December 14, 2014

Hi-Top Brass Band at The Manly Jazz Festival

Living down in Manly, Australia definitely has a few perks; the humid climate, iconic beach, but most notably the festivals that take place right outside our window. The most recent of these was the Manly Jazz festival, which had hundreds of artists come in to perform on the main strip and accompanying bars over an extended weekend. We managed to get a good sampling of the music, which mainly consisted of old school jazz and funk, (bringing us back to the alleyway bar scene in Toronto) - but one group manged to break the fog completely - The Hi-Top Brass Band.

Akin to their name, this is a collection of gentlemen utilize a variety of brass to drive a strong back story to the vocals, which are not your typical growls of jazz, but rather a spoken word new age rap. We caught For The Money and Roll Up which probably drew one of the biggest crowds of the week - with the whole corso full up with the locals jamming along. Luckily these guys are willing to share a few tracks on their Bandcamp, which you can find below, to check them out at your own leisure.

November 10, 2014

Kanye West - Paris

Word has it that 'Ye is dropping his next album Paris at the end of the month, tentatively set for November 24th. Although most of the details around this album are shrouded in mystery, in typical Kanye style, there has been a leak via Hot 97's instagram page that showed a potential tracklist - with heaps of collaborations that just seem to make sense at this stage.

Kanye has been known to work with or like most of the artists listed above, and with his recent work on Theo's album Vibes, it's good to see him returning the favor passing out a few features on his album - which is bound to be high profile. From seeing him over the years, (and his recent GQ interview) he's clearly a narcissist, but at least he's getting better about bringing it all together for us.

Check out Can't Stop from Theophilus London feat. Kanye - for a taste of things to come

September 23, 2014


One of my favorite stories of an artist going from unknown to global superstar belongs to ASVP Rocky – who we originally covered back in late 2011 - when he broke onto the scene as an independent rapper from Harlem looking to make it in the big city of NYC with his crew.

Due to some solid A&R work Rocky was picked up from the plethora of artists that fit into the underground hip hop scene and was quickly signed for $3m to make two albums; one solo record for himself and another for his crew. This was not a route that many record labels were taking, as the industry was still in a tough period of transition and this method obviously had some serious risk associated with actually paying off. In ASVP’s case; both Rocky and the crew had that something very special and it worked out like no other – with sold out shows, critically acclaimed albums and a second record already in the works. The best part is that it's not only about him - because when you’re a group that’s getting compared to the Wu Tang Clan, you know that you can't really be in a better place. Now Vice Media (one of my favorite media outlets these days) has had its music arm, Noisey, pick up on this epic story for ASVP and has released a 5 part synopsis of this journey that the crew has been on. This includes not only how they got picked up, but the development and growth that has inevitably occurred along the way. 

Peep the first video below and the other 4 parts after the jump. This will be officially premiered at SXSW this year and definitely won't be the last time Vice gets A$AP Rocky in front of the camera.

September 22, 2014

Rufus - Live in Newtown, Australia

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of making it out to a little suburb/town outside of the city to take in my first concert on this side of the world. It was only fitting that this first concert was held by Rufus; an indie group that’s originally from Sydney, but was likely one of the only native groups that I had heard of before making the trip down here. Releasing Atlas last year, this tour was sort of a homecoming for Rufus to celebrate the new album, which the crowd certainly reflected. Aussies certainly know how to enjoy themselves and this was definitely one of those times they showed it. Inside of a packed concert hall at the Enmore Theatre in Newtown, Rufus pounded out hits like Take Me and Desert Night to make for an experience that went late into the night. If you haven’t heard of this group (they’re not THAT Australian), check out those two tracks below – which should help visualize the night a bit more than I remember.

Rufus - Desert Night

July 26, 2014

Freebase - 2 Chainz

A couple of days ago, 2 Chainz aka. Deuces, did what many artists had been afraid of doing for a long time - he remade one of the most iconic music videos of all time in Michael Jackson's Thriller. Doing this, he is obviously going to cause a stir with some loyalists, but I think that's a part of the strategy. The track he puts it through is called Freebase, so it's not like 2 Chainz is shy from controversy. In the song he raps about how he "came from nothing" with the first place he saw a crack pipe being his parents kitchen. It's stuff like this that continues to put Drake's Started From The Bottom to shame, as he bubbled up from the upper middle class working at a pharmacy. No denying that Drake's done more for his city though, Toronto aka. the 6

Someone was going to do it eventually, and I'm pretty sure Deuces is one of the only people who can pull off that classic MJ blazer, with the zombie lean and all.

So why not.

April 11, 2014

FROMTHEPAST // The Human Expression

From California in the mid-sixties The Human Expression headed primarily by Jim Quarles who collaborated with one of the other band member’s father Jim Foster. The two over a short period wrote and recorded several demos. Some singles gained favor in the local Westminster, California area; most favorably the B side “Love At Psychedelic Velocity”. 

The band continued for a little and had some tracks mixed by Wally Heider who would later work with The Grateful Dead. Quarles unfortunately made the decision to turn down ‘Born To Be Wild’, which Steppenwolf went on to make famous. Eventually the band ended around 1968. 

‘Optical Sound‘ shows the bands skill for milky neon grooves and ‘I Don't Need Nobody’ is an example of Quarles’ introspective writing style, which ultimately dominated most of the material.

Quarles goes on to writing and recording more demos and eventually becoming a sound engineer, sadly his music really never came to a recognition it deserved. The Human Expressions music still lives on in Psychedelic mix tapes, volumes, and the internet.


April 6, 2014

Shaking things up: Sydney, Australia

After a lot of deliberation and negotiation - it's now finally official - my girlfriend and I are moving around the world to set up shop in Sydney. As you may have noticed from my past commentary, I have always had a fascination with the land down under. So when my company offered me the position to help establish our presence in the region, I knew that it was time to make a big move.

I'm a firm believer that learning happens when you step outside of your comfort zone... and it was getting too cozy around here. I've lived in the Southern Ontario bubble for the past 21 years of my life, and although it is beautiful here and there's great community - we're digital now - it's not that hard to keep in touch with friends regardless of where you are. When people ask me what my family thinks of this maneuver, I simply point to the fact that I was born internationally myself, on a Canadian Air Base, during my Mom & Dad's 5 year stint in Germany. Exploring is in my blood.

So we leave in just over a month to explore a culture with subtle differences, sunny weather and unique adventures. I think we will fit in nicely with the laid-back demeanor. I'm going to do my best to get into the music scene as well, as we have been covering artists like Horrorshow, Spit Syndicate & Hilltop Hoods for years now, and it will only make sense to get it domestic. On cue, here's a video shot in Sydney from SS (and a few tracks off their latest album, Sunday Gentleman).

March 12, 2014

Skrillex x The Rap Community


It's been a while since I've had a chance to get back on here, it's been a crazy few months and I've been a little sidetracked... but we'll get to that later. For now the news today is that Skrillex has released his latest album Recess which is bound to get more than enough enjoyment from his glow-stick wielding fans. While Skrillex doesn't have Ellie Goulding to back him up, he comes with quite the entourage. The most notable addition this time around is Chance The Rapper, who steps into a unique song called Coast is Clear. Chance the Rapper provides his unique tonality over one of Skrillex's hypnotizing beats, but the result is quite interesting. The album leaked recently during a Reddit Ask Me Anything, but can now be purchased through iTunes like everything else.

Skrillex feat. Chance The Rapper - Coast is Clear

Now although pairing rappers with edm artists is still uncommon, this wasn't the first time that Skrillex has made that venture. A few years ago he managed to link up with one of the most up and coming artists at the time in A$AP Rocky to release Wild For The Night (remember A$AP was essentially just picked and given $3m to make 2 albums). This came best visually in my opinion.  


And while I'm on A$AP's tip, I might as well just end with one of his tracks that has been on repeat for me for a while now. Oh and it features a video with Rhianna aka Badgalriri. Worth mentioning.

A$AP Rocky - Fashion Killa

January 6, 2014

Stussy Toronto & BEVSTMODE Present: '431 Richmond Mix' by DJ Kicks

I still remember those epic car rides from the Hammer to T.O. to go shopping in my younger days...and by pure chance was wearing one of my purchases from 431 Richmond Street when this mix dropped today (it's gotta be a sign). Encapsulating the diversity of Toronto's fashion district, clothing brand, Stussy, drops a collaborative mix of music, both past and present. Check out Nomad (former tenant of 431 Richmond) for ALL and I mean ALL of your clothing needs at their new location (819 Queen Street West) if brands like A.P.C., Comme des Garcons, and Robert Geller get you all kinds of aroused.

I usually am not a big fan of playlists or mixes, but this one stands out start to finish. Fusing trap beats, old school dance music, and vocal rap samples...this is simply hypnotizing.

Only to be enjoyed under the influence...