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Fonzie’s “Don’t Sleep on ‘Em” Recommendations Volume Two: Top 10 Hip-Hop Songs of 2015 So Far

The Fonzie Scheme will be back on air in the Fall! Until then, here are some “Don’t Sleep on ‘Em” Recommendations to hold you over while I’m gone. For Volume Two of my “Don’t Sleep on ‘Em” picks, I decided to list my top 10 songs of 2015 so far since we’re about at that halfway point. There’s a repeat or two from Volume One because a few of those recommendations were some of my favorites of the year. I honestly tend to hate on top 10 type lists, so I want you to keep in mind, this is just my opinion!

10

Nell – One Life to Live ft. Twelve’len (The Screw Tape)

Nell first made a name for himself with Spaceghostpurrp‘s Raider Klan. Living in the South Florida area, he has continued to garner an underground following. Nell‘s release The Screw Tape from this year is a collaboration with El Camino Black. Each song samples a classic joint by the Legendary DJ Screw. Twelve’len also hails from the South Florida area, and you can hear both Nell and Twelve’len featured on Denzel Curry‘s newest Double EP 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms. This song uses the chopped and screwed cut of One Life To Live by Al D, Dat Boy Grace, and Wood. Nell comes in with that classic 90s Bone Thugs flow, and Twelve’len is rapping with somewhat of a dancehall influence. I love how the song uses the original song for the hook and closes out with DJ Screw speaking. RIP to DJ Screw.

9

Sicko Mobb – Robin Jeans (Mulah)

The Chicago Bop scene is really blowing up right now. No, I’m not talking about Be-bop jazz haha. Bop has been a dance and sub-genre movement in hip-hop for a couple years now, with Chicago artists such as Lil’ Kemo, DJ Nate, and Sicko Mobb fusing elements of Chicago drill with dance, pop, and R&B. Mulah is Sicko Mobb‘s second release this year, following up Super Saiyan 2. This song “Robin Jeans” is produced by TM 88 of the 808 Mafia from Atlanta, popular for their production with Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, and Future. It’s just a really fun song. Lil’ Trav and Lil’ Ceno go in about flexing their great fashion decisions.

8

CZARFACE (Inspectah Deck + 7L & Esoteric) – Ka-Bang ft. MF DOOM (Every Hero Needs A Villain)

Czarface is the collaboration between Inspectah Deck of the Wu-Tang Clan and Boston hip-hop legends 7l & Esoteric. Every Hero Needs a Villain is their second full length LP which just came out earlier this year. Both albums feel like you’re listening to a comic book on record, and they have some sick album art. MF DOOM destroyed his verse here on “Ka-Bang”, as usual. 7L made a crazy beat here, and I like the vocal samples to give the song that comic book feel. DOOM, Inspectah Deck, and Esoteric all use really sick rhyme schemes in this song.

7

Bones – TheHealingFields (Powder)

Bones has been steadily growing his underground following for years now. 2015 is turning out to be a big year for Bones with his placement on A$AP Rocky‘s new album (the song actually just uses a rerecorded hook from Bones‘ song Dirt).  Powder came out in April, and with 28 songs it is much longer than his usual release. “TheHealingFields” is a collaboration with Greaf, who produces for Bones side-project surrenderdorothy. The acoustic guitar sample really makes for a meditative feeling on this joint.

6

Future & DJ Esco – 56 Nights (56 Nights)

Future and his official DJ, DJ Esco “The Coolest DJ in The World” released a mixtape together in March of this year. Future is member of the Atlanta Dungeon Family Collective with Outkast, TLC, Killer Mike, Janelle Monae, and several other artists from Atlanta. Future has been dropping mixtapes since 2010, and he has since gained a pretty sizable mainstream following with his last album Honest reaching critical acclaim and selling over 100,000 copies. The name “56 Nights” is inspired by the 56 Nights DJ Esco spent in a Dubai prison (read the full story at Fader). Produced by Southside of 808 Mafia, the song has a catchy Atlanta trap sound with somewhat of a dark mood to go along with the emotional topic.

5

Post MaloneWhite Iverson

Post Malone is really on the rise. He’s only released a few songs on his soundcloud, but he’s already been spotted meeting with Rick Rubin, who has produced for LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Kanye West, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, just to name a few. Atlanta duo FKI produced the beat on “White Iverson”. There are countless metaphors between basketball and life here, but the one that stands out to me is “I need that money like the ring I never won.”

4

Meyhem Lauren & IceRocks – Fly Counterparts (More Cashmere EP)

I’ve heard of Meyhem Lauren for while now from his work in the New York hip-hop scene with artists such as Action Bronson and Harry Fraud. His newest release More Cashmere EP straight blew me away. Every song is so polished, and you can really tell Meyhem Lauren has developed his own sound reminiscent of 90’s boom bap. His delivery couples so well with IceRocks New York sound. Laurenovich is just spitting about his life on this song. The imagery is clear, and his delivery is on point. This song just rides.

3

KeithCharles Spacebar – All my Luv (ft. Abra) (We’re All a Little Triflin)

I’ve been saying it, but Awful Records is taking over in 2015. Almost 20 members deep, they just killed it in their Boiler Room set, which will definitely get them some more recognition. KeithCharles Spacebar or KCSB both produces and raps, and he is touring with Awful labelmates Father, Playboi Carti, and Slug Christ this summer, which will stop at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz. This track features Awful Records’ “Darkwave Duchess” Abra bringing a smooth R&B hook. KCSB produced a killer beat here, and his verses are solid.

2

Black Kray – UZI KISS (THUG ANGEL)

Black Kray has been grinding in the underground for a few years now. The young rapper has already worked with Bones, Spaceghostpurrp, and Yung Lean. He puts out a bunch of material, this year already releasing two albums, several music videos, and several releases by members of his Goth Money Records, based in Richmond, Virginia. You can really feel the emotion in this song. Produced by Kenshi, the instrumental, has some deep bass and the piano melody makes for quite a dark mood.

1

Xavier Wulf – Wulf of Akina (Project X)

Xavier Wulf has been growing his underground fan-base for years. Originally from Memphis, TN, he now pulls in hundreds of thousands of plays on his songs on Soundcloud. Wulf started out as Ethelwulf in Spaceghostpurrp’s Raider Klan, but he has since broken off into his own Hollow Squad, frequently touring and collaborating with Bones and Chris Travis as SESHOLLOWATERBOYZ. His early work drew strong influence from lo-fi 90’s underground Memphis rappers such as Three 6 Mafia and Tommy Wright III. You can still hear that sound in Xavier Wulf‘s newer music, but he has developed his own style that also incorporates anime and cloud-rap. Both of his projects released in 2015, Tundra Boy: Season One and Project X, have been two of my favorite releases of the year. Although I have never watched the show Initial D, his new album Project X has kind of inspired me to. This is my unproven theory about the album:  With a duration of about 30 minutes, and opening and closing with songs by M.O.V.E., the band behind most of the soundtrack of Initial D, I think the album is meant to be kind of an episode of Initial D. It seems to me like X Wulf is rapping as if he is a character in the anime show, hanging out at Fujiwara‘s house, while still relating elements of his own life to the story, making frequent references to racing people in his S13 or his 240, and smoking blunts with women. The songs incorporates vocal and car engine samples from the show, which with his lyrics form a storyline throughout the album. After opening with the high energy “Akina Speed Star” and “Wulf Takahashi“, “The Wulf of Akina” is kind of a slow-down point in the album. Brobak made a very meditative instrumental, that Wulf rides perfectly. The first verse he raps about driving around smoking blunts while also briefly mentioning his relationship with a girl. In the second verse he explains his decision go against Mr. Fujiwara‘s advice and race. The song closes with the sound of a car driving away.

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Rock Charts – 3rd Week of June

This last week at KZSC, Girlpool has continued spinnin’ strong, and Bully came out with their wicked full length album, Feels Like, after releasing an EP last October. Listen to their track “Too Tough” below!

Top 10:

  1. GIRLPOOL – Before The World Was Big
  2. ALABAMA SHAKES – Sound And Color
  3. THEE OH SEES – Mutilator Defeated At Last
  4. NO JOY – More Faithful
  5. JOANNA GRUESOME – Peanut Butter
  6. BEST COAST – California Nights
  7. ELVIS DEPRESSEDLY – New Alhambra
  8. GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH – Darling…It’s Too Late
  9. JAAKKO EINO KALEVI – Jaakko Eino Kalevi
  10. KID WAVE – Wonderlust

Top 5 Adds:

  1. DAMAGED BUG – Cold Hot Plumbs
  2. BULLY – Feels Like
  3. FROTH – Bleak
  4. CREEPOID – Cemetary Highrise Slum
  5. DESAPARECIDOS – Payola
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Programmer of the Month: Marley Lix-Jones (Marles Barkley)

In just a few short days, KZSC will bid a “see-you-later” to senior programmer, Marles Barkley aka Marley Lix-Jones. Earning her staff badge during her freshmen year, Marles went on to be Rock Director for one year, followed by Music Director for one year. Marles Barkley had her debut show, Hairdresser Blues with fellow DJ Justin Credible during the Spring of 2012, where “hairstyles rotate[d] weekly.” In the Fall of 2012, Marles began Soulacoaster, which will have it’s final edition this week—just short of three years on KZSC’s program schedule. With her diverse array of musical tastes, Marles has also hosted neo soul show No Love, indie rock show Pop-Rock-Sicle, and post-punk show Rebellious Jukebox. Marles and I caught up on spices, curling, college, and of course, radio.

  1. If I were a nut butter I would be… peanut butter. I mean, of course she would, it’s the title of Joanna Gruesome’s newest album and Marles is all about Joanna Gruesome.
  2. My favorite pepper/spicy spice/hot sauce is… I like black bean chili sauce. The oil is good as hot sauce for soups and stuff and the actual sauce is really good in a stir fry type thing. Versatile sauce. 
  3. My favorite summer Olympic sport is… soccer.
  4. My favorite winter Olympic sport is… I’m not passionate about any winter Olympic sport. What about curling? How do you feel about curling? Waste of time y/n? I think curling is pretty chill. It’s fun-ish to watch and seems fun to play. It is one of those Olympic sports where the people who play it are just regular people with day jobs and they are just mad good at curling, which I think is cool but also kinda sad. I feel like if you are the best in the world at something you should be allowed to just do that for a living. 
  5. Best meal of the day? Of today? All I’ve eaten is coffee and goldfish. 
  6. Are you a sandwich person or more of an anything-wrapped-in-a-tortilla person? Both. 
  7. Most college meal you’ve ever created? Sometimes I eat uncooked ramen.
  8. CD you would put in a time capsule? A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness by Rocketship.

Marles Barkley can be heard with Brickfrog on Soulacoaster, this Friday from 4-5:30pm, and on The Jangle Book, Tuesday from 2-4pm.

Written by Shay Stoklos.

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KZSC Show Reviews – Ceremony at the Echoplex

Ceremony: an L-shaped band led by an L-shaped man. A dynamic so powerful that each member has their own shining moment on stage from the band’s rambunctious lead singer, Ross Farrar, to the band’s bassist, Andy Nelson, who seems to work more with the guitarists than the drummer to create a lush rhythm section for Ceremony’s on-stage performance.

This all started when I made the long trek down from Santa Cruz to the Echoplex in Los Angeles just to see a band whose latest record I’ve been hyped about since the first single was released. After listening to Ceremony’s latest album, “L-Shaped Man”, over and over again, I wasn’t sure how this show was going to go. The last time I saw them was about a year ago when Ceremony still primarily retained a very punk sound, but I wasn’t sure how a crowd was going to physically react to songs off of the more post-punk “L-Shaped Man”. Still, I went regardless of any other persons opinion but my own. After the opening sets of Mrs. Magician, Gun Outfit, and the fantastic Negative Approach, I wasn’t even sure if the crowd would have enough energy for Ceremony.

As Ceremony’s set time was approaching, the crowd that stayed in the lowly dark rear corners of the venue crept out from their dreary depths and doubled the size of what I thought was a full crowd. There was so much anticipation building in that room. Any person present at the show could feel a strange aura of anxiety and excitement as Ceremony’s gear was being tuned and placed. The crowd even falsely cheered for what they thought was the set starting when it was just Ceremony’s guitarist, Anthony Anzaldo, checking messages on his phone. After a few more minutes of an empty stage, it was filled.

As I sat in the press pit/security barrier that was set up at the Echoplex and the band was walking on-stage, the security team was walking behind the barrier. There were about four other press people there besides myself and each security guard there said, “three songs, then out”. As disappointed as I was, I completely understood why after the first song. The opening song Ceremony opened their set with was “The Separation”, the first single released off of “L-Shaped Man”. While the song is a very dark, emotional, somewhat mellow post-punk song, the crowd would have said otherwise. Everybody in the band exploded on stage with massive amounts of energy, and the crowd reciprocated the energy right back at the band. Crowd surfing, stage diving, mic grabbing, punching security in the face, and a broken pair of glasses all happened within the first few songs. Then, when Ceremony played their more hardcore stuff immediately afterwards, the crowd went even wilder. Most of the songs, rather than hearing lyrics from the lead singer, were sung by punk choir complete with its own mosh pit. Ross Farrar was well aware of this and did occasionally cross the security barrier to let people take their turns at the mic. Although there was chaos, the band was in complete control. After 2-3 songs, I was already on the outskirts of the security barrier so I wouldn’t be in the way of security being able to turn back crowd surfers.

Although I was off to the side for most of the show, I didn’t lose my front row seat to an amazing show. Ross Farrar was one of the most active stage presences I’ve ever seen. There are two types of hardcore singers, the strong stance singers and the ball of energy singers. Ross Farrar was definitely a ball of energy freely dancing around on stage while singing, taking breaks whenever necessary but still retaining the same vocal energy, and being in complete control of the mic as he was passing it around to various audience members. Anthony Anzaldo was just as, if not more active, than Ross Farrar but was flawlessly playing a guitar while moving around. Despite his limited range of movement on stage, Anthony was still able to match the intensity of Ross’s movements and nail down the guitar portion of the song while doing it. Anthony’s movements were at times reminiscent of Elvis’s swinging hips but so much more energetic. Andy Nelson, once a bassist, is now a guitarist and a great one at that. Andy has a more intimidating presence on stage reminiscent of Henry Rollins. Andy will stare you down and will make you regret your existence while his glare meets your eyes. I didn’t want to look at him for most of the show because he legitimately scared me. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but that all changed when he went on stage. Justin Davis profusely sweated through his job of playing the bass throughout the set. He was wearing a long sleeve shirt at the beginning of the set, but by the end it became more of a towel. Still, it did a fantastic job of playing the bass which is all the more important on Ceremony’s latest record. Then, there was Jake Casoratti. A drummer so passionate that his drums are beat so hard to the point where the drum heads sound like they’re about to break. Jake sounded like he was hitting and kicking boxes through the entire set, but in a way where it worked with everything the band was doing.

For one hour and fifteen minutes, it was their world. Covering their entire discography and even doing a cover of “California Uber Alles” that had me singing along, they nailed it. Now I wish I would have remembered where Ross said the after-party was at.

 

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KZSC at Shaky Knees!

It’s been a little over a week since Shaky Knees has come to an end so it’s time to look back at all the great bands that played in the humble city of Hotlanta. I flew across country to check out what I thought was the best festival lineup I’ve seen thus far. With headliners, The Strokes, The Avett Brothers, and finishing off the weekend with Tame Imapala, this weekend was filled with great music and great people everywhere you turned. Southern hospitality is not a joke around here, this is the friendliest festival around.

Surfer Blood kicked off this three-day long festival, missing guitarist Thomas Fekete, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and has been unable to join the band for their tour. The band set up a Go Fund Me to raise money for the alternative treatment plan that is needed to treat this cancer. The South Floridian band just released their new album 1000 Palms this past Tuesday and played a few of their new songs during their set. It was a perfect start to this hot weekend with their sunny, surf rock, poppy tunes
that are reminiscent of a nice, cool day at the beach.

Tennis, which consists of husband and wife Alaina Moore and James Barone, wooed the crowd with Moore’s charming voice and the band’s airy rhythms as everyone got to cool off under the shade. The band recently came out with a deluxe edition of their album Ritual in Repeat on May 12. We had a chance to talk to Alaina a few days before the festival so listen in on what she had to say.

 

Mac Demarco always knows how to entertain a crowd. He began by singing happy birthday to one of his bandmates and later on fixed his guitar strings as his other bandmate belched Yellow by Coldplay along with the crowd and finished off by crowd surfing at the end of his set.

The crowd waited as The Strokes were 15 minutes late, but it’s THE Strokes, they can do whatever the hell they want. Julian Casablancas seemed to be in his drunken state as usual, but everything was still so beautiful; from the stage lights where all you could see is their silhouettes with slight glimpses of the band from time to time to the off-beat singing, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.  As Rolling Stones put it, “if he weren’t a rock star, he’d be the neighborhood drunk with a heart of gold (Vadukul).” Mac Demarco did make an appearance on stage but did not perform with the band as others have reported. All in all, seeing The Strokes was a life changing experience and it was an amazing end to the first day of the festival.

Real Estate were the dreamy selves they were. Their hazy sound complimented the dusty haze in the air, except it was actually bright and sunny during their set and not so hazy at all, but it did feel like it as the sweat dripped down everyone’s faces into their eyes… but it was a nice way to start off day 2 of the festival as the rest of the day would be hot and muggy with a lot of dancing for the rest of it, especially with FIDLAR following.

FIDLAR WAS REALLY FUN. The band played a few of their new songs from the new album they’re working on, and ended with Cocaine as they normally do. But it’s always a sad time when they don’t play Cheap Cocaine, but definitely a fun set nonetheless. Neutral Milk Hotel performed live as the sun set and the rays shined through the clouds as the crowd swayed back and forth. It was a spiritual experience. That’s all I have to say. I took sneaky pictures of the band, I’m sorry… I just really had to capture the moment.

The Avett Brothers created a beautiful crowd. Everyone sang along and danced together. There was just so much love in the air.

Tame Impala was the perfect end to this three day weekend and is always a crowd pleaser with their trippy visuals and atmospheric sounds that surely epitomized the atmosphere of the festival that night.  It was definitely a great way to mellow out from the hustle and bustle of the weekend.

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Regulating Our Local Music Scene with a Legend of the Bay – by DJ Jazzy Jefe

The last place I’d ever expect to find myself on a miscellaneous Tuesday night is on stage during Warren G’s 21+ show watching him drop regulate, a 90s gem that’s aged like wine. The life of a KZSC DJ can be an unpredictable one as I learned that night. It all started with a call from our very own broadcast advisor Keith that very day asking if I was interested in conducting an interview with Rappin-4-Tay at the Warren G show that night. I gazed down at my half finished Blaxploitation essay on Blacula, but knowing I’d never get this opportunity again accepted the responsibility. I churned out what I could of my paper and headed to the venue. That’s when it hit me. I looked down at my ticket and it read 21+. My 20th birthday is later this month, so I likely had no business covering this event. I called the contact number I was given and reassured my age would not be a problem.

When I got to the venue I was greeted by Chris, manager of the local studio digital recordings, which operates on Mission Street. He gave me my all access wristband and really made me feel comfortable in an environment that would have been overwhelming otherwise. He immediately introduced me to Rappin-4-Tay. Something that immediately struck me about 4-Tay was the way the community responded to him. When he entered he was greeted by countless hi fives, handshakes, and friends hollering at him to help them enter the venue. It was clear he had a natural charisma and reveled in the love he received from fans. I managed to squeeze in a short interview with him where he discussed his new project, what it takes to stay in the game, and his experience with the late great Rick James. His set was fantastic, and his seminal hit The Playaz Club still gets audiences bouncing over 20 years after its release.

After 4-Tays set Chris texted me alerting me that Warren G had arrived if I was interested in inquiring about an interview. Chris got me past the steel door separating the backstage from the greenroom. Warren G was there with his family and close friends. I didn’t want to impose so I let Chris do the talking. Alas it was clear Warren’s intention was to give the audience a show first and foremost, but he could chat after. The set was surreal as I was encouraged to come onstage as the greenroom entirely emptied onto the stage. It’s clear Warren G still has all the technical skill on the mic and stage presence that landed him the triple platinum Regulate…G Funk Era in 1994. Of stage however its clear the man values his privacy. Whenever the green room door swung open he was the first to remind security to close it. He respectfully declined my interview request, so I thanked him for allowing me to be a part of his show and allowed him to relax and enjoy the rest of his night. I was invited to the after part at Digital Recordings, but still had that Blacula essay looming over my head keeping me from participating. Nevertheless it was a night I’ll never forget.