Having just formed in 2014, North of Nine is already seizing attention with their vivaciously charismatic sound; a merger between pop, soul, funk, and more. Their lead single “Can It Be You?” delivered a solid intro to the world, only helped by the fact that their manager/producer is the notorious Randy Jackson of Grammy and American Idol fame.
The Los Angeles-based group is fronted by nineteen-year-old Jackson Guthy, who started as a solo artist and won our love during his two performances on Ellen. We were loving the energetically sprightly sound with which his new act has been working, so we wanted to find out what else Guthy would be listening to this summer. Check out his custom playlist for BlackBook HERE, as well as more on the band HERE.
Collaborations have always been crucial for the creative industry. After the Paul McCartney, Rihanna, and Kanye Westmoment earlier this year, now we have a new track adjoining Britney Spears and Iggy Azealia giving homage to all the pretty girls in the world.
The current album artwork, referencing the 80s cult classic Earth Girls Are Easy starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, depicts Miss Britney Spears surfing on a rocket and Iggy Azealia all femme-bot in a bubble in outer space.
The feedback from enthusiastic fans has been generally positive as many people took to Twitter expressing their heightened ecstacy. It’s apparent that both female artists are excited about the new collaboration as well. Britney has said that there will be “more surprises” to come and tweeted, “Thank you all for the amazing feedback on #PrettyGirls!! Going to bed now with a smile on my face. Have more surprises coming soon!”
As if that’s not making fans excited enough, the two will be premiering their live performance of “Pretty Girls” on May 17 at 8 PM E.T. for the 2015 Billboard Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Then there’s the music video. What will it be? The superstars were spotted being filmed in California and apparently it’s going to be very 80s. AHHHHH!!
Please tell me that Jeff Goldblum will be making a cameo. Pleasssse!!!!
The music world has become obsessed with broken-down electro R&B lately, and in just the past years we’ve seen names like FKA Twigs, BANKS, and Tinashe all go from relative obscurity to stardom. Anytime a specific genre experiences a renaissance and several artists hit the big time by innovating, we’re sure to see a swarm of others follow in their progressive footsteps—and with one listen to newcomer Alo Lee’s music, it isn’t hard to imagine her being the next big star in the growing genre. Her style has a softness that’s sexy and sensual, strong, yet delicate.
Her new track, “Mean It,” is an ode to true, deep love, and Lee’s emotions come through loud and clear on the track. It’s easygoing but serious, and the sing-along chorus makes this tune one that gets stuck in your head pretty quickly. It’s romantic in sound, but the lyrics (You can have it whenever you want it / You want it / You want it / I can tell right now you wanna go further) show that Lee has other things on her mind as well. Check out our premiere of the song below (off her debut EP Twice Burned, out tomorrow) and listen to more Alo Lee HERE.
Brother-sister duo The Fontaines know they can’t be pigeonholed. Merging the eclectic sounds of dream pop band Beach House and American jazz legend Miles Davis, two of their most prominent inspirations, nineteen-year-old Charlotte and twenty-four-year-old Hank are calling their sound “New-Wop.” While it certainly falls into a category of retro pop, their creations unswervingly escape any poignant comparisons.
Premiering today on BlackBook, the duo’s video for “Charlotte Fontaine” continues the unavoidable familial feel to the band and their music, introducing a nearly comical stage mom vs. pageant daughter storyline to accompany the swoon-worthy track and its quirky finish. “This video was inspired by hours spent watching ‘Heathers’ and ‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’,” says Hank. “I wanting to do something a little bit in that vein.”
Check out the video below, and learn more about The Fontaines here.
Indie Rockers Born Cages have a knack for orchestrating refined yet easily-accessible Pop Rock. Previous tracks like “Rolling Down The Hill” have helped to put the up-and-comers on top of the blogosphere, which has since propelled them onto a tour with Dreamers, another one of our favorites.
Premiering today on BlackBook, Born Cages’ new track “Bigger Than Me” is reminiscent of The Killers’ work back in their heyday, when songs like “Somebody Told Me” ruled radio stations. The liberating and infectious single has us feeling ready for summer, although its inspiration stems from a darker source. About the track, which will be on their upcoming album I’m Glad I’m Not Me (out 6/2), singer/guitarist Vlad Holiday says the following:
“I’d been noticing a fan of the band make some rather dark and depressing posts on his Tumblr blog. I suppose I didn’t think too much of it. One day I saw him post a picture from the hospital, with a caption that led me to believe this wasn’t just an accident. When I reached out to him, he told me he attempted suicide by jumping off a five-story parking garage. He told me he was now in recovery, in miraculously good condition actually, but that mentally he was still broken. He told me how music has helped him get through rough times, and specifically how one of our songs did just that. As a musician, I guess that’s one of the greatest goals you can aim for with the music itself – to have it play a role in helping someone get through a terrible time. But in that moment I thought, no – that song didn’t do enough, then. So I started working on ‘Bigger Than Me,’ which was to be the fastest song that’s ever come out of me. The verses describe the specifics of this person’s story (and his then-username “the devil dressed in white”), while other parts of the song reflect things I personally struggle with each day. ‘I wanna lose control of everything I’ve ever known,’ or ‘I wanna be a part of something bigger than me.’ This song ended up becoming very therapeutic for me. The lyrical themes started with this very specific story of a young kid just trying to make it through the next day with his head still screwed on, and ended up with something even broader and more relatable (to me at least) than anything I’ve ever written.”
“Bigger Than Me” is the sixth IG track from the forthcoming album and will be available for sale with the pre-order on May 4th at iTunes here: http://geni.us/borncages.
From Blur and Four Tet to Sufjan Stevens and Eleanor Friedberger, here are the 20 concerts you should be seeing around the country this week.
Thursday, April 30
The ever-innovative guitarist Dave Harrington provides a live score to the Hitchcock classic film The Birds tonight at Cameo Gallery. 8pm, 63 N 6th St, Brooklyn, New York.
Mind-melting British producer/DJ Four Tet hits Output in Brooklyn alongside Floating Points. They’ll also be at Sugarhill Disco tomorrow night. 10pm, 74 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
Bay Area rapper Kool AD heads to Santos Party House tonight with pals Lakutis, TECLA, and Kassa. Since the demise of Das Racist, he’s released a number of solo mixtapes as well as embarking on a prolific visual art career. 7pm, 96 Lafayette St, New York, NY.
Artful synth-pop act Empress Of continues her residency at Elvis Guesthouse in NYC. Pals including Dev Hynes, Ezra Koenig, Dave Harrington, and a / jus / ted will be joining in with DJ sets over the next few days. 8pm, 85 Avenue A, New York, NY.
French folkie Keren Ann heads to the Skirball Cultural Center in LA tonight. Her 2011 album 101 is well worth revisiting. 8pm, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.
Get into some soaring pop at Bowery Ballroom tonight, with the help of Coasts and Zella Day, who was recently featured on the Insurgent soundtrack. 8pm, 6 Delancey St, New York, NY.
Friday, May 1
Watch N. 6th Street turn into some kind of Hunger Games situation as Britpop legends Blur play a rare, intimate show at Music Hall Of Williamsburg. The quartet released new album The Magic Whipthis week. 5pm, 66 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY.
Over the past decade, Sufjan Stevens has established himself as one of American indie rock’s foremost weirdos. On latest album Carrie & Lowell, his sound is folk-forward, but his intimate lyrics deliver a direct shock. Tonight and tomorrow, he’s at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. 8pm, 1027 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
Hard-hitting and humorous rapper Heems is the main attraction at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar‘s free show this evening. His debut solo album Eat Pray Thug is one of the most compelling, crucial listens of the year for anyone who’s concerned about the state of America. 8pm, 96 Banker St, Brooklyn, NY.
South Carolina-bred Toro Y Moi brings his nostalgia-laced sound to Terminal 5. The inventive artist recently released the new album What For? on Carpark Records. Chillwave is dead, long live chillwave. 8pm, 610 W 56th St, New York, NY.
Local boys Life Size Maps have been on the road in support of their self-titled debut album, and they’re back in Brooklyn tonight to celebrate its release. The synth-rock quartet will be joined by ongoing tourmates Gothic Tropic. 8pm, 146 Broadway, Brooklyn, New York.
Saturday, May 2
Get lost at this year’s installment of the Desert Daze festival. Taking place at the Sunset Ranch Oasis, the lineup boasts acts including Warpaint, White Lung, Bass Drum Of Death, DIIV, Deap Vally, Dan Deacon, and many more. 67998 Lincoln St., Mecca, CA.
Red Bull Music Academy takes over the Brooklyn Night Bazaar tonight. The stacked lineup of party-friendly faves includes GHE20G0TH1K, Sissy Nobby, and Venus X. 8pm, 96 Banker St, Brooklyn, NY.
Get rowdy with young punks Twin Peaks at Music Hall Of Williamsburg tonight. The Chicago band released the acclaimed album Wild Onion last year. 8pm, 66 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY.
Sunday, May 3
Singer and songwriter Eleanor Friedberger, who first gained acclaim as half of the Fiery Furnaces, headlines Rough Trade in Brooklyn tonight. Her second solo album Personal Record was released in 2013. 8pm, 64 N 9th St, Brooklyn, NY.
London-based electro oddball Micachu takes over MoMA PS1 as part of the Sunday Sessions at the museum. 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY.
Monday, May 4
Nashville’s Natalie Prass has been making waves with her self-titled album, released earlier this year. The singer/songwriter headlines Bowery Ballroom tonight. 8pm, 6 Delancey St, New York, NY.
Tuesday, May 5
Nashville’s Kopecky stop by Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn before releasing their new album Drug For The Modern Age in a couple of weeks. It’ll be the second LP from the folk-rock band. 8pm, 146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.
The anticipation keeps ramping up for MS MR‘s forthcoming second LP, following 2013′s Secondhand Rapture. The dark synth-pop duo will offer hints of what’s to come tonight at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. 7pm, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.
Wednesday, May 6
Pop sensation MIKA is gearing up for the release of fourth album, No Place In Heaven. Get a preview tonight at The Belasco. 8pm, 1050 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA.
Artists within the arena of electronic music often get a bad rap for their unconventional instrumentation and creative resources. Sometimes cast aside as overzealous disc jockeys, a great deal of them don’t receive the attention they deserve from more traditional musicians, as well as the generations who listened to them. Luckily, there are artists like Detroit’s ambassador of funk, GRiZ, whose combination of live saxophone and electronic beat, as well as his clearly immense music history knowledge, has critics rethinking their views.
GRiZ, also known as Grant Kwiecinski, spent a great deal of his teenage years studying the sax while keeping his mind open to other forms of music, beginning to cognitively blend hip hop, Horn-charged funk, and freeform electronica. This wealth of influences lived on throughout his early twenties, which brought us the release of albums like Rebel Era and Mad Liberation. As of last month, we have the newest work Say It Loud, an album he released on BitTorrent (following the likes of Thom Yorke and Madonna), which illustrates a technically-improved and more finite sound than any previous work.
We figured we could learn a few things, or a lot of things, from the guy whose latest work, which put him on a 31+ show tour, takes inspiration from the likes of James Brown and Miles Davis’ Sketches of Pain. Check out the custom playlist GRiZ put together for BlackBook, as well as his own music HERE.
Reflection Eternal – 2000 Seasons ft. Talib Kweli
My favorite hip hop tune of almost all time. Poetry and a beat.
The Floozies – Love, Sex, and Fancy Things
The reason I fell in love with these guys was because of this song. We’re now close friends.
Antibalas – Sare Kon Kon
Afro beat funk. Up-tempo goodness.
Will Sessions – Good Things (ft. Coko)
That Golden Age new age soul from Detroit.
Lettuce – Salute
I’m glad that these guys exist in the touring world today and crush it so hard. Lettuce is amazing.
Andrew Block ft. Ivan Neville – All I Need
Andrew is a straight boss man. His songwriting is off the charts and Ivan comes in strong with the assist of the vocals.
Jamie Lidell – Multiply
A hugely uplifting song. This whole album is my shit in the summer or while I cook.
Michael Jackson – Love Never Felt So Good
New Michael! Woop woop.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Call Me
My favorite new singer. This dude has mad pipes and you can feel the love in the song.
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare
Can’t tell you how much this song (and Keith Mansfield) has influenced the way I write music.
Kool & The Gang – Summer Madness
The smoothest song of the 70s.
Vulfpeck – Wait for the Moment
Just three nerdy dudes that have some serious funk swagger. Antwaun Stanley on the vocals is the perfect pairing.