Friday, September 30, 2016

"[I'm] not sure there's ever been a Hip-Hop producer less Hip-Hop than me," Dan Hayden On Homeboy Sandman & Aesop Rock's Lice 2: Still Buggin' EP (Behind The Beat, Part 1)

"Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman are back together once more, to deliver a new strain of Lice to fans worldwide. People of Earth, we are proud to announce our new FREE EP—Lice 2: Still Buggin'—available for download NOW, via Rhymesayers Entertainment and Stones Throw Records... Now, go share Lice [2] with everyone you know," Homeboy Sandman & Aesop Rock wrote within a rather spur-of-the-moment joint statement to accompany their 2015 Lice EP follow-up, Lice 2: Still Buggin' yesterday morning; their latest "infestation" of Lice showcases production from the likes of Dan Hayden, Mondee, SoberMindedMusiC, Your Old Droog producer (El) RTNC, and Aesop Rock himself. Bristol-based producer Dan Hayden, who hand-crafted the beat for "Zilch," was recently profiled within Homeboy Sandman's inaugural self-penned Bandcamp Daily column titled, Big Ups: Homeboy Sandman Picks His Favorite Hip-Hop Artists. "Kid has mad range. Kid also has straight heaters. I would compare his production to... nobody comes to mind! I love that. I imagine that one would have to have an eclectic palette—much like myself—to truly appreciate what Dan Hayden is doing," Sandman ecstatically wrote; and now, seemingly even unbeknownst to Hayden, until yesterday morning's sudden unveiling, the sharp-tongued rapper and greenhorn producer have linked up for Lice 2: Still Buggin' EP's lead-off track.

"No problem. Actually, this was kind of a surprise—Homeboy Sandman is one of my real favourites and a couple of years or so ago, I sent him a link to a beat tape I'd made. Heard nothing back, but I persisted a bit and eventually, he messaged me back saying "OK cool, just send me your best two beats by email and I'll take a listen." So, I picked a couple and he was like, "oh yeah, both of these are butters." I'm British, so I didn't even know what that meant, but I took it as a positive...! So since then, I've just emailed him stuff as I've made it and this one on the [Lice 2: Still Buggin'] EP is one he'd picked up on ages ago and I guess has just had kicking around..." Dan Hayden wrote within a statement sent EXCLUSIVELY to The Witzard upon Still Buggin''s Thursday morning release. "So, I got an email from him a couple of months ago or something saying he was planning on recording to it with Aesop [Rock] and [if it] was it still available and so, I've been really excited about hearing it since then. [I'm] not sure there's ever been a Hip-Hop producer less Hip-Hop than me," Hayden continued. When asked if he and Homeboy Sandman (and even Aesop Rock, for good measure) were planning to record and release a full-length together, Dan Hayden responded, "no plans at the moment for anything further, although I hope to do more with him, obviously!"

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mysterious Pouty-lipped Soul-Pop Songstress Red Rosamond Evokes Amy Winehouse, Lana del Rey & Nancy Sinatra On CLASH Music-premiered "Looks Can Kill" Follow-up, "Damn" (WAX LTD)

"What would happen if 007 was portrayed by a strong female lead, photographed by Helmut Newton, and adorned with a soundtrack of dark romantic Soul? Meet Red Rosamond," LA-based songstress Red Rosamond's Soundcloud reads. Although, she's only released two songs thus far, Rosamond has already drawn rather striking comparisons to Amy Winehouse, Lana del Rey, and Nancy Sinatra. "I am driven by love. I am inspired by the emotionally authentic—the passionate, the bold, the determined—and the flawed. I grew up listening to stars like Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington, Al Green & Tina Turner. Inspired by their work, every song I write I aim to be true. "Damn" is about the power play between two people. The magnetism, the seduction... It’s about desire and heartbreak, about someone who has a hold on you. We all have that one that got away and this is our soundtrack, my love letter to you," signed 𝔁 𝓡𝓮𝓭, written within her emailed "Damn" press package. "Damn" was premiered at CLASH Music, who quickly dubbed it their coveted Track of The Day 27/9, nearly one month behind her previous single, "Looks Can Kill."

"What do we know about Red Rosamond? Not a great deal, honestly. She's a copper-haired fox with a range as huskily emotive as Adele's powerful pipes. "Looks Can Kill" is a sexy sliver of a song: svelte strings and swaggering guitars and lyrics that run like illicit film stills still to be swept up from the cutting room floor, Noisey scribe Kim Taylor Bennett, who premiered "Looks Can Kill" last month, wrote deep within her "Introducing Red Rosamond..." piece. Rosamond's initial roll-out and coming out to the world is very reminiscent of Lana del Rey's 2012 double A-side "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans" roll-out, wherein no one really knew much of anything about this pouty-lipped, ginger enchantress—we just instantly knew that she had some Christina Aguilera-esque pipes and an undeniable, mysterious presence. It's pretty wild to think that someone like Lana del Rey, who was influenced by everyone from Britney Spears to Bob Dylan, has already risen the ranks of the music industry ladder enough to in turn, influence yet another sultry-voiced new artist like Red Rosamond, in a matter of six years after her own debut. It's currently unclear where Red Rosamond's "Damn" and "Looks Can Kill" will ultimately end up, but one thing's for sure: it's surely gonna be one wild ride!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

HOMEBOY SANDMAN. EUROPE, OCTOBER 2016: Onra Resurrects 2007 Chinoiseries Instrumental for Latest Homeboy Sandman Non-album Loosie, "Bus (A Rhyme)" [Stones Throw/Favorite Recordings]

"cats that wanna send beats, [my] email is only send 2, as mp3 attachments. I'll only respond if I pick 1, but I'll listen," read a very recent open casting call from Stones Throw emcee @HomebpySandman dispatched to earnest beatsmiths world-wide. It seems as though the construction of Sandman's latest release was conducted in a somewhat similar manner: "well, it [happened] just by itself. One day, I got an email from Homeboy Sandman, who asked if he could use this beat from my Chinoiseries album that I released in 2007. It's a really old beat I made over 10 years ago, so I wasn't too keen at first, but I decided to let him use it, since he's a real dope emcee and the result came out as a "Bus (A Rhyme)." He made a dope video that comes with it and that's that. Thanks," Arnaud Bernard (better known as Onra) wrote within a Facebook message sent directly to The Witzard. I've been mulling over it for a while now and I'm just gonna link you guys to Homeboy Sandman's Facebook-transcribed "Bus (A Rhyme)" lyrics (September 22) because I can't even begin to pick a few favorite couplets!

It's not entirely clear which 2007 Onra instrumental Sandman took the liberty of lacing up, but the source material for Chinoiseries was culled during a 2006 trip to Vietnam "after hours spent riding on a motorbike in Saigon streets, a taxi finally helped [Bernard] find some Asian records... It reflects all the different sides of those countries: raw, sad, culturally rich, amusing, kitsch, and romantic." Onra's latest release was his May 2015 Fundamentals EP featuring the talents of The Cool Kids rapper-producer Chuck Inglish and Snoop Dogg-affiliated emcee Daz Dillinger; while Homeboy Sandman, by all accounts, had a marathon 2016—single-handedly releasing his Kindness for Weakness full-length, painfully brief Lice EP recorded with buddy Aesop Rock, and an RJD2 remixed instrumental-turned-vocal "Gumshoe." Now, with any hope, "Bus (A Rhyme)" is just the first of many Homeboy Sandman & Onra collaborations, as Sandman himself so eloquently put it, "I actually just made contact with him on Twitter today... hopefully, cat sent me a hundred million beats." HOMEBOY SANDMAN. EUROPE, OCTOBER 2016 tickets on sale at Stones Throw, spanning October 14-23rd.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

3 Feet High & Rising: Eric Reid (A Prince) Unveils IMPOSE-debuted EP Single, "I Need You Closer" (Formerly "Hedgehogs Dilemma") [Soundcloud, self-released]

"This song was pretty therapeutic in helping me come to term with a failing relationship. It failed not because we didn't work at it, but maybe because we worked too hard at it and it became this thing that we both started resenting on some level. By the end, we were kind of like two mismatching puzzle pieces that had been shoved together... It's hard a hard spot to be in and I've had lots of friends that have been in this same place in relationships. It wasn't a horrible relationship either and I think that's what makes it harder, when its good like 50-60% of the time, but is that a way to live? ["I Need You Closer"] kind of helped me just face it in a very literal sense. This was also the fastest song on the album to write, I think I started recording it at like 11am one day and by 9pm, it was done. I remember texting my friend being like, "you have to come sing some group vocals on this song with me RIGHT NOW, before the urgency expires!" It was great [and] it was also great getting drunk with him and adding extra claps and drunken harmonies, it kind of suited the vibe."

- Eric Reid (A Prince), via emailed statement

Toronto, Canada-based multi-instrumentalist and record producer Eric Reid (A Prince) attests he takes his parenthetical name from filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. as a homage "stated as an influence for his do-whatever-the-f*ck-you-want, on no budget, the way you want to do it work ethic." While Reid's debut single, "I Need You Closer," which was very recently premiered over at IMPOSE, is self-labeled on Soundcloud as "Indie Rock," "chilled out," "break-up," "Indie," and "Acoustic," it's Related Tracks, oddly enough, include John Legend's "All of Me," Calvin Harris' "Summer" (Extended), and The Weeknd's February 2014 Remix of Ty Dolla $ign's chart-topper "Or Nah." ""I Need You Closer" is built around a Roland TR-808 drum machine basic toe-tapping beat. The sound originally sounded fake and lame, so I recorded it to tape and then, mic'ed the tape deck and recorded it back into the song and now, it sounds fake and cheesy, but in a good way," Eric Reid (A Prince) further detailed within a press release. "I Need You Closer" is the first single lifted from Reid's upcoming self-titled debut EP, which will be released October 21st and is currently available for pre-order on iTunes and across like-minded digital platforms. "This song was originally going to be called "Hedgehogs [Dilemma]," which from Wikipedia: is a metaphor about the challenges of human intimacy. It describes a situation in which a group of hedgehogs all seek to become close to one another in order to share heat during cold weather. However, they cannot avoid hurting one another with their sharp spines. Though they all share the intention of a close reciprocal relationship, this may not occur, for reasons they cannot avoid. I changed the name because I think "Hedgehogs [Dilemma]" sounds like the name of a song nobody would really want to listen to. Anyway, it sums up most of my relationships, but that is something I'll figure out eventually..."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tanya Morgan Rapper-producer Donwill Surprise Releases J Dilla Ruff Draft & "Bully Joel"-reminiscent stop. waiting. EP (with SOAP Goods Creative PDF 'zine)

"Hailing from both Brooklyn and Cincinnati, Tanya Morgan formed on the message boards of in 2003 when Donwill, Ilyas Nashid, and Von Pea were all solo artists trading demos and beat tapes. The three emcees decided to collaborate for a one-off project and settled on the name Tanya Morgan—an inside joke to trick Hip-Hop crate-diggers and sample-searchers into thinking the record was an old-school Soul singer..." reads a clever emailed press release from HiPNOTT Records; while Donwill's Soundcloud description simply reads, "Donwill makes music and you can hear it here." Donwill quietly released a compact 12-minute EP, stop. waiting. under the cover of night late Sunday evening, which he described within an emailed statement as: "basically [though,] it's an EP that I made for myself and mostly by myself to help me get out of my own way. The images in the PDF booklet are a metaphor for me balancing using my art as a shield and trying to protect the innocent, while still being very much about who I am and things that I've been through."

stop. waiting. was entirely written, produced, recorded, and mixed by Donwill himself with additional mixing and sound direction by Still Weavens, mastering by Brick Beats, and stop. waiting. PDF zine artwork designed by SOAP Goods Creative. I would liken stop. waiting.'s brief, albeit perfectly suitable, lo-fi almost 1990's mixtape feel to that of revered rapper-producer J Dilla's Ruff Draft EP (2003). "It's short for a reason haha. Minimal investment. If you don't like it you wasted 10 [minutes], if you do like it you have to play it again. Also, I'm not really into long-players right now. Longer ones will come, but this was an exercise in 'can I do this alone?'" Donwill continued. stop. waiting. is currently available at either Bandcamp or Soundcloud at the incredibly reasonable name-your-price rate of $4 (or more) and if you dig what you hear, I strongly suggest purchasing Tanya Morgan's pre-The Tonight Show The Roots commercial break buffer "sandwiches" remixing The Sandwich Shop EP, as well as Donwill's instantly infectious Suff Daddy-produced 2011 10-track mixtape, DPPLGNGR.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Night Drive Fearlessly Meld Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" & LCD Soundsystem's "Too Much Love" On Future Wave-tinged Pre-album Single (Soundcloud, self-released)

"Night Drive co-founders, Rodney Connell and Brandon Duhon met after a young woman they were both unknowingly dating was killed in a car crash. The tragic event bonded the two and shortly afterwards, they began a musical collaboration," reads a rather cryptic introduction to "Future Wave" duo Night Drive's Facebook Bio. "This guy we met at a bar (who [said] he used to guitar tech for Jimmy Page) dared us to cover "Whole Lotta Love." It just so happened that "Too Much Love" came on the house speakers in the background and we thought that was kind of interesting. It all just materialized from there," Rodney Connell detailed within a recent emailed statement. Night Drive further describe "Whole Lotta Love/Too Much Love" as a "dark Electro-Pop re-imagination," which they say is "what you might expect, if Jimmy Page and James Murphy had a child in a dystopian NYC, circa 2041." I wonder if Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones & John Bonham ever imagined they would one day be effectively "mashed-up" with LCD Soundsystem, while writing and recording Led Zeppelin II way back in April-August 1969?

Brandon Duhon & Rodney Connell additionally list Brian Eno, LCD Soundsystem, New Order, Scott Walker, David Bowie, Cut Copy, Soft Moon, [Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark], The Knife, The Drums, and "Sci-Fi cinematic landscapes" amongst their greatest influences on their long-awaited and seemingly soon forthcoming full-length album. While I'm admittedly, far from an expert on "Future Wave," Electro-Pop, or remotely any form of EDM, I can seriously get down with a Classic Rock and Dance-Punk-blending, forward-thinking composition like "Whole Lotta Love/Too Much Love;" however, I must say, excluding instrumentation, Night Drive's vocalist bares a striking resemblance to Ink Master host, Jane's Addiction guitarist, and one-time Red Hot Chili Peppers member Dave Navarro's phenomenal lone solo album, Trust No One (2001). Night Drive's progressive Led Zeppelin & LCD Soundsystem hybrid-cover—as well as Position I EP, Young Rivals EP, and a wide array of remixes, covers, etc.—are currently available for streaming and download on their Soundcloud page ahead of their as-yet-untitled full-length.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nerve Leak's Sam Friedman Evokes James Blake, The Weeknd & FKA Twigs On Self-reflective Disconnected EP Follow-up, "Moon Pulls" (Soundcloud, self-released)

"Part of my goal in writing "Moon Pulls" was to simply just be more honest. I've always been cryptic in my writing; instead of saying what really happened, I would use a metaphor or some type of simile to get the point across. With this track, I wasn't afraid to talk about the intense feelings of lust, love, and confusion I was experiencing. I feel like "Moon Pulls" is a drama condensed into a four-minute, Pop-structured song because it has movements that represent certain moments in time for me and it builds to a climax of myself bluntly asking, "what did I do to deserve you?" When I perform the song live, I always find myself screaming that part—it's such a human experience, being both grateful to have someone, while simultaneously feeling afraid to lose them," Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and producer Sam Friedman (professionally known as Nerve Leak) wrote within a recent emailed statement exclusive to The Witzard. While penning and creating "Moon Pulls," Friedman says he drew inspiration from the likes of James Blake, The Weeknd, and FKA Twigs to produce what he fittingly describes as a "song led by Trap-inflected beats, soaring vocal samples, and lyrics evocative of dominant/submissive intimacy."

"When I decided to put the lyrics to music, I wanted to make the production dark and monochromatic, but also rhythmic and alive. Pairing Hip-Hop and Trap-inflected beats with glitchy vocal samples of my voice, the music soars from low to high; soft to brash; submissive to dominant," Sam Friedman candidly revealed to Bullett Media, who premiered "Moon Pulls" earlier this month; further commending Friedman by saying, "it’s not an easy feat to pull of a song with both a sense of deeply felt humanity and otherworldly distance, but on "Moon Pulls" Nerve Leak walks the line adeptly." "Moon Pulls" serves as Nerve Leak's latest output following his FADER-premiered April single, "DR34M5" and its predecessor, Disconnected EP, which was accompanied by an e-booklet and interactive blog titled Snow / Sun / Words conceptualized by Sam Friedman along with "a collective of writers who interpreted his music with unique poetic works." It's currently unclear wherein "Moon Pulls" and 6-month-old "DR34M5" might eventually end up, but it appears as though they will likely end up packaged together on Nerve Leaks' forthcoming as-yet-untitled Disconnected EP follow-up, as they're both "written, engineered, produced, and mixed by Nerve Leak [and] mastered by Joe Lambert."

Friday, September 23, 2016

New York Pianist Toby Pazner Recruits Lee Fields & The Expressions, The Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band & The Arcs Players for Revitalized "Sirens of Jupiter," The Olympians (Daptone Records)

"After repeatedly being visited by a strange messenger in his dreams while on tour in the islands of Greece, Toby Pazner became consumed with a vision to tell the stories of The Olympians through music. Chosen by the gods as a messenger for not only his musical gifts, but for his unique position at the center of the Daptone family, Toby built a home studio from scratch and employed some of the top Soul musicians in the world to help him breath life into this album," reads a fragmented chunk of The Olympians' on-site Bandcamp press release. Tobias "Toby" Pazner's musical journey with the Daptone/Truth & Soul/Big Crown Records-affiliated family dates back as far as 2005 and his piano-vibraphone credits include records by Lee Fields & The Expressions, Lady, El Michels Affair, Lady Wray, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band, Aloe Blacc, Bronx River Parkway & Candela All-Stars, Ultimate Breaks & Beats, and The Bushwick Philharmonic. Toby Pazner then assembled a revitalized version of his short-lived 2008-09 solo project, The Olympians "featuring the talents of Thomas Brenneck (Menahan Street Band, Budos Band, Charles Bradley), Dave Guy (Tonight Show Band, The Dap-Kings) Leon Michels (The Arcs, Lee Fields), Nicholas Movshon, Homer Steinweiss (The Dap-Kings), Michael Leonhart, Neal Sugarman (The Dap-Kings), and Evan Pazner (Lee Fields)."

T. Pazner wrote and self-produced four tracks between 2008-09, "How Can I Love (Now That You're Gone)" co-written along with H. Steinweiss, "Stand Tall," "Midnight Movement," and "The Rain Song," which ended up materializing on two separate 7-inches pressed and issued by Leon Michels' own now-defunct Truth & Soul. Daptone Records surprise released the terribly unsuspecting world's first taste of Toby Pazner & company's self-described "r&b/soul New York instrumental" mission statement, whose full-length is expected to drop this upcoming October 28th, "Sirens of Jupiter;" comfortably inter-woven betwixt 11 aptly-named Ancient Greece-centric compositions such as "Apollo's Mood," "Venus," "Mars," "Neptune," "Saturn," "Mercury's Odyssey," and "Sagittarius By Moonlight"—all of which bear a striking sonic resemblance to Lee Fields & The Expressions, The Menahan Street Band, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, and even evokes undertones of Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach's vaguely Psych-Rock side-band, The Arcs. Although, perhaps the most interesting "mainstream" session Daptone Records founder Neal Sugarman and fellow Olympians Homer Steinweiss, Dave Guy, and Leon Michels have (and likely will ever) be involved with would quite arguably be Ariana Grande's, surprisingly Funky, Dap-Kings-assisted "OG Honeymoon Ave," which she professed likely dates back to about "2012(ish)" from her critically-acclaimed 2013 debut, Yours Truly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Mobbs' Well-groomed Frontman Joe B. Humbled Talks Wilko Johnson, Garage Punk for Boys, The Fallen Leaves, PIFFLE! & "Pale & Interesting" Beer (The Witzard Interview)

"The Mobbs are a trio of English gentlemen whose urbane and well-bred appearance lies in stark contrast to the ferocious intensity of the rocket-fueled sonic blasts of their guitar-based rave ups... Being aware that these gentlemen are planning to [kick] your ar*e and leave you for dead in a Northampton gutter is one thing; their brilliance is that they do it in such a way you can't help but pour them a gin and run them a bath first," reads a fragmented chunk of a wonderfully well-written mynewsdesk press release I recently received from London-based Dirty Water Records. Drawing assorted influence from both sides of "the pond" across nearly four decades-worth of Punk Rock, The Mobbs, at times, evoke The Clash, Black Flag, mid-90's Ska revivalists Rancid, and Celtic-Punk forefathers themselves, Flogging Molly; Joe B. Humbled, The Bishop & Cheadle have somehow still managed to craft a unique sub-genre best described as "Punk Rock for Gentlemen" "Garage Punk for Boys" or "refined (yet edgy) 20-something Punk Rock gentlemen approaching 30," much like myself. Dirty Water Records announced they will co-release The Mobbs' long-awaited fourth album, PIFFLE! with Cravat Records (their second with bassist The Bishop) this upcoming Friday, September 24th—they've additionally planned a record release show at The Pomfret Arms Northampton 24/09/2016 at 9:00pm, wherein Hart Family Brewers Wellingborough will unveil The Mobbs' very own PIFFLE! "Pale & Interesting" beer. I was lucky enough to get in touch with drummer and resident in-house PR rep Cheadle, who in turn, got me in direct contact with The Mobbs' frontman Joe B. Hombled, who was gracious enough to partake within the... "Pale & Interesting" interview you see down below; without further ado, feel free too kick back, hang up your studded leather jacket and Doc Martins, crack open a cold PIFFLE! Pale & Interesting beer, and delve deep into this particularly Garage Punk for Boys (and Girls)-centric interview!


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Your Resident Punk Rock & Beer-drinking Curator

I. What might you likely cite as the earliest sources of influence behind your "Punk Rock as Gentlemen" ideology?

You have to be careful using "Punk Rock as Gentlemen" or "Punk Rock for Gentlemen" as a phrase because it's actually not something we use. If you look up a band called The Fallen Leaves, you'll find out that it is actually a phrase they use and I believe, their new LP is called Punk Rock for Gentlemen. However, we did pay tribute to The Fallen Leaves by calling our last album Garage Punk for Boys. The Punk Rock gentry thing most certainly does derive from being influenced by bands like The Fallen Leaves, but strangely we didn't discover The Fallen Leaves until a couple of years after we'd founded The Mobbs! What you might find, though is that bands like us and The Fallen Leaves have been influenced by the musical work of Billy Childish... that might explain the influence/ideology!

II. How do you feel your overall sound has progressed since your first album, IT'S... THE MOBBS (2011)?

Well, the sound hasn't really progressed, but I suppose you could say it is different. In creating the style of Rock "N" Roll that we play, there's not much need for progression sonically... the sound is what it is... guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. We are perhaps a little more refined, musically. The recordings sound different because we've recorded at different studios. The song-writing has probably progressed, as [opposed] the sound. We've changed bass players since 2011, so that naturally has changed our sound a little.

III. Your mynewsdesk press release states that "these Northampton lads are named for one of their local heroes: Edgar Mobbs, captain of Northampton Saints RFC from 1907-13..." What would you care to share about Capt. Mobbs' legacy and why did you chaps ultimately decide to name your band after him?

It worked because it sounded like "the mods" or "mob," I think. Edgar Mobbs was a typical British, tally-ho!-type character, in my eyes and I thought it'd be amusing to tie everything together like that... if that makes any sense?!? We had largely forgotten about our roots with E. Mobbs, but interestingly [enough,] the people in the Dirty Water Records press release dept. have revived the idea.

VI. "One review described [The Mobbs] as being 'like The Rockin' Vickers meets The Leyton Buzzards,'" but what would you likely cite as some of your greatest sources of influence on PIFFLE!?

I was listening to a lot of The Masonics, at the time of writing the songs, so most certainly, a massive influence there. I re-discovered the first Kinks LP, KINKS (1964) and was listening to that a great deal. With a track like "Matador," that's very much an attempt to write something in the style of The Ventures or The Shadows.

V. How would you attempt to best describe your limited-run Hart Family Brewers PIFFLE! "Pale & Interesting" beer for those of us who, unfortunately, won't be able to attend your 24/09/2016 hometown record release show?

Well, until we taste it, we won’t be able to tell you exactly... hopefully, the “pale and interesting” bit helps? We are suitably informed by our friend Rob Hart, who runs the brewery, that it will be very "hoppy." There will be an interesting mix of English hops and Japanese hops adding to the flavour. It’s going to be a light, low-percentage ale.

VI. How did you initially come to meet and form The Mobbs with Cheadle and Jimi The Dutch—who unfortunately, passed away in 2013? How did you come to find new bassist The Bishop and decide to bring him into the fold?

Jimi The Dutch & Cheadle were in another band together until I (Joe B. Humbled), stole them both to form The Mobbs in 2008. Jimi is alive and well, by the way... he just moved to Berlin for love (or something). We were very lucky to rope in Brendan "The Bishop" to continue the grand work Jimi left behind.

VII. We pride ourselves on being a primarily Hip-Hop-centric publication here at The Witzard with one foot firmly planted in Indie Rock and Punk Rock; with that said, what would you likely cite as a few of your Favorite Hip-Hop releases (be it albums, mixtapes, singles, etc.) of the past 6-8 months?

We have very little knowledge of Hip-Hop, so the past 6 to 8 months would mean we have 0 favourites at all, I'm afraid.

VIII. Now, with PIFFLE!/"Pale & Interesting"'s soon-impending September 24th release, what do you gentlemen have planned leading up to or even after its release? Did I hear rumblings about a proper "Mojo Degradation" video?

The "Mojo Degradation" video is ready and will hopefully be viewable by September 10th. We are struggling to get gigs at present, but hopefully, following the release, we'll sort out some kind of mini-[European] tour or maybe a UK one.

IX. What initially compelled you to blatantly use the formerly non-Punk Rock word "nonchalant" throughout "Jolly Good" (2011)? It's extremely awesome, I must however, admit and fully embodies your slightly left-of-center "Punk Rock for Gentlemen" ethos!!!

Well, it's just a funny word to use I suppose. It's all just humour. Punk Rock at it's best, is just slap-stick comedy, really... I don't think we've ever really been a "Punk Rock" group in the truest sense, though. We take off our hats to Punk Rock, but we're more grounded in 1950-60's Rock "N" Roll.

X. Excuse me for even having to ask this—maybe it's just an American thing... but what exactly does your latest album title, PIFFLE! stand for or mean in layman's terms?

Google it! I suppose we've used it as a kind of self-explorative "put down" phrase in the song itself; "...this is useless, this is drivel! Endless, endless, endless piffle..."

XI. Let's just say, for argument's sake... you were able to assemble a super-group of any musicians of your choosing (alive or dead), who would you likely pick and why?

A hard question... Wilko Johnson on guitar, Howlin' Wolf on vocals, [The Who's] Keith Moon on drums, and Paul McCartney on bass—that’s my personal answer, but I’m sure The Bishop, for one, would have a few issues with a line-up like that!

XII. Now, for the million dollar question: do you fellas have have any immediate plans to head "across the pond" for a state-side Mobbs-mania tour... preferably Philly... or better yet, South Jersey!!!

That’d be super. We unfortunately, don’t get out too much and when we do, we’re only able to do two-night shows in mainland Europe. This is mainly due to the guys having young families, at this time... but we’d not ignore the possibility!

- 𝓙𝓸𝓮 𝓑. 𝓗𝓾𝓶𝓫𝓵𝓮𝓭, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mahatma Crowley & The Beholder's Trinity Unveil Ghoulish THE BEHOLDER'S MARK Follow-up, "Glass Half Empty" [PROJECT 2] Ahead of Fall Equinox (Akashic Vibrations Records)

"[PROJECT 2] is a concept mixtape that covers the themes of fame, isolation, Armageddon, suicide, immortality, dark magick, and Christian mysticism. "Glass Half Empty" is the mid-point of this story and deals primarily with the emotion of helplessness... How do you see the glass? Can you see it any other way? Will my visions ever change? [PROJECT 2] on the horizon," self-described Occult Hip-Hop emcee Mahatma Crowley wrote within recent Facebook and Soundcloud statements; both mysteriously hashtagged "BEHOLDTHEMARK" and "SOLSTICEWEEK," which would be this upcoming week, to be exact, the impending Autumnal Equinox, Thursday, September 22nd (a potential release date). Mahatma Crowley's ghoulish delivery vaguely reminds me of his grizzled bark predecessors DMX, Ja Rule, Rick Ross, Yeezus-era Kanye, and at times, even Death Grips' frenzied frontman MC Ride. Upon first hearing Crowley & The Beholder's Trinity's latest single, "Glass Half Empty" this past moon-lit Saturday evening, I was instantly reminded of his fellow Horrorcore peers Flatbush Zombies—who recently, for whatever reasons, played The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon—RZA & Prince Paul's painfully short-lived Gravediggaz, and Swedish Dream Pop/Hip-Hop aficionados jj's phenomenal christmas eve 2010-released kills mixtape.

Mahatma Crowley previously described his self-released June 2015 mixtape within its contained description as: "THE BEHOLDER'S MARK is my debut album. I made sure that every word meant something to me. I hope it means something to you. Each track represents a year of my life. To balance chaos and order. To find my way. All things at once. At the same time, nothing. Visit for the full experience of the project." Those who dare sign up at are eligible to "win a free [CD] album with stickers and a personal message" by simply supplying their email and mailing addresses on the form provided. I'm still currently attempting to dissect THE BEHOLDER'S MARK, but it's one Hell of an inaugural journey through Occult Rap, a unique burgeoning genre which I can honestly say, is entirely unlike anything I've ever been exposed to; while all of THE BEHOLDER'S MARK's 18 contained tracks are all accompanied by "Occult Multi-media Artist"-designed cover images and an eerily brief seven-chapter video element, "Inbetweeners" is without a doubt, an instant stand-out... wherein Mahatma Crowley ferociously spits ghoulish rhymes over an impeccable Steven DeBlat-produced Ellie Goulding "Anything Could Happen" sample. Mahatma Crowley is currently readying seven full-length music videos from THE BEHOLDER'S MARK and as well as putting the finishing touches on [PROJECT 2], is actively working on completing [PROJECT 3] with 22 artists and 9 producers, and his second "true album," [PROJECT 4].

Saturday, September 17, 2016

3 Feet High & Rising: Ancona, Italy's Gentlemens Evoke Iggy & The Stooges, The Rolling Stones & The Black Keys On HOBO-FI (Area Pirata Records)

"This album [expresses] the gathering of the band's journey across the past two years; a journey full of encounters, people, music, places, and coincidences. All [of these] adventures are permeated in the band's sound, like the memories of a tough hobo. There are hobos who ride trains [and] others ride roads. The HOBO-FI rides Rock "N" Roll from a Blues train to all the lonely Punk ways," self-described "GARAGE / LO-FI / power BLUES" Ancona, Italy-based band Gentlemens (sometimes, referred to as "The Gentlemens") wrote within a brief, albeit perfectly descriptive, emailed statement. I first spoke with Gentlemens pseudo-frontman Giordano Baldoni about a year ago, June 2015, after either I discovered them or they discovered me via Twitter; his initial email included this interesting little tidbit, "We are a little and unsigned band from Ancona (Italy), we like to play live, and our main favorite bands are the Garage bands from Detroit or... The Oblivians;" to which Baldoni added, in closing, "PS: the name of the band is absolutely ironic!" I personally feel as though Gentlemens sound something like an unholy union of The Rolling Stones, The Black Keys, Iggy & The Stooges, and Detroit native Jack White's long-defunct The White Stripes mixed with a generous dose of suave Italian Rock "N" Roll steez (fittingly defined by Urban Dictionary as, "plain old style with eaaaaze").

"THE GENTLEMENS are a swarming, mighty, Rock sound/band that reside out of Ancona, Italy. This fantastically impressive Italian rocker trio oozes nasty "movin' & groovin'" Bluesy Rock "N" Roll music zaps with huge gulps of Punk/Garage Rock charms, as well as Surf and British 60's Rock root splendours. They bring edgy, incredibly tight-sounding "shake, rattle & roll" vibes..." FORKSTER Magazine scribe Timothy John Forker wrote within a fragmented chunk of Gentlemens' on-site BIO. It quite interestingly credits members Giordano Baldoni (G.F.) and brothers Paolo Fioretti (P.F.) and Daniele Fioretti (D.F.) as all playing "GUITAR/DRUMS/VOX," which, I guess, isn't entirely unheard of... I mean, Blink-182 has always had two frontmen singing tandem vocals and The Eagles' Don Henley has always prided himself as being a singing drummer for years. Earlier this week, Giordano sent me a couple links to The Gentlemens' latest video and lead single from their upcoming album HOBO FI, "Howlin' at The Moon." It appears to have been shot at a, for lack of a better term, "seedy hole-in-the-wall" Italian club venue (which I'm sure is a very classy establishment!) Gentlemens have now partnered with independent Italian imprint, Area Pirata Records to properly release the follow-up to their 2013-15 Bandcamp-released LESS SAID, THE BETTER and UNBURIED HEAVY PILLS EP, the aforementioned HOBO-FI, which will become available on CD/LP this upcoming October 10th.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Witzard's First Ever "Cross-continental Transmission" with A Cosmic Safari Masterminds, Cold Busted Beatsmiths & Space-Funk Revivalists, Jenova 7 & Eddie Shinn (The Witzard Interview)

"ATTENTION EARTH PEOPLE! FROM THE STRANGE AND INFINITE WORLDS OF OUTER SPACE COMES A DUO OF INTERGALACTIC TRAVELERS! EXPERIENCE SOUNDS NEVER BEFORE DREAMED! ASTONISHING JOURNEYS AWAIT ON A COSMIC SAFARI WITH JENOVA 7 & EDDIE SHINN! INCOMING TRANSMISSION," reads a rather impassioned, albeit gloriously spaced out, precursor to the description attached to Cold Busted's A Cosmic Safari Bandcamp page. Self-described "producer, crate-digger, beat poet, time-traveler, [and] instrumental storyteller" Michael J. Sirois (Jenova 7) by way of Boston, Massachusetts and Ulyanovsk, Russia-based producer and Cold Busted author Eddie Shinn are separated by a half-world's distance; however, still managed to jointly co-produce "A Cosmic Safari [which] takes this international concept and launches it skyward... the album’s songs take place in an intergalactic sound-space." A Cosmic Safari is scheduled to "land" this upcoming Friday, September 9th in 11-track vinyl, 16-track emcee-assisted digital, and all-inclusive 21-track CD formats on Los Angeles-based Cold Busted Records. Now, I've been listening to A Cosmic Safari on constant loop, since receiving it from 8DPromo mid-Friday afternoon prior to this past Labor Day Weekend, and I've likened it to Beastie Boys-helmed Check Your Head and Ill Communication, Gorillaz & De La Soul's "Feel Good Inc." Donuts-indebted instrumental Hip-Hop, 1980's Acid Jazz, Lounge music, and by my girlfriend's own submission, "Skymall mid-flight shopping music,'" read my initial Labor Day Weekend A Cosmic Safari write-up; now, with that said, I hope you thoroughly enjoy the interview attached below with Jenova 7 & Eddie Shinn—conducted in the true collaborative spirit of A Cosmic Safari, via email between New Jersey, Boston, and Eddie Shinn's "home base," Russia!


Your Inter-galaxy musical safari guide,
Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz

I. What was your typical beat-making and recording process for A Cosmic Safari like... especially, considering you two were separated by around 4,500 miles?

JENOVA 7: The approach was somewhat similar to what I’ve done in the past with long distance collaborations. This is my fourth time working on a full length album with an artist from another country. I made Time Travellers I & II with Mr. Moods and together, Moods and I also formed a Trip-Hop trio with Mononome [Wax Triptych]. Mr. Moods is from Canada and Mononome is from Greece and—just like with Eddie—we have never met in person. I find the process comfortable, though. Before I became a collaborator, I was a fan of these artists. I felt like I already knew them through listening to their music and eventually, fate would bring us together by being on the same labels.

The main difference between the making of A Cosmic Safari and my past collaborative albums is that almost all of the music is an original composition. I’ve been known as a crate digger and a sampler, especially with my Dusted Jazz albums, but with this record, we worked more as songwriters. This is the first album were I played the keys on every track. I would come up with melodies on a keyboard or different synths, add a drum break or drum machine loop, and then send it over to Eddie. He would take the stems, add more to the basic idea, or fully flip my “sample” into something along the same lines—but evolved. We followed a Sci-Fi theme and really allowed ourselves to get creative and out there. He would send me back the stems of a newer version, and we would go back and forth until the track was perfect.

We wrote most of the album in about two weeks. The tracks were unpolished but fairly close to being done at this point. This is where the language barrier between us finally surfaced. When we were writing the music in those first two weeks, it was quick, natural and spontaneous. But, when it came to mixing the finalized versions of the tracks, it was hard to put into words how we wanted the album to sound. Mixing language and terminology can be specific, it can be hard to translate. We took our time, dealt with some personal issues in both of our lives, and worked on mixing and mastering over the past year.

EDDIE: Hello, I agree with Michael mostly. It was a fun trip! I love this time when [I] got new ideas from him. I was choosing tunes, which most liked to me and tried make something new with it. The first track was "Dang [Ole] Trip." Michael just sent me a few keys and bass with simple beat in Trip-Hop style. [I] have to say, it was hard times because I was gonna make this track more "Lounge." It took a few hours to get the necessary "Lounge" beat and a mood. The next one was "Neon Garden." After this, we understood that [we had to try to make an] LP for Cold Busted. So, in [the] coming 1-1.5 years, we were working on it. We worked on the album as "lazy cats," slowly and [slightly past] the deadlines

II. “A Cosmic Safari’s... songs take place in an inter-galactic sound-space,” so says Cold Busted’s Bandcamp page; with that said, is there some sort of underlying concept running through the album?

JENOVA 7: Definitely, I think it can be considered a concept album. Mostly, I think it’s trying to build a certain Sci-Fi “aesthetic” in some of the weirder tones and melodies. We wanted the album to be colorful. The idea of the album being a safari suggest an adventure into the wild. We wanted that “wild” to be the universe itself. There are some happier tracks on the album, but there are also some darker ones. I think that’s what it really means to be colorful—there’s a dynamic range of vibes and emotions. The vastness of the universe emphasizes the vastness of human emotions. The lyrical songs also help tell the story of the album. One track is about longing to leave the planet you’re stuck on. Another track is about an intergalactic drug dealer. There’s even some Blade Runner in there. I think the title of the album accurately represents what the album is all about—going on a stellar adventure.

EDDIE: It's true; we wanted to get the colorful album and we got the colorful album! Awesome :P

III. Can you go into a bit of detail concerning Eddie Shinn’s unfortunate debacle with a baseball bat-wielding masked man during the making-of A Cosmic Safari?

JENOVA 7: I think it’s best if Eddie tells you the story. I remember he couldn’t work on finishing a mix of the tracks for a while because he was stuck in the hospital during recovery. He’s Russian, so he’s probably used to that kind of crazy. It didn’t seem to phase him much, though—but he wasn’t able to have his music production computer in the hospital, so it definitely delayed things a bit. There was also a period where he had been worried about not being able to finish the album because he was going to have to serve in the army. We had a lot of obstacles in the way but we managed to overcome them.

EDDIE: Haha... Damn, it was a terrible! That day, I celebrated the end of my university studies... I looked like a panda after this. My face was swollen to 2-3 times. It was a big stress for my family. But with regard to A Cosmic Safari, it was a good moment because I became unfit for military service, so this meant that I got a necessary time in order to finish [our] album. Glad that I [was still able to find] a good side, [even] in this [unfortunate] situation.

VI. What would you likely site as some of your greatest influences during the creation and recording process of A Cosmic Safari? I personally hear notes of Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication & Check Your Head, Gorillaz's “Feel Good Inc.” instrumental Hip-Hop (à la Donuts), Acid Jazz, etc.

JENOVA 7: I’m absolutely inspired by both of those artists and albums. It’s hard to say which artists specifically inspired the album, especially because it’s different than my previous work. I’m an amalgam of my inspirations. I know that on “Flying Cabs” in particular I was inspired by Herbie Hancock [...] Definitely the Head Hunters (1973) album, but specifically "Chameleon" from that album. The tone of the keys I played are directly inspired from that. Another similar one is "Doin' It" off of the Secrets album. I always loved this video from Sesame Street of Hancock playing a sampler keyboard. Watching it after being a producer, it was a nice time capsule and showed the beginnings of Hip-Hop and sample culture.

EDDIE: Yep, it's hard to say. But I can say that for "Neon Garden," I was inspired by Norman Cook and for "Dang Ole Trip" with Chel Strong, it was the track from the last album of Gorillaz, Plastic Beach. [The] track is called "Superfast Jellyfish" feat. De La Soul. You can [find] there [are] similar things. For example, xylophone keys. Loved how it sounds in "Superfast Jellyfish," so I was recording keys for our tune in the same style.

V. How did the idea for a cross-continental Funk/Hip-Hop album initially arise and ultimately, manage to come to fruition involving yourself and Eddie? Was the idea kick-started by yourselves or through Cold Busted?

JENOVA 7: I was a fan of Eddie through hearing his work on Cold Busted, and since we were label mates, he knew of my work and felt the same way about me. We initially worked on a single [collaborative] track that was meant for one of Cold Busted’s Bust Free compilation albums. After we quickly finished that track, I think Eddie said something along the lines of “what’s next?” So, I sent him a different keyboard melody I had written and we repeated the process. After two tracks, it was clear we were working on album, especially because the tone of the songs matched so well. It was new and inspiring because we fully composed the songs and felt true ownership over the music.

EDDIE: When I heard "Rat's Theme" by Jenova 7 [for the first time,] I thought that [I would] have to try make something with this guy together. His tune is so perfect sounding! However, I wasn't sure that he [wanted] the same. Therefore, I was surprised and happy when Michael said that [he] listens [to] my CD's in [his] car. It was destiny! When we were starting work on album, I didn't [really think] about main style. Just I was making music for fun. Cosmic sounds combined all tracks. It's cool that we have different styles because we got something new for us. Love it!!

VI. Would you care to briefly describe the contents of Cold Busted’s three assorted version of A Cosmic Safari containing 11, 16, and 21 tracks? Why release so many different versions of the same album?

JENOVA 7: The 11-track album is the vinyl record version. The vinyl is instrumental only. The 16-track album is the digital release version, and it includes 5 vocal tracks featuring singer K8 Marcos and rappers Chel Strong, M-Dot, J-Crizzy, Concrete Cee, and MC Dialect. The 21-track album is the CD version and is the most complete version of the album. It includes the 5 vocal tracks, as well as the "bonus" instrumental versions of those 5 vocal tracks. As far as why there are different versions, it comes down to the label being efficient. CD's can fit more minutes of music than a single vinyl record can. The vinyl version would have needed to be at least a double LP in order to fit all the tracks. That instantly doubles the cost of production (which is already high because of how expensive it is to press vinyl). I’m sure if the album sells and finds an audience, it will be repressed in a special edition double LP.

VII. What exactly was Cold Busted founder Derrick Daisey (aka DJ Vitamin D)’s role in creating A Cosmic Safari? I see he’s listed as both Designer and Executive Producer within the album’s liner notes on Bandcamp.

JENOVA 7: [Vitamin] D is not only the mastermind of Cold Busted, but he is also a graphic designer responsible for most of the album artwork on the label, so he designed all of the artwork for A Cosmic Safari. I knew the record needed a collage for album artwork because it would match well with its pastiche nature. When I mentioned that to Derrick, he already had the same idea in mind. I loved the collages he designed for Samurai Guru’s Medosphere and Pigeondust’s Moon, Wisdom & Slackness, so I anticipated he was more than capable of creating something awesome. We were able to sample retro Sci-Fi concept art, which also accentuated the album’s retro style of musical influences. Derrick also helped make some decisions regarding the release. He should also be credited with pressing my first release on vinyl, something I thought was a dream five years ago. This is my first full release on vinyl, so much love to D for believing in us.

EDDIE: About [the finalized] design, [I] have to say that Derrick made this one how it was in my imagination when I was working on album. We are all very pleased with how it looks! Also, you can see different elements in artwork, which [were] mentioned in almost all song titles: moon, ice planet, flying cabs, Space Funk, and so on. 5 years ago, when I saw Cold Busted in a catalog [for the first time,] I noticed colorful artworks, unlike other most labels. And that is what caught my attention and then, [their] music style.

VIII. How did you go about finding the 10 emcees and vocalists featured across the album’s five vocal-assisted “bonus tracks?” How did you decide which tracks you felt needed vocal assistance and which ones should just remain intact instrumentals?

JENOVA 7: One of my favorite albums from Cold Busted’s catalog is Es-K’s Serenity. It’s definitely one of the most personal and emotional albums on the label. It was a fully Hip-Hop album with a variety of emcees. Chel Strong, M-Dot, and MC Dialect were all featured on that album. I loved the entire record and admired the artists involved. Eddie and I knew that some of the tracks seemed to be calling for a human voice, while others didn’t. I reached out to some of Es-K’s collaborators, as well as some of my other admirations. Concrete Cee worked on [an] album called The Traveler's Ghost with my other label mate Skipless. He was on a track that I loved called "I'm Chillin.'" I wanted to work with him for a while and since we had become friends, I knew he was passionate about Sci-Fi and would be perfect on a dystopian-vibed track. J-Crizzy is another Cold Busted label mate who is a multi-talented cat and his vocal tone felt like a great match for that instrumental. K8 Marcos is a singer I know who went to Berklee in Boston. She’s an immensely talented vocalist and I’m working with her on some other Jazzy, Portishead-style Trip-Hop tracks, which should be out in the near future.

EDDIE: I agree with Michael; a human voice made a necessary mood for our LP. I was so excited about this because [I've] never had tracks with emcees. [I'm] grateful to Michael, [since] he personally met with M-Dot, K8 Marcos, and took part [in the] recording sessions. With other emcees, we worked remotely. Unfortunately, we could not afford to meet in person because of the long distance between us. Also, I was so surprised when [we learned that] Chel Strong is [the] son of Barrett Strong, who owns the greatest hit of [the] 60's and the last century. The title of this song is "Money (That's What I Want)." I am so grateful to everyone who has been part of our project!

IX. Would you care to speak a bit about A Cosmic Safari’s 1960-70’s old school 12-inch record-evoking cover image? How did yourself, Eddie & Vitamin D (Derrick Daisey) decide upon this particularly "spaced out" album concept?

JENOVA 7: I touched upon this in an earlier question, so I might be repeating myself, but to further elaborate, I think that space travel is about the future, but retro Sci-Fi art is from the past. That dynamic relates to our music. We have some retro influences and sounds on the record, but we’re trying to make something for the future. Calling back to retro Sci-Fi concept art, spacey collages, and retro styles of music feels like the soundtrack to a fun "cosmic safari."

EDDIE: Yes, absolutely!

X. Since A Cosmic Safari's Friday, September 9th release has just recently passed, what else might you fellas have in store for the album roll out... any special online singles, 7-inch releases, music videos, etc?

JENOVA 7: I might do a signed vinyl/CD contest or something along those lines. [It] seems like a fun idea to give out some free copies, and a signing adds that personal touch. Look out on my Twitter or Facebook accounts for any contest updates. Might be something simple such as a "like," or "retweet," or something more special like fan art submissions. A music video is also possible. I’ve been brainstorming for a music video with M-Dot for the “Space Jive” track. He loves doing videos. I’ve already directed two music videos for his own work and because we hang out often, I think it’s the most likely video to be made. And like I said earlier, there might be a special edition double LP re-release someday, if the record does well. There are also a few tracks that were completely cut from the album, so maybe those will resurface one day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Change The Beat: Blondie's "Rapture" Name-checked Emcee & Hip-Hop Pioneer Fab 5 Freddy Re-emerges for First Recorded Verse In 34 Years, Vex Ruffin's "The Balance" (Ben Marlowe)

"The video began taking shape a year ago. Fab [5 Freddy] and I have been friends for a while now and we connected with Peanut Butter Wolf. Wolf thought Vex Ruffin would be a great fit with my animation style. The video and song have strong connection to Fab's earlier Hip-Hop NYC roots. I started as an experimental animator, so this was a great chance for me to get real crazy with it. Giving a nod to the early 80's experimental films that the sound is inspired from," director and animator Ben Marlowe wrote within an email Wednesday afternoon, concerning his latest creation, "The Balance." Marlowe says it was "filmed, then created using a [combination] of hand animation and special effects" over the course of the past year. "The Balance" is Vex Ruffin's first properly released sampling of new music since his self-titled (alternatively known as ¢) 2013 Stones Throw debut full-length; while it additionally serves as one-time Yo! MTV Raps host, Hip-Hop forefather, and 1980's street art pioneer Fab 5 Freddy's first single in a staggering 34 years, his first since 1982's "Change The Beat." Stones Throw's first and only cold sent-signed artist, Vex partnered with the LA-based imprint to quietly release an album, two FREE on-site EP's, one EP for sale, a cassette-only EP, a postcard 45, and a 7-inch recorded with label mate James Pants.

"I liked the way this idea organically developed and I began to see my involvement as a sort of art performance piece. The track reminded me of cool Dance records that downtown NY DJ's played back then in the 80’s at places like The Mudd Club, The Garage, Area, Danceteria, and Nell's where I hung out, so I put myself in that mindset when working on my lyrics for this song," featured emcee and close personal friend of director Ben Marlowe, Fab 5 Freddy revealed within a mini-Stones Throw press release. Vex Ruffin's as-yet-unannounced, seemingly Hip-Hop-inclined sophomore album isn't the only album he has in the pipeline awaiting release on Stones Throw's 2016-17 schedule, it appears as though he produced an entire album for masked emcee, Koreatown Oddity; "It's great to see something come together like when Koreatown Oddity shared the bill with Vex Ruffin several years ago and they kept in touch and eventually started recording together and I liked what I heard and asked them to do an album together for Stones Throw and now, years later, they have a dope album FINISHED and a great video directed by Alfredo Lopez with Eric Coleman as the [director of photography]," Stones Throw label head and founder Peanut Butter Wolf wrote within a July 27th Facebook post penned on the heels of "F**k Dinosaurs."

The Men Triumphantly Return to Punk Rock Roots with Tomorrow's Hits Follow-up, Devil Music, Typewritten Letter & Rollicking "Lion's Den" (We Are The Men Records)

"Today, we announce our forthcoming full-length record, Devil Music, on our very own We Are The Men Records. The LP will be available on Friday, November 11, 2016. We found a [farm] and scratched down the songs on this LP after just a couple of days in our practice space. Luckily, our space and our studio are the same exact f**king room!, so the proceedings went quickly. “Gun” was [cut on] Friday after our shifts and some messing around with a Harry Nilsson tune. The rest were recorded on Saturday and Sunday, the holy days. You haven’t heard much from us lately, have you? It’s good to be alive and playing music," read a typewritten statement, addressed to "Everyone," published to The Men's Blogspot-run band site Monday, September 12th. It's an odd coincidence, since I was just listening to their infectious Creedance, Bob Dylan, and Rolling Stones-influenced 2014 album, Tomorrow's Hits on my Nexus 7 last week at work and wondering when the next, normally annually-released, The Men album would likely surface. Nick, Mark, Kevin & Rich additionally wrote that while Devil Music will be released on their own newly-formed We Are The Men Music, "Sacred Bones Records will carry copies and your record store should have it" and that LP copies will become available for pre-order within the 'Store' section of their site.

"Devil Music? Maybe it’s you and me. Here [are nine] new songs... it feels like music is all that remains for most of us... the little people... Thanks to our friend Jordan Lovelace for recording this album and to Jonny Schenke and his head shaking positively in front of the Neve. You can order the vinyl record right here on our sire or get mp3’s from the digital platforms out there and hopefully, in your local record store; in New York, our home, things are changing. Maybe you’re listening on Harlem River Drive..." continued The Men's self-penned press sheet. Devil Music will include tracks titled "Dreamer," "Crime," "Ridin' On," "Lion's Den," "Patterns," "Violate," "Hit The Ground," "Devil Music," "Gun," and "Fire," one of which appears to be a riled up Harry Nilsson cover.

"["Lion's Den"] started out as a slow acoustic guitar part that I tried to feel out like Boubacar Traore​. I brought it to Mark [Perro] and we psyched it way out to the point of a dry spoken vocal, while he painted some great sound under noise behind the riff that went towards Pink Floyd. Then, it morphed into something no one was really feeling for a while... pretty soon though, I started the saxophone and we just played it with a faster tempo with this sort of free sax part over it. It keeps getting shape and it keeps getting wild and rowdy and really fun to play," The Men's guitar and sax player Nick Chiericozzi recently revealed to VICE's sister music site, Noisey.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A VILLAINOUS ADVENTURE... Thom Yorke Liberates Unreleased 2009 Lex Records-comissioned DOOM "Gazilli[on] Ear" (Man On Fire Remix) During Benji B BBC Radio 1 DJ Set

"Previously unheard vintage Thom Yorke remix of DOOM's "Gazzillion Ear." Thom sent us this nasty re-working back in 2009. It was marked "Man On Fire Remix," but no one heard it until last night when he dropped it on an epic [installment] of Benji B's BBC Radio 1 show," LexRecords wrote within a brief statement attached to their Thursday, September 8th Soundcloud upload of DOOM's mysterious "Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke Gazilli Remix)."

It seems as though DOOM and long-time Radiohead frontman have maintained a mutual admiration for each other's work and wildly different aesthetics since around 2008-09—Yorke has included not only DOOM, but countless J Dilla, Madlib, Flying Lotus, Quasimoto, and MADVILLAIN tracks within numerous BBC Radio 1 DJ sets. Thom Yorke's latest nearly 3-hour Benji B BBC Radio 1 DJ set included everything from Frank Ocean and Sampha to James Blake & Vince Staples' "Timeless" Remix and Death Grips, as well as a few Radiohead and Atoms for Peace deep cuts. Yorke strategically placed his "Gazillion Ear" (Man On Fire Remix) at right around 2:37:00 into his Wednesday night BBC Radio 1 mix; Lex Records seemingly alludes that "Gazilli Ear," as it was initially referred to, is a vaulted alternate cut of Thom's 2010 Born Like This "GAZILLION EAR" REMIX EP-featured edit... making "Gazillion Ear" (Man On Fire Remix) his third, or second depending on how you count, DOOM-fielded remix—this including Thom Yorke and fellow Radiohead bandmate Jonny Greenwood's coveted 2012 There Will Be Blood Soundtrack-sampling "Retarded Fren" remix, which first appeared within Lex's 10th anniversary Complex, Vol. 1 celebratory compilation. It has yet to be seen exactly where DOOM & Thom Yorke's alternate "Gazillion Ear" (Man On Fire Remix) will ultimately end up re-appearing, but I'm just happy it's finally been properly liberated onto the deep, dark depths of The Information Super-highway!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Finnish Multi-instrumentalist Jan Anderzén (Tomutonttu) Delves Into His "Electro-Acoustic Elven Groove Collage" Style of Music & Latest Album, TRARAT [The Witzard Interview]

"Tomutonttu is a creature who looks after all the dust. Jan Anderzen is a Tampere-based artist who re-arranges images and sounds and makes the music of Tomutonttu audible. Read streams, mutilated voices, groovy animal noises, and records other people have made are some of the ingredients Anderzén uses to mold his ecstatic music. Someone described it like this: a confusing close-up of music, a microcosmos of strange sound events and dirt flying around in stereo space, interacting with a logic all of their own. Jan Anderzén is also the leader of the band Kemialliset Ystävät and one of the most recognized Finnish experimental music makers. He's actively performing around the world and his discography is a labyrinth reflecting the nature of his art," reads a BIO penned about Jan Anderzén (sometimes known as Tomutonttu) lifted from his band, Kemialliset Ystävät's site. Anderzén's unique blend of progressive instrumental music is a hard nut to crack, but I would almost best describe it as reminiscent of Ariel Pink's unique brand of Avant-Garde Psychedelic Pop mixed with the retro 8-bit bleeps and bloops of a dusty old Super Nintendo and a bit of innovative ingenuity... better yet, fittingly described by the good people at Stones Throw as an "Electro-Acoustic Elven Groove Collage;" with that said, here's a thorough—well, about as thorough as it gets—10-question interview conducted with Stones Throw/LEAVING RECORDS' latest signee Finnish multi-instrumentalist, Jan Anderzén.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Pop Culture Curator

I. “Jan [Anderzén] was commissioned by a classical music festival in his home town of Tampere, Finland to write some new music...” reads a fragment of Stones Throw’s recent TRARAT press release; how did this process lead to what would eventually end up becoming TRARAT?

Tampere Biennale invited me to write a piece of music for their festival. After having had a little break from all that, I immersed myself in sound again and spent the beginning of this year working on some new music. I came up with new approaches and adopted some new tools to reach the same old goals: to make music that would make fresh formations seem achievable, to make music that would surprise myself, [and] to make soundtracks to bonobo wet dreams. In preparation of this single show, I recorded a bunch of music that is now summarized in TRARAT. While at it, I also made a quilted backdrop for the performance, a trance flag, challenging the audience to a serious staring contest. [Editor's Note: Jan's hand-made quilt is embedded below.]

II. How similar or different were the writing and recording processes behind your two most recent albums, KEVÄTJUHLA ("Spring Celebration") and TRARAT? What type of instruments, recording techniques, effects, etc. were primarily used across each album?

KEVÄTJUHLA is a collection of tracks from various sources and a good example of how I recycle and re-work my music. Some of the tunes are studio versions of material I had been performing live solo and also with my band, Kemialliset Ystävät. There are sections built on top of a four-channel sound installation. That was the soundtrack to the HOME SWEET HOME exhibition I made with Lars Mattila for Titanik Gallery in 2014. Our show was about making peace with fungi.

I finished KEVÄTJUHLA in the beginning of 2015 and it was premiered as part of my solo show of the same title at Gallery Rajatila. There was an mp3 player hidden under a pile of dirt on an Italian restaurant-style table. From that pile a single Coleus was growing along the cables going to the speakers. Aptly/prophetically, the album got buried somewhere for a while, but it's due to come out soon on Luke Younger's Alter imprint later this Fall.

III. Now that you’ve aligned yourself with LEAVING RECORDS’ parent label. Stones Throw, could you ever see yourself recording a Hip-Hop-centric “beat” album? And if so, which sharp-tongued emcees from the label’s roster would you likely recruit?

My focus in music lays on in its potential as a non-verbal communication. I never set out to record an album of a predetermined genre. What I do is I gather together a good crew and try to secure inspiring surroundings, like if raising a child; I won't tell the muse to shut up. I will follow along lovingly and monitor what comes up. Having said that, who do you think would be the best voice to match my beats? She needs to be a true lunatic with a venomous tongue. [Editor's Note: to which I immediately replied, via email, "Guilty Simpson!"]

IV. Your work has been wonderfully described as “a detailed close up of music, a microcosmos of strange sound effects and dirt flying around in stereo space, interacting with a logic of all their own”- would you care to further explain how this best encompasses your recent body of work as Tomutonttu?

I don't know. I spent quite a lot of time watching the Olympic games this summer and I recently had this dream about a water sport previously unknown to me: unisex teams of four are holding each other's arms to form a circle. In this formation, they are diving into the ocean to “collect wisdom” of the sea creatures. It wasn't clear if this is one of those games where one team wins. Probably not.

V. How does your typical writing and recording process differ when recording with your long-time group Kemialliset Ystävät, your Time Breaking collaborator Sam Hamilton, or your solo work as Tomutonttu?

Tomutonttu is mostly me alone in the studio. A lot of it is me coming up with ways to make stuff happen by chance, creating situations and set-ups that generate unexpected results. The main tools are my set of ears. I'll listen very carefully and collect sound events that have some special glow and that I find useful. I will mix this material into audio cocktails that I will then proceed to throw at a wall. There's definitely no one single method of operating.

With Kemialliset Ystävät, the main thing is to make music together with other people. I keep developing compositional methods that loosely guide the harmonic and rhythmic qualities of the material people are kind enough to contribute. I like to think of a composition as a fantasy garden or ecosystem with its singular fauna and flora; a recording would be just one possible stroll in this space. Here too the process keeps changing.

Time Banking was a studio collaboration I made with my Kiwi [New Zealander] buddy Sam Hamilton, during a brief residency at the Extrapool in Nijmegen, [Gelderland] in the gentle guidance of Frans de Waard. Not to be confused with Frans de Waal, the ape scholar.

VI. For someone who may be hearing your music for the very first time (maybe even as we speak), how would you attempt to best describe your unique Tampere-based style of experimental music?

I usually don't try to describe my music for the obvious reasons: one, it's kind of hard, and two, why make something that you could also describe with words? I leave this for other people to stress about.

VII. How would you attempt to best describe the events that led up to your 2007 “Way of The Cross: On The Path of The Ninefold Muse” Tour and its companion Mind of The Dolphin album recorded with your fellow tour mates?

The Euro-tour van of No-Neck Blues Band had to be returned from Latvia to Belgium. An unlikely group of characters (namely Charles Berlitz, Razzle, Dog House, Buster, Ocean Woman, Orlando Magic, Baby's First Day, Monopoly Child, and Predator) were invited to take the [van] back. The mission was some sort of reverse crusade to re-paganize Europe?! I guess that's why not everyone brought extra pair of socks for the trip. We had a sand ear jam on an isolated Baltic beach, we almost got killed on the dark Polish highways, took turns reading “Dirt” aloud, played a couple of random shows, and had a session at VPRO. Later, I got a box of records in the mail. Mind of [The] Dolphin is a document of what went on and I'm listening to it right now, while typing this. It's not bad!

VIII. Would you care to briefly speak on your 2010 Alter split 7-inch with Oneohtrix Point Never? How did this 2-track release initially come to fruition and have you ever had a chance to meet 0PN mastermind Daniel Lopatin in person?

I met Daniel for the first time eight years ago, when his band at the time, Infinity Window played with Kemialliset Ystävät in a basement party in Jamaica Plain. In 2010, he invited Tomutonttu to tour UK for a few days with 0PN and the Alter 7-inch was made to celebrate that tour. We invented a fun car game that I was not very good at; we would try to make loops with a Kaossilator of all these different musical genres that our tour manager Chris Tipton was naming. I'm always excited to hear what Dan's been cooking.

IX. What might you have planned next, Jan—following the tandem release of your two most recent albums, KEVÄTJUHLA ("Spring Celebration") and TRARAT?

I'm in the middle of making another Kemialliset Ystävät album. It might be called SIIPI EMPII (= ”A Wing Hesitates”). I've received very exiting sounds from old and new music buddies. I'm in the middle of figuring out what to do with them. I'm looking forward to make some music together with defunensembe, who are a Helsinki-based new music group that includes a real harp player. I got some other projects planned too, but at this point, they're secret.

X. Do you have any current plans to reunite with your Kemialliset Ystävät band mates to record and release a proper follow-up to Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa (2014) or do you plan to instead, stick with Tomutonttu and your current solo endeavors?

At the moment, I'm working on that new Kemialliset Ystävät album I mentioned above. Let me use the opportunity to throw this out there: I would love to continue making large scale glass mosaic pieces. Don't hesitate to get in touch, if your spa area or city square needs some hardcore tile magic!

Friday, September 9, 2016

"where the days are all night..." Zack de la Rocha Unleashes El-P-produced "digging for windows" from Long-awaited 2017 Debut Solo Album (Sombra Sounds & BitTorrent Download)

"Thank God I can finally say publicly HERE'S A ZACK DE LA ROCHA SONG I PRODUCED... and shout out to my friends @nickhook and [Matt Sweeney]. They are both playing on the jam, as well... the [Zack de la Rocha] the album is happening. 2017... and that's all the info I'm authorized to give out... and yes, this is new material made this year and yes, there is more where that came from," @therealelp revealed on Twitter early Thursday morning, concerning one-time(?) Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha's first solo single in over a decade. "Been keeping my mouth shut about my work with Zack since January when we did it. It hurt. Now, I'll commence keeping my mouth shut about the rest," an exuberant El-P gushingly continued. Aside from his short-lived 2008-11 group formed with The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore and The Locust keyboardist and organ player Joey Karam, which produced a single 5-track One Day As a Lion EP, de la Rocha has released a whopping two tracks—DJ Shadow-produced "March of Death" (2003) and Trent Reznor-produced "We Want It All" (2004) over the past 16 years. He's appeared on a wide array of featured guest spots ranging from Blackalicious to Dan The Automator's Deltron 3030 and has most recently appeared on Run The Jewels' "Close Your Eyes (and Count to F**k)." However, following Rage Against The Machine's 2000 disbandment, Zack de la Rocha has been consistently working on a long-delayed solo album with the likes of The Roots' ?uestlove & James Poyser, DJ Shadow, El-P, DJ Muggs, Dan The Automator, Roni Size, DJ Premier, and Reznor on a rumored 20-track album, which has been recorded and indefinitely scrapped over the years.

"We got together for a number of sessions in New Orleans just working on some material that, personally, I thought turned out excellent... over time, I think it was a matter of Zack not knowing what direction to go. I know the feeling of fear. He's in a difficult position of leaving one of the best bands of the 90's and he wants to make an important statement when he makes it. And he will when he gets around to making it," Trent Reznor said within a 2005 interview to promote Nine Inch Nails' then new album, With Teeth. Not entirely unlike Rage Against The Machine's seminal self-titled 1992 debut, "digging for windows" showcases a thought-provoking black-and-white single cover image designed by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, "Fireworks for The Infant Jesus" (Castillo en el barrio del Niño). "F**k that bright sh*t / the spot or the flashlights / we in LA ducking both / in the shadows with lead pipes / the days are all night... my future snapped like a rubber band / off my fold on a hand to hand / he drew from his waist / I put two in his roof / and I can still / hear his screams / all night," Zack de la Rocha poetically waxes over El-P's sparse Run The Jewels-reminiscent self-destructive Industrial-Rock beat. It's currently unclear whether de la Rocha has successfully reunited with ?uestlove, DJ Shadow, Trent Reznor, DJ Premier, and company from his ill-fated 2000-08 sessions; although, El-P seemingly attests that "digging for windows" and a number of as-yet-unreleased tracks were recorded as recently as January 2016 for an apparent early 2017 release. Zack de la Rocha's pummeling, politically-charged El-P-produced comeback single, "digging for windows," is currently available for streaming on his newly-launched YouTube channel, Apple Music, Google Play, etc. or FREE no-strings-attached download from either Soundcloud or BitTorrent Now.