Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kid Cudi - "Erase Me" (feat. Kanye West) (radio rip)

I know the bears over at weworemasks are gonna disagree with me, but I'm feeling this. I'll admit the guitars are diluted too much, but the melodies are sky high, the drum machine sounds huge, and Yeezy delivers a spot on verse. Looks like Cudi's gonna reinvent the game again. Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager is out September 14th along with new drops from Kanye, Consequence, and Big Sean...Sounds G.O.O.D 2 Me.

Download: Kid Cudi - "Erase Me" (feat. Kanye West) (radio rip)

MySpace: Kid Cudi

Video: Animal Collective - "Guys Eyes"

If the video for "Brothersport" was Animal Collective's interpretation of spring in the mountains, than there's no doubt this one's an ode to summer. Hazy and faded images of beach-related activities such as boardwalks, surfers, and pretty blue-eyed girls all set to the sounds of the group's swirling psychedelic melodies. Think it's about time to break out Merriweather Post Pavilion again..summer's officially here.

Watch: Animal Collective - "Guys Eyes"

MySpace: Animal Collective

La Dispute - "How I Feel"

The boys in La Dispute bring the noise and the funk with a new song, if by noise and the funk I mean smacking you in the face for 2 minutes with barking screams, thundering bass, and dark as night winding guitar lines. Criminally underrated band. Check out their stunning debut Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair and come back for a second helping of the goods on more new material from the band whenever it peeks it's pretty/ugly little head out.

Listen: La Dispute - "How I Feel"

Video: Underoath - 2010 Studio Update #4

#4 gives us a little taste of the heaviness Tim McTague's got cooking up in that grizzly beard of his.

Watch: Underoath - 2010 Studio Update #4

MySpace: Underoath

Lupe Fiasco - "Nothin' On You" (feat. Bruno Mars)

While "Airplanes" has just about reached an unavoidable level, Lupe brings some attention back to B.o.B.'s first single by spitting some bars over "Nothin' On You". No surprise that Lu kills it, dashing out head-spinning lines to a special someone. Can Lasers just drop already?

Download: Lupe Fiasco - "Nothin' On You" (feat. Bruno Mars)

MySpace: Lupe Fiasco

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Video: Brandon Boyd - "Runaway Train"

Still reeling from the news of Incubus's hiatus, I'm ecstatic to hear Brandon Boyd is planning to release a solo effort. Here's the official video for the lead single which features some Latin guitar strumming, bongo work, and a little tinkling piano around the edges. While it's not necessarily new Incubus, I'm still about this so I'm guessing/hoping this sits pretty with the rest of you crazies in the meanwhile also. The Wild Trapeze is slated to drop July 6th, but in the meanwhile get lost in Brandon Boyd's vocal stylings/oddball artsy visuals.

MySpace: Incubus

Tegan and Sara - "Turnpike Ghost" (Steel Train cover)

I absolutely love this idea...Steel Train dropped their self-titled record last week and threw in a compilation called Terrible Thrills Vol. 1, which features artists/friends each re-interpreting select songs from the album. Twin indie-darlings Tegan and Sara take on the first one, adding a tropically bouncy feel to the originally screechy single "Turnpike Ghost". Can't wait to hear what else is on this...Steel Train is out now too so don't forget 'em, don't don't forget 'em.

Steel Train - Turnpike Ghost (RAC Mix ft. Tegan & Sara) by Remix Artist Collective

MySpace: Tegan and Sara

Video: Wavves - "King of the Beach"

Nathan Williams continues the bratty streak he started on "Post Acid" with the title-track for Wavves' upcoming new record. Yours Truly supplies classy black-and-white visuals as the band performs in some strange garage and takes the term "beach bum" very literally. King of the Beach drops August 3rd.

Watch: Wavves - "King of the Beach"

Download: Wavves - "King of the Beach"

MySpace: Wavves

Monday, June 28, 2010

Video: Big Sean - "High Rise"

Nothing too special about this video but I love this track I have to give it love. It does so a good job of capturing the easy-going vibe of the song so well. Stick with this kind of shit Sean, it's what you do best.

Big Sean - High Rise from dante marshall on Vimeo.

MySpace: Big Sean

Video: Passion Pit - "Tonight, Tonight" (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)

Sorry for the lack of posting recently, but I've been running around like a Anne Boleyn-ed chicken so just trying to keep up with my life. Definitely been sleeping on my promise to keep up with Levi's Pioneer Sessions, but I can't excuse not giving this one the deserved attention. An Edwards Scissorhands-looking Michael Angelakos lends his dreamy vocal/synth combo to The Smashing Pumpkin's classic "Tonight, Tonight" producing something that stays true to the original without abandoning that traditional Passion Pit sound. Should probably mention that, as a music love, Melon Collie and The Infinite Sadness is one of the most influential records for me personally so that may explain why I'm all over everything about this...

Download: Passion Pit - "Tonight, Tonight" (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)

MySpace: Passion Pit

Video: J. Cole - "Who Dat"

J. Cole introduces us to his hood, enlisting the help of a marching band, exploding cars, and some furious hand gestures to tell the tale. Who dat, who dat? Cole's world.

J. Cole - Who Dat (Directed by BBGUN) from bbgun on Vimeo.

MySpace: J. Cole

The Roots - "Dear God 2.0" (feat. Jim James) (Live on Jimmy Fallon)

The Roots stepped out of their role as house band for Mr. Fallon to perform for the masses. Loving how they re-worked this one more and more and a nice touch to have Jim James singing the hook in person. Great performance...How I Got Over is in stores now so go getcha some.

MySpace: The Roots

Video: Muse - "Where The Streets Have No Name" (feat. The Edge) (Live at Glastonbury Festival 2010)

Muse took a break from their bombastic rock epics during their set at Glastonbury 2010 and stepped up to a smashing cover of The Joshua Tree's opening track. I've always had respect for Matt Bellamy's vocal abilities, but he rivals Bono on this one and it's hard to get any more legit than having The Edge join you on stage to dish out his trademark delay-affected arpeggios.

Download: Muse - "Where The Streets Have No Name" (feat. The Edge) (Live at Glastonbury 2010)

MySpace: Muse

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Impression: The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

You can classify records in a number of categories. There are classic records. There are pop records. There are records you can have fun with and mindlessly sing along with. There are records that you can sit and dissect thoughtfully. With American Slang, the Jersey boys in The Gaslight Anthem have made an album that fits into all these niches, creating along with it the most important record of 2010 thus far.

Fans of 2008's breakout '59 Sound shouldn't worry. Songs like "American Slang", "Orphans", and "The Spirit of Jazz" are the hard-charging anthemic punk songs you've come to love from the band. The characters, such as The Cool, Queen of Lower Chelsea and The Boxer, are injected with life...a telling sign of the storytelling ability that vaults Brian Fallon above many other contemporary lyricists.

While retaining all the qualities that so many people hold the band near and dear to their hearts, they've also built on it. Refined their sound greatly, the tracks have many more memorable lead guitar lines (see personal highlight "Stay Lucky" and "The Queen of Lower Chelsea") and far less filler, producing a record that's truly quality from front to back. The guys even take a stab at some slower numbers and execute them remarkably well. The jazzy doo-wop of "The Diamond Church Street Choir" shows off the band's new found versatility through an incredible restraint and "Bring It On" is 101 on how to build a song until is blast point. The biggest chance is taken on closer "We Did It When We Were Young," a pseudo power-ballad. Yet Fallon's straining howl adds a more lonesome and fragile element to the track's nostalgia...proving once again that these guys can spin thread into gold.

There's such a lack of substance in modern music that a release like this isn't just nice, but needed. The real beauty in American Slang is as harmonious as it is thoughtful. As simple as it complex. So when Fallon sings "Don't sing me your songs about the good times/those days are gone and you should just let them go", you can hold up your copy of American Slang and know that there's still hope for all us music fans out there.

Buy: The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

MySpace: The Gaslight Anthem

Foals - "Spanish Sahara" (Deadboy Remix)

First took notice of this ambient slow burner from UK's indie darlings Foals in the Entourage Season 7 trailer. Now fellow countryman/dubstep DJ Deadboy has remixed it, adding an extra minute and a half of clicks, synths, and tribal drumming to the already nearly 7-minute track. There something to be said for short and sweet, but the gift in this song is it's deliberate pace so glad to see Deadboy took his time with it.

Download: Foals - "Spanish Sahara" (Deadboy Remix)

MySpace: Foals
MySpace: Deadboy

Video: The Gaslight Anthem - "The Boxer" (Live on Jimmy Fallon)

With American Slang hitting the masses Tuesday, it's about time the boys in The Gaslight Anthem start giving it the press rounds. They dropped by Jimmy Fallon last night and surprisingly passed up the title-track so Brian Fallon and his extra slicked back hair could howl through "The Boxer". The song didn't click at first, but it's become an honest favorite for me...some of the best storytelling I've heard in a modern 3-minute rock song and I think a lot of us can relate to finding "our bandages inside the pen and our stitches on the radio". (Fast forward to 38:00 to see the performance)

MySpace: The Gaslight Anthem

Kid Cudi - "REVOFEV"

First single off Man on the Moon: Legend of Mr. Rager finds Cudder harmonizing to the kids about revolution over clanking piano keys before it crescendos into a static-filled drum march that blows the track up. Considering Cudi's come out saying this record will be darker and edgier than his debut, this is a solid barometer of how he's going to go about it. Stay tuned.

Download: Kid Cudi - "REVOFEV"

MySpace: Kid Cudi

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Video: P.O.S. - "Optimist" (Live at Pure Food & Wine)

Pure Food and Wine bring the pretentious uncooked food (although those desserts look dope) and the goofy, uncoordinated white dudes, P.O.S. brings some realness and the plastic cups beatz from "Optimist". Clear winner on this one.

Infatuation TV: P.O.S Performs "Optimist" @ Pure Food & Wine from Immaculate Infatuation on Vimeo.

MySpace: P.O.S.

First Impressions: Drake - Thank Me Later

A lot of hype has surrounded Mr. Graham ever since signing to Young Money and teaming up with many of hip-hop's heavyweights. What's befallen Drake is that the expectation for his debut, Thank Me Later, has reached the heights of those anticipated for both Yeezy and Weezy's third album's (Graduation and Tha Carter III respectively). Was he able to meet these unreasonable expectations? In a word: No. But is it still a stellar debut? Of course.

Surprisingly, Drizzy opts for slower, more atmospheric pacing on the majority of songs. "Unforgettable" features both hazily rapped verses and sung hook, the foreboding synths in "Light Up" dominate the speedy lines and heavy bass, and "Find Your Love", while up-beat, is unaffected crooning without the faintest hint of Auto-Tune. Despite "Over" and the stellar "Miss Me" sticking out as the only party jams Drake's steady supplied in the past, these restrained tracks stick out as some of the highlights. Guests like Alicia Keys, Jeezy, Jay and The Dream all bring elements to the table without taking over the song too much, which says something both about the quality of the composition and Drake's skill set. There's a touch too much filler for me to give Thank Me Later too much love, but it's, to say the least, a solid start for an up-and-coming star who will be shining long after a lot of the big names in hip-hop have hung up their mics and designer high-tops. Props.

Buy: Drake - Thank Me Later

MySpace: Drake

Video: B.o.B. - "Airplanes" (feat. Hayley Willaims)

When I first heard this song I knew it'd blow up like any building Jack Bauer is in and not to say "I told you so", but you know, you know. Here's the official video for it and, I'm not sure what I was looking for, but gotta admit it's a let down. Nice that they got Hayley to show her pretty little face, but there's nothing visually stimulating about it even though there's so many routes they could've gone to make it more creative (animations for one). Guess it doesn't really matter what the video's like, this song's gonna get spun until the tape, record, whatever they play on radio stations wears the fuck out. Adventures of Bobby Ray out now.

Watch: B.o.B. - "Airplanes" (feat. Hayley Williams)

MySpace: B.o.B.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Four Year Strong - "Band New Bearz"

Here's one of the bonus unreleased tracks that Four Year Strong will include in their special edition of Enemy of the World they are selling on Warped Tour stops. Can't really nitpick with anything about the record as it's hands down the best pop-punk release of 2010 but this song is sugar-coated goodness packed with some of their better harmonies and, right when you think they opted against it, serious gang vocals rip things apart. Glad this one got to see the light of day and be sure to pick up any version of Enemy of the World you can...promise you won't regret it.

Listen: Four Year Strong - "Bad News Bearz"

MySpace: Four Year Strong

Video: Underoath - 2010 Studio Update #3

Can't find #2 but throw Underoath, some high-definition visuals, and headbanger du jour/programmer Chris Dudley "expound" on the epic nature of their new record and you can count me in.

Watch: Underoath - 2010 Studio Update #3

MySpace: Underoath

Video: Miguel Jontel - "All I Want Is You" (feat. J. Cole)

Another video drops from a track I posted awhile back. The J. Cole spot alone merits giving this a listen, but Miguel Jontel's got respectably smooth vocals and, despite the token random rays of light and downpour of rain that makes it into every R&B video, the visuals are stunning and the concept gives you something to think on. Give it a look and be sure to grab yourself an MP3 while you're at it.

Download: Miguel Jontel - "All I Want Is You" (feat. J. Cole)

MySpace: Miguel Jontel

Monday, June 14, 2010

Video: Mark Ronson - "Bang Bang Bang" (feat. MNDR and Q-Tip)

Mark Ronson beams in MNDR and Tip in for a French/Japanese hybrid talk show performance before things get all intergalatic and Tron-ed out. 80s are making a SERIOUS comeback. Loving this and the song is hot as hell, but you already knew that right?

MySpace: Mark Ronson

J. Cole - "Higher"

If "Who Dat" was J. Cole kicking down the door to mainstream recognition, "Higher" is his bashful apology for coming so hard off the bat. While he airs more on the side of "spitting All-Star game" at the ladies, Cole still brings the bars and the swagger ("Come in/I'm about to take you higher/we about to set this bitch on fire). Another step towards giving Cole World a whole meaning and might be the only thing in hip-hop news getting attention this week that's not Thank Me Later related.

Download: J. Cole - "Higher"

MySpace: J. Cole

Brandon Flowers - "Crossfire"

Brandon Flowers already tried to fill The Boss' shoes on Sam's Town so, judging from the first single, The Killers frontman is trying to slip on a pair of Bono's futuristic sunglasses for his forthcoming solo record. Pairing an easy acoustic backing with rippling chords, emphatic violins, and a steady marching percussion (think "City of Blinding Lights"), Brandon sings in a restrained, but strong bellow about "a crossfire between Heaven and Hell". Never really clicked with The Killers, nor saw the big deal about Brandon Flowers himself, but this sounds surprisingly solid. Flamingo drops in September.

Download: Brandon Flowers - "Crossfire"

MySpace: The Killers

Video: Jay-Z - "Run This Town" (feat. Kanye West) (Live at Isle of Wight Festival 2010)

It's safe to say Jay's just about taken over the U.S. at this point, but when he stopped by the UK for the Isle of Wight Festival, it's clear America isn't the only red, white & blue flagged nation he's running. Everything about this performance is huge: the song, the massive stage, the thousands-deep crowd...and he even unleashes Yeezy on them? ROC most certainly in the building on this one.

MySpace: Jay-Z

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stream: Bonnaroo 2010

While I spent this weekend with a bunch of my college friends losing sleep, money, and parts of my mind, many of my fellow music lovers we're enjoying the be-all and end-all of modern musical festivals: Bonnaroo. No fear if you also opted out all thanks to NPR who is hosting streams of a dozens of the shows performances, including sets from HNESNESNE favorites The Gaslight Anthem, Local Natives, Neon Indian, Mayer Hawthorne, The Avett Brothers, and Kings of Leon. Yeah, that's right...get yourself over there, crank your speakers up, and enjoy all the sounds of Bonnaroo without the excess of psychedelics and lack of hygiene. You da best NPR.

Stream: Bonnaroo 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wavves - "Post Acid"

Loved the re-workings of "Mickey Mouse" and "Cool Jumper", but THIS is what I'm looking for from Nathan Williams. Snotty vocals and fuzzed out riffs galore, this track is so California beach-ready you can fit your own background "la-la-la's" into it without anything sounding out of place. King of the Beach is right...August 5th ya'll.

Download: Wavves - "Post Acid"

MySpace: Wavves

Washed Out - "You and I"

Something about the ease of summer meshes so well with Washed Out's hazy electronics. Ernest Greene's first addition to the Summer 2010 comes courtesy of Adult Swim's 8 Singles in 8 Weeks project, with "You and I" lending nocturnal lonesome pinning vocals to the trademark swirling synth work. This is one of those artists everyone needs to get to know, so try and grab a copy of his Life of Leisure EP and keep on the look out for more goodness from Mr. Greene soon enough.

Download: Washed Out - "You and I"

MySpace: Washed Out

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Video: Circa Survive - "Imaginary Enemy" (Live on Jimmy Fallon Show)

Circa Survive took to Jimmy Fallon's stage for a late night charging effort at one of my personal favorites off Blue Sky Noise. Anthony is in classic form, wobbling around like a newly animated scarecrow before climbing the stage siding and joining some shocked fans in the backdrop. No doubt: he's a fucking space cadet, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who puts more energy, emotion, and passion into every live performance than Mr. Green. It's awesome to see such a talented band get big publicity like this, even if it took their album sales figures for the biz to recognize them as successful. Congrats, boys!

MySpace: Circa Survive

Lil' Wayne - "Light Up" (freestyle)

Drake hopped on uStream last night to debut a freestyle Lil' Wayne recorded on a phone call from his cell out on Riker's Island. Aside from choosing a hot beat ("Light Up" is definitely one of the best cuts off Thank Me Later), Weezy shakes off all the turmoil of the past months, laying down one of his hardest off the top's yet, unafraid to back down with lines like "Drizzy got the ball/I know the ball gon’ drop/And I pray none of my kids/never wanna be cops". Everyone's got a different take on him, but one thing you can't deny about Mr. Carter is his unwavering work ethic. The clip's mediocre quality (it was ripped from a phone call after all), but it's too cool to sleep on...I have no doubt this'll get mastered once Wayne's out and we can bask in it's defiant glory in high quality.

Listen: Lil' Wayne - "Light Up" (freestyle)

MySpace: Lil' Wayne

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Video: The Gaslight Anthem - "American Slang" (Sirius Exclusive Acoustic)

Brian Fallon teamed up with Sirius for an exclusive featuring an acoustic take on the American Slang's title-track. Any doubt that he can't do it like can dissipate now. American Slang drops June 15th...prepare ya selves.

MySpace: The Gaslight Anthem

Big Sean - "High Rise"

New Sean track coming off a soon-to-drop pre-album release mixtape entitled Finally Famous Vol. 3. While it misses the polish of an album ready cut, when you break it down, everything here is leaps and bounds above the stuff we've heard off Finally Famous so far. If Big Sean can step away from trying to do too much on his debut and stay within himself, like he does here, he's got just as much potential to shine as the next up-and-comer.

Download: Big Sean - "High Rise"

MySpace: Big Sean

Video: Steel Train - "You and I Undercover" (In-studio Piano)

"Turnpike Ghost" was the sure-fire rocker. "Bullet" was the playful sing-a-long. Now we get "You and I Undercover" as the far-from-token tender ballad. Of course this is just Jack sitting in front of his piano at his home studio performing it so no guarantee this will sound like the version on the album, but this adds more versatility to an album that's already shaping up quite nicely. Steel Train drops June 28th.

MySpace: Steel Train

Saturday, June 5, 2010

R.I.P. John Wooden

John Wooden a.k.a The Wizard of Westwood died early this morning at the age of 99. For my money he is, and will always be, the greatest coach in the history of American sports. As the head coach of the UCLA Men's Basketball Team for 27 years, he won 664 games and 10 consecutive National Championships between 1964 and 1975, his final year as coach. In addition his team holds the NCAA record for longest winning streak (88) and most perfect 30-0 seasons (4).

More importantly, Wooden ensured the men he mentored were not simply good basketball players (consider he coached the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton while at UCLA), but good human beings. His "Pyramid of Success" received massive attention and became a technique that's still widely used by college coaches. Wooden remained involved with the team up until his death, meeting with recruits and players whenever possible and a fixture at UCLA home games, sitting gingerly in his reserved seat at Pauley Pavilion.

Anyone somewhat familiar with American sports knows how sad of a day this is. While there's no doubt his enormous legacy will live on, take a look at Wooden's Seven Point Creed and try and apply it to your life as a thank you to the great coach and an even greater man. R.I.P.

Wooden's Seven Point Creed:

* Be true to yourself.
* Make each day your masterpiece.
* Help others.
* Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
* Make friendship a fine art.
* Build a shelter against a rainy day.
* Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Read: "UCLA legendary coach John Wooden dies at age 99"

Drake - "You Know, You Know"

Between half the tracks dropping before the release date and the entire album leaking a couple days ago, I've gotten to give Thank Me Later a couple spins already and I don't know how this cut got left off. 'Ye mans the boards with a HUGE beat jam-packed with skittery beeps and boops and Drake goes harder than about 80% of the tracks on the album. I still think Thank Me Later will be one of the best hip-hop releases of the year, but they slipped up a bit snipping this. More thoughts coming on the record later, grab this now.

Download: Drake - "You Know, You Know"

MySpace: Drake

The Game - "Pushin' It" (feat. T.I. and Robin Thicke)

This is the first thing off The R.E.D. Album that resembles anything close to the masterful sound Game honed on LAX. Robin Thicke does his best JT with a smooth hook, T.I. continues his great comeback with a solid spot, and The Game does his best Nas impersonation both lyrically and vocally. Still, what Game does best is get up in your face with some aggressive, gritty tracks and everything that's leaked so far, including this, sounds too restrained. The final verdict can come in July 6th.

Download: The Game - "Pushin' It" (feat. T.I. and Robin Thicke)

MySpace: The Game

Friday, June 4, 2010

Interview: Aaron Gilliespie (TVU's Most Wanted)

Aaron Gillespie sat down with TVU's Most Wanted, threw around the word "man" a lot, and discussed what's he's been up to post-Underoath. There's some more in-depth answers to why he chose to move on from the band, the solo worship album he's working on (???), and his fall tour plans. Personally, I'm a little disappointed he passed on staying with one of the most innovative metal bands out to pursue pop music, but I don't have "follow your bliss" inked on me for no reason.

For all you sleeping beauties, be sure to check out Underoath's first studio update since Aaron's departure here and if you want to see what the are working on at this very moment, they got a live camera rolling in-studio courtesy U-Stream.

MySpace: The Almost

Video: Vampire Weekend - "Holiday" (Live on The Colbert Report)

After welcoming The Hold Steady onto his sacred temple of America's greatness a couple weeks ago, Colbert brought in the boys from Vampire Weekend for their own home land interrogation last night. Colbert takes a considerably lighter route on this one: taking shots at drummer Chris Tomson's hygiene (although his American flag tank top is fresh as hell), the vampire craze, and even dropping one of his all-time greatest lines ("In one of your songs you have the lyrics 'who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?'. I'm here to tell you 'I do'.) Fortunately, the guys stick around long enough to tear through a speedy take on their always bouncy "Holiday".

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Vampire Weekend - Holiday
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Vampire Weekend
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

MySpace: Vampire Weekend

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Video: Neon Indian - "Sleep Paralysist"

There's a new penchant for psychedelic videos in the indie scene these days, but this takes the crown so far. Alan Paloma literally explores his insomnia in the trippiest fashion stallions, levitating girls, and a sinister man with a beaked masquerade mask all included. The visuals cover the 80s aspect of the song well, putting the fog machine and campy light shows to good use. Loved the track when it leaked in March and can't sketch on it here either: still enough oddball electronics for all you hipster paired with one of the most accessible chorus' Neon Indian has written. Don't sleep...

Watch: Neon Indian - "Sleep Paralysist"

MySpace: Neon Indian

Jay-Z - "Ultra" (feat. Swizz Beatz)

Jay-Z has taken time off from ruling the world to work on a new track due up on Evil Empire's Trending Topics mixtape. Swizz Beatz mans the board with a whistle-propelled beats while Hov's lyrical reference to the "last train to Paris" has got some people believing the song will show up on Diddy's upcoming album of the same name. We'll see what comes of that, but in the meanwhile, I shouldn't have to convince you to get into some new Jay.

Download: Jay-Z - "Ultra" (feat. Swizz Beatz)

MySpace: Jay-Z

Video: Takers (Official Trailer)

Although judging from the trailer, this movie has been done about 1,000 times (i.e. Ocean's 11, Knockaround Guys, etc...) it's hard to argue with a 4-minute clip of chase scenes, shoot-outs, and explosions all set to T.I.'s hard-hitting new cut "Yeah Ya Know". The PG-13 rating cooled off my initial excitement, but if they stick to non-stop action (take a page out of Taken's book ya'll!) you can count me in. Glad to see Tip getting right back to the grind as well...Takers hits theaters August 20th.

Video: J. Cole - Complex Magazine Young King Cole Fashion Shoot

The Roc's young hope J. Cole stops by Complex's studio to accompany his photo spread in the magazine's next issue by showing off his gear to the tune of "Who Dat" and some psychedelic visuals right out of the transitions in That 70s Show. Cole's World can drop any minute now, that'd be cool with me.

MySpace: J. Cole

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Video: The Gaslight Anthem - The Making of American Slang (Pt.6)

I'm guessing this will be the final "making of" for American Slang, as everyone weighs in and wraps up what to expect from the record. Truly masterful work...American Slang will most certainly be one of the top records of 2010 and a sure-fire rock classic for years to come. Get amped...only two more weeks.

Watch: The Gaslight Anthem - The Making of American Slang (Pt.6)

MySpace: The Gaslight Anthem

Video: Broken Bells - "The Ghost Inside"

Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame stars as a futuristic beauty who will give and arm and a leg (well at least one) to return to her dream resort planet. The concept definitely overpowers the song (besides a short cameo as ship inspectors, James Mercer and Dangermouse stay out of the picture), but it's still the type of intergalactic wit you've come to expect from the duo. I've eased up on Broken Bells from it's constant rotation this past winter, but no arguing that it's still one of the best records of 2010 so far. This might just be an excuse to break it back out andddd get cooking on my mid-year top albums list.

MySpace: Broken Bells

Video: Underoath - 2010 Studio Update #1

More of a trailer than an actual studio update, but it's still our first look at the band sans drummer/vocalist Aaron Gillespie. Curious to see how the band sounds without his clean vocals and vastly underrated kitwork, but these guys have boatloads of talent so I doubt they'll turn out anything short of stellar. Bets on things being reeeeeally heavy? Very likely.

MySpace: Underoath

The Roots - "Doin' It Again" (feat. John Legend)

Now this is what I call a Legendary Roots Crew track. Black Thought goes in hard, ?uestlove throws down relentless drum fills, and though Mr. Legend doesn't actually appear on the cut, the "Again" sample soars. I'm 100% for How I Got Over so far.

Download: The Roots - "Doin' It Again" (feat. John Legend)

MySpace: The Roots

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Impressions: The Black Keys - Brothers

The infamous duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have brought us some down and dirty garage blues. With Brothers, the guys add a little soul to their body of work, opting for tender falsettos and accenting instrumentation (see: "The Only One" and "Black Mud"). There's still plenty of heartbreak and longing in the tunes, whether pledging to learn their lesson in "Next Girl" or airing out their eerie uncertainty in "Too Afraid To Love You". If you're feeling blue or just need a record to throw back some beers on your porch to, The Black Keys are still a go-to...its just that Brothers has amped up the smarts without losing the edge, a surefire sign of already excellent artists getting that much better.

Buy: The Black Keys - Brothers

MySpace: The Black Keys

Video: Manchester Orchestra - "#3.01"

Not entirely sure what's going on in this video...all I know is that I most definitely want to chill with these guys. Serious lolz.

MySpace: Manchester Orchestra