Monday, April 30, 2012

James Petralli Re-covers Tascam Portastudio: "Fun Friday" (White Denim Facebook)

Seems as though White Denim's primary singer-songwriter, James Petralli decided to partake in one of Middle America's most cherished pastimes over the weekend: "Spring Cleaning." Like all too many of us, Petralli was rooting through his Austin, TX garage and quickly dug up a lost treasure... Tascam Portastudio fully in toe, Petralli then took to Facebook, asking White Denim's trusty fans to submit classic songs that they'd like to hear covered. By late Friday evening, James Petralli re-emerged complete with a 6-track zipfile, Fun Friday: Elvis Costello, Ween, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, King Crimson, and White Stripes' "WEAReGOinGTObefriENDs" (2002). Arguably a tad bit more laidback than White Denim's usual rapid-paced, Jazz-Fusion output, Fun Friday was recorded straight to Petralli's handy Tascam Portastudio over roughly 5-6 hours... further topped with a few Austin Jenkins-crafted guitar riffs. It should also be of particular note that a few of the more interesting [rejected] fan-submitted requests included the likes of Creedence, Tom Tom Club, James Brown, The Cramps, Phil Collins, and Fugazi. White Denim's 2 latest releases, "D" [full-length] and Takes Place In Your Workspace EP are now available for your listening pleasure (Downtown Records).

Shake, Rattle & ROAR: The Lions - "Untitled CD-R" (Advance Review, Digital)

"This one's an exclusive for the Stones Throw Digital Discography subscribers: It's a sampler of a few tracks off the upcoming album by The Lions, which we're planning to release this Summer. We've made just a few of these CD's, strictly for non-commercial use. The Lions are a 12-member Reggae group from Los Angeles."

- Stones Throw @

(1) Seemingly the title track from their upcoming debut, "This Generation" was quietly premiered on Stones Throw's J.Rocc-curated Podcast #70 (January). The Lions meld together their vast musical "chops," employing a gaggle of original Roots Rock Reggae-reminiscent sound effects. Pretty sure "This Generation" discusses the fact that kids these days, while often misguided, are getting back into tasteful music and means of playing: 12" vinyl... Check out the Dub [remixed] version up above.

(2) "Roll It 'Round" plays out like a clever mix between Motown and 2 Tone, complete with a horn section. I must admit that Black Shakespeare's thick Jamaican accent is slightly difficult to understand @ times, the meaningful tidbits surely shine through and you can tell that every word is truly coming from his heart! Hands down favourite line: "And if you want me girl, I'll feed you appetite. Sprinkle little pepper and we shake a licka spice, too." Juxtaposed against a smooth chorus with assistance from Malik Moore & Deston Berry's sweet Falsetto stylings, a 3-part harmony which kinda remind me of Mayer Hawthorne.

(3) As weird as it sounds, "Let's Go Out Tonight" kind of has a Stevie Wonder meets The Impressions/Miracles ladies-love-me [brazen] jam feel. Frankly, it's over before you know it. But man, what a nice little 2:30 Pop ditty! When it comes down to it, this track is a Dancehall-inspired composition that namechecks a few other assorted genres of influence. "Let's Go Out Tonight" features Black Shakespeare toasting on the verses, backed by Alex, Malik & Deston's smooth as velvet 3-part harmony.

(4) "Picture On The Wall" (Dub) is essentially laid out like most Reggae Dub tracks: A precursor to the original track, you can tell that this re-mix contains fragmented chunks of it. Kind of cool because you can speculate as to what the final version might sound like, if you mentally cut/paste assorted sections from "Picture On The Wall" together. Dub music was birthed out of the 1960's as a sub-genre under Reggae. Lee "Scratch" Perry, King Tubby, and Errol Thompson were amongst the first to manipulate and re-shape recordings, generally putting emphasis on the drum-bass "riddim" section.

(5) "New Girl" (Dub) - Please see above description, mon. ^
Stones Throw is expecting to liberate The Lions' new album "This Generation" right around July 2012. Little details were available @ press time, but stay tuned for further, solid album release specs. I'm sure it will be a densely layered album full of varied, mixed styles: Motown, 2 Tone, Psych Jazz, Soul-Funk, Roots Rock Reggae, Dancehall, Hip-Hop, Rocksteady, and much more!

* Editor's Note: Shouts to The Lions' producer-guitarist, Dan "Connie Price" Ubick for clearing up a few areas of concern and further certifying this piece "Kosher." Expect to see a featured interview and companion mystery playlist COMING SOON!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tougher Than Nigerian Hair: The Very Best - "Yoshua Alikuti" (Village Beat Re-make)

Love him or hate him, we must all admit that Lil Wayne is indeed an ever-lasting Pop Culture icon figure. Quite the prolific musician, I personally his collective output to that of Bob Dylan: You either "get it" or don't, no one's really in the middle. Aside from it's preceding lead-up mixtapes, Tha Carter III is generally regarded as one of Lil Wayne's strongest albums. The Very Best simply list their Facebook Influences as "Lil Wayne and Phil Collins." Interesting!?

Malawi-born singer, Esau Mwamwaya and Johan Hugo (Radioclit DJ) are gearing up up release their sophomore album this Summer, MTMTMK; The Very Best's long-awaited follow-up to Warm Heart of Africa has been in-the-works for the past 2 years... slowly recorded across Sweden, New York, and Malawi has now finally come to fruition! "Yoshua Alikuti" was filmed by Village Beat throughout Kenya's capital city, Nairobi. It basically showcases Esau & Johan doing their best Lil Wayne/bodyguard impressions a la "A Milli" (2008). Familiar, albeit slightly tweaked, scenes include: barber shop shape-up, red jeans with hi-tops, adoring fans, backstage footage, an ever-growing posse, censored beverage, TO BE CONTINUED, etc. All and all, pretty cool to see another culture's take on such a massive American hit! The Very Best's MTMTMK is slated for a July 14th release, by way of Moshi Moshi (Cooperative Music).

Friday, April 20, 2012

Guess Who's Back, Back Again?: Mr. Moot & The... - "Change My Ways" (Trenton Mix CD-R #2)

Mr. Moot was raised by a pack of flesh-ravaging wolves. So, his life wellness & survival skills are damn near stone sold immaculate, as should be expected. "Moot" is actually derived from the ancient Native American term for SWAGnificent and his favourite rapper is either Bob Dylan or DMX. After compiling a 10-12 song setlist culled from his comprehensive 100-200 track backcatalog, Mr. Moot & The... played one triumphant first/last show down in Miss' Basement (April 2011). It was recorded to tape, but the film reel has seemingly been lost [or stolen by supervillains]. All that's left are the lone shards of magical memories captured by the chosen few in that basement on that very night!

Mr. Moot started out making "Hip-Hop beats" around 2000-02, which has now morphed into something entirely different. He usually laments about the trials and tribulations of The American Dream: Trying to simultaneously attain love, money, bitches, POWER, drugs, and pizza. I have a collection of 36 Mr. Moot recordings, largely ripped from CD-R's found in the soundsystems of refurbished cars and a few directly transmitted from Mr. Moot himself. A very mysterious and gifted dude, Mr. Moot is only seen when he wants to be seen and has something mildly offensive meaningful to say; But even then, you might not see him still. Mr. Moot & The... are rumored to be planning a comeback tour.

On the heels of said "Hometown Reunion" jaunt, Mr. Moot has uploaded his premier 3-set of tracks to PureVolume: "Change My Ways" (lost single), "Oh How True" and "Where Are The Lyrics?" Keep your ear(s) fixed on Mr. Moot's newly-formed upload page - as more content should be uploaded gradually, over time: new tracks, old demos, unfinished beats, etc. Trust me, I've heard a good chunk of his material and this isn't something you wanna miss! Word on the street is that Mr. Moot is fixing to send a hand-made demo CD-R over to Stones Throw, with [high] hopes of scoring a future record deal!?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Axis, Bold As Love: Interviewing Baltimore's David Jacober (Friends Records)

(1) Do you dig much Hip-Hop? If so, what were a few of your favourite new artists/albums of 2011?

I really like that new-ish Young Jeezy [-feat. André 3000 & Jay-Z] track, "I Do" and lately that has kept me waiting for it to come on the radio again. I also like that new song by Cash Out called, "Cashin' Out." I wasn't too excited about any new Hip-Hop artists this past year, much less could I tell you about an entire album from 2011. For the record, Lil' Wayne is the rapper that I am most impressed by currently (he is insanely prolific) and I do have all of the Baltimore Hip-Hop stations saved as presets in my ride. 92Q is what's up.

(2) How would you describe the overall sound of the new Dope Body record, Natural History? Cause "Lazy Slave" is pretty Hardcore, dude!

It's a little difficult to try to describe an overall sound of Natural History because of it's wide range of moods and styles. Some songs are more Sunburst-Classic Rock than others while some are pretty "Heavy," like you said. There might even be a few tracks that are flat out silly. The production by Jay Robbins is certainly the meatiest and tastiest that we've ever had. It's a proper Sludge Rocker [Dad Rocker]. THANKS JAY!!!

(3) Brett Yale describes Water Karaoke as "weird pop music" (Bandcamp) & it was further described by yourself as "lush, textural pop jams." So, I was wondering... What sort of Pop albums from your childhood/past helped shape this very record?

When I first got into music, I focused mainly on Classic Rock but, I have come to love Alternative from the 90's, as well. Some of my favorite Pop albums ever include Led Zeppelin I, II, III, IV... Jimi Hendrix: Axis Bold As Love, Weezer (Blue), Nirvana: Nevermind, Prince: Purple Rain, Talking Heads: Fear of Music, and Nas: The Illmatic, just to name a few.

(4) Baltimore seems like a very fruitful, creative city these days! Have any friends in bands that you think my readers & I should check out?

Definitely check out RoomRunner, the new Grungy Rock band, brain child of my good friend and fellow drummer Denny Bowen (Double Dagger, Dan Deacon Ensemble). Rick Rab and DJ Dog Dick both have full-lengths coming out on HOSS this year that I am stoked on. If you haven't heard Dustin Wong of Ponytail's solo project (Thrill Jockey) then you def need to do that. Also, CEX and Jeremy Hymann (Ponytail) have a new project called Sprayer that totally shreds. There's too much to mention.

(5) Can you tell me a little bit about the creation of "STEPS" (music video), which was created with director Mark Brown?

Mark and I were next door neighbors and I had asked him to help me make a YouTube-Karaoke-esque style video for my song. In the same way that a lot of people post videos of themselves singing songs they love and portraying their fantasies of being performers, I wanted mine to show that imagination can really manifest itself as reality. This is some small proof of that. I love what Mark does with layering and colors in his work so it was a natural collaboration. Artist Beth Hoeckel did the collage work on the wall behind me in the video (my old room at The Copycat), which to me was the perfect background for a tripped out karaoke stage and the combination of the music, video and art made a nice Psych eye-candy bar.

(6) Friends Records' site says that Water Karaoke was slowly recorded over the course of the past 3 years. What compelled you to finally finish & release it?

I suppose it just took me that long to compile what I thought of as a coherent group of work that fit together as a whole. I was pretty busy with other projects for those 3 years so this was on the back burner in that way. I've always been compelled to write, record and release solo music but I wanted to make sure it was good enough to share.

(7) I know that you also play with Dan Deacon & Holy Ghost Party, too. Any new music from those projects coming anytime soon?

Big Time. Holy Ghost Party has a 12" EP called, THE WEATHER CHANNEL coming out on HOSS RECORDS this Summer. We are also currently working on our next full length, which we are really stoked about. As for Dan Deacon, he has 2 releases coming out on Domino Records this year that will be excellent no doubt!

(8) Did you play all of the instruments on Water Karaoke or did you have "a little help from your friends?"

It's literally all me except for the bass guitar part on "STEPS" (played by Dan Frome).

(9) Madonna or Cyndi Lauper? Please explain your choice.

What a tough question. Madonna is so epic and has tons of great jams and taught us to "Vogue," true! But i feel like Lauper has written more songs that I consider faves and she would probably be more down to earth in real life. Is the question "Who's music do I like better?" - I'm going with Cyndi Lauper for now.

(10) What roles did Dan Frome & Matt Schulman play in the creation of your album?

Matt mastered my album at his place, MobTown Studios in Baltimore. He made it louder and shinier. After writing, arranging and demoing all of the songs on my own I re-recorded the drums and vocals at Dan Frome's studio. Then he mixed it a lot on his own before we finally mixed it together. Dan Frome is the man!!! And I want everyone to know how great he is at what he does. Hit him up to record, if you're in Baltimore.

(11) Do you plan to tour behind Water Karaoke this Spring/Summer? Hypothetical question: If you had an unlimited tour budget, what sort of stage theatrics (visual effects) would you employ?

I currently have no touring plans for my solo material but maybe something will come up, who knows. For now I'll just be doing occasional local shows and recording more. If I had an unlimited budget, I would have pyrotechnics galore, giant projections and aquatic animal shaped fireworks. I'd really just like to be able to afford Fish Entrees at gourmet restaurants a lot.

(12) Assuming that you play a handful of assorted instruments in your various musical projects, which is your personal favourite to play live?

My favorite is drums, but I also really love to sing and play marimba. It depends on the project and the day. I recently bought a new crash cymbal (that actually works) and a double bass drum pedal, so right now drums are definitely winning.

(13) I must admit, I'm very intrigued yet confused by the Water Karaoke album cover. But what the Hell is going on in that picture!? Care to describe the series of events that led up to that very photo?

It's just me walking around on the beach in Rehoboth, DE singing nothing at all discernible to my girlfriend. I paid to rent a PA and a generator for an hour to sing into a mic, through speakers on a beach at night. This was a fulfillment of a dream I seem to revisit a lot during the day time.

(14) Now that you've released Water Karaoke, what's next for Jacober?

Next is Dope Body's new record on Drag City May 22 and touring to support it, as well as Holy Ghost Party's [12" EP] this Summer on HOSS and hopefully some touring with that project as well. On the solo tip, I'm going to keep writing and recording music to start working on a next release. I'm taking it a slow and working out a live set while writing new stuff and recording on tape. I'm stoked to be busy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rooftop Concert, 2012: Diarrhea Planet - "Warm Ridin'" (Nashville House-Party)

Diarrhea Planet are exactly the kind of dudes I can get down with: hard-partying, guitar-drenched, Southern gentlemen with a Punk Rock edge! I must admit, I regularly talk with 3 of it's 6 Nashville-bred members through email, of course. Casey, Hodan & Evan C. Bird are really great dudes who really haven't let their recent wave of fame get to the heads and definitely appreciate their adoring fans. Since first hearing about their Infinity Cat debut, Loose Jewels over @ Prefix last October... I've worked "hands on" with Diarrhea Planet on a few assorted pieces for "The Witzard."

Fresh on the heels of their recent SXSW 2012 appearance(s), Casey & Hodan mentioned a few upcoming happenings through email: Diarrhea Planet are currently in the studio... writing and recording material for a new 7" single, flexidisc, Infinity Cat LP #2, and a Titus Andronicus split! While nothing really has a concrete release date just yet, all 4 of those forthcoming efforts should be issued by January 2013. Diarrhea Planet are also plotting dates for a nation-wide US Tour, roughly spanning May-August!

Anyways, I now present you with their latest music video: "Warm Ridin." It was liberated on April 16th, directed by GemsOnVHS, and partially filmed atop Anthony T.'s sun-drenched rooftop. I think it's safe to say that Diarrhea Planet threw a BITCHIN' party, grilled some burgers/dogs, lit a guitar on fire, and simply filmed the afternoon hi-jinx that ensued! Keep an eye out for live footage of their recent performance @ The Zombie Shop (Nashville), taped recently with The Ettes. Pick up a copy of Loose Jewels and stay tuned for some solid info on those upcoming Diarrhea Planet 2012-13 releases!

PARTY ANIMAL Playlist: Loren Moter's "Hardcore Punk" Selections (Bay Area Punk)

Dayglo Abortions - "Stupid Songs"

My favorite Canadian band of all time. This is the opening track on Dayglo's 2nd and most popular album, Feed Us a Fetus. For anyone not familiar with this groups work, this is probably the perfect first impression. If you dig this, look up "Stupid World" off the same aforementioned album. Side note: These guys sound exactly like the records live; They're really on top of their live performance!

Feederz - "Taking The Night"

Some bands mix music and performance art perfectly - This is one of those bands. Singer Frank Discussion opened fire on an audience with a machine gun full of blanks, got banned from 924 Gilman St. for wearing euthanized dogs like a stool and flinging it into the crowd, and stole Jello Biafra's wife (that last one I don't think was an "artistic statement" as much of it was just a dick move).

The Lewd - "Climate of Fear"

The Lewd are one of a long list of bands who migrated to The Bay Area for the thriving Punk/Alternative/whatever scene during the late 70's-early 80's (others include D.R.I., Verbal Abuse, The Feederz, and M.D.C.). This is a track from their American Wino album, which is a local favorite out here. The name "PARTY ANIMAL" and the song "Beer Truck On Fire" come from a "you had to be there" inside joke Victor [Kool A.D.] and me have from a show our old band. New Earth Creeps played with the Lewd and Verbal Abuse. "Party Animal" was what we called The Lewd's bassist that night.

Crucifucks - "Pig In a Blanket"

Another great/weird SF Punk band... In a similar vein as The Feederz and Dead Kennedys.

Fang - "An Invitation"

Most people who know of this band only really know the songs "The Money Will Roll Right In" and "I Wanna Be On TV," which have been covered by several bands that have attained mainstream success/recognition - The humor of which is pretty obvious. Fang stopped playing when their singer Sammytown served 7 years for second degree murder. A lot of people boycott the band for it. When he got out, he put the band back together and they put out the album, American Nightmare, which is a great fucking album! I wanted to post the song "Burn It Down" off that album, but it's not up on YouTube. This song is my favorite original era Fang song.

Christ On Parade - "Everyone's Crazy"

Late 80's-early 90's East Bay Hardcore or "Crust" band. Always thought they sounded like a cross between Subhumans and Rudimentary Peni. This is a good example of Hardcore bands' tendency to use Charles Manson sound clips. This one's at the end of the track, instead of the beginning though, which is kinda interesting.

Entombed - "Night of The Vampire" (Roky Erickson)

I love the original of this song, I love this cover, and this video is fucking EPIC!

Filth - "The List"

The Blatz/Filth shit split is a necessary piece in any East Bay Punk Rocker's collection. This is probably the best known/liked song off of Filth's side.

The Unseen - "Beat It" (Micheal Jackson)

Please see my notes for Entombed - "Night of The Vampire" (similar-minded cover).

Alright, hope you enjoy the tunes and maybe discovered some bands you hadn't heard of. Peace.

- Loren Moter (PARTY ANIMAL)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

High5Collective Presents: Frank Ocean - "Thinking About You" (Def Jam Re-release)

(1) I really dig the high concept, mysterious/vagueness & Frank Ocean cameo behind "Thinking About You!" But the video might be a little hard for some viewers to follow... Can you please walk us through it's perceived concept?

No way... The video is how it is, the intention is for the viewer to pull the meaning that they want from the video. To us, explaining it would sort of ruin the concept and self relate-able emotion that is evoked in most people.

(2) I remember when "Thinking About You" was originally uploaded to Vimeo & then Def Jam soon yanked it. What made then now decide to adopt it as the track's Official Music Video?

No idea, we were just as surprised yesterday when we saw it popping up all over the internet.

(3) How did you guys initially get in touch with Frank Ocean to film his cameo? While small, his role as a nurse seems pretty pivotal to the video's overall concept. How much input did he really have in "Thinking About You"'s [visuals] final creation?

Frank hit us up to make the video for him. He wanted to be in it but minimally. He let us do whatever we wanted with the concept. Big ups to Frank for that; It's super rare an artist trusts us enough to do what we want, but he did and we really appreciated it.

(4) Have you heard any of Frank Ocean's upcoming Def Jam debut? Might you guys link back up for another music video?

Nah, we haven't heard anything. Maybe, maybe.

(5) What sort of projects are High5Collective currently working on & when might the be unveiled to the rest of the world!?

We just did a shoot this past weekend, and we got two more coming up in the coming week, then writing for a few more in May. Can't really say who yet, but we are stoked on all of em.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do: Major Lazer - "Get Free" (Amber Coffman)

While Philly DJ-producer Dilpo and his record label, Mad Decent have been an instrumental part of the ever-growing Electro House/Dubstep scene(s) since roughly, 2003... Most people really don't even realize how familiar they are with Diplo's discography: "Paper Planes," Kid Cudi, "Run The World (Girls)," Usher, Die Antwoord, Wale, Chris Brown Busta Rhymes, and even an upcoming Reggae album with Snoop Dogg. Dilpo's current passion project, Major Lazer was started out as a collaboration with Switch - who effectively jumped ship in Dec. 2011. Major Lazer is represented by a cartoon frontman who's basically a "bionic Jamaican super-commando and nightclub owner who fights zombies and vampires on a rocket-powered skateboard."

Diplo is currently hoed up in Kingston, Jamaica earnestly working on the proper follow-up to Major Lazer's well-received Indie Rock breakthrough, Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do (2009). The untitled album is rumored to feature appearances from a mix of friends-musicians: Vampire Weekend, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Sean Paul, Bruno Mars, Lykke Li, No Doubt, and Vybz Kartel. Yeah, a release date has yet to be announced, but I'd expect to see it @ some point during 2012-13. Major Lazer suddenly unveiled a BRAND NEW track late Sunday night, "Get Free." Although it showcases Amber Coffman (Dirty Projectors) on lead vocals, she is noticeably absent from "Get Free"'s companion [animated] music video that was released Monday morning. Pick up a digital copy for the price of a quick email addre$$ and while you're @ it, grab Major Lazer's OTHER semi-recent 2012 release: Original Don EP.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scientists Discover Cancer for Cure?: El-Producto - "The Full Retard" (Fat Possum)

For all intensive purposes, El-P and his Brooklyn-based crew, Company Flow (1992-2002) essentially spearheaded the formation of East Coast Underground ["Indie"] Hip-Hop. Company Flow has since disbanded and El-P recently dissolved his own record label, Definitive Jux. But El-Producto is still fairly active as a producer, solo artist, graphic designer, etc. Fresh on the heels of his upcoming solo album, Cancer for Cure (May 22nd), El-P has carefully re-aligned himself with the Brooklyn scene that he once helped create. Much like a returning, hard-partying frat boy, El-P now rolls with Indie Hip-Hop's finest up-and-comers: Das Racist, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Danny Brown, Killer Mike, Nocando, Aesop Rock, Despot, Cannibal Ox, and... The Mars Volta? El-P most recently lent his production talents to Das Racist and Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire's breakthrough efforts, Relax/Lost In Translation; Even spitting a few memorable bars, for good measure. El-P & Killer Mike's joint album, R.A.P. Music will actually see a wide release 1 week before Cancer for Cure on Williams Street Records.

"The Full Retard," which [not so] subtly references an infamous line uttered by Robert Downey, Jr.'s character from Tropic Thunder, is Cancer for Cure's first proper single. It was preceded by "Drones Over BKLYN" (Adult Swim) and it's companion remix, "Rush Over BKLYN" created for Legitmix. El-P recently told Pitchfork's very own Larry Fitzmaurice that "The Full Retard" isn't meant to offend anyone, "it's a fucking joke, a Pop Culture reference. Even the context of that reference itself isn't making fin of retarded people -- it's people condescending to retarded people. I mean, honestly. Blow me."

Complete with countless punchlines inter-woven throughout a hard-hitting Boom-Bap beat, "The Full Retard" sounds mildly similar to Def Jux's early cut & paste" sample-based output(s). Cancer for Cure is slated to feature contributions from a variety of El-Producto's friends-musicians: "Inter-Paul" Banks, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Danny Brown, Killer Mike, Despot, and Nick Diamonds (Islands). Head on over to Definitive Jux's now defunct website to pre-order Cancer for Cure and Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music... in a variety of formats and assorted packages, ranging from $12-85.

Eric Clapton Interviewing Jimi Hendrix: "RAP SHOW" (Himanshu & Kendrick Lamar)

The good people over @ VICE recently asked Das Racist to host an interview show of "rappers interviewing rappers" for their new music channel, noisey. Himanshu & Kool A.D. will reportedly alternate weeks hosting "RAP SHOW;" Episode #1 was uploaded just this past Friday [The 13th] and features Heems sitting down with Compton's favourite rapper, Kendrick Lamar. Imagine if Eric Clapton interviewed Jimi Hendrix and they talked about... notepads, lucid dreams, black hippies, "The N word," Home Improvement, 80's babies, and essentially everything BUT music. Well, this is exactly like that. Pretty cool concept nonetheless. I just hope that Das Racist & Kendrick Lamar decide to record and release a track together! Future episode of RAP SHOW will feature Himanshu & Kool A.D. interviewing Wiley, Tyler The Creator, Bun B, Killer Mike, Mystikal, Gunplay, etc. Make sure to go pick up [download] copies of Relax, Nehru Jackets, and The Palm Wine Drinkard. Kendrick Lamar's major label debut for Aftermath & TDE, "Good Kid In a Mad City," is coming soon!

Friday, April 13, 2012

#whitegirlproblems?: The Pretty Reckless - "Make Me Wanna Die" (Taylor Momsen)

Taylor "Cindy Lou Who" Momsen and her [teen] angst-filled Alternative Rock band, The Pretty Reckless are gearing up to join Marilyn Manson's Hey Cruel World... Tour. Momsen has been on "indefinite hiatus" from her infamous Gossip Girl acting gig since roughly 2010. But she's made good use of her new-found downtime, re-inventing herself and perusing her Rock "N" Roll fantasies along with The Pretty Reckless. Taylor Momsen says she's creatively influenced by Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The White Stripes, and Oasis; She's reportedly been messing around with music since the age of 8 and upon signing with Interscope Records (2009), has recruited a variety of band members, which now include: Ben Phillips, Mark Damon, and Jamie Perkins.

The Pretty Reckless' discography currently consists of one album and 2 EP's. The bulk of which, including full-length Light Me Up, were written-recorded along with famed producer Kato Khandwala. Sometime between 2010-12, Taylor Momsen decided to up and "quit acting forever" to focus on her green music career. While they've produced 4-5 music videos, The Pretty Reckless' most note-worthy claim to fame just might be "Make Me Wanna Die." It's companion clip features Momsen pouring her heart out and slowly literally stripping down, juxtaposed against the moonlight/fire. During "Make Me Wanna Die"'s peak in popularity, the track was strategically placed within Action flick Kick-Ass, an episode of Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries' trailer, and even Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (2011). If any of this seems mildly interesting, feel free to check out The Pretty Reckless on a string of state-side Marilyn Manson Hey Cruel World... Tour dates [through May 3rd] and pick up a copy of their latest effort: Hit Me Like a Man EP.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Late Night with The Ting Tings - "Hit Me Down, Sonny" (Captain Kirk Version)

I picked up a copy of The Ting Tings second album, Sounds from Nowheresville a week or 2 after it's March US release date. Pretty solid album, just not as instantly catchy as "That's Not My Name" or "Shut Up & Let Me Go." But hey, those are the kind of anti-calculated breakout hits that happen unexpectedly, very 10 years or so. The Ting Tings played Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night (April 11-12th) in support of a string of recent state-side tour dates. While not exactly a radio single, Katie & Jules ROCKED OUT to "Hit Me Down, Sonny." Dancing frontwoman Katie White was sporting some sort of sexy, mish-moshed little ensemble: trucker hat, red/white "sailor" T-shirt, mysterious buttons, booty shorts, and knee-high lace leggins. Jules de Martino was directly to the left of White on guitar & back-up vocals, behind the band was a dormant drumset. You can almost immediately tell that while "Hit Me Down, Sonny" isn't their strongest track, The Ting Tings can TOTALLY transform it into especially memorable live!

Midway through The Ting Tings' performance, just as the audience slowly began to applaud, Katie picked up a guitar and Jules traded his in for the empty drumkit... Captain Kirk emerged from the dark, smokey backdrop. The Roots' resident guitar player adds a whole 'nother layer of soulful Rock "N" Roll shred-age to "Hit Me Down, Sonny." In fact, The Ting Tings had so much fun taping the Fallon episode with their new-found friend [yesterday afternoon] that they invited Captain Kirk to play @ their New York area gig with MNDA last night. Katie & Jules even treated Jimmy Fallon's studio audience to an additional performance of "Give It Back," which ended up re-appearing online as a special web exclusive. If you enjoyed what you saw, head on over to The Ting Tings' bandpage to peruse a list of their upcoming US tour dates. Sounds from Nowheresville is now available @ Best Buy, etc.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Salt-N-Pepa Present?: Death Grips - "I've Seen Footage" (She's So Heavy)

"I've Seen Footage" is the latest per-release track from Epic Record's upcoming album, The Money Store (April 24th). Looks like Death Grips' new label has let them unveil 5-6 of the album's 13 tracks ahead of it's release date... viral promotion. I'm pretty sure that "I've Seen Footage" samples and re-purposes size-able chunk of Salt-N-Pepa's hit single, "Push It" (1987). Lyrically, it's just as aggressive as the next Death Grips track, but "I've Seen Footage" is probably their most commercially viable track yet... as "mainstream" as Hardcore Hip-Hip about handling shit "with a lead pipe" and seeing some kid's "head blow off his shoulders in slo mo."

5 tracks from The Money Store are currently available for download over @ Death Grips' website, Third Worlds. "I've Seen Footage"'s companion music video is rumored to be released this upcoming was released on Friday The 13th, pain-stakingly edited by Flat-lander, and uploaded online by NercoreYella. The Money Store is now available online for pre-order in a variety of formats and is supposed to see an early [limited] release on Record Store Day (April 21st). I know that I'm buying a few tickets to see Death Grips @ The Barbary, Philly - June 6th. Make sure to catch Death Grips while they're on tour in a city near you, too... cause I hear it's one Hell of a LIVE experience!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Return of The Guitar Solo: Ty Segall & White Fence - "Scissor People" (Live @ Room 205)

2 hard-working Garage Rock revivalists hailing from good ol' San Francisco, CA are plotting the triumphant comeback of Rock "N" Roll's long-forgotten elementary "guitar solo." Ty Segall & Tim Presley (White Fence) recorded the bulk of Hair sometime last year. The resulting album is essentially 8 tracks-worth of feedback-drenched, dirty Psych Rock with Segall on drums/rhythm guitar and Presley taking on lead guitar/bass riffs. Hair's first audio sampling, "I Am Not a Game," was just unveiled back on March 27th. Ty Segall's most recent effort [and commercial breakthrough], Goodbye Bread was released last Summer, while White Fence unveiled Family Perfume (Vol. 1) just last week.

Another one of Hair's tracks was unveiled yesterday afternoon: "Scissor People." Recorded live @ Room 205, Ty Segall & White Fence were joined by musicians-friends, Mikal Cronin (bass) and Nick Murray (drums). Man, "Scissor People" is without a doubt a shred-filled Psychedelic jaunt, which runs for nearly 6 minutes-worth of pure Rock "N" Roll! Ty Segall & White Fence are indeed single-handedly bringing the guitar solo back in the worst way. But it's surely "a long way to the top, if you wanna Rock "N" Roll." If you know what's good for yourself, be sure to pick up a copy of Hair on April 24th (Drag City). CAUTION: Mild ear bleeding should be expected and will [probably] ease up within due time! ha

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pieces of a Man: Drake & Rihanna - "Take Care" (Woodkid, Florence + The Machine)

Having re-listened to it over the past few months, I must admit, Tom Breihan was right... Take Care is hands down, Drake's strongest [full-length] effort since So Far Gone (2009). My personal favourite track and quite arguably the album's shining moment, "Take Care" has a deeply-rooted history. Originally penned by Blues singer-songwriter Bobby "Blue" Bland way back in 1966, Gil Scott-Heron re-appropriated "I'll Take Care of You" on his thirteenth record (2010). I'm New Here was liberated through XL Recordings, produced by labelhead Richard Russell, and features a wide array of newly-adopted musical stylings. Roughly a year later, Jamie xx was commissioned to produce a Dubstep-inspired remix album, We're New Here. Drake's Boom-Bap version of "Take Care" is essentially a refurbished edit that beefs up the Tribal drums and subs in Rihanna for Gil Scott-Heron on the hook.

Nearly 6 months after it's original release, we finally have a proper music video to go along with Take Care's title track. Skillfully directed by Yoann Lemoine (Woodkid), "Take Care" has been long-rumored and pushed back numerous times since initially being announced back in February. Woodkid sets the stage with a dark, yet vibrant music video... that's pretty emotional and "artsy," with no particular running plot-line. Drake & Rihanna engage in a long, drawn out hug and there's an underlying sense of intensity/sadness. Slow motion images of raging bulls, fluttering birds, karate kicks, smokey mountain-sides, and wild fires are juxtaposed against "Take Care"'s primary black-and-white scenes. Director X's slightly less serious, re-Bar Mitzvah themed music video for "HYFR" (Lil Wayne) was also released late Friday evening, just in time for Passover. Drake Care Take Care, Talk That Talk, and We're New Here are all currently available @ your neighborhood record store!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sun-Drenched Eye Candy: Warriors of Radness - Bikini Contest (Jack Coleman)

Yo, compadres! Check it out: Here's a delectable little helping of "eye candy" just in time for Easter! Warriors of Radness present their vintage-looking footage of this year's Bikini Contest, held just a few months ago. Skillfully judged [and coarsed] by Rad Brad, the 3-minute clips is chock-full of plenty of catfights, beautiful cleavage, and sun-drenched debauchery. Just in time for the onslaught of Summertime, "The Warriors of Radness world is one of leisure and comfort" (Selectism). If you like what you see, surf on over to RESERVE STORE to pick up 1 of 2 limited edition T-shirts, based off stills pulled directly from "Bikini Contest." Enjoy, my friends! Be sure to have a happy & safe holiday along with your loved ones. God Bless America... and those da*n revealing bikini's!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Stakes Is High: TOOTHPASTE - "1996" Mixtape (Kassa Overall Trailer #1)

1996 was quite the memorable for fans of both Hip-Hop and Pop Culture. Just ask the members of TOOTHPASTE, Kassa Overall & TECLA. The pair are currently readying a mixtape, aptly titled 1996; It's poised to be "AN ODE TO THE PAST AND AN ODE TO THE FUTURE" (Kassa Overall) and will feature raps/hoops over beats culled from various 1996-bred hits... featuring New York's finest up-and-comers: Big Baby Gandhi, DVS, Chaz Van Queen, Tavi, and K-Bob. TOOTHPASTE's upcoming mixtape will most likely be composed of beats culled from landmark Hip-Hop albums that were originally released back in 1996: OutKast, Aaliyah, 2pac, Jay-Z, The Roots, Tribe, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, Nas, and Lil Kim.

I really enjoyed Kassa Overall's latest commercial effort, Stargate. Skillfully apping over top of a size-able amount of current Pop Radio staples... a vein in which I figure 1996 will essentially mirror. From what I hear, TECLA is making some pretty note-worthy waves in the Indie Hip-Hop scene, herself. THANK$GIVING was quite arguably one of the bigger holiday-themed projects of 2011-12! While no official release date has been set for 1996 (mixtape), expect to hear that shit sooner than later!

"This album is going to be CLASSIC, believe me..."

- Kassa Overall

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Record Store Day 12" EP: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jr. - "We Almost Lost Detroit" (Gil Scott-Heron)

Throughout it's opening scenes, native Detroiters Daniel Zott & Joshua Epstein can be seen driving around familiar Motor City streets in a big green van while wearing Detroit Tigers jackets; Andrew Smart [director] then pans across various hard-working townspeople singing along with "We almost lost Detroit this time." Filmed over 3.5 days @ some 26 locations, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jr. have skillfully morphed Gil Scott-Heron's vivid re-telling of near nuclear destruction (1977) into a story of "progress. About setting things right. Coming together as people and moving forward." Since including "We Almost Lost Detroit" on the tail-end of their debut album, It's a Corporate World, the track has almost become an anthem of sorts for both Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jr. and working class America.

Glimpses of quite a few popular Detroit "hot spots" can be seen within "We Almost Lost Detroit:" Burn Rubber, Supino Pizzeria, and recently re-opened Green Dot Stables. The latter location houses the video's closing performance piece... well, really just it's parking lot. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jr. are gearing up to release We Almost Lost Detroit EP in line with Record Store Day. Limited to 2,000 units and available only on 4/21/12, the 6 track EP will feature 3 covers and 3 remixes: Gil Scott-Heron, Madonna, Sixto Rodgiguez, Stepdad, Phantasmagoria, and Chuck Daniels. The band are rumored to be playing a special hometown show @ Detroit's very own Majestic Theater on the same day! Expect both Detroit EP/Record Store Day show to be unveiled on a first-come first-serve basis.

Hope In Dirt City: Kendrick Lamar & Dr. Dre - "The Recipe" (Cadence Weapon, Re-review)

"No matter what he does or with whom he does it, Kendrick Lamar always manages to put his stamp on a track. He is a force of personality who can influence even the static logoified personage of old Andre Young, whether through vibe or straight up writing his verses.

The Rap Cognoscenti has a low opinion of ghostwriting. I don't have a problem with it, as writing like this is often a collaborative process and has been going on forever, like Tony Asher writing lyrics with Terry Sachen and Brian Wilson. I don't feel less emotionally invested in the line, "I can hear so much in your sigh" because Wilson didn't write it. Dr. Dre is known to work like Michelangelo, getting other dudes like Scoop DeVille to paint the ceiling for him when he is the one behind the blueprint. He sounds excited for the first time in years!

Much has been written about the precedents for Kendrick Lamar's style (with him, "style" must be italicized), writers combing through Sway and Tech compilations and Scribble Jam videos trying to remind themselves of what rapping used to sound like. It's easy to put him backstage at The Good Life with Freestyle Fellowship and the other project blowedians but I really see him as evolutionary Ras Kass. Except Kendrick Lamar would not look out of place in the "Ghetto Fabulous" video."

"His flow here is python-like: Coiled tightly but somehow simultaneously jumpy and sharp. He's thrilling to listen to, treating guest verses like laboratory experiments. Here he is the anchor of the song, delivering a low, watery chorus that never clearly resolves or establishes itself that recalls the vibe and location detailed in the beat's source material. Dre and him work as an amorphous Rap cloud, finishing each other's sentences and reinforcing the hazy atmosphere. It's probably a good song to smoke weed to.

The aforementioned beat goes hard too, with that economized Twin Sister sample. I always heard that opening line and felt immediately at ease. It makes something relatively general (smoking weed in a living room with someone you really like) feel romantic and cinematic. The fact that a new song with Dr. Dre heavily samples Twin Sister is just another example of the singular times we're living in. Usher is singing over some L-Vis 1991 type shit, Dr. Dre is going Indie. Somebody send Wiz Khalifa that last Sean Nicholas Savage record, we need a yacht to hang out on!"

- Rollie Pemberton (Cadence Weapon)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where My Kitty Cats @?: Awkward Silence - "School Yard" FREESTYLE (Nasteski Productions)

Freestyling over a Nasteski Productions beat pulled from YouTube with just 54 views, Doffa & Hippie Paw properly lace up [and double knot] "School Yard." It's companion music video was self-directed by Awkward Silence around Millville with a hand-me-down SLR camera, borrowed tri-pod, and pink flickering HD effects. Concept-wise, "School Yard"'s loose plot revolves around a murderous Teddy Bear and a porcelain bride-to-be victim. Hippie Paw describes the overall experience as "BASED as fuck!" and adds that, "We POWER cooked in the woods, smoked trees & smokes hoes... basically, all I remember was Dr. Zaius [dog] sitting on my lap and then I got a boner." Zombie Gang are currently working on a wide variety of projects: Wreck Room's debut, Doffa's solo freestyles, an OF Tape 2-like group album, and an assortment of VERY RARE tracks from "the vaults." Scoop up Awkward Silence's premier mixtape, The Hair & The Hather over @ DatPiff. HATHER!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pass The Dutchie: Vex Ruffin - Crash Course EP (Influences Playlist)

Let me do my best to try and preface this here post a little bit for clarity's sake: I first got in touch with Vex Ruffin (Twitter) last October while on vacation in Ocean City, MD after an EPIC FAILed night out at beach-side bar/club Seacrets... Anyways, Vex and I exchanged email addresses, talked for a bit, and then suddenly fell out of touch. It was really no one's fault, but I still managed to pay semi-close attention to Vex Ruffin's rising career with Stones Throw. Fast-forward to roughly 2 weeks ago (March 2012): I decided to go out on a "limb" and hit Vex up again on Twitter. Fresh on the heels of Eulogy EP and V.E.X. Lamina Radio (Vol. 1), I figured I'd ask Vex Ruffin if he'd be willing to curate a custom playlist for "The Witzard." And a few messages/just as many days latter, here it is - Crash Course EP (Inspirations) Playlist. It plays out like an amateur mix CD from a guy who grew up listening to DMX and The Cure: Shouts to Ryan Africa!

"For this song I was really trying to sound like the song "Vitamin C" from the Krautrock band CAN. Instead of course, it became something else. We even had similar lighting for our video. This was the first music video I've ever done in my life!"

"["I'm Creative"] was done in my head before I recorded it... It was originally supposed to sound like the girl band, Kleenex/Liliput but it turned into something else... obviously PiL."

"The music of "Shield [for You]" was inspired by Love & Rockets - "The Dog-End of a Day Gone By;" Especially the synth part on that song. The melody of the vocals was inspired from the Reggae group, Musical Youth - "Pass The Dutchie." Like when I say "Brain in the head and my blood runs through," I got the melody from "How does it feel when you got no food." Make sense?"

"For the vocals [on "Hey Jerald,"] I was trying to channel Beat Happening and Jesus & Mary Chain. But I think I also channeled Madonna's "Crazy for You" (1985)."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Nigerian-American Gangster: kechPhrase - "Can I Flow?" (The Witzard Premier) *

Ever since it's 1975-80's inception, "the struggle" has been a consistent, underlying genesis of Hip-Hop. But anymore, the originality's long gone in mainstream Hip-Hop; These days, everyone's so manufactured and "cookie-cutter." The genre's final hope just might rest within Das Racist's collective of Brooklyn-based artists, producers, labelmen, etc. My attention was first drawn to [rapping college student] kechPhrase last Summer when he made a few original beats for Kool A.D. Since then, I've paid close attention to his career's gradual progression and I'm happy to say that we've stayed in touch throughout his blooming wave of early success. Chalking his past releases up as a test run, kechPhrase is prepping the release of 2 BIG companion projects: Slight Progress EP and Slight Progress (3rd World Dreaming).

"Can I Flow?" is the latest track from Slight Progress EP and shouts to Ikechi Nnamani for letting me premier it! The EP will precede Slight Progress: 3rd World Dreaming (Fall 2012), a conceptual thread of both efforts is "centered around success/making it from the eyes of a Nigerian immigrant." The latter will include roughly 12 tracks compiled for Greedhead an features from the likes of Kool A.D. Big Baby Gandhi, Epic, Bill Ding, Fat Tony, and Afrikan Boy. kechPhrase will handle the bulk of production work, aside from 2 Hot Sugar and Steel Tipped Dove-produced beats. "Can I Flow?" is essentially poised to serve as Nnamani's mission statement, of sorts... 84 lines-worth of free-associative rhymes. Complete with Pop Culture references galore, political statements, creativity, and odes to late 90's Boom-Bap: Magic Johnson, Nirvana, Gang Starr, Coming to America, Tyson-Holyfield ["the bite"], Dizzy Gillespie, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Jordan. Head on over to Prefix to check out a few recent kechPhrase tracks from February-March and keep and expect Slight Progress EP-LP to materialize shortly.