Shaltz Shot Me featuring SWAG TOOF and Lil Wyte

Brooklyn visual artist Jason Shaltz is tapping into the essence of DIY music with a new series called SHALTZ SHOT ME. He’s pointing the camera at hip-hop in its purest form. Recent installments drop Memphis’s Lil Wyte and Harlem’s SWAGTOOF into the fisheye spotlight.  The results are a phenomenal combination of candid truth and genuine creativity.

Watch as Shaltz captures Lil Wyte in his natural Beale Street element, and TOOF BOYS Ouija and Choirboy as they mob through Harlem with pool ball socks in tow. The beauty in this project is the projection itself.  You’re seeing real time artists speaking from the chest.  Shaltz’s knack for seamless editing and his eye for the cleanest shot make the clips worth repeating.

Check out his work at  Follow the guilty parties on Twitter @jshaltz, @swagtoof, and @lil_wyte_. Enjoy.

Joyce Manor Want A Tattooed Heart

Joyce Manor revived pop-punk by being themselves. New Found Glory and Blink 182 have become relics; founders of a style plagued by Hot Topic graphic tees and Warped Tour sunburns. Thankfully, Joyce Manor play with their hearts on display while wielding a sharper-edged weapon, armed with far more than breakup angst and fart jokes.

Never Hungover Again is the 3rd full length from Joyce Manor, and their most “grown up” record to date.  They play fast and passionate like fellow new-school heroes The Menzingers, and like their counterparts keep it entirely real while burying us in their fantasy land.  If “Catalina Fight Song” and “The Jerk” don’t make you simultaneously head nod and smirk, you’re old and jaded. Never Hungover Again might be the most focused 25 minutes you hear all year.

The Gaslight Anthem Can’t Dodge Predictability On ‘Get Hurt’

The Gaslight Anthem

Change has always been hit and miss for big name bands. Radiohead reinvented themselves by recording the sounds of a hard drive crashing.  The Clash made a rambling snoozer of a triple album plagued by wild world music ambitions.  No band aims to remake specific records in their catalog, so The Gaslight Anthem had serious decisions to make while crafting their fifth full-length. Unfortunately, they chose to polish up their Jersey punk and came up triumphantly short on Get Hurt.

Get Hurt isn’t necessarily a bad effort, it’s just painfully formulaic rock and roll best suited for the 30 second lead ups to commercials during March Madness.  The hooks swell where they’re supposed to, and the glistening guitars are hushed and muted where the heartfelt laments should be heard. It seems singer Brian Fallon desperately wants to pull away from the Springsteen comparisons, and by doing so he may have forgotten why a new generation of rock fans fell in love with his band.

The record opens with a Soundgarden/STP hybird “Stay Vicious”, which sounds tailor made for a Guitar Hero challenge.  It rambles from there, tossing out occasional gems like “1,000 Years’, and “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”; blatant testaments to what this band does best. They shine when keeping the tempo and pulse soaring, and crash and burn when mucking it up with the ultra sappy “Red Violins” and the completely forgettable album closing “Have Mercy”.

Take it or leave it, Get Hurt is supposed to be the sound of a band stretching its legs.  Too bad it plays more like a band running in place.

Stalley Goes Back To His Roots On “Ball”

BallStalley can rap, and ball. I don’t mean throwing stacks of singles in the air…I mean hoop.  He played big conference ball before taking it to the booth to follow his dream.  This new single puts him back in business with Rashad, the man behind the magnificent sounds of his most in-depth project, Lincoln Way Nights.

I don’t know when the album is dropping.  I don’t know if he’ll change your life.  I don’t know if you’ll respect the wordplay.  All I know is this one is fun to spin.  So play it twice, and happy Monday night.

AWKWORD feat. Akir and Y-Love- The People’s Champions Part II


NYC MC/poet/activist AWKWORD is back with “The People’s Champions Part II”, produced by Trilian and featuring Akir and Y-Love. This one is a call to arms, reminding listeners that hip-hop is a vehicle for commentary rather than a chance to flash a chain and a rental car.  Substance over style…I can dig it.

AWKWORD, Akir, and Y-Love take turns throwing darts at the corrupt machines threatening to ruin our cities across the country. Crooked cops, politicians, and corporations…nobody is safe. Support AWKWORD on twitter @AWKWORDrap.
Stream the track at the link below:

Wu-Tang Reunites on “Ron O’Neal”

As the legendary Wu-Tang Clan readies their new record, A Better Tomorrow, they let go with “Ron O’neal” as the first single.  The pedigree is still here, with each member getting loose on a RZA track that sounds like a live in-studio recording.

Age is dogging these guys, but it’s adding a weathered growl to the mix.  It remains to be seen if the record will be released to the masses or if one copy sold to the highest bidder.  Doesn’t matter to me…new Wu makes my fucking day.  Enjoy.

Vic Mensa Drops “Wimme Nah”

Vic Mensa is winning.  With the success of Innanetape and his spot on the freshman XXL cover, it’s only right he drop something triumphant like “Wimme Nah”.  He’s feeling like the Jordan statue, repping Chicago through and through. I’m on board with this kid either way, so here’s to the high hopes of a strong debut record somewhere in the future.  This one bangs.