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  1. CESCHI @ GLASSLANDS (LIVE REVIEW)

    Seated on a chair directly in front of the stage, Ceschi Ramos performed an untitled acoustic punk song about the dehumanizing nature of prison surrounded by fans and fellow emcees. Saturday night markedCeschi’s first Brooklyn performance since being released from prison nine months ago following a stint on dubious weed charges. His new, untitled song is a brave, raw middle finger to the system that abused and threatened his family and stole nearly four months of his life.

    Ceschi’s intimate Glasslands set meandered between acoustic folk numbers like “Bite Through Stone,” performed while standing on a chair in the middle of the audience, and double-time raps such as “Half Mast,” assisted by labelmate Louis Logic. Brooklyn emcee F. Virtue and Queens producer Falside were among the local indie rap talent in the building to catch Ceschi’s first NYC show in over a year. His highly anticipated full-length with Canadian producer Factor is slated for release in 2015.

    Brooklyn-based electronic artist Pictureplane followed Ceschi before Sole & DJ Pain 1 delivered an impressive headlining set largely culled from their collaborative debut, Death Drive.

    Catch April Siqueiros’ photos from the night over at URB.

  2. BOTZY - “FLAMEBURGER"

    Featuring production from 2% Muck, “Flameburger” is taken from Minneapolis-based emcee BOTZY’s latest mixtape, I’ll Be Underground When I’m Dead (Vol. 1), which will be available for free download next Tuesday via buckfotzy.com. In addition to some aggressive Artemis-style facelicking, the clip for “Flameburger” showcases BOTZY’s elastic delivery and uncanny ability to match his hair to his jammies.

    In a busy year for the artist that has already seen the release of multiple projects (VAYNS, £¡bel) and a nomination for Best New Band on Vita.MN, IBUWID will serve as the appetizer for BOTZY’s forthcoming 20-track LP, Still Not Dead Yet.

  3. RICKOLUS - "THIEVES" (URB PREMIERE)

    The video for “Thieves,” a standout track from 2013’s Troubadour, intersperses shots from a day in the life of Rickolus with vintage Americana stock footage. Rick kills time playing drums in his backyard studio, sipping Tecate and vegging out on PlayStation, all activities preferable to attempting to do anything outside in the bastard humidity of July.

    Rickolus and his band The Little Books will be touring the east coast in August alongside Ceschi before Rick heads out to Europe in September. Catch the dates over at URB.

  4. SAINTSENECA - "HAPPY ALONE" (SON LITTLE REMIX) URB PREMIERE

    As Saintseneca kicks off a tour in the east and Son Little does the same out west, check out SL’s remix of “Happy Alone” and view each act’s trek over yonder.

  5. MOODIE BLACK - "CHRIST" (URB PREMIERE)

    Last month we brought you the premiere of Moodie Black’s full-length debut NAUSEA, a noise rap banger which SYFFAL described as “that record for punching your boss in the nuts to” and “that record that syncs up with cars flying off cliffs.”

    Today we have the premiere of “Christ,” the second video from NAUSEA, directed by Greetings From Tuskan (of Bike For Three!). Watch the clip above and catch Moodie Black on tour later this month with Ceschi.

  6. SAGE FRANCIS + B. DOLAN @ LE POISSON ROUGE (LIVE REVIEW)

    05.30.14

    “Just cuz Macklemore said it doesn’t mean it’s not true,” B. Dolan relayed to the Le Poisson Rouge crowd after performing “Which Side Are You On?“, the non-sanctimonious answer to “Same Love.”

    Along with Brooklyn-based Metermaids, Dolan served as opening support for Sage Francis’ first major tour stop in NYC since 2010. He performed standards from Fallen House, Sunken City in addition to a brilliant spoken word piece he had finished writing the night before the show about Rick Ross, Iran-Contra and America’s infatuation with the drug dealer archetype.

    “…The secret of the enlightened / Is to preach against whatever it is they practice in the dark / We’re all born free, we die by the shackles we adopt / Enjoy your buoyancy right up until the very last drop” – Sage Francis (“Dead Man’s Float”)

    Uncle Sage took to the stage backed by B. Dolan and Lord Grunge (of Grand Buffet) in his traditional wig and cape for an hour and a half performance spanning Personal Journals all the way up to his new LP, Copper Gone, which drops tomorrow. With just three days prior to the show to soak up the new record streaming on SPIN, Le Poisson Rouge patrons seemed to know every word. Highlights of Sage’s thematically-unified set included “Dead Man’s Float” and “Grace.”

    Catch Manny Garcia’s photos of the Epic Beard Men at Le Poisson Rouge below and read on to view the remaining US dates on the Copper Gone tour.

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    June 2 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
    June 3 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
    June 5 – Chicago, IL @ The Abbey
    June 6 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
    June 7 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
    June 9 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
    June 10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
    June 11 – Missoula, MT @ Palace Lounge
    June 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club
    June 13 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
    June 14 – Portland, OR @ Alhambra Theatre
    June 16 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
    June 17 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern
    June 18 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
    June 20 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
    June 21 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
    June 22 – El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls
    June 24 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
    June 25 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk
    June 26 – New Orleans, LA @ Southport Hall
    June 27 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
    June 29 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
    July 1 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
    July 2 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
    July 3 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
    July 4 – Providence, RI @ Fete Ballroom

  7. BIKE FOR THREE! - "THERE IS A NEED TO BE"

    As Bike For Three! (Buck 65 + Greetings From Tuskan) prepare to release the single for “Full Moon,” one of the standout tracks from So Much Forever, we’re proud to bring you the premiere of the single’s exclusive B-side, “There Is A Need To Be.” Featuring GFT’s signature uptempo electronic production and Buck’s abstract prose, the song is a frenetic counterpart to their sophomore LP, released earlier this year on Fake Four.

    The “Full Moon” single b/w “There Is A Need To Be” drops digitally on June 3 and features instrumentals of both tracks.

  8. ATMOSPHERE @ HIGHLINE BALLROOM (LIVE REVIEW)

    Atmosphere celebrated the release of their 8th album, Southsiders, with a sold out show Tuesday night at the Highline Ballroom. The record marks a return to form for Slug and Ant following the lone mediocre LP of their career, 2011’s The Family Sign. The live instrumentation that served Atmosphere so well on the road briefly grew to overshadow Ant’s contributions in the studio, but they’ve thankfully reverted to an older formula on Southsiders. Veteran producer Ant’s signature keys and soulful samples are back in the mix, and Slug sounds right at home, riding the beat to familiar themes of love and death as well as newfound perspectives attained from being a father of three comfortable with his place in hip hop and life.

    The surprise opening guests for the evening wound up being none other than SFR’s gruesome twosome,Sage Francis and B. Dolan, who also headline later this month at Le Poisson Rouge. The Epic Beard Men performed “You Can’t Win” and Sage tore through a blistering rendition of “Vonnegut Busy,” the lead single from his forthcoming LP, Copper Gone, as well as staples “Damage” and “The Best of Times.”

    Following Sage and Dolan, Atmosphere and touring DJ Plain Ole Bill delivered a career spanning set culminating in a three-song encore from Southsiders. After performing the brilliant booze-soaked “Arthur’s Song,” Slug invited an eager audience member on stage to freestyle with him to close out the evening.

    “I truly hold sorrow in my heart / For every heart that never got carved into the bark / I wish that everyone could leave a mark / But every part wasn’t meant to be a piece of art” – Slug (“Arthur’s Song”)

    There was a familial vibe to the night, with a raucous sold out crowd rapping bar-for-bar with Slug and visibly losing their shit upon the beat drops to classics such as “Scapegoat” and “God’s Bathroom Floor.” After two decades in the game, few do it half as well as Atmosphere.

  9. BATHS & YOUNG FATHERS @ BOWERY BALLROOM (LIVE REVIEW)

    Photo by April Siqueiros

    With his Ocean Death EP set for release on May 6, LA-based producer/vocalist Baths (Will Wiesenfeld) took to the Bowery Ballroom stage alongside his touring partner Morgan Greenwood for an explosive set of glitchy electronic compositions.

    Scottish alt-hip hop trio Young Fathers opened the show with unbridled, manic intensity, playing tracks from their anticon debut Dead as well as the two EPs that preceded it, backed by a solitary drummer. The energy of Kayus Bankole’s dance moves during songs like “Get Up” and “Rumbling” was worth the price of admission alone. Young Fathers are amongst the most exciting and original acts I’ve come across in the past two years, equally adept at harmonizing and rapping under a virtually uncategorizable soundscape.

    They closed with “I Heard,” and left the stage with a brazen drone blaring in the background as the sold out crowd sang along to a hypnotic, undulating chorus of “Inside I’m feeling dirty / It’s only cause I’m hurting.” The current run opening for Baths marks the group’s first official US tour. New York City won’t be forgetting the name anytime soon.

    “Tall rock shelf, are you maybe here to help me hurt myself? / Miasma sky, would you swallow me alive?” Wiesenfeld pondered on the set opening “Miasma Sky.”

    A sizable portion of Baths’ Bowery set was culled from Obsidian, the nihilistic follow-up LP to his buoyant debut, Cerulean. Inspired by a gruesome ordeal with E. coli that kept Wiesenfeld bedridden for months, Obsidian is a blunt confrontation with mortality and eroding relationships.

    Continue reading at URB.com

  10. SOLE & DJ PAIN 1 - "OLD GODS AIN'T DEAD" (FEAT. SEAN BONNETTE OF ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD)

    The disparate sounds of Sole, DJ Pain 1 and Andrew Jackson Jihad collide on “Old Gods Ain’t Dead”, the first video from Sole and Pain 1’s forthcoming Death Drive. Behind metal riffs and Pain 1’s underground-meets-mainstream palette, Sole and Sean Bonnette find common ground in poetry and politics.

    Sole describes the new record as “a political rap album executed in a way that eschews the rapper persona of savior/prophet and speaks from the riot line.” He and Pain 1 recently launched an indiegogo campaign to support the project, which is currently in its final week. Perks include an anti-capitalist version of Apples to Apples, lyric tapestries and an exclusive EP of bonus material.

    Death Drive drops in May.

  11. MOCK - "LEIDEN, NL" (URB PREMIERE)


    Today, Berlin math rock outfit mOck, who recently released their Components EP stateside through Nefarious Industries, share their new video for “Leiden, NL”. Fronted by vocalist/bassist Freddy Knop, the Tortoise and Karate-influenced trio operates in a free structure alternating between minimalist restraint and bursts of complexity.

    In the cleverly edited clip for “Leiden, NL”, mOck is shown performing through reflections and projections bouncing off various instruments and an old Nintendo. Watch the video above and stream “Components” via bandcamp.

  12. HELLFYRE CLUB @ MERCURY LOUNGE (LIVE REVIEW)

    The Los Angeles-based Hellfyre Club invaded the Lower East Side on Thursday night and rocked a packed Mercury Lounge with 3+ hours of eclectic indie rap. Touring in support of Dorner vs. Tookie, the diverse 4-man crew of Open Mike Eagle, Busdriver, Milo and Nocando delivered wit, innovation, crowd interaction and humor all blanketed by the bright visuals of director/rapper WC Tank. 

    Two years after I caught a mediocre performance from Nocando at the Soda Bar in San Diego, the man showed genuine signs of transformation. If his heart wasn’t in it before, it’s unmistakably there now. He started his set with an acapella verse, wove in substantial new material and finished with a track set to Atmosphere’s “Denvemolorado“, all to hearty applause.

    Open Mike Eagle followed and delivered a set worthy of the snowballing hype. His name was chanted during and post-set, his delivery was as effortless as it was flawless, and his shout-rap second verse on “Password” remains one of the most fun things one can witness at a hip hop show in America. Though I partially wanted to murder the drunkards behind me rapping along to half of Mike’s songs, I was with them in spirit.

    Continue reading at URB.com

  13. Chuckie Campbell - More Die of Heartbreak (Review)

    Drawing inspiration from Saul Bellow’s 1987 novel of the same name, Chuckie Campbell’s More Die of Heartbreakfinds the Buffalo emcee exploring the past seven years of his life, framed by a violent assault that left his jaw broken in two places and the suicide of the friend who assaulted him. 

    “Men carve hate in the hearts of men”, Campbell raps on “Father’s Hands”.

    The album’s scope is both personal and political. Lead single “Synesthesia”, which recalls Qwel’s “Vincent Van Gogh Coke Ad” in its hues, attempts to address all that is wrong with America in just under four minutes. Though the song is off-putting in its obviousness, it is the only major misstep on the record. When Campbell switches his lens from macro to micro, his skill as a storyteller emerges. The brilliant, piano-driven “Seasons” fleshes out a childhood memory of watching a young man succumb to a heart condition on a basketball court in the unforgiving cold of winter.

    The soulful and intricate production of Willie Breeding is a high point of the album from start to finish, complementing the varying flows of Campbell. He slows it down and allow his words to take center stage on MDOH’s story-based tracks and at other points opts for a double-time delivery reminiscent of Noah23 that is nothing short of impressive. Chuckie Campbell put a lot of time and heart into this record, and with the help of a talented cast featuring everyone from Wu-Tang veteran Cappadonna to country vocalist Erin Breeding, More Die of Heartbreak is a stellar cathartic release.

  14. MGMT & DINOSAUR JR. @ BARCLAYS CENTER (LIVE REVIEW)

    On a chilly Friday the 13th, a diverse crowd of teenage girls with glow stick wristbands and well-to-do hipsters escaped the elements and descended on Barclays Center for MGMT’s first NYC show in three years.

    Kuroma opened before the legendary alt-rock trio Dinosaur Jr. took the stage for 45 minutes of thunderous, melodic riffs and stately crooning. J Mascis and company’s set featured tracks from 2012′s I Bet On Sky as well as their extensive back catalogue, highlighted by “Watch The Corners” and “Feel The Pain”.

    Backlit by massive psychedelic projections and bright beams cutting through pot smoke, MGMT showed no signs of a band coming off of a critical dud of a record at Barclays. Patient ears would argue that MGMT’s self-titled third LP rewards repeat listens and only disappoints if the lone criteria is how well it stacks up against Oracular Spectacular and Congratulations.

    Following a bombastic introduction befitting the detached arena setting, the touring sextet launched into “Flash Delirium” and worked through a stellar set featuring fan favorites from their first two records, challenging, spacey material from MGMT and a brain melting improvisational detour on “Kids”.

    MGMT Setlist:

    Flash Delirium
    Time To Pretend
    Introspection (Faine Jade Cover)
    The Youth
    Of Moons, Birds & Monsters
    Mystery Disease
    It’s Working
    Weekend Wars
    I Found A Whistle
    Siberian Breaks
    Electric Feel
    Your Life Is A Lie
    Kids
    Cool Song No. 2
    Alien Days
    Congratulations

    Visit URB.com to check out April Siqueiros' full photo gallery of MGMT and Dinosaur Jr.

  15. STONEY - MORE THAN ANIMALS (REVIEW)

    Austin, TX by way of Sheffield, UK singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Mark Stoney is back with his strongest and most diverse LP to date, More Than Animals, slated for a January 14 release. The record begins with a tangible bang and ends the same. It’s a concise, brilliantly arranged 12-track effort void of filler.

    Though Animals marks only his third official release, Stoney’s music bears the presence of a Brit-pop veteran and recalls decades worth of influences in its classic hues. The preacher’s son from South London knows how to write a hook. The preponderance of his new album boasts remarkably catchy choruses, none more so than the moody, layered reprise of “Devil On My Back”. That track sets the emotional tone for the record, a decidedly darker affair than his last LP, 2007’s The Scene & The Unseen. Stoney’s provocative snapshot imagery suits Animals’ gloomy aesthetic well. Lines like “shivering like a whore turning tricks in the London rain” and “I’ll carve you on my heart just like a fool” provide abstract glimpses into the turmoil that informs his writing.

    My lone criticism of the record is that Stoney’s radio-friendly ballads (e.g. “Bedpost” and “Let It Go”) pale in comparison to his uptempo, guitar-driven tracks. Though well produced and lyrically sound, they’re all too familiar. Stoney is at his most original and compelling under the dynamic blanket of tracks like “Cock of the Walk” and “Round Here”, the type of songs leading indie labels to throw offers at the unsigned Austin transplant as the new year approaches.