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Showing posts from 2020

The Witzard Premiere: Last Letters Share 2000's Pop-punk-evoking "I Love You, Amy Smart" Single & Lyric Video (Old Sport Records)

Earlier this month, we received a cold-sent email from Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Charles "Charlie" Iwuc. His latest musical outlet, Last Letters (truly a one-man band) bills themselves as "S A D P U N K S I N C E T H E N I N E T I E S" across their Bandcamp page. Following stints in a number of bands who played The Vans Warped Tour, as well as Beach Folk trio The Gulls, Iwuc first formed Last Letters during the spring of 2016. Charlie Iwuc shared Last Letters' debut EP, Nothing to Write Home About, via Old Sports Records, the following fall. He's since written, recorded, and self-released a variety of one-off singles and would-be festive favorites across Last Letters' ever-evolving Bandcamp page. Just this year, Iwuc has quiety released Last Letters singles "Westbound Sign," "Stuck On You," "No Action," an Alternate Version of "Stuck On You," and, most recently, "

Liberty & Justice Premeire "MAD WORLD" Music Video from Upcoming Pressure at New Noise (Contra Records/Death Exclamations)

Aside from The Clash and despite what Spotify thought (Rockabye Baby! was my "TOP ARTIST") I think, it's pretty safe to say Liberty & Justice were amongst my Favorite Artists of 2020. They self-released a series of singles and charasmatic covers—which largely seem to now be absent—on their Bandcamp page, as well as a phenomenal EP entitled MY AMERICA. We very much enjoyed their pandemic cover of Robyn's "Dacing On My Own" and it's accompanying socially-distant remotely-recorded music video and were fortunate enough to host a premiere of Liberty & Justice's video for their Green Day cover of "Jason Andrew Relva (J.A.R.)" Frontman Ryan "Crowns" Taylor even curated an installment of our recurring column, With The Quickness entitled Telephone Road Street Essentials, Vol. 1 featuring Skinhead, Street Punk & Oi! stand-outs. All the while, we've been hearing rumblings about Liberty & Justice's For All follow-

the story of the PUNCHLINE holiday classic "ALL HOPPED UP ON JINGLE BELLS" from Redeye 2008 Holiday Sampler (Modern Short Stories)

Last year, we spoke with Pittsburgh Pop-punk band Punchline about one of our personal favorite tracks from 2003's A Santa Cause: It's A Punk Rock Christmas, "Icicles." It's easily one of the shining moments on the back half of said CD comp. leading into Nerf Herder's special hidden track, "Santa's Got A Mullet." Lo and behold, this is just one of Punchline's lesser-known Christmas classics; actually, there seem to be four total (one, we just discovered this monring while writing this!) including "All Hopped Up On Jingle Bells" from Redeye 2008 Holiday Sampler, "I Always See You In December" from Happy Holidays, I Miss You , "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" from Punk Rock Christmas 2 , and, of course, "Icicles" from A Santa Cause. Following the widespread success of last year's the story of the PUNCHLINE holiday classic "ICICLES" from A Santa Cause: It's A Punk Rock Christmas, we

Rob Kovacs Shares "Fizzle" & "Here In The Future" from Upcoming Solo Debut Let Go (The Witzard Interview)

Rob Kovacs (CREDIT: J. Bartholomew) We first came into contact with Rob Kovacs very recently, as he was one of the primary driving forces behind Mega Ran & K-Murdock (Bits & Rhymes') Forever Famicom: Diamond Edition . Essentially, a re-mixed, re-mastered, re-released 10th anniversary edition of Bits & Rhymes' 2010 collaborative debut, Forever Famicom. For this Diamond Edition re-issue, EVERY in-game sample was meticulously and pain-stakingly re-played by the talented pianist Rob "88bit" Kovacs. Yes, Kovacs moonlights as 88bit, a project wherein he frequently re-plays and re-interprets popular Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in-game soundtracks note-for-note across his ivory keys. Rob Kovacs is a multi-talented recording artist, professional pianist, award-winning composer, and singer-songwriter. He toured and released one record with the piano-based trio, Return of Simple, and started the Indie Rock band, Math + Logic , before embarking on a solo ca

Scone Ca$h Players Founder Adam Scone Compares & Contrasts 2008 & 2020 Versions of THE MIND BLOWER (Mango Hill Records/Flamingo Time)

The Mind Blower 2008 & 2020 Covers (CREDIT: A. Scone/Jackson Cochrane & Jason Joshua) Scone Ca$h Players make "Heavy, Heavy No Bullsh*t Funk" and have often been described as "Organ Funk band from Miami, Florida." Sconce Cash Players founder and organist Adam Scone has released three full-lengths between 2008-19, The Mind Blower, Blast Furnace! and As The Screw Turns all with a mixed bag of talented players. Although, their 2008 debut has effectively been re-mixed, re-mastered, re-packaged, and re-released on super-limited edition vinyl for the first time EVER on Jason Joshua & The Beholders frontman Jason Joshua's own Mango Hill Records and their Flamingo Time sub-label. We spoke with Adam Scone himself about the varying similarities and differences between the 2008 and 2020 versions of The Mind Blower and Mr. Jason Joshua was kind enough to provide us with an intro/foreword, both of which you will now see below, lightly edited for your enjoyment

3 Feet High & Rising: German Proto-Metal/Doom Funk Outfit Tetrao Urogallus Share "Euphorbia Helioscopia" (Color Red Records)

Not too long ago, we told you about Contemporary Soul, Mod-Jazz, and R&B outfit Hamburg Spinners based out of Hamburg, Germany; at the time, Hamburg Spinners were gearing up to unleash their long-awaited debut album, Skorpion Im Stiefel , which has since been effectively released on Légère Recordings. Now, it has been announced that three of Hamburg Spinners' four members—Dennis Rux, David Nesselhauf, and Carsten Meyer—have launched yet another German Doom Funk/Proto-Metal band, Tetrao Urogallus. In addition to Rux on electric guitar, Nesselhauf on bass, and Carsten on electric organ/synthesizer, Tetrao Urogallus' expanded line-up, also, includes drummer Corneel Canters, trumpet player Hans-Christian Stephan, and saxophonist Alexander "Kimo" Eiserbeck. Euphorbia Helioscopia by Tetrao Urogallus We recently received a press release introducing us to the band, which explains: "Tetrao Urogallus bridges the gap between Heavy Metal & Psychedelic Instrum

The Clash Share Don Letts-directed Music Video for "The Magnificent Seven" Coinciding with SANDINISTA!'s 40th Anniversary (Sony Music)

The Clash @visionscollage (PHOTO CREDIT: Ebet Roberts) While my Spotify Wrapped said my Top Artist of 2020 was Rockabye Baby! (we have a 5-month-old son!) but I would beg to differ... it was The Clash. Since first discovering Punk/Classic Rock around age 15-16, The Clash have been one of my personal favorite bands and I've only become more of a fan the older I get. The Clash always just seemed to "get" it, they were unique enough, approachable enough, progressive enough, political enough, and without a doubt, cool enough! It seems like in uncertain times such as these, which we've all experienced again and again throughout 2020, The Clash have only grown more poignant and more essential to my own personal stability. Here at The Witzard, we've had a number of cohorts and close "online" friends of ours assembled Punk-minded playlists, a few of which, primarily focused on The Clash; these including, but not limited to, Spotify playlists curated by John Y

Madlib & Four Tet Share "Road of The Lonely Ones" from Upcoming Collaborative Album Sound Ancestors (Madlib Invazion)

Madlib & Four Tet at Ed Wilson's Brawn - CREDIT: Egon (@nowagain) Just this year alone, extremely prolific DJ, producer, emcee, and multi-instrumentalist Madlib has self-released Bandana Beats (an instrumental version of his 2019 album with Freddie Gibbs,) The Professionals/The Professionals Instrumentals with his brother, Oh No, a special Piñata '64 variant of his 2014 album with Gibbs, and Pardon My French as The Jahari Massamba Unit with Karriem Riggins. But somewhat unsurprisingly, Madlib isn't done just yet... yesterday afternoon, long-time friend, ex-Stones Throw general manager, Now-Again Records founder and president, and parter in Madlib Invazion Eothen "Egon" Alapatt (@nowagain) made a surprise announcement on Instagram. Within a lengthy post, Egon shared Madlib and like-minded beatsmith Four Tet had been working together on a collaborative release. "Sound Ancestors, arranged by Kieran Hebden, coming January 2021 on Madlib Invazion. First s

Dave Grohl & Greg Kurstin Join Forces for 8-part The Hanukkah Sessions with Beastie Boys "Sabotage" Cover (Night One)

"Hi, I'm Greg Kurstin and I'm Jewish. And I'm Dave Grohl. I am NOT Jewish... but this year, instead of doing a Christmas song, Greg & I decided to celebrate Hanukkah by recording eight songs by eight famous Jewish artists and releasing one song each night of Hanukkah for you. So, we hope you enjoy! Happy Hanukkah!" close friends, cohorts, and collaborators Dave Grohl & Greg Kurstin explained within a recent video. They were, of course, announcing what we now know to be dubbed The Hanukkah Sessions! credited to Kurstin x Grohl. However, thisisn't the first time Grohl & Kurstin have worked together, as Kurstin produced Grohl's band, Foo Fighter's critically-acclaimed 2017 album, Concrete & Gold . It appears as though Greg Kurstin was, also, behind the boards for Foo Fighters' upcoming tenth studio album, Medicine At Midnight, as he shares a co-producer credit along with The Foos. Plus, Dave Grohl fittingly plays drums on "Littl

No Reading Allowed Author Raj Haldar Returns with New Lushlife Single "Hessdalen Lights" from Redamancy EP (Fortune Tellers)

Lushlife (Rajesh "Raj" Haldar) has long been one of our favorite emcees/producers here at The Witzard. We've been closely paying attention to and following his career since about 2005 upon the release of his Kanye West/Beach Boys mash-up mixtape, West Sounds . Lushlife has since let loose a gaggle of genre-defying releases including, but not limited to, collaborations with Ariel Pink, Killer Mike, CSLSX, Cities Aviv, STS, Dice Raw, Heems, Zilla Rocca, Sad13, R. Stevie Moore, Kevin D'Mello (Fakevinyl, Forevertron,) Camp Lo, eLZhi, billy woods, Moor Mother, John Morrison, and Khruangbin. As you can see, Lushlife has always comfortably teetered the fine line in-between Hip-Hop/Indie Rock; a prime example of this being "In Soft Focus" from Lushlife's 2009 effort, Cassette City, credits Rajesh Haldar with backing vocals/turntables, drums from Kyle Cedermark, primary features from Ariel Pink & eLZhi, and production from Lushlife himself. Lushlife

With The Quickness #16: Goin' Off - The Story of The Juice Crew & Cold Chillin' Records Author Ben Merlis' Punk/Hip-Hop Collision Playlist

Ben Merlis in a BOLD T-shirt pictured with Mr. T (CREDIT: Wyatt Lavasseur) I think about the intersection of Punk & Hip-Hop quite often. Both are street-level genres that were initially rejected by the mainstream, chided for not being "real music." Punks had to book shows at VFW halls and DJ crews set up in public parks well before most of the performers or audience was of drinking age. Both fostered fanatical devotees, who argue that these are, actually, all-encompassing cultures, rather than radio formats or sections in record stores. Being that Punk & Hip-Hop have so much in common, it shouldn't be a surprise that some of the first people outside The Bronx to be bit by "The Rap Bug" were Punks. Dante Ross, who grew up on The Lower East Side of Manhattan going to see bands like Sham 69 wound up doing A&R for Tommy Boy and Elektra, signing groups like Brand Nubian, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, and K.M.D. One of his bosses back then, Tommy Boy

Static Age Productions Shares First Teaser Trailer for The Blasting Room Documentary Film (Coming In 2021)

The Blasting Room is an iconic studio based in Fort Collins, Colorado co-owned by legendary Punk/Hardcore drummer Bill Stevenson and his engineer counterpart Jason Livermore. Additional engineers and revered staff members at The Blasting Room include Andrew "The Silent Assassin" Berlin, Chris Beeble, and Jonathan Luginbill. Stevenson is, of course, best known for his work with Descendents, Henry Rollins-era Black Flag, ALL/Tony All, and Good Riddance frontman Russ Rankin's side-band, Only Crime. However, over the course of his storied career, Bill Stevenson has additionally spent time playing with Elevator, Higley, The Last, The Lemonheads, Minutemen/Black Flag super-group MinuteFlag, The Nig-Heist, October Faction, and Rise Against. Legend has it, ALL used the advance they received from their record label to secure a location for a studio and practice space, which, eventually, became The Blasting Room. In addition to Bill Stevenson's own bands and passion pr

Jenny Lewis & Serengeti Join Forces for Festive "Unblu" Single First of 5+ Planned Collaborations (Loves Way)

Jenny Lewis is an Indie Rock singer-songwriter, musician, and actress best known for her work with Rilo Kiley, Jenny & Johnny, and Nice As F**k, as well as The Postal Service and The Watson Twins. David Cohn, better known as Serengeti, is a Chicago-based rapper, who has always seemingly teetered on the fringe of Indie Rock. In addition to his vast body of work as both Serengeti & Kenny Dennis, Cohn has collaborated with the likes of Renee-Louise Carafice & Tony Trimm as Yoome, Son Lux and Sufjan Stevens as Sisyphus (and S / S / S,) Yoni Wolf (WHY?) as Yoni & Geti, Matthewdavid as Davis, Workaholics' Anders Holm as PERFECTO! Advance Base, TOBACCO, and Child Actor. Earlier this year, Serengeti released an album titled The Gentle Fall largely based around sampled guitar loops from Christian Lee Hutson and his latest album, With Greg from Deerhoof, is just that: 8-9 songs recorded with Greg Saunie from Deerhoof. Now, as you may have guessed from the aforementione d

The Hold Steady Return with "Family Farm" from Upcoming 2021 Full-length Open Door Policy (Positive Jams/Thirty Tigers)

The Hold Steady (CREDIT: Adam Parshall) It would be a little hard-pressed and slightly reach to call The Hold Steady a Punk/Hardcore band,but they definitely seem to be a crew of former Punks/presently Punk-adjacent musicians. The Hold Steady's current 6-piece line-up consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Craig Finn, drummer Bobby Drake, pianist/keyboardist Franz Nicolay, bass guitarist Galen Polivka, lead guitarist Tad Kubler, and rhythm guitarist Steve Selvidge. Finn is seemingly a fan, mutual admirer, and supporter of Titus Andronicus , Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem,) Against Me!/Laura Jane Grace, and Jeff & Laura AKA Jeff Rosenstock & Laura Stevenson (Bomb The Music Industry!) Plus, last year, Craig Finn released "It's Never Been A Fair Fight" as a solo single, which appeared to be a direct response to his feelings towards the state of the Punk/Hardcore scene at the time. Bobby Drake spent time playing with Arm, who are described on Discogs as b

John Morrison's Five Great Guest Spots On The Roots' Do You Want More?!!!??! (HALFWAY BOOKS)

The Roots 1994: B.R.O.THER ?, HUB, Malik B. & Black Thought (SOURCE: Hip Hop Nostalgia) As tight and insular a unit as The Roots can be, a great deal of their identity is rooted in their open and experimental approach to collaboration. Throughout the band's life, they've brought in a revolving cast of vocalists, poets, emcees, singers, and DJ's [who] laid down their own unique contributions to The Roots' sound. Like each of the band's albums that followed it, Do You Want More?!!!??! (DYM?!!!??!) is packed with outstanding performances from guests. Here are five great guest spots on Do You Want More?!!!??! Rufus Harley North Carolina-born bagpiper, Rufus Harley spent most of his life in Philadelphia's Germantown and North Philly sections. An unsung innovator, Harley would spend the 60's and 70's carving out a space for the bagpipes in Jazz with his delightful, Soul-Jazz records for the Atlantic label, as well as his highly spiritual Jazz cla