Wire have been around since the 70s, expanding the genre of punk since their landmark first album, Pink Flag. Releasing albums and touring consistently since their formation, Wire are legends not only of the punk world, but to countless other musicians and genres from R.E.M to The Cure. Back in March, the group released their thirteenth studio album, Change Becomes Us, and are currently on tour in support of the album. Tonight you can catch the post-punk group at Union Transfer along with Bear in Heaven. Click here for more info. and check out one of their newer songs below.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have been around since the late 70s, garnering critical acclaim as masters of new wave and earning the title “intelligent pop” from the release of their self-titled 1981 full length. Except for a small gap in the 2000s, the group has been consistently releasing material since the late 70s, including their most recent release, English Electric, which came out this summer. Tonight, the godfathers of new wave play Union Transfer. Click here for ticket info and check out one of their classic hits below.
Chart topping indiependent hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released their stellar debut album The Heist back in 2012 to incredible reviews, developed a huge loyal fan base and have been touring extensively ever since. Now they’re taking it up a notch and kicking off a fall arena tour across the country starting at the end of October. The tour will include at stop at State College’s Bryce Jordan Center November 17th. Click here for more ticket information. Below check out the video for the hit song, “Can’t Hold Us.”
Local hip hop producer and musician Zilla Rocca has taken a moment to remind us of the significant influence of DJ J Dilla. Yesterday, Dilla would have celebrated his 37th birthday—had he not passed away at the age of 32 on February 10th, 2006, from a rare blood disease.
Dilla (born James Dewitt Yancey) was a legendary producer and DJ who emerged out of Detroit’s underground hip-hop scene in the 1990s. He worked with A Tribe Called Quest, Common, De La Soul, and others; he was also a founding member of The Soulquarians (with Roots’ members Questlove and James Poyser, as well as neo-soul musician Bilal).
To better understand J Dilla’s legacy, take a few moments and read this article written by Rocca called “The Beat Generation: The J Dilla Effect“—which Rocca wrote for the music blog Passion Of The Weiss. In it, Rocca explains what he thinks made J Dilla so important:
After listening to The Shining, Welcome 2 Detroit , Like Water for Chocolate, Amplified, Fantastic Vol. 2 and Jaylib’s Champion Sound was that Jay’s greatest triumph as a producer wasn’t necessarily the off-kilter pacing of his drums nor the seamless blend of phlanged-out samples and spacey Detroit synths. No—Dilla had the gift of making average, ho-hum, nonsensical rappers sound like superstars.People worship at the altar of DJ Premier because not only does he make burger-flippers like Group Home sound dope, but he makes technically GREAT rappers sound UNF*!#WITABLE (hello Nas, Royce, Common, Jay, Big, etc). And they’re right—his tracks have a signature thumping kick drum and harsh snares (that 9th Wonder still can’t mimic) coupled with 2-4 bar chopped up samples that never get in the way of the lyricism. No big drum fills, no crashing cymbals—just supreme head nodding.
Last April, The Roots paid tribute to J Dilla with a collection called Dilla Joints, in which they played renditions of some of Dilla’s greatest hits (including the song”The Stars,” which you can listen to below). Right below that is Rocca’s tribute, a track called “Let’s Do This,” which he recently put up on his SoundCloud page.
As we’re closing in on the end of 2010 and beginning to look back at the year in music, we have to say it’s been one great year for local hip-hoppers Chiddy Bang. It was back in February 2009 that the music blog Pretty Much Amazing put some of Chiddy’s songs up on their site, and since then it’s been nothing but up and up for Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, music loving hip-hoppers who met at Drexel University. Topping off 2010, the band signed with EMI label Parlophone, released The Preview and have been touring like mad including a recent sold out show here in Philly at the TLA.
Xaphoon and Chiddy are a prolific duo, mixing and remixing not only their own jams, but the jams of others including Radiohead, Kanye West, Marvin Gaye, Cee Lo and others. Recently the folks over at Salacious Sound posted The Ten Best Xaphoon Jones/Chiddy Bang Songs which is as must listen. Many of these songs first premiered on Pretty Much Amazing; you can grab Xaphoon’s remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Heard It Through The Grapevine” below, then go here for more funky tuneage.
South Philly’s Zilla Rocca is one of our favorite local DJs/rappers/producers. He’s just dropped a new collection of beats and loops called Big Stupid Bangers; it’s a collection of 35 tracks featuring the kind futuristic-noir grooves that Zilla and his 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers are known for. As Zilla explains, “Most of these tracks were for projects that never dropped. Some are mixed beautifully and arranged as full songs. Others are just demo loops. Either way, you can’t go wrong hearing the best of what I’ve been quietly cooking up on the production tip since 2005.”
You can download Zilla’s beat tape here. Check out a couple of tracks below.
We continue our Halloween Music Video Countdown today with this novelty rap treat from Whodini, an early to mid-80′s rap group from Brooklyn (before Brooklyn was overtaken by indie-rock hipsters). They had some hits back in the day with songs like “Friends,” “The Freaks Come Out At Night,” and “Five Minutes Of Funk.” They also had a novelty song that made the Halloween mixtape rounds with “The Haunted House Of Rock,” a synth-driven jam about a haunted house of rock where inside, there was “music bein’ played by The Grateful Dead,” and “Dracula was killin’ those Bloody Mary’s.” My favorite line from the song: “The Invisible man/where could he be? We know he got inside the party free.” There’s not much on the video to see; it’s a still shot of the cover of the 12-inch single. But the song, a rap equivalent of “The Monster Mash” still manages to hold up after all these years since its release in 1983.
Local hip-hop act Writtenhouse has announced (via Twitter) that their new single, “Melodi,” passed the 1,000-download mark in less than two days—which, as they noted, must mean “somethings working.” The new goal? Hit 2,000 downloads by the end of the weekend. You can do your part by downloading the track here.
Writtenhouse’s next live performance is Wednesday, October 20, at The M Room.