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[new]: Tobias Jesso Jr. – “How Could You Babe”

By Will Oliver, January 21st 2015

Tobias Jesso Jr

Hot rising artist Tobias Jesso Jr. is a name that should be on your radar immediately. I caught a intimate performance from him last November at a loft space in Williamsburg, where he previewed tracks from his debut album Goon (out March 17 via True Panther). There was a lot of blog buzz about him floating around, and that performance proved it all to be true. Jesso Jr. is indeed an amazing talent, one that is going to steal a lot of hearts in the upcoming months.

He’s released a few cuts from the album already (“Hollywood,” “True Love,” and “Just A Dream,”) and the latest single is the fragile ballad “How Could You Babe.” While the live version I saw was a solo version featuring just Jesso Jr. and his piano, the recorded product features a bit more production. Even so, it still finds a way to capture that sweeping intimacy that seems to come natural to Jesso Jr. Credit to Patrick Carney, JR White and Ariel Rechtshaid, who all had a hand in the album’s production.

Goon is shaping up to be not only one of the best debut albums of the year, but one the best albums, period.

Check out the wonderful “How Could You Babe” music video below, which was directed by Grant Singer.
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Kanye West @ Prudential Center (February 15, 2014)

By Will Oliver, February 19th 2014 — with 1 comment

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On Saturday night I trekked out with some friends to Newark, New Jersey making my first visit to the Prudential Center in order to take in a show from the always extravagant Kanye West. I saw him only a few months ago at The Garden, which was the best show that I saw in 2013. So I couldn’t possibly pass up another chance to take in a show during his Yeezus tour.

The evening was all Kanye, with no opener to delay our focus. Just like on Yeezus, Kanye kicked things off with “On Sight”, with his face completely concealed by one of his insane masks. From there on out it was a mix-and-match of songs spread throughout his incredible catalog, both old and new. Read the rest of this entry »

Best Albums Of 2013

By Will Oliver, December 20th 2013 — with 10 comments

Best Albums Of 2013

Thanks to Camilo for the artwork as usual

Hey guys, it’s that time of the year for my best albums of the year list. I feel like I’m one of the select few who wait until December’s almost over to publish my list. Even waiting this long, I feel like I didn’t get to listen to nearly as much music as in previous years. There’ just too much stuff out there. (Tell me what you liked this year by voting in our 2013 Readers Poll)

There is no goal to accomplish on this list, other than a honest look at what music I enjoyed. I listened to a lot of records, both big and small, from those who benefited from the hype cycle to some that got nearly no attention at all. If it sounded good to me, it’s here. No pretension, no bullshit. This is just a list of my favorite albums of the year, no grand statement, just a love for these collections of music that kept me in good company this year.

So without further ado, I present my favorite albums of 2013. You can even stream the whole thing if you so desire at the spotify link right here. Read the rest of this entry »

2014 Grammy Nominations Announced

By Will Oliver, December 7th 2013

grammys_0

The 2014 Grammy Nominations have been announced. Don’t go rolling your eyes at me. There’s some good stuff to be found in all the clutters of irrelevancy and “mehs.”

The National & Vampire Weekend, have been nominated for Grammys! So have James Blake, Alabama Shakes, Queens Of The Stone Age, Jack White, Neko Case, Tame Impala, and Nine Inch Nails. So there’s that.
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Interview: Arctic Monkeys’ Bassist Nick O’Malley

By Will Oliver, September 30th 2013 — with 2 comments

When I started this blog 5 years ago, I never expected it to take me to the places that it has. If you told me I would have a chance to interview a member of my favorite band, Arctic Monkeys, I would have called you crazy. But last week, the stars aligned and I was allowed to chat with Arctic Monkeys bassist Nick O’Malley over the phone. Even though he had to prepare for the band’s show last night in Oakland, he made time for me and we had a great chat.

We talked about their most recent show in New York City, his favorite song on AM, how they ended up cover Drake, and what goes into picking songs during a live show. Nick was an absolute pleasure to speak to, and I consider myself lucky to have had some time to talk with him.

Today’s my birthday, and I can’t think of any better gift that to share an interview that I did with a member of this band. It’s truly an honor. With that said, enjoy the interview below.
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Big Sean – Control (Feat. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica)

By Will Oliver, August 14th 2013 — with 1 comment

Kendrick Lamar

 

Unless you’ve completely ignored social media, you’ve probably been seeing lots of tweets/posts about Kendrick Lamar’s verse on Big Sean’s track, “Control.” Not only is his entire verse absolute straight fire, but he lights a flame under a few people a few lines in particular.

He straight up calls out many fellow rappers in the song and doesn’t hold back:

I’m usually homeboys with the same niggas I’m rhymin’ wit
But this is hip hop and them niggas should know what time it is
And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big KRIT, Wale
Pusha T, Meek Millz, A$AP Rocky, Drake
Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller
I got love for you all but I’m tryna murder you niggas
Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas
They dont wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas
What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high

You can say that Kendrick is raising the bar, that’s for sure. Jay Electronica also offers a hell of a verse, as does Big Sean, of course. This actually will not make the cut of Big Sean’s upcoming album Hall of Fame because of sample clearance problems. Which is a damn shame, but this song is getting lauded as is, so we can’t feel too bad.

Big fan of Kendrick, and how can you not love him after he steps up with a verse as good as this. It’s taken the hip-hop world by storm, igniting responses and tweets from a whole bunch of major rappers already. This has already infused a new bit of life into hip-hop. As a very modest hip-hop fan (as you’re aware), this even excites me. Imagine what huge fans of the genre are thinking right now..

Take a listen to “Control” below.

Dwight Smith – Lateral Drifts

By Will Oliver, October 26th 2012

Lateral Drifts is the debut album from Dwight Smith. The songs are a result of his travels throughout the last few years. In a short time frame he went to Brooklyn, Austin, Chicago, Guatemala, Ecuador, Alaska, and Connecticut.

There’s definitely a sense of a long journey heard in his musical DNA, whether it’s the physical one, from place to place, or the spiritual one. His songwriting style reminds me of an early Sufjan Stevens. There could be Nick Drake comparisons in there as well. Many of the tracks are hauntingly staggering, with beams of beauty seeping through every visible crack.

The album is out via Twin Lakes Records. You can grab it at your own price here, or order a limited CD. Either way, I reccomend you give the album a listen below.

[introducing]: Beautify Junkyards

By Will Oliver, June 30th 2012 — with 1 comment

Beautify Junkyards are a new group from Lisbon. They’ve just released their debut digital EP on bandcamp and did something a little bit different for it. It’s all covers of their versions of mostly folk songs from the 60s & 70s. They take songs like Nick Drake’s “From The Morning’ and explore them in new directions.

Here’s what the band had to say about their reasons for starting out in such a way:

This was an original way we found to start, going to our roots and influences on a first release and from that start to compose original material.

The band is currently recording their debut album, due for a release later in the year. They’re recording in a mobile studio in fields in order to absorb the entire atmosphere. Their debut single will be released in August via British label, Fruits de Mer. The EP and the music video for the Nick Drake cover can both be found below.
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[new]: Rihanna – Drunk On Love (Feat. The XX)

By Will Oliver, November 15th 2011 — with 2 comments

The XX are truly all over the place. Whether it be Jamie XX making it big, or artists sampling their work, they’ve been having a big 2011, even without releasing any new music. First it was Drake who sampled a Jamiee XX/Gil Scott-Heron clip that featured Rihanna. Now she has sampled The XX’s “Intro”, for her new song, “Drunk On Love”.

If you know the song, you know how good it is. Rihanna does her thing, and I think fans of both sides will find something that they enjoy from “Drunk On Love”.

The song is off her upcoming album, Talk That Talk, which drops next week. Take a listen to the song below.
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