Sunday, March 31, 2019

Dos Monos' Producer Zo Zhit & Emcees TAITANMAN & NGS Speak On Deathbomb Arc/bpm tokyo Debut Dos City (The Witzard Interview)

"Tokyo-based Experimental Hip-Hop trio Dos Monos summon excitement with some truly unusual alchemy. The building blocks of their style balance the dissonance and cacophony of some very un-smooth, uncool Jazz with hyperactive verse trading between their three members. The results have quickly made them a mainstay of festivals around Japan & Europe and even landed them a mini-series on Japanese cable television, in which they both starred and scored all the music.

After the release of a few singles, Dos Monos are now dropping their debut album, Dos City, on Deathbomb Arc—home to other Hip-Hop acts, such as JPEGMAFIA, clipping. and SB The Moor—in America and on bpm tokyo in Japan. The album will come out on March 20th. Two singles, both with music videos, are already out in the world for everyone to see and hear."

- Deathbomb Arc (@deathbombarc)

I. Who are the members of Dos Monos and what is each members' role in the group?

Dos Monos: 荘子it (Zo Zhit, pronounced as "So Shit") is a producer/rapper, TAITANMAN is a rapper, and 没 AKA NGS (Botsu) is a rapper/sampler.

II. How did you come to meet Brian Miller at Deathbomb Arc and decide to release Dos City on the label in conjunction with Dos Monos/bpm tokyo?

Dos Monos: Actually, we haven't met him in person yet (super-excited for it to happen in the future!) In early 2018, we were looking for a label to release our album and Deathbomb Arc was the very first one that we sent our demos to. He responded right away and started talking about the release.

After we officially signed with Deathbomb, some Japanese labels got interested in signing us; bpm tokyo seemed more supportive and conscious about doing new things than the others. It's super-hard to distribute physicals in the record stores without a label in Japan. We wanted our CD's to be in the record stores in the whole country.

III. What might you cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while recording Dos City?

Dos Monos: Everything we have enjoyed together since junior high school: films, comedy, music, TV games, food, and inner-jokes.

IV. Would you mind explaining a bit of your typical recording process while creating Dos City?

Dos Monos: Zo Zhit [called] TAITAN & Botsu when he got a good one. Then, [they] get together at Zo's house and [spent] one or two nights packed together writing and recording one song. We did it again and again over the last 3 years 'til we came up with the tracklist.

V. Where did the concepts and treatments for your "Clean Ya Nerves (Cleopatra)" & "In 20XX" music videos initially come from?

Dos Monos: Since "In 20XX" was the very first thing we put out to the world, we made it impactful. We see ourselves as a bug in the Tokyo music scene, so we decided to simply fill it with unintentional bugs/errors in [our] daily lives.

For "Clean Ya Nerves," we had to go back to Plan B (Space Shower TV.) It was our short TV series in collaboration with a film director, 冨永昌敬 (Masanori Tominaga) [which aired in] September 2018—you can watch them on YouTube! We have been long-time fans of his work. After Plan B resulting great, we asked him to direct our music video, too. It is written by him, too.

VI. What exactly was the inspiration behind your Dos City album cover? All I see is a chimp in a Champion-reminiscent hoodie... but what's the significance behind this image?

Dos Monos: It is [the] Trout Mask Replica (1969) in Tokyo City, 2019.

VII. Now that Dos City been properly released into the world what do Dos Monos, Deathbomb Arc & bpm tokyo have planned for the album roll-out?

Dos Monos: It was so hard just to put the album out...

VIII. If you could choose any of your Deathbomb Arc/bpm Tokyo label-mates to collaborate with, who would you pick and why?

Dos Monos: We always [wondered] how it [would] sound, if Jonathan Snipes & William Hutson (clipping.) [added a] touch of Noise/effect on the edges of the cut samples.

IX. How did each of you initially come to meet and decide to form Dos Monos together?

Dos Monos: We went to the same junior high school/high school. Zo was a guitarist and TAITAN was a drummer in the same Grunge-ish band. Botsu was a Punk drummer in another band. After both bands disbanded, going into different colleges, we discovered Hip-Hop. We pretty much didn't listen to Hip-Hop at all before 2012.

In 2014, Zo started making Rap beats and, naturally, shared them with Botsu, since we kept sharing music. Eventually, Zo asked Botsu to rap over [them], even though he had never rapped before. Botsu called the project "Dos Monos" when he was in London. He was into Latin culture, such as Tropicalia, at the moment. Not before long, Zo asked TAITAN to rap, too, again, with no Rap experience before.

X. For someone who has never heard a not of Dos Monos' music, how would you attempt to best describe the group's overall sound and style?

Dos Monos: Brian [Miller] of Deathbomb Arc had the best one for it: "their style feels like Boom-Bap just exploded into a million tiny Free Jazz [ensembles] playing different rooms all at once."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"Maclib & Other Worldly Matters:" An Update On The Fabled Madlib-produced Mac Miller EP (As Told By: Rappcats/Madlib Invazion)

"We've been getting a lot of questions about a collaborative album that Madlib & Mac Miller supposedly created. Here's the real story: What exists is what the two had originally intended—an EP's worth of music that was supposed to be the start of something. The end point wasn't planned out or even discussed. The idea was to create for creation's sake.

The two met after Mac recorded the last verse on Freddie Gibbs' Piñata album. By early, 2015 Mac had batches of Madlib's beats and was recording songs. The two ate tacos at Eagle Rock's Cacao Mexicatessen and discussed ideas. Madlib played one of Mac's tracks in July of 2016 at a European festival and Egon texted Mac to tell him; "Whaaat, what song, why isn't there any video evidence!!!" was the reply. Followed by "Let's do an EP."

This process continued throughout 2017, as Mac got the latest beat batches, continued recording, and continued his commitment to the project. "I feel like we can create something special," he texted Egon in August 2017. Meanwhile, Madlib continued playing a song here and there in a festival set and word would get back to Mac. "My homie sent me a video of one of the joints me and Madlib did that he was spinning," he texted. "Made me happy."

And that name, Maclib? Like Jaylib, it was just in the metadata of one of the files he sent over. "Maclib - Number 4," it read. The song still doesn't have an official title and there are no official plans to release the EP."

- Madlib (Madlib Invazion/Rappcats)

Deftones, Bad Brains, Cro-Mags & Medeski Martin & Wood Members Return As Saudade with "Shadows & Light" (THolyGhost Recordings)

Saudade is a music collective/super-group formed by "composer of futuristic worlds" and producer Chuck Doom of †††, Team Sleep, and THoly Ghost fame. Saudade formed around 2016 and features a wide array of musicians, artists, producers, and creative types; the crew's various members "contribute musically based on their expertise" and includes Chino Moreno (Deftones,) Chelsea Wolfe, David Torn, John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood,) Gil Sharone (Marilyn Manson,) Dr. Know (Bad Brains,) Mackie Jayson (Cro-Mags,) Robert Thomas Jr. (Weather Report,) Chris Bittner, and graphic artist, designer, and photographer Frank "Flem" Maddocks. Maddocks has designed covers for everyone from Metallica to Jason Derulo and, actually, designed the cover for Saudade's latest single. Upon their 2016 formation, Saudade quietly released a self-titled single made available exclusively through BitTorrent, although, its Chuck Doom-directed music video has since been made widely available. Just yesterday, completely out-of-the-blue, Saudade returned with their first single in some three years: "Shadows & Light" Feat. Chelsea Wolfe & Chino Moreno. "Shadows & Light" boasts that same brooding, Apocalyptic sound we've all grown to know and love through Moreno's past bands and side-projects Deftones, †††, Palms, Team Sleep, etc. although, unlike "Saudade," it features vocals atop said cascading instrumental. While there are still currently no concrete signs of a proper Saudade full-length or EP, it definitely sounds like this isn't the last we'll be hearing from the Chuck Doom-helmed collective...

"The musicians contribute musically based on their expertise. Frank [Maddocks] did the artwork for our new release and we have him on board going forward to do more. Chris [Bittner] is part of the production team with Chuck [Doom]. It's not a singular band, but, rather, a music collective, as from song-to-song, there may be different contributors. It started as an instrumental-based project, but we always knew there would be vocalists integrated at some point (now, the Chelsea [Wolfe] release,) as well. You can expect more of both going forward. We felt Chelsea would be perfect for the "Shadows & Light" song. So, we simply took a chance and sent it to her. She loved it and said she wanted to be involved. I can't tell you exactly what our release plans are... only that we don't "necessarily" plan to go about things the conventional way. I will say that there is definitely more to come and it will not be another 3 years of waiting."

- Saudade (@saudademusiccollective)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Myrrow's Outlet Unleashes BB PB EP Follow-up BB PB EP O | Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique Extended Play Outtakes (Formerly TT5BR)

Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique was released in Summer 1989 as the follow-up to their massively successful debut, Licensed to Ill, and although, it was essentially, a commercial failure upon its release, has gained a cult status in the years since. Paul's Boutique, to me, personally, has always been one of my favorite albums, since I first discovered it around the age of 15-16; it completely shattered my concept of what Hip-Hop "could" or "should" be and even broke the barriers of what a Hip-Hop group "could" do. "Looking Down The Barrel of a Gun" was reminiscent of The Beasties' earliest aughts as a New York City-based Punk/Hardcore band, initially, called B.E.A.S.T.I.E. Boys: Boys Entering Anarchic States Towards Internal Excellence. Unfortunately, Adam "MCA" Yauch passed away in 2012 following a years-long bout with cancer. It was later, confirmed in 2014 that The Beastie Boys would permanently disband, although, remaining members Michael "Mike D" Diamond & Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz "reunited" to pen a 590-page career-spanning memoir fittingly titled BEASTIE BOYS BOOK.

TT5BR (now known as Myrrow's Outlet) is a Dutch beat-maker and fellow Beasties super-fan, who pain-stakingly created a 2017 remix collection dubbed BB PB EP | Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique Extended Play. It featured his spot-on remixes of Paul's Boutique stand-outs "Shake Your Rump" AKA "SYR R," "Hey Ladies" AKA "HL R," "Looking Down The Barrel of a Gun" AKA "LDTBOAG R," "Car Thief" AKA "CT R," and "Stop That Train" AKA "STT R." To be completely honest, at first, I thought BB PB EP was a collection of unreleased Beastie Boys alt. cuts or remixes—seriously, that's how spot-on TT5BR's remixes sound! As many of you may recall, we published an interview with TT5BR right here on these pages of The Witzard back in 2018 with a phenomenal foreword penned by Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique - A Visual Companion creator Paolo Gilli. It was published to coincide with the re-release of "SYR R" B/W "HL R" on both limited edition clear and standard black vinyl, which are still available directly from Now, TT5BR has returned, nearly two years later, as Myrrow's Outlet—an actual store featured on the Paul's Boutique cover—with BB PB EP O | Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique Extended Play Outtakes.

It consists of eight out-takes, alt. versions, practice remixes, demos, try-outs, etc. created during the original BB PB EP sessions between 2015-19. "These just didn't make the cut back then, which doesn't mean I didn't like them; just that there were other versions that did fit the concept a little better," Myrrow's Outlet recently told The Witzard, via email. BB PB EP O features new/old versions and takes on "Shake Your Rump," "Hey Ladies," "Looking Down The Barrel of a Gun," "Car Thief," and "Stop That Train." It was a true honor to premiere an early snippet of "LDTBOAG BM" | "Looking Down The Barrel of A Gun Baltimore Mix" on The Witzard's Soundcloud page a couple weeks ago. Now, the complete 8-track version of BB PB EP O is currently available to stream, download, or purchase on a Name-Your-Price basis from Myrrow's Outlet's newly-minted Bandcamp & Soundcloud pages, as well as As a life-long Beastie Boys fan, who's heard A LOT of remixes, I can confidently say BB PB EP & BB PB EP O are the most seamless, effortless, and most enjoyable Beasties remix collections I've ever heard "on a serious tip!"

"BB PB EP O: A lot of research and experimentation went into the process of creating our previously released BB PB EP. Before deciding on which samples to use for composing and arranging the final remixes a vast amount of combinations of loops were tried, resulting in numerous different versions of most songs. A selection of these try-outs, studies, and early demos are now made available as BB PB EP O. Recorded, mixed, and mastered: 2015–2019, Released: March 2019. Available as a free download or stream below... [the titles are] mostly related to working titles, vibe of the remix, or artist sampled. For instance, ["STT IYWE | Stop That Train] It's Your Watson," two of the samples used are "It's Your Rock" by Fantasy Three and a song by Johnny "Guitar" Watson called "Lover Jones.'"

- Myrrow's Outlet (@myrrowsoutlet)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Rap Videos Killed The Radio Star 001: The Witzard's Favorite New Music Videos with Original Artwork By: @spooknovel (February/March 2019)

How's it going, ladies and germs of the music-loving Internet? Today, we here at The Witzard are proud to present to you, a brand new column: Rap Videos Killed The Radio Star. It's a collection of six of our personal favorite music videos released within the past month or so. Also, full disclosure: my wife and I are leaving for our honeymoon to Italy this upcoming Wednesday and I just wanted to do a bit of a wrap-up/send-off of some Hella dope new music, before temporarily signing off for a couple weeks. This inaugural edition of Rap Videos Killed The Radio Star showcases choice selections from Blockhead Feat. billy woods, Open Mike Eagle & Breezly "Breeze" Brewin, BULLIES AKA Denmark Vessey, DRXQUINN & Azarias, ILL BILL & Stu Banga with Goretex, Knowledge The Pirate, Reckonize Real & Guilty Simpson, and Zilla Rocca. I would also, like to send a very special shout-out to the directors of these very music videos: Mr. Oz (@claytoi,) Lil Kydd, Shawn Johnson (@oldsoulbrother1,) Jimmy Johansson, John Luxe & Knowledge The Pirate, and Bob Sweeney (@sweeneybob) respectively, as well as Robert Kupiaj at BULLIES' label, FXCK RXP RXCXRDS.


Mr. Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Pasta, Wine & Cheese Enthusiast

Blockhead - "Slippery Slope" Feat. Billy Woods, Open Mike Eagle & Breezly Brewin (FREE SWEATPANTS)

"I'd like to say I had all sorts of input with the concept and process, but it was all Mr. Oz. Aside from giving him pictures of the rappers and me, he just took an idea and ran with it. That’s great for me 'cause I'm not typically an "idea man." I was very happy with the final product. My last video was "The Music Scene," so that set a high standard. With this, I wanted to go a completely different direction... Dying by laser gunpoint at the hands of two shapely aliens is, actually, my ideal death. So, that worked perfectly for me," Blockhead tells HIPHOPDX, who hosted a #DXCLUSIVE Premiere of "Slipperly Slope" Feat. billy woods, Open Mike Eagle & Breezly Brewin AKA Breeze Brewin of The Juggaknots & The Weathermen. For me, personally, Mr. Oz's claymation-aided concept for "Slippery Slope" harkens back to the days of MTV's recently revitalized Celebrity Deathmatch. Blockhead's first proper studio album since 2017's Funeral Balloons, FREE SWEATPANTS, is now available to purchase directly from billy woods' very own imprint, Backwoodz Studioz. In addition to billy woods, Open Mike Eagle & Breeeze Brewin, FREE SWEATPANTS also, features appearances from Aesop Rock, Tree, Homeboy Sandman, Armand Hammer (billy woods & ELUCID,) Vic Spencer, Marq Spekt & Hemlock Ernst.

Denmark Vessey, DRXQUINNX & Azarias Are BULLIES - "Maury" (いじめっ子 / self-titled)

"BULLIES is an Independent Hip-Hop collective based out of The Midwest, consisting of emcees Denmark Vessey & DRXQUINNX, as well as producer Azarias. Denmark Vessey is a well-established emcee reigning from Detroit, Michigan, whom has worked with artists, such as Quelle Chris, Open Mike Eagle, Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def), Jean Grae, etc. as well as creating classic records, such as Cult Classic, Martin Lucid Dream, Buy Muy Drugs with Azarias, and Sun Go Nova produced by Knxwledge & Earl Sweatshirt. DRXQUINN (pronounced "Dr. Quinn") is an upcoming producer/emcee based out of Chicago. He has had the opportunity to work with such artists as Vic Spencer, Chris Crack, and Mogillah, as well as gain feature on Denmark Vessey's song, "Sellout" with Vic Spencer off the album, Sun Go Nova. Azarias is a producer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Aside from being the other half of Buy Muy Drugs (with Denmark Vessey) and being a prominent member of Chicago's beat scene, he has made notable production for artists such as Nappy Nina, Grill Billyenz, and Tanya Morgan. BULLIES いじめっ子 is a mixture of heavy bass, Boom-Bap, minimalistic beats with aggressive and "over-the-top" lyricism with mixed content ranging from "straight bars" to subtle pieces of socio-economic issues of today. BULLIES delivers beyond conventional Hip-Hop of today."

- DRXQUINNX (@drxquinnx)

ILL BILL & Stu Bangas - "Hulk Meat" Feat. Goretex (CANNIBAL HULK EP)

"CANNIBAL HULK is the collaboration between producer Stu Bangas and lyricist ILL BILL. Prior to ever working together, both BILL & Stu traveled in similar circles; both heavily worked with Vinnie Paz (Jedi Mind Tricks/AOTP) which led to Stu being on BILL's The Grimy Awards and BILL being featured on Stu's albums with Esoteric & Blacastan. Having worked together on those tracks is what led to the manifestation of this project. Add to the scenario their love of comic books and the concept [of] CANNIBAL HULK was born. With both feeling most at home with aggressive music, this album sonically sounds exactly as its title indicates. CAN HULK features Vinnie Paz, Goretex, Slaine, Snak The Ripper, and DJ Eclipse," reads a recent press release from FatBeats. CANNIBAL HULK will be released on Friday, March 29th in conjunction with Uncle Howie/Brutal Music - All Wrongs Reversed. "'Hulk Meat" ILL BILL & Stu Bangas featuring @Goreziti—sample I used for the beat provided by Rob Viktum—CANNIBAL HULK available for pre-order now at and," Stu Bangas (@StuBangasBrutalMusic) ecstatically shared on Facebook Thursday afternoon.

Knowledge The Pirate - "SCIENCE BORN" Extended Version (BLACK CESAR)

Knowledge The Pirate is an emcee, producer, and CEO of Treasure Chest Entertainment. Knowledge has worked with mega-stars, such as Will Smith, Teddy Riley, Pharrell Williams, Rodney Jerkins, and Rockwilder. For the past 10 years or so, Knowledge The Pirate has been the right-hand man and secret weapon to friend and fellow emcee and producer, Roc Marciano. Together, Roc & Knowledge, along with their teams, have helped revitalize 90's Gangsta/Hardcore Hip-Hop made famous by The Geto Boys, Ice-T, N.W.A. Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and their contemporaries. Knowledge The Pirate has been involved in the creation of nearly all of Roc Marciano's various projects since 2010, as well as providing guest features and A&R. Treasure Chest Entertainment released Knowledge The Pirate's long-awaited solo debut, Flintlock, last summer in conjunction with ART DEALER, FXCK RXP RXCXRDS, Tuff Kong Records.

Flintlock received wide-spread critical acclaim from publications such as Complex, Pitchfork, and UndergroundHipHop. Now, less than a year later, Knowledge The Pirate has returned with his Flintlock follow-up, BLACK CESAR, with production work throughout from e.le.m.n.t. Don Cee, Roc Marciano, and Knowledge The Pirate himself. I actually, saw Knowledge on the side-stage during Roc Marciano's performance at The Franklin Music Hall in Philly a few weeks ago as part of THE WHITE BRONCO TOUR with Action Bronson & Meyhem Lauren; although, I've since heard Knowledge bowed out of the rest of the tour to put the finishing touches on BLACK CESAR. "SCIENCE BORN" produced by e.l.e.m.n.t. is our first taste of BLACK CESAR and it has an equally hard-as-nails video to go along with it. Knowledge The Pirate's BLACK CESAR will be released this upcoming Monday, March 18th on Treasure Chest Entertainment/Tuff Kong Records.

Reckonize Real & Guilty Simpson - "The Whole World's My Ashtray" (Carved from Stone EP)

"When Reckonize Real approached me for this video, he already had an animated clip done for it. We felt the clip, (although, dope) didn't match the feel of the track. I pictured something more sinister, grimy, scary, trippy for the visuals. A while back, I made a clip for an artist named Erstatz Splynter. I had used a similar concept: possessed mannequins invading a home and tormenting the occupants. I used the same concept for this one. Except with this video, they murder the drug-dealing occupants, fuse themselves with the furniture and other objects and walls, and then, proceed to smoke out. I took inspiration from [Herbie] Hancock's "Rockit," Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone," and Talking Heads' "[And] She Was." Those three videos have been a huge influence to me."

- Shawn Johnson (NEKTR)

"The song itself was the last recorded for the Carved from Stone album, almost like an after-thought. Guilty had knocked out four joints, then, went on tour Overseas. Deff CuTz started mixing and I was like, "man, we need one or two more joints for this to be a solid EP." I remember when I was sending beats back-and-forth with Guilty, he liked that one, too, so we made it happen. To me, it has a different drive than the other songs and being the only one without a feature, it felt right to be the one to get video treatment. Plus, the line "f**k that, the whole world's my astray" just needs to be vibrated throughout the universe and forever live in video. [The first] video production didn't go as planned and delayed it's release into 2019, but it turned out to be for the best. Shawn gave the song life in video, plus, it was just praised in print for LDT ED Magazine."

- Reckonize Real (@ReckonizeReal)

Zilla Rocca - "Gunshot Jazz" (Future Former Rapper)

"Gunshot Jazz" is a simple, no frills, yet extremely effective single-shot music video directed by frequent Career Crooks/Zilla Rocca collaborator, Bob Sweeney. Zilla Rocca himself had this to say about the self-produced track during our recent Future Former Rapper All-around Breakdown feature: "With "Gunshot Jazz," I had both the beat and song done previously for projects that either never dropped or were rejected. As I was arranging the album, I didn't feel the need to inject a lot of my own beats into the album, but whatever beat I chose, it had to be a BANGER. I was going back through my beats and felt like this joint would be strong enough to hang with the other producers. And it reminded me of the first 5 O'Clock Shadowboxers album, The Slow Twilight, we did in 2009, sonically. So, I wanted to touch on that style on Future Former Rapper just to cover all of my bases with styles I've flipped over the years. I found the rhymes and hook in the stash and they fit perfectly. Plus, the title, "Gunshot Jazz," was a line I said on the first song on the last Shadowboxers album that I always wanted to use again. So, it all fit together perfectly." Zilla Rocca is already hard at work on Future Former Rapper's proper follow-up, '96 Mentality, as well as projects with long-time friend and collaborator Small Professor as Career Crooks, GRIFT COMPANY with Curly Castro, and Call Out Culture with Def Jux veteran emcee, ALASKA.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Pan Amsterdam Speaks On Working with Iggy Pop, Malik Ameer Crumpler & Open Mike Eagle for Elevator Music Vol. 1 EP (The Witzard Interview)

"Surreal, absurd, abstract, shot through with a E.E. Cummings sense of the vibrant and a Le Guin style comic abstruseness." - The Wire

"If it was already written, well, then, shall I not have scorn / A Jazz musician died and Pan Am was born," Leron Thomas / Pan Amsterdam

"One of the best horn players around today. [He] realizes the imperative to be more than just a horn player," Iggy Pop.

"Elevator Music Vol. 1 marks the first in a three-part series of EP's, which will be released this year. In this installment, we have collabs with Open Mike Eagle & Iggy Pop! Not one for keeping things predictable or even sensical, Pan Amsterdam plans to drop three very different projects this year, all under the banner of "Elevator Music." There will be more surprises to follow, as this plays out..."

- Def Pressé Press Release (@DefPresse)

I. How did you first meet The Godfather of Punk himself, Iggy Pop? What, then, made you two decide to record "Mobile" together?

I met Iggy through a very trusted friend and music critic, Ben Ratliff. Ben had been writing me up in The [New York] Times for years. He really has a good understanding on what it is that I do. So, NYC got too heavy and I thought that I was going to leave, due to financial constraints, after my girlfriend left. I decided to hit Ben up and meet at a bar and have a decent sit-down and talk. My initial intentions were to just thank him for writing [about] me throughout the years and supporting what I did because I was about to straight up disappear, Jack.

Through another great friend, I was able to not only stay afloat with my rent financially, but also, finance my next projects. Don't want this person to be hit up by too many other starving artists, so we'll just call them "Special K." One of the projects was a character that I was developing called Pan Amsterdam. Ben Ratliff gave it to Iggy Pop. Iggy, thank goodness. really dug it and featured the track "Plus One" on his BBC Radio 6 Music show, Iggy Confidential. From there, I was hooked up with airplay on BBC6. Also, a label my friend Malik was on, took me in, as well: Def Pressé. After that, I became really cool with Iggy and we started hacking away at many musical ideas. One of them that just came out, happens to be "Mobile."

II. Iggy Pop once went as far as to call you, and I quote: "one of the best horn players around today..." Now, are you a fan of his music, as well? If so, what might you cite as a few of your personal favorite releases from throughout Iggy's rather expansive catalog?

Man, I really appreciate that he said that! Yeah, I am definitely a fan of his music. It's really hip to hear the echos of Jim Morrison on his early songs like "Gimme Danger" on the album Raw Power (1973) with The Stooges or even "The Passenger" on the Lust for Life (1977) album. And then, he goes from there to a world like "Bang Bang" on his PARTY (1981) album. Man, if you've ever seen that video, I love it. Prince totally copped Iggy's vibe in Purple Rain from that "Bang Bang" video. I tried to bring the Prince thing to Iggy's attention one day and he didn't even dwell on it for 15 seconds; just went back to talking about the present musical task at hand.

That's how humble and focused he is in art. He's totally always pushing forward. If you listen to [Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow & Bobby Previte]'s 2017 album, Loneliness Road [with Iggy Pop] you get this total crooner side of him with the dopest edge. My favorite is "Don't Lose Yourself." I really dig that track because that's totally a part of Iggy's vibe. He'll laugh and joke with you, but be careful, he's studying the absolute f**k out of you. There are many more I dig, too, but we'll be here for a while, but just know... yeah, man, I'm definitely a fan!

III. In addition to Open Mike Eagle, Iggy Pop & Madison Washington's Malik Ameer Crumpler, who else is set to appear on your upcoming Elevator Music, Vol. 1 EP?

There's my French band. A really dope band to perform and record with. I hope life will never throw them off from the energy they create as a group. I'm gonna go 'head and say their names and instruments: you've got Greg F. on guitar, Florian Pellissier on keys and sounds, Kenny Ruby on bass, keys, and sounds, and then, Tibo Bandalise on drums. You ever hear these super-bands that get put together and they just don't gel live? Well that ain't the case here with these guys and you'll hear that on a song we produced as a collective on the track called "Bobcat."

It's supposed to be the track that I come out of amnesia and realize who I am or some sh*t I wrote as a press release to give the press people a laugh that may have back-fired in my face, who the f**k knows... but the track is unapologetic in it's 12 minutes [in] length. I don't know what to think, as far as how the "gate-keepers" and "hip gate-keepers" might take it, but hey, we try to make the world a better place and no good deed goes unpunished.

IV. How was working with Iggy Pop, Open Mike Eagle & Malik Ameer Crumpler different than the recording process behind your 2018 Def Pressé EP, The Pocket Watch EP?

Oh yeah, that was totally different because on The Pocket Watch EP there was only one beat-maker. This one has different beat-makers including Mr.Shn & Leron Thomas for "Mobile" and Malik Crumpler for "15 Seconds." So, the vibe that's curated becomes immediately more left-field than what The Pocket Watch supporters would be used to. I was self-aware of that. I guess, we're a restaurant and not a fast-food chain. We'll try and create a drive-thru, window though. That's for damn sure!

V. Elevator Music, Vol. 1 is just the first in an ongoing 3-part EP series dropping throughout this year, correct? What exactly can we expect from Vols. 2-3?

Well, Pan Am will go to another direction and different projects, but Yves Sane Leron will pop up in the picture; that's Volume 2. I hope the Pan Am people will dig him. Then, Leron shows up in the third [volume]. I can't reveal too much on that because it'll spoil the sh*t.

VI. Any idea where the inspiration behind Iggy's "2 scratches, beef jerky, and a Powerball..." refrain come from? Also, how did trumpet player/producer Leron Thomas initially get involved with "Mobile?"

Iggy and I were trying to find an angle to this piece for a little while. I like how "dirty" the track is. The delayed fourth beat. It's "funky." I get a kick out of people rendezvousing in funky areas and not acknowledging the funk. Like subways, smelly water of water theme parks. We some funky-a$$ people sometimes, but my favorite is the gas station and truck stops. The funky oil smell. Using funky energy, instead, of clean energy, to fuel our funky vehicles, to go work a funky job. The funky prostitutes at truck stops and gas stations. The funky sausages baking out in the open for people to put their funky hands on and then, drop the sausage on the floor and put that one back on the machine and get another funky one. Yeah, well, we needed to shorten my funky outlook on it all, so that's how we came up with those lyrics.

Blastmaster Baker's Punk Band Children's City Dump Appear within "Mosquitoes" Music Video & Drop 2217 Mixtape (we are the karma kids)

I was just watching Part 1 of PUNK on EPIX, a new 4-part documentary series profiling a slew of early Punk/Hardcore bands, as well as the earliest aughts of the genre. PUNK Part 1 included segments focused on Iggy & The Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls, The Ramones, Blondie, Wayne/Jayne County & The Electric Chairs, PUNK Magazine, CBGB's, Hilly Kristal, and much, much more. One band of particular note were Garage Rock/Proto-Punk pioneers MC5, who had a particularly gut-wrenching rise and fall before they ever really gained wide-spread success. Oddly enough, MC5's politically-charged 1970 sophomore album, Back In The USA featured a song on Side B called "The Human Being Lawnmower;" this title, in particular, bears a striking resemblance to blood-curdling emcee Blastmaster Baker's recent debut on we are the karma kids, Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawn Mower. Now, I have yet to ask Blastmaster Baker himself, but I would almost have to guess MC5 & Back In The USA were, likely, a strong influence during the creation of his own Hip-Hop, Punk, and Hardcore-fusing album.

Nick "Blastmaster" Baker—much like his karma kids label-head and mentor, Lt Headtrip—is an Ohio-born NYC transplant, who teeters the fine line between Hip-Hop & Punk/Hardcore. Baker, actually, fronts his own Brooklyn-based Punk band called Children's City Dump AKA C.C.D. The band's line-up, also, includes Blastmaster Baker's cousin, Alex Baker on drums, bassist Kevin Levine, and guitarist Will Montgomery. C.C.D. are featured throughout aforementioned Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower as a backing band, of sorts, on "Mosquitoes," "Knee Deep," and "An Act of Contrition." Last week, Children's City Dump quietly dropped their first proper release as a band, a nearly 9-minute single-track EP entitled 2217 Mixtape. Blastmaster Baker himself describes it as something like this: "2217 Mixtape is, really, just an assortment of demos we recorded in our practice space (Room #2217) in Brooklyn. Aside from what's on the [Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being] Lawnmower album, the band didn't have much in the way of an Internet presence."

"Ultimately, the band is intended to stand on it's own and not simply be an extension of the ...Lawnmower album, though, the band was conceived during the making-of that record. At this point, it is very much it's own entity and I want the band to exist without being seen through the lens of "Blastmaster Baker,'" Baker continued. Nick Baker adds that C.C.D. are currently attempting to build up a solid "Internet presence," so fans attending their shows can easily find them online afterwards. C.C.D. say they're "planning to get into the studio very soon to record a full-length record, but consider this a bit of a teaser for things to come." For good measure, Children's City Dump, also, appear alongside Blastmaster Baker & Lt Headtrip within the latest single pulled from Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower, "Mosquitoes." Said frantic music video was directed by long-time we are the karma kids collaborator Mike Petrow, otherwise known as Duncecap (@Duncecap_.) Both MC5-referencing Blastmaster Baker vs. The Human Being Lawnmower and C.C.D.'s 2217 Mixtape are currently available to stream or purchase on Bandcamp.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

"Trust Fall At The Eagles Parade:" Body Spray Let Loose Flippin' Awesome Philly-centric "New Smell" Music Video (Music to Fall Down To)

It looks like it's poised to be a pretty BIG week for Philly Hoagie-core pioneers Body Spray, as their long-awaited debut full-length, Music to Fall Down To will be released digitally this Friday, March 15th. They're also, playing a Music to Fall Down To Record Release Show on "St. Body Spray Day," Sunday, March 17th, at Ortlieb's with Plot & Table. Just this past Friday, Adam Black, Dan Haddigan, Eric Kenney & Ian Kiesel unleashed their second music video from Music to Fall Down To for Bandcamp single, "New Smell." It was directed by James Powers and edited by B.S.' own Adam Black and features the band running around "the mean streets" of Philly wreaking havoc, all the while, donning giant middle finger masks on their heads. Honestly, the "New Smell" is "Philly" through and through; from Body Spray's Rocky-esque sweatsuits to punching meat slabs... well, much smaller pieces of meat strapped to an old punching bag! Even the band's pre-run beer choices are inherently "Philly:" Tecate, Modelo, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Coors Banquet.

Throughout the course of the "New Smell" music video, we see Body Spray sprinting past a wide array of Philly landmarks including Pat's Steaks, the infamous Mayor Frank Rizzo Mural, John F. Kennedy Plaza AKA "LOVE Park," The Municipal Services Building and accompanying Frank Rizzo statue, The Art Museum/"Rocky" Steps, and nearby Rocky Statue. There's also, a surprise appearance from The Grim Reaper from Body Spray's previous "Edgy" music video at the roller rink. Death himself is seen at the bar across from Body Spray during the "New Smell"'s final scenes and of course, he flips them off! Sonically, Body Spray's sound harnessed on Music to Fall Down To is somewhere in-between Hardcore/Powerviolence figure-heads Pissed Jeans & SPAZZ with sonic allusions to Iggy & The Stooges and Henry Rollins-era Black Flag. Music to Fall Down To will be on sale at B.S.' Record Release Show at Ortlieb's this Sunday, March 17th on randomly-colored vinyl with FREE limited edition Body Spray 3:16/Hell EP sticker packs. For those unable to attend, a limited number of Music to Fall Down To LP's are currently available to pre-order directly from Body Spray's Bandcamp page.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Bridging The Gap: Duke01, Furious P & Producer Uncommon Nasa Speak On Upcoming Last Sons Album Chekhov's Gun (The Witzard Interview)

"So much about the duo, Last Sons, goes against the grain of what most of today's Rap fans think of when they hear a the words "Rap duo." The two most obvious deviations are the group's make-up (rapper & DJ) and where they call home, Nottingham, UK. Now I know the old heads are currently yelling at me that the only true duos are ones consisting of a DJ and a rapper—insert joke about DJ Jazzy Jeff getting thrown out by Uncle Phil—but even in many of those classic duos, the DJ was the one making the beats, but here, Furious P is manning the 1's & 2's and adding that extra oomph to the producer's musical background, handled on Chekhov's Gun by Uncommon Nasa.

As for the Nottingham aspect, many US Rap fans have constantly had some sort of hang up about English emcees, but, then, in the same breath, say they "love" Slick Rick or 21 Savage. So, let us end that issue right now: we rarely have problems with other dialects or accents. The microphone duties of Last Sons fall on Duke01, whose influences are everyone's favorite "true school" US rappers to all the underground, genre-defying emcees you can't get enough of, in other words, Duke gets on the mic and spits that hot fire. But my ramblings are meaningless, until you actually hear what Last Sons & Uncommon Nasa put together on Chekhov's Gun. Really listen to it, spend time with it, and you will not be disappointed. If you need a little more encouragement, check out this interview the guys did with The Witzard below."

- DJ Jazzpants (@djjazzpants)

I. How did you two first meet and decide to start actively recording and releasing music together?

Duke01: Back in 2013, I was looking for a DJ for live shows and a few mutual friends had suggested calling [Furious} P. We'd met a few times and performed on the same bill together with different projects over the years, but we'd never actually worked together. I called P, we hooked up and I left him with some tracks that I'd been working on with Uncommon Nasa, so that he could get a flavour of what I was doing.

Furious P: I'd been aware of Duke for a while, so I was down with the idea of working together. When I heard the music he'd made with Nasa, I knew it was something I wanted to get involved in. I've always been a fan of different sounding, interesting music, so it was a dope opportunity to be able to collaborate on something so left of centre.

II. Now, this isn't exactly your first on-record collaboration... but it is, however, your first to be attributed to "Last Sons," correct? What's your reasoning behind the collaborative name change?

Duke01: Yeah, we released an EP, Steroid Stereo (Orange Edition) together on Uncommon Records in 2014 as "Duke01 & Furious P." The name change came about in a really organic way; from the moment we started working together, we quickly realised that we were both very much on the same page with our approach and what we wanted out of our sound. We thought and acted like a group from the get-go. Once we actually realised that fact, it seemed only natural to give ourselves a name that brought us fully together as a group, rather than being seen as two solo entities. Chekhov's Gun, unlike Steroid Stereo, has been built by both of us from the ground up.

Furious P: We decided on the name change after we'd played in New York at Nasa's annual Yule Prog event. We worked so well together, it made sense to present us a group and as Duke said, that reflects in the way Chekhov's Gun was written.

III. How exactly did Uncommon Nasa initially get involved with Chekhov's Gun and what made you fellas decide to ultimately, release it on his label, Uncommon Records?

Duke01: After we'd done the first EP, it was Nasa that first suggested doing another project together, an idea I jumped at. As for releasing it on Uncommon Records, it wasn't so much a decision, as it was a dream come true! As Nasa produced the whole of Chekhov's Gun, Uncommon Records seemed like a natural home. That being said, the legacy and lineage that the label has is insane. To be able to walk in those footsteps is very humbling.

IV. Aside from, or in addition to, producing Last Sons' Chekhov's Gun, what was your overall role in the creation of the album?

Uncommon Nasa: I mean, when I'm involved as "the label"—ie: a release on Uncommon Records—it's a bit of everything. I produced it all, as you said, but, also, mixed and mastered it, arranged for the manufacturing, worked with our Art Designer (DJ Jazzpants) on the layout, I'm doing as much PR-type stuff as is possible and I've made the odd suggestion here and there. Basically, I've helped Executive Produce the project.

V. What might each of you cite as some of your greatest sources of personal inspiration and influence while recording Chekhov's Gun?

Duke01: It'd be too hard to nail down a single source for me. As an artist, it's hard to look at another artist and say that they specifically inspired or influenced you. That's almost like saying, "these are that cats that I'm biting..." haha! However, I am a Hip-Hop fan and I have been for a very long time. Everything that I hear and see inspires or influences me in some way.

Furious P: There have been many influences that have inspired me over the years: Mixmaster Mike, D-Styles, Mike Boo, Cut Master Swift, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Depeche Mode, the list goes on... However, that's kinda just naming people I like. When recording the album, I wasn't consciously aiming to take influence from another artist, rather, work organically and see where the music took my ideas.

VI. What might each of you cite as some of your greatest sources of personal inspiration and influence while recording Chekhov's Gun?

Uncommon Nasa: I think, the inspiration was making people stop whatever they were doing and listen. We wanted something loud and attention-getting. When I toured The UK with these guys in 2017, they were already performing a lot of the album and I could see that approach was working as we hoped. The sound of Duke's flows, P's turntablism, and my production sounded like nothing else—including the set I was doing myself. I think, we've made something fairly unique.

VII. What are you currently working on, in addition to Last Sons' material? Can we expect a proper follow-up to Def Goldblum's WE ARE THE FLY EP any time relatively soon?

Duke01: For those that don't know, Def Goldblum is a Rap-fronted Metal band that I'm a part of. We initially started the band for a one-off show, but we had so much fun that we just kept going! We've established a little following and played some amazing shows and festivals. We'll be going into the studio very soon to start work on recording a full album.

VIII. Now that Chekhov's Gun has been properly released, what are you currently working on or preparing for release, in lieu of solo material or outer-band projects?

Furious P: My long-time friend, Loop Skywalker, and I recently revived Bionic Stylus—our DJ crew from back in the day—so, I'm looking forward to doing some shows together, making a mixtape, and maybe, even entering a battle in 2019... we'll see! I've been busy in the studio recently recording The Elder Wastemen (Rap duo Dirty Joe & Rico) and I've also, recently started recording and making beats with Nottingham-based spoken word artist, Jesse Eden Freeman.

IX. What can you potentially tell us about Chekhov's Gun's imaginative cover artwork? Who was involved in designing and creating it? Honestly, it's a very interesting and truly unique image!

Duke01: Like I said earlier, things tend to work pretty organically with Last Sons. Us & Nasa did a joint UK tour a while back and on the Manchester date, we brought along the super-talented artists, LabRats AKA Infected By Design (@infectedbydesign) & HeDreamtMars (@hedreamtmars). They created that beautiful piece of art in the venue as we played. They created a visual representation of the sonics they were hearing and the energy that they were feeling at the time. So, when it came time to think of the artwork for Chekhov's Gun, it didn't take too long to come to the obvious decision that we should use it. Thankfully, LabRats were happy for us to use it.

X. Now that Chekhov's Gun has been properly released into the terribly unsuspecting world... what else can we expect to see/hear from Last Sons' during the album's release roll-out?

Duke01: We'll be rocking a hometown release party in Nottingham and then, gigging around The UK where ever will have us. If we can, we'd love to get out to Europe and even back to The States to do some shows out there, too... but that'll be some time down the line. Unless, anybody out there wants to finance a trip! We're also, working on a video for a track from the album, which should be ready really soon—it may even be out by the time you're reading this!

XI. If you could hand-select any emcees, producers, players, singers, etc. to be featured on your Chekhov's Gun follow-up, who would you choose to collaborate with and why?

Duke01: Because of the way we work, I can only really think of somehow integrating more elements of the work we do outside of Last Sons; P with his Bionic Stylus Crew and me with Def Goldblum, but we already do that to a certain extent. In terms of artists, we have our dream list of collaborators on Chekhov's Gun already. When "Champions" needed a female vocal and I suggested Barrie McLain, that's exactly who we got and she fit perfectly. In fact, she far surpassed what I thought she could add! She added exactly what the track needed. Any collaborations on future projects, will continue to be dictated by the tracks themselves.

XII. Does Uncommon Records currently have anything special planned for the physical release of Last Sons' Chekhov's Gun?

Uncommon Nasa: We pressed up the album on orange translucent vinyl, all the vinyl will come with a poster inside, as well. The posters are part of a series that we're putting in all of our foreseeable releases [within] the next year or so. We are also, pressing on CD and that CD has some alternate layouts inside. This release is also, the debut of our new official/original Uncommon Records vinyl geometric-designed vinyl label (shout-out to DJ Jazzpants!) which will be part of the CD design, too. I can't wait to see the LabRats' work in a vinyl-sized cover. The release will be out March 15th and while supplies last, we are looping in our "Uncommon Kingdom" T-shirt as a bundle during the pre-order only. Head over to for all physical purchases.

Friday, March 8, 2019

All-around Breakdown: Lejend Dissects Latest M Slago-produced Ears & Eyes to The World EP (Garvey Prospects Media/Fly 7 Music)

"I wrote Ears & Eyes to The World to be a mirror that I could hold up and use to self-analyze, self-critique, and self-reflect. I wanted to share this process with others. I'm not here to judge or condemn when I speak of issues, I'm also, asking, "what part do I play in this situation?" as well. I hope that when people listen, they will truly open their ears and eyes can see what's going on in their communities and see what change they can affect. I think, if everyone does one thing on a consistent basis to help, then, we can leave the world in better shape than we found it.

All the beats were produced by M Slago, who I have known for years and I have collaborated [with] previously. His sound is amazing and captivating. M Slago's beats allow me to express emotions I was unaware of. There is a certain rhythm in his beats that draw you and make you speak from a deeper place in your soul. I'm very thankful to work with such a producer, who has a keen ear and understanding of sound."

- Jay "Lejend" Lewis (@TexasHeat)

I. "Ears & Eyes (Intro)"

"I was letting off stress, but, also, wanted introduce what I was trying to convey in a very lyrical fashion. I wanted people to understand I was really opening my ears and eyes to my environment and it really spoke to me. It told me two things: you need to be better as a father and pursue your music harder. I took heed to that epiphany, if you will. That was three years ago and that focus has truly changed the direction of my life."

II. "More Than More"

"I really felt like I needed to talk about this: the fact that people often look for happiness through external means. They are left feeling empty many times. We have to start looking within to discover true happiness because if you don't understand yourself, how can you be happy. This was a dual-meaning track because I want to showcase that currently, there so many things going socially, politically, financially, etc. that we could miss information that is crucial to survival. So, be aware and vigilant."

III. "Hold"

"It's about the people we choose to surround ourselves. They can be two things: motivators or detractors. It's finding out which one they are and usually, it's close friends and family. Especially, as a creative, you have to surround yourself with positivity. We all been through these struggles. It sticks with the theme of the album, which is opening your ears and eyes to what's going on in your current environment."

IV. "The Inner" Feat. Buffalo Black

"It was discussing the daily struggle we have with ourselves. The greatest battle, I think, we have is with ourselves. True growth comes from asking yourself hard questions and some of the answers, if you are honest with yourself, [it] may not be pleasant. I reached out to Buffalo Black to [collaborate] and he choose this track. He really spoke profound words and gave it a depth and dynamic that was not there previously. Very thankful for his contribution! I want everyone to know that I feel the daily struggle they go through."

V. "AmeriKKKa"

"This song hit close to home. I wrote this with the intention of showing how America has not progress as far as we think. Also, to highlight a lot of the same injustices that have been going on still exist and how we can break these cycles. We can talk about race, religion, and different division in society, but, I think, the archaic systems that have dominated America for centuries are starting to break down. We have to look at a new way of operating to bring America to it's full potential, but the complicated part is it will take everyone putting down the prejudice to ignite this change."

VI. "1978" Feat. Carlitta Durand

"This was me really just reminiscing on everything that has made me into the man I am today. From the very first project I put out up until this current release. No one owes me anything and I owe no one. I reached out to Carlitta Durand; she provided a lot of Soul on Little Brother's classic albums. I wanted to bring that feel to this album. Her hook really resonates with me and [it] really highlights the sentiment I wanted to convey. I have met her in person, she is a very humble and sweet young lady. I was honored to work an artist of her caliber!"

VII. "The Breakdown"

"It's about mental health. Speaking on being able to pick the pieces once situations detour you. It's also, speaks to the difficulty of doing that. The mental wear-and-tear of that process, which happens frequently in most individuals' lives. I hope [to] better understand people who are successful in this process and people who are not."

Thursday, March 7, 2019

PUP & 253 Talented Fans Present: "Free At Last" Music Video & Tutorial from Upcoming Album Morbid Stuff (Rise Records/Little Dipper)

PUP are a Hardcore/Pop-Punk band hailing from Toronto, Canada consisting of frontman/guitarist Stefan Babcock, bassist Nestor Chumak, drummer Zack Mykula, and guitarist Steve Sladkowski. While their current name is an abbreviation for Pathetic Use of Potential, P.U.P.'s original band name was Topanga, an allusion to Danielle Fishel's iconic character, Topanga Lawrence-Matthews, from Boy Meets World. Since forming in 2010, PUP have released two full-length albums on Royal Mountain & SideOneDummy Records, as well as a slew of singles and EP's. In the years since 2016's The Dream Is Over, PUP have quietly been self-releasing their own fan 'zine fittingly entitled PUP, The Zine: Vol. 1 contained a comic book, as well as a flexi-disc 7-inch and a live version of "My Life Is Over & I Couldn't Be Happier," while Vol. 2 came with 3-D glasses and a mysterious then-unreleased track entitled "Kids." Soon after, PUP announced the sheer existence of their third full-length, phenomenally-titled Morbid Stuff, to be released on Rise Records/Little Dipper on April 5th.

"Prior to its release, we wanted to see if anyone would cover our song "Free At Last" without hearing it first. We posted the lyrics and a basic chord. The rest was up to interpretation," reads the intro to PUP's latest "Free At Last" music video. Amazingly, they received 253 fan-submitted covers of "Free At Last" ranging from Grindcore to ukulele-assisted and totaling a whopping 13 hours and 34 minutes all together. As an homage to all of their trusty fans, PUP have included minute-and-a-half montage of fan covers leading up to their official "Free At Last" music video; amongst the brave contributors, we catch quick glimpses of Stranger Things & Calpurnia's Finn Wolfhard, Skatune Network, and Charly Bliss' Eva Hendricks, who also, provides backing vocals on the studio version. PUP have conveniently uploaded a 255-song playlist to audiomack consisting of 817+ minutes of fan-submitted covers entitled PUP - FREE AT LAST COVERS. PUP's Morbid Stuff is currently available for pre-order in a number of formats from Rise Records & Little Dipper ahead of its Friday, April 5th wide release.

"The video for "Free At Last" started off as a very, very stupid concept. Before the song was released, we put out the lyrics and a basic chord chart and asked people to record their own versions without hearing the original first. It was a bit of a social experiment. We expected to receive 15 or 20 covers. We received 253. A lot of them were very... interesting... but, most of them were, actually, really good. We listened to every single one front-to-back (13 hours and 34 minutes) and by the end, our brains were puddles of sludge and we couldn't remember how our own version sounded.

We received Hip-Hop versions, Ska versions, Grindcore, EDM, Mariachi, Ukulele, Polka, and piano ballad versions. Incredibly enough, none of the 253 covers sounded like ours. And even more astounding, no two of the covers sounded the same either. The amount of creativity and love put into these things absolutely blew us away."

- Stefan Babcock (@stefanbabcock)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Russian "Skinhead" Reggae/Ska Group The Punchers Return with Sophomore EP Hey, Apollo! This Is Horror! (Magnetic Loft Records)

The Punchers are a modern-day "Boss/Skinhead Reggae" & Ska band based out of Moscow, Russia. The Punchers formed towards the tail-end of 2016 and consists of frontman Kirill Sosed, bassist Vladimir Jurin, drummer Stanislav Ikonov, guitarist Artem Piskun, former second guitarist Evgenly Balashov, and keyboard player Kamil Gazizov. As you may well remember, we previously covered The Punchers' 2018 debut EP, Punch from The Jungle, which was released on Artem Piskun's own Magnetic Loft Records in collaboration with fellow Moscow-based label, Mangy Little Mut (MLM) Records. The Punchers are dead-set on continually making and releasing a unique brand of Skinhead Reggae dating back to the genre's original roots from 1969 with their mantra being "no peace, no love, just pure Aggro sounds!" The Punchers even stick to the oft-adopted 1969-1980's style choices of Skins, as seen by their "close-cropped or shaven heads and working-class clothing, such as Dr. Martens and steel-toe work boots, braces, high-rise and varying length straight-leg jeans, and button-down collar shirts, usually, slim-fitting in check or plain."

Now, less than a year after Punch from The Jungle's digital release, The Punchers have returned with a concise 3-track EP entitled Hey, Apollo! This Is Horror! It's comparable to the Skinhead Reggae/Ska sound heard throughout The Punchers' Punch from The Jungle EP with a hint of Soul, Surf Rock, and Punk-minded wit. Hey, Apollo! This Is Horror! consists of 2 covers and an original penned by The Punchers: a vocal cover of The Hippy Boys (later, Lee Perry's The Upsetters)' 1960-70's instrumental track, "Apollo 11," The Punchers' own Eiffel 65-inspired original, "Hey!" and a cover of "Horror Reggae" from frontman Kirill Sosed's old band, The Lappers. The Punchers' Hey, Apollo! This Is Horror! EP is currently available to stream or download on Magnetic Loft Records' Bandcamp page

"[Magnetic Loft Records] proudly presents this new one by The Punchers. It's called "Hey, Apollo! This Is Horror!" and includes 3 songs. "Apollo 11" is a version of a classic tune by The Hippy Boys. It's with voice, instead of the original version. "Hey!" is an original track by The Punchers influenced by Eiffel 65, who were very popular in Russia in 200X. "Horror Reggae" was written by The Lappers—where [Kirill] Sosed sang years ago.

Thanks to Coffee Bean Records & Nikita for recording, mixing, and mastering and to Pasha Zaroslov for the cover, which cosplays Neil Armstrong on The Moon."


"С гордостью рекомендуем к прослушиванию свежий EP The Punchers "Hey, Apollo! This is Horror!," состоящий из трех прекрасных треков. "Apollo 11" представляет собой авторскую переработку классического боевика группы The Hippy Boys. Собственно, в нашем прочтении трек из инструментального стал вокальным. Песня номер 2 "Hey!" – солидный авторский молодежный хит The Punchers с припевом в стиле популярной в 2000-х группы Eiffel 65. Третий номер "Horror Reggae" язык не поворачивается назвать песней, настолько он хорош. Это также кавер, но уже на наших, отечественных звезд The Lappers. Музыку сочинил Митя из The Zapoy!, слова и звуки – Кирилл Сосед. Слушайте и танцуйте! Всем пещерный реггей и космический хоррор!

Огромное спасибо: 
 - Coffee Bean Records и лично Никите за запись, сведение и мастеринг; 
 - Паше Зарослову за крутой арт в виде Нила Армстронга на луне."

- Magnetic Loft Records (@MagneticLoft)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Rolled Gold Releases A Different Cloth, Vol. 2 Incorporating Samples Culled from Talented Crew of Family & Friends (@RolledGoldBeats)

Honestly, by now, anyone who frequents these pages of The Witzard knows that we're big fans and supporters of Philly-based producer, beat-maker, and multi-instrumentalist Harry Metz AKA Rolled Gold. I believe, we've covered nearly all of his various releases and projects since 2016's Rolled Gold & Uncle Crimson: The Great Fallback EP, as well as his slightly re-worked and re-released SALTY (3P) EP. Earlier this year, Rolled Gold kick-started his latest musical endeavor with A Different Cloth, Vol. 1 EP/beat tape, as a way to fully fresh out and properly release a wide array of unfinished songs, unreleased remixes, both old and new collaborations, unplaced instrumental beats, etc. It's, essentially, an extension of his 2018 EP, Rolled Gold's Healthy A$$ Breakfast with an added "cut from a different cloth"-type of vibe, as well as a place for Metz to display his eclectic collection of quilts and tapestries with each meticuliously "stitched-together" installment.

In a similar fashion to the rest of his recent work, A Different Cloth, Vol. 2 samples instrumentals and original compositions played by Rolled Gold himself and a cast of his musically-inclined friends; for this go'round, that includes pianist and brother Sam Metz, upright bassist and cousin Ray Bailey (Boogieman Dela,) and vocalists/emcees Visto, Kaang Groovin, Boogieman Dela, Rapper O.H.M. Jeide Eighttrack, Uncle Crimson, and Tylar Montgomery with all other instruments played by Rolled Gold himself. A Different Cloth, Vol. 2 clocks in at just over 12 minutes and its seven contained tracks play out like one continuous mix or a dusty 90's Boom-Bap mixtape. A Different Cloth, Vol. 2 is currently available to stream or purchase on both Rolled Gold's Bandcamp & Soundcloud pages and is now applicable to Pre-Save on Spotify, but should become widely available on the service within about a week or less.

"Rolled Gold's second installment in his 2019 A Different Cloth [series] follows the same format as Vol. 1: original compositions sampled and flipped into a versatile selection of beats, topped with short acapella selections from friends and Lo-fi, Cinematic background noise. However, using synesthesia—in this case, associating pieces of music with different color schemes—he paints a very different landscape of vibes and moods and also, chooses to incorporate more 808 bass and Trap drums, just to balance out the heavily organic, vintage sound of the first. When the series is finished, all the volumes will be lined up chronologically to play a much longer musical journey, navigated with smooth transitions and cohesive arrangements unique to Rolled Gold's repertoire."

- Rolled Gold (@RolledGoldBeats)

Monday, March 4, 2019

The M-Tet Cover Childish Gambino's "Redbone," I Marc 4 & Shades of Joy On 2 Newly-unleashed Limited Edition 45's (Funk Night Records)

Detroit-based Funk Night Records (Fnr) has continually released a slew of phenomenal records, over the years, including 45's and 12-inches from the likes of The Great Revivers, The Soul Surfers, Guilty Simpson & Musca, Phat Kat, Aeon Seven, Nico Collins & The Soul Chance, and Scone City Players. Founder and in-house DJ/producer Frank Raines has meticulously selected artists from as far reaching as Detroit, Germany, and everywhere in-between for touch-stone releases on Fnr. For their latest double-release, Funk Night Records quietly issued two separate 45's from San Francisco-based Instrumental/Classic Soul quartet, The M-Tet: "Redbone" B/W "Ray Ban, Part 2" and "Gotta Be with You" B/W "Shades of Joy." Yes, "Redbone" is, in fact, an impassioned Instrumental Hip-Hop/Soul cover of Childish Gambino's break-out hit from 2016's "Awaken, My Love!" but, unfortunately, all 250 limited-press Fnr 45's have already completely SOLD OUT. "We never rehearsed "Redbone" ever; we just learned it on our own and came together to play it on a gig. I still don't think we've ever rehearsed it," The M-Tet bassist Chris Lujan recently explained to The Witzard, via email.

Side B of said "Redbone" 45 is, actually, The M-Tet's second recorded cover of "Ray Ban" from Italian session band I Marc 4's brown-tinted self-titled 1970 album. Truth be told, I've known about The M-Tet's top-secret "Redbone" 45 since about Christmas 2018 and have been actively messaging back-and-forth with Chris Lujan (@crlujan) leading up to this very release and I'm happy to say, I was able to score a copy for myself before they became widely unavailable. The M-Tet's second Fnr 45 of 2019 features a Lee Fields & The Expressions-inspired original entitled "Gotta Be with You;" Side B features "Shades of Joy" AKA "The Desert Is a Circle" by Shades of Joy & Alexandro Jodorowsky as hand-selected by Frank Raines himself from 1970 soundtrack, The Music of El Topo. While "Redbone" B/W "Ray Ban, Part 2" is currently SOLD OUT, copies of The M-Tet's "Gotta Be with You" B/W "Shades of Joy" are still available on Funk Night Records' Big Cartel page; although, all four of the aforementioned compositions are now available to stream on Fnr's YouTube page, as well. * EDITOR'S NOTE: However, The M-Tet urge eager fans to keep an eye on, as additional copies of their "Redbone" 45 will soon become available for a limited time...

I wake up feelin' like you won't play right
I used to know, but now that sh*t don't feel right
It made me put away my pride
So long
You made somebody wait for some, so long
You make it hard for boy like that to go on
I'm wishing I could make this mine, oh..."

- Childish Gambino (@donaldglover)