Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Alchemist & 9FIVE Present: Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, Oh No ... Big Twins, Chuck Inglish & Blu - "YACHT ROCK" (Side A-B)

Almost effortlessly cruisin' down the same nautical, boatshoed lane as Yacht Rock pioneers like Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Beach Boys, and Hall & Oates, The Alchemist quietly released one long 12-minute track [EP] appropriately dubbed "YACHT ROCK (Side A-B)" late Wednesday afternoon. It's pretty much the perfect soundtrack for throwing back a few boat-side brews, which might've been partially inspired by The Alchemist's fruitful shades/readers partnership with 9FIVE Eyewear; Hypebeast eloquently describes the glasses as "9FIVE Watson frames [with] a custom black and grey pattern added to the outer portions with red leather wrapped around the temple tips. The sunglasses variant receives polarized black lenses, while the reader model features clear CR-39 lenses."

Now, while that all sounds pretty TIGHT, $150's a little steep for 2 pairs of glasses, a fancy striped box, and a RARE 7-inch record... So, The Alchemist has liberated both "Side A" and "Side B" to The Internet(s) for your listening pleasure! He even managed to wrangle up some of his closest sailing rapper friends to come in and lay down a few buttery smooth verses, fully fleshing out "YACHT ROCK:" Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, and Oh No backed by Big Twins, Chuck Inglish, and Blu. The Alchemist has produced Boom-Bap tracks for everyone from Ghostface Killah to Eminem and has seen a career re-surgence of sorts in recent years. Note-worthy 2011-12-spawned releases just might include Covert Coup, No Idols, Gangrene, and a solo album - Russian Roulette. He's currently working on additional joint albums with Durag Dynasty, Freddie Gibbs, Action Bronson, Boldy James, and Evidence, which should be expected in phases over late 2012-13.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Glitter Ain't Gold: Gary Clark, Jr. - "When My Train Pulls In" (Blak & Blu Review)

Rock "N" Roll is an expressive art form: Whether it makes you want to passionately sing, dance, play, or even write. Blak & Blu is such a BIG, comprehensive album that'll undoubtedly get a lot of coverage. Sometimes I tend to stray away from potential "big ticket" pieces of that level. But fuck it - Blak & Blu is such a great collection that it honesty deserves every damn ounce of coverage it's getting! While a handful of critics have already started raggin' on Gary Clark Jr. for supposedly "selling out," abandoning his Austin Blues Rock roots, and making an eclectic [slightly "commercial"] album ... I feel like it's a pretty smart move right outta the gates; This way Clark won't get labelled a one-trick, guitar-playing pony. Plus, if he played grandiose guitar solos on nearly every track, people would call him a dick anyways. "Bright Lights" is a guitar feedback-soaked middle finger aimed @ Clark's detractors, while "When My Train Pulls In" is your basic Rhythm & Blues stomper, complete with heartbreak/runaway train metaphor and some added Texas steez [SWAGGER]. Gary Clark Jr.'s major label debut, Blak & Blu is also littered with touches of Hip-Hop, Classic Rock, Americana, Country, Blues Rock, and much more.

I mean, shit, Clark has already been heralded as a re-born Hendrix-like guitar virtuoso by everyone from Mick Jagger to Alicia Keys! He's managed to self-release 3 albums-worth of material on his own Hotwire Unlimited imprint and has essentially been fine-tuning guitar skills for 14 of his 28 years. Some of those very tracks from Worry NO More, 110, and Gary Clark Jr. EP (2004-10) have been re-recorded and re-masstered, with production work from Mike Elizondo & Rob Cavallo, and are now included on Blak & Blu. Tracks #7-8, "Glitter Ain't Gold (Jumpin' for Nothin')" and "Numb" are particularly note-worthy as well, showcasing Gary Clark Jr.'s Pop Radio sensibilities and a nearly Rage Against The Machine level of Rock "N" Roll sleaze. Even after criss-crossing the nation for the bulk of Summer '12 playing roughly 15-20 festivals, Clark is STILL touring! But now it's in support of Blak & Blu, which was released last Monday. He'll be on an North American tour through Nov. 16th, including a date @ "Fillmore @ The TLA" (Philly) on Saturday Nov. 10th.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Colour & The Re-shape: Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem - "Everlong" (Foo Fighters)

While they've already managed to make a pretty seamless transition from Hardcore Punk to throwback "Jersey Shore Sound," The Gaslight Anthem are slightly lesser well-know for their spot on, jaw-dropping cover re-arrangements. Spanning between 2006-12, they've successfully executed spirited takes on everyone from The Rolling Stones to Kelly Clarkson, either in the studio or a live setting. Frontman Brian Fallon was recently "across the pond" promoting Gaslight Anthem's fourth and undoubtedly sing-a-long-able Mercury record, Handwritten; Looks like he made a quick pit-stop @ BBC Radio 1 in his travels... playing a gut-wrenching, stripped down acoustic take on The Colour & The Shape hit-single, "Everlong" (1997).

It doesn't really even matter that Foo Fighters released "Everlong" roughly 15 years ago now, Fallon still manages to breathe new life into Dave Grohl's Modern Rock staple. Brian Fallon unleashes his signature, raspy wail right around the 3:00-minute mark, taking Foos' recognizable central hook to new heights! The Gaslight Anthem just recently released their third music video pulled from Handwritten: "Here Comes My Man," which stars the BEAUTIFUL Elisha Cuthbert and are rolling through Philly (Electric Factory) on Nov. 27th. Sounds like The Gaslight Anthem have one more cover up their [collective] sleeve, "Skinny Love," which'll appear on an upcoming Bon Iver 10-inch for the third annual Record Store Day/Black Friday [2012] festivities.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mello Music Group Presents: Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown - "Truth Be Told" (Dice Game)

Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown are quite arguably the most downright Funky, brutally honest Detroit natives since Smokey Robinson & The Miracles! Fresh on the heels of a few solid 2010-11 joint albums, Apollo Brown successfully flipped a smooth crooning [ghostly] sample of "Awe, baby, it's been so-ooo looong" that's perfectly suited for a few introspective Guilty Simpson verses. Generally mis-labelled as an "Underground MC," Simpson has been actively rapping ever since 1991... released his Stones Throw debut, Ode to The Ghetto in 2008, and has worked with everyone from J Dilla to Geoff Barrow (Portishead). "Truth Be Told" is the first taste/lead single to whet our appetites for Dice Game, which is currently slated for a Nov. 13th release. Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown managed to rope in a set of top-notch feature guest verses from Torae and Planet Asia, too.

"Someone once said that life's a gamble. Kinda like shootin' dice in an alley. The risk is high but the gain is higher, and when it's all said and done, you hold your breath and collect your dues. With lyrics that grip like a handful of ones, and beats that hit like ivory on cement, this album is just that, a Dice Game ... "Truth Be Told" finds the Motor City rhymer bearing his soul over a slow-burning soul chop that is trademark Apollo Brown. Guilty's usual ferocity is tempered by his introspection, reminiscing back to times when he was hustling and living fast but without direction."

- Mello Music Group (Bandcamp)

Fair Trade Fairness?: Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle & Nocando - "Werner Herzog" (Hellfyre Club)

I wonder if German film director, one-time Killers collaborator, and accidental Hipster cult hero Werner Herzog is even remotely familiar with American Hip-Hop!? Los Angeles-based Indie rappers Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle & Nocando have assembled a loose posse to record a track called "Werner Herzog," which appears on Busdriver's recent ARGUMENTS WITH DREAMS EP. It's basically Flash Bang Grenada plus Open Mike Eagle, a pairing that director Diana Dalsasso went on to simply describe as, "3 of LA's best underground rappers that also just so happen to be the best of friends." "Werner Herzog" pretty much features some of the most clever, witty, quick punchlines I've heard in a long time! Prime example: "I got a bunch of girls pregnant cause I sell diapers ... I eat Fair Trade cheese and fart fairness."

Diana Dalsasso and Nonstop Record creative partner, Karina Soriano [producer] somehow manage to meld Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle & Nocando's slick couplets over average, yet effective settings: a basement engine room, apartment hallway, Eagle's couch, narrow stairwells, and an impromptu rooftop mini-golf course. ARGUMENTS WITH DREAMS EP is now available for download from Big Dada @ the reasonable price of $1.00 email address. They'll even send you details about Busdriver's still in-the-works 2012-13 album. Mind you, his most recent release, Beaus$Eros, chock-full of Electro Hip-Hop and completely produced by Loden was JUST unveiled in Febuary 2012. Busdriver has been on tour in-between the writing/recording of the 2 releases, alongside his 2 right-hand amigos... There are only a few remaining dates left: Oct. 25-27th.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Long Overdue kechPhrase Interview: "Grown Up" (Danny Brown Remix) & Green Card

(1) What made you decide to remix Danny Brown's "Grown Up" and why'd you choose it over all his recent output(s)?

I remixed Danny Brown's "Grown Up" because for one, it's one of the cleanest a capellas of his that I could find on the net. There's also a remix competition that Fool's Gold is hosting.

(2) Were you able to work hands-on with Fool's Gold/Danny Brown and Mishka to create your mix?

No, not hands on. Hopefully in the near future I'll be able to. Trackademicks, who's currently signed to Fool's Gold Records, and I have discussed collaborating on a track. That may be on a future project of mine in the future.

(3) When remixing the track, where'd you actually start and what was the general concept in mind?

Well, whenever I make a beat, I first decide whether or not I want to make it entirely from scratch or incorporate some type of sampling. With this, I figured that sampling would be the best way to compliment the a capella as Danny Brown has a very unique voice that you can't just throw anything over. I started digging in the crates (DITC) and found some stuff that could work and then decided to sample that. After getting the tempo set, I began programming the drums and then finalized the mix.

(4) Are you a hardcore Danny Brown fan... if so, what was your favorite project: The Hybrid, XXX, OD EP, Black & Brown, random feature, etc?

I'm a fan of Danny Brown, I've been listening to him ever since 50 Cent and G-Unit were considering signing him. I'd say that my favorite track is "Greatest Rapper Ever;" He just destroys that track and it's one of my top 50 Hip-Hop songs ever. He's lyrical, but he's still hilarious and there's not too many rappers doing that well -- Except [Brown] and Das Racist, shout-outs to Das Racist.

(5) "Grown Up" is the most recent in a string of remixes. Working on a remix album or mixtape and what else do you currently have in-the-works?

I have my album Green Card coming up in February through Veehead, should be a dope album, packed with some nice features and hopefully people will appreciate it for what it is. I've also got a remix EP of just some tracks I've re-worked for artists, and I'm also talking with Chuuwee about doing an EP together.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mystery of Chessboxin': RZA & The Black Keys - "The Baddest Man Alive" (Bubble Soccer)

Right before rippin' it up with [the bulk of] his Wu-Tang clansmen, RZA & Ghostface Killah played a quick game of "Bubble Soccer" in Studio 8B's elevator hallway alongside Gerard Butler and host, Jimmy Fallon. They were really there to promote RZA's Man with The Iron Fists film soundtarck. but it was pretty great to see the typically "hard as nails" Wu-Gambinos let their guards down and have some good-spirited fun on live TV. Wu-Tang Clan then performed a BRUTAL version of "6 Directions of Boxing" with Fallon's house band, The Roots; Ghostface, RZA, Cappadonna, GZA, Masta Killa, U-God, and Inspectah Deck were all present for the group's first televised performance together in roughly 10 years' time. The star-studded Iron Fists soundtrack is out today (October 23rd) and it's companion Kung-Fu flick hits theatres on November 2nd.

Album stand-out "The Baddest Man Alive" now has an action-packed music video, too - released online late Monday afternoon. It stars RZA, Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney, who somehow end up getting into a hilariously violent scuffle over a coveted fortune cookie. Revealed during the video's final moments, the cookie's inscription ironically reads, "You are the baddest man alive!" ... as various scenes from Man with The Iron Fists play on busted TV's, which are barely hanging on the restaurant's back walls, the entire time. Wu-Tang Clan's 8 surviving swordsmen are supposedly in talks to re-unite for a BRAND NEW tour and album, commemorating the 20th anniversary of 36 Chambers.

"Many bands leave us, though – it just happens. The Beatles, they let it go, and that was it. You had to go with Paul or go with John or go with Ringo. They wasn't coming back together, and John [Lennon] dies and it never could happen. It's like ODB has gone. But there's enough of us still alive, and I think there's still enough fans out there. Hip-Hop is stronger than ever, as far as world-wide recognition, and our name is synonymous with it ... I would say, if we get one more shot of me being completely trusted as the driver of the ship, I think [Wu-Tang Clan] could give the world one more record, maybe."

- RZA (New York Times)

Monday, October 22, 2012

YOUNG LOBSTER BIB: Action Bronson & The Alchemist - "The Symbol" (Rare Chandeliers, VICE)

It's pretty safe to assume that Action Bronson & The Alchemist first met while in the studio recording assorted parts for Domo Genesis' No Idols mixtape; Alchemist acted as reigning producer over the entire project and Bronsolini was featured on central track "Elimination Chamber" along with Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples. Instead of working on his 2-3rd album for new label VICE Records, Action Bronson is currently chipping away @ roughly 3-5 [FREE] mixtapes. It seems like the first one to fully materialize is gonna be Rare Chandeliers with The Alchemist, which should ultimately end up premiering online by mid-November. But I'd almost bet $100 that Bronson's been working on a batch of album-quality material for VICE the entire time now... as he's a man of vast mystery, intrigue, and surprise! Earlier today, it was reported that Action Bronson will be taking a will-deserved break - Heading out on a 14-date Fall Tour with Cypress Hill, running through December. He'll be stopping @ Bam Margera-owned club The Note on Oct. 21st and then "The Troc" in Philly Nov. 2nd!

Rik Cordero bravely directed the BALLSY music video for lead single, "The Symbol," which casts Action Bronson as a violent, vengeful Albanian coke lord "gunning [to settle] one last score before quitting the game." Painfully dramatic scenes of a blonde-wigged Bronson fucking with drugs, guns, money, and women are juxtaposed against The Alchemist's Funky, guitar-laden production work. Action Bronson should be able to keep busy for a little while... simultaneously working on albums/mixtapes with Party Supplies, Tommy Mas, Harry Fraud, Statik Selektah, and his super-group M.A.R.S. While the good people @ VICE Records are patiently waiting for Bronson to hand over his label debut, they really just want a couple "doggie bags of his famous wild, imported Irish goat, which apparently he makes in a BBQ pit somewhere in Queens." Hopefully, this immense outpouring of new material will feature game-winning assists from some of Bam Bam Bronsolini's infamous rapping friends: Earl Sweatshirt, Das Racist, Asher Roth, Saigon, RiFF RAFF, Meyhem Lauren, etc.!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Re-think Every Belief Ever Learned:" ST 2 Lettaz - R.E.B.E.L. EP (Formerly G-side)

Huntsville, Alabama-based rapper-director and former gas station attendee Stephen "ST 2 Lettaz" Harris is fording a solo career of his own after the recent demise of his Country Rap group, G-side, who managed to release 5 Hip-Hop albums between 2007-11; R.E.B.E.L. EP was announced along with SPIN's "break-up piece" @ the beginning of September and released nearly a week later online Sept. 17th. R.E.B.E.L. stands for "re-think every belief ever learned" and it seems like that's what ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova decided to do after 10+ years of teetering the underground/mainstream Hip-Hop circles. For new-comers like you and I, R.E.B.E.L. EP seems like a perfect place to start. It's a project that I was actually tipped off to by Tom Breihan's latest [excellent] "Mixtape of The Week" review. Clova seems to be piddling away @ a solo career, too... He's formed his own label imprint (Lambo Music), working on a mixtape called Pablo Picasso, still cutting hair @ his barbershop, and is plotting some sort of mp3 release program.

Block Beattaz's fine-tuned production work manages to sturdily anchor the mixtape, sampling everyone from Beastie Boys to Pink Floyd! Even further left-field samples pulled from Empire of The Sun and Skrillex are cleverly utilized to create album stand-outs like "WE ARE THE PEOPLE" and "SUNSHINE;" Essentially forcing ST 2 Lettaz to slightly alter his cadence so that his flow works over the Dubstep/Dance-tinged beats. While @ times, it plays out like a loose concept album, R.E.B.E.L. EP seems to detail the story of a guy trying to get out of the hood (the struggle). The commentary-assisted "Director's Cut" Instrumental EP is also available for download from Bandcamp - Block Beattaz's insightful commentary really adds a whole 'nother level of dimension to ST 2 Lettaz's smooth tracks! It seems like the chances of G-side reuniting in the future are highly plausible... Take it away, ST 2 Lettaz: "Not saying it will never happen again, but right now, we're just two grown men focusing on ourselves. As artists and as men." (SPIN)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trick or Treat?: A$AP Rocky, Drake, Kendrick Lamar & 2 Chainz - "_uckin' Problems" (#LONGLIVEA$AP)

It's been one Hell of a year for the re-emergence of posse cut-wielding albums; First off, Rick Ross assembled "Maybach Music Group" for Self Made #1-2, then Kanye's House of G.O.O.D. Music produced Cruel Summer, and A$AP Rocky even manged to release Lords Never Worry with his A$AP Mob comrades. While it's still unclear if LONGLIVEA$AP will see a rumored Halloween [Oct. 31st] release or not, "Fuckin' Problems" seems like a pretty solid ramp-up single. Most likely recorded during A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar's stint on Drake's recent Club Paradise Tour (2011-12) ... "Fuckin' Problems" also features 2 Chainz on a [thankfully] brief, simple hook.

October's Very Own (OVO) in-house producer, Noah "40" Shebib provided the track's central beat, which Andy Bustard went on to quite accurately describe as a "minimalistic, yet no less THUMPING soundbed!" I guess only time will tell if A$AP Rocky's LONGLIVEA$AP/Halloween promise will ultimately end up being a trick or treat. But for right now, "Fuckin' Problems" will definitely suffice! I really wouldn't be all that surprised if Rocky's major label debut showcases friends-musicians: Lana del Rey, Pharrell, Action Bronson, RiFF RAFF, Raekwon, and Flatbush Zombies. Kendrick Lamar's gearing up to unveil his own full-length album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city this upcoming Tuesday, Oct. 23rd.

Guerrilla Statement from "sole:" A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing (Transcribed PSA)

"A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing (AROEE) is the culmination and logical progression of all the various aesthetics and approaches I have cultivated over the years. This album is at times sarcastic, belligerent, serious, poetic, and abstract. I rap about rappers, I rap about the empire, I rap about capitalism, labor, alienation and the environment. I offer critiques, I offer solutions. Sonically, this album bounces between classic Hip-Hop, Electronica & Experimental Dance, traditional song formats and tracks that barely resemble songs. When I think about the artists that inspire me, I look to Pete Seeger, Chuck D, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor; Musicians who never let the immediate needs of the market dictate what they created..."

"Like many that came before it, this album holds dear the Situationist notion that art is only doing its job when it's challenging the status quo. Unlike much music that has emerged under the banner of Occupy, this album was written from the perspective of someone on the ground, organizing, dealing with state repression on a daily basis for almost a year. The lyrics express the P.T.S.D. and emotional trauma of the class war. A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing is written from the perspective of a white radical, un-apologetically wanting to watch the old world destroyed to see a new one born in its wake, this time with new tools and a new framework. *

A lot has changed since my last solo album Live from Rome. I left [anticon], the label I founded with the Pedestrian, and took 100% control of my masters. I spend less time touring, and more time reading, gardening and working on random activist projects around Denver. In 2007, I formed sole & The Skyrider Band. We made 3 albums, toured sporadically, until finally going on hiatus in 2011. Around 2009, I launched a series of "mainstream" Rap mixtapes called Nuclear Winter, which took popular songs and transformed them to reflect more radical, critical and often contrary themes than the originals. Between those projects, I continued to hone my production skills with the more experimental project "mansbestfriend." Sometimes I go half a year without making a song, sometimes I'll record three songs in a day. When you work for yourself you do what the fuck you want, when you want, when you feel so inspired.

In the past year, I watched the world slowly awaken from a nightmare, a nightmare that I have documented throughout my career, with a growing sense of urgency. I have never made a love song or rapped about drugs. I have tried to maintain my ethics in an industry that is hostile to them. The nightmare still reigns, and time will tell if we are put back to sleep ... A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing drops 11/13 and is available for pre-order exclusively through All Pre-orders come with an immediate download of the "Songs That Went Void" EP."'

- Tim Holland (sole)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lord of The Game: Death Grips - "True Vulture" [Bare] _ (Galen Pehrson Installation)

Barely teetering the fine line between "underground kings" and commercial over-exposure, Death Grips have managed to record and release a STELLAR sample-based mixtape and 2 full-length albums since forming over Winter 2010-11. Their second vigilantly self-released record of 2012 notoriously featured "NO LOVE DEEP WEB" scrawled across a boner-fied dick! 2 alternate [soft] covers were soon re-released, but not before Death Grips topped BitTorrent's "Legally Downloaded Music" list with 34,151,432 downloads. In the midst of NO LOVE DEEP WEB's 12am guerrilla style mass liberation, a non-album cut dubbed "True Vulture Bare" was uncovered by a tech-savvy fan named moralreef.

Now, nearly a month later... Death Grips have wholeheartedly abandoned their usual home-made music video feel, teaming up with director-animator, Galen Pehrson; Presented by LA's very own Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), it's one trippy-ass ride that's been tailor-fit to go along with "True Vulture." Listed right under Death Grips' somewhat out-of-place "SCORE" top-billing, Pehrson credits Jena Malone with voice-over work. The nearly 3.5-minute video looks a little bit like Peter Pan meets The Muppets and follows an ever-morphing stack of cash as it slips out of a dog-lady's grips and into outer space. Death Grips' muddied new track, "True Vulture" is equally as trippy, Experimental, progressive, colorful, and simply out there as it's matching visuals!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

OMG, Look @ Their Freeky Fashion!?: Die Antwoord - "FATTY BOOM BOOM" (Concrete Jungle)

Off in their own little [Zef stylized] world, Die Antwoord somehow manage to take arguably out-dated, corny Pop Culture nuances and try to make them semi-"relevant" once again. So, with that said... maybe the almost instantly controversial full-body "blackface" paint might just be a twisted send-up to that one time Eddie Murphy or Dave Chappelle wore white face paint ha. Die Antwoord seem to be re-invigorating a long-forgotten feud with Lady GaGa in their newest music video for "FATTY BOOM BOOM," too. In typical Rap beef fashion, a tranny GaGa impersonator rocks a meat dress (no pun intended) and eventually becomes a lion's tasty dinner; Only after finding her way on foot to a South African gynecologist after her Big 5 "tour bus" breaks down, then birthing a small insect.

Now, that's all inter-spliced against performance footage of Die Antwoord lacing up "FATTY BOOM BOOM" ... whilst wearing full-body costumed outfits that vaguely resemble blackface, the Chinese flag, and a KKK uniform. Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Ninja & DJ Hi-Tek have managed to utterly shock and appall fans world-wide, yet again! Last week's Honey Boo Boo-themed episode of South Park was suspiciously titled "Fatty Doo Doo." I'd really like to think that Trey Parker & Matt Stone are Die Antwoord fans, but maybe it's just a mere coincidence. Sounds like it comes and goes pretty quick, but I guess there's a brief scene @ roughly 0:45-50 that shows a graffitied wall featuring Kanye & Nicki Minaj literally shitting on The Black Eyed Peas. Die Antwoord self-released their second album, Ten$ion (Zef Recordz) back in January 2012, soon after parting ways with Interscope.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing:" A Conversation with sole & The Skyrider Band Emcee & Kickstarter Entrepreneur Tim Holland (The Witzard Interview)

(1.) The album flows so smoothly and the beat selection is damn-near immaculate! How did you go about picking which tracks to include and sequence them?

I tried to pick tracks that fit the theme of global revolution best, and went with those. I ended up cutting all the songs about more personal sh*t. I tried to sequence it more thematically as opposed to aesthetically.

(2.) How exactly would you describe the overall sound (genre-wise) of A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing?

It's Rap music. I've been calling it "Critical Theory Rap." Some people have called the production "glassy," I don't know what that means. * THE WITZARD EDIT: "This album is the culmination of a lot of shit, I hope you enjoy it... It's funny, it's poppy, it's not poppy, it's belligerent, it's personal, it's militant, it's everywhere." (Kickstarter Update #18)

(3.) I'm not the most political person whatsoever... But how would you advise young people to go about picking a candidate to support for the upcoming Presidential Election? Which BIG issues really matter?

Uh. See, the main question is "Does this election really matter?" Sure we're told its about civil rights, the right for gay people to marry, the right for women to do/say what they want with their bodies with regards to reproductive rights... but isn't every election about that? The only difference now is that Democrats are running on those wedge issues [cause] they can't win on the economy, foreign policy, the ecosystem, or anything really. Some people are swallowing their nose and voting Obama, some are voting on local initiatives and not voting for president, some are voting Third Party. The big issues that matter, aren't being discussed.... universal health care, us imperialism, the financial crisis, green jobs, student debt just hit a trillion dollars; That's an average of $27k per student with no jobs for them. Our system is crumbling, if you REALLY want to "vote," [go] take to the streets. We are told that voting is the highest of our civic duties... Yeah, we're supposed to go out once every four years and choose between two corporate puppets who basically represent the same interests and that's democracy... that's not democracy.

(4.) Can you explain what happened with the Kickstarter campaign, for those who don't know... and how are you going to use the money to fund the album release efforts now?

I used Kickstarter to fund my album. I raised 8k after Kickstarter/Amazon took their cuts. With that money, about $2,500 went into mixing/mastering, another $1,000 went into manufacturing the CD's, I bought some new equipment for my live show, the rest of the money is going into getting the rewards manufactured, doing some marketing (ads, propaganda). If there's money left over at the end, I'm gonna get some dental work done.

(5.) "Ruthless" has gotta be my personal favourite track! It's such a strong album closer!.. Any chances of seeing an eventual music video push behind that track, man?

Maybe. I dunno. I'm kind of burned out on making music videos all the time, I want to do the minimum as far as that stuff is concerned.

(6.) Eyeying up any specific Pop Radio staples to remix on Nuclear Winter #3 or is is still going to be 90's-themed?

Nuclear Winter 3 could be a long time in the making, right now I'm really focused on a lot of other projects. When I feel the inspiration to make one I will, but for now I'm focused on working on new solo produced stuff and new Skyrider stuff.

(7.) What sort of music did you listen to growing up and how do you think those artist ended up inspiring you "Rap as Journalism" style?

Without a doubt were it not for X-Clan, Public Enemy, and Boogie Down Productions, I would not be doing what I am doing now.

(8.) You were telling me that you're currently busy editing the "Assad Is Dead" music video together. What's the general plot/storyline behind it?

I don't want to spoil it. But basically the video is supposed to be me in Syria, but the idea of "Assad Is Dead" means "Death to all dictators everywhere." There is a street fight that I'm "reporting" from where all these people dressed in black are behind a wall of tear gas and smoke grenades throwing stones... Eventually I get attacked by the police, and well, let's just say it doesn't end well for the cop.

(9.) How'd Adam "MCA" Yauch's recent passing personally affect you, and what sort of bearing do you think it'll have on Hip-Hop as a whole?

I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys, but stopped listening to them in the 90's. It's crazy all these people we grew up on dying, if there is a lesson to be learned maybe it's take better care of your body, don't abuse it.

(10.) Keeping in mind this fresh crop of young rappers, would you care to name a few of your "dream collaborators?" Any way we might see you working with these guys in the near future?

New Rappers? Not really feeling any of em. I'd like to do music with Open Mike Eagle, but he's not exactly "new."

(11.) You recorded a track called "Bad Captain Swag" with Lil B (2011). Have any CRAZY stories that you'd like to share about your time spent hanging out with #BASEDGOD?

We still haven't met. I like Lil B, he is a very unique dude. Every few months, out of the blue, I get some really friendly/bizarre email from him and I'll just laugh.

(12.) Tim, how did your time spent working with the "Occupy" effort(s) help to inspire the sheer creation, content, themes, etc. on A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing?

This album is a bi-product of my time spent at Occupy Denver. It literally transformed me into believing in the power of people. I was always a "[buy] ammo go to the woods, plant a farm, watch it all burn" kinda dude, but now I'm more interested in the idea of cities in revolt... which is the opposite... True social change always originates in the cities... and since I now see that as a possibility, I'll hang out in the city for a while, see what kinda dust I can kick up.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smallpox Champion: Chris Lawhorn - "Fugazi Edits" (The Witzard, Emailed Interview)

"Nice New Outfit" (Track 01) by Chris Lawhorn

(1.) What really compelled you to edit a bunch of Fugazi tracks together in the first place... and how'd you go about picking which parts to use?

Chris Lawhorn: I love the band. I thought it would be an interesting project and an excuse to listen to their catalog in a new way. I used all of the songs in their discography -- apart from those on the Instrument soundtrack.

(2.) Did you have to pay constant attention to stuff like pitch, tempo, rhythm, timing etc. When mashing the tracks together?

Yes. With the whole album, I tried to group the tracks by tempo -- so that I wasn't mixing fast tracks with slow ones. And with the individual tracks, it was a matter of keeping each instrument in time with those from the other tracks by manually moving beats around.

(3.) Do you have a background in Punk and/or Hip-Hop (even just as a fan)? Cause parts of it really remind me of both genres!

In the late 90's, I played drums in a band called Cataract Falls. The singer -- who went on to form Dead Letter Auction -- is the one who got me into Fugazi in the first place. Anyway, we only made one album. But it was pretty heavily influenced by the music to which we were listening at the time: Fugazi, Born Against, Native Nod, and Indian Summer -- in particular ... Somewhere in the 2000's, I made a Rap album. The circumstances were similar; with both the Cataract Falls album and my Rap album, I'd gotten dumped immediately beforehand. And in both cases, I was trying to keep myself occupied. It's just that -- in the 2000's -- I was DJ'ing and listening to a lot of Rap. So, that's the sort of music I was interested in making.

(4.) Has Ian MacKaye heard the final version of Fugazi Edits and what's he think of it, man!?

Everyone asks this. But, I don't think it's my place to say. He has heard the album. We've gone over everything from the original demo to the final artwork. I just don't want to speak for him or relay things from our correspondence.

"Steady Diet" (Track 02) by Chris Lawhorn

(5.) Can you tell me a little bit about the different album options? How bout the affiliated charities, too?

There's a limited edition CD that folks can pre-order on Both that and the digital version come out October 30th. As for the charities, they have strict regulations -- in terms of what I can say and can't. I'm waiting on final word from their lawyers -- with regard to the phrasing I can use. But all of the profit is going to a pair of charities and since I can't name them now, I've just been advised to say what they do. To that end, one works with senior citizens in Washington, D.C. and the other works with folks affected by disasters and civil unrest.

(6.) Fugazi & Minor Threat were 2 of the first Hardcore Punk bands that I really got into @ like 14-16. Do you have a similar story? If so, would you be down to share it?

I got into Fugazi around the same time. Damian, again, from Cataract Falls loaned me a copy of In On The Killtaker. I didn't love it at first. But within a few months, I was playing it all the time. Up until that point, the only people I knew who were putting out their own albums were pretty crusty punk dudes, who seemed like they were always mad, and I couldn't relate to that. I was angsty for sure, but not really angry ... When I started listening to Fugazi and reading about them, they seemed more accessible. They didn't have crazy mohawks, they weren't giving everyone the finger. I feel like a wuss writing this stuff. It wasn't that Punk dudes scared me, they just weren't doing stuff that resonated with me. But Fugazi didn't seem to have an image and I couldn't pin down their sound. So, when I realized that a band like that could exist -- even thrive -- with a D.I.Y./independent approach, I started realizing this route wasn't just for certain bands. It could work for any band ... I know this will sound trite, but that changed my whole world. That's not to say this couldn't have happened later or with a different band. It could have been Superchunk with Merge [Records] that did that for me or Ani DiFranco with Righteous Babe [Records]. The folks in both those examples had big effects on me later. But Fugazi happened to come along first for me and everything else came from that.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lyrical Wordplay: Titus Andronicus - "Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter" (Beer-Punk?)

Let's face it, karaoke sucks! Unless it's one of those beer-fueled, full bar sing-a-longs. Titus Andronicus are a "Beer-Punk" band hailing from Glen Rock, NJ who are named after a Shakespeare play. "Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter" is the second self-leaked track from the band's upcoming LP #3, Local Business (Oct. 22-23rd). "Titus Andronicus the studious recording project and Titus Andronicus the raucous touring machine are no longer two distinct beings; There is only Titus Andronicus, Rock "N" Roll band." ... Frontman Patrick Stickles notes that while Local Business isn't exactly a concept album per say, it was greatly inspired by a car wreck, "food fight" [eating disorder], and electrocution, a descent into insanity, and forgiveness.

Loosely translating to "shit on a silver platter," "Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter" seems to be ragging on Hipsters [relevant dudes]. Towards the end of Titus Andronicus' nearly 6-minute onslaught, Patrick Stickles manages to ponder a few interesting topics: content vs. context, least feminine lesbians, Mexicans, con men, etc. It seems like a music video for "In a Big City," which was recently shot over a marathon 28-hour period, should be out within a few weeks. But until then, Stickles assembled a clever lyric video, complete with corresponding Google images that should suffice. Titus Andronicus are soon headed out on the nation-wide National Business Tour with Ceremony, which'll start up with a Local Business release show/PARTY in Philly and finally wrap up in New York on Dec. 2nd, 2012!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hybrid Moments: Kids These Days - "Who Do U-Luv?" (Traphouse Rock)

Kids These Days are a bunch of super-talented, surprisingly Bluesy 18-20-somethings hailing from Chicago. The group which is fronted by MC Vic Mensa are headed out on a nation-wide tour this Fall with Asher Roth & Chuck Inglish... includes young talent: Macie Stewart, Nico Segal, J.P. Floyd, Lane Beckstrom, Greg Landfair Jr, and Liam Cunningham. I think it's pretty safe to classify Kids These Days as a "Free Jazz" band, but they've also recorded music with Blended Babies, Chuck Inglish, The O'My's, and Asher Roth. It really boils down to being a Hip-Hop-infused style of Jazz that vaguely reminds me of The Roots or N*E*R*D's instrumental chops. They're currently working with Wilco main man Jeff Tweedy, putting the final touches on Traphouse Rock LP, which'll finally see a [FREE] release on "Halloween Eve," Oct. 30th.

Kids These Days premiered our latest taste of the album, "Who Do U-Luv?" online @ Soundcloud Thurs. afternoon; It'll most likely appear on Traphouse Rock, along with recent teaser singles - "Don't Harsh My Mellow" (above), "I Don't Know," and "Flashing Lights." "Who Do U-Luv?" is a Soulful Blues Rock BANGER that seems to loosely chronicle an ill-fated relationship gone sour: "All I really wanna do lately is make you hate me and call you baby." If you listen closely, you can hear all 7 Kids These Days members and their assorted instruments all @ once... keys, trumpet, trombone, bass, drums, guitar, etc. Vic Mensa comes in during the song's final 1/4, sounding visibly upset, and goes on a nearly 2-minute rant against his ex-lover culminating with "Do you hate me now!?"

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Return to The 36 Chambers: RZA & The Black Keys - "The Baddest Man Alive" (Tarantino)

The Black Keys & RZA first linked up for 2 tracks on their wildly successful Dame Dash-helmed Blues Rock/Rap fusion album, BlakRoc (2009). It seems like RZA might've called in a few favors when assembling the soundtrack to his upcoming film debut, Man with The Iron Fists: Kanye, Flatbush Zombies, Raekwon, Freddie Gibbs, Corrine Bailey Rae, Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli, and Pharoahe Monch. Following a steady stream of leaks, the opening track from it's soundtrack album, which is out nation-wide Oct. 23rd, "The Baddest Man Alive" was unveiled Thurs. afternoon. Seemingly co-produced by both Dan Auerbach & RZA himself, "Baddest Man" is a Blues-leaning romp, accented by boastful Hip-Hop bravado. FuseTV premiered the track and quite aptly described it as sounding a lot like "an Ennio Morricone track produced by B.B. King."

While he's been pretty heavily influenced by Kung-Fu [Shaolin] since the Wu-Tang Clan days, The Man with The Iron Fists surprisingly marks RZA's debut behind the camera. The film's set to star Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, and RZA himself as the title role, amongst other skilled actors; Esteemed film-maker friends Quentin Tarantino & Eli Roth are also attached to the movie, which is coming to a theatre near you on Nov. 2nd... RZA has already signed on to direct his second feature film, Happy! It's based off a recent Grant Morrison/Darick Robertson (Image) comic book, which is centered around a corrupt former cop named Nick Sax and an imaginary winged blue horse. Quentin Tarantino's next movie, Django Unchained is a Jamie Foxx-starring "Southern Spaghetti Western" that's set to hit theatres on Christmas Day 2012.

"[Man with The Iron Fists] tells the epic story of warriors, assassins, and alone outsider hero in 19th-century China who must unite to destroy the clan traitor who would destroy them all. Since his arrival in China's Jungle Village, the town's blacksmith (RZA) has been forced by radical tribal factions to create elaborate tools of destruction. When the clans' brewing war boils over, the stranger channels an ancient energy to transform himself into a human weapon. As he fights alongside iconic heroes and against soul-less villains, one man must harness this power to become savior of his adopted people."

- (Story)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Basquiat Freestyle: Purity Ring & Danny Brown - "Belispeak II" (Corin Roddick Remix)

Purity Ring - "Belispeak II" (Danny Brown)

While Danny Brown has already worked with non-Hip-Hop cats like The Big Pink and The Streets The D.O.T., he recently Tweeted: "Everybody I wanna work with don't wanna work with me, so I gave up on asking people to do songs with me a long time ago." Mr. Brown then proceeded to list The Weeknd and Purity Ring amongst his dream collaborators. Nearly 1 month later @ 12 midnight Oct. 9-10th, Purity Ring quietly debuted "Belispeak II" online, which just so happens to feature Danny Brown! Back in August, Corin Roddick mentioned to Pitchfork that his production work's influenced by Soulja Boy, Justin Timberlake, Clams Casino, and that he'd "really like to get into producing for Hip-Hop and R&B artists."

"[Danny] Brown, who first saw Purity Ring on their summer tour, expressed interest in wanting to work with the band via Twitter and the two then exchanged ideas through email." Corin Roddick managed to open up a pocket in the original "Belispeak" track, making sufficient room for Brown to lace it up with some brutal rhymes... flipping Megan James' concept and rapping about his little belly speak and painting an "evocative snapshot of his childhood in Detroit." Purity Ring then announced a second tour behind their debut full-length, Shrines on Wed. morning; with dates running from Jan. 10-Feb. 1st along with Young Magic. An official mp3 version of "Belispeak II" is now available for download over @ the 4AD label site, too. Purity Ring is [are] currently touring across Europe, which will eventually wrap up in Liverpool on Nov. 28th.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Watch The Throne Meets "Bohemian Rhapsody:" Weekend Money - Naked City EP (Greedhead)

It kinda seems like Weekend Money were added to the Das Racist/Union Transfer bill in the final hour" ... But man, they've gotta be the TIGHTEST rap crew I've never heard of! Ne$$ & Baghdaddy proceeded to [brutally] open the show and were followed up by fellow Greedhead labelmates: SAFE, Lakutis, and flamboyant rapper LE1F. Impose Magazine goes on to cleverly point out that this is NOT the same Ness that Diddy notoriously sent across the frozen Brooklyn Bridge to buy a cheesecake on Making The Band 2. Weekend Money Ne$$ was born and raised in Philly and is now co-aligned with politically conscious Hip-Hop group, dead prez. Since immigrating 1/2 way across the world, DJ Baghdaddy has been able to learn/produce under the wing of seasoned Roots beatsmith, Hot Sugar.

Ne$$ had a chance meeting with Baghdaddy @ a party; While he had never produced a Hip-Hop beat before, the 2 ended up vibing pretty well... melding together Hip-Hip & Electro attributes to create the unique sound housed on Naked City EP, which was released online last Tuesday. It's 9 colorful, genre-blending tracks, one of which even features a guest verse from Greedhead label-man Himanshu (Heems). Weekend Money's Facebook page seemingly self-describes Naked City EP as "Watch The Throne spliced with "Bohemian Rhapsody,"' seamlessly blending the musical characteristics of both New York and producer-vocalist Baghdaddy's homeland, Iraq.

"Naked City speaks to what we were going through while recording the EP. It's about New York and our perceptions of it. If you line the tracks up by date of creation, they tell the story of our past year and the trials we went through - the hope, the pain, everything... New York City is everything. We wouldn’t have made this project if we didn't live here. There are so many people, personalities, stories, sounds, et cetera everywhere you turn."

- Weekend Money

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How The Gods Chill: @SeanMandela Price - "STFU, Part 2" (Duck Down Records)

The Chain Gang somehow managed to seamlessly splice together a bunch of stop-motion [animation] clips to construct Sean Price's latest music video, "STFU (Part 2)." Before it's all said and done, we see Super-Price courageously fending off a pack of angry killer apes with a microphone... getting some calcium fortification, pilot a spaceship, re-enact a couple album covers, run through the jungle, etc. All of Sean Price's milk-fueled hi-jinx were animated by crafty illustrators, Haroon Gilian & Whitney Alexander; "STFU (Part 2)" will appear on Price's long-awaited Mic Tyson album, along with previously-released tracks "Haraam" and "I See." Rome York directed and released a quick, 1:30-minute music video last week to go along with "I See," which was in fact pre-empted by "Sean Price Plays Tennis" back in early Sept.

Duck Down Records are finally gearing up to liberate Mic Tyson on Oct. 30th and it's set to feature a handful of intricately-woven guest verses: Pharoahe Monch, Freddie Gibbs, Buckshot, Ruste Juxx, and Ill Bill ... In addition to skilled production work from 9th Wonder, The Alchemist, Evidence, Statik Selektah, and DJ Babu (Dilated Peoples). Mic Tyson seems to be the third [and final?] chapter in a loose 3-part trilogy that dates back to Monkey Barz and Jesus Price Supastar (2007). Oh, let it be known that Sean Price is often regarded as one of the most prolific/criminally under-rated emcees in Indie Hip-Hop - Having worked with nearly everyone from Guilty Simpson & Black Milk to Hardcore Punk band, Cold World. It almost seems like Sean Price has been on a boxing kick in recent years, since his last full-blown project, immediately preceding Mic Tyson was quite cleverly titled "Kimbo Price."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dubbing Down The Horse?: The Wallflowers - "Re-boot The Mission" (Mick Jones)

I just recently bought a second copy of The Wallflowers' Bringing Down The Horse (1996), which along with Jagged Little Pill & Crash, was one of the first CD's I ever bought with my own money as a kid. Now, we all remember those great mid-90's Alternative Rock hit singles like "One Headlight," "The Difference," and "6th Avenue Heartache" ... The Wallflowers' first single after a nearly 7-year hiatus, "Re-boot The Mission" is a really Dance-Funk-leaning Rock "N" Roll swinger of a track; Noticeably influenced by The Clash's unique brand of Reggae-fied Dance rhythms, it seems pretty fitting that "Re-boot" features the guitar/back-up vocal talents of Ska Punk pioneer, Mick Jones. The seasoned vet also lent his musical talents to another one of The Wallflowers' new tracks included within Glad All Over, which is out this upcoming Tuesday (October 9th).

Black Dog Films director Sam Jones cleverly managed to inter-splice raw footage of dancers "cutting a rug" against in-studio tape of The Wallflowers jamming to create "Re-boot The Mission"'s companion music video. It quite possibly marks the first time EVER in recorded history that anyone's pop-and-locked to the music of a Dylan ha. Towards the track's middle section, Jakob Dylan initiates a shout-out ["toast"] section where he proceeds to name-check the rest of The Wallflowers' current line-up: Rami Jaffee, Greg Richling, Stuart Mathis, and new drummer Jack Irons (RHCP). When speaking about the band's slightly updated sound, Dylan simply said that the goal was to try to be "a Rock band that could make a Dance track too, without crossing over to the extreme side."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Talkin' Bout My Generation: Daddy & Smokey Robinson - "Crime" (James Franco)

James Franco, a true "Renaissance Man" has now added Doo Wop musician to his long list of credentials, which also includes: method actor, college student, performance artist, "soap star," director, award show host, author-poet, etc. On top of all that, Franco recently somehow managed to find time to form Daddy with his old college buddy, Tim O'Keefe while on the Oz: The Great & Powerful set. Daddy's Motown-inspired debut effort, MotorCity EP was released online roughly 2 weeks ago on Sept. 25th; There's been no specific record label mentioned for it's release/promotion, but I guess, who really needs label backing when you're James Franco ha. Franco's scantily-clad co-stars from his upcoming Indie film Spring Breakers, including Selena Gomez & Vanessa Hudgens, are strewn across MotorCity EP's Instagrammed album cover... "If it was four unknowns on that cover, maybe it'd just be purely this sexual thing. But when they're in that movie, the fact that [Selena & Vanessa] are on Disney shows carries a lot of weight. Something extra's going on behind the characters they're playing."

While his name's been plastered across tabloid headlines alongside "Tweenie Boppers" like Justin Bieber and Kristen Stewart as of late, James Franco has been shackin' up with a music super-star of a slightly different era: Smokey Robinson. Inspired by obscure Soul tracks featured within Blue Valentine and Breaking Bad DVD's, which he was watching on the Oz film set, Franco had a chance meeting with Smokey Robinson on the airport tarmac ... "We were pulling into the gate, and I woke up, and there was this man standing over me saying 'Hey, I just want you to know I'm a big fan of your work,'" Franco recalls to Rolling Stone. "His eyes were so striking. I had just watched a documentary about the history of Motown on the drive to the airport, and there he was!" The uncanny duo ended up recording a nice little track together for MotorCity EP called "Crime" that Soulfully chronicles a series of love-fueled petty crimes. It's companion music video seems to employ a bunch of crazy colorful, face-warping after effects, which perplexingly manage to ugly up one of Hollywood's best looking men (no homo).