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Archive for November, 2011

Listen: MadGibbs (Freddie Gibbs & Madlib) – “Thuggin'”

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib release their collaborative debut today with Thuggin’. The 6-track EP was originally announced and distributed at a recent Madlib show, immediately selling out 500 copies. Despite being over six months in the making, Thuggin’ has been a well-kept secret. The blogosphere was suddenly hit with a release date yesterday, finding out that the wait for a MadGibbs release would be short-lived. This sparked a craze within both artists’ cult-like followings, and for good reason. This EP is straight fire, pairing Freddie Gibbs’ intricate drug tales with Madlib’s trademark hypnotic loops. This is arguably the best work Madlib has done since 2004’s Madvillainy with MF DOOM, and Freddie Gibbs does the producer justice. Hear the excellent title track below, and purchase your copy in either vinyl or digital format here.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Thuggin’ by Rappcats

Listen: A-10 & Young Brew – “Let You Know (Prod. By Keyyz McFlyy)”

Talent isn’t something that is defined by age. That’s something youngsters Odd Future have made clear in the past year, with the extremely talented, 17-year-old Earl Sweatshirt dropping nicer lines than rappers double his age. Today, I have a new track from the 16-year-old A-10, who hails from Durham, North Carolina. With his team, A-10 has been drawing attention for his clean flow and chilled-out sound, personally reminding me of a blend between Curren$y and Chip Tha Ripper. His upcoming mixtape is entitled The Cold and will be out at the end of this month. Check out “Let You Know” with Young Brew below.

‘Bon Iver, Bon Iver’ Gets Digital Re-Release

Bon Iver‘s critically acclaimed self-titled LP will be getting the re-release treatment on November 29th. The 10 track album will be released digitally on iTunes via Jagjaguwar and does not actually include any new songs. The caveat is that the re-release includes 10 short films, one for each of the album’s tracks. From the press release:

“Comprised of individual visual works that both complement and enrich the audio on the album, the video accompaniment was in itself another year in the making. Featuring work by Dan Huiting, Isaac Gale, David Jensen, JoLynn Garnes and Justin Vernon, the video work is meant to be consumed as a visual extension of the music, to enhance each listener’s experience with one of the year’s most acclaimed albums. While not music videos per se, these visual accompaniments are striking in their distinctive atmosphere, and compelling works in their own right.”

After the break, you can check out a 47 second long trailer. Powerful and deeply moving imagery combined with ethereal music from Justin Vernon and co. – what more do you want?

Live Review: Explosions in the Sky @ Stockholm, Sweden’s Debaser Medis (11/14)

Bands: Explosions in the SkyThe Drift
Location: Stockholm, Sweden’s Debaser Medis
Date: November 14, 2011

Video from Debaser Medis

These days are some of the last days of the fall in Sweden, and the land awaits thick white carpets of snow to wipe off the ghosts of last spring in the form of all the yellow and orange leaves laying on the ground or still holding on to the most reluctant trees.

Autumn, in my opinion, is a season that fits very well with post rock, so there couldn’t have been a better time of the year for me to attend a live performance of Explosions in the Sky, whose European tour brought them to Stockholm and onto the stage of Debaser Medis. This Texas band re-defined the genre, becoming almost synonymous with cinematic, emotional instrumental tunes, quickly gaining the reputation of having a killer live show.

The music started around 8 with opening act The Drift. I really liked this band, and one of the things that made them so enjoyable for me was that despite the fact that the California trio also are defined as instrumental post-rock, their approach was very different from that of Explosions in the Sky, blessing the evening with some variety.

The trio generated a massive wall of sound with the aid of very essential instrumentation (a minimal drum kit, a bass, a guitar and a synth) and their set alternated between static and haunting moments to marching drums and psychedelic rock vibes. Somewhere in between This Will Destroy You and Maserati, but with a retro twist, The Drift entertained (and impressed) the audience of an almost sold out Debaser Medis, (around 1500-2000 people maybe?), all warmed up for the leading act of the evening.

A quick change of instrumentation on stage and curtains opened up again, revealing Explosions in the Sky ready to start their set. A quick introduction speech and the music started with fan-favorite “First Breath After Coma”, the wonderful opener to the band’s album The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. The band’s trademarks are its simple, yet intricate guitar textures that perfectly melt on top of the rhythm section, and I think the musicians definitely live up to their reputation as a great live band, being able to re-create the magic of their formula perfectly on a stage, even adding a lot more energy and dynamics.

After the familiar first song, the band moved on to play a track from their new album (Take Care, Take Care, Take Care) called “Last Known Surroundings”, that gets a lot sharper and more aggressive live than on the record, with an extremely distorted e-bowed guitar on a side and a cleaner, more melodic one on the other, all fueled by marching drums and pounding bass. The songs off the new record shine in a different light on stage, bringing in a more progressive feel with overall faster tempo and heavier music. After a brief intersection, the band launched into “Catastrophe and The Cure”, making everyone headbang before abruptly ending with a wall of distortion to set the ground for “The Only Moment We Were Alone”, probably my personal favorite song of the band. One single string hammering the same note on a guitar evolved into an enchanting 3 guitar arpeggio texture and evolved until it reached its emotional and musical climax. Faded background voices and noise introduced “Let Me Back In”, bringing a darker mood to the table along with the older “Greet Death” . The mood then shifted lighter again with the bright, major chords that introduced “Be Comfortable, Creature”.

One of the most emotional break-downs of the evening is probably the intro to “The Birth And Death Of The Day”, where walls of distortion turned into a carpet of arpeggio guitars before finally bleeding into “The Moon Is Down”, an epic outro to a really great concert where both The Drift and Explosions in the Sky carried the audience along with them on a musical and emotional journey.

Watch: New WU LYF Music Video for “We Bros”

On June 13th, Manchester “heavy pop” band WU LYF (standing for World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) released their highly anticipated debut album, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain to much critical acclaim, and now, they have released a music video for the song “We Bros”. Check out the video below or go here to purchase the album.

Drake – “The Calm…The Resistance…The Ride.”

Back in May of this year, Drake kicked off the hype train for his newest album when he cryptically tweeted to his followers, “The Calm…The Resistance…The Ride.” Many assumed that he was planning on releasing a brand new single called “The Ride” that would follow in the footsteps of the deeply introspective and emotional songs “The Calm” and “The Resistance”. Rumors arose everywhere but ultimately, the song didn’t make its official appearance until the release of Drizzy’s sophomore album, Take Care, hit stores today.

Today, finally, we can listen to the three tracks together. From the lyrical content, it’s easy to see how much Drake’s career and lifestyle has progressed over the years. Each song features Drake venting about the problems he was dealing with in his life, all at different points in his career. You can read my interpretations of each of the the three individual tracks after the break.

MP3: Drake – “The Calm…The Resistance…The Ride.”

“The Calm”

From: So Far Gone (2009)
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib

The song that started it all, “The Calm” was recorded by Drake on a night when he simply needed to vent about the stress that surrounded him and his budding recording career. Early in the song, Drake questions, “Please leave me alone / Drunk off champagne, screaming in the phone / See my house is not a home, fuck is going on? / Where did we go wrong, where do we belong?” Despite all the chaos and struggle that surrounded his personal life, Drake knew that his music would carry him through it in the end. It’s a hard life, but one he has to deal with: “I’m just in my zone, I call this shit the calm / Yeah, but I’m the furthest thing from calm.”

“The Resistance”

From Thank Me Later (2010)
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib

Unlike with “The Calm”, Drake’s career has already taken off and he’s now being inundated by his newfound fame. Directed towards his haters and his old friends, Drake argues that he’ll take advantage of all the fame he receives with his music career. On the smooth R&B hook, Drizzy sings, “What am I afraid of? / This is supposed to be what dreams are made of / But people I don’t have the time to hang with / Always look at me and say the same shit / They say you promised me you would never change.” Tough luck, guys, but Drake’s not going anywhere.

“The Ride (feat. The Weeknd)”

From Take Care (2011)
Produced by Doc McKinney & The Weeknd

The first of the three songs to feature guest vocals from another artist, the third song of the series has a similar angst-filled vibe and is actually Drake’s favorite song off of Take Care. He opens by boldly declaring, “I hate when people say they feel me, man. I hate that shit.” Drake then goes on to explain this idea throughout the song, describing his past and present life and elaborating on how no one can truly relate to him unless they’ve lived his life and been in his shoes. As he says at the end of the first verse, “It’s feeling like you own every place you choose to be at now / Walking through airport security with your hat down / Instead of getting a pat down, they just keep on / Saying that they feel you, nigga.” That’s certainly an experience that doesn’t happen to everyone.

Listen: Chiddy Bang – “Ray Charles”

“The song actually started out as a joke when my brother, Cheeseburger Don, got so high he fell asleep in the studio with his sunglasses on. I looked over and he reminded me of Ray Charles, probably because I was high, too. I started freestyling about him and we laid it down right there.” That’s what Chidera Anamege, the emcee half of Chiddy Bang had to say about their new single, “Ray Charles”. The song is taken from Chiddy and Xaph’s long-awaited debut LP, Breakfast, out February 28, 2012. Check it out below.

[Rolling Stone]

MiaoMix Monday #6 [Actor-Rappers]

With Childish Gambino and Drake releasing their new albums today, I thought it would be fun to make a playlist composed of actor-rappers. Interestingly enough, both of these artists began their careers as fairly well-known actors: Gambino currently acts on NBC’s Community, writes for 30 Rock, and more, while Aubrey Drake Graham famously got his start as a child actor on Degrassi. The following playlist contains some rapper-turned-actors such as Mark Wahlberg and Will Smith as well as other actor-turned-rappers like Method Man. You can listen to the full MiaoMix below. Some popular movies or TV shows that the rappers acted in are in brackets. Also, if you enjoyed Method Man’s “World Gone Sour (Lost Kids)”, you should check out the music video after the break.

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (Three Kings, The Departed) – Good Vibrations

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I Am Legend) – Summertime

Snoop Dogg (Starsky & Hutch, Down For Life)  – Gin and Juice

Ice Cube (Boyz n the Hood, Friday) – It Was A Good Day

Mos Def (Be Kind Rewind, The Italian Job) – Mathematics

Drake (Degrassi: The Next Generation) – Club Paradise

Childish Gambino (Community, Mystery Team) – Heartbeat

Method Man (The Wire, How High) – World Gone Sour (Lost Kids)

Watch New Cee-Lo Lyric Video

Cee-Lo Green has just released a lyric video for his new single, “Anyway”. This song’s sure to be another hit, which was also co-written by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and produced by Wallpaper. The song will be digitally released on December 12th. You can watch the video below.

Listen: Drake – “The Ride (feat. The Weeknd)”

When Drake‘s sophomore record Take Care leaked a few days ago, one of the most talked about tracks was unfortunately not included in that version. That track, “The Ride” actually serves as the album’s closing track and features vocals from Drizzy’s good friend and fellow Toronto native, The Weeknd. Featuring production by Jamie xx, “The Ride” is almost 6 minutes long and features Drake dropping a number of great verses, slow falsettos from Abel, and solid production from Jamie xx. It’s a great combination that not only sounds good on paper, but is also actually even better when it reaches your ears.

Check it out below in all its glory and be sure to purchase Take Care once it is officially released on November 15th.

MP3: Drake – “The Ride (feat. The Weeknd)”