Tag: Jay-Z

Live Footage: Chicano Batman Perform “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” on Conan

Comprised of Eduardo Arenas (bass, vocals), Carlos Arévalo (guitar), Bardo Martinez (vocals, organ, guitar) and Gabriel Villa (drums, percussion), the Los Angeles, CA-based quartet Chicano Batman have developed a reputation for specializing in a sound that draws from Brazilian tropicalia, psychedelia and classic soul — and for a growing national profile, as they’ve opened for Jack White, Alabama Shakes, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Gogol Bordello and others. Adding to that, the band has played at several of the country’s biggest music festivals, including Coachella and Bonnaroo among others.

Interestingly, the band’s latest album Freedom Is Free finds the band leaning heavily towards a classic soul and classic R&B-leaning sound. And in order to achieve that goal, the band enlisted the assistance of Leon Michels, who is best known for specializing in that classic soul sound with his work with El Michels Affair, The Arcs, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Black Keys and The Menahan Street Band. Additionally, Michels has had his work sampled in songs by Jay-Z and Ghostface Killah.

“Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” is the latest single off Freedom Is Free and as you’ll hear the song draws from slow-burning, classic soul and R&B while nodding at the sound of The Who Sings My Generation and A Quick One-era The Who and The Kinks — but if they added an organist and a handful of backing vocalist. And as a result, the song consists of a soulful, old-school, shuffling two step and a deceptively simple nature, as the song lyrically and thematically speaks of the complex and complicated nature of friendship. Throughout the song, the narrator openly recognizes that while human relationships are absolutely pleasurable and necessary if they forge a deep understanding and companionship; but they can also be frequently fraught with misunderstanding, bitterness, heartache and betrayal.

Recently, the members of Chicano Batman made their national television debut with an appearance on Conan, where they played a loose and fiery version of “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm) off their latest full-length effort.

New Video: Chicano Batman Covers the Strange and Conflicting Feelings that Friendship Inspires in Their Most Soul-Leaning Song to Date

Comprised of Eduardo Arenas (bass, vocals), Carlos Arévalo (guitar), Bardo Martinez (vocals, organ, guitar) and Gabriel Villa (drums, percussion), the Los Angeles, CA-based quartet Chicano Batman have developed a reputation for specializing in a sound that draws from Brazilian tropicalia, psychedelia and classic soul and for a growing national profile, as they’ve played a number of this country’s major music festivals including Coachella and Bonnaroo, as well as opening for a number of renowned acts such as Jack White, Alabama Shakes, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Gogol Bordello and others. However, with the band’s forthcoming album Freedom Is Free — slated for a March 3, 2017 through ATO Records — the band reportedly decided to lean heavily towards a classic soul and R&B leaning sound. And in order to achieve that goal, the band enlisted the help of Leon Michels, best known for El Michels Affair, The Arcs, has played with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Black Keys and The Menahan Street Band and has had his work sampled by Jay-Z and Ghostface Killah.

Freedom Is Free’s latest single “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” clearly draws from slow-burning, classic soul and R&B but has a subtle bit of rock ‘n’ roll at its heart as it dimly nods at early The Who and The Kinks — if they had employed the use of soaring organ chords and backing vocalist. And as a result, the song possesses an old school, shuffling two step. Interestingly, the song lyrically and thematically speaks to the complex and complicated nature of friendship, with its narrator recognizing that human relationships while pleasurable and necessary, can frequently be fraught with bitterness and betrayal. As the band’s Bardo Martinez explains in press notes “This is a song of betrayal in the most mundane sense. It’s about the trials and tribulations of friendship but a personal reflection on the painful realities of human relationships.”

Directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz, the recently released music video follows a series of relationships that highlight how quickly a relationship can go from being the best thing that could ever happen to you, to quickly souring and leading to some sort of betrayal — sometimes minor but quite frequently deeply heartbreaking.

 

Born Leslie Pridgen, the Philadelphia, PA-based emcee Freeway is arguably best known for his stint as a Roc-A-Fella Records artist, his affiliation with Jay Z and Beanie Siegel and as a member of State Property, as well as his commercially and critically successful 2003 debut effort Philadelphia Freeway, an effort that was certified gold after selling 500,000 units — thanks in part to his gruff and raspy vocal delivery, rhyming about his days hustling to survive in North Philadelphia with a world-weariness that frequently suggests a desire to be more, do more and see more than the block. And as a result, much like Freddie Gibbs and a few others, it grounds Freeway’s material in a profound and gritty realism that’s much needed — and in the case of Freeway comes from hard-fought person experience.

Although he’s experienced label issue that begun with the dissolution of Roc-A-Fella Records, State Property going on a hiatus as Beanie Siegel was convicted of federal weapons charges, Freeway has been busy as he’s released a couple of albums including 2007’s Free At Last, 2008’s White Van Music which had the North Philadelphia-based emcee collaborating with Jake One and Brother Ali and was released through renowned indie label Rhymesayers.  2010’s The Stimulus Package represented a major turning point in Freeway’s recording career as it was a return to the basics — one producer collaborating with one emcee on a project specifically meant to be cohesive collaborative vision, and it features guest spots from Beanie Siegel, Raekwon, Young Chris, Birdman, Bun-B, Latoiya Williams, Omilio Sparks and Mr. Porter.

 

Personally, it’s been some time since I’ve heard from Freeway — granted, as a blogger covering music from a variety of angles from all over the world, some things naturally will fall through the cracks; however, his latest single “Primates” is a collaboration with Dutch producer Big Ape and it’s a swaggering headbanger of a track that features the Philadelphia-based emcee spitting pure 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. Remember actual scratching on tracks?  Whatever happened to that?

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, flows throughout 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preview: Full Moon Festival 

Matte Projects is a creative production company that focuses on the conception, production and promotion of music-related events, perhaps more famously known here in New York for creating the Full Moon Festival six years ago, a carefully curated festival and dance party, largely inspired by Thailand’s world-renowned full moon parties. And although it’s been a couple of years since JOVM has covered the Full Moon Festival, its sixth year marks a return to Governor’s Island for two days of partying, art installations, and dancing from early afternoon to late in the night with one of the most enviably gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty around – and under this month’s blue moon, no less.

Culinary Delights

Although I’m a music blogger and journalist first and foremost, I fucking love food – I mean, who doesn’t right? – and when I covered the festival back in 2014, one of the best food highlights was The Brooklyn Star’s fried chicken waffle cone. Picture a waffle cone stuffed with popcorn fried chicken on top, mashed potatoes and coleslaw and topped with your choice of honey sriracha sauce (which was frankly the best thing I’ve ever had) or a ranch-based sauce.

 

Two years later and I’m still talking about it; that’s how fucking good it was – and I might kill someone to have another one.


(Photo Caption: Brooklyn’s fried chicken waffle cone may be the reason the terrorists hate us. And the person who came up with it is a genius.)

This year will continue the festival’s reputation for culinary delight as Matcha Bar, Mile End, Best Pizza, Pokito, Pig and Khao, Clean Shave Ice and Chalk Point Kitchen will all host pop-up stands throughout the festival. I’m starting to salivate over the possibility of some pork belly Adobo, pastrami sandwiches, pizza – well, all the food, really. And whatever weight you put on, you can sweat it off dancing all night.

Music

Full Moon Festival’s sixth edition may arguably have one of the most musically diverse lineups in its history and some of the must see sets will include the following:

Day 1, August 20, 2016

Led by its creative mastermind, producer and electronic music artist Aaron Jerome, SBTRKT (pronounced as “Subtract”) has developed an internationally renowned reputation for remixing the work of M.I.A., Radiohead, Modeselektor, Basement Jaxx, Mark Ronson and Underworld, and for releasing two critically applauded full-length albums, a few EPs and a number of singles – all of which have either received airplay or have been playlisted by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6. Interestingly, throughout his recording and performing career Jerome has preferred to be as anonymous as humanly possible and during live shows he’s been known to perform wearing modern interpretations of native and indigenous society ceremonial masks designed by A Hidden Place, as well as performing with frequent collaborator Sampha.

Earlier this year, Jerome announced a new project that he described as a “non album,” a collection of songs specifically designed to be an ongoing listening experience, while bringing new music to fans in a faster fashion than the traditional album cycle.

Born Terrence Thornton, Norfolk, VA-based emcee Pusha T is perhaps best known as one-half of critically applauded and commercially successful hip-hop duo Clipse, with his brother Gene “No Malice” Thornton. And with the help of their friend, Norfolk, VA-born producer, multi-instrumentalist and eventual mega-hit artist Pharrell Williams, the duo quickly exploded into the national scene with the release of their 1997 full-length debut Exclusive Audio Footage. And as a result, Pusha T has made a number of guest spots over the years including on Kelis’ “Good Stuff,” Nivea’s “Run Away (I Wanna Be With You),” all while recording three more albums as a member of Clipse, including the duo’s critically applauded and commercially successful third album Hell Hath No Fury. After the duo’s fourth album, they announced that Clipse would be on hiatus while each individual member would pursue solo projects and other creative endeavors.

In 2010 Pusha T was signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music and made guest appearances on a number of labelmates’ releases including “Runaway” off West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and West’s GOOD Fridays singles series and as a solo artist Thornton has collaborated with an increasingly lengthy list of artists and producers including Swizz Beatz’s Monster Mondays series, Lloyd BanksH.F.M. 2 (Hunger For More 2), Future, Tyler the Creator, Jay Z and others. Interestingly, over the last few years Thornton has been incredibly prolific, releasing a handful of mixtapes and his solo debut, My Name Is My Name. Adding to a growing profile, last year Kanye West personally appointed Pusha T to take over the reins at GOOD Music. And we should be expecting a full-length in the near future.

Born Nkosinathi Maphumulo, the internationally acclaimed,  eThekwini, South Africa-born and Johannesburg, South Africa-based producer and DJ Black Coffee can trace the origins of his recording and performing career to when he majored in Jazz Studies at Technikon Natal. While as a student there, he worked as a backup singer for Madale Kunene before forming an Afro-pop act S.H.A.N.A (short for Simply Hot and Naturally African) with classmates Mnqobi Mdabe (Shota) and Thandukwazi Sikhosana (Demor). The somewhat short lived act was signed to Melt 2000; however, his DJ and production career explored when he was selected as one of two South African participants during 2003’s Red Bull Music Academy – and with an increased buzz around him, he released “Happiness,” which was featured on the DJs at Work compilation; in fact, by the release of his sophomore effort, Have Another One, Black Coffee had become a household name in South African electronic circles for a propulsive, forceful tribal sound and for putting on locally-based artists and producers, all of whom have started to receive attention across Africa, Europe and elsewhere.

Adding to a rapidly growing international profile, Black Coffee has played at some of the world’s biggest and most renowned clubs and stages including Southport Weekender, Panorama Bar, Circo Loco and Boiler Room and has made appearnaces at a number of music festivals including SummerStage, ADE and Red Bull Music Academy in his hometown of Johannesburg, Coachella, Ultra Music Fesitval and others. I’ve seen the brother do his thing live and he’s arguably one of the best electronic music arists, producers and DJs in the entire world. And as much as I want to see some of the other acts on the bill – i.e., Marcus Marr, Santigold and others – I think that Black Coffee may well be worth the price of admission.

Day 2, August 21, 2016

Largely influenced by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Devo, reggae, Fela Kuti and a ton of Nigerian music, Philadelphia, PA-born singer/songwriter and producer Santi White is best known under the monikers Santogold (which she performed under between 2003-2009) and Santigold has throughout the course of three full-length albums Santogold, Master of My Make-Believe and her most recent effort, 99¢ has developed a reputation for a sound that has at times been compared favorably to the likes of M.I.A. as her work sonically manages to blur, mesh and completely destroy genre lines as you’ll hear elements of techno, house music, dub, reggae, alt rock and others while ironically commenting on our sociopolitical zeitgeist. Interesting, as the result of a growing national and international profile, White has collaborated with an equally impressive list of artists and producers including Diplo, Jonnie “Most” Davis, Yeah Yeah YeahsKaren O., Switch, Q-Tip, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, has opened for the likes of Jay Z and Kanye West during their co-headlining tour, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the aforementioned M.I.A., Bjork and has a number of singles make prominent appearances in ad campaigns, including a 2013 campaign for Honda Civic among others.

Comprised of Matthew Correia (drums), Spencer Dunham (bass), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar) and Pedrum Siadatian (guitar), Los Angeles-based indie rock sensations Allah-Las can trace their origins to when three of the four band members worked at renowned record store Amoeba Music. Formed back in 2008, the Southern California-based have received both local and national attention for a sound that draws entirely from the 60s and includes elements of folk rock, psych rock, surfer rock and garage rock – while firmly establishing themselves as part of a burgeoning retro/garage rock scene that includes The Mystery Lights, The Black Angels, Raccoon Fighter and others.

London, UK-based producer, electronic music artist, multi-instrumentalist and DJ Dhas received international attention over the last few years for a number of critically acclaimed singles released through renowned dance pop/electro pop label; in fact, “Brown Sauce” was mentioned in Pitchfork’s Tracks while “The Music,” appeared in the major motion picture Pusher and landed at number 3 on Spin Magazine’s Best Dance singles in 2013. And if you were frequenting this site over the course of 2015 you might recall that Marr collaborated with internationally acclaimed indie pop artist Chet Faker on an EP that featured the slickly produced Daft Punk and Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson leaning track “The Trouble With Us.”

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of its six-year history, you’d know that the New York-based neo-disco/electronic dance music/funk collective ESCORT have been mainstay artists. And over that same period of time, the collective founded by producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balls featuring frontperson Adeline Michele as members of a core group of five that frequently expands to 17 for live shows has received local and national attention for an incredible live show of funky, danceable tunes, their two full-length albums and for their frontperson’s incredible stage presence, cementing their reputation as a must-see live act.

Tickets are still available — and for a two day festival out on gorgeous Governor’s Island, the tickets are pretty affordable. [Purchase Tickets]

JOVM will be there to cover the festival. Expect some live tweeting, a lot of Instagram and more. And if you weren’t following me, here are the socials:

Twitter: @yankee32879 and @williamhelms3rd

Instagram: @william_ruben_helms

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been following this site at any point during its almost 6 year existence, you would know that I champion an incredibly diverse array of independent artists and labels from all over the world. And as a blogger and music critic, the ease that independent artists and labels can distribute and promote their music has been both wonderful and terrifying. It’s wonderful because independent labels often are at the forefront of reintroducing sadly forgotten yet influential artists or sadly forgotten artists, who were ignored because they were decades ahead of their time — and there are a bevy of artists, who are creating some incredible music that mainstream radio and media outlets just wouldn’t pay much attention to. Shame on them for not providing listeners and fans with the diversity and meaning that they so desperately seek. Let me make it clear, I have nothing wrong with the mainstream or mainstream artists. Jay Z is one of the greatest living emcees in hip-hop and no one can deny that. Beyonce has an incredible voice — and is one of the world’s most beautiful and desirable women. Adele has an incredible voice and I would pay to hear her sing the White Pages. Kanye West is one of the most influential artists and producers of contemporary music, not just hip-hop — and in my mind he’s a lock to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. But let’s be honest here: those artists receive enough press for their music and exploits and my attention to them doesn’t really matter much.

Personally, I feel a responsibility to shed light on those artists that I think you as a reader would love and would have heard about if mainstream outlets and other sources were much more diverse. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over some time, you may recall that I’ve written about hip-hop act Atmosphere. Initially formed as as trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant, the trio had been a part of the Headshots crew, a collective that also featured acts like The Abstract PackPhull Surkle, Black Hohl, Beyond. Back in the mid 90s, the collective’s profile was growing around hip-hop circles and building on the buzz that the Headshots crew was receiving, a much-anticipated compilation featuring tracks by each artist of the crew was slated for release.  Sadly, the compilation was never released and an opportunity for many of these artists to receive greater attention was squandered; however, to be fair, Atmosphere, in particular are beloved in indie hip-hop circles and they’re still quite prolific.

Atmosphere’s latest single “My Better Half” was written as a tribute to Slug’s wife, who he says he actually met at a German bar on a Wednesday. And as much as its about stumbling upon someone who perfectly complements you and understands you — to the point that you have your own language and rhythms; the song is also uses the same metaphor for how it feels to stumble upon something that’s your life’s calling. And much like Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth‘s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” the song possesses a deeply introspective feel — subtly thrown in is the sweet sense of amazement, wonder and gratitude that some larger force bestowed luck on you, as well as an acknowledgement that finding real and meaningful love is lucky and rare.