austin city cool

you don’t have to be sad to love the blues.  in fact, hearing austin’s gary clark jr. for the first time made me ecstatic.  holy shit.  this is no gimmick.  this is no throwback.  this isn’t jack white’s take on something “vintage”.  gary clark jr. is the honest to goodness, real deal.

clark jr. plays a mean blues guitar.  i could list the influences i hear in his style, but i won’t name names.   guitar players are all unique for a reason.  i will say this.  he plays the blues unlike anything i’ve heard in contemporary music.  oh, he also has a gorgeous 60’s falsetto-soul croon that you haven’t heard since the last time you spun a temptations 45 (if you doubt me, download “please come home”).  to sweeten the pot, it’s clear he’s a avid hiphop lover, as evidenced in tracks like “the life” and “things are changing”.

his self-titled 2010 ep is on itunes for seven bucks.  money well spent.  real talk.

click and check out gary clark jr. killing it at clapton’s crossroads fest in 2010…


forget me not

ocala, florida’s a day to remember make me feel like it’s 2002 all over again.  they take two styles of music that (at times in my life) i loved and make it one big, silly mess.  imagine if new found glory and killswitch engage had a love child.  that heartbroken, whiny-chorus singing, metal breakdown, mosh pit loving kid would be a day to remember.

they don’t take themselves too seriously how could they when their sound is referred to as popmosh which is fantastic considering their music should channel your innermost 19 year old struggling to make heads or tails of a love gone wrong…the angst!  the pain!  the camo-shorts and bandanas!

all fronting aside.  i wore the camo shorts, *ed. note: i never wore any sort of bandana*, i went to all the shows, i was deeply into the “emo” scene…hence the reason i thoroughly enjoyed a day to remember’s newest record what separates me from you.  it’s a nostalgic throwback to semi-violent pits where the kids, though whiffing punches past your face were merely “dancing”.  it takes me back to a place where we wore our coolest, black band tee shirt and hovered around the edge of the frenzy until the song moved us enough to go flailing into the mix.

so squeeze yourself into the tightest jeans you’ve got, click and check out “all i want”.  if you can name 3 cameo appearances, i’ll give you ten bucks 😉

poetry is punk.

philadelphia, pa’s kurt vile is schooled in his music history.  when not working with his band, war on drugs, his agitated lo-fi guitar jams sound like pete yorn covering tom petty covering dinosaur jr.  his latest release on matador records, smoke ring for my halo is a tortured, brilliant recording.

vile’s wordplay and delivery remind me of the poet-turned rocker jim carroll.  vile sounds like he’s sounding off…rambling to the man on the stool next to his.  the bar isn’t crowded and maybe nobody is listening at all, but vile keeps talking between long, calculated swallows from a bottomless glass.

smoke ring for my halo is a tough record to pin down, from the lovely, finger picking “pretty tomboy” to the bluesy, rolling stones-ish groove, “puppet to the man”.  it’s this confusion that makes vile’s music so appealing.  he seems to put to tape exactly what is popping off between his ears, whether it makes “sense” or not.

click and check out “puppet to the man”, see what you think.  you can get all of vile’s work on itunes, as well as a full length and an EP from war on drugs.

paper plane gang

i spent the last week in miami.  south beach is a trip.  i split my time between laying in the sun, reading a ton of music mags and listening to kush and orange juice the tremendous “break through” mixtape from mr. young wiz khalifa.

critics (and trust me, at first i was one) say wiz is a one-trick pony.  too much weed.  weed this, smoke that, high again etc etc etc.  the great thing about wiz is just that.  he looks high, because he is high.  like a young snoop dogg, wiz functions nearly 24/7 in a lifted state of mind, and there’s nothing to hide.  he is what he is, take it or leave it.

his major label debut, rolling papers, is a bit too-polished, which is understandable since he’s working on a major now and has suits to please.  but don’t confuse major label for selling out because wiz is doing his thing just like he was back on flight school his mixtape from 2009.

while i was walking down collins avenue on miami beach yesterday in search of a spanish cafe with empanadas for sale, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  wiz khalifa is the real deal, and he’s managed to convince atlantic records to take a risk on the kid with the glassy eyes.  be certain wiz is flying high, all the way to the bank.

click below and check out “roll up”, the lead single from his debut rolling papers

as cool as lester

lester bangs.  he was one cool mother.  if you don’t know lester bangs, do some research.  the lads before you today play music under the heading, royal bangs and they hail from knoxville, tennessee.  the tie that binds?  they both rock. hard.

i’m drawn to these guys because they remind me of a few great bands, les savy fav, lcd soundsystem, and beck.  they’ve got energy, they are technically sound, and they play with everything out on the line.  if i had to guess, i’d say their shows are raucous events with tons of edgy sounding songs that beg you to dance.  but the hipster kids in skinny jeans won’t do it.  they’re too worried about the wisps of hair poking out from under the straight brims of their fitted caps, trying desperately to nurse their four dollar cans of pbr while they tap toes to the beat.

do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of their new record flux outside. it’s ok to dance along, nobody is watching.  click below and check out the letterman performance of “fireball”.  good stuff.

the weeknd is here.

i’m afraid to talk about r&b.  there, i said it.  it’s a strange genre of music that i’ve never really opened up to.  r kelly is flat-out gross.  trey songs and chris brown just don’t do it for me.  but here’s the thing…drake and kid cudi do.  their moody, lo-fi vibe is something i completely dig.  i know drake and kid cudi are hiphop artists but that dark sing/rap vibe…the real talk…the heaviness of the music is something i respect.

the weeknd is a 20-year-old singer from toronto.  drake tweets his lyrics.  music mags are calling him an “artist to watch”.  his mixtape house of balloons is getting solid reviews and lots of downloads.  but the great thing about the weeknd is that he’s completely left of the dial.  he’s honest, he’s dirty and to be completely honest, he’s borderline creepy.

his music reminds me of some of timbalands best work.  his voice resembles the dream with a touch of bobby brown. yes, i said bobby brown.  house of balloons is a sleazy, druggy ride through the mind of a young man trying his best to capture the pains of being young and sexy.

click and check out “wicked games”.

click here and grab the entire mixtape for free.

he got game

kyle myricks was a division one baller at michigan.  an injury left him sidelined, so he rolled the dice on career choice #2… hiphop fans i bring you stalley.  he’s officially on the radar, and trust me, this kid is nice.

stalley was born and raised in ohio but now calls brooklyn home.  he’s currently working with dame dash’s art collective, creative control and was featured all over ski beatz 24 hour karate school record, holding his own with new orleans jet pilot currensy and the mighty mos def.  this afternoon i got my hands on his mixtape lincoln way nights and i can’t turn it off. 

stalley’s flow borrows from talib kweli’s consciousness mixed with the arrogance of another up and comer, j.cole.  you can download the lincoln way nights mixtape for free at

if you’re curious, and you should be…click below and watch the video for “hercules”.  the amish beard is gnarly.