Castle – ‘Live Action’ (Prod. Has-Lo)

Castle 2014

Last year Castle debuted with Gasface, an enigmatic intro to the North Carolina MC/producer’s talent. It offered everything needed from a hip hop record; style, substance, beats, slick production and meaningful lyricism. 

Castle is back with a ‘new’ LP, Return of the Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages), which sees his gruff delivery, frank observations cheeky sense of humour undergo a full-length redo from labelmate Has Lo. Such a fan was he of Gasface, that Has Lo re-envisioned an entirely new identity for it, getting Castle to re-record verses, adding his own verses and production style, to create something that sounds a lot different to your usual remix project. The first taste of Gasface re-imagined is ‘Live Action’, originally called ‘No Prep Time’, it indicated in no small way that the reworking is a more than worthwhile exercise. ‘Live Action’ is injected with a new spirit and it’s strength lies in the execution, particularly the two artists willingness work together in tandem for a common goal. Has Lo’s production is flawless, bouncy beats entrance you while the pauses and breaks are perfectly timed to compliment Castle’s delivery and flow. Realized at the most opportune moments, it reinforces what Castle’s got to say, sounding more authoritative and speaking with an authority that makes you pay attention. 

Return of the Gasface (The Has-Lo Passages) is released on March 18th with original artwork by Josh Bayer. For now though, you can sample the delight that is ‘Live Action’.

Jezz At Home – ‘One Track Mind’

Jezz-at-Home

It’s been while since having call to talk about Lyon duo Tom Beaulaigue and Laurent Nivon, aka Jezz At Home. Since the genre hopping adventures of their debut EP, Mad, things have been regrettably quiet.

The duo have broken radio silence with new tune, ‘One Track Mind’. It, like previous tunes, incorporates their love of jazzy hip hop and encapsulates a belief that there are no borders or boundaries between genres. ‘One Track Mind’ opens with a gently pattering drum beat only to unexpectedly explode into glittery disco. This one’s got a serious groove and plenty of bounce, especially in that insidiously catchy, deep funky bassline. The plurality of the duo’s differing musical backgrounds, one techno & one hip-hop, makes for a intriguing and absorbing listen, but what makes them standout even further is their ability to assimilate them together into a slick, neat and cohesive production. Yet another slick and downright infectious feelgood production from the French duo.

Stream / Download ‘One Track Mind’ below. 

Yasiin Gaye – ‘Inner City Travellin’ Man (Soul Mates Remix)’

Yasiin Gaye

Yasiin Gaye is the latest project of Amerigo Gazaway, formerly operating under the Gummy Soul guise and the brains behind the Fela Soul mixtape/mashup albums, and one of an elite few who’s done mash ups justice.

Gazaway’s latest project unites rapper Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and soul legend Marvin Gaye for a dream collaboration. Carefully weaving Bey’s dense raps and Gaye’s soulful vocals over his new arrangements, he’s aiming for a quality far closer to Gaye’s famous duets than that of a mere ‘mashup’ album. ‘Inner City Travellin’ Man’ is a hugely impressive prelude; taking one part Yasiin Bey in the form of ‘Travellin’ Man’ and one part Marvin Gaye in the form of ‘Innercity Blues’, put them together and you’ve got ‘Inner City Travellin’ Man’. This is apparently the first installment of a whole new series called ‘Soul Mates’ and suggests great things for Yasiin Gaye and the broader series on a whole.

Yasiin Gaye is released on February 25th. You can stream or download ‘Inner City Travellin’ Man’ below: 

Introducing: Castle

castle - gasface

Man, you come right out of a comic book,” a voice says in the closing seconds of Castle‘s debut LP, Gasface, and it’s a pretty apt description. The North Carolina MC/producer keeps the back story to a minimum, allowing for a personality to develop through his music, leaving us with a mysterious and interesting enigma on our hands. 

Castle brings frank observations, commentary and a cheeky sense of humour as his thoughtfully crafted clever rhymes, carefully carve through his hard hitting, dense beats. Through his eyes the world is dystopian, twisted, and dark; rapping about failed relationships, lost loved ones, toil and struggle, dead-end jobs and working minimum wage. The music is often more bright and bouncy than the lyrical content would suggest, combined with Castle’s cheeky and quick wit, it eases the deliver of his writing and message. Castle and his comic book-esque alter-ego excel on debut LP, Gasface; it’s got style, substance, slick production and real meaningful lyricism and continues to reward with every listen, unraveling with deeper layers of meaning.

You can check out some choice cuts from Gasface below or, if they are to you’re liking, you can buy/stream it here

 

BarryGruff’s Irish Songs of 2013 (Mixtape)

bg2013

There’s been some really great stuff released this year from Irish acts and as has become customary for this time of year, I’ve put together a compilation/mix of my favourite tracks from throughout the year. 

There’s some old friends and some new, hopefully you enjoy the tunes as much as I, and  without further ado, here’s my favourite Irish Songs of 2013. Tracklisting is after the jump.

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Best of 2013 w/ Ciaran Dwyer of Knoxville Morning

Knoxville-Morning---Ciaran-Dwyer

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Ciaran Dwyer from Knoxville Morning and his picks from 2013.

Irish Song of the Year: Lethal Dialect (Feat. Jacknife J) – ’13 til Infinity’

My love of lyric writing came from being an obsessive Hip Hop Fan in secondary school and it was this that led me to folk music and to the poets that are my heroes today. I’m quite new to Lethal Dialect and when I heard this song it blew my mind on first listen, the easy going production and flow is perfect and the song couldn’t have come at a better time, slap bang in the middle of our best summer in years but its the subjects that Lethal raps about that really bring me in. Like all great writers he writes about his own environment and what he sees around him turning the often banal into things of beauty. The last verse (especially the last two lines) give me shivers on the scruff of my neck every time I hear it, one of the best tributes to a woman I’ve ever heard in a song. Pure Poetry, Pure Genius.

Album of the Year: The National – ‘Trouble Will Find Me’

This was a toss up between this and Push the Sky Away by Nick Cave which also blew my mind this year. Trouble edges it for me as The National have been my favourite band for many years now and every album is a step up the ladder of greatness, this one being probably my personal favourite alongside Boxer. The highlight tunes on this for me are ‘I Should Live in Salt’, ‘Demons’, ‘Humiliation’ and ‘Pink Rabbits’ (one of the finest songs they’ve ever written). Matt Berninger is the man of the match on this album, outdoing himself with his Vocals and pushing himself to new heights with his lyrics. I was lucky to see them tour twice this year and the second time ranks as one of my favourite shows that I’ve ever seen.

Song of 2013: The Mighty Stef – ‘The Hardship’

I can remember loving this song the first time I ever heard it being played in a sound check in Detroit. It hadn’t yet become the absolute Monster of a song it is today but had all the hallmarks of a Mighty Stef classic even back then. The word Hardship has been thrown around our bands in jest for a couple of years now, often in the middle of real hardship where some comic relief is needed to keep the train on the tracks. If there’s one thing I know about Stef and his operation is that he has had to work incredibly hard through all manners of Hardship to get any little thing he gets in Music. The singing on this is perfect, a master-class in how to deliver a song, full of emotion and passion and going right to the end of his range as a singer. ‘The Hardship’ is an anthem to all of us who are in this game for the long run.

Best of 2013 w/ Cormac Brady

cobra-dy

It’s that time of year when every music website, publication and blog (including this one) are busy compiling lists, lists and more lists. Last year I asked bands and artists who’d played ‘BarryGruff Presents’ shows to put their own list making skills to the test in picking their ‘favourite album of 2013′, ‘favourite song/remix of 2013′ & ‘favourite Irish song of the year’. After another successful year of shows, why break with tradition?

Right, that is enough waffling from me, it’s over to Cormac Brady and his rule breaking picks from 2013. 

Favourite album of 2013:

Thanks to Barry for asking me to write this piece again this year. Also I hope he accepts my back hander and lets me bend the rules a bit. It’s hard to pick one record, so here are twelve. Rules? RULES MEAN NOTHING TO ME

Savages – Silence Yourself
Steve Mason – Monkey Minds in the Devils Time
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork
Danny Brown – Old
Death Grips – Government Plates
Juana Molina – Wed 21
Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Moderat – II
Halves – Boa Howl
Dancing Suns – Goldmine

If I had to pick one over the rest, it would be Run the Jewels because I’ve listened to it the most. It’s a quality rap album. Killer Mike and El-P have all the charisma of an old school rap duo like PE, and they keep it original too.

Favourite Song of 2013:

I’m torn apart picking one tune, so I’ve had to pick three. Rules? FUCK YOU AND YOUR RULES

One: Savages – City’s Full. This band tore Electric Picnic a new arsehole back in September. I regularly stick the earphones in and play this tune over and over again at deafening volumes.

Two: Mount Kimbie – Made to Stray. I think I’ve listened to this tune eight hundred million times.

Three: Danny Brown – Lonely. I love this lad’s ability to balance honesty and insanity in his records. He’s a true artist. This track a little glimpse of the emotional depth his music can carry.

Favourite Irish song of 2013: Mmoths – ‘All These Things (feat. Holly Miranda)’

This tune is a perfect collaboration. Mmoths – All These Things (feat. Holly Miranda)