News, new music, videos, and other fun stuff to help you get through the week…
After months of waiting, Run The Jewels finally released their highly-anticipated Meow The Jewels, a joke-remix album for charity that had several producers and musicians recreating the brilliant record Run The Jewels 2 using only cat noises. If you want to take a listen, a free download is available through the RTJ website, and yes, it is about as ridiculous as you would expect. As you enjoy such great remixes as “Paw Due Respect”, be sure to read El-P’s interview with Deadspin discussing the project.
Of course, if you want to listen to a more traditional version of Run The Jewels, we highly recommend that you check out their electrifying performance with TV on the Radio for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, if you have not done so already. Speaking of Mr. Colbert, he had a busy week last week, with the highlight probably being his vocal assistance on Pearl Jam’s cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” to close out one of his shows.
The team-up between Colbert and Pearl Jam was part of a promotion for Saturday’s Global Citizen Festival, with Stephen helping to host and Pearl Jam closing out the festivities. One of the highlights of Pearl Jam’s set had to have been Eddie Vedder’s performance with the one and only Beyonce of Bob Marley’s classic song “Redemption Song”, though you may have to search for the video yourself as different versions keep getting deleted.
In other news, The Strokes informed announced to the crowd at their recent D.C. show that the band will soon be recording a new album, which we personally hope will be better than Comedown Machine.
Broken Bells premiered a new concert film over the weekend entitled Live at the Orpheum, and the group shared a new track to help promote the movie, an upbeat track with a jittery disco beat called “It’s That Talk Again”.
Don Cheadle has a new film about Miles Davis coming out next month, and Vulture has a brief primer on the legendary musician for those who would appreciate some background before seeing the movie.
And finally, be sure to set your DVRs or plan your schedules accordingly, because Austin City Limits announced that they will be taping shows with Kendrick Lamar as well as D’Angelo and the Vanguard in the next few weeks. Both of those should be memorable performances.
“Run the Jewels” is the answer, your question is “What’s Poppin’?”
Since the announcement in late October that they had leaked the much-anticipated sequel to their thrilling debut album, Run The Jewels has been the talk of the music world. And it’s with good reason: Run The Jewels 2 is even better than the original collaboration between El-P and Killer Mike. Their self-titled debut was among the best-reviewed albums of last year, and found a spot on most year-end lists, including our own. The sequel does an even better job of mining and improving upon the best trends in hip-hop from the past twenty years, and finds the connection between the duo stronger than ever.
So while the quoted lyric above is certainly not the most acerbic or clever line on the record, the closing line of opener “Jeopardy” does sum up RTJ’s place in music right now. If you need a better sampler of the album, you should listen to the banging “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”, which will fully abuse your car stereo’s subwoofers with its pulsing bass. The two MC’s trade verses fast and furious, picking up their speed and intensity with each round as the music grows more chaotic around them. Another highlight is “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) which builds a bouncy, stuttering beat off a guest appearance from Zach de la Rocha, recalling the era when turntablism reigned.
Run The Jewels 2 is a treasure-trove of brilliant beats and production from El-P, switching up styles and moods on the fly that accommodates the desire for variety while never sacrificing flow. Grimy, serious material like “Angel Duster” and “Blockbuster Night Part 1” fits in easily with more fun tracks like “All Due Respect”, which takes the fun elements of rap-rock without the negative connotations that term has taken in more recent years, thanks to some excellent drumming from Travis Barker. It’s a lean and efficient album too, clocking in at less than forty minutes, so it never wears out its welcome–but it’s likely that you’ll be putting the whole thing on repeat.
Note: there seems to be a difference between the free download version and the physical copy you can buy, with the former including an extra verse from Gangsta Boo to provide the female counter to the duo’s claims on “Love Again (Akinyele Back)” that’s missing from the purchased disc.
Some #longreads for your weekend as you keep pushing “repeat” on the new Run the Jewels album…
Last night, Run the Jewels surprised its fans with the release of their new album as a free download. I’ve enjoyed it on the first two listens so far, but for the next one I’ll be sure to read Stereogum’s cover story interview with El-P and Killer Mike. Meanwhile, we eagerly anticipate the release of Meow the Jewels.
Speaking of Stereogum, they have an interview with Radiohead drummer Philip Selway to discuss his second solo album. Selway’s contributions to his main gig are sorely underrated, and his solo work is definitely worth checking out.
Josh Modell does an excellent job of capturing the essence of what makes the Pearl Jam live experience so special, and does so in a way that those committed to bashing the band should understand. Considering the way The AV Club usually handles Pearl Jam, this is pretty great accomplishment.
In our commitment to continue providing you with every Death From Above 1979 story out there, here’s their feature in The Line of Best Fit.
Pitchfork catches up with Panda Bear, as he announces a new EP and is set to release an album next year.
Sure, they made a movie about him earlier this year, but it’s probably worth the time to check out PASTE’s oral history of James Brown, courtesy of his bandmates, in preparation for the new HBO documentary Mr. Dynamite.
And finally, it’s not often we delve into sports, but fresh off his appearance on Conan this week, The Oregonian has a feature on Damian Lillard and the development of his #4BarFriday videos, as well as discussing rap’s place in his childhood. It’s a piece that’s well worth reading.