I’ve been outspoken in my assessment that Classixx‘s recent release, Hanging Gardens, is every bit as good as the Daft Punk’s oh-so-hailed new album. As far as summer bangers go they will both see equal rotation in my headphones and anywhere else music is played in my vicinity. My only complaint about Classixx’s album is that they left off this wonderful track that was just released. First world problems, I know. Regardless, ‘Valley Vacation’ should find itself heavily in your mix as it will in mine.
- Nick Hoppe
Edward Sharpe and his troupe have just released the first single off of their upcoming self-titled July release. ‘Better Days’ definitely has the markings of what we’ve come to expect from this group with a tinge of some new experimentation as well. It goes without saying that we’re fans and are looking forward to hearing more.
Why the Japanese get a bonus track for Random Access Memories and the rest of us don’t is beyond me. Nonetheless here it is for your listening enjoyment.
Their debut album was a smash success, they’re selling out venues all over the globe and now…now they’re making songs for soundtracks. First was one for Silver Linings Playbook and now they’ve released ‘Pocket Change’ for the newest True Blood soundtrack. Shake, rattle and roll like we are to ‘Pocket Change.’
Arguably the most talented emcee of the Brooklyn collective Beast Coast, and leader of the Pro Era group it’s almost impossible to believe that this cat who embodies classic hip-hop is only 18 years old. Yep, 18. Joey Bada$$ has gained nonstop positive attention since the release of last year’s 1999 mixtape, perfectly titled since the album brings memories of 90s hip-hop back to life…ironically he wasn’t even old enough to listen to those sounds at the time. For Joey, much like the rest of the Beast Coast fellas it’s all about conscious lyricism with no sacrificing of beat quality. To listen to one of Brooklyn’s finest is to be transplanted back to a simpler time…a time before rapping about your whips, chains and bullshit was a main source of inspiration…a time when there was still a message to be spread. With so much great hip-hop coming out of LA these days it’s about time NYC was back on the map and Joey Bada$$ and his gang of hip-hop heavies are doing that in a massive way.
Here is one of his latest releases off of his debut LP slated for this fall. His verbal skills are on full display here and with some help from legend DJ Premier ‘Unorthodox’ lays the foundation for where this young star is headed.
- Nick Hoppe
I’ve had mixed feelings about Smith Westerns up until this point. They’re young. Thye’re lauded. They’re clearly talented songwriters, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t wholly sold.
’3am Spiritual’ brings me back to songs of the 60s and 70s…a soothing classic appeal filled with swelling instrumentation and dare I say a little hint of the Beatles? Whether my initial weariness will linger remains to be seen. They’re newest album Soft Will drops at the end of June and if we can expect to hear more songs like this and ‘Varsity,’ the album closer they dropped earlier there may be a full-fledged new Smith Westerns fan amongst the crowd.
- Nick Hoppe
If you’re like me, you’ve been wondering for awhile now what happened to Kanye West. And while I don’t have all the answers, I can certainly say that hooking up with Kim Kardashian sure as shit didn’t help anything. She’s not exactly a go-to for creativity. That being said you can witness an actual pitfall of Kanye’s on last week’s SNL performance. I don’t know about you but all I hear is a bunch of screaming over some terrible song names that will be featured on his also horrendously title new album Yeezus. There was a time when all I wanted in my life was Kanye. Now we’re at the point where he’s all I want gone…well him and Chris Brown…and maybe Bieber too. Damn shame from the man responsible for some of the best music to come out of the 2000s.
- Nick Hoppe
If you haven’t heard about these guys yet chances are you’re unaware of the hip-hop explosion coming out of Brooklyn these days. The Underachievers, who consist of emcees Issa Dash and AK, hail from Flatbush and members of the Beast Coast movement that includes Flatbush Zombies, Pro Era and Phony Ppl.
After putting out this video, The Underachievers were immediately signed to Flying Lotus’ label and the rest is history. With incredible beats and an ode to psychedelics these two emcees flow effortless about religion, spirituality and of course tripping their faces off. Comparisons to Hiero, Pharcyde and Camp Lo are all pretty evident and that is an extremely refreshing sound to be hearing these days. Check out their mixtape Indigiosism. If you’re not hooked immediately I don’t know what to tell you.
- Nick Hoppe
Italy’s own, and member of Skrillex’s OWSLA label, Michele Balduzzi released the track “Ride the Prejudice.”
Rolling under the moniker Phonat, this track comes to us off of Balduzzi’s upcoming EP Identity Theft. This will be Phonat’s first major release almost 2010. Check out the track above, and look out for Identity Theft out June 4.
Identity Theft Tracklist
1. Machines Do Care
2. All This Time
3. Don’t Talk, Now
4. Morden Life
5. Ride The Prejudice
6. Identity Theft
San Francisco based Dodos have just premiered a new track.
Hazy guitars and thoughtful lyrics make for a haunting, interesting track. Check out “Confidence” streaming here and think of it as a hint at the upcoming album.
The new album, Carrier, is due out on August 27 on Polyvinyl Records.
MOVEMENT are three boys from Sydney, who have been hard at work these past few years and recently signed to Modular (hard work always pays off). Feel Real is the first single of the three-piece, which reminds us of The xx, but rather a version of that three-piece without Romy and with Jamie going crazy on the steel drums (you could also exchange Oliver for Sampha, actually). You could dance to it, but you could also just jam to it in your bedroom – balearic yet romantic, meet your new favorite band.
Just like any of their music, the first video of London trio London Grammar is something of pure beauty. It’s a shake black & white affair for Wasting My Young Years featuring the band and a bunch of corpses floating around in various spaces – the more intense the music, the more corpses around.
One of my favorite bands, as of late, Holy Ghost! are back this year with Dynamics in the Autumn. The band’s new single from the record is a perfect DFA record: hypnotic disco dance music along the lines of The Juan Maclean, Yacht, Shit Robot and Holy Ghost! themselves. The video, by Ben Fries for the track also uses the NYC skyline as an evocative backdrop.
Lana Del Rey is the opera star backed by an orchestra in the video for Young and Beautiful, her contribution to the OST for The Great Gatsby. The shots of the orchestra are really impressive with these shadows set to dramatic lightning. Lana herself is gorgeous (obviously) and comes in a Deluxe-version with those added diamonds on her cheek. Directed by Chris Sweeney.
Youngest pop star in the making Lorde has unveiled her first visuals with the Joel Kefali-directed video for Royals. Shot in NZ, the video tells the story of short-haired friends that enjoy boxing and hanging around quite a bit. And she’s humble about her start. Yes, she is going to be huge.