Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shovels & Rope on 'Conan'

Watch Shovels & Rope perform "I Know" on Conan.

Holiday Playlist X


Every year the holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier and our holiday playlists get longer and longer. 
Here is a list of songs that won't make you suffer this holiday season. Find 'em and take a listen!

Nina – “Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?”
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – “A Mad Russian’s Christmas”
    Kylie Minogue – “Santa Baby”
       Rise Against – “Making Christmas”
     She & Him – “Christmas Wish”
      Mando Dio – “Christmas Could Have Been Good”
       Solomon Burke – “Presents for Christmas”
       The Hidden Cameras – “A Miracle”
     Johnny Cash – “Little Drummer Boy”
       Simon & Garfunkel – “Go Tell It On the Mountain”
       Roy Orbison – “Pretty Paper”
       Badly Drawn Boy – “Donna and Blitzen”
       Sufjan Stevens - "Mr. Frosty Man"
       Mew – “She Came Home for Chistmas”
       Tom Waits – “Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis”
       The Fall – “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”
      Okkervil River – “Listening to Otis Reading During Christmas”
       R.E.M. – “Deck the Halls”
       The Walkmen – “In the New Year”
       Pet Shop Boys – “Doesn’t It Often Snow at Christmas?”
       Tori Amos – “Pink and Glitter”
      Outkast – “Player’s Ball”
       The Killers – “I Feel It In My Bones”  
For Past Holiday Playlists See Below:

Holiday Playlist Vol. IX - Click HERE 
Holiday Playlist Vol. VIII - Click HERE  
Holiday Playlist Vol. VII - Click HERE 
Holiday Playlist Vol. VI - Click HERE 
Holiday Playlist No. 5 - Click HERE 
Holiday Playlist Vol. IV - Click HERE 
Holiday Playlist Vol. III - Click HERE 
Holiday Playlist 2.0 - Click HERE 
Holiday Playlist Vol. I - Click HERE 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2016 Best New Artist: The Lemon Twigs

This superlative and tradition began in 2011 when a little British artist made a lasting impact on us, that artist James Blake, has gone on to release a handful of superb EP's, a magnificent sophomore LP, won the Mercury Prize and was nominated for a Grammy. Needless to say, we feel like we were correct in picking him and starting this award with him.

Other winners in following years included artists that were picked by us and voted on by you the fans, which were:
2012 - The Heartbreaks
2013 - The 1975
2014 - Royal Blood
2015 - Kamasi Washington  

Glam and classic rock has returned and it is thanks to two brothers from Long Island -- The Lemon Twigs. The band, who we picked as our September Rising Artist,  signed to 4AD over the summer and released their stellar debut, Do Hollywood. The glam-meets-baroque duo are a band that have been inspired by the 1970s and early 80s as well as the dangerous New York City-era their parents told them about. The teenage duo also write hooks that would make Brian Wilson and Lennon / McCartney proud. The harmonies, ideas and clever art they are crafting certainly makes them ones to watch and listen.

Their live shows are also something else. In an era when people say "rock is dead" a handful of teenagers from the same town as Bill Joel are out to prove everyone wrong. 

Quick News


A documentary on the rise of Prince will be arriving next year. The doc titled Prince: R U Listening? will have Michael John Kirk at the helm and features Sheila E., Lenny Kravitz, Mick Jagger, Billy Idol, and Bono, as well as former band mates and close friends. It is slated to arrive sometime in the middle of the year.

Beastie Boy Ad-Rock has designed a vegan leather sneaker for the company Keep. The profits from the shoes will go to benefit Planned Parenthood. In a statement, Ad-Rock said: "I support a woman’s right to choose and feel that women should not be punished for making decisions about their own lives and bodies. If you have similar beliefs, you might wanna grab a pair.” For more information or to order a pair, go HERE.

In a recent interview with GQ, No Malice has hinted that he would like to reunite with Pusha-T for a new Clipse album. He said: "It would be an amazing album. We could totally conquer the world.”

Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins spoke to NME about a new record from the band. He said: "We will make a new record at some point. We won’t really be ready until Dave’s ready to go. It’s on the books, so we’ll definitely be playing. We never really know, we just wait for a text from Dave saying ‘hey, let’s go down to the studio.”

Taking to Instagram, Raekwon confirmed that his new album is done and will arrive sometime next year. 
A photo posted by Raekwon The Chef (@raekwon) on

Stream Soviet Soviet's New Album 'Endless'

Atmospheric Italian trio Soviet Soviet will release their new album, Endless, Friday. You can stream it now via Soundcloud before its official release.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Yasiin Bey, Ferrari Sheppard Announce Debut

Dec 99th, the collaboration between Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) and Ferrari Shepard will release their self-titled debut on December 9. 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below.

01 N.A.W.
02 Blade In The Pocket
04 Local Time
05 Tall Sleeves
06 Seaside Panic Room
07 Shadow In the Dark
08 It Goes
09 Special Dedication

Stream 2 New Burial Songs

The enigmatic genius that is Burial has released two new songs called "Young Death" and "Nightmarket." Take a listen!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

2016 The Albums: Honorable Mentions


So it begins.....the rollout of various music lists from us as we look back at the year that was and present our picks for the most recognizable albums of the year. 
Over the last 10 years, it has become a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for us to issue our first list -- Honorable Mentions. This is the first of three lists we will bring out over the next three weeks, next week we will present our coveted League of Their Own and then finally, the Top 10 albums of the year. 
Here we go -- our Honorable Mentions, albums that were very good, but not good enough to crack the Top 10 but still worth of note.

As we always do, we breakdown the list in short form and then with explanations.

2016 Honorable Mentions in Short Form (In No Particular Order):

- Deftones - Gore
- Dinosaur Jr. - Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not
- Suede - Night Thoughts
- Pet Shop Boys - Super
- Metallica - Hardwired... To Self Destruct
- The Dillinger Escape Plan - Disassociation

Now, in Long Form (In No Particular Order):

Deftones - Gore

Gore is of the most diverse records in the Sacramento band’s catalogue, as well as the most conflicting. Unlike the band’s previous efforts, Deftones bring back the mood swings and harmonies that haven’t been heard since their 2000 classic, White Pony. Gore is as in your face, as it is delicate. It may alienate some fans, appease others but also has the potential to rally a new base. 

Dinosaur Jr. Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not

Like most things in 2016, the best things to come out this year are from seasoned veterans and icons. Dinosaur Jr. return with what could be their best record in decades. It is everything we have come to love about them over the years but better. Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is a breakup album, it is a rock and roll romantic album, but it is also one of their finest albums in years. 

Suede - Night Thoughts

After their blockbuster return in 2013, Suede are back again with Night Thoughts. The record dips more into the darkness that they are known for while giving the savvy and slick musical ability to make a pop song about death sound sexy.
 Pet Shop Boys - Super

This was without a doubt the best record the 80s dancefloor tycoons have released since they first emerged on the scene over 30 years ago. Super is a record that not only will have you moving and dancing for its entire duration, it is also an album that brought so much joy to a dismal year.

Metallica - Hardwired...To Self Destruct

Eight years after the fantastic Death Magnetic, Metallica return with a lengthy piece of chomping guitars, blistering basslines and drums that only they can deliver. While they may be getting older in age, it certainly isn’t slowing them down.
 The Dillinger Escape Plan - Disassociation

The mathcore band announced that after 20 years together and Dissociation was their swansong. If you are a fan of this band, this was a bittersweet farewell as one of the greatest and heaviest live bands around was saying goodbye but in typical fashion they were not doing it quietly. Dissociation is their way of letting fans knows they were going out with a bang on their explosive career.

Stay Tuned Next Week When We Announce The 2016 "League of Their Own" Recipient. 

VINTAGE CLIP: Metallica's 1999 'S&M' Concert

In 1999, Metallica performing a serious of concerts in select cities around the world with composer Michael Kamen and the San Fransisco Symphony Orchestra for their S&M album. Take a look at the band perform the single from the record, "No Leaf Clover."

Friday, November 25, 2016


A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

The first album from the mighty Tribe Called Quest in 18 years does not disappoint, in fact, it lets the legends go out on a high note. Following their on-again, off-again reunions since 2008, Tribe reconciled fully in 2015 to perform on The Tonight Show which sparked the idea of a new album. After a series of intense recordings and founding member Phife Dawg traveling back and forth from California to Jersey to work on the record, he unexpectedly passed in March. The record is a love letter to his life and legacy. The remaining members of Tribe finished the LP inside Q-Tip’s Ab-Soul Studio in New Jersey and released it to the world. It became their first No. 1 album in 18 years and above all, one of the greatest achievements. Using the jazz and rock samples that made them instant icons, they also push forward to a whole new generation. Getting help from Jack White, Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes, Consequence, Andre 3000,  Talib Kweli and more, the Tribe has spoken and we are all at their feet saying “we are not worthy.”

Czarface A Fistful of Peril

The indie hip-hop supergroup featuring Inspetah Deck, 7L and Esoteric return with their third record and unlike their previous efforts, A Fistful of Peril, relies heavy on the lyricism of the crew rather than the samples, production and special guests. Each album furthers the adventures of the fictional comic book character and the latest shows that these guys are here to stay to see their superhero take over the game.

MetallicaHardwired… To Self Destruct

Eight years after the fantastic Death Magnetic, Metallica return with a lengthy piece of chomping guitars, blistering basslines and drums that only they can deliver. While they may be getting older in age, it certainly isn’t slowing them down.

CommonBlack America Again

In his best album in 11 years, Common takes the frustration he saw from the headlines and what happened to his community and takes it to music. Black America Again is a soundtrack to the Black Lives Matter movement and a powerful reminder to the president-elect you cannot silence those who mean something to the fabric of this country.

The Weeknd Starboy

The Weekend takes his love of Prince and influence of David Bowie and blends it to bring a new batch of music to the dancefloor.

Lamb of God The Duke EP

The metal titans return with an EP dedicated to the life of one of the biggest fans. It is a pulse-pounding array of sound that will leave you breathless.

Alicia KeysHere

On her sixth album, the songstress shows and proves she is a forced to be reckoned with. It is her most political and honest record to date. On Here, Ms. Keys preaches girl power, what it means to be black in America in 2016 and her life as a mother. Here is the most layered and intricate we have heard Keys and her best since her stellar debut, Songs in A Minor


The heavy hitting French duo return with their third record and bring out the dance floor jams that still put them in a league of their own.

The Men Devil Music

Heading back to their fast, furious and chaotic punk roots, The Men stick to the basics and give the people what they want.

Dash Hammerstein Grapefruit Rhythm

Rising New York artist Dash Hammerstein returns with his sophomore album, Grapefruit Rhythm and takes queues from The Beatles, Beach Boys and Elton John. Grapefruit Rhythm is a refreshing throwback to classic rock and piano-driven compositions that are seldom heard in an era of crap pop.

Taylor Hawkins – Kota

The Foo Fighters drummer makes his solo debut and wears his love of 70s and 80s arena rock on his sleeve.

clipping. Splendor and Misery

Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame left the blockbuster play to return to his first love, his band .clipping. Their latest is an atmospheric blend of hip-hop, trip-hop, ambient and electronica that sometimes mixes too much making such simple ideas convoluted.

Mona In The Middle EP

After three years ago, Ohio’s Mona have regrouped and recalculated their sound and In The Middle is a nice gift to fans but packs the punch of their earlier work.

Sleigh Bells Jessica Rabbit

As Sleigh Bells continue to make metal meets pop meets glam it all begins to sound the same and Jessica Rabbit is just another collection of songs that don’t really move or inspire.

The Weeknd on 'Fallon'

The Weeknd performed a medley of songs from his latest album, Starboy, including the title track and "I Feel It Coming," on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Green Day on 'Corden'

For the second night in a row, Green Day were on late night TV and on Tuesday they appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden where they performed "Bang Bang." Take a look!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Quick News

Sad news to report, Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill has passed away at 44. The band released a statement on social media Tuesday morning sharing the sad news. No details of how he passed have been released. Our thoughts are with the band, his family and friends.

Coldplay have announced they will release a new EP in 2017 called Kaleidoscope. They announced the news on Twitter.

Cloud Nothings will release her new album, Life Without Sound, in January.

The late Phife Dawg's wife, Desha Head Taylor, told Okayplayer that a posthumous album from the Queens rapper will arrive next year. She said: "His solo album will be out probably sometime during the first quarter of 2017. We’re working on it now. He completed his entire solo album before he transitioned, so we’re excited about releasing that.”

Green Day on 'Kimmel'

Watch Green Day perform "Revolution Radio" and "Bang Bang" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Pretenders and Dan Auerbach on 'Colbert'

The Pretenders were joined by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach, who produced their new record, as they played "Holy Commotion" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Metallica on 'Le Grand Journal'

Metallica performed on France's Le Grand Journal and ripped through their latest track "Hardwired," as well as the classic "Master of Puppets."

Listen to Our Essential Metallica Playlist on Spotify!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Great Soundtracks: 'Pump Up the Volume'

As Christian Slater enjoys a career resurrection thanks to Mr. Robot, in the late 80s and early 90s he was everywhere like Chris Pratt is today. In 1990, he starred in Pump Up the Volume, which was about an underground radio DJ playing new stars on a pirated radio station. While the film went on to achieve cult classic fame, its soundtrack became one of the biggest and best of the era.

Using music from Concrete Blonde, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth, Cowboy Junkies, Pixies, Bad Brains, Peter Murphy and more, Pump Up the Volume was an early mainstream stepping stone for Generation X. Many of the artists involved in the soundtrack achieved legendary status. One interesting note is a Beastie Boys song called "The Scenario" which was cut from Licensed to Ill because of how explicit it was appeared in the film but not on the soundtrack. The song was never officially released but has floated around bootlegs for ages.

Recommended Reading: 'Fab'

He was known as the cute one in the Fab Four, he was part of the greatest songwriting duo in history and he still continues to tour and make music when he could just kick his feet up. Paul McCartney has always pushed boundaries and his life was on display since he was a teenager. In 2010, author Howard Sounes took a deep, intimate look at the life of the Beatle you thought you knew with Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney.

The book starts in working class Liverpool and brings the reader to present day. It discusses Macca's childhood and how he met John Lennon and what their relationship was like. From forming The Beatles to then going solo and losing the love of his life, Linda, Fab is everything you ever needed to know about the icon.

VINTAGE CLIP: A Tribe Called Quest on 'MTV Unplugged'

To celebrate their first No. 1 album in 18 years, we look at a VINTAGE CLIP of A Tribe Called Quest performing "Can I Kick It" on MTV Unplugged in 1991.

Listen to Our Essential Tribe Called Quest Playlist on Spotify

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Quick News

The long awaited street sign dedicated to Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest on 192nd Street and Linden Blvd., in St. Albans, Queens has been unveiled.

Next month, a documentary on Frank Turner's 2015/2016 tour, Get Better: A Film About Frank Turner will be released. The musician also spoke to NME about a new album, saying: "“I’ve got a mountain of new material at the moment but I have two reservations about it. The first being that I feel ‘Positive Songs…’ felt like a sort of conclusionary statement. It wasn’t written that way, but looking back on it feels like that’s me wrapping up a certain era of my songwriting. Another way of saying it is I feel like I have the opportunity to go somewhere new and somewhere different at this point, so I’m thinking about doing something reasonably radically different next time round, but we’ll see. And of course, [since Trump won the election] I’ve been thinking about trying to react to the world as it is in 2016 perhaps a bit more openly in my art."

Before Green Day were making American Idiot, they were making an album called Cigarettes and Valentines, however, the record was never released because many of the recordings were stolen. Due to the stolen material, the band retreated and made American Idiot. Now, speaking about the lost recordings for the first time Billie Joe Armstrong told NME that whatever was recovered or saved could come out. He said: "It’s pretty much in the vault right now. There was the one song, ‘Cigarettes and Valentine’ that we brought out live, I don’t know, we’ll see if any of that stuff ends up seeing the light of day.”

In a Reddit AMA, Jim James has confirmed a new Monsters of Folk album will be happening. He said: "we started another monsters of folk record a few years ago, for a screenplay that conor wrote for a monsters of folk film, we hope both happen someday, cuz we wanna write music for the film, but its tough to get a weird film made these days! maybe someday!"

The xx on 'SNL'

The xx performed their fantastic new single "On Hold" and the new track "I Dare You" on Saturday Night Live. Take a look!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rest In Peace Sharon Jones

The powerhouse of soul, love and music that was Ms. Sharon Jones has passed away. According to her label, Daptone Records, who released a statement Friday night Jones, 60, passed away from a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Jones, who reached international fame fronting her band Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, had one of the most interesting paths to music as well as prolific careers. She was an armed guard for Wells Fargo and also a corrections officer at Rikers Island, Jones began to achieve fame in her late 40s when she shifted her attention to music and her career took off.

The tough-as-nails but kind as a teddy bear New Yorker released eight records and was the subject of the 2015 documentary, Ms. Sharon Jones, which looked at her illustrious life, career and cancer battle.

We had the honor of catching her at the intimate Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn during her holiday concerts in 2011 and she was a tour-de-force. Like James Brown or the keys on Miles Davis' trumpet, she dazzled the audience with her performance, singing and energy.

Our thoughts go out to her friends, family and bandmates. She will be missed. 

clipping. On 'Conan'

clipping. made their TV debut Thursday night on Conan as they performed "Air 'Em Out," take a look!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quick News

The Weeknd will release his new album, Starboy, later this month and took to Twitter to share the tracklisting of the record. Take a look, below:

Metallica have become the most streamed metal band in the world, according to Spotify. The company said that fans have been listening to 11,892 years’ worth of their music.

In an interview with Billboard, Q-Tip confirmed that A Tribe Called Quest's fantastic latest record, We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service, will be their last and they may go on tour without the late Phife Dawg. He said: "This is our last record, and we’ll probably do a world tour. After that, that’s it, for the rest of our lives.”

The Magnetic Fields will release a massive quintuple new album, 50 Song Memoir, in March. The record contains 50 songs, one for each year singer Stephin Merrit has been alive. According to a press release: "In addition to his vocals on all 50 songs, Merritt plays more than one hundred instruments on 50 Song Memoir, ranging from ukulele to piano to drum machine to abacus. In concert, the music will be played and sung by a newly expanded Magnetic Fields septet in a stage set featuring 50 years of artifacts both musical (vintage computers, reel-to-reel tape decks, newly invented instruments), and decorative (tiki bar, shag carpet, vintage magazines for the perusal of idle musicians). The seven performers each play seven different instruments, either traditional (cello, charango, clavichord) or invented in the last 50 years (Slinky guitar, Swarmatron, synthesizer). The stage extravaganza will be directed by the award-winning Jose Zayas (Love in the Time of Cholera, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter).” Take a look at the cover, below:

Against Me! on 'Seth Meyers'

Watch Against Me! perform "333" on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Also, Laura Jane Grace discussed her new book, Tranny: Confessions Of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout.

Metallica, Fallon & The Roots Perform 'Enter Sandman' on Toys

Metallica made a surprise appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Wednesday where they performed a rendition of "Enter Sandman" on toy instruments with the host and The Roots.

Moby on 'Conan'

Watch Moby perform "Are You Lost In The World Like Me?" on Conan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Quick News


Leonard Cohen's manager Robert B. Kory released a statement to The New York Times Wednesday announcing the cause of death and date of the iconic poet and singer's death. He said: "Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on Nov. 7. The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful.”

After years of teasing, The Jesus and Mary Chain are releasing an album in March according to sources close to the band. No further information has been given at the time but it will mark their first record in 18 years.

Liam Gallagher, who is releasing his solo debut next year, spoke to the Daily Star and said that he hates writing his own songs. He said he "can't be arsed" to write the material, leaving many to believe he had collaborators on the forthcoming solo disc. He said: "Noel was the songwriter of the band and I was the singer. I didn’t wanna be a songwriter. We can’t even fucking speak together; imagine writing a fucking song together. I’m quite happy being the fucking cool bastard. I’m not arsed about writing songs – you do it because you have to."

Bruce Springsteen along with Tom Hanks, Lorne Michaels, Robert De Niro, Diana Ross and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama next month. The award is based on the philanthropy the subjects have done.

Live Pix: Napalm Death / Black Dahlia Murder @ LPR

It was serious chaos Tuesday night at Le Poisson Rouge as Napalm Death and The Black Dahlia Murder along with friends Pig Destroyer, Power Trip and Abnormality performed inside the intimate venue. 

Our own RICH D SMOOV was on hand to capture the action.


 Power Trip

Black Dahlia Murder

 Napalm Death

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Power Trip Detail New Album

Texas' Power Trip will release their new album, Nightmare Logic, in February. 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, and hear the first single "Firing Squad:"

1 - Soul Sacrifice
2 - Executioner's Tax (Swing of the Axe)
3 - Firing Squad
4 - Nightmare Logic 
5 - Waiting Around To Die
6 - Ruination
7 - If Not Us Then Who
8 - Crucifixation

Quick News


Since R.E.M.'s split in 2011, Michael Stipe has kept a low profile. Occasionally he would sing with Patti Smith and earlier this year he contributed to a series of David Bowie tribute concerts in New York City, now, Stipe said he would like to get back into music. "I’m not ready to go completely into pop stardom again, as a 56-year-old,” he told the New York Times. "I want to work in music again.” Stipe also produced the latest Fincherspooner album.

Save Ferris will release their first new music in 15 years in February with the New Sound EP.

Matt Berninger was interviewed by Conor Oberst for the TalkHouse Podcast and discussed the forthcoming National album and how his side project El Vy helps him find direction. "There's a part of my personality that I used to really try to force into The National, to prove that, no, we're not depressing, we're not dark -- we're happy people. I'm not a downer, I don't hate myself or life. I'm filled with joy and lightness. But now there's El Vy, I can kind of dig into that -- there's plenty of dark stuff there. But with the new National record, I'm like, I don't need to tell any jokes... I'm finding myself going right to some very, very direct emotionally dark areas and complicated areas. So I have a feeling doing this El Vy thing is going to make this new National record even more [dark]," he said.

In the same interview Oberst said that his latest album, Ruminations, was supposed to not come out and it was just demoed songs. "Honestly... Ruminations is basically, I mean they're just like demos, my demos, recorded very nicely at our nice studio. But I had every intention of making them into a record. And then the guy from the label... he was like, 'That's it, this is the way it should be' and I was like, 'Really?'... I guess it was just stopping the process before it was going to start," he said.

Nelly Furtado will release her new album, Ride, in March.

Bloc Party's Kele Okereke has told The Guardian that he is working a new solo album and said: "Over the years, with Bloc Party, I’ve been moving away from playing the guitar to exploring more electronic textures, but this record is the opposite of that. It’s something that is very intimate and it’s really for my dad. But it’s not finished yet, so I don’t want to talk about it too much.”

Dawes on 'Kimmel'

Watch Dawes perform "Quitter" and "When the Tequila Runs Out" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The Head and The Heart on 'Conan'

Watch The Head and The Heart perform their excellent new single "All We Ever Knew" on Conan.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Our November playlist is here! Take a listen to our 27 musical musings for the month.

VINTAGE CLIP: A Tribe Called Quest on 'Conan' From 1996

After the release of their magnificent new album, We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service, and their much needed SNL appearance, we look at a VINTAGE CLIP of A Tribe Called Quest performing "1nce Again" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 1996.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Live Review: The Lemon Twigs at Rock and Roll Hotel

As the country came to a standstill this week following the presidential election, the nation's capitol was still as confused as everyone else making sense of what would happen the next four years. As Saturday night fell on Washington, D.C., the teenage sensations, The Lemon Twigs, performed at the intimate Rock and Roll Hotel to help everyone forget about what just happened, even for a little bit.

The members of the Long Island band are hardly old enough to vote but that didn't stop them from letting the adult s in the room reflect on a time what they were doing with their lives when they were the age of The Lemon Twigs. The band is the brain child of two siblings, Brian and Danny D'Addario, who swap guitar, drum and frontman duties. Danny Ayala plays keyboards and Megan Zeankowski is on bass to round out the raw and brooding talent of this band who take influences from The Beatles, Queen and The Doors. Clearly they grew up in a household where classic rock reigns and they manage to make it all their own.

On the final night of their first national tour, they closed at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington and during their 45-minute set which featured songs from their 4AD debut, Do Hollywood and an upcoming EP which they announced is arriving next year, the D'Addario brothers and their friends put on the perfect rock and roll show. They don't act nor look their age, their talent is far beyond anything anyone has seen in such a long time thanks to their musicianship and Fab Four-esque harmonies which send chills down the spine of anyone listening. These are not kids in a band they are the future of what indie rock is and paving a career path that will take them beyond the walls of intimate clubs.

A Tribe Called Quest on 'SNL'

A Tribe Called Quest performed on one of the best episodes of Saturday Night Live in a while and one of the best ever. Take a look at the legends doing "The Space Program" and "We The People," with Consequence and Busta Rhymes.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Decade Under the Influence: 10 Albums For 10 Years

It is hard to imagine we have been doing this for 10 years. This website, blog, whatever you call it started in November 2006 when I was still living in my parents basement. I had graduated from college in May and still looking for work. I was a college radio DJ and many people kept asking me for new music, I figured a blog would be the best way to lay it all out.

In the decade we have been around, we may not have changed the landscape of anything but I am super proud of what we have accomplished. Having interviewed new artists from around the world and heroes like Mike D. of Beastie Boys, Dave Grohl, the Gallagher brothers, Bad Brains, Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, among others, this has been a music nerds dream.

Within this decade, so many wonderful records have come out that shaped the course of music forever. Some of those records just shaped our souls. Here is a look back what I feel are the 10 best records to arrive since we started in November 2006.

10.  The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound (2006)

The sophomore record from these Jersey punks struck a chord with us thanks to their heartfelt lyrics, throwback to arena rock sound that made them feel larger than life. A decade later, the record still resonates with its themes of growing up, leaving things behind and starting anew.

9. Amy Winhouse - Back to Black (2006)

Without Amy there would be no Adele. Without Amy the music world would be a lot less funky. It was as if the Ronnettes were fronted by a woman who was able to sing and speak her mind and not be told what to do. It was a record of love, loss and liberation and 10 years later, we still go back to black.

8. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues (2014)

When Laura Jane Grace announced she was transitioning it shocked the music world due to her signature abrasive voice and style. Transgender Dysphoria Blues became a record of what it was like for her to realize what she needed to do and what needed to happen for her. It is a love letter to our bodies and the boldest, bravest statement in the history of music.

7. Robyn - Body Talk (2010)

When Robyn released her Body Talk series in 2010, the singer reinvented herself for a whole new audience. The spellbinding sounds of heartbreak and hip-hop mixed with Euro trash beats created one of the most loved albums of the decade.

6. Kanye West - Graduation (2007)

West broke hip-hop boundaries with Graduation and was, in my opinion, his final masterpiece. It was a transitional record that saw him sample Daft Punk, Elton John and call out Jay Z. It was a record that showed West had no boundaries and why, at that time, he was the most important name in music.

5. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (2007)

To sum up this whole record in with just one word - "Wow." Every band with one album out should take note, if you want to know how to define the sophomore slump and create a brilliant second disc, listen to Neon Bible. The Canadian 10 piece stormed back from their 2004 debut, Funeral, with a record about modern times. A much more mature album, they may have lost their random dance breakdown's in the middle of songs, but picked up a narrative writing style that rivals most poets. They express what they do not like in this world, our obsession with young celebrity, war, and how we respond to natural disaster. Their combination of folk and classical with a punk edge made them appeal to the masses.

4. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2 (2014)

Since 2012, independent New York producer and rapper  extraordinaire El-P linked with Georgia emcee Killer Mike, these two have been making beautiful music together collaborating on their own albums and then coming together as Run The Jewels in 2013. heir debut was a great way to declare who they were and what they planned on doing, but it is the follow-up record that is their impact statement, their call to arms, their way of letting the world know they are not going anywhere. As Killer Mike proclaims on "Blockbuster Night Pt.1," "Last album voodoo, proved that we was fucking brutal," yet, is is the second album that takes that verbal and beat brutality to a whole other level. The only thing more aggressive than El-P’s beats is the sound of a black metal bands roaring guitars and that is not even touching on Killer Mike’s lyrical flow and words. What Killer Mike does on RTJ2 is become a hip-hop news commentator to tell us what it is like outside of our mindless lives and that we need to wake up, no wonder Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine jumped on to work with these two to craft this dynamic, diverse, and brilliant record.   

3. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) 

Two days after the 20th anniversary of Tupac’s Me Against the World, Kendrick Lamar surprise released his sophomore album a week ahead of schedule and if anyone ever doubted that the Compton rapper could be the second coming of Pac, all doubts are officially pushed aside. Beautiful, raw, honest, intense, To Pimp A Butterfly is a modern poet putting social commentary and storylines over beats provided by the likes of Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Terrace Martin, Pharrell, Dr. Dre, among others. Clocking in at 80 minutes, which is long for any record, especially by today’s standards, Lamar lets his feelings about celebrity, love, the hood, and black culture out with a vengeance. Combining hip-hop, funk, jazz, psychedelica, and rock, Lamar defies the sophomore slump and proves he will not be pigeonholed. With lyrics about Trayvon Martin to Michael Jackson to Nelson Mandela, as well as his “interview” with Tupac, this record is a lyrical document of our times by a one-man verbal wrecking ball. It is an album that speaks to our times and a record that decades from now will still be the center of conversation. It became an instant classic and the soundtrack to a movement -- "We Gon' Be Alright!" was the anthem for those still fighting a struggle. The power and brilliance behind this record goes beyond it being the album of the year, it might become the album of the decade and one of the best we will ever hear in our lifetime. Hail, Hail King Kendrick!  

2. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)

Maybe it is because they told EMI to fuck off, maybe it is because they realize the golden age of album collecting maybe coming to an end and we need to adapt, maybe it is because they are musical geniuses. Whatever it is, Radiohead are always ahead of their time and are always willing to take chances. In Rainbows is no exception, announcing on their website just a week before they intended to release the new material, Radiohead told fans "pay whatever you want," and even do whatever you want with it. Granted an established band like so has the ability to do so, but the fact they did it is just very cool. Aside from a unique distribution, the record also pushed the band to beyond the limits of their control and showcased their genius once more.

1. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (2006)

This is not the best record musically in comparison to others on this list, but in every sense of the world Boys and Girls in America changed my life. I first heard it a few months after it was released and was blown away. It was everything a confused early 20-something-year-old needed to hear. A decade later, it is everything a sorta confused 30-something-year-old needs to hear. Life is going to be okay and the plan you have may not happen right away but the adventure that takes you there is what makes or breaks you. Your heart will break, you heart will get filled, your life is something all of your own. The Hold Steady told me that with this record and whenever things feel strange, this is the record to put on.