Listen: PJ Katz – Ear Food Volume 1

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I’ve been listening to the latest release from Pig Food Records all weekend and then some. If you’ve become familiar with my writing and tastes over the past couple years then you know this is definitely my style – plus the type of music that I want to share with everyone.

Ear Food Volume 1 is a compilation of 23 brand new instrumental beats by producer PJ Katz. I’m glad I’m not a rapper or DJ because if that were the case I would definitely be interested in stopping what I’m doing immediately to work with these beats. That being said, this release isn’t solely for the music and tastemakers, it’s one for fans of simply good music too.

PJ Katz is a thoughtful producer who thinks about the experience of listening both as a whole and of individual components alike. Each track is balanced, creative, interesting and perhaps one could even say organic. It bangs and it flows.

In addition, the guys at Pig Food Records have taken a unique take on the release, making it available locally first and digitally secondary. They want you to get out of the house, which I am in full support of, especially since it’s for the purpose of seeking out music.

Ear Food Volume 1 is available exclusively at local businesses, Fuzz Records, Seasons Skate Shop and Some Girls Boutique.

Go pick it up. All you have to do is ask the staff for a download card. If you live outside of the Albany area, the release will be available for a free download sometime next month. But until then, go take a walk down Lark street or in Troy. You’ll be glad you did.

Review: Sev Statik – Sophy EP

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Perhaps one of my favorite parts about listening to (and consequently supporting) music created in the 518 is the opportunity for intimacy as listener. Simply knowing that the music was created locally, from its inspiration to its conception to its recording process to its release, automatically makes it more appealing to me. It’s impossible to say but maybe I’m unlike other people or maybe I’m like every other listener in that regard. Simply, if I enjoy or connect with the music, I want to know more about the musician. And vice versa. That desire for curiosity happens less often for me in the mainstream music sphere and that’s why I place value and emphasis on focusing on discovering music on independent, underground and local levels.

It’s all subjective, of course, and that’s why a big part of me fights the urge every blog post to not simply say “Here’s music I recently found and here’s the download link. Listen.” Perhaps some people would prefer that method of writing about music but to me there’s value in spending more time crafting reviews and I hope at the very least, you do take a minute to listen.

A recent example comes from the latest release from hip hop artist Sev Statik. His EP, Sophy, is out today on Sub-Bombin Records and is available for free download. The EP is entirely produced by PJ Katz of Pig Food Records, features a track with Animal Cracker and cuts by J-Live. The EP is in advance of a full length record which will be released later this year. By the people, for the people.

Hit the jump to read my full review.

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Review: Masai – Almost Home

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While listening to the 15 tracks that make up Almost Home you are getting to know the artist behind the music as if he’s there sitting next to you on a park bench, casually bearing his soul to you, while also making you laugh and carefully listening to what you have to say. That’s Masai, as I’ve come to know him.

For some unfortunate reason, such a personable artist-and-listener interaction and consequential intimate relationship feels rare in today’s music scene, in both local and international examples. In this particular release, emcee and writer Masai created an album that in theory, is all about him, his life and his experiences, and in its outcome, it is actually not only about him, his life and his experiences. He takes small details and turns the focus on the larger picture, all with the collaborative help of over a dozen reinforcements.

Almost Home joins releases Almost Gone (2007) and Almost Back (2010), bringing Masai’s trilogy of solo albums full-circle. The release date of Almost Home, today, February 13, 2013, marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of his mother and serves as a tribute to her life. The album overcomes hardships and grief, displaying strength, honesty, perspective, growth and depth, which are core themes of hip-hop and life, in and of itself.

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KC’s Music Monday: PJ Katz

When it comes to the genre of hip hop, I’m lazy.

A quick glance at my iTunes library will reflect that inexcusable flaw of mine. I’ve got Dilla, Biggie and the Beastie Boys in heavy rotation, plus a couple albums from left field, such as Mr. Complex’s latest on local label Sub-Bombin. As for the rest? For some reason, I want tastemakers to bring quality hip hop to me, when I least expect it.

Luckily, there’s crew like Pig Food Records and an extended family within 518 hip hop looking after me. If you don’t know much about the genre and are willing to admit it like I am, rest assured that while you’re sleeping, countless people are working hard into the night contributing to the genre and helping to build and sustain an important cog within local culture.

The latest example is one-man band and producer extraordinaire, PJ Katz.

Katz’ new album, ’92 Renault Music, (which drops tomorrow on Pig Food Records), is about to show you firsthand why he’s one of the areas best kept secrets that just can’t be kept quiet anymore.

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Must Watch: “Marshall Applewhite” by PJ Katz ft. Giant Gorilla Dog Thing and Gorilla Tao

Ever get a song stuck in your head before you even get the words down? That’s basically what I experienced yesterday after I listened to this track from a local gem of a musician, PJ Katz.

In advance of his release of his latest work, “’92 Renault Music,” which will be available on October 16th via Pig Food Records, Katz gathered his best troops for a modern day battle of an epic nerdy proportion, all set to the soundtrack of “Marshall Applewhite” which features Giant Gorilla Dog Thing and Gorilla Tao.

The video came out simply awesome and there’s a lot of local faces throughout. The music video’s concept and execution matches the song perfectly, in a weird, creative way and the editing/direction is of the highest calibre. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least, that something featuring ninja turtle masks could come off so realistic and professional (?), while still being lighthearted and fun and maybe even totally serious. I can’t wait to check out the full album, which is available for pre-order here. PJ Katz will also be throwing a release party in celebration on November 17th at Valentines. Peep details here.

Also with full disclosure, I’ve watched this video (and therefore listened to the track) about six times in a row so far and I can’t get enough. I’m sure “Marshall Applewhite” will speak for itself, so check it out below: