Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Noisey & Federal Prism Present: Chuck Inglish & Sir Michael Rocks - "Swervin'" (The Cool Kids?)

Noisey premiered Chuck Inglish's new Federal Prism single, "Swervin'" late Tuesday afternoon, which features a semi-reunion with his former Cool Kids band mate Sir Michael Rocks (FKA Mikey Rocks). Likely the first single from his upcoming Convertibles album, "Swervin'" marks The Cool Kids' first recorded appearance on wax since about 2011. Mikey Rocks randomly mentioned what sounds like a fairly amicable split win a Dec. 2012 AllHipHop interview: "You break us up, we're still going to turn out nice as f*ck separately, and when we come together, we transition that energy into making a dope record. Right now, man, I think we just need to be focusing on blowing up... We might come together as something else different. But as The Cool Kids, no, because we're not the same people, we've changed and evolved into two different artists."

More or less, part 2 in Chuck Inglish's auto-themed series that started with Droptops EP, Convertibles is rumored to feature production/guitar work from Mike Einzinger (Incubus) and cold hard rhymes from Big Boi, Jonwayne, Asher Roth, Scoop DeVille, and more seemingly unlikely collaborators; Dave Sitek's new label imprint, Federal Prism plans to release Convertibles in the fall, partnering with Inglish's own home-grown label [and party platform], Sounds Like Fun. While it's still a pretty unofficial Cool Kids track, "Swervin'" harkens back to Chuck & Mikey's earliest Golden Era Hip-Hop-tinged material: "Black Mags," "Gold and a Pager," "Mikey Rocks," "88," and "What It Iz." Sir Michael Rocks is currently finishing up a long-rumored new project, BANCO EP and Chuck Inglish is hopefully working on a record with buddies Jonwayne & Scoop DeVille (Digital Diamonds), in addition to Convertibles.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

For The Whole World to See: Death - "Story of The World" (Tryangle Records)

1976's best kept secret and a righteous-sounding precursor to Punk Rock, Death are gearing up to release their first single in nearly 40 years, "Relief/Story of The World" this upcoming Tuesday, July 30th. The Detroit Proto-Punk band were initially active from about 1971-77 , broke up upon major label distaste regarding their name, and moved to Vermont once Death split. Brothers Bobby, Dannis, & David Hackney went on to form 2 separate Gospel Rock/Reggae bands, The 4th Movement and Lambsbread. Sadly though, David Hackney passed away in 2000 (succumbing to lung cancer) right before Death's sudden resurgence; due in part to tech-savvy record collectors, Death's lone self-released single, "Politicians In My Eyes" rocketed to the top of thousands of blog-spun playlists once again, between 2008-09!

While their sons briefly toured as cover band Rough Francis, Bobby & Dannis Hackney triumphantly re-formed the band with long-time guitarist Bobbie Duncan. Soon thereafter, Drag City finally unleashed Death's previously unheard 1975 record, ...For The Whole World to See (2009). Billboard reports that "the band has also completed a 10-song LP, which includes six newly-recorded versions of classic 70's Death tracks and four new tunes conceived by Duncan." Death are in talks with a handful of labels, one of which they're hoping will release the currently untitled album by February 2014. "Story of The World," released concurrently with career-spanning Rock-umentary A Band Called Death, sounds just as urgent and culturally relevant as it would have way back in 1975! It kinda sounds like a long shot... But musically, I'd say Death's "new old" track sounds like "Battle of Evermore" era Led Zeppelin meets KISS' sludgy guitar riffs and booze-soaked rhythms.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How to Piss In Public: FIDLAR - "Cocaine" (Nick Offerman's "swan, son")

It's pretty damn awesome and utterly ridiculous that a respected online news magazine like The Hollywood Reporter seriously tried to interview FIDLAR bassist Brandon Schwartzel about Nick Offerman's dick! FIDLAR recorded a righteous Skate Punk-infused cover of traditional standard "Cocaine [Blues]" for their self-titled full-length and somehow managed to recruit Offerman for the Ryan Baxley-directed video, which was unleashed 2 Fridays ago. Sounds like the Parks & Rec actor (Ron Swanson) is a family friend of Max & Elvis Kuehn's dad, Greg, a founding member of Long Beach Punk legends T.S.O.L.: "[Greg]'s played music for a long time with Nick's wife Megan Mullally -- she does music when she's not acting. Nick would do these comedy shows every now and then, and play music -- Elvis played with him a few times. Elvis played him some stuff, and we always were hinting, "Oh man, it would be awesome if you did a FIDLAR video!""

While it's still pretty NSFW, Schwartzel re-affirms what I kinda already assumed... Nick Offerman used a $2,000 prosthetic penis for the "Cocaine" video shoot (cause no one really has THAT much accuracy and control!). Here, "Ron Swanson" plays an average Joe who abruptly gets fired via text, buys a few 40's of Mickey's, and proceeds to go ape-shit across Los Angeles. FIDLAR are nowhere to be found, which is probably a good thing because Nick Offerman feverishly pisses on everything from Nicolas Cage's Hollywood Star to terribly unsuspecting passers-by. FIDLAR are planning to re-release "Awkward," an older track that previously featured UK songstress Kate Nash, on Wichita Recordings this upcoming Thursday, September 8th.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Big Body Bes Presents: Action Bronson & Harry Fraud - "Water Sports" (SAAAB STORIES Left-over)

It seems like Action Bronson & Harry Fraud have a pretty size-able batch of freeze-dried SAAAB STORIES left-overs, since "Water Sports" is the second track that's been leaked since the mixtape EP's June 11th release; Between "Strictly 4 My Jeeps" (Remix), "Heel Toe," and "Water Sports," we now have 3 appended SAAAB STORIES bonus tracks! Premiered over at Village Voice, "Water Sports" [in]appropriately features washed up (fictional) baseball player Kenny Powers on his jet-ski, fully clothed for whatever reason. I was lucky enough to experience Bronson performing choice cuts from SAAAB STORIES earlier this summer, a meticulously-assembled 7-track EP, which he says upon it's creation, "I was 100% thinking about it being a performance project... [almost] everything on there has a hook, and knocks... it's thumping. The stage is rattling, everyone's going wild" (The Green Room)! Long-awaited Party Supplies BANGER Blue Chips 2 will supposedly be out by late September, while Action Bronson's hard at work on Mr. Wonderful with Tommy Mas, a possible joint project with Statik Selektah, his upcoming major label debut for VICE/Warner Bros. and most likely, countless unannounced efforts.

The Amazing Donald Glover: Childish Gambino - "Centipede" (Glassnote Records)

Former Community cast member and aspiring funnyman Donald Glover released the first track in over a year under his Childish Gambino moniker Tuesday afternoon, "Centipede." It's a 6-minute brooding, epic track that flawlessly shifts between a cappella ballad, hard-hitting rhymefest, and bass-heavy street jam. While I was lucky enough to catch Gambino live at Starland Ballroom with Flatbush Zombies a couple years ago on the Camp concert tour (2011-12), he hasn't really put out much material since last year's ROYALTY mixtape. An uncharacteristically feature-heavy affair, Childish Gambino managed to recruit Danny Brown, RZA, Beck, Danielle HAIM, Bun B, Nipsey Hu$$el, Ghostface Killah, Chance The Rapper, and Tina Fey for ROYALTY's 18 tracks. But anyways... "Centipede" is without a doubt Donald Glover's return to form as Childish Gambino; Glover recently Facebooked, "Smaller role on Community = More time for music. Life is all about the trade-offs..." and will only appear on 5 of the show's upcoming 13 episodes. While the new track didn't come along with any sort of notification about an upcoming project, at almost any (or no) cost, new music is always a good sign!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scion A/V Presents: Harry Fraud, Smoke DZA & Chinx Drugz - "Loopy" (Luxury Rap?)

SAAAB STORIES beatsmith and Psych-Rap pioneer Harry Fraud is now the proud head honcho of a brand new label imprint, Surf School Recordings, operating under recently re-lauched Priority Records. Fraud's latest creative output is a FREE 5-track mixtape EP released in conjunction with Scion A/V; High Tide EP features unlikely collaborations with some heavy-hitters like Action Bronson, Tech N9ne, Earl Sweatshirt, French Montana, RiFF RAFF, Mistah Fab, Smoke DZA, Chinx Drugz, and Troy Ave. "Loopy" houses choice bars from stoner rapper Smoke DZA and French Montana affiliate, Chinx Drugz. But neither the emcees nor Harry Fraud actually appear in it's companion FAFU-directed music video, which stars a lone luxurious-looking glamour model. Here's Fraud's slightly scattered Twitter-liberated "Loopy" video description: "I didn't want to do a traditional Rap video. I wanted something that was fun, wavy, and visually more colorful than anything I had previously been a part of. With "Loopy," I wanted to experiment and make the video that people didn't expect." Our beautiful [un-named] model ends up precariously covered in paint by video's end... Although director FAFU makes it happen in a very artsy fartsy high-fashion, forward-thinking Art-Rap kinda way!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's a Long Way to The Top: Hanni el Khatib - "Pay No Mind" (Simon Cahn)

While attempting to create a polar "opposite of Rock "N" Roll"-rooted music video, French director Simon Cahn arguably created the most Hip-Hop-inspired Rock video since "Walk This Way" (1986). "Pay No Mind" is the third single pulled from Rock "N" Roll revivalists Hanni el Khatib's most recent album, Head In The Dirt; Recorded down in Nashville at Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach's backyard studio, Easy Eye Sound, the album has already birthed 2 gritty singles: "Family," "Penny," and 9 additional down and dirty Garage Rock jams. The NOWNESS premiered clip starts out with the cheerleading team passionately air drumming and singing along with "Family" in what looks like a late night car ride, which then segues into the absolute romper of a simplistic music video.

Now, we're talking' about 6 scantily-clad HEK cheerleaders performing a rough-edged choreographed dance routine along with "Pay No Mind," which Cahn filmed in an empty body shop/garage and on a dimly-lit side street. Hanni el Khatib himself makes a quick cameo appearance about mid-way through to deliver an ear-piercing guitar solo, amidst the sultry video girls "who look like they came from a Juicy J video," as Passion of The Weiss appropriately pointed out. Head In The Dirt is now available on Auerbach's Nonesuch Records Innovative Leisure... It's an abso-FUCKING-lute scorcher of a bare-bones Rock "N" Roll and if you haven't picked it up by now, maybe you should re-evaluate certain aspects of your life!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted: Kanye - "BLKKK SKKKN HEAD" (Black Skinhead)

While a rough, largely unfinished version was leaked a week or 2 ago and then re-upped in a more interactive/customizable form over the weekend, "BLKKK SKKKNHEAD" (Black Skinhead) was finally [officially] uploaded to YouTube mid-Tuesday afternoon. Painstakingly developed by Kanye and director Nick Knight over the past 5+ months, "BLKKK SKKKN HEAD" is really more so an anti-hit, even though it's been used in Martin Scorses's new trailer, The Wolf of Wall Street; The same squeaky clean edit has been released to urban radio stations nation-wide, which is slowly starting to pick up steam as a chart-topping "single." I think the only way I can possibly even begin to describe "Black Skinhead"'s special effects are those janky late 90's Tony Hawk, Grand Theft Auto, WWF, etc. video game build-a-player featurettes.

Tech-savvy Hip-Hop fans can head on over to Mr. West's personal website, where you're actually able to slow down, speed up, screenshot, and Instagram Nick Knight's CGI-filled video feed. 2dopeboyz commenter Gifts noted that "Kanye's sounds/visuals right now [are] basically Death Grips with a "Pop" influence;" to which Athens replied, "His producer even acknowledged the Death Grips comparison in an interview a few weeks ago... Even in this video, his CGI character seems more like Death Grips' MC Ride." WARNING: "BLKKK SKKKN HEAD" features plenty of cloaked KKK members, barking ghost-dogs, terrible attempts at rhythmic dancing, computer-generated dick, mildly racist undertones, and generally offensive notions (evenly spread) throughout! Kanye's widely loved/hated Industrial-Rap mess of a new album, Yeezus is now available for your mass consumption and neck-snapping enjoyment.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Late Night All-Stars Band: Elvis Costello & The Roots - "Walk Us Uptown" (Blue Note Records)

Not incredibly unlike their previous collaborative efforts with John Legend, Jay Z, and Al Green, The Roots take the "big band backseat" role on their upcoming record with Elvis Costello, Wise Up Ghost. It's stark-looking, minimalistic cover was supposedly modeled after Allen Ginsberg's Howl, more specifically it's infamous City Lights Pocket Poets Series rendition (1955). Questlove Jenkins defined Wise Up Ghost as a "document of music of 9 cats... Helmed by 2 music dweebs & their hero," which was reportedly released on a few as-yet-undiscovered Record Store Day white label 12-inches. "Walk Us Uptown" was unleashed mid-Monday afternoon in the form of a Soundcloud stream and Mariana Blanco-directed sparse lyric video. Legendary American Jazz imprint Blue Note Records plans to issue Elvis Costello & The Roots' long-rumored Wise Up Ghost on Tuesday, September 17th.

The album first came to fruition after Costello jammed with The Roots at their weekly home-base, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on 3 separate occasions; vaguely described in a May press release as "the shortest distance between here and there... It's a moody, brooding affair, cathartic rhythms and dissonant lullabies [that's] stark and dark." Wise Up Ghost was seemingly recorded at 2 non-existant or highly secretive studios, Feliz Habitat and Elvis Costello's own personal headquarters, Hookery Cookery. But anyways... "Walk Us Uptown" almost seamlessly meld's Costello's 80's Post-Punk-goes-Alt. Country aesthetic with The Roots' glorious 8-piece Hip-Hop band. Although, it's in no way executed in that inherently cheesy Death Grips/2013 kinda way you might expect ha.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ben Shepherd Presents: HBS - "Baron Robber" (Deep Owl, Seattle)

While it's been in-the-works for nearly 4 years and was largely recorded before Soundgarden's recent reunion, it's kinda hard not to compare Ben Shepherd's solo side-project "HBS" to his pioneering Grunge band's 1980-90's work. The Seattle by way of Japan bassist managed to recruit a brigade of like-minded Seattle players including: Matt Cameron, Joseph Brailey, Klaus Lustica, Greg Gilmore, Matt Chamberlain, and Steve Kim. "Baron Robber" kinda sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a late night, moon-lit drive down some intertwining back roads in a bitchin' 90's Trans AM or I-ROC; fuzzed out, bass-driven Alternative Rock at it's finest, which started out as an acoustic record!

Hunter Benedict "Ben" Shepherd recorded the bulk of his debut solo project, In Deep Owl at a very interesting Georgetown location, buddy Gerry Amandes' studio that's right "behind a sex club... where [they] could record, all day and all night, at all volumes." Shepherd further describes In Deep Owl (an old school cabbie nickname for Georgetown) as a "collection of dark and complex songs with a voice that wears its life experience on its sleeve" and mentions head-scratching elements of "bohemian industrial and beat nickery." Head on over to Ben Shepherd's Bandcamp to pre-order In Deep Owl, which is available in a limited 12" vinyl package that includes an immediate 2-track download and an emailed full album download link, upon it's August 27th release.

Sound Like a Fat Booty Celine Dion: Kings of Leon - "Supersoaker" (RCA Records)

Thanks to Kanye, now almost every time I hear Kings of Leon mentioned, I think: "Look like a fat booty Celine Dion / Sex is on fire, I'm the King of Leon-a-Lewis..." Founded down in Nashville way back in 1999, Kings of Leon is truly a family affair; made up of 3 brothers and their cousin -- frontman Caleb Follwill backed by Nathan, Jared & Matthew Followill. While their sound has gradually morphed from Blues-based Southern Rock to Alternative/Arena Rock, Kings of Leon have slowly risen to the top(s) of the "modern" Rock charts. Their upcoming sixth studio album, Mechanical Bull was recorded in a pretty pressure-free environment with long-time producer Angelo Petraglia and sounds "more [youthful and] musically complicated" than the band's past efforts.

Although, in a Twitter-fueled Q&A, Kings of Leon noted that Mechanical Bull could be easily compared to Youth & Young Manhood (2003) and Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004) or a culmination of all their collective albums. We've now heard our first legitimate taste of the record with "Supersoaker," which was uploaded online Wednesday, July 17th. Now, I can't say I hate wide-loved singles like "Sex on Fire" or "Use Somebody," cause they're almost instantly catchy tunes. But "Supersoaker" just seems more in line with early, slightly more Hard Rock-based Kings of Leon tracks like "Molly's Chambers" and "The Bucket." Months ahead of Mechanical Bull's September 24th wide-release, Kings of Leon are headed to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on July 22-23rd to likely perform "Supersoaker" for the first time on national TV, hopefully backed by The Roots!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Williams Street Records Presents: Madlib, Freddie Gibbs & Karriem Riggins - "City" (Madlib Invazion)

While they've released 2 quick-strike 12" EP's together, there's always been an underlying promise of a larger Madlib & Freddie Gibbs project: "Cocaine Piñata." Even though it still has a "due later this year" loose release date, we now have a tentative guest list: Raekwon, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown, Domo Genesis, Joey Bada$$, Ab-Soul, BJ The Chicago Kid, Meech (Flatbush Zombies), Casey Veggies, Mac Miller, Polyester The Saint, and G-Wiz. Adult Swim's own Williams Street Records imprint has unleashed a non-album (or possible Cocaine Piñata) track, "City" with Karriem Riggins, which they uploaded to Soundcloud earlier today, slightly ahead of it's Monday Internet-wide release.

For what it's worth, "City" also kinda duals as an unofficial Supreme Team reunion; Madlib & Karriem Riggins' long-defunct golden era Hip-Hop revival crew that's only ever put out a few stellar hard-to-find tracks! Paul McCartney's sometimes session drummer, Riggins almost effortlessly out-raps the self-proclaimed "Baby Face Killa." I'm just gonna go ahead and bet that Madlib has like 5/5 full-length Freddie Gibbs & Supreme Team LP's just sitting in a vault, collecting dust ha. "City" will be available for FREE download through Adult Swim's annual singles series come Monday, July 22nd and in a limited edition run of 500 single-press 7" vinyl records on Madlib Invazion. But for now, check out Johan Schwartz's gangster-ish 2-part short film, "Thuggin'/Shame," which could possibly continue with this onslaught of new releases.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Money, That's What I Want: The Weeknd - "Belong to The World" (Machine Gun?)

"Seems @theweeknd have said there is no sample used or enough likeness to "Machine Gun" to warrant any infringement... or credit," head Quaker and Portishead mastermind Geoff Barrow angerly Tweeted early Wednesday morning. It sounds like Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) initially asked Barrow and Portishead for permission to use said sample and upon being denied clearance, loosely re-created "Machine Gun"'s ferocious, almost Tribal-sounding drum pattern. But honestly, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense... since The Weeknd and Portishead are both signed to Universal Records, plus Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons are self-admitted Hip-Hop supporters. "Belong to The World" is actually The Internet's second taste of The Weeknd's upcoming "sophomore" album, Kiss Land.

In what seems like an effort to foster more of a prominent public image, Abel Tesfaye granted Complex his first full-fledged earlier in the week (as well as making REAL music videos now, too). Even title track "Kiss Land" blatantly samples a Main Attrakionz beat, "Nothin' Gonna Change." But I guess it's producer Silky Johnson feels slightly less threatened than Geoff Barrow and let it's uncleared usage slide. Director Anthony Mandler has delicately re-shaped "Belong to The World" into an almost 8-minute-long short film/music video in the same vein as early 90's Michael Jackson or Prince. It takes place in some sort of weirdly futuristic post-modern world that's vaguely reminiscent of "Rhythm Nation;" a place where expressive dancing is supposedly still a thing ha. While details are still pretty scarce, The Weeknd's upcoming Trilogy follow-up, Kiss Land, is currently slated for a tentative August 27th release.

El-P & Killer Mike Present: Run The Jewels - "36" Chain" (Fool's Gold, Buddy Cop Flick?)

While it might not be the "strongest" track or optimal single contender, El-P & Killer Mike have unveiled a proper music video for "36" Chain," which is somehow the first video-single from Run The Jewels (out since June 25th). It's basically a Hip-Hop-friendly version of The Raid: Redemption that oddly enough, co-stars Andrew W.K. Amber Tamblyn, Heems, Despot, and Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire. In a preview that could [hopefully] foreshadow a possible "buddy cop movie" or reality TV show, "36" Chain" follows Run The Jewels re-cast as 2 vigilante enforcement officers out on a mission to rescue their kidnapped, cracked out, and eye-patched squirrel buddy, Mr. Killums.

Preceded that morning by what you could kinda call a DVD extra, Killer Mike was also featured on a Black Noi$e-crafted Unknown Mortal Orchestra remix along with Mr. MFN eXquire; "So Good at Being In Trouble" now houses 2 appended, hard-hitting verses that effectively transform the Portland/New Zealand band's Indie-Pop jam into a certified BANGER! But anyways... "36" Chain" is an action-packed mini-movie that was directed by Tim Saccenti; The track's video description describes it as "equal parts Charles Bronson in Deathwish and LL Cool J circa "I'm Bad," as El and Mike brutally (and questionably) fight to rescue their furry, demented companion. [It's a] heartwarming tale of friendship, family values and redemption." Saccenti regrettably re-hired El-P's old puppet friend, Mr. Killums, who previously worked with the rapper-director team on modern-day masterpiece "The Full Retard." Run The Jewels, quite arguably already the best album of 2013 (so far), is now available for FREE download or in a number of awesome Fool's Gold 2xLP/CD/T-shirt/herb grinder combo packages.

Monday, July 15, 2013

From Sea to Shining Sea: Daughn Gibson - "Kissin' On The Blacktop" (Sub Pop)

Daughn Gibson and director Jeremiah Rouse have essentially managed to flip the whole concept of the flashy modern-day "music video" on it's head, stripping it back down to it's primal elements: grandiose sound and tasteful film flourishes. A former Hardcore Punk drummer (Pearls & Brass) who notoriously moonlighted as a truck driver, Gibson's latest single, "Kissin' On The Blacktop" also seemingly duals as his first ever music video release. It's a gritty brew-N-smoke-soaked scene that works quite well with Daughn Gibson's Alt. Country/Americana hybrid sound. Surrounded by a cast of shady-looking, yet deeply interesting characters, Gibson successfully weaves a Bluesy tale about a booze-fueled romance with "Kissin' On The Blacktop" while at the fictitious "Twin Willows" watering hole; We're talkin' about toothless pool sharks, whiskey-drinking cowboys, a leopard-skinned gold digger, smokin' hot lesbians, etc!

Roughly 1/2-way through, we're treated to a ferocious [steel] guitar solo from either John Baizley (Baroness) or Jim Elkington (Brokeback), which adds a whole 'nother layer to the Blues-Country romper. After reading a batch of early Me Moan reviews, I've heard Daughn Gibson's grizzly growl of a voice compared to everything from Crash Test Dummies to "Merle Haggard in a Nine Inch Nails T-shirt," whatever that's even supposed to mean ha. While he released his first album on fellow Philly native and Pissed Jeans frontman Matt Korvette's home-grown White Denim imprint just last year, notorious Seattle Indie label Sub Pop proudly unleashed Me Moan last week, July 9th. Daughn Gibson is headed out on a respectable 28-date nation-wide tour with Hiss Golden Messenger, William Tyler, Ty Segall, Cairo Pythian, and The Young (on select dates), running from July 16-August 17th.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Play That Funky Music: Justin Timberlake - "Take Back The Night" (Tennman Records)

Preceded only by a vague, Bob Dylan-like teaser clip earlier in the week, Justin Timberlake unleashed his BRAND NEW single, "Take Back The Night" late Friday afternoon; oozing Off The Wall era Disco vibes, I guess Timberlake's track shares it's name with an anti-rape organization of some sort (creepy coincidence or not). One particular commenter at Stereogum, michael_, actually said it perfectly: "What has changed since the release of [The 20/20 Experience] and this upcoming one is Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" copping their own shares in this Neo-Disco Pop..." The 20/20 Experience (Part 2) is slated for a September 30th release, along with the "JT Complete Package," which'll re-collect all 21 tracks from parts 1-2. "I originally recorded a massive amount of material and decided on the 20 tracks that I wanted on the album(s) over a year ago," Justin Timberlake lamented in a newly-issued press release.

"But, when I was mixing and going through all of the songs, there were so many that I loved - I couldn't resist... I had to throw in something extra night the 2nd half." "Take Back The Night" was collectively written/produced by Timberlake along with James Fauntleroy, Timbaland, and Jerome "J-Roc" Harmon. Following a 15-date baseball stadium tour with Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake plans to kick off The 20/20 Experience World Tour, which is currently set to run through February 10th, 2014. While he's reportedly busy working on an upcoming Folk-driven Cohen Brothers soundtrack with Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford, Timberlake's album will arguably go head-to-head with fellow Blue-Eyed Soul "rival" Robin Thicke at some point; Star Trak plans to unleash Blurred Lines on July 30th...and I'm just gonna bet that this'll be an interesting musical battle of blows!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beat Junkies & Bang Ya Head Present: Axel F. - "The Set" (J. Rocc & M.E.D.)

Stones Throw alums J. Rocc & M.E.D. (Medaphor) initially linked up last summer to assemble a podcast-contained mixtape; Collectively operating under the group name "Axel F," it featured a collection of largely original tracks and previously unreleased material. Now, exactly 1 year later to the day (July 9th) later, J. Rocc & M.E.D. have unleashed a brand new track from their forthcoming Rebel's Theme LP, "The Set." It's unclear if Axel F. is intentionally named after Beverly Hills Cop's Eddie Murphy name-checking title theme or not, but either way... this is about as down and dirty, intentionally grimy-sounding Hip-Hop as it gets! M.E.D.'s semi-confrontational verses are slickly inter-spliced between J. Rocc's neck-snapping, sample-accented production work.

A few of those hard-hitting Boom-Bap'd couplets include: "Big beat knockin', streets keep watchin', big things poppin', Pee Wee stoppin'... I'm internationally known, I'm internationally known, I'm internationally known as the kid with the flow." While a firm Rebel's Theme release date has yet to be set, J. Rocc & M.E.D.'s collective production credits include everyone from J Dilla to Hodgy Beats. However, Beat Junkies and Bang Your Head are presenting Axel F.'s "first official performance + "The Set" video shoot," which is going down at The Crosby [California] at some point this weekend; The Tweeted show flyer also alludes to a "picture disc EP coming soon on Bang Ya Head/Fat Beats!"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dancing In The Key of Life: Steve Arrington & Dâm-Funk - "Goin' Hard" (I Be Trippin')

Even since I've been into Stones Throw (Champion Sound-Donuts Era), the semi-respected Bay Area record label has slowly morphed into the place to go for cool, head-jerking vinyl. Peanut Butter Wolf has hand-picked a wide array of emcees, weirdo producers, Funk/Folk revivalists, solo artists, etc. Stones Throw's genre-blending "Hip-Hop & more" roster presently includes: Madlib, James Pants, The Stepkids, Matthew Larkin Cassell, deceased mega-producer J Dilla, Steve Arrington, Quakers (Geoff Barrow), Jonti, The Lions, Dâm-Funk, Jonwayne, and countless others. Announced just last Friday, 2 of the label's most note-worthy musicians have teamed up for a collaborative LP - Steve Arrington & Dâm-Funk! Arrington, former Slave Funky drummer turned spiritual foot-soldier, has bonded with Dâm-Funk, who's quite arguably G-Funk's last remaining post-90's producer.

Steve Arrington self-released his first album in 20 years, Pure Thing (2009), "[which] led to Dâm-Funk reaching out to Steve to propose collaborating on an album for Stones Throw Records. It only makes sense, as Dâm and Stones Throw creator PB Wolf originally met through Dâm giving Wolf a rare bootleg DVD of a Slave live TV performance," Stones Throw lamented in a quasi-press release. Higher is currently slated for a tentative August 6-7th wide release, from which 2 tracks have been unleashed, so far: the grammatically (in)correct "Goin' Hard" and "I Be Trippin.'" While Dâm-Funk tightens up the last few musical nuts and bolts, Steve Arrington is busy prepping for a "spot date" US tour with a newly-formed band and long-time fans/openers like Q-Tip and DJ Quik.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

From The Depths of Shea Stadium: Titus Andronicus Cover Charli XCX & Icona Pop's "I Don't Care" (OR "I Love It")

It's pretty safe to say that New Jersey Punks Titus Andronicus are having the most uncharacteristically blog-worthy week of their 8-year career; After unleashing "Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter"'s gritty performance video Monday afternoon, frontman Patrick Stickles opened his own singing telegram service... he'll personally travel to your house and sing anything you want, besides "Theme from Cheers" for $50, if you live in either New York City, New Jersey, or Long Island. Then Titus Andonicus uploaded an 8-minute "stone cold sober version recorded at one in the afternoon" of Icona Pop's sugary sweet mega-hit, "I Love It." It was recently recorded at Brooklyn's own D.I.Y. Punk club and the band's unofficial headquarters, Shea Stadium.

I guess you could day Stickles went ahead and took a little bit of liberty with Icona Pop & Charli XCX's lyrics: "Fighting with the cops (I love it) / Burning down the church (I love it) / Breaking all the rules (I love it) / Smoking at the school (I love it)." I think their brutally honest Soundcloud description really puts it best, "Titus Andronicus performs the quintessential Punk song of 2013, "I Don't Care" by Icona Pop, which I think is actually called "I Love It" but that is stupid - "I Don't Care" is a much better, more Punk, more Ramones/Richard Hell/Sex Pistols-esque title... This is an affirmation, a proclamation of love, a declaration of war. We don't care. We love it." While Titus Andronicus just got off the road with Hardcore buddies The So-So Glo's (BRING BACK THE DUDES TOUR), well, they're already headed back out on the "Manifest Destiny Tour," which runs from July 14-September 25th.

Ain't It Funny How The Night Moves... Atmosphere - "Bob Seger" (Silver Bullet Band)

Thanks in part to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Atmosphere were really one of the first Hip-Hop groups I discovered and got into on my own; It was right around the same time that Slug & Ant were gearing up to release Seven's Travels (2003) and Rhymesayers had licensed either "Trying to Find a Balance" or "The Keys to Life vs. 15 Minutes of Fame" for the board-driven gameplay. Atmosphere have released a steady string of Minnesota Boom-Bap albums ever since: You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, and The Family Sign. But in my eyes, nothing will ever live up to the near-perfect 19-track Seven's Travels. Slug has become something of an Underground Hip-Hop cult hero in recent years and even went as far as to self-proclaim Atmosphere as "The Bob Seger of Underground Rap" during a June Twitter exchange with fellow emcee, Flex Grossman ha.

Now, roughly a month or so later, Atmosphere have unveiled a brand new track dubbed "Bob Seger" which has been uploaded to iTunes and will most likely re-appear on a currently unannounced album. Littered with plenty of subtle Seger-sounding nuances and quite a few clever Silver Bullet Band references, "Bob Seger" seems like a surprisingly sincere tribute to the Michigan-bred Rock "N" Roll legend. Ever since recording and releasing their most recent record, The Family Sign (2011), Atmosphere has seemingly grown to include long-time collaborators Nate "The Guitar Man" Collins and keyboardist Erick Anderson and given "Bob Seger"'s Soft Rock-based undertone(s), I'm just gonna go ahead and assume they appear on the track, too. Atmosphere are currently headed out on The Kickin' Up Dust Tour, which'll be criss-crossing out glorious nation all Summer long, July 10-August 24th; Slightly Stoopid, Tribal Seeds, and The Grouch & Eligh will be opening for Atmosphere on select, alternating tour dates.

Thirdworlds Presents: Zach Hill & Death Grips - "Handcuffs" (hushed aug13?)

Death Grips have remained virtually silent and largely inactive for a few months, until deathgrippin uploaded a mysterious YouTube video over the weekend; Zach Hill ferociously drumming for 10+ minutes, sometimes filmed in hyper-speed, all the while being handcuffed! It was recorded during band rehearsal just the other day (07/05/13) and captures what seems to be a fragmented portion of Death Grips' blistering Proto-Rap live set. Hill unexpectedly bailed on a recent European tour, remaining in the states to actively work on an untitled film that he's writing and directing... Death Grips are planning to soundtrack the adventurous film, while they're simultaneously recording a new album. It's a little hard to follow and the band's work is always cloaked in mystery, but it's worth noting that @deathgrippin's Twitter handle is currently co-named "hushed aug13." The Witzard Conspiracy Theory: Death Grips are planning to unleash either Zach Hill's feature film, an album, or soundtrack on Tuesday, August 13th.

I'm almost willing to bet that mixed in amongst the jumbled mess that is "Handcuffs," there's some new, previously unreleased Death Grips material, too. But in any event, Death Grips' impending material will be their first real work since parting ways with short-lived label Epic Records, self-releasing their second album, NO LOVE DEEP WEB, and reuniting with founding member Andy "Flatlander" Morin. Pitchfork reports that Death Grips have somewhat surprisingly decided to enter a brand new label-like venture with Harvest/Capitol to be distributed by Caroline Records (The Misfits). The band's new label imprint is called Thirdworlds, forged over what they're calling a "very unique relationship" with the hit-making record labels, and their new LP is tentatively slated for a 2014 release. "The band has also confirmed that they've [somehow] managed to retain the rights to NO LOVE DEEP WEB" from former label-gone-bad, Epic Records.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Pre-review: Jay-Z - "Magna Carta... Holy Grail" (Watch The Throne 2!?)

Once you're able to get past the semi-absurd notion that Jay-Z decided to employ former-N'syncer Justin Timberlake to re-sing some Nirvana lyrics, "And we all just / entertainers / and we're stupid / and contagious," "Holy Grail" is actually a pretty awesome album opener/lead single contender. While Jay-Z & Beyoncé were spotted at a Grizzly Bear show pre-Blueprint 3 and Empire of The Sun frontman Luke Steele actually sang back-up vocals on that very album, it seems as though Beyoncé's 27-year-old Indie Rock-loving little sister Solange really has quite the influence on Jay-Z's varied musical tastes; Not only does Magna Carta Holy Grail (MCHG) feature interpolated Nirvana & R.E.M. lyrics, but it also makes use of M.I.A. and Alternative Hip-Hop weirdo Gonjasufi samples, "Bad Girls" and "Nikels and Dimes" respectively. Thanks to Samsung Galaxies, MCHG has already "sold" 1 million+ copies nearly 5 days ahead of it's Tuesday, June 9th wide release.

After a few early listens, it's a weirdly-assembled clunky-sounding album overall -- something we've kinda grown to expect from a live wire like Kanye, but not from a seasoned emcee and entrepreneur like Jay-Z. It's been a damn good 2-3 week stretch for Hip-Hop and fresh on the heels of Kanye and Run The Jewels' excellent genre-blending albums, a mish-moshed 16-track collection like Magna Carta Holy Grail sadly, just hits a little left of center. But don't let me discourage you, if you're a long-time fan, Magna Carta Holy Grail is definitely a worth while, interesting listen... even for it's sheer Monday morning water cooler capabilities; I just think Jay-Z could've easily stopped when initially "retiring" with The Black Album, which spawned Danger Mouse's ingenious Grey Album mash-up. Early favourites include: "Holy Grail," "Picasso Baby," "Nickels and Dimes," "Tom Ford," "Somewhere In America," and "BBC" #noorder.

Roc-Nation managed to recruit Justin Timberlake, Rick Ross, Frank Ocean, Beyoncé, Nas, and Pharrell with production work submitted by everyone from Timbaland to Mike WiLL Made It. However. my biggest qualm with Magna Carter Holy Grail is more or less a minor stylistic touch: slightly tweaking the title so that it would've read "Magna CartER Holy Grail," a la Sean Carter. It just seems like a slight mis-step on Jay-Z's management an PR teams' part(s), who arguably already spent multi-millions promoting the album online, across elaborate billboards, NBA Finals commercial spots, with Samsung's specially-designed app, etc. While Jay-Z's currently headed out on a 15-date co-headlining Legends of The Summer [baseball stadium] tour with repeat collaborator Justin Timberlake, veteran Yeezus/MCHG producer Mike Dean basically confirmed that "Watch The Throne 2" is indeed in-the-works!? Unlike Magna Carta Holy Grail, which is out world-wide July 8-9th, WTT2 currently lacks a solid release date. But I'd guestimate that it'll most likely end up fully materializing by Summer 2014 or before.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

America, The Beautiful: Justin Timberlake & Timbaland - "Tunnel Vision" (contains nudity)

Ye, I can almost picture it now: Justin Timberlake pleading with his semi-distraught wife, Jessica Biel, "But babe, it's NOT's art!" Billboard reports that Timberlake's latest album, The 20/20 Experience has sold 2 million+ plus copies since it's March release and previous singles, "Suit & Tie" and "Mirrors" still remain firmly fixed atop the Billboard Hot 100. Just in time for Fourth of July Weekend, Justin Timberlake unleashed a steamy new video-single for "Tunnel Vision," which was co-directed by Jonathan Craven, Simon McLoughlin, and Jeff Nicholas. Call it a gentlemen's rivalry, if you will, but some might compare Timberlake's scantily-clad music video to Robin Thicke's original banned-from-YouTube "Blurred Lines" clip. Although one could also argue that Thicke basically stole Timberlake's Blue-Eyed Soul musical style [SWAG] or even vice versa.

"Tunnel Vision" however, is a fairly tasteful representation of beautiful, topless curvy women of all shapes and sizes; Filmed using the less-is-more aesthetic, The Uprising Creative really only utilize stark black and white backgrounds, chunky "TUNNEL VISION" block text, smoke machines/hazy color screens, and Justin Timberlake's upper 1/2 artfully projected on various nude female forms (notably "Suit & Tie"-less ha). While Timberlake's currently finishing up The 20/20 Experience 2 for a September 30th release, he recorded a couple verses for 2 new Jay-Z tracks, Nirvana-sampling "Holy Grail" and modern day posse cut "BBC." Magna Carta Holy Grail has already technically "sold" 1 million copies ahead of it's Tuesday June 9th release because Samsung bought and essentially pre-released a million copies to their Galaxy app-users at exactly 12:01am, July 4th. I'm still pretty baffled as to why Jay-Z didn't title his album Magna CartER Holy Grail... or maybe Roc-Nation just thought that was too obvious of a pun!?

Fairies Wear Boots: Ghost B.C. - "Monstrance Clock" (Infestissumam)

Once you get past the deeply religious/Satanic imagery, 5 Nameless Ghouls, and dark brooding undertones, Ghost [B.C.] are a damn good Heavy Metal/Rock band; However, I'd personally liken them more to formative Heavy Metal bands like Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, etc. despite repeated allusions to the occult. Ghost are fronted by a mysterious Pope-like figurehead who goes by "Papa Emeritus II" (formerly Papa Emeritus) and he's usually flanked on-stage by 5 cloaked Nameless Ghouls, which each represent the five elements: fire, water, wind, Earth, and ether. Filmed by Rob Semmer at 2 recent Los Angeles and New York-based gigs, the band's new video "Monstrance Clock" is pretty much your standard Rock "N" Roll performance clip. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to catch the tail-end of the Swedes' blistering set at Metallica's first annual Orion Music + More Festival last summer... It's the last track on Ghost's recently-released second album, Infestissumam (Loma Vista). While we're at it, does anybody else think Papa Emeritus II kinda sounds like Michael Stipe from now-defunct 90's Alternative Rock band, R.E.M.!?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Third Man Records Presents: The Dough Rollers - "Little Lily" (AXS Live Session)

When I hear the phrase "The Dough Roller," I almost instantly think of the chain of family-friendly breakfast-lunch-and-dinner restaurants that are littered up and down the Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland where my friends and I go for bi-annual car shows nearly every May and October. While The Dough Rollers (emphasis on the extra "s") are the latest budding band to release a Blue Series 7-inch record on Jack White's Nashville-based Third Man Records. Hailing from New York and fronted by Malcolm Ford, The Dough Rollers are somehow able to effortlessly forge a unique blend of revivalist Rock "N" Roll in the same vein as bands like The Black Keys, Hanni el Khatib, and Kings of Leon. Noisey, who premiered A-side "Little Lily" just last week quite fittingly described it as a "song [that] simultaneously kicks you in the face and makes you reconsider your life in college for not becoming a rockstar;" although a slightly more contemporary description might be something like Iggy & The Stooges meets Foo Fighters. But when it comes down to it, "Little Lily" is just a down and dirty Rock "N" Roll stomper, which is now available for pre-order from Third Man and should ship by or before July 9th. No word just yet on a full-length, but The Dough Rollers seem to have a handful of tracks prepped for their blistering live shows: "Not So Smart," "Got Me a Bag," "Knock On Wood," "Rosie," "Where Shall I Be?" (2010) and "She's Your Cook."

Bad Finger Boogie: Mumform & Sons with Vampire Weekend and Friends - "With a Little Help from My Friends" (Glastonbury)

Well, this is quite easily the coolest impromptu event I've seen or heard happen in mainstream music in quite some time; Dusting off any pre-concieved notions of banjo-aided Bluegrass or College Rock labeling, frontman Marcus Mumford recruited a couple of friends to help his band, Mumford & Sons, perform a spirited cover of The Beatles/Joe Cocker's two-headed hit, "With a Little Help from My Friends" at Glastonbury last night. Mumford's posse was effectively joined on stage by Ezra Koenig and 2 additional members of Vampire Weekend, The Vaccines, First Aid Kit, Staves, and a few more musically-inclined buddies. Mumford & Sons seem to have modeled their call-and-response cover after Cocker's Soul-drenched 1968 rendition, which I first heard on The Wonders Years as a kid... not even knowing it was a Beatles song 'til years later! The original "With a Little Help from My Friends" is of course, comfortably nestled within The Beatles' magnum opus (and arguably the first album packaged with liner notes, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But for the Indie Rock purists out there, Mumford & Sons' and Vampire Weekends' most recent albums, Babel (2012) and Modern Vampires of The City respectively, are currently available and seem to be fairly well-received and acclaimed by both fans and critics alike.