Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Royce Da 5'9" Signs to Eminem's Shady Records?

So it would seem that we might have gotten the news a bit twisted. To promote the upcoming release of Royce Da 5’9’s “Bar Exam 3” a snippet of a Slaughterhouse freestyle featuring UGK’s Bun B was released yesterday. The snippet only has Crooked I and Royce on the track but the full version is rumored to be 10 minutes and has Joe and Joell’s verses in those missing minutes. At the end of the snippet Royce starts adlibbing and says the following:

“SHADY! Got a nice ring to it huh? Don't that shit sound so good comin from me?!...And if you like the white boy then your ass might as well start likin me too. Cuz from here on out anytime you see him, you’re gonna see me too.”

Everybody got all hype at the fact that Royce shouted out Shady Records on a Slaughterhouse song that they failed to notice that he didn’t actually say that all of Slaughterhouse was signed. From the sound of things it seems that Royce and Eminem’s reconciliation has come full circle and he has been welcomed into the Shady/Aftermath family. Joe Budden is said to still be struggling with his current label as is Slaughterhouse the group, but that didn’t seem to deter Eminem from signing his fellow Detroit native.

This news may not be as big as we originally thought but it’s good news nonetheless, and hopefully a stepping stone as well. In light of this discovery signs are now pointing to Eminem’s “big news” being the long-awaited release of Relapse 2 instead of the signing of the underground supergroup. If that’s the case then it’s almost guaranteed that Royce will make an appearance for a possible “Bad Meets Evil Part 2.” This will be good news for both camps, giving Royce and Slaughterhouse more exposure and possibly giving Em the creative push and inspiration he needs. And with Royce on Shady Records we can only assume that Slaughterhouse will be soon to follow.

Download the “Nobody Fuckin With Us” Snippet here:
Slaughterhouse Feat. Bun B

VØID - Self Titled [Free Download]

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a free metal album, and I believe most of the metal freebies were all Grindcore/faster albums, so it’s only fair that I cover the other end of the spectrum. Doom Metal, one of the sub-genres of metal birthed by Black Sabbath, is heavy and slow (sometimes agonizingly slow) and its sluggish song progressions can often test the limits of even the most patient listeners. This genre has given way to many offshoots through the years including Funeral Doom, Drone, Sludge and countless other combinations made with other genres of metal and rock.

The atmospheric sludge/post-metal sub-genre is arguably the most popular of the bunch, and was pioneered by Neurosis who combined Hardcore, Doom, Ambient, Industrial and Post-rock music to form their own unique blend of metal. The instrumental band Isis later took that style further into the post rock realm, resulting with both bands becoming the genre’s giants and thus being responsible for spawning countless followers and imitators. One such band is Italy’s VØID.

VØID describes their sound as “a pitch black drill in a sick head.” This description sounds far more abrasive than they actually are and would probably be a more fitting tagline for a Noise group (although VØID’s debut does contain some Noise.) Don’t get me wrong, although not quite as harsh as a drill to the head VØID isn’t exactly mood music either. Elements of both Isis and Neurosis can be found in VØID’s sound, but they also incorporate just enough Drone and Ambient/Noise passages to make them more than a mere clone of the two.

Their self-titled debut contains only 3 tracks and measures a massive 50 minutes, making this an album that definitely isn’t intended to be digested in short intervals. They successfully combine various styles without making it sound forced, and although it’s not necessarily the most unique Post Metal album it shows a band that has the potential to transcend their influences.

VØID is generously giving their debut away for free download, so be sure to consider picking up their CD if you like it, which comes in a handmade box and is limited to 100. They also have a deluxe edition CD box set that is limited to 30 pieces. You can reach them through their Myspace or email if you would like to order either of the CDs. Their contact information, pictures of the two sets they have for sale and the download link can be found after the jump:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Slaughterhouse to Sign to Eminem's Shady Records Tomorrow?

So last year rumors of Slaughterhouse (the Hip Hop supergroup consisting of Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, and Royce Da 5'9") signing to Eminem's Shady Records were running rampant all over the Internet. The rumors were mostly the result of their appearance with Eminem during his verse in Drake's video for "Forever" (see below) and the recent reconciliation between Eminem and Royce Da 5'9". It seemed that label politics stopped the deal from happening, and the prospect of Hip Hops best new group of lyricists signing to the label of one of Hip Hops greatest MCs would be lost for now. That is, until all the the Twitter rumors started acting up:

"RT @Floss_B: @RoyceDaFive9 what surprise does #Slaughterhouse have for the fans tomorrow? (I'm impatient)<- patience my good man.." - Royce Da 5'9" Twitter

The trending topic from then on was all about Slaughterhouse signing to Shady Records. The next announcement from Eminem's Twitter seemed to only reinforce everyones suspicions:

"And don't worry. Some big news is coming. Soon." - via Eminem's Twitter around 10pm Central

I know this doesn't seem like much evidence but in this day and age Twitter has replaced most media outlets as the number one source for breaking news - 140 Characters has replaced 60 Minutes SMH. I guess we'll find out once Slaughterhouse makes their announcement.

*Update: No news as of yet, this may be just another case of Twitter blowing things out of proportion like they did with Guru’s heart attack. With everyone wondering what is real and what parts are rumors all that we can count on at this point are the “facts” we have so far:

Miss Info Rumors:
In September of 2009 screenshots of Slaughterhouse behind Eminem during his verse on Drake’s “Forever” video surfaced. says that there are rumors “That Slaughterhouse(s) appearance in “Forever,” was indeed a non-verbal announcement of the contract negotiations going on behind the scenes. For the past month, both sides have been working towards bringing the group to the Shady label.”

Royce Da 5’9” Confirms on MTV interview:
A week later Royce was interviewed by MTV stating he's “...been speaking to Em and Paul for a long time…I think it’s a good marriage. Like I said, I just hope it can happen.” But after 5 months of no news afterwards it would seem that something was holding up the process.

Joell Ortiz Reveals Label Troubles:
Cut to earlier this month when Joell starts criticizing Slaughterhouse’s label E1 (formerly known as Koch) for holding up the Shady deal. He also implies on his Twitter that someone else is preventing the Shady deal from happening: “to be fair, e1 is not the only people blocking theres another bozo involved. One.” The “bozo” could have been a reference to DJ Next of Amalgam Digital which was Budden’s record label.

Joe Budden Criticizes Amalgam Digital:
A series of Twitter direct messages leak to the public in which DJ Next of Amalgam Digital claims that Budden misused his recording funds and still owed the label money and an album. Joe later posts on his website forum on that Amalgam was salty for not being able to sign Slaughterhouse and that they were forging contracts and holding up the Shady deal.
(info from

And that leaves us to this point when the rumors started flaring up again. A deal was in the works and Shady Records are obviously interested, but only time will tell. Whether we hear the news this week or in a couple of weeks one things for sure, money and politics always seems to fuck up the creative process. Hip Hop needs this people, please let it happen.

Friday, March 26, 2010

High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine Review (and tour dates)

Can we go ahead and just call High on Fire straight up Heavy Metal already? They've been called everything from sludge to stoner metal (mostly since Matt Pike’s former legendary band Sleep was known for their love of the “sweet leaf”) and some assholes have even called them hipster metal. Out of all the bands today (and I’m not counting the retro-chic bands that just rehash old styles) they are one of the few who sound like the natural evolution of Heavy Metal.
I know the comparison has been beaten to death but HoF took the gallop and growl of Motörhead and injected it with steroids, then expanded upon that foundation to form their own sound. You can’t get much more metal than Motörhead but they did it in spades (see what I did there?) and as far as front men goes Matt Pike is one of the only true rock stars left. There should be a law passed that gives Matt Pike the right to never wear a shirt (no hobo.)

High on Fire’s new album Snakes for the Divine is all killer from beginning to end, I’m starting to feel like they get better with every new album (although Surrounded by Thieves will always be high on my list. No pun intended.) The album starts with a riff that sounds very Mastodonian and wouldn’t be out of place on Converge’s latest album Axe to Fall (albeit just slowed down a bit) which coincidentally are the two bands they recently just finished a major tour with. Since Mastodon have been known to consider HoF a major influence the riff seems more like a nod to the bands they’ve inspired rather than an actual stylistic change. It doesn’t take long before that nod turns into a full-on headbang and High on Fire’s signature shred style takes over carried by the roar and rumble from the rhythm section of Des Kensel and Jeff Matz. (Videos, Links and Tour Dates after the Jump.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Merzbow - Ecobag/13 Japanese Birds Series 14 CD Package

When people find out that I have an interest in Noise “music” their first question is always “why?” In fact I’m hard pressed to think of anyone other than a couple of people who hasn’t wondered why I like Noise. I had a hard enough time finding people who understood my love of genres such as Grindcore or free Jazz, at least those had some semblance of rhythm or melody if you looked hard enough. How could I explain to people the aesthetics of a genre that is the very antithesis of the conventional definition of music? Noise is harsh, it’s the most extreme of extreme genres and lacks almost any structure at all. It is discord, found sounds, sheets of metal, broken instruments digital and analogue, all distorted to unbearable levels of volume.

So why like something so intentionally abrasive? I’ve always loved music, I listen to it at least half of my waking life. You can only listen to a certain genre so much until you get tired of it, until it numbs you. Sometimes I need a change, a palette cleanser if you will. It used to start slow with some Metal here, some avant-garde Jazz there, but you can only push yourself so far until you reach a point where you have to find the absolute extreme to go any further. Every analogue instrument has been explored to it’s full potential by now, all that is left to try in this new age is to push the limits of the digital world or use unconventional instruments.

It’s similar to adrenaline junkies who have to keep searching for more extreme stunts, or horror film enthusiasts who have been desensitized so much that only more gore can satisfy them. The sheer violence of Noise fascinated me, but once you become more accustomed to it and push yourself to endure the music becomes almost trance-like. It’s very primal and it’s effect on me is very similar to the state people experience from ambient music. In fact the two genres are very similar, more like opposites sides of the same spectrum. I've also always been fascinated with layer and distortion, and Noise music is so dense it makes finding all the different sounds and layers that much more fun. That’s the best explanation I can give for my love of Noise. Plus, I get bored easily.

Japan’s Merzbow is arguably the most well known noise act and one of the most influential for the genre. With almost 30 years of experience and countless releases under his belt (no complete discography exists but last count was around 800) Merzbow is almost a genre unto himself. Last year he started a series entitled “13 Japanese Birds” in which he released a CD every month (you may remember me mentioning the series in my Top Albums of 2009 Post.) These 13 albums were released under Important Records in the U.S. and they were in ADDITION to the countless releases Merzbow had throughout the year. This series was especially interesting to me because it would be his long awaited return to playing live drums alongside his analogue Noise (Merzbow has been using just a laptop as of late.) His Free Jazz-style drumming is a perfect parallel to the chaos of his music, and his return to analogue sounds complements the live drums.

Important records had an option of subscribing to receive every release and to also purchase a custom made screen-printed bamboo box to house all the CDs (the $300 package might still be available
here.) It was an expensive set to say the lest, but the good news is that Important Records has just announced a cheaper, eco-friendly $80 package that includes all the CDs in a screen-printed Tote bag with a bonus CDR of unreleased material from the Japanese Bird sessions. You can find the link to the “Eco-bag: below along with several pictures, the press release and an MP3 sample from the first volume after the jump.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is The Sentry Really Marvelman/Miracleman?

NERD ALERT! Do not read any further unless you have at least a SLIGHT interest in comic books. I realized that I haven’t made a comic book post since my ”open letter to the industry” post, which makes sense if you read the post. I think I’ve just been a little disillusioned lately, but I still follow all the stories and I still collect some comic books.

I’ve been trying to avoid most of the crossover/event stories from "the big two" but DC’s been making it pretty hard since they’ve been doing so well with the Green Lantern titles. They’ve given the history of the Corps a new meaning and mythos without changing anything and have kept their “Blackest Night” crossover from being too convoluted by keeping the story and artists clean and organized. Between all the Marvel and DC crossovers Blackest Night is the only one I keep up with. There is one particular Marvel “event” that I’ve been following however, and that’s their current “Siege” storyline.

Siege is the result (and resolution) of several storylines including the aftermath of the Civil War, Secret Invasion and the resulting “Dark Reign” afterwards. During the Civil War the Marvel Universes’ heroes were divided (and outlawed) over the subject of secret identities. It would later be revealed in the Secret Invasion storyline that the events that led up to Civil War and many others wer
e covertly orchestrated by the Skrulls who are an alien race of shape changers. The Skrulls secretly infiltrated the ranks of Earth’s heroes and villains in a plan to take over the world and exact revenge for the “Illuminati” attack. The Illuminati was a secret cabal of heroes that included Namor the Submariner, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Professor X and Black Bolt King of the Inhumans. The now defunct secret society worked behind the scenes making decisions that they thought were in the best interests of the world, including attacking the Skrull world and threatening them so they would leave Earth alone.

"Code of Conduct" Shop Teaser Video

Just wanted to highlight a local shop that will be opening up soon here in Chicago. “Code of Conduct” will be a lifestyle/street wear and custom tattoo shop opening up in the downtown/South Loop area of Chicago. The shop will also feature and sell artwork such as the crazy “Gentlemen’s Boomboxes” from Artpentry (unique, functioning boomboxes made from antique suitcases and such.) Along with being a great new addition to Chicago’s boutique shop scene I believe Code of Conduct will be the very first tattoo shop to open up in the business area of downtown Chicago.

There’s no concrete opening date as of yet but they’ve released this teaser video featured below to help tide us over until they give out more news, there's also a link to some pics as well. If you truly are too anxious to wait you can check out the Gentlemen’s Boomboxes and more artwork at Artpentry on 1827 S. Halsted in the Pilsen Art District of Chicago. They’re usually open during normal business hours but I highly suggest you check them out every 2nd Friday of the month when all the Pilsen Art Galleries opens up to the public from 6-9pm. Stay tuned for updates and details:

Check out some pics here: ”Darkroom Demons” Sneak Peak

Code of Conduct Website:

Artpentry Website:

Code of Conduct
14 East 11th Street
Chicago, IL 60605

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The Pre-eXXecution FREE MIX CD

In just about 3 hours Ruste Juxx and Marco Polo's "The Exxecution" comes out on Duck Down Records. I've heard a few songs and the record is already turning into a contender for my top Hip Hop album of the year. I haven't heard a wack track yet and every song is banging, this isn't some shitty hipster or emo rap cd. It definitely reminds me of all the gritty Duck Down records from the '90s without sounding too derivative, this is exactly what Hip Hop needs right now.

Duck Down has released a mix cd of all the freestyle songs to celebrate releasing all 13 videos and to promote The Exxecution, so if you were too lazy to download all the individual tracks all the work's been done for you already. It's mixed By Critical Hype and only costs your email address. I know you might be tired of all the Duck Down posts by now but at least this is the last one for Ruste (until his next project.) It's also been brought to my attention that I might have been making too many Hip Hop posts lately so I'll try to balance them out with my next few posts. I'll also put up a Ruste Juxx/Rockness Monster video freestyle on Sirius Radio for the fuck of it. This album, the new "These Monsters" and Gorguts "Obscura" will be in constant rotation for me during these next few weeks.

Click here to download Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The Pre-eXXecution MIX CD

Ruste Juxx Myspace:

Find your local record store here:
Record Store Locator

Buy Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The eXXecution & more here: Duck Down Records Store

New Gorguts Album Update/Demo Montage & a Free MP3

Guitarist/vocalist Luc Lemay of the reactivated Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada-based technical death metal band GORGUTS has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:

...we've been very busy and productive working on the new record!! We got two-thirds of the music written and recorded into two pre-productions...Don't expect this record to sound like a previous GORGUTS album...

We've also been very busy getting ready with the setlist for the upcoming show for Maryland Deathfest. It's so cool re-visit the first four album material and we'll be performing live, for the first time, some of the songs for our upcoming album!!!!"

This news was almost as exciting as finding out that they were playing Maryland Death Fest this year. I still have to cop my tickets but Gorguts are definitely on the top of my lists of bands to see, and now I have a possible new album to look forward to as well. I'm putting up a link to the original post where you can listen to the demo samples they have so far. You can also check out a video of one of their recent rehersals and a download link for a free MP3 below:

Luc Lemay and John Longstreth rehearsal - January 2009:

GORGUTS current lineup:

-Luc Lemay (NEGATIVA) - Vocals, Guitar

Here's a free MP3: Download "La Vie est Prelude" from their demo anthology

You can hear the demo montage of their new tracks here:

Gorguts Myspage Page:

These Monsters - Call Me Dragon *Update (Download link)

No this isn't a link to a free download of the album and no I was not trying to be misleading with the post title. As far as I've known up to this point "Call Me Dragon" was only available for CD and Vinyl pre-order from their UK label and it's been 2 months since I've posted about this album coming out. So the fact that it's actually available through iTunes has slipped under my radar, so sue me (plus I haven't gotten any updates via email, it must have all went straight to my spam folder.) Since my original post was so long ago I decided to just make a new one and include the iTunes download link and the video of their live performance of "Space Ritual" for the BBC live sessions.

I still can't believe this band hasn't had more exposure in the US, they really need some distribution over here on this side of the pond. At least you can download the album RIGHT NOW no matter where you are for ONLY 7 fucking dollars! Links can be found after the video and you can still download the "Call Me Dragon" single and see their video for it in my original post. The cd sounds amazing so far but all I keep hearing about is how their recordings does not do any justice to their live shows. So if you're lucky enough to be in the UK I highly suggest you see them live, in fact their tour dates can also be found after the video:

Buy/Download on iTunes NOW:
These Monsters - Call Me Dragon on iTunes

Order the CD, Vinyl and more here:
Brew Records Page

These Monsters Myspace:

Apr 24
The Playground @ 93 Feet East 150 Brick Lane, Shoreditch - London
May 1 8:00P
Live at Leeds - Venue TBA Leeds
May 7
City Showcase Festival - The Borderline 16 Manette Street, Soho
- London
May 10
EUROPEAN TOUR - Contact: euro mega hols 20 10

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Red Sparowes: The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer

So the Red Sparowes have a new album coming out on April 6th which caught me off guard. I was wondering what happened to them, it's been 4 years since their last full length we’ve barely heard a peep from them besides their EP “Aphorisms” which was released in 2008. I've always enjoyed their metal-influenced post rock and they were amazing live, so I've been anxious to hear anything new from them. In case you’re unfamiliar with them here’s part of their bio taken from their Myspace page:

"Red Sparowes was formed in 2003 by guitarist Clifford Meyer (also of Isis), bassist/pedal steel player Greg Burns (ex-Halifax Pier), guitarist Josh Graham, bassist/guitarist Jeff Caxide (Isis) and drummer Dana Berkowitz. Caxide and Berkowitz relocated in 2004, leaving the band. Drummer David Clifford (ex-Pleasure Forever, ex-The VSS) and guitarist Andy Arahood (ex-Angel Hair) joined shortly thereafter in the fall of 2004....In August 2009, the band returned to the studio with engineer Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business, Tool) to record its third album, The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer. The resulting 8-song disc is the first to feature guitarist Emma Ruth Rundle and finds the band's sound progressing ever onward in its balance of heft and melody."

Here's a video preview that contains snippets of the songs from their forthcoming album:

They still got their trademark twang from the pedal steel guitar but it sounds like they’ve taken a departure from any metal leanings and have ventured further into a more “traditional” post rock sound. I’m not sure if the absence of Josh Graham is the main reason for the Red Sparowes new sound but there's definitely a noticable lack of “heavy” in the songs. If that's the case it would seem that Brendan Tobin would be the reason that their EP “Aphorisms” still had some bite in it despite Graham's absence:

"In January 2008, Graham left the band and he was temporarily replaced by Made Out of Babies guitarist Brendan Tobin, who had already toured with the band several times as a fill-in guitarist. Red Sparowes went into the studio with engineer Toshi Kasai in May 2008 and the resulting 3-song EP Aphorisms was released digitally that July via Sargent House. A 12" vinyl version was later released in November 2009."

The snippets from the video still sound good although like most trailers they're playing all the best parts so we'll have to wait for the full album to see if it lives up to the preview. I'll put up a link to pre-order “The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer” but I strongly recommend you also pick up the Aphorisms EP, you get 18 minutes of music for just $2.50! Actually from what I heard so far I personally prefer the EP over the new album. You can listen to and download that EP and their other albums on the Red Sparowes bandcamp page (you can also pick up “At The Soundless Dawn” for only $5 and “Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun” for $7!) *Updated: free MP3 available for download below:

Download the free MP3 off their new album:
"Giving Birth to Imagined Saviors"

Buy and listen to Aphorisms and their other albums here:

Pre-order “The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer” here:

Red Sparowes Myspace:

Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The Pre-eXXecution Freestyles (Part 3 of 3)

Here's the final 5 videos of the Pre-eXXecution Freestyles series. This has been a dope promotion and now you can collect all 13 songs to make a full album and watch all the videos consecutively to get the full story. Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx's album "The eXXecution" comes out this Tuesday so be sure to pick it up at your local record store or on the Duck Down Website, and I'll put links to those after all the videos. Enjoy (Videos and links after the Jump.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pharoahe Monch to Release New Album W.A.R. with Duck Down Records

I know it’s starting to seem like I work for Duck Down or something, but I can’t help posting about them if they keep making moves like this! Legendary Organized Konfusion member Pharoahe Monch has hooked up with Duck Down to release his third album “W.A.R.” (We Are Renegades) the anticipated follow up to his 2007 banger “Desire.” His 1999 solo debut “Internal Affairs” was a classic album that was fueled by the popular Godzilla-sampled underground single “Simon Says.”

His debut was part of what I considered the “Rawkus Records Renaissance” and was in constant rotation for me back then. With the release of “W.A.R.” and the KRS-One/Buckshot album “Survival Skills” Duck Down shows that they can reel in legendary veteran MCs as well as talented new blood, and with the demise of Def Jux and the failed attempt to re-launch Rawkus Duck Down is fast becoming the definitive underground Hip Hop record label. You can download the free Clinton Sparks/Pharoahe Monch mixtape “The Awakening” and peep his tour dates after the press release:

"I'm incredibly excited about my upcoming release W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) and my new partnership between my company W.A.R. Media, LLC, and Duck Down Music,” Monch told “This album deals with conflicts and resolutions of the spirit, the soul, the government, and the industry among other things.”

Pharoahe goes on to reveal what guests he has in store so far:

“Thus far it features Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, Jean Grae, Styles P, Phonte, Black Thought, with more to come…It also features production from M-Phazes, Marco Polo, Mike Low, Fatin, Lee Stone, Exile and others to be announced. I am working diligently to finish the work for a summer release and I am honored to join forces with the Duck Down family during their 15 year anniversary." -via

(click pic to download the free mixtape)

Tomorrow (March 19) Pharoahe Monch will be a part of Duck Down’s 15 Year Anniversary Concert at the SXSW Showcase, located at The Scoot Inn on East 4th Street in Austin, TX. Doors open at 8PM.

Here are his upcoming April tour dates with SLAUGHTERHOUSE!:

April 3 Saint John, NB Evolution Nightclub
April 4 St. John's, NF Club One
April 5 Halifax, NS Paragone Theatre
April 7 Ottawa, ON Ritual Nightclub
April 8 Toronto, ON Venue TBC
April 9 Cornwall, ON Rangatangs Nightclub
April 10 Montreal, QC Telus Theatre
April 12 Thunder Bay, ON Roxys Nightclub
April 13 Winnipeg, MB Pyramid Cabaret
April 14 Saskatoon, SK Odeon Events Centre
April 15 Calgary, AB The Whiskey Nightclub
April 16 Edmonton, AB Starlite Room
April 17 Lethbridge, AB Venue TBC
April 18 Nelson, BC Spirit Bar
April 21 Victoria, BC Element
April 22 Vancouver, BC Venue TBC

*Little known fact: Pharoahe Monch took his name from an old tv cartoon from the 80’s “The Monchhichis.” Monch was a nickname given to him in high school, I vaguely remember seeing this cartoon when I was a kid.

Pharoahe Monch Myspace:

Duck Down Website:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hella Tight X Hieroglyphics/Del The Bombay Fitted Cap Part II

"Hella Tight" is a California based clothing company that releases their own line of fitted baseball caps. Their hats have been rocked and endorsed by tons of Hip Hop artists such as Jay Electronica, Lil Wayne and E40, and they even released hats inspired by Kanye West and Del the Funky Homosapien. I copped the first collabo with Del which was entitled "The Bombay Fitted" and featured an all black colorway with Melton wool upper, leather button/visor, and 3M reflective Hieroglyphics logo.

It took me awhile to get used to wearing a fitted that wasn't made by New Era but as soon as I got past that fact I found that this was a pretty high quality h
at. Their attention to detail was meticulous, from the 3M lining on the inside and a Del logo subtlety stitched in black to the leather black button on top to match the visor. My only complaint was that it looked larger than most of the fitteds I wore but it wasn't too bad. I later realized that Hella Tight's fitted caps were about a size larger compared to New Era, so I recommend buying a size down from what you normally would. It looks like the first hat was pretty successful because Hella Tight has now released a second Bombay Fitted colorway.

Part 2 features a gray Melton upper in addition to all the details of the first one (including the nice satin lining on the inside.) This hat is now for sale on their site link which can be found at the end of this post. I'm also putting up the link for Del's album "Funk Man (the Stimulus Package)" which he released for free in late 2009. It's a solid release (especially for free) but I highly recommend his other release "Automatik Statik" which isn't free but only costs $3 with the option to pay more. Ever since he started making beats he's been handling the majority of production on his albums and Automatik Statik is the first one to sound like a cohesive fusion of Del as an MC and a Producer. That album is a much stronger release than "Funk Man" and evidence that Del is still able to evolve as an artist and keep up with the coming generations.

(Click the Pic of the Album to Download "Funk Man")

Download "Automatik Statik" Here

Cop the New Bombay Fitted Here

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The Pre-eXXecution Freestyles (Part 2 of 3)

So here's post #2 for videos 5-8 of the 13 Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx Pre-eXXecution Freestyles. The videos are turnin out really dope and since they're also giving out all the songs you basically get an entire album for free too, what more could you ask for? ANOTHER free album you say? You guys are greedy but oookay, I'm gonna post "The Prelude" Mixtape that was released in 2008 to help promote Ruste Juxx's album "Indestructible" (you can click on the mixtape cover to download after the jump, all that's required is your email. The download will be before the videos.)

Growing up pre-Napster I remember the days were you had to PAY for your albums. Even the free promo CDs/Mixtapes that were given away had to be PHYSICALLY picked up at shows or record stores, so I think some people nowadays take that fact for granted. Duck Down is actually going out of their way to give you guys free music so show your support and buy some shit from them if you like the free content. Even if you won't buy/pre-order the CDs Duck Down gots mad gear for sale (check out their nice New Era Fitteds) so cop those. But not every artist has merch for sale (how about a Ruste Juxx Fitted Duck Down?!) so at least buy a vinyl or go to a show if you won't cop the cd.

Ruste Juxx and Duck Down website links can be found after all the videos. I'll also leave a link to buy
the Ruste Juxx - Indestructible CD or MP3s from the Duck Down store (and you can check out all the other stuff for sale too) and remember that the "eXXecution" comes out March 23rd. Click on the following pic to download the free mixtape and remember to support the artists and check back in this post for more videos (Videos & Freestyle Downloads After the Jump.)

Blake Judd of Nachtmystium and Layzie Bone?!

Nachtmystium is a black metal band from Chicago who started off as more of a pure black metal band (corpsepaint and all) but ended up incorporating psychedelic influences in later releases with outstanding results. Blake Judd, the driving force of Nachtmystium and member of black metal supergroup "Twilight," has been quoted as having Pink Floyd as a major influence.

Their album "Black Meddle, Pt. 1" gained them much critical acclaim and also landed them a spot on the free 2009 Scion Rock Fest with other underground metal heavyweights such as Neurosis, Mastodon and High on Fire. Unfortunately for them Scion (who has been co-opting Hip Hop and Metal culture shamelessly of late, but have been putting up a ton of free amazing shows) deemed that their loose, circumstantial ties in the past to a Nazi record label was too much of a risk to keep them on the bill. Nachtmystium then released a press statement denying any racism charges:

"...we are disgusted that there is someone out there who really believes we are of this ilk. It made it as far as the sponsors of this event's desks, and now we are forced to pull out of it after some political threatening on the part of these ridiculously uneducated person/people who have caused this ruckus.

We'd like to make light of at least one aspect of this situation and use the opportunity to once again clear the air — we are, IN NO WAY, a 'Nazi' band. We do NOT support such groups, political beliefs or bands that are affiliated with that world. We have canceled tours in the past and dodged working with bands and people BECAUSE they had these ideologies and we never wanted to be affiliated with it. Yet, here we are, a metal band whose members are more like hippies than your typical leather-clad metal maniacs, and we're being falsely accused of this association once again..." (read the full press release at Blabbermouth)

Everyone I know that has any association with the band has said that these charges were ridiculous, and in my opinion if you did have any ties to that movement I don't think denying those ties would be beneficial to it. So although I know the following might not "prove" that Nachtmystium isn't racist (how do you truly prove something like that anyways?) I feel this will at the very least help their image:


Yup! Layzie Bone of rap group Bone Thugs N Harmony was spotted at the Kreator/Voivod/Nachtmystium show at Peabody's in Cleveland last week. I heard a rumor from an extremely reliable source that they even hung out after the show (gee I wonder what they did to relax after the concert?...) This is even more surreal than that Lady Gaga/Kumas Corner/Judas Priest thing. Although this doesn't prove anything I would think that if I had any Nazi ties at all Layzie Bone would be the LAST person I'd want to be seen with. I'm just sayin...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mono DVD Holy Ground: NYC Live With The Wordless Music Orchestra


These were the words on the wall that seemed to hover luminously behind Mono and the full orchestra that backed them for their 10th Anniversary show at the New York Society For Ethical Culture on Friday 5/8/09. These were fitting words to hang behind this performance; the Japanese Post Rock Quartet’s instrumental music has been known to be both powerful and spiritual to its audience. A description of their album "You Are There" read that “They're not heavy like Black Sabbath - they're heavy like Beethoven,” so to hear their already lush music backed by a 24 piece orchestra would be the 'highest' way to experience Mono.

The whole night was charged with a hauntingly beautiful anticipation that filled the air with the promise of what was to come.
I flew from Chicago to see Mono’s anniversary show in New York, and while I was waiting in line for hours to get in I found that I wasn’t the only one who traveled to see this once in a lifetime show. People came from all over the US and the world, I met one guy in particular who came from Australia. There were even a few “celebrities” in the mix including Jeremy, the head honcho of Temporary Residence (Mono’s US label) and Manuf Rayani the guitarist from label-mates Explosions in the Sky.

Their last album “Hymn to the Immortal Wind” was a collaboration with a full orchestra, and they have worked with strings before (for their vinyl 10” release Memorie Dal Futuro) but tonight would be the first time that Mono would play with a full orchestra for a live concert. Jeff Milarsky and the Wordless Music Orchestra opened the night as the audience patiently waited for Mono to join them. When they finally took the stage the respectful audience gave out a subdued cheer (they were instructed to hold all applause until after the performance) as the band settled into their trademark positions. Guitarists Taka and Yoda were seated on opposite sides of a standing Tamaki, who started on the vibes while facing drummer Yasunori Takada before taking her familiar stance by turning to the audience face down, swaying in rhythm with her bass. The somber bassist would hold her position throughout the night, changing only to turn and play the vibes or sit to the side to play piano.

To see Mono live is difficult enough to put into words, but to see and hear Mono with a full 24 piece orchestra behind them was indescribable. This army of sound was a sight to behold and an indelible experience. The entire night was only marred by one drunken patron who refused to sit in the seats and was distracting audience members. He was quickly dispatched by a bold volunteer who took him outside by the neck. The incredible performance was followed by another the next night at Le Poisson Rouge, a smaller standing room only venue that was still able to accommodate the full orchestra.

“Holy Ground” is the DVD of that performance being released with the live CD by Temporary Residence, so I’ll let their press release explain the rest:

"The moment has finally come! The infamous once-in-a-lifetime NYC concerts featuring MONO backed by a 24-piece orchestra were gloriously captured on both audio and video for all to enjoy. Now you can either relive that amazing weekend, or stop kicking yourself for missing it. Recorded and mixed by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, ISIS), the album sounds absolutely magical. The accompanying DVD features the entire 90-minute concert from start to finish. It really is a sight to behold. This is available as a CD+DVD package, as well as a limited edition super-deluxe 3xLP+DVD gatefold vinyl package. There are two different colored vinyl variants available while supplies last (limited to 500 of each). Pre-orders will ship on or around April 15."

The following is a video of “You Are There.” The quality isn’t that great so luckily for you this DVD is finally available for pre-order! I will also include a link to a video of “Ashes in the Snow” live. It’s a downward shot so you can get a better appreciation of what we actually saw live and it’s a better quality video, it just wouldn’t let me embed it on here (Free MP3s, Videos & Tour Dates After the Jump.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reunions Galore: Godflesh and Swans

So last year Justin Broadrick announced that Godflesh would be playing a one-off reunion show at France's Hellfest Open Air Festival in June. In a video posted on Noisecreep Broadrick revealed that he was getting a bit exhausted with Jesu of late (Jesu is the project that Broadrick started following the breakup of his classic band Godflesh.) His feelings seem to reflect mine, I've enjoyed many Jesu releases but I've been missing the rage and grind of his older material. He also revealed more details on the reunion show:

It will just be [bassist Ben 'G.C.' Green] and me with a big screen of visuals. It will be everything we wanted Godflesh to be back in the day..."

The reunion is exclusive to the show for now but Broadrick revealed that there is potential for more. The fact that he's tired of his Jesu project leads me to believe that there's a good chance he will release projects under the Godflesh banner following this show. Especially if it works out the way that the Swans reunion came about. Michael Gira has also expressed a desire for a change from his "Angels of Light" group, a project he started after the dissolution of his seminal band "Swans." Similar to my feelings of Jesu, I myself was growing tired of the Angels of Light releases and yearned for the darker clang of the Swans.

Michael Gira has recorded a number of acoustic songs that he says will act as the basis for most of the new Swans material and will be called "I Am Not Insane." He also announced that he will be selling the material in hand made packages to help fund the recording of a new Swans album. They've raised enough money which unfortunately means that all the packages are sold out, even the $150 package (which included getting credit as 'executive producer' in the artwork to the new Swans album!) Our only hope is that they release a MP3 download down the road or re-release it in vinyl form. In the meantime you can listen to the albums streamed on his Young Gods site (link after the jump) and watch video from the album's accompanying DVD.

Click here to view the Sold Out Packages and Listen to the tracks on "I Am Not Insane"

"THIS IS NOT A REUNION. It’s not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. After 5 Angels Of Light albums, I needed a way to move FORWARD, in a new direction, and it just so happens that revivifying the idea of Swans is allowing me to do that."

I can't wait to hear these songs fleshed out, hopefully the Swans tour through Chicago. It looks like 2010 is turning out to be a great year for music so far.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The Pre-eXXecution Freestyles (Part 1 of 3)

I've been a fan of Boot Camp Clik and Duck Down Records since the days of Black Moon's single "Who Got Da Props?" and the first Smif N Wessun album. They've recently been experiencing a resurgence of sorts, being fueled by the new solo career of Sean Price (Ruck of Heltah Skeltah) and Buckshot's collabos with producer 9th Wonder in the early 2000's. They've also been injecting new blood into their ranks by signing Chicago's Kidz in the Hall and fellow Brooklyn native Ruste Juxx who's been doing tracks with people in the Duck Down camp since 1998. Being in Chicago I got l
ove for Kidz in the Hall, but what I've really been excited for is any new material from Ruste (pronounced “Rusty.”)

Ever since I heard his raw and upbeat album “Indestructible” he's been on my list of “new” MCs to watch. Ruste Juxx is in a unique position since he's been in the game for so long yet just released his debut album in 2008, which may be the reason his throwback style sounds so refreshing. Grimy and full of punchlines, he escapes the “battle rapper” label by being able to craft actual songs instead of just rapping over beats. In the vein of 9th & Buckshot's albums, Ruste's next release will be a full collaboration with producer Marco Polo. “The eXXecution” has a release date for March 23rd and just when I thought I couldn't get more hype for it's release Duck Down starts it's “13 Days,13 Freestyles,13 Videos” promotion.

Starting today Duc
k Down will release 13 Ruste Juxx Freestyles/Videos over Marco Polo beats a day, with each consecutive video telling a smaller story of a bigger narrative. This ingenious marketing move is one of the many reasons why I think 2010 is the year Duck Down takes over (Sean Price, Guilty Simpson & Black Milk's supergroup “Random Axe” and Smif N Wessun's upcoming album with legend Pete Rock being other reasons.) You can download and listen to the song in the link after the press release description and I will post the accompanying video after it. I will continue to update this post with each day's new video, and I will only start a new post after we're about a third of the way through (hence this post being labeled “Part 1 of 3”) so check back each day to see what comes next (Videos & Free Songs After the Jump)

Harvey Milk - Self Titled (The Bob Weston Sessions)

Harvey Milk fucking rules. What other band do you know can play agonizingly slow Sabbathian sludge one minute, fast-paced ZZ Top inspired rock the next and then turn around and cover Leonard Cohen? They’re one of the heaviest, most metal bands around yet they don’t see themselves as a metal group. Even when they started touring with more extreme metal bands they were surprised to be well received by their audience.

They’ve been called a heavy noise rock group (akin to the Melvins) in the past but Harvey Milk basically consider themselves a blues band. So much so that the title of their new album was originally going to be “Music Blues.” Their new record is now officially called “A Small Turn of Human Kindness” (named after an instrumental track from the band's album “My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be”) and will hit shelves on May 18, 2010. Bassist Stephen Tanner talks about the name change in a recent Noisecreep interview:

"That was the title for the longest time. It was a title I came up with which basically means music sucks. It's blues so things are bad, or whatever…But lyrically Creston [Spiers] came up with something altogether different, so the title changed less than a month ago when he was doing the vocals."

The new album was written as one whole piece divided into parts, with Stephen suggesting that it could “read” as one big story. Whatever the case may be we can expect one monstrous slab of a record and they should have no problem following up their 2008 universally praised album "Life...The Best Game In Town." May 18th is a long time from now but luckily Hydra Head has decided to tide us over with “Harvey Milk - Self Titled,” a re-mastered re-release of the bands long-lost debut album.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Notorious B.I.G. 1972-1997

"Excuse me, flows just grow through me/Like trees to branches/Cliffs to avalanches/It's the praying mantis/Deep like the mind of Farrakhan/A motherfuckin rap phenomenon..."

If I really need to give you background on The Notorious B.I.G. then you need more help than my blog can give you. There's been endless debates on whether or not Biggie deserves the "Greatest Rapper of All Time" title but you can't deny his influence and talent. Him and Pac's deaths were sad times and stark reminders of mortality when I was younger, so instead of mourning let's celebrate the life of Biggie with this DJ Whoo Kid/Cookin' Soul Mixtape that features beats made from classic horror movies. RIP Mr. Wallace:

Download Notorious B.I.G. - Night of the Living Dead

"Cuz the greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th" - Canibus

Monday, March 08, 2010

Solar Posing as Guru's Brother to the Hospital? Guru Still in a Coma?

Things are starting to get way too crazy and out of control. Insane rumors are floating all around the internet and it doesn't seem like anyone's any closer to finding out Guru's current health or situation. I'm not the only one starting to get angry about this and regardless of what the truth is or “whose business it is” we at least all have the right to know if Guru is okay or not. His family, fans and friends seem to be shut out and all signs point to Solar as the cause. As mentioned in my last post Premier apparently has not been the one behind all the posts made in his name. His Twitter and Blog are run by different people so all statements made from those sites weren't from Premier, but the statements relayed by friends (such as Q Tip) were. One thing he did confirm was that he does support Guru's nephew, who released a video claiming that Solar was denying Guru's family any visitation. In the following videos Solar calls in to legendary Hip Hop NY Station Hot 97 to answer some questions about said video and everything that has happened thus far (Videos and more After the Jump.)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Guru Awake from Coma? DJ Premier & Elam Family claims Solar is Denying Visitors

"What in Gods Name is Really Going On With Guru??"
- via DJ Premier's blog

Apparently on Wednesday March 3rd Guru and Solar made a statement to

"I am doing fine and
I am recovering! I'm weak though,” Guru told in a statement today. “Solar is the only person who has the accurate info on my situation. Any info from anybody else is false! I appreciate your well wishes and all the love!"

"Guru is resting and doing well after his surgery,” Solar told “The doctors say that he will fully recover from his illness. We thank everyone who send prayers our way and we appreciate the outpouring of love from around the world!”

It would seem that others were skeptical that Solar would be given exclusive access to Guru during his recovery time. DJ Premier has voiced his own concerns via his Twitter page and blog over the past few days and even wonders if Guru really is out of a coma. Most of his concerns stems from this video released by Guru's Nephew who is claiming that Solar is denying the Elam family access to the hospitalized rapper:

Solar responded to the video with statements given to

“I have nothing but the deepest love and respect for The Elam family. But I have not stopped anybody from seeing him,” Solar said. “Guru's brother, sister and niece has visited with him and his brother was here for three days...The hospital records will show that Guru's Brother, sister and Niece visited him last week, Fact !...Guru's well-being and need to heal is what I am concerned with, and that Guru's wishes in this matter be observed."

He goes on to say that Guru is requesting privacy from everyone during his recovery, even some of his family members:

“Guru's family dynamic and who he wants to look out for his interests is Guru's business and best left to Guru to discuss. I will state that Guru wanted this matter to be kept private to protect his loved ones and fans from this ordeal and from it becoming a circus, which it is becoming,” he continued. “Guru has made clear he does not want anything to do with certain people from his past, and for them too be making false statements about his health is unacceptable.”

Premier remained skeptical even after these statements, claiming on his blog this past Friday that he suspects that Solar was "Tweeting" under Guru's name to validate his actions and that Solar is still taking shots at Premier and his camp even during Guru's recovery time. He even questions if Guru is even getting any better at all:

"I really hope Guru is getting healthy but it doesn't looks that way to me. His nephew also put this in question. Superproducer Solar still loves to aim towards DJ Premier (and his people) when Guru is still recovering from a heart attack and coma??...

"Guru" can tweet almost the exact same message in seconds when Superproducer Solar tweeting?? Guru can't even control his own Twitter account now?? And why did "Guru" released all his albums for free when he was in the hospital?? Why did "Guru" even tweeting promotion stuff at the time he was critical ill??"

He also expresses his concerns that Guru is allegedly doing all this "Twittering" and promotion when he is still critically ill and recovering from an operation that occurred only days ago. Preemo is genuinely scared for Guru's health and wonders why Solar is "protecting" him from everyone, fearing that Solar has a hidden agenda.

Update, Sunday 3/7/10: Premier clarifies
his previous statements on his HeadQCourterz radio show Friday night:

“First of all anyone that’s been seeing any statements from me, it’s all false,” Premier explained. “If it wasn’t told to someone directly, it’s not coming from me...Shout out to Justin Ruff" (the family mentioned featured in the above video) "...a true soldier and a warrior that took on his own initiative to truly let motherfuckers know evil lurks in Guru’s life still, and that s**t will cease eventually. ‘Cause God don’t like ugly like they say, and love always conquers the devil."

Premier concluded with some kind words to Guru and the Gang Starr Legacy and made sure that everyone knew he had no personal interests clouding his intentions:

“It’s not about me it’s him, and the Gangstarr legacy,” he said. “Without him there’s no me, and without me there’s no him. Again, Guru we love you my G, stay strong my dude.”

-update via

I have to say that I personally have to side with Premier on this. The video from Guru's family member wasn't a good look for Solar and producers taking advantage of stars in times of vulnerability isn't exactly a new concept in the industry. Like Premier, I believe Guru needs to take a good long look at the people he has around him once he fully recovers. I still hope for a full recovery, and a Gang Starr reunion.

They say it's lonely at the top in whatever you do/You always gotta watch motherfuckers around you"

"Let's face facts, although MC's lace tracks/It doesn't mean behind the scenes there ain't no dirt to trace back/That goes for all of us, there ain't nobody to trust" - Guru, Moment of Truth

Friday, March 05, 2010

Peanut Butter Wolf’s Free Chrome Children Mix

I remember when Stones Throw’s Chrome Children compilation came out. It was a joint release with Adult Swim made to coincide with the label’s 10 year anniversary. At this point the only other time Adult Swim promoted a release was the Danger Mouse/MF DOOM album “Danger Doom” so they were still new to experimenting with promoting music under their brand. This was a good decision for their next collaboration since Stones Throw isn’t your average record label.

Stones Throw Records is one of the few independent labels still standing strong today and have cultivated a loyal fan base, mostly through their consistency with solid releases from artists such as DOOM, J Dilla, Madlib, Koushik and Georgia Anne Muldrow. They dabble in left-field Hip Hop, obscure Funk reissues, smart dance tracks, Soul and even Psychedelic freak-outs so they’ve shown that they’re not afraid to stray from the norm and take risks. Stones Throw once again proved that they’re a cut above the rest by releasing brand new tracks to celebrate their anniversary instead of the usual “greatest hits” cop-out that most labels do, and they even included a DVD with it that contained a live show headlined by Madvillain.

My favorite tracks are J Dilla’s "Nothing Like This" and “Monkey Suite” by the aforementioned group Madvillain, which was cause for most of the hype with this release. Chrome Children came out 2 years after Madvillainy and Monkey Suite was the first sign of hope for more new material from the duo. With everyone praising Madvillainy as a classic and rumors of part 2 finally in the works the single only made people more impatient for a sequel. Sadly we are still waiting for it 6 years later, and all we have to show for it is an album full of Madlib remixes and recycled DOOM verses (I’ll stop right there since Idol Threat has covered enough DOOM disappointment already.)

Before this CD/DVD set came out I remember my homie Sean Doe (deejay extraordinaire/Stones Throw promoter) giving me mad copies of a promo mix of the album Peanut Butter was doing for the release. All those cds are long gone and given away but luckily Stones Throw has decided to release a free digital download of the mix. Cop it after the jump and celebrate Friday with this dope mix and 2 VERY dope animated videos for my 2 favorite singles:

Download Peanut Butter Wolf’s Free “Chrome Mix” here

Buy the CD, MP3s or Vinyl at Stones Throw