Don’t you love being that one guy in a group of friends who always puts on a song expecting them to love it and all you get are blank stares and a “what the hell is this?” Being the person in my crew that does the most in terms of researching new music, I tend to always be that guy. I remember the first time I played Animal Collective, it was close to a disaster, but they quickly came around and are now huge AC heads like me. Unfortunately, Ariel Pink was and still is one of those artists that never stuck with them. His album Before Today as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti has always stood out for me in its demented retro form. He is one of those “out there” acts, and it’s perfectly understandable how his music wouldn’t do it for everyone. He’s like a tiny Kurt Cobain with pink hair and his music is like some sort of underground garage rock from the sixties that never really saw the light of day. Anyway, if Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffti isn’t really your thing, then that’s okay, you’ll probably appreciate his remix of Phoenix’s SOS in Bel Air nonetheless. It’s fresh, a little bit psychedelic and has that unique Ariel Pink off-kilter flair. It’s one of those songs that has me thinking, “oooh great, now I know this exists!”
I can’t imagine sharing a bed with Kanye West. He’d be hogging all the covers and you’d say “Hey Kanye, you mind not hogging all the covers? I’m getting a little cold over here.” And Kanye would probably say something like: “Bitch, I am the reincarnation of jesus. I would share these covers with you if I wasn’t so busy re-writing history, god damn it! I’m just trying to express myself and create art through these here sheets and you and your team of corporate pigs keep getting in my god-damn way… huh!” I have an enormous amount of respect for Kanye as an artist but it’s probably people like me that lead to his artistic angst. I don’t feel bad though, because it’s so easy and despite him being “held back” he has undoubtedly contributed an immeasurable amount of influence to modern music. And I highly doubt Yeezy will ever read this, but if you are just know that I see you and I feel you Ye!
In other news, I present to you my RJ mix for February 2014. This is my second mix and in all regards, I am more than pleased with it. I spend a lot of time working on these mixes, but I really can’t think of a better way to spend my late nights. This one has a lot of new music from the month of February plus some older tracks that just fit the mix perfectly. It even has some more upbeat danceable parts, so feel free to bump this one at your next baby shower, once the mimosas start flowing. In terms of song choice, I think I hit the nail on the head, and in terms mixing quality, well, I think I’ve been getting a lot better. I am not a DJ, nor a sound engineer, nor a producer; I am Ron Johhnson, music blogger, snake wrangler, coffee guzzler and family man. But like anything, mixing tracks takes a lot of practice, and I am still at the bottom of Ableton Live’s very steep learning curve, although I did find myself trying out new techniques like sampling and looping which worked out favourably. If you like the mix, or even if you hate every minute of it, post a comment or send me a message and trash or praise the hell out of it, I don’t care, I would just love to hear what you think. And once again, this brings me to my end-of-month sentiments where I like to say an enormous thank you to all my loyal followers, and all those who have taken the time to peak a glance at this increment of a blog. Judging from all the new music that popped up at the end February, I am confident that the month of March is going to bring big things. That’s assuming Kanye doesn’t buy out all music ever made and re-dub it with huh’s and throaty groans. Love you Kanye <3.
Captain Murphy – Disciples
Rustie – Globes
ScHoolboy Q – The Purge/RapfixCypher (20syl Remix)
Sweet Valley – Spirit Temple
Tinashe – Vulnerable (Jacuzzi Remix)
Renz – Look Good On Me
Elaksi – Want You
Hermitude x Flume – Hyperparadise (Ganz Flip)
Sweet Valley – Kingdom of Heaven
Indian Summer – Grand Rapids
AbJo – Exhibit AbJo
Chester Watson – Goldie (prod. UggzTv)
Stwo – Money Tree$ (ft. Fitzroy)
Djemba Djemba – I Just Go (Falcons Remix)
ODESZA – Sun Models ft Madelyn Grant
Renz – You Know Me
Kaytranada – Hilarity Duff
Aluna George – You Know You Like it (Tchami Remix)
Aquadrop vs. Nadastrom – Favelas (Rl Grime Private Pussy Edit)
Big Chocolate x Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Milk (Emoh Instead Edit)
Sweet Valley – The Alternate Earth
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.
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.
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!
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 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.