When a music connoisseur mentions the words “DJ Muggs”, several things come to mind. One of the best hip-hop producers of all-time? One of the best producers of all-time, period? That guy from Queens behind all your favorite Cypress Hill classics (he’s working on the next album right now) and the unforgettable House of Pain’s “Jump Around”? The guy who’s collaborated with U2 and Depeche Mode and just recently released an EP this week called ‘Vita E Morte’ with a new multimedia collective featuring Andrew Kline, Brevi, and Sean Bonner named Cross My Heart Hope to Die (CMHHTD)? Yeah, that dude.
One of the best things about summer, besides the abundance of outdoor shows to choose from, is the time to delve into new albums en route to said shows. June yielded several road trip and airplane friendly albums including José James’ standout latest offering, ‘While You Were Sleeping’. Known for merging the old with the new via the blending of neo-soul, electronic, hip-hop and classic jazz influences on previous efforts, José boldly brings touches of punk and folk into the foray this time around. On the experimental tip, he puts a trademark Generation X/Y blurred stamp on your definition of genre.
Last week, Pryor, Oklahoma played host to the eighth annual Rocklahoma. Whether you made the trip or just stayed at home and barbecued for Memorial Day weekend, chances are you’re still recovering. Although some logistical problems immediately came into play over the weekend, such as check-in traffic and cell phone signal and the overwhelming choice of terrific bands, we were there to get in close for a look at most of the action. Here we go…
We missed their show, but from everything we’re told (including their peers) Blackstone Cherry is not a show to be missed. Check out their youtube video for “Blame it on the Boom Boom”
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.
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Remember when flipping through TV channels, you’d see a video that would stop you in your tracks and engage you so much in its cleverness? Enter Alien Ant Farm’s 2001 MJ cover “Smooth Criminal”. In a sea of SoCal altrock bands, they had the goods to stand out above the rest and copped two Grammy nominations along the way. Having their music reaching worldwide audiences featured in video games and movies, the band’s returned to the stage for their “ANTARCHY In The USA” tour with a new single “Homage” scheduled to hit iTunes on September 2nd and a new album ‘Always and Forever’ coming soon.
We all have them, and frequently we do not admit to them. I am talking of songs which are guilty pleasures. Every fibre of your being tells you that should dislike that song, but you cannot help yourself. Don’t deny it. There is nothing wrong in it, for if, as I have suggested earlier, songs which remind you of people, places, events will have positive associations in your mind, then there are inevitably going to be occasions when those songs are not those you would normally like. That is the very definition of a guilty pleasure. In this list there are number of guilty pleasures and I am pretty sure that those who have read my reviews will be able to identify them with some ease.
At the end of this twenty we will only have 100 to go.
Music journalists get hit with a steady helping of press releases every day. For the music fan without that kind of sensory overload, a lot of music news can pass by without being seen. Every Monday, I will weed through and compile a list of some of the most intriguing press releases to come across my virtual desk.
In addition to broadcasting the first song from their upcoming album, Slipknot has published the lyrics.
When a hip-hop head ponders the history of hip-hop in the NorthEast, you won’t have to look far before encountering Boston heavy hitter Slaine. Whether his group work with Special Teamz or La Coka Nostra (watch for a new album soon) or his solo work, he’s consistently towed the line of painful subjects and aggresive partying for decades. Still verbally murdering the competition while capturing a fun but taxing period of his life, Slaine dropped his latest effort, ‘The King Of Everything Else’ this week. Inspired by a pep talk with a close friend at a low point, he brings artists like Ill Bill, Madchild, Tech N9ne, Apathy and Bishop Lamont to assist. With many layers and facets, he still also juggles music with a thriving acting career.
Following on from last week, can bad songs come from great albums? This is a much trickier question to answer. On any album, good or bad, there will always be weaker songs and stronger songs. The weaker ones may not be “bad” per se, and may only be weaker in comparison with other songs on the album in that they might be regarded as good songs if they were on another album. In this instance, “weaker” is a subjective term whereas “bad” is an objective one. In some cases, ‘weaker’ may also be seen as another term for filler and if a band has to put filler in album to make it long enough, then that suggests there is not enough decent material, so how could it be a great album? Looking through the list of albums that I regard as five star albums, I cannot identify a “bad” song on any of them and certainly no filler.
Entering that final bend and onto the home strait.
To any passionate fan, it’s obvious random “digging in the crates” online can yield unbelievable finds. Will remain ever grateful to the universe for bringing me to the music of producer/master musician/composer Mark de Clive-Lowe. Drawn into his expansive discography via his dope ‘Renegades’ project and witness to his live show experiences which attract some of the best musicians around, I connected with Mark last year as he prepared his latest statement album, ‘CHURCH’. Since its release in late May, my ears daily enjoy the full sound explosion of jazz, electronica, African beats and soul and hear something new with each listen.
As we head towards the end of summer days and folks savor each vacation moment possible, I was busy breaking into a “cold sweat” at last night’s James Brown Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl. Timed well with the recent release of the Godfather of Soul’s biopic in theatres last week, the diverse crowd settled in to ‘let the funk flow’. After a brief intro by three-time Grammy winner Christian McBride, the house band full of legendary musicians including JB trombonist Fred Wesley supported the lineup featuring Bettye LaVette, Aloe Blacc, Angelique Kidjo and D’Angelo.
Do great songs always come from great albums? Not always, would have to be my reply. Obviously great albums tend to have great songs, though some so called great albums would not get my vote as such. But there are number of tracks on this list which come from albums which I despise (though others may think they are great); and some from albums which it would be hard to define as great by anybody’s standards. It would appear that some artists, in an otherwise routine and unremarkable career, have that one moment of inspiration which results in something truly great and, no matter how hard they try, they are going to find it hard to repeat. Such songs can still be called ‘great’
Closer to the apotheosis we come with the next twenty.
Repping for a generation of music lovers, equally comfortable listening to Seether and Three Days Grace as they are Tech N9ne and Eminem, AZ artist Cryptic Wisdom returns this week with his latest album ‘X’s and O’z’. Melding hip-hop spitting with rock singing for years, he honestly reveals personal pain, struggles and consequences of previous bad choices. Going from “talking to himself” as the “man in the mirror” to striking a cord with fans around the world, he’s authentic to the core.