Tag Archives: album release

Inside The 1975’s album release NYC pop-up shop

Rising British band The 1975 released their second studio album today, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. A mouthful, I know; apparently that’s something frontman Matthew Healy said to an ex-girlfriend. Anyway, to celebrate their new LP, The 1975 hosted a pop-up shop in New York City and I was there to take in all the excitement surrounding the anticipated release. READ MORE Inside The 1975’s album release NYC pop-up shop

Kanye West finally releases new album, but it’s a Tidal-exclusive (for now)

At last, Kanye West has dropped his seventh studio album, now officially titled The Life of Pablo. Originally, it went by So Help Me God, and then it turned into Swish, and then Waves. Moving on! The album was first previewed to the public at Madison Square Garden last week where ‘Ye hosted a massive gathering to also show off his Yeezy Season 3 fashion line. The plan was to drop TLOP on Friday, Feb. 12, but due to production delays, he ended up formally announcing its availability following his two live performances on SNL. Interestingly, the album does not include previously released tracks such as “Only One,” “FourFiveSeconds,” and “All Day.” Of the 18 total tracks, fans will instantly recognize these four: “Real Friends,” “Wolves,” “No More Parties in LA,” and “Facts.” Production and vocals on the final versions of these songs, mind you, were tweaked from their original incarnations, so you might want to hold onto both versions in your collection. Eye the album’s questionable artwork after the break.

And now for some sour news for Kanye fans all over. On SNL, West told fans to head to Tidal to stream The Life of Pablo. News came out that the album would be a Tidal-exclusive during its initial launch period of about a week or so. Turns out that window will go on indefinitely. The meddling rapper has been ranting on Twitter lately, and a tweet that stuck many fans (myself included) right in heart reads, “My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.” This very well may be a marketing ploy to get his fanbase to sign up for Tidal subscriptions, and TLOP may still be on track for a regular major release across the other music streaming services. But this stings. If Kanye indeed has this power over his label, he is doing a massive disservice to his fans who don’t subscribe to Tidal and instead rely on iTunes/Amazon/Google or even the collection of physical copies of CDs. As a longtime fan and supporter of West’s contributions to music and the rap scene, I am incredibly displeased with all of this. Not cool.

Among his many recent Twitter rants, Kanye is pleading Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other wealthy individuals to give him money so he can live out his creative dreams. Hey Kanye: If you released your new album on more than one platform you’d make yourself some more money! According to TorrentFreak, “an estimated 500,000 people” have illegally downloaded a copy of TLOP on torrent sites like BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay. Of course, illegal sharing and downloading of albums, movies, etc. is a normal occurrence these days, but I think it’s safe to say that ‘Ye could have curbed this astronomical number by selling his album on the industry’s most popular platforms like iTunes. Here’s to hoping he comes to his senses, or his label strong-arms him into sharing his latest work (which has been receiving solid reviews) with the rest of us.

Update (2/17): Kanye’s uploaded the album’s credits on his website; big talents like Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Rihanna, and The Weeknd can be spotted. Unfortunately, there’s no update on TLOP extending its reach beyond Tidal. For now, make due with Stephen Colbert’s scathing review of the rapper’s recent tweetstorm. READ MORE Kanye West finally releases new album, but it’s a Tidal-exclusive (for now)

Kid Cudi drops his next genre-busting effort, ‘Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven’

The sixth studio album from Kid Cudi, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven, has finally arrived. Like WZRD (2012), Indicud (2013), and Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon (2014) before it, SB2H continues to defy the musical boundaries Cudder successfully defined for himself early in his career with the Man on the Moon records. Cudi doesn’t consider himself a hip-hop or rap artist but instead an “alternative” one. SB2H emanates alt-grunge-rock vibes with emphasis on guitar strings, not electronic beats. “I’ve ripped my heart out and carved it into tiny pieces of musical madness,” Cudi has previously said about his latest effort. And it’s true: SB2H is an emotional record that drives into the depths of the experimental rapper-turned-rocker.

The 26-track album is split into an A-side and B-side. The first half features singles including “Confused!,” “Judgemental Cunt,” and “Wedding Tux.” Sprinkled throughout are skits featuring Beavis & Butt-Head voiced by the cartoon’s creator Mike Judge; Cudi enlisted Judge to record the new bits in-studio and how cool is that? The B-side includes eight tracks, half of which are demo recordings. Longtime Cudi fans will take solace in the fact that SB2H welcomes back Cudi’s Man on the Moon producing partner Plain Pat behind-the-scenes.

Wondering about Cudi’s tour plans? He was expected to kick things off this month, but due to production issues he’s postponing until “the top of next year.” Our consolation prize? The release of a third single, “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven,” side-A’s penultimate track produced by Cudi and Plain Pat.

Dig Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven‘s album artwork above, plug in your headphones, and rock out to dat new-new Kid Cudi via iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, or Google. Holding out for the physical CD? Cudi promises that’ll release Dec. 18, and you can preorder it today at Amazon. Also coming soon: vinyl and a “special limited run of cassette tapes.” Rad.

Jason Mraz’s new album ‘YES!’ inspires a short film about love

Jason Mraz’s fifth studio album YES! hit shelves on Tuesday and you can pick up a copy today digitally at iTunes and physically at Amazon. Jason’s collaborative effort with Raining Jane boasts 14 tracks led by the charming single “Love Someone” which now is featured in a three-part short film posted on YouTube. “We Can Take The Long Way” is essentially a long-form music video featuring three songs from YES!: “Love Someone,” “Hello, You Beautiful Thing,” and “Long Drive.” It follows a pair of good looking youths finding, embracing, and giving back love. Jason describes the short like this:

Making a music video is challenging. To me a song is personal: its story, message, or melody resonating uniquely with each listener. And adding moving pictures can sometimes paint a mood or suggest an attitude that is different from the way the listener may hear the song in his/her heart. “We Can Take The Long Way” is an effort to not make one finite music video, and instead tell a story about love and life with several songs from ‘YES!’ playing a supporting role. I recommend you turn down the lights, crank up the volume, snuggle up to your beloved, and enjoy the film.

His YouTube channel also includes live renditions of 12 tracks from the album recorded at his very own Organics’ Avocado Ranch. Also, check out a stripped down version of the single at Time; in addition to the performance Jason shares the inspiration behind the track and the new album in general.

The #SummerOfYES! has arrived.

Kid Cudi releases EP-turned-album ‘Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon’

It was originally imagined to be an EP to bridge the gap between Indicud and 2015’s Man on the Moon III but somewhere Kid Cudi decided to turn it into a full-fledged new album; Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon released digitally on Tuesday, February 25 comprised of 10 tracks. Cudder produced the entire album with help from his WZRD collaborator Dot da Genius. R&B musician Raphael Saadiq is the sole feature artist on the record. Even though it morphed into a full-length album, Satellite Flight still fits in place like puzzle piece in Cudi’s discography; it resumes where Indicud left off and it teases the third and final chapter of the MOTM trilogy. Download Satellite Flight at iTunes today. Alternatively, you can wait until Cudi drops the physical album in stores which he teases will include additional bonus tracks currently not for sale digitally. There is no street date for the physical release but signs point towards later this month.

Kid Cudi is on fire right now. In addition to releasing fourth studio album, Scott Mescudi stars in Need for Speed alongside Aaron Paul (which hits theatres March 14) and it was recently announced that he will star as Ari Gold’s new assistant in the upcoming Entourage movie. Catch up with Cudi in this extensive Complex interview that came out late last month.

Kanye West drops ‘Yeezus’ on Tuesday, exalts his achievements in NYT interview

This Tuesday Kanye West releases his sixth studio album Yeezus. Pictured above is what the physical album will look like in stores. Its minimalist design features no album album artwork, only a transparent jewel case with some red tape. There is no link from iTunes or Amazon to preorder the album. It drops June 18 and that’s the day you can snag it. ‘Ye hasn’t done much in terms of promoting the album in the traditional sense. He performed on SNL and after that he projected images and sound on buildings around the world for fans to flock to and discover his new sound.

The most hype is emitting from a recent interview he conducted with The New York Times. In it ‘Ye opens up about his past mistakes, his problem with the Grammys, the inspiration behind previous albums 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, parenthood (his girlfriend Kim Kardashian gave birth to their daughter days after the interview posted), fashion, and more. Expectedly, Kanye stroked his ego more than once throughout the back-and-forth describing himself as “the Michael Jordan of music” and saying about his career “I knew I was going to make it this far; I knew that this was going to happen.” He also calls himself the “Steve [Jobs] of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture.” And he concluded the interview with this:

I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people: “This is the level that things could be at.” So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities. I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.

It’s a must-read for fans of the undoubtedly talented artist who has certainly evolved in many ways since his 2004 debut The College Dropout. Read the interview in full here.

Now what can you expect from Yeezus? The Times‘ Jon Caramanica describes it as “a turn away from [Kanye’s] reliable maximalism to something more urgent and visceral.” He describes the songs as “becoming more skeletal and ferocious.” He goes on to say, “The music of Yeezus — spare, direct and throbbing — is, effectively, a palate cleanser after years of overexertion, backing up lyrics that are among the most serrated and provocative of his career.”

And even Mr. West, who thinks of himself as a “black new wave artist,” shared some of his influences: “It’s like trap and drill and house. I knew that I wanted to have a deep Chicago influence on this album, and I would listen to like, old Chicago house. I think that even “Black Skinhead” could border on house, “On Sight” sounds like acid house, and then “I Am a God” obviously sounds, like, super house.”

After the break, a brief clip of Kanye rapping new track “I Am A God” on headphones with an appearance by collaborator Rick Rubin. Under that, a short film inspired by the movie American Psycho starring Kourtney Kardashian’s boyfriend Scott Disick (who actually really does resemble the movie’s star Christian Bale) and Kim’s friend Jonathan Cheban in the role orignially made famous by Jared Leto.

Update (6/17): Yeezus is now available for digital download at kanyewest.com & iTunes, and you can purchase a physical copy at Amazon.

Update 2 (6/25): Yeezus debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 327,000 copies in its first week. For more stats surrounding Kanye’s latest release, head over to Billboard.com. READ MORE Kanye West drops ‘Yeezus’ on Tuesday, exalts his achievements in NYT interview

The Weeknd drops 33-track ‘Trilogy’, three music videos, a message to the fans

On November 13, Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, re-released his three mixtapes as one collection in Trilogy. The 33-track album contains mixed and mastered versions of every song from House of BalloonsThursday, and Echoes of Silence plus three, never-before-heard bonus tracks “Twenty Eight,” “Valerie,” and “Till Dawn (Here Comes the Sun).” At $9.99 Trilogy, which also includes the music video for “The Zone” featuring Drake, is the definition of a steal. Digital and physical ($11.99) copies are available. Trilogy was released under Universal Republic Records and Tesfaye’s own XO label. If you enjoyed his mixtapes, support a growing, talented artist by picking up Trilogy today.

In addition to dropping the album, The Weeknd also directed three music videos to promote the release. Clips were shot for “Rolling Stone,” “Wicked Games,” and the previously aforementioned “The Zone” featuring Drake. In a note directed at his fans, Tesfaye opens up and sheds light on the symbolism behind the “Rolling Stone” clip. He acknowledges that signing to a major record label and releasing a studio album in Trilogy takes him away from “the underground” and into the spotlight, but promises that “this does not mean what you think it means.” In other words, he will not be affected by his new-found fame and next-level success. “YOU WILL CONTINUE TO GET WHAT YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO GIVE YOU WHAT YOU ASK FOR. I’LL NEVER MAKE YOU WAIT AGAIN,” he shares in all caps.

Click after the break to view the note in full and all three music videos. In addition, you’ll find a new track “Enemy” outed last month that is not included on his first major release. READ MORE The Weeknd drops 33-track ‘Trilogy’, three music videos, a message to the fans

Hit-Boy shares “Old School Caddy” (featuring Kid Cudi) ahead of album release [Update: ‘HITstory’ out now]

G.O.O.D. Music member Hit-Boy is best known for wearing his producer hat; he’s collaborated with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and A$AP Rocky to design the beats behind “Christmas in Harlem,” N****s in Paris,” “Drop the World,” and “Goldie.” But now he’s ready to step into the spotlight and become a solo artist, his own rapper. Earlier this summer he dropped his first single “Jay-Z Interview” and left the producing to Bink!; it blew up on Twitter as he quickly made a name for himself as a solo rapper in the hip-hop community. This week he shared a new track “Old School Caddy,” and for this one he jumped behind the boards to produce. He is joined by fellow G.O.O.D. Music signee Kid Cudi in the laid back rap that’s spit in front of a smooth-as-butter beat. Listen above. (This release was teased with a 30-second clip featuring Hit-Boy and Cudi, so a full-fledged music video may be coming soon.)

All of this comes ahead of HITstory, the producer-turned-rapper’s first album that’s expected to release August 7. “This album is for the sophisticated ear,” tweets 25-year-old Hit-Boy. Check back here next week for a link to download the free album.

Update (8/7): HITstory is out today. Hit-Boy’s first release contains 11 tracks and guest appearances from Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Chip tha Ripper, Bun B, John Legend, and Stacy Barthe. Download it for free here. Snag the cover art and back tracklisting after the break. READ MORE Hit-Boy shares “Old School Caddy” (featuring Kid Cudi) ahead of album release [Update: ‘HITstory’ out now]

Album releases: Kid Cudi & Dot Da Genius’ WZRD & Jason Mraz’s live EP out today

Today is a big day for music fans ’round the world spanning two very different genres. First there’s the long-anticipated release of Kid Cudi’s concept album WZRD, featuring beats by producer Dot Da Genius and guitar riffs by the Rager. The self-titled album can be downloaded digitally at iTunes, or a physical copy can be purchased over at Amazon. Celebrate the release by heading over to Complex and checking out their online cover story that delves deep into the perfect collaboration.

Next up is a taste of what’s to come for fans of the one and only Mr. A-Z. Before dropping his third studio album on April 17, Jason Mraz is releasing a four-track live EP titled Live Is A Four Letter Word and it can be yours today: the digital-only EP is now available on iTunes. The songs were recorded from his performance at Spreckels Theater in San Diego.

Oh happy day.

Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover drops rap album ‘Camp’

Community star Donald Glover is a rapper, if you didn’t know. After submitting data into a Wu-Tang Clan name generator, he decided to make the result his alter-ego rap name: Childish Gambino. Glover has been making music since 2008, outputting mixtapes and albums and headlining national tours over the years. Today his latest studio album Camp released and it includes 13 tracks. The lead single “Bonfire” has a music video and it’s embedded above. Before starring in the NBC sitcom and writing for 30 Rock, Glover made viral videos with his troup Derrick Comedy. Dan Eckman, a member of that comedy troup, directed the clip for “Bonfire.” Fair warning: the lyrics contain lots ‘o expletives. For an actor-rapper, the production value hold up pretty well, and Glover is gifted with hustle and flow. The music video includes a story and twist ending that is well worth your time; visually it’s enticing and at the same time it’ll introduce you to Glover’s rap style. Need to hear more before you purchase Camp at iTunes? NPR is currently streaming the album in its entirety.

Inside the NYC ‘Watch the Throne’ pop up store (+ album unwrapping)

This weekend I visited the Watch the Throne Retail Experience in the trendy section of Manhattan known as SoHo. To celebrate the release of their collaborative album, Jay-Z and Kanye West decorated Openhouse Gallery (201 Mulberry Street) with all sorts of Throne memorabilia. The outside of the store is dressed in the Riccardo Tisci-designed gold album art; it really pops. Friendly security holds the door open for you and keeps count of the number of people inside the store. When you walk inside the store is organized in two sections: the Maybach and the album listening experience. Jay and ‘Ye thought it’d be neat to show off the über-expensive Maybach they stripped, chopped up, and drove in the laid back “Otis” music video. The luxury car, which will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the East African drought disaster, looks really awesome up close. The doors are torn off, the trunk is home to the grill that’s normally installed on the front of the car, suicide doors stick out in the back and give the car wings, the seats have monitors inside of them, the engine looks mean, and there’s sticker on the bumper that reads “What Would Hova Do.” When I was there the security man allowed salivating attendees to snap as many pictures they could within a six second time frame. What I was able to capture sits in the gallery below.

Beyond the Maybach section of the store and down a very short flight of stairs the “Otis” music video plays on a giant wall in silence; a sound system loops the album throughout the store at a comfortable level. The listening experience section is very big; just a handful of people and I stood in the center of the large space and watched “Otis” on a loop. All around the space hefty projectors beam images from the album on the surrounding walls; the album art, the “Otis” American flag artwork, and other imagery that’s stuffed inside the deluxe version of the album are displayed. To the right an attractive woman sells the deluxe copies at $15 a pop. The small retail section consists of a table with the Riccardo Tisci artwork folded open to reveal the aforementioned album imagery. There is also a listing of the album’s tracks and production credits for attendees to glance at. On my way out I noticed DJ equipment set up in the left corner. This must have been used opening night when the pop up store was packed with celebrities like Swizz Beatz, Memphis Bleek, Beyonce, and Jay-Z himself. The store is scheduled to close its doors today at 6PM. I highly recommend you check it out before the limited run is over. On a more general note, I have to say that I love the idea of a pop up store. Openhouse Gallery is a great space in a prime location; hopefully more artists and companies choose to use it when they plan to release anticipated products.

Underneath the pop up store gallery you’ll find a collection of pictures I took while unwrapping the Watch the Throne deluxe album. The duo did a great job putting it together, and it’s no secret that Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy had a big hand in the creative direction. The packaging folds open in a cross-like shape; four of the five panels feature the same embossed pattern and the center one is unique. On the reverse side there are five unique images on each panel: the American flag image of the “Otis” single artwork, dark images of Jay and Kanye with giant fangs, an image of a winged angel with a star pasted on her face, and in the center (the sleeve that holds the CD) is a shiny visual that evokes a slab of wood. The CD is a special edition black colored disc and its face matches the wooden pattern that it’s stored within. Under the angelic imagery lives an 18-panel poster; on one side is colorful artwork that takes design cues from the H.A.M single artwork, and the reverse side spells out the production credits and lyrics for every track. What’s neat is that the lyrics specify when Jay-Z and Kanye rap in each song with the markings JZ and KW. Overall, the packaging manages to elicit what Jay and ‘Ye were originally going for with Watch the Throne: grandiose rap. Tisci successfully channel his aesthetic touch that consists of symmetry, lightness, darkness, sharpness, and 3D. If you’re going to buy a physical copy of the album (and you should!) it’s definitely worth the extra pennies to go deluxe.