Wednesday, August 31, 2011
A couple of things have become clear to me.
1) I'm coming around on MMG Wale. I standby that even the best stuff he's done with them hasn't touch the genius of work before he switched onto Rozay's team. But he's working back to it.
2) Judging from this and "Bad Girls Club," I'm guessing his new LP Ambition--slated to drop on Nov. 11.--is going to be all about the ladies and his tireless work ethic. And judging from this extravagant video and the choice of eye candy in it, shit is working out for him in both departments.
3) Lemon Drop Nuvo is the go-to liquor in every hip-hop videos nowadays. Doesn't anyone drink whiskey anymore?
Psychedelic folk-rockers Blitzen Trapper have always flown slightly under my radar, but after giving the harmonica-laden alt-country of American Goldwig a first listen, I understand why so many people are huge fans. For anyone who enjoys Avett Brothers, Band of Horses, or any other indie band with a "B" in their name, this one's for you. I think the moustache and open road says it all.
American Goldwig is out Sept. 13.
Stream: Blitzen Trapper - American Goldwig
MySpace: Blitzen Trapper
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Pusha does his M.O.B. thing before tending to his Mrs. It's definitely a cheesy track, but it's one of the only ones off Fear of God that I still spin regularly thanks to the "I'm spending money like a rich white girl..." hook. Yugh.
MySpace: Pusha T
Monday, August 29, 2011
Mayer Hawthorne threw up "The Walk", a foul-mouthed and fresh version of his retro-soul stylings, on iTunes today. For all of us a little light in the pockets, you can head over to his official site to hear a stream of the song for free ninety-nine.
How Do You Do drops on Oct. 11.
Hear: Mayer Hawthorne - "The Walk"
MySpace: Mayer Hawthorne
Nathan Williams pays tribute to the Foo Fighters frontman by upping the punk and cleaning out his oft-nasally vocals. Don't get me wrong, I loved King of the Beach, but refining this sound would definitely be progress in the right direction. And c'mon, who wouldn't want to meet Dave Grohl?
Download: Wavves - "I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl"
I can't stand OFWGKTA. And by that, I mostly mean Tyler The Creator. I make one exception for the clan's crooner Frank Ocean, whose features on Watch The Throne showcased why he's the only one of those nutcases with legitimate talent. Here's a b-side he dropped while keeping us waiting for his first official LP. It's hard to shy away from the John Legend comparisons; I'd even dare to say he's a smoother version, but we all know that's impossible.
Download: Frank Ocean - "Try"
Irene knocked my power out all of yesterday, but I was still able to catch some of the 2011 VMAs at a buddy's house. Overall a pretty disappointing show, especially from the performance stand point. Adele, Beyonce, and the dudes known as The Throne turned in solid, albeit predictable, efforts. But watching Wayne force "How to Love"; Gaga go over the top crazy (even for her); and C-Breezy redefine lip-syncing was dreadful. You know it's bad when Cobra Starship tops you, just saying.
One of the brighter moments, however, came via a band I've heard of, but never actually heard up until last night. Irvine, California's Young The Giant simply drew people in with a tight, high-energy act powered by charasmatic, and possibly inebriated, frontman Sameer Gadhia. If you missed it, check it out below, while I get my hands on their self-titled jaunt.
MySpace: Young The Giant
Friday, August 26, 2011
I'm of the belief that hip-hop always sounds better in front of a live band. I only had that sentiment further confirmed when GZA came out to perform the title cut from Liquid Swords with lo-fi indie darlings Wavves as some rather telling smoke creeps into the stuido. Plus, it's Wavves and Wu-Tang, what's not to like.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Portugal. The Man. stopped by KCRW's Mornings Become Eclectic to drop tunes and some knowledge on the masterful In the Mountain, In the Cloud. While John Gourley's talking voice is goofy as hell, his vocals are as controlled and delicate as on the record. Don't skip over the interview bits either--there some really good and varied info on how the latest LP was conceived.
Thank you NPR.
Watch: Portugal. The Man. - KCRW Sessions
MySpace: Portugal. The Man.
Tokyo Police Club is apparently starting a new 10-song cover series, hitting a tune from every year between 2000 and 2010. Here's their 2002 effort-- a try at the wailing JEW's classic, bringing on Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos for added firepower. This is about as straight-up as it gets, but the keyboard bits near the end breathe a little life into things.
Hear: Tokyo Police Club - "Sweetness" (feat. Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit) (Jimmy Eat World Cover)
MySpace: Tokyo Police Club
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Ryan Adams has teased us with a ton of information on Ashes and Fire, as well as a bunch of live recordings of new songs. Now we finally get to listen to a studio-version of "Lucky Now", showcasing Ryan doing what he does best: writing beautifully somber love songs.
Ashes and Fire will drop on Oct. 11th. Happy (almost) birthday to me.
Lucky Now by ryanadams
MySpace: Ryan Adams
Blu's No York! project has finally hit the interwebz. Head over to SoulCulture for a full-album stream and a download link--although the legality of the latter is definitely in question. I'm definitely digging a bunch of songs on this LP/mixtape/etc...it does seem that the bigger JonBarnes gets, the more abstract and out-there he gets.
Stream: Blu - No York!
U.K. dubstep it-boy James Blake and Justin Vernon team up for a track thats, well, exactly what you'd imagine a collaboration between these two would sound like: fragmented, swirling beats; massive drum machine kicks; and Vernon's cooing Auto-Tuned falsetto.
Word is these guys will release either an EP or LP together--I've seen the words Enough Thunder and October 2011 thrown around-- so keep your pies eeled.
Aside from the spunky "Summer of '89", Butch Walker has kept much of the material off The Spade under wraps. I'll still need a quality listen before offering an official verdict, but from what I've heard so far, there's still plenty of alt-country goodness that will give I Liked You Better When You Had No Heart a run for it's money.
The Spade officially drops Aug. 30th.
Stream: Butch Walker and the Black Widows - The Spade
MySpace: Butch Walker and the Black Widows
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Abel Tesfaye got me--and most everyone else--hooked with House of Balloons. Now he's released his second effort Thursday, and it's enough to please those who were anxiously awaiting new The Weeknd material. The main improvement I could hear was a bit more focus on versatility, a solid sign that the dude understands his promise and is actively trying to realize it.
For one of those excellent, but unofficial, music video for "The Birds (Part 1)", hit it here.
Download: The Weeknd - Thursday
It's a little strange this came out nearly a month after OVOFest 2011 already took place considering this video would serve as a pretty epic trailer for the event. Either way, it's cool to see some glimpses of how everything went down. Drizzy, J. Cole, Nas, The Weeknd, and motherfucking Stevie Wonder. They need to make this into a full-on summer tour for real.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Thrice released the studio version of "Promises"--a song they've played live multiple times--via a lyric video. And not one of those shitty hip-hop ones you see for a Soulja Boy song. This has legit graphics and font. I'm really glad Thrice is sticking with the sound they discovered on Beggars, but I'm doubly excited that they're going to try and add more of a heavy element to the mix.
Major/Minor is out Sept. 20th.
Andrew McMahon has already used Miss Delaney and Annie as muses. Now he adds Amy to that list in his latest drop off People and Things. It's exactly the solid pop song you expect from Jack's Mannequin: a bright piano line, groovy bass, and elegantly smooth riffs. As for the meaning behind it, you can hit it here to see Andrew explain how he and Reliant K frontman Matt Thiessen--who produced this--conceptualized the song.
People and Things is slated to drop on Oct. 4th.
MySpace: Jack's Mannequin
Yeezy, Jeezy, and Pusha on a track together is a stacked lineup, so the fact that this song is simply average after a couple of listens qualifies it as underwhelming.
Fear of God 2 will be out on August 23rd.
Download: Pusha T - "Amen" (feat. Kanye West and Young Jeezy)
After venturing to Way-out-there Land, Brian Warren and Co. have returned to the experimentally raw music they perfected on the revered American Art. I'm officially back on board, especially after hearing that bluesy opening.
Follow The Rattle Of The Afghan Guitar EP drops Oct. 4th.
Stream: Weatherbox - "Secret Muslim"
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
J. Cole pairs his lead single "Work Out" with a video in which he woos a curvy lady courtside before sealing the deal with some Hennessy. Pretty typical video, but glad to see snapbacks make an appearance. Same goes for Cole on the hook here too. He's got to be one of the most talented up-and-comers out. D.I.Y. beats, verses, hooks...what else do you need?
Everything off Cole World so far has sounded solid through and through. Can't wait for Sept. 27th.
MySpace: J. Cole
I've been hesitant to check out The R.E.D. Album, but this was undoubtedly the link-up I wanted to hear most. Drizzy delivers a knockout verse and The Game is right on some LAX shit lyrically, although the breezy soul-sample Cool & Dre provide certainly helps the cause. Dedicated to those good girls too.
Download: The Game - "Good Girl Go Bad"
MySpace: The Game
Monday, August 15, 2011
We all know Kevin Devine and Andy Hull are good friends. They've toured together on numerous occasions. Heck, Andy even added KDev to Manchester Orchestra and released an entire album under the Bad Books moniker. With this latest drop off Kevin Devine's upcoming LP Between the Concrete and the Clouds, you can hear exactly how much their time together is rubbing off on him. Peep how the slow-building song explodes into distorted riffs and an exuberant chorus in a way that ManOrch did over and over again in the heavily 90s-influenced Mean Everything to Nothing.
Between the Concrete and the Clouds drops Sept. 13.
Download: Kevin Devine - "Off-Screen"
MySpace: Kevin Devine
According to AOL: "Colin Frangicetto of Circa Survive releases this intense emotional album of airy and ethereal music." Their adjective use is spot on, but if it were me, I'd make some pun about the project changing it's name to Psychedelic Babble.
My Brother's Ears/My Sister's Eyes drops tomorrow, but get a day's head start by hitting the link below.
Stream: Psychic Babble - My Brother's Ears/My Sister's Eyes
MySpace: Psychic Babble
Sunday, August 14, 2011
My anticipation for Tha Carter IV lost some momentum after hearing "How to Love", but knew Weezy would be back with something respectable after his form on Sorry 4 The Wait. Surely, he calls up his prodigy Drake and drop a stunner with an excellently eerie instrumental. Got me back on board real quick.
Download: Lil' Wayne - "She Will" (feat. Drake)
MySpace: Lil' Wayne
Thrice is gearing up to drop Major/Minor on Sept. 6th so it only makes sense that they'll tease us by letting go a studio-quality acoustic version of "Anthology" that will also be included as a b-side to any physical pre-order.
Can't wait, but this re-make really reminds me how excellent Dustin is all by himself. Another solo album, please. Now I'm just being greedy.
Some Watch the Throne tidbits:
1) Here's an awesome article in which Fader numerically breaks down the record with some visual flair.
2) Love the video. Spike Jonze captures the simplistic epicness--not an oxymoron--that Ye and Hov embody so well.
3) That Maybach---as well as the Aziz Anzari cameo--are unreal.
4) I listened to Watch the Throne four times in a three-hour car ride yesterday. Four times. Straight silliness. AOTY so far me thinks.
Can't say that was what I expected. Sure, it's a pretty typical party rap video. That is, until Wiz adds a shit ton of tattoos and some vague, out-of-left-field MJ tributes. While this is far from the best song on Rolling Papers, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better sure-fire single.
MySpace: Wiz Khalifa
Blu premieres the lead single off NoYork! via a vibrant music video. If the title didn't explain it enough, everything about this song is sunny, especially the scenes in JonBarnes beloved hometown of Los Angeles. Glad to hear the dude is making high-quality music again--not that he ever stopped--but god damn just gives us that LP already.
I haven't been on Wale as much since he joined MMG, but he attacks the Drake-fueled DJ. Khaled track for nearly five whole minutes here. Nice video they packaged to showcase the song, but let's be real, this is all about Mr. Folarin's return to lyrical form.
Download: Wale - "I'm On One" (Freestyle)
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The 17-year-old Jazz caught me with the smooth summer breeze of "Gold & Girls". While this new single off the upcoming Losing Elizabeth has the same cool ocean splashes, it also incorporates updated production fully outfitted with a pristine piano line and some Cali synths that'll make just about anyone ride slow.
And anyone else getting a Murs feel from his delivery?
Download: Jazz Cartier - "Far Away"
MySpace: Jazz Cartier
Chuck Ragan, the gravely-voiced leader of Hot Water Music, gives everyone a taste of his fourth LP Covering Ground with a mid-tempo strummer that Bruce Springsteen would love to have in his back catalog. And when you're doing something that pays some sort of homage to The Boss, it only makes sense to call in The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon for aid.
Here's what Ragan had to say about the song:
"I wrote “Meet You In The Middle” somewhere in the UK on tour last year when I was overseas with The Gaslight Anthem in the fall of 2010. It’s about finding love when you least expect it or love finding you and knocking you into place. It’s about finding that freedom with the one you love the most and giving them your all to grow old and grey with them. Simply put, it was inspired by the hardships of being away from the ones we love the most while touring and staying connected the best we can to meet them half way."
Hear: Chuck Ragan - "Meet You in the Middle" (feat. Brian Fallon)
MySpace: Chuck Ragan
Friday, August 5, 2011
I didn't get a good vibe on the consensus of Season 5, but I thought it was one of the more well-rounded seasons in Dexter's short history. With this Comic-Con teaser surfacing for the next chapter, I can only believe (get it) that things will get even better. Love the cheeky usage of Depeche Mode as our dark passenger will quibble with the idea of religion, as well as tangle with the likes of Colin Hanks, Edward James Olmos, and the always versatile Mighty Mos.
Dexter: Season 6 premieres on Oct. 2.
Drizzy Drake donned an Everlast robe following his performance at his OVOFest in Toronto and talked Take Care with Billboard's The Juice. He lets go of some interesting tidbits, notably his unorthodox method of choosing singles and that "Headlines" is not nearly the best song off his new record. If that's the case, my anticipation just shot through the roof.
Cool story behind this video: Ben Disinger, a student from RIT, was apparently working on a silent film when ManOrch's "Virgin" came on and he realized the two synced up perfectly. He set the song to the visuals and had the cojones to hand deliver the final product to the band.
“We were skeptical to say the least, but the more he talked about it, the more we were interested in actually seeing this thing,” told the band. “He pulled his laptop out and placed it on the steps to the bus. We were blown away. We put him in touch with our manager and for the last few months he’s been putting the finishing touches to this incredible piece. This is that rare moment when art expands further than first intentions or expectations. Where two different inspirations can coincide to create something better."
Always great to see things like this happen. Not too mention Mr. Disinger developed a substantially haunting video for an equally haunting tune, as well as my personal favies off the largely underwhelming Simple Math. Kudos good sir.
MySpace: Manchester Orchestra
Alan Paloma gives us our first listen of a non-instrumental track off Era Dxtraña. A lot of people are likening it to M83's "Midnight City" due to both song's penchant for pulsing drum machines and Nintendo beeps-and-boops. Another similarity: they are simply both awesome dance songs.
Era Dxtraña is out Sept. 13.
Download: Neon Indian - "Polish Girl"
MySpace: Neon Indian
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Drew Barrymore (yeah, that Drew Barrymore) makes her directorial debut by taking on a cut from Best Coast's stellar debut Crazy For You. While the Romeo and Juliet-meets-West Side Story bit is kinda played out, Barrymore does a good job making it feel fresh. Cameos from Chloë Moretz (Kickass) Maeby from Arrested Development, and Donald Glover don't hurt either.
MySpace: Best Coast
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Drake has let some details slip about Take Care recently, most notably his brainstorming sessions with none other than Stevie Wonder. Now he has also let go what is rumored to be the first single from his forthcoming LP. While it may be more of the rinse-and-repeat sing/rapping that Mr. Graham has blown up on--I feel the same way about this that I did about "Over" when it first dropped-- it's hard to say that anyone does it better than Drizzy.
Download: Drake - "Headlines"
Monday, August 1, 2011
Guess everyone is giving away their music for free today. This time J. Cole dropped off a five-song mixtape to appease all us eager folk patiently waiting for Cole World: The Sideline Story to see the light of day on Sept. 27. Here's the tracklisting and what Jermaine had to say about each cut:
1. Like A Star- Was saving this for the 2nd album. Due to some other shit beyond my control, I’ma let this out now.
2. Knock On Wood- One of my fav. freestyles. OG Dreamvillains gotta be reminded, new fans gotta get put on.
3. Pity- Brand new J. Cole, Omen, Voli. Produced by Voli @volitheentity
4. How High- at one point this was guaranteed to go on The Sideline Story.
5. Unabomber- Just heard this today for the first time in a longgg time. Love these raps.
Alright, spin it.
Download: J. Cole - Any Given Sunday Vol. 1
MySpace: J. Cole
Big Sean gives one of the best live performances I've seen awhile when he teams up with The Roots to perform a medley off Finally Famous on Jimmy Fallon. No Kanye or Roscoe Dash here, but I'd take having them go M.I.A. any day if it means Black Thought and ?uestlove stepping in.
MySpace: Big Sean
Colin Frangicetto keeps the generosity coming, as he not only letting go of quality music, but also gives it to us in a neat package. Head over to pick up the three songs we've already heard off of My Brother's Ears/My Sister's Eyes with a b-side called "A Ride to the Country" for the price of an e-mail.
Download: Psychic Babble - My Own Stupid Mouth EP
MySpace: Psychic Babble