Headphones: Death to Scalping

This week in music brought us some exciting news for the future with regards to a much-anticipated reunion.  MGMT, the group behind the smash hits ‘Kids’ and ‘Electric Feel’, have announced their reunion will come, just later than expected.  Around Christmas time of last year, the duo hinted at a soon-to-be reunion for the 2016 year.  With much of the year gone already, many fans were left wondering if a reunion would materialize at all.  On the 26th, we received some clarification from the duo’s twitter with this tweet:

Reunion news has been a theme of 2016, where we already have heard rumors of more high profile reunion albums and tours from Fleetwood Mac and the Gorillaz.  Exciting times as we may soon get to hear new music from some of our favorite groups.

In other news, rapper Kanye West received some scary news that caused him to cut his Meadows Festival set early.  Set in New York, the Meadows was the first big festival to kick off our festival season, and it had a hell of a lineup to help back it up.  Originally billed were West and The Weeknd as the two day headliners, but when the Weeknd backed out, J Cole stepped in, giving the festival equal if not more star power for its inaugural billing.  Along with those two, Chance the Rapper, Kygo, and many others helped put the Meadows in the conversation for best NY festival, up there with the popular Governor’s Ball.  Minus the Weeknd slip up, the festival seemed to be going spectacularly going in to West’s set.  About half way through the show, Kanye received news that his wife, Kim Kardashian West, had been robbed at gun point in Paris, and promptly left the stage.  Most fans still got to see a good portion of his Saint Pablo tour and with an already action packed weekend, were able to leave for home still satisfied. 

Album of the Week: The Story of Sonny Boy Slim: In today's world, we are blessed with a vast and expanding mess of genres.  When you look to the EDM and Hip-Hop world, a new sub genre seems to open up everyday.  Unfortunately, this hasnt been so for every genre, especially when you look at whats happened to Rock N' Roll and Blues.  With its previous outlets dwindling and the industry becoming even more competitive, the two have been hanging on by their teeth,  except for a few big name acts keeping themselves in the spotlight.  Blues in particular has been living on the fringes, with most of its acts finding success in underground scenes with grassroots starts.  One of its most successful stories has come from up and comer Gary Clark Jr, who took a completely different route.  From an early age, Clark was touted as a prodigy, earning spots at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival numerous times over the year.  His debut album Blak and Blu commercially put him on the map, and also showed his broad range musically.  He was already know as a master on the guitar, but his affinity for a broader range in genres proved him to be someone to watch out for.  This second project, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, does just that.  The music on the album is so rich from top to bottom it begs to be listened to from start to finish.  While his skill on the guitar was to be expected, its his vocals that really sell the storytelling.  He comes across as cool and collected, wielding his pipes with vigor. Clark has become the new ambassador of the blues genre, in a world where it needs a powerful voice.  He's able to give you chills and make you groove at the same time, all while playing a guitar that makes you wonder what deals he had done down by the crossroads.  The opening track 'The Healing' will have you sold and make you an instant fan.  


Music Videos

Hip/Hop: Starboy – The Weeknd: Check out the Weeknd’s new haircut in his latest video, which supports the upcoming album by the same name.  The song also features electronic legends Daft Punk.

International: Ricky Martin – Vente Pa’ Ca’: I may not know Spanish, but it looks like fun! Check out Ricky Martin partying on the roof top on his latest hit. 

Country: Luke Bryan – Move: Luke Bryan is perhaps the hottest name in country music.  This time, he channels his inner rock star.

 Pop: Shawn Mendes - Mercy: In Mende’s latest video, he finds himself ‘drowing’ in his breakup, smashing guitars, and continuing his hot year where he now finds himself headlining stadium tours. 

Tribute: Death to scalpers… Hopefully: Scalping has long been the bane of the live music industry’s existence.  While it used to be low scale business deals to recover individuals’ money, it has turned into a five billion dollar business that exploits and hurts fans and artists alike.  Resale businesses and scalpers have manipulated the system where they get their hands on all of the high demand tickets before anymore and raise the ticket prices exponentially.  They have even come up with ‘bot’ systems they buy up all of the tickets at market price, that way traditional fans don’t even have a chance to purchase them for the cheaper prices.  Over the past several years, artists have tried to take on these scalpers head on, offering ticket deals where they can only be bought and purchased for a set low price, or only bought at a certain quantity.  Now, the movement has support on capitol hill.  Kansas senator Jerry Moran brought forward legislation this past month to help end the shady industry.  Moran is now heading one of the most important movements in the music industry.  With his help, we can perhaps return live music to the way it should be. 

This Week’s Playlist

1.     ATLiens– Outkast: My throwback pick of the week is from the most successful hip-hop duo of all time, Outkast.  Off the album of the same name, ‘ATLiens’ is one of the more lyrically fun songs Andre and Big Boi ever created.  (see: “I’m cooler than the polar bear’s toe nails.”)

2.     Samba (Live) – SOJA: This past weekend, reggae group SOJA released their first live album, Live in Viriginia.  The Virginia based group has amassed a huge following via their live performances, much like this one.  ‘Samba’ is an instrumental track where the entire band (8 members) all go in on the drums.  Check it out.

3.     Wrecking Ball– Bruce Springsteen: Last week ‘The Boss’ released an album in support of his biography set to come out soon.  The music is mostly re releases, but it reminded just how good Springsteen can be.  This is one of the best rock songs of the 21st century. 

4.     Lyk Dis – NxWorries/Anderson .Paak: My early cries about Anderson .Paak’s inevitable stardom seem totally justified now, after summer that saw .Paak secure high billing fest spots and invitations to open for popular acts like Florence + the Machine and Beyonce.  NxWorries was his original project and the just last week released this tune.

5.     Blue Lights – Jorja Smith: Her vocals feel like a younger Sia, and this is simply a fun song to listen to at night while driving.