Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jake Bugg-Simple as This and Country Song

Picture Credit: Luke Dyson Photography

Listening to Jake Bugg sometimes feels like listening to a 21st century teenager who stumbled upon a time machine and decided that he wanted to do nothing more than to go back to the 60's to record music. Modern references sometimes clash with the stripped down musical backing, and although you might feel that the 18 year old hasn't lived enough to make an album of folksy rock tunes, Jake speaks about what he knows. On his self-titled debut, Bugg at times struggles to maintain consistency throughout the 14 short tracks (most of which clock in at a very retro 3 minutes or less), but shows enough promise that you keep listening and are left with the feeling that only special things will come from the young Brit. "Simple as This" and "Country Song" are great tracks to get to know his musical stylings and are standout tracks on an album whose inconsistency is far outweighed by true talent and a committed dedication to the British tradition of storytelling.

Buy Jake Bugg here

Download Jake Bugg Simple As This

Download Jake Bugg Country Song

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ben Harper-Suzie Blue (Live Acoustic Ukulele)

Though I often proclaim my love for music on this blog, my personal attempts at music creation have seemed to crash and burn. Apart from a brief stint playing the trumpet, and later as a member of a virtuouso extremely underground rap crew, my most recent foray into the world of music making has been with my ukulele. The always optimistic instrument has challenged me the last few years, and although I succeeded in my original goal of being able to decently play IZ's version of "Over the Rainbow," I hit a plateau fairly quickly. Ben Harper is a wizard of instruments (growing up in his grandparents' music store in Claremont didn't hurt) and never seems to be afraid of cutting everything away from his songs until only the bare bones remains. In his recent acoustic tour which went through New Zealand, Harper brought his uke along and plays a minimalist version of "Suzie Blue" that I love. Giving a completely different feel to the song which was originally featured on his 1999 album Burn To Shine, Harper also helps out the beleaguered instrument gain some clout in its eternal quest to do so. Check out the .mp3 of the live version, the video of the live version, and an .mp3 of the album version all below.

Download Ben Harper Suzie Blue (Live Acoustic Ukulele)

Download Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals Suzie Blue

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Michael Kiwanuka-Home Again

Many of the songs featured in the Marathon Jam Playlist on Monday were endeavors in musical brinkmanship, pushing the limits of what a song is and can be. But sometimes what you want from a song is simplicity and comfort and "Home Again" from Michael Kiwanuka provides just that. Apparently a big hit in Britain, today's jamandahalf rolls along in waves and has a repetition to it that is undeniably soothing. The son of Ugandan refugees, Kiwanuka was born and raised in the UK and has crafted a perfect jam for rainy, wistful days like today has been. Projecting melancholy hopefulness, "Home Again" perfectly captures that peculiar feeling of going back home. Check it out below.

Buy Home Again

Download Michael Kiwanuka Home Again

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spotify Playlist-8+ Minute Marathon Jams

The only thing that binds these disparate jams together is their length which in some ways is their defining feature.All clocking in at 8 minutes or more (with only one exception by a few seconds), these songs are the musical equivalent of taking the scenic route-they might take their time to get there but when they're done you're almost always glad you took it. Without the confines of a time limit, pictures are painted more vividly, stories are longer and in more depth, and of course, the jam session is let loose. Proving that almost all artists love a little extra canvas sometimes, this playlist features artists ranging from Berry White to Wyclef, Deadmau5 to Miles Davis. Don't start this playlist if you're in a hurry but if you have a few hours to fill, jam away.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Staff Benda Bilili-Osali Mabe

Staff Benda Bilili eclipse just being a great story; they make some pretty damn good music. The core of the band is four paraplegics who had polio when they were younger, leaving them without the use of their legs (check out their great public service announcement to remind parents to get their kids vaccinated against the disease here). Tired of being rejected by other bands in Kinshasa, the members joined forces, practicing and living in the city zoo while working as street performers across the sprawling Congolese capital. You can't make this stuff up. Discovered by a Belgian producer, the group have now made names for themselves on the World Music scene, recently having released their latest album. Two albums down, the band gained exposure due to their unique story but will be around for a long time due to their unique music. "Osali Mabe" is the perfect introduction to the band's sound: a great mixture of traditional Central Africa call and response backed up by some funky Caribbeanesque groove. The shrieking electric guitar is actually Roger Landu, a teenage street kid who was taken in by the band who made his guitar out of a tin can. The odds they had to go against for me to jam to their sounds were immense, the music even better. Check them out below. 

Buy Bouger Le Monde! here

Download Staff Benda Bilili Osali Mabe

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sam Lee-On Yonder Hill

Sam Lee is on a mission to save British folk music. Having traveled the country learning old folk songs, he recently released his debut album Ground of Its Own which is his take on these old ballads. The result is a striking mix of words and instruments that sometimes borders on jarring. With modern music largely eschewing any semblance of story, Lee's music puts the story front and center and surrounds it with a medley of sounds ranging from a didgeridoo to an old show tune that sounds like it was borrowed from Yann Tiersen. Both a homage to a music he loves and a distinctly unique musical experiment, Ground of Its Own and "On Yonder Hill" take us back a few years and shows us what we're missing today.

Buy Ground Of Its Own here

Download Sam Lee On Yonder Hill

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Matt & Kim-Now

After a few weeks in which I added a Master's to my "title," right after the BigLexiconMagic, I'm back to this beaut and will be churning out daily jamandahalfs for the near future. Do come again.  

In some ways, Matt & Kim have been trying to recreate "Daylight" (their debut single) for years now because in some ways, "Daylight" is the perfect Matt & Kim song. Even if they never again catch lightning in a bottle, they still are making some pretty dope music and on their recent release Lightning they are once again filling their unique groove. When you listen to the Brooklyn duo, you know exactly what you're going to get. For many of the mundane chores of life: long bus rides, walking to work in the rain, filling out endless job applications, the upbeat stylings of the two provide the perfect soundtrack. "Now" has, after years of being occupied largely by Southern crunk and Dutch house, taken the throne of my official pump-up jam and is a raucous reaffirmation of right now making the best out of a life that sometimes tries to get you down.

Download Matt & Kim Now

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ab-Soul-Track Two

Rap is a great equalizer. Anyone can download Audacity, throw on a beat, and do their best _______ impression (insert favorite rapper here). Starting a rock band is the combination of years of practice on individual instruments; becoming an opera virtuoso takes decades of classical training. That's not to say that being a rapper is in any way easy-a rapper's flow is the product of endless dedication and repetition. But because it is so  "easy" to be a "rapper" the mean product from the rap community is sometimes diluted. Yet when something special comes around it really does stand out in a way that rock groups rarely do.

One such artist is Ab-Soul. Part of the Black Hippy supergroup (along with Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q), Ab-Soul sounds like almost nothing out there. Painfully honest at times (channeling a Slim Shady LP Em) with the storytelling prowess of a young Ghostface, Ab-Soul also just sounds plain jarring at times.  Could be his high voice, might be the flow which seems to change each song..whatever it is it is undeniably unique and intriguing. "Track Two," the literal second track on his newest album Control System is a great introduction to his sound. If you like what you hear buy Control System here.

Download Ab-Soul Track Two

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Masta Ace- Acknowledge

Masta Ace -  Acknowledge from Disposable Arts

Masta Ace hails from Brooooooooooooklyn and has been killing it for decades.  His 2001 album Disposable Arts is a concept album, which chronicles Ace’s flight from the hood to the Institute of Disposable Arts in Up-State New York and the "regular" developments back home.  It is one of my favorite albums of all time because of the nearly seamless narrative about life in the hood while satirizing higher education in America.   The album is packed with JamAndAHalfs and radical verses from Jane Doe, Jean Grae, Punch, and Strck.  There is not a weak verse on the entire album.

The song Acknowledge, is a classic battle rap that, oddly, is the only song on the album that does not flow perfectly in the narrative of Ace’s flight from the hood.  That said, the song is straight fire.  Ace’s bars are accompanied by a weeping violin, which conjures up images of the other rappers’ funerals.   A Gangstarr sample is used as the hook and seems to add authenticity to Ace’s status as a true BIG FISH in the rap game.

The victims, The High and The Mighty, must have really pissed Ace off to make him stray from the running theme.  The High and The Mighty provoked Ace by stepping “up at CMJ and mentioning” his name.  Throughout the song, Ace slashes up the group’s members and their producer.
Ace finishes by saying

“You that cat in the club that gets hit with a bottle
Fucking with me, you’re better off trying to hit lotto
And don’t answer back, cuz this is hard shit to follow
And you can’t spit nigga so you obviously must swallow! Mother Fucker!”

And then Ace asks the proverbial question,

“Don’t you know that the student can’t fuck with the teacher?”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kishi Bashi-151a

The other day, while listening to Kishi Bashi's phenomenal debut album 151a and kicking it in my sweltering Madrid apartment, a visiting buddy of mine commented that, "these guys sound like the Beatles." Although Kishi Bishi is in fact a one-man superband, in some ways he's right. That ought to be a clear compliment; any positive references to one, if not the, greatest band in history should be enough to make any band blush, but such a comparison carries a lot of weight and expectations, along with a kind of "heard it before" attitude. It's like a video game garnering comparisons to Mario or Donkey Kong.

The comparison, more than a sonical evaluation, is most valid if describing the exploratory nature of 151a, a pursuit that defines the Beatles' work, especially in their later albums. 151a exudes the creativity of an artist testing both his talent and skills gained through years of hard work and turning that into nine tracks of something special. Checkout two standout tracks below as well as a link to buy the album.

Buy 151a here

Download Kishi Bashi Bright Whites

Download Kishi Bashi I Am the Antichrist to You

Thursday, July 12, 2012 Mixtape

The symbiosis with continues. AMitch presents a great mix of the best that June had to offer. 

Happy Summer. I was thinking of doing all summery songs but then I was like damn how many times can folks listen to "Swimsuits" by The Cool Kids and Mayer Hawthorne. Probably infinity, nonetheless, you hang out and listen to mellow songs at night even in the summer, right? Okay, me too.

News on Cardboard Smile: We're going to be collaborating with Blah Blah Blah Science coming up (baller music blog). Maybe hosting a show together here in LA. That's exciting.

Download the June Playlist Here. The album cover (West Hollywood Gay Pride Festival) is above and the list is below.

Inline image 3

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Sounds of San Fermines

Screenshot from the TV broadcast. You can see Griff and I under the red arrow.

This is a blog about music. You might think that before facing six one-ton bulls and six equally gigantic castrated steers, I would have had a nice little playlist prepared for my ipod shuffle, an electic mix ready to both pump me and and cool frayed nerves. Yet in those few minutes before facing a situation which every Spanish person I talked to said I was crazy to do (to Griffdawg as well), the farthest thing from my head was listening to one of the many jamandahalfs featured in these pages.

In many ways I didn't need to. There was a beautiful cacophonous symphony all around la Calle de Santo Domingo in Pamplona that Saturday morning. Whispered prayers in a multitude of languages were joined by strangers wishing each other "suerte." People in balconies above were shouting words of encouragement to the half-crazy mozos below. TV crews snaked their way through the crowd, asking the inevitable question of why we were about to do what we were about to do, something we were all asking ourselves at that very moment. All these sounds were soon joined by a group of Brits who asked Griffdawg and I which way the bulls were going to come from, a surreal encounter not even two minutes before the bulls started their frantic run.

The sounds I'll remember most are those of the group prayers in Castellano and Euskara to the beheaded Saint Fermin, the excuse for the week-long party and the reason we were wearing red pañuelos around our necks (to empathize). There was something undeniably calming about seeing the mozos chanting to the idol seated just above the street while waving rolled-up newspapers in unison. It gave a sense of unity. The proverbial quiet before the storm briefly descended upon us right before the first rocket signaled that the bulls had been let loose. That quiet I'm sure was accompanied by screaming thoughts which were soon joined by the beating hooves of the tons of animal quickly narrowing the gap between us.

After running for a few seconds (which felt like a few hours), the streets of Pamplona were filled with very different sounds-the sounds of celebration. The city is infected by a remarkable energy during the festival, an energy which was very very loud. The rest of the day was full of bands passing through the streets, impromptu parades (my favorite was the one where everyone sang the "Spongbob Squarepants" theme song), laughter, and many bottles a-crashing. It was a feast for the ears and the soul. And being a Spanish fiesta, it was a blast.

Look out for us at the 1:58 mark below:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wax Goes Bananas

Honestly the guy Wax is just killin it here. Creativity, wit, steez, this track has got it all. And he doesnt lay off, just keeps rollin for three minutes of straight lava raps. It isnt just quirky lyrics either, the flow and delivery are right on point. He has a uniquely musical style of rappin almost lending a singing quality to the track . But he does have some truly remarkable lines. The Tourettes line openin up the jam is pure genius in my opinion. Im really intrigued about the future for Wax. Strictly a youtube rapper up until DefJam signed him this past year, he was primarily doin the funny guy rapper thing to stack millions of views with jams like "Stalkin Your Mom" and "Orphan Tears". Whether or not he hits his stride in the mainstream Im really lookin forward to hearin whats next. Im hoping for the best though, his wit and humor remind me of Eminem without the animosity, but his flow is unique. Almost reminds me of Wyclef slippin loosely from rappin to singin and back. Anyways I hope you all enjoy it. Bada BladIt!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Albums We're Stoked For-July

I'm a few days late with this, the second in a monthly feature of the best albums to look forward to. With so much music out there, it's always good to know what is coming out when and July looks like a big month. July 17th especially is swinging away with legends like Jimmy Cliff and Nas as well as up and comers like The Very Best and Frank Ocean (whose leaked (?) letter coming out of the closet was the best thing he could have possibly done to increase the hype around channel ORANGE). Matisyahu also makes a surprise appearance, featuring two songs with none other than Shyne, making this list only for the this bizarre fact. The rest of the month has a good mix of some indie favorites like the Dirty Projectors and Passion Pit as well as Heavyweight Floridian Rick RAUWS who wins the best album name of the month hands down. Enjoy the July sun and hopefully the stream of jamandahalfs coming your way. 

July 10th
Dirty Projectors Swing Lo Magellan

Aesop Rock Skelethon

July 17th
Jimmy Cliff Rebirth

Frank Ocean channel ORANGE

Matisyahu Spark Seeker

The Very Best Mtmtmk

Nas Life Is Good

July 24th
Foals Tapes

Passion Pit Gossamer

Purity Ring Shrines

July 31st
Rick Ross God Forgives I Don't

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Deadmau5-Strobe (Special Features Remix)

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) continues to grow at a frantic pace and we're in a situation where someone like Avicii, virtually unknown 18 months ago, is quickly becoming a household name and is preparing an international stadium tour. Something else which has leached onto this fascinating growth is the remixer-producers who take tracks and add their own distinctive touch, often creating jams that just barely share more than a passing resemblance with the original. One such producer is Special Features, a young British producer who has been making quite a name for himself over the course of the last year. Of all his remixes, this jamandahalf "cover" of Deadmau5's "Strobe" is probably my favorite. The equivalent of rock band attempting to put out a cover to "Stairway To Heaven" and succeeding, Special Features takes a Deadmau5 classic and injects an undeniable energy to the original to the point where the two jams wouldn't recognize each other if they were walking down the same street. Check out Special Features here.

Download Deadmau5 Strobe (Special Features Remix)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mayra Andrade

Tengo el Gran Gusto de Presentaros a la Artista Mayra Andrade

QUE GANAS QUE TENGO DE IR A LA MAMA AFRICA.  Nuca he estado (pero si no me muero corriendo con los toros en San Fermines) llegaré en África el año que viene.   Me parece que es un continente con mucha diversidad y sabiduría.  Sueño en tierra linda y gente bonita con mucho estilo.  Cuando escucho a Mayra Andrade, me hace pensar un estilo de vida africana y tranquila de los quien viven cerca del mar.  Mayra nació en Cuba pero creció en las islas de Cabo Verde cerca de Senegal.   Navega se llama el primer álbum de Mayra y estrenó en 2006.  Ella canta en el Creole de Cabo Verde y me mola mucho.  ¡Que la disfrutéis!   


Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Very Best feat K'NAAN- We Ok

There are only two email lists I enjoy being on: Travelzoo because for the five minutes I read it I naturally daydream away, picturing myself in each location, and The Very Best's infrequent email blasts. Why? Because each time they email you know it's something special. Today's jamandahalf is the email The Very Best sent out yesterday featuring my favorite song of the summer so far, "We Ok" featuring K'Naan. An uplifting, uproarious, four-and-a-half minute celebration of life, "We Ok" let's us all know that despite dreary days worldwide, there is always one thing you can rely on to make ya feel a little brighter and that's a jam like this one. Whether you are or aren't in one of the many African capitals that K'Naan gives shout outs to (Accra stand up!), turn this up and get your best boogie on. We ok.

Pre-oder their new album Mtmtmk here

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Django Django-Default

"Default" sounds like what would happen if an 8-bit game and a tribal dance had a metaphorical baby. Off of the self-titled debut album of the British band Django Django, "Default" has a ferocious energy to it, guided by a funky guitar riff and some intense tambourines. Catchy yet spunky, with just a touch of the psychedelic, this jamandahalf really does sound like nothing else out there. Check out the entire album on Spotify here. 

Download Django Django Default (Album Version)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

To Bite or Not to Bite...

Rappers are always complainin about biters.  Everybody seems to be so worried about folks stealin their style.  It seems as though a culture of egoism and and greed has pervaded the rap scene, and even all modern music to an extent.  To me this is one of the strangest and most counter intuitive products of music's digital age.  At no other time in history can more people hear the music you create, and yet the desire for it to be emulated and influence others has never been less. 

 Especially with regards to the rap genre this presents the ultimate paradox of hypocrisy.  Just about every hip hop song out is made using a sample from a songs that these dudes love.  The sample helps to shape the sound and influence the song, in some cases more so than others, but other music always serves as an inspirational influence for the song.  I feel there is a desperate need to change the guarded nature of modern day rap to a sentiment of sharing creativity for the sake of the sound. As Nas himself said, "Theres nothin new under the sun.  Its never what you do, its how its done."  So lets celebrate what sounds good to us and let it inspire us to create great music.  Here are some of the funkier examples of what other peoples music can do to inspire greatness.  Lots of love to Ronnie Hudson and George Clinton for inspiring the people who make some of my favorite music of all time.  Sound familiar?  :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stephen Marley-Break Us Apart feat. Capleton

There is something pseudo religious about going to a concert-a group of people congregating together to sing and dance for hours and emerging feeling buzzed having shared a fleeting, common experience. The pseudo religiousness is multipled ten fold when you throw in reggae and the blood of Bob Marley. Stephen Marley came to town last week and put on a three hour revival of a show, giving the madrileño crowd everything they came for-irie vibes, groovy tunes, and hours of boogie. Backed up by a great band and the two most energetic backup singers I've ever seen, Stephen commanded the stage in a way that would make his father proud. Playing through the majority of his latest Grammy-winning album Revelation Part 1: The Root Of Life, Stephen also played a couple Bob jams (though always sped up strangely) and being a Marley concert, brought out his son Jo Mersa. I'm not much of a believer in general but I do believe that music has some healing power. Throw in reggae and the blood of Bob Marley and that increases ten fold. 

Download Stephen Marley Break Us Apart Ft. Capleton

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Presents: Tennis-Petition (Vacationer Remix)

Once a week we'll be featuring a post from, the internet home of our good friend AMitch. Check his site out for his humor and insights, not to mention great music. Thanks Mitch. 

If you’ve been looking for a summer song to get you pumped about sunny Sunday brunches and swimming pools, I think I’ve found a good one. Tennis released “Petition” earlier this year, and Vacationer came along with a little sugar boost to make it dance worthy. Thanks to both parties. I’ll be on the roof with a hula-hoop.

PS. If you haven’t heard my favorite Tennis song, or my favorite Vacationer Song, just click those links.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Russian Red-Fuerteventura

I love almost everything about living in Madrid: the lifestyle, the weather, the people, the never ending list of things to see and do. One thing I dislike with a fiery passion is the music. Don't get me wrong, Madrid has a great music scene and I just went and saw Stephen Marley give an irie performance last Tuesday night (post coming soon), but few Spanish artists on my regular rotation of jams. Though Spain has a great musical heritage, especially flamenco and flamenco guitar, recommendations usually consist of a few generic Spanish rock bands or your typical Top 40 hits. I'm not through yet with my quest, and today's jamandahalf comes from an atypical Spanish artist whose music has me keep up the hope. Russian Red is a madrileña who sings in English and has made a name for herself by combining country-western and folk sounds with a slight touch of Spanish underpinnings . Though her songs sometimes border on poppy, she does have an edge and originality which makes her someone to listen out for. Check out two great songs from her most recent album below. 

Listen to Russian Red on Spotify

Download Russian Red Fuerteventura

Download Russian Red Fuerteventura

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Tallest Man on Earth-Little Brother

The other day I was listening to my ipod on shuffle on the way to work and The Tallest Man on Earth song "1904" came on. I got the same comforting feeling that you get when you grow up with a song; the feeling once you get to "know" a jam.

I quickly realized to myself, man, this song just came out. But The Tallest Man on Earth's music is like that-both timeless and comforting in a way that is refreshingly old school. His newest album There's No Leaving Now continues in the same vein as both Shallow Grave and Wild Hunt, and his new work is immediately familiar. This is a good thing-I wouldn't want Wu Tang to do an acoustic ukulele album and TTMOE does what he does best - stripped down crooning over graceful guitar licks. Though it was tough to pick out a song to showcase-it really works better as an album than individual singles-"Little Brother" is a real standout. It fits perfectly into his discography yet also marks a slight departure; the slight twang of the electric guitar subtly helping move the always stellar storytelling along. Check out the full album and let me know what you think.

Buy There's No Leaving Now/Stream on Spotify

Click here to download

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tiken Jah Fakoly - Africain a Paris

My spring break was radical.

My friend, Anetxus, and I loaded up her car with our surfboards and camping gear and drove from Donostia, Euskal Herria to Ericeira, Portugal.  We left with our hearts set on escaping the torrential Basque rains and scoring some good waves.  The drive was long and beautiful.  We saw the steep, green, Basque mountains give way to the vast Spanish Meseta and then the rolling Portuguese mountains, topped with windmills, fall into the Atlantic sea. 

We entertained ourselves was by sharing music.  One of the CDs that I liked most was l'Africain by Tiken Jah Fakoly, a reggae maestro from the Ivory Coast.  He bumps his roots reggae in French, English, and some different African languages.  Social and political commentary are central themes in his music. He was even banned from Senegal after talking shit about the president.

The dude rocks and we jammed out to him for hours.  The surf in Portugal was out of control!  The camping was great, we skated a bunch, drank about 8,000 Super Bocks, and ate way too much bread and nuts.  All in all, it was a radical trip!  

And for the record, I got nothing against Sting...I actually like his stuff...but I think that Tilken's jam is much funkier.

04- Africain à Paris.mp3  Download Here!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Feature-Collaboration with Cardboard

As you can see, JamandaHalf has had a little summer cleaning and is now rocking a new color scheme. Just in time for the start of another new feature. Hope you enjoy both. 

Speaking of playlists... Today marks the first step in a long symbiotic relationship between our little blog and Cardboard Smile, the internet home of our good buddy Amitch. Once a week we will be featuring a post from Cardboard Smile and they will do the same for us. With our powers combined, you all will get a taste of Mitch's humor and insights and his readers will get a taste of our ramblings. Both sides win. For this week's post I present you all the May playlist, Mitch's once a month selection of the greatest jams of the month. It's the perfect introduction to his great taste of music and I'm sure you'll be bumping these just as much as I have.

Download the playlist here

Here's a little message from Mitch

"Oh heyy,

Happy Summer! I hope this finds you at a pool party. Or sleeping, whatever you do on Sunday nights.

I want y'all to know I’m not completely happy with the arrangement of this playlist. Sometimes it’s hard to transition seamlessly from deep moody beats to pop-party summer jams. But these are the songs that made me push replay this month, so I think maybe they will for you too.

Cardboard Smile is slowly growing in popularity. Our traffic is up. Nick Bickle joined the team, which is technically just me so we have now become a team. We'll be doing some collaborative projects with Jam and a Half (Big Leks) in the near future. If you have been enjoying these playlists, please, for the love of Jodie Foster in Siesta, LIKE US on Facebook"

Friday, June 8, 2012

New Feature: JamandaHalf Playlists

The playlist has always been a crucial element in hiphop. I remember when I was a kid I would listen to my local hiphop station Magic 101.3 (or 102 Jams all the way from Orlando if I was feeling adventurous) for hours to hear that new DMX or Cash Money jam, eagerly waiting for the those first few bars to come on to push record. I would listen to those tapes over and over and over and my lyrical knowledge from that era is exceedingly high. I regret none of it.

Music of course has changed, and I now have the discographies of DMX and Cash Money at my fingertips. The playlist is something that has survived though and in some ways is more important now than ever. With so much music out there, playlists are one of the only ways to really sort through the muck. There is something deeply personal as well about a playlist. Listening to a playlist someone made is a little like being part of their world; sharing the jams that help them get through the day.

In this light, a new feature of JamandaHalf is going to be regular playlists, also incorporating one of the greatest changes to the music industry in the last decade: Spotify. I could go on and on about how great Spotify is, but I'll let David Pogue do that instead.

This first playlist is of Southern Crunk. While not the most sophisticated face of Southern Rap (that playlist's still to come) this list showcases some of the rowdiest music that ever came out of the South. I'm using the term "crunk" liberally but my definition is better heard than read. Check out the playlist below and let me know what you guys think! As well, a surprisingly stellar playlist I've come across is this poker hip hop playlist that has a ton of gems on it. Listen to both and let me know what playlist should come next.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Creedence Clearwater.......Revisited?

I am one of the luckiest cats you will ever come across, but rarely has destiny smiled so radiantly upon my young shoulders.  Free backstage passes to see C...C...R?  While there was no Fogerty out in front of the Revisited crew, I was thoroughly stoked to see some of the most recognizable and beloved songs from American music history rocked out appropriately.  And thats not to mention, the chance to kick it with legends Stu Cook and Doug Clifford (the other two dudes that are still alive from the original band) backstage.

And so Tom and Amy (I love you forever for inviting me, not that I didnt already) and I descended from our alpine paradise down to the agricultural wasteland of the Sacramento Valley, a subtle plain thats been manipulated into vast enterprise of massive cattle productions and dotted with casinos.  It was there, at the Thunder Valley Casino, that I was introduced to the cultural phenomena that is the CCR crowd.  A potent blend of heartland cowboys, forgotten hippies, and gold diggin cougars all gathered together to enjoy the indelible sounds of a band that is nearly synonymous with the counterculture of 1960s America.

Armed with only a thick whiskey buzz and the bonds of friendship we dissented against the culture of assigned seating and a slow starting older crowd to rally one of the funkier concert gangs I've ever been a part of.  And we sang, and we danced, and Tom and I played a lot of air guitar.  And soon enough we were rockin out with bald dudes and fending off fake tittied 50 year old women the way LT throws stiff arms at safeties.  Needless to say some of us were fending them off harder than others.  And soon we realized that it didn't matter with or without Fogerty.  Those songs are forever to be recognized as part of the intrinsic soul of American music and good times. And so I ask you all to enjoy these timeless folk songs that will continued to be played and sung for as long as I am alive, and certainly long after.

Click here to download "Have You Ever Seen the Rain"

Download Creedence Clearwater Revival Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Yea thats me and Stu drinkin a beer.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Big K.R.I.T.-Praying Man (Feat. B.B. King)

"Praying Man" is the perfect barometer for Big K.R.I.T.'s career right now. On an album titled Live From The Underground, K.R.I.T.  performs with none other than Blues legend B.B. King, a juxtaposition that highlights the meteoric rise of  K.R.I.T. (all of these .s are starting to get a little out of hand). After years of releasing superb quality mixtapes,  K.R.I.T. attempts to balance burgeoning name recognition with the holy grail of every rapper-not going mainstream-on his brand new debut and largely succeeds. While other artists might just use a soulful sample, K.R.I.T. gets King to come and croon while laying some mean guitar licks. The combination of the two along with  K.R.I.T. 's storytelling create a unique, introspective allegory that in some ways is the modern heir to Nina Simone's classic "Strange Fruit." Not afraid to show off his new found status with cameos from legends,  K.R.I.T. also doesn't turn his back on what got him here in the first place and the result shows on this jamandahalf and the album in general (one of the best of the year).