Thursday, January 31, 2019

Rancid's Tim Armstrong, Tippa Lee & J Bonner Join Forces As "Animated Punk Rock Band" Landfill Crew (Hellcat/Pirates Press Records)

Landfill Crew is a fictional animated Punk Rock band set during the mid-80's heyday of the formative East/West Coast Punk & Hardcore scenes. Landfill Crew AKA LFC's self-titled debut 2x7-inch EP was originally recorded on March 12, 1987 in Bagga's Basement, although, it was just properly released earlier this week on Pirates Press & Hellcat Records. According to the record's inserts, Landfill Crew consists of frontman Anthony "Hux" Campbell, guitarist & vocalist Bagger "Bagga Bullets" Russell, drummer Jennifer "Jenny" Arellano, guitarist Cliff "Pakman" Esmond, and bassist Horace "Baby" Harringtton. Its reverse sleeve denotates the 2x7-inch EP was produced by Tim "Timebomb" Armstrong, with artwork & layout by J Bonner, and sends a very "special thanks to Clarence for bringing the donuts." However, much in the same vein as like-minded animated Alternative Rock/Hip-Hop band Gorillaz, it has, in fact, been revealed that Landfill Crew, actually, consists of real-life members Tim Armstrong, Tippa Lee & J Bonner on vocals/guitar, vocals, and bass, respectively. Landfill Crew's 2x7-inch EP's "secret" reverse sleeve, also, reveals that said recordings feature contributions from Scott Abels, Kevin Bivona (The Interrupters,) Dan Boer, Joey Castillo (Danzig,) Dash Hutton, and John Morrical, as well. Tim Armstrong has, of course, been actively recording music with his Berkeley-based Punk Rock/Ska band Rancid for the past 28 years.

Tim Armstrong has, also, recorded and released music with Operation Ivy, Dancehall Crashers, Transplants, The Aggrolites, Tim Timebomb & Friends, and Armstrongs with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Joey & Rey Armstrong. He has, additionally, produced music for everyone from Joe Walsh (The Eagles) to The Interrupters. Much of Tim Armstrong's music, over the years, has been released on Lookout! Epitaph, Pirates Press, and his own Hellcat Records formed with Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz. Tippa Lee, on the other hand—who's real name is, actually, Anthony Campbell!—is a Reggae/Dancehall vocalist hailing from Kingston, Jamaica. Tippa has been actively recording and releasing music since 1983 and has appeared on-record with the likes of Toyan, Johnny Slaughter, Rappa Robert, Gladstone Anderson & Muddie's All-Stars, The Barry Clarke Ensamble, and Moses Livingston. It appears as though Jason A. "J Bonner" primarily functions as a graphic designer/artist, but has been part of countless bands including Engine Room, Rhygin' Rockers, The Aggrolites, The Black Emeralds, and The Vessels. J Bonner has, also, previously appeared on a number of Tim Armstrong-produced records from Hellcat's critically-acclaimed Give 'Em The Boot series, Jimmy Cliff, Tim Timebomb, and most recently, The Interrupters' Fight The Good Fight. Landfill Crew's self-titled 2x7-inch EP is now available in limited quantities, as well as digital download, from Hellcat & Pirates Press Records. It features two music videos for "The Landfill Crew" & "Poets In The Night" expertly animated by LFC's J Bonner himself.

"Tippa Lee, me & J Bonner. The Landfill Crew is a fictional animated Punk Rock band set in the 1980's. I play one of the characters named Bagga and my friend Tippa Lee plays the character Hux. Tippa Lee is one of my favorite Jamaican vocalists that has been recording Reggae music in Kingston since the early 80's. J Bonner animated the videos and helped develop the characters. Hope you guys enjoy this 4-song EP it as much as we do!"

- Tim Armstrong (@landfillcrewofficial)

Various Artists VII: How Compilations Influenced a Generation - Direction LP + 7-inch Penned By: John E. Swan (Polyvinyl Press Fanzine/Records)

INTRODUCTION: Maybe, it's in the gray hairs that I've started finding in my thinning hair. Maybe, it's that dreaded third decade of life that seems to have been rearing it's ugly face around every corner. Maybe, it's a quarter life crisis, but something has been keeping me up at night. I sometimes, stay awake into the early hours of the morning spinning records and fumbling with CD jackets from high school, grasping hold of my youth for dear life. I search out elusive first presses of albums I'd somehow, lost to time, hoping that they'll somehow, tighten the thread leading from middle school to adulthood.

To be clear, I'm not fishing my torn band T-shirts or bondage pants from the depths of my closet, but as I make the transition into my 30's, shedding roommates and getting oil changes at regularly scheduled intervals, I can't help ruminating on where these albums came from and how they've shaped me. I can't help begging the question, "How did I get here?"

How I've come to be surrounded by this specific collection of music is largely, the consequence of efforts made by larger labels and their annual sampler CD's, but even today, I search out small Indie labels that pump out quality collections of exclusivities and excellent representations of a variety of music scenes.

Typically, priced at $4-5.00 and featuring sometimes, up to 40 songs from just as many bands, compilations have always served as convenient and affordable ways to discover new and obscure bands. This is imperative to the formative years of a generation of listeners; compilations were the compass that one used to navigate the endless sea of Punk Rock and consequently, Hip-Hop, Hardcore, Indie, Reggae, etc. etc. ad infinitum. Many of these discs were used as shovels to tunnel into cozy nests of Punk records and artistic eccentricities.

It's this ability to influence and inform listeners that I'll be here every month to discuss. I'll be stopping The Witzard by to shed light on those discount albums in the so often overlooked "Various Artists" bins of the world, along with their influences within their communities, within their genres, and within the chronology of listener interests all across the globe, here in, Various Artists: How Compilations Influenced a Generation.

VARIOUS ARTISTS VII: With the holiday season safely at a distance in our rear-view mirrors, some of us are left to reflect on our pilgrimages home; to old haunts where we re-connect with old classmates in-between fraternizing with extended family members.

There's a melancholy in the passing of these encounters that reminds us of the incessant passing of time. For some of us, it conjures, specifically, the snow-covered cornfields of central Illinois; the broken stalks of recently harvested corn that jut from The Earth in this and that direction; the old flames that never seem to stop aging. We're left to contemplate what it means to return to your childhood bedroom after a night out with old friends, to listen to the same songs that swam in your head after school and after shows as a teenager; their melodies lingering in your skull much later, when your head is dizzy with hangover, as you endure holiday dinners with family.

The Midwest has a sound utterly unique to this imagery; to The Great Lakes, in general. There's frustration in hailing from snow-covered cities so far removed from one another and from mainstream attention, in general. Bands locked away in basements for six or more months out of the year are much more prone to producing this quality of work and it shows in the music native to this area. They have more time to commit to perfectionism and nowhere is this better exemplified than in Polyvinyl Records' 1996 LP and 7-inch combo, Direction.

Founded as a small-press by high school students, Matt Lunsford & Darcie Knight, Polyvinyl Press Fanzine/Records (sometimes, Polyvinyl Record Company) existed for less than a year, before their sights started to stray from their print-based medium with the release of a split 7-inch with Champaign, Illinois' Back of Dave & Walker from Lafayette, Indiana. The record accompanied their third issue in July of 1995 and by early '96, the fanzine-turned-label released their fifth and final issue, alongside the 20-track, Direction, marking the official transition from fanzine to record label. Direction marks Lunsford & Knight's ideological departure from The Midwest, as well, having, up to now, only released bands inside of their region. The release features bands from as far West as California's Boilermaker and as far East as New York's Rail and Florida's Gus.

Characterized by unorthodox chord progressions and wrought with dissonance and strained vocal chords, Midwestern Emo music was a statement seemingly in opposition of the more macho aesthetic of the Punk & Hardcore scenes of it's time. The genre seemed to reject the notion that music should be without dynamic, allowing their songs to sink into introspective lulls and flourish with large choruses, where so many of their contemporaries performed at raised volumes and high speeds across the board. Polyvinyl, seemingly, sought to catalog the ripples of this movement, as they pulsated from The Midwest and made their ways out to the coasts.

The label went on to support many pillars in DIY Emo in The Midwest and afar, before moving to the college town of Champaign-Urbana, where they would, eventually, indulge in some of their more Pop-leaning sensibilities. To the label's credit, by the time they'd relocated, Emo had been mostly appropriated by the mainstream, most of the major players having disbanded or formed new projects by the late 90's, but the effects of these early Polyvinyl bands can still be felt today. Behind every piece of "Real Emo" copy pasta is a young person who's only recently become familiar with a band that's been broken up for nearly 30 years; a sound that's seen multiple failed replications.

Polyvinyl's efforts and aspirations are still quaint and approachable here. That this label began as a small-press is clearly exemplified in the production of this LP, it's sleeve limp under the weight of screen-printed ink; it's pages of mail-order lists, live photos, and interviews wrought with typos and spelling errors, all of it folded together like newspaper.

I've wandered all over the frozen planes of The Midwest, hanging my hat in Indiana and Missouri; Chicago and Milwaukee, and it's always been only this sound that I'm able to bring with me. The sound of Midwestern Alternative music is as unique as it's dialect and it's on my sleeve, in my songs, exposing my corn-bred origins to strangers in-the-know, providing a network of friends and connectivity, even when I'm far from home.

John E. Swan (@midwest_stress) is a novelist and short story writer, as well as freelance editor and journalist. His first novel, Any Way to Elsewhere, takes its name from a compilation cassette that he curated during his time with Berserk Records. It can be ordered here. When he's not writing, he can be found making music in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lives with his girlfriend and their dog, Diesel.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Welsh Noise-maker Sleep Beggar Re-emerges with Brooding Deep Mystic EP & "Fly Away" Music Video (Beat-maker Bedrock #25)

"So, my background is rooted in touring Hardcore/Punk and guitar music: Bastions, [Portrait of A Lifetime,] and My Project Ghost. Grew up listening to everything I could get my hands on at Our Price & Woolworths. Did you guys have those stores? I discovered independent record stores in my teens and just absorbed EVERYTHING I could get my hands on. Loved the immediacy of Punk & Hardcore; saw that style of music sharing the same fire that Hip-Hop & Electronica have, [ie:] Doormouse, Wu-Tang Clan, Venetian Snares, etc."

- Jamie Burne (@sleepbeggar)

I. Big Daddy Kane - Long Live The Kane (1988)

"Just floored by the flawless delivery and syncopation of the rhyming couplets in this. I learnt you could create that same energy that a full band has with a lot less instrumentation."

II. Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy EP (1997)

"Less is more, textures, nerding out on a production level, imagining how that was created, and subtle synth tones (3:03 is nuts!) When all you have is Reason 2.0 and Cubase Lite [LE] and you hear this, it inspires you to do better."

III. KRS-One - KRS-One (1995)

"When I listen to this track, I lock in so tight with the movement, rhythm, and energy. The ability to be educated in the craft, whilst being told a story is effortless. Obviously, DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is a beast on the production; I learnt how to balance the kick [drum] and snare off of this track."

IV. The Hope Conspiracy - Death Knows Your Name (2006)

"Instant fury, exactly what I needed in my 20's being pissed off at the world. The vocal delivery shaped my ethos: what you say holds weight, how you deliver that bolsters your point. I have a long-standing love for D-Beat, so this hit a spot in my head that stuck."

V. Atari Teenage Riot - 60 Second Wipeout (1999)

"Everything I wanted to deliver live, this Digitised [Digital] Hardcore that meshed styles with their own unique identity."

Sleep Beggar is the latest recording alias of Holyhead, North Wales-based musician, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Jamie Burne. Sleep Beggar's music is, according to Discogs, a sonic melting pot of Hip-Hop, Rock "N" Roll, Punk, and Hardcore-leaning music. Prior to devoting his efforts to Sleep Beggar full-time in 2013, Jamie Burne's past musical endeavors included Bastions, Bone Cult, Miss Bridget Walsh, My Project Ghost, No Omega, and Portrait of A Lifetime. Burne has either toured both State-side and across his native Wales, UK with the likes of Carl Kavorkian AKA MANIKINETER, JE DOUBLE F, TEETH CRACK, Moonbear, Three Day Millionaires, Highlights of Our Modern World, Los Muchachos, and Bonzai Massacre. Since 2013, Sleep Beggar has released a full-length entitled Depression Tactics, Fertile Ground & Me Leaving Me EP's, and a 2017 stand-alone single called "Fixing Other People's Problems," as well as split EP's with both JE DOUBLE F & Mary Fields.

Now, Sleep Beggar has returned with his first proper release of 2019, by way of his 5-track Deep Mystic EP. It was, actually, surprise released on New Year's Day and was then-described by Jamie Burne himself as "an EP I wrote throughout it all" with artwork designed by Highlights of Our Modern World (or @HOMWuk.) Lasting a total of less than 20 minutes, Deep Mystic, interestingly enough, starts off with a stripped down Henry Rollins-esque spoken word track entitled "Sunder;" it then, transitions into four more tracks, which saunters through a wide variety of genre-eschewing styles including Breakbeat, Hip-Hop, Electronic, Punk/Hardcore, Drum 'N' Bass, Industrial, and Noise-Rap. Sleep Beggar's Deep Mystic EP is exclusively available to stream or download on their Bandcamp page with a music video for "teaser" single "Fly Away" additionally featured on YouTube.

Sean Price Returns with Posthumous "John Gotti" Feat. A.G. Da Coroner, Guilty Simpson & Your Old Droog from Small Professor-produced '86 Witness (Coalmine/Duck Down Records)

While Port Arthur, Texas emcees Bun B & Pimp C were commonly referred to as Underground Kingz (U.G.K.) I would strongly attest that Broownsville emcee Sean Price AKA Sean P! AKA Ruckus/Ruck from Heltah Skeltah was, indeed, and "Underground" King in his own right. Sean P, unfortunately, only spent 43 years on this Green Earth, although, he had been rapping since 1995 after his crew, Boot Camp Clik, appeared on Smif-N-Wessun's Wreck Records debut, Dah Shinin'. Honestly, my earliest personal memories of Sean P! date back to my 12 years spent stocking shelves at Shop Rite; sometimes, at night, I used to help my buddy, Jared Jenkins, stock the bread shelves and he was always bumpin' and big uppin' Sean Price. I guess, what really stuck with me first, aside from his relentless rhymes, was Sean's tendency to take his name and blatantly insert it into common Pop culture phenoms, movie titles, etc. which was a great promotional tool in the pre-Internet Boom early 2000's. For example, some of Sean Price's earliest solo release titles included: Jesus Price Supastar, Master P, Donkey Sean, Jr. Kimbo Price, and Mic Tyson. Nearly all of the aforementioned projects were released on Duck/Ruck Down Records, who often released zany promotion videos for Sean Price's albums, which featured him starring in half-witted scenarios and ill-planned pranks such as Sean Price as "Seanwuar" vs. Pharoahe Monch, How Sean Price Stole Christmas, "The Joy of Painting with Sean Ross," Pawn Star's Chumlee vs. Sean Price's Potato, as well as countless other side-splitting skits.

Just yesterday afternoon, Duck Down Music & Coalmine Records announced a new posthumous Sean Price album entitled '86 Witness arriving Friday, February 8, 2019. It's, in fact, the third posthumous Sean P! full-length after 2015's phenomenally-titled Songs In The Key of Price and 2017's Imperius Rex. '86 Witness will be fully produced by Philly-based beat-maker and producer Small Professor, who additionally produced an extremely sought-after Record Store Day 2017 10-inch entitled "Refrigerator P." Smalls, actually, produced a remix of "Murdah Type Thinkin'" from Sean Price & M-Phazes' Land of The Crooks (2013-14) released on Coalmine Records, which would, ultimately, end up being Sean P's last release during his lifetime. Along with the announcement of '86 Witness, Complex's esteemed scribe Shawn Serato presented a premiere of the first proper "leak" from '86 Witness with "John Gotti" featuring an amazing line-up of A.G. Da Coroner, Guilty Simpson & Your Old Droog. It appears as though '86 Witness has been "several" years in-the-making and although, Smalls & Sean P! never met face-to-face, had been planning to collaborate prior to his untimely passing in August of 2015. "Lyrically, P pays homage to the year 1986 with clever bars boasting slick, Pop culture-referencing wordplay. He big-ups The Bears' Super Bowl XX win on "Refrigerator P;" references Herbie Hancock's time-honored Round Midnight OST on "Midnight Rounds;" [and] shows love to Just-Ice's "Latoya" on the Quelle Chris-featured "Latoya Jackson," reads Coalmine Records' press statement. In addition to this "Murderers' Row" of emcees, '86 Witness will, also, boast features from DJ Revolution, ELUCID, Castle, Rockness Monstah of Heltah Skeltah, Quelle Chris, Illa Ghee, Rob Kelly, and Reef The Lost Cauze, Curly Castro & Zilla Rocca on a special Philly Blunt Remix of "John Gotti." Sean Price & Small Professor's '86 Witness is now available to pre-order from Coalmine/Duck Down Records.

Monday, January 28, 2019

"Keepin' It Rhyl:" Noise-makers MANIKINETER & TEETH CRACK Unveil Split Digital EP/Limited Edition CD (Link2Wales Records)

Last we heard from Philly Noise-maker Carl Kavorkian, he was releasing his third EP as MANIKINETER, Not As They Do. Kavorkian has remained relatively quiet since we premiered his "Rockatansky Memoirs (The Big Nothing)" right here at The Witzard last year. Lest we forget, Carl, also, graciously curated a 22-track Halloween Playlist for featuring everyone from Gravediggaz to The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. Although, Carl Kavorkian has now re-emerged with his first proper release of 2019: MANIKINETER/TEETH CRACK, a split EP on Wales-based imprint, Link2Wales Records. TEETH CRACK is the recording alias of James Barrington Cooper, who has been consistently recording and releasing "Heavy Electronic music since 2016." It appears as though MANIKINETER & TEETH CRACK first met back in 2016, when Carl Kavorkian played a show with James Cooper in Rhyl, North Wales, "a beach town," which Carl positively describes as somewhere akin to Wildwood, NJ. There, he also, met Neil Crud from Link2Wales and together, Carl & James approached Neil with the idea of releasing their MANIKINETER/TEETH CRACK Split EP. Neil Crud is currently arranging a cleverly-titled compilation called "Keeping It Rhyl" to soon be released on both CD and limited edition vinyl.

Oddly enough, MANIKINETER & TEETH CRACK have, more or less, been on the same musical trajectory, both actively recording and releasing music since 2016-17; in a mere 2-year span, Carl Kavorkian rapidly released his Mannequin Eater, Missing & Not As They Do EP's as MANIKINETER, while TEETH CRACK has released his Zero & Entropy EP's, as well as The Wetworks of Heresy & "Mongrel" (Skinflick Remix) splits with fellow North Walian Industrial/Noise-maker, Skinflick. For his "Side," Carl Kavorkian presents "YourTube" & "Bulldogging," which both sound similar enough to his body of released material as MANIKINETER. Although, MANIKINETER's "Side" feels something like a fresh approach/new direction for his glitchy Noise-Rap/Punk sound with slightly clearer vocals, at times, before Carl blasts into his now-trademark guttural wail. James Barrington Cooper's "Side" of MANIKINETER/TEETH CRACK Split, entitled "Antimony," is a bit more subdued and lasts for nearly 25 minutes. It effortlessly morphs and transcends through a number of styles and sonic benchmarks including Electronic, Metal, Horror, Instrumental, Noise, Synth/Synthwave, Electronica, Industrial, and Alternative/Prog Rock throughout its duration. MANIKINETER & TEETH CRACK's Split EP is now available to purchase on either digital album/limited edition CD directly from Link2Wales, as well as your preferred digital streaming services.

"The split with Carl came about as I'd heard he was playing in Rhyl in with Sleep Beggar and a slew of other cool bands and for some reason, I missed the show! So, at some point after, I added him on Facebook and so on. When he started up his MANIKINETER project, I was hooked on it, as it was more in line with the Noisier end of Electronic stuff that I like and write. I striked up a conversation with him through messaging and playing many games of Destiny 2 throughout early last year haha.

I asked if he'd be keen for a split, at some point, and to my pleasant surprise, he agreed! After many back-and-forth messages through last year, here it is. My side of the split changed last minute; it was originally going to be a solo CD through Neil Crud's label, but as to kill two birds with one stone for Crud's sake, he suggested using "Antimony" for the split. Luckily, one of the two tracks originally intended for the split was already part of the 25 minutes. I've rambled enough... I hope people dig it, even more so for Carl's side, as it really is absolutely incredible!"

- TEETH CRACK (@jbc00per)

Friday, January 25, 2019

Ozomatli Reunite with Founding Members Chali 2na & Cut Chemist from for New Single "L I B E R T A D" (Directed By: Miguel "M.i.G." Martinez)

Ozomatli are a Los Angeles-based 6-piece "Latin/Funk/Hip-Hop and everything in-between" band, who are currently celebrating their 22nd year creating genre-eschewing music together. Ozomatli's current line-up consists of Wil-Dog Abers on bass guitar/background vocals, Ulises Bella on saxophone, clarinet, Requinto Jarocho, keyboard, melodica & background vocals, Raúl "El Bully" Pacheco on guitar, tres, Jarana & lead vocals, Justin "El Niño" Porée on percussion/Rap vocals, Asdru Sierra on trumpet, keyboard & lead vocals, and Jiro Yamaguchi on drums, tabla, percussion & background vocals. Although, at one point in time, Ozomalti's line-up famously included Chali 2na & Cut Chemist, who would later, go on to form one of my personal favorite Hip-Hop crews, Jurassic 5, together; both Chali 2na & Cut Chemist appeared throughout Ozomatli's 1998 self-titled debut and would later appear separately on Embrace The Chaos (2001) and Street Signs (2004.) Cut Chemist is likely, most well-known for his appearance on "Cut Chemist Suite" from Ozomatli, which was later, featured within the iconic 2001-02 in-game soundtrack for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.

Chali 2na, on the other hand, was recently featured alongside Ozomatli on a string of re-released 2018 digital singles including "Donde se Fueron," "Aqui No Será," "Coming War," and "Chota." Today, however, Ozomatli have returned with their first proper release since 2017's Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica, which features none other than... Cut Chemist & Chali 2na! "LIBERTAD" (Spanish for "FREEDOM") is the first collaborative release from Ozomatli and founding members Chali 2na & Cut Chemist in some 21 years! Along with "LIBERTAD"'s world-wide digital release, a special music video directed by Miguel "M.i.G." Martinez was also, live premiered online today, as well. This weekend, in honor of "LIBERTAD"'s release, two special Release Events will be held: tonight, Friday 1.25.19, at Music Box in San Diego and tomorrow night, Saturday 1.26.19, at Zebulon in LA, both gigs being billed as "Ozomatli Featuring Cut Chemist + Chali 2na Live." Since its YouTube Premiere Friday afternoon, Ozomatli's "LIBERTAD" single is currently available to stream or download on all digital streaming platforms.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Weezer Continue Their Never-ending Color Series with Surprise Released Covers Record "The Teal Album" (Crush Music/Atlantic Records)

Late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning, Weezer surprise released their fifth album entitled Weezer AKA "The Teal Album" on digital streaming platforms world-wide. It would appear as though these type of color named untitled/self-titled Weezer albums have become something of a "stunt" in recent years; although, as you may recall, Weezer's first album widely known as "The Blue Album" (1994) was, and still is, widely acclaimed by fans and critics alike across the globe. After self-producing their second album, Pinkerton, Weezer once again joined forces with The Cars' former frontman Ric Ocasek for 2001's "The Green Album," which, as you may recall, featured undeniable green-tinted smash-hits such as "Hash Pipe," "Keep Fishin,'" and "Photograph." Following my personal favorite Weezer album, Maladroit, as well as "Beverly Hills"-featuring Make Believe, Weezer once again, returned to their oft-used color wheel for 2008's "The Red Album." As most die-hard Weezer fans, like myself and Matt Damon, might readily admit, Weezer have often teetered the line between Alternative/"Nerd" Rock and mainstream success... but you "Can't Knock The Hustle," as Rivers Cuomo himself has recently proclaimed.

Good, bad, or sub-par, Weezer have rapidly released four full-length albums in the eight years since "The Red Album!" Rivers, Brian Bell, Scott Shriner & Patrick Wilson again, returned in 2016 with "The White Album," as well as 2017's Pacific Daydream, and are gearing up to unleash their long-rumored "Black Album"—no, not their fabled 1994-96 "lost" album, Songs from The Black Hole—this upcoming Friday, March 1, 2019. "SURPRISE! Guess who just dropped a new album? No, it's not The Black Album (that's still coming on 3/1!) Here's The Teal Album to hold you over until then," Weezer posted on their Facebook page early Thursday morning. Said "Teal Album" kicks off with Weezer's biggest hit since "Pork & Beans" from 2008's The Red Album, their cover of TOTO's 1982 single, "Africa." It all stared when 14-year-old Cleveland super-fan Mary Klym (@weezerafrica) started a "viral" campaign quickly dubbed #WEEZERCOVERAFRICA. After a bit of back-and-forth between @weezerafrica and drummer/producer @patrick_wilson, Weezer trolled the entire music-loving world by releasing a 2018 cover of TOTO's other hit, "Rosanna."

Now, fresh on the heels of their widely-acclaimed/lauded "Africa" cover, Weezer have returned with a teal-tinted collection of nine more beloved hits. In addition to "Africa," The Teal Album, also, includes spot-on "Nerd" Rock covers of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule The World," Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" a-ha's "Take On Me," The Turtles' "Happy Together," Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky," TLC's "No Scrubs," Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," and lastly, Ben E. King's "Stand By Me." After a few listens through the whole Teal Album today, I think, it's safe to say my early favorites are Weezer's Brian Bell-helmed Black Sabbath, TLC, and a-ha covers. The Teal Album is currently available on your favorite streaming services, as well as directly from Weezer's online web-store in a number of exclusive Teal/Black Album combo-packages. According to a very recent interview with Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Weezer's "next, next album"—the follow-up to their as-yet-unreleased Dave Sitek-produced Black Album—is (somehow!) already in-the-works with The White Album producer Jake Sinclair.

'i's & SaIGO Re-emerge with Jazz Williams' Apart. EP & Mugwampers' Lime Green Tape Ahead of 717: Part III EP (Mugwampers self-released)

"This tape was made in the span of three days, an impulse to create without over-thinking. "Marcel Duchamp do it how'a wan' it,'" reads the description attached to Mugwampers' latest Bandcamp release, Lime Green Tape. Mugwampers is, of course, a Livingston, Scotland-based Hip-Hop crew consisting of emcees/producers Chris 'i's McCormick & Aaron "SaIGO" Bonnar. In addition to 'i's & SaIGO, McCormick & Bonnar's oft-used recording aliases include Jazz Williams, MoonSnakes, Adder, and my personal favorite, Sebastian Thy Third Baller. Mugwampers have collectively recorded and released music with Hemlock Ernst (Future Islands' Sam Herring,) AKA Safari Al, Emmanuel Coto, WC TANK, cunabear, Uncommon Nasa, billy woods, and Lungmouth, as well as video director and frequent collaborator Joe Eaton. Following the release of their 717: Part II EP this past August, Mugwampers have quietly released a series of non-album/EP Soundcloud-only singles "Inside Britney," Jazz Williams' ".ride out," "Perpetual Burn," "Loner," and "Sh.." which, it appears as though, will soon be collected and properly re-released on a FREE downloadable full-length project later this year.

Now, 'i's & SaIGO have returned with their first proper release(s) of 2019: Jazz Williams' debut "solo" project, Apart. EP, and Mugwampers' aforementioned Lime Green Tape. Both Lime Green Tape and Apart. EP were recorded over a mere number of days in a largely free-associative, stream-of-consciousness freestyle manner. Jazz Williams' Apart. EP showcases production work from Mugwampers ('i's & SaIGO,) 'i's himself, and BearTooth Collective affiliate Unsung, as well as a feature from Aura & Kablo on opener "Anxiety." Mugwampers' Lime Green Tape, on the other hand, was fully produced by 'i's end-to-end with ferocious rhymes throughout from SaIGO, "feature" vocals from Jazz Williams, and additional vocals from Mac-Be on "P.S." Both the Apart. EP & Lime Green Tape are currently available to stream or download on Mugwampers' Bandcamp page on a special Name-Your-Price basis. Next up for 'i's & SaIGO will be their aforementioned FREE Soundcloud-only singles collection, as well as the final installment in Mugwampers' genre-eschewing 717 series, 717: Part III EP.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

PEOPLE Affiliates Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme Let Loose OQ's Paradice 1 EP, Prep Release Show & "Video Album" (Company Brewing/37d03d)

Late last month, I received a mysterious cold-sent email from a man named Liam O'Brien simply titled "Hi From Wisconsin." I've since learned O'Brien has previously played and released music with Holy Sheboygan!, Moon Ruin, and his namesake, Liam O'Brien's Faithless Followers. For his latest endeavor, Liam has joined forces with fellow Wisconsinite and multi-instrumentalist Cole Quamme ("qua-mee") of The Fatty Acids; "OQ is Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme in collaboration with an array of Midwestern, US-based contributors," reads their "short" press release. While amidst the earliest stages of recording in 2016, Cole Quamme reached out to his fellow Milwaukee Folk/Bluegrass peers to see what they could, potentially, do with his unique style of "Bubu"-leaning beats. Quamme was, eventually, connected with Liam O'Brien, who morphed his inter-locking rhythms into full-fledged compositions based on Celtic melodies influenced by his family's native Ireland. Liam & Cole, eventually, brought their songs out of Liam's attic studio and into Silver City, and up-start Milwaukee-based studio run by The Fatty Acids' frontman, Josh Evert.

Long-time Bon Iver collaborator Mike Noyce assisted in fleshing out OQ's songs with fresh ideas, mixes, and performances from Milwaukee's finest. OQ's Paradice 1 EP was mixed at Bon Iver's oft-used April Base Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin by Mike Noyce, Liam O'Brien, and Josh Evert. OQ premiered their first collaborative single, "Lifestyle," on Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon's newly-launched digital streaming platform/collective, PEOPLE (@37d03d) with The National's Aaron & Bryce Dessner. In addition to OQ, PEOPLE's current "projects" roster features Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner's own Big Red Machine, Har Mar Superstar, Marijuana Deathsquads, Machinegum featuring The Strokes' Fabrizio Moretti, Mouse On Mars, Poliça, and Eighth Blackbird with Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Bryce Dessner, amongst other talented acts. OQ's Paradice 1 EP has a very unique Tribal/Bubu-leaning sound reminiscent of both Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors' early work, as well as Tinariwen, Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo's critically-acclaimed Graceland, and Mumford & Sons' Johannesburg EP recorded with Baaba Maal, The Very Best & Beatenberg.

Although, OQ has been officially labelled as a "duo" consisting of Liam O'Brien & Cole Quamme, their Paradice 1 EP features contributions from a who's-who of talented Milwaukee-based musicians including Alex Heaton, Josh Evert, Ivan Eisenberg, Treccy Marquardt-Thomas, D'Amato Werlein, Caley Conway, Dana Elyse Smith, Mike Noyce, Derek De Vinney, Steven Strupp, Carmen Quinliven, Sarah Shay, John Larkin, Ian Olvera, Alex Scott, Ms. Lotus Fankh, and Hesper Juhnke. OQ's Paradice 1 EP is now available on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Spotify, as well as other like-minded digital streaming services. OQ will be holding an EP Release Show—dualling as their debut performance—at Company Brewing in Milwaukee this Saturday, January 26, 2019 from 10-2:00am. NO/NO & Ruth B8r Gingsburg will be on the bill, as well, along with a special presentation of Cole Quamme's Paradice 1 EP companion "video album," which can be viewed within this very post, for those unable to attend OQ's EP Release Show.

":::::: hearkening a distant past
✷        ·
˚ * .
*   * ⋆   .
·    ⋆     ˚ ˚    ✦
⋆ ·   *
⋆ ✧    ·   ✧ ✵
heralding in the coming of a not-so-distant future ::::::::"

Monday, January 21, 2019

Drew Scott Returns with earlytwothousands Feat. Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Juelz Santana, Clipse, Ghostface Killah, T.I. Lil' Wayne & JAY-Z Remixes

Baltimore-based producer and beat-maker Drew Scott had quite a big year in 2018: first and foremost, he got married to his long-time partner and frequent collaborator, Pale Spring. Congrats to Drew & Emily! Musically, Drew unleashed CRITTER from his "Basement" Pop alter-ego, Giddeon Gallows, as well as remixes from Butch Dawson, HI$TO, and Infinity Knives. Now, Drew Scott has effectively returned with his first proper release of 2019—something I've been hearing about for a while now—earlytwothousands; just as it sounds, is an 8-track collection of early 2000's Hip-Hop remixes "featuring" Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Juelz Santana, Clipse & Pharrell, Ghostface Killah, T.I. Lil' Wayne, and JAY-Z. "It was just something I've been wanting to do. I was a teenager when these songs came out, which was around the same time I first started making beats," Drew Scott told The Witzard, via email.

"It was fun to come back full-circle and pay homage. Many of the beats were already made, I just had to find the right acapellas to fit the vibes. It's good practice and I always enjoy digging for new samples," Scott explained. earlytwothousands features such early 2000's chart-toppers as Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction," Clipse & Pharrell's "Mr. Me Too," Ghostface Killah's "Run," and Lil' Wayne's "Hustler Musik," as well as a few other bangers. It's an interesting glimpse back at early 2000's Hip-Hop/Rap heard through the lens of Drew Scott's unique brand of "Basement" Pop. earlytwothousands is now available to stream or download on Drew Scott's Bandcamp page, along with Giddeon Gallows' CRITTER and 2017's critically-acclaimed ILL VESSEL. Above, you'll also, find Drew Scott's 2017's installment of Baltimore FLIPS. video series featuring local artists.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Witzard Premiere: 80HRTZ's Dead Kennedys "California Über Alles" Remix Feat. Scratches from Shortrock (@80HRTZ & @Shortrock_1200s)

Dead Kennedys were a controversial San Francisco, California-based Punk/Hardcore, who were originally active from 1978-86; within said 8-year span, Dead Kennedys self-released four albums and an EP on their own independent record label, Alternative Tentacles. Dead Kennedys critically-acclaimed and widely praised releases include Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, In God We Trust, Inc. EP, Plastic Surgery Disasters, Frankenchrist, and finally, 1986's Bedtime for Democracy. Dead Kennedys abruptly disbanded—arguably, at the height of their "fame"—in December of 1986, prior to their career-spanning 1987 compilation, Give Me Convenience OR Give Me Death. However, following a 15-year period of inactivity, Dead Kennedys re-formed in 2001 following a number of legal disputes, royalties lawsuits, and disputes between members. Unlike the recently re-formed Original Misfits with Glenn Danzig, this is, unfortunately, not the original incarnation of Dead Kennedys. As of 2019, Dead Kennedys' current line-up includes long-time guitarist East Bay Ray, drummer D.H. Peligro, and bassist Klaus Flouride, as well as their latest frontman, Ron "Skip" Greer. It appears as though Dead Kennedys' original frontman and co-founder Jello Biafra currently has no immediate plans to reunite with his former bandmates; since DK's initial 1986 split, Biafra has either recorded music or shared the stage with everyone from Eazy-E/N.W.A. affiliate The D.O.C. to The Melvins and has self-released multiple spoken word albums.

Last year, we, here at The Witzard, proudly premiered 80HRTZ's remix of The Misfits' "ASTRO ZOMBIES" Feat. DJ Halo right before Halloween. If you ask us, it was a great success and since then, 80HRTZ and I have been toying with the idea of debuting additional Punk/Hip-Hop remixes right here on our platform. So, without further ado, the next installment in 80HRTZ's Punk/Hardcore remix series is, obviously, Dead Kennedys' 1979 Alternative Tentacles 7-inch single, "California Über Alles." I can personally remember first hearing "California Über Alles" on Give Me Convenience OR Give Me Death around, maybe, 15-16 during my earliest exposure to Punk Rock through the lens of early 2000's Pop-Punk. However, I'll readily admit, Jello Biafra's frantic jittery delivery on "California Über Alles" is still deeply chilling and a bit unsettling, to this day! Oddly enough, both 80HRTZ & Shortrock grew up listening to Dead Kennedys/Jello Biafra, as well. Thematically, 80HRTZ's "California Über Alles" Remix is similar to our previously premiered "ASTRO ZOMBIES" Remix: a Hip-Hop-leaning remix of an old school Punk/Hardcore stand-out. Although, this time around, he has recruited Shortrock. A self-proclaimed "turntablist/scratch musician," Shortrock has released records with Aaron Romero & Vic Grimes, BRZOWSKI, Chino XL, Guilty Simpson, k-the-i??? Keith Murray, Pastense, Uncommon Nasa, and countless others. Shortrock currently serves as the in-house DJ for Uncommon Records, Strange Media, empty space collective, and Icy Palms Records. The Witzard proudly presents 80HRTZ's Dead Kennedys "California Über Alles" Remix Feat. Shortrock?!!!??! Below, you'll see 80HRTZ & Shortrock have both provided additional commentary on their personal relationships to Dead Kennedys.

"When I was 10, I started skateboarding. That's how I was introduced to Punk Rock. When I was in the 6th grade, my friends and I wanted to start a Punk Rock band after hearing Dead Kennedys' Give Me Convenience OR Give Me Death. We were too young to truly comprehend the lyrics, but we tried to emulate Jello [Biafra] when we wrote songs. We had a toy drum set, a Casio keyboard, and a Hitachi boombox radio, which served as our PA [system], as well as had this weird feature that picked up some strange radio frequencies that sounded crazy. So, we incorporated that into our songs. I think, we had three songs. If I look hard enough, I think, I might still have a lyric sheet somewhere... but that's how far back my love for DK goes. When I decided to do The Misfits Remix, I discovered the "California Über Alles" acapella track and immediately decided I was going to take it on, as well. It was a much trickier task with the tempo change in the middle, but it was super-fun to make!"

- 80HRTZ (@80HRTZ)

"So, when I was 9-years-old, I got my first skate shop sponsor and everyone else who was sponsored by the shop was 16 to, like, 21. I was a straight-up Hip-Hop kid and would always have my boombox, if I was at a park or no pig spot. Always bumping Public Enemey, 3rd Bass, Boogie Down [Productions], etc. So, one day at one of the shops safe spots, one of the kids, who was much older, wanted to listen to "his music" and put in a tape. And even at nine, I was a pissed off "F**k The World" kid due to crazy sh*t that happened and then, I started listening. I heard a high pitch chorus ranting "KILL THE POOR!" and was instantly intrigued. So, as summer passed, these older Punk kids I skated with were partying, drinking, shooting dope, and playing Dead Kennedys... I was hooked! It was music I didn't know existed that gave me the same feel of the social awareness of the Hip-Hop I was listening to! Fast-forward to 2006: I'm 25 and already a established turntablist doing SXSW's Mush Records Showcase with k-the-i??? and Bigg Jus (Company Flow.)

So, before k-the-i??? and myself flew to Austin, we made a few demos for specific artists that we knew were gonna be there. Long story short, running from our showcase to anticon's to Def Jux's, I got to the Alternative Tentacles showcase... it was over! But I spotted Jello Biafra shaking hands and whatnot, so I went to talk to him explaining how I became a fan and why I was there and gave him our demo, where I used cuts from his spoken word records. He bugged out and said, "I haven't heard anyone use my records since Ice-T [Afrika Islam] used one!" So, we had all our info in these demos and he thanked me and went on our ways. So, like six months later, he called and left a message on answering machine, which my sister Deleted after I heard it. He said he really enjoyed it and our conversation at SXSW, but he was really busy with many projects coming out. So, I never got to call him back and pretty soon after, my solo 45 came out... sooooo, yeah, that's the most I've ever f***in' typed... and thanks to 80HRTZ, I got to pay tribute and had a dope time doing it... ENJOY, MUTHAHF***AHS!!!"

- Shortrock (@shortrock1200)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Baltimore Grindcore Behemoths Constituents Unleash "GRIND NO DIE" Feat. 10 Recordings In Just 7 Minutes & Jumbled (100% DIY GRINDCORE)

A couple years ago, we did a feature on Baltimore-based Grindcore band Constituents AKA CNSTS' 2017 DEMO cassette and digital release here at The Witzard. However, over the course of the past year and a half, CNSTS have morphed from a 4-piece to a 3-piece now consisting of vocalist josé, guitarist/bassist clint. and drummer zap. Just yesterday, Constituents "quietly" returned, which is ironic, with their second proper digital release simply entitled GRIND NO DIE. It's a blistering 7-minute mix of Grindcore, Powerviolence, and Metal, which consists of 9 "micro-songs." It also, contains an "INTRO," as well as numerous interlude "skits" created by Baltimore beat-maker and friend of The Witzard, Jumbled AKA John Bachman. East Coast Grindcore die-hards and Hip-Hop heads will well know, however, that this isn't exactly Jumbled & clint. AKA salk.'s first time appearing on record together... far from it, actually! Jumbled & salk. have been part of numerous short-lived and now-defunct Grindcore projects together including Kerum, SxOxW/Deceiver, Tarpit (md), HKMF's, Hello Kitty Mother F**kers, and Napalm Def, as well as some of salk.'s solo material and various recordings with Dwell. Napalm Def, actually, produced beats for "Heavier Bombing" from Magrudergrind's acclaimed 2009 self-titled album with additional mixing and scratches from Dwell. Now, Jumbled has done something very similar, producing the beats for the "INTRO" and interlude "skits" for Constituents' GRIND NO DIE, all of which have an underlying Hip-Hop feel, as well.

"WE PUT UP THE RECORDING WE DID BACK IN SEPTEMBER ON BANDCAMP. 9 SONGS AND AN "INTRO" IN 7 MINUTES. ONE TRACK. F**K THE WORLD. 100% DIY GRINDCORE," Constituents posted on their Facebook page yesterday afternoon. GRIND NO DIE contains 9 unmastered raw recordings from a larger recording session with John "JZA" Burton at C.H.U.D. Central in Philly, five of which will soon be mastered and re-released on cassette/digital as 100% DIY GRINDCORE. Both GRIND NO DIE & 100% DIY GRINDCORE will, also, soon be released on limited edition cassette available at local shows or directly from clint. josé & zap. GRIND NO DIE is a fast, frantic, and frenzied trip through CNSTS' Jumbled-assisted trip through their mind-melting blend of Grindcore, Powerviolence, Hip-Hop, and Metal. Honestly, I would recommend it for anyone, much like myself, who's fairly new to the Grindcore genre. It's also, RIYL: Hip-Hop, Punk/Hardcore, Napalm Death/Napalm Def, or Magrudergrind. Constituents will be playing at clint.'s Birthday Show AKA "ROTTEN TONAL ANGER 42" at Baltimore's The Sidebar on Saturday, February 2, 2019. clint.'s Birthday Show bill also, includes sets from Durian, Johnstomper AKA Ben Is The Bastard, JSAKABITB, Kept In Line (VA), Needle (DC), UllNevaNo & Jumbled, and Uncle Buck "+MORE TBA!" Additional details are available on the clint.'s Birthday Show Facebook Events page.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

ialive Returns with Psych-Rap Album DON'T DO NOTHING & Pens Beat-maker Bedrock #24 for The Witzard (Cold Rhymes Records)

"It's hard to pinpoint the moment I wanted to become a producer. I do remember contemplating at a young age the elements of Hip-Hop, wondering where I fit in. My older brother wrote [graffiti]. My other brother's friends were DJ's and emcees. To 12-year-old me, it was logical to take a craft up in one of these cornerstones. I, actually, wanted to break, but having no actual training available to me, that didn't last long.

Around this time, I recognized my affinity for beats and beat-making. The part that interested me the most was seeing people come up with something from nothing. You didn't need to know how to play an instrument. The process intrigued and excited me. The rapping was cool, but what moved me the most was the music. I could get down with an average emcee, so as long as the sh*t he was rhyming on was tight; vice-versa, if a fire emcee had wack beats, it felt wasted to me."

Four Albums of Note (Honorable Mentions)

1. De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising (1989)
2. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (1993)
3. Gang Starr - Moment of Truth (1998)
4. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (1999)

"De La Soul dropped 3 Feet High in '89, when I was only 3-years-old, but it's timelessness carried through to 1996 when I was 10-years-old. There were records I really liked, but it wasn't until I heard this record that I could claim something as MINE. It was different from everything else I had heard in my life. It was silly, fun, the messages were great, and it knocked. I was a Native Tongues kid from that point on."

"A record I would continue to return to throughout my youth was A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders. To me, it's a perfect album and it's perfect production is only matched by it's meticulous song-writing. It had thought-provoking insight matched with grooving vibes fit to hold a 9th grade party down at the crib. If I had control of the CD player, "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)" was the first jam going on."

"When Moment of Truth dropped, Gang Starr was a household name in my home and to me this record was their masterpiece. Guru cemented his place as the street smart older cousin everyone needed and Preemo was in top-production form. This still is what I match beats to when I want things to knock, punch, and bang the way East Coast drums should."

"As I was forming an opinion on Rap music the way every good backpacker kid heading into high school was, at the time, Philadelphia’s heralded champs of Hip-Hop, my beloved Roots Crew would drop Things Fall Apart. This album had it all! It was sonically engaging, thoughtfully arranged, and Black Thought was doing what he does best. With assists from early Dilla, ?uestlove was taking leaps with production."

These four albums would create a backbone for my production style in the years to come and continue to inspire me today...

I. Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein (2001)

"This is, actually, my favorite album of all time. I don't think it gets much better than this. El-P's bizarre, bugged out grittiness served a perfect backdrop for Vast [Aire]'s poetic take on life's struggles and Vordul [Mega]'s unique stream-of-consciousness/free-associating rhymes. The beats are a mix of thumping NY grit and beautiful synth-scapes. It's Psychedelic in it's approach by presenting familiar themes, while pushing experimentation with synths and wild samples.

The moments of beauty are much more powerful, when poking their head from dusty drums and odd musings. The production is strong enough to be able to carry a 20+ bar verse without getting stale. There is contrast in the weird and beautiful and in the light and dark. This record showed me that you could layer as much or as little as you want and by manipulating things, you could achieve something completely new. It's quest to be individual while working with sourced material is something I've adapted and never let go of."

II. Brand New - The Devil & God Are Raging Inside of Me AKA "TDAGARIOM" (2006)

"During high school, I had discoveries; musical discoveries outside of Hip-Hop. New friends shared Punk, Rock, and Metal with me. If, like me, you were in HS during the early aughts, you were exposed to "Pop-Punk." A term that's problematic, yet has stuck, and I was all the way in.

Bands like Alkaline Trio & Saves The Day were my go-to. Enter: Brand New. It took me a few years to appreciate the band and it, actually, wasn't until I was in college that my appreciation would cement. 2006's TDAGARIOM was what I imagine reading Beowulf in The Middle Ages was like. This was an epic!

For the record: f**k Jesse Lacey! I can't fully back the dude with what has surfaced in recent years. That being said, I can't take back the effect that this album has had on me, my creative process, and how I work on music.

What resonated with me with this album was it's ability to cover so much ground. It has soft subtleties and crashing, booming depths. Musically, it is an emotional roller coaster. They had pivoted from the whiny stylings of Pop-Punk into a more mature blend of heavy Art Rock. The guitar tones are ripe with fuzz, distortion, and echo. The melodies are heart-breaking and catchy. The song structure felt new to me.

I'm not well-versed in music theory or any formal education at all, but I learn by copying. Rap's stagnant 16-8-16 formula had grown stale to me extremely fast and I was feeling a new approach to writing songs. Building from quiet tones to crashing crescendos and bursting back into soft choruses had me all Jazzed up and experimenting alone in my room. This record, also, is the catalyst for me wanting to sing choruses. An ode to this record can be found on my 2015 release, Awake In The Snakehole. The song is called "VS Myself" and it’s a clear delineation of me being inspired by the track "Limousine."'

III. Morgan Delt - Psychic Death Hole AKA "PDH" (2012-14)

"I think, a common sensibility beat-makers have when digging is the search for unique and interesting sounds. You may hear some bizarre chime among a basic piano solo, a fuzzed out guitar sparkle, or a strange voice. Essentially, something out of the ordinary to spark a creative loop.

In 2012, fate brought me to Morgan Delt's Bandcamp page and his album, Psychic Death Hole, brought me to the edge. I have yet to hear something so dense and otherworldly that still retains focus and balance. It sounds like it came out of the acid-dripped San Franciscan 60's, yet it, also, sounds like it fell off of an alien spaceship.

Some things can't be re-created and the beauty of recording is capturing these moments. The moments captured on PDH are f***ing stupendous, tremendous and bugged the f**k out. Listen to "Barbarian Kings" and tell me you don't want to hijack the stupid Jeep Wrangler your rich white neighbor cleans every f***ing day and crash the sh*t for fun. It's a certified neck-snapper. These sounds were new and I wanted to be able to make things like this."

IV. Mos Def, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Beatles & The Kinks (1960-present)

"These days, the way I make beats is a reflection of what I'm writing and the process is simultaneous and intertwined. It's become less about beats with rhymes and more about crafting songs. I find inspiration in well-written songs. I think, Mos Def (AKA Yasiin Bey) was an amazing emcee and could easily pivot from rapper to song-writer. Stylistically, I find myself aligning with Mos' approach towards writing, in terms of not being pigeon-holed."

"Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson has a great ability to write catchy melodies that walk the line of familiar and fresh that I'm so fond of. I'm often checking dude's music for inspiration, especially, his older more Breakbeat-oriented stuff. I could, also, say the band Grizzly Bear serves a similar purpose for me."

"I've always been a fan of The Beatles, but the past few years, I have been really appreciating the production techniques on songs I've heard a million times. The Beatles were on the cutting edge of British Psych. The way they flipped any type of sound and/or instrument they wanted is tight. George Martin, their long-time producer and engineer, actually, used some samples in Sgt. Pepper's."

"Other than that, it's basically, The Kinks. When you got The Davies Brothers writing whatever they fancy and Mick Avory's swinging drums, you can't lose. "Skeletons" off of my new album, DON'T DO NOTHING, is definitely a dollop of Kinks oozing through."

Last Friday, January 11, 2019, Philly-based Rap singer, song-writer, and producer ialive returned with his third proper solo studio effort, DON'T DO NOTHING. It was released on Height Keech's extremely dope label, Cold Rhymes Records, produced, recorded & mixed by ialive himself at "The Green Gem" in Philly, and mastered by C$ BURNS. DON'T DO NOTHING is the quasi-follow-up to one of our personal favorite albums of 2017, Height-produced TIMEWAVE ZERO, which was also, released on Cold Rhymes. Both albums posses an interesting vaguely spaced out, Psych-Rap type of feel with influence coming from, as ialive mentioned above, everyone from Yasiin Bey FKA Mos Def to The Beatles and Unknown Mortal Orchestra to The Kinks. ialive's previous full-length releases include 2012's The Age of Reason and 2015's Awake In The Snakehole, as well as The Jelly EP... and a slew of other Bandcamp-exclusive releases worthy of your times and dimes!

In addition to TIMEWAVE ZERO with Height Keech, ialive has also, issued collaborative releases with Darko The Super as The Hell Hole Store and Cody Cody Jones FKA Stillborn Identity as Four to The Floor. The Hell Hole Store are currently gearing up to let loose their third full-length, Three The Hard Way, as well as another separate ialive solo release with Cincinnati-based Grasshopper Juice Records. Earlier this year, ialive & Darko The Super, actually, appeared together in Homeboy Sandman & Edan's "#NeverUseTheInternetAgain" music video from their collaborative EP, Humble Pi. Boot & Saddle will be hosting an Album Release Show & Birthday Party for ialive on his actual birthday, Monday, February 18, 2019 from 7-11:00pm. ialive will be performing select cuts from DON'T DO NOTHING, along with appearances throughout the evening from Cat & Kat of Amanda X, Height Keech, and Andrew Milicia with additional details listed on Boot & Saddle's Facebook Events page.

Curse ov Dialect Emcee & Producer Raceless Re-emerges with Il Beliegha E.P. As "The Maltese Well Monster" (Soundcloud self-released)

Curse ov Dialect emcee and producer Raceless FKA Raceless The Prophet AKA Il-Belligha AKA The Filfla Lizard has added yet another nom de plume to his ever-growing cast of characters: The Maltese Well Monster. Legend has it, said Maltese Well Monster/Il-Belliegha—a pivotal part of centuries-old Maltese folklore—was supposedly, "a monster that lives in well and could pull in children who looked into them." Raceless himself, however, tells the story a bit something like this: "The Maltese Well Monster was born after a trip to Malta from Curse ov Dialect member Raceless, [whose] father is from this background... the myths of Malta run very deep into a well... some instrumental tracks that conjure these images and some vocal tracks with a Gollum-like rapping voice from the monster... heavy sampology from obscure sources." Just overnight, Raceless made a couple minor edits to The Maltese Well Monster's Il Beliegha EP, swiftly removing one of its original five tracks and adding two more, making it a full-fledged 6-track EP. Still, a largely instrumental EP, Raceless AKA The Maltese Well Monster has, actually, risen from the depths of his well to deliver menacing rhymes on two choice cuts: "Gargoyle of Gold" and newly-added "Labyrinths of Limestone."

Not entirely unlike Curse ov Dialect's extremely Experimental brand of Dadaist-leaning Hip-Hop, Raceless employs a number of truly unique techniques throughout The Maltese Well Monster's Il Beleigha EP; this including thematic sampling from obscure sources, eerie backmasking, devilishly revered vocals, an appearance from "a 1960's Italian crooner/wanna-be Dean Martin," Wu-Tang Clan-like production tactics, a couple expertly rapped neck-snapping verses, and much, much more. Raceless The Prophet has been a part of Melbourne, Australia-based "Psychedelic/Dadaist Hip-Hop crew" Curse ov Dialect since their 1994 inception, as well as releasing projects with seemingly short-lived groups, DIARY DAY 1 (@DIARYDAY1) and Pompo's Paw with Ai Yamamoto. Raceless' first proper solo effort, The Internal meddler EP, was released under Curse ov Dialect's group banner in January of 2012 and features ceschi, Shunda K. (Yo! Majesty,) Kaigen, Danielsan (Koolism,) and Vile Vortices, as well as fellow members of Curse ov Dialect. Raceless' Il Beliegha EP is currently available to stream on his newly-minted Maltese Well Monster Soundcloud page... but, I think, it's fairly safe to say, this isn't the last we'll be hearing from The Maltese Well Monster!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Jumbled Returns with PADRE Beat Tape Created In Honor of His Daughter & Teases "untitled." ORSULAK Demo (Harford & Reckord Tapes)

It's been an exciting year and a half for John Bachman AKA Baltimore-based beat-maker Jumbled and his wife, Rachel. One day, The Bachmans got a call about potentially, adopting a little girl, so they immediately drove to Upstate New York and their lives, as they knew it, instantly changed forever. Upon their return back home to Baltimore with baby Lucy (LB) just a few short weeks later, Jumbled happily moved his records and equipment from Lucy's new bedroom and into the home's guestroom. Thus, entering his aptly-named "Green Room" phase, which chronologically, started with YOU BEST NOT MISS EP with DC emcee, Lace Berriez from late last year. Padre consists of a barrage of beats Jumbled has painstakingly created and fine-tuned within the last 12 months or so in The "Green Room." Its content were primarily recorded during the early morning hours before LB would wake up or on the rare occasion Mrs. Bachman would go out and Jumbled didn't have a pile of students' papers to grade for school.

Jumbled says his basic "formula" for Padre was fairly simple: "catchy samples pulled from vinyl [laid] over a Breakbeat and bassline added for depth." Padre's beats flow together effortlessly and are all connected through the stand-up Comedy routines/sound clips "discussing various challenges and triumphs that come from being a father." Rather than simply labeling Padre's two 15-minute Sides A/B, Jumbled has alternatively labelled them as the "L-side" and "B-side" in honor of his daughter, of course. Padre is currently available to stream on Jumbled's Bandcamp and it appears as though, cassette tapes will be coming soon, as well. John Bachman's Bandcamp page additionally specifies that some of the beats contained within Padre will likely be re-used on a variety of upcoming projects. Jumbled is, also, currently working on a mysterious project called ORSULAK with his Soft Peaks bandmate, Eben Dennis. As an added listening bonus, ORSULAK's "untitled." demo is now streaming below with a Joe Orsulak-indebted logo created by clint. Nichols (@rat_eyed_blues) AKA salk. of Dwell & salk.

Friday, January 11, 2019

we are the karma kids Presents: Blastmaster Baker's New Album Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower (Children's City Dump)

Nick Baker is a Bushwick-based emcee, producer, and Punk/Hardcore frontman for Children's City Dump (C.C.D.) Nick actively records and releases his own music as Blastmaster Baker FKA simply Baker. Baker has now joined forces with Lt Headtrip's crew/label, we are the karma kids (WATKK) to let loose his first proper full-length, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower. It's the proper album-length follow-up to Blastmaster Baker's self-released 2013 debut, BAKED. To be completely honest, I've heard Blastmaster Baker's name mentioned around "Rap" Twitter and Punk/Hardcore circles for quite a few years now, although, this is the first time I've actually heard his music. Oddly enough, Blastmaster Baker & Lt Headtrip are both Ohio-born NYC transplants and it appears as though Headtrip has taken Baker "under his wing," so to say. From my perspective, at least, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower seems to have been created in a manner similar to OLD SELF's 2018 WATKK-released album, Word Art Gallery.

Not entirely unlike Word Art Gallery, Headtrip produced six of Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower's 11 tracks, provided additional vocals for "Mosquitoes," did the cassette/CD packaging layout, and recorded, mixed, and executive engineered the album at Karma Kids Studios, Karmastoria. In addition to Lt Headtrip, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower also, features vocal assists from P.T. Burnem, SKECH185, and E. Grizzly, as well as scratches by DJ Samurai Banana, instrumental assists from Children's City Dump, and additional production work from P.T. Burnem. "C.C.D. kicks in the door on "Mosquitoes" with a fast-paced, gritty Punk Rock ripper, complete with buzzsaw guitar, and jackhammer drums reminiscent of old school NYHC, setting the stage for their two appearances in the album's second half," details karma kids' album press release. Overall, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower is a ridiculously awesome genre-eschewing mix of Hip-Hop, Punk, Hardcore, and even Folk that I would, personally, best describe as something to the effect of DMX meets The Process of Wedding Out/instrumental-era Black Flag.

"Lawn Jobs" is the first single pulled from Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower, as well as Blastmaster Baker's first proper music video. Said music video was directed by frequent collaborator and WATKK affiliate Mike Petrow AKA Duncecap and, actually, takes place in Baker's hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, where they filmed on his grandmother's property. "She still lives the house that her husband built in the 50's before sending back to Ukraine for his family escaping a war-trodden Europe and still owns the riding lawnmower that Baker and his brothers used to cut their grass when they were younger," explains the album's press release. Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower is now available to stream or purchase from we are the karma kids' Bandcamp page. A limited run of CD's and cassette tapes, both featuring unique album artwork are also, available to purchase while supplies last. Blastmaster Baker, Children's City Dump, Van Goose, karma kids, SKECH185 & FAWWN will be appearing at Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower's Album Release Show on Saturday, January 19th at Gold Sounds in Bushwick, NY to celebrate the album's release with additional details listed below.