Writing about music is weird. Sometimes using words to describe sounds just doesn’t work. This mismatch between vocabulary and experience leads to bizarre choices from people who attempt to describe these things on a daily basis. You know, regrettable words like “delicious” or “bubbly”.
As much as I’d love to avoid these lame flowery words, sometimes I can’t. Describing Helado Negro’s new song Dance Ghost is one of those situations. I can’t get around it. This is lush. So lush. As swirling synthesizers surround Negro’s soothing vocals, that’s really the only word I can think of. Not that I even necessarily know what lush means. I picture overgrown forests, mainly. With lots of ferns. So I guess this song sounds like ferns. Or maybe it sounds like a dancing ghost. Yeah. Helado Negro is better at naming/describing songs than I am. He wins. Listen/download below.
There’s no shortage of female pop vocalists with beautifully powerful voices, making it hard for up-and-comers to stand out. Some go the Lady Gaga route and do anything they can think of to attract attention, even if that means dressing up like this or this. Others go the safer Adele route…but that just gets boring after awhile.
What’s interesting about Meg Myers (besides the obviously incredible voice, songwriting ability, and genuine musical ability) is her quirky personality. It shines through on songs like Tennessee and allows her to come up with the creepy-but-beautiful-at-the-same-time Monster. She’s weird but it doesn’t come across as forced or a blatant cry for attention. Her YouTube account is full of videos like this one after all. The quirkiness is authentic, which makes her stand out. Anyway, she dropped a new EP yesterday for free. Check out a few of my favorites below (click the arrows to download), stream the whole thing here and click THIS to download it all for free.
Almost exactly a year ago, I started this blog with a post of the GOOD Music Cypher at last year’s BET Awards. It seems appropriate to celebrate the one-year anniversary with a couple videos of this year’s best cyphers. If you’re not familiar – they’re pretty much the only thing worth watching BET for. Every year they put several groups of the most relevant hip-hop performers in weird dusty run-down factories with DJ Premier, turn on a black/white video filter, and let the rappers do the rest. This year Eminem stood out above the rest (but Kendrick Lamar was solid too and Tech N9NE’s verse was pretty crazy). Check out Em’s verse (along with Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse) below, and Big KRIT + Tech N9NE + Kendrick + B.o.B above. Good stuff. If only BET could afford a less stereotypical building to shoot these in next year…
Here’s a couple tracks from the new Beirut album. I have no idea what those dogs have to do with anything, but I like them (especially the cross-eyed one in the front who has no idea what’s going on or where he is). I think I like this album even more than the picture though… Which is saying something, because I’m gonna go to Kinkos and blow up a poster-sized version of that cross-eyed dog in the morning. This post is getting weird. I’m gonna stop. Pre-order The Rip Tide on iTunes here. Album’s out August 2nd.
Download: Payne’s Bay
I’m still kinda on the fence about Phil Ade and I’m not really sure why. I can see he’s got talent, but he hasn’t totally separated himself from a lot of other similar artists out there. I gave his new mixtape a shot, and I did kinda like these tracks though…You guys have any thoughts on Phil Ade? Wanna sway me one way or the other?
Oooh…as soon as I saw the title of this one in my inbox this morning I knew that I’d love it. I’ve been writing/thinkin a lot about the changing nature of the music industry, and its great to hear artists get their views on this across in the form of a song. I love the Seattle connection between these guys too. Sol, Grieves, & Budo. Classic Northwest hip-hop.
Ok, excuse my lateness on this. I’ve been listening to the new album (Black Up) by Shabazz Palaces for a couple weeks now and I figure late is better than never. (I did post some live performances of theirs a few posts back though). “These guys are like a grown up version of Odd Future” is the way a buddy described this group. I think I’ve gotta agree. They definitely have that “I don’t give a fuck about the way things have always been done or whatever anyone thinks of this – we’re gonna do things our way” mentality…but have been around long enough to do things professionally and put out a polished product. Pretty refreshing considering there are so many rappers out there desperately trying to follow the formula to hip-hop success with an eye focused on radio play and money. That results in a a lot of this and makes a group like Shabazz Palaces stand out.
I love the way they combine live organic instrumentation with synths/computer production too. Alright, enough of me rambling on. You’ve gotta hear this stuff. It’s pretty different so give it a couple spins if you’re turned off at first (and listen with good headphones/speakers…the bass kicks). And don’t miss out on an incredible live performance: here.
Something about Sunni Colòn’s music clicked with me immediately. I don’t know what it is, but there are some artists that I know I’ll love about four seconds into the first song that I ever listen to of theirs. A few seconds into his new self-produced track Cobra Vulture from an upcoming project Midnight Musical, I knew I would have to go look up and download everything else he’s put out. He’s got a great alternative hip-hop approach that he pulls off without being too alternative… Check out the new track, as well as a couple other early favorites of mine below.