Adult Rappers

Adult Rappers is a documentary that was Kickstarted in 2012, about adults who rap. It includes really great artists, including a select few from Albany.

The tagline from the Kickstarter sums up the project pretty succinctly:

Rappers get old. Their music stays the same age. We interview rap personalities past, present and future; from indy to mainstream.

Recently, they released a limited edition cassette with a collection of music from Adult Rappers. It features music from the film as well as exclusives and other originals from artists including: Alaska, Cryptic One, Dezmatic, Homeboy Sandman, J57, Mister Jason and Paten Locke and J Zone.

You can stream the release, grab a digital copy of it, or order the cassette all on their bandcamp.

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Mic Lanny & James Rock ‘Good Grief': Review

When local emcee Mic Lanny teamed up with James Rock, of Mirk, I knew the result would be something interesting. Both musicians are harboring raw talent and have been working to find their signature sounds and styles, as evident in that both musicians are really just only getting started.

This Friday marks the official release party of the collaborative EP, titled Good Grief, and will be taking place at the Hollow down on North Pearl Street, as presented by Beat*Shot Productions. The release party will hold a semi-formal theme and will also feature performances by Knowle’ge, Like Lions, Great Mastr and Muscle City. This line-up features a great mix of rock and rap, just like the album itself. Additionally, admission to this show will also come with a free copy of the EP while supplies last, which is pretty awesome.

My first listen of the album had me focusing on the instrumentals, which I found to be a very impressive showcase of talent with an excellent composition and unique sounds. I think that James Rock and Mic Lanny met in the middle somewhere in terms of the sound they were going for and the collaboration is very much in a similar styling to Mirk’s music, which I wasn’t quite expecting. An eclectic blend of pop rock and rap may not be everyone’s taste, as I personally found myself wishing the album was a little bit harder, like Mic Lanny’s usual honed delivery, but I appreciated that he showed range in his interests and approach to rapping for this project.

As far as the concept of the album being a play on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, I was anticipating more of a channeled focus material wise. Despite the upbeat pop influence instrumentally, I couldn’t tell if I was listening to a sad album or a happy album, (which is totally fine, of course), but I think for a concept album I was hoping to see the story a little clearer. Maybe Friday’s performance will open my eyes a little bit. I’m very much looking forward to hearing how everything sounds live.

All in all, the album is enjoyable and one that made me optimistic for future collaborations with these two performers. Notable tracks for me are “Talking to Walls” and “Castling” with stand out instrumentals, great hooks and excellent flow.

Friday night falls into of those “don’t miss” rap/rock show category for those looking to support local music, so don’t sleep on this!

Photo: Andrew Franciosa

Laurel Halo at EMPAC: Recap

This past Friday, upstate New York was gifted with another performance from an artist proudly of the Hyperdub roster. Laurel Halo is a brilliant producer and live electronic musician whose music gets you thinking as much you get lost in it.

I first saw Laurel Halo at TURRBOTAX®, a monthly club night in New York City that had first exposed me to some of my now-favorite producers over the past several years. In the city, it was a fully loaded dance set packed with the purest techno (read: actual techno) imaginable. Her performance at EMPAC on Friday was the complete opposite. Halo’s set was full of heavy, mysterious synths and samples that built towards one direction, and then shifted into a completely different, but not so distant direction. It was difficult to catch the rhythm or nod along but that seemed to be the clear intention of the artist.

Her set was a curious presentation of sound, as opposed to being engineered for a dance club setting like I had experienced in the past, and was somewhat expecting. I’d almost consider this set to be a total tease, knowing the type of music I’ve heard her capable of creating in the past. I enjoyed her performance with my eyes closed and my thoughts drifting, while seated in the venue’s main concert hall. There’s something to be said of being able to sit down to watch an artist with Halo’s talent and unique approach to sound. It was truly something different.

Halo’s music is meditative and pensive, while also aggressive, sharp, complicated and simple, all at once. It was all about the build with Halo controlling chaos and creating intricate patterns that seemed both illogical and perfectly on point. Whatever Halo is doing seriously works for her, as Friday’s performance had us all completely captivated.

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Sean Rowe ‘Madman’

Local hunter-gatherer turned world traveling song-man Sean Rowe has a new album out, and will be performing locally in support of his new album.

The new album is called Madman, and is available via iTunes.

Tickets are currently on sale for Rowe’s local show, which will be at CAC Woodside on Friday October 3. There will also be a pre-show reception with artwork from Scott Ackerman as well as food and drinks, which you can buy a ticket for as well.

Check out the video for Desiree and a short interview with Sean Rowe over on GQ.

Kode9 at EMPAC: Recap

Last night at EMPAC, Kode9 showcased that he is a humble performer. The iconic DJ and producer has been influencing the electronic music scene since the early 90s, and it was a truly special occasion that he was able to share his sounds with us on the absolute best sound system in upstate New York.

Kode9, known for founding the record label Hyperdub, started the evening off with a series of experimental works and slowly built into his signature styles. Throughout the night, a heavy fog filtered through the dance floor and at times even reached the knees of those in the audience, completely burying the floor and what lies beneath, providing a cool atmosphere to get lost in the music.

With such mastery of the lower, deeper end bass frequencies, Kode9 proved that he is more than worthy of having control over EMPAC’s epic sound system. Any other venue would have been a sub-par system for what Kode9’s sounds are capable of. Normally, one would have to travel three hours to a major city to be able to experience bass music that you can feel from your feet all the way up to your nose hairs, so needless to say it was a blessing to have this opportunity locally.

Kode9’s sound ranged from experimental soundscapes to jungle to footwork, including a footwork edit of “On Sight” from Kanye’s Yeezus and Biggie’s track “Dead Wrong,” among many other DJ Rashad tunes. Kode9 is an intelligent performer and kept control over the audience with seeming ease for a full two and a half hours. No gimmicks, no yelling into a microphone, no visuals – just pure, unfiltered sound that forced even the hesitant ones to dance. Needless to say, it was absolutely fantastic.

If you have never been to an event at EMPAC, simply go to the next one that your schedule will allow, regardless of if you have heard of the performer or not. For example, this Friday, EMPAC will host Laurel Halo, also from the Hyperdub family, as part of celebrating the label’s 10th year.

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Richard Barone and Bell’s Roar at The Low Beat

WEXT 97.7 is putting on an awesome show on Saturday September 13th. Richard Barone will be performing songs from his solo albums, The Bongos catalogues, a few tributes and stories as well. Bell’s Roar will be opening up the show.

Richard Barone has a crazy long history and it’s super interesting. I’d recommend flipping through his Wikipedia and learning more if you’re unfamilliar.

You can grab a free four song sampler from Richard on his website and you can buy tickets on the event page.

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Cymbals Eat Guitars tonight in Kingston

Cymbals Eat Guitars are playing BSP Kingston tonight at 9pm.

From the NPR preview of the new album, Lose:

Lose, Cymbals Eat Guitars’ third album, finds the band sticking to its old structural modus operandi — namely, stitching thunderous vamps together into rambling odysseys, then interspersing those numbers among marginally more focused songs — but also mining a rawer corner of the musical landscape. (At times, it recalls the clamor and squall of groups like Titus Andronicus and At The Drive-In.) That edge doesn’t displace the pop sensibility that underpinned prior albums, nor the habit of flitting between moods with little warning; see the way the reckless, rootsy “XR” gives way to the spacey freakout “Place Names,” which summarily cedes its ground to the keening balladry of “Child Bride.” But the exploration has a more deliberate cast.

You can still grab tickets online until 5pm, or at select local spots (Outdated Cafe, Jack’s Rhythms, Darkside Records & Gallery and Woodstock Music Shop) to avoid online ticketing fees.

For more info head to the event page and head out to BSP Kingston tonight!