New Music: Zumo Kollie – You’re A Good Sport, Zumo Kollie

Providence, Rhode Island’s Zumo Kollie is officially on the radar. He popped off last May thanks to his excellent You’re a Good Sport Zumo Kollie EP, but made waves for me after I caught his opening set in support of The Movielife’s reunion show in Philly last month.

Kollie took the stage in front of a pop-punk friendly crowd and completely tore it down. His anthems of angst and frustration won over the fickle crowd one person at a time without compromising a second of creativity. The EP is drenched in undeniable cool, but is back lit by a political and social consciousness that’s hard to ignore. Check out his work here and keep up social media style @zumokollie on both IG and twitter. Happy Tuesday kids.

Courtney Barnett- Sometimes She Writes Brilliance

Courtney Barnett’s debut, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, was recorded over eight days. Urgency takes a backseat to casual observation from the jump. “Elevator Operator” broadcasts Barnett’s stream of conscious rambling paired with snotty instrumentation begging for repeat listens. You won’t glean new sentiments from a second or third spin, but it doesn’t matter. You’re left with the pleasantly bitter taste of a brand new songwriter who understands less is more.

Barnett’s talent is her ability to create dialogue through melody. Many before have tried and failed to wow us with nonchalance and apathy. She’s mastered the slacker vibe by channeling a bored tranny Stephen Malkmus blended with the tongue in cheek grin of Sheryl Crow.

Full of minor hits and few misses, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit is a record that will hold up as one of the better debuts of 2015.

Stream: Action Bronson & Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Warlord Leather’

Earl Sweatshirt and Action Bronson are fresh off monster releases this week.  Bronson’s Mr. Wonderful is the project fans have been waiting for; larger than life, full of hilarious twists, and enough NY shit talking to remind us exactly where all this started. Earl dropped the tremendously dense I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, cementing himself as the reason anyone gave a greasy fuck about Odd Future in the first place. Today, the Alchemist digs through his lost gems to give us “Warlord Leather”, a three minute verbal slap box.  Bars galore, enjoy.

Making His Lane: Surf School’s Adrian Lau

Brooklyn based Adrian Lau is busy building a solid fan base spitting over Harry Fraud’s textured beats. He’s steadily forging into new territory in 2015, while remaining true to his historic borough roots. Sure, you can’t swing a dead cat in NYC without hitting a rapper, but this kid is grinding and worth the spins. Adrian recently spoke with SGH to talk Backwoods, linking up with Fraud and Surf School, and the awkward truth about social media.

Shiny Glass Houses:  What have you been working on since the release of Dinner At Wo Hop?

Adrian Lau: Dinner at Wo Hop was a tape we put together to get ready for the project me and Harry have been working on since last year.  It’ll be ready in a month or so.

SGH: I hear a new school twist to your work, but you still have one foot rooted in the sound that made NY rap legendary.  Do you think there’s a specific palette you have to work from since you’re a Brooklyn rapper?

AL: Not really. That’s just the sound when me and Harry (Fraud) work together. It’s different with every producer.  Harry just brings that side out because he’s really good at making those classic sounding beats sound new and clean.  The beats we’re working on now are not as “New York” sounding.

SGH: How did you link up with Harry Fraud and Surf School?  What’s it like with him in the booth?

AL: Harry just worked near my crib and one of his engineers, my boy Russ, would bring me through.  Everything just came together naturally, I had just started making music, so he helped me develop over the last few years.  There is definitely a vibe of constant work in his studio, which is good because some people treat the studio like a club house, and that’s not always the best environment for me.

SGH: You put out quality visuals.  How do you bring your ideas to life?

AL: Honestly, I leave it in the hands of the director.  I make sure that I’m working with someone who thinks outside the box, and if I fuck with their work then I trust they’ll make a good video.  A lot of the videos don’t have treatments, they are shot guerrilla style in public, and we usually get in trouble. Especially if Will Lucas is directing.

SGH: Projection is a dope project. It feels like a proper full length.  Is it necessary these days to drop “albums”, or have we reached a point where full lengths can be free as part of a marketing strategy?

AL: I think albums will always be essential, but there needs to be a proper audience to release it to.  I’m still building my base, and making my lane, so in the meantime I want the music to be free so as many people can access it as possible.  The album is like the college thesis, I guess.

SGH: Social media is the new PR, no need for fliers or hand to hand CD passing. How valuable is promotion these days? What’s the best way to get your work into our hands?

AL: Honestly, I’m the worst with social media (laughs).  I never liked taking pictures and rarely tweet, but obviously I do what I can since it’s necessary.  At the end of the day, you’ll have the artists that came up because they clicked on social media, you’ll have the artists who came up because they made great music, and everything in between.  Everyone’s journey is different.

SGH: There’s plenty of quality rappers out there, but not all can pull off a live show.  What’s your approach to performing?

AL: Zone out.  I get a little nervous before I go on, but never when the music comes on.  If you can’t perform live I can’t fuck with you.

SGH: “Under Control” feels like a live music experience.  Take me through your writing process.

AL: That was the first song where I was like “OK, I’m gonna make a non-rap verse and kinda half sing through it” (laughs). I was listening to Tool and Led Zeppelin a lot that day, so I was inspired by the rock and roll feel which is why I put the distortion on the vocals.  Definitely one of my favorites off the tape.

SGH: Papers, blunts, glass pieces? What’s your preferred vehicle for taking flight?

AL: It goes back and forth between Raw papers and Backwoods these days (laughs).

SGH: Last but not least, and customary around these parts…what’s your drink of choice?

AL: Jameson all day.

–Massive shout out to Adrian, Harry, and the rest of the good people at Surf School for making this happen. Be on the lookout for Adrian’s new project coming soon. For now, grab his music here, and keep up with the label here. Follow them on twitter/IG @AdrianLauNY and @SRFSCHL.

Upcoming Release: Action Bronson- Mr. Wonderful

Action Bronson’s incredible rise has been marked by his balanced ability to rap and to memorize with a massive personality. It’s impossible to ignore his magnetism. He’s funny, full of shit, and spits head scratching bars that are equal parts clever and insane. He seems to exist on an entirely unique plane, where “sometimes his only friends are drugs and the cannoli”.

Mr. Wonderful is Action’s major label debut full of self righteous gems. You’re front and center in Bam Bam’s world, whether you like it or not; riding shotgun and wading through heavyweight banter from his cousin/hype man Big Body Bes, fellow Queens MC Mayhem Lauren, and a show stealing verse from Chance the Rapper.

Action’s legacy is yet to be determined, but with efforts like Mr. Wonderful it’s plain to see he’s right where he belongs. He’s making music on his own terms; dodging and countering real life issues that might break a lesser man. But this isn’t any mere mortal we’re talking about, it’s Bronsolino. Love it or leave it, Mr. Wonderful is another monumental early release of 2015. Pick up your copy today.

New Music: Heems- Eat Pray Thug

Das Racist either made sense or you missed it by a mile. Regardless of their fast food name dropping semi-hit, joke rappers they were not. Himanshu Suri (Heems) went the way of the mixtape following the fizzling out of Das Racist, dropping two great projects while remaining largely under appreciated outside the blogs. What’s surfacing now is the true mind of the son of Indian immigrants who studied at Wesleyan after witnessing the Twin Towers drop from his posh Manhattan private school. The jokes are nearly stripped away and the imbalance of adult life bubbles to a head on his first proper solo release, Eat Pray Thug.

Heems turn the dial inward on Eat Pray Thug to reveal the pressures of being a young brown American in a post-9/11 world. The results are haunting on tracks like “Flag Shopping”, “Al Q8a”, and the poignant “Patriot Act”; a song that comes off as a spoken word confessional detailing 15 years of paranoia and fear. Mix in heartbreak and irresistible humor and it’s obvious that Heems is capable of channeling a Springsteen-like capacity to translate life to music. Trade a guitar and the swamps of Jersey for a microphone and the ethnic melting pot of Queens and suddenly the blurred picture of Himanshu Suri’s life begins to focus.

2015 has already seen some massive hip hop records. Eat Pray Thug should not be overlooked.

 

Watch: Yelawolf- Whiskey In A Bottle

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April 21st marks the release of Yelawolf’s highly anticipated sophomore record, Love Story. Since his Shady debut he’s put out a handful of worthy singles and tapes, toured on the strength of his cult fan base, and dropped a few guest verses here and there, yet no proper follow up.

Tonight, I’m stuck on the visuals for “Whiskey In A Bottle”, which sound and look like a call to arms for this Alabama loner. He knows that first record tanked, and he’s here to make things right. He’s joined by Slumerican pals DJ Klever and Bones Owens while they ride through town, down drinks, and get ink. Time well spent is never time wasted…

Listen up…