Saturday, December 30, 2017

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Surprise Release 5th Album of 2017

Earlier this year, Australia's King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard said they were going to release 5 albums in 2017. Now, the band have been a group of their word and released album No. 5 of 2017 called Gumboot Soup. You can stream it and / or buy it on their Bandcamp page.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Live Pix: 2017 Rock and Soul Holiday Party

Rock and Soul in Midtown, Manhattan, hosted their annual holiday party Thursday night with iconic DJ's like Tony Touch, DJ City, DJ Fat Fingaz, Grandmaster Supreme, Grand Wizard Theodore, and others. 

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

Take a look!


Another Look at 2017


As the year comes to a close, our correspondent RICH D SMOOV gave us his annual Top 10 hip-hop and metal albums of the year. 

Take a look:


Kool G Rap: Return Of The Don
Sean Price: Imperious Rex
Meyhem Lauren: Gems From The Equinox
Heavy Metal Kings: Black God White Devil
Apathy And OC : Perestroika
Your Old Droog: Packs
Oh No and Tristate: 3 Dimensional Prescriptions
Action Bronson: Blue Chips 7000
Apollo Brown: Anchovies
Statik Selektah: 8


Power Trip: Nightmare Logic
Red Death: Formidable Darkness
Full Of Hell: Trumpeting Ecstasy
Artificial Brain: Infrared Horizon
Primitive Man: Caustic
Midnight: Sweet Death And Ecstasy
Akercocke: Renaissance In Extremis
Expulsion: Nightmare Future
Chepang: Dadhelo A Tale Of Wild Fire

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Quick News

After laying low for awhile, Friendly Fires took to Facebook to tease fans about a potential new album on their Facebook page. The band posted a video of themselves in the studio with the caption: "Big things are coming in 2018..."

A 50th anniversary box set of The Velvet Underground and Nico's iconic album -- you know, the one with the Andy Warhol banana -- will arrive next year. The six-album 50th anniversary box set also includes 1967's The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1968's White Light/White Heat, 1969's The Velvet Underground, 1970's Loaded and Nico's solo debut Chelsea Girl. The set is out February 23rd and will be limited to 1,000 copies. It also has an exclusive 48-page booklet with vintage photographs and a new foreword penned by Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker. All six albums are pressed onto 180-gram vinyl and presented in stereo.

Speaking to DJBooth, Cee-Lo Green has announced that he and Danger Mouse are working on a new Gnarls Barkley album. “We have already started on a new [Gnarls Barkley] album. We’re halfway in and we have some overtures from the other projects that may not have stood the test of time, we don’t know yet," he said. No word as to when the record will arrive.

The Kendrick Lamar collaboration with Nike's Cortez sneakers will arrive on Grammy night. The "Cortez Kenny" sneaker will retail for $100 and will be available for purchase through Nike's SNKRS app on January 28.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Erykah Badu Backed by The Roots Covers Fela on 'Fallon'

Erykah Badu was on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday where she performed her classic "On and On" and Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow Tears and Blood," while backed by The Roots. Take a look.

Cardi B Speaks to Jimmy Fallon

Cardi B had a hell of a 2017 and she capped it off sitting down with Jimmy Fallon for a hilarious interview on The Tonight Show. Take a look!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Great Soundtrack: 'Cold Mountain'

In 2003, the Civil War drama Cold Mountain stunned critics and audiences alike and the film's soundtrack helped bring back the roots music of the Appalachian. The classic sounding roots music was given a modern twist thanks to those who created the sounds that accompanied the award-winning film. The soundtrack, produced by T. Bone Burnett, featured Jack White, Alison Krauss, Cassie Franklin, and featuring songs written by Burnett, Sting, and Elvis Costello. 

The soundtrack was nominated for 2 Grammys, 2 Oscars and peaked at the Billboard album charts at 51. The soundtrack even gained so much buzz that by the time the film was released on DVD, there was a special documentary about how the music was assembled and how each of the musicians got involved. Since the songs themselves are timeless, the soundtrack is one that will last for ages. 

Recommended Reading: 'Your Favorite Band is Killing Me'

Rivalries in any type of art date back to the age of Shakespeare but thanks to social media today and one author boils down our arguments over pop artists that date back to our parents fighting over who was better. From The Beatles vs. the Stones to Kanye West v. Taylor Swift, author Steve Hyden explains why the rivalries exist and what they say about us the listener and consumer in his 2016 book, Your Favorite Band is Killing Me. 

Hyden has a hilarious and clever take on the most famous rivalries of each generation like who was a better guitarist Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton? Who was a better rapper -- Biggie or Tupac? He dives deep to explain how the dividing lines were drawn and how someone can not be in the middle of it but needs to be a side. If you need a last minute Christmas gift for the music lover in your life, here is one to snag.

Chance the Rapper and Jeremih Release Deluxe Christmas Album

Last year, just a few days before Christmas, Chance the Rapper and Jeremih, released the holiday album, Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama. Now, they have linked up again to release a deluxe edition of the LP with 10 new tracks called Merry Christmas Lil' Mama: Rewrapped. Take a listen and get the free download on Soundcloud.

U2 on BBC

Earlier this year, U2 taped a special for the BBC which aired Monday night in the UK. Now, clips of the special have appeared on YouTube, take a look as the band go backstage at this year's "Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour" and give a slew of performances inside Abbey Road with an orchestra, as well as go record shopping in Brazil.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Our 27-song December playlist is here. Take a listen to our random musical musings for the month on Spotify.

Quick News

Kendrick Lamar took to social media Monday night to announce that he and Nike have collaborated on a sneaker. The Cortez edition Nike says "Don't Trip." While it sent the sneaker world into a craze, no other info was given on the release of the new kicks.

Gorillaz, who released their latest album, Humanz, earlier in the year, will put out a new record next year, according to artist Jamie Hewlett. “We’re working on another Gorilllaz album that we’re going to be releasing next year,” Hewlett told German outlet TASCHEN. “Usually we have a good five-year break between each album but we decided, ‘You know what? Let’s keep going. Because there’s ideas for a few more albums so we’re going to go straight into that. So that will be all of next year and probably the year beyond that.”

After weeks of rumors, Lady Gaga announced that she will have a residency inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas next year. While details are sparse, she took to social media to let the news loose. 

Foo Fighters were the musical guest on SNL this weekend and singer Dave Grohl was set to appear in a skit but ended up hitting the cutting room floor. Now, the unaired clip has made the rounds on YouTube. Take a look.

Darlene Love, Anna Kendrick, Roots, Sing 'Christmas' on 'Fallon'

Darlene Love, Anna Kendrick, Roots, and Jimmy Fallon sang "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home," on The Tonight Show using just toys. Take a look!

Sunday, December 17, 2017


GlassjawMaterial Control

In their first release in 15 years, the Long Island vets come back with a bang. With nearly a new lineup, Glassjaw deliver a one-two punch that not only pulverizes the listener, it also pushes them into new territory. This is the type of record where longtime fans will appreciate and new fans will love.

Four Tet New Energy

The brilliance of Four Tet should never be questioned and this surprise release album is certainly one that creates a musical landscape for the listeners to travel to without leaving their home.

Dirty OrangeXXX EP

Dirty Orange have released brand new EP from one of London’s most uncanny and ruthless new bands. The trio brings forth more of the rawness of underground garage rock and continues to not only be one of the more exciting rock and roll bands around but also the most real.

Converge The Dusk In Us

Five years since their last release, Converge return and like a jackhammer just slam the listener deeper into levels of darkness, chaos, and brutality. Even as they get older, Converge still know how to get a listeners attention.

MastodonCold Dark Place EP

The Georgia metal monster return with their second release of the year and while Cold Dark Place is an EP, it picks up where their latest record, Emperor of Sand, left off.

Robert Plant Carry Fire

The former Led Zeppelin singer does not get enough credit for his magnificent solo work and Carry Fire is a prime example of that. At his age, Plant can just retire and also stick to what works, but Carry Fire is a musical soundscape filled with experimental sounds and magic.

King Krule The Ooz

The British beatmaker and producer is back with his new album, The Ooz, and while the sounds go forth in very interesting and intricate directions, it tends to get a bit redundant. Yet, even in his repetition, he remains a fascinating figure with boundary-pushing releases.

Marilyn Manson Heaven Upside Down

The self-proclaimed “God of Fuck” returned with one of his best records in years. Heaven Upside Down came after numerous delays and may have been worth the wait. The shock rocker bares his soul and political feelings and while he has never held anything back, on Heaven Upside Down, he has fully unleashed a new beast.

Mavis StaplesIf All I Was Was Black

The iconic soul singer raises the bar on not just protest music but also doesn’t hold back on how the system has wronged her and African-Americans in this country. It is one of the most heartbreaking and raw albums of the year and her career.

StarsThere is No Love in Fluorescent Light

Stars have always been a band that celebrates life and their latest is a testament to that. In our turbulent times, it is nice to let your hair down once in a while and be thankful you are alive and this record reminds us to do just that.

U2Songs of Experience

After a series of setbacks, delays and massive tours, U2 finally released Songs of Experience. The album is one that takes multiple listens to fully digest as Bono looks for hope and pleasure in his life and finds it in his loved ones. While its predecessor, Songs of Innocence, was about U2 growing up, this record is how they stayed together and how their influences like family, America, politics, and rock and roll, kept them going for so long.

Talib Kweli Radio Silence

The iconic Brooklyn emcee returned with one his best albums. Radio Silence is a look at today while paying homage to the 90s hip-hop era where Kweli cut his teeth. For those in the new school, this is a record about how you maintain longevity.

Cool KidsSpecial Edition Grandmaster Deluxe

The Chicago hip-hop duo return after nearly a decade away from the scene and while hip-hop has changed, they stay true to themselves.


Following her break-up record, Vulnicura, Bjork returns with a record about trying to find new love at her age and in a new era. Utopia is part pop record, part experimental, part celebratory but it is all pure Bjork.


N.E.R.D. No One Ever Really Dies

The iconic alternative hip-hop group returns and as Pharrell and Chad Hugo give a series of fun and party starting beats, the record does take serious turns with guest appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, and Frank Ocean.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying BirdsWho Built The Moon?

On his third solo record, Gallagher tries to become more experimental than ever before and there are moments where it works and other times it sounds like someone who is doing it just for the sake of being strange. The records best moments are when Gallagher sticks to the guns that helped skyrocket his career.

SqueezeThe Knowledge

The rock vets return and while they are still going at a steadfast pace at their age they are not bringing anything new to the table and sticking with what works, which is why in 2017, a Squeeze record is more for longtime fans rather than new ones.

StereophonicsScream Above the Sounds

The Welsh band, who were once on top of the world, sound bored and dull on their latest. Scream Above the Sounds feels like a record putting out new music because they feel as if they have to and not want to.


The iconic rapper returns to take on the Trump administration and while his effort is valiant, it doesn’t require a full record. Revival sounds like a pop record infused with rap trying its hardest to be a protest album. While the bars and intensity is there, the cramming of too many styles makes the message sound forced.

MorrisseyLow in High School

The former Smiths singer returned with a cheeky new record but as the years have gone one, the caliber of his records has withered. Morrissey has not sounded inspired, excited, and interesting in nearly a decade and Low in High School is just more songs about self loathing and frustration. Yet, maybe after a series of headline making problems, cancelled shows, and controversies, Morrissey’s biggest problem is himself.

Quick News


Jack White has announced that his new album will be called Boarding House Reach and will be out next year.

The Cure will celebrate their 40th anniversary next year in grand fashion. First they announced a massive 1-day festival in London next summer with Interpol and Editors among others as openers. The band will also release a 40th anniversary documentary next year as well.

In 2018, John Lennon will be commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp. The stamp will feature a picture of the former Beatle with his signature and trademark glasses, featuring the peace symbol.

American Nightmare will release their first album in 15 years in February.  The band has released the tracklisting of the self-titled LP. Take a look:
01 The World Is Blue
02 Flowers Under Siege
03 American Death
04 War
05 Gloom Forever
06 Lower Than Life
07 Colder Than Death
08 Dream
09 Crisis of Faith

Foo Fighters on 'SNL'

Watch Foo Fighters perform "The Sky is a Neighborhood," and a Christmas medley that included "Everlong," "Baby, Please Come Home," and the theme from Peanuts on Saturday Night Live. Take a look.

Run the Jewels Rap New Christmas Song with Colbert

Run the Jewels teamed up with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show for a new Christmas cross-over song, "Jingle Jingle (Santa Party)." Take a look.

Friday, December 15, 2017

10-Minute Black Thought Freestyle Has Everyone Talking

Roots frontman Black Thought was on Hot 97 this week and destroyed the mic in an epic 10-minute freestyle. Take a look.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Liam Gallagher Narrates Holiday Ad to Raise Climate Change Awareness

Liam Gallagher, who released one of the 10 best albums of the year, has narrated a holiday commercial for Climate Coalition to raise awareness on climate change. While the commercial is only airing in the UK, thanks to the power of the internet, you can hear the former Oasis singer tell the story of Sammy the Snowman and how climate change affects us all.

VINTAGE CLIP: Darlene Love Sings 'Baby, Please Come Home' on 'Letterman' in 1986

Each Christmas between 1986 and 2014, Darlene Love would sing "Baby, Please Come Home" on The Late Show with David Letterman. In this VINTAGE CLIP, we look back on Love's first performance of the Christmas classic in time for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Quick News

Sad news to report, Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens passed away at 62. The band made the announcement on Facebook this morning. No cause of death was given, but the musician had been beset by health problems in recent years. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and band.

Kendrick Lamar spoke to Howard Stern to discuss how Prince almost collaborated with him. Lamar said that he flew out to Paisley Park Studios in Minnesota and played him the song "Complexion," which later appeared on To Pimp a Butterfly. "I played him a record ... called 'Complexion' -- this just one of my favorite moments -- and he liked the record," Lamar explained. "It was at his estate. ... It's one of those things where it was so much going on in the moment, man. I did a show that day with him on stage. I didn't even know I was coming out on stage. Studio was next door where I just played him a song. We runnin' back and forth. It was just one of them things where it was a lot."

Speaking to the Rap Radar podcast, DJ Premier said he and Pete Rock are going to work on the beats for an upcoming De La Soul album. "Me and Pete Rock are supposed to be doing De La Soul’s next album. Just the two of us,” the DJ said. The iconic hip-hop group have not commented or confirmed that the legendary producers and DJ will be working on their new album or if there is a new album at all.

A new Jimi Hendrix record will be released in March. The album, Both Sides of the Sky, will feature 13 tracks will include 10 previously unissued songs recorded by the late musician between 1968 and 1970.

Moby will release his new album, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt, in March.

Ministry Announce Politically Charged New Album

In March, Ministry will release their politically charged new album, AMERIKKANT.

In a press release, frontman Al Jourgensen, who also produced the record, said the album "will provide FEMA-type relief for the devastation ‘Hurricane Cheeto’ has brought upon us.” Adding that the album is about “the waning respect for the US Constitution, the growing acceptance of one’s opinions replacing facts, the decline of our leaders’ sense of morals, ethics and personal responsibility to the country and to their constituents, and the mad man in the White House.”

Take a look at the cover, above, and hear see the tracklisting, below, and hear the lead single, "Antifa."

01. I Know Words
02. Twilight Zone
03. Victims of a Clown
04. TV5/4Chan
05. We’re Tired of It
06. Wargasm
07. Antifa
08. Game Over
09. AmeriKKKa

SZA on 'Fallon'

Days after wowing on Saturday Night Live, SZA returned to 30 Rock where she performed "Supermodel" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Gary Clark Jr. on 'Conan'

Watch Gary Clark Jr. perform "Come Together" on Conan.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 The Albums: Top 10


It is that time of the year again, our favorite time actually, as well look back on the year in music and let you know our choices for the 10 best albums of the year.

In the year we lost voices like Chris Cornell, Tom Petty, Chester Benington, Gord Downie, we were still recovering from last year with the losses of Prince and David Bowie.  

2017 came on right away with great music as artists like The xx, Joey Bada$$, Loyle Carner, and one of the first of many solid releases from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, saturated it with great sounds. Some of the heavy hitters and Officially A Yuppie favorites released solid albums that didn't make the cut like U2, Bjork, Noel Gallagher, Depeche Mode, Mastodon, Lorde, Ride, Royal Blood, and Lana Del Rey among others. There were some major disappointments from heavy hitters like Gorillaz, At the Drive-In, Snoop Dogg, and TLC among others. 

Yet, then there was Kendrick Lamar, whose album, DAMN., we put in a League of its Own, as it was the most important record of the year.  

While looking behind, 10 albums stood out for us and in our third and final list, we present the best of the year. These records not only made an impact to our ears but also have a welcomed longevity where we will be listening to them for years to come.

Here are our picks for the 10 Best Albums of the Year: 

10. Liam Gallagher - As You Were
9. Logic - Everybody
8. SZA - ctrl
7. JAY-Z - 4:44
6. Ryan Adams - Prisoner
5. Power Trip - Nightmare Logic
4. Thundercat - Drunk
3. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCATION
2. Future Islands - The Far Field
1. The Afghan Whigs - In Spades

Now in Long Form, With Explanations:
10. Liam Gallagher - As You Were

Generally it is Noel Gallagher in one of our Top 10 lists, but 2017 belonged to his younger brother and the voice of Oasis and Beady Eye. The anticipated solo debut from the former Oasis frontman is finally here and does not disappoint. The underrated Beady Eye released two solid records but now, on his own, the younger and more caustic Gallagher brother can bust out and prove his chops. With some of his best ballads, he brings forth a whole new dimension to a man you thought you knew.

 9. Logic - Everybody

Logic has developed a cult following thanks to Millennials but the Maryland rapper showcases his best work on his third studio album – Everybody. From the beats to the autobiographical lyrics to the in-your-face look at society, Logic proves he is just as much of a wordsmith as his contemporaries and not just some sensation for the young kids. With appearances by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Killer Mike, No I.D. and more, Logic is showing off he is for everybody.

8. SZA - ctrl

Our 2017 "Best New Artist" didn't pull any punches. Arriving with one of the best debuts in recent memory, the rapper blends R&B, soul, funk, into her autobiographical LP. Featuring Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Isaiah Rashad, among others, she pulls her influences from Tupac to the Fugees to Odd Future to give the new school a taste of the old in an artistic manner. If this is her first step towards stardom, we are strapped in for the ride forever. 

7. JAY-Z - 4:44

On his 13th studio album, Jay-Z returns with what his best work since 2003’s The Black Album as well as his most personal record to date. What has plagued Jay Z for over a decade, including on Watch the Throne, is that he has nothing to talk about. He has seen and done it all and has Beyonce to call his wife to prove it. Yet, on 4:44, he opens up about his mistakes, setbacks, personal problems, and trying to sustain a legacy outside of being Queen Bey’s husband. 4:44 is easily one of the year’s best and one of his best records of his illustrious career. The minimal production from No I.D. is also a gem because HOVA is forcing the listener to pay attention to what he has to say and what needs to be said. This isn’t a record to blast in the car but one to indulge in on a good pair of headphones and shut the world away.  

6. Ryan Adams - Prisoner

Ryan Adams has always been an artist who wears his heart on his sleeve and on his latest record, his lets it beat in full force. Taking inspiration from his recent divorce, his struggle to find himself and the solace of being alone, Adams creates his best record in years. Touching on almost all of the different sub genres of rock and roll he has written and recorded in, Prisoner is him coming undone and back together again.

5. Power Trip - Nightmare Logic

Take the early thrash sound and production of Slayer, mix it with the technical metal of Megadeath and give it a storyline like early Protest the Hero and you have Power Trip’s fantastic new album. Nightmare Logic is a whiplash of force, power, and brutality rolled into one. More than just one of the best albums of the year, it is without a doubt, the best metal album this century. 

4. Thundercat - Drunk

If Key and Peele wrote songs for Prince it would sound like Thundercat's Drunk. The jazz, funk, psych bassist's third album is a concept record about getting drunk and figuring out life. While the record takes the listener on a musical journey and trip through some very strange places, it is an experience. The music gives the listener a visual idea of what they can play in their head when listening to it. Thundercat and the rest of the Brainfeeder label are the only artists pushing music in new directions and with the help of the label's master Flying Lotus as well as Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, and others, Drunk is a trip and one you want to go back to.

3. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCATION
In 2017, we named St. Vincent an icon simply because of her shape-shifting, never stop, never cease creating attitude. The androgynous singer and songwriter is more than just a musician, she has become a cultural phenom much like David Bowie and Bjork before her. MASSEDUCATION is what you make of it -- a tongue in cheek look at society, a heartbreak record, a recovery album, it raises questions and also makes you want more. It is essential art for this day and age and we should be thrilled we are living in a world where St. Vincent has the paintbrush.

2. Future Islands - The Far Field
On their fifth record, Baltimore experimental outfit Future Islands delivers their thunderous best. The Far Field is a record about obsession, love, passion, and captivation. It is a record that also captures the rawness and intensity of their live shows and even gets applause from heavy hitters like Debbie Harry from Blondie who appears on the album to led her voice.  

1. The Afghan Whigs - In Spades
In their second record since reuniting in 2012, the Afghan Whigs prove they are without a doubt America’s most underrated rock and roll band. On their latest record, In Spades, a contender for Album of the Year, the Whigs show off their funk, rock, goth rock, R&B, and alternative swagger like never before. Like a fine wine not only do they get better with age, singer Greg Dulli is writing some of the best work of his career – and this is a career that spans over 30 years. As the band tour behind the record and seem to be in good spirits, be thankful we are living in a time when they are consistently giving us brilliant music.  

Guided By Voices Anounce Another New LP

Guided By Voices simply don't stop. They released two solid albums in 2017 and in March will return with Space Gun. 

Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below, and hear the new single, "Space Gun."

01. Space Gun
02. Colonel Paper
03. King Flute
04. Ark Technican
05. See My Field
06. Liar’s Box
07. Blink Bank
08. Daily Get Ups
09. Hudson Rake
10. Sport Component National
11. I Love Kangaroos
12. Grey Spat Matters
13. That’s Good
14. Flight Advantage
15. Evolution Circus

SZA on 'SNL'

2017's Best New Artist, SZA performed “The Weekend” and “Love Galore” backed by a choir and chamber orchestra on Saturday Night Live. Take a look!

RHYE Detail New Album

In February, RHYE will release their new album, Blood

"We've spent the last few years on the road translating the Woman album from a bedroom project into a full live experience. With BLOOD, it's been the opposite process; the music and sounds were really born out of the live environment and are built for performance," commented RHYE frontman Milosh said in a press release. "It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable in front of an audience night after night. I use the same courage on every song on this record."
Take a look at the cover, above, and the tracklisting, below:
1. Waste
2. Taste
3. Feel Your Weight
4. Please
5. Count to Five
6. Song for You
7. Blood Knows
8. Stay Safe
9. Phoenix
10. Softly
11. Sinful

Friday, December 8, 2017

Royal Blood on 'Conan'

Watch Royal Blood perform "I Only Lie When I Love You" on Conan.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

St. Vincent on 'Daily Show'

St. Vincent was a rare musical performer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Wednesday night where she performed an acoustic version of "Los Ageless." Take a look.

Beck on 'Fallon'

Watch Beck perform "Up All Night" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Miguel on 'Kimmel'

Watch Miguel and Travis Scott perform "Sky Walker" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

U2 Live at BBC

U2 taped a special for BBC inside London's Abbey Road Studios last month. The special ran in the UK last night but the network aired a clip of it on YouTube. Take a look at them performing their classic, "All I Want Is You," with a choir and orchestra.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Best New Artist: SZA

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, two more strong LPs, 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:
2011 - James Blake
2012 - The Heartbreaks
2013 - The 1975
2014 - Royal Blood
2015 - Kamasi Washington  
2016 - The Lemon Twigs
This superlative is awarded to an artist who released a stellar debut within the last 12 months and this year's winner is certainly someone special and one to treasure. 

SZA, who released her brilliant debut, ctrl, earlier this year, was someone who came on our radar in 2014 and we named her a Rising Artist in March of that year. Since then, we have kept an eye on the TDE artist and after three years of waiting, ctrl arrived and it was worth the wait. Arriving with one of the best debuts in recent memory, the rapper blends R&B, soul, funk, into her autobiographical LP. Featuring Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Isaiah Rashad, among others, she pulls her influences from Tupac to the Fugees to Odd Future to give the new school a taste of the old in an artistic manner. If this is her first step towards stardom, we are strapped in for the ride forever. 

Quick News

In February, Wu-Tang Clan's U-God will release his new mixtape, Bring Back God II, with exclusive production from Green Lantern. Take a look at the cover, above.

Eminem took to Twitter Tuesday to announce the tracklisting of his new album, Revival, which will arrive on December 15.

Kendrick Lamar will release a special edition of his brilliant album, DAMN. According to reports, the record will have an alternative cover and a reverse tracklisting which Lamar said previously that the record was meant to hear the order the way it has been presented and in reverse.

Ty Segall was on Conan Monday night and the host announced that the singer will have a new album out next month called Drag City. Take a look at the tracklisting, below:
01 Fanny Dog
02 Rain
03 Every 1’s a Winner
04 Despoiler of Cadaver
05 When Mommy Kills You
06 My Lady’s on Fire
07 Alta
08 Meaning
09 Cry Cry Cry
10 Shoot You Up
11 You Say All the Nice Things
12 The Last Waltz
13 She
14 Prison
15 Talkin 3
16 The Main Pretender
17 I’m Free
18 5 Ft. Tall
19 And, Goodnight

Stereophonics on 'Corden'

Watch Stereophonics perform "Caught by the Wind" on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Steve Earle & Lucinda Williams on 'Meyers'

Watch Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams perform "You're Still Standing There" on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Ty Segall on 'Conan'

Watch Ty Segall perform "Fanny Dog" on Conan.

St. Vincent on 'Fallon'

Watch St. Vincent perform "Slow Disco" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

The National on 'Ellen'

Watch The National perform "The Day I Die" on Ellen.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

2017 The Albums: League of Their Own

This award started long before the site was even a thought, in one publication, radio show or another. Since 2000, I have handed out a "League of Their Own" Award to an album that is made by an artist who is the most forward thinking, open minded, revolutionary musician out there today. Their accomplishments in the past 12 months have either resurrected a sound, broke down walls and created new frontiers or have totally reinvented a genre all together. The choices for "League of Their Own" have become more than just the best album of the year but the most important record to be released at that time. 

In the past winners have included: 

2000 - Radiohead - Kid A 
2001 - The Strokes - Is This It? 
2002 - NERD - In Search of... 
2003 - The White Stripes - Elephant 
2004 - The Killers - Hot Fuss 
2005 - The Mars Volta - Francis the Mute 
2006 - TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain 
2007 - Kanye West Graduation 
2008 - Santogold / Santigold
2009 - Mastodon - Crack the Skye 
2010 - Gorillaz - Plastic Beach 
2011 - Bjork - Biophilia 
2012 - Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes 
2013 -  Arcade Fire - Reflektor
2014 - Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2  
2015 - Kamasi Washington - The Epic 
2016 - David Bowie - Blackstar 

...and now to add to this growing list is someone who has taken the music world by storm for the last five years and proves to be the most important living musician today and the voice of a generation. His music is more than just hip-hop, it is a verbal documentary about life in hard times, life as a black man, life as a young person under 30, and someone searching for more than just a higher power but understanding. Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2017 League of Their Own winner is...

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN

"I'm willin' to die for this shit
I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit
Put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit," Lamar sings as he opens the single "ELEMENT." and four songs into DAMN., he makes the declaration that this isn't a job, this isn't for fame, this isn't for money, this is his life and these are the themes that made this record so spellbinding.

DAMN. is Kendrick Lamar solidifying himself as the best rapper alive and a top five emcee. As he uses the words thrown against him, the headlines that are flashed around the news, DAMN. is a record that is just as much in the ethos of punk rock as it is in hip-hop. If Johnny Rotten fronted The Clash it would have that attitude and political / social rawness and awareness. Yet, Lamar, who is a fan of jazz, Afropunk, rock, and clearly 90s rap and R&B, he mixes his influences together with a record that is not just the best to come out in 2017 but an album that has the Compton rapper touching the arch of music history. 

With appearances by Rihanna, Kid Capri, U2, and Zacari, Lamar left his comfort zone but oddly remained in it while telling his story and observations. If anything, the closing track, "DUCKWORTH." is the proof in the pudding that whatever this young artist was born to do was destiny.  

Stay Tuned Next Week For Our Top 10 Albums of the Year!