Tag: Strong Arm Steady

Musings: A Decade of JOVM

I started this site 10 years ago today. . .

There aren’t many things in my life that I’ve done for every single day for a decade that I’ve loved as much as this very unique little corner of the blogosphere. When I started this site, I  didn’t — and couldn’t — imagine actually having readers, let alone readers across the US, Canada, the UK, the European Union, Australia and elsewhere. After all, this sort of work is deeply rewarding and yet strangely isolating.

I couldn’t have imagined the over 1,000 shows I’ve covered all across the New York Metropolitan area. I definitely couldn’t have imagined it being possible for be to cover shows for JOVM in Chicago while on a business trip for a day job; nor would I have dreamed of the possibility of covering M for Montreal last fall.

I couldn’t have imagined being a panelist on a Mondo.NYC Festival panel on PR and promotion for indie artists.

I couldn’t have imagined having a cameo in a JOVM mainstay’s video several years ago. (It’s a noticeable and prominent spot towards the end of the video, too. No one has called me up for acting gigs, so I may need more work on that. Or I need to stick to the writing and photography!)

I couldn’t have imagined photographing Patti LaBelle, Snoop Dogg, Charles Bradley  Sharon Jones, Nile Rodgers, Roky Erickson, Philip Bailey and so many others, as well as this site’s countless mainstays.

What will the next decade hold? I don’t know. If you asked me that question last November, I’d probably discuss my the very real possibility of repeated visits to Canada for festivals like Canadian Music Week, Montreal Jazz Fest and M for Montreal — with the hopes of building a deeper Canadian audience. I’d talk about my interest in music from across the African Diaspora. I’d spend time talking about my interest in covering acts outside the US. I’d also speak about my interest in wanting to cover more artists across the diverse LGQBTIA+ community  — particularly those of color. I’d probably also mention my deep and abiding interest in covering women artists and women led acts.

Live music won’t be a thing for quite some time to come. And whenever it does, the landscape will be different — and something we’ve yet to envision. So far, beloved venues have been forced to close because of economics. That will continue for the foreseeable future. What will happen to bands, who no longer have a place to play, where they can hone their sound and their live show? Who knows? After watching an industry-based panel, I don’t feel particularly optimistic about things in the short term. Some of us will figure out a way to adapt and survive; others sadly, won’t.

But in the meantime, JOVM will continue. It’s only the first decade, as far as I’m concerned!

**

I also wanted to talk a bit about some of my favorite albums of the past decade. This is by no means a comprehensive list; but I think that they might give some insight into the inner world of JOVM. And

Montreal-based DJ, production and electronic music artist duo The Beat Escape — Addy Weitzman and Patrick A. Boivin — can trace the project’s origins back to a short film they collaborated on when they were both in college. “We made a short oddball work; a video piece that followed two characters through a psychedelic waking dream,” the Montreal-based said of their initial collaboration together in press notes. Interestingly, since that collaboration, Weitzman and Boivin have continued working together on a series of creative endeavors that have combined their interests in music and visual art, including a lengthy local DJ gig, which eventually led to the creation of The Beat Escape.

Released in early 2018, the Montreal-based duo’s full-length debut Life Is Short The Answer’s Long thematically and sonically found the duo returning to their origins — somnambulant, atmospheric art that feels like a half-remembered waking dream. Personally, the album’s material evokes a weird two-and-year period of international and domestic travel, in which I’d wake up in a hotel room and briefly wonder where I was, what time zone I was in and if I was even in the right place. Additionally, it evokes that weird sensation of everything being the fundamentally the same, yet different. If I’m in Grand Central Terminal, I think of Frankfurt-am-Main Hauptbahnhof and of Amsterdam Centraal Station. If I’m traveling underneath an elevated train, I’m reminded of the Chicago loop and so on.

I obsessively played Life Is Short The Answer’s Short through my time in Montreal. And now whenever I play it, I can picture specific locations, specific paths I took to get there, certain Metro stations with an uncanny precision.

Throughout the course of the site’s decade history, I’ve written quite a bit about Superhuman Happiness. The act has managed to survive through a number of different lineup changes and sonic departures necessitated by those lineup changes — and from the act’s core members following wherever their muses took them, Hands though is a joyous, mischievous yet deeply intelligent work that will make you shout and dance. Considering the bleakness of our world, this album may be much more needed than they ever anticipated.

Deriving their name from a Vladimir Nabokov short story about a traveler, who finds a place so beautiful that he wants to spend his life then but who cruelly  gets dragged back to brutal reality, the Dublin, Ireland-based act Cloud Castle Lake — currently Daniel McAuley (vocals, synths), Brendan William Jenkinson (guitar, piano), Rory O’Connor (bass), Brendan Doherty (drums), and a rotating cast of collaborators, friends and associates — received attention with 2014’s self-released debut EP Dandelion, an effort that firmly established the act’s uniquely sound: deeply influenced by and indebted to  Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the Irish act pairs McAuley’s tender and soaring falsetto with cinematic arrangements and expansive song structur es.

Released in 2018, the act’s Rob Kirwan-produced debut Malingerer is an ambitious, challenging and breathtakingly beautiful work that’s part film score and part cosmic meditation, full of aching yearning.

A couple of years ago, I caught the Irish act play at Rockwood Music Hall, as part of the Lower East Side venue’s monthly Communion showcase — and their set was met with awed and reverential silence.

Stockholm, Sweden-based garage punk outfit Sudakistan — Michell Serrano (vocals), Maikel Gonzalez (bass), Carlos Amigo (percussion) Juan Jose Espindola (drums) and Arvid Sjöö (guitar) — have one of the most unique and perhaps most 21st Century backstories of any band I’ve ever written about: four of the band’s five members emigrated to Sweden from South America with the remaining member being the band’s only native Swede. With the release of their debut album, 2015’s Caballo Negro, the members of Sudakistan received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for crafting material that draws from Latin-tinged garage punk rock with lyrics sung in English, Spanish and Swedish. Interestingly, the alum is arguably hardest and most mosh pit friendly of the band’s albums to date, the album’s material found the band expanding their sound through the incorporation of non-traditional punk rock instruments — seemingly inspired by the band’s desire to make each of their individual roles to be much more fluid. . “It was much more of a collaboration between the five of us,” the band’s Michell Serrano explains in press notes. . “Things flowed differently. Carlos sings on two or three songs, and Mikael sings on one. We swapped instruments quite a lot, and because we had access to everything in the studio, we were able to use some piano, some acoustic guitar and some mandolin, too.”

Additionally, the album’s lyrical and thematic concerns draws from the band members’ everyday reality with each individual member contributing lyrical ideas. “Our first album was made over five years, rather than five months, so the themes on it weren’t as heavy as this. Now, we’re talking about a lot of the things that we’ve gone through together since we started the band, as well as personal things – like, why do I keep repeating the same mistakes. We talk about pursuing our own Swedish reality, but that’s just because we’re living in Sweden – it’s relatable in any other country, I think,” Maikel Gonzalez says in press notes.

The album’s material resonates in an age of divisiveness, xenophobia, fear mongering and strife because its an urgent and passionate reminder of what’s possible with cultural exchange, empathy and curiosity —  bold new ideas, new takes on the familiar, as well as equality for all with everyone’s story behind heard, understood and championed. One day that will happen but we will have to work our asses off to get there.

New Video: Shawn Johnson’s Trippy Animated Visuals for Czarface’s and Ghostface’s Latest Single

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about Czarface, a collaborative project featuring renowned, underground hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan‘s Inspectah Deck. The act derives its name from a character they created that’s patterned after comic book super villains and aspects of each of the individual members of the project. Now, as you may recall, the act can trace its origins to when the trio toured together, which led to a handful of singles — including “Speaking Real Words” off 7L & Esoteric’s 2001 album, The Soul Purpose and “12th Chamber” off their 2010 album 1212, and a number of other singles. Since the act formed back in 2013, they’ve released four critically applauded albums: their 2013 self-titled debut, 2015’s Every Hero Needs a Villain, 2016’s A Fistful of Peril and their collaboration with MF Doom, Czarface Meets Metalface, which was released last year.

Interestingly, the acclaimed trio follow their critically applauded and highly-anticipated collaboration with MF Doom by teaming up with another legendary and beloved emcee, Ghostface Killah, a.k.a. Iron Man, a.k.a. Tony Starks on Czarface Meets Ghostface, which is slated for release later this week. “Iron Claw,” the album’s first single was a perfect taste of what hip hop heads should expect from the album — four of the world’s dopest emcees trading swaggering bars about running crime syndicates, taking over the world, being the dopest around and more over a thumping and downright menacing production featuring enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, chopped up vocal samples and arpeggiated synths.  The album’s second and latest single “Mongolian Beef” features each emcee making an insane array of pop cultural references with some of the most inventive word play and rhyme schemes I’ve heard in some time — and each emcee trades their dense bars over a wobbling yet cinematic production consisting of a thumping and stuttering beats, chopped up vocal samples, buzzing organs, a sinuous and funky bass line. It’s a track that manages to be trippy and yet full of the street shit that I love so much — and much like Strong Arm Steady’s “Premium,” the track finds the collaborative unit pushing their talents, skills and overall sound in a wild, new direction. 

Directed by Shawn A. Johnson, the recently released, collage-based animated video fittingly draws from comic books, anime and Japanimation and is as much of a trip as the song it accompanies. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Evidence Releases Kaleidoscopic and Psychedelic Visuals for “The Factory”

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

Perretta’s fourth album Weather or Not was released earlier this year, and the album is the first batch of new material from the Los Angeles-based emcee and producer since the 2014’s The Alchemist-produced Lord Steppingstone. Interestingly a number of singles from the album have been released, including the DJ Premier-produced third single “10,000 Hours,” which featured a swaggering and strutting West Coast gangsta hip-hop meets East Coast boom bap production paired with a criminally unheralded emcee rhyming about the dedication and time he has spent practicing, developing and honing his skills to become one of the very best. 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 yet the production managed to be roomy enough to allow Evidence and Slug to trade bars full of diverse metaphors and descriptive symbolism. “Bad Publicity,” Weather or Not’s Nottz-produced fifth single continued in a similar vein as its predecessors as it was centered around a golden era hip-hop production that was roomy enough for  Evidence and Strong Arm Steady‘s gravelly-voiced Krondon to spit fiery, braggadocio-filled bars. 

The album’s latest single is the Twiz the Beat Pro-produced “The Factory,” a track centered around a kaleidoscopic and somewhat ambient production consisting of explosive blasts of scratching, twinkling strings, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats — and much like its predecessor, the production manages to be roomy enough for one of contemporary hip-hop’s most dexterous emcees displaying an uncanny ability to craft complex rhymes with witty and hilarious punchlines. 

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.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Statik Selektah Teams Up with The Lox on the Boom Bap-Era Inspired Single “But You Don’t Hear Me Tho”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of the past five years or so, you’ve come across a handful of posts mentioning or featuring Statik Selektah, a Boston, MA-born, New York-based DJ, producer, radio producer and founder of ShowOff Records, who’s also one-half of hip-hop duo 1982 with frequent collaborator Termanology.  And as you may recall, the Boston-born, New York-based producer, born Patrik Baril, much like anyone who’s involved in music, was introduced to music at a very young age; in fact, he can trace the origins of his own musical career to when he began experimenting with his parents’ eight-track tape deck, cassette recorders and turntables. By middle school, Baril had begun DJ’ing school functions, but as the story goes, Baril became truly inspired to be a producer and turntabilist after hearing DJ Premier and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97.

As a high schooler, Baril, named himself DJ Statik — the Selektah came much later, after he had heard a local reggae artist say it — and began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy‘s radio station, WPEA, and where he also occasionally DJ’ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. He began to DJ clubs and private clubs throughout New England; however, by 2000, Baril had returned to Boston, where he pursued an audio production degree at the New England Institute of Art. Around that time, Baril began releasing a mixtape series titled “Spell My Name Right,” which he then followed several years later by creating ShowOff Marketing, which eventually had Reebok, G-Unit Records, Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Puff Daddy‘s Vote or Die Campaign as clients, before spinning off into a label, which released Termanology’s Out the Gate and Baril’s 2007 debut Spell My Name Right.

Since the release of his 2007 debut, Statik Selektah has released 7 more albums including his 2010 breakthrough 100 Proof: The Hangover, an effort that eventually reached #37 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Chart, and has produced and collaborated with an incredibly diverse list of artists including Freeway, Strong Arm Steady and others. Statik Selektah’s eighth, full-length album, the aptly titled 8 was released yesterday — December 8, 2017, which may be rather auspicious — through his own ShowOff Records, and the album has the renowned producer 

Statik Selektah’s eighth full-length album, aptly titled 8 is slated for an auspicious December 8, 2017 release through his own ShowOff Records, and the album finds the renowned producer collaborating with a who’s who’s list of contemporary hip-hop including 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, Wale, G. Eazy  Joey Bada$$, PnB Rock, the late Sean Price and others. Album singles like the Pete Rock-like“No. 8,” a collaboration with Conway, Westside Gunn and frequent collaborator, the aformentioned Termanology and the neo-soul-inspired “Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed,” a collaboration with  a backing band consisting of Brady Watt (bass), a member of The Lesson and DJ Premier’s backing band, Cas Weinbren (keys) Utril Rhaburn (horns),  Enisa (vocals), G. Eazy and Joey Bada$$  further cemented Baril as one of contemporary hip-hop’s best producers. 

The album’s latest single “But You Don’t Hear Me Tho” is collaboration with The Lox and Mtune featuring golden era-inspired production consisting of a looped sample of twinkling keys, blasts of horn and tweeter and woofer rocking, boom bap beats, and the old school-like production is roomy enough for the members of The Lox (Styles P., Jadakiss and Sheek Louch) to trade bars reminiscing about what hip-hop has -meant to them as people and artists, while making pointed commentary on the fickleness of the industry. Along with that, each emcee seems thankful that they’ve managed to survive the trails and tribulations they’ve faced but underneath the surface is a rather profound question of where they’d be without their love affair with hip-hop. 

Directed by Najee Evans, the video features the renowned producer with his adorable daughter, as he takes her to his favorite record store to crate dig but perhaps more important, the video is a revelatory flashback on his career, featuring cameos from Joey Bada$$, DJ Premier, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Westside Gunn, Conway, as well as footage of The Lox. 

Born Patrick Baril, Statik Selektah is a Boston, MA-born, New York-based DJ, producer, radio producer and founder of Showoff Records, as well as one-half of hip-hop duo 1982 with frequent collaborator Termanology. Much like anyone who’s involved in music in some way or another, Baril was introduced to music at a very young age, and he can trace the origins of his own career to when he began experimenting with his parents’ eight-track tape deck, cassette recorders and turntables. Unsurprisingly, Baril began DJ’ing school functions as a middle schooler; but as the story goes, a young Baril was truly inspired to be a producer and turntabilist after hearing the likes of DJ Premier and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97.

As a high schooler, Baril, named himself DJ Statik — the Selektah came much later, after he had heard a local reggae artist say it — and began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy‘s radio station, WPEA, and where he also occasionally DJ’ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. He began to DJ clubs and private clubs throughout New England; however, by 2000, Baril had returned to Boston, where he pursued an audio production degree at the New England Institute of Art. Around that time, Baril began releasing a mixtape series titled “Spell My Name Right,” which he then followed several years later by creating ShowOff Marketing, which eventually had ReebokG-Unit RecordsVirgin RecordsCapitol Records and Puff Daddy‘s Vote or Die Campaign as clients, before spinning into a label, which released Termanology’s Out the Gate and his 2007 debut Spell My Name Right.

Since the release of his 2007 debut, Statik Selektah has released 6 more albums including his 2010 breakthrough 100 Proof: The Hangover, an effort that eventually reached #37 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Chart, and has produced and collaborated with an incredibly diverse list of artists including FreewayStrong Arm Steady and others.

Statik Selektah’s eighth full-length album, aptly titled is slated for an auspicious December 8, 2017 release through his own ShowOff Records, and the album finds the renowned producer collaborating with a who’s who’s list of contemporary hip-hop including 2 ChainzWiz KhalifaAction BronsonWale, G. Eazy  Joey Bada$$PnB Rock, the late Sean Price and others. Now, as you may recall, the album’s title track “No. 8” found the renowned producer pairing his golden era hip-hop inspired production featuring enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and a jazzy sample reminiscent of Pete Rock with ConwayWestside Gunn and frequent collaborator, the aformentioned Termanology contributing some fiery and swaggering bars.

“Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed”  8‘s latest single is a warm and neo-soul leaning production featuring a backing band consisting of Brady Watt (bass), a member of The Lesson and DJ Premier’s backing band, contributing a sinuous and strutting bass line, Cas Weinbren (keys) contributing twinkling, arpeggiated keys, Utril Rhaburn (horns), contributing some mournful horns fed through gentle washes of reverb, enormous, twitter and woofer rocking 808s and some incredible scratching from Statik Selektah and a soulfully sung hook from Enisa. And the production is roomy enough for G. Eazy and Joey Bada$$ to trade bars about achieving  success beyond their wildest dreams and yet finding that many aspects of their lives have ironically remained the same; they may have a multi-million dollar home but find themselves struggling to pay for it, they’re still scheming for the next opportunity — and while we may still admire them and their incredible talents, what both emcees suggest is that if you didn’t know who they were, they lead fairly average albeit very odd lives. While further cementing Baril as one of contemporary hip-hop’s best producers, 8‘s latest single may arguably be one of his most straightforwardly soulful and contemplative tracks he’s ever released.

 

New Video: Statik Selektah Teams Up with Conway Westside Gunn and Termanology on Swaggering and Gritty Track off Producer’s Soon-to-Be Released Album

Born Patrick Baril, Statik Selektah is a Boston, MA-born, New York-based DJ, producer, radio producer and founder of Showoff Records, as well as one-half of hip-hop duo 1982 with frequent collaborator Termanology. Interestingly enough, much like anyone who’s involved in music in some way or another, Baril was introduced to music at a very young age, and he can trace the origins of his own career to when he began experimenting with his parents’ eight-track tape deck, cassette recorders and turntables. Unsurprisingly, Baril began DJ’ing school functions as a middle schooler; but as the story goes, a young Baril was truly inspired to be a producer and turntabilist after hearing the likes of DJ Premier and Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97.

As a high schooler, Baril, named himself DJ Statik — the Selektah came much later, after he had heard a local reggae artist say it — and began doing radio at Phillips Exeter Academy’s radio station, WPEA, and where he also occasionally DJ’ed some of the Afro-Latino Society Parties. He began to DJ clubs and private clubs throughout New England; however, by 2000, Baril had returned to Boston, where he pursued an audio production degree at the New England Institute of Art. Around that time, Baril began releasing a mixtape series titled “Spell My Name Right,” which he then followed several years later by creating ShowOff Marketing, which eventually had Reebok, G-Unit Records, Virgin Records, Capitol Records and Puff Daddy’s Vote or Die Campaign as clients, before spinning into a label, which released Termanology’s Out the Gate and his 2007 debut Spell My Name Right.

Since the release of his 2007 debut, Statik Selektah has released 6 more albums including his 2010 breakthrough 100 Proof: The Hangover, an effort that eventually reached #37 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, and has produced and collaborated with an incredibly diverse list of artists including Freeway, Strong Arm Steady and others.

Statik Selektah’s eighth full-length album, aptly titled 8 is slated for an auspicious December 8, 2017 release through his own ShowOff Records, and the album finds the renowned producer collaborating with a who’s who’s list of contemporary hip-hop including 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, Wale, G-Eazy, Joey Bada$$, PnB Rock,  the late Sean Price and others. The album’s latest single, album title track “8” finds the producer pairing his golden era production featuring enormous 808s and a bluesy and jazzy sample reminiscent of Pete Rock with Conway, Westside Gunn and frequent collaborator Termanology contributing some fiery and swaggering bars. While Hot 97 may be playing Future and god knows what else, thankfully, there’s real hip-hop like I remember still being made and released.

The recently released video begins with footage of an actual shooting in Buffalo that took place while recording the scene introducing Conway. The video then introduces Westside outside of a cheesesteak place and Termanology on a stoop serving as a reminder that hip-hop is always about the streets.