ScHoolboy Q – Break the Bank

cost-of-schoolboy-q-booking

Ladies and gentlemen, Ron Johhnson has fallen very ill with a rare sickness. I am Don Johhnson, brother and tan supervisor to Ron, and I am here to assure you that he is more than okay and is on a quick road to recovery and wishes you all a merry Plurmpus. Unfortunately he has contracted octopus pox and is unable to type on a keyboard as a result of his hands being human-sized tentacles, but he is sitting right next to me, whispering into my ear exactly what he wants to say. The doctor says with a little bit of rest, a sizeable glass of apple orchard whiskey and a well-orchestrated smack in the face, Ron should be back to full health in no time. In the meantime he has been working on his February mix, using a tentacle-friendly DJ controller, which is sure to be a delight, and an interview with a very special guest. And after the slump that was February, it seems that all the hard-working artists and producers are back in the studios and cranking out the goods once again. But not to worry, Ron has been on it and today he brings you one of the most talked-about artists of the past month.

ScHoolboy Q  just released his second album Oxymoron, to high praise and critical acclaim. He is part of the collective known as “black hippies” and a member of record label TDE (Top Dog Entertainment) alongside Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul, all artists who have really been revolutionizing the face of hip hop. It’s fair to say that hip-hop entered a bit of a dark age over the past few years, with the only music of any value coming from underground artists like MF Doom and Mos Def. It got to a point where it seemed like Whiz Khalifa and Trinidad James might be the new face of hip hop and we all thought, “oh boy, this is how it ends.” If I had to listen to one more song about “smoking kush, and making paper” I though I might fall into a coma. Luckily, the light at the end of the tunnel is here and real hip-hop is back in the forefront. Guys like Danny Brown, Kendrick, ScHoolboy Q, Action Bronson and Earl Sweatshirt are creating music that is reminiscent of golden era 90’s hip hop, but with a modern feel. ScHoolboy Q’s latest video for his song, Break the Bank, looks like it could have come out of the set of Boyz n the Hood, and the song has that grit of old school gangster rap. Check out the album when you get a chance and rest assured that the future of hip-hop is in good hands. And no matter how sick I get, always remember that Don Johhnson is here for you. No! you’re supposed to write Ron Johhnson, you knucklehead, you can’t steal my line. Stop writing everything I say! Give me that keyboard… Ah crap.

Advertisements

TOKiMONSTA – The World is Ours

Remixing Marvin Gaye has become somewhat of a trend over the past few weeks, but this latest one from TOKiMONSTA brought me out of six day fast from all technology. Yes friends, I decided to take a little break from anything that beeps or dings or flashes, but upon hearing this remix (without the use of computer… don’t ask how) I thought I might do a quick little post. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone. Enjoy the free download for now, and rape the replay button, I shall return very soon with some very special treats for ya’ll. Ron Johhnson out.

Real Estate – Talking Backwards

 

Real-Estate-band-portable

Here is a short poem I wrote, of which 70% is based on true facts.

I found a pumpkin, under my shed
I found a pumpkin, and I named him Ned

Using a marker, I drew him a face
and dressed him in lipstick, earrings and lace

Ned became my new best friend
he was the prettiest pumpkin in all the West end

We walked on the beach, late at night
rolled in the sand, and held each other tight

Every moment was spent with Ned
he was my one and only, you could have said

I left my wife and all three of my kids
I even lost my job of fishing for squid

But I had my Ned, so all was okay
Until I came home one frightful day

and found him in bed with a butternut squash
I cried out “oh my jebus joly gosh”

So I carved them both up and made me a soup
it resembled some kind of watery goop

I ate the whole thing with a loaf of bread
then went off to the market to find a new Ned

And here’s a new song and video by the band Real Estate. This is one those fun and very likeable bands that is definitely worth getting into. Their new album comes out on March 4th and it’s sure to be a hoot!

Bonnaroo 2014

bonnaroo-2014-lineup-poster-608x608

Elton John, Jack White, Kanye, The Glitch Mob, Damon Albarn, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, Cage the Elephant, Skrillex, James Blake. In spectacular fashion, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival released their lineup for 2014 last night. While most other big festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza simply put out a poster on a given date, Bonnaroo did something called BLAM (Bonnaroo lineup announcement megathon) and god-dang was it entertaining. Hosted by comedian Hannibal Burress and SNL actor Tarran Killiam, and with performances by the Flaming Lips, and Ben Folds, they really outdid themselves. Personally, I viewed it with a bottle of gin, a bucket of fried shrimp and my three best friends Alejandro, Toilet Tony and Chon Lee. Alejandro is the young Puerto-Rican gentleman who saved me when I was lost in the Puerto-Rican rain forest, having been chased up a tree by a pack of angry wolverines and who I then adopted as my third son and who now lives with us. Then there’s Toilet Tony, my plumber/financial adviser turned best friend. Yes, this is the same Toilet Tony that invented the Panasonic Inverter Prestige microwave oven, and started what is known as “twerking”. Finally there’s Chon Lee, or Charlie, as we like to call him, the last piece of the pie. I found Charlie back in 2006, when I was spending the summer at a ranch. On my last day there, a walked into the barn and found him curled up under a pile of hay, stark naked. I brought him home and cleaned him up and he became my new best friend. I love these three guys and I do just about everything with them. So this brings me to why I’m so excited about the Bonnaroo lineup. It’s because I road-tripped down to Tennesse with the above mentioned crew for Bonnaroo 2013 and it was probably the best weekend of my life, if you’re not counting the time I found a whole ham sandwich in the backseat of my Pontiac.

The lineup this year is not to the level of what it was last year (Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Animal Collective, Pretty Lights, Tame Impala to name a few) but it is still spectacular. I am more than excited to see names up there like Vampire Weekend, Disclosure, Danny Brown, A Tribe Called Red, James Blake, and of course Jack White, one my favourite musicians of all time. What’s also fun about festival lineups is to look up the names that you don’t know and to get excited about them. One of the defining features about Bonnaroo are the superjams, where a bunch of musicians from different bands unite on one stage and jam well into the night. One of this year’s jams is featuring Skrillex so it will be interested to see how that turns out. If you’re considering venturing out to an American music festival this year, I seriously suggest Bonnaroo, even if the lineup isn’t to your liking. It is unlike any other festival (and I’m going to sound like a hippy here… but maybe I am one) because of the strong positive energy. Before going, I heard a lot about the radiate positivity mantra which is reinforced at the festival, but it was only after experiencing it first hand that I realized how powerful it really is. There is this atmosphere at Bonnaroo where everyone is at peace, and happy to be there, and helpful, and friendly. It is basically a utopia, where everyone is your best friend for four days, soundtracked with some of the best music out there. Plus the fact that almost everyone camps there makes it so much more like a big family. It’s tough to put this feeling into words, but check out the video below by Almost Alive, which pretty much strikes it at it’s core.

Sweet Valley

Sweet-Valley-Featured

‘Sweet valley dude. Thanks dude. You’re welcome dude.’ That’s what comes to mind immediately when I read the name Sweet Valley, and I’m almost 100% sure that was their intention. One half of Sweet Valley is Nathan Williams of surfer rock band Wavves and the other half is his brother Kynan. To give you a short background on the group, here is a description of the band from their Bandcamp page: “Sweet Valley is a Bermuda Triangle-like place, where cannabis crumbs, spilt beer, record dust and that mysterious shit you had to blow out of game cartridges all collect as if pulled by some gigantic junkyard magnet. ” And now you know just about everything you need to know about the duo. In fact, I can’t say I even know what the band members look like because I found the above picture from one of their album covers and thought it defined their music perfectly.

Sweet Valley’s sound is primarily electronic but you can find nuances in there from an array of different styles. First and foremost is the psychedelic surfer sounds that are a clear product of Wavves music, but they also have a lot of bass and trap inspired tunes with bright synths and complex drum patterns. Their work is extremely eclectic, making it impossible to even try and pin them down as one singular genre. In some songs they venture into hip hop territory, before moving into sample heavy electro-soul in the next. Why these guys have so few followers on Soundcloud, no idea. Their latest release, So Serene, could easily have been an album or an EP, but is instead a 28 minute song. It is spectacular in it’s constantly evolving form that begins with an atmospheric buildup, before moving into a whirlwind of different beats and then coming down into a sample from some sort of paranoid news broadcast where a guy talks about UFO’s. The whole thing can be listened to and downloaded here at no charge. In honour of all the music they’ve put out in the past two years, I’ve chosen to share five of my favourite Sweet Valley tunes, and trust me, it certainly wasn’t easy choosing only five.

Parquet Courts – Borrowed Time

parquet-courts

I decided to go mud digging today. That’s when I’m at a loss for recent music so I pull up a festival lineup, scroll to the bottom of the page, to where I don’t recognize any names and start firing them into YouTube. Then I’ll go on a frenzy of related videos and usually pull something cool out of the mud. There is really a lot of great music out there, sometimes you just need to take the time to find it. However, there is also an over-abundance of artists that  just completely lack in individuality. Maybe this is too subjective, but even when mud digging within the indie bands, you’ll find a lot of stuff that sounds the same. Then again, I guess the ones that really standout get recognized pretty quickly and find themselves on the side of the mud pile, blossoming into beautiful flowers of noise. But of course sometimes you’ll pull out a shiny nickel that everyone else seems have thrown back into the sludge. Then you can really be proud.

Today I went digging in the hopes of finding something new, but instead I came across Parquet Courts, a band I discovered last year. So if you’ve never heard of Parquet Courts before, I’m doing you a big favour right now. If I could have one band be the soundtrack to Ron Johhnson, it would be these guys. In fact, if I could go back in time and bring Parquet Courts with me, I would have them play my wedding instead of that George Michael/Slayer cover band. Their sound reminds me of Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, and Devo’s first album, Q: Are we not Men? A: We are Devo!, all music that has seriously shaped me into the music-loving man I am todayIt’s got that raw garage sound but holding on the screaming and the trashing, keeping it more composed than other modern punk bands. The singer sounds like he just walked out of the bathroom and was handed a guitar and a cigarette and told to sing a song. There is something nostalgic and inspiring about their music, which I can’t really explain. It almost feels like home in a way, but makes me want to do bad things at the same time. Check out their album, Light Up Gold, it’s a great listen and has an album cover which I very much approve of.

Remix Report #2

remix report 2

Apparently it’s Valentines day folks. I became aware of this very important (or not so important) fact a few hours ago when I found a single rose placed on my pillow. My wife, being away on a business trip in Seattle, placed it there, expecting me to find it in the morning. Unfortunately, her being gone meant that I fell asleep on a lawn chair on the roof, gazing up at the stars. I love my wife, and I am so happy that she thinks of me on such a day, but her absence meant that I could spend all of February 14 with my second love… pulled pork. Making it, smelling it, tasting it, I love all of it, and any time I get the house to myself, pulling the pork is what I do. I threw the pork shoulder on the charcoal early this morning and it’s been going strong all day. The sweet smoky smell has been filling my backyard, and the neighbours have begun lining up since noon. Of course I share it, it’s what any good pork puller would do. I have already had to change my drool-soaked shirt three times today. Unfortunately, I know myself well enough at this point to predict a food coma over the next two days, so I’m leaving you with a healthy piece of pork to chew on. But not the pulled kind, that’s for me and my neighbours only. There are some real gems in Remix Report #2, so have yourself a solid listen and fantasize about a genuine Johhnson house pulled pork sandwich.

According to 17 year-old producer, Tennyson, from Edmonton Canada, you can’t spell ‘mellow’ without ‘meow.’ I agree with you, young Tenny, whatever that means. This is one of the more beautiful remixes I have heard of late, and that is why I am featuring it first. Such a young man, already with such an individual sound, completely (and I mean completely) reworks Angus and Julia Stone’s For You into a smooth jazzy piece. Still at the bud of his career, this young sound maestro is sure to blow up very soon. 

The difference between a flip, a rework, a remix, an edit, and whatever other terms they use, is beyond me. All I know is that when a producer takes a track and really gives it his own flavour, then it really doesn’t matter what you call it. Ganz’s (now get ready for this) flip of Flume’s remix of Hermitude’s song Hyperparadise (nailed it) is one of the most talked about remixes/flips/whatever of the past week. Ganz really puts an interesting spin on a song that was already one of the best remixes of the past year. I hope your brain is still sharp enough after all those synonyms to listen to the song now.

Are you a fan of squeaky bed springs? If you’ve ever lived in a house with other people past the age of 18 then probably not. Luckily, Trippy Turtle is about to turn that around for you. The squeak is a pivotal sound of the Jersey Club style that has become so popular over the past year. Here, Bell Biv DeVoe’s 1990 jam Poison gets a jersey club twist from the mysterious squeak master himself. Who is Trippy Turtle? It’s almost certainly the incredibly versatile Norwegian producer Magnus August Høiberg, better known as Cashmere Cat. Or maybe it isn’t, maybe it’s your brother. Or maybe it’s no one at all. Is this even real life?

Oh Danny Brown. You can’t not love him. Hailing from Detroit, he is one of the most talented and interesting rappers to emerge in the past decade. His flow is impeccable and his songs are reminiscent of early 90’s underground rap. They call this one an edit and if you’re familiar with the original of Grown Up then you can certainly hear why. Instead of re-mixing the song, producer Fitzroy, added his own unique beat, with a piano touch, that complements the exquisite lyricism just as well as the original.

Finally, I’m sure you were asking yourself who the hell Cashmere Cat was a few minutes ago. Well here you go. This is a Twinzrack remix of his song Rice Rain, and it’s got some very noteworthy parts. That’s about all I have to say about it. I want my pulled pork. I want it right now. Have a good weekend friends, even though I’ll be busy stuffing my mildy-attractive-yet-very-experienced face, just know that I’ll still be here for you… eating… a lot.