Run The Jewels Release New Track “Blockbuster Night Pt. 1”

run the jewels, rtj, killer mike, el-p

El-P and Killer Mike have been keeping themselves busy the past few years, that is for certain. Aside from each releasing monster solo albums individually, as well as some mix tapes, they also teamed up last year to form a supergroup duo like no other known as Run The Jewels. If you missed that album last year, I am sorry, but luckily there is this thing called the internet that can assist you in still finding a way to get your hands on it. And be sure that you do get a hold of RTJ1 ASAP just so that you can enjoy this year’s follow up, RTJ2 all the more when it gets released October 28, 2014. Last week the duo announced the new album’s release date as they dropped their killer new track like a bomb on the world of rap, “Blockbuster Night Pt. 1”, which you can and should listen to below.
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Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 Recap

Pitchfork Music Festival, 2013

On the surface level, I think it’s natural to have some preconceived notions of what a festival put on by Pitchfork may be like. Pretentious I would imagine is the first thing that would come to many people’s minds. An uppity crowd filled with music snobs and young folks more focused on style than substance. You’d probably also assume that following suit with any other festival/venue it would provide nothing but overpriced food and beverages that would be moderately annoying to wait in line to get as well. The lineup can also be a bit off-putting for some. Unsure of all the names on the lineup seems to be a problem for even dedicated music followers at times as Pitchfork likes to stick with very highly acclaimed (even if it is themselves in fact acclaiming them) list of acts. Not to mention the staggeringly small number of acts for a three day festival that pales in comparison to that of a Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, or Coachella.

After attending this festival for the second time, I have to say that I am continually amazed at how far off base all of these notions are. Every one of them. The crowd is amazingly genuine. It is smaller than most fests, but people there seem to be genuinely into music. I attribute this largely due to the fact that Pitchfork’s lineup is not conducive for the teenie-bopper types that are looking to attend a three day festival to simply see one show a day whether that be Monsters of Men or fun.. All of the fans at Pitchfork seem to genuinely be there to enjoy all music. As far as price goes, there is hardly a bar in Chicago where you can get craft beers for $5, let alone a spectacle venue. Food is also moderately priced, from local Chicago restaurants, and very delectable. The lineup, whether you know the artist or not, is wonderful. Every act you see there (or at least that I saw there) is someone I would pay a full priced ticket to see as headliners. And the fact that this number of acts on the list is smaller than most, only provides strong set times, and less conflict from overlapping acts. All-in-all it has to be the US festival with the most bang for your buck. Now let’s get down to brass tax shall we?

I attended this year on Saturday/Sunday only. Friday I was at a Pearl Jam concert at Wrigley Field that will be worthy of it’s own post at a later time. So below is my quick few-sentance recap of what was one of the more surprisingly great festivals/weekends of my 2013:
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Killer Mike & El-P Review: Run the Jewels

Run The Jewels – aka Killer Mike & El-P
Run the Jewels

Killer Mike and El P Run the Jewels Album Cover, cover art

Last year, El-P released his most polished work yet with Cancer 4 Cure, a 50 minute spastic masterpiece that goes down in my book as one of the finest hip hop albums to be dropped since Kanye’s Dark Twisted Fantasy was released in 2010. Also last year, El-P produced a killer album for Killer Mike that was released within the same month of Cancer 4 Cure. This year the two have teamed up again, but this time to release a fully collaborative effort that is almost a direct cross between Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music and Caner 4 Cure, and the result is mind-numbingly glorious. Point blank, if you are any type of hip hop/rap music fan, you must listen to this album.
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Individual Best of 2012 Lists

Twin Shadow Confess Best Album of 2012 cover artEl-P Cancer 4 Cure Best Album of 2012 cover arttame impala, lonerism, album, cover, art

We gave you are collective Top 20 songs and albums of 2012 yesterday, but here are our separate lists:
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LxL’s Best Albums of 2012

Top 20 Best Albums of 2012 including El-P, Jack White, and Fiona Apple

2012 turned out to be a pretty great year in music.  I think all three of us would agree the offerings in 2012 were deep in really good albums, without many albums rising to the level of true greatness.  That being said, I think I would rather have a pool of 60-80 really good albums come out in a year than 9-10 great albums.  Around here, we like variety, and we certainly got it this year.  There was a surprisingly surge of good hip-hop released in the second half of the year (Killer Mike, Nas, Meek Mill).  There was the long-awaited return of all-timer female singer songwriter types (Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Regina Spektor).  And there were also several much-anticipated sophomore wide releases (Sleigh Bells, Tame Impala, Beach House, Twin Shadow).  All in all, there may not have been a lot of perfect albums this year, but it was still a great year in music.  Enjoy the top 20.
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LxL’s Best Songs of 2012

Songs and Artists of 2012

Well, after a short Holiday hiatus, we are back! And our end of year coverage continues with the most difficult list to assemble: our favorite songs of 2012. Why is a songs list so difficult to construct you say? Because there is so friggin’ many of them, it’s very hard to reach a consensus. For example we may absolutely love two songs on an album fairly equally, like First Aid Kit’s “Lions Roar” and “EmmyLou”, but we might split our vote causing neither to make the list. But even with the challenging aspects of making this list, it was a blast to make and look back at all the songs that colored our year. Here are our favorites:

20. AlunaGeorge – “Your Drums, Your Love”


New London electronic duo AlunaGeorge, consisting of singer Aluna Francis and producer George Reid (naturally), hit the electronic field by storm in 2012 with an EP and hopes of a full-length to come in the upcoming year. “Your Drums, Your Love” wrings of the slick, wry, and pretty production that Lilly Allen brings to the table, but with an added dimension of electronic touches and an unshakable chime of voices repeating “your drums” to take it over the top.
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Retro Review: Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein

Cannibal Ox

The Cold Vein

the cold vein, cannibal ox, album, cover, art

In 2010, I spent a very solitary week alone during Thanksgiving break.  I was studying for law school finals and decided to focus on that rather than make the trip home to spend the holiday with my family.  All my roommates were gone, as well as pretty much all my other friends from law school.  So there I was, studying about 8-10 hours per day in the law school library, with ample time left to my own devices.  What did I decide to do?  Download every album off of a “Top 100 Hip-Hop Albums of All-Time” list that I stumbled upon.  It wasn’t a perfect list, leaning heavily toward very old school albums, which I generally find to be hit or miss.

But near the top of the list (which I can’t find), in the 3-5 range was this 2001 album by a rap duo called Cannibal Ox:  The Cold Vein.  Most of the stuff I was unfamiliar with on the list up to this point was a product of the late-80’s or early-90’s, so I was intrigued.  Upon first listen, I fell in love.  The Cold Vein perfectly melds a couple emcees with old-school lyrical proclivities with a hybrid old school/hyper alternative production suite.  When mostly mediocre hip-hop was rocking the charts in 2001, Cannibal Ox struck gold with an off-kilter, but still very focused classic, and I hope everyone can join me in discovering/re-discovering this crowned jewel.
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