Tag Archives: New York

Battles “Ice Cream/ Gloss Drop”[MUSIC][SONG]

Battles.  One of the best band names I’ve ever heard and one of the most creative/ best bands I have ever seen.  If you have ever had the privilege of seeing them live I think you’ll agree that not only is there live show a proverbial “battle” but it’s also the sweatiest fun you can have with your pants on.

In 2007 Battles released a full length called “Mirrored” with the massive track “Atlas” and a ridiculous video to go with it (below).  Cut to 2011 and they are releasing a follow up to “Mirrored” and it’s called “Gloss Drop.” With a new track “Ice Cream,” just released on their website recently with the rest of the record due out in early June this is a first listen from their new record.

Ice Cream feat. Matias Aguayo- Battles

Over the summer multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tyondai Braxton left the band.   Here’s what bassist Dave Konopka had to say about the line up change on this new record from Pitchfork.com.

I’m not going to candy-coat it– the situation was kind of dark. The three of us argued and were pissed off after Ty left but we were like, “Fuck that. That’s chapter’s closed. Let’s move on.” From there, the most important thing was to maintain the integrity of what the band means to us and to carry on with it. When Ty left over the summer, we were close to having an album’s worth of material– we had put so much energy into the project and then we had to re-establish ourselves as a three-piece. The end result is a culmination of reworked things we’d been putting together the past couple years and some newer songs. — Pitchfork.com

Obviosuly ready to move in a new direction with a reworked lineup here’s what Dave had to say about the bands positive outlook for “Gloss Drop” and more specifically the track “Inchworm” yet to be released.

There’s one called “Inchworm” that’s based on a four-hour jam I did by myself in our practice space– which reminds me of this guy upstairs from our space who kept knocking on our door and losing his shit. He’d go, “You guys are driving me… “– and his voice started cracking because he was so angry– “fucking insane.” He was like, “It sounds like you’re dropping a fucking anvil down here! I don’t know what type of music this is but even people that like your music don’t like your music!” So maybe that gives you an indication of how good this album is going to be. [laughs] —  Pitchfork.com

I am ready for some new Battles.  It’s been four years and if “Ice Cream” is any inclination of how “Gloss Drop” is going to turn out I think we are all in for a massive treat.

Ice Cream is available for download here. (iTunes)

Gloss Drop is available for pre-order here on the bands site or here at Bleep (with a free Ice Cream download).

Last but not least just to get your juices flowing for the new record here is “Atlas” off thier debut record “Mirrors” and the video for it as well.  I think you’ll agree the world needs more Battles.

Atlas – Battles

Atlas – Battles

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

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Dot – “The World is Not Enough” [Music Video Premier]

Dot completely killed this track, not to mention this NYC based video is dope a fck! This is a classic right here.

Look out for more from Dot on the way soon. His new mixtape A.G.L. (Above Ground Level), featuring this track, is set out to release in April. They don’t call him the one for nothing. Stay updated on everything Dot’s doin here on fb.

Posted by: Dante Cullari CEO Beat-Play


Wise Words From A Wise Man [Interview]

Ladies and gentlemen presenting Jersey’s own, Davon ‘Wise Vega’ Brown. Just beginning his rap career a year ago, Wise Vega has been writing at a very young age. Creating a split personality in his name, his name Wise displays his conscious rap side, attacking all of the world’s struggles through his lyrics and Vega, which is his mother’s last name displays his cocky raw side. Getting ready to release a double mixtape, College Kid and Mindstate88 in May, Wise has recorded almost eighty songs since he began a year ago and will begin shooting videos for the world to see him and vibe out to his songs. In addition, Wise has been performing and competing against other rappers in New York City at the Webster Hall in downtown Manhattan. His most popular lines, “You can call me what you want, a rapper or writer, professional shit talker…” That line simply describes the his music and the direction he’s going in with each song, “That’s basically what it is. I don’t care who you are, Talib Kweli or Fabulous that’s basically what you’re doing.”

His favorite song on the album is Piranha, which was written when Wise was on his low point and decided to go in full effect after he heard the hook his producer wrote which fit his situation like a glove, “Everything that was going on at that time was in that song. It was really perfect.” As far as looking for a deal Wise is looking for the best situation possible, perfecting his craft, performing his work, and in the midst of releasing his double mixtapes in May, this young artist has the world a his feet waiting to be formally introduced.

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

And The Winner Is: Dot Dot Dot [Interview]

It’s 4am in Central Harlem, the city is fairly quiet, with the exception of the blaring loud music that Brandon “Dot” Cromwell is playing for a couple of friends in the studio.  Dressed in all black with his signature black rosary around his neck, he nods his head to the selection of beats his producer, Nana Kwabena created.  “Yo, let this loop real quick,” Dot, says to Nana. Quietly, he starts mouthing invisible lyrics, and grabs his iphone to record the words along with the beat. His friends just sit back and nod with his melodic lyrics.  “Ok, I’m sorry, I’m ready to talk now, I tend to get lost in this (music), that I forget my priorities.” He laughs, “I guess I have ADD or something.”

Earlier this year, Nana came to Dot with a plan that consisted of them moving from Philadelphia to New York to pursue music, “The decision was so easy for me that I sold my car and left.”  After moving to Southwest Philadelphia at a young age Dot, found his passion in rap after surrounding himself with a group that held rap battles with each other, “My friends were much better than I was, until I got better, now I’m the best.”   Philly has been known for it’s legendary singers such as Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and Marian Anderson, just to name a few. Theses legends have achieved a great amount during their eras, respectively carving their names in stone within the music world, but also giving Philadelphia some attention other than popular tourist attractions such as: the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. In the turn of the century Philadelphia was on top after Jay-Z signed State Property, which consisted of Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Peedi Peedi, Oschino, Omillio Sparks, and the Young Gunz. After many hits and two movies State Property and State Property 2, In 2008, Jay-Z dismantled Roc-a-fella, and since then there has been a missing voice to represent the City of Brotherly love on national airwaves in rap. However, Neo-Soul artist such as Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, The Roots have remained in the mainstream targeting their audiences in their genres. Gathering his thoughts, Nana sits back and reminisces of State Property’s fall out with Rockfella,  “Having our own brand, our own team, our own message, and having our own movement, I think is what gives people longevity.”

Now, in 2010, many may disagree that Hip Hop is Dead because it went from just a genre of music to an era that continues to redefine itself. Today, rappers now sing, create dance trends, and fashion trends that are seen from Los Angeles to Tokyo. While visiting his native home of Ghana, Nana, witnessed Hip Hop away from home with his own eyes, “People in Ghana are still wearing bandanas TuPac use to wear, spitting lyrics he use to say. I feel Nas, when he says ‘Hip Hop is Dead’, but I also realized that the form of rap has changed from before his time and after him and to him, his form maybe dead, but to the people of Hip Hop they’re adapting doing what they use to in a new form.”

In the works for the Philadelphia native Dot, is his mixtape called Aviators & Bombers, which is set to debut by the end of this year and draws a concept with how people equate success with materialistic items, “All we have to do is work really hard and buy all these nice things for attention, and I have people in jail right now because all they were trying to do was look nice.” Dot, briefly looks down at his diamond incrusted watch,  “Not saying that these material things that we strive for are wrong, just saying this is happening, this is what we’re all into and I’m no stranger to it, I’m apart of it too.”

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

Choir Boy, Johnnie Gets His R&B Fix [Audio]

The congregation slowly begins to fill the seats while a soft Gospel melody is being played on the piano. Neatly dressed in a blue suit, Johnnie Williams starts singing, “This is the best place… Being in the house of God.” Hitting every rift and run, people wave their hands in the air feeling good and praising God. His voice soothed the listening ears with his words, that even with your eyes closed you envisioned serenity from his tone.  The Preacher’s grandson voice is truly a gift that has enhanced since  he began playing when he was sixteen, every Friday and Sunday in church, but no one had a clue that his passion outside church was R&B.

Some may argue that R&B music could be losing it’s touch to Pop music since current artist such as Rihanna, Beyonce, and Usher have had transitional success. Then there is autotune, which has been silenced and shunned by Jay- Z, but it hasn’t stopped artists who look for a more unique sound without belting out every song like Whitney Houstson, Jazmine Sulilivan, and Jeniffer Hudson. In some cases  singers don’t feel the need to sing in key or at all, however, Johnnie Williams is the complete opposite.

Johnnie has been singing since the tender age of 8 in a church choir, “I like singing but I didn’t start until I was in he 10th grade. I went to my friend Kelly’s house and heard a group called HCL (High Class Lovers.) I went home and did my own demo and came back the next week and let them hear it, and they let me join. I listened to the demo recently, and that thing is the worst, I definitely gotten better.” Shortly after, HCL had changed their name to Prospect and won a talent show at Abington Senior high school. After their triumph the group parted ways, but Johnnie strived became great and he continued pursuing his music and began writing and producing with his band mate, Kelly. Johnnie’s hard work hadn’t gone unseen. Fortunately, he had the opportunity to meet Damon from the famous R&B group No Question, who discussed the possibilities of a comeback after the group’s hiatus, but this time with Johnnie as a member.  After auditioning for it he became a member and they started working and completed 4 songs, but soon after differences erupted among the members about unmade promises that weren’t kept, “Deals with money were on the table and when it came down to it everything kept falling through, so I separated ties.”

Once the group fell through, that situation had not discouraged him, yet motivated him to focus on his own music.  Johnnie went back on his grind at his in home studio where he produces 10-20 beats per week and writes all his material from his inspirations, “My inspiration comes from people around me, people I know, and people that touch me emotionally and personally.” Almost immediately, Johnnie had heard that MTV was having auditions for Diddy’s Making the Band, Season 4 in search for the next boy group, “I auditioned on Myspace and they gave me the VIP ristband so I din’t have to wait in line.” He went to a New York club where the auditions were held and sung Usher’s, “Let it Burn” for Michael Bivins, Slam, and Ankhra and was passed to the 2nd round. The next day Johnnie had to prepare for the combination of dancing and singing portion,  “I got past the dance round but didn’t pass the singing round because I lost my voice after standing outside in the winter cold waiting for my auditions.”

Since his MTV auditions, he became good friends with Dyshon, who was a finalist on Making the Band and helped him with background vocals for Dayshon’s solo project as well as his own project. Currently, he’s constantly posting music on Youtube, and plans on taking Neyo’s place in the music industry as a writer, proudcer, and singer and doesn’t mind just writing for other artist,  “I do music just to do it, I want a deal, but I do music for people and do songs to sell them.” His new single is called Confession (I Love You), which is a slow ballad written and produced by him that is receiving a lot of positive feedback, “It’s my favorite song I’ve ever recorded, because out of all the songs I’ve done, I let my all out on this one.”

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

Internationally Known, MIKE PHILSON [VIDEO]

When you think of Harvard, you think of great Political figures, Litigators, Doctors, and Business folks. However, when you first take a glimpse of Mike Philson, it’s hard to tell that this artist had gone from public housing to a Harvard educated lifestyle within his young lifetime, graduating in Political Science and actually was invited to meet President Obama himself. Philson grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he encountered hard struggles growing up, “I went from some of the worst circumstances that made me say, I want my life to be the opposite of what it’s suppose to be, and to strive and push forward in a journey to do great things.”  After attaining a Wall Street job working at an investment bank at a Switzerland-based bank, he decided to leave to pursue his music. In 2010, he began his journey to chase his dreams full- time and educate underprivileged children for college.

Internationally, Philson has performed on three different continents and now is traveling coast to coast in the United States performing, recording, and promoting his music, “Ignorance is dangerous, so many people are afraid to step outside of their bounds and leave their neighborhood. I’m not that person.” His music embodies his relatable struggles he has encountered and shares it with the world. While on his MMP Global & DVE Asian Promo Tour, Philson shot his video for his song, On My Way Home in Shanghai, China where his fan base following is strong. Non-believers can view his Chinese love on Youtube, where fans flock to him in public and some fans even begin crying when meeting him. The young Harvard grad turned rapper is now in LA working in overtime drive, “One thing I don’t want to be is just another nigga rappin’ just for the sake of rapping and not getting anywhere.”

Mike Philson is now working on his next album, The Purple Album, which describes the type of zone he was in during his production, “I see a lot of music in colors and purple is that color.” He plans on expanding his work and head out to Africa for a performance sometime soon. As for now, he has a few performances lined up in LA and will shoot out to New York soon for more projects.  Some may call Philson crazy for leaving a secure job for his passion, but his inspirations is what keeps him going, “When you’ve seen the type of things that I’ve seen, and you’re on the bottom level and you gradually ascend and knowing God chose me to succeed and to succeed on a level that’s unfathomable, inspires me everyday.”

Mike Philson on iTunes

Mike Philson on Twitter

www.mikephilson.com

By: Mereb Gebremariam

Hoodie Allen – “You Are Not A Robot” [VIDEO]

Droppin’ the new official music video for Hoodie Allen’s most recent track, “You Are Not A Robot”. Just a disgusting beat on this track with really sick dub influences in the background of the hook bringing a whole other level of creativity. Along with having amazing music, you can download this track along with all his others for FREE on his Facebook page. Gotta show love to those artists that love their fans by giving back.

The Morning Benders – “All Day Day Light” [VIDEO]

Here’s a look at the video project by Jack Ferry done for “All Day Day Light” by The Morning Benders off their most recent album “Big Echo”. Listen for the new style they bring to a widely loved sound coined by many of the greatest rock bands. They have a very early sixties rock feel similar to The Beatles, which you can also find their FREE download of ‘Ram On (Paul McCartney Cover)’ here. Enjoy the video and please grab some of their music!

Introducing… The Nico Blues [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Another great album given away for FREE by the guys of The Nico Blues from New York and New Jersey. If you’re a classic alternative indie rock lover than don’t hesitate to download “Blame the Boredom, Blame the Basements” and show some love by donating to keep their sound alive! Please enjoy their album opener, ‘Three’s A Crowd”.

Ratatat – Neckbrace [MUSIC]

Kickin’ electronic rock track with a wildly trippy music video by Ratatat. He is currently holding his world tour with the next show being on Jan. 19th at The San Francisco Beth House in Wellington, New Zealand. Followed by visiting Australia and finishing with Mexico. Check out more of his music here and enjoy, ‘Neckbrace’.