October 25, 2013

Arcade Fire - Reflektor (New Album)

Happy Friday everyone, I come bearing gifts.

Arcade Fire's follow up to 2010's Grammy winning album The Suburbs is due to be released on October 28th, but the band has been far to generous and has provided their fans the opportunity to stream the album from front to back (and subsequently, made the stream private a few days later). I've just finished my first listen through and immediately jumped back in for another. Let me tell you, this is a huge piece of music, and I mean that in two ways.  In a literal sense, it's a full 85 minute double album but more importantly, the album is big in that it is absolutely rammed with quality. I know it's pretty excessive to be standing on rooftops yelling ALBUM OF THE YEAR after one listen, but honestly, this is a phenomenal collection of music. Great songwriting, skillful instrumentation, as well as themes and melodies that run from the front of the album to the back, give it a very cohesive, concept album-like feel.

On this album, Arcade Fire seem to have accomplished something that many artists seem to struggle with: After huge mainstream success, following up with an album that progresses from their previous work, without totally departing from their earlier sound. This album is not The Suburbs 2. It is a different animal, and a great one at that

 Their Google Chrome experiment is pretty cool too: https://www.justareflektor.com/

October 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Soundtrack Edition: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2

The nostalgia is strong in this one.  Rivaled only by the likes of soundtracks from the GTA series, Tony Hawk Pro Skater has to be a strong contender for greatest video game soundtracks of our time. These songs bring back a mixed flood of memories, from getting painstakingly close to topping a high-score challenge, to battling it out in a grisly game of SKATE.  Not only did this game act as a basis for what will likely be a life-long addiction to video games in general, it also provided an early-introduction to some of the rawest ska music (kinda like indie before indie was cool), underground hip-hop, and alternative rock.   THPS2 soundtrack embodies the peak of my experience, so enjoy the skate down memory lane:

And everyone's favourite, from the original THPS:

October 23, 2013

Banks- Change (The Chainsmokers Hot and Steamy Edit)

I feel as though I may get sent to blogger hell for doing this but I recently found this song on the Hypem popular page and may have pressed the replay button a couple of times. For one, it’s a remix of Banks who has slowly become one of my favorite female vocalists. Two, its remixed by The Chainsmokers who have also grabbed my attention as of late.

The majority of the time an EDM artist does a re-work of a song such as Banks’ “Change”, I obsess over the track for weeks and then never hear anything of the producer again. More recently, I’ve come to establish that the age of the popularized remix artist has begun. Many don’t consider these electronic manipulators musicians but as a hip-hop fan, samples and reworks are an integral aspect of my favorite genre. Just like becoming infatuated with a distinct producer, many EDM artists like The Chainsmokers maintain a consistent sound that attracts a unique but still very relevant fan base.  I personally think that producer’s, artists, DJ’s (or whatever you would like to call them) that put there distinct spin on a song defines the beautiful mess that is modern music. As someone who prides himself on being a music appreciator with zero musical abilities, I find I get to know these artists on a personal basis. Regardless of how you view artists like The Chainsmokers on a professional level, this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

October 18, 2013

The Sexiest Instrument IN THE WORLD

Can you hear it? The sound of air vibrating past the wood of the reed and through the brass body, it's bell shaped bottom projecting the message for all to hear: 'I'm back bitches!'

In my attempt at humor, I may have just written the cheesiest sentences ever transcribed on this site. Whatever though, the sax and I go way back... sort of. I played the tenor saxophone for a year in High School to get my compulsory arts credit. It was fun but that year was the extent of my John Coltrane dream. I've always loved the sax though, so it's unfortunate that for most of my life it has been largely absent from popular music. Much like the guitar solo, it got overdone and earned the label of being cheesy. Those days are done though, seriously. The sax is back.  I've compiled a small list of songs that are making great use of this legendary instrument and helping with the resurgence. The second track was on the Do Work vol 2 playlist, but I'm doubling it's air time by reposting because well... Sax.

Kowl - Sending You My Heart
Thomas Jack ft Adrian Symes - The Final Speech
Ellie Goulding - Tessellate (Alt-J Cover)
Stavroz - The Finishing

Horrorshow covers "Can I Kick It" + "Take A Walk On The Wild Side"

What better way to feel good on a Friday afternoon, than to listen to a freshly pressed cover of some classic easy listening music - A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It", laced with Lou Reed's "Take A Walk On The Wild Side", by our friends down under, Horrorshow. This was passed my way by a colleague who actually used to be heavily involved with the Australian rap scene, and was quick to confirm my suspicions that Horrorshow is a big deal, and definitely a group you want to know about.

Use this song to get through the last 30 minutes of labor... you're almost through to the weekend!

Hilang Child - Chaturanga


Fall music at its finest.  After a first listen I spent longer than I am willing to admit searching the depths of the Internet to find a little information about Hilang Child.  More specifically, I wasted time searching for a connection to the Fleet Foxes that doesn’t exist.  Multiple listens later and I’m still finding it hard to believe that Robin Pecknold didn't change his name and cut his beard (which would be tragic).  Connections aside, this song is amazing and I can’t wait ‘till November 25th when First Writings EP is slated to drop.  Check out Chaturanga as well as the acoustic living room session performance of the song below.


October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Touch of the Classics: Big L, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., + Chopin, Floyd, Miley

Doing it a little different for this week's throwback.  Whether it's a rework, remix, or mash-up--you can pretty much mention any of the above-named rappers, and chances are I am gonna take a look.  The following tracks do exactly that, taking the late and great king-pins of rap, and adding a different flavour to their original sounds.

The first remix comes from Dr. Wick, and combines the piano of Chopin's Scherzo No. 2 with the timeless verses of Biggie, Tupac and Big L.  Two throwbacks in one.

Capital Cities feat Pink Floyd and Tupac.  Enough said.

And lastly, because the weekend is around the corner, gotta get Miley in the mix.  Try not to get too fired up, now.

October 13, 2013

Mayer Hawthorne - Royals (Lorde Cover)

I preface this post by apologizing for my absence as of late. Turns out a Master's degree is a little more work than the kid anticipated but nevertheless, here's a quick jolt to your Lazy Sunday. Though I've never followed his work in-depth, some of Mayer Hawthorne's tracks catch my ears at random times and I just have to share.

It takes balls to cover the #1 song in America (2-weeks running by the way) and put your own take on it, especially when the original is still hitting its peak. On a side note: MysterC is really pulling for Katy Perry's, Roar to take this 16-year old Kiwi down next week. Now back to MH. His jazzy interpretation of the tune reeks of fresh air. From the live 'off the floor' feel to his strong, smooth vocals...this one's a winner.

To prove that the art of the Billboard Hot 100 cover is hard to master...I take it back to 2004 to one of my favorite covers. Who said it had to be Thursday for a fuckin' throwback?

October 11, 2013

My Name Is My Name - Pusha T

Pusha T’s first solo album My Name Is My Name dropped on Thursday out of Def Jam Records and GOOD music. Production was spearheaded by Kanye but features plenty of other big name artists. Summing up the list of people who influenced this album through production, features and writing would require a Pitchfork-length article that we aren’t about at SGM so I suggest you hit up faithful Google and give it a search because this is a big one. The 36 year old Bronx rapper has managed to add another album to the list of ridiculous releases that have turned 2013 into a vintage year for hip hop that I might not shut up about it for a while. Check out some of the highlights below as well as the socially charged video for Pain.


October 7, 2013

Do Work Vol 2 - The Ultimate "While You Work" Playlist

Here’s the second edition in what will likely be an indefinite amount of While You Work playlists. I've upped the ante to 35 tracks (close to 3 hours of content); enough to keep you going for a good chunk of your work day.

Again, no genre rules apply.  The hope is that these songs relax, distract, or simply occupy the back of your mind as you saunter through the daily monotony.   Work doesn’t have to be all bad, but sometimes that thin wire of your headphones is the only thing keeping you attached to sanity. These tracks range from upbeat electronic to low key instrumental, and everything in between. Just think, in three hours from now you’ll be only two hours away from having a mere thirty-two hours left in your work week—simple math.  Positive attitude and positive vibes will get you through.

See the track list below.

Higher - Ta-Ku (Flume Remix)
What I Might Do - Ben Pearce (Kilter Remix)
The Final Speech (Original Mix) - Thomas Jack Ft. Adrian Symes
Another Love (Zwette Edit) - Tom Odell
Eden - Ben Khan
If You Didn't See Me - Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr (Data Remix)
If There's Time - ODESZA
Pizza Guy (Original) - Touch Sensitive
Do I Wanna Know? - Arctic Monkeys
Drive Part 1 - Ben Khan
One Thing - Amerie (Blacksoul Remix)
Changes Faul - (Feat Wad Ad)
Be Mine - Lane 8
Shapeshifter - Elephant
Stay High Hippie Sabotage - (Tove Lo Flip)
Dancin (Krono Remix)  - Aaron Smith
Under - Aosoon
Gun - Chvrches
Out Of The Woods Foals - (Kulkid Remix)
Gold - Bondax
Relocation - Feed Me
Falling - Haim
Continuum - Lemaitre
Holiday - Jakubi
Sunday - Max Manie (Klangkarussell Remix)
Warm Water - (Snakehips Remix) BANKS
We Are Together - Planet Of Sound
Caje (Album Edit) - NiconĂ© & Sascha Braemer
New Slang - The Shins
Southern Man - Akshin Alizadeh
The Finishing (Original Mix) Stavroz
Aurarian Dance - Nujabes
Feel It All Around - Washed Out
Where Have You Gone - Carousel
Too Dry To Cry - Willis Earl Beal

October 3, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Jay-z feat DMX - Money, Cash, Hoes

"I know they gonn' criticize the hook on this song / like a give a fuck I'm just a crook on a song"

The Melker Project Presents: The Skeetles

Also known as Johnny Cashin' Out, Skeetwood Mac, Booty Huxtable, Stevie Tricks, A$AP Scotty, Ballin' Oats, Trill Collins, Melkradamus, Melka Flocka Flame, Ricky Exit-Row-Zay, and Lil Yung Melks--The Melker Project is a remix artist based out of New York.  After the widespread success of Steetwood Mack (10,000 downloads in a week),  Skeetles is the second release in a series of EPs by The Melker Project, where a classic artist is brewed with some modern hip-hop flavour.   The Beatles are the choice feature in this edition.  The Don't Let Me Down mashup with Biggie is what sparked my attention, but the timeless sound of the Beatles provides a solid groundwork for some rap influence.   Features include Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Jay-Z, Three 6 Mafia, A$AP Rocky, Nas, and others. Toss the guy a like on his Facebook for the full download. 

October 1, 2013

Original Music from Grand Theft Auto 5

So it's official - GTA 5 is the highest selling piece of content ever created. It's no wonder, as the immersive open world environment is the most detail rich we have seen, with well over 100 hours of game play and cinematics to explore. With this new addition to the GTA series, Rockstar didn't just improve on their quality, but also introduced a number of new features (3 protaganists, online storylines, working in-game internet/stock markets, etc.), as well as a plethora of original music, created by real-life big name artists just for release in GTA 5 and it's associated soundtrack.

Below are my favorite 4 out of 18 original songs from the game, but feel free to check out the full list of music that's on GTA Radio here. Continuing with their innovative theme, Rockstar didn't just create new music for these radio stations, but took them a step further by featuring famous artists as the on-air personalities (including Soulwax, Flying Lotus and even Kenny Loggins). Because of all these improvements, I definitely find the in-game radio far more entertaining than real-life radio.

GTA Online launches for the first time in the next few days - we can only hope they continue to add quality radio content and music as they update it. This is the future for all content producers, and Rockstar has shown that they are not just a player in this space, but a champion.

Sleepwalking - Chain Gang of 1974

Smoke and Ride - BJ The Chicago Kid (feat. Freddie Gibbs & Problem)

A$AP Rocky - R.Cali

Twin Shadow - Old Love / New Love