Category Archives: Philadelphia

Arsonist & Dot The One – “Let My Tape Rock” [Music Video]

This is the newest from Philly rapper Arsonist feat. Dot The One and Jimmy Konway. The Biggie sample on this beat is dope. Off of Arsonist’s new mixtape Human Torch Swagger hosted by Dj R to the Izza, this is “Let My Tape Rock”:

Dot The One has really been gettin busy lately, readying up for his new mixtape Above. Ground. Level., to be released on July 6th. This will be the must-have underground hip hop mixtape of the year, if you want my opinion. Here’s a little preview of what you can expect on A.G.L.:

Download the full song here

Here’s a sick freestyle a cappella from Dot The One too. This mixtape is looking promising.

Stay tuned for more on Dot. I’ve been sayin it for a while, but really, it’s just a matter of time with this dude. Crazy talent.

– Dante Cullari CEO Beat-Play, LLC

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Foster The People “Torches” [NEW MUSIC]

I hate Ticketmaster.  I hate Ticketmaster with the fieriest of passions.  With that said I also pride myself on being an actual “ticketmaster.”  I’m that guy who signs into the site like 30 minutes before a show goes on sale, pulls up a world clock and does a quick stretch of my index finger for optimal ‘submit’ clicking capability.  I’m really f-bomb good at it and rarely does a show come around that I don’t get a ticket or tickets for.  With that said let me introduce you to an LA band called Foster The People.  Two nights at the El Rey (one of my all time favorite venues) completely sold the double f-bomb out and I can’t get a ticket… anywhere.  Did I mentions the shows are in July?  WHAT?  After hearing their new record I can see why.

Helena Beat – Foster The People

At the time I found out about this band I had only heard one song and thought I would check them out just for the sake of this blog, why not right?  New band, catchy electro pop?  Great!  I’ll check em out and see what happens.  Embarrassing for me I’m jumping on the “Foster” band wagon a little late because they are massive in LA right now and gaining momentum.  I had no idea.  Good news is their first full legnth release “Torches” was released today.  Holy shit.

Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People

In 2009 keyboardist, guitarist and singer Mark Foster started making sweet sweet dancy rock pop with bassist Cubbie Fink, and drummer Mark Pontius.  They basically make radio friendly great hit potential music.  I rarely say that about any band.  All danceable fun songs.  Honestly there isn’t a weak link on this record.  Their sound is extremely popular at the moment and this record is a great example of a band using this type of music to their advantage.  ‘Waste’ is my favorite track and in my opinion is the best song on the record.

Waste – Foster The People

I’m pissed I didn’t know about these guys earlier.  I guess you can’t win em all, but what you can do is see this band live.  I haven’t had the privilege yet, but they are playing a FREE in store show TOMORROW at Amoeba Records (greatest record store on the planet) on Sunset in Hollywood.  I will be there seeing as how I can’t get a friggin’ ticket to see them anywhere else.

Houdini – Foster The People

Foster The People are playing a bunch of festivals this summer including Lollapalooza in Chicago, Outside Lands in San Fran and Sasquatch up in Washington State as well and a bunch of dates on their own.  Their live page is HERE.  Hopefully they are coming to a city near you.

If you like to dance, buy this record.  Simple as that.  If you like to pretend you can dance, buy this record.  If you like to watch people pretend to dance, buy this record and play it for them so they can do so.  It’s 8 bucks on iTunes right now.  One of the best purchases I have made music wise since the dawn of time.  To far?  Just buy it HERE.  Here’s the last tune from “Torches”.  Front to back this record is a party and honestly I couldn’t find a sour note throughout. NOW SOMEONE PLEASE GET ME A TICKET TO ONE OF THE LA SHOWS!!!

Warrant – Foster The People

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The Vaccines “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines” [MUSIC]

It’s time to cross the pond in this post.  Most of the time I try to keep it local talking about bands in the local LA music scene or even just in the US, but every now and again I hear a band that I MUST write about no matter where they come from.  This band is called the Vaccines.  They write cool songs, they are British which makes them cooler and they have a new record out called “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines.”  I expected complete bullshit and I got complete awesomeness. (I didn’t actually expect complete bullshit.)

Wreckin’ Bar – The Vaccines

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Royale Blue & WOLM – “Da Super” [MUSIC]

royale blue wolmThis dope Pennsylvania native trip-hop producer, Royale Blue teams up with ill lyricist WOLM in this incredible arrangement of “Da Super” which contains a beat like no other.  These two are surely on to something here, taking the game to a new height with this track, while bringing back that old school feeling we’ve all known and loved. Being one of Royale Blue’s newer tracks, released 5 days ago, it is quickly gaining exposure and interest of the interwebs. Here is a project that we should all put our support towards, because I wanna hear more! Please enjoy “Da Super” and show some love by visiting Royale Blue and WOLM.

Dot The One – “American Dreaming” [New Release] [Music]

Dot The One has been steadily climbing to the top of the underground hip hop charts. His most recent release “American Dreaming” has proven to be just what he needed to finally push over the edge. His much anticipated new mixtape A.G.L. (Above Ground Level) is set to release sometime this month, and Dot’s debut album Aviators and Bombers is also scheduled to drop by the end of the year.



Download “American Dreaming” free now. Here’s an exclusive extra from Dot The One featuring Arsonist, Jimmy Konway, Sock The Rapper and Dj R To Da Izza with “Young G’z”

That one’s pretty furious. Dot The One is definitely an artist to watch closely. He’s bound to make huge come ups in the mainstream in the near future,  you heard it here first.

Written by: Dante Cullari – Founder & CEO Beat-Play/MusicWithoutLabels

We Are Augustines [MUSIC][ALBUM][VIDEO]

In a modern age of electro poppy auto-tuned imperfection (or perfection sadly) in music I find it hard to see where the artists are drawing their inspiration from.  Actually I take that back.  I know exactly where they are drawing from.  They are drawing from bullsh*t easy street topics like partying, college, fashion and more recently days of the week such as Friday.  Seriously if I have to hear crap like that any more you might as well end me.  I understand why crap like that is popular but popular does not necessarily mean good.  I know this is just my opinion, but I’m right so deal with it.  Check out the awesome artists on this very blog.  They are good and we don’t chew over produced bubble gum on this site.  This little rant brings me to We Are Augustines.  You want to hear emotion?  You want to hear pain?  You want to feel the songs and the lyrics as you listen?  This band is the real deal and they have the real life strife to back up raw emotion on their debut record “Rise Ye Sunken Ships.”

Chapel Song – We Are Augustines

Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson are one half of the now defunct band Pela.  With a good size following and opening spots for bands like Sonic Youth, Sleater Kinney, Feist, and the Flaming Lips you would think this band is on the fast track to success.  Marry that success with booze and carelessness and then there is no more band, but there is We Are Augustines, which McCarthy and Sanderson call their own.  Their debut record “Rise Ye Sunken Ships” is an open example of how much pain someone can go through in a life time and still persevere.  With family issues such as addiction and multiple suicides Bill McCarthy used his music to express emotion and let go of family members who were beyond help.  The main themes of this music are rooted in pain, suffering and mourning in honor of McCarthy’s now deceased brother Jim who suffered from many unimaginable issues.

In many ways Rise Ye Sunken Ships is also about reclaiming agency in one’s own life. From beleaguered family histories, from systems that ignore and shut down the individual, be it a record label, the foster care system, the prison system or a psychiatric hospital. The song “Book of James” is, specifically, testament to that struggle. —weareaugustines.com

Book of James – We Are Augustines

There is no sugarcoating or auto tune anywhere near this amazing music.  On top of that these guys have chosen to completely avoid a label to promote these songs.

The record industry had made it clear that there were little incentives for signing with a label other than upfront cash and marketing assistance.  Instead of relying on industry insiders who couldn’t care less about the music, they could work with people from the music community who demonstrated a real appreciation for their work.  —weareaugustines.com

Teaming up with local radio people and local promoters they are choosing the grass roots “stick it to the man” record to get their music out and it’s working.  Having recorded in LA, New York and Canada they draw from these very different cities/ country without forgetting and being true to their heavy folk rock sound.  Here’s a little documentary about the making of “Rise Ye Sunken Ships.”

I know this is heavy stuff.  There’s no getting around it, but besides the adult themes and the pain involved in this record it really does rock.  Over all this record is an awesome listen because it is loud and in your face rock and roll.  Who doesn’t like that?

This band is making noise not because they know how to write a catchy hook/ chorus or tell us what day comes after Saturday, but because they are honest musicians with honest lyrics and raw uncut emotion out there for you to relate.  This is the type of music worth the respect of the masses because the band had respect for the music as they were making it.

They are currently touring with The Boxer Rebellion and dates can be found HERE. They have a free download of Chapel Song on their home page HERE.  As far as I can tell the record isn’t available yet in stores or on iTunes.  To hold you over here’s a video from “Rise Ye Sunken Ships.”

East Los Angeles – We Are Augustines

Long live and music with depth and emotion that people can not only relate to but respect, which I’m pretty sure is the reason music exists in the first place.

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Person L [MUSIC]

The frustration of being pigeonholed can tear a band apart.  It’s easy to forget musicians’ influences are drawn from all kinds of genres, and that their interests tend to spill well outside the group that puts them in the spotlight.  Day in, day out, they beat the pavement to a pulp to try and make (or keep) a name with the same handful of bandmates and songs, playing to crowds who expect – demand, actually – the sound they first fell in love with.

It’s no wonder so many bands splinter into side projects, solo albums and straight out meltdowns.

Person L’s Kenny Vasoli is one of these musicians.  He avoided the meltdown, but after his first band – The Starting Line – dissolved after their album, “Direction,” didn’t do well, he shed his radio-ready skin and exposed a more mature, unpredictable artist than the guy that wrote the pop-punk classic “Best of Me.”  Much like ex-Drive Thru Records label mate Ace Enders (who ended his own group, The Early November, around the same time) there was always a hint that Kenny’s musical mind was functioning on a different plane than his peers’.  Whether it was the surprisingly raw lyrics of “Bedroom Talk,” or the complex layers of “Island,” even The Starting Line’s singles veered away from “standard.”

Here, on his second full length as Person L, “The Positives,” Vasoli dabbles in lyrically light instrumental rock on the opening track “Hole in the Fence,” before pivoting into “Good Days” and “The Positives,” two cuts that take cues from midwestern 90’s emo.  The latter opens with a guitar triplet and noodly organ that sounds like someone chopped and screwed an America Football track.

All this leads to the track that stands as the beating heart of the whole endeavor; the one that burrows in the brain and kicks it straight in the pleasure center: “Goodness Gracious.”  This is the kind of reinvention that most frustrated pop artists can only dream about.  Sure, Vasoli released an album and three tracks worth of great music between the death of The Starting Line and this, but here is where he finds his new voice.  The track makes full use of the unique grit n’ howl in his throat and pairs it with an amazingly dirty riff that calls to mind the exciting, bluesy simplicity of a Hendrix line.  The guitars are gloriously distorted and fuzzy, so much so that they create their own feedback in the opening four count.  There’re horns, shouts, and even some sort of deadened cowbell around 1:25 that adds to the frenetic, danceable energy.

Take a listen:

He follows this up with the sock hop chord progression of “New Sensations,” that sounds like it has a Chuck Berry co-write, and from there the album trails back off into more experimental territory.  While enjoyable, nothing else comes close to the one-two punch of these tracks.

Whether Person L’s next release remains as scattered, or if it will it focus on the blues elements that prove most successful here remains to be seen, but it’s definitely something to listen for.

By: Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

The Scenic [MUSIC] [VIDEO]

You ever hear that legend about the ghost ship?  Y’know, it got lost in a storm and never came out?  It just sailed around and around with a ghost crew, in limbo for all eternity?

That’s basically what I think what happened to The Scenic around 2001.  A bunch of dudes in a van were cruising around Philly listening to alt rock and no-frills pop-punk, when they drove straight into some supernatural fog.  Lucky for us, they found their way out and wrote a bunch of songs while they were gone.

Their first album “Find Yourself Here” is worth checking out (especially its single “The American Way”), but don’t let its clever collection of song titles and lyrics fool you: it’s not their best work.  Where they really shine is on their latest release “Bipolaroid,” after they dropped the shiny pop sheen of the first album and locked in on their sound – gritty, catchy, loose and loud.

Listen to the single “Uh Oh” and tell me you can’t see them touring alongside “Green Album” Weezer, Lit or Stroke 9.  Also, good luck getting it out of your head.

Hear that, Generic Pop Rock Band #1?  That’s a guitar solo!  And, hey, Generic Pop Rock Band #2, pay attention: there’s not a single song about partying on here!  I know, I know, Band #3 you’re asking “But…but…what does an indie pop band do for a video if it’s not a party video?”

Think a psycho “Harvey” and you’re getting warm:

Before this whole piece gets too heavy on the love (too late?), I’ll admit, there are a lot of flaws here.  Bunny suits in rock videos are only a step or two above golf carts and beer pong in rock videos, the music doesn’t so much carve out its own space as it does stand on the shoulders of my favorite bands from high school, and there are more than enough cringe-worthy lines scattered throughout (“I’m sinking right into the floor, can’t take anymore./I’m not the mat you’re stepping on anymore.”).

So why all the props?

I’m sick of bands waving the flag of “fun summer pop” and using it as an excuse to drench their bad songs in obnoxious auto-tune, vocoders, synths and drum machines.   These groups are The Scenic’s peers in the scene, and it’d be a shame to see their glossy, glammy crap eclipse the honest, solid songwriting The Scenic are so clearly capable of.  They’ve got some growing to do before they drop anything really special, but the chops are there, the hooks are there, and – most importantly – the heart is there.  Sure, their sound reaches backwards a little instead of pushing forwards, but it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than moving sideways.

As a small band on a notoriously difficult label, the only way The Scenic can survive long enough to make a third album is with the support of people who get what they’re doing and dig it.  Buy the album, go see them on tour and pick up some merch.

Together, we can keep ‘em in the van for another decade – hopefully going forward this time instead of in circles.

Chris Cullari | Beat Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL| Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

King Of All Kings, Selassie [Interview]

People gathered at a small West Philadelphia bar in anticipation for Selassie’s farewell performance. The Philadelphia rapper by way Ethiopia was now heading to LA to expand his career and follow his dreams of a successful music career. Many friends began smiling and were excited to see which songs off his album he was going to perform, as strangers kept a neutral Philly facial expression and refused to show any interest until Selassie could prove himself. Dressed in a burnt orange shirt with an imprint of his face in all black in the middle, that purposely resembled his mixtape cover for marketing purposes and a plain black fitted on his head. Fresh and ready to start his show, he grabs the microphone and spits his rhymes for the last time in Philadelphia.

At the age of 11, Selassie picked up his older brother’s rhyme book and rapped his lyrics to his older cousin and her friends; the reception he received was immense. “ It made me feel so good, that I decided to pursue a career as an emcee. Becoming a rapper helped me find the one thing – that I was great at writing. After years of perfecting his craft Selassie decided to make the ultimate move three years ago, the Philadelphia native left Philadelphia for Los Angeles with only $300 to his name, taking the chance of a lifetime in pursuit to expand his rap career and further educate himself about the music game, ”A doctor goes to Medical school, a lawyer goes to Law school. So I thought I should do the same, and that’s when I enrolled at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.”

His stage name, Selassie which comes from his deceased father Haile Selassie Fekadu, who was also named after the great Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, who was believed to be the second coming of Christ by Rastafarians. Selassie wasted no time and began networking and building a studio in his home producing and recording non-stop. His latest mixtape is called Mind on Pluto, which explains his state of mind, “The state of mind I’ve always been in, which is so far left that I feel foreign to today’s common man. His favorite song on the freshman mixtape is “Aurora Borealis,” which he plans on making it his intro to his mixtape, “It really gives you a view of my world and really sets the tone of the mixtape.”

By: Mereb Gebremariam | Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @MerebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Lyrically Born To Be Great [Interview]



At the age of fourteen Kenny discovered his jones for rapping, but music had been in his blood long before the thought of his existence. His youthful father, who was an amazing base player was named “Toomuchbase” because he would rip a lot of James Brown cover songs, which had got him noticed by Kenny’s maternal grandmother who was a singer in the group, Norma and the Heartaches.  Though passionate about his music, Toomuchbase had his eyes set out for Norma’s daughter and later married her. Like most artists, college was an option that he pursued for a year, but then took the wise words of his professor who encouraged him that a degree will help, but if there are other certain opportunities, take it. Not motivated by fame or money, Kenny just wanted to be able to be the rock for his family who inspires him to fulfill his family’s musical destiny, “My family never really made it. Outside of just having a good job, no one has hit that big money to where you can do stuff for your family. Everyone has a ‘cash counter’ in their family, an uncle or aunt with money, but not us. I want to provide for my family and community.”

 

The rapper describes his music as Urban Heavy Metal, which is also his Mixtape title, which is a mixture of Hip Hop, R&B, and Rock and Roll. This genre of music isn’t new to him, but apart of a generation who accepts everyone for who they are from the Gagas to the Beibers,“ I call it ‘Urban Metal.’ It’s all urban music in one. It comes with a lifestyle and the younger generation accepts anything… no more racism, gay bashing, and everyone is equal.” His perfect example of his genre would be Kanye West’s, All of the Lights single, where different artist from different genres came together and blended their styles in one song, which was epic. His album will contain songs you can dance to and creative lyrics that the streets can respect.

After performing to a receptive crowd at the Walnut Room in Philadelphia, Kenny is preparing to release his mixtape entitled, Urban Metal by July 4th, declaring his own independence. During his show he performed a song called Translucent, which explains his stance in the competitive rap game as a lyricist, “Translucent means you can see through it sort of. Some people can see me, but you can’t see me rappin’.”

By: Mereb Gebremariam | Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @MerebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC