Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pitchfork Music Festival 2009!

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Drum roll: The fourth annual Pitchfork Music Festival will take place in Chicago July 17-19. So cancel that "screw the recession" European vacation ASAP-- it's not worth it. The Pitchfork Music Festival, on the other hand, is definitely worth it. Not like we're biased or anything. The three-day fest will once again take place at Chicago's lovely Union Park, so get ready to gawk at the coolest sunglasses you've ever seen while soaking in the finest music known to man...on earth...and in space. It will be mega.

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 13.

I know what you're thinking: "So which incredibly awesome bands are going to be there this year?" Slow down. We can't give everything away at once. Stay tuned to this space for a regular stream of festival updates in the coming weeks. While you're waiting, go ahead and check out Deerhunter's Bradford Cox performing with Spoon from last year's show or Girl Talk doing that thing he does with special guests Grizzly Bear at the '07 fest over at

But feel free to circle and/or highlight July 17, 18, and 19 on your cat-a-day calendar this very second.

Kanye West Bashes Thom Yorke, Defends Chris Brown

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Man, Kanye West's episode of VH1's "Storytellers" is going to be so awesome. When you combine this guy's passion for eye-popping stagecraft with his tendency to say insane things, you end up with some real appointment viewing. We've already seen the version of "Stronger" that'll air, and it wrecks. And we still have high hopes, even though Reuters has reported on some amazing stuff that won't make it to the air. According to Reuters, VH1 has cut a couple of classic Kanye tirades: One dissing Radiohead and another defending Chris Brown. (Via Stereogum.)

One of Kanye's anecdotes concerned Thom Yorke, who West loves. As a Radiohead fan, West puts half the Pitchfork staff to shame. On the mixtape track "Us Placers", Kanye, alongside Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell, rapped over a sample of Yorke's solo track "The Eraser". And when he talked to The Fader last fall, Kanye described the sound of "Love Lockdown" as "Thom Yorke in the strip club," a truly hilarious image. But according to Reuters, "West was aggrieved that Radiohead singer Thom Yorke had allegedly snubbed him backstage at the Grammys five days earlier. That hurt, West told the audience, because he idolizes the British band, and considers it one of his few creative rivals." Kanye told the "Storytellers" crowd, "So when he performed at the Grammys, I sat the fuck down."

Another of West's rants revolved around the subject of publicly maligned celebrities, most notably newly minted public pariah Chris Brown: "Can't we give Chris a break? ... I know I make mistakes in life." Um, right.

Also, on O.J. Simpson: "O.J. Simpson, amazing. Is he not? What he did, when he did, what he did. Was he not amazing though?"

And on Michael Jackson and Michael Phelps, the latter of whom probably isn't thrilled at being included in this company: "Michael Jackson, amazing. Michael Phelps, amazing ... He's a real fuckin' person; he makes mistakes."

Incredible. According to Reuters, VH1 has actually left that second rant relatively intact, even if the network has "cleaned up those comments a bit."

Kanye taped his "Storytellers" episode on February 13, and it'll air on Saturday, February 28. I cannot wait.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

VIDEO: No I.D. "The Godfather of Chicago Hip-Hop"

In this clip, No I.D., "The Godfather of Chicago Hip-Hop," talks with Rolling Out TV about his involvement in the music industry. In case you somehow don't know, No I.D. is the producer who Kanye cites as his mentor, and who was also instrumental in Common's early years (and hopefully his future years as well). Watch the vid, and hear how No I.D. helped put Chicago Hip-Hop on the map. (swiped from Okayplayer)

VIDEO: Kanye West "Stronger" Live @ VH1 Storytellers

VH1 TV Shows | Music Videos | Celebrity Photos | News & Gossip

(swiped from Okayplayer)

On February 28th VH1 will be debuting their latest edition of "Storytellers" featuring Kanye West. To give you a sneak peak of the show, here is Kanye's performance of "Stronger." I know we've seen 1,000 'Ye live performance vids by now, but I feel like he manages to outdo himself with every one.

Clipse/Rick Rubin Collaboration Actually Happening

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Back in the 80s, Rick Rubin co-founded Def Jam Records and produced an absurd number of monster jams for the likes of LL Cool J and Run-DMC. Ever since he left Def Jam, though, Rubin's been busy racking up Dixie Chicks Grammys and becoming the music industry's favorite beardo swami figure, and he hasn't had much time to fuck with rap. In recent years, though, Rubin's occasional toe-dips into beatmaking have been infrequent but devastating: Jay-Z's deathless "99 Problems", for one, or Lil Jon's Slayer-sample pileup "Stop Fuckin' Wit Me". (I could make a Lordz of Brooklyn or Saul Williams joke here, but those records were actually sort of awesome, so fuck it.)

Further proving the occasional sharpness of his instincts, Rubin signed masterful coke-rap free agents Clipse to Columbia in 2007. And last summer, we reported that Rubin and Clipse would be working together on music for Clipse's Columbia debut. But these kinds of things are often rumored and rarely actually take place. So we were stoked when, yesterday, revealed a few more details of the Clipse/Rubin collabo. The Re-Up Gang blog also posted some awesome photos.

According to EW, they've already finished one song together, and they plan to do one or two more. We already know from their two classic Neptunes-produced albums that Clipse know how to handle themselves over icy, minimal beats. Rubin usually traffics in punchy, metallic, cluttered thuds, so this will be a stretch. But all the people involved know exactly what they're doing, so I'm confident.

Til the Casket Drops, the third Clipse album, is due for release sometime this summer. Hopefully they won't experience any of the same release-date delays that plagued Hell Hath No Fury. EW reports that the first single, "Kinda Like a Big Deal", will be out on March 9. It features Kanye West, and DJ Khalil, who did the beat for 50 Cent's pretty good "I Still Kill", produced it.

The last time I wrote something about Clipse for Pitchfork, the brothers Thornton weren't too happy. So I should point out right here that this Rubin collaboration is a really good idea. It gets way higher than a 7.6. Like 8.2 at least.

Also, this picture is hilarious. How long has Rick Rubin been living in that car?

VIDEO: In The Studio With Dinosaur Jr.

(swiped from Pitchfork.TV)

We head into Dinosaur Jr.'s Amherst, Mass. studio while they lay down tracks for their new album, tentatively due this summer on Jagjaguwar. Along with full versions of new song "I Don't Wanna Go There" and You're Living All Over Me's "Tarpit", J, Lou, and Murph lead us from the past into the present.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Illuminous 3 has a new album out called "Room" in stores now and online soon. This Midwestern rap trio from Minnesota have dropped a special treat this month releasing 3 projects for free.'s debut EP entitled "The EP" can be downloaded at:

Mavin MC's debut EP entitled "The Craftmaster" can be found at

Freez's debut mixtape entitled "The For Real It's Too E-Z" can be found at:

Information about the group and other things going on check out:

VIDEO: Freestyle 101 w/Chali 2na

(swiped from Okayplayer)

Chali 2na, of Jurassic 5 fame, has been getting his name back out there quite a bit as of late. Jurassic 5 recently put out their J5 Deluxe Re-Issue album via decon, Chali was featured on that K'Naan track we posted last week, and today he is the latest MC on G4's Freestyle 101 (apparently he's not famous enough for G4 to spell his name right though). After he spits some bars, Chali speaks about how he began freestylin'.

Atmosphere and P.O.S. Team Up for North American Tour

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Photo by Dan Monick

Aggro-rap heads, your clenched-fist prayers have been answered. Minnesota rap duo Atmosphere and fellow North Star Stater P.O.S. are taking their no-nonsense, angry, political, and wordy acts on the road all over North America starting in April. Atmosphere will be touring behind last year's When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold as well as this year's God Loves Ugly reissue. P.O.S. is supporting the rap-rock stylings of his latest, Never Better. Without further ado:


04-09 Missoula, MT - Wilma Theatre *
04-10 Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory *
04-11 Boise, ID - Knitting Factory *
04-12 Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue *
04-14 Flagstaff, AZ - Orpheum Theater *
04-15 Tempe, AZ - Marquis Theatre *
04-17 Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre *
04-18 Indio, CA - Coachella Music and Arts Festival *
04-19 Santa Cruz, CA - Catalyst *
04-20 San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre *
04-21 Lake Tahoe, NV - Montbleu Resort and Casino *
04-23 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom *
04-24 Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo *
04-25 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom
04-26 Victoria, British Columbia - Element
04-28 Edmonton, Alberta - The Starlite Room
04-29 Calgary, Alberta - MacEwan Ballroom
05-01 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - The Odeon
05-02 Regina, Saskatchewan - The Riddell
05-04 Thunder Bay, Ontario - Rockhouse
05-06 Toronto, Ontario - The Phoenix
05-07 London, Ontario - Music Hall London
05-08 Montreal, Quebec - Theatre Plaza
05-09 Ottawa, Ontario - Ritual Nightclub
05-10 Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
05-12 Portland, ME - The Asylum
05-13 Boston, MA - House of Blues
05-15 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero Theatre
05-16 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
05-17 Richmond, VA - Toad's Place
05-18 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
05-19 Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue
05-21 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
05-22 Omaha, NE - Slowdown

* with P.O.S.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

VIDEO: Kid Cudi: "Day 'N' Nite"

(Swiped from Pitchfork Media)

So Kid Cudi has a new video for "Day 'N' Nite". Is the video good? Most certainly. It was directed by spectacular graphic artist Bertrand de Langeron, a.k.a So Me, a.k.a. the guy who was interrupted at the MTV Europe VMA's by a screaming Kanye West, a.k.a. the guy who went on to direct Kanye West's "Good Life". But, you might ask, wasn't there a video for this song already? Yes, there was, but it was for the arguably more fun and club-friendly Crookers bassline remix--a refix that, incidentally, entered the top ten in the UK.

Of course, not everyone (especially in America) seems too hip to the idea of putting a donk on it, and these same folks probably have probably listened to the original "Day' 'N' Nite" umpteen times already. All of this raises the question--why not make use of the incredible talents of So Me for a single that hasn't been out for months? Cudi apparently hated the original video and said so on his blog, but he gained lots of attention with it and lots of new fans. This brand spanking new one for the moodier, original version of the song looks fantastic, but in 2009, it doesn't take long for a tune to sound a little tired.

J Dilla Gets Anthology Treatment

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Last week marked the third anniversary of space-rap visionary J Dilla's death, and his influence over younger beatmakers like Kanye West and Black Milk probably looms larger now than it ever has. So it makes sense for Rapster Records, the company responsible for those compilations of sampled material from Daft Punk and Massive Attack records, to put out Dillanthology, Volume 1, a sort of Dilla 101 compilation. Dillanthology collects some of the production work that Dilla did for prominent clients and frequent collaborators like Erykah Badu and Busta Rhymes. But it's interesting to ask whether it really serves as an ideal introduction to the man's work.

A huge part of Dilla's peculiar brand of genius was his fractured intensity, the way he'd spend hours in the studio manipulating one old record-loop until it skipped and warped in just the way he wanted. And so most Dilla devotees would probably point to his 31-track Donuts beat tape as the ideal diving-in point for anyone interested in the man's deep legacy. The crew of writers on Brandon Soderberg's No Trivia blog currently paying tribute to the album on a track-by-track basis can attest to that. My own favorite might be the posthumously reissued Ruff Draft EP, where Dilla's likable, awkward vocals sort of charmingly set off the synthetic ripples of his tracks. Point is: Dilla wasn't exactly the seasoned industry-pro type, and it's a bit weird to see him honored with what basically amounts to a standard greatest-hits package.

Still and all, there are some amazing tracks on Dillanthology, which Rapster will release on March 31; Badu's "Didn't Cha Know" is a particular favorite. If nothing else, it'll be good for filling in some iTunes gaps, and maybe it'll inspire the folks at Rapster to dig a little deeper with any future volumes. But curious parties should know that a comp like this is merely the tip of a completely fascinating iceberg.

Here's the tracklist:

01 The Pharcyde: "Runnin'"
02 Slum Village: "Fall in Love"
03 Common: "The Light"
04 Erykah Badu: "Didn't Cha Know"
05 De La Soul: "Stakes Is High"
06 Busta Rhymes: "Show Me What You Got"
07 The Roots: "Dynamite"
08 A.G. [ft. Aloe Blacc]: "Hip Hop Quotable"
09 The Pharcyde: "Drop"
10 Amp Fiddler: "I Believe in You"
11 Steve Spacek: "Dollar"

MF Doom Changes Name Again, Preps Album

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

MF Doom has a new name now: DOOM. All caps. He insists. He also wants his album title spelled that way. So just to make sure I keep him happy, I'm going to write this whole news story in all caps.


Jesus Christ. That's so annoying. I can't do it. Sorry.

Back in 2007, the indie-rap enigma set off massive conspiracy theories and even death rumors by allegedly slapping his mask on a skinny imposter and letting that guy do shows while he stayed at home reading back-issues of Alpha Flight or whatever. (Doom's label simply claims that he lost some weight.) Since that time, we've heard barely a peep from him. Given that the guy used to release roughly 58 albums a year, that absence has been noticed.

Well, Doom has now renamed himself DOOM, possibly to distance himself from any worst-rapper-ever reputation I may have given him. And now he's breaking his silence. On March 23, Lex will release BORN LIKE THIS, the first all-new DOOM album in a couple of years. And he's coming back in a pretty big way, with some of the bigger names in the frantic head-knock rap underground on board.

DOOM's frequent collaborator Ghostface Killah, performing as Tony Starks for some reason, guests on one song, as does fellow Wu-Gambino Raekwon. Whatever happened to that planned DOOM/Ghostface full-length? Can that happen, please? Anyway, Jake One produced the appetizingly titled first single "Ballskin", and DOOM used a track from the late stoner-rap deity J Dilla's Donuts album for "Lightworks". (A quick digression re: Donuts: Brandon Soderberg's No Trivia blog has been running a really moving essay series on that album for a couple of weeks now.)

Here's the tracklist:

01 Supervillain Intro
02 Gazillion Ear
03 Ballskin
04 Yessir [ft. Raekwon]
05 Absolutely
06 Rap Ambush
07 Lightworks
08 Batty-Boys
09 Angelz [ft. Tony Starks]
09 Cellz
10 Still Dope [ft. Empress Sharhh]
11 Microwave Mayo
12 More Rhymin' [ft. Kurious]
13 That's That
14 Suppervillainz
15 Bump's Message
16 Thank Ya

Thursday, February 19, 2009

VIDEO: Atmosphere "You" (2nd Retake)

You may recall when I posted a previous version of the Atmosphere video. Well, here's a newer version.

Merry Febuary 19th y'all.

VIDEO: Hercules & Love Affair: Live on "Don't Look Down" Part 2

Here's the conclusion to Hercules & Love Affair's "Don't Look Down" performance, where the sun finally sets on the rooftop dance party, but not before a rousing rendition of the epic "Hercules' Theme", a bubbling, brooding disco epic brimming over with lavish horn blasts and sensuous "yeah yeah yeaaah" vocals from Nomi Ruiz. Yesterday we had Part 1. (swiped from Pitchfork.TV)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Video: Hercules & Love Affair: Live on "Don't Look Down" Part 1

If you weren't able to catch Hercules & Love Affair on their all-too-brief tour last year, here's a chance to see what you were missing. Brooklyn disco revivalist Andy Butler brought his eight-person band to a New York rooftop for the latest episode of "Don't Look Down". In part one, they stretch out the elastic grooves of 2008's brilliant self-titled debut, transitioning flawlessly between standout tracks "You Belong", "True/False, Fake/Real", and "Athene", as the sun sets behind the Manhattan skyline. Stay tuned tomorrow for part two.

(Swiped from Pitchfork TV)

Roots Do Residencies, ?uestlove Twitters Album Title

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Photo by Matt Ziegler

Roots fans worried about the not being able to see their heroes in concert after they start their gig as the backing band for the guy from Fever Pitch on TV March 2 can rest easy. Well, fans who live in New York City, at least. The world's most renowned (and endless-solo-prone) hip-hop band are set to give Manhattan all the funk it can handle, with a residency at the swanky Highline Ballroom. "The Roots Present: The Jam" starts March 5 and continues throughout the spring. "Special guests" are promised. So far, shows are scheduled for March 5, March 19, March 31, April 14, April 21, May 5, May 13, May 18, May 26, June 2, June 10, June 16, and June 23. Also, on February 28, the Roots will perform at Power Shift '09, the "youth energy and climate summit" taking place in Washington, DC.

And if you're still jonzing for some ?uestlove action after that, check out the Roots drummer at his weekly DJ night dubbed "the fANtastic" starting March 26 at artsy downtown enclave (Le) Poisson Rouge. The residency takes place every Thursday until May 28. Since the Roots are friends with everyone who's ever rhymed on a microphone, who knows who'll show up at these residencies? We can picture the post-Jay photos on Nah Right right pressure, dudes!

Of course, the band's afro'd stickman is available for your quipping pleasure every hour of the day at his Twitter. Just recently, he revealed the name of the next Roots album, via a Tweet: How I Got Over.

And if you can't wait a few weeks for your Roots fix, they're currently starring in a couple webisodes promoting the Fallon show.


The Roots:

02-28 Washington, DC - Power Shift '09
03-05 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
03-19 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
03-31 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
04-14 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
04-21 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
05-13 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
05-18 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
05-26 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
06-02 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
06-10 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
06-16 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom
06-23 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom

?uestlove's the fANtastic DJ Night:

03-26 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
04-02 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
04-09 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
04-16 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
04-23 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
04-30 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
05-07 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
05-14 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
05-21 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
05-28 New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge

VIDEO: Kanye West "Welcome To Heartbreak"

KANYE WEST "Welcome To Heartbreak" Directed by Nabil from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Friday, February 13, 2009

VIDEO: Murs "Who's The Boss"

(swiped via Okayplayer)

Though it's getting more and more hilarious (and petty), we're not really touching that Rick Ross and 50 beef. However, since Ricky did mention an OKP favorite in one of his songs aimed at Fif, we figured we'd post Murs' response to the situation (no diss). "I'm the Black Dana White, I'ma get this money and let y'all n*ggas fight"...not mad at Murs at all for this one. Murs For President is in stores now.

Company Flow Talk Funcrusher Plus Reissue

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)
El-P: "When a Company Flow song comes on it's like getting shot with a fucking nail gun. Everything else is like palm trees."

For hip-hop progressives Company Flow, being "independent as fuck" was a moral code of conduct and a chest-puff boast. El-P, Bigg Jus, and Mr. Len weren't just independent...they were independent as fuck. There's a difference. With their lone LP, 1997's Funcrusher Plus, the New York crew railed against capitalism and major label rap while offering an alternative that was equal parts rebel yell, lo-fi RZA-style bap, and Orwellian paranoia. It didn't go platinum. But its sound and spirit hit the underground hard, expanding the idea of what hip-hop could sound like.
Funcrusher hasn't been in print since 2006, but the record will start recirculating in remastered form May 5 courtesy of El-P's own Definitive Jux label. (The album was originally Rawkus Records' first LP, though the relationship between Company Flow and their old label has since turned ugly.) The new Funcrusher will boast rare tracks from the group's early days ("Juvenile Techniques", "Corners 94") and late-era songs cut before their 2000 breakup ("Simple", "DPA", and "Simian Drugs").
Though the three members have worked separately this millennium, they reunited for a show in 2007. Will this reissue spark another meeting of the Company Flow minds? Based on a conference call with all three members earlier this week, nobody's ruling a reunion out-- but it would have to be on their strictly independent terms, of course.
Pitchfork: Why reissue Funcrusher Plus now, 12 years after its original release?
El-P: Because everyone wants to release a record on its 12th anniversary! Perfect timing. I don't know...why the fuck are we doing this? It hasn't been available for a while and we finally got our shit together. We had to get the rights back from Rawkus...which I don't wanna talk about at all. The album should be out there. It's not something I ever thought would just disappear.
Pitchfork: So there's no special significance to the number 12 necessarily?
El-P: I think I got my first hand job at 12.
Mr. Len: I could make something up: There's three guys in Company Flow. And four years is how long a presidency lasts. Take the four and multiply it by the three and you get 12. Now, you add the one and the two in 12 and that's three...which is how many people who were in Company Flow. Knowledge that!
Pitchfork: Listening back to Funcrusher now, it's a little creepy how the dark mood of it matches the mood of 2009.
El-P: Even I was taken back by some of what we were saying. We just saw through shit-- we never subscribed to the idea that things were great back then. Even the idea about the music industry collapsing under the weight of its frivolous products seems to have come true. But I don't think that it took geniuses to see that as being inevitable.
Bigg Jus: It just so happens that geniuses made it happen. [laughs]
Len: We tried to tell you the sky was fallin', y'all just didn't wanna listen.
Pitchfork: So you're still holding that against everybody?
Len: The whole country. [laughs]
Bigg Jus: No! We're all about change now!
El-P: [deadpans] We're all about the hope.
Jus: You sound like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.
Pitchfork: So uplifting! Are you guys not excited about our new president?
Len: I'm very excited about it. But it always sucks to be the first person to do something, especially at a time when everything's fucked up. We're talking about 600,000 people losing their jobs in a month, millions in a year. To fix that you're circling money through an economy that has already crumbled. But at least someone's trying to do something now.
Pitchfork: How would you compare your overall perspectives now to when this album originally came out?
El-P: That CoFlow record was us on some fuckin' angry societal perspective shit and some love-for-hip-hop shit. I haven't changed in terms of the way I look at things but I started writing more about myself, drawing from my own personal experiences-- things that sort of take precedence over just ideas.
Jus: I kinda did it in reverse. I started more introspective and then went back out to investigate what was going on in the world. Turns out things weren't too far off from where they were when we were doing Company Flow. I don't like being negative but a lot of things still look the same to me at this point. There's just a different patina on it.
El-P: I agree. For me, all the political ideas are still involved, it's just that I started writing from a different point on the graph. A lot of people thought Funcrusher was super dark and hopeless, and I don't think it was hopeless in any way. We were on some affirmation shit. We knew what we thought was right and we were fuckin' assholes about it. We were reacting to a whole bunch of bullshit, especially when it came to music. All the hip-hop shit that we grew up loving just seemed to need a fuckin' reinforcement. Now it's a whole different scenario. But a lot of those issues obviously still remain.
Jus: I'm proud of the "independent as fuck" vibe to the record, and how we stayed pure and didn't get watered down by all the crap that was in the industry. It was good to be part of a record that helped spearhead that independent movement, even though it still has taken way too long to take hold.
El-P: I remember sitting at my kitchen table, cutting up letters and pictures and trying to glue them on there so we could make artwork for our black and white promo. We were just giggling, like "This is some fucking independent as fuck ass shit right here!" We loved it. Now it's part of the collective consciousness-- it's standard practice to start a record label, put your shit out, get your own distribution deal. I wouldn't say that we made that happen, but I would say that we were one of the first, if not the first cats to really know that was what we wanted to do.
Pitchfork: You mentioned how you guys did some asshole things back in the day. Would you do anything differently if you had the chance?
El-P: Maybe we wouldn't have broken up. [laughs]
Jus: That would be it for me. Now that everybody is older you kind of understand that people go through phases, and it's about keeping a continuity. I'm glad we're at least talking about it now. El-P: Ultimately, I think we always did it the right way. Even when we broke up it was like, "Let's not do this on bad terms." We always held ourselves to some sort of code that we weren't gonna fall into all the same traps that everyone else falls into.
Len: There were no diss records, no silliness. El-P: I never released my diss record: "Hey Len and Jus, I Hate You Fucking Guys". I recorded that shit, but I just felt it was a little harsh. [laughs]
Pitchfork: Do you think that Funcrusher is easier for the uninitiated to compute now?
Len: You have to be a special kind of teenager to dig it-- that's not a slight to a lot of teenagers out there, but they don't know how to absorb music. It takes a special kind of person to get into anything from that era, where it's a little more thought-provoking. It's not straight shoot-you music. If we're gonna shoot you, it's gonna be pretty damn entertaining.
El-P: When we came out there were motherfuckers who were like, "What is this crazy space rap from the future?" And at the same time I started seeing people refer to it as "old school" or "classic." We always thought that we were ahead of our time but maybe we weren't or maybe that time has caught up or maybe it's passed. It's hard to front on this shit though. When we made Funcrusher we thought it was the hottest shit on the planet, and when people didn't get it we were kind of like, "Well fuck you then!"
Pitchfork: Did you actually say that to people?
El-P: No, we said it in a mirror. [laughs] Actually, we probably did say that shit in interviews.
Len: We were on some arrogant-ass shit.
El-P: You couldn't tell us shit because we all knew how much we lived hip-hop culture. I reveled in the fact that when a Company Flow song comes on it's like getting shot with a fucking nail gun. Everything else is like palm trees. Pitchfork: A lot of people say Funcrusher was ahead of its time, but it's not like there's tons of stuff like that out now. I look at it as something that's more unique to its time.
Jus: I thought the album was following a logical step for the culture, which was basically about doing new shit and being original. Somehow along the way that totally got lost. I don't think other people could kind of keep up with where it was going. Besides the fact that we also didn't really make dance music.
El-P: Not just "didn't really make" dance music...I guess we made shit that people could uprock to on occasion. [laughter] At this point, I don't think it would sound jarring to anybody who kept their ear open to underground hip-hop in the last decade. If you were to play it to someone who only listens to the shit that's on the radio, they're probably going to have the same fucking response as they did when we dropped this shit, which is 50 percent saying "What the fuck is this garbage?!" and 50 percent saying "Holy shit, I haven't heard hip-hop like this." We always drew people down the middle-- there were never people who were like "Eh, it's all right." It was either "I wanna find those guys and beat them senseless because their crazy noise is hurting me" or "This is fucking incredible."
Pitchfork: Have you ever been surprised by someone who you wouldn't think would like the album?
El-P: My mom likes it. [laughter] It was different back then: We were in The Source, DJ Premier was rocking our shit on his mixtapes, KRS-One was rapping above our instrumentals. We kind of came out at the perfect time because people hadn't yet created subgenres so we were thrown into the pantheon of rap music in general. There wasn't a lot of people being like "Wow, they listen to this kind of rap." But when I was a kid I just assumed everyone should like this shit because I felt like I was the ultimate hip-hop fan. Like: "Yo, this adheres to my very fucking strict standards of what a dope record should be." I was 21 so I was pretty fucking high on myself.
Pitchfork: Do you worry about falling back into a sense of nostalgia with this reissue? I feel like when bands start re-releasing old material it might suggest their current work is less valuable.
El-P: I'm not gonna front-- that was something that may have held me back from getting into it for a while. At the end of the day, it's about the fact that we made this record and we're getting a chance to put it back out there. It's like a catalog piece. None of us are fucking washed up old dudes. It's not like, "Hey, let's take this to Vegas!"
Jus: I thought the best way to go about things would be to do a couple of new songs. I think the validity of what we've done is already secured. People already know what we're doing separately, but I'm personally throwing it out there to the guys that I'd love to do new material. I still have the same love in my heart for cats.
El-P: I hate you. [laughter]
Jus: I figure people would be cringing on that one.
El-P: You dropped the love bomb.
Pitchfork: Do you guys have any formal plans to record new stuff together?
El-P: Nah. We've always said that one day we'll get together to do some new songs but it's just dirty to think of it in any other way. I don't feel like planning to do it and being like, "We're releasing a record!" is the way to go. I love how we came in and fucking destroyed shit and then dipped. It was painful at the time but I don't regret it. As far as music and art goes, motherfuckers are dope artists, so you can never close that door.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Grammy Awards Superlatives!

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

The Grammy Awards made an effort to get younger, hipper and more relevant this year by nominating people like Lil Wayne, Radiohead, and M.I.A. in major categories. But, in the end, the same voters who always seem to go for what's old, respected, and safe triumphed by awarding Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' (admittedly not bad) duets project both Record of the Year and Album of the Year along with three other trophies, making them the night's biggest winners. Behind them was Wayne with four wins including Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for "Lollipop". Coldplay took three golden gramophones home, including Song of the Year for "Viva La Vida" and Best Rock Album.

Other Pitchfork-friendly acts who accumulated some hardware last night: Radiohead won for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package for In Rainbows-- and anyone who owns the hardcover double-vinyl Rainbows set knows the award was well-deserved. (Though Trent Reznor, whose Ghosts set was up for the same award, disagreed.) Daft Punk were also two-time winners, taking Best Dance/Electronic Album for their live record Alive 2007, and Best Dance Recording for "Harder Better Faster Stronger" off the same album. (All that Kanye love couldn't have hurt).

Speaking of Mr. West, the sometime Grammy brat was involved in two award-winning tracks-- Estelle's "American Boy" (Best Rap/Sung Collaboration) and his collaboration with Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and T.I., "Swagga Like Us" (Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group). Justice nabbed Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for their reworking of MGMT's "Electric Feel", Weezer took Best Short Form Music Video for their viral-ready "Pork and Beans" clip, Bruce Springsteen made the Best Rock Song-- "Girls in Their Summer Clothes"-- according to the Recording Academy, and They Might Be Giants beat out all others to win Best Musical Album for Children.

Check out a list of all the nominations and winners here.

M.I.A. may have lost her Record of the Year bid, but the very pregnant pop rebel (she's due any minute now) did take part in the night's undoubted highlight, a black-tie take on "Swagga Like Us" along with Kanye, Wayne, Jay, and T.I. And it's not like she tried to hide her bump, either-- her polka-dot bikini/mesh outfit left little to the imagination. It was easily the most fearless performance of the entire night.

A few Pitchfork staffers kept tabs on the proceedings via the Pitchfork Twitter, while ?uestlove's and Diplo's takes from inside the belly of the beast are essential reading.

There were other highlights, too. Ladies and gentlemen, your Grammy Superlatives:

Best Pete Wentz Tribute: Bono and his guyliner
Best Smile: The Rock
Best Tinsel-Based Shoulder Adornment: Chris Martin

Most Likely to Be High on Three Too Many Painkillers: Whitney Houston (runner-up: Travis Barker)
Best Neil Diamond Impersonator:
Neil Diamond

Best Mick Jagger-With-An-Itch Impression (Or Muppet impression): Thom Yorke
Best Nomination Cutaway:
Faux-water-breaking M.I.A.
Most Likely to Be a Cyborg Who's Hiding Crucial Machinery Under His Hat:
Kenny Chesney

Most Likely to Be a "Close Talker":
Kevin Jonas
Most Likely to Be Watching the Grammys from Home in Two Years (Please?):
Miley Cyrus
Best So-Called Bling:
Joe Jonas

Most Likely to Be Checking Wikipedia to See If He Is Indeed Still Alive:
Ringo Starr
Most Likely to Be Long-Lost Brothers:
T-Pain and
Best Guitar Solo:
Carrie Underwood's badass blonde bombshell axe slinger (apologies to B.B. King and Buddy Guy)

Video: Various Artists: Various Songs from the 51st Annual Grammy Awards

Video: Radiohead / M.I.A., Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and T.I. / U2 / Estelle and Kanye West / Coldplay [ft. Jay-Z] @ The Grammys

Radiohead With the USC Marching Band: "15 Step"

M.I.A., Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, T.I.: "Swagger Like Us"

Estelle and Kanye West: "American Boy"

Coldplay [ft. Jay-Z]: "Lost" / "Viva la Vida"

Al Green, Justin Timberlake, Boyz II Men, and Keith Urban: "Let's Stay Together"

Friday, February 06, 2009

Prefuse 73 Reveals Bugged-Out Album Cover, Tracklist

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)
Last month, we reported that another Prefuse 73 album was among the 58 bazillion new projects that ADD glitch-rap tycoon Guillermo Scott Herren had in the works. Well, now we've got a few details on it. On April 14, Warp will release the truly awkwardly-titled Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian.
The ridiculously awesome, Yes-worthy cover art is above. No word on whether this album will be a conceptual narrative about that robot spaceman's adventures on the freaky-tree planet.
Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian:
01 Periodic Measurements of Infrequent Smiles
02 Hairy Faces (Stress)
03 Parachute Panador
04 NoNo
05 Punish
06 Half Up Front
07 Sexual Fantasy Scale
08 DEC. Machine Funk All ERA's
09 Get Em High
10 Ampexian Tribe of a Lesser Time
11 When Is a Good Time?
12 Fountains of Spring
13 Whipcream Eyepatch
14 Regalo
15 Rubber Stems
16 Oh Is It
17 Four Reels Collide
18 Fringertip Trajectories
19 Violent Bathroom Exchange
20 Natures Uplifting Revenge
21 Yuletide22 Simple Loop Choir
23 No Lights Still Rock [feat. Dimlite]
24 Gaslamp Killer Feedback Text
25 Digan Lo
26 Preparation's Kids Choir
27 Pitch Pipe
28 Periodic Measurements of Infrequent Frowns
29 Formal Dedications

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Video: Cam'ron: "I Hate My Job"

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

With unemployment being what it is, Cam'ron should be happy he even has a job, especially after spending the last year-and-a-half hiding under a rock: One minute you're mixing it up with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, and the next you've beefed your way into obscurity. This low-budget clip for "I Hate My Job", a supposed single from supposed album Crime Pays, may not be the anthem the faithful were hoping for, but it's a step in the right direction. The video is a little confusing, with the first half of the track chronicling a workaday gal and the woes of a 9-5 (I think), followed by Cam hopelessly searching for a new gig ("Shoulda been a fireman, shoulda learned wirin'"). Still, there's something endearing about watching Cam work from the bottom up for our renewed affections, morphing a mildly clever idea into a charmingly self-deprecating apology.

Kanye West Doing Coffee Table Book, "VH1 Storytellers"

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Real talk: Kanye West's 2008 Glow in the Dark tour was the sort of pop spectacle we don't get to see nearly often enough anymore. It was a conceptually rigorous, utterly batshit concert-as-narrative that found Kanye ignoring the crowd and instead talking to a fake spaceship computer with Esthero's voice. The special effects were nuts, the stage design looked incredibly expensive, and the rearranged songs found room for kettle drums on every track. No other rap star in history would conceive of an arena tour in which he was the only guy visible onstage for a full two hours, and Kanye absolutely pulled it off.

This thing was closer to Disney World's Star Tours ride than it was to, say, Jay-Z's Hard Knock Life tour. Actually, it was probably closer to some old-school art-rock eyeball-destroyer like Bowie's Glass Spiders tour than it was to either of those. Also Rihanna's opening set ruled. I loved it. And now Kanye's turning it into a book.

The way E! Online describes it, the forthcoming Glow in the Dark tome will be a sort of deluxe coffee table thing with photos and conceptual sketches and set lists. The book will also include a CD of the symphonic interlude-music from the show and an interview with Spike Jonze (co-director of the "Flashing Lights" video). Rizzoli New York is set to publish the book in October.

In other Kanye news, on February 13 he'll tape an episode of "VH1 Storytellers" in Los Angeles. When Kanye's mentor Jay-Z taped an episode of the same show about a year and a half ago, all the anecdotes were misremembered scenes from gangster movies, and it was sort of lame. But Kanye's got basically none of Jay's filter, and he loves to talk, so this thing will probably rule. A contest on his website will give away about 80 tickets to fan club members.

MP3: Kanye West: Love Lockdown (Flying Lotus Remix)
Video: Kanye West: Various songs [live at the Inauguration Youth Ball]

Final UGK Album on the Way

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

When Pimp C died late in 2007, it looked like the legendary Texas rap duo UGK was finished forever, just a few months after their Underground Kingz album topped the Billboard charts and brought the group to an unlikely new commercial peak. But last year, I interviewed Bun B, the duo's surviving half, and he told me that there'd be another UGK album. The two had enough unreleased music stored away for another full-length, and he wanted it out there.

That album is now ready to go As Bun told told MTV, "This will be a good bookend to the legacy of myself and Pimp. This album is about what the people wanna hear, and that's Bun and Pimp. And I wanna try to give that to them in the most purest sense." When Lil Wayne is running around talking about plans for a rock album, this is sorely needed good news for those of us who still love to hear great rappers rapping.

The album, with the heart-rendingly perfect title UGK 4 Life, is due from Jive on March 31, reports MTV. First single "Da Game Been Good to Me" is vintage UGK: spaced-out guitar-noodles, swollen bass, falsetto-coo Pimp hook, thunderingly authoritative Bun verse. According to MTV, another song, "Marvin", is titled for its Marvin Gaye sample. And we can only hope the bullshit Akon collaboration "Hard as Hell" will be nowhere near this thing.

Stream: UGK: Da Game Been Good to Me [from the forthcoming For Life LP]
MP3: UGK: Da Game Been Good to Me [from the forthcoming UGK 4 Life LP]
Stream: UGK: Da Game Been Good to Me [from the forthcoming UGK 4 Life LP]

Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique Reissue Out Now

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

If you're me, the Beastie Boys' sampledelic spazz-rap sophomore LP Paul's Boutique is easily the group's best album ever, made when the Beasties were at the ideal middle ground between the hilariously asshole-ish prankster brats of the License to Ill days and the self-consciously eclectic downtown boho aesthetes they first became on Check Your Head. Paul's Boutique is coming up on its 20th anniversary, and we reported last month that the Boys would be giving the album the reissue treatment it deserves.

Well, they've done it. Physical copies of the Paul's Boutique 20th Anniversary Edition won't be out until February 10, but if you cruise over to the Beasties' site, you can already buy yourself a download or decide how much money you feel like dropping on the various multi-tiered options the group is offering.

If you're seriously balling, you can drop $129.99 on the Commemorative Package, which includes a limited edition eight-foot-long panoramic poster of the fold-out cover art, a limited edition T-shirt, and both vinyl and CD copies of the remastered album, as well as an immediate download.
Broke motherfuckers can pay $11.99 for the download itself, which comes in DRM-free 320 kbps and includes "interactive, 3D digital album art" (Which will be what? The Google Earth street-view of the corner on the cover?). For $15.99, there's also a Deluxe Digital Download package, which includes five music videos and (this is actually awesome) a full-album commentary by the boys themselves. Still more options: $18.99 for the CD, $23.99 for the 180-gram vinyl, both of which come with a download of the album. They're also selling T-shirts and stuff like that on the site.

Even if you don't plan on parting with any money over an album you already own, it's worth checking out the Boys' site, which now features all manner of Paul's Boutique-related sillness: videos, photos, stories from fans, a truly difficult and low-tech ping-pong game, and a free download of that audio commentary track. Go nuts.

In other Beastie Boys news, last night, it was announced that they would be playing Bonnaroo. This is their only scheduled show right now.

Here's a little widget thingy that plays the remastered version of "Johnny Ryall":

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