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Soundtrax: Hip-Hop Out The Box

Sometimes, your average, run-of-the-mill hip-hop just won’t cut it. You need some beats and rhymes that are a little…different. This week, OurStage’s own technical liaison Jordan has put together a playlist for all those alternative hip-hop fans out there. Here’s a mix of rappers who are all thinking outside the box, creating odd combinations of sounds and lyrics to form a synthesis of head-bobbing tunes. These unusual rap songs from artists like Outkast, Philadelphia Slick, Gorillaz, and many more are sure to give you a whole new way to look at rap music. Post up, and contemplate the unique stylings of alternative hip-hop.

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New Blur!

Damon Albarn has been playing with our emotions lately, first claiming that both Gorillaz and Blur were done for, then backing away from so definitive a final judgement.

Seems that he was right to do so, as today Blur has confirmed speculation (resulting from an extended teaser campaign) and debuted two new songs, “Under The Westway” and “The Puritan.” The band announced the live stream and then digital availability of the tracks via their official Twitter, @blurofficial. Check out the performances here with links to buy the tracks.

Gettin' Noisy in Boise

Niño Lobos

Not too long ago, Niño Lobos (translation: Wolf Boys) were just two guys, delivering tortillas by night and taking college courses by day. But then they decided to start a band. Now, like Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf, they’ve become something fierce. The Boise band’s youthful blend of hip hop and electro pop claws into your brain with hooks upon hooks. Hey Girl has got a fat funk bass line, stabs of reverb guitars and some serious girl problems. She got me like Stiffler in ˜American Pie’ / Scratch me up like Wolverine. But it’s Taking Over Stereos that could be and should be a monster hit. Part dance rock, part hip hop, the track is a free-flowing, adrenaline-fueled blowout. Over a compressed, percolating beat the duo name-checks anyone from Cypress Hill and Jonah Hill to Lupe Fiasco, Mr. T, Gorillaz, Run-DMC and more. If Niño Lobos keep dropping tracks like this one, some of those dudes will be name-checking them.

Damon Albarn: Blur and Gorillaz are NOT done

Last month The Guardian released an interview that devastated Blur and Gorillaz fans everywhere, as Damon Albarn revealed that it was the end of the line for the two iconic bands. Well, in a recent interview with Metro the musician once again addressed the issue, saying, well… maybe not.

Blur is still set to perform at London’s Hyde Park for the Olympics closing ceremony in August, but what happens after that is anybody’s guess, says Albarn. “Some days I feel one way and other days I feel the other….We want to put on a great performance, but nothing’s been said between us about the beginning or the end.” As for the Gorillaz, it seems that Albarn is feeling a little more optimistic than before, leaving future prospects up to co-creator Jamie Hewlett. When Jamie [Hewlett] and I have worked out our differences, I’m sure we’ll make another record,” he says, in reference to a falling out between the two musicians.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Damon Albarn Announces The End of Blur and The Gorillaz

According to RollingStone, Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz has provided clear indication that both bands are reaching their end. In an interview with The Guardian, Albarn was asked if Blur had planned any performance dates after their upcoming and anticipated Olympic closing concert. Albarn responded with, “No, not really. I hope that’s the truth and that that’s how we end it.” The singer also said that “Under the Westway,” a new stand-alone single recorded by the band, is likely to be the last studio recording by the band. “I don’t really see any more recordings after this,” says Albarn. “So it’s nice to have finally done one song where we did it properly.”

Albarn indicated that the different priorities of his bandmates played a part in bringing Blur to an end, stating, “One thing I’ve learned, and I’m sure you’re exactly the same, is that everything I think I’ve got totally sorted out, and I know exactly what’s going to happen, it never works out that way,” he says. “I find it very easy to record with [guitarist] Graham [Coxon]. He’s a daily musician. With the other two, it’s harder for them to reconnect. You know what I mean? It’s fine when we play live “ it’s really magical still “ but actually recording new stuff, and swapping musical influences, it’s quite difficult.” Rolling Stone reports that the group had been slowly writing and recording new material over the past few years, but only the one-off singles “Fool’s Day” and “Under the Westway” were completed and released in that time, according to Albarn.

Albarn didn’t let up on the bad news, as he began to doubt on the future of Gorillaz as well, claiming a future for the band is “unlikely” due to a disagreement with his collaborator on the project, artist Jamie Hewlett: “Jamie [thinks Gorillaz is finished], which is fair enough. I think we were at cross purposes somewhat on that last record, which is a shame. So until a time comes when that knot has been untied…”

Continuing, he claimed that the tension between Hewlett and himself initially began when the artist didn’t provide much new art for the tour in support of their 2009 album Plastic Beach. “The music and the videos weren’t working as well together, but I felt we’d made a really good record, and I was into it. So we went and played it.”

Monday, April 9th, 2012

D. Hollywood Reps Alt Rockers In February, Wins Ernie Ball Grand Prize

D. is for Dirty… So begins the bio of D. Hollywood, winner of February’s Ernie Ball Alternative Competition.  D. is a Los Angeles-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who describes his music as intelligent, quirky, radio rock. He’s rocked some of LA’s biggest venues including the Air Conditioned Supper Club and Club Moscow, and worked with acts the likes of J*Davey, Ryan Leslie, Terra Naomi, Chris Pierce, Dane Cook and more. If you’re into Gorillaz, The Bravery, Weezer, Foo Fighters, MGMT or The Cars (and how could you not be?), swing on by D.’s OurStage Profile and check him out. Big congrats to D. Hollywood, enjoy a year un-fettered with costly string purchases.

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012