Watsky just released the music video for his song, “Stick To Your Guns” featuring Julia Nunes. You can watch the video below, or here.
The video is visually modeled after a storybook, with bright colors and cartoon sheep. Despite the seemingly simplistic nature of the video, it aims to tackle the controversy of gun violence and mass shootings.
In an NPR article, Watsky writes;
“My aim was to present one archetypal shooting, each verse coming from the perspective of a different person involved in the event, and highlight the similar pageant we go through every time this happens in America. The first verse is from the perspective of the shooter — I'm trusting the audience to listen on, because until you get to the second verse, it's almost impossible to know the song is satire. I did worry that this could come off as callous to people who have lost loved ones in shootings, but ultimately decided that I would let the song stand on its own merits.
Purchase Watsky’s most recent album, ‘X Finity,’ here.
Fans have been patiently awaiting the return of Ed Sheeran since January 2016 when he proclaimed that he would be taking a year off from music and the spotlight. Ed resurfaced in January 2017 and quickly released two singles “Castle on the Hill” with cover art of a horizontal black line on a blue background, as well as “Shape of You” with a back colon on the same blue background.
Rumors of an upcoming album are already swirling amongst fans, and based on the singles’ cover art as well as Ed’s social media accounts being riddled with division signs one can only assume the upcoming album will be entitled . This album title makes thematic sense following X released in 2014.
“Shape of You”
Based on all of the romantic songs he has released, and those that have received significant accolades, Ed is surely a hopeless romantic. In the past he has expressed a desire to settle down and have a family, and this song appears to mark guys’ nights out and an attempt at love, or simply lust. Regardless, we are back to the catchy rhythmic beats alongside the lyrically talented and borderline rapping Ed.
“Castle on the Hill”
From what I can tell this track was written while Ed was on his way home one year ago, a love song to his childhood and life in Hebden Bridge, UK. He reminisces on old relationships, and scenes from his younger years. You can sense his excitement and anticipation of being in a familiar place, living a simpler life with old friends.
Drake’s success within the hip-hop community has been impressive, but his most recent accomplishment might just solidify his place as the primary artist to represent our generation’s mainstream hip-hop artists.
According to Pollstar, Drake’s Summer Sixteen Tour took 11th place of highest-grossing 2016 worldwide tour, grossing $84.3 million.
This ranking places Drake significantly above Kanye West and the Saint Pablo Tour at 29th place grossing $52.8 million. According to Pollstar the Summer Sixteen Tour has sold 752,141 tickets at an average of $112 per ticket.
Regardless of whether you are a diehard Drake fan or found yourself siding with Meek Mill a few months ago, or you couldn’t care less about him, that is an impressive number of people who are willing to pay at least $100 to see Drake perform.
And yes I am very bitter that I was unable to be present at the Summer Sixteen Tour, but clearly it was a fantastic accomplishment.
“Hwages” exposes the current Saudi Arabian guardianship system with music, imagery, and humor.
Featuring multiple women, but directed by a man, this video has been altered to highlight focal points, for a wide variety of social media platforms and languages. All videos have been shared and viewed thousands, even millions of times, people worldwide are listening.
Read more here or on The Fader.
J. Cole released his album 4 Your Eyez Only in December 2016, which was also a significant month for him personally. Around the same time 4 Your Eyez Only was released it came out that Cole had secretly married long time college sweetheart Melissa Heholt, and in the same month Heholt gave birth to their first daughter.
Theses events are reflected within the album, with multiple songs- mainly “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Foldin Clothes”- focusing on aspects of healthy monogamous relationships. As well as “She’s Mine Pt.1” seemingly written to Heholt, and “She’s Mine Pt. 2” about his newborn daughter. My favorite track is definitely “Change” which is extremely sobering a real, yet somehow uplifting and hopeful. The entire album is matured and focused, Cole’s intentions and priorities are very clear.
The xx just released a new single from their upcoming album, “I See You,” available on January 13th (Pre-order here). “Say Something Loving” is more uplifting than the group’s past work. Following the release of “On Hold,” another single from the new album released late last year, “I See You” may usher in a possible new and more confident sound for The xx.
Personally, I like “Say Something Loving.” It isn’t drastically different from their previous music, and still has the same airy, rhythmic vibe from their last three albums.
Listen to “Say Something Loving” here or below.
Thievery Corporation and The Reminders @ College Street Music Hall, New Haven, CT, 12/14 By Zack Gomez
It was December 14th, 2016. Thievery Corporation was playing at College Street Music Hall. Winter was making its impending presence known. Faced with the prospect of paying for parking, I instead elected to park far away and walk in the cold. I arrived at College Street and got inside just in time to see the tour opener take the stage.
The Reminders, a Colorado-based hip-hop group steeped in roots, soul and electronica, deliver humanist themes of community and family through front-couple Aja Black and Big Samir. They switch fluently between rapping and singing as they trade off bars and verses, Aja effervescently leading the audience in call-and-response segments and Samir performing bilingually in English and French. Backed by Colorado emcee DJ Lazy Eyez,
The Reminders allow their influences to bleed into each other to create feel-good music that avoids being pinned down by a single clear genre label. What is clear, however, is why Thievery Corporation picked them to tour: their stage presence is vibrant and direct, and the two bands project many overlapping themes common to reggae, dancehall and even protest music. The Reminders released their most recent album, Born Champions, in 2012.
Between sets I spoke to Samir and Aja at the merch table and explored College Street Music Hall’s balcony, which had been closed on my last visit.
The balcony is tiered rather steeply, just like much of the main floor, giving everyone a clear, wide view of the stage. I don’t doubt that the roomy field of view was appreciated by many concertgoers that night - I lost count of Thievery Corporation’s performers and crew, who made use of every inch of the stage. The Corporation’s drum kit was placed at stage left, with its usual position at center stage occupied by two DJ risers and microphones for the horn section. At stage right was a veritable laboratory of percussive instruments.
Before too long an army of musicians took the stage and launched directly into “Facing East”. Thievery Corporation is a D.C.-based music collective birthed in the mid-1990s by DJs Rob Garza and Eric Hilton (a noted dining and nightlife entrepreneur). While their defining release, The Richest Man in Babylon, is a smooth, consistent blend of trip-hop, bossa nova, and lounge, they have (both before and since that release) blazed trails into other genres such as reggae, jazz, psychedelia and electronica.
Thievery Corporation is currently wrapping up their 20th anniversary tour, with a stage show featuring performers drawn from across the globe. Vocalists LouLou Ghelichkhani (France, Iran), Sleepy Wonder (Jamaica), Puma Ptah (St. Thomas); bassist Ashish Vyas (Washington, D.C.), and many more artists lend to the group a huge variety of experience, culture, taste and texture that aids Garza and Hilton on their never-ending aural expedition.
I had a blast photographing Thievery, particularly guitarist Rob Myers (who is himself a photographer), and was impressed by both the size and mellow, friendly vibe of the audience they drew. The next landmark on Thievery Corporation’s journey, The Temple of I & I, is scheduled for release in February 2017. Catch them if you can.
Setlist (all abbreviations and shorthand appears as written by band):
If you know me at all, you know I won’t hesitate to spend money on a) food, b) concerts, or c) day trips; especially ones that involve food and concert. So of course I took a train to New York so I could see a handful of my favorite bands at Run for Cover’s Something In The Way Fest.
After trekking nearly two miles in 15 degree weather, watching a friend nearly get hit by a speeding taxi, and being interrogated by security in line about a suspicious-looking water bottle, my group finally made it into Webster Hall. We had decided ahead of time to bounce between the Grand Ballroom, Marlin Room, and Studio so we could see as many of the thirteen bands as possible.
With this in mind, my friends and I made our way upstairs to see Teen Suicide. I was surprised by how quiet and sweet their set was; when I saw them with Elvis Depressedly in Philly, their show involved a lot more yelling and moshing. Sam Ray has a talent for versatility, pulling off both performances from every end of the alt-rock spectrum. Halfway through, we headed to Marlin to see part of Petal’s performance. I’d never listened to their music before and fell in love with the voice of Kiley Lotz. Though it’s rare to find a band signed to Run for Cover with a lead female vocalist, it’s always refreshing.
My friends and I had declared Citizen was one of our Priority Bands, AKA no matter what, we had to make it to their set. Being only five feet tall is both the best and worst thing at shows; it’s usually a con because I constantly take elbows to the face in mosh pits, but on the other hand, I can stealthily sneak to the front of the crowd without obscuring anyone’s view. I was almost at the barrier by the time the band got on stage, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of their live music.
The emotion behind every lyric was just as strong as every time I’d listen to Citizen’s Spotify tracks on shuffle-yes, shuffle; who has money for premium when shows cost so much, amiright? The band mostly played songs off their Youth album, the vocals standing out above all else. Mat Kerekes’ voice being the soundtrack of my first two years of high school, I was honestly awestruck hearing it live and seeing Mat Kerekes in the flesh. My friend talked me into losing my crowd-surfing virginity during The Night I Drove Alone and I’ve never been so grateful for peer pressure.
We decided to get into Marlin as soon as possible so we could get good spots for Our Top Priority Band, the one band none of us had seen live before but were dying to, Turnover. My friend Kayla, a pro at navigating bigger venues, led me through the crowd during MeWithoutYou, a band I hadn’t really listened to before but I got La Dispute vibes from. Once a wave of fans made their way to the exit, we managed to get great spots. Turnover was my personal favorite live performance of the night- their songs sounded practically identical to their studio.
Austin Getz’s voice was just as sweet and sentimental as I expected while he sang every somber lyric. We listened to most of the Peripheral Vision album, which remains one of my favorite indie rock albums because of its melancholic and dreamy sound. We had a ton of fun, even while dodging stage divers (a feat I passed up when I saw Kayla’s swollen thumb from hitting the ground). Turnover’s set was quite possibly my favorite of the night.
My friends and I made it to the center of Grand Ballroom for the final set of the night, Modern Baseball. We had seen them in Allentown, PA in November during their tour with Brand New and The Front Bottoms, and I was excited to finally have floor spots for one of their shows.
Their performance was a perfect mix of their older songs off Sports and You’re Gonna Miss It All, along with the top tracks of Holy Ghost. I was beyond psyched to listen to a Mobo set that lasted longer than fifteen minutes, since the one they played on Brand New’s tour was so short. I enjoyed the pit a little too much. There’s something about being thrown around and decked by a bunch of men twice your size that can’t be explained with anything other than exhilarating.
I left Webster hall soaked with sweat-drenched clothes, busted-up knees, a phone charge of 10%, and not a single regret. It was easily the most fun I've had at a show I’ve been to this year- I’m looking forward to Run for Cover’s next big festival more than anything.
Listen below to the official Bruised Knuckles 2016 holiday playlist.
What we're listening to.