Cadence Weapon continues to firmly establish his legacy as a sonic pioneer while constantly pushing the rap and electronic music envelope. Following his critically acclaimed, Polaris Music Prize nominated albums Breaking Kayfabe and Afterparty Babies and a two year term as Edmonton’s Poet Laureate, he returns with a brand new album, Hope In Dirt City out on Upper Class Recordings on May 29th.
Roland Pemberton was born with hip hop in his DNA. His father, Teddy Pemberton, a Brooklyn native and the muse for Cadence Weapon’s acclaimed sophomore album, Afterparty Babies, was a pioneering college radio DJ and in 2010 was inducted into the Hall Of Fame during Canada’s National DJ Awards, the Stylus Awards. He’s credited for introducing hip-hop to Rollie’s hometown of Edmonton, Alberta through his show, The Black Experience In Sound on CJSR-FM.
Following in his father’s groundbreaking footsteps, Rollie discovered he wanted to rap at the tender age of 13. Pemberton first gained massive grassroots support for his mixtape “Cadence Weapon Is The Black Hand”. He soon followed up with his explosive debut “Breaking Kayfabe” and the album yielded instant praise and notoriety culminating in nominations from the Polaris Music Prize, the Canadian Indie Awards and “Best Rap Album of 2006” at the Plug Independent Music Awards, and won the CBC Radio 3’s Bucky Award.
Pemberton has performed with Public Enemy, De La Soul, Mos Def, Questlove, Kool Keith and Lupe Fiasco and toured extensively with acts as diverse as Jurassic 5, Final Fantasy, Islands and Buck 65. He’s played internationally renowned festivals such as Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Roskilde, Pitchfork Music Festival, Incubate and Germany’s Splash! Festival. He’s remixed Grimes, Roots Manuva, Chad VanGaalen, Kid Sister, Busdriver, Disco D and Stars and made acclaimed bootleg mixes of tracks by Ciara (“Oh”) and Rick Ross/Simian Mobile Disco (“Hustlin’ Hustler”). He inked deals with labels Epitaph and Big Dada. Most impressively, this was before he reached age of majority.
Deemed by Dazed and Confused as “hip hop’s saviour”, Cadence Weapon is changing the game. Hope In Dirt City is a clearly defined and emotionally mature statement of intent that represents the culmination of these experiences. Pemberton applies an interesting approach to production using samples as a foundation for writing the album, then working with live instrumentalists (Jered Stuffco (DVAS) on keyboards, Ian Koiter (Shad) on bass and string arrangements, Eric Lightfoot on drums and percussion, Paul Prince (The Cansecos) on guitar and Brett Miles (Magilla Funk Conduit) on saxophone) to reconfigure his original compositions. Pemberton then turned the band-recorded tracks into samples for the album to “achieve a listenable, honest approach to integrating a live band into his setup”. “I wanted to have a live feel, but I didn’t want to sound like the Arsenio Hall band,” Pemberton told Paste. “I wanted to make it ambiguous between where the sample ends and the live band begins.” Referencing his album’s first single “Conditioning” Pemberton goes on to say, “Originally it was a drum machine demo, I wanted it to be a Bo Diddley song. I basically have a band play it as a rock song, then when I took it home, I switched it into half time and turned it into a hybrid-blues track.”
Composed of a unique hybrid of psychedelic soul, old school rap, IDM and mutant disco; Hope In Dirt City is a groundbreaking achievement in hip-hop. Cadence Weapon has returned to bring rap back to its essence.
Brief, exhilarating songs about love… of course; Pop is founded upon such foundations, but in Matthew Adam Hart’s gifted hands our wonder and gleeful idiocy is laid out in rare, brilliant detail. Critics and the public alike have recognized in Hart one of the most impressive compositional minds to emerge in years. He is a talent simultaneously modest but mighty, plainspoken but rigorously intelligent, creating miniature electronic epics that sound as if they were spun from gold.
The Weight’s On The Wheels is a mighty accomplishment long-coming for Matthew Hart: The Russian Futurists have left the “bedroom-pop sound” genre they helped define and made an ambitious studio-produced monster pop record loaded with low end, depth, volume, and Hart’s heart-breaking voice atop the mountain of sounds. Produced by Hart with the aid of Michael Musmanno (Outkast, Lilys, Arrested Development), the fourth studio album exposes a polished pop finish that Russian Futurists fans have been begging for. The Weight’s On The Wheels will cast a wider net on fans to be captured by the Futurists pop regalia. Tracks like “Horseshoe Fortune” and “Register My Firearms? No Way!” reveal Hart’s trademark ability to turn a phrase with heart-wrenching lyrics that evoke cinematic imagery, and “One Night, One Kiss”, a sugary duet with Heavy Blinkers crooner Ruth Minnikin now peels away the reverb and synths that used to envelop him, revealing a soulful Hart across crystal clear soundscapes. The bad-ass slammer “100 Shopping Days ‘Til Christmas” both begs an advertising bidding war with it’s chorus “100 Shopping Days ‘Til Christmas and you’re the one thing on my wish list” and shows off Hart’s love for hip hop with the skill and complexity of his lyrical flow. “Hoeing Weeds Sowing Seeds”, mixed by Grammy Award Winner Michael Brauer (Coldplay, John Mayer, The Bravery) and the lead single, is a celebration explosion, a thumping and glorious beat with classic Matthew Hart triumphant vocals rising atop the electronic paradise. The album, ten tracks in total, is front to end the best songs we’ve yet heard by Matthew Adam Hart and a new exciting day has dawned for one of the greatest song writers Canada has produced.
The Russian Futurists have three internationally acclaimed releases under their belt, and in 2007 Me, Myself and Rye was released; the amalgam of The Futurists’ hottest songs assembled from their three previous albums, digitally re-mastered. The Russian Futurists international profile saw them become UK-label mates with The Go! Team and The Pipettes, spawn a whirlwind experience that put them on a UK tour with Peter, Bjorn & John, North American dates with long time friends Caribou and Junior Boys and playing to 10000 fans at the Mada Festival in Brazil, while receiving acclaim and praise from the likes of NME, Clash, Spin, Time Out London, BBC, and X-FM. All the while producer-songwriter singer Matt Hart was remixing the likes of Stars, Sloan, Sally Shapiro, Dykehouse, Shout Out Louds, and Cadence Weapon.
Born and bred in the cold and lonely Ontario, border-town of Cornwall, and raised on hockey [“loving the Leafs is like being in love with a terrible woman”] Matt found comfort in the simplicity of AM Radio. “There are songs that were produced to sound like they belonged there. I used to sit up at night and drink a bottle of red wine and listen to AM to get inspired. My roommates used to think I was kind of a weirdo when they would walk into my room at 2 am and find me drunk listening to ‘Buttons & Bows’. I would like to end up on AM when I’m old and grey.”
Surprisingly, Hart’s roots as a producer and arranger lie not in Pop. “I was a compulsive Hip Hop producer from age 13 to 19,” he admits, “and would finish a completed Hip Hop track, from start to finish, every day after school” This interest is still evident in the Russian Futurists’ electronic rhythms, but a passion for the Pop music of his childhood (Abbey Road was a prominent obsession) is the heart of The Russian Futurists. “When I eventually began to try to make music other than beats it wasn’t my intention to make Pop. It just came out. I felt I was being stifled by Hip Hop and wanted to experiment with melody.”
Hart constructs his songs under the ongoing influence of Phil Spector, Brian Wilson “He showed me that Pop was able to be listenable and experimental at the same time.” Honesty shines through in all of The Russian Futurists’ songs – all the more remarkable for them having been conceived in Matthew Hart’s bedroom. Hart cheekily describes his sound as a result of “trying to make all of my songs huge, ambitious productions on very limiting and awful equipment.”
Christien Summers is a vision, or rather an apparition, that spanned a vast northern-scape of mountains, lakes, lands and time zones where Carol Lui and Gareth Jones got together in the metropolis of Toronto. The duo first appeared in 2008 on The Cansecos LP JUICES! track “Nothing New To You”, a collaboration that inspired a fierce musical bond between the two.
Jones – a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer fuses his autodidactic, sometimes rogue approach with Lui’s classical music training. Christien Summers’ self-titled debut stems from electronic sounds, that merged with Lui’s stage persona of cool sexuality, streetwise style and dizzying vocal glamour, give a dramatic yet dreamy pop experience all at once familiar and strikingly modern.
It started in Edmonton, spread to Toronto & Montreal and begins to circle the world – an infectious musical exploration that’s filtered into the ears of London Hipsters, Parisian electro-kids right through to New York Fashionistas. The creators of this musical blitzkrieg are DVAS, a pair of electro-dance innovators who have created one of the most exciting dance records of recent times.
DVAS’ french touch sound will take you on a dangerous and sexy journey of disco, funk, and soul with their bounce-heavy set of emotional and summer-y electro house anthems. They share some attributes with the space sounds of Daft Punk and pop legacy of Hall And Oates, but DVAS bring intense originality and innovation to up the ante on dance floor pop jams.
The anthem “Society” is the first single from the DVAS full-length album of the same name, and as a wondrous bonus treat – The Hood Internet partners with Chicago party-rapper Kid Static for their super-fly take on the DVAS single. The “Society” video, created by Toronto stars Shark Teeth Films, debuted worldwide exclusively at Spinner.com in June, followed by airplay at AUX-TV, MuchMoreMusic, MuchMusic, BPM:TV and CJNT/Montreal. Society was declared iTunes Single Of The Week, AUX-TV Track Of The Week, reached #3 on the CBC Radio 3 R3-30, and the album went straight to #1 on the Canadian RPM College Chart.
The album SOCIETY has been the soundtrack of summer, with that chunky slice of emphatic energy-induced music we oh-so-crave; tracks like Ambient Room, Consenting Adults, Watching You, Questions, and Giving It All Away left us hot under the collar wishing that this year’s summer fling never ends.
A gasp of astonished joy. The urgent holler of a young girl inviting you to, “Come out! Come on out!” Birds singing in the trees at sunrise. A melody that suggests the promise of a summer yet to come—the best summer of your life. These are the sounds of Early North American, the beguiling sophomore release from acclaimed Toronto duo Girls Are Short.
The best pop, whether implicit or explicit, expressed in music or in words, evokes the feeling of being young, free, and in awe of the extraordinary scope of everyday life. Girls Are Short—Daniel (DAN-Z) and Alex (AL-P)—know this intrinsically. Early North American is the memory of adolescence buffed to a fine, soft glow in the mists of hindsight, a tour de force of pop proficiency that captures the beauty, romance, absurdity and sadness of youth in little more than 40 minutes.
“A lot of what we do is guided by what we want to hear but that isn’t out there, which is why sometimes we’re a bit surprised ourselves by what we make,” AL-P explains from the duo’s undisclosed Toronto bunker. “You could say we aren’t quite aware we like a certain type of song until we make it. “We both hardly listen to music in the sense of keeping up with what’s new, but we have a fairly large stock of records from all kinds of genres and levels of obscurity in which we find elements that we like. Nothing particularly influences us as a whole, but small details and sounds from a wide variety of things leave an impression.”
“I’d like to think that we work without a trace of irony or putting on airs,” says Daniel. “We’re more about recapturing a feeling about music that we used to have. We both found ourselves very dissatisfied with what was going on in terms of music, so we’re looking for a feeling of excitement and innocence in music rather than trying to address something personal.”
Music lovers untainted enough to embrace the pure pop spirit of Early North American will know that feeling well. There are your headphones, there’s the door, there’s the sun. You know what to do.
Al-P is also the mastermind behind MSTRKRFT.
The Cansecos are relentless in their pursuit for the future of electronic rock. Their forward efforts in electro-funk rock and, sometimes disco productions melded with classic pop song-writing have earned them praise from Pitchfork Media, Uncut Magazine and the NY Observer for their unique musical soundscapes and visionary production.
On their recent sophomore release Juices! (Upper Class Recordings) The Cansecos enlisted the help of Adam Nunn (Radiohead, Air) at Abbey Road Studios. The result was heavily textured sounds, layered in 70’s funk rock production that marked a departure from their debut. The Cansecos remain true and comfortingly familiar, but with an absolutely modern style all of their own.
Their self-titled debut album (Upper Class Recordings 2003) was created using little more than some outdated, falling-apart computers and a four-track recorder, but the resulting sound, feel, image, is something truly original. Their inventive sound caught the attention of the indie-pop and electronic underground, and landed the track “A Common State Of Being” in the Canadian cult film, A Simple Curve (alongside fellow psychedelic sound explorers Caribou).
In keeping with their visionary antics, The Cansecos initially released a full-length bootleg version of Juices! Aptly entitled, Juiced! The disco mash-up project, remixed tracks from Juices! “Raised By Wolves”, “Fight Yellow”, “Seen The Sun Rise” were ambitiously blended with original disco jams of the ‘70s. Juiced!, available only on the band’s website and circulated through live shows, peer portals, and blogs, caused more of a stir than most traditional releases of 2007. That led The Cansecos to release a 70-minute disco mix tape, Showers. Showers displayed the musical inspiration behind Juiced! and made the All Music Guide’s Top 10 Mixes of 2008 alongside Santigold, Diplo and Simian Mobile Disco. Both Juiced! and Showers are still available as free downloads at www.thecansecos.com
The buzz surrounding the back to back releases of Juiced!, Juices! and Showers had music heads celebrating the redefined concept of an album, as well as attracting attention from their music peers, which landed The Cansecos back in the studio for most of 2008 producing and remixing some of the finest artists of the electronic dance and indie scenes (The Russian Futurists, Sally Shapiro, Black Kids).
Once in a while The Cansecos step away from the keys and knobs in their lab, and assemble their four-piece line up; “The Billionaire” and “Generous G” with rhythm aces “Princely P” Paul Prince (bass) and “Stealy” Dan McCormick (drums) jump on stage, and reveal their live prowess to the usual dressed to impress enthusiasts ready to hit the dance floor for the rapture of The Cansecos.
The Cansecos are elated by their recent accolade, as their track “Raised By Wolves” (Juices! Upper Class Recordings) wins first place in the most celebrated song writing competition in the world, The International Songwriting Competition for Best Electronic/Dance Song of 2008. Over 15, 500 songs were considered by a judging panel stacked with legends, as diverse as; TPain, Robert Smith, Tom Waits, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Davies, Black Francis, Chaka Khan, Tiesto and many more, winning the ISC Grand Prize is an accomplishment that recognizes excellence in the craft of songwriting. The admiration bestowed on The Cansecos is a great honour and achievement.
Surely you’ve considered Aphex Twin and Chuck D teaming up in a studio… well that’s pretty much the explosion you get with Baltimore noise-gangsters Food For Animals. Food For Animals are bass-terrorist and producer, Ricky Rabbit, and super-charged MCs Vulture Voltaire and Hy. Their debut EP Scavengers is a joint release between Upper Class Recordings and Baltimore’s Muckamuck Produce.
“Hip-hop beats, especially in the underground and indie scenes these days are always just bordering on going full blown crazy, so Food For Animals (aka Ricky Rabbit and Vulture Voltair) just decided to take it way over the top and fuck people’s ears up.” – MC Vulture Voltair
“We blow all samples to bits, piece them back together, and use what we need. We also listen to everything; you know, keep an ear out for any usable material and use it in a new way. Instead of looping the lovely recognizable part, we make new ones out of the old bits. Technology (I should clarify, “music technology”) is a wonderful thing and if you’re willing to scrounge, we’ve found that you can create a whole setup for free. “Scavengers” is our testament to that. I borrow or pay homage to lyrics on some of the songs (like Bob Dylan on “Brand New”) and Ricky borrows everything and makes sure you can’t tell what it was. And then our main man Dr. Dan helps us record it on the downloadable version of pro tools. We like existing outside of the US money machine as much as we can. I mean, culture is so fucked right now, and adhering to one set of “standards” or George Bush’s moral center is going to bury us all. We want to explore, to take what we think is great and use it to create new things.” – MC Vulture Voltair