Millennials everywhere, beware! The word “epic” has finally found its rightful place in the modern world and it has little to do with your festival experience or favorite burrito joint. Kamasi Washington Dectet, a tight-knit jazz regiment headed by the masterful composer and saxophonist best known for his work with Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, dropped their 3-disc debut The Epic (Brainfeeder Records, 2015) this Tuesday, a timely release just under two months after To Pimp a Butterfly (Interscope Records, 2015) took music media by a storm and brought jazz back into the limelight. Washington has been in the touring game since college (to wit: Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, Raphael Saadiq, Chaka Khan), and spent much of his time back home in LA recording with ten collaborators, and with Flying Lotus’ help would record 190 songs in one month in 2011. Kamasi and his cohorts go way back, but the dectet is looking forward, combining their influences and training to put jazz on the radar for listeners across the board. Four years after the Kamasi Washington Dectet’s Silver Lake recording marathon, a short list of 17 tracks spanning three hours would be compiled and released as one of the most ambitious, genre-spanning debuts to be made this century. The music is free-flowing, expressive, evocative of jazz godheads like Trane and Sun Ra but transcending classic quotations for something near surreal — it’s skyward-looking music, it’s beyond what is now. And that, friends, is EPIC.
These are some of my favorite songs to come out so far this year. Don’t sleep on ’em!
Bones is always in rotation on The Fonzie Scheme. He’s already dropped three awesome releases this year, including Powder last month. This came out in January and I still bump it consistently. Purp Dogg is most famous for his production on We Made It by Soulja Boy and Drake, and he put together another banger here. Check out the visual for Sodium.
This is my song of the year candidate right now. If you heard my interview with KReezy earlier this week on The Fonzie Scheme, you know that White Iverson was the biggest rap song at SXSW this year. The melodic-rap style Post Malone takes on here is so catchy, and we can all relate to the line “I need that money like the ring I never won…”
Xavier Wulf really goes in on this. I’ve played several songs off Tundra Boy Season One on The Fonzie Scheme, and that’s because this whole release is straight fire.
Awful Records is taking over in 2015. The Fila Coodie EP has been a standout for me over the countless releases they’ve already dropped this year. Keep an eye on Dexter Dukarus; he’s consistently dropping fire.
Cashy is about to blow up. I’ve been bumping his Priceless and Platinum Plus EPs pretty much non-stop since I was introduced to them. I can’t wait for his second collaborative EP with Purp Dogg, titled Holographic Art, dropping May 8.
Kali Uchis is taking the industry by storm collaborating with the likes of Tyler the Creator and Diplo, as well as both Kaytranada and BADBADNOTGOOD here on this track. BADBADNOTGOOD just produced a full album for Ghostface Killah that I highly recommend checking out, called Sour Soul. Kali Uchis surprised crowds at Coachella Weekend 2 by coming out during Tyler’s set to perform “Fucking Young/Perfect” and during Kaytranada’s set to absolutely kill her performance of this song here.
Maxo has great imagery in describing his trapping: “Face-timing with the plug, but my phone on three percent…” Check out his whole mixtape featuring Joey Bada$$, Le$, Fredo Santana, and more!
There is obviously so much more music I’ve been bumping this year, and that’s why this is just Volume One of the “Don’t Sleep on ‘Em” Recommendations.
The members of the Relationship are an all-star team of band members coming together to create some very catchy, upbeat rock music. The Relationship features Brian Bell from Weezer, Nate Shaw from U.S. Bombs and Die’ Hunns, Anthony Burulcich who has drummed for Morrissey and the Bravery, and bassist Jon LaRue. Earlier this year, the Relationship released the single “Oh Allen” and put up pre-orders for the 7-inch version b/w “Young Temptations” up on the Burger Records website. After giving this a listen, I want more and hope for a full album release soon.
The Relationship played at Moe’s Alley with Gringo Star on Thursday, April 16th. Here’s KZSC’s in-studio performance and interview with the Relationship, recorded shortly before the show.
Either you have heard of it or you have been living under a rock. Record Store Day will take place April 18th nationwide this year. A day that advocates we all go out and support local business, or more importantly local record stores.
On this day independent labels and legendary artists release or re-release great albums specific for this event to get high attendance in local record stores. This year Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was given the title of Record Store Day Ambassador, which may or may not have zero meaning.
The stage is set for another great year of record buying–until debate arose on the newly developed intentions of such a glorious day. First to speak out was Father/Daughter Records who had Faux Real II (a sequel to Faux Real released last record store day) shot down as an album for release during the event. This shed light on the gained recognition of Record Store Day that now albums are being sifted through and turned down at the expense of independent companies.
If not released through Record Store Day then the already produced music either will never see the light of day or be released out of pocket from independent labels, which some may not afford to do. Not so problematic, as that is the way of business, except the mission of Record Store Day is to aid independent companies. When typically independent labels would be unable to afford getting a prime setup of albums they are putting out in record stores across the country, Record Store Day was a remedy. Now with mainstream popularity, which was the ultimate goal, bigger names are getting the spots that would typically go to albums made on independent labels. An inevitable cycle due to potential profit gain and notoriety.
But at the end of the day these marketing tactics get people out from behind their computer screen and into the record stores that need patrons to keep inspiring great music. Especially in the vinyl revival currently taking place, Record Store Day is at its peak of interest. The whole situation seems muddled due to any controversy but everyone agrees if people are stopping in to these record stores than the mission is complete. So do your part in supporting local and independent business, April 18th head to your local record store!
The self-titled debut album by the Milwaukee-based band, Painted Caves is a true genre bending gem; a pleasure from start to finish. In an unlikely mix of Arab music dosed with 60s psychedelic folk surf rock, Painted Caves ventures into new musical territory.
The lead vocals were so lovely, I had to double check the CD case to see if Rufus Wainwright had made a special guest appearance! Besides traditional Middle Eastern instruments combined with drums, guitars, trumpet and piano, the band even sneaks in a bit of didgeridoo and conch shells. I am already spinning this new disc on my show, Unfiltered Camels, Monday afternoons from 2-4pm, and have been busy, here at KZSC, telling my fellow DJs about this unique album.