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.
Actor Bryan Greenberg’s album releases next week, ‘How To Make It In America’ season 2 in production [Update: Stream single here]
Bryan Greenberg, the star of HBO’s How To Make It In America, is about to drop his debut album. It’s called We Don’t Have To Wait Forever and it releases January 18. It’s being described as “a fresh collection of introspective narratives and soulful ballads” and it features a track called “You Can Run” that features Kid Cudi. Back in June Cudder dropped by a live Greenberg performance and laid down a freestyle and joined in on the chorus. In an interview with Complex Magazine Greenberg shares the story:
“I did have one [song] in mind for him and he did it live. He came to my show like a year ago in New York, when I was on tour. He jumped on stage for a little freestyle. When he heard the song he was like, “I really like it and that’s why I’m going to do it.” I was really honored by that. I thought he was going to rap, but he sang. It was cool. He’s really a true artist.”
Looking forward to the second season of HTMIIA? In that same interview Greenberg talked about what’s in store for Ben and Cam. ”[The show] hasn’t reached the tipping point at all. I’m going back to L.A. next week and we’re going to do read-throughs of the first four episodes. I’m super excited. It’s going forward a couple of months and the business is growing…it’s like, how does this guy become Ralph Lauren? How does it happen? We take if from the street, like early, early sh– to like…that’s the goal, you know? It’s going to take years to develop.”
Preview the album’s lead single “Walk Away” in the video embedded above. How to Make It In America season 2 is currently in production and is expected to air this summer.
Update: The acoustic-based single “You Can Run” featuring Kid Cudi’s singing voice is now available to stream! Listen to it below and download it here.
Fun fact. The inspiration for the song actually stems from Greenberg’s character Ben from HTMIIA. “I was kind of writing from the point of view of Ben and being scorned by Rachel and that just being a reason to succeed in life,” he says. “I did notice that a lot of successful people in this world, they always say that it’s about the art or it’s about the work. But when it comes down to it, [what drives them is that] they were made fun of in high school. Or there was a girl that dumped them and they’re trying to get back at them. I was coming from that mentality.”
Told you the Kanye West news was far from over. In an interview with MTV, Kanye West revealed that the upcoming collab EP with big brother Jay-Z will in fact be a full length album. ‘Ye said, “We did like five [songs] so far, and then a few of them kind of were out there, and I put them on my album. Sorry, Jay!” He’s most definitely talking about G.O.O.D. Friday turned My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy tracks “Monster” (Featuring Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver) and “So Appalled” (Featuring Jay-Z, Pusha T, Swizz Beatz & CyHi Da Prynce). West continued, “But we’ve got some more, and we’re going to the south of France at the end of this month just to record our ideas.” See Kanye fans? Fantasy may contain a bunch of songs we’ve already heard, but ‘Ye and Jay-Z have many more tunes up their sleeves. Looking forward to it.
Jed Whedon, the man behind all the catchy tunes from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, released his very first album unto the world on August 10. Hopefully you previewed three tracks from the album History of Forgotten Things when I shared them with you a few weeks ago. If you did you would know that the album has no connection to his cheery, catchy hits from Dr.H. (Except for the fact that Felicia Day lends background vocals and violin strings to a number of tracks.) Instead it takes a more personal, grounded journey that covers many bases ranging from traumatic experiences to character-study songs. In a humorous interview led by his brother Joss, he listed Paul Simon, Brian Eno, Jane’s Addiction, and Pink Floyd as influences on the record, categorized the album as “alternative/singer-songwriter/ambient/rock”, explained that the cohesive theme is nostalgia, and talked about the nature of the album title:
“The title comes from a few things — the terrifying feeling that we are forgetting our life as it rolls along. My obsession with all the history that was never documented (though in the digital age, that may be over). As well as the sensation that history can give you. A feeling that is indescribable. That feeling of connection through the ages. It is related to nostalgia. Sometimes, when I pass through a town I have never seen before, I long to not only live there, but to have lived there my whole life; to be nostalgic for it. I get the same feeling from history. I yearn to have lived during all those times. And, of course, in the future.”
Jed plans to continue his music career by releasing some EPs “soon” and another album “in the future.” “But first”, he says, ”I am going to start fleshing out some DH2 stuff.” You hear that, Dr.H fans? The sequel really is being worked on! Too bad Joss is busy working on other projects at the moment (ahem–The Avengers).
History of Forgotten Things is available to download at the iTunes Store. So stop reading this and listen to it right now.
Kanye West braces for new album by previewing new songs at Facebook, joining Twitter [Update: Rolling Stone visit]
After spending some time out of the limelight, Kanye West has returned to entertain us with his slick, emotionally-driven raps and different side of his thumping ego. On Wednesday Kanye visited Facebook HQ in Palo Alto, California to preview four tracks from his upcoming album. He donned a fresh suit and rapped a capella atop a table inside a fluorescently lit conference room in front of Facebook employees. He starts with a “fun rap”, that’s the one embedded above. It rocks. “Kill the hypocrisy/This is an aristocracy..I’m Socrates/But my skin more chocolatey.” The next rap is rather short; it may just be a freestyle, but it’s got a sick line in it: “Lost in this plastic life/Let’s break out of this fake-ass party, turn this into a classic night.” The next song likely titled “Chain Heavy” is dipped in politics and contains this humorous line: “They try to tell me that aliens built the pyramids/I swear life’s on bitch on a period”; it concludes with my favorite line I’ve heard this far: “This is the making of a masterpiece/So we broke out the chains and told our master, ‘Peace’.” The fourth song is called “Mama’s Boyfriend” and it’s an extremely emotional track about Kanye’s late mother Donde West. In it he journeys back to the days when his divorced mother started dating other men. “I’m my mama’s boyfriend/I’m her little husband…Keep your hands off my mama” he screams. Apprently this track took him 33 years to write and it clearly means a lot to him. ‘Ye drops so many uses of the n-word in this track, but he says, “I’m allowed to use it.”
Later that day he posted this message targeted to the Facebook employees: “Many times in life I’ve had to deal with moments of doubt. And as it’s been a minute since I’ve performed any fresh material in front of an audience, this could’ve been one of those moments… but it wasn’t. Your energy was a gift so electric, so genuine, that it really helped me give my best. The energy was so inspiring I had to keep going! I just hope you got as much from me as I got from you…which was everything!” Be sure to look after the break to listen to all the tracks.
From one popular social network to another, Kanye finally caved in and joined the Twitterverse. And you know what? He actually comes across a non-egotistical funnyman. Peep his first tweet: “Up early in the morning taking meetings in Silicone Valley.” This was followed almost immediately by: “Lol I spelled Silicon wrong ( I guess I was still thinking about the other type of silicone ITS A PROCESS!! : )” Then came some important news regarding his upcoming album: “The album is no longer called “Good Ass Job” I’m bouncing a couple of titles around now.” Just confirming our suspicions, Kanye. After giving a handful of shoutouts to various blogs for reporting his Facebook HQ visit, he started to notice how quickly he was garnering a following. In less than two days he managed to gain a following of nearly 300,000 (he’s currently at 293,687 followers). With tweets like these: “My thoughts on Twitter so far… at the end of the day, God damnit I’m killing this shit!!!” and “I think Twitter was designed specifically with me in mind just my humble opinion hahhhahaaaahaaa humble hahahahhahaahaaaa” you might think ‘Ye is stroking his ego again, but I think he’s actually starting to satirize himself. He’s finally realized that he “has the power to let power go” and he’s learning from his past mistakes. Hilarious comic (and one of Kanye’s friends) Aziz Ansari started trending the hashtag #PredictingKanyeTweets, and Kanye simply retweeted jokes that were on him. “Damn I wish Hermes made edible snacks, Cheezits just ain’t dope enough for my mouth”, tweeted Ansari. The fact that he’s not retaliating but instead having fun with his new lease on life through Twitter makes me believe that he’s turning a corner for the better. But don’t take my word for it. Follow @kanyewest and form your own opinions.
At the end of the day, it appears as if Kanye wants to begin a new chapter in his career. After coming out of hiding he decided to tease some tracks and open up his fanbase using the power of social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter. It’s an interesting and unconventional route to take but it’s one I can commend. Welcome back Mr. West. September 14 come now please.
Update: Later in the week Kanye visited a bunch of magazine headquarters including XXL and Rolling Stone. A video surfaced on YouTube from his meeting with the latter outlet. Look for it after the break.
House fans, listen here! Hugh Laurie, aka Dr. Gregory House, wants to record a blues album and he’s going for it! It was announced Monday that Laurie signed with Warner Music Entertainment to make a New Orleans-inspired blues album. “I am drunk with excitement at this opportunity,” Laurie said in a press release. “I know the history of actors making music is a checkered one, but I promise no one will get hurt.” Joe Henry has signed on to produce.
He’s finally got the chance to share his piano and guitar skills he often flaunts on the show with the rest of the world. And if you were wondering, Laurie is apparently a self-taught pianist due to “creative differences” with his childhood piano teacher. Oh, House.
Jed Whedon is ready to go solo. After teaming up with brothers Joss (Buffy, The Avengers) and Zack (Fringe) to create the amazingness that is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and composing last year’s Guild smash “(Do You Wanna Date My) Avatar“, the youngest Whedon is prepping his solo debut album titled History of Forgotten Things. He posted three tracks from it onto his SoundCloud profile page, and they’re embedded above for your convenience. Since he had a significant hand in the making of Horrible and its catchy, high production value hits, I have little doubt his foray into the music biz will go unseen. Frustrated, angry, or having a bad day? After previewing Jed’s soothing tracks you will feel much better. Side effects include the sudden anticipation of his album which drops on August 10.
You all know about Owl City (aka Adam Young) and his chart-topping song “Fireflies” and album Ocean Eyes. But did you know that before Owl City there was Sky Sailing and he had an album called An Airplane Carried Me To Bed? Here’s the story behind what’s being called a “side project” in Young’s words:
Three and a half years ago, I recorded a collection of songs in my parent’s basement during the bleary-eyed hours of night when sleep and I could not bring ourselves to meet. I was a metalworker, working 6 AM to 4 PM at a warehouse in my little southern Minnesota town. I was writing, creating, thinking, imagining and breathing music with every second I had to spare. Music has always been my dream, but at that point in time, it was merely a feather tossed to the wind. Regardless, my spirits were far from dampened and I created music as fast and as furiously as I could. In my little basement bedroom, I had an old Dell computer, Reason 2.5, a friend’s borrowed Behringer C-1 condenser, a Behringer 8 channel analog mixer and my uncle’s old Alvarez. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I was a dreamer and music was my escape so I gave it everything I had. Never expecting my music to be heard anywhere but by my parents through the floorboards above, I wrote for my own ears. I was both artist and audience and I called myself Sky Sailing.
It’s true–the Sky Sailing’s vocals are very similar to what we hear on Ocean Eyes today. What differenciates the two alter egos is that Sky Sailing trades in Owl City’s current crop of synth-infused tracks for those that feature acoustic guitar and standard piano keys. Young explained to Billboard, “It was clear early on that it needed to be separate from Owl City. Overall, this piece is disconnected enough to be its own thing.”
On July 13, the 11-track An Airplane Carried Me To Bed was released to iTunes exclusively; it hits stores in physical form tomorrow (7/27). Although Young has done little to promote this new album, it quickly climbed the charts and sold thousands of copies during its initial digital release week. If you’re a fan of Owl City, you’ll want to preview what Sky Sailing has to offer. Feel free to preview four tracks from Airplane on his MySpace page.
It’s been a long time coming for British musician Mr Hudson. Though you’ve probably heard of him from Jay-Z’s recent single “Young Forever”, Hudson has been in the music biz since 2007 when he dropped his first album A Tale of Two Cities. Back then he was in a band called Mr Hudson & the Library. Having listened to his debut album and working alongside him at his Glow in the Dark tour, rapper Kanye West fell in love with Hudson’s sound, and so he decided to sign him to his G.O.O.D. music label. Hudson graciously accepted and started to work on his debut solo album Straight No Chaser, which would be executive produced by Kanye. The 12-track album includes singles “There Will Be Tears“, ”Supernova” (Featuring Kanye West), “White Lies“, “Everything Is Broken” (Featuring Kid Cudi), and “Anyone But Him” (Featuring Kanye West). It released in the UK way back on October 19, 2009. After numerous delays, it was finally made available to purchase and download in the U.S. on June 29, 2010. The UK version contains two additional tracks (“Lift Your Head” & a Calvin Harris remix of “Supernova”).
The best way to describe Mr Hudson’s music is alternative hip hop/electro-pop, if that makes any sense. Straight No Chaser is a breakup album, so naturally it features heavy bass thumping tracks with softer ones to balance it all out. Hudson is a fan of auto-tune, and so a number of the tracks include him using it. Interestingly, he eliminates the use of auto-tune when he’s touring; he finds it to be a fun and useful tool when working in the studio. Having listened to the album only once all the way through, I am not ready to formally review it yet. However I can say that Mr Hudson is going to be huge. He is a gifted artist with a knack for writing and beatmaking. I’d really like to see him perform live someday. Just read these choice words from collaberator Kanye West: “I believe Mr Hudson has the potential to be bigger than me, to be one of the most important artists of his generation.” Again, that comes from Kanye West!
Be sure to look after the break for some more Hudson content. You’ll find music videos for “Instant Messenger” and “Central Park”, plus there’s a short trailer that celebrates the U.S. release of the record. (Click here for more…)
“Memories” is the latest single (following “Sexy Bitch”) off David Guetta’s fourth album One Love. iTunes has the album; the single; and a new Memories EP that features the single, an extended version, and a remix. To be honest the music video is EH, but I’m diggin the track.
Will Shuester–er, Matthew Morrison–is taking it to the next level. He plans on releasing his own album sometime this year with Mercury Records. “What I’m creating has yet to be defined yet but I want it to be something very diverse. For me, music is about creating a mood. The best songs for me are songs that I just lose myself in.” He adds, “I don’t wanna put out a crap CD. I want it to be with substance. I don’t wanna be singing about money or handbags.” Question is, what will it sound like? “I’m drawing my inspiration from like Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. All those people that kind of did it all: film, TV, Broadway. I’m just so influenced by that music.” Sounds good to me. I’m picturing Michael Buble-esque sound with a Matthew Morrison touch that only he can blurt out. If it sounds anything like we’ve heard from him on Glee–but more mature–I think I might be satisfied. We’ll have to wait and see.
At his latest show in Milaukee rapper Kid Cudi announced the “official” name of his sophomore collaborative album: Cudder and The Revolution of the Evolution. I say “official” because Cudi is known for announcing an album title and changing it around a couple times before it releases. His first album was originally called “Man on the Moon: The Guardians” and was changed to Man on the Moon: The End of Day. We’ve know for quite some time that his next album was going to be titled “Cudder,” but now he has gone head and added “The Revolution of the Evolution” to it. I can see this latest iteration potentially finalizing into “Cudder: The Revolution of Evolution” but we shall wait and see. Looking forward to it.
Sure, the world doesn’t really like Kanye West right now. No matter what you may think about him he is still a very talented musician and deserves a listen. A while back West performed on VH1 a bunch of his latest songs from 808s & Heartbreak as well as some of his classics. It really was a great show. If you’re a fan of West and his music or if you happend to miss the performance you can now purchase Storytellers on DVD. The package includes over 70 minutes of performance footage, with three songs that were not televised (“Street Lights,” “Paranoid,” and “Homecoming”), and a Q&A session with West. It also comes with an audio CD that includes all nine live tracks.
Ryan Leslie is an extremely talented producer-turned-musician. Check out his second album Transition on iTunes. The entire album is written, arranged, produced, and engineered by Leslie.
R.Les is a master of the keyboard and creates genius beats. If you like what you hear, make sure you also take a listen to his self-titled first studio album. Very good stuff.
Soon after the release of his first studio album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, rapper Kid Cudi is already talking about his next album called Cudder. Cudi labels the next album a collaboration CD that will feature artists that inspire him. In his own words…
“Cudder is basically an album of me working with artists that have inspired me or artists that have helped me grow and people who I’ve always admired. So far, we’ve got Snoop, Travis Barker — trying to get Green Day onboard, hopefully, Kings of Leon, hopefully. I’m really trying to do all the collabs that I couldn’t do for the [Man on the Moon] album, and then some, because the album was so themed that I had to strip a lot of features. We’re going to have the Clipse on this compilation, Robin Thicke, hopefully we’re going to get in the studio, I just did a record for his upcoming album; it’s amazing.”
Expect to listen to what is sure to be another hit from newcomer Kid Cudi this summer “at the latest.”
Bret McKenzie & Jemaine Clement, the comedic folksy duo that comprise Flight of the Conchords, have released their second studio album with I Told You I Was Freaky. This follows their hilariously successful first hit, their self-titled Flight of the Conchords. Just like their first album, I Told You I Was Freaky contains all of their songs performed during the second season of the hit HBO series Flight of the Conchords. Some stand-out, personal favorites include “Hurt Feelings,” “Sugalumps,” “Too Many Dicks (On the Dance Floor),” and “You Don’t Have to be a Prostitute.” You can purchase the new album at Amazon or on iTunes. While the iTunes version contains a bonus track with “Pencils in the Wind,” the hard copy version packs a poster and a songbook that features the lyrics and chords to each song. (Read: get the hard copy version.)
If you haven’t heard of Flight of the Conchords, do yourself a BIG favor and watch the first two seasons. Get Season 1 here and Season 2 here. The New Zealander’s perfect blend of comedy and music takes you on fun, stupid, and sometimes trippy worthwhile ventures. Bret and Jemaine are laugh-out-loud hilarious. But please, don’t take my word for it. Check out Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD. And once you become fans of these relevant off-beat musicians, go ahead and enjoy their CDs. It’s a riot.
Though the duo has gone on the record of saying that this is the end of the road for the Flight of the Conchord HBO series, they do leave room for a possibility. Check out an old but good interview that took place during the production of Season 2 after the break. Good news is that Flight of the Conchords was a “folk” music group before it was a TV series. So even if the show does not air a third season, there is much hope for another studio album or tour. Also, we can’t forget that a few FOTC tracks will be making their way to Rock Band soon!
It has just been announced that successful newcomer Kid Cudi will be joining Lady Gaga on her upcoming tour called “The Monster Ball.” The tour begins on November 27 in Montreal and ends in New York City on January 21. Cudder will be the supporting act for the entire duration of the tour. Ticket information has not yet been released. Look after the break for the tour dates; the gallery below reveals the official tour poster.
In related news, Lady Gaga will be re-releasing her successful freshman hit “The Fame.” “The Fame Monster” will include 10 new tracks. It releases on November 24. The image above is the album cover, and the gallery below has the deluxe edition album cover. The covers were designed and photographed by Hedi Slimane.
Simply put, Death Cab for Cutie’s Narrow Stairs is what music is all about. All eleven tracks, from the rhyming “Bixby Canyon Bridge” to the soft yet entrancing “The Ice is Getting Thinner,” reveal to the listener a doorway to a place where vocals do not just provide words to a song–they are there as a vital piece of the instrumentation and wholeness of the song. Death Cab is comprised of a guitarist in Chris Walla, a bassist in Nick Hammer, a drummer in Jason McGerr, and the lead vocalist, guitarist, and pianist in Benjamin Gibbard. Although one can sit and review the meanings behind the emotion embedded within each track, this is not my mission. It is far more worthy to discuss Gibbard’s attempt at going against the status quo and creating a spectacular album that shines in almost every way.
Continue after the break.
Jay-Z’s latest album The Blueprint 3 drops September 11. The album will feature Rihanna, Kanye West (on two tracks), Kid Cudi, Luke Steele, Young Jeezy, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beats, Drake, Pharrell, and Mr Hudson. DAMN! Look after the break of the album cover and backside for the track listing.
As we get closer to the debut of Kid Cuid’s first album Cudder himself has unveiled the final version of the “scenelist” for Man on the Moon: The End of Day. Notice that the album does not have a track list; Cudi is purposely setting up his album to play like a movie with individual scenes, not traditional tracks. The first two singles off the album are “Day N’ Nite” and “Make Her Say.” On his blog Cudder tells his fans to “stay tuned on Twitter for a sneak peak of the movie poster” and the next single will be “Pursuit of Happiness.” Look out for will be an impressive and unique album experience when it drops on September 15.