It’s time for us to step our game up. We’ve been bringing you the lodown on what to do in the Pgh for about six months now, but it’s time to take that one step further and provide you with some jams to get you through the week and pumped up for your weekend. Every other week or so, we’ll be broadening your musical horizons with our recommendations. What better person to be chosen for the task than Clark sexypants Price? Not only is he a looker, he has one of the most insightful, broad and educated musical palates out of anyone I know. I consider him my musical muse, and you should too. We’ll do our best to provide you with a broad array of selections. Here’s his first stab at it. Let us know what you think.
1. Blondes – Pleasure
We’ll get my favorite track out of the way first…I’m a self-confessed Blondes fanboy and I won’t deny it. I think just about every track they’ve ever released is fantastic and this is no exception. Blondes’ latest EP “Business w/ Pleasure” is the second in their duality series (The first released is, “Lover/Hater”, which I also highly recommend). The track is full of lush synths, psychedelic sounds, and a sexy ass bassline. In 2011, Blondes are at the top of their game; I eagerly await the final part of their series.
2. The Weeknd – Rolling Stone
The Weeknd rolled into the scene early this year and quickly took the blogosphere by storm. His mixtape, House of Balloons, is a refreshing take on the R&B genre. Dark, biting lyrics oozing with sexuality and unrequited love; the accolades Abel Tesfaye has received are greatly deserved. The production on most of his songs are usually are as expressive and unbounded as his lyrics, but this time they take a back seat to Abel’s gorgeous vocals. Abel is set to release two more mixtapes this year.
3. Shabazz Palaces – Free Press & Curl
Shabazz Palaces, a hip hop trio based in Seattle, is not a “by the numbers” hip hop by any stretch of the imagination. You won’t find any references to their iced out grills, fly bitches, or auto tune here. This is raw, grimy music that takes the average conventions of hip hop music and throws it out the window. In an interview with Pitchfork, Shabazz Palaces frontman, Palacee Lazaro, stated he prefers to earn a fan instead of being placed in front of someone with a pre-determined outlook. With that said, I’ll leave you with this track from their upcoming LP, Black Up.
4. Ford & Lopatin – Too Much MIDI (Please Forgive Me)
Formerly known as Games, Ford & Lopatin are giving their analog synthesizers and midi sequencers an intense work out. Dancefloor-ready synth pop with a hint of shoegaze; this is definitely the standout track on their new LP, Channel Pressure. There seems to be a lot of 80’s influenced music this year; I’m hoping for a side pony tail revival.
5. Bizness – tUnE-YarDs
I have a lot of respect for this band, so I can excuse the obnoxious way that they like to type their name. tUnE-YarDs’ early methods are about as indie as it gets. Their original album was initially released on cassette tape and recorded with just a handheld voice recorder. Luckily, they’ve modernized their recording a bit and released one of my favorite albums of 2011. Their sophmore album, W H O K I L L, is chalked full of gems, but Bizness, is just so catchy that I couldn’t resist. Warning: This tune will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Just sayin’.
6. Friendly Fires – Live Those Days Tonight
Friendly Fires recently dropped their sophmore album, Pala, and its every bit as exciting as their first. Lives Those Days has all the ingredients for a summer anthem. A catchy hook, building basslines, and a funky, disco sound. This song is one of many upbeat, booty shakin’, tunes on Pala so be sure to check out the whole album.
7. Iceage – Broken Bone
IceAge, a post-punk band from Denmark, are making a boisterous mark on the music world with their new album, New Brigade. Wild, out of control, and hungry for stardom, the kids in IceAge almost seem like the punk rock equivalent of the hip hop super group Odd Future. Broken Bone is one of the many highlights off their new album and is probably the most accessible track on the album.
8. Tale of Us – Dark Song
Tale of Us, the Berlin-based duo from the VisionQuest label, serve up a slow, provocative jam that is sure be in my favorites list at the end of the year. The vocal is soft and gentle and expertly paired with a luscious house beat. Perfect for a late night mix, this track is a time bomb ready to explode.
9. Nas – Nasty
As a long time Nas fan, I have been admittedly disappointed in some of his latest releases. His lyrics and arrangements have been noticeably lacking and the desire to see the same Nas that dropped “Thief’s Theme” and “Ether” return have finally been answered. Nas is in top form on this track and for 3 minutes you forget about the lukewarm “Distant Relatives” and the confusingly bad album “Untitled”. To quote the last line of this track, “For my Gs, tell these clowns make room for the king”. Here’s hoping his new album shares the fire he exhibits in this track!
10. Clams Casino & Lil B – Motivation
Lil B aka “The BasedGod” got his foot in the door with the hip hop group “The Pack”. You may remember their hit song “Vans” whose hook was along the lines of “Got my Vans on, but they look like sneakers” that released in 2004. Thankfully, those times seems to be behind him and Lil B has grown into quite the artist. He like many other new artists, has come to master the art of “Social Media Self-Promotion”. In the last year, he has made quite a name for himself in the blogosphere and hip hop world. Motivation is a collaboration between Lil B and the rising star producer Clam’s Casino. The instrumental of this track is incredibly strong, but Lil B manages to make the track even better. Keep both of these guys on your radar, I’m expecting big things from them in 2011.