20 track album
New compilation from my label Young Heavy Souls is out now for streaming / download. Features 20 tracks including two new Vapor Eyes jams, one solo track and one collab cut with my man Nortroniks. Get after it!
Top 10 Albums of 2013
In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite albums from 2013 that made me contemplate the value of and feel the vibrations when folks decide to combine sounds and noises together:
- Disclosure - Settle
- DJ Rashad - Double Cup
- RBTS WIN - Palm Sunday
- inc. - No World
- Dam-Funk & Snoopzilla - 7 Days of Funk
- Hundred Waters - Hundred Waters LP
- Mac Miller - Watching Movies With the Sound Off
- DJ Day - Land of 1000 Chances
- Zoogma - Anthems 4 Androids
Having been a festival regular over the years I’ve come to discover plenty of great ‘jamtronica’ groups that exert a great amount of talent and remind me of being in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere on a humid summer night. Zoogma did that for me this year with A4A. The band demonstrated that they are a force to be reckoned with not only live but in the studio as well. The production is rock solid, the performances are super tight and the ideas are not limited to the typical ‘jamtronic’ sound as the band branches out into hip-hop and some dancier moments along the way. Drumming is on-point, synth work is top-tier. I love cruising to this joint.
- CID RIM - Mute City / CID RIM (Micro Album)
Artist profile on yours truly via Young Heavy Souls.
New album Horizon Lines out now!
New 12 song Vapor Eyes album is available for streaming or purchase now through Young Heavy Souls Records!
My tune “Gentle Residential” was used as the backdrop to this sweet commercial for up & coming Chicago craft beer brewer Finch’s Beer Company! Peep the steezo…..
My new album ‘Strange Places’ is out now! 14 songs, 55+ minutes of Vapor Eyes music for you to enjoy.
Top 10 Albums of 2012
In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite albums from 2012 that made me overthink the value of combining sounds and noises together to create something wonderful:
- Papadosio - T.E.T.I.O.S.
- Koan Sound - Funk Blaster / The Adventures of Mr. Fox EPs
- Joey Bada$$ - 1999
- Death Grips - The Money Store
- Peaking Lights - Lucifer
- Griz - Mad Liberation
- Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes
- Ta-Ku - 50 Days for Dilla, Volumes 1 & 2
- Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
The album that deserves to be in everyone’s top 10 list of 2012. If you love hip-hop, have a brain and gave this multiple listens to really absorb the music, skits content and skill being demonstrated here, then this needs no further explanation.
- Memoryhouse - The Slideshow Effect
My brand new beat album.. out now!
Third installment of Face Melt’s ‘Chi-Sound’ series, featuring the finest in Chicago’s beat scene producers. Free download or stream, get it!!
Top 10 Albums of 2011
In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite albums from 2011 that stimulated my cerebral cortex / rustled up my soul :
- Thundercat - The Golden Age of Apocalypse
Stunning. Total excellence in musicianship, craft and originality. The vibe on this album puts me in a place between the ancient and the future. Features the phenomenal bass skills of Thundercat alongside FlyLo production with guest spots from Badu, Sa-Ra, Austin Peralta etc. CAN’T go wrong. Props to Master Fader who copped me this on vinyl for my golden bday, which was the day this record came out. Golden. Brain food.
- A$AP Rocky - LiveLoveA$AP
I’m normally not one for hype/blog/mainstream/drug obsessed rap. I could give two shits about Drake, Gucci, Waka or Childish Gambino. However, this album stands far above any of the aforementioned goofballs on a large number of levels. The woozy lo-fi aura of the whole thing puts one in the zone, even if you aren’t sippin on dat purple drank, which happens to be the album’s #1 matter of subject. I barely relate to the lyrical content being expressed here these days, but the dude’s versatile flow along with the hazy beats (many courtesy of other top 10 spotholder, Clams Casino) are super complementary on this homage to the dirty south from a Harlem cat.
- Davis - s/t EP
LA producer & cassette guru Matthewdavid along with Chi-town oddball rapper Serengeti pieced together a real gem on this seemingly one-off EP project. Some very original art here. The rhymes are clever, at times reminding me of MF DOOM in his prime, while Matthewdavid provides the perfect warbled hip-hop soundscapes to this release. The six songs here clock in at just under ten minutes and left me wanting more. Sets a high-bar for unique left-field hip-hop.
- Clams Casino - Instrumental Mixtape
Lo-fi and moody as hell, the way i love it. Dude is a beast. Producer of the year.
- Lostribe - Sophie
I have no idea where I came across this album. Hell, I barely know anything about these guys except that this was a top player of mine this year since discovering it this past summer. Futuristic west coast production mixed with refreshing lyrical content / delivery and some dope guest features made this the surprise find of 2011 for me.
- Salva - Complex Housing
Complex Housing had me gripped from the get-go. There was a Soundcloud stream of the whole album up a week or so before the release that I had become obsessed with right at that point. Totally clean and super crisp production with great programming (mad 808s and great tom drums everywhere!). Salva blends classic old school sounds and styles to create something completely modern, trumping most of his peers in this bracket.
- Dam-Funk - Innafocusedazed EP
The leader of the ‘Modern Funk’ movement and to me one of the most inspiring people/musicians of this time period brought us this EP, holding fans over til his new fully drops in 2012. The 4-song EP was offered to the people for free, but definitely contains no throwaway tracks or ‘skippers.’ Another all around solid ass release from Dam, complete with that funk from the soul and the classic analog sounds we’ve all came to love from this man. I had the good fortune to see Dam-Funk live in Los Angeles this fall with Master Blazter (R.I.P. J-1) and it was one of the best live performances of the year to me as well.
- Cities Aviv - Digital Lows
Hip-hop ain’t dead. Its just lurking somewhere deep within a Bandcamp or Soundcloud page, which is exactly where I scored this album. Cities Aviv hits the mic with a ballsy attitude on this full-length. Great, classic sounding hip-hop beats make this head-nodder a perfect current record for those of us who like to cling onto the long-forgotten glory days of hip-hop. No frills, just dope beats and rhymes here.
- Disco Biscuits - Otherwise Law Abiding Citizens
The DB’s killed it again on their latest studio full-length. Focusing this time on more of their live show element in the studio, no song clocks in at under six minutes. One of the kings of the jam/electronica crossover scene, the Biscuits keep their musicianship rock solid throughout the whole effort, taking the listener on a journey, just as they would in concert. Lots of jamming on this one. Awesome to drive to on the highway or on road trips.
- Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact
Psychedelic, spaced out, weird, genre-defying, TIGHT. I can really lose myself in this record and all the depth and emotion that was put into its musical and vocal performances. I love records that make me feel like I’m taking drugs when I’m really not.
Honorable Mentions: Kendrick Lamar - Section:80, Shabazz Palaces - Black Up, Lotus - Lotus, Radiohead - The King of Limbs, Saturn Never Sleeps - Yesterday’s Machine, TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light, Samiyam - Sam Baker’s Album
Local cats / homies who dropped some ill shit this year: Ro Knew - Fool’s Wisdom, Lagos - Lagos EP, Loyal Divide - Bodice Ripper, Raj Mahal, Local Nobodies - One, Push Beats, Cutz on Cuts, Save the Clocktower - Carousel, Ghosthouse - Ghosthouse, Dormlife (keep it up y’all!!!)
Also, on one last note, I released a new Vapor Eyes solo record this past March entitled It’s Moving So Fast It’s Standing Still. Cop that for free here. I had a great year performing some cool gigs, meeting inspiring people, having stellar life experiences and writing lots of new music to be released soon. Grateful for it all! Can’t wait to see what 2012 holds. Peace!