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2014 Grammy Nominations Announced

By Will Oliver, December 7th 2013


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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[new] The Weeknd – Rolling Stone

By Will Oliver, May 26th 2011

Here’s a brand new track from The Weeknd titled, “Rolling Stone”. It’s more awesome r&b from Abel Tesfaye that would have been a perfect addition to his House Of Balloons mixtape.

[mp3]: The Weeknd – Rolling Stone

Six unreleased demoes also recently hit the ‘net. They were made with the production team the Noise. You can stream those below as well:

(500) Days Of Weezy (Lil Wayne vs. (500) Days Of Summer Soundtrack

By Will Oliver, July 31st 2010 — with 1 comment

Mashing up rappers over indie music is becoming the new thing to do. So why not throw Weezy together over the (500) Days Of Summer sountrack. Weezy + The Smiths? Check. Weezy + Simon & Garfunkel? Check. The man responsible for the project is named My Sick Uncle, who has this to say about his project:

“This is not a mashup album, this is an album about Wayne.”

You can download the whole album for free over here. Even if your not a fan of Lil Wayne, you may actually enjoy this. Some songs work better than others, but there are some really cool things going on.

Here is one cut that I am really loving. It’s a mix of Doves “There Goes The Fear” and Lil Wayne/Eminem’s verse from Drakes “Forever”. It works way too well:

[mp3]: My Sick Uncle – Fear Forever

Hat tip to Pretty Much Amazing for this find.

Jens Lekman – A Summer in 3/4 Time

By Will Oliver, July 11th 2010 — with 2 comments

Check out this incredible summer mix that Jens Lekman threw together called “A Summer In 3/4 Time”. Here is the post Jens wrote to introduce the mix:

I got the opportunity to remix my favourite song from Au Revoir Simone’s beautiful album Still Night, Still Light. While listening to the song I realised how nice it’d be to transform their straight 4/4 time synthpop into a whirlwind waltz or maybe a barcarole if you will. It took a long time to chop up all the syllables and the tiny tiny samples, but I think the result got the song into a whole swirling new direction.

While making the remix, my mind started working in 3/4 and 6/8 time. I started looking around for tracks in that time signature to make a mix, I wasn’t intending to but I couldn’t help it. It was all a big swirl. After a while I heard it everywhere. In soul ballads, in polyrhythmical african pop, in old movies. In the ocean waves tumbling in against the shore, in the beat of a lovers heart. One two three, one two three…

Here are all the tracks included in the mix (in order of appearance):

Au Revoir Simone – Shadows (Jens Lekman’s remix) /// Barbara Mason – Oh How It Hurts /// Thomas Mapfumo – Madiro /// the Morning Benders – Excuses /// dialogue from Gregory’s Girl (1981) /// Chad & Jeremy – Everyone’s Gone To The Moon /// music and dialogue from Day Of The Locust (1975) /// Eggstone – Birds In Cages /// Pete Drake – Forever /// Armando Mantovani – Around the World /// dialogue from Puberty Blues (1981) /// Jane Morgan & the Troubadours – Fascination /// Armando Trovajoli – L’Amore Dice Ciao /// Sharon O’Neill – Puberty Blues /// Like A Sleepy Blue Ocean

It’s fantastic. Download it below:

[mp3]: Jens Lekman – A Summer in 3/4 Time

Major Lazer + La Roux Present: Lazerproof (Mixtape)

By Will Oliver, May 25th 2010 — with 7 comments

Major Lazer (Diplo + Switch) and UK duo La Roux have collaborated to bring you a free mixtape that will drop this Wednesday via Mad Decent. Major Lazer made the tape when they were in Jamaica. It features guest appearances from the likes of Drake, Gucci Mane, and Amanda Blank.

A free mixtape from these two acts? Sounds like a good deal to me. Take a peak at the tracklisting below:

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