Moving puzzle pieces around to set up another monster year, XXL Freshman Class of 2013 alumnus Dizzy Wright’s been busy. A member of the highly esteemed Funk Volume family, he’s released two EPs this year including “State of Mind” and his latest 9th Wonder “BrILLiant Youth” with Bishop Nehru, signaling there’s no shortage of creativity flowing from this Las Vegas native. Currently on a 45 city headlining tour, this MC’s overcome adversity including being homeless and is now playing to sold-out crowds nightly around the country.
In the world where we live or die on the hot single, as a music fan nowadays, it’s rare to find cohesive albums that hold your attention with intricate production from start to finish. E-digging in the crates yet again, I came across such a gem called “Renegades” by New Zealand born, LA based producer, musician and orchestra bandleader Mark de Clive-Lowe. I immediately explored more of his diverse discography and found fiery music cutting across at least five genres (latin and classic jazz, soul, electronic, broken beat) from someone drawing comparisons to other avant-garde producers like Quincy Jones. Fortuitously, as is the case in LA, that same week, I attended Mark’s live “CHURCH” show which brought the music (which will be on his upcoming album dropping in June) to life and had the whole crowd dancing with some spirit-filled tambourine shaking.
Peeping Juggalo fan favs Twiztid’s first independently released mixtape , “A New Nightmare” (I, still a horrorcore newbie) frightened, impressed and intrigued me. Putting the break with Psychopathic Records (Insane Clown Posse’s label) behind them, they ventured out on their own and had a very successful 2013, punctuated by their Abominationz Tour and headlining Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare. In their 16 year career, this Detroit duo’s (Madrox and Monoxide) done a lot, working with the likes of Tech N9ne, Swollen Members and Royce Da 5’9, to name a few.
It’s that time, minus one or two, our staff picks are in. Below, find the best indie music had to offer our beloved staff. Some in lists of albums, others in songs and some with both. Thanks for reading in 2013, and join us as we spend the next few weeks exploring what’s to come in 2014. Read more
Early in the year I thought this was going to be a pretty mediocre year from music. I wasn’t hearing a lot of stuff that was really exceptional. The thing is, as the year progressed, that really changed. In fact, it wound up quite difficult to get this list to any kind of decent length. I had to make some tough cuts to get it into a small enough format to work.
Live Review and Interviews: Red Bull Sound Select with El-P and special guest Killer Mike, Thurz, Warm Brew and Azizi Gibson
‘Tis the season to wrap up 2013 and if you were looking to turn up one last time before putting on ugly reindeer sweaters, jingling some bells and shutting it down until 2014, Red Bull Sound Select’s LA show provided the perfect opportunity to do so. Mixing LA-based rising talent (Thurz, Azizi Gibson and the group Warm Brew) with an East Coast producer/artist on top of his game right now (El-P who brought along his Run the Jewels partner Killer Mike), you’d have to search far and wide to find a line-up like that for $3. On a cold (ok, it was 50) night, I ventured to the historic Troubadour to peep these acts. Read more
After an intense start to 2013, MC Johnny Richter wraps up his year on a high note with the release of FreeKING Out, dropping today. Obviously, you might recognize him as a former member of platinum selling Orange County based group, Kottonmouth Kings. Breaking ties, channeling storied pasts, potential accusations and personal strife, Johnny focused his energy positively in response and connected with Souls Assassins producer G-Rocka to create his first solo EP in Cypress Hill member DJ Muggs’ studio. Approaching almost 20 years in the business, he faces this next phase of his career with a significant supportive fanbase and a larger than life persona and image that’s unforgettable. Read more
To say that I had a great time this weekend in Vegas at the first annual Life Is Beautiful music, art and food Fest would be an understatement. The Killers, Imagine Dragons ( whose set featured Cirque Du Soleil Mystere performers) Childish Gambino (who did a dope cover of “Rolling in the Deep”),Janelle Monae (who flew in from NYC after performing on SNL on Saturday),Alabama Shakes (love them), Danny Brown, Allen Stone (always fun live), Wallpaper and a slew of great rising Nevada reppers (including Red Bull Sound Select Tour Bus performers American Cream, Moondog Matinee and Ekoh and Homegrown Stager Sabriel ) and other talents from around the U.S.(The Kingston Springs, Tink, Cosmic Suckerpunch to name a few) all made the traffic I faced driving from Los Angeles worth it.
Everywhere you turned on each block of the downtown Fremont St. vicinity stimulated the senses. Whether it be the 3-D art painted on sides of buildings, the fire-shooting ant, the various indoor and outdoor music stages, the culinary village that featured air-conditioned tent chef demonstrations (came in handy to get a break from the sun) and the ridiculously tasty gourmet food under $10 (how often do you find that at a festival?), it all definitely outweighed the serious walking concertgoers did, traveling around from place to place (in hindsight, it was good calorie burning).
Allen Stone and Wallpaper:
Growing up in my house, hours of booming, “ass-shaking” music filled my ears. Disco, dance and house music, in particular, made my little feet want to move constantly. Arriving in LA years later, a friend put me onto DJ Colette who not only brought those great memories flooding back but made it modern-day relevant. Repping Chicago and DJ collective Superjane, Colette released her first independent album on her own label, Candy Talk, When The Music’s Loud a few weeks ago. Featuring the blazing electronica title single and 80’s Adonis inspired “Hotwire”, DJ Colette’s clearly dropped another album full of club bangers. Read more
In an ever-changing global music and arts culture, one certainty still remains. The city that never sleeps, New York City, continues to wear the crown of trend-setting tastes. In a column every-so-often, special reporter to Music Emissions, Danielle Martin will take on the beast known as the five boroughs and all it has to offer…
Aly Tadros live at Joe’s Pub*
Folk music… This is definitely NOT your parent’s folk music. For the longest time, I had a slight aversion to folk music based on my experiences as a child listening to my Grandfather’s folk and country songs on the 8-track (hokey, etc. did not fit in with my rock/alternative mindset)…
A legend and crucial character in Canadian hip-hop, Madchild’s reputation precedes him. An undeniably skilled lyricist and potential loose cannon fiery personality, he’s dropped several unforgettable verses over his 14-year career. As a critical member of four-time Juno Award-winning Swollen Members (along with Rob the Viking and Prevail, who I spoke to earlier this year ), his talent speaks for itself. Achieving mainstream success, the bumpy road’s been filled with addiction detours and legal bans that prevented this brilliant artist from reaching his full potential. Back and better than ever, Madchild’s recently returned to the Canadian and U.S. stage (now allowed to return), rocking the Vans Warped Tour and is poised to drop his latest solo album, “Lawn Mower Man” in August. Read more
SCOTT IAN’S METAL UNDERWORLD SELECTS TOP RELEASES FROM MAYHEM FESTIVAL LINE UP. Wanna go? Read more
As a music fan, there are few things better than when members of great bands get together and create a new great band. New alt rock band Bosnian Rainbows (comprised of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Deantoni Parks from Grammy-winning The Mars Volta, Teri Gender Bender from Le Butcherettes and Nicci Kasper who’s worked with Kudu and KRS-One) have joined forces to create said type of band and will release their self-titled debut on June 25. Combining left-field creativity and performance art sensibilities, this group has melded to form its own attention-grabbing entity. Read more
posted April 30, 2013, 5:27 pm by Brian Rutherford | Filed Under Editorial, General Interest, MP3, Music Emissions presents Unsigned and Wound Up, Music News, On The Verge, Podcast, Releases | 6 Comments
Welcome to another edition of Unsigned and Wound Up, volume 10 ladies and gents. The top three vote-getters will receive a professional review from a staff writer. The top vote-getter receives an interview feature.
Cold War Kids shared a special moment with a sold-out crowd at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio April 9.It’s not a band, which interacts much with the audience. But the crowd was prepared to be wowed by their heroes. And the fans were rewarded for their devotion. Cold War Kids rock hard. “Mexican Dogs,” the second song, was where the they started to cut loose.
Nathan Willett put on a good show whether he was singing vocals sans instrument, playing guitar, sitting at the piano or shaking the maracas. The new album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, was well represented in the set, which took a little more than an hour. Among the new songs, “Miracle Mile” was the biggest hit with the crowd. The band was entertaining throughout the night, moving about the stage effortlessly. Read more
As a kid on the 70’s/80’s cusp, classic rock played an integral part of my childhood. Artists like Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Free rattled from our car’s speakers crisscrossing the country on frequent road trips and their songs remain imprinted on my cerebellum permanently. Nerdily scoping the regular late night show music schedule in Los Angeles (like I am prone to do) to see who’d be coming soon, I stumbled upon Rival Sons playing Jimmy Kimmel and gravitated to their latest album Head Down along with their previous one, Pressure and Time with songs like pointed “Burn Down Los Angeles” and sorrowful “Jordan” that now stay on repeat automatically. They took me right back to my favorite period of time blending modern and classic folk, rock, blues and funk, making me want to dance immediately. Live clips of these Long Beach, CA natives (who’ve opened for AC/DC, Judas Priest and Alice Cooper) playing live sealed the deal that this band was f-in dope.
I chatted with Rival Sons’ frontman and lead singer Jay Buchanan right before he left for their latest European tour about “standing on the shoulders of giants”, the band’s secret name for him, working with noted producer Dave Cobb, his love of books and hidden wealth of knowledge that could possibly keep us alive on a stranded island and more. Check out the videos and interview clips below!
Interviewing DJ Toure of the Bay Area Hieroglyphics crew a few weeks ago, I luckily connected with another member of the crew, the ringleader, legend and most colorful member, Del Tha Funkee (or The Funky) Homosapien during a tour stop through Southern California recently. One of the best freestylers in the game, which he proved, making the crowd go nuts during his packed show at the Constellation Room, his albums I Wish My Brother George Was Here and No Need for Alarm were two of the my favorite albums of the 90’s. As a member of futuristic Deltron 3030 and Gorillaz multi-platinum “Clint Eastwood” collaborator, his musical history has been varied and full of influential tracks. Watching his documentary , “The 11th Hour”, before the show, a portrait of a gaming, funny creative genius (peep the scene when he talks about porn) emerges.
Taking the stage that night with A-Plus from the Souls of Mischief, they rocked for 90 minutes before I got to catch up with Del after the show. Check the videos and interview clips below and follow Del on Twitter for more deets on his new album!
I don’t think anyone could have predicted the kind of year Jack White had in 2012. From a Grammy-nominated album to touring the world over with two backing bands to putting vinyl records in balloons, White sure knows how to keep busy. He also knows it takes special people to want to come along for the rock ’n’ roll ride. Fortunately for White, Buzzards drummer Daru Jones is just that type of person – Grateful. Humble. And talented as all heck.
Staying true to the (Hed)p.e. standard of change and growth both personally and musically, the new album “Evolution” takes the band back to their metal and underground roots they grew up on as kids. With tracks like “One More Body” and “No Tomorrow” holding down the metal and aggressive front, to the Led Zeppelin infused track “2 Many Games”, this album delivers every style imaginable and even rounds the album out with three reggae inspired/infused album closers. In a time when so many bands are playing it safe and going through the motions, whether it be out of fear of failure or lack of new ideas, (Hed)p.e. embraces change and “Evolves” with their greatest work to date.
You may have noticed as we go through the list that there are a number of covers included. There are tracks by the Byrds, the Feelies, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Jimi Hendrix and others which are covers. Some of these are more well-known than the original. But there are also a number of tracks which feature twice in this list (or perhaps will feature twice in this list – I don’t want to give anything away). But there is only one song which features three times in this list – the original and two covers. Any ideas? Answers on a postcard.
And in this twenty we will pass through the three-quarter mark.
This isn’t always a plus. Sometimes the live music sounds sloppy and terribly over polished. It can make one long for over produced studio work.
In jazz circles there are some brilliant live albums. One of the best I’ve heard in a while is Sonny Rollins’ Road Shows, Vol. 1. It was released in 2008 on Doxy.
Cuts like “Some Enchanted Evening” allow Rollins to explore territory on his saxophone. Even a track like “Tenor Madness” provides a different take on something I’ve heard many times before.
Rollins’ energy is amazing. He keeps thriving on “Blossom” the longest cut on the disc at 12:27.
There’s other bonuses on live discs. An announcer can give information about who’s playing on an album. There can be commentary on the music, as well.
None of this matters if there’s not a compelling sax solo like Rollins provides on “Easy Living.”
Solos on live albums and studio albums can be a drag. The jamming the Who did on the second side of Live at Leeds didn’t live up to the interest level of the cuts on side one.
I’ve had my share of good times listening to the White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights. I bought the album because of “Seven Nation Army.” It was during a period, where I wanted to listen and own songs played at sporting events.
For some of these albums listening to a few cuts suffices. There are some other albums where more in depth listening is required. Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Goes to College or John Coltrane’s One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note are other worthwhile ventures.
Enjoy the pop
Iggy Azalea’s New Classic doesn’t live up to its title. But there are good tracks.
Maybe, there’s hope of a knockout pop album out there. Then again it would be good for some country pleasure. Crossover anyone?
A question which I often ask myself is where music is heading. Although music has often looked back it could be argued that this has never been more the case than now with an almost cynical recycling of sounds from earlier decades. Post-punk, shoegaze and now psychedelia have all been revisited in waves in the last decade or so. Could it be true that we are running out of ideas? Probably not, but the ease with which music now spreads and the wider opportunity for individuals to commit their music to recording and disseminate it seems to have resulted in concentrations of musical styles which crowd out what may be genuinely original. And what is genuinely original seems not to get the chance, for reasons we have seen previously, to become more widely accepted.
Counting down ever closer with the next twenty.
On the last day of 2014’s Black Music Month, I’m spotlighting an artist and album that deserves a thorough listen (or 20, in my case). Getting his start on Kurupt’s Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey in 2001 and signing to Snoop Dogg’s label through a series of events involving being talented at the right place at the right time, Damani Nkosi’s ridden the ups and downs of the music industry and is still holding on. Dropping his epic independently released hip-hop/R&B infused statement, ‘Thoughtful King’ earlier in the month, he re-emerges a multiple continent-traversing, articulate Inglewood CA repping philosopher. Produced by Grammy-winning Warryn Campbell, Damani gathers an All-Star team around to assist with the likes of Musiq Soulchild, Robert Glasper, PJ Morton, BJ The Chicago Kid, Problem, Oh No and Thurz all making appearances.
It’s pretty obvious Demun Jones’ got Georgia country pride and is not afraid to show it. He pays homage to his beloved ‘Jones County’, putting it on the map with his latest solo album effort. Referencing different aspects of his culture like “Tannerite”, “Dixie Dimes” and the unforgettable “White Trashed and Redneck’ed”, he brings Lo Cash Cowboys, Bubba Sparxxx, Jawga Boyz and Charlie Farley along for the country rap and “hick hop” ride.
A lot of the tracks contained in this list were only ever released as singles. The single still has a significance and an importance which made many tracks issued as singles works of art in their own right. That there were undoubtedly singles bands, and even singles labels (such as Motown) is beyond question. Most classic singles were three minutes long or less, and provided the artist with a framework in which to encapsulate all that needed to be said about their music and the song. Although a single is often associated with transient, throwaway pop, some of those songs have managed to have lasting appeal. There are also a number of tracks which were released as singles which were a surprise in their own right, tracks the record companies thought were too long or would not sell in that format. But the record companies were proven wrong for it is well established that the average record company A&R man knows next to nothing about what would sell if it did not fit into a preconceived idea of what would make money, which was all they were ever interested in anyway.
On the home stretch now as we pass into the 200’s.