Pusha T- Numbers On The Boards

I have always been a fan of Clipse since their commercial debut “Lord Willin” back in 2002. Their second album “Hell Hath No Fury” is an exceptional album that I played continuously for months. It completely surpassed their first album in production and scope.  The two brothers, Malice and Pusha T, always seemed to be rapping out of desperation like they needed to get their message out there no matter what. Their message and their never changing personas kept me drawn to their music.

Pusha T continues that hunger for respect with the minimalist “Number On The Boards”. This video has Pusha T going hard with his lyrical slaughter and menacing features. As a viewer I was impressed by the ferocious intensity of Pusha T’s presence in each frame of the video, almost like he wanted to grab hold of you to make sure you completely understand him. As subtle as the beat is Pusha T thrives over it with his threatening words and encroaching demeanor.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin- Everlyn (live)

I am a recent fan of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Their music is quite upbeat and guitar driven. This video of two of the band members playing on a rooftop really caught my attention when I was searching for a live video of the band. I like how the electric guitar sounds especially when John Cardwell goes into the riff. Philip Dickey on the acoustic guitar also brings a pristine harmony to John’s vocals. All in all this video sent me onto the path to really checking out this band’s music.

Homeland Season One

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After being convinced to check out Homeland I decided to spend a week watching it. I have to say without a doubt that it is one of the best TV shows I have ever seen. From the very first episode I was pulled into its amazing premise.

Homeland follows Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a CIA agent with a secret that is alerted by one of her operatives that an American POW has been turned by their enemy. This POW appears to be Nicolas Brody (Damian Lewis) a recently rescued Marine Sergeant. Carrie takes it upon herself to uncover Brody’s plans when she is not believed by her co-workers including her mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin).

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Homeland is instantly gripping and each episode heightens the suspense of the plot. The viewer is left anticipating each coming episode wanting to know if Claire will discover Brody’s agenda or if Brody really is who he says he is.

I completed the entire season in a week and already I want to delve into the second season. Every other TV show and movie that I want to see has been put on the back-burner so that I can completely immerse myself in Homeland.

Alt-J : An Awesome Wave

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What can I possibly say about British indie rock band Alt-J that hasn’t been said already. The band is a true breath of fresh air in a year of distinctly similar bands. I checked out Alt-J’s debut album “An Awesome Wave” a few days ago after seeing like a million different web articles on the band. I expected to hear electronica and even an upbeat sound but was quickly thrown for a loop from the very start of the record.

Lead vocalist/guitarist Joe Newman has a unique singing style that I didn’t know whether to take seriously or not but quickly drew me in. The album is quite somber in tone but really interesting due to the variety of genres that the band incorporates into the album as a whole. There is folk, psychedelia, trip-hop and even a surf popish song on the record. The band’s eclectic nature works on the album due to the unexpectedness of each track. Each song is different from the other.

Each track on the album is exceptional but my top picks are ‘Breezeblocks’, ‘Something Good’, ‘Matilda’ and ‘MS’. Each one of these songs vary in musical composition but are also the band at their most heartfelt with Newman displaying a wide vocal range. I have seen several of the band’s live videos and are even impressed by how amazing they sound.

I can definitely understand the hype behind the band and can only guess what they will come up with next… 9.5/10.

J. Cole: Born Sinner

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I finally got around to listening to J. Cole’s sophomore album “Born Sinner” and I have to say I am actually surprised by how good it is. I have been a fan of J. Cole’s for a few years now after listening to his mixtapes constantly back in 2011. I always saw that artists who were great on their mixtapes never really produced high quality LP’s. To name a few: Fabolous, Cassidy, and recently Lil Wayne.

I thought J. Cole would fall in the trappings of the amazing mixtape rapper falling short on a major label album. But on this new record, J. Cole manages to grow as an artist since his debut record “Cole World: The Sideline Story”. “Born Sinner” is an album that has J. Cole exploring a variety themes such as monogamy, poverty, love, and financial woes. The best tracks on the album are “Power Trip”, “Runaway” and “Forbidden Fruit”. Each track shows a different side of J. Cole’s lyrical depth while instantly grabbing your attention.

J.Cole manages to display an emotional range in his need to speak truthfully about how he feels. Like Drake, he relies on vulnerability and earnestness while forsaking the need to be someone else. Each track on the album smoothly transitions to the next without any extreme change in sound or scope which makes for a quite absorbing record. The album’s downtempo sound is another draw to the record, with its reliance on keeping you intellectually and emotionally invested without the trappings of club hits or gangster bravado.

“Born Sinner” is a record that shows the lyrical and musical growth of J. Cole. The young rapper is coming into his own as a hip hop powerhouse in a slowly evolving genre where Cole and his contemporaries have a hand in reshaping… 9/10

Wavves: Sail to the Sun

California surf/garage rock band  Wavves has had a really standout year with the release of their new album “Afraid of Heights”. The album is a mixture of that familiar surf pop sound from the band and post-grunge. The album opens with one of the best tracks on the album, ‘Sail to the Sun’. The video for this track is so captivating with its dark subject matter of an unholy priest who leads a secret life. The priest dabbles in drugs and even engages in solicitation of prostitutes. This video is definitely one of my top favorite music videos of the year.