Pusha T – “Lunch Money” (Video)

The spacey, otherworldly by Kanye West on Pusha T’s latest single “Lunch Money” makes for the perfect antithesis to Push’s boastful coke rap lyrics, and sets the Virginia emcee up perfectly to release a new album that will make him worthy of being solidified as a true leader of new millennium hip hop. The video is also a practice in ideas that might not at first seem to go together: as Pusha arrogantly mocks the competition, around him is a stripped down, barren, drug-riddled environment dominated by pop lockers and hood rich dope boy decadence. It’s a simplistic and unexpected approach, but it allows the song to take center stage. And at this stage, that’s exactly how it should be as “Lunch Money” makes hip hop heads salivate for Pusha T’s next full-length project.

- Ron Grant

alt-J – “Left Hand Free”

Nobody tell Sun Kil Moon‘s Mark Kozelek about this band or this video. If he called The War on Drugs beer commercial music, I’m not sure his mind could handle a band whose video essentially is a beer commercial. alt-J channel their escapist 90s soul in this video, and combine it with a very polite but catchy blues riff that carries throughout the song. Just watching this, it’s easy to understand why this band is so controversial. Listeners that need to take their music seriously 100% of the time probably won’t understand alt-J. Sure, they don’t have teeth, Joe Newman’s vocals ape a dated rap rock style, and stereotypical “oohs” and “whoas” persist throughout the song. But you know what? It all adds up to three minutes of pleasant escapism, and that’s all they’re trying to do.

Our review of the new alt-J album:

- Garrett Cottingham

Kendrick Lamar – “I”

When Kendrick Lamar dropped his latest single a few weeks ago, the hip hop world felt itself once again in an uproar, potentially getting a glimpse into the music from one of the most anticipated followup albums in years. But things quickly took a polarized turn as many fans clearly stood in the camps of “I love it” or “it’s trash.” Now, K. Dot has followed up the release of the single with an accompanying video to coincide with Tuesday’s election madness. The visuals appear to be yet another old to oldschool Cali hip hop, the opening vignette featuring what appears to be a “Menace II Society”-inspired block party as Kendrick gets his hair twisted and proceeds into the dance-y, Isley Brothers-sampled, and positive message’d song. With his signature voice manipulations well-intact, Kendrick continues to gain traction for his third album–even with a less-than-stellar response to the song. And the icing on the cake is Ron Isley’s camero near the end, which goes along with the subliminal messages against police brutality, domestic violence and suicide.

- Ron Grant

Ariel Pink – “Picture Me Gone”

Ariel Pink has just shared a fittingly chilling and tragic video for “Picture Me Gone,” taken from his upcoming “solo debut” pom pom. The track might just be Ariel’s most mature and moving track yet, expressing with commendable candor the anxiety and pressure that the prospect of starting a family makes him feel. The song’s also one of his most frightening, dwelling on the matters of our ultimately ephemeral existences and our fading senses of sentimentality in the modern world. But none of that’s anywhere near as disquieting as the latex Ariel mask that appears throughout the video…

pom pom is out November 18 via 4AD. If you’re still an Ariel Pink skeptic, he also did a powerful rendition of “Picture Me Gone” recently with the PS22 Chorus that you might wanna check out. Find it here:

Dope Body – “Repo Man”

As you might recall from last week, we kind of sort of loved the new Dope Body record Lifer. It will almost certainly be considered among the very best rock releases of the year. And in the running for best rock video of the year is this Theo Anthony-directed one for standout cut “Repo Man.” An evocative portrait of socio-economic hardship in a presumably Marylandian town, the short is as thematically impressive as it is technically. It was a great idea to use “Intro” to set the stage and exponentially mount tension, and  the whirlwind intercutting of the noisy VHS footage, while something of a gimmick at this point, is appropriate and tastefully executed in this case.

Having delivered here a well-struck balance of kinetic, fun, and subtly moving; Theo Anthony is well-deserving of the Vimeo “Video of the Week” Award for which he’s just been nominated. If you really dig the video, vote for it here.

Lifer is out now via Drag City.

Your Old Droog – “Hoodie Weather” ft. Prodigy

Your Old Droog! This dude’s a brooklyn rapper who’s been making the rounds on the Internet since this past summer, and his hype was based mostly off of the rumor that he was Nas. People were even upping the pitch of tracks on his lone EP just to try to prove to themselves that this was true. Now, I understand why people were feeling this way; I mean, he does sound a lot like Nas. Even my dude Apathy was fooled.

But now that this whole mess has been put to rest, Droog is just another rapper from New York. However, that’s no reason to count him out–especially after the release of the song embedded above. Not only does this song boast a stellar feature from Prodigy of Mobb Deep, but Droog hits upon a song topic that’s close to the heart of anyone from the North East: hoodie weather.

With leaves changing and temperatures dropping, “Hoodie Weather” is the perfect soundtrack for the fall. With his deep, grime-caked voice, Droog pens a sluggishly blissful hook that can go toe-to-toe with some of hip hop’s most classic summer anthems. Lyrically, Droog is on point, and addresses everything from germophobia to friends.

All I can say right now is keep it up, and I’m looking forward to whatever’s dropping next. Despite the disappointment I’m sure some felt after realizing Droog wasn’t Nas, the fact that he can write such a great tune and get a nod from a vet like Prodigy is proof enough he’s worthy of our attention for at least a little longer.

Pearls Negras – Nossa Gang Mixtape

My new favorite Brazilian hip hop trio just dropped a new project titled the Nossa Gang Mixtape. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly sure what Alice Jeni, and Mari are saying, but that makes their music is no less exciting to me. Rather than going off of lyrics, I’m happy to feed off of Pearls’ great instrumentals, charisma, and attitude.

Give Nossa Gang a stream above, and check out a review of the trio’s previous tape here.

Death From Above 1979 – “Government Trash”

Few musical comebacks have been as hotly anticipated as Death From Above 1979′s. A few years after the Ontario duo’s electrifying debut album dropped, they splintered and began working on other projects instead. I vividly remember being disappointed upon first hearing this news, because You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine left such a strong impression on me–and most of the independent rock world, too.

To hear that Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler were getting the band back together a few months ago was exciting, and it’s tracks like “Government Trash” that make it feel like the hiatus never happened. The track’s riffs are the sonic equivalent to an adrenaline shot, and the vocals could be more on point, too!

Look for The Physical World on September 9th via Last Gang Records.

KARST – “Kistérségi / Regional”

Try out this track from the forthcoming KARST album. These guys fuse black metal and punk, and do a helluva job! The production is rawer than a skinned knee, the the vocals are absolutely ferocious. The black metal influences provide just enough melody to keep things interesting, and the performance on this particular track is especially ferocious.

This track comes off the band’s new album titled Lime Veins Bleed Rust. It’s self-released out available via the band’s Bandcamp page.

NehruvianDOOM – “OM”

For months, there’s been talk of an full-length collab between DOOM and Bishop Nehru, and we’re getting the first taste of it with the song embedded above, “OM.”

DOOM is a seasoned underground vet that’s known for his eccentric rhymes, classic output, and ominous mask. However, Nehru is a relative unknown in the hip hop world. The young New York MC hasn’t dropped many projects thus far, but DOOM has obviously heard some serious potential in Nehru–enough to risk collaborating on a project of this magnitude, anyway.

I think I’m hearing what DOOM’s hearing as well. Nehru comes off confident and charismatic on “OM,” and he’s got flow and some clever rhymes, too. Even though he doesn’t have the most distinctive voice in the game, I’ll chalk it up to being young for now, and excitedly wait for him to come into his own.

Favorite line: “Am I being idolized, or am I a pair of idol eyes?”