from vinyl records collected over many years. A lot goes into getting these records."

His site, Flea Market Funk, has been keeping people up-to-date on recent releases, re-issues, and DJ culture, via daily reviews and interviews with other DJ's from around the world for over 12 years. Featuring his on-point, honest, writing and visually-pleasing graphic design, each feature represents the passion and love of the culture.

"I want to be in control—that's what's going to make me stand out. I want to control the name, I want to control the vibe, I want to control the visuals."

It's a full-time job getting the gigs and promoting them, let alone, doing the gigs. The hours are crazy and there's very little downtime. Jamison [Harvey] is swimming against the current every day in a job that's off the beaten path. But, he's doing what he loves...

"I just wanna evolve as a person and a DJ. And I'm gonna do whatever it takes... and "whatever it takes" means working harder than the next guy."

"... The Hustle Is Real all the time."

Thomas Draudt
Producer, Director, Film-maker

"I like making films about people with passion, people who work with their hands and people who work with vintage technology in the modern world."

Thomas has been making short films on musicians and dancers and artists all his film career... "because I love when people do things better than me... it makes me want to get inside and find out what drives them to be so good at what they do."

"Normally, I don't choose subjects that I know a lot about or have a strong connection with because I am forced to examine the subject without bias and approach it with a healthy dose of naivety. In this case, knowing a lot about the subject was crucial because the subtleties of DJ culture can be easily misrepresented or easily batted-foul. As a vinyl record collector, bedroom DJ, and lover of many styles of music, my conversation with this subject was informed in a way that allowed the film to be legit with several audiences, including DJ culture."

An EMMY Award-winning producer and three-time EMMY-nominated director, Thomas brings a deep toolbox to every project he's involved in. "I've been at this for a long time and the joy of pulling all the opposing forces together to make a coherent film is extremely gratifying. This film is a tribute to everyone who pursues their passion no matter how high the odds are stacked up against them."

"Watching The Hustle Is Real's engrossingly stylish profile of the life and times of a "working-class DJ," it's natural to describe both the film—and the endeavors of its subject—as a labor of love. But more than that, the film is about the love of labor: the hours of trawling through dusty crates of vinyl plates in search of the perfect beat. Leaving the wife and kids at home and driving through miles of snow to get to a gig. This is not a story about the glamour of DJ'ing, it's about the work that goes into it and the kind of people for whom the work is almost as rewarding as the sight of a roomful of ecstatic dancers grooving to the tunes that come out of their crates. But even beyond that, it's about finding a purpose and a passion that makes life worth living."

- Uchenna Ikonne
Author/Music Historian

Watch Thomas Draudt's THE HUSTLE IS REAL documentary here!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Drowns Ready Full-length Debut UNDER PRESSURE 12-inch Produced By: "Captain" Ted Hutt (Pirates Press Records)

The Drowns are a Punk/Hardcore-leaning Rock "N" Roll band hailing from Seattle, Washington. The Drowns' core line-up consists of both current and former members of The Briggs, Coyote Bred, Madcap, The Shell Corporation, Success, and Time Again. It's believed The Drowns' players are frontman Aaron "Rev" Peters, bassist/vocalist Andy Wylie, drummer Jake Margolis, and guitarist Jonny Wade. The Drowns have hand-crafted a unique breed of Punk/Hardcore-indebted bare bones Rock "N" Roll akin to Bouncing Souls, C*ck Sparrer, The Gaslight Anthem, Hot Water Music, and Titus Andronicus. The Drowns released their first proper recordings together in 2018 as View from The Bottom on 1984/Live from The Rock Room/Bypolar/Gunner Records. Although, throughout 2019, they seem to have struck up a partnership with Emeryville, California-based imprint, Pirates Press Records; said label released two 2019 EP's for The Drowns, The Sound 7-inch and a 12-inch entitled Hold Fast Demons (or Hold Fast / Demons,) as well as a single-sided 7-inch flexi-disc of "Demons."

The latter was packaged along with a rather cryptic on-record note, which read: "TAKEN FROM THE NEW LP "UNDER TENSION" - COMING EARLY 2020." Now, said "NEW LP," UNDER TENSION, has finally come to fruition and has received a proper release announcement. The Drowns' UNDER TENSION will be released on Friday, January 17, 2020 on their new label home, Pirates Press Records. UNDER TENSION is currently available for pre-order on Standard Black, Blood Red, White, Blood Red with Black Spokes vinyl, as well as CD, which all come complete with a FREE "Black Lung" picture flexi-disc, while supplies last. UNDER TENSION will feature aforementioned singles "Hold Fast" & "Demons" and was produced by Ex-Flogging Molly guitarist "Captain" Ted Hutt, who has previously worked Bayside, Dropkick Murphys, The Gaslight Anthem, Madcap, Street Dogs, Tiger Army, and countless others. Again, The Drowns' full-length debut, UNDER PRESSURE, will see a wide release on Pirates Press Records Friday, January 17, 2020.

"If you haven't heard of The Drowns yet, you're about to! A LOT. This line-up of seasoned veterans is shaking up the Rock "N" Roll world in incredible style. This highly-anticipated full-length, produced by the amazing Ted Hutt (Dropkick Murphys, [The] Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly, Street Dogs) is nothing short of fantastic. This indestructible foursome has, literally, not stopped delivering these 11 new tunes and all the hits from their 2018 debut LP, View from The Bottom, to fans across the globe. Their relentless approach to touring and spreading their Rock "N" Roll gospel is turning heads and getting people out in droves to see their explosive live performances! Whether it's in a sweaty basement or club, or on the deck of an aircraft carrier, the way Rev and the boys drive these tunes and their message home is ENORMOUS! Do not pass up any opportunity to see The Drowns live and make sure to grab a copy of UNDER TENSION as soon as it hits the shelves. With absolutely zero fluff and a barrage of scorchers, like "Demons," "Hold Fast," "Black Lung," and the "Cue The Violins" ... this one is going to be an instant classic! Guaranteed."

- Pirates Press Records (@piratespress)

Monday, January 6, 2020

3 Feet High & Rising: American Ethos Return with Self-titled Full-length Debut Mastered By: Jack "Flaco" Shirley (Conditions Records)

CREDIT: Reid Haithcock

American Ethos are a mysterious Punk/Hardcore band based out of New England. I, actually, heard about American Ethos through a recent post made by @simpsonsXcore on Instagram, wherein they re-created the cover for American Ethos' recent self-titled debut full-length. Primarily functioning as the long-time "solo" project of guitarist and frontman Daniel Lajoie, American Ethos has featured a rotating cast of players. First established in 2011, Lajoie's American Ethos released a 3-track Demo Twenty Eleven, followed by a 2015 EP entitled Cosmetics​, and yet another EP in 2018 called Futurism. Last year, right before year's end on December 26th, American Ethos returned once more with their self-titled 12-track debut full-length on Texas-based Conditions Records. For this album, Daniel Lajoie has recruited drummer Mike Moschetto and Ryan Stack, who plays organ on "mulligan" and some guitar licks on "the killing chair" & "altruistic punishment." Lajoie plays... everything else!

american ethos was recorded, produced, and engineered by Ryan Stack at The Noise Floor in Dover, New Hampshire over multiple sessions between 2018-2019. It was, then, mixed by Ryan Stack & Daniel Lajoie at The Noise Floor. american ethos was finally, mastered by Jack Shirley (Gouge Away, Tony Molina, Touché Amoré) at Atomic Garden Studios in Oakland, CA. It's a phenomenal album, in my opinion, and boasts sonic similarities throughout to both Jeremy Bolm's Touché Amoré & Hesitation Wounds. We haven't done year-end lists these last few years, but if we had, american ethos would have definitely ranked atop our list for best albums of 2019. American Ethos' self-titled debut full-length is currently available to purchase, stream, or download through either the band's Bandcamp page or Condition Records' page. It's currently a digital-only release, but with any hope, this absolute RIPPER of an album will, eventually, see a vinyl pressing, as well. Below, you can find a bit of commentary on said album from frontman and guitarist Daniel Lajoie himself.

"I've always wanted to be in a band since I was nine. As much as I've tried, people were/are not interested in playing with me. This is my fourth solo release. I released a demo in 2011, an EP in 2014 (Cosmetics,) another EP in 2018 (Futurism,) and, finally, this last full-length all under the moniker American Ethos; all can be found on the American Ethos' Bandcamp. Each time, I found a drummer willing to play the songs I wrote, I paid for studio time, and, then, I did everything else, except drums. Ryan Stack recorded the 2018 EP and this full-length and we worked [closely] together at his studio on Sunday afternoons and worked on this project piece-meal, usually, once or twice a month for over a year.

Ryan & I, also, mixed the album together (my first time mixing) and we are both excited on how it turned out. I love Jack Shirley's records and his studio, so we sent him the record to master. He loved it and (by his own admission,) did not have to do to much to master it. I have a live band now and we are playing some shows (hopefully, we will get more offers.) They were not on the recordings, but will help play the songs out live. Kinlin & Jim Ritchie from GUNS UP! are currently playing with me. If they are interested, we will continue to keep doing this, either as a three-piece or a four-piece. I play guitar and sing live, though, I'd rather just play [than] front the band."

- Daniel Lajoie (@dmlajoie)

CREDIT: simpsonsXcore (@simpsonsxcore)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 Wrap-up/2020 Kick-off Singles List Featuring The Cloaks, F.E.B. (Four Elements & Beyond,) Griff/Scorcese, MANIKINETER & Rolled Gold

Happy New Year to all of our trusty readers! 2020 marks 10 consecutive years of The Witzard, which is a little hard to believe, even for me! It's been a great ride thus far and we greatly appreciate everyone that visits and supports our site on a regular basis! I'm hoping to do a full site re-design in 2020 (something I've wanted to do for a few years!) but my wife and I are expecting our first child this Summer... so, we'll just have to see what happens, honestly. Hope everyone had a happy and safe holidays season! Here's a selection of new singles that were released over the holidays; let's just call it a best of 2019 year-end/2020 kick-off singles feature. Truth be told, these are some of our favorite artists here at The Witzard and we're excited to see/hear what they have in store for 2020! Festive Beastie Boys artwork courtesy of Pollywog Crew (@pollywogcrew.)


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
It's A New Year, Wavy Baby!

"Worthy" was originally released as part of The Cloaks' 2019 album, amazingly-titled CLOAK ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. It primarily featured, of course, The Cloaks' core line-up of emcees AWOL One & GEL ROC and in-house producer Awkward, along with guest emcee Kool Keith. Days before year's end, The Cloaks returned with an Awkward-produced Remix of "Worthy," this time, with DJ D-Styles of BEAT JUNKIES, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and Third Sight fame. It's without a doubt, one Hell of a remix that brings, the heat, ramps up the original "Worthy," and makes room for some world-class scratches and DJ wizardry from D-Styles. Stream The Cloaks' "Worthy" (Remix) now, via AVB/Alpha Pup Records.

Four Elements & Beyond AKA F.E.B. is a New York-based Renaissance Hip-Hop crew/collective consisting of emcee/producer Freak Tha Monsta, emcee/illustrator Miggs Son Daddy, and emcee/coach Werd Life. "F.E.B. is doing what they do straight through into The New Year. With new music incubating, be prepared for consistent heaters from the crew, starting with this light joint by Miggs & [Werd] Life over Alchemist drums," reads a new Bandcamp Description. "Not for Sale" was, seemingly, created atop a mysterious beat lifted from Evidence & The Alchemist's beloved Hip-Hop super-group, Step Brothers. F.E.B. warm fans to expect new music from the group, as well as individual members, throughout 2020. Four Elements & Beyond/F.E.B.'s latest full-length effort, Brush Strokes, a Jazz/Hip-Hop album is now available on streaming services, as well as CD and vinyl.

Following last year's extremely strong wrestling-themed album, Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint, Griff/Scorcese have returned with a "Classie Freddie Blassie" (Sheik​/​Volkoff Remix) with guest emcee Zilla Rocca. It appears as though said Sheik/Volkoff Remix was created by Jason Griff, who, additionally, produced the entirety of Dream Team. In addition to the album's central character, Malcolm Bivens FKA Stokely Hathaway, "Classie Freddie Blassie" (Sheik​/​Volkoff Remix) features lyrical allusions to The Iron Shiek & Nikolai Volkoff, as its title suggests. Zilla Rocca fits in perfectly amidst all the sonic calamity here! Griff/Scorcese's Dream Team: A Stokely Hathaway Joint, as well as Zilla Rocca's latest effort, '96 MENTALITY. are both currently available to stream, purchase, or download.

Carl Kavorkian, under his MANIKINETER alter-ego, has now returned with his first effort of 2020, a new single entitled "Sizzlean." Quietly unleashed at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, "Sizzlean" was released exclusively to Spotify & Apple Music. Following a string of loose non-album/EP singles, it appears as though we're inching closer and closer to Kavorkian's debut full-length as MANIKINETER. Carl Kavorkian recently told The Witzard, via email, that he "remixed a track for [Uncommon] Nasa, but ended up using a different beat. Didn't want the beat to go to waste, so I f**ked it up and added vocals and made a MANIKINETER track out of it." "Sizzlean" is now available to stream or download exclusively on Spotify & Apple Music.

Rolled Gold had quite the productive year last year: self-releasing four beat tape EP's and a couple stand-alone singles. Right before year's end, Rolled Gold's returned with one final effort for 2019, a single entitled "wavy in the whip." It features original beats, musical backing, embellishments, etc. created by Rolled Gold and his circle of close friends and collaborators, which was then, sampled and meticulously re-arranged by Harry Metz himself. "wavy in the whip" features vocal delivery/rhymes from Uncle Crimson, piano by Margel "The Sophant" Overton, upright bass by Ray Bailey, and cover art designed by Rolled Gold's own father, Richard Metz. Rolled Gold's "wavy in the whip" is currently available to purchase, stream, or download as a Bandcamp-only exclusive.