Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quick Spins

Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues
The much delayed, much anticipated new record from Against Me! has finally arrived and no doubt about it, Transgender Dysphoria Blues was worth the wait. The most important punk rock record since Green Day’s American Idiot and up there in importance with The Ramones debut, The Clash’s London Calling, and Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bullocks, frontwoman Laura Jane Grace reveals her transformation from the man formerly known as Tom Gable to the woman she is today. The record is heroic as it is heartbreaking, brave as it is brutal, scary as it is hopeful and most importantly triumphant as it is bold.

BurialRival Dealer EP
Last month, as Beyonce surprised the music world with a brand new album, enigmatic British beatmaker Burial did the same, on a smaller scale of course. The three song Rival Dealer EP is brings out the best in what we have love about Burial after all these years and most of all, still leaves us in awe and wanting more.

Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes The Dragon and Abstract
Two titans of hip-hop team-up for a mixtape that brings about the glory days of when these two were guesting on each other’s records during their heydey and show the new class how it is done after all these years in the game.

Africa Express Vol. 2: Maison de Jeunes
Damon Albarn brings Idris Elba, Nick Zinner, Brian Eno, and many others to link up with Malian musicians to another installment of taking traditional native tunes and giving them a beautiful alternative twist.

It has been over a month since Queen B surprised us all with her self-titled LP and she managed to close out 2013 with a bang. Beyonce proved by doing this her artistic, business, and forward thinking credit is not only in tact, it proved that she is the biggest female star of this generation and will be for years to come.

Step BrothersLord Steppington
The much anticipated debut from Step Brothers aka The Alchemist and Evidence has finally arrived and it is pact with a slew of stars from Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, Blu, Domo Genesis, Oh No, Fashawn and more. It takes the flavor of new school hip-hop and gives it a interesting twist.

Broken Bells After the Disco
The sophomore album from Danger Mouse and The Shins’ James Mercer’s Broken Bells arrives and is much more poppy and lively than their 2010 debut. After the Disco also more lush and layered in sound and production from Mouse than their prior efforts.

The Lawrence ArmsMetropole
After seven years, the sixth album from The Lawrence Arms finally arrives and the band picks up right where they left off. The album was inspired by a trip to Italy but one would never know, it contains textbook Arms riffs, choruses and most of all the energy that has made them the band they are after all these years.

Del the Funky HomosapianIller Than Most
Beyonce and Burial closed 2013 with surprise releases and Del the Funky Homosapian  kicked off the year with one. Iller Than Most was a free album from the iconic emcee that as he described as “Lyrically ill but fun to listen to, nothing super heavy,” needless to say, he was right.

Young the Giant Mind Over Matter
Four years after their extremely popular debut, Young The Giant return with their sophomore effort and while not as commercially poppy as their debut, it still packs a fun punch of energy and eclectic sounds that have made them a fan and festival favorite in recent years.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Wig Out Jagbags
The former Pavement singer returns with The Jicks to give their sixth album and in fans of Malkmus will be pleased but does not do much to change the formula that have made them who they are.

Dum Dum Girls Too True
The Dum Dum Girls return with their fourth album and bring a great sense of British cold wave bands like Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Cure, The Stone Roses, Suede and The Jesus And Mary Chain.

Mogwai Rave Tapes
The eighth release from the Scottish noisemakers does not disappoint and as usual, these songs are going to kill live more than they do on disc.

Bruce Springsteen High Hopes
The Boss is back and this time he is bringing along Tom Morello to add an extra crank to his sound. Morello, much like the songs on High Hopes has been jamming with Springsteen and E-Street for a few years now as a guest of the band on stage and like some of these songs, which have been featured in the Springsteen setlists for over a decade, including some of the covers on the record like one’s of Suicide and The Saints, are now packaged together. Springsteen brings the road to a record but for fans it will be a forgettable affair for most of the tracks.

The much delayed and anticipated second record from Warpaint arrives and now, produced by Flood, the band bring a darker side to their sound and come off much more moody than ever before.

The Bloc Party front man goes back to his DJ and dance roots for his second solo EP but fails to make the sound he loves so much interesting.

Quick News

New York Hardcore legends Sick of It All have confirmed they are writing and recording their brand new album and hope to have it out by the end of the year.

Another set of NYHC legends, Madball, are currently in the studio crafting their next album. The hardcore heroes hope to have their new record out by the summer.

Speaking of making a new album this year, The Who's Roger Daltrey has confirmed that the band will hope to make a new album and have it out in 2014 to celebrate their 50th anniversary together. Daltrey said to NME, "Pete's got hundreds of songs. So the only question is whether we get around to it, but he wants to make an album and I'm always ready and raring to go. We'll see. I never know what I'm doing next, it's about what comes through my letterbox tomorrow, but I don't see why we wouldn't. My voice is still in good shape. The hearing isn't so great, but the voice is fine."

Rapper Freddie Gibbs and producer / emcee Madlib are teaming up to release Pinata, their debut together on March 18. The album will feature Odd Future's Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul, Danny Brown, and BJ The Chicago Kid.

Is Nas considering making an sequel to his groundbreaking debut, Illmatic? With the 20th anniversary of Illmatic upon us this year, Nas spoke to VIBE about the idea. He said, "I definitely though about that. It just has to flow, it has to be natural. I can work on that and if I don’t like it, just scrap it. I have to feel it. It got to to be honest." Nas is rumored to be releasing a new album this year.

After releasing one of the greatest comeback albums in history last year with Bloodsports, Suede's Brett Anderson said to NME that the seminal British band are going to work on new music saying, "We're busy writing at the moment," he said. "I'm very proud of 'Bloodsports', and the best thing about it is that it showed us that we can write new music, and relevant new music. We want to carry on writing and pushing forward, so we're taking it somewhere else now. I think it'll be out next year, as we’re just writing at the moment so realistically it will be next year."

Speaking to BBC1's Zane Lowe, Dave Grohl revealed that the new Foo Fighters album is going to shock a lot of people. Grohl said, "I know what it sounds like and I honestly think the entire concept is really going to take people by surprise and it sounds nuts. We recorded something the other day that's unlike anything we've ever done and it starts with a fuse and then it explodes."

After sacking vocalist Ron Reyes last year during a gig, Gregg Ginn has confirmed that their is a new singer for Black Flag, the band's fourth overall. Ginn has hired skater and manager Mike Vallely to take over on vocal duties replacing Reyes.

2014 marks an important year in anniversaries for music, but the biggest might be the 30th anniversary of Def Jam records. The iconic hip-hop label that was started in Rick Rubin's dorm room at NYU will enter it's third decade and the label has revealed a new logo, take a look:

Baltimore duo Wye Oak will release their new album, Shreik in April. Take a look at the cover below:

AGAINST ME! on Letterman

Watch Against Me! perform a ripping rendition of "Fuckmylife666" on Letterman!

Broken Bells on Kimmel

Watch Broken Bells perform "Holding on for Dear Life" and "After the Disco" on Kimmel!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

VINTAGE CLIP: Johnny Cash & Pete Seeger

Watch a piece of music history as Pete Seeger guested on The Johnny Cash show in 1970 and the two American icons jammed together.

Springsteen Honors Pete Seeger

While on his first tour of South Africa with the E-Street band and Tom Morello, Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to the late American folk singer and activist, Pete Seeger in Cape Town. Take a look at fan shot video of The Boss and E-Street doing the Seeger staple, "We Shall Overcome."

Bastille on Lettterman

Take a look at Bastille performing "Bad Blood" on Letterman!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quick News

Sad news to report, poet, folk pioneer, activist and brilliant musician Pete Seeger pasted away at age 94. Seeger is said to have passed from natural causes at New York's Presbyterian Hospital. Ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama honored Seeger and said in a statement, "Once called “America’s tuning fork,” Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song. But more importantly, he believed in the power of community – to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be. Over the years, Pete used his voice – and his hammer – to strike blows for worker’s rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Pete’s family and all those who loved him." Before Obama was inaugurated in 2009, Seeger joined Bruce Springsteen and sang "This Land Is Your Land" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Bob Marley will be the subject of a children's off-Broadway musical. Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, will open at New York City's New Victory Theater in Times Square, it was co-written by his daughter Cedella and it tells the story of Ziggy, a Jamaican child so afraid of the tropical storms and evil spirits, he chooses to stay inside all day. But with a little help from his mother, a neighbor and a bird, Ziggy gets the courage he needs to hop off the couch and go outside.

According to a report in the Maui News, Fleetwood Mac are going to be recording new songs with Christine McVie, who recently rejoined the famous band.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela will release their new album, 9 Dead Alive in April. Take a look at the cover below:

Also unveiling the cover to their new album is The Hold Steady. The Brooklyn based band will release their new album, Teeth Dreams in March. Take a look at the cover below:

Katy B Covers Arctic Monkeys!

 For the awesome BBC1 Live Lounge series which has featured Jake Bugg covering Oasis, Kings of Leon covering Robyn, Arctic Monkeys covering Drake, now, the Monkeys get to be covered by the wonderful Katy B nonetheless. Take a look as she does a mash-up of Arctic Monkeys "One for the Road," and Ben Pearce's "What I Might Do."

The Hold Steady Album Trailer

The Hold Steady released the album trailer to their forthcoming record, Teeth Dreams. Take a look!

Airborne Toxic Event on Kimmel

 Watch Airborne Toxic Event perform "Hell and Back" on Kimmel!

Arctic Monkeys on Letterman

Two weeks before they perform their first headlining set at Madison Square Garden, Arctic Monkeys performed "Do I Wanna Know?" on Letterman. Take a look!

The Strypes on Conan

Watch The Strypes perform "Blue Collar Jane" on Conan!

Monday, January 27, 2014


With the announcement of The Afghan Whigs' first album in 16 years arriving in April, we went into YouTube and called up a few vintage clips of the band performing on on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 1993 and The Late Show with David Letterman in 1996. Take a look! 

Live Pix: Masters of Ceremony @ Radio City

On Friday night, some of hip-hops most legendary emcees and DJ's gathered at a sold-out Radio City Music Hall for the Masters of Ceremony concert which featured EPMD, Juice Crew, Rakim, Naughty By Nature, Biz Markie, Kool Herc, DMX, Black Sheep, Slick Rick, Bran Nubian, Ed Lover, Keith Murray, and so many more. Our very own RICH D SMOOV was on hand to capture some of the action. Take a look at his live pix below:

Naughty by Nature 
 Bran Nubian 
 Ed Lover 
 Slick Rick 
 Juice Crew 

To see more pictures of the event, LIKE us on FACEBOOK
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Cloud Nothings Announce New Album!

Awesome Ohio garage rockers Cloud Nothings will release their brand new album, Here and Nowhere Else in April. Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, and hear the first single, "I'm Not Part of Me."

01 Now Hear In
02 Quieter Today
03 Psychic Trauma
04 Just See Fear
05 Giving Into Seeing
06 No Thoughts
07 Pattern Walks
08 I'm Not Part of Me

Quick News

If anyone watched the Grammys last night, they may have noticed that the epic finale featuring Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and Lindsay Buckingham was cut off because of corporate sponsors to the event and then ended in the middle of Queens playing "My God is the Sun." This did not sit well with fans, including us, and NIN leader Trent Reznor who took to Twitter to blast the Grammys saying, "Music's biggest night. . . to be disrespected. A heartfelt FUCK YOU guys." The night also came under fire from Slayer fans who noticed that the late Jeff Hanneman of the iconic metal band, who have won Grammys in the past, was not included in the "In Memorial" section of the show. No statement from the Grammys regarding both matters has been announced.

Swans will release their new album, To Be Kind, in May. The record will feature St. Vincent, Cold Specks, and Little Annie.

Speaking to The Fader, No Malice of Clipse has denounced that he and his brother, Pusha T are working on a new Clipse record. He said, "“There is no Clipse album in the works. It’s not going down. I don’t know where the rumor stems from. And I don’t know how this keeps coming back up—this isn’t the first time. But I would never play with the fans like that and act like something’s about to happen and it’s not.”

After we posted the awesome news last week that The Afghan Whigs are indeed releasing new material this year, the band announced that their first new album in 16 years will arrive in April, shortly after they play both weekends of Coachella. The record will be out via their original label Sub Pop and will be called Do The Beast. Take a look at the awesome cover below:

Four Tet Shares New Mix!

Taking to Soundcloud, Four Tet shared a new hour-long January mix called "1234567890qwertyuiopasdfghjklz." Take a listen!

Sunday, January 26, 2014


The voice of Sweden's Nina Persson is instantly recognizable. Her voice is inviting but vulnerable, it is hopeful but can be melancholy. The singer for The Cardigans and A Camp will release her latest solo venture, Animal Heart, next month and we had a chance to speak with her about her colorful career, new album, and what is in store for her down the line. Take a look at our interview with Persson below:

After all of these years, you are making your solo debut. What does it feel like?

It feels great! I haven't made records in my own name before since I've felt so good about being in bands and collaborations. Right now, it just feels right!

The name of the record and title track is “Animal Heart” what does that signify for you as an artist and as a person?

Just like always, I write a lot about how primitive we all get when it comes to love and sexuality, and I think that the title sums that up quite well.

What was your biggest inspiration making this album?

Just revisiting my own roots, the ones that formed be before I joined the Cardigans. 80's radio pop!

What did you do differently on this record that you did not do before?

I used a lot more keyboards and synthetic drums. I have no guitar playing band member tied to me, so I could just experiment with other instruments than I have before.

A Camp released two fantastic albums, granted there was an 8 year gap in between records, will there ever be a follow-up to “Colonia?” If so, will it be in another eight years?

Hehe, hopefully not 8 years again, but I hope we'll make more A Camp-music! AND solo stuff AND Cardigans, I want to do it all.

The Cardigans have been an on-again-off-again touring band for a number of years, will a new studio album ever happen?

Maybe! After we started playing together last summer, we have gotten really excited to do make new music together again. We'll just have to figure out the logistics, since I live in NY, one guy is back and forth between Stockholm and LA and some are in Malmö.

Which do you prefer – being a solo artist or working with a band?

I actually do a lot of thinks as if I were with a band, even when it's a solo record. I'm never alone. But I do love my bands and I realize how much it has colored me that I practically grew up in bands.

You have been living in New York City for a number of years, how has the city inspired your work?

It's just nice to be in a new place and I think the total non-conformity and mix of people has been good for me. I've met a lot of new great musicians and I get to bounce off new surfaces all the time.

Hailing from the pop capitol of the world – Sweden, do you still follow the Swedish music scene even though you are away from it?

Not really, although I don't follow much music at all! I need to get better at that.

After being in the music business for so long, what advice would you give to any new artist emerging hoping to live out their rock and roll dreams?

Hm... These days I think it's more important than ever to really try to find what's really your own. But I don't know really, everybode need to make their own mistakes, I'm afraid.

After all of these years making music, what is your fondest memory?

Can't pick out one! I have really had great times and harder times.

Once ‘Animal Heart’ comes out, what is next for you?

I'm gonna tour with the record, in Europe and in the U.S. Hopefully do festivals during the summer, and then maybe just tour some more.

Pre-Order The Album Here!

Schoolboy Q on Fallon

 Schoolboy Q made his network TV debut on Friday with help from The Roots as he performed "Man of the Year" on Fallon! Take a look!

Quick News

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Miguel has revealed he is working with Jesse Ware for a track on his upcoming new album.

Aberdeen, Washington, has declared February 20th Kurt Cobain Day. The city is giving the honor to the late Nirvana frontman because he grew up in the city which is 80 miles south of Seattle.

After it was announced last year that Aimee Mann and Ted Leo were linking up to make awesome music together, the duo are calling themselves The Both and will release their debut in April.

Breaking Bad actor Bob Odenkirk has revealed that The Afghan Whigs will be releasing a new album this year, the bands first in 16 years. Odenkirk revealed the news on Instagram after he met Whigs frontman Greg Dulli and said new music is on it's way.

New York hip-hop outfit Ratking have announced details of their debut album, So It Goes. It will arrive on April 8, take a look at the tracklisting below:
'Snow Beach'
'So Sick Stories (ft. King Krule)'
'Remove Ya'
'So It Goes'
'Puerto Rican Judo (ft. Wavy Spice)'
'Bug Fights'
'Take (ft. Salomon Faye)'

Foster the People revealed the cover to their new album, Supermodel on a wall mural in LA this week. Take a look at the cover below:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick News

After much speculation, U2 are indeed airing a commercial during the Super Bowl, however, the legendary Irish rockers will not be promoting a new album, it will be to give away a new song for free so that they can help fight AIDS. Beginning the night of the Super Bowl, U2 are teaming up with (RED) and Bank of America to give away their new single, "Invisible" for 24-hours. Every the song is downloaded, which it is free, Bank of America will donate $1 to (RED) to help fight AIDS in the poorest parts of the globe.

Neil Young will release his new album, A Letter Home, in March via Jack White's Third Man Records.

Superstar DJ Calvin Harris is teaming up with Jay Z and Will Smith to bring a scripted comedy about EDM to HBO. Not much else is known about the forthcoming show, but Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh is attached to write the series.

While we all wait for this much anticipated new D'Angelo record to arrive, footage of the enigmatic R&B star in the studio appeared over the week which featured bassist Pino Palladino (Nine Inch Nails, The Who) in the studio working on new tracks. No word as to when the LP will arrive, or if it ever will.

The Beatles are teaming up with Vans to release a special edition Yellow Submarine-inspired series of sneakers. The new sneakers will be available March 1 and will run between $65-$75. Take a look at what the look like below:

Danny Brown on Kimmel

Watch Danny Brown with special guest Megan James of Purity Ring do "25 Bucks" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Great Soundtracks: Dancer in the Dark

While Oscar season is in full effect and most "critics" and "journalists" care more about red carpet fashions and the looks of celebrities rather than the art of the motion pictures nominated, it brings to mind a specific case in point - Bjork's now infamous swan dress at the 2001 Oscars. While the Icelandic goddess made her big screen debut in 2000 in Lars Von Trier's dark and twisted musical Dancer in the Dark, she was even nominated for "Best Original Song" for the 2001 Oscars for the film's song "I Have Seen It All," a duet Bjork did for the Dancer in the Dark soundtrack with Thom Yorke. Yet, all the attention on Bjork was brought on for all of the wrong reasons. Now, that the season is in full effect and it has been nearly 14 years since the soundtrack to the mesmerizing film was released, we are looking back on it.

The soundtrack became much more than music to the film, it also became a Bjork album that stands on it's own. Using her classic ambient and electronica sound and combining it with classical score arraignments and sampling sounds from factories, train stations, and everyday life, the soundtrack would eventually be known as Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Dancer in the Dark. While some regard it as a Bjork solo album that was inspired more by the film rather than a soundtrack, whatever the case may be, it ties to a film that landed Bjork an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, that part still won't be remembered.

Recommended Reading: "My Cross To Bear"

For someone like Gregg Allman who has spent most of his life in the public eye and someone like Gregg who has seen every high and low of fame, a story like his is not only intriguing, it is also amazing he made it out alive. From his strict Georgia roots and forming The Allman Brothers Band with his family, success was something they only dreamed of, but their status as legendary rock and rollers was something they could never imagine, especially someone like Gregg.

Last year, Gregg put it all out there and told his life story with My Cross To Bear. A life story that featured a no-holds barred look at what substance abuse, fame, and the pressure of living up to your own hype can do to you. Gregg chronicles everything. From his drug addiction to his failed marriages and affairs, including a brief union with Cher. Gregg even candidly opens up about his relationships with his brothers and the passing of his brother Duane and what it is like to live a life on the road. The book is as intriguing as one of his classic tunes and a fascinating look at an American life so beloved around the world.

Ellie Goulding on Letterman

Watch Ellie Goulding perform "Burn" on Letterman!

Young the Giant on Kimmel

 Watch Young the Giant perform "Crystallized," and "It's About Time" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

EMA New Album Details

On April 8, indie darling EMA will release her new album, The Future's Void. Take a look at the awesome cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, as well as watch the first video for the single, "Satellites." 

01 Satellites
02 So Blonde
03 3Jane
04 Cthulu
05 Smoulder
06 Neuromancer
07 When She Comes
08 100 Years
09 Solace
10 Dead Celebrity

Quick News

Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are teaming up again with director David Fincher to score his new film, Gone Girl, which arrives later this year. This is the third time Fincher is using Reznor and Ross to score his films, the first was 2010's The Social Network, which won them an Oscar and 2011's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which got them an Golden Globe nomination.

Speaking of Reznor, his main band Nine Inch Nails will be collaborating with Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and Lindsay Buckingham to perform together at the Grammys on Sunday. Also added to the performances on the Grammys are Jay Z and Beyonce.

Now, speaking of Josh Homme, sort of, his side project from Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal are working on a new album. He and Eagles partner Jesse Hughes are working on new songs, the bands first new music since 2009's Heart On.

Manchester Orchestra will release their new album, Cope, in April.

Schoolboy Q released the various album covers for his upcoming album, Oxymoron, which arrives next month. Take a look below:

Bruce Springsteen & Jesse Malin Cover The Ramones

At a recent charity event in Asbury Park over the weekend, Bruce Springsteen surprised fans during Jesse Malin's set and performed The Ramones classic, "Do You Remember Rock 'N Roll Radio?" Take a look at the fan shot footage!

Vampire Weekend on Kimmel

Watch Vampire Weekend perform "Unbelievers" and "Hannah Hunt" on Kimmel!

Disclosure on Fallon

Watch Disclosure with special guest Sam Smith perform on Fallon!

Monday, January 20, 2014


 Take a look at January's 26-song playlist and hear / subscribe to it on our Spotify channel!

Quick News

U2 have been confirmed at the first musical guest of the new era for The Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon takes over on February 17.

Former Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante and former At the Drive-In / Mars Volta but current Bosnian Rainbows guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez are teaming up again. This time the far reaching guitar duo are calling themselves Kimono Cult. They will release an EP in March titled Hiding in the Light. The band will also feature members of Bosnian Rainbows.

Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian spoke to Rolling Stone about the bands plans for a new record. The cult Scottish band are going to head to the studio this March and hope to release a brand new album by the fall.

After a three night run at New York's Terminal 5, which also included a guest appearance on stage with Mary J. Blige, UK dance act Disclosure are currently in the studio working with Q-Tip. The former Tribe Called Quest member posted a photo of himself with the band on Instagram and confirmed they are working together, however, it was not clear if it was for Tip's upcoming album or just a session to see if both sets of acts liked working together.

Damon Albarn New Album Info!

On April 28, music mastermind Damon Albarn will release his new solo album, Everyday Robots. The album features contributions from Brian Eno and Bat For Lashes. The concept of the record is semi-autobiographical to Albarn and explores nature versus technology. Take a look at the cover above, and the tracklisting below:

1) Everyday Robots
2) Hostiles
3) Lonely Press Play
4) Mr Tembo
5) Parakeet
6) The Selfish Giant
7) You And Me
8) Hollow Ponds
9) Seven High
10) Photographs (You Are Taking Now)
11) The History Of A Cheating Heart
12) Heavy Seas Of Love

Sunday, January 19, 2014


The scene is Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010 during the World Cup. The players are John Withers and Emmanuel Nzaramba, Withers at the time was in his early 20's and was making music on his computer while, Nzaramba was in his mid 30's and had only been living in the South African city for a year. The two men, from different backgrounds, Withers a university grad and working in TV, while Nzaramba was a Rwandan refugee whose parents were Hutu and Tutsi, had been traveling around the continent his whole life until he landed in Cape Town and was working as a security guard at a cafe when he met Withers. The two men hit it off and started creating music that combines all African influences, hip-hop, electronica, ambient, but most of all, something so creative and dreamlike, it is hard to imagine in this day and age of every style and sound, something like this was never made before, or if it had, it was not this good. John Wizards was finally born. Last year, the band released one of 2013's best albums with their self-titled debut and now, as the music and story of John Wizards gets passed around the music world, this African band will take their sound global. We spoke John Wizards brainchild, Withers, about his band, formation, and their unique sound. Take a look at our interview below:

How do you plan to break the mold of what we know of South African music?
I'm not completely certain of how South African music is perceived, or how well documented it is overseas. Often, if you're a South African abroad and you make this fact known, you'll be questioned about Die Antwoord. If this is our point of reference, I think that the approach is quite different.  
In recent years, Civil Twilight, The Parlotones, and BLK JKS, all very different sounding bands have gained some attention here in America but never achieved the massive rise they should have. Do you feel that it is much harder to break it in this country coming from your country?
Even without the visa, exchange, and proximity problems that come with being a South African, America is such a large and competitive country that I'm sure it would be difficult to 'break it' there. I'd imagine that making a name for oneself in South Africa is a bit easier than in America. Maybe ask Rodriguez.
The sound of this band resembles Cape Town itself. It is so unique, fresh, exhilarating, and vibrant. How has the city influenced your work?
I'd like to think that my music is rooted in my experience of Cape Town, and since coming back home that feeling has become stronger. It's very easy to find inspiration in such an unusual, diverse, problematic, and beautiful city.
South Africa is the rainbow nation, and it seems as if John Wizards plays off that idea. You paint a picture in the listeners head with various styles of music. Who are some of your influences?
Groups, and people like: The TPOK Jazz, Batsumi, Monster Voels, Earl Rose, Holy Cross Choir, Nozinja, Television, DJ Clock, Orange Juice, Nick Drake, Girl Talk, Samson Mthombeni & Gazankulu Girls, Paul Simon, The Congo's, Stevie Wonder, Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens, Brenda Fassie, Harry Belafonte, Todd Matshikiza, etc.
From The Guardian, Complex, and even Pitchfork, critics are praising your work, who do you respond to the acclaim?
It's all very abstract, and difficult to grasp. I'm flattered, but I'd be worried if it were something that I felt very connected to.
After a few years together, writing and recording, what was it like to finally make your debut?
There had been a great sense of anticipation building up to this, and the release of this tension and excitement was a relief. It has been a wonderful, bewildering and memorable time in my life.
The album plays like a cosmic daydream, do you feel this represents you wanting to escape something? If so, what?
The music is not so much an escape, as it is an expression of release. In creating music I experience some of my strongest emotions, and this is what compells me to write.
The story of this band begins around the time of the World Cup in South Africa, it was a magical time for the country but also a magical time for all of you, this is when the band began to form. How did each of you get in contact with one another?
That period has a special feel to it. I had finished university, moved out, and was truly independent for possibly the first time in my life. I met Emmanuel that year, and the band began to take shape, in the form of old friends. A little while later, a friend was kind enough to lend us her families barn to have our first practices in. I have a strong sense of what this life was like.
Singer Emmanuel Nzaramba is a Rwandan refugee who has both Hutu and Tutsi parents, something which led to the wars in 1994. Having this background, has it played a role in his lyrics and story telling?
I can't speak for him, but I do know that themes of lonelyness and longing reccur in Emmanuel's lyric writing. He's is actually back in Rwanda at the moment. It's the first time that he has been there in 15 years, and he has already been writing lyrics and songs about it.
Emmanuel sings in various languages, who came up with the idea to do this?
Much of the music that I listen to isn't sung in a language that I understand, and so it felt natural to encourage Emmanuel to sing in whatever language he felt most comfortable.
You are 25 and Emmanuel is almost 40, is the gap in age a factor when making music?
It's not a consideration. When I first met him, Emmanuel told me he was 30. He's young in both appearnace and demeanour, so it didn't cross my mind that he might be older until I helped him sort his passport out a few months ago. That's when I saw "Date of Birth: 22 January 1974". He has aged quickly in these few years that I've known him.
Being a band that is as diverse as you are, what does music represent to you?
It is a thing without power of representation; with no neccessary relation to the world, yet capable of bearing tremendous joy, sadness, reflection, and solidarity with others.
 Being in a band from the part of the world that you hail from and it’s history, do you feel John Wizards now represents all of Africa and not just your country?
Africa has many gifted musicians that represent a vast spectrum of traditions and social changes, who can be placed within and represent many cultural contexts. One of the things that I have encountered a lot since people have begun to ask me about my music, is a tendancy to both oversimplify and politicise African music. Personally, John Wizards represents nothing more than a compulsion to create music and explore my place within South Africa and the rest of the continent.
When can we expect John Wizards in America?
As soon as its a little warmer, hopefully.

John Wizards - Muizenberg from Planet Mu on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cuck Inglish Solo Album Details!

On April 8, Chicago rapper and member of The Cool Kids, Chuck Inglish will release his solo album, Convertibles. The album features contributions from Incubus' Mike Eizinger, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Chromeo, Mac Miller, and more. Take a look at the cover above, and the tracklisting below, as well as hear the first single, "Legs" featuring Chromeo. 

01 Elevators [ft. Buddy & Polyvester the Saint]
02 Swervin [ft. Sir Michael Rocks & Polyvester the Saint]
03 Legs [ft. Chromeo]
04 Came Thru/Easily [ft. Mac Miller & Ab-Soul]
05 Attitude [ft. BJ the Chicago Kid]
06 Mas O Menos
07 Money Clip [ft. Vic Mensa, Retch, Hassani Kwess, Sulaiman]
08 Prism [ft. Jade Hurtado]
09 Game Time [ft. Action Bronson]
10 Hurt You Back [ft. Benny Cassette]
11 Dreamy
12 Glam [ft. Chance the Rapper]

Quick News

This year's Oscar race is heating up, but it is not just the filmmakers that are getting the attention, it is musicians too. Artists like U2 (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett (Her), Karen O. (Her), Pharrell (Despicable Me 2), all picked up nominations. In a statement to Rolling Stone, U2 said, ""We are humbled and honored that 'Ordinary Love' has been nominated for an Oscar. It was a privilege to be asked to write a song for this extraordinary film, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, and to help tell this extraordinary love story. We have been working for this great man since we were teenagers and for our song to be recognizedin this way by the Academy is beyond our wildest teenage dreams." Also, in a statement to Rolling Stone, Karen O. said, ""Holy smokes. I had zero clue! To say this was unexpected is an understatement. It's wild because 'The Moon Song' was written and recorded in the most humble of circumstances; at my dining room table, a few paces away from the couch I read the script for 'Her' for the first time."

Taking to Instagram, Foo Fighters posted a picture of eight master tapes with the caption, "It's Fucking ON!" to tell fans that they are in the studio working on their new album. No word though as to when the record will be released.

Speaking to NME, The Klaxons said their new LP will be out in the spring and band member Jamie Reynolds said, "It covers leftfield electronica and pop. It's where we always said we were gonna place ourselves - it just took us a while to learn how to get there."

Also speaking to NME, The Cribs' Gary Jarmin has revealed that he and his band of brothers are working on two albums to release in 2014. One record will be a guitar / punk album and the other will be a pop album. He said, "I feel like there's two sides to the band – a punk rock side and a poppy side – and we've always tried to balance them. The idea this time is to let them exist separately as different records."

Lykke Li has confirmed she has been working on a new album and that it will come in the late Spring.

The Horrors Rhys Webb spoke to NME about the bands upcoming still-untitled fourth album. He said, "We've been experimenting with sound processing, sequencers and rhythm. We want to make music you can dance to, music that elevates. It feels like the next step to us." No word on when it will be released.

Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler spoke to NME also this week and gave an update on the iconic New York City band after it was announced they will make their live comeback in June at New York's Governors Ball. Kessler said, "There was never any sense that we'd come to a breaking point or anything but if you play 200 shows and tour as hard as we did, you need time to get back to other elements of life, and start thinking about new songs."

Talking to Billboard, Metallica's Kirk Hammet said that the band will FINALLY begin working on their new album. He said, "In a couple of weeks. When we start, that's going to be our main priority, and we're pretty excited about it because we've been saying we need to start working on this album, but we've been procrastinating greatly with it. We've pretty much come up with every sort of excuse we can not to start work on the album, but we've run out of excuses, so we pretty much have to start work on it now."

Foster the People announced the tracklisting for their upcoming album, Supermodel, which will arrive in March. Take a look:
'Are You What You Want to Be'
'Ask Yourself'
'Coming of Age'
'The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones'
'Best Friend'
'A Beginner's Guide to Destroying the Moon'
'Goats In Trees'
'The Truth'
'Fire Escape'
'Tabloid Super Junky'

Beck has released the cover of his new album, Morning Phase, which will arrive next month. Take a look:

LIVE PIX: A Great Big World @ Highline Ballroom

On Thursday night, rising artists A Great Big World headlined their largest NYC show to date at the Highline Ballroom and correspondent Le-La Cloutier was there to capture the action. Take a look! 

For more pictures of the event, LIKE us on FACEBOOK
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