July 25, 2013

Willis Earl Beal - Too Dry To Cry

 I'd like to begin this post by apologizing to people living in the apartment below me.  My bad about all the foot stomping (this will make sense in a second).

I'm not going to pretend like I know a whole lot about Willis Earl Beal, I just stumbled across this song and I had one of those moments where a song just mesmerizes you.  The 'Stomp, Clap' beat just drives this song forward while Willis Earl Beal's soulful, gospel-style vocals spin a tale of heartbreak.  The raw emotion behind Beal's vocals reminds me of soul/blues legends such as Gil Scott-Heron and BB King.

So give this song a listen and I challenge you to keep your heel planted to the ground.

Good luck.

July 22, 2013

Kavinsky feat. The Weeknd - Odd Look (Remix)

Kavinsky is far from a household-name, but he very well may be on his way to becoming one with his latest release. The French-born DJ achieved notoriety when he contributed the sultry, Nightcall to the opening credits of the Ryan Gosling (let me emasculate every man in the theater) flick, Drive. Although this tune has already been remixed by the likes of A-Trak and Surkin, the one that will catch the most attention features Toronto's own, The Weeknd.

In an age of bubblegum pop and whatever the fuck 'PSY' is, the eery, almost haunting vocals/writing style of 23-year-old Abel Tesfaye are a welcome addition to the music landscape. Like me, here is a kid who was able to see the genius in Michael Jackson's Dangerous and Blood on the Dance Floor albums while every one else was bopping their heads along to B4-4. Sweet flow on the boys though.

Needless to say, The Weeknd is building up even more suspense to the September 10th release of his debut album (2012's, Trilogy doesn't count according to him), Kiss Land. I was in attendance at his sold-out, Mod Club performance last month and am confident in saying that if he keeps his nose clean (well not literally), he'll have a long and promising career ahead. XO.

July 19, 2013

Tech N9ne - Fragile (feat Kendrick Lamar, Kendall Morgan, ¡MAYDAY!)

Tech N9ne has always come off as a bit gimmicky to me, but he has something to say to the critics on this one.

Over some lean and piercing production, this song tackles an issue close to home here on Straightgoods--media critics/journalists and their ability to project opinions on an artist's material.  It offers an interesting perspective: with every verse, these guys are really putting it on the line for all to see.  Keyboard heroes with more influence then they rightfully deserve have the power to slam something they might not have the slightest understanding of.   Whether you buy into the motivations behind this track or not, the two lyricists showcase some incredible wordplay while Kendall Morgan and ¡MAYDAY! entrance us on the hook.

Kendrick offers up yet another feature verse, but as this song makes clear, who are we too criticize?  The dude is as consistent as back-sweat on a July afternoon. Maybe his unadulterated rawness is contagious in the rap game.  And if that's the case, the more exposure the better.

Look out for Tech's upcoming album, Something Else, which will be released on July 31st.

John Mayer - Wildfire

Returning from a 3-year hiatus, the biggest beauty in the league (or douchebag - depending on who you ask) is returning with his 7th album, Paradise Valley on August 20th. After a dismal first release in my opinion (the melancholy, slow jam, Paper Doll was named as the album's first single), I was genuinely concerned for Mayer, both as a vocalist and songwriter. Where was the rawness? The emotion? The goddamn guitar!? But silly me, Johnny May has it all under control.

The album's second single, Wildfire is a tour de force of effortless, summer vibes. The tune is silky smooth and showcases not only Mayer's sound vocal ability (he just recovered from a 2011 granuloma removal that left his vocal chords at risk) but incredible guitar chops as well. The last minute of the song is Straight Goodness (wink, wink).

Johnny May has always been one of my favorite artists and I hope this new album restores him to his former Grammy-glory (Born and Raised did not). I will be in attendance at Molson Amphitheatre as he makes a scheduled tour stop in Toronto on August 14th. This one goes out to you Jennifer (Love Hewitt and Aniston), Minka, Katy, Taylor, Jessica, Cameron and I'm sure hundreds of others!

July 16, 2013

Haim - Falling

As my fellow blogger mentioned a few posts ago, there's been a proliferation of the female gender coming back onto the music scene, and it's been great. Along the lines of CHVRCHES, ASTR and Banks we find a trio of sisters called Haim that's been blowing everyone away - being described as a new age Fleetwood Mac.

I first heard of the sisters when they featured on Cudi's latest album, Indicud, on the song Red Eye. In the last few years they've been featured on the cover of Fader, played with Florence and the Machine and got signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation. Check out their leading single below, Falling, off the only 3 track ep they've officially released, and look out for their first album out in September of this year.

July 15, 2013

Audio Push feat. Lil Wayne - Space Jam

There's a heat wave in Tdot and as I sit on my balcony and sip on my Double Cross Vodka on ice, this gem happened to fall into my lap. The Cali duo, Audio Push (who are signed to Hit-Boy's HS87 label) just released their debut single which features Lil Tunechi spitting over the classic Space Jam by Quad City DJ's. Obviously I'm using the term 'classic' as loosely as a wizard's sleeve hangs, but I mean c'mon...it's SPACE JAM! I'm not even gonna downplay how much that flick meant to the 7 year old me. MJ crushin' Monstars like it's nobody's business, Sir Charles promising to never do the nasty with Madonna again, Newman from Seinfeld sweating all over the goddamn screen...priceless.

No thinking required to listen to this jam. Drop this joint at your summer pre-drink and you'll instantly be the most popular cat in the room (with males and females alike). Safe to say Miley will be droppin' it down and shakin' to this one. And Amanda Bynes. And Lindsa...fuck it. Here's your chance Miley, do your dance, at the...

July 14, 2013

Shwayze - Summer

Last year, one of the hottest sounds in the summer was Shwayze, a duo of rap and acoustic guitars that could fuel the largest of beach bonfires. Over the winter months they seem to have cooled off though, with Cicso Alder, (the pop-acoustic side of the duo), splitting off and Aaron Smith staying the course and adopting the name as his own. Since the last album they had as a duo, which featured Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and The Knux, we haven't heard too much, but that's all about to change with Shwayze dropping his first solo album, Swayze Summer, this afternoon.

See below for My Chick, the leading single off the EP, which brings me back to the laid back summers of college and the summer playlists we were spinning at that time in our lives. I'm also including a track that is a timeless summer classic for me by G. Love & Special Sauce, Beautiful.

Catch the rest of Swayze's new album here and go get yourself a sunburn before the weekend is over.

Shwayze - My Chick

G. Love & Special Sauce - Beautiful (Ft. Tristan Prettyman)

July 13, 2013

Banks - Warm Water (Snakehips Remix)

It's no secret, I have a slight addiction to overtly sexy female vocalists. Over the years I have subtly fallen head over heels for the beautiful melodic voices of Florence, Ellie, the girl from The Neighborhood and other songstress' that I would gladly marry without any inclination of what they look like. Other than Florence, of which I still bump the original Lungs album, I usually end up getting entranced by a groove filled remix that I randomly stumble upon.

This is definitely the case for L.A based singer Banks. As I sit in a blur of procrastination trying to define this girl, I've become lost. I'm almost confident I've read just about every article I can find on this girl and the alluring mystery that surrounds her and her persona is incredibly enticing. She seems very adamant about avoiding the Lana Del approach and simply wants people to focus on her music. The above video is the original "Warm Water" and the below remix by Snakehips provides a groovy rendition of the jam. Oh and this mysterious L.A vixen will be touring with Toronto's own The Weeknd on his fall tour.

p.s give it a good 40 seconds to kick in.

July 12, 2013

Do Work - The Ultimate "While You Work" Playlist

I've been racking my brain recently trying to come up with a more effective way to share the music that I spend my days listening to.

My job may not always be the most thrilling daily endeavor but there are certain benefits.  I essentially spend all day on the computer working for a company that makes no bones about you throwing on headphones while grinding away at the daily tasks.  This simple privilege is likely the only reason I stay sane.  Large corporations take note: no office mass shootings from this guy—although removing the free pop-machine was a low-blow. 

There’s no specific genre of music I can tell you is the most conducive to a productive working experience.  Anything from Beethoven to Lil B can work; it’s mostly a matter of personal opinion.  But I have found myself more drawn to a certain sound during the work day.   A beat with some pace, a bit of electro feel, a simple and appealing melody, a heavy drop every now and then—all key factors.  If you’re like me, you need the music to flow steadily and keep you in a zone of blissful ignorance to the garbage piling up in your email inbox. 

That brings me to the point of this post:  A playlist for all your workday needs.  Everything from folk to dubstep is fair play—but this list tries to put you at ease and not to overwhelm the senses too much.  

25 tracks to keep your ears occupied and your mind on point.  

Justin Timberlake - Take Back The Night

How do you critique the man who seems like he can do no wrong? How do you give him a pat on the back without crowning him as 'The New King of Pop?' As someone who has watched this man's career in awe since, yes, even his 'N Sync days, the answer is...you shut up, press play and hope that there isn't another 7 year hiatus that stops him from making music (even if the single artwork is laughable).

Take Back The Night, may sound simple upon first listen but the mix is absolutely exquisite. The song serves as the first single off of The 20/20 Experience (2 of 2) even though (1 of 2)'s Tunnel Vision just got released. While JT has never claimed to be Dylan-esque in his lyricism (just see the "Hi my name is Bob and I work at my job" debacle here), the combination of his voice and Timbaland's production leaves you giving a fuck less. Quincy and Michael left a lot of fluff on Thriller's, 9 tracks and things seemed to work out okay for them.

But the absolute best part of Justin Timberlake's lengthy repertoire is his mastery of the 'breakdown.' My God. How can one guy turn something so lame into something so catchy? Fellas, don't act like you haven't answered his request to call out "It feels like somethin's heatin' up..." on Senorita or beatboxed along as Lovestoned turned into the ballad I Think She Knows. JT knows what works for him and while at 32 years of age we may never again see the total fashion, dance and musical domination we did in 2006, at least we know he's got a lot left in the tank.

The Straight Goods Media team will be at Rogers Centre on the 17th when Jay-Z and JT kick off their Legends of the Summer tour in Toronto. Full report to follow. And the horns say...

July 10, 2013

Joywave - Tongues Ft KOPPS / 88888 Mixtape

So we're bringin this thing back eh? There's been a hole in my heart the past little while and the dormancy of this blog was the cause. It's good to be back. With that said, let's give a warm welcome to NotJasonDerulo, who writes like a goddamn poet.

I think part of my role on this site has always been to add a little diversity to the music we post. We all love hip hop and you can't go 48 hours without a noteworthy artist releasing something, so it's easy for that genre to dominate. On that note, for my 'comeback post' I present you Joywave, a band out of Rochester. Joywave's music is pretty eclectic but the song that's had a hold on me for a few months now is called Tongues (ft KOPPS). Tongues has that glitchy sound that we've seen artists like Flume have some serious success with lately. Take a listen and head to their website for a free download of the whole mixtape. If I can make one request, please don't listen to this song on your laptop, phone or iPad speakers.

July 9, 2013

Mayer Hawthorne feat. Kendrick Lamar - Crime

I mean, I'm not the biggest Mayer Hawthorne fan in the world but good music is good music. This track flows as smooth as a Johnnie Walker Black on a summer, Toronto night. Not to mention it features the biggest success story of 2012, K.Dot.

This cut is welcome territory for Kendrick Lamar who has recently gone on an indie tip and jumped on tracks from Dido, Quadron and Awolnation. While I was surprised and pleased to hear the gruff in the good kid's voice as opposed to the 'I'm from Mars and my first discovery on Earth was AutoTune' sound that has plagued his recent features, I'm afraid he's becoming oversaturated. No complaints over here musically but take a break, young buck! You have an in demand product and critical acclaim...don't 'Lil Wayne' yourself and give it all away now. You can say no to some features! Cool out. Eat some cereal. Watch some cartoons. We can't wait to hear what you do next with your sophomore set.

Wale feat. J. Cole - Winter Schemes

When thinking about my inaugural post, it was almost as if I wanted to wait for this big moment in the game: the June 18th eargasm of Kanye, Cole and Mac or the July 4th fireworks of Jay-Z's Samsung endeavour, Magna Carta Holy Grail. But then it struck me...fire is fire and this flame right here needs to be fanned.

J. Cole gave Wale the greatest gift when he moved up his release date from June 25th to the 18th as Folarin easily soared to #1 on the Billboard charts with his strong second set for MMG, The Gifted. The duo set the net abuzz last night when Wale tweeted that they would both hop on the Jake One production train and release Winter Schemes at 6:30pm.

The beat comes in spicy with a thumping drum-kick, choir sounds and a sped-up sample that sounds as if Drake's, Lord Knows and Twista's, Overnight Celebrity linked up at the bar last night and let the special magic sauce do the talkin'. It baffles me that Jake Uno is not given the praise the Mike WiLL Made Its and Hit-Boys are this year. I know I'm not the only one who was the tiniest bit upset that songs like Kenny Lofton and 3 Wishes failed to make the cut for Cole's, Born Sinner, but I'll live.

Cole remains consistent in his flow and delivers a strong verse. He seems more at ease with his new found critical and commercial success. And then...Wale goes in. Maybe the haters were extra vocal on Twitter when Folarin stepped into the booth, I don't know. But whatever got into Wale, I dig it. Perhaps he is shedding the "best underdog MC" title the game has been so comfortable in bestowing upon him.

I mean...#1 album, Rihanna feature, signed to one of the biggest labels in hip-hop. 2 years ago this would have been a description of Drizzy. Give the kid his due. NEW BLACK SOUL! NEW BLACK SOUL! NEW BLACK SOUL! 

New: Atmosphere - Bob Seger

Everyone's favourite underground hip-hop heroes have released a new track titled Bob Seger.   Ant delivers with some incredible production and Slug provides his reliably smooth and heavy hitting lyrics.  The chorus makes reference to Seger's timeless classic, Night Moves, the song that really propelled him to commercial success.  Draw your own conclusions there.  

Can't get enough of this sample.  Album pending???

July 8, 2013

J Dilla ft. The Brand New Heavies & Mos Def – “Saturday Night”

Haven't done this in a while but the recent emergence of funky fresh music has me reinvigorated with expressing my opinions on the interwebs. Within the last month, there has been an abundance of funk oriented music on the radio waves. With a ridiculous amount of milk with their shake, it seemed impossible to not be obsessed and excited about entering a funk filled summer after hearing Blurred LinesGet Lucky and Treasure. Unfortunately its only natural to get sick of songs after you hear them ten times an hour. Fortunately for you I'm back in the procrastination game and stumbled upon this gem. All you really need to know is... J Dilla, Mos Def and some falsetto that I would need 7-8 vocal/genital surgeries to obtain. You stay funky San Diego.