Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.



blitzkrieg pop. 

01/Kanye West/Black Skinhead

This year I watched 12 Years a Slave in the theaters, and felt some type of way. Read the words of Mississippi native Kiese Laymon (Long Division and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America), and felt some type of way.  Watched Mahalia Jackson sing the Lord's Prayer, saw that George Zimmerman verdict, felt some type of way. Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap, Danny Brown - Old; Push & K.Dot - Nosetalgia. Beyonce's No Angel video & Frank Ocean's hook on her husband's song Oceans. Select skits from Keegan Michael Key & Jordan Peele, Whoopi's HBO doc on Moms Maebley, the book I'm currently reading (The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabelle Wilkerson) on the great migration made by my people and kinfolk, from the South to the North, West, and beyond once freedom had been granted, in search of any and all things better for themselves and those of us coming up behind them. They all have and continue to make me feel some type of way. In a year in which Racism seemed to rear its ugly head all too often in the public stratosphere, both covertly and openly, I immersed myself in these narratives, my history, our journey, reminding myself to be great. That we are and can be and have been, great. That we major, and our work is never over. And in 2013, these thoughts and feelings had a theme song, thanks to Kanye's invigorating and uncompromising Yeezus track Black Skinhead. Black Skinhead  is Yeezus' thesis statement. It is raw and unforgiving. A rallying cry and suggestion to keep your eyes peeled. It revels in its anger while leaving an open space for hope and change to come on thru and make shit happen. It refuses to sit still, and it refuses to listen (While insisting that you do). An aural rush of adrenaline that luxuriates in its young, gifted blackness. It spoke to me and moved me, made me feel some type of way; Reminded me that I and we and them and you, my people, my kinfolk, yesterday, today, and beyond are and can be and have been, great. That we major. What a feeling, Mr. West. Many thanks.



02/Arcade Fire/Reflektor

03/Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams/Get Lucky 

04/James Blake/Retrograde

05/Ciara/Body Party

06/Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell/Blurred Lines

07/Drake/Started From the Bottom

08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia 

09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun


Monday, December 30, 2013

BOUND: The Albums, 2013.



innervisions.

02/Toro y Moi/Anything in Return

Prior to the creation and eventual release of Anything in Return, Chaz Bundick relocated from South Carolina to Berkeley, California with and for a girl. His girl. Accompanying her as she embarked on a PHD program at this big name institution also in the area that you might have heard of before. And whenever the opportunity presented itself, Chaz would become Toro y Moi again and work on this, building the long player as he built his relationship. His very own self-described pop record, whose ultimate goal would be to show all and anyone who would listen that he and his Toro y Moi moniker are more than "just a kid behind a laptop." Eventually, once he was done writing, performing, and producing it all, Mr. Bundick wound up with what would become the most alluring and genuinely loving album of the year. Anything in Return is a deeply personal record dedicated to and inspired by the woman he's traveled across the country for. The one he'll wake up early for cause she needs a ride (even when it's cold outside). She who's changed his life into something he can't describe. The one he shares countless grown up calls with while out on the road. She who has to know that "he's gonna be her boy forever." And as focused as these songs are on the lady in his life, Anything in Return is also equally devoted to being a seductive and deceptively funky album on the music tip, where the indelible groove weaves in and out of each track with ease, gorgeously. It's the solo record we've always wanted Pharrell to go ahead and make already. It's confident without being ostentatious. Low-key and sexy. Speaking from the heart and a place of warmth. It's love songs for the lovers and the dreamers waiting their turn. Songs in the key of life. A truly beautiful thing.
KEY TRACKS: Harm in Change/Touch/High Living

03/Sky Ferreira/Night Time, My Time

04/Kanye West/Yeezus 

05/Arctic Monkeys/AM

06/Arcade Fire/Reflektor

07/Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience, Pt. 1

08/Janelle Monae/The Electric Lady

09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic



BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


02/Arcade Fire/Reflektor

They say Heaven is a place on Earth. They say this because all of life's pleasures are constantly at our disposal or within arms reach manifesting themselves in various forms, including that of a physical being who takes our breath away or makes life worth living. Heaven equaling you. Heaven equaling us. Real love. But before one resides within this golden palace, it must first be reached; Sought after and found. If you're lucky, the path to this dreamworld oasis will be smooth sailing. More often than not though, obstacles or impediments present themselves along the way, and you wonder if this Heaven will ever be reached. Just ask Arcade Fire, constant investors in the fires we make via our interactions with each other, who have returned only to discover that the fires, for the most part, have been put out or don't shine as brightly as they used to ("If this is Heaven? I don't know what it's for."). We're trapped in "prisms of light", "staring at screens", connected, but in what sense? Reflektor tackles all this and, like the majority of Arcade Fire's work, is in search of real love in a digital age. A digital age full of distractions and things that appear to bring us together while keeping us alone in the darkness and further apart. This time around, the themes and sentiments are the same but the melody has changed, as the band gets up and gets down in a broodingly rhythmic manner to help cope with these uncertainties. With the help of James Murphy, Arcade Fire addresses these concerns for seven plus minutes, rocking to the beat of a more hip swiveling, toe tapping drum, finding comfort in the groove. This Heaven we/you/I/and them speak of on earth may not be within arms reach presently, but it's definitely there in this music. Sought after and found (Even David Bowie is there!). It's the only place Arcade Fire knows they'll find salvation. And in a world of distractions and reflectors, this comfort in the sound will have to do (for now) until those connectors are found.



03/Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams/Get Lucky 

04/James Blake/Retrograde

05/Ciara/Body Party

06/Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell/Blurred Lines

07/Drake/Started From the Bottom

08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia 

09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun




TROPHIES.


Starring Drake.



MISSINFO.TV: New Music: Drake “Trophies”


Sunday, December 29, 2013

BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


03/Sky Ferreira/Night Time, My Time

Miley. Britney. Gaga. Katy. (And of course, BEYONCE!) In 2013, a slew of beautiful ladies vied for your attention, drunk in love on the artpop. Roaring, showing you how to work, bitch. Meanwhile in the corner stood 21 year old Sky Ferreira, and her Night Time, My Time. A raw and incredibly gripping synthpop/indie pop debut whose songs and emotional gravitas truly come through like a Wrecking Ball. As her peers snap, crackle, and pop in gorgeously handsome ways, Sky remains unafraid to lurk in the dark depths of what she knows best: herself. Shortcomings, vulnerabilities, and all. Night Time, My Time deals with reality without drowning itself completely in life's sorrows. This is due largely to Ms. Ferreira. She never lets her emotion or voice waiver, standing tall and standing strong; remaining a striking and commanding presence throughout. And the music surrounding her glosses in its grunge tinged, punk rock leaning veneer (quick s/o to Ariel Rechtshaid's co-production). It's loud, forward, and upfront. A jagged little pill with a heavy metal heart. Live through this.
KEY TRACKS: Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)/I Blame Myself/Kristine

04/Kanye West/Yeezus 

05/Arctic Monkeys/AM

06/Arcade Fire/Reflektor

07/Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience, Pt. 1

08/Janelle Monae/The Electric Lady

09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic



BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


03/Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams/Get Lucky

One day, four men of different backgrounds and musical proficiencies came together to make a song. And at the outset, they did not know how it would go or turn out, but eventually they knew it had to jam, and that it had to be funky. That it would draw from the best of their musical proclivities (disco, funk, and rhythm & blues, respectively), and that it would all come together beautifully. It has to be catchy and memorable, they said. A sing along for the ages, grabbing you from the outset like a Billie Jean or a Maneater. And it will stretch and breathe and repeat itself without wearing out its welcome, cause it moves you and turns you on. Yes, they did not know what would become of their collaborative effort at the outset, but once things got going it all came together, and the fellas nailed it. The gentlemen got lucky.



04/James Blake/Retrograde

05/Ciara/Body Party

06/Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell/Blurred Lines

07/Drake/Started From the Bottom

08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia 

09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun




BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


rebel yell.

04/Kanye West/Yeezus

Imagine being told that you have to do this, that, and this, and then you can join us and have access. By a record company, your home country, and the world. ("Follow these few simple steps, and you too can make your American Dreams come true!") Imagine locking yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers just to be put on and get your dreams out. Imagine doing so and becoming a great American success story, the only rapper compared to Michael, only to be told you can't do what he did. That who you are and what you're doing is laudatory, we respect that, and we're proud of you, but please, stay in your lane. You're not good enough, you're just another rapper. Just another (BLACK) rapper trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents in arenas where your ideas, presence, and imagery is not wanted or needed. That's a different world like Cree Summer. And it's the world Kanye West has resided in it seems since his last album was released. The world that has birthed this, his sixth studio album Yeezus, a brash and boisterous snapshot of his presently dark, twisted, reality. A reality where no one is safe from the hate and vitriol. Yeezus shouts enough is enough from point 0.01, planting itself firmly in the land of I. Don't. Give A. Fuck. "Okay", he and the album says, "You want me to be just a rapper, know my place, and just accept things as they are? Okay. I got you. It is what it is. 'Y'all bout to turn shit up? I'm bout to tear shit down. I'm bout to air shit out. Now what the fuck they gon say now?'" No artwork. Hastily put together and dumped onto a high profile producer's lap like it was just another mixtape or collection of b-sides, barely promoted. A left turn, minimalist in its approach, but smart and layered as hell. Yeezus is not perfect, nor is the man who calls himself such a Saint, but, as we see here, neither are the realms and institutions in which Yeezus walks. Yeezus is the conversation Kanye needed to have with himself at this moment, in this imperfect world, to assure himself that that that don't kill he can only make him stronger. And despite all the anger, hurdles, and obstacles thrown his way, this message bursts through, and is why he's still standing. He's in it, goddamn it, airing shit out and tearing shit down.

Now what the fuck they gon say now?

KEY TRACKS: Black Skinhead/New Slaves/Send It Up

05/Arctic Monkeys/AM

06/Arcade Fire/Reflektor

07/Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience, Pt. 1

08/Janelle Monae/The Electric Lady

09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic



Saturday, December 28, 2013

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


04/James Blake/Retrograde

Retrograde. Where the jig is up, the smoke has been cleared, and no one else is around. Where suddenly alone in an empty room, just he & you, things aren't quite what they seem, and suddenly he's hit. "Is this darkness of the dawn? We're all alone now. Show me why you're strong. I'll wait."

And we wait. And we watch. And we listen. Carried along by the frenetic, soul drenched wizardry that occupies this space, mirroring his instant realization that you're not who you say you are. You're not the one. Retrograde. Dizzying and hypnotic, like she once was for him. Begging to be heard.



05/Ciara/Body Party

06/Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell/Blurred Lines

07/Drake/Started From the Bottom

08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia 

09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun






Friday, December 27, 2013

BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


modern vampires of the city.

05/Arctic Monkeys/AM

One day, at some point, love will come running for the fellas Arctic. Until then, they'll keep chasing it, and seek it out desperately, often in a hopeless place. AM resides exactly there, under numerous moons, where many of us work out our other job and personas: that of Lothario or Lolita on the prowl (This time in Los Angeles!). Locales have been switched and ages have gone up a little, but other than that, ain't shit much changed. Even the rockstars dressed to the nines with the accents from another place can't seal a deal. Or only muster up the courage to be more forward and confident when full of liquid courage or drugs of various names. This is all presented in vivid detail courtesy of Alex Turner, the masterful lyricist and storyteller up front, whose verses flip turn and move like the pages of a book; each song treated like a vignette and bird's eye view into these ongoing late night entanglements. You nearly miss all the blind faith/heartache/mind games/and mistakes cause throughout all this, these dudes fucking play the pain away, indulging in some of the tightest hard rock leaning/R&B & Blues gleaming tunes of the year. They just keep getting better. Here's hoping the ladies situation gets better, too. Until then, lean on we, fellas. We'll lend you our ears.
KEY TRACKS: Do I Wanna Know?/I Want It All/Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?

06/Arcade Fire/Reflektor

07/Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience, Pt. 1

08/Janelle Monae/The Electric Lady

09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic



Once again with Kanye West...

SPIN: Kanye West Rants That He Might Stop Ranting

A Moment of Clarity.

An Ongoing Discussion.

words. 

"No, I don’t believe that there’s a secret cabal of C.E.O.’s plotting to keep the economy weak. But I do think that a major reason why reducing unemployment isn’t a political priority is that the economy may be lousy for workers, but corporate America is doing just fine.

And once you understand this, you also understand why it’s so important to change those priorities.

...Too many Americans currently live in a climate of economic fear. There are many steps that we can take to end that state of affairs, but the most important is to put jobs back on the agenda."

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Fear Economy

SEE ALSO:

THE NEW YORK TIMES: In No One We Trust 

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


whip appeal.

05/Ciara/Body Party

You almost feel somewhat voyeuristic for listening in on what is ultimately a private invitation from Ciara to "do what you want with my body" to a very special (and lucky) dude on the other side (In this case, that dude is Future). But like all the other great entries in R&B's slow jam hall of fame, love takes over and trumps everything else here, and Ciara just wants to let this love loose from every limb and stretch of her body (or in between the sheets). Body Party slithers about sensually, all the while telling the world and him, "boy, you just don't know what you do to me..." (and what I'll do to you once I get you alone). From Mike Will Made It's seductive rumble of a beat, to Ciara's coquettish purr that repurposes itself, getting more forceful and direct when the thought of him lights up her entire being, Body Party is 2013's sexiest song, hands down. A slow, carefully thought out and executed private dance in song form. "Baby put your phone down, you should turn it off. Cause tonight it's going down. We in the zone now. Don't stop..." Damn, girl. How could I/he/we resist? Take control of me. My body is your party.



06/Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell/Blurred Lines

07/Drake/Started From the Bottom

08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia 

09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun

 

Adore You.

A video.

Starring Miley Cyrus.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


06/Arcade Fire/Reflektor

They returned to us in matching suits, calling themselves "The Reflektors". They wore face paint and shook marimbas. Added bongos and stretched a few beats. Questioned their current enjoyment of rock & roll music. Grabbed James Murphy, flew to Haiti and back again, never letting those sounds and imagery leave them. They seemed to be having a laugh (for a change), different.

But still Arcade Fire.

Reflektor adds a little shimmy and shine to the band's collective and personal rhythms, but like many a great Arcade Fire piece before it, it still largely concerns itself with the state of affairs and emotional connectivity of the human race in present, real time first and foremost. The vibrant rhythms and ecstatic new additions are not meant to distract or cover these thoughts, but instead, buttress them in a space of melodical uplift. With James Murphy in the passenger seat, Reflektor spreads itself to two discs, each track opening and closing on their own accord and moving at their own pace. A move straight out the LCD playbook. But here it's all, and still is, Arcade Fire.
KEY TRACKS: Reflektor/Here Comes the Night Time/Supersymmetry

07/Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience, Pt. 1

08/Janelle Monae/The Electric Lady

09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


06/Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell/Blurred Lines

Let's start with the dancing feet of Clifford Harris, Jr. Whether he's faking the funk or not, T.I.'s dance moves in this song's video perfectly encapsulates what Blurred Lines sets out to do and succeeds in accomplishing over the course of its four and half minute running time: groove you, and get you to shake that ass. Does it recall that other song by the late great Marvin Gaye? Yes. And? So? That's part of the appeal. Blurred Lines wants to rock with you and take you there, just like that jam it's slightly reminiscent of. And on this front it succeeds, standing alone as its own entity and one for the dancefloor for years to come. Cause when we're busy giving up the ghost with our two step a la Mr. Harris, or harmonizing with the men on the mic, we're grooving to the rhythms of Robin & Pharrell, and this, more than anything, can't be denied. Got to give it up.



07/Drake/Started From the Bottom

08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia 

09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun







BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


07/Justin Timberlake/The 20/20 Experience, Pt. 1

When JT and his league of extraordinary gentlemen get to it and let the groove get in, they easily make it seem like their peers and competition in the game are doing it wrong, and this is how you do it. That this is how music should sound, and how rhythm & blues should expand. That sometimes showing and proving can also allow for room to just let the beat build and the music breathe. And it's all done without a wink or a nod, or a better than thou air. It just is, and it's just done.

Caught up in the rapture of love, The 20/20 Experience, Pt. 1, from the opening number on down, pulls up a chair for you, and luxuriates in the power of love. Love for a girl, love for a genre, and love for the art of creation. And, of course, love for its audience on the other end. The album may be inspired in part by or for the love of Mr. Timberlake's life, but it's also for us, as Justin, Timbaland and company bring their A game, ensuring that we too get caught up in the rapture, and keep our backs up off the wall. It's a soulful, tireless effort that never lets up on this tip, and makes it all seem too easy. Real love in full effect. What an experience.
KEY TRACKS: Pusher Love Girl/Spaceship Coupe/Mirrors

08/Janelle Monae/The Electric Lady

09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


07/Drake/Started From the Bottom

A large part of Aubrey Graham's appeal lies in his local boy done good persona. When rolling in this lane, Drake is on his best behavior: affable and on our level. A regular dude on tv talking like it's just you and me. Started From the Bottom is Drake at his most relatable, re-hashing a personal timeline many of us can relate to, with an endpoint we too hope to arrive at once our journey takes flight or is completed. Coupled with Mike Zombie & Noah Shebib's icy bare bones throwback leanin' keys and bass instrumental, Started From the Bottom puts on for all the hustlers and dreamers out in these streets busy workin' 9 to 5, livin' on a prayer.



08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia 

09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun




BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


08/Janelle Monae/The Electric Lady

There's a lot to unpack and discover when it comes to the oeuvre of Miss Janelle Monae; a litany of influences, underlying themes, hidden concepts, and so on, and so on. The strong presence of each of these guests made her previous effort, The Archandroid, a solid piece of work, but kept it from being as strong as it could have been. What makes her sprawling masterpiece of a second album The Electric Lady tick is that it doesn't let the themes or concepts overwhelm she and the Wondaland Arts Society crew's ultimate goal: cutting up and getting down. Don't get me wrong, there's robots and androids and a story to trace here, too. But none of that gets in the way of what The Electric Lady truly is and sets out to be: a far reaching & humanizing R&B record from an electro-sophista-funky lady in love with the music and its history. The only manifestos you need on this go round are spelled out and placed up front in each of the opening numbers. A Queen. Here to cut up and get down. The Electric Lady. Giving you what you love.
KEY TRACKS: Give Em What They Love/The Electric Lady/Primetime

09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic






Tuesday, December 24, 2013

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.



08/Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar/Nosetalgia

The crack epidemic, at its height, came thru and straight fucked shit up for many people. At the same time, it gave rise to a generation of youth that saw the anguish of the trials and tribulations that its havoc wreaked on some around them and said, "Nope. Not I. Above it." In just three and a half minutes, Push and Kendrick offer two takes on this history: the block's all knowing & menacing drug lord using drugs and the game to realize his American Dream vs. the knowing little boy trapped in a world of fiends and theives, including those close to him. No hook, just bars, and cinematic in scope. It's a new day, and the script's been flipped. "Now the same shit that y'all was smoking is my profession." "Your son's DOPE, n***a." 

Truth.



09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun

Monday, December 23, 2013

BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


09/Chance the Rapper/Acid Rap

That title is misleading. Yeah, acid, libations, and such pop up here and there and may have provided the inspiration that set the wheels in motion for many a track provided here, but it's deeper than that. Meet Chance the Rapper. 20 year old Chi-town native. And these are his raps. His mixtape. His soliloquies. These stories. Acid Rap(s). Chance the Rapper: MC. Poet. Crooner. One foot pressed forward, other locked into streets Kate Couric and Matt Lauer refuse to tread. Acid Rap sees all, feels all, and reports all. Shining brightest when Chance's affinity for the vulnerability and pathos present in the genres soul, rhythm, and blues seep into his flows and the music. Acid Rap is that guy that stay with the jokes. That dude you know with the swag for days. That one person you don't mind getting deep with when intoxicated. And Chance himself, is that dude. You did a good ass job, man. Even better than you were the last time.
KEY TRACKS: Everybody's Something/Acid Rain/Chain Smoker

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic







My Molly.

Starring Sky Ferreira & Ariel Pink. 



PITCHFORK: New Sky Ferreira and Ariel Pink: "My Molly"


"WORST!"

for your consideration. 


THE WASHINGTON POST: Worst Year in Washington

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


09/David Bowie/Where Are We Now?

Like a phone call about nothing more than how you're holding up and getting by from a loved one, Where Are We Now? is an understated check in delivered with care from David Bowie. 36 years ago he told us that we could be Heroes, and left us to our own devices to bring this into being. Now in 2013, Bowie, with Where Are We Now?, taps your shoulder warmly and respectively, reminding you that though time has elapsed, and seasons have changed (and will continue to change), we can still be great. Both the ballad and Mr. Bowie do not shout this from a rooftop or beat you over the head with its message of keeping hope alive. Where Are We Now?, instead, speaks to you calmly in a genuine manner, asking that you never stop living or let that light go out.



10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun

Structure.

Starring Hudson Mohawke.



PITCHFORK: Listen to a New Hudson Mohawke Song, "Structure"

Sing About Me.

A video.

From Kendrick Lamar & Eddie Peake.


Voices.

A video.

From Disclosure & Sasha Keable.


season's greetings.


words. 

"Both in spite of and because of everything above, West also pisses a lot of people off. He’s the avant-gardist and the Internet commenter rolled into one, visionary, vain, and perpetually aggrieved, a man who’ll complain that he should be even more famous than he is in one breath, then complain about everyone else’s celebrity-obsessed culture in the next. He comes off as an asshole, and not in the cool aloof way that Dylan came off as an asshole once upon a time, where you watch Don’t Look Back and think, yeah, but he would have been nice to me. I’m not sure there’s ever been a star of West’s magnitude so lacking in conventional “star power,” that magnetizing-yet-distancing distancing quality that cordons off its holders from the vulgarity of common judgment. West isn’t lacking in sanity, he’s lacking in social graces, and for all his hunger for adulation he’s oddly unconcerned with personal appeal. In an era in which the very idea of likability has been worn away by billions of unthinking mouse-clicks, he’s something like post-likable.

...West’s thin-skinned vanity, unseemly scorekeeping, and obsessive grievances may have been the defining aspects of his public persona in 2013, but they shouldn’t be so quickly discredited: At a time when we’re too often content with smarmy symbolism and well-learned politesse, Yeezus is raising hell. Nor should they drown out the music he made, courageous and difficult and hellraising in its own right, music that will outlast any of us, even the nucleus Himself. As West remarked in that Times interview all those months ago, “I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.” In 2013, Kanye West was the genius we deserved, even when we didn’t. Maybe we can make it to Christmas."

SLATE: Anno Dominant: Yeezus’ miraculous year.

BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


swag.

10/Haim/Days Are Gone

Every artist or producer knows that a good album is more than just one good song or hit single. A good album has got to have some meat on its bones and surround itself with a slate of songs that are just as good as that hit single or even greater. Now, the greats? They don't mess around. Great albums come stacked from the top to the bottom with the hits and ear snatching melodies in succession, making the art of creation look and sound all too easy

Days Are Gone falls into this latter category. Days Are Gone is a crisp collection of jams that operates on a breezy landscape not too dissimilar from the So Cal streets that birthed the sisters Haim. Though only in their 20s, the sisters have already amassed years of experience creating, deconstructing, and existing within pop/pop rock's landscape. And you hear this in each of the tracks, which they also co-wrote/produced. The ladies are familiar with and knowledgeable of Fleetwood Mac, and started to come of age under Destiny's Child. They know about some Wilson Phillips harmonies and cassettes, and probably know the words to a Sheryl Crow song or two. All this before them and touched upon here. Incorporated into the sister's repertoire with ease. In succession. From track one til the end. Razor shop and focused, Days Are Gone does not mess around.
KEY TRACKS: Falling/The Wire/Honey & I
 
11/Danny Brown/Old

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic








Sunday, December 22, 2013

BOUND: The Singles, 2013.


10/Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop

Before the think pieces and the foam fingers and the closet full of onesies, there was this. The reason why we all started paying attention in the first place. We Can't Stop is the "I don't give a f**k" anthem that doubled as an entrance into the new "avant-garde" house that Miley had built while we all weren't looking. The song succeeds where Bangerz as a whole couldn't, perfectly immersing Miley Cyrus in the late night glow in the dark R&B atmosphere that surrounds her here (quick s/o to Mike Will Made It). Before the think pieces, and the VMAs, and the endless photographs with the tongue out, there was this. The roll out party. The reason why we paid attention, and kept paying attention in the first place. Okay Miley, we see you.



11/Alicia Keys & Maxwell/Fire We Make

12/Blood Orange/Chamakay

13/Danny Brown/Dope Song

14/Iggy Azalea/Work

15/Holy Ghost!/Dumb Disco Ideas

16/Chance the Rapper/Juice

17/Charli XCX/Take My Hand

18/A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar/F**kin' Problems

19/Britney Spears/Work B**ch!

20/Deerhunter/Monomania

21/Sky Ferreira/You're Not the One

22/Janelle Monae/Dance Apocalyptic

23/Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z/Suit & Tie 

24/The Dream/IV Play

25/Queens of the Stone Age/My God is the Sun



BOUND: The Albums, 2013.


11/Danny Brown/Old 

Old is the origin story. It's the what and the why of who Danny Brown is. It's a snapshot, and a few days in the life. A riveting narrative told many times before that's just as captivating and illuminating when told by Danny B. Old is the presentation of another young american male hitting his 30s and asking all and everything around him, "alright, what it do?". Old is Danny Brown unfiltered; Danny Brown "red 2 go". It's relatable. Often unflattering, but always real. Old is a man no one expected to go beyond local, from those parts of America's motor city we don't often glamorize, trapped and talented in an arena that rather see him dead or locked in a prison but still, "red to go". It's the jump off, and the way forward. Old is Hip-Hop expanded and respected, given thanks for coming thru once again on the way out and inspiration tips.
KEY TRACKS: Wonderbread/Red 2 Go/Float On

12/Deerhunter/Monomania

13/Foxygen/We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic