I’ve really been enjoying this dark, synth heavy wave of music for a little while now with artists like Chromatics and Polica.  One group that hasn’t gotten enough recognition though is GOLD ZEBRA.  They are a girl/boy duo from Montreal and they released their self titled album a few months back on Visage Musique.  The album is full of synthesizer melodies, simple beats and rich spacey vocals and it kinda feels like driving down a dark desert highway with no end in sight.  It’s worth a listen if just for the next long nighttime drive you might take.

Check out some of my favorite tracks and videos below and check out their bandcamp to get the album here.

GOLD ZEBRA – Apart Again

GOLD ZEBRA – Everything Beautiful Is Transient


DecibelCast Vol.21 – “The Riddum Method”

Sometimes we forget about the rest of the world; we live in our own little universe of crazy American drama that we think is so important when, in reality, it’s mostly just ridiculous.  Then every few years, when huge sporting events like the World Cup or the Olympics happen, we realize we must take note of other countries.  In a great way we take in and take on other cultures and remember that we are not the only thing out there.  It’s quite the amazing, humbling and enlightening experience (even if it is for the sake of sports) and it’s a great reminder to keep our eyes open to the rest of the world.

DecibelCast 21 keeps this worldly theme throughout although it is mostly focused on African music. Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent, and African music has influenced about every kind of music we have today, so it’s really deserving of homage. This mix takes a journey through this rich influence by blending traditional songs from artists like Fela Kuti, with popular modern-day mutations of African and world music by the likes of tUnE yArDs and ?uestlove and Major Lazer.  It was originally inspired by thinking of drum- and rhythm-heavy music (the name came before the mix), but then it morphed into this summertime dance party that goes really great with hot weather and, as it turns out, international soccer.

Get the album and tracklist below:

Download: dB-21 “The Riddum Method”

Fela Kuti & The Africa 70 – Let’s Start

Mos Dub – Summertime Running

Tani Diakite & The Afrofunkstars – Nungulunba

Jay-Z feat. Fela Kuti – American Dreamin (Nigerian Gangster Remix)

BK-One – Tema Do Canibal

Hot Chip – Atomic Bomb (William Onyeabor Cover)

Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Kwendini

Major Lazer – Sound Bang (feat. Machel Montano)

Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens – Kazet

The Very Best – Kondaine (feat Seye)

Noumoucounda Cissoko – Noumou Koradioulou

Paul Simon – I Know What I Know

tUnE-yArDs, ?uestlove, Angelique Kidjo & Akua Naru – Lady

K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas – Gyae Mensu

Amadou & Mariam – Dougou Badia (feat. Santigold)

Oumou Sangare – Iyo Djeli

Dilon Djindji – Sofala



William Onyeabor – “Who Is William Onyeabor?”

William Onyeabor

Luakabop is one of my new favorite labels for a few reasons: The label is owned and kind of run by David Byrne (of Talking Heads), they house Javelin as well as a few other amazing bands, they have tons of amazing albums in the catalog that are all worth checking out, and lastly and most importantly they find and revive old recordings from obscure classic artists like William Onyeabor.

This album is the fifth installment of the World Psychedelic Classics series which has rounded up and reissued some amazing compilations from the likes of Os Mutantes, Tim Maia, and others.  Like many of these reissues and most Luakabop releases, this album takes the once forgotten or overlooked international music from the past and exposes it to today’s world music hungry fans.  But William Onyeabor‘s music differs in one very significant way, he uses synthesizers and drum machines to create a strange disco, electronic sound that takes the typical African music and rhythms to a futuristic place.  There are many origin stories of who this man really was and many other stories of what has happened to him since these records came out in the late 70’s but what matters is that his music transcends boundaries of time and space.  This album could have started a dance party in the 70’s and 80’s all the way up to yesterday, anywhere in the world (trust me I played it at a house party and people got down).

The album came out a few months ago and Onyeabor’s music has been around for decades but since buying this LP I have not been able to put it down, so much so that it made our Favorite Sounds of the year list.  Go over to Luakabop and order the album on vinyl here and check out a track and a remix below and watch the video too.


William Onyeabor – Heaven and Hell




DecibelCast Vol. 16 – “GRL PRBLMS”


We’ve all been there at some point in our lives; a relationship gets hard and problems start to occur:  fights, disagreements, arguments—maybe even time apart or breaking up.  Most of the time these issues can be fixed or overcame with time, but this requires some thinking, some love and the right music to make it through.

For me, hip-hop has always served well.  I don’t know why it works, maybe it’s the heavy beats, the nonchalant dismissal of feelings, or just the overall understanding that these types of things are universal, that everyone goes through them.  To that end, this mix is dedicated to the struggles we all go through in relationships and to the problems each and every man has with his woman, as explained by some of the best tracks out there right now.

“Hip-hop isn’t nearly as complex as a woman is.”
– Talib Kweli

Download GRL



“GRLS” – salute

“Untitled feat. Chance The Rapper” – Mr. MFN eXquire

“Sunday feat. Frank Ocean” – Earl Sweatshirt

“Count On Me” – Lucki Eck$

“When It Rains” – Dag Savage feat. Aloe Blacc

“Serve This Royalty” – Big K.R.I.T.

“Can We Chill” – Riff Raff

“Keyz feat. Gucci Mane, Deniro Farrar, Nacho Picasso” – Blue Sky Black Death

“Constant Conversations” (Remix feat Juicy J) – Passion Pit

“You Song” – Lil Wayne feat. Chance The Rapper

“Float On feat. Charli XCX” – Danny Brown

“Vortex feat. Kid Cudi & Pusha T” – King Chip

“Dreamin’ (Prod. by Ryan Hemsworth)” – Shady Blaze

“Your Drums, Your Love” – AlunaGeorge

“Stay Close feat. Boldy James, Alexander Spit & Aaron Cohen” – Flume

“We Were In Love” – Ta-ku

“If Your Girl Only Knew (WoodysProduce Remix)” – Aaliyah

“All The Time feat. Lil Wayne & Natasha Mosley” – Jeremih

“Take A Fall For Me feat. Rza” – James Blake

“Cocaine Woman” – Lucki Eck$

“She (Shlohmo Remix)” – Laura Mvula


DARKSIDE – “Psychic”


I’ve written about DARKSIDE a few times before: when their first EP came out I gave some background on Nicolas Jaar, and then earlier this year they released DAFTSIDE their incredible remix of Daft Punk‘s much heralded Random Access Memory LP.

Well, now it’s finally time to announce that they have a full length LP out today, Oct 8th, on Matador. It’s called Psychic, and if you like your downtempo sexy, dark, and groovy, definitely check it out.  You can hear some of their tunes over on their soundcloud page, and you can get the album here.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie – “Summertime 4 Mixtape”

Mick Boogie Jazzy Jeff

Well they did it again yall.  For the fourth time in a row this dynamic duo have made the perfect summertime mixtape.  DJ Jazzy Jeff has long been known as a great DJ, helping the once pretty good rhyme-smith Will Smith, producing some great tracks and albums and winning accolades for his mixing skills including a DMC championship.  Mick Boogie has long been revered as a dope mixtape dropper and club tearer upper as well.  Put these two DJs together that know how to rock a party right, and well you got yourself some of the best bootie shaken, good time makin mixtapes you could ever find.

This one like all the other Summertime Mixtapes before it is chock full of classic old school jams.  Some tracks are gonna be as familiar and welcomed as an old high school best friend like “On & On” by Ms. Erykah Badu or “So Fresh, So Clean“, and just like that friend they will bring you back to the good old days.  Other tracks like “Gettin Jiggy With It” and “Wonderwall” might bring you back a little too much, but then again I sang out loud to Wonderwall back then and I did when I listened to it now too so whatever. Anyways the point here is that there is something on here for everyone but especially those of us who are over the age of 20 and love the hip hop classics.  Do yourself and your friends a favor and play this mixtape along with their other great past ones at your next summer party, you might find you aren’t the only one who knows all the words to “Gettin Jiggy With It” or “Wonderwall”.

Check the player below and put in an email for the download. Click on the other pics below for downloads to the past mixtapes too.


Summertime 3



















Joey Bada$$ – “Summer Knights”

Joey tumbler

You might have remembered that not only did we put a track from Joey Bada$$ on our Summer Soulstice Decibelcast mix last year but I also listed his debut mixtape 1999 as one of our favorite sounds of 2012.  So its about time I give him and his crew due props for making some of the best real hip hop coming out today.

Joey aka Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott is only 18 years old but him and his Progressive Era crew are killing it like NYC emcees used to back in the good old days.  They first started releasing mixtapes just last year and when Joey dropped 1999 in June it exploded like a summer firework.  The reason this group and this rapper are so well received in this day and age is the simple fact that not many rappers are bringing back the late 90’s “Golden Age” of hip hop as authentically and easily as Joey is.  Their use of recycled old school beats from well known producers like J. Dilla and MF Doom and soulful samples and production from the Pro Era team make for a throwback soundtrack that can transport anyone back to a previous time.  Add in laid back weed smoking yet super witty lyrical content and you can begin to see why I and most hip hop heads have been swooning over this Joey Bada$$ / Pro Era movement.

Joey Badass-Summer Knights(Click to link to a download of Summer Knights)

Well a year and a couple more mixtapes later, Joey released another mixtape just a day or two ago on July 1st called Summer Knights.  Originally slated just to be an EP it comes as a full length with 17 dope ass tracks.  Its hard to tell which tracks are the best or the strongest right now after only a couple of listens, but I can say that there is a somewhat different harder tone in Joey’s rhyming on certain tracks like “95 Til Infinity”. That being said there’s still not a track on here that I dont dig and constantly head nod to. Its a nice present to have because of the anticipation for the proper full length label debut B4.Da.$$, has been on everyone’s mind for many months since his official retail releases of the tracks “Unorthodox” and “Waves“.  So although this mixtape isnt released on a major label it might be better because its free and its just in time for the summer. And if you arent bumpin Joey Bada$$ this summer then you will be missing out on probably the best mixtape of the season.

Get the Joey 1999 and the Rejex mixtapes and the 2nd Pro Era Mixtape PEEP The Aprocalypse by clicking on the pics below. Check a video or two as well.



Pro Era












El-P and Killer Mike – “Run The Jewels”

run the jewelsEl-P and Killer Mike have been making some really progressive, heavy hitting, hard ass hip hop for a minute now. El-P with Cannibal Ox, everything on his Def Jux label, his solo albums including last years incredible Cancer For The Cure and all kinds of other ill production. Killer Mike has progressively gone deeper and deeper into the dark side of rhyming since his long forgotten poppy debut single A.D.I.D.A.S., as is very evident on his highly lauded album produced by El-P from last year R.A.P. Music.  These two have been touring together and hanging out quite a bit so it was only a matter of time before they did a full on collab album.

This album finally sees both incredibly gifted emcee’s rapping together back to back. Their lyrics and rhymes come with sharp precision that might cut your ears open and beats that pound so hard your head might hurt for days.  If this pain sounds scary to you then good you probably shouldn’t listen to this album, but if you are familiar with this type of real hardcore rap music then get this shit now while its still free.

Get the album from entering your email in the widget below or go over to the Fools Gold site here to get some hard copies or merch. Check a couple songs and videos below too.

Check them out on tour this fall its not one to be missed.

Wednesday 7/10 – Ottawa Blues Fest – Ottawa, ON

Thursday 7/11 – The Hoxton – Toronto, ON

Friday 7/12 – Camp Bisco – Mariaville, NY

Saturday 7/13 – Altar – Pittsburgh, PA

Sunday 7/14 – Forecastle Festival – Louisville, KY

Tuesday 7/16 – Exit Inn – Nashville, TN

Wednesday 7/17 – Firebird – St. Louis, MO

Thursday 7/18 – Gabes – Iowa City, IA

Friday 7/19 – Varsity Theatre – Minneapolis, MN

Saturday 7/20 – Memorial Union – Madison, WI

Sunday 7/21 – Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL

Wednesday 7/24 – Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB

Thursday 7/25 – The Republik – Calgary, AB

Friday 7/26 – Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, BC

Saturday 7/27 – Capitol Hill Block Party – Seattle, WA

Sunday 7/28 – Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR

Tuesday 7/30 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA

Thursday 8/1 – The Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA

Friday 8/2 – The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA

Saturday 8/3 – The Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ

Monday 8/5 – The Mohawk – Austin, TX

Tuesday 8/6 – Spanish Moon – Baton Rouge, LA

Wednesday 8/7 – Masquerade – Atlanta, GA

Thursday 8/8 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC

Friday 8/9 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC

Saturday 8/10 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC

Monday 8/12 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday 8/13 – Paradise – Boston, MA

Wednesday 8/14 – Webster Hall – New York, NY

Darkside = Daftside – “Random Access Memories Memories”

DAFTSIDE-575x575We never posted anything about the new Daft Punk album on our blog because come on we dont think you live in a cave or under a rock or whatever.  So this will be our shout out to that amazing new album which you should get if you havent yet.

Nicolas Jaar and his Darkside project (which we’ve posted about before) have taken the liberty to remix Random Access Memories in its entirety under the probable one time moniker Daftside. It is fittingly titled Random Access Memories Memories as it samples and distorts the disco, funky pop Daft Punk album into some hazy, trippy, far away dream version.  It makes me want to go back and listen to the original, and then this interpretation of it back and forth on repeat late into the night. There have been many remixes of the new Daft Punk album and many more to come, but this Daftside album will be the best one, I can promise you that.

It is a summer treat as the band said themselves just hours ago on Facebook,

“For the longest day of the year, DARKSIDE momentarily turns into DAFTSIDE”

Check out the stream below.

Gold Panda – “Half Of Where You Live”


Gold Panda, aka Derwin Powers, is one of those UK DJs that deserves more credit than he’s gotten up until now.  Just listen to his debut album Lucky Shiner or his amazing DJ Kicks album and you will understand what I’m talking about. The fact that his only real single “You” is now becoming a mainstream hit via being sampled by Charlie XCX is proof his popularity is rising.  Either way with his new album he is about to get some airplay, and its very well deserved.

Half of Where You Live, his third full length, is a tour of the world through the ears of a traveling producer.  Just as most people might have pictures of sites they have seen, Gold Panda has taken sounds of his experiences and turned them into tracks that make the listener transport to a foreign land. Tracks like “Brazil”, “My Father in Hong Kong 1961” and “An English House” give you an idea of where you might be traveling, but the sound takes you beyond the locale and into the creative mind of what a certain electronic musician hears whilst he is there.  It is an incredible journey really and each track is unique and intriguing while also very dancable.

Half of Where you Live

Half Of Where You Live is out today June 11th on Notown/Ghostly International. You can get it here and listen to the whole thing here or at NPR here.

Check some downloads and videos below.

Gold Panda – “You”

Gold Panda – “4”