New Years Treat

When I get the chance I will discuss the Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings show I went to last night, which does need discussion, since it was great. But for now I'm thinking I'll do the same thing I did with Christmas a throw on song on my iTunes that contain the words new year. So here it is, and happy 2011.

                                                The New Year - Death Cab for Cutie


Finally Famous 3

Big Sean is an up and coming rapper who recently released the third installment of his Finally Famous mixtapes, Finally Famous 3.  He has been signed to G.O.O.D. Music as well as Def Jam Recordings and lyrically is a possible mainstream ray of light in a world where to many people consider Lil Wayne and Drake some of the best alive. A highlight of the mixtape has to be his freestyle over Gucci Mane's Lemonade, Supa Dupa Lemonade. Check out this line "I'm unusual as shit, I'm Super Bad your girl probably doodlin' my dick", that line just stuck out to me as particularly entertaining, but seriously, he's good. Apparently when Kanye was being interviewed at a local radiostation he occasionally free styled at, he decided to just swing by and see what happens. 'Ye was reluctant at first, but after hearing just 16 bars, signed him to G.O.O.D. Music. Big Sean has a new single with Chiddy Bang which is unbelievably fresh, musical grounds Xaphoon Jones had yet to cover in the Chiddy Bang companionship. The verse is wild, especially when halfway through a quick acousticish beat crashes in, leading into an insanely catchy sample from the musical library that is Xaphoon Jones. Check out Too Fake, as well as Big Sean's mixtape. The mixtape features Asher Roth (who I personally think has been proceeding through the game like a fine wine, getting better and more lyrically diverse and introspective with age [Lupe Fiasco's supergroup All City Chess Club is proof]), Drake, I'm rarely a fan of him, but hey it's a sign of mainstream ascendence, Mike Posner, Tyga and Curren$y, who is another unbelievably original and fresh rapper associated with WIz Khalifa, a personal favorite of mine.

Big Sean and Chiddy Bang - Too Fake

Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music label's freestyle from the BET Music Awards, featuring a clever verse from Big Sean as well as some other good freestyles from the other members of the label, besides Kanye here. 


Snow Day

In honor of Blizzard 2010, which turned out to be nothing more then a ton of media sensationalization and a huge boost in bread and water sales, heres a little piece of everyone's favorite snow day.
Schuyler Fisk with Mark Webber ten years ago in the winter classic, Snow Day
Schuyler Fisk performing this past April. 

Pandora Radio

I always thought Pandora was just some stupid money hungry internet radio like anything else. I recently heard my parents listening to a John Prine radio station and when I decided to hijack it and create a Black Keys station, I began to see what it really is. Now I am becoming more and more obsessed and if you read the description of their Music Genome Project you can see what I mean, "Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.
Since we started back in 2000, we've carefully listened to the songs of tens of thousands of different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world." 
So basically, check it out. I guarantee you will discover new music, and the people who created this project actually seem like their just want the best for anyone who loves music. You can check out my stations on the left, as of now I only have one, but I love it.
Narcissists Waltz, Die Rimantik


Black Holes, Stars, Monsters and Stuff

So I'm listening to my Elliot Smith station, the only station on my Pandora account I made like 2 hours ago, and this song came on, Big Black Hole & The Little Baby Star by Sean Hayes. The station has been great so far, I added Death Cab and Black Keys on the add variety button as well, to give it some flavor and I'm glad I did because I'm pretty sure that song came on because of that. So if you have Pandora, make that station. I can't find any download links for the Sean Hayes song, and only a live video. The video is pretty good though, so i'll leave you with that...

Big Black Hole & The Little Baby Star - Sean Hayes
Enjoy it, embrace it, even live it is an amazing little musical treat

The song in particular reminded me of an old favorite of mine, whom I haven't listened to in a while, The Boy Least Likely Too, and I'm glad it did. 

Monsters - The Boy Least Likely To


Christmas Post

So it's Christmas, and I decided since I probably won't be on the computer for most of the day, and might miss out on a post, I'd leave a quick one here. Here's the concept, I decided to search the word Christmas on my iTunes and post every song that comes up on this post, so heres my Christmas gift to you ... internet ... the results of my Christmas iTunes search....

Christmas Vacation - The Descendents

Enjoy, Happy Holidays.


Tribute to Jay-Z

Jay-z, a legend, an all-time great and one of the best living rappers today. There is no arguing, it's fact. His idiosyncratic flow and velvet smooth way around words is the golden age of hip-hop meets business savvy with a true 90's gangsta rapper thrown in, while always remaining contemporary. I was in the car today, on the way home from 7-11, and as we were cruising through the neighborhood, Can I Get One by Original Flavor came on. It spurred a sudden desire in me to spend the night listening to old school Jay-Z, not Reasonable Doubt though -- which I do consider to be one of the top 5 greatest rap albums of all time -- but older. I also decided to write this post as a tribute, so here it is, a Christmas Eve tribute to one of the greatest rappers to ever step on the scene, Shawn Carter.

Six years before Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z and his mentor -- as well as one of the rappers Jay-Z would become in a long standing feud with -- Jaz-O, who claims to be the creator of the name Jay-Z, released Originators. 
Three years after, Jay-Z was prominently featured in Original Flavor's most successful song, Can I Get Open, off Beyond Flavor , released shortly before the group disbanded.

One year later, in 1994, Jay-Z released his first single, Can't Get Wit That. Here is the rare music video he released along with the song.

And here is one more fore you, a tribute to Jay-Z's recent decision to sign Jay Electronica to Roc-a-Fella last month. Hopefully Jay Electronica lives up to the potential which has shone through all his past releases. So here is the latest from him, featuring Jay-Z and the Dream, Shiny Suit Theory. Definitely not Jay Electronica's best -- click here for 10x the aural reward for your musical pleasure -- but worth a listen for sure. 


Perfect Soundtrack for A Great Movie

Mark Wahlberg

Micky Ward & Dicky Eklund

Saw The Fighter today. Christian Bale plays Dicky Eklund perfectly, I felt like at first he was overdoing it, but then after seeing footage of Eklund during he credits, I realized Bale was virtually the same person in the movie. Great boxing scenes too. Every great movie needs a great soundtrack to carry it and The Fighter had just that as well. The most prominent song was a favorite of mine, How You Like Me Now by The Heavy. Without a doubt see the movie, and enjoy every second that the powerful horns, driving rhythm and wild shouts of the Heavy grace the entrancing force that is The Fighter. Check 'em out, song and movie, plus the rest of the amazing soundtrack as well.

                                              Can't You Hear Me Knocking - Rolling Stones,  another that           blessed the great Fighter soundtrack.


Hard Blues that Hits like a Two by Four

I am no major Tom Petty fan, in fact he barely existed within my music library, if at all, before this song. It's not that I don't consider him talented, I was just never interested enough. My one memory of Petty was his deadpan demeanor when performing at the Superbowl halftime show, he resembled a zombie or something. Despite this, I Should Have Known It is so dirty, so hard, so pure blues rock, I was taken aback when I first heard it. Its Zeppelin, adapted to contemporary american music, in order to create a monster of a hard blues track. I can listen to this song over, and over, and over, and over.  Props Tom Petty, you just earned my respect, and a lot of it. 

Tom Petty - I Should Have Known It

Here is a bonus, from one of the greatest, Johnny Cash. Ain't No Grave from American VI: Ain't No Grave, the final in the American series, to commemorate Cash's 78th birthday.

Johnny Cash - Ain't No Grave


Kevin Devine at the Space in Hamden, Connecticut.

I discovered Kevin Devine recently, within the past couple of years or so, and found him to be one of the few worthy, and entertaining alternatives to Elliot Smith in my music library. He's not another Elliot Smith, but the atmosphere that his songwriting encompasses fits the mood perfectly. It might be partially because I grew up on Long Island, but I know a lot of Kevin Devine fans, if you listen to him, you fall for his clever wordplay and pop-tinged, well constructed instrumental structures. I listened to him every once in a while over the past, but yesterday changed everything for me. 
I went to go see a friend who had just returned from college in the early afternoon yesterday, and as we vibed outside in the chilled December sun, he told me that I might be able to join him, and a few other guys on a trip to Connecticut to see Kevin at the Space, in Hamden. I've never seen him live, I intended to last year at Bamboozle. but it just didn't happen. I knew immediately this was something I'd have to do. 
Seeing Kevin Devine live is something anyone who is a fan of the singer-songwriter spectrum of musicians should participate in at some point in their lives. The experience isn't the typical show. It's like sitting in a living room at a small house party, with a group of friends, and watching one of your closest friends sit down with a guitar and belt out some of the most hard-hitting, true, and wonderful songs you'll come across in the contemporary world of music. Devine has a unique ability to connect with everyone watching him in a rare kind of way. Even as he forgot his own lyrics several times, it didn't seem like a mistake, it flowed like is was supposed to happen, a part of the show, he'd just continue to play guitar and wait for a fan to yell to him which words come next, after which he'd just keep going. He played through his entire Make the Clocks Move album, as well as a impromptu Dancing Queen cover after a fan suggestion, which led to a sing-a-long in which the entire crowd participated. There was a Built to Spill cover, a Liz Phair cover, and what almost became a Tenacious D cover. 
Kevin Devine has changed the way I see the singer-songwriter-to-fan relationship. He is a true showman, an amazing artist tinged with poetic imagery ("the sky was murder red and the treets were headstone gray, a flaming ferris wheel spun where the sun used to be I watched its buckets dip and dance, I saw a couple making love lock hands"), and pure lyrical mastery, as well as an ability to drag anyone into the hums of his guitar. Basically, see Kevin Devine. 

Kevin Devine live in Chicago. 

The Liz Phair song Devine covered last night at The Space.


Lil Wayne Outdone on his Own Track

Weezy recently dropped his new single off the next in line in his Carter series, 6'7" ft. Cory Gunz. Despite the hype surrounding him since he burst on to the mainstream, I do not think he is the greatest rapper in the world, I do not think he is in the top 10 living rappers in the world, or the top 20, or 30. While he has released a few great songs in the past [personally, I could listen to Brand New and Shooter all day], the Carter III was definition sell out. The completely repetitive and unoriginal Lollipop and Amillie, wrapped in that attractive, intriguing, unique and strange Lil Wayne picture in order to appear otherwise, were both typical mainstream rap, with no part of them standing out besides the personality behind them. Lil Wayne is proof that the contemporary industry isn't built on talent, it's built on image. It'd be better for him talent wise, and better for the industry, if he had stayed where he was and not released the Carter III at all. I don't want to spend this entire post ripping on Weezy though, because he does have the ability to drop a shockingly good verse, even song, every now and then. 6'"7 is not one of those songs, but its not bad. The beat is reminiscent of Amillie in its repetitive structure, although its a bit more catchy and easy to handle. The military-esque snare roll carries the beat, as well as the vocals pretty well. I feel like he was trying to borrow from the more underground electronic artists coming out in the past few years by littering his chorus in this song with short sound clips instead of a typical chorus. It doesn't work well. One thing does stand out though. I heard from a friend Lil Wayne removed Cory Gunz from Amillie because Cory Gunz had simply outshone Weezy on the song. 6'7" most likely will be reaching the general public, and this time, Cory Gunz has the chance to prove that many rappers, possibly himself included, are better then Lil Wayne, on Lil Wayne's on song. at almost three minutes, his verse takes every word that had dropped from Weezy's mouth in the previous three minutes and beats them down like GSP on Betty White. The bottom line, download this song, not because Lil Wayne's name is attached, but because he allowed Cory Gunz's vocal talent to be attached as well.

6'7" ft. Cory Gunz-Lil Wayne

Plays Like Explosions and Reads like Speed-Ridden Drunk Beat Poet

My first post on this experimental music blog of mine, which I have decided to start due to my love of all forms of my music and my enthusiastic obsession with sharing it all. Tonight I decided to share with you a great song from Mumford & Sons, the London based folk quartet, consisting of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane. Its an adventurous song closing in a almost five minutes, building up in a baroque fashion to a climax that hits with atomic force, bursting into colorful instrumentation and the strained voice of Mumford rising desperately over it all. I've tended to find that most people have interpreted the powerful lyrics as spiritual. Whatever the meaning, the imagery is astoundingly powerful. You can feel the rain falling as he sings "rain down on me" and feel the necrophobic tingles running up your spine as he sings of the dead coming in droves (yeah, I made up necrophobic, I don't know the real word for what I'm trying to say, but hey, it works.) Thistles & Weeds is an overall atmospheric tour de force of British folk that should be buried within everyone's iTunes library. True proof that Mumford & Sons are a group to be taken seriously amongst the immense pools of talent rising from the further corners of the aural universe.