“Best of” lists are polarizing like that. You’ll come across them while searching for greater understanding, guidance, or bodhi on this that or the other thing and even though you’ll almost certainly harbor conflicting opinions early on while scrolling/sifting through it, you bet your ass you are going to finish that list. I love them. I habitually challenge them. I consistently disagree with them. I hate them. Who the hell do you think you are to tell me what’s best?
Even though the year is only a little more than halfway over, I was chomping at the bit to get some kind of list out there. Narcissism. So, the following are the 20 tracks to have most deliciously stimulated my 8th cranial nerve in this unfinished year 2013 A.D. Finish it. -B.
~Action Bronson (ft. Prodigy and Raekwon)- Seven Series Triplets
~Chance the Rapper- Chain Smoker
~Daft Punk- Get Lucky
~Danny Brown- #Hottest MC
~Iron & Wine- Caught in the Briars
~Justin Timberlake- Strawberry Bubblegum
~Kanye West- Black Skinhead
~Major Lazer (ft. Bruno Mars, 2 Chainz, Tyga, and Mystic)- Bubble Butt
~Mikal Cronin- Piano Mantra
~Palma Violets- Best of Friends
~Parquet Courts- Stoned and Starving
~Robin Thicke (ft. T.I. and Pharrell)- Blurred Lines
~Sean Falyon- December
~Unknown Mortal Orchestra- So Good at Being in Trouble
~Until the Ribbon Breaks- Pressure
~Vampire Weekend- Diane Young
~Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Sacrilege
Yeezus may be a self-declared second coming, but in terms of the hip-hop game, Kanye West systematically rewrote, reconfigured and dominated the entire genre mentality. In true baller fashion, he wrote the album in the swanky digs of his Paris loft, a life portraying a stark contrast from the dark, near pitch black nature of Yeezus. Times aren’t so tough for Kanye anymore.
Don’t let ‘Ye fool you with his wild ass antics, biting diatribes and odd leather skirts. Kanye is very self-aware, and it shows in Yeezus. Power is a drug, and Kanye’s been rolling, tripping and getting high off his worldwide influence and nearly unparalleled fame.
Yeezus’ dirty, disgusting and grimy beats are more contagious than SARS, causing an unknowing victim to break their neck repeatedly. Although West made his name on producing hot beats for other hip-hop moguls, Kanye certainly didn’t go without beat-based assistance on Yeezus. He scored help from Rick Rubin, S1, The Heatmakerz, Mike Dean, Hudson Mohawke, Skrillex, Young Chop, Chief Keef, Frank Ocean, Odd Future, Travis Scott, The-Dream, Malik Yusef, King L, John Legend, James Blake, RZA, Mase and Pusha T. His production pals, Daft Punk, lent a prosthesis to assist Kanye in unmasking four more robotically-influenced tracks of glory.
Although the album is blessed by an A-List of producers,
Yeezus features spectacularly bad lyrics. Bad is a gross understatement. Production can’t hide the fact that West had a colossal bout of verbal diarrhea when writing this album.
Let’s explore a few lines of proud papa Kanye’s epic aural lovemaking track, I’m In It:
Eatin’ Asian pussy
All I needed was sweet and sour sauce
Uhhh, you know I need that wet mouth
Uhhh, I know you need that reptile
Neck, ears, hands, legs, eatin’ ass
Your pussy’s too good, I need to crash
Your titties, let ‘em out, free at last
Thank God almighty, they free at last
Put my fist in her like the civil rights sign
I’m gonna rap like a priest, gettin head from the nuns
Yes folks, all of this genius is contained within one track. Soon, we’ll be featuring an article which lists some of our favorite “worst of the worst” lyrics from Yeezus.
Yeezus Cristo, ‘Ye… You’ve gone done did it on this album. Spanning the 90’s EDM era to punk, dark rock and everything in between, Yeezus just created a new benchmark in terms of production and adventuresome album writing.
Lyrical brown water fountains or not, Yeezus still brings the hot shit. Truth be told, I haven’t liked a Kanye album in YEARS. Cruel Summer kills it, but that wasn’t solo, so it doesn’t really count. Yeezus brings back my brotherly love for Kanye, just like the days when I saw him perform with Freeway and Young Gunz during his College Dropout tour at the University of Delaware. I’ve always considered his early work to be his best, but Yeezus, Yeezy, you just released the hip-hop album of the year. I foresee a large amount of hardware coming his direction when award time rolls around.
A note from Excelsior: If North West needs any tips on how to flow, please feel free to send her our way.
Perhaps you have heard our runaway blockbuster hits such as The Goose Is Loose, Jermaine, and Warranty Does Not Apply?
- Moe Train
I’m A God
Kanye West’s new album, Yeezus drops on June 18. He hasn’t released any singles for radio airplay, he hasn’t had a big money promotional machine push it, and hell, he hasn’t even put a cover together for the album. Kim K’s baby daddy’s coming at the scene a bit different these days (watch out for those stop signs), and frankly, it’s a bit refreshing. No, on this weekend of all weekends, we haven’t forgotten about Bonnaroo (we still rocked that shit out till sunrise), but Kanye’s new album has our interests piqued, and that’s an understatement.
Yeezus brings back Daft Punk for some funky house beats, which Train wishes that there were more of on Random Access Memories, along with other guests like Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, RZA, Chief Keef and more. He recently performed several tracks off of his most pious album at NYC’s Governor’s Ball. Have a look and listen to Kanye West’s latest offerings.
On Site (Featuring Daft Punk)
I Am A God
Yeezus on his pulpit, preaching about his new philosophies.
And we had to throw in a video of Ye performing Flashing Lights/All Of The Lights (Which Train thinks is the best era of Kanye’s music).
Props to NormalMag, Zach Tavel and SharksNYC for the videos.
Led by Busy P (AKA baseball-capped, head honcho Pedro Winter) Ed Banger Records has risen from low key Parisian rock n’ roll cool, to become one of global clubland’s most colorful and recognizable music outlets. It could be said they’ve ascended to maturity yet, in many ways, Ed Banger remains gleefully youthful, holding to the spirit of the party – a stable of DJ-producers with a huge sense of fun and old-fashioned loyalty to each other and their fans criss-crossing the world. In celebration of the label’s 10th anniversary, Ed Banger Records will release a compilation titled Ed Rec Vol. X on June 11 in conjunction with Because Music. The 14-track album is available to pre-order now on iTunes.
Ed Banger hasn’t put a full compilation out since ‘Vol.III’ in 2008 and the time is ripe. All their artists contribute exclusive tracks, from long-standing label figureheads Justice, who soon release their own live album, to new disco-house kid on the block, Boston Bun. The Balearic android cocktail-disco slowie ‘The Beach’ by Breakbot sits easily with DSL’s sleaze-funk electro throbber ‘In Your House’, and there’s plenty more, from Mr Oizo, Feadz, Cassius, SebastiAn, Krazy Baldhead, Mr Flash and Mickey Moonlight. As if that wasn’t enough, Ed Banger are taking their birthday party around the world. They started with a spectacular 7000 capacity rave in Paris live streamed on You Tube with more than one million viewers, followed by a May 3 performance in London, and will venture on to Brussels, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York City, Montreal, Mexico, Sydney and Berlin in the coming months.
Over the years, Ed Banger has released music by everyone from Rick Rubin to LFO to, recently, Laurent Garnier, and the new collection represents such diverse thinking. The imprint’s illustrious history and adventures have been documented in a new photographic book by label designer So Me called ‘Travaille. Famille. Party’ – Work. Family. Party.
As Pedro explains “After managing Daft Punk between 1996 and 2008 I wanted to create my own history. By creating Ed Banger records I launched my own musical adventure in a way. I learnt so much with Daft Punk, I owe them a lot. Celebrating this 10th anniversary is very emotional, I’m proud I managed to write a pretty nice musical chapter in my life. Daft Punk as chapter #1 and Ed Banger records as chapter #2 is pretty cool.”
A decade in, Ed Banger shows no sign of slowing down. “I am a happy boy. It’s been 10 years of fun, travel, hard work and discovery. I feel lucky too, I met some strong artists, they are Ed Banger records. My main goal is to keep challenging ourselves. We are an alternative label, we are free to go where we want.”
Ed Rec Vol. X Tracklisting:
1/ MR OIZO “IntroX”
2/ KRAZY BALDHEAD “My soul is like a tree”
3/ BREAKBOT featuring Pacific! “The Beach”
4/ BUSY P “Still Busy”
5/ MR FLASH “Reckless”
6/ JUSTICE “BrianVision MMXIII”
7/ CASSIUS “Sunchild”
8/ MR OIZO “Secam”
9/ SO ME “TX/FL/PA”
10/ DSL “In your house”
11/ MICKEY MOONLIGHT “Transition”
12/ FEADZ “Coleslaw43″
13/ BOSTON BUN “Grinded”
14/ SEBASTIAN “Moi” (demo version)
Ed Banger Records 10th Anniversary “Birthday Parties:”
May 10 – Brussells – Le Nuits Botaniques
June 15 – Barcelona – Sonar Festival
August 4 – Los Angeles – Hard Summer Music Festival
August 10 – Tokyo – Sonic Mania
September 7 – Berlin – Berlin Festival
*More to be announced…
ED REC. VOL X is available now to pre-order in the U.S. on iTunes.
After a whirlwind of buzz swirled through the music scene, Daft Punk finally unleashed “Get Lucky,” the first single from their new album Random Access Memories.
“Get Lucky” (yes, its about that) features vocals by Pharrell Williams (of N.E.R.D.), and the funky guitars of Nile Rodgers. It’s now available for sale on iTunes.
Random Access Memories will be released on May 21 on Columbia Records. Robots across the world, rejoice!
Here’s the full tracklist:
01 Give Life Back to Music
02 The Game of Love
03 Giorgio by Moroder
05 Instant Crush
06 Lose Yourself to Dance
08 Get Lucky
11 Fragments of Time
12 Doin’ It Right
Every once in a while, we experience technical difficulties which attempt to interrupt the domination of The Tracks. Well, that shit doesn’t fly around here, so we’re back up and running.
Music fans, you know what time it is. Festival lineups are starting to trickle out, and you’ve started to prepare yourselves for the summer. This winter hasn’t been that bad (yet… here comes a massive storm), but we need the warm weather back to get back into our shorts and flip flops (I can do without the massive amounts of patchouli, thank you. Sorry, but it’s the truth).
The lineups are looking pretty damn good. Personally, I’m pumped to see that Vampire Weekend will be back out on the road to support their upcoming album. However, I think that some major hitters will be coming out of hibernation to blow up the fest scene this summer (Daft Punk anyone?) Look for more greatness this year, and possibly some reunions of past media team-ups.
If anyone wants to call the Team Excelsior Hotline, hit us up at (727) 4-TRACKS! (Yes, it’s a real number…)
MTT and Ghostland discuss capes, sexual dancing, James Brown, Daft Punk and more while at Lollapalooza.
Interview with Ghostland Observatory
Thomas Turner, Aaron Behrens, Monty “Moe” Wiradilaga
Friday, August 3, 2007
Lollapalooza – Chicago, Illinois
Moe: We’re sitting backstage with Thomas and Aaron from Ghostland Observatory. How you doing guys? That was one of the best sets I’ve seen in a long time.
Thomas: Thanks a lot.
Moe: You guys started off with three people right?
Thomas: I think Ghostland, like the first official Ghostland show, we used two people. We were in other bands before but…
Moe: How did you guys get together, what was your meeting?
Aaron: We just met in the bands previously that we did. He answered an ad in the paper and we hit it off. The other guys went and took a break for a while and me and him just kept going at it and we found what me and him love to do together, you know?
Moe: Absolutely. You guys are from Austin correct?
Thomas: Yes, yeah.
Moe: And they’re saying that it the “live music capital of the world.” Is Austin really that strong of a live music scene?
Thomas: When we tour other cities, you can kind of tell like, in Austin, you can go out almost every night and see any kind of genre of music you want to, at almost a hundred different clubs. And most cities don’t have that you know. If want to see blues you can see blues, you wanna see rock, indie rock, punk rock, electronic, DJ shit, whatever, you know, you can go see it in Austin almost any night of the week.
Moe: You guys definitely have an interesting combination of styles. First of all, what’s with the cape? I gotta know what the cape is man! (Laughs)
Thomas: My wife made it for me, so I wear it you know, I sport it.
Moe: I was lookin’ for what stage you guys were playing on, I saw the cape and said, ‘Oh there they are.’
Moe: What did you guys grow up on, what were you really listening to? ‘Cause it sounds like you go from little bit from the dance genre, but then you go from rock, then you have a little rap, just a combination of so many different styles. Aaron, what’s your take on this?
Aaron: I grew up listening to, you know, my dad had a lot of like seventies, sixties-seventies rock, like Jimmy Hendrix, Zeppelin. Grew up listening to them… And then I got into eighties, and my mom had like Huey Lewis and The News, Prince, you know, all that good stuff. And then, you know, in the nineties I got into gangster rap…
Moe: There you go. (Laughs) NWA!?
Aaron: Snoop Dogg, NWA, Onyx…
Moe: Eazy-E! Yeah, there you go!
Aaron: Eazy-E, yeah all of them.
Moe: What happened to Onyx anyway? (Laughs)
Aaron: I don’t know dude. I think Sticky Fingers got into acting for a while, so I don’t know… But then I, you know, then I moved to Austin, and Thomas introduced me to electronic music, so yeah.
Moe: Yeah, it’s just the blend, the blend happened right there.
Aaron: Yeah… The beautiful blend man, you know, so..
Moe: Did you listen to a lot of James Brown?
Aaron: Oh, a lot, yeah, I love James Brown… I love James Brown… Yeah.
Moe: I know you know everyone says it… They draw your dancing style to James Brown…
Aaron: Oh, that’s a huge compliment, I love J.B…
Moe: It is. Those are big shoes to fill, but, tell you what… You never stop, you never stop! (Laughs)
Aaron: Oh man, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’. (Laughs)
Moe: I could tell through the set, people were getting into it more and more. You guys know everything was just starting to build up, and I don’t know if you noticed the crowd, but the hands started going up and by the end everyone was just rockin out. Ahh. It was great.
Aaron: Yeah! That’s good!
Moe: You guys basically just leave it out, all on stage, just balls out…
Aaron: Yeah, we really try. I mean, like I said, me and Thomas, “The Wizard” over here, dude. You know, he just throws down all this, it’s just, everything crazy on top. And it’s just, like we’ve said before it’s like, he just allows for me to get crazy on top of that, but he’s just pushing me man. With all those sounds…
Moe: Just feeding off each other.
Aaron: Yeah! It’s just real feeding back and forth. It’s just not talking, it’s feeling between both of us, you know.
Moe: What do you feel about the musicians that are doing that little shortcut with laptops and all that in their music?
Thomas: Yeah, I guess people do whatever they’re comfortable with. Maybe, you know, they started out with a laptop, and using virtual synths and things like that, and that’s just how they do it. I mean, I don’t hate on them for doing that. I just prefer having a synthesizer and, like, really getting inside of a synthesizer, and learning it inside and out. It’s the harder way to do it. You know, that’s just what I feel comfortable doing, and I like it. I enjoy it a lot.
Moe: Did you grow up more with the rock stuff, ’cause you’re playing drums, and you’re doing the synths, doing them together, just meshing the two. Did you grow up more in rock, or did you grow up more in the dance styles?
Thomas: Well I guess when I really started getting into music I really fell in love with electronic music, that’s where my heart is. But I played drums when I was younger… I used my knowledge of playing the drums and creating beats, but I never thought that I’d have to play drums again. It just so happened that I got the opportunity, and we just rolled with it, you know.
Moe: Does it feel natural though? I mean, if you were doing the drums, and you were doing the beats… Was the going back and forth, working with the synths and the drums… Was it natural, or how’d that work in?
Thomas: Yeah, yeah I think so. It feels good to be able to do both, you know? I like it.
Moe: Well like I said, we’re gonna see you guys at Vegoose… The rest of my crew’s coming tonight. What should they expect when they see you guys for the first time? How would you describe your set?
Thomas: You just have to be there to witness it. I would say, go in expecting nothing, and be the judge for yourself, and see how you feel when you leave. Hopefully, you’ll really, really love it. Or you’ll really hate it. There will be no in between, like ‘Ahh… It was okay.’ None of that. Its either you’re really into it or you’re not, you know.
Moe: Aaron, your dancing is obviously very, very sexual.
Moe: You don’t doubt that right?
Moe: Not whatsoever. (Laughs)
Aaron: It’s a very powerful energy!
Moe: Yeah, so what’s the craziest thing a girl has done to try to get in your pants after a set like that? (Laughs)
Aaron: Well, honestly, I haven’t really had to deal with that, because I really don’t put myself in situations to deal with it, you know. A lot of times people will try to get on stage, and you know, dance with me and stuff. But the thing is, it’s like, that’s cool, but I’m like in my own world. I mean I definitely do it for the people and I like entertaining up there, and it’s wonderful that they get inspired to get down with me and everything. A lot of it, it’s a lot of personal release. You know, it’s a lot of personal energy getting out, flowing out of me. So, I really haven’t had anything crazy, you know, or anything like that. And I think a lot of my fans know that. A lot of our fans know that. They respect it. And it’s the same thing; I don’t expect anything from them after the show.
Moe: However, you should have heard the comments from those girls that were standing next to me. Oh shit, you would’ve been like…(Looks and points) Yeah, point to em’… (Laughs)
Aaron: (Laughs) Girl, you’re dirty! Girl, you’re nasty!
Moe: Yeah exactly!! They were getting dirty nasty, that’s right. You guys are very independent…
Thomas: We don’t have a manager. We hired a publicist just for a short period of time, just to help promote the upcoming festival season, the new record that’s coming out, and just like to help the press-related things kind of go our way as opposed to just random things happening… Have a little bit more control of that. But, yeah, we’re very independent. We don’t answer to anyone. We agree on things and that’s what we do. And we just stick with that, you know. And we really don’t do many press-related issues either you know so…
Moe: Well, thanks for… thanks a lot, I appreciate that!
Thomas: Yeah! Yeah! So we stay under the radar, we basically leave the people to decide whether they like our performances or like our albums, and that’s that, you know. We just let them figure it out for themselves.
Moe: I definitely see a trend in music today. “They” want control of their catalog. I spoke to Ziggy Marley at Bonnaroo, and he went independent now. He was saying how he wants control of his things. Slightly Stoopid, who I just spoke to, also said the same thing. So, what do you guys think about the trend of music? Is it people taking the power back from the labels? Why is the trend like that?
Thomas: I don’t know. There are some bands that are very comfortable being on a label and they enjoy that lifestyle and the perks that come along with it, and having tour support, and having a marketing team and publicists and everything like that. And than there’s other people, they just really wanna do things their own way. And I think if you really want to do your own thing bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen, and I think that’s what a lot of bands are doing.
Moe: So you have a new album coming out soon?
Thomas: Yes, yes. We’re finished writing. Now we gotta get into the studio the end of August, early September and then bang it, bang it, bang it, bang it!
Moe: Yeah man. If you guys could collaborate with anybody, Aaron who would you collaborate with? Anybody, doesn’t have to be dance-related, anybody. You’re biting your finger; you’re probably like, ‘I don’t know.’
Aaron: I really don’t… I really don’t know. Because, it wouldn’t be the same, you know? The thing is, I think, Thomas and I enjoy the kinship we have with our music you know.
Moe: That’s a good thing.
Aaron: To add another person in the room, or someone else in the collaboration, I don’t know if we’d function the same, I don’t know if… It breaks up the connection.
Moe: Do you think it would water it down?
Aaron: I think it would water it down. I don’t know. Certain circuits run a certain way, Thomas and I have to be alone and in silence, and if anybody’s added in there it doesn’t work the same. It doesn’t.
Moe: So when you guys are doing your writing sessions, is it just like you’re on stage? You guys just start rocking out?
Aaron: There’s a lot of silence and then a lot of sound.
Moe: A lot of rockin?
Moe: You guys definitely have a real big sound for just two guys. I thought you guys were gonna blow out the PA system, did you hear it popping at one point?
Thomas: That’s good! I like that! (Laughs)
Aaron: Yeah, that’s good! (Laughs)
Moe: Yeah! I heard it, I was like, ‘Oh shit, there goes the set.’ ‘Cause you guys did blow out a set, where was it?
Moe: That’s right!
Thomas: We blew out the entire power in the whole freaking festival.
Moe: No shit.
Thomas: Yeah… It wasn’t too fun though when it happened. We were like, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ You can’t even talk in the microphone, nothing.
Moe: Did they get it back and going?
Thomas: Yeah, but it took a while. It was just like, at first, it’s cool, like ‘Oh, yeah they blew out the power’, but then you can’t crank it back up you know, you gotta wait. Then they get the power running again and you’ve got to start over and try to get back to where you were. But the crowd seemed to respond really well to it, so it ended up working out.
Moe: That’s cool. So you guys gonna be around for Daft Punk tonight?
Thomas: Man, we have to play another show tonight! So we gotta go sound check…
Moe: Oh, where is that by the way?
Thomas: Schubas? So we gotta go sound check right now.
Moe: Maybe I’ll show up for that one, after I figure out where the hell it is.
Thomas: If we can’t make it, we’ll try. Man, we drove all night to get here, and it’s pretty crazy, yeah.
Moe: (To Aaron) If you we’re gonna be there, you should be on stage as a dancer for Daft Punk, and suddenly you show up on stage, and people are like, ‘What the fuck is going on here!‘
Aaron: (Laughs) They would probably blow me up with their electronic stuff. And that’s the same thing, ya know… Daft… They would, yeah… I don’t know what would happen. (Laughs)
Moe: (Laughs) You just might have to show up for just like a couple minutes and then head out! Guys, thank you very, very much. Can’t wait to see you guys at Vegoose…
Thomas: Thank you!
Moe: And maybe we’ll see you guys tonight.
Thomas: Okay, sweet deal man!
Moe: All right guys, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Some people prefer studio recordings. Some prefer live albums. Should music be enjoyed as “studio perfect” artifacts or “the way music should be heard” in the live form? Either way, it’s a debate which will never be settled. As for The Train? Well, I enjoy a bit of everything. I’m partial to studio recordings, though there are some rare live album gems which very accurately convey the feeling of a concert performance.
These three albums are a few standouts which are on heavy rotation in my sizable music selection:
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Live!
It’s no secret that Bob Marley is my favorite and most quintessential artist of all time, and what better soundtrack to the summer/festivals than the smooth skanking of Bob Marley & The Wailers… Inspired yet “feel good” to the utmost, Live! is aural bliss.
For those lucky enough to see Daft Punk perform during 2007 (we saw them in Vegas and Chicago!), you know just how memorable Daft Punk’s live sets are. Not only do the robots perform amazing dance music, but the sensory overload of the pyramid leaves you breathless. Every time I crank up this album, I’m brought right back to the enormously undulating crowds of Vegoose (RIP) and Lollapalooza. One word: Amazing.
Manu Chao – Radio Bemba Sound System
Manu Chao is a performer that spans genres. Punk, ska, reggae, salsa, and any other latin music style that you can imagine are worked into Manu’s manic live sets. Contagiously positive energy emits from the stage during every Manu Chao performance, and Radio Bemba Sound System is one of the finest examples of live embodiment on an album.
Got any favorite live albums? Share em with us!
- Manu Chao Baïonarena [Album] (hangout.altsounds.com)
- Daft Punk’s Fragile From Tron Legacy Leaks (beatcrave.com)
- Santana Supernatural Gets A Make-Over (undercover.com.au)
- 5 reviews of 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection (Remastered) (Marley, Bob & Wailers) (rateitall.com)