55 Lakes is a mysterious and fairly anonymous EDM/tropical house music production and recording project of two Toronto-based ghost producers, ghostwriters and musicians for several top Canadian artists — and their latest project together was specifically designed for the duo to create, have fun and anonymous collect the credit for their own work. Their debut single “I’ll stay for you” is a slickly produced track that has the duo pairing finger-snap led percussion, twinkling keys, layers of shimmering and undulating synths and electronics, a looped vocal sample and an infectious hook in a propulsive yet breezy and tropical song that sounds as though it drew from Larry Levan and classic house, as well as Zonoscope-era Cut Copy.
The Philadelphia-based emcee’s latest single “Primates” is a collaboration with renowned Dutch producer Big Ape and it’s a swaggering headbanger of a track that has Freeway spitting fire over a looped and stuttering horn and string sample and tweeter and woofer rocking boom-bap beats and actual scratching from Sweden’s DJ Devastate. Of course the track is full of Freeway telling off wack emcees — reminding them that only is he dope, but that he’s probably their favorite rapper’s rapper as he uses a variety of cadences and flows and a creative sense of inner and outer wordplay throughout, while reminding listeners that not only is he still here and fiery as ever, but that real hip-hop ain’t dead either.
Directed by Ed Jansen, the recently released music video for “Primates” was shot in Amsterdam and features the emcee and his crew stomping around The Netherlands’ largest city, some live footage of Freeway performing in front of an incredibly enthusiastic crowd, and hanging in the studio with Big Ape.
Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing’s latest single “Lost Under Heaven” consists of a rather simple arrangement of buzzing guitar chords, gently swirling feedback, propulsive, staccato drumming paired with howled lyrics and a rousingly anthemic hook to craft a song that swoons with a furious urgency while being somewhat reminiscent of PJ Harvey’s “Good Fortune” but filtered through shoegaze and New Wave.
The recently released video for “Lost Under Heaven” employs a relatively simple concept of featuring the duo moodily walking around darkened streets and footage of the duo passionately performing the song in what appears to be an empty garage. Interestingly, the release of the video comes in advance of the duo’s sets at Reading and Leeds Festivals this weekend — and in some way serves as a teaser to what fans should expect from their upcoming live sets.
It’s been a decade since J. Dilla‘s tragic and untimely death due to complications from Lupus and over that period of time, the prolific, Detroit-born producer and beatmaker’s reputation has grown — to the point that he is arguably one of hip-hop’s most beloved and influential artists and producers; in fact, much of his work possesses a timelessness and vitality that few contemporary producers of any genre can manage. The past year has seen the posthumous release of Dilla’s emcee debut The Diary, an effort that has engendered quite a bit of controversy between Dilla’s surviving family, the executors of his creative estate and fans. Sadly, Dilla had died before he could finish the album and much of the album’s material was largely unfinished, leaving producers the difficult task of piecing and stitching together incomplete song ideas and filling in musical gaps all while trying their best to hew as closely to its creators intentions as they could. And naturally as you can imagine that leaves a ton of questions about the very nature of art, its creation, and whether it’s ethical to mine a deceased creator’s incomplete works to make money among countless others.
Interestingly enough, 2016 is also the tenth anniversary of the posthumous relate of J. Dilla’s The Shining through BBE Records, and to celebrate the occasion the label is about to release the project on 7 inch vinyl for the first time ever. Along with that, the folks at Boiler Room stumbled upon an unreleased and largely unheard mixtape that the renowned and beloved producer made sometime between mid 1999 and early 2000 — and the mixtape reveals that Dilla had a diverse and eclectic array of musical influences, and was restlessly digging in the crates and looking for that perfect groove, that perfect breakbeat, that perfect bassline that he could use for a song. Throughout the mixtape you’ll hear Dilla exploring jazz, funk, disco, R&B, soul, pop, New Wave, blue eyed soul, Afrobeat and others — and in some way you can hear every one of those genres influencing his aesthetic vision.
Chick Corea “Bliss”
Roy Porter Sound Machine “Jessica”
A Taste of Honey “Boogie Oogie Oogie”
The Doobie Brothers “What A Fool Believes”
Heatwave “The Groove Line”
Funkineven & Greg Beato “F’s Diss”
Total Experience “Contradiction”
Bobby Caldwell “Open Your Eyes”
Roberta Flack “Feel Like Makin’ Love”
Stevie Wonder “As”
Love Unlimited “Under The Influence of Love”
Azymuth “Un Amigo (A Friend)”
Shuggie Otis “Undisclosed”
Ohio Players “Ecstasy ”
Grandmaster Flash “Undisclosed”
Michael Jackson “I Can’t Help It”
Myra Barnes “The Message From The Soul Sisters”
Donald Byrd “Think Twice”
Fred Wesley “Watergate”
Loose Ends “Stay A Little While, Child”
The Temptations “Runaway Child, Running Wild”
Chaka Khan “Ain’t Nobody”
Rene & Angela “I Love You More”
Stevie Wonder “Reggae Woman”
Rene & Angela “I’ll Be Good”
Steve Arrington “U Meet My Approval”
Alicia Myers “I Want to Thank You”
The System “You Are In My System”
Sly Stone “Family Affair”
Cameo “Back N Forth”
Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go For That”
Slave “Watching You”
Tom Browne “Jamaica Funkin'”
Bobby Caldwell “I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love”
The Gap Band “Yearning For Your Love”
Fela Kuti “Water No Get Enemy”
Marvin Gaye “Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again”
Rick James “Mary Jane”
Sade “Sweetest Taboo”
24 Karat “Black Ghetto”
Heatwave “Mind What You Find”
MFSB “Love Is The Message”
Evelyn King “I’m In Love”
George Benson “Love X Love”
Change “Glow of Love”
Positive Force “We Got The Funk”
Led by its founding member and creative mastermind David Eugene Edwards, Wovenhand much like Edwards’ previous projects have a long-held reputation for intense and anthemic music that showcases Edwards’ Romantic and incredibly dramatic crooning — and for a relentless experimentation and reinvention. His previous project 16 Horsepower was well-received for a sound based around antique Americana while Wovenhand’s earliest incarnations specialized in hushed ballads; however, with the newest and most current lineup, featuring Planes Mistaken For Stars‘ Chuck French (guitar) and Neil Keener (bass), Ordy Garrison (drums) and Crime and The City Solution‘s Matthew Smith (piano, synth) the band has written and recorded some of the heaviest and most forceful material to date on their latest effort Star Treatment slated for release on September 9, 2016 through Sargent House Records globally — with the exception of Europe.
As Edwards explains, the soon-to-be released album’s title isn’t a reference to our contemporary obsession with celebrity; rather it’s a reference to the concept of astrolatry — or humanity’s enduring interest in the stars of the night sky. “It’s ethereal in its concept,” Edwards says. “There are many layers, as always. I’ve been paying attention to the stars in the sky and in literature, and it’s a theme throughout the album.” He adds, “There’s more love song style on this in general, which is nice. The idea of what love is and how it’s expressed and all these different atmospheres.” Star Treatment‘s first single and opening track “Come Brave” finds the band pairing a propulsive, rumbling and rolling drum beat, enormous power chords, Edwards crooning vocals, a swooning and urgent Romanticism and rousing, arena rock friendly-like hooks with celestial hooks in a song that sounds as though it drew from Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, complete with a dark and mysterious fury.
The band will be embarking on a world tour to support the album. Check out tour dates below.
09/12 COLOGNE, DE @ Gebäude 9 *
09/13 FRANKFURT, DE @ Zoom *
09/15 BERN, CH @ ISC *
09/16 ZURICH, CH @ Bogen F *
09/17 VIENNA, AT @ Flex *
09/18 BUDAPEST, HU @ A38 *
09/20 SALZBURG, AT @ Rockhouse *
09/21 MUNICH, DE @ Ampere *
09/22 LEIPZIG, DE @ UT Connewitz *
09/23 BERLIN, DE @ Heimathafen *
09/24 HAMBURG, DE – Reeperbahn Festival
09/26 ARHUS, DK @ Train *
09/27 OSLO, NO @ John Dee *
09/29 HELSINKI, FI @ Tavastia
09/30 STOCKHOLM, SE @ Nalen *
10/01 LUND, SE @ Mejeriet *
10/02 COPENHAGEN, DK @ Vega Jr. *
10/04 EINDHOVEN, NL @ Effenaar *
10/05 AMSTERDAM, NL @ Melkweg *
10/06 LEUVEN, BE @ Het Depot *
10/07 GENT, BE @ Handelsbeurs *
10/08 CHARLEROI, BE @ L’Eden *
10/10 LILLE, FR @ L’Aéronef *
10/11 PARIS, FR @ La Maroquinerie *
10/13 ORLEANS, FR @ L’Astrolabe *
10/14 GRENOBLE, FR @ La Belle Electrique *
10/15 FEYZIN, FR @ L’Epicerie Moderne *
10/16 TOULOUSE, FR @ La Rex *
10/18 LONDON, UK @ The Dome *
You might recall that earlier this month, I wrote about California-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Elijah Ford. Ford has quite the musical pedigree as his father, Marc Ford is a former member of Black Crowes. Interestingly enough, the younger Ford toured with his father’s band Fuzz Machine when he was 17 and a few years later, Elijah’s own recording career started in earnest when he hooked up with Oscar and Grammy-winning artist Ryan Bingham, with whom Elijah Ford recorded and toured with for several years before going solo with the 2011 release of his full-length debut Upon Walking and its follow up, an EP Ashes in 2012.
As We Were, Ford’s forthcoming full-length effort is slated for a September 16, 2016 and as you might remember, the album’s first single “The Way We Were” liberally draws from bluesy and boozy old school work, while possessing a finely crafted feel, thanks in part to a soaring and anthemic hook and a shimmying and shuffling sound reminiscent of The Black Crowes, Elvis Costello and others. As We Were’s latest single “Black and Red” will further cement Ford’s burgeoning reputation for finely crafted and rousingly anthemic songs that draw from 70s and early 80s rock; however, in this particular instance, “Black and Red” is sonically reminiscent of Damn The Torpedoes-era Tom Petty and the aforementioned Elvis Costello but with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail and how it impacts one’s character and in turn their relationships with others.
Earlier this week, I wrote about Chicago, IL-based quartet Radar Eyes and their 80s post-punk inspired single “Community” off their forthcoming effort Radiant Remains, an effort that sees the band moving from the fuzzy, garage rock that first caught attention towards an anthemic and moody 80s post-punk sound — and an effort meant to be a swan song for the band, in the aftermath of Anthony Cozzi’s (vocals, guitar) relocation to Los Angeles. Radiant Remains’ second and latest single “Midnight Drive” is a jangling and anthemic song consisting of a propulsive drumming and shimmering guitars and a earnest and rousingly anthemic hook that sounds as though it draws from the likes of The Alarm, U2, Crocodiles, Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen, and Starfish-era The Church as the song swoons and swaggers with a desperate urgency.
Last year was a rather productive and prolific year for critically applauded bassist and vocalist, Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, as he made guest appearances on two of the the year’s most critically and commercially successful albums — Kendrick Lamar‘s Grammy Award-winning album, To Pimp A Butterfly and Brainfeeder Records labelmate, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic. Bruner also released what was arguably one of the best albums of 2015 The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, which further cemented his reputation as a dexterous and playful bassist and songwriter, with material that sonically channeled Stevie Wonder’s incredible 70s output — or in other words it possessed a retro-futuristic leaning that made it all sound as though it came from straight from a rusty spaceship that’s traveled several hundred lightyears across the universe. In fact, if you had been frequenting this site over the past year, you might remember that I wrote about the wobbling and propulsive bass and arpeggio synth-led single “Them Changes” and its incredibly symbolic and surreal video, which emphasized the devastating heartache at the core of the song.
“Bus In These Streets” is the first bit of new music from Thundercat since the release of The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam and the single, which is a comedic and playful ode to both our reliance and dependence on technology — and the track has Thundercat pairing his dexterous and sinuous bass lines and his ethereal crooning with Louis Cole (keys, drums and programming) playing shimmering and twinkling keys, propulsive drumming and drum programming and Flying Lotus contributing more programming and editing in a song that evokes a dreamy, distracted self-absorption as the song’s narrator spends their time staring at their smartphone, not noticing the world pass him by — or the inherent danger he might be walking into as he stupidly stares into his phone. Certainly, it’s one of Thundercat’s most playful yet cinematic songs he’s released to date, and every time I’ve heard it, I’ve thought about how it would be perfect in a It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World-like comic ensemble film.
You can catch Thundercat as he’s playing several tour dates including a set at this year’s Afropunk Festival. Check out the tour dates below.
Aug 27 Brooklyn, NY – Afropunk Fest
Sep 10 London, UK – OnBlackheath Festival
Sep 15 Oakland, CA – Brainfeeder at Fox Theatre*
Sep 16 Oakland, CA – Brainfeeder at Fox Theatre (sold out)*
Sep 17 Los Angeles, CA – Brainfeeder at Hollywood Bowl*
*with Flying Lotus, Funkadelic featuring George Clinton, Shabazz Palaces & The Gaslamp Killer
Since their formation back in 2005, San Diego, CA-based drone metal/doom metal band Goblin Cock, comprised of frontman and founding member Rob Crow (guitar, vocals) a.k.a. Lord Phallus, and a member of Pinback; Lara Benscher (vocals, guitar), a.k.a. Larben The Druid; Dave Drusky (guitar), a.k.a. Bane Ass-Pounder; Sam Mura (bass), a.k.a. King Sith; Anthony Fusaro (drums), a.k.a. Braindeath; Adam Ekorth (keys), a.k.a. Loki Sinjuggler; Mike Goldfarb (keytar, banjo), a.k.a. Phuck Tard, have developed a reputation for pairing metal power chords with rather unusual lyrical subjects –i.e., they once wrote material about Sesame Street‘s Snuffleupagus.
The band’s soon-to-be released album Necronomidonkeykongimicon is slated for a September 2, 2016 release through Joyful Noise Recordings and as the band notes, the album is a “crushingly brutal ‘Dear John’ letter to society.” And interestingly enough, the album’s latest single “Your Watch” was written for those who “heroically endure” the exhaustion that comes from being a parent — and they pair those lyrics with sludgy power chords, forceful drumming and anthemic, shout-along worthy hooks and melodic vocals. Sonically, the song sounds as though it could have been released in 1993 or 1994 but with a mischievously — and yet subtle — post-modern take on a familiar and beloved sound.
Goblin Cock will be embarking on a US tour throughout the fall to support the new album and it includes a September 25, 2016 stops at The Knitting Factory. Check out tour dates below.
9/14: Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
9/15: El Paso, TX @ Bowie Feathers
9/16: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar n Grill
9/17: Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
9/18: Houston, TX @ Rudyards
9/20: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade – Purgatory
9/21: Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Backroom
9/22: Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
9/23: Washington, DC @ DC9
9/24: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts – Black Box
9/25: Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory
9/27: Providence, RI @ The Parlour
9/28: Allston, MA @ Great Scott
9/29: Syracuse, NY @ Funk N Waffles
9/30: Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
10/1: Indianapolis, IN @ The Hi-Fi
10/2: Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
10/3: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
10/6: Spokane, WA @ The Observatory
10/7: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon – Funhouse
10/8: Portland, OR @ Ash Street Saloon
10/10: San Francisco, CA @ Social Hall SF
10/11: Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
10/14: San Diego, CA @ Casbah