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.
Of course there are some who valiantly fight against this major label hegemony. Indeed, the Enemies List label states that it declares war on the majors. Independent record labels do their best and labels such as Cherry Red, Renascent, Rhino and the like specialise in reissuing lost classics. But they cannot take on the financial clout of the big companies. Individual bands also try by putting out their music for free on their own websites. But they are fighting a losing battle. What is needed is a new musical revolution. In the seventies, punk caught the UK record industry very badly out. The latter failed to appreciate the impact would have and seriously underestimated it. They thought they had recovered by the end of the seventies but then along came synth pop to catch them out again. EMI nearly went bust – twice. The time has come to turn away from major label output. Find what you can. Promote what you can. Avoid the major labels in favour of the indie. If we can drive these tottering dinosaurs out of business then musical creativity will be saved. Do your bit!
And now we move into the 400’s.
Garnering high praise from esteemed musical legend Quincy Jones, calling any musician “one of the most prolific and gifted jazz pianists of the 21st century”, is no small feat. Coming across this quote, I immediately needed to know more about Cubano master composer and pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. As the notes from the first piece I played simultaneously glided and firework shattered across my eardrums, shades of musical genius and discussions of the “next jazz great” emerge. Unpredictable yet intricate. Random yet delightfully purposeful.
Back in the day, when this place was crawling with forums and chats about random acts of music, we used to poll ourselves to see which release by an artist not only set them atop of the industry but stapled them in as musical gods.
The rake is metal, so I guess the “metal god” term still applies.
So, should you download music without paying for it? Yes. Why? Three reasons. First, if you already own it on vinyl it comes under fair use. If it did not, then every time you rip a CD to your iPhone you would be breaking the law and I cannot see the courts enforcing that. Second, if you cannot buy it in hard copy or through any other source. If I could, I would prefer the hard copy. And if the record companies don’t want the money they would receive from re-releasing it, how can they begrudge me if I get it any way I can? I would rather have the hard copy anyway, but because they insist on trying to control what I listen to they restrict the choice available to me. Third, I often download tracks from an album to check out whether or not I like it. If I do, I buy the CD. If I don’t, I do not buy it. Either way I delete the downloaded version. All the Performing Rights Association and its overseas counterparts are achieving is to reduce consumer choice and trying to eliminate the exercise of choice through product testing. And they think that will boost the declining revenues of the major labels? These people are seriously misguided.
And now we will reach half way.
Among the fresh batch of April album drops this week, U.K. bred Vienna based electronic producer/artist SOHN’s ‘Tremors’, with tinges of pop and R&B, easily shook itself away from the rest of the pack. Offering album stream previews on iTunes and live performance videos, these sneak peeks cleverly drew in his audience, with this release currently rising up international charts as we speak. Hyped to briefly connect with the mysteriously black hooded one who’s produced remixes for Lana Del Rey, Kwabs, BANKS and Disclosure during SXSW, I had the amusing and memorable experience of getting kicked out of a hotel lobby with him at that time (you had to be there).
The music from various decades has its high points and low points.
The 1930s were a great time for popular music. It was groundbreaking via the efforts of Louis Armstrong. Robert Christgau wrote in a review of a collection of Armstrong’s songs his sound was quite remarkable for the time.
Armstrong’s changes lead to development of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. It was also a time for music, which featured wonderful melodies via Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters and Count Basie.
Succeeding decades had their moments through the 60s, when rock n roll went through dramatic changes. The Beatles took the changes made by the invention of rock in the 50s (thank you Chuck Berry) and ran with them.
They came up with a sound, which was different than anything else on in the pop arena. And they featured two excellent song writers in John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
You could still find practitioners of pop music from earlier eras. Armstrong took the No. 1 spot from the Beatles with his hit “Hello Dolly.” Frank Sinatra and Jack Jones had their hits. There was still classic jazz from Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.
All of these different styles presented the listener with many choices. It was also a time where the culture was changing and artistic progression was equated with overturning existing mores.
Somewhere along the line in succeeding decades it became harder to find alternatives to rock. Dance music accelerated by the disco movement in the 70s celebrated the values of the rock world.
You can always find changes with merit in various music trends. Rap music grew out of disco. And it embraced a sound in line with rock even the hard variety spearheaded by Run DMC. Read more
Amid the hectic rush and activity blur during SXSW, I stood determined to take full advantage of the unique opportunity to see/connect with artists of pretty much any genre during that intense week in Austin. Coming across heartstring tugging videos of Americana/folk/bluegrass duo The Grahams, from their 2013 album ‘Riverman’s Daughter’ prior to arriving, I was blessed to sit down with the pair before their show to quickly chat about how they met, unpredictable experiences at SXSW and their working relationship. Although our time was short, their genuine warmth and natural chemistry was palpable and I look forward to the future ahead for this talented twosome.