Tag: Billboard 200

New Video: Washed Out Releases an Cinematic Yet Intimate Meditation on Loss

Ernest Greene is a Perry, GA-born, Athens, GA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed synth pop/chillwave act Washed Out.  Interestingly, the project can trace its origins back to around 2009: After earning an undergraduate degree and a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of Georgia, Greene was unable to find a job as a librarian. Greene moved back in his parents and began writing and producing material in his bedroom studio as well as with a local electro pop act Bedroom.

Shortly after posting Washed Out material on his MySpace page, the Perry-born, Athens-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer was discovered and championed by a number of influential blogs, who compared his sound to Neon Indian and Memory Tapes.

He released his first two Washed Out EPs in rapid-fire fashion in August and September of that year. Building upon a growing profile, Greene played his New York City debut — which interestingly enough, was only his second live show ever — at the now, long-shuttered Santos Party House. 2010 saw Greene continue the amazing momentum of the previous year: he played that year’s Pitchfork Music Festival and “Feel It All Around” became the opening theme song for the acclaimed TV series Portlanadia.

In early 2011, Greene signed with Sub Pop Records, who released his his full-length debut Within and Without, an album of icy yet plaintive synth pop to critical applause and commercial success: the album peaked at #26 on the Billboard 200 and #89 on the UK Albums Chart. He ended a breakthrough 2011 by co-curating that year’s ATP Nightmare Before Christmas in Minehead, UK with Battles. 

Greene’s sophomore Washed Out album 2013’s Paracosm was a decided change in sonic direction, as it featured a warmer, tropical-inspired sound that paired organic instrumentation with electronic production — all while retaining the ethereal quality of his previously released material, as you’d hear on album singles “It All Feels Right” and “Don’t Give Up.” The year ended with Life of Leisure EP track “New Theory” being featured as background music in a scene of the rom-com The Spectacular Now.

The Perry-born, Athens-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producers third album, 2017’s Cole M.G.N. co-produced Mister Mellow was released through renowned hip-hop label Stone’s Throw Records, and the album took on a bit of a J. Dilla-esque beatmaking feel. 

Since the release of Mister Mellow, Greene released a handful of singles including “Face Up” as part of Adult Swim’s applauded Singles Series. Earlier this year, the Perry-born, Athens-based artist released “Too Late,”  a track that sonically was a return to form: a swooning yet bittersweet bit of synth pop centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, Greene’s ethereal and plaintive vocals and a soaring hook — but with a subtly Mediterranean feel. 

As it turns out, “Too Late” was unofficially the first single off Greene’s highly-anticipated and long-awaited fourth album Purple Noon. Written, recorded by Greene with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen, the album’s production followed a brief stint of writing with other artists — most notably writing with Sudan Archives on her debut Athena. Those collaborations allowed Green to explore R&B and modern pop and those sounds have made there way into Purple Noon’s material. Not only is the material reportedly the brightest and more robust sounds he’s ever worked out; it’s also a decided step forward: unlike his previous released work, the vocals are placed front and center at the mix, with slower tempos, bolder, harder-hitting beats and a more comprehensive dynamic depth. 

Deriving its name from Rene Clement’s 1960 film Purple Noon, which was based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mister Ripley, the album’s material is deeply inspired by the coastlines of the Mediterranean — with Greene paying tribute to region’s island-based culture, elegance and old-world charm. But the surroundings serve as the backdrop to stories of passion love and loss — with a deeper, perhaps more urgent emotional intensity: the album’s first single “Too Late” is a tale of a first meet, with all the confused and swooning emotions that come about. Continuing in that same vein, Purple Noon’s second single “Time To Walk Away” is a gorgeous yet haunting song centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, shuffling beats, Greene’s plaintive vocals, an enormous hook and Mediterranean/Caribbean vibes. The track is as infectious as any of his previously released work, but the track tells the story of a disintegration of a relationship with an aching sense of loss and confusion. Ghosts linger. 

Directed by Aussie director Riley Blakeway, the recently released video is a reinterpretation of a personal short film Blakeway shot years ago, presented in music video form. The video presents its central tale of two passionate, young lovers and their relationship in a beautiful and cinematic fashion — but at its core is a familiar ache that we’ve all known at some point. 

Advertisements

New Video: The Rocket Summer Returns with a Slick Visual for Anthemic “Blankets”

Dallas, TX-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Bryce Avary is the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed, solo indie rock/indie pop recording project The Rocket Summer. With The Rocket Summer, Avary has released six albums and a couple of EPs, including 2010’s Of Men and Angels, which landed at #1 on the Top Album spot on iTunes and 2012’s Life Will Write the Words, which landed at #58 on the Billboard 200 and #12 on the Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums Chart, as well as #12 on the Top Independent Albums Charts.

Avary’s soon-to-be released seventh album Sweet Shivers is slated for an August 2, 2019 and as you may recall, the album’s third single “Peace Signs”  was one part ardent plea for peace and one part ironically detached sire. centered around a breezy, summery groove an enormous Silversun Pickups-like hook. “Blankets,” Sweet Shivers latest single continues a run of singles featuring enormous, arena friendly hooks paired with motorik-like grooves, shimmering synths and Avary’s plaintive vocals. And while infectious, the track thematically focuses on surrendering a bit to the flotsam and jetsam that life will inevitably toss in your path — and finding whatever silver linings we can. Along with that, the song suggests that the cliche is true: there is strength in numbers. And that more important, that if you’re struggling, you’re not alone; we’ve all been there at some point. 

“I wrote the song in the middle of the night watching fuzzy TV in a cabin in rural Texas, long before I tracked it, but I’ll never forget what it was like having to cut this vocal in the studio only 2 hours after catching wind that my childhood friend had taken her life,” Avary says of the song’s creation. “While only parts of the song point to that type of narrative, I think it will forever resonate with me as a lyric that just simply needs to be sung. ”

“Sweet Shivers (which comes from a lyric in ‘Blankets’) is referring to an emotion: a feeling of excitement and joy in the unknown, even if the unknown itself is more dressed up in less than ideal feelings of uncertainty,” Avary continues. “A letting go of sorts; beauty in the free fall. Sonically, to me, the melancholic yet contrastingly hopeful spirit within the journey of the free fall is what this song sounds like. 

Directed by Dillon Slack and Ben Busch, the recently released video for “Blankets” stars Brianna Brill and Nick Morbitt, who travel through literal blankets to find one another. At its core, the video tells the story of two people, who come to terms with life and its chaotic moments — through the comfort of another.

New Video: The Rocket Summer Releases a Slick and Symbolic Visual for Breezy Summer Anthem “Peace Signs”

Bryce Avary is a Dallas, TX-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer, who’s the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo indie rock/indie pop project The Rocket Summer. His growing catalog includes six previously released full-length albums and a couple of EPs — including 2010’s Of Men and Angels, which landed at #1 on the Top Album spot on iTunes and 2012’s Life Will Write the Words, which landed at #58 on the Billboard 200 and #12 on the Billboard Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums Chart, as well as #12 on the Top Independent Albums Charts.  

Avary’s forthcoming Rocket Summer album Sweet Shivers is slated for an August 2, 2019 release and the album’s third and latest single is the anthemic “Peace Signs.” Centered around a breezy and summery groove, and an enormous Silversun Pickups-like hook, the song is one part ardent plea for peace and one part ironically detached satire, meant to play loudly while cruising in your car. 

Directed by Dillon Slack and Ben Busch, the recently released, slickly shot video follows Avary in a white convertible, wearing oversized, burnt-orange sunglasses, hair blowing in the wind and driving towards the beach — with two masked figures as passengers, who represent contrasting emotions.  

New Video: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Announce Their Long-Awaited Second Collaborative Album and Release a Cinematic Visual for “Crime Pays”

Born Fredrick Jamel Tipton, the Gary, IN-born emcee and JOVM mainstay Freddie Gibbs initially signed with Interscope Records in 2006 and after recording his full-length debut with the label, the Gary, IN-born emcee was dropped as a result of the label’s management changing hands — and the album was subsequently shelved; however, with the release of 2009’s The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, a prolific series of mixtapes and his 2013’s full-length debut ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally), Gibbs quickly established a reputation for being a talented lyricist and narrative-based storyteller with an imitable, gruff flow. 

Gibbs’ work largely focuses on street shit and hustling but unlike most of his peers, who take on exaggerated, superhuman personas and describe tales in which their heroes always win, Gibbs pulls the showbiz curtains aside with a frank and unvarnished honesty and realism. His characters inhabit a world much like own, full of gritty, almost Darwinistic struggles in which men and women do evil things to others to get by, fully aware of the fact that they’re paving roads to their own unique, fucked up hell.  And as a result, the Gary, IN-born JOVM mainstay became a go-to collaborator, working with an impressive list of artists and producers including Young Jeezy, Juicy J, Philadelphia Freeway, Dom Kennedy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Big K.R.I.T., Cardo, DJ Burn One, Speakerbomb, Block Beattaz, Beatnick and K-Salaam, Chip tha Ripper, The Cool Kids‘ Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks, Krayzie Bone, SpaceGhostPurrp, Jadakiss, Kirko Bangz, Jay Rock, Curren$y and others. 

Five years ago, Gibbs teamed up with Madlib, arguably one of hip-hop’s dopest, most inventive and prolific producers on the critically and commercially successful Piñata, which landed at #38 on the Billboard 200 and number seven on the US Top Rap Albums Charts. At the time of its release, I compared Piñata to Small Professor’s and Guilty Simpson’s collaboration Highway Robbery as both albums were the result of a shared artistic vision that channelled golden era hip hop.

In 2016 Madlib announced that he would be working with Madlib on their second album together Bandana, and that many of the rejected beats he auditioned for Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo would appear on the new album. Gibbs and his manager later confirmed that on Twitter. During that same period, the Gary, IN-born JOVM mainstay was busy with the release of his third solo album, 2017’s You Only Live 2wice and last year’s Fetti, a collaborative album with Curren$y.

Interestingly, three years after its initial announcement, the long-awaited Bandana is slated for a June 28, 2019 release through Keep Cool Records, RCA Records, Madlib Invazion and ESGN. Earlier this year, Gibbs and Madlib released Bandana’s first single, the album title track “Bandana,” which featured dancehall artist Assassin. Bandana’s second and latest single “Crime Pays” is centered around a Roy Ayers-like shimmering, old-school 70s jazz soul sample and Gibbs gruff and imitable baritone dexterously rhyming about the street shit and hustling that he’s well-known for, but underneath that is the bitter recognition that you can roll the dice so many times before hitting snake eyes at some point. 

Directed by Nick Walker, and starring Gibbs as himself, Zoe Neal as Farm Girl, John Pistone as Farm Guy 1, Mazen Shehabi as Farm Guy 2 and Benedikt Sebastian, the recently released video for “Crime Pays” is set on a farm in the seemingly fiction Mt. Kane. Gibbs’ character is a farm owner, who owns a massive property with three male helpers, who he cajoles and chides endlessly for being lazy, slow, stupid and so on. In fact, Gibbs’ character is so rich that he owns horses and zebras — but the video slowly reveals that they’re running a drug scheme that involves stashing loads of drugs in hay for delivery and distribution elsewhere. Gangster as fuck, indeed. 

New Video: Evidence and Strong Arm Steady’s Krondon Team Up to Wander Around a Desolate Los Angeles in Visuals for Nottz-Produced “Bad Publicity”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based emcee and producer Evidence, and as you may recall, he’s best known as a member of the renowned hip-hop act Dilated Peoples with whom he has released four full-length albums — and as a producer, the emcee and producer born Michael Taylor Perretta has worked with Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Swollen Members, Defari, Planet Asia and has a co-production credit on Kanye West’s Grammy-winning, full-length debut The College Dropout.

Perretta’s 2007 full-length full-length debut The Weatherman was released by ABB Records, the long-time label home of Dilated Peoples and featured tracks produced by Perretta,  The Alchemist, Sid Roams (the production team of Joey Chavez and Tavish “Bravo” Graham), Jake One, DJ Babu, and DJ Khalil, as well as collaborations with the Dilated Peoples crew. By 2009 Evidence signed with Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hip label Rhymesayers Entertainment, who released his 2011 sophomore effort Cats & Dogs, an album that wound up being among his most commercially successful as it landed at #64 on the Billboard 200. Perretta’s fourth album Weather or Not was released earlier this year, and the album is the first catch of new material from the Los Angeles-based emcee and producer since the 2014’s The Alchemist-produced Lord Steppington.

Weather or Not’s third single, the  DJ Premier-produced “10,000 Hours” was centered around a  swaggering and strutting West Coast hip-hop meets menacing, old school, boom bap, old school East Coast hip-hop production paired with one of contemporary hip-hop’s criminally unheralded emcees, rhyming about the time he has spent practicing, developing and honing his skills to become one of the very best — or in other words talent ain’t shit, if you don’t work very hard at it. The album’s fourth single “Powder Cocaine” continued Evidence’s ongoing collaboration with The Alchemist, who contributed an atmospheric yet soulful production consisting of boom bap beats, warm blasts of bluesy guitar, a chopped up choral vocal sample and a soaring hook and the production managed to be roomy enough to allow Evidence and Slug to trade bars full of diverse metaphors and descriptive symbolism.

The album’s fifth and latest single, the Nottz-produced “Bad Publicity” much in the vein of its predecessors as it’s golden era hip-hop inspired, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap hip-hop, complete with some dexterous scratching — and the production manages to be roomy enough for Evidence and Strong Arm Steady’s gravelly-voiced Krondon to spit fiery, braggadocio-filled bars. Directed by Todd Angkauswan, the recently released video for “Bad Publicity” is shot in an deserted, almost post apocalyptic Los Angeles, featuring the city’s most prominent locations.