As Kendrick Lamar (intentionally or not, which is still up for debate after viewing his management’s reaction) added his name to the list of surprise releases with his latest drop, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, the discussion stirred up again like dust in the wind, begging the question, “Do we as fans like it?” “Does it make a difference in the end?” or “Would we have bought these albums no matter their release date?” Although Queen Bey’s not the first artist in history to do it, she re-ignited the latest trend, moving almost a million units of her album in 72 hours in December 2013, with artists like Drake, U2, Björk, Run The Jewels and D’Angelo (with his drop coming 14 years after ‘Voodoo’) joining the ranks. I posed these “Surprise Drops- Yay or Nay?” questions to our staff to get a global perspective as we listen to different genres and here are our thoughts below:
Music Emissions is currently seeking the songs of 10-16 artists to enter into their quarterly contest, Unsigned & Wound Up. This is a great opportunity for exposure with the chance to earn an album review or artist spotlight on Music Emissions.
Unsigned and Wound Up is a quarterly contest highlighting top emerging artists. Selected bands will compete for votes on Music Emissions and the top vote-getters will receive written features provided by the editorial staff at Music Emissions.
Started in 1999, Music Emissions has been promoting independent or DIY music podcasting since February of 2008. Over the years the site has grown to include reviewers and critics from all over the world. What started out as a college project now houses a music community of over 5000 avid indie music fans. In May of 2011, they launched their monthly contest known as Unsigned and Wound Up. Read more
Every year our staff compiles a list of their favorite albums of the year. Here’s 2014
Lots of people believe that “You never forget your first time!” and we’re pretty sure Ed Sheeran won’t forget his first gig in Italy, on the 20th of November at Alcatraz in Milan.
This concert was sold out for months. If you missed him this time, luckily he’ll return soon with two upcoming concerts planned in January as well! His British punctuality made him start the concert at 9:02 pm, ending precisely two hours later, with an amazing “Sing”, with over 2500 people in the venue, taking part. A real “one man show”, Ed was all alone on the stage but played like there were other four people on that stage. Cover, mash up, original arrangements and, above all, a live loop station’s application that left us without words. He beautifully harmonized the audience’s choruses and we spent all the time singing following his directions. Read more
As I prep for more upcoming travel, it’s not shocking music is always a must-have. U2’s cloud delivered ‘Songs of Innocence’? Uh no. Grammy-winning New Zealand artist Kimbra’s ‘Vows’ and her latest, ‘The Golden Echo’? Yes, please. Since I first saw her mesmerizing live version of ‘Plain Gold Ring’, I felt a kindred left-field thinking spirit. Playing in the pop sandbox with bold visuals, jazz, musical theatre, electro, hip-hop, new wave and soul influences, this girl was different.Catching her live with Foster The People, where she displayed her sweet personality in a flowing rainbow kimono, sealed the fandom deal. Read more
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…
Blackstone Cherry- 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
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.
It’s not every day that one gets the opportunity to chat with a Reigning Royal of Metal. Frontwoman of the classic band Warlock, I cherished the chance to connect with German artist Doro Pesch before she recently embarked on a North American spring tour, continuing the commemoration of her 30th anniversary (which is a big feat for anyone in any genre) in the music biz and I figured,as accomplished a career she’s had, she’d have great stories to share. Touring with Megadeth, Metallica, Judas Priest and Motorhead just to name a few, she’s seen the world and left her mark on some of rock’s biggest stages.
As I happily prepared to settle into hermit behavior this past weekend, it was going to take a natural disaster, lack of internet or a pretty dope event to tear me away from #Couchella. The idea of viewing artists live I’d never seen with air conditioning, indoor plumbing and lack of sweaty douchebags stood ever appealing. Yet Pandora enticed me away for a moment with the promise of a dope party DJed by SoSuperSam and Questlove. I’d seen both DJ before (SoSuperSam locally in LA at Club Nokia and Questlove at last year’s Silent Disco at The Life Is Beautiful Fest in Vegas) so I knew a good time lie ahead.
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, we will weed through and compile a list of some of the most intriguing press releases to come across our virtual desk.
Like a smack you never knew was coming, Brand New has awaken nearly a dog’s age slumber.
or stream here at home.
Coachella 2015 is finally here! If you did make it to Indio, you’re lucky but if not, don’t worry; chill on your couches with us virtually as YouTube IS livestreaming a few of the sets today, tomorrow and Sunday HERE! With several acts performing and lots of choices, here are 25 of our power picks/must views for Weekend One. Peep them below (in set time order):
1. Los Rakas- Friday-Mojave Tent-11:40 AM
2. Action Bronson-Friday- Coachella Stage-2:00 PM- Watch the encore- 5:50 PM
3. Kimbra-Friday- Gobi Tent- 4:15 PM- Watch the encore-6:15 PM
4. The War On Drugs-Friday- Coachella Stage-6:20 PM Read more
Getting hyped for my Coachella watching weekend, I knew I needed to see Kimbra. Part of a Goldenvoice two week packed schedule of concerts bringing Coachella performing artists to LA to do shows before and after Indio weekends One and Two, Kimbra was the perfect way to kick off my concert viewing for April officially. Last viewing her at Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Fest in October, I figured there would be a bold outfit, hand clapping, dancing and dope music. Still rocking her latest album ‘The Golden Echo’ which landed on my list of top albums of 2014, I chatted with her briefly last year about her childhood in New Zealand and her Grammy wins ( if you missed it, peep it here ), with her live show amping this up 100%.
Dedication is part of getting to the top in any profession. Sonny Rollins is a prime example of the fruits of dedication. Born in 1930, he reached a hiatus in his recording career from 1959 to 1961 and he decided to start playing long recording sessions on Williamsburg Bridge in New York City. He did it out of consideration to the other tenants in his apartment building. He played up to 16 hours on a bridge, which allowed him to play as long and loud as he wanted. It paid off with all the albums he recorded in his storied career. He played with other jazz musicians from time to time. He even played on the Rolling Stones hit “Waiting on a Friend” in the 1980s.
Rifling through the massive SXSW schedule, I set an ambitious goal of seeing or connecting with artists from all over the US and abroad. Always a fan of music from the DMV area, I knew DC #HoodRock repping Black Alley would be on my list. Formed in 2008, the band’s been featured on VH-1 Soul and MTV’s site plus shared stages with Common, Erykah Badu, Marsha Ambrosius, Wale, Raheem DeVaughn and Doug E. Fresh to name a few, carving a lane in the jazz, soul, hip-hop and rock intersection seldom seen before.
The greatest songwriters are seldom songwriters alone. Some are creative polymaths while others synthesize elements from an array of forms into a wider songwriting vision. Kathy Muir is more than a songwriter.
Her visual sense, a key element in much of her songwriting, likewise finds expression in her photography, but her muse never stops moving. Her deeply collaborative creative spirit has a proactive slant and much of her efforts are connected with others looking for embody the change in our world that they seek. Muir succinctly describes Read more
One of the best things about SXSW 2015 is the rare opportunity to see and interact with new and established artists in one place. Rifling through the packed schedule, I put a star next to Sadat X’s name. I hoped things would align and I’d connect with one of my fav hometown MCs from one of my all-time fav hip-hop groups, Brand Nubian. Known for delivering memorable verses over the years, Sadat X’s career spanned a couple of decades and yielded opportunities to work with the best in the biz.