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.
Back when I was a kid watching someone on Top of the Pops, an oft-heard refrain from one or other parent was “he’s on drugs” or “do you call that music?” Now that I am older than my parents were when they uttered those phrases, do we end up sounding like our parents? The short answer is yes and no. Sometimes I listen to something on the radio and comment “that’s rubbish”, but then I would have said the same thing about its precursor as mainstream pop forty years ago. Has modern music deteriorated from its counterparts when I was a kid? Probably not. There is probably an equal proportion of utter crap that is put out. The difference is that there seem to be fewer opportunities to hearing alternatives to utter crap these days without actively hunting it down. And that can be put down to those whom I regard as the greatest enemies of popular music.
And now we pass into the 500’s.
Showing Illadeph love this week, my ears naturally gravitated to Mello Music Group MC/producer Has-Lo’s discography. Diving into his brilliant “In Case I Don’t Make It” and “Conversation B” remix follow-up, it’s been confirmed that pretty much with every project he’s involved in, “everything is” dope. Lauded for his stealthily smooth flow style, this 2007 MTVU contest finalist’s teamed up with the likes of Exile, Oddisee and Apollo Brown, with more artist collabos in the pipeline.
Due out May 6, the first leak from “Southsiders” is here…Tell us what you think…
Tracklisting (sourced by HipHopDx.com)
1. Camera Thief
2. Arthur’s Song
3. The World Might Not Live Through The Night
4. Star Shaped Heart
5. I Love You Like A Brother
8. Mrs. Interpret
10. Kanye West
11. We Ain’t Gonna Die Today
12. My Lady Got Two Men
14. January On Lake Street
15. Let Me Know That You Know What You Want Now
There are occasions when I have been very specific about which particular version by an artist is included in the list. In most cases, that is because there is a live version which surpasses the original. That is not to say the original was poor, but merely that the live performance was superior. On a couple of occasions, the single release before the band signed to a major label, is the preferred option. There is also one instance where the demo is specifically cited, in this case because the demo version had an immediacy and a passion about it which was lacking in the later studio version. That song is included among the next twenty – The Redskins’ “Kick over the Statues”.
So, on with the next batch
What do dope music, sneakers, music and skateboard videos, zines and art battles have in common? The LA installment of Converse’s global CONS Project and its Saturday night exhibition brought them all together West Coast style. Holding workshops February 21-23rd, where aspiring youth created music and skateboarding videos with producers and directors, designed street art murals and constructed culture magazines, the exhibition held on Saturday wrapped it all up in a chill, black and white Chucks lace bow. The workshops served to inspire and link young artists for free with seasoned professionals who might not have met otherwise, succeeding in varied creative endeavors. That kind of opportunity is priceless.
I was impressed by the jazz album released by Wayne Shorter last year. Not a masterpiece, but it was solid. And it came out last year just before he turned 80.
it gets discouraging seeing artists go through decline. I wince when I hear various pop songs by Paul McCartney. He put out a string of mediocre songs and albums in the 1970s. It was a far cry from what he did with the Beatles. The Beatles had the right idea after all, when they split up in 1970 after seven years of releasing albums.
Their best albums were in the mid 1960s. Rubber Soul was the band’s best album. It’s hard to top “Nowhere Man.” The band still came up with a number of memorable albums.
There were good songs. But they deserve points for moving aside. In retrospect it was odd they kept going as long w they did without touring.
I saw the Beach Boys and the Kinks in concert in the 90s. Those were entertaining shows. I wouldn’t have seen the Beach Boys except they performed prior to a minor league football game.
The reality seeing those concerts is they were oldies acts. Robert Christgau wrote about this phenomenon with his list “Everything Rocks And Nothing Ever Dies.” It was part of his book Christgau’s Consumer Guide: Albums of the 90s.
This isn’t to say people should just pack it in rather than cranking out albums and touring whatever gig they can find. There’s something to be said for giving the people the chance to reminisce. And perhaps there’s joy in continuing to play.
But this doesn’t mean we’re going to listen. Judy Garland kept singing longer than Deanna Durbin. In Garland’s case more good music was made by her decision to continue after the movies stopped. In Durbin’s case, we can keep streaming and downloading from the days she was a superstar in her youth. Read more
Scoping the teaser videos for the dope new show, ‘Alpha Girls’ which premiered this week, I was intrigued. ‘Alpha Girls’ follows four powerful Asian and Asian-American women (artist Mina Kwon, DJ/producer TOKiMONSTA, Hellz Bellz designer Miss Lawn and model Soo Joo Park) as they navigate the fashion, art and music worlds, offering behind the scenes access to their career successes, struggles and personal lives. Turned off by the other female reality franchises which focus on backstabbing and talking behind each other’s backs to the camera, it’s refreshing to get glimpses into real artists’ creative processes, crazy busy schedules and obstacles encountered while living their dreams. On a rare rainy night at the premiere party in LA, I connected with two ‘Alpha Girls’ -Mina Kwon who told me her fav cartoon character was Bart Simpson as you’ll see in her art and that Pharrell, who appears in the show and is a big inspiration to her, is proud, as well as TOKiMONSTA who explained her reasons for doing the show and plans for new music in 2014.
Among the flurry of hot new albums dropped during the month of February, underground cloak-loving NY based pair The Doppelgangaz’s fourth studio album, “Peace Kehd”, made the fav list, consistently blaring from my speakers since its release. Duo Matter Ov Fact and EP’s amusing and brilliantly bizarre content’s become their trademark in their catalog with colorful titles of songs like “Suppository”, “Barbiturates”, “Sh*t Rock”, “Dumpster Diving” , covering topics like diseases, food, sailors and liars with past videos settings at the Renaissance Fair and haunted houses. Often put in the 90’s NY hip-hop box, there’s nothing typical about them.
Between his vocal contributions on “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky”, Pharrell Williams was heard absolutely everywhere in 2013. That music ubiquity is only going to continue with the release of his own album G I R L on March 3rd. If anyone has the makings of being the next big crossover star, it’s this multitasking hip-hop, R&B and funk dynamo. In addition to guest appearances from Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake, it will feature “Happy”, first heard as part of the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. If for whatever reason this song hasn’t burrowed its way into your eardrums yet, I command you to spend some time at 24HoursofHappy.com, where you can watch 360 videos of celebrities like Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove, the occasional minion, as well as ordinary Los Angelenos creatively dancing along to Pharrell’s infectious toe-tapper.