Monthly Archives: April 2012
“God Damn I’m a Grown Man.”
Heyward Howkins may not be a name that’s familiar to you, but he’s been in the business for a while. He used to play in a critically acclaimed Philly group The Trouble With Sweeny. When they disbanded in 2004, Heyward continued on to form The Silver Ages (a super-choir formed of Philly based bands). Now Heyward’s gone solo and he’s gearing up to release his debut album Hale & Hearty in June, and this is where he truly shines. Heyward Howkins creates some of the most unique folk music I’ve heard in a long time. Heyward’s voice is like a foggy morning, it’s a bit cold and misty but the sun is moving over the horizon and everything is fresh and calm. Not to mention his unique rhythmic singing which seeps easily through the lightly-distorted guitars, quiet drums, trumpets and strings. Above is the video for the first single, “Sugar Sand Stitched Lip” and it’s the perfect introduction to Heyward. Summers creeping up and with it, Heyward Howkins.
All the recent news about Jack White and his numerous endeavors had me searching through my music, and it led me to The Raconteurs. When these records came out I remember listening to them over and over. Both albums featured all star musicians and were incredibly addictive. One of my favorites was (and still is), “Call It A Day.” This is a cold-hearted tune about a relationship coming to a close. What makes this song so great is the calmness of the song. He’s ending the relationship, but he’s keeping his cool. Never raising his voice, just quietly insinuating and insulting. Plus the harmonies are amazing. Check out this rainy day tune above and have a great weekend.
My past experience with Sonny & The Sunsets left me thinking of the band as a raw sounding 60s garage rock throwback type of group. Songs often featured simple, loud chords with lots of distortion. But the new single, “Pretend You Love Me” shows that some artists can’t be pinned down by a label. This song is much more country or folk than rock (Think Gene Clark or The Flying Burrito Brothers). Noisy electric guitars are replaced with calm slide guitars, soft harmonies follow the singer as he cries, “pretend you love me, pretend you care.” And this song not only defies genre labels, but in many ways it is lyrically deceiving. While this song is about heartbreak (along with every song on the album), the sound is pretty upbeat and melancholy. But labels and style aside, this is a fantastic single that has me looking at Smith in a whole new light. The album, Longtime Companion isn’t out until June 26th, but until then we’ll just have to make due with this single.
Sonny & The Sunsets – Pretend You Love Me
I tend to be a lyrics guy when it comes to music. I like songs with rhymes and stories and I like the added sound of a voice. It takes a strong instrumental album to deter me from my singers bias. The Chill/Funk Trip by Made of Wood was this kind of album. The album ranges from spaced out jams like “Low Earth Orbit” and the opener “Are We Lost?” to funkier tunes like, “Fire Up The Sidewalk.” The title for this album couldn’t be more accurate because there’s no better way to describe it. Songs sample jazz horn sections (and several songs feature a mean jazz flute), but at the same time songs will use distorted synths and ambient noises. Somehow, Made of Wood manages to blend some unlikely genres into a fantastic journey through space and time. Check out two of my favorites below and the full album here. Prepare yourself for a freaky good time.
Made of Wood – Fire Up the Sidewalk
Made of Wood – Electric Funk Break for Addy
It’s friday, but it’s also that special time of year again. Here’s a chill mix for your aural pleasure. Track listing and download below.
-The Collective Tour
Major Lazer, the dance duo of the DJ/producers, Diplo and Switch, are back at it with a new song with the talented Amber Coffman from the band, Dirty Projectors. The song is entitled “Get Free” and features Amber belting out strong vocals over some reggae ectro-dance vibes, all in the familiar and iconic Dirty Projector’s singing style. The song was released with the animated music video above and its some weird shit, dude. But get your head bobs ready cause this song brings with it some good warm weather feels. You can download the track for FREE off the Lazer’s website in exchange for a
fake email address. (PS. if you are late to the game and haven’t check out the Dirty Projector’s 2009 album, Bitte Orca, now is a good time to stream it on Spotify.) Enjoy. – D. Gold
FREE DOWNLOAD: Click Here.
“Remember, remember, all we fight for”
Today, The Walkmen released the title track off their latest album Heaven. Already being declared one of the best songs of the year, “Heaven” features a danceable guitar riff and the always distinguishable voice of Leithauser. While the song is upbeat, the lyrics seem nostalgic and self-empowering as the singer thinks of past events; the memories and people he wants to hold on to forever and all he’s been through with them. As the band reaches its 10 year anniversary, they sound just as good as ever. Check out the single below and look for the album on June 4th.
The Walkmen – Heaven
7/20: With Florence + the Machine, Deer Lake Park, Burnaby, BC
7/21: With Florence + the Machine, White River Amphitheatre, Auburn, WA
7/22: With Florence + the Machine, Edgewater, Troutdale, OR
7/25: With Florence + the Machine, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO
7/29: With Florence + the Machine, The Lawn at White River State Park, Indianapolis, IN
7/30: With Florence + the Machine, Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, Cleveland, OH
7/31: With Florence + the Machine, Fox Theatre, Detroit, MI
Usually I leave the rap/hip-hop posts to D. Gold, but I just couldn’t resist on this one. Chicago producers Odd Couple recently released this rap masterpiece “Speak It Vivid” featuring NYC rapper Skyzoo. The beats got some sick old school vibes to it that blend perfectly with Skyzoo’s smooth rap flow. And I just can’t get over those organ chords that ride through that chorus. And the best part: this is just the first taste. Odd Couple are set to release an EP Separated At Birth very soon. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on that one. In the meantime, enjoy.
A few weeks ago, released his acoustic session at Boulevard Studios for his debut single, “Some Things Never Change.” Today, he released yet another video, this time for the song “Alibi.” This black and white video shows Francis singing and laughing along with Carla Commagere. Same silly hat, same Robert Francis. All that’s left to say is, just wait until May 22.
If you haven’t already heard these two new Kanye West tracks, you are living your life wrong. For those that need an extra push to get their lives back on track, Kanye West released two songs late last week entitled Theraflu and Mercy. Gearing up for the G.O.O.D. music compilation album and a possible solo album, Ye’ has again shown again that he can make some music. Employing one of today’s top producers (besides Kanye himself), Hit-Boy, whose previously produced The Throne’s ‘Nigga’s in Paris’, for Theraflu and a new comer, Lifted, on Mercy, Kanye seems to be going for a more thugged out, trap muzik style with these tracks; ASAP Rocky-ese type beats, with some of Kanye’s touch. Lyrically decent, I feel like Kanye is trying for the more hard hitting trap rap style of delivery than lyrics themselves, just to say that he stunts better than you and you know it, come on? But Ye’ doesn’t have to worry about that much either, cause he brings on his mates Big Sean and Pusha T to deliver endless quotables, as well as the now recently famous ATL trap favorite, 2 Chainz (aka Tity Boy from Playaz Circle — remember 07′s Duffle Bag Boy ft. Weezy). The mixture of hot beats, crazy features, and Kanye West’s touch of gold and controversy, these two tracks are on constant repeat in anticipation for anything more Kanye decides to give us…hopefully soon. — D. Gold