Daru Jones' & AB feat. Black Milk (On Deck)

Showing just how deep Daru's skills run - and nipping at ?uestlove's heels for live hip hop drumming supremacy - here is his own production featuring of course AB and Black Milk.

Black Milk Dub Rock (Tronic)

Here's a throwback from Black Milk's by now seminal release Tronic.


Black Milk @ Revival, Toronto, setlist and review (11.18.10)

After a surprise but perfunctory opening set by Dank (of Frank 'n Dank) with images of Black Milk looping overhead, his band composed of AB, Daru (Jones) and touring DJ 'Billy the Tour Manager' took the stage.

Between AB's keys stage left sat a lone drum pad, behind which was perched the DJ table, on the right was Daru's sparse kit of a kick drum, two snares (set tilted away from him) and a couple of cymbals.  Knowing that AB and Daru are far beyond simple touring musicians and in fact integral to the integrated sampled, electronic, live sound that defines Milk's title worthy Album Of The Year that he is touring behind.

Notably absent from stage (yet still on it oddly) were members of The Will Sessions Band formidably bass player Tim Shellabarger (whose thumb and thump are all over the recording) and master arranger Sam Beaubien (perhaps best known for arranging Mayer Hawthorne's A Strange Arrangement) as well as Milk's handful of Detroit based vocal peers (ElzhiRoyce Da 5'9", the notoriously slept on Danny Brown and Melanie Rutherford).

Reflecting how this is his 'most personal album ever' (the album of the year he had) the man born Curtis Cross set about to recreate with evincing clarity the precise sound crafted on his best album to date.  After a quick medley of tracks spanning Black Milk's surprisingly short career the ensemble rocked in some semblance of order through the bulk of AOTY (leaving out largely those tracks with guest vocalists).  Where his mentor J Dilla (whose passing as much as that of D12's Proof, Slum Village's Baatin, his own aunt and the near fatality in the form of a stroke that hit his business manager and sometimes DJ Hex Murda) was known for the soulful depth of his crates and unerring ability to capture bracing drum sounds, Black Milk has taken the formula a step further by first capturing the samples or sketching out the beat and having in particular Daru add a thick wash and stratified layers over top. 

While all of the AOTY material went over feverishly with Milk almost exclusively playing the role of MC (a role into which he's made a studied and notably confident growth) it was his conducting of the ensemble on the whole that was thrilling to take in.  Wanting undoubtedly to focus on MC'ing (an outsider would never know this man was the producer as well) that little brown box (the Akai MPC 2000) - the sampler which he has used to the most unique effect and on which he builds up his definitive beats on the fly - was sadly absent from the stage.  Instead during a handful of too-brief interludes Milk took to the drumpad extending cuts into longer yet still precise drum jams- including Tronic's Give The Drummer Sum and notably AOTY's Round Of Applause  whose studio rendition includes overheard studio cues - 'keep it going... on the one (let it breathe)... bring it back' -  made into a rallying cry live.  At perhaps the apex of the show's arc AB softly let loose that quad tone sequence that is known as the instrumental Tronic Summer.

Having elapsed most of the Album material to the elation of the packed audience Black Milk was freed up to take audience requests scrolling through his ouevre with the ease of a jazz musician.  Undoubted fan favourites would have to be his run through a handful of his finest singles career wide: Losin' Out (normally with Royce Da 5'9"), the AB imprinted Reppin For U, the supremely fitting Tronic Summer (which despite it's flawlessness Milk immediately outed jokingly as 'some Barbie shit') only to drop the monstrous hook of The Matrix.  This run of material off of Tronic trailed out understably after Milk's opening verse uttering a few lines of Pharaohe Monche's next verse: "Four-finger ring rap sling-slang, Pharoahe the flow's good/ you couldn't hang if you was Ving Rhames in Rosewood".

Making a suprise airing was Don Cornelius (named after the definitive Soul Train host of the same name) the one cut that didn't make it onto Album Of The Year whose hook is lifted undisguised from Lee Fields and the Expressions Love Comes and Goes.   Likewise fan favourite Hell Yeah seemed close to the set closer before Milk insisted on banging out a handful of tracks from Popular Demand taking it right back for his by now frothing fans.

There are few artists that can leave the stage and have their stage band hold the audience in an equal thrall.  That is of course bands that aren't integral to the recorded sound, players of the highest calibre and playing to fans of the deepest magnitude.

Black Milk (w. AB and Daru Jones), Revival, Toronto (11.18.10) 
(partial setlist)

Welcome (Gotta Go)
Round of Applause (drum jam)
Over Again (AB backing vocals)
Reppin' For U
Tronic Summer
The Matrix (incomplete)
Losin' Out
Give The Drummer Sum (drum jam)
Don Cornelius
Hell Yeah
Shut It Down


Twin Shadow - Castles In The Snow official video

Twin Shadow aka George Lewis Jr. who's been known largely as a producer remixing progressive Brooklynites like Bear In Heaven (on Lovesick Teenagers) released the single Castles In The Snow before the summer it wormed it's way into countless playlists but by the time the rest of the album Forget came out this fall  it makes a bit more sense what this solo concept, which has much more dignity and cohesion than most producer/vocal turns, is pushing towards.


The Hold Steady setlist Cabaret Mile End, MTL (10.20.10)

Sweet Part of the City

You Can Make Him Like You
Hurricane J
The Swish
Rock and Roll Problems
Banging Camp
Chips Ahoy
Sequestered In Memphis
Sweet Payne
Stevie Nix
You Gotta Dance
Ascension Blues
Stuck Between Stations
Lord I'm Discouraged
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Slapped Actress

Constructive Summer
Hot Soft Light
Girls Go For Status
Massive Nights 


Eamon McGrath opens for Frank Turner (Horseshoe Tavern)

Back from a quick trip back to the West Coast, where he played a handful of dates with Mohawk Lodge bandleader (and White Whale Records founder) Ryder Havdale, Eamon backed by the rest of the Lodge showed more than ably why his own album Peacemaker charted as high as it did on Canadian college radio's Soundscan this summer.  Owing no doubt to his continued prolific output McGrath delivered cuts from Peacemaker alongside a couple of covers and  recently penned material.   Opening with a blisteringly shaky production of Powderfinger followed by Peacemaker's Cut Knife City Blues the Lodge leaned more towards the power throttle they are known for than some of the more erstwhile ballads that equally define Peacemaker.  With Havdale comfortable letting McGrath's youthful and feverish lead guitar work take the fore there is more room left for Ryder to buoy up the ensemble with more than competent bass playing.

Eamon debuted at least to this listener a new tune with trademark Mohawk Lodge singalong chorus: File Under Fire.  Likewise Holy Roller and Signals filled out the set in place of any number of heartfelt staples from his current album.  McGrath at his relatively tender age of 22 seems to have a leg up on his contemporaries, it being one thing to know you've got a problem another to sing a song about it and still a third to make that song devastatingly loving.  Many of Eamon's songs carry similar themes of abuse, whether drug or alcohol, but take on a more universal quality with his insight beyond his years that the most assiduous form of abuse is something like self-abuse.  Not surprisingly McGrath owes a debt of gratitude to Mark Linkous, a similarly afflicted talent, whose Saturday (from Sparklehorse' debut) got a strong airing.

As in the Mohawk Lodge, McGrath was accompanied at times (as on the original Machine Gun Cowboy) by chain smashed on wood (courtesy of fellow Edmontonian and keyboardist, lap steel, chain weilder - Pete Dreimanis) with drummer Danny Miles back seat driving.  With another new one Welcome To The Heart, McGrath and the boys rounded out the set with one of his strongest songs to date.  Where Linkous observed "you are the jar, you are the hospital" it's Eamon McGrath's dour insight that I Am The Deer.


Phoenix' Daft Punk connection through Darlin'

Prior to the release of their first album Phoenix was a Parisien garage band composed of vocalist Thomas Mars (and Sophia Coppola's baby papa), bassist Deck d'Arcy and guitarist Chris Mazzalai.   Mazzalai's older brother Laurent Brancowitz joined the band in 1995 after the demise of a short-lived band (inspired at least by the Beach Boys tune) Darlin'.  Brancowitz' bandmates in Darlin' were Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (now known as Daft Punk).

A couple of Darlin' tracks (the eponymous Darlin' and Cindy So Loud) can be found on the Darlin' myspace. As Phoenix the group went on to release a 500 copy single on their own label Ghettoblaster, they were then signed to Paris-based Source records becoming familiar with labelmates Air for whom they acted as backing band on several UK TV appearances.  They were also the backing band for a remix of Air's Kelly Watch The Stars single.  Shortly after this in 2000 Phoenix released their first album United (2000).

Alphabetical (2004) got some minor play and a special commission from Parisien male fashion laureate Hedi Slimane (to do a special mix of Victim Of The Crime) for that year's Dior Homme collection).  The live album taken from the Alphabetical tour's 150 dates was released as Live! Thirty Days Ago (some 30 days after then end of the tour).

It is their last two albums - It's Never Been Like That (2006) and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009) - that have of course drawn the group more fully into the zeitgeist of their age.  By this point drummer Thomas Hedlund was an integral part of the band's sound along with keyboardists Robin Coudert and Jonathan Chavez.

Precocious fans of the group may want to search out obscurities from their early career such as an instrumental single Heatwave that was released on a compilation Source Rocks (also covered by DB Boulevard in 2002 with a vocal under the title Point of View).  Likewise Party Time (released on United ) and a another 7" single called City Lights are highly prized by completists.   Both are very hard to find, the latter City Lights appears on a very rare Air compilation Deck Safari - bearing little similarity to current Phoenix.

But arguably the most obscure Phoenix to at least get your hands on at least a hard copy of is the aforementioned Darlin' tracks (either from the Darlin' EP or the incredibly difficult to obtain Shimmies In Super 8 compilation on Duophone.

Shimmies was released as two 7 inches in April 1993 with tracks by Huggy Bear, Darlin', Colm and Stereolab- the first record was white vinyl the second was green vinyl.   Only 800 copies were run (of which 400 had stickers) all copies were numbered.

Black Milk's Don Cornelius (stream and download)

In harried anticipation of Black Milk's (born Curtis Cross) in Toronto (Revival, Nov. 18) here's one cut - titled after Soul Train's longstanding Master of Ceremonies Don Cornelius- that didn't make it onto Album Of The Year.

Here also is a clean link to a download of Black Milk - Don Cornelius


Phoenix play Madison Square Garden, Daft Punk joins for encore (10.20.10)

The greatest rock band working in their second language - Phoenix - were joined at the end of their set at the Madison Square Garden by guitarist Laurent Brancowitz's former bandmates (from the Beach Boys inspired group Darlin') Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Maneul de Homem-Christo who are known publicly as Daft Punk.

The mysterious duo emerged during Phoenix' If I Ever Feel Better and proceeded to deliver their own Harder, Faster, Better Stronger and Around the World before completely remixing the band live on the definitive encore of 1901.

Then led by Mars on guitar Phoenix began to play the tonal sequence from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind in a call and response with Daft Punk to take the evening to a place even more stellar as they closed out the show with a melded version of 1901.


Black Milk at Revival, Toronto (11.18.10)


< the review and setlist for this show can be found here>

Just announced - the heir apparent to the Dilla dynasty - the eminence grise of the Detroit Hip Hop Scene - the power behind the throne- the man born Curtis Cross.   Madames et Monsieurs Black Milk (with DJ Hex Murda, AB and Daru in tow) will be making a much needed tour stop November 18th at the ideal venue of Toronto's Revival Club in the heart of Little Italy.    On the strength of (frequent Milk collaborator) Sean Price's dominating use of the space alone recently this is undoubtedly the perfect size of venue and room for Black Milk and his devastating live crew to rock the MPC, keys and drums giving life to the incredible live drum captures aired on his best-to-date Album Of The Year.   While Kanye West for instance is no slouch of a producer (and has a legit flare for the avant garde and garulous self promotion) there is simply no other producer rapper's in the game today heaving and howing straight 16's over elliptical lines of gospel psychedelic rock.

“My shit is Martin Luther / Your shit is Martin Lawrence”  - Black Milk/ Deadly Medley


Barr Bros. play CMJ (3 dates)

image courtesy of backin15min.blogspot.com

Brothers Brad and Andrew Barr (from The Slip, Surprise Me Mr. Davis, Land of Talk, Marco Benevento Trio and a host of others) with Sara Page and Andre Vial are playing a string of 3 dates at this years CMJ music week in NYC.

Oct 19 7:30pm Cameo, Brooklyn NY
Oct 19 11:00pm 
The Rock Shop, Brooklyn, NY
Oct 20 7:00pm 
Rockwood Music Hall, New York, NY


Al Tuck's All Time Favourites, Vol. 1 release forthcoming

The long admired and deeply revered Al Tuck  (acolyte Joel Plaskett for instance recently suggested he is an artist that should rightly get Polaris acclaim and support) is finally releasing a compilation of his earliest material.  Tuck is quoted as saying All Time Favourites, Vol. 1 will feature ``tracks from my first four albums, it is my first-ever release on vinyl.  I had forgotten that that had been my dream in the first place. Thanks to Youthclub Records for making it happen.``

The long wait for such a project may reflect more than just Tuck`s shambling and quasi inept spirit of self-promotion.  Tuck is far and away one of the most revered songwriters in Canada amongst other songwriters, and his love for the Maritimes and satisfaction with his life there makes him an increasingly rare phenom to see live elsewhere in Canada.  Recalling a sad period in his life when we both lived in Halifax I falsely presumed that the original master recordings were lost in a fire on Gottingen streeet in that cities north end.  Al was living with his partner in musical crime Gordie Roach, essentially a street or 'outside' musician, when the fire took place and while recordings were lost Tuck recently qualified by email the nature and extent of the loss:

"In that article about the house fire years ago (ed. in Halifax's Coast Magazine), if I mentioned lost tapes, I would have been referring not so much to masters of released albums, but more like unreleased personal tapes & that kind of thing. The last thing on my mind at that time was the music I had already managed to release. I was in the midst of making My Blues Away (2005) and thankfully had not yet managed to have the 2-inch reels transported from Toronto to Halifax. But yes, anything I hadn't lent to somebody went up in smoke, except my Guild parlour guitar, which I had with me at my girfriend's... well...she hadn't really been my girlfriend, but she was after that!
Master copies would have been difficult to locate anyways- we pretty much used the released items, except Arhoolie, which had been basically a cassette. Some kind of digital master of that surfaced (thanks to Dusty ed. Sorbet, I think) after the fire, so we worked from that. J LaPointe remastered things. I wasn't able to be there, but it seems like he did a good job."

Tuck's first two records (arhoolie and brave last days (1994)) were released on Sloan's murderecords at the height of Halifax-Is-The-New-Seattle hype- or properly the Halifax Pop Implosion.  In 2001 on his own label brobdingnagian he released what many believe to be his masterwork New High Road of Song (named after a musical hymnal of the same name).  Since he has only released Live at the Rebecca Cohn (2002) and My Blues Away (2005) since it's a fairly safe presumption that the new vinyl release will be composed of tracks pulled from arhoolie, brave last days, new high road of song and live at the rebecca cohn.  Each of his first three albums work so well as proper albums in their own right - particularly The New High Road of Song which may be one of the finest albums ever recorded by a Canadian songwriter- it will be interesting to see what songs Al chooses to cull for this release.

"All my girlfriends have crushes on Al Tuck" - Buck 65 freestyle circa 2001


Young Empires to play CMJ, NYC

Hot off their engagement in Bogota, Columbia at the two day festival Nem-Catacoa: Sonidos De La Tierra this past Saturday October 9th things continue to look up for Young Empires with a couple of spots at New York's CMJ music week.

Bear In Heaven (Daytrotter Sessions live)

The southern by way of NYC group Bear In Heaven has released a new live session recorded for Daytrotter Sessions.  Airing mostly material from Beast Rest Forth Mouth (while a phenomenal album) Bear In Heaven are best appreciated live where their textural psychedelia truly comes to life.

Bear In Heaven - Daytrotter Sessions Live

Beast In Peace
Lovesick Teenagers
Wholehearted Mess
Bags of Bags


Black Milk Deadly Medley video (w. Royce Da 5'9" and Elzhi)

In by no means the best cut off Black Milk's title worthy Album Of The Year here is the the Detroit triple threat of Royce Da 5'9" and Slum Village alumnus Elzhi (or eLZhi) on the Deadly Medley.  An extremely lyrically confident Milk swelling atop his own beat matches the braggadocio of both of his highly lyrically adept collaborators.  Milk and Royce's previous outing Losing Out has a similar surging confidence although the continued production growth and sophistication is more deeply felt particularly with the addition of Elzhi for whom Milk produced perhaps one of his more succesful outings ever The Preface.  


Roger Waters, Wall Live setlist (Toronto, ACC, 09/15/10)

Roger Waters - The Wall Live @ Air Canada Centre, September 15, 2010

In The Flesh
The Thin Ice 
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2
Goodbye Blue Sky
Empty Spaces
Young Lust
One Of My Turns
Don't Leave Me Now
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3
A Few More Bricks
Goodbye Cruel World

Hey You 
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Bring the Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb
The Show Must Go On
In The Flesh 
Run Like Hell
Waiting For The Worms
The Trial
Outside the Wall


Black Milk, Album Of The Year official trailer

Here then is the official trailer for Album Of The Year set to drop just 3 days from now.  With Welcome (Gotta Go) having already leaked as the first track in the tracklist, Keep Going is now circulating as the second on the sure-to-be-definitive forthcoming album.

Black Milk, Album Of The Year preview

Although an old clip this is the most in depth preview of Black Milk in the studio, first talking about the forthcoming Random Axe collaboration (Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Sean Price), then an album he's doing with  vocalist Melanie Rutherford called Searching for Sanity then his own highly anticipated Album Of The Year.  Simply seeing the young Curtis Cross move nimbly in his own studio is electrifying, some of the best footage comes at the end though when his live drummer Daru comes into the studio and they work out a dizzying live beat.


Radiohead - 15 Step - Live In Prague (08.28.09)

On August 23rd 2009, a group of 50 Radiohead fans descended on the Výstaviště Holešovice Exhibition Hall in Prague on a mission to capture the band playing using as many different angles as possible. Using camera flip phones the fans recorded the performance then edited the footage and in support of the project Radiohead released their audio masters to create truly spellbinding collaboration.  

The 15 Step opener alone is gobsmacking capturing as it does the emotive quality of the showgoers experience with the bands unparalleled use of technology and craft (or  techne - art, skill, craft) in perhaps all of modern showmanship.


The Young Frenchman by Hedi Slimane

The Constellations - Southern Gothic

I had the fortune of seeing a handful of bands this summer that seemed (god knows why) to be floating just below the radar of both the international music press and the sizeable fanbases they deserve.   I can think of no more deserving band than Atlanta`s own `supergroup` The Constellations whose Southern Gothic is a multi-genre tour de force that reflects lyricists Elijah Jones carefully laced narrative about the lost (or found) hours in one mythical night in Atlanta between the hours of 2 am and 12 pm.   Although both Cee-Lo (Gnarls Barkley, Goodie Mobb) and Asher Roth make appearances on two tracks the entire album is chock a block with highlights.  Reflective as it is of a really strong stable of players spending, undoubtedly too long in the studio, with a master producer Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley) it`s hard to point to one track that stands out over another, it just drives forward into a milky white peasoup fog with no care or concern for the set of headlights coming out of the darkness ahead of it.

Here`s a nice live clip from the 99X radio station from last summer (which doesn`t begin to do justice to even their current lineup or the album cut, but gives you dear listener a sense )


Sean Price, Revival, Toronto, Setlist (08.28.10)

Sean Price at Revival Club, Toronto, Ontario, August 28, 2010

partial setlist

Boom Bye Yeah
Let Me Tell You (Mic Tyson)

Peep My Words
Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka (unfinished)
King Kong
Boost (Kimbo Price Mixtape)
Get Ya Sket Mic (Kimbo Price Mixtape)
Hot (Kimbo Price Mixtape)
Street Shit (Kimbo Price Mixtape)
Monkey Barz
Onion Head
Figure Four (Mic Tyson)
Shut the Fuck Up (Mic Tyson)

Sean Price, Revival, Toronto, Review, Setlist (08.28.10)

After a competent, brisk moving but ultimately long undercard the well sated audience now bristling with anticipation ecstatically welcomed Brownsville's own Sean Price to the Toronto stage.

Looking like he had home advantage in his solid Blue Jay reds, his wardrobe progressed over the court of his sweltering set to predominantly a wife beater and a towel over his shaved dome (while dropping a line at one point about Ike Turner and Wife Beater's)- this had both a bemusing and gripping quality about it.

Price commanded the audience from the opening notes.  Sean has the ability to befriend an audience with his considerable girth and muscular fortitude in a way that might not seem befitting to a man of his stature, it is in part his kind eyes that perhaps make you forget for a moment that he could smack the white off rice.  This is in part because for all of Price's deeds and misdeeds, he is by at least one jurisdiction's estimation a 'bad man' who has done 'bad things' for which he was imprisoned for a period of time.  But good fruit never falls from bad trees, nor bad fruit from good ones.  But occasionally strange fruit falls from strange trees.

The highlights of his set, of which there were many, included Boom Bye Yeah, P Body and a loving change of pace with Heartburn where he sang his own Barry White style backing vocals while doing a kind sort of shoulder swagger before taking the audience down for another death roll.    This included Peep My Words, Boost and the fitting King Kong (by this point Price was already well into the mechanics of pacing the stage like a panther in a cage) before a brief hit of the Fab 5's Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka.

After the title track of his solo album Monkey Barz, the self-titled Sean P and a well anticipated Onion Head he went into a more full prelude to his forthcoming Mic Tyson (presumably Mixtape).  With new cuts aired near the end of his set being Figure Four and Shut The Fuck Up (having debuted Let Me Tell You with a rewind of the heavy Alchemist beat early in his set).


Lauryn Hill, Ooh La La La, Rock the Bells, NYC (Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Chris Rock, Jay-Z, John Legend)

Here's some great footage of Ms. Lauryn Hill's appearance at Rock The Bells NYC  (08.28.10, Governor's Island).  Hill who seems to have weathered somewhat the mental distress that she has presumed to have been in over recent years.  While confidently performing Ooh La La La in some sort of cosmic moo moo she managed to drag up most if not all of the sidestage notables from the sidestage/backstage area (being Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, (a visibly pregnant) Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Chris Rock, Jay-Z and John Legend).


Gene Ween at God Save The Qweens, New Hope, PA

Aaron Freeman also known as Gener, Gene Ween, The Golden Jew and around his hometown of New Hope, Pennsylvania simply Papa where he is known to drive around in his Honda Element, perhaps a carryover from the licensing of the Ween song Ocean Man.

While Deaner (Mickey Melchiondo) is busy captaining fishing his own fishing charter Gener has his blessing to tour their co-penned material in a solo acoustic context.  Here we see Freeman hanging at God Save The Qweens (13 Mechanic St., New Hope, PA) talking comfortably with Buck's Local News and performing a brief rendition the owner's favourite song Birthday Boy.


Sean Price interview (Random Axe, Mic Tyson)

Q: Sean you have such a long discography from your earliest collaborations with Heltah Skeltah, Boot Camp Clik, your countless mixtapes (including Master P and Kimbo Price) and of course your well regarded solo outings Monkey Barz and Jesus Price Supastar, to say nothing of your countless collaborations. What then can fans expect or what do fans expect from your live show, beyond the songs that the heads are always calling out for what are the songs that have stayed staples in your repertoire- that you really enjoy playing live?

A: I like to switch it up a lot at shows. It depends on the crowd, you know. Lot of high energy shit. Always like to do some newer stuff that the fans don't expect me to perform. Figure 4 has became a new favorite of mine. I like to keep em guessing, doing the same tracks every performance would be boring and it keeps me on my toes as well. I can get a better sense for how good my records are based on the crowds reaction to newer material.

Q: You once said that people are "mad 'cause I make music no longer for the fun of it." Yet having fun seems to be at the core of alot of your enterprises (like turning Duck Down Records into Ruck Down Records), what were you getting at when you made this remark and does it still apply?

A:  Basically, I used to just fuck around with it. I took it seriously but at the same time I didn't. Now it's a bit more serious, I still make good music and have fun but I got a family to feed. Does that mean I'm gonna do some wack shit just to get money? naw. The music is still dope and I'm still having fun.

Q: You're known for your frequent collaborations with individuals connected with Staten Island but you also have built ties to alot of other Hip Hop communites such as your priceless stab on Black Milk's Tronic standout The Matrix, or more recent collaborations with members of North Carolina's Little Brother. Do you feel like there's a 'Detroit' or a 'Midwest' sound you can identify with? Or is Hip Hop just Hip Hop no matter where it's from?

A: Hip Hop is hip hop. I've done music with people from everywhere. Little Brother and Black Milk are both amazing and that's why I mess with them. But Detroit is definitlely producing a good sound right now with cats like Royce, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Elzhi, etc.

Q: Ever since you Black Milk and Guilty Simpson collaborated on Run from Ode To The Ghetto (where the line 'Random Axe' first appears) and talk first leaked about a possible full length collaboration the excitement has just continued to build. It sounds like the time in the studio with Milk and Simpson was jokes (and single Monster Babies sounds like a good marriage of Milk's production and yours and Simpson's flow). What can you tell us about the collaboration or any random tale about you and Hex* throwing stories back and forth in the studio?

A:  We just finished up recording it in Detroit. The environment was definitely crazy with me, Guilty, Black Milk, and Hex around. We all joke around a lot and it's always a good time hanging with those dudes. Black Milk is mixing the project now.

Q: Random Axe is of course going to come out on Duck Down Records- what other new releases should we be looking for you on?

A:  The main focus right now is Random Axe, but after that is Mic Tyson!!! I may do a children's book too with free audio included.

*Hex or Hex Murda is both Black Milk's DJ in his live touring band as well as his business manager, he also manages the career of Elzhi.  Price and Hex both share colourful prison histories which apparently made the Random Axe recording sessions a hilarious process as each regaled one another with tales of the tape.


Swell Season Suicide (When Your Minds Made Up, Mountain Winery, 08.19.10)

The National Post is reporting that a man named Michael Pickels committed suicide during the Swell Season's performance at the Mountain Winery on Friday August 19.

On Thursday night in Saratoga, California, Irish act The Swell Season were well into their concert at the Mountain Winery when a 32-year old man was seen atop the roof of the amphitheatre. When the band completed their song “When Your Mind’s Made Up”, the crowd saw an object hit the stage near singer Glen Hansard. The object was Michael Pickels, who attended the concert that night with a friend.  Hansard rushed over to Pickels, and a doctor was soon on stage, but the man had died, and the concert was ended.

Read more: http://arts.nationalpost.com/2010/08/23/a-sad-refrain-the-week-of-concert-suicides/#ixzz0xTXxHFVt

Sean Price takes over Duck Down Records now officially Ruck Down Records


Young Empires White Doves live at ModClub, Toronto (08.18.10)

Young Empires ModClub, Toronto setlist (08.18.10)

Young Empires - ModClub, Wednesday August 18, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Diamond Rings
Against The Wall
White Doves
Summer Lovers 
Glory of The Night
Rain of Gold

Young Empires Against The Wall live at ModClub, Toronto (08.18.10)

This is not live audio but the demo version of Against The Wall that has set the world on fire. The images are all from the evening of Wednesday August 18, 2010 when Young Empires made their triumphant return to Toronto after a monumental summer and a considerable amount of righteous hype thrown their way.

Danny Brown Greatest Rapper Ever (lyrics)

My homey a magician with a Tech
make your chain disappear
and reappear on his neck
I ain't trickin' with your hoes
for shit don't act 'em
only thing I give a bitch a fuckin' orgasm
I throw you in the river
hands tied tight
watch your ass drown
feeling In The Air Tonight
I'm spittin' that dope shit
smokin' on regulars
ringin' sixteens like internet jail predators
rockin' that ten beat but I stay dolo
you wearin' Polo
who are you Young Dro?

I am fifth floor at the Bellagio
Vegas bitches that's resembling Rosario
Dawson awesome hit the head Mario
Started on my tongue now she's squirtin' up the sheets
She gave me that Becky
I gave her that Yoshi
The only time you niggers touch keys is motif
Go and sell a beat
You never sold a rock
Still be sittin' on the couch if I was on the Koch
Cause they're signed to the ROC
Na I'm signed to the streets
The D the only thing that's brothers and for me
Feelin' like big meats
when we bought to cook up
But not the one from BMF or the one from Linwood

And ain't a nigga I know
Three years straight, three dollar blow
Good in the hood anywhere I go I'm great
Nigga hit me with a hundred cause of the look on my face
Momma I'm honoured to be your son
Cause that's the second stab and so and not rip a single one
Used to be in a rush to finish off my sack
I was so thirsty dog sold a pregnant bitch crack
Let her pay me extra smoke it in the back
Then she came back titties all smackin' herself
on the back
Talkin' 'bout somethin' crawlin' on her
Lookin' like the world fallin' on her
And I pushed it
You wrapped the foots of the bitches I mushed
Boogie ass Cutlass  3D blowing Kush

Nerd got her shook
Started reading when the jerk through the fucking book
But the block was off the hook
Sayin' fuck class
Off them same pills that had Carlton dancin' fast
Young buck look not a grown up not about them same pills
listening to Donuts
I rap like I bet my life cause in all actuality nigga I did
You rap like you used to hit the pipe
naw nigga that ain't crack that's crackhead shit
Rep that shit
We don't tell a bitch
You don't break a bitch you ain't seein' this dick
You trick on a bitch
Dog you ain't rich take a bitch to the movies
Take her to the crib

You seein' Brown nope never
'Bout to the live the title of the Greatest Rapper Ever
It don't get no better
It don't get no better


Young Empires return home to Toronto (Mod Club, Aug. 18, 9:00 start)

We may not have heard or read much about Young Empires on this side of the pond since their blowout performance at NXNE at the end of June but they have had nothing if not a highly eventful summer.  If it seems like Young Empires came out of the gate running it's because they did.

Young Empires are a live electronic group that combines sequenced bed tracks with driving and insistent live bass and keys.  What makes the Empires particularly adept is lyricist and vocalist Matthew Vlahovich's persistent, timely and visionary lyricism.   It's a formula that's been often attempted and rarely pulled off.  In the case of the Empires (Aaron Ellingson - Swagger, Jake Palahnuk - Rhythm and Matthew Vlahovich - Hooks) they seem to have a deadly musical lock with one another and an infectious enthusiasm for their own stageshow - as if they are members of the audience geeking out at their own show.

In April they recorded Rain of Gold.

It's not complicated, someday we'll make it, it's not complicated, it's the way of the Ancient.

Here's the Vlsonn'a 50hz Below Remix of the same tune.

In May the Young Empires recorded Glory of the Night which continued to set the world on fire.

Then by July, with the international in particular British press already salivating at their every motion they recorded White Doves and Against The Wall which pushed them into a whole new trajectory.  Capitalizing on the moment the group toured in the UK and Scotland devastating crowds, influential bloggers, legit music journalists and the mainstream rags alike.   Everyone from NME Magazine, News Of The World (UK) have been making their stabs at what two bands combined Young Empires (neither is the answer) as if they were pitching a movie screenplay in an elevator.

Fortunately in the much more developed culture of British blogging there has been some really sensitive coverage and fortunately the leak/release of some great demos (which lyricist/vocalist Matthew Vlahovich recently told me were "recorded in our bathrooms, rehearsal space and bedrooms").

You can download the White Doves (demo) and Against The Wall (demo) here

The Empires are on such a roll that they were tapped to do a (very very Empires sounding, from the bongos, driving synth lines, and epic rolling melodies) remix for rising UK talent Sunday Girl (Jade Williams) which can be found here on Stoney Roads.

After taking Europe by storm (with an assiduacy even The Desert Fox would applaud) the boys returned stateside to start building that side of their Risk board.  Their forthcoming dates include:

NYC ( 08.13.10)
Brooklyn (08.14.10)
Toronto (08.18.10)
Chicago (08.28.10)
Bogota (08.28.10) - yes, that's Bogota, Columbia 
Ottawa (10.02.10)
Montreal (10.09.10)


Hip Hop Legend Sean Price plays Toronto's Revival (Aug. 26, 2010)

Born in Brownsville, NY Price is known in the rap world since his debut in the early 90s for his work with Heltah Skeltah and Boot Camp Clik. A frequent collaborator with a whole host of heavyweights Sean also has two solo full lengths (Monkey Bars, Jesus Price Supastar) and a slew of mixtapes under his belt, the most recent being the Kimbo Price Mixtape.

True afficianados though no Price from a single (literally) collaboration that Heltah Keltah (where Price was known as Ruck (The Irrational) with his partner Rock(nessmonster) and Originoo Gunn Clappaz did as The Fab 5.

Price has come a long way from his humble beginnings listen to for instance his contemporary work on The Matrix (from Black Milk's pivotal Tronic) likely one of the greatest Hip Hop tracks produced in the last 5 years.

Price is a frequent collaborator of  Black Milk's and makes up one third (with Milk and Guilty Simpson) of the supergroup Random Axe (predominantly mentioned on Guilty Simpson's song Run from Ode To The Ghetto).  Here is Monster Babies the first joint released from the forthcoming album.

Here we see Sean Price signing with Duck Down records (ostensibly for a gold rolex) for the release of the forthcoming Random Axe album.  Price drops a short a capella verse directly addressing the camera giving the listener some insight into his force, bravura and bravado.