Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole remix each other’s hits on “Black Friday”

If you weren’t sure what to be thankful for by Thursday last
week, you definitely knew by the next day. And I’m not talking about weak deals
on TV’s or other stuff for you to take home and gift wrap. I’m talking about gift
rap

On Friday, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole each blessed us with a
new song, both of which were called “Black Friday” and both of which were
remixes of each other’s hits from the past year: Cole went off on “Alright” and
Kendrick erupted on “A Tale of 2 Citiez.”

“I’m yelling Mr. Kanye West for president/He probably let me
get some head inside the residence/I’m in the White House going all out/Bumping
College Dropout, God-bless Americans,” Kendrick shouts on his remix.

If that isn’t the best lyric you’ve heard since “To Pimp A
Butterfly,” then congrats, you’re not putting Kendrick on a pedestal like I am.
But I’ll stop when he gives me a reason to.

While Kendrick’s “Black Friday” basically just a four-minute
verse, Cole’s version can more accurately be called a full song. The man loves
hooks – I’ve seen him come up with one on a freestyle. Rest assured though,
Cole’s affinity for singing doesn’t mean he’s lacking bars:

“Cause on the same day a nigga doing different shit/Spit
different flows, hit different chicks/Let my Brixton hoes feed me fish and
chips/Why I do a lot of shows? I’m the shit, that’s it/Got suicidal doors, I
just slit my wrists.”

The craziest thing about Cole’s “Black Friday” definitely
has to be the end though, when he teases something dropping in February before
being cut off by a censor tone. Could that something be the long-teased
collaboration album with Kendrick? The entirety of the Internet seems to think
so.

Coming off critical acclaim for both of their most recent
projects, Kendrick and Cole may just deliver the best collaborative album since
Jay and Kanye’s Watch the Throne in 2012. Because as much as we liked Drake
and Future’s
What a Time To Be Alive, both of their individual releases this
year were much better. 

But could a Kendrick/Cole collaboration possibly be better
than To Pimp A Butterfly? With Kendrick spitting on the same record, Cole is
much more likely to go harder than he did on 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which
was already an incredible effort on his behalf. But TPAB was on another level,
and I don’t think Kendrick would benefit as much as Cole from working together.
Cole could help him improve his singing?

Either way, both “Black Friday” tracks are good enough to
stand on their own and stave off our hunger for the mythical collaboration a
little longer. Let’s see how many times I can replay them between now and
February.

Check out more from Mohammed
Kloub, aka DJ
Mohtorious, on Rainy Dawg Radio every Thursday from 12-1pm! 

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

ASTR Has Been Waiting For You (NEW Music Video)

image

After an
almost excruciating wait, ASTR has finally released their new single, “Activate
Me”
. Originally intended to be released late February, the duo left fans in the
dark for months as the two worked, unbeknownst to the fans, on a music video.
Below is the product of their labors, a cold, dark video that suits perfectly the
abysmal aura of the band.

“Activate Me”
is co-produced by Rodney Jerkins (A.K.A. “Darkchild”), an American record producer
who’s worked with the greats (Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston,
just to name a few, he’s also worked with popular artists of the day, like Rihanna,
Justin Beiber, and Lady GaGa.) Both band members Adam Palin and Zoe Silverman have expressed
in previous interviews a great admiration for the production giant, so I can
only imagine the enthusiasm that went into making this track.

As an ASTR
fan from the beginning, I could quickly hear the foreign influence in the
track. ASTR have always steered clear of the simplistic pop beat that is
present in the chorus of “Activate Me”, always opting for the more rhythmic beats
of hip-hop and R&B, as can be heard on the verses. Though Jerkins is an incredible
producer in his own right, I couldn’t help but feel that his presence on this
track was more of a burden than a blessing. The transition and flow of the song feels interrupted by the switch from the rhythmic beat of the verse to the
mechanic beat of the chorus.

That being
said, “Activate Me” is a strong track, perfectly foreshadowing the imminent release of their much-anticipated album. I highly recommend checking out ASTR’s EP, “Varsity”; it’s a perfect collection of moody electronic R&B tracks that sound both sinister and uplifting at the same time.

Stay tuned for more ASTR, these guys are hitting the music scene with
full force.

image

image
Alexander Bonilla

New Release Watch: Made in Heights

The West Coast duo consisting of former wedding singer, Kelsey Bulkin, and local Seattle-based producer of Blue Scholars, Sabzi, released the single “Slow Burn” on Tuesday.  It’s the second single off their upcoming album (out May 26th) Without My Enemy What Would I Do. And I’m a little disappointed.  

I want to start off by saying Made in Heights is an amazing group. Attempting to label their sound as a whole proves difficult, seeing as they have yet to accept any one genre themselves.  Continuously welcoming suggestions from fans, the current official description includes: mythical filth, pop fiction, beauty slap, goon lit, artisanal (c/t)rap, and west coast gothic. To put it as simply as I can, they are known for pairing soulful vocals with crisp electronic beats and atmospheric soundscapes.  At times even incorporating elements of rap into their bright and ethereal sound, Made in Heights weaves an intricate and special sound under the ever-growing umbrella of synth-pop. The only way to truly experience the sound is to hear it for your self, something I highly recommend.

Slow Burn turns its back on this complexity of genres and heads straight for the dance floor.  Let me get one thing straight – this track is completely infectious and a solid dancy-synth-poppy song.  The track begins with a catchy synthesized staccato baseline with Kelsey’s simmering vocals drifting atop. By the end, snapping and groovy instrumentals layer in, creating an intoxicating, sparkly-smooth pop track. I would be lying if I said I didn’t bob my head to “you give me that burn, burn, burn, burn, burn”.  It’s received good reviews from several sources and is now one of their most-listened to songs on Spotify, it just isn’t what I was hoping for.

Listen for yourself in the stream below:

It might be a personal taste issue that turned me off the new single, seeing as the airy female vocals and snappy dance beat of Slow Burn kicked in some post-traumatic stress from my days working in retail.  Once you imagine a song bursting from the cheap speakers of a former employer at the mall, it’s hard to listen to it without feeling a little bit guilty.

It also could be the high expectations I hold for the duo, set by their stunning previous work. Ever since first hearing "All the Places” and “Wildflowers” off of their 2012 self-titled album, I’ve been craving more.  Even their opening act for TOKiMONSTA I attended in LA last October reflected their original aesthetic I adore, the pair performing synchronized 60’s backup singer dance moves throughout the set. I just hold them up to a higher creative standard than what this newest track has produced. With sporadic releases and no single website to find their collective work (scattered throughout Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp and their website), I was overjoyed to hear about the new album coming out in late May.

Now I’m just hoping that this single follows the rule of singles, and is the lone shamelessly-dancey track of the album; the rest hopefully following more in suit with the innovative sounds I’ve come to expect from Made in Heights.

image
Cassie Lynch

Coming Up: Toro Y Moi – What For? (Album Preview)

image

Earlier today, Toro Y Moi surprised us all with a track we never expected! “Buffalo” (available on SoundCloud below) premiered on The Fader this morning along with a few insights into TYM’s creative process:

When I started writing this song I was experiencing a bit of writer’s block and this song was what pulled me out. As soon as I wrote it, I knew it would set the tone for the entire album.

And so it did. Comparing this track with TYM’s last release from this album, we can hear similar vibes of snares and solidarity. Both “Buffalo” and “Empty Nesters” rely on a driving rhythm beneath insightful lyrics. ‘Cause you love it all / ‘Cause you’ll find a way / To keep on… Check out the video from the January release below:

Stay tuned (on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for more coverage of Toro Y Moi’s latest endeavor! I am excited to see what other singles are planned for release before the album (tracklist below) drops in April!

What For? (Expected Release Date: April 7, 2015)
01 What You Want
02 Buffalo
03 The Flight
04 Empty Nesters
05 Ratcliff
06 Lilly
07 Spell It Out
08 Half Dome
09 Run Baby Run
10 Yeah Right

image
DJ Desman

New Track: Blur – Go Out

image

Lunar New Year’s celebrations don’t typically include a ‘90s Britpop band announcing a new album at a Chinese restaurant in London. But that’s exactly what happened on the first day of the holiday this year, with Blur revealing the title of their eighth studio album, The Magic Whip, and sharing the first song from it, “Go Out.” So gong hei fat choy to all the Britpop fans out there, I guess.

Hopes for new Blur album have been floating around since their reunion in 2009 and were further fueled by the release of a few new singles in the years since. Such hopes appeared to be confirmed with the news that the band recorded fifteen new songs during their 2013 Hong Kong tour, but singer Damon Albarn was quick to quash any overly optimistic thoughts by suggesting the sessions would end up as “one of those records that never comes out.” The members of the group seemed busy enough with other projects anyway, such as recording solo material, making cheese, and writing a musical based on Alice in Wonderland.

Few were expecting the surprise announcement of The Magic Whip, including possibly Blur themselves. But after polishing up the Hong Kong tracks, the first Blur album in twelve years was ready to go, with the recording location inspiring its cover and announcement location.

The first track to be revealed, “Go Out,” sounds in line with Blur’s later material. The noise of those post-Britpop albums is present here, though that’s not to say that there aren’t any hooks: the chorus, with its vocal hook, has already wriggled its way into my head. Meanwhile, Albarn’s contemptuous lyrics about “the greed go-getter con” show that he hasn’t grown too much more complacent with modern life since the ‘90s, when he sang about it was “rubbish.” On the whole, “Go Out” isn’t too wild of a departure for Blur, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to say that about the entire album. After all, Albarn has branched out quite a bit in his work with Gorillaz (and countless other projects), as has guitarist Graham Coxon with his own solo music. It’ll be interesting to see what other directions the band will take on The Magic Whip.

In keeping with the Hong Kong theme, the lyric video for “Go Out” features gratuitous Chinese and, for some reason, an ice cream recipe. You could maybe try making it yourself while you wait for The Magic Whip to come out on April 29th, and you can pre-order it in your format of choice here.

image
LeAnn Nguyen