Strong Island Sound

Long Island was the master and commander of the independent music world.  Bands were loud, heavy and wore their hearts on their sleeves.  The history is undeniable.  Heavyweights like Glassjaw, Brand New, Bayside and Crime In Stereo ushered in a new wave of noise, and it spread like a rash.

Alternative Press and Victory Records eventually preyed on the scene.  Thankfully, the music withstood the test of time.  The late-nineties seems ancient, but the pulse of Long Island’s soul is still alive.  Newcomers like Nobody Takes Vegas seemed destined to carry the torch.  Harrison, Nick, Jimmy, Rob and Jack have been creating music since 2011 and their sound embodies the raw, whirlwind of energy we’ve come to expect from the Island.  Harrison took a few minutes to speak to Shiny Glass Houses about the band, their plans and what it’s like to represent LI.

SGH: How did the band come together?

Harrison:  The band, in its current form, really began in December 2011.  Myself, Jack, and Nick had been playing and writing for about a year before and went through a bunch of different rhythm sections before we settled on Nick’s co-worker Jimmy and my high school friend Rob.  I really just made a bunch of well-timed phone calls and we were able to get to work right away.

SGH:  What’s the scene like in Long Island today? There’s a strong pedigree of great, emotional rock and roll coming from your region. Does that history scare you a little bit?  Influence you?

Harrison:   I feel that today’s Long Island scene is very fertile ground for experimentation for artists. The national eye isn’t on the region like it was several years ago, but that provides very strong opportunities for a true grassroots rock scene. You’ll hear a lot of talk from time to time from people who feel that the scene isn’t what it used to be, but we couldn’t disagree more.  We just think we happen to currently be knee deep in the growing pains of the evolution of a true DIY scene. We definitely have members here who like a lot of the local sounds, but we take it more as an inspiration, rather than be intimidated by it.

SGH:   The EP is great, it channels the energy of early Used records.  Plenty of raw emotion, but there’s still a conscious attempt to keep it melodic. Is there a “sound” you look to capture?

Harrison: Thank you!  We’re really stoked that you like it!  And Nick and I love The Used, so that’s a great compliment!  I think that rock music is so fractured into a sub-genre thing, that it’s not always easy to just be a broadly-defined rock band, but that’s really the only dogma we have been working towards.  We definitely look to cover new ground with each tune, but when you take the same five people to interpret those songs, the cohesion just kind of happens on its own.

SGH: You’re playing a booze cruise with two acts, living or dead, who’s sharing the boat with your band?

Harrison: We actually just played with He Is Legend, which is my personal favorite band, so that was sort of a personal milestone for me as a musician and really just another show for everybody else in the band.  As far as the booze cruise goes, we pick two dead musicians: lets get a show together with Liberace and Buddy Rich.

SGH: Hitting the road any time soon?

Harrison: Our plan for this year has been to play as many Long Island shows as we can and to keep cultivating a local fan base.  We’re looking to slowly expand outward, playing shows in the city, the tri-state area, and maybe even upstate New York.  We are open to going anywhere people can hear us.  It’s really just a matter of the when and the how.

SGH: Any plans for a full length?

Harrison: We really write songs all time and already have enough material to keep us very busy in the studio.  The conversation has started regarding what kind of release it’s going be, whether we wait to record a full length or we record a longer and more ambitious EP.  We’re not exactly sure. But everybody should expect something from us sooner than later.

SGH:  Do you guys have label aspirations or would you love to keep it all DIY?

Harrison: Record labels are a facet of a weakening industry.  By nature, they exist to innovate new ways to generate revenue rather than as a means to promote artists.  With the way the internet has exploded, it’s becoming so easy to get your music to new listeners.  We’ve only been active on Twitter for about a month, and our EP has already reached thousands of people who otherwise would never have heard of us.  Between that, Facebook, and old-fashioned promoting and playing shows, we’re reaching a lot of people and learning how to do it more efficiently all along the way.  Of course, if somebody with a real acumen for the business side of this came along and we thought the band could be enhanced, we’d be open.  But the way we see it right now: we’re new and still have a lot to learn.

SGH:  Last but not least…what are your drinks of choice?

Harrison: Diet Peach Snapple.  Nick would be tequila.  Jack drinks beer.  Jimmy’s is NOS (energy drink) and Rob prefers Jameson on the rocks.

You can check out Nobody Takes Vegas and their debut EP at  Follow them on Twitter @NTVOfficial.  Rock and roll is alive and well….tell all your friends.


Electric Avenue

Rick Ross is trying to get Bill Gates money, and his moves are impressive. For the past two years Ross has been filling his team with a group of the most eclectic talents on the planet.  Wale is the poet.  Meek is the street kid who came up hard and fast.  Omarion is the crooner.  Stalley is the calm, conscious soul of the crew and Gunplay is the pistol whipping maniac.  Could he really be assembling a rap Volton that will rake in a billion before it’s all said and done?

Rozay’s newest find is Chicago’s Rockie Fresh, a smooth, talented young gun with Kid Cudi-like vision.  Rockie has a wide pallet, and his varied tastes flash brilliantly throughout his MMG debut tape, Electric Highway.  At times he’s as spaced out and carefree like Wiz Khalifa, but he never truly lets his guard down.  He’s the quiet kid in the room, watching you out of the corner of his eye.  He’s aware of the trends, as his sound suggests, but he’s too lost in his own sonic adventure to let you dumb it down and hold it up to the work of his contemporaries.

While this tape is clearly a MMG release (you can’t deny that M-M-M-M-M-Maybach Music drop), it’s most certainly Rockie’s show.  He’s repping the crew but doesn’t lose touch with his identity from beginning to end.  This isn’t gun waving trap music from the war-torn Chicago streets and he’s not rapping about bricks and bodies.  This is mood music that welcomes giant joints and cups of Jameson with open arms.

No doubt Rockie Fresh is ready for the future.

Calling The Dark Star…

San Diego’s Pinback make mood music for the moments in our lives when a soundtrack is absolutely necessary.  Their jams are brooding, contemplative and complex, while somehow entirely more accessible than the coffee shop slop Ben Gibbard started churning out a few years ago.

The sound bends and swells when it needs to but never catches fire long enough to force a scramble for the volume knob.  They started gaining steam back in the late 90’s and haven’t let off the pedal since.  For some reason I imagine that pedal powers a Prius.  Or a hybrid that runs on french fry oil…but I digress.

Information Received, on Brooklyn’s Temporary Residence Records, is the fifth studio album by Pinback, and while the bands cast of characters has been a revolving door of sorts, Pinback’s end results are the property of bassist Armistead Smith and guitarist Rob Crow.  They’ve both played in countless indie/math rock bands, so their chops are top notch, yet neither flex those math muscles much with Pinback.  The new record boasts tight, carefully crafted songs that showcase their pride in shimmering pop, while never abandoning their 90’s-indie sensibilities; the knack for melody, intricate rhythms and plenty of reverb.

Just pick a record and let it play.  Long drives work just fine.

Macon Hamilton: Q and A With The Young American

Macon HamiltonHiphop never saved my life, because it’s always been a significant part of it.  I’ve been listening to it since I pressed play on my walkman and the Juice soundtrack bombarded my head with a noise I’d never heard before.  It’s been a love affair ever since.  And even though I keep getting older, I’m unafraid to let my tastes grow as the trends and sounds continually evolve.

Creating Shiny Glass Houses has given me a chance to reach out and speak with talented, hungry artists looking to share their vision with the world.  Today, I’m ecstatic to bring you an MC who’s star is burning as bright as the tip of a Sunday afternoon dutch.

Macon Hamilton is Georgia native who began rapping at fourteen.  He’s got over 700 songs in the vault and is also proficient behind the boards, producing and engineering his own music.  Ambition is never a bad thing.

SGH: So where does a rapping, producing, Georgia native with 700 songs go from here? Does he use social media to push to that next level? Does he market a free project to the people to spread his word? Does he try to get a record on the radio?

MH: Keep half of the world away from about a good 500 – 600 of them (laughs).  But I plan on pushing myself ’til I reach where I want to go musically.  And yes I use social media websites but I also get up, get out and spread it ya’ know?  Do I market free projects to gain a base?  Of course!  Nobody is going to buy your music if they have no clue who you are.  Familiar faces can go a long way, best believe.  Radio-wise I’m not AIMING to get on the radio, but I’m not knocking it at all.  Some stations actually play good music, seriously.  And if he bring it to the table, don’t ask him how he got it, just eat.  Feel me?

SGH: Taking it back a little further, as fourteen year-old with a hunger to write rhymes, what music did you pump through your headphones? How big of influence is Georgia/the south on your style?

MH: To be honest, I was bumping what ever I was fed (hiphop-wise) such as Wayne, Outkast, Ye’.  I JUST found out about The Pink Lavalamp by Charles Hamilton that year, so it really changed me musically.

SGH: You’re trapped in an elevator, on the 1000 floor, with two other MC’s.  The only way to power it up and get it moving is to trade rhymes. Who’s in that cypher?

MH: That’s the greatest fucking question I have ever received in my life.  To be honest, probably Los and my brother SDK.  They can freestyle for centurions and have the elevator create extra levels and shit, nah mean?

SGH: Twitter has brought many, many talented musicians to my radar. How does it factor in to the development of a young career?

MH: Many ways… Twitter is the main social media source to get what you’re aiming for.  It’s dope as hell to have people speak good about you. Word of mouth is a beautiful thing.

SGH: Tell me why you rap?

MH:  Because God and my Grandpa told me I could make an impact on the world musically, and I’m doing just that.

SGH:  Are you a solo kind of guy or is there a crew with you?

MH:  Solo, but I do have a group/label that I work with heavily, Heaven4MusicGroup/PurpleLabel.

SGH:  I’ve heard the twitter chatter comparing you to the likes of Kendrick Lamar. He’s being hailed as the next heavyweight.  What does that sort of talk do for you? Does it push you harder…inspire you?

MH:  Yes, very much.  It’s kind of a blessing and a curse ya know?  I feel like it’s kinda too early for that comparison though.  I’m dope as hell, but I have to grow.

SGH:  What can we expect from your next project? Why should listeners bother?

MH:  #SCOH (Second Coming Of Hamilton) is up next.   They should expect a short, yet sweet tape that gets right to the point.  I go over topics you can truly have empathy for as well as topics you may not be able to relate to at all.  It’s unique and beautiful in it’s own way.

SGH:  What’s the most challenging thing about creating music today?  Especially when it seems like such an open market…lots of rapping going on these days.

MH:  Creating a sound that has never been used before, whether I’m producing or rapping.   I believe originality is key.

SGH:  Last but certainly not least, what’s your drink of choice?

MH: Ginger Ale or Sprite.  I can drink it all day dude, seriously.

—There you have it.  Do yourself a favor and head to to grab #MaconGoingHam.   You can also get the new tape here:  Raw, uncut talent by the trunk full and he’s only getting started.  Ladies and gentleman, Macon Hamilton is officially on the radar.  Enjoy, and you’re welcome.  Push Things Forward.

ShowYourSupport: Chicago Style


I got my hands on the press release for ShowYouSuck’s upcoming record release party and had to share.   If you’re in the Chicago area, and I know a bunch of you readers are, you’d be a fool not to attend….

ShowYouSuck delivered his third installment to the One Man Pizza Party trilogy early December. This Saturday he wants you to rage with him at his One Man Pizza Party 3- Rest In Pizza Release Party on  Saturday January 12th at Bottom Lounge located at 1375 W. Lake St. Chicago, IL.

ShowYouSuck has added the hard core band War Hound and Treated Crew member St. Millie to the evening’s line up. ShowYouSuck now known as “King of Mosh Pits” while throwing wild sets will be bringing special guests to join him during his pizza party extravaganza. ShowYouSuck’s breaking boundaries between genres & transcending the music mold by creating a style that is truly his own melting; Punk, Based, Trill, rap with a touch of wit. 

Ticket Link- BUY HERE NOW:

Better Late Than Never- 2012 Mixtape List

My best tapes list of 2012 is a little late… so what?  It was all part of my plan.  I had to wait to get your attention.

Now that you’ve had a chance to play with all your new toys, spilled lean on your new crew neck and creased those bred’s, you have a few minutes to skim Shiny Glass Houses for all the gems you need to make your trunk rattle while you wait in line to scoop those McDoubles.

Again, no rhyme or reason here.  No ranking order, no honorable mentions or number ones.   Just a handful of free projects that kept my attention throughout the past twelve months…

ShowYouSuck- One Man Pizza Party 3: Rest In Pizza. This is the third installment of the Pizza Party saga, and it’s the best of the bunch.  Just a dude and his crusty musings.  It’s about life, living and the pursuit of cheesiness.  Part 3 is trademark Show.  His records are windows into his life.  Weird and inviting, this dude really is nicer than a suede suit.

Action Bronson- Rare Chandeliers. The rambling wreck did it again.  This time he enlisted the ice cold production of The Alchemist to guide the voyage.  Action barely has time to put the pen down, and the results are all over the map.  The comparisons are getting fewer and farther between, as it should be.  There is only one Action Bronson, but plenty to spread around.

Stalley- Savage Journey To The American Dream. This tape hasn’t lost any steam since it’s March release.  It’s the sound of a young rapper discovering himself on what would have finished the year on plenty glossy magazine lists if it had been given a proper release.  Instead, it hit the web for free and introduced many to the Maybach Music Group member who seems less impressed with the money and chains with each high-profile feature.

Aaron Cohen- Murk. Mishka has their collective ear to the streets, rarely disappointing when picking an artist to get behind.  Murk is a dense, angry project that captures Cohen at his rawest.  It’s not his masterpiece by any means, but a fantastic first offering and just a sign of what’s to come from the bearded young gun from Queens.

Joey Badass-1999. Only time will tell where this kids star is headed.  For now it’s merely speculation, but if 1999 is any indication, he’s destined for a healthy deal.  This tape is stuck in the Delorean’s deck and the flux-compactitor is programmed for a trip to the golden era.  He studied the classics and wears the influence like unlaced Timbs.

Curren$y- Priest Andretti.   There might not be a harder working MC in this game right now than Curren$y.  Rap game Ryan Adams, for real.  Handfuls of projects and none of them are shit.  Consistency is difficult in this fast-food culture we are swept up in, but Priest manages to keep us guessing.  Fast cars, sparkling paint jobs and heavy beats from end to end.  This one has been on heavy rotation for months.

Flatbush Zombies– D.R.U.G.S. A veritable mindfuck from the stewing brains of a bunch of Brooklyn oddballs.  If I listened to it once, I listened twenty times straight through.  Haven’t been this impressed with a group persona since the Gravediggaz.  Don’t get it twisted…it’s not a gimmick or a joke, just a crew carving out a very unique niche.  Well done.

Joe Budden- A Loose Quarter. Joey catches a lot of flack in the social media world for doing what we love the most from celebrities.  He’s bold, brash and at times a bit much.  Dude tweets pictures of his girlfriend slapping strippers asses twice a day, but it’s all in fun.  Right?  Who knows.  What’s confirmed is his deadpan flow and confessionally-brutal verses.  Production on this tape was stellar.  Lots and lots of bars too.

Left Leberra- XRAY3D. This record rattled me to the core.  It’s a world unto itself that we’re simply spying on.  There are a group of musicians in Connecticut making some of the strongest music in the country, and soon we’ll see…as time permits it.  Left is searching the depths of four-minute mazes for answers and it’s a pleasure to join him.

AJ Suede-The Holy Pope. The true double-threat if I’ve ever heard one.  His rhymes, his production, his world. He’s getting stronger with every release, and this one is just a taste of what the Suede God has in store for us.  This dude is going to continue his trajectory upwards bypassing the bullshit we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.  Headphones are a must.  Plug in and LISTEN up.

Mayhem Lauren-Mandatory Brunch Meetings. No-nonsense rhyming over gritty production.  Simple and plain.  Reminds me of a really angry Guru sprinkled with a little Freddy Foxx.  A must for true fans of hiphop.

Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire-Man In The High Castle. His label said don’t do it.  He did it.  This project came right around the time of his major EP release, so whether it’s slick publicity or not, we essentially got a double dose of eX, and I couldn’t be more appreciative.  This guy’s wordy, manic landscape is cluttered with clever raps and dark production.  He’s working hard, and it’s going to pay off.  Now if we can only get that interview set up?

Smoke DZA- K.O.N.Y.  More than weed raps, and thank God for that.  People doubt this Harlem spitter and he continues to prove them wrong.  This is DZA’s finest work to date, and well worth the spins.  Riiiiiiiight.

Northern Lights- Dear God 3. If you visit here often, you know there are a few new crews that make me happy to have made it this far as a hiphop fan. Northern Lights is one of those crews.  They make records that are polished and classic sounding, yet entirely brand new.  This tape is meant for repeated listens, preferably with something to light up.

Zachg- Peace Mettle.  Impossible to pigeon-hole with labels and one-off comparisons, simply because there aren’t any.  Dancing, rapping, doing his Zachg thing, I loved every single second of this project.  As prolific as he is zany, Zach’s music is meant to inspire us proving there’s no limit to our creativity.

–So there you have it. Just some thoughts for this lovely Sunday morning. Feel free to comment and thank you for reading, and stay tuned.  There are a few surprises coming in 2013.