Thursday, December 31, 2009

Talib Kweli + Hi-Tek Are... Reflection Eternal- The Re:Union

I just finished my list of the best mixtapes and then this drops... You heard "Just Begun" last week, now we've got a full mixtape. Some unbelievable stuff here. Real hip-hop. Happy New Year.

Best Mixtapes of 2009

We did the best albums of 2009, but now it's time for the best mixtapes of 2009. There were a ton, but I think I narrowed it down to the top seven. And, just in case you don't have any music lined up for your New Year's Eve party tonight, we've got the download links for all the tapes as well. Min Soo also highlighted a bunch of these in his Top 10 list as well, cause he included mixtapes. That little rebel...

So much talent. Bobby Ray/B.o.B. is going to blow up in 2010. Get this and be ahead of the game. He brings so much more than just great lyrics into his songs, such as great instrumentation, samples, and singing.

Very simple: If you don't know who Drake is by now, download this immediately.

The return of the mixtape Weezy. None of that Rebirth, Young Money stuff that has plagued Weezy's career as of late. Just Wayne rapping over songs such as "D.O.A.," "Run This Town," and even "I Got A Feeling."

J Cole really came into prominence in 09. And thank God he did, as his talent is undeniable. Excellent lyrics and great flow comprise this tape with "Lights Please" and "Can I Live" being the standout tracks. Debut album coming in 2010.

While his debut album didn't really live up to my expectations, this mixtape exceeded expectations by a mile. Wiz's lyrics may not be the deepest in the world, but his humorous rhymes, and outstanding beats more than make-up for this slight downfall. And, he uses auto-tune a good amount, and I love the auto-tune.

The lyrics are very good. But the production is what puts this tape on a precipice so far above others. With samples from Sufjan Stevens, MGMT, Belle and Sebastian, and even Mary Poppins, this tape seamlessly blends indie music and hip-hop effortlessly. Probably my favorite mixtape of 09, but Lupe just murdered his tape way to hard not to be #1.

If you don't have this yet, GET IT. One word: decimation. Lupe takes the beat to your favorite rapper's hit song ("Fireman" by Wayne, "Angels" by Dirty Money, "Say Something" by Timbaland), and absolutely decimates any lyrics they attempted to spit over them, firmly establishing himself as the king of lyrical wordplay.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 in Pop

This is awesome. Dj Earworm, another mash-up dj, who I forgot to mention in the earlier White Panda post, somehow managed to combine all the Billboard Top 25 into one amazing 2009 year in review song. How this turned out sounding so flawless, seamless, coordinated, and just plain excellent is beyond me. It's got your Beyonce, your King's of Leon, your Taylor Swift, and of course, your Lady GaGa. Anyone who says that mash-up dj's have no talent, need only download the following track, and watch the video. Everything you need to know about 2009 in pop music is here. Tracklist can be found here.

Top Ten Redux

As mentioned before, I kind of messed up my top 10 list, as I may have overlooked a few albums, which deserve to be on the list. So, here are a couple at least, in no particular order, which should have been on the list:

Miike Snow Miike Snow
I posted the video for "Siliva" earlier today, and like I said the rest of the album is ridiculously awesome as well. Andrew Wyatt's voice is unforgettable, and dances and melds flawlessly with the various piano and synthesizer led rhythms on the album. And while many of the songs, such as "Black and Blue" and "Animal" have gloriously poppy beats and whistful synths, Wyatt's voice alludes to a more somber feeling present in the lyrics, as exemplified in the video for "Silvia." Still, the Swedish group has crafted an exciting and excellent album, which at least for me, left me thinking about it all day.

Mos Def The Ecstatic
Instant classic. Mos Def, like Raekwon, shows why he is so far above the mainstream rap of today, it's just not fair. The album is packed from first track to last, but highlights include "Wahid," with its pseudo-string infused beat and "Life in Marvelous Times," where Mos absolutely goes in over the synth and hand-clap led beat. "History" featuring Talib Kweli is also excellent in its own right, but is made even better by the fact it was produced by the late J Dilla. Once again, Mos Def proves that good, no, GREAT rap, doesn't follow the cookie cutter formula of guns, drugs, and girls.

Florence and the Machine Lungs
First thing's first: Florence Welch's voice is amazing. One of the most unique and talented vocalists in music today. And, while her voice could most likely carry the group by itself, it doesn't have to, as the musical arrangements are simply fantastic. Many of the songs deal with the issue of death, without being too overly morose and morbid about it. "My Boy Builds Coffins" is one such track, displaying the idea that no matter who you are, everyone dies. Other excellent tracks include "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" and "Dog Days Are Over," with its pounding beat and handclaps. Overall, a nearly flawless vocal performance by Welch, with excellent instrumentation and arrangements, making a great thing even better.

The xx xx
A lot has been written about the XX this year. Every website, blog, and magazine in the world was proclaiming their genius. Once again, I just didn't get it. It was too minimalist for me, and I didn't really like the whole dueling girl vs boy singer thing. Then suddenly it clicked last week. This album is pretty brilliant. I love the fact that guitarist Romy Croft and bassist Oliver Sim trade sultry vocal barbs, all the while dancing over dreamy guitar and synth driven beats. As with most of these albums, the whole thing is fantastic, but highlights are for sure "Islands," "Crystalized," and "Basic Space." I honestly don't know what is wrong with me, and why I couldn't see the sheer brilliance in this until like three days before 2010.

So I messed up. Had I listened to Miike Snow's 09 self-titled debut before last week, it would have certainly made my top 10 of 09. The same goes for Mos Def's Ecstatic and the XX's self-titled debut. I am an idiot. So, in order to make amends of sorts, here is Miike Snow's video for "Silvia" which will be released as the band's second single on Jan 25th. The song and video are fantastic, as is the rest of the album. Highly recommended.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The White Panda "Versus"

A lot of the kids today are really into mash-ups. Their frenetic, quickly changing pace fits in well with the Ritalin and Red Bull infused youth of today. Artists such as Girl Talk, the Hood Internet, and Super Mash Bros have brought the art of the mash-up into the mainstream. So, may I introduce you to The White Panda. I've been seeing a lot of them over at P&P, but have not really paid them any mind. Today I saw they had dropped a full mixtape. And ladies and gentlemen, the hype is real. The White Panda certainly belongs amongst the mash-up heavyweights such as the Hood Internet and Super Mash Bros. In fact, this mixtape, after the first listen seems certainly better than Super Mash Bros' sophomore tape. And at 33 tracks long, you get what you pay for. Wait, it's free? Yup it is. Good stuff from The White Panda. (Also, isn't a white panda basically a polar bear?)

And if you're debating whether or not to DL the tape, here's my favorite track off the tape, T.I.'s "What You Know" vs. Passion Pit's "Little Secrets." Yea, I know I've got a Passion Pit bias.

Broken Bells

What do you get when you combine the Shins' James Mercer, and producer Dangermouse (Brian Burton)? Broken Bells, whose self titled debut will be available on March 9th, 2010. To be honest, I put off checking this project out for a week or so, as I thought it would be too much of a stretch. However, it appears as though I was mistaken, as Mercer's vocals pair well with Burton's production and synthesizers. Definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nike Basketball

Mr. Lupe Fiasco lays down some lines as Blitzen the reindeer. Say what you want about Nike, but their marketing execs are geniuses.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!

"It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. "I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can."- Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reflection Eternal feat. J. Cole, Jay Electronica, and Mos Def "Just Begun"

Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek, J.Cole, Jay Electronica, and Mos Def all on one track? Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Bing Crosby "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

This is the best Christmas song. Ever.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Colin Munroe "Unsung Hero"

Colin Munroe has been around for a while, but I just found a mixtape he put out last year, which is pretty good. For those who don't know, Colin is a singer who is often featured on songs with rappers, such as Wale, Joell Ortiz, and Talib Kwali, to name a few. Pretty good company to be in. He came on to the scene with his "cover" of Kanye's "Flashing Lights." Look out for him in the future.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Christmas

"But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!'"- Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Musical Updates

Sooo, the year is winding down and there have been two announcements in the past few days that are exciting me I thought you'd like to hear. First off, amid speculation, Ed from Radiohead has officially announced today that the band is going back into the studio in January:

"The vibe in the camp is fantastic at present, and we head off into the studio in January to continue on from the work we started last Summer .. I am so genuinely excited about what we’re doing, but for obvious reasons I can’t divulge anything more.. anyway we all love surprises don’t we?"

(Full Post from Sat. Dec. 19)

Secondly, Bars of Gold has announced that in about a week, they will be done mixing!

I'm truly excited for what the new year holds...

Dirty Money feat. Jim Jones, Fabolous, and Red Cafe "Love Come Down (Remix)"

This song has been out for a while now, but just in case you missed it, here it is again. Continuing with the Dipset theme from earlier this morning, Jones' verse on this is pretty nice. He just flows real well with the beat, and of course Loso provides the usual.

Cam'ron feat. Vado "Ooh Baby"

I'm up early watching the Pmouth vs Lpool game on ESPN2, so here's some new Killah for ya'll. This track is classic Cam, with him going in over one of those sped up soul samples. Brings back memories of Diplomatic Immunity and Purple Haze. Sigh...

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Incomparable Shakespeare "British Invasion (FreEP)

Never heard of this guy until this morning. Saw it at 2DB. Pretty cool stuff, it's a blend of like American and British pop music with rapping over the beats. Samples from the Beatles, Bloc Party, and Oasis to name a few. Really good stuff, definetely check it out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Radiohead "Creep (Cover) Video"

Saw this at P&P, and it was just too amazing not to post. A homeless guy on Opie and Anthony sings "Creep" by Radiohead in an interview for their shopping spree thing. Really awesome.

Vampire Weekend "White Sky"

New Vampire Weekend for ya'll on this glorious Thursday December the 17th. I'm still waiting...

Vampire Weekend- "White Sky" The Web Sheriff got to this one. Best to just head over to VW's Myspace and take a listen there.

And just in case you didn't get it yet, here's "Horchata," also off of Contra dropping 1/12. It is the PERFECT winter song, and seeing how it is winter....yea.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Songs of 2009

In no particular order, just a bunch of random songs from 2009 which I think are worth listening to.

The undisputed anthem of the summer, in my opinion.

The guys from LA serve up another trunk-rattler, mixed with witty and agile lyrics.

This group's album just missed my top 10 list, so they are definitely worth checking out.

R. Les is probably one of the most talented people in the music business right now. And he showcases it in this song.

I already posted this song a while back, but it's way too good not to include here. The best rap song of the year, hands down.

This technically isn't a song, it's a blend, but it still might be my favorite song of the year. Dem Jointz kills it with the production on this one.

So much fun, so much auto-tune, so catchy, just plain awesome.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lil Wayne feat. Eminem "Drop the World"

Wow. Who on Earth expected ANYTHING good to come out of Rebirth. I sure didn't. But this song almost makes it worth buying the entire album. Em is on his game on this track, and even Wayne dosn't sound bad. Honestly, this might be better than any song Em had on Relapse.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Joell Ortiz "Taking My Ball (Freestyle)"

Joell goes in over Em's "Taking My Ball," from Relapse: Refill dropping tomorrow. Joell goes hard on this beat, and I think it's safe to say he has established himself as one of the premiere lyricists in the game right now.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Welcome Home, P.S. New Coheed

Well I wanted to post the "Welcome Home" video, not because I'm really a huge fan of Coheed & Cambria, but because Barnesopolis finally comes home from his semester abroad. Coincidentally, I just read a post on Coheed's website that says their new album "Year of the Black Rainbow" is due to be released in April of 2010. The post also states that the new album will act as a prequel for the "The Amory Wars" story, spanning multiple albums (for which I must give them credit, sounds like a lot of hard work and dedication.) Anyway here it is:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spoon // Transference

So it seems Spoon is among the first to have a new release for the new year. It's called Transference and it's coming out January 19th. If you don't know the band, you've probably at least heard thier song "The Underdog" from their album 'Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga' (personally not an amazing album for me, but enjoyable.) Reguardless, I'm interested to see what they've come up with, and it's another album to add to the excitement of all the new music for "oh-ten." The single from the album, "Written in Reverse" can be heard here, and here's a short video posted from Merge Records' website:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And Everyone's Lists

And to round off the Best Albums of 2009, we have all three of our lists, and they are also available in the upper right hand corner of the site after this gets pushed down by other posts. 

Top 10 Albums of 2009

Here are my Top 10 Albums of 2009, with links to each individual page, since I am aware the posts are spread out over like three weeks. RIP Mike. 

Gucci Mane "Danger's Not a Stranger (Diplo Remix)"

This is absolutely dope. Samples Mariah's "Can't Let Go." Apparently Diplo is going to make an entire mixtape of Gucci remixes. Project sounds amazing. GUCCI!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

1. Passion Pit "Manners"

Ehh, I was going to wait until tomorrow to do this but I have nothing else to do, and this album is way too good for anyone to expect me to keep putting off writing about it. While it's true that bands such as Animal Collective may be more artsy, Bon Iver's lyrics more thoughtful, and Grizzly Bear's vocals and layering better, when it comes to fun, Passion Pit perches at the pinnacle. (Yea alliteration!) Not often is the adjective fun used to describe music. Sure going to a Lady GaGa concert might be fun, and you might have a really fun night with your bros while bumping some Girl Talk, but rarely does the music itself exude fun. But with Passion Pit it does, and I'm talking five-year old kid playing with bubble-wrap fun. From lead singer Michael Angelakos' almost girl sounding falsetto, to the dazzling arrange of synths and percussion, you just can't help but smile when listening. And this album provides a lot to smile about, as there is not one, NOT ONE, throw-away track. From the beginning to the end, PP serves up pure, uncut, raw, joy. I honestly could write a good couple pages on every one of the tracks, but to keep it short I will confine it to my three favorites. "Sleepyhead" is getting a lot of plays cause it's on that commercial now, but there is no denying its brilliance. With it's weird sample, clinking bells, and Angelakos' voice stretched to its peak, it will become engrained in your brain for days. Consider yourself blessed. "Seaweed Song" is another personal highlight, as I love the chorus, with its upbeat, charging percussion and Angelakos singing "Nobody knows you like you do/But I think I do," which for its simplicity, is actually quite profound. Finally, the absolute gem on the album of so many great songs is undoubtably "Little Secrets." By far my most played song of 09, the beat is utterly infectious, seducing even the most wary listener. The way the synths dip and dive between notes serve to enrich even the tiniest details. And who could leave out the "child's chorus" during the chorus? While this might not have worked for other bands, the sheer whimsicality of PP provides the perfect backdrop for some good old fashioned pre-pubescent chanting. (Yea that might sound kind of weird out of context.) For in it's essence, Manners, at least for me, makes me feel almost childish. The music is so crisp, so innocent, so fun. So while their selection at the top of my 2009 poll will probably not gain me any hipster points, or any invites to write for the likes of Pitchfork, Manners provided me with one of the most gratifying, exciting, and fun musical experiences I had in 2009. And, come to think of it, ever.

Only one song, cause I truly, honestly feel that this album deserves to be purchased, more so than any other album on this list. It really is that good.

2. Raekwon "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II"

"Uncle Ricky, would you read us a bedtime story? /Nah kid, but I'mma give you one them old Raekwon crime joints."
This line pretty much sums up OB4CLPtII. For all those people who like their "rap" songs, with catchy auto-tuned choruses, and star studded guest-spots, just stop right now. The Chef serves up the hardest, realest rap album in years, along with plenty of help from his Wu counterparts. The album follows up the critically acclaimed (all well deserved), Only Built for Cuban Linx, and does not miss a beat. Raek' is on point with his rhymes, delivering a verbal bombardment of pyrex, coke, and dealing coke. None of that girls, cars, and G-5 jet stuff you get from other rappers. There are plenty of awesome old-school kung-fu samples as well, which adds to the grittiness and overall atmosphere of the album. While the whole album is packed (and I mean PACKED, 24 tracks), where I feel Raek' really shines is on songs with a soulful hook or sample, such as "Cold Outside," "Ason Jones," and, my personal favorite, "Catalina." Lyfe Jennings joins Raek' on the track, laying down the sinfully smooth hook, serving to act as the perfect foil to The Chef's raw and uncut lyrics. My favorite part of the song has got to be the beat though. The simple piano line, along with the symball crash and bass goes so hard, and with Dr. Dre handling the production, it's easy to see why. OB4CLPtII, if anything, provides proof that rap/hip-hop is not in fact dead. So when Wayne's Rebirth album drops later this month, I will take comfort knowing that 2009 also produced such classic cuts as this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

3. Animal Collective "Merriweather Post Pavilion"

So yea, I'm attempting to kick this top 10 albums list into high gear, as I leave on Friday and will not be at a computer until Sunday, so I want to have this done by Thursday. So yea, Animal Collective. This album is on everyone's year end lists, and upon listening to it, it's pretty obvious why. Animal Collective are just on another level from other artists right now. Combining elements of electro, shimmering synths, and ridiculous vocals and harmonies, AC delivers a gem of pure, unadulterated transient pop in MPP. Often, when listening to the album one becomes aware of how much is going on in the songs. The layering is incredible, but the magic of AC is that they don't overdue it. The combination of vocals, synths, and sound effects blend together in perfect harmony, delving the listener into an almost trance. AC has been putting out exceptional material for a while now, but MPP, in my opinion, is the best. Highlights include "Summertime Clothes," "Guys Eyes," and, of course, "My Girls." With it's shimmering synth build-up, hand-claps, and catchy, minimalist refrain, "My Girls" provides even casual indie fans a more accessible track for which to nimbly test the waters of such bands as AC. And even hardcore hipster indie kids cannot deny the sheer brilliance of "My Girls," though they will sure as hell try. Don't believe them. The awesomeness of "My Girls," and MPP as a whole is beyond debate.

Wham "Last Christmas"

Sorry, I just had too...

Clipse "Til' the Casket Drops"

Clipse's Til' the Casket Drops in US stores today. Another classic served up from the VA coke-rap extraordinaries, Pusha and Malice, with production by the Neptunes, DJ Khalil, and Sean C & LV. Unreal album, go out and get that immediately. But if you need some incentive, here are two cuts from the album. You're not getting anymore. 

4. Bon Iver "Blood Bank EP"

The follow up to my favorite album of 2008 For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin Vernon once again creates a beautiful blend of ambient guitars and his unmistakable falsetto. While comprised of a sparse four songs (it's an EP after all), the album loses none of the luster and magic of the debut. Opening with "Blood Bank," the lyrics are haunting, recounting an encounter between two people at, well, a blood bank. "Beach Baby" has a more, I dont know, hawaiian atmosphere to it, something that is interestingly refreshing, seeing as how much of Vernon's notoriety stems from his seclusion in a Wisconsin cabin, by himself, during the winter, to compose For Emma. "Babys" carries a hammering piano line throughout most of the song, lulling in the middle to give room for Vernon's voice, before picking up at the end, to combine with Vernon for a beautiful finish. The highlight of the album lies within the last song, "Woods." Truly minimalist, the song consists solely of Vernon singing the lines "I walk through the woods, I'm down on my mind. I'm building a still, to slow down the time" in auto-tune. The song grows, with more voices joining the auto-tuned chorus, and Vernon becoming more an more emotional, at the end adding soulful riffs to the end of his lines. Honestly, this may be the most beautiful song I have ever heard. Vernon's genius is present in full force, as the auto-tune allows the song to be done entirely in acapella. In a time when other artists are using auto-tune to hide the defects in their voices, Vernon utilizes the instrument to create a thoroughly lush and vibrant piece of art.

NEW videos (Kid Cudi and Young Money)

Fact: Young Money with the exception of Drake and Wayne is whack. That being said, Lloyd's hook on this record is catchy as anything out. We are Young Money drops December 21st. 
Young Money - "Bed Rock (Video)"

This artist and song are anything but whack.
Kid Cudi feat MGMT and Ratatat- "Pursuit of Happiness (Video)"


Here's a clip I came across a while back. I believe I read somewhere that it is a Jonny Greenwood remix of 'Rat's Nest'; a B-side from Thom Yorke's 'The Eraser.' Anywho, I always thought it was short, simple, but really incredible. Something about the intermittent piano chords and haunting vocals.

Find more music like this on w.a.s.t.e. central

Monday, December 7, 2009

5. jj "jj no. 2"

Wow. jj is unquestionably one of the most unique, nay, probably the most unique album I heard all year. Similar to Air France and The Avalanches, jj works in the realm of balearic pop. Basically, imagine yourself on a tropical island, with only the sounds of exotic birds and tribal drums audible. Or just imagine yourself chewing on a cloud. That is what listening to jj is like. With its whimsical xylophones, strings, bird calls, and soothing vocals, jj always puts me in a good mood. But with the joy, also comes a kind of bittersweet feeling, as the lyrics are more somber than the beats over which they flow. All of the tracks are amazing, with "From Africa to Malaga" and "Are You Still in Vallda?" being two of my favorites. But the most intriguing song on the album is, with out a doubt, "Ecstasy." With a sample of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" providing the beat, the song contains bird calls, whale calls, and ghostly vocals, that will be stuck in your head all day. Truly remarkable is the fact that jj hails from Sweden, a country not well known for its tropical flavor, and exotic wildlife. Nonetheless, jj provides quite possibly the cheapest escape to a tropical island of your choice, complete with birds, whales, and maybe, a cloud to chew on. 

Usershare is being really ridiculous right now, so I promise to have two sample tracks up tomorrow. But it's probably best you just buy the album on itunes right now, because you will not regret it. I guarantee it.  

The album is so good, I decided to only give up one song. Look up the rest on youtube, but like I said, buy it, you won't regret it. 

Mike's Top 10 Albums/Mixtapes of 2009

Hello everyone, I have finally compiled my top 10 albums of the year. This year for me was pretty crazy music wise. I got into a lot of music that's a few years older (example Champion Sound from Jaylib) so this top 1o was harder for me to compile. Also it didn't help that a lot of people released singles that I loved (example Money to Blow by Drake/Weezy/Birdman) but they weren't necessarily on an album. But here it goes my top 10 albums from 2009!

10.) Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3

This CD was hyped for quite some time before it came out. I thought it was some good work but I didn't think this CD was Jay-Z's best work. There were some pretty good songs that came out of this album though (Young Forever, Empire State of Mind). The one thing I really did enjoy about this album however is he teamed up to make some songs with some rappers that are on the rise such as Drake and J.Cole. I have no doubts that Jay-Z will keep making good stuff and I hope he keeps making music.

9.) Chiddy Bang - The Swelly Express

I didn't get this CD until pretty recently however it has amazed me in the little time that I've had it. The samples that they use are some of the best I've ever heard. My personal favorites are The Opposite of Adults (KIDS) and All Things Go. Some use of auto-tune but not overdone which many rappers do over-use. If you haven't already given it a listen find it and get it. The beats are crazy and the samples are crazy!

8.) Taking the Stairs - Taking the Stairs EP

Okay so I may be a little bit biased. Well very biased. I've lived next to Chris for about 15 years + and I've known Matt my whole life. But that doesn't take away from the unique sound that their band gives off. They remind me a lot of an Explosions in the Sky type band mixed with an Early November type band. Andrew also compared them to Bon Iver. Their album is free for download at HERE. It's a pretty cool concept how each song has a picture that comes with it. I'd say give it a try. Excellent sound for two guys who just wanted to make music for people who love music!

7.) Wiz Khalifa - Deal or No Deal

Okay, we all know how much I love Wiz. This is his first real album that has hit shelves and it has not disappointed. He uses the auto-tuner to perfection but this CD really shows off his flow. Not to mention the beats that he uses are excellent and fresh. Again, keep a lookout for this guy in the future with new mixtapes that I'm sure he will put out next year. Go out and support Wiz and check out Deal or No Deal. You will not be disappointed!

6.) Super Mash Bros - All About the Scrillions

This is the sophomore album from Super Mash Bros. Everyone knows about Girl Talk by now and Super Mash Bros is doing the same type of work. Their sophomore album All About the Scrillions did not disappoint. They did a great job of sampling many different artists and they mixed up the songs very well. I'm sure you'll hear a song that you love in one of their mixes and before you know it you will love their album. The best part of their music is going into a store and hearing a song you know that they sample and you start singing or humming to the beat of the Super Mash Bros song but the actual song will be playing. It has happened countless times to me and I hope you all go out and enjoy their music as much as I do!

5.) Slaughterhouse - Slaughterhouse

I had no idea who Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, Joe Budden, or Royce Da 5'9" were before this album hit. I was somewhat skeptical of getting this album but as soon as I saw some of the reviews I knew I had to at least sample it. Once I got it, it amazed me. The first song I heard was The One and I loved it. This album certainly swept away any skepticism that I had. Their beats are catchy and the lyrics are insane! Keep a look out for more from them in the coming years!

4.) Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon

I remember waiting for this album to come out. I was insanely hyped for it and boy it did not disappoint in anyway. I love just about every song on this album. The beats are insanely catchy and well put together. The only downer if you could say there is a downer is that the lyrics aren't very upbeat. However he did do something that I didn't see happening. He did a song with MGMT & Ratatat which quickly became one of the hottest tracks from this CD. Keep a lookout for more from Cudi as he is rapidly making his way to the top of the rap game!

3.) Carmine - EightEatEight
One month. That is how long I have had this mixtape and wow. This guy blew me away right away. His ability to change his flow and rap about just about anything amazed me. The beats to his songs are unbelievably catchy. This guy is on the rise big time. Check out EightEatEight on his Myspace. This mixtape will not disappoint you. A few of his songs have already become part of my ski playlist and they will be on there for a long while.

2.) Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II

I was never a big fan of Raekwon but then again I never really had a lot of his music before I got this album. The first time I listened to this album I was blown away. He has such a different type of flow than so many of the new upcoming rappers (Cudi, Drake, J.Cole, etc.). I love the angry type of flow not to mention how he slays lyrically. Plus I love the introduction's that he has to some of his songs. It's much different than a lot of rap today. The beats he uses as well are a lot different which I like. This just proves that Raekwon is still at the top of his game.

1.) Wiz Khalifa - Flight School

Yes, this is a mixtape. Yes, it's free for download on the internet. However, it has been my favorite album that I've listened to in all of 2009. This is the album that really launched Wiz into the picture for me. Right away, Boarding Pass caught my attention. And then I listened to the rest of the album and wow it still blows my mind. The beats he uses are crazy good and they are quite catchy. I like how he uses auto-tune but he doesn't over do it and you also get to hear him straight up rap and he's very talented at just rapping as well. This has become a go to CD on long rides in the car. Wiz is on his climb to the top and this mixtape just helps prove that.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Andrew Bird from the basement

I thought I should post this for two reasons. Firstly, I've known about for a while, and it's a great site to see some up-close videos of some really great artists. Secondly, I realized that it added an interesting visual element to the work of Andrew Bird. With just the use of a few instruments and looping techniques, the music builds and builds into something that is more appreciated when heard and seen. Enjoy.


6. Grizzly Bear "Veckatimest"

This album seems like it does not belong in the 21st century. The vocal harmonies, instrumentals, and general feel of the album harken back to the 60's rather than the 09's. But that, in essence, is what makes this album so great. The first song I heard off the album was, of course, "Two Weeks." Immediately, I doubled checked the website. This is the Beach Boys I thought, this can't be from this year? But, thankfully it was. And "Two Weeks" was not the first time I felt myself confused. Wait, this says this song is Fine for Now by Grizzly Bear, but it sounds like the Mama's and the Papa's? Ah cool, the Guess Who...wait, this is still on Grizzly Bear? However, this confusion would soon transform into utter ecstasy. "While You Wait for Others," is beautiful in it's own right, and would have fit in well during the sixties. The "oooooooo's" during the chorus get me every-time. Quite simply this album may be one of the most beautiful examples of vocal harmony I have heard in a long time.

Yes, I know this next song is not GB, and may in fact be degrading their talent, but for those not normally interested in GB, at least this might get them to check them out, be it in an inadvertent way. The beat is from "2 Weeks," so if you like it, check out GB!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kid Cudi "Pursuit of Happiness (Steve Aoki Remix)"

"Pursuit of Happiness" was arguably the best track on Cudi's MotM album, so when I first saw this I was dubious. Also, for all the hype about Steve Aoki, I never really liked any of his remixes. This song, however, is pretty solid. It definitely makes the song more danceable, without losing all of the luster that made the original so excellent. (And yea that's Lindsey Lohan)

7. Phoenix "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix"

I know it's been a while since my last best albums of 09 post, but I've been busy. Any-who, number seven on my list, hailing from France, is Phoenix. At first, I didn't get what all the fuss was about. But I listened to the album 4-5 times, and finally it just hit me. This album has it all. The first two tracks, "Lisztomania," and "1901" start the album off on an upbeat, catchy as hell note, letting the listener know their are in for a real treat. I found myself singing, possibly out loud, "Think less but see it grow/like a riot, like riot, oh" many times while talking to and from class. But, as well as these two electro-pop gems, songs like "Love Like a Sunset," are simply beautiful. The song has a slow, xylophone led, build-up, until eventually breaking into a guitar and synth filled climax, and ending with more guitars and vocals from Thomas Mars. The song actually reminds me of a real sunset, as you see the sun slowly setting, until it is gone, and only some fleeting rays remain in the sky, reflected off the clouds. Other highlights include "Rome" and "Fences," though the whole album is amazing. It was nominated for the Best Alternative Music Album for the Grammy's, so hopefully it wins. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Vampire Weekend "California English Pt. 2"

This the B-side to VW's "Cousins," which is being released on the 15th of December. For those expecting something along the lines of "Cousins," I am afraid you are wrong. This song is something completely new for VW. It's darker, more synth oriented, and auto-tuned. However, this does not mean it is bad, only different. I liken it to Kanye West's 808's and Heartbreak, in that the song uses auto-tune, and more electronics, while at the same time being more emotional and serious than the previous work. The song also uses the same loop over and over again, and as PMA mentions, it reminds me a lot of Animal Collective, especially their new song What Would I Want, Sky. While this song is not what I, or anyone probably, was expecting, I will admit I am still waiting for a VW song that I honestly don't like. 

Lupe vs Jay Electronica

So apparently there was a thread on the OKP forums about Lupe vs. Jay Electronica. Lupe was reading, and decided to drop a few bars. Absolutely insane. He is truly on another level than anyone else in the game right now:
the devils in the dealer, the poltergiest is in the pokerchips,
Game changer, I practice Iron Swan Song, Tiger Palm & Cobra Fist,
Go by many slang name's and sobriquets,
Asking me how many lines is in my mind is like asking how many fish can the ocean fit,
I set out to do the impossible like an open fist,
Achieve the unbelievable like throwing Open Pit,
The last line refers to flying saucers, 
A rhyming Chaucer who came from District 9 but now he's flying over it,
Battle Jay Elect? Who has the foolhardy audacity to utter this?
I look at him like a high minded brother from another and when we finally encounter with dual flows overdosed on over-the-counter's its gone be like Mulder meets the Mothership,
Friend Of The People, Fuck the government..."