Jay Electronica Channels Biggie Smalls

jayelectronica

If you’ve read a music magazine any time in the last two years, you’re probably aware that Drake is the hottest new rapper in the game right now.  If you’ve read a music blog any time in that period, you may also be aware that the man pictured above, the elusive Jay Electronica, is the hottest new emcee in the game, and depending on who you ask, he just might be the savior of hip-hop.

You can read about his curious methods on Wikipedia, but here’s a few key details.  He’s from New Orleans.  He likes to rap over movie scores.  He’s released most of his material via posts in random web forums and his mysteriously disappearing and reappearing MySpace and Twitter accounts.    He just had a baby with Erykah Badu.  He has produced for and toured with Nas.  There is intense speculation as to when, if ever, he will release a proper debut album.  And oh yeah, he can rap his ass off.

Continue reading “Jay Electronica Channels Biggie Smalls”

Super Tuesday – Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record

The New Pornographers isn’t the only Canadian indie rock supergroup with a new album out today. Broken Social Scene is also back with Forgiveness Rock Record, their fourth proper group album and first in 5 years. BSS is best known among indie fans for 2002’s You Forgot It In People, their seminal indie rock opus that Pitchfork placed at #23 in their Top 200 Albums of the Decade. They are best known to everybody else for the solo success of group member Leslie Feist, aka Feist, whose single “1, 2, 3, 4” was one of those ubiquitous iPod ad songs in 2007.

Forgiveness Rock Record is getting a lot of love in early reviews, including a Best New Music rating from Pitchfork. Several songs from the album have been available on the web for weeks, including “World Sick,” which they released as a free download. You can download it below and you should because it’s freaking epic.  You can also check out the rest of the album with the official embeddable widget of the album. Hopefully artists will be doing more of this with Lala biting the dust at the end of the month.

Broken Social Scene – World Sick

Super Tuesday – New Pornographers

The New Pornographers - Together

This week is a pretty big one for new releases in the indie rock world with new albums from genre mainstays like The Hold Steady, Broken Social Scene, and, of course, The New Pornographers.  It’s the Canadian indie supergroup’s fifth album, and first since 2007’s Challengers, but they haven’t been inactive, as last year saw the release of well-received solo albums by frontman A.C. Newman (Get Guilty) and female vocalist Neko Case (Middle Cyclone), who was nominated for two Grammys.

The new album, Together, out today on Matador, is receiving very positive feedback, including this glowing review from Aquarium Drunkard, where I picked up free downloads of two tracks.  The songs, “Your Hands (Together)” and “Crash Years,” are classic New P’s and seem to support AD’s viewpoint that this is a return to form after Challengers, which wasn’t bad, but wasn’t on the level of their previous work.  Check out the two tracks below and make sure to pick up a copy of the album.

The New Pornographers – Crash Years

The New Pornograpers – Your Hands (Together)

Wolf Parade Gives First Taste of “Expo 86”

Wolf Parade - Expo 86

The most famous indie rock outfit from Montreal not named Arcade Fire is back.  Wolf Parade revealed the name (EXPO 86) and cover art (above) of their forthcoming third album a few weeks ago, and earlier today Sub Pop, who released each of their previous LPs, announced the new album’s street date (June 29) and posted two new songs from it on the web.  The two tracks, “What Did My Lover Say” and “Ghost Pressure,” can both be downloaded below.

Lest I offend Spencer Krug fans with my oversimplified, Arcade Fire-referencing first line, I must point out that with this release we’re going on 5 consecutive years of new LPs from either Wolf Parade, or Krug’s other group Sunset Rubdown, who released last year’s criminally underrated Dragonslayer, with no decline in quality in sight.  In fact, these two new tracks suggest this may be the best Wolf Parade album to date.

Wolf Parade – What Did My Lover Say

Wolf Parade – Ghost Pressure

The Best Album of the Year So Far

Beach House - Teen Dream Beach House
Teen Dream
(Sub Pop) 2010

Purchase: Amazon

Merriweather Post Pavilion was released on January 6, 2009.  The year wasn’t even a week old and people were already calling it the best album of 2009.  It seemed crazy, but sure enough, come December the bigger question was where to put it on your  Best of the Decade list.  January 2010 is a tad early to talk about Best of the Decade, but as we entered the New Year something seemed eerily familiar.  A highly anticipated January release, Teen Dream by Beach House, was already being projected as a potential album of the year.

JimmyMorrisTweet

Jimmy Morris is a fellow music blogger that I follow on Twitter (check out his excellent site Head Underwater) and his bite-sized review on the eve of the album’s official release directly addressed a question that, while premature, was definitely on my mind.  I didn’t hear the album until the next day, and I’m still not sure if I agree with his statement, but they are close enough in quality that I think it boils down to taste rather than superiority.  Pink Floyd has been my favorite band since grade school, and I’ve seen Phish more times than I care to admit in a public forum, so it’s safe to say that I’m pre-disposed to loving Animal Collective.

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Video: The Black Keys “New Girl”

The Black Keys - Brothers

Thanks to the similarity in their names, musical influences, hometowns, and number of group members, The Black Keys have endlessly been compared to fellow blues rock revivalists The White Stripes.  But when it comes to career trajectory, the similarities stop.  Unlike the overnight success of their Detroit counterparts, The Black Keys (Akron, Ohio natives Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney), have enjoyed a slower, but steady, rise to prominence that culminated in the release of 2008’s Attack and Release, their critically acclaimed fifth album that debuted at #14 on Billboard.

Two years, one excellent solo album (Auerbach’s Keep It Hid), and one mediocre hip-hop collaboration later (Blakroc), the Keys return with Brothers, due out May 18th on Nonesuch.  That’s the ultra-literal album art above.  “Tighten Up,” which was produced by Danger Mouse (who helmed Attack & Release), was the first track released to the web, but now there’s a video for an additional track, “New Girl,” which I actually like better.  The viral marketing influenced clip features a puppet t-rex chilling poolside, lip syncing the song, while surrounded by babes in bikinis.  In other words, it’s awesome.  Check it out below.

Sleigh Bells Announce Debut, New Single

Sleigh_Bells

Sleigh Bells were one of the breakout acts from last year’s CMJ Music Marathon, and were named one of 2010’s Top Artists to Watch in many publications.  The duo recently signed with M.I.A.’s N.E.E.T. imprint and last week she announced the release of their debut LP via her Twitter, which has quickly become her preferred method of communicating with the press.  The album is called Treats and will be out May 11.  “Tell ‘Em” is the first single and it’s currently available as a free download over on what appears to be their official website, which judging by the look of things, may have been designed by M.I.A.’s art team (epileptics beware).

Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em