New York, New York.

New York,
Swell Maps
(Jane from Occupied Europe,1980, Rough Trade)

If you can give me a song that better captures the true punk raucousness that was actually pumped out in New York in the Seventies, I’d give you my apartment and actually move to the Birmingham (centrally located city within England) rat-hole Swell Maps presumably lived in.

Now these dudes were apartment crashing British vagabonds, but they were creating the slobbery post punk music that New York punks/noise rockers wouldn’t be touching until a couple years later (the album this tune appears on, Jane From Occupied Europe, which was made in 1980, which is late in their career.) Noise, discomfort, and razor blade guitars curl microphone coils on all their albums, but in no other song do I think their pop-rock sensibility is more apparent than on New York. So while your ears are being caressed by garagey pop lovin’ listen for the poor recording quality, listen to the jangly guitars blasting sleepless, 1970’s bomb-blasted Chuck Berry type riffs, and appreciate that whenever you hear this in bands of today they probably listened to Swell Maps too.

20th Birthday of “Nirvana: Unplugged”

images-1It’s been twenty years since Nirvana recorded their exclusive episode on “MTV Unplugged”. Their episode aired in December of 1993 and had included songs that their fans were not all familiar with, only playing one major hit: “Come As You Are.”

Nirvana refused to make their performance based on previous hits, instead showing great acoustic talent and straying from the loud noise that they had become known for in their previous album, “In Utero.”

This performance would define Nirvana as truly talented even outside the realm of grunge and punk rock. Many fans weren’t expecting this different side of the band but the unveiling of their new sound proved both very brave and successful. Their recording would total 56 minutes and one reel of tape without any changes or re-recordings.

Kurt Cobain’s death followed months later while on tour. After Cobain’s death, the official album “Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York” was released.

Happy Birthday “Nirvana: Unplugged,” and here’s to two of my favorite songs that have become my consolation in times of a much needed escape.

Joey Bada$$ – A Day In The Life

Today Peter Rosenberg of Hot97 released The New York Renaissance compilation mixtape. That mixtape includes artists from New York like Joey Bad$$,A$AP RockyThe Underachievers, Flatbush Zombies, Smoke DZAAction Bronson and others as well. Go download that mixtape. For this track Joey Bada$$ spits over a beat produced by Harry Fraud. It is titled “A Day In The Life”. Check it out below.

ANTHM – Handful Of Dust

ANTHM is a hip hop artist from New York. He grew up in the neighborhood of Manhattan. He owes most of his growth to Manhattan; both personally and as an emcee. I came across his music just strolling through The Masked Gorilla. I immediately liked what I heard. When I found out that he’s dropping a new EP (Handful Of Dust) ,that’s going to be produced by Blu, I liked him even more. He released two singles from his EP this week. They are titled “Nina” and “Debbie”. The track titled “Debbie” is a song dedicated to his younger sister who turned 11 years old this week. If you really like artists like Blu, Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), The Roots and Common then you’ll enjoy ANTHM’s music too. His EP, Handful Of Dust, is set to drop March 4th.

Check out the two tracks below!