This Brooklyn-based comprising duo Patrick Laird (Break Of Reality) and Marnie Laird has gained a significant following on YouTube for their piano/cello covers of popular music. Their Brooklyn Sessions debut album features reinterpretations of pop hits like “Am I Wrong” originally performed by Nico & Vinz, “Chandelier” by Sia, “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy and “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.
Despite his silly name Mr Fijiwiji produces some serious music. His latest release on Monstercat Records is much more mature than his 19-years would have you believe. Each track is an expert exercise in Chillstep, dripping with ethereal synth goodness. If Tycho and Porter Robinson made an album together, it just might sound like Keeping It Surreal.
With only a few singles to his name, Arizona rapper Beninem once again brings the ruckus, this time with a special holiday track, “Santa’s Sleigh Is Thumpin’.” It’s an old-school influenced hip-hop jam that’s part Dr. Seuss / part Beastie Boys. Beninem’s unique, self-described “Autistic Flow” is in full effect here, spitting genius rhymes like: “There was even fire roasted habanero/ Hot sauce from Robert DeNiro!” and “Claus’s face was droopy like Snoopy/ With a beard that was round and profound.” It’s super positive, swear-free, good, clean, holiday hip-hop fun, inspired by Beninem’s life with Autism. If Santa’s sleigh is thumpin’ this year, now you know why!
Big bearded brutes swinging their guitars like clubs, aided by some 21st technology, these Bionic Cavemen come lumbering in, their first full-length in hand. Delivering a slithery, swaggery, hard rocking, retro stoner blooze – all low-slung, hypnotic grooviness, these guys may call the Windy City home. But you’d never know it – the vibe is most definitely Southern rock, sounding at times like a way heavier Allman Brothers or slightly Sabbathier Canned Heat, while at other times coming across more like some obscure, hard rocking retro/proto metal discovery from back in the day, a-la Blue Cheer, Leaf Hound, Captain Beyond, etc.
Billy Childs – Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro
Billy Childs is a three-time Grammy-winning world renowned classical and jazz pianist. He has been playing professionally since the ’70s, touring with trombone legend J.J. Johnson and was a fixture in Freddie Hubbard’s band in the late ’70s and ’80s. He has also written and arranged for conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in addition to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet and Yo-Yo Ma (among others). His latest release Map To The Treasure pays homage to late singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, featuring an all-star cast of interpreters for the recording including Renee Fleming, Wayne Shorter, Rickie Lee Jones, Ledisi, Esperanza Spalding, Susan Tedeschi, Alison Krauss and Dianne Reeves. He recently performed selections from the album at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival.
Elevation Worship – Wake Up The Wonder
Recorded before a crowd of 16,000 worshippers at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina; the worship team of Elevation Church released their latest live album based on Genesis 28 with powerful anthems celebrating freedom and overcoming hardship. Included are the album’s lead single and video “The King Is Among Us” and the EDM-inspired “Already Won.”
Hailu Mergia & Walias – Tche Belew
Walias, led by Hailu Mergia, was one of Ethiopia’s most sought after bands in the ‘70s, backing many famous artists like Mahmoud Ahmed. Initially revealed to Western audiences by the Ethiopiques series of compilations from Buda, here we get a reissue of one of their best albums from the excellent Awesome Tapes From Africa label. Get ready for funky jazzy East African grooves featuring killer vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke.
Indie Comedy is a terrific way to discover up-and-coming Comedy artists and a great look back at household names before they hit it big. As they hone their craft in hopes of landing a spot on a late-night talk show or their first Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, the biggest comedy stars of tomorrow self-release their material or recorded albums with a number of boutique labels dedicated to comedy—aspecialthing records, Uproar Entertainment, Stand Up! Records or Rooftop Comedy (to name a few). Whether as a way to sell merchandise on tour or offer their online fan-base a way to experience one of their live shows, comics today are releasing really incredible, independent albums. Indie Comedy features a broad cross-section of these comics, including Parks & Recreation writer Joe Mande, voice of Comedy Central Kyle Kinane, members of Denver comedy collective The Grawlix (Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland, and Andrew Orvedahl), self-proclaimed queen of comedy Sommore, stoner laureate Doug Benson, Daily Show correspondent Al Madrigal and the late, lamented roast whisperer Patrice O’Neal. Check back often for new tracks from your soon-to-be favorite comedians!