Podcast Recommendation: The Undersiders

A new podcasting publisher has popped up called Engle and their first show is a hit.

The Undersiders is a series about the intersections between the burgeoning hip-hop movement and the sale of drugs at mass. The show is produced in binaural sound and really well crafted. Being that Engle is a french company, the show has been produced in both French and English languages.

From Engle:

It’s the 80’s... Hip-hop is beginning to emerge.

Cocaine is already everywhere and crack is about to make a dramatic appearance into ghetto life. This unprecedented consumption will make some dealers into the new kings of the streets, and also new role models for their community.

The Undersiders will tell you the story of eight of them. True and crude. Tales about millionaire drug dealers who at one point directly impacted on the development of hip-hop.

Dr Dre, Tupac, Lil Wayne and many more… would these pop culture icons have had the same career without these figures? Without being judgmental, without glorification, the Undersiders will guide you down into hip-hop’s turbulent underground and follow its rising up as a worldwide culture.

The first few episodes are already up and I listened through at a steady clip last evening. Episodes are less than 30 minutes and packed with information and well-written story-telling. I highly recommend it to any fans of hip-hop and its origins.

The MV Podcast 205: My Dear Podcast,

From Modern Vinyl:

Episode 205 of The Modern Vinyl Podcast takes on The Weeknd’s new release (NOT EP), “My Dear Melancholy,.” Chris and Mike, along with special guest Jacob Tender (Bantha Fodder), discuss where the EP belongs in the Abel Tesfaye story, along with misogynistic trends in his writing.

Lovely chats with the MV guys about the new album from The Weeknd.

Wedding Hits With A Same-Sex Twist

In a new EP titled Universal Love, six classic love songs have been reimagined to be more inclusive.

As marriage has become more inclusive, it seems like it’s time the music we use to celebrate it caught up. That’s why [MGM Resorts] partnered with Legacy Recordings and a diverse group of iconic artists to create Universal Love, an album that re-imagines what a first-dance song can be.

Tracklist:

  1. He's Funny That Way" by Bob Dylan
  2. "And Then She Kissed Me" by St. Vincent
  3. "My Guy" by Kele Okereke
  4. "Mad About The Girl" by Valerie June
  5. "And I Love Him" by Ben Gibbard
  6. "I Need a Woman to Love" by Kesha

From the project's liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis:

The performances here leave no doubt about the same-sex nature of the singer’s desire. Male and female singers have flipped the pronouns in “He’s Funny That Way,” but it takes Bob Dylan to lend the song a simmering, homoerotic heat. Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie retains all the dreamy sweetness of the Beatles’ original in his version of “And I Love Him.” Similarly, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party places his man on the lofty pedestal the Temptations build for the gorgeous “My Guy.” Valerie June brings a delicious, elegant slow burn to Noel Coward’s “Mad About the Boy,” and St. Vincent finds all the adolescent wonder and excitement in the Crystals’ “Then She Kissed Me.” Finally, please, can someone arrange an invitation for me to the wedding of the couple that chooses Kesha’s incineration of Janis Joplin’s “I Need a Woman to Love Me” as their wedding song? That’s going to be a party!

Like desire itself in its most exquisite form, these re-imaginings of classic love songs are playful and intense, erotic and idealistic, fun, forceful and yearning. At first it may be jarring to hear these emotions expressed out loud in songs that are so familiar. But many millions of people will feel a liberation in not having to perform the psychological gymnastics required to make yourself feel included in an environment to which you have not specifically been invited. Like consent, inclusion is sexy.

Listen to Universal Love on Apple Music, Spotify, or Pandora and read more about the project at The New York Times.

Purevolume to Shut Down

Jason at Chorus.fm noticed today that PureVolume will be shutting down at the end of the month. According to a pop-up on the site's homepage, folks with songs hosted there "will have until April 30th, 2018 to download" them.

There was a period from 2008-2011 where PureVolume was my homepage. There's not much I found there that I listen to on a regular basis today, but it was the hub for music discovery when I was in my late teens.

As sad as it is, this doesn't come as a surprise to me. As a horder of old demos and early EPs, PureVolume has been a treasure trove of music artists forgot existed. For instance, some of Noah Gundersen's earliest solo songs were hosted there—seemingly forgotten to time. When I found this page, one of the tracks was already purged from PureVolume's servers, like so many other tracks have been in the past 5 years. The writing has been on the wall if you paid any attention.

Friday releases: The Weeknd, Bohnes, Punchline, Kacey Musgraves

There's plenty of great music out this weekend. Here's what I'd recommend:

The Weeknd - My Dear Melencholy
The Weeknd dropped a new EP tonight. The biggest surprise wasn't 6 new tracks with just two days notice, but the throwback content of those tracks. Starboy was a pop phenomenon which built on the past two full lengths and dominated the mainstream charts. Meloncholy harkens back to a time before Kissland when his mixtape trilogy dominated Hype Machine and Indie Shuffle. Brooding, raunchy, and direct. It's an interesting throwback for a performer at the top of his game.

Listen

Bohnes - 206: Act I
After a long wait that almost definitely exasperated Alexander DeLeon more than his anxious fanbase, the first part of his first post-The Cab record has arrived. 8 tracks of pop rock with plenty of skeleton and monster references (and a related Cranberries one to boot). Theres a fresh sound to Bohnes that we didn't get with Alex's work before, but his voice rings as clear as ever and plenty of piano remains for those that appreciate how special that combo is. I'm glad this music is finally out in the world and I hope it takes.

Listen

Punchline - Lion
After using Punchlion as their band's online handle for years, Pittsburgh's pride have finally dropped a record with the feline pun as the title.

The record is a compilation of a few songs they released last year, one they released on their last record and reimagined for their Music Special taping which I attended last year, and nine new ones. Track 7 features my favorite Punchline collaborator Anthony Raneri.

I genuinely love and support these gentlemen. The joy and positivity they put into every single album is astounding and inspiring.

Listen

Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
Country sound, progressive lyricism. So sweet and smooth it's like an overturned bucket of homemade maple syrup in summer time.

Listen