Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Glen Hansard

Yesterday I mentioned in Tommy's post that Grace Potter would be the feature for this week's Covering Your Wednesday, but then I realized that today is Van Morrison's birthday. In my opinion, Morrison is one of the best songwriters and musicians ever, and the least I can do is pay tribute to him as he turns a year older. In order to do so, I've picked a cover of his song "Hungry For Your Love" by academy award-winning singer-songwriter, Glen Hansard. This Irish lad takes Morrison's already beautiful track and adds his own ethnic flair and wiry voice. Hansard keeps it simple, just like the original, and therefore conveys the same passion that Morrison does. Both are beautiful songs, and on Morrison's birthday, there is no better way to celebrate by spreading his music through others.

Hungry For Your Love - Glen Hansard

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tommy Oakes: Grace Potter

Grace Potter, a 28 year-old college drop out, is now doing it big. After being discovered in a local café venue by future band-mate, Matt Burr, the two musicians created the five-man band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. The band has been producing and touring since 2005 and have had much success on the way. In 2004, however, Grace Potter released her album, "Original Soul," her only solo project in which she plays the organ, piano, guitar, and all the while sharing her incredible voice. It has a little more of a rich and soulful feel than her more recent music with the Nocturnals, which tends to lean on the more electric and grunge side of music, although Potter’s voice remains pure as gold. Here is a track from "Original Soul" and be sure to look out for more from her and the Nocturnals. Enjoy

Crazy Parade - Grace Potter

Kryptonite Sanity Room (K.S.R.)

The Dean's List is a hip-hop group based out of Boston, Massachusetts. I've featured them on numerous occasions as they have a knack for producing catchy tracks that utilize fairly unique samples; the group is consistently surprising their followers. Their latest release, "Kryptonite Sanity Room (K.S.R.)," is no exception. This track, if anything, is a paragon for The Dean's List's ability to surprise. This is real hip-hop...

Sonny Shotz, the lyrical mastermind of the group, takes over and pours his frustration, fears, and experiences that accompany them as they progress through the music business. Sonny opens up by reflecting on the notion of his own "kryptonite sanity room" in a restaurant: "Sometimes the things that keep us sane can end up killing us..." Through the fame and fortune, it is sometimes the solitude that can overwhelm and break artists down. There's nothing complex about this track, but after listening, you realize this is the purpose. In my opinion, hip-hop, and especially rap, are meant to be heard as urban poetry - simple outpourings of emotions delivered by a similarly emotional flow. Simple is always better, and The Dean's List have demonstrated this by producing "Kryptonite Sanity Room (K.S.R.)" and delivering a reflection and warning on the dangers of fame and fortune. Listen below and enjoy

Kryptonite Sanity Room (K.S.R.) - The Dean's List

Monday, August 29, 2011

Does Me No Good

This is an old one, but a good one. Recorded during a Daytrotter session in 2006, "Does Me No Good," by William Elliott Whitmore, shines as an ode to the origins of folk and bluegrass. I've talked briefly about Whitmore and one of my favorite songs, "Dry," before (posted below again for your hearing pleasure), but thought I would share another one of his hidden gems. Don't expect to like this song if you're not a fan of smoky voices, sole banjo picking, and deep meaning, because that's all that Whitmore is about.

Does Me No Good - William Elliott Whitmore

One of the most underrated folk artists around, Whitmore has also one of the most powerful and soulful voices not just in his genre, but in the entire musical spectrum. When I first heard him, I immediately pictured an elderly man sporting a bushy, white beard; my dad guessed a sixty year old African-American. The common factor: both interpretations of Whitmore involve old age, a rocking chair, and a huge amount of soulful wisdom. Well, substract a few years, 30 to be exact, and we were almost right. Regardless of his appearance, however, Whitmore delivers songs in an extremely simple, yet emotional manner. If you love folk, you'll love this guy. I suggest you sit back in your rocker, strum the air-banjo, and relax with William Elliott Whitmore.

Dry - William Elliott Whitmore

Friday, August 26, 2011

Observations & Accusations

I've decided I'm going to start providing some music-related news once a week in a small feature. I haven't decided what day it will come on, but here's the first week in review accompanied by my observations and accusations...

•More and more dubstep and glitch production artists are debuting music videos. Most notably, Skrillex's "Equinox," in which he casts an omen-esque character that turns the tables on a stalking pedophile. Is it possible that dubstep is directly related to the devil and child molestation? Probably.

Rebecca Black, the 14 year old behind the year's most obnoxious song, "Friday," has reportedly dropped out of school due to excessive hazing. I plea the fifth.

Mick Jagger has created a new band, or rather super-group, named SuperHeavy (pictured above). Alongside Mick, Damian Marley and AR Rahman (from Slumdog Millionare) will be adding their own musical heritage. Consequently, some ridiculous new genre that blends island tin drums, Asian instruments we've never heard of, and the beat that comes from Mick's neck vein has been created. Can you say Grammy?

China's Ministry of Culture is making all music-download-websites delete songs by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and the Backstreet Boys, or "face punishment." At least someone's getting it right...

•Rapper DMX was just arrested for a suspended liscence and speeding (he was just released after a 7 month sentence a month ago). According to TMZ, he was traveling 102mph in a 65mph zone. The shock doesn't come from knowing his speed, but rather seeing his mug shot. In short, DMX is balding.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tommy Oakes: Dank Sinatra

I don’t know what they’re putting in the water over in Athens, Georgia, but man is it funky. As many of you may know, Athens is known for producing some great musical talents. To name a few: Drive-By Truckers, Corey Smith, Bubba Sparxxx (sorry, couldn’t resist), Mama’s Love, and most notably Widespread Panic. Well you can add one more to that list after the relatively young band (just a year old), Dank Sinatra, has made itself known. Starting out playing at local fraternity parties, this six-man band was quickly recognized and is already scheduled to play at the famous Georgia Theater. I was fortunate enough to see these guys at the KA house at the University of Georgia a few months back, and plan on seeing them again as soon as I get the chance. I encourage everyone to do the same as well. In the meantime, here's a track from their EP, "Papa Mountain." If you like what you hear you can download their most recent project, "Just Charlesin" for free, or name your price if you feel the need. Hope you enjoy, and of course, “crank the Dank.”

Craig Legz (Some Savannah Thang) - Dank Sinatra

Blending Your Thursdays: DJ Marvel

This remix is better than the original. DJ Khaled's "I'm On One," which features Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne, came out earlier this summer and has been remixed again and again. I have hated all of them, until now. DJ Marvel implements a funky, R&B instrumental that compliments all three artists perfectly, especially Drake. The original is arguably one of the best of the summer (I happen to disagree), but it's this remix that has me sitting back, rolling in my mini-van, wishing I had a Bentley...

I'm On One - DJ Marvel

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Neon Hitch (Again)

This girl is crazy - Neon Hitch has an incredibly unique, twangy voice coupled with an attitude that will drive the toughest guy in the room crazy. Don't believe me? Watch the music video for her cover of Mac Miller's "Donald Trump" above and witness a board room turn savage. Hitch shortens and slows down Mac's standout track, yet maintains its message of how money and fame can change people. Just like her cover of Wiz Khalifa's "On My Level," this track is strangely addictive. Together, with the music video, it is outright dangerous. Enjoy

Donald Trump (Mac Miller Cover) - Neon Hitch

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Meaning Behind Sucka Plush

I featured the mashup artist, Sucka Plush, a little while ago with a large amount of respect and uncertainty. I couldn't get enough of the guy's music, yet knew virtually nothing about him. I finally got in contact with Charlie Ekhaus, the man behind the unconventional show name, and had a chance to ask him a few questions. After talking for a little, I learned a lot about Charlie and his musical passion - diverse, yet focused. A lot of his mashups are older work and short, but they're so damn good. Be sure to comment on this post and call Charlie out; we want more! Visit his website to download his mashup albums and spread the love.

Dead Wrong - Sucka Plush

Beat Dropping: First of all, what does the name Sucka Plush mean? Where did it come from?
Sucka Plush: It came from a poem I wrote for my freshman english class in high school. We had to cut out lots of random words from various magazines and then try to assemble them into something poetic. Originally the line was "Sucka Plush Epistles" but I just took "Sucka Plush" because I thought it sounded cooler. Something about the name clicked with me and I've kept it ever since then.

BD: Describe your thought process behind one of your mashups. How do you pick the songs you mix together / how do you figure out that two seemingly unrelated songs will make a great mix?
SP: I listen to a lot of music, rap especially. When I'm not listening to rap though, I'll constantly have [hip-hop/rap] acapellas going through my head. I'll be listening to The Who, and suddenly a 2Pac verse will come on in, or something like that. Anything that really stands out to me and I'll turn into an actual mashup.

Deadly Combination - Sucka Plush

BD: So then where does the inspiration come from?
SP: First and foremost I have to credit Girl Talk. "Night Ripper" was the first time I'd ever heard a mash-up and it inspired me to try to make my own. Beyond that, the inspiration comes from the music itself. Currently, I'm listening to a lot of Bonobo, Curren$y, Pretty Lights, Animal Collective, Funkadelic, Gramatik, Kendrick Lamar...the new Jay-Z/Kanye album as also been on repeat lately (of course).

BD: So I'm thinking the album cover for "The Last Supper" is pretty damn epic (pictured above). Did you make it yourself? Any meaning behind it?
SP: All credit goes to Dave MacDowell, I just shamelessly took it and turned into my album cover. The picture itself represents the kind of mashups I do perfectly...rap imposing itself in places where it normally wouldn't be. The man in the picture is actually Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird," but all thugged out. The contrast of cultures in the picture was too perfect to not use as the album cover (though I like to think of it as more of a mixtape). Check out Dave's flickr if you want to see more of his art.

Peace - Sucka Plush

BD: Are you working on anything new or unrelated to your mashups? Are you trying to branch out?
SP: Actually, all of my mashups are fairly old (The Last Supper debuted in March). I've been focusing on other musical projects for a while now. At the moment I'm hard at work on The Sunshine Boys first full album. Its like a folk/rock/reggae/hiphop group...we try to make the music as diverse as possible. We made an EP last summer and released a couple of music videos to supplement the tunes. You can check it out here if you're interested. I also attempt to make beats every now and then; a beat I made with a few friends back in high school was used in a BMX video that was on ESPN a while ago. It seemed like a big deal at the time...
A Side Note: if you're interested in hearing some of Sucka's beats, visit his website and listen to my personal favorite, Twisted Whistler.

BD: And the most important question of the day: why should people follow Beat Dropping?
SP: Beat Dropping showcases an extremely wide variety of genres, something I haven't seen in other blogs. Its also has a commitment to posting good music. The real question is why shouldn't people follow Beat Dropping? (we like this guy, can you tell?)

Badd Swan - Sucka Plush

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tommy Oakes: Cast Iron Filter

Cast Iron Filter: a four-man band based out of Davidson, North Carolina who have a very unique, but catchy sound (one their fans like to call “iron-grass”). Unfortunately, this very talented group of guys is no longer together as of 2004. However, they did leave us with four great studio albums and one live one. Here are a few songs spread out from three of those albums that guarantee to have you tapping your feet.

Brand New Pants - Cast Iron Filter

Ain't So Easy - Cast Iron Filter

Who Are We To Question Love? - Cast Iron Filter

I also wanted to take the chance to thank Hobbs for giving me the opportunity to contribute to Beat Dropping’s collection. I have a lot of music to share, much like the music below: acoustic, folk and singer/songwriter type jams. I also have some more electronic and “bump-worthy” tunes I may post every now and then as well. I hope you all enjoy listening to them as much as I do.

Just a side note - after posting this, the posts below that "you may also like" are coincidentally featuring music given to me by Tommy. Check them out and start getting a feel for what he has in store for you...and yes I realize they are very old posts and the music doesn't stream. If you want the mp3, email me and I'll send it to you.

Volume VI: Toga

Who cares if it's the end of the summer? I couldn't be more excited to go back to school, which is why Beat Dropping is giving you its sixth original mixtape, "Toga," which is appropriately inspired by Animal House. Be sure to read more and view the full tracklist, but for those who have short attention spans, some of the mixtape's features include Mac Miller, Brenton Duvall, and Na Palm. The download link is before and after the tracklist, and be sure to sort by song name once it's in your iTunes library. Enjoy

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blending Your Thursdays: Terry Urban

Terry Urban is a DJ/mashup artist based out of Brooklyn (how appropriate considering the song choice). The guy has some serious talent and recently debuted a mashup album titled, "Carter's Sabbath." I'm not a big fan of Black Sabbath so a lot of the tracks off the EP get on my nerves, although I appreciate what the guy has created. It's not an easy task giving Lil' Wayne a rock & roll makeover. There's one track that definitely caught my eye, however, and is therefore the feature for this week's Blending Your Thursdays. Take a Sabbath track, lay Weezy in the midst, and add Jay-Z as the garnish and you have the track below. If you want to grab Urban's entire mashup album, visit his website.

Brooklyn Caravan - Terry Urban (Must Download)

P.S. be on the lookout for a Beat Dropping mixtape to come out later today or tonight...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Taking Back Sunday

I found this cover earlier this week and became obsessed with it. The unconventional way that Adam Lazzara and John Nolan of Taking Back Sunday take Kanye's "Can't Tell Me Nothing" is extremely unexpected, and therefore addictive. The song is part of a special they feature each Monday known as "Mashup Mondays." Obviously the mashup part isn't what us hip-hop junkies are thinking of, but rather exactly what this cover is: unexpected and random. I like that the duo maintains a little piece of the original hip-hop feel with its acoustic takeover; with a refreshing mix like the preceding, this cover delivers a fun style and amazing vocals. The mp3 below is without all the noises and the interview from the above video. Enjoy

Can't Tell Me Nothing - Taking Back Sunday (2/5ths of them anyway)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fall Asleep With Peter Case

"Everybody's laughin' now it won't be long;
we've seen a lot of troubles now the ghost is gone.
I ain't gonna worry no more..."
-Peter Case, obviously the feature of this post

Peter Case is from Buffalo, New York and was born in 1954. He's a singer-songwriter that I just now stumbled upon and I suppose it's better late than never. He's a high school drop out with a GED "that no ones ever asked to see," and his first instrument was a green Mickey Mouse ukelele. That's the kind of stuff you see in documentaries on music legends - coming from little to make it big. It seems like it has been a while since I've posted a song that displays less than 250 beats per minute (for all of you non-musical people, that's fast. Who am I kidding, I had to look that up to double check), and that upsets me. Currently my favorite song is Sterling Waite & The Cotton Avenue Hustler's "Fire's Creek," which is easily the slowest off their album "Free In The Mountains." Few appreciate the slow songs today, and that's because most are caught up in the speed of life. Few sit down and do nothing, nothing but listen to music. I challenge you to do just that, though, with "Ain't Goin To Worry No More." Listen to the lyrics, put your stress on hold, and appreciate slow music - the songs that terrified us at middle school dances.

Ain't Gonna Worry No More - Peter Case

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Brazilian Funk Is Good Funk

Spin this track, walk along a crowded street, and act like you own the place. You can't help but feel like you are top dog when this funky groove from Brazil's Banda União Black (pronounced OONyow BLACKee) hits your ears. The band is comprised of a respectable 13 member ensemble and is more or less the ethnic cousin of Earth, Wind, and Fire. The group's claim to fame came in the 70's, then again thirty years later in 2006 when they debuted their latest album in the states. Normally I tell you to sit back and enjoy the music, but with this track, I'm thinking you need to get out and do the beat street strut.* Enjoy

Been So Long - Banda União Black

*To fully enjoy this post, it's imperative that you watch the entire video in the link.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beat Dropping for Tune Traveler

I'm pretty excited to announce that Beat Dropping is expanding in two different ways. The first way: I've been invited to work for Tune Traveler. Some of you may remember me talking about the music marketing company a while back, but for those of you that are new to the BD scene, Tune Traveler is a new website-based company founded by two Wofford graduates - Clarke Walker and Chris Dalton. Their focus is to promote new talent while giving each band even exposure. The site also serves as a music discovery project, meaning it displays the artists music in a manner that allows the average Joe to find his new favorite song or band. I'll be, for the most part, recruiting new artists and beefing up their blog in attempts to attract more talent and more average Joe's. I'm unofficially calling it Beat Dropping for Tune Traveler (clever, I know). If you're interested in finding new music, want to join the site as an artist, or are simply an avid follower of my rants, visit Tune Traveler and bookmark it (should fit nicely right next to BD). Check out my first post here

The second expansion comes as a result of joining Tune Traveler. Since I'll be writing for them and BD, my time, as I anticipate, will become split, especially since I'll be back at school. The solution: recruit another writer. Not just any writer, but one who has some of the finest taste in music. Tommy Oakes is from Charlottesville, Virginia but attends Wofford College with me and is one of my pledge brothers. Some of the music I've supplied in earlier posts has come from Tommy and his extensive iTunes library - mostly folk and a few standout tracks such as the infamous Biggie, Bocelli mashup. T-Bone will be guest writing a few times a week in order to fill in when I can't find the time to post. I'm in no way neglecting BD, though. This bad boy is my baby and I will forever be the main contributor, designer, and voice.

Be on the lookout for Tommy's first post sometime in early September, and be sure to check out Tune Traveler's website, Facebook page, and twitter!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Surprise Yourself With ProbCause

This track has caught me off guard. It has a real funky tune, kudos to The Whitest Boy Alive, and a simple yet effective flow coming from a man who claims he has no boundaries. So far, I'm believing him. He dabbles in pretty much any non-acoustic field such as hip-hop, dubstep, 'glitch hop,' electronic, and funk. Combine the first and last genres with the element of surprise and you have the track featured in this post. The Whitest Boy Alive is nowhere on my musical radar. They never will be, unless my new obsession, ProbCause, keeps using their tracks. Visit his website to hear more, but for now surprise and please your ears below. Enjoy

1517 (The Whitest Boy Alive Remix) - Probcause

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rediscovering Mac Miller

Sometimes all it takes to turn you off on an artist is one song. I was huge on Mac Miller until I heard a song with too many cuss words and no meaningful backbone. That was a couple of months ago. It's also pretty amazing how quickly an artist can grab your attention again, as Mac did today when one of his best tracks, "Best Day Ever," started playing on my speakers. I've gotten more attached since I watched the music video that debuted back in July. Mac's personality comes through on this project and you really get a feel of where he has come from, which judging by the video, was a loving family. His career has progressed rapidly and he's one of few in the game right now that have made conscious efforts to speak about issues people care about. I know the song is pretty old, but when I started listening to it today, I realized I never posted it. So in case you haven't heard, this has been the best day ever as I rediscovered an up-and-coming great. Enjoy

Best Day Ever - Mac Miller

Bonus: Best Day Ever Remix - Big Z
(didn't take long for me to get over my blood pressure issue and I'm back to listening to more Biggie...)

A Public Service Announcement

"One thing about music: when it hits you, you feel no pain."
-Bob Marley

Well, shit, Bob. I found out today that I have high blood pressure, as well as the rest of my family. I understand how everyone else does, but not me. My parents have careers. My sister is trying to find one. The equation isn't difficult here. I, on the other hand, work at a pool during the summer, I'm still in college, and I devote what seems like 20 hours a day listening to music. So, Bob, what the hell? I even listened and watched the video above and took my blood pressure again. It went up. That has to be one of the most peaceful videos ever created, and yet in some minuscule manner (2 blood pressure points to be exact) it managed to stress me out. In Bob's defense, though, I was wondering about the time lapse photography involved rather than the music. So, despite the notion that I may be popping blood pressure pills when I'm not even out of my twenties, I still plan on maintaining my 20 hours devoted to tunes. I just may have to watch this video once in a while rather than blowing my ear drums to Biggie. If you're seemingly screwed like I am, watch the video above or listen to Bob below and let him take the pain away.

Blending Your Thursdays: Brenton Duvall

I started Covering Your Wednesdays almost three months ago and it's received a lot of positive feedback. So many thumbs up, in fact, that it has prompted me to begin another daily special: Blending Your Thursdays. Mashups are massively popular these days, especially since artists are beginning to realize that everything can be blended together (whether they pick the right pairing for their track is largely up to the listener, and sometimes quite questionable). To blend songs, particularly of different genres, a great deal of musical understanding is demanded. I won't lie, I tried my hand at it. I failed miserably. I've said before that I have little to no musical talent; the mashups I created - which are countable on one hand because that's how long it took me to realize I sucked - never sounded natural. That's the hardest component to accomplish: making songs like Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" and Avicii's "Levels" sound like they were meant for each other. The mashup duo, The White Panda makes it look easy.

Deep In The Levels - The White Panda

Obviously, Blending Your Thursdays will be devoted to mashups will be devoted to great mashups that will grab your attention. If you've been a follower of Beat Dropping for a while, then you know I'm dedicated to promoting music I find great, not just good. So why stop now? I'm not going to spit out every mashup I come across, but rather the ones that do the unexpected, make you dance, and demand that repeat status. Well, here we go, and what better way to start off than with the infamous Brenton Duvall? This track dropped Tuesday night, but I saw it as the perfect fit for the inaugural post for Blending Your Thursdays. Biggie and Phil Collins were good friends and produced music together, right?

Some Other Party In Paradise - Brenton Duvall Must Download

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Email Subscription

So Beat Dropping just got a little more professional. Here's how: I've upgraded the email subscription system. Before, I was unable to send out personalized updates including new posts and benefits. That's all different now. When you subscribe to Beat Dropping, you'll receive a daily email that will include the day's post(s) in a simple format coupled with some dry humor (if nothing is posted that day, then you won't receive one).

Why do I need an email when I already have Beat Dropping bookmarked? First off, I'm flattered you've clicked your mouse a couple of times and added me to your prestigious collection of bookmarks. Now, besides getting updates on new posts, you'll be exposed to the occasional newsletter that will include improvements to the website and prizes (bonus mp3s, giveaways, music-related news, etc.). You'll only be exposed to the outrageous fun if you SUBSCRIBE by filling out the subscription form located in the SIDEBAR on the right, directly underneath the genres. Here's the most important part:

If you were subscribed to Beat Dropping before, you have to subscribe again.

I promise you will not receive more than one email a day, and your email address will not be sold or redistributed. I apologize for any inconvenience, but I promise this system is a hundred and one times better. Thank you to everyone who has already signed up! Next professional step towards the bettering of Beat Dropping: advertising on buses and sky-writing.

Be A Friend

“Not one child should be denied food nor water. Not one child should suffer. Along with Save the Children, we [must] stand up together as friends to put a stop to this, to feed our children and to save their lives." 
-Rita Marley, Bob Marley's Wife

The above video coupled with Bob Marley's "High Tide or Low Tide" is part of a campaign known as "I'm Gonna Be Your Friend" that is devoted to ending hunger in East Africa. The goal is to "raise awareness and much needed funds for the desperate situation...where millions of lives are threatened through starvation and lack of water." This is being done by simply releasing Marley's classic track for purchase on iTunes. All it takes is a $1.29 and you will be feeding a hungry mouth. You can also donate via the campaign's website, where $15 can buy four blankets, feed a child for a week, and provide a family of five clean water for a month. Bob Marley's songs have always provided millions with hope and warmth, so why not follow in his footsteps and help be a part of a mission to save millions. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This Is Awkward

So apparently I have no regard for the days of the week. I apologize for "Covering Your Wednesday" on a Tuesday. I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing I need to make up for, feature another cover song tomorrow, or just act like nothing is wrong (I guess this post throws the third option out of the window). This is awkward. Download the song below and forgive me. 

Leaving The West ft. Philly B. - Splinta

Covering Your Wednesday: The Moondoggies

Note: The Zach Galifianakis look-alike on the far right is not a publicity stunt. He's a member of the band who just happens to look exactly like Zach Galifianakis. How fun.

I have never been a fan of Bob Dylan. Not to say he isn't one of the best song writers of all time, but I never cared for his voice. I know that for a self-proclaimed music fanatic, this is probably breaking some ungodly rule. You don't like Bob Dylan and you say you like music? Simply outrageous. I do, however, like The Moondoggies, and not just because they have a really cool band name, but because they produce good music - makes sense. The Moondoggies decided to cover Dylan's classic, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," back in January for one of Sirius XM's Loft Sessions. They stay pretty true to the original. The band definitely emphasizes the vocals and harmonica, however, which ultimately pay homage to one of music's most well known names, who I just happen to dislike. Maybe I'll rethink my musical preferences today. Enjoy

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - The Moondoggies

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hip-Hop Explained For The Elderly

Note: I am aware that about 90% of Beat Dropping followers are still in college, if not younger. Take the other 10% and you have those that have freshly graduated, parents, and grandparents. The content featured in the following post is primarily directed towards senior citizens, about 2% of BD followers.*

What is hip-hop? More importantly, who above the age of 30 knows what it is? The answer is probably close to zero. Parents don't understand it and grandparents haven't heard of it. According to Webster's dictionary, hip-hop is "a subculture especially of inner city youths who are typically devotees of rap music." Youths is the key word in the definition and reinforces the notion that old people are stubbornly stuck listening to their Elvis records. I think now is the perfect time to write about this generation gap and inform the elderly on how Elvis would sound even better if he went in on a track with Akon. Why? Because potentially the best hip-hop album of the year, and maybe the decade, was released yesterday. Jay-Z and Kanye West's album, "Watch The Throne" has such a high production value and obvious talent level, that it has already gone platinum. It's been a day and a half (this would be the appropriate reaction)...and guess who made the trip with them grandpa? Your main man Otis Redding. The gap has been bridged.

Can I Get With Ya? (Bocelli vs. Biggie Smalls) - DJ Killa Kel

One of the worst excuses for not enjoying hip-hop is that they "don't understand it." If this was a valid excuse, classical music would possibly be obsolete, and definitely with my generation. Well not completely, the above mashup featuring Biggie and a Bocelli track is awesome. Here are a few things about hip-hop you may not understand, now defined in relatable terms from your possible decade:
1. Rap is urban poetry. Fan of Shakespeare? Take the rhyming schemes and the meaning behind his poems and plays, add a couple of bass lines, and you have rap. Think of Missy Elliot as Emily Dickinson's vulgar cousin.
2. "Frat Rap" is almost always bad. It's usually about how that rapper is the best rapper alive. How can you relate? If rap was prevalent in your time, Tiny Tim would be the embodiment of Frat Rap. They're both annoying and successful...
3. Notorious BIG and Tupac are the godfathers of hip-hop. They are the opposite of Frat Rap, such that they both addressed major issues in their time - mostly racial injustice. These two kings are the R-rated versions of Martin Luther King Jr. and Billy Graham. Queue up the hearing aids and listen to what they're concerned about.
4. Hip-hop is a gateway to other, more recent genres. I won't even begin to try and relate dubstep to you, it's too far ahead of your time. The important thing, though, is that hip-hop, and it's musical components are the common ancestor of glitch production, house/club, and variations of electronic music. If your friend Darwin was still kicking, he'd be able to explain it.
5. The exponential improvement of athletic performance since your time, is not because athletes are bigger and faster. Their ability to continually shatter records is because of hip-hop. Sure Jesse Owens was the fastest of his time, but did he run a 9.79 in the 100 meter like Usain Bolt did after he probably got pumped up by listening to Eminem's "Lose Yourself?" I didn't think so. Your time spent in your favorite chair watching Tiger Woods make Jack Nicholson look like the average Joe can be credited to Flo Rida.**

No more excuses. Go purchase Jay-Z and Kanye West's new album, "Watch The Throne," and think about what I've talked about. Listen to what these guys are saying, marvel at the production quality, and understand that hip-hop/rap is not the music of the devil, but rather just another expression of emotion and relevant issues in the modern world. If you are old and want to voice your distaste for hip-hop or scold me for calling you out, feel free to leave a comment below. Now if you'll excuse me, my boy Otis is calling my name.

Otis - Jay-Z & Kanye West

*Statistics in this article are completely made up, and may or may not reflect an accurate representation of Beat Dropping followers. I apologize if I have offended the elderly; none were physically harmed in the making of this post.
**I also realize the ridiculousness of this statement. Not that hip-hop is a reason for higher levels of athleticism, but that I talked about Tiger in a positive light. The guy's personality sucks and he's a basket case. Rock on Jack.

An Interview With The JBW Experiment

I've been long time friends with the musicians behind the remix group known as JBW Experiment. John Barry and Brooks Whitmore, although relatively new to the music production scene, have made leaps and bounds towards making a name for themselves. It's taken the duo a couple treks through different genres to find their niche, but with their recent tracks, The Experiment has seemingly come into their own. Most notably, is "Looking Inward Out," which dropped about two hours ago. I felt a little funny asking John, one of my best friends since elementary school, for an interview, but I figured followers would appreciate an inside and in-depth look at this duo's method to madness. I surprised myself, however. Well John surprised me rather, as his answers to my questions were both genuine and eye-opening. I am in no way musically gifted, and I use this website to cope with the lack of that talent. John's responses made me realize not just how talented they are, but musicians in general. Find out for yourselves and click 'Read More' below to read through my chat with John Barry of JBW Experiment. Their latest tracks are included, as well as some older gems. Enjoy

Looking Inward Out (Original Mix) by The JBW Experiment

Saturday, August 6, 2011

That Funky Watermelon

It's been a while since I've posted some good funk and jazz, unfortunately because I'm not exposed to much. I received this song via the song submission form as a response to the recent post I made on the two upcoming music festivals. Sol Driven Train is from Charleston, South Carolina and are a part of the Music On The Mountaintop lineup. The group "blends funk, world, jam, and jazz into a delicious mix of goodness." Their latest single is appropriately called "Watermelon," and I started loving it just after five seconds of listening.* If you like the funk, then Sol Driven Train will be right up your ally. I haven't seen them live yet, but a few of my friends have had the pleasure and reportedly couldn't stop dancing. Download Sol Driven Train's newest track, "Watermelon" below and start groovin' to the funk. A shout out to Tammy for the song submission! Enjoy

Watermelon - Sol Driven Train

*The 1:55 minute mark is definitely my favorite part. Bring on the funk


I don't know what "merp" means. I feel like I should though, so I looked it up on Urban Dictionary, and got 18 different definitions. Obviously I'm still confused. The up-and-coming hip-hop duo known as New Linen titled their newest album "Merp Nation," and seeing that the members are still in college (Penn State and Alvernia University), I'm going with definition #6. I could be wrong, but I figure it doesn't really matter because the music is what counts. Neal Herring and Tim Pici, the musicians behind New Linen, released "Merp Nation" two days ago. The EP showcases 14 tracks that all heavily incorporate the piano and and acoustic guitar. From track to track, the vocals can get monotonous, but overall the music and wordplay overcome and provide a smooth listening experience. The duo samples, reconstructs, and even covers tracks dropped this past year, and does so in a refreshingly crisp manner. The highlights are below, and if you decide you want more, you can download the full mixtape on Enjoy

When I'm Young - New Linen

By Your Side ft. K Helm - New Linen

Forget Who You Are - New Linen

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Two Music Festivals You Should Be Attending

Want to have one (well two) of the best music experiences in your life for cheap? If you're in school, chances are you're broke and love music. If you're out of school and have a real job, chances are you're broke and love music. So why not pay the little guys some attention? Music On The Mountaintop and The Festy Experience are two smaller-scale music festivals located in the southeast. Both boast amazing lineups for cheap ticket prices. Both offer camping grounds and an environment focusing on wide genre bases (folk and bluegrass mostly, but variety is the name of the game). Click 'Read More' below to learn more about each festival and download some of the talent scheduled to play...

Another One Down

Asher Roth is blowing up on the music blog scene. I've never paid him much attention, but thought I should definitely share the track he dropped yesterday. He recruited another name you may not know - DA Wallach of the band Chester French - to add a highly addictive rock and hip-hop blend. Although I haven't been the biggest fan of Roth's music, I'm planning on paying the guy more attention. I've been playing this track over and over because I can't get enough of Wallach and the kick drum. Great track that you'll love more after each listen; enjoy.

Another One Down ft. DA Wallach - Asher Roth

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Covering Your Wednesday: Neon Hitch

I'm keeping my promise I made on twitter (@beatdropping) and making Neon Hitch's cover of Wiz Khalifa's "On My Level" this Wednesday's feature. And like I stated then, I'm going to state now: I'm having a hard time describing this one. Neon Hitch is a British diva with a lot of passion and attitude. Not particularly the most obvious of choices for a cover, "On My Level" allows Neon to show off her immense talent. Completely awesome, unexpected, and a little sexy, this cover is a must download. Get on Neon Hitch's level today and put this track on repeat. Enjoy

On My Level - Neon Hitch

Monday, August 1, 2011

Album Review: Free In The Mountains

I've never talked about Sterling Waite nor The Cotton Avenue Hustlers, but I admit that has been a mistake. The three man group joined forces this past spring and have already delivered an outstanding 9-track album. If you're a fan of Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers, or even Van Morrison, you need to read this.

The album is called "Free In The Mountains," and rightfully so. Based out of Macon, Georgia, Sterling Waite & The Cotton Avenue Hustlers are musicians finding praise along the southeast mountains. Sterling Waite, the vocals, banjo, guitar, and harmonica of the band, has a smokey voice that works so well with the album's title and the band's sound. The music is simple; usually there is only the stand up bass, a harmonica, and a banjo present. I don't know about you, but I've always believed simple is better. Reportedly, the entire album was produced in an un-air-conditioned apartment with triple digit temperatures knocking on the windows. That being said, the band's rich folk and bluegrass sound surprisingly does not bring listeners into their cooking apartment, but rather takes them out into the cool mountain air. Each song is so well-crafted, that listeners simply become "Free In The Mountains."

Free In The Mountains - Sterling Waite & The Cotton Avenue Hustlers

Fire's Creek - Sterling Waite & The Cotton Avenue Hustlers

Download: Free In The Mountains Album

Be sure to check out their Facebook page and Noise Trade profile to grab the album and donate!

Wale, There's No One Like You

Everyone put a round of applause together as Wale has finally produced a decent song since his mixtape "More About Nothing." The guy prides himself on never taking a day off and always making music for his fans. Although I love the premium costumer service, I'm a bigger fan of quality over quantity. I don't mean to tear the guy down, because he has some serious talent, but he's just a little too inconsistent. That being said, one of Wale's most recent tracks, "No One Like You," actually has made it to repeat status in my iTunes library.

No One Like You - Wale

Beatz & Pieces

To make up for my extended absence, I figured I'd start today off with giving you a free album that has challenged me such that I'm having a hard time describing its greatness. It's kinda like this, but more acceptable. If you're a fan of Pretty Lights or Paper Diamond, then it's time for you to jump on the Gramatik bandwagon. Dennis J, the man behind the music, signed with Pretty Light Music recently and has been on fire ever since. He released the album "Beatz & Pieces Vol.1" a couple of days ago and has an outrageous amount of musical diversity packed into its 17 track list. You're bobbing your head to the hip-hop one song, then grooving to the funk the next, all while being encompassed by the label's signature electronic feel. Enjoy

While I Was Playing Fair - Gramatik

Like You Do - Gramatik

Happiness On a Leash - Gramatik

Download: Beatz & Pieces Vol.1 Album

Bonus: I thought I would add this track as it's similar to what Gramatik did with this album. A little more intense, but it's Ray Charles baby, how could it not be?
Good Thymes (Ray Charles Remix) - Opiuo