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Published:
Apr 17, 2017

"Y'all have until April 7 to get your **** together."


A few weeks ago I watched TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) head Anthony Tiffith swat away complaints about when the Kendrick drop was, and why it didn't miraculously arrive on the day Lamar himself had seemed to forecast in "The Heart, Part IV." Fast forward to April 14: DAMN. exploding onto streaming services as well as digital and physical storefronts. Almost instantly the power of the record took over the social media narrative: not the potentially botched release, not the weird twitter entitlement, and (sadly) not the conspiracy theories surrounding a sequel album allegedly dropping on Easter Sunday (as fun as those were to indulge). Like his masterful performance at Coachella's Polo Fields Sunday evening, all that stood in the spotlight was king Kendrick Lamar and the fourteen exceptional new tracks he blessed us with.


In the review of Drake's VIEWS, I wrote that the rapper missed the mark on making a memorable (or enjoyable) album because of the overstuffed and cocky presentation. Inexplicably, there have been lots of lines drawn between Kendrick & Drake, including a rather silly debate on which MC is "better."  


The obvious answer to that dialogue is what lurks between the songs on DAMN. Highlighting that  Kendrick Lamar has always been an album artist. While 2012's Good Kid, M.A.A.D City had plenty of breakout singles, it joins 2015's To Pimp a Butterfly as a body of work bearing a narrative and thematic art. Heck, Kendrick's breakout record was even subtitled "A Short Film." Like the finest musicians, Kendrick is a storyteller. Mainstream hip-hop should be just as entitled to being a compelling storytelling tool as any other genre of music, no matter how much thinly veiled racism insists that hip-hop is a lesser genre of music.


Which feels like the most reasonable place to begin talking about the pieces that hold "DAMN." together. Unlike To Pimp a Butterfly the thematic tie is less musically connected. Instrumentals don't connect the dots as fluidly; DAMN. feels more like a rap record than an opera.


With that being said, in between album opener "BLOOD." and "DNA." Lamar samples Fox News presenters discussing Kendrick's 2015 performance of "Alright" at the BET awards. Most notably, Kendrick samples: 



This is why I say that hip-hop has done more to damage young African Americans than racism in recent years



This is an outrageous claim, and batted away later in the song by Kendrick's memorable hook: "I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA / I live a better life ... fuck your life."


The following verse borrows from the Watch The Throne era of Jay Z & Kanye in endless citations of Lamar's opulence; "sippin' from a Grammy," "sleepin' in a villa." Kendrick's earnest insistence that he is both his people, and the best of his people, is how he is able to write the narrative Drake never can.  


"HUMBLE." within its placement in the arc of the album comes after the neo-funk, R&B track "PRIDE." that most closely ties "DAMN." to To Pimp a Butterfly with a slow-burning meditation on success and the self. He raps: "It wasn't all to share, but there / in another life, I was surely there / It wasn't all to share, but there / I care, I care." The sincerity comes across as genuine, not campy, and when the album shifts gears into Mike Will Made It's free for all banger, what you remember as "HUMBLE." stretches between bars Lamar spits is that a few minutes earlier, he mumbled: "I can't fake humble just because yo' ass is insecure."  This view from the top is of a man looking down at the world, not quite sure what to think.


Musically, "GOD." dazzles out of virtue of its unexpected instrumentation, which includes Lamar's signature high notes; "XXX." wins the all time most unexpected guest vocals on a rap album award with Bono of U2 giving listeners a chance to unwind after the aggressive machine gun flow Lamar belts over an absolute banger of a beat; "LOYALTY." further distances Kendrick from Drake as Lamar masterfully shares bars and a beat with Rihanna.


And then there is "DUCKWORTH." An odd album ending odyssey that chronicles the TDE origin story in ways worth investigating for yourself. In the opening moments of the song though, Kendrick states succinctly and successfully the only way we can render the current and indisputable king of hip-hop:



"It was always me vs the world / until I found it's me vs me."



Get DAMN. today, and hope the conspiracy theories are right and that there is more Kendrick Lamar to come, because this offering is going to be the best rap music we get for a very long time.


Image: Genius.

Jami Selikow

Author:
Jami Selikow

Published:
Jul 25, 2017

Arcade Fire, the highly acclaimed indie rock band, are working with the ice cream giants, Ben & Jerry's. It's all listed below. To start though, we'll lead with a wonderfully whimsical clue: "My Body is a Cone." There is a lot going on, we'll also shed light on Arcade Fire's involvement in all things Brooklyn Vegan and Yondr. 


Arcade Fire Ben & Jerry's 


Combine Ben & Jerry's with Arcade Fire? It's a combo that not many could turn down, nor really understand for that matter. The band has recently announced that at the end of August, Arcade Fire ice cream from Ben & Jerry's will be available. Just imagine Ben & Jerry's sweetness sprinkled with Arcade Fire's signature wit.


Arcade Fire ran a poll on Twitter to find a name for their Ben & Jerry's ice cream's flavor (all of this was in honor of National Ice Cream day...of course). 


The options



  • "Arcade Crunch"

  • "Peanut Butler & Kingsberry"

  • "Infinite Chocolate"

  • And the winner:


"My Body is a Cone"


That's right, a big pun on their single "My Body is a Cage," which you can listen to below...and eat a themed ice cream to.


Keep in mind, that these days everything is a meme and everyone is a troll, so it's highly unlikely we'll ever get to taste the flavor that involves 'fudge skeletons' and 'crunchy-bone pieces.' Then again, who knows, they did make cereal for "Creature Comforts," a track off their forthcoming album, Everything Now.


Arcade Fire Brooklyn Vegan 


Arcade Fire have an Everything Now release show taking place on July 27th at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. It'll be live-streamed on Apple Music. There was controversy after Brooklyn Vegan revealed a message detailing a dress code for attendants:  



Our dress code is HIP & TRENDY as if you are going to a concert or night out with friends! The event is standing-room-only so please plan accordingly.
PLEASE DO NOT WEAR shorts, large logos, flip flops, tank tops, crop tops, baseball hats, solid white or red clothing. We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone dressed inappropriately.



Arcade Fire has disputed this, saying that if the 'dress code is "hip and trendy," band members will not be allowed through the door.' Win Butler, the band's frontman, said that the dress code, as well as phones being taken at the door (explained below) must 'be an Apple thing.' 


https://twitter.com/arcadefire/status/889573429233553408


https://twitter.com/DJWindows98/status/889571482459926528 


Yondr


Included in the pre-show message, was the following notification: 



No cellphones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed at this show. Upon arrival, all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their phones throughout the night, and if needed, may access their phones at designated Yondr unlocking stations in the lobby.



Yondr is a new development that allows show participants to keep possession of their phone, but removes their ability to use it. As people enter a venue utilizing Yondr, they place their phone in a bag which locks when entering certain zones.


Arcade Fire have hosted a secret show before where phones were taken away at the door, however, they're denying plans to do this at the Everything Now release show. To end off, let's all take a moment to allow Win's wise words to sink in:


https://twitter.com/DJWindows98/status/889690714799579138


Image Source: Arcade Fire Twitter

Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage

Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage

Jami Selikow

Author:
Jami Selikow

Published:
Jul 24, 2017

Purity Ring, a Canadian electronic music duo consisting of Megan James (vocals) and Corin Roddick (instrumentals), have just teased new music. Formed in 2010, the band released their first album, Shrines, in 2012. The album was then followed by another in 2015, Another Eternity. Could 2017 be the year for yet another new Purity Ring album? 


Teasers


Fans get pretty excited when a band posts a photo of themselves in the studio, as was the case in early July when Purity Ring did just that. 


https://twitter.com/PURITY_RING/status/886042379395883008


The photo was followed up with a video clip containing new music. With it, is an animation of an ashen figure walking across a desert landscape; the music gives inertia to the haunting atmosphere and could mean that Purity Ring are moving back to their 'spooky sound' like that of Shrines


https://twitter.com/PURITY_RING/status/888888408721858561


A Premier?


The last we've heard from Purity Ring is a Tweet that contains a date and time, including the Twitter handle of Zane Lowe's show on Beats 1 Radio. All of this together, leads one to believe that we'll be hearing brand new Purity Ring today at 12:30. 


https://twitter.com/PURITY_RING/status/889171374685769728


If you miss it, be sure to head back to Indie Shuffle; we'll try get it up as soon as it's out. Until then, we've given you a selection of Purity Ring's top four most popular songs on the site to choose from below. 


Image Source: micadew

Purity Ring - Fineshrine

Purity Ring - Fineshrine

Purity Ring - Begin Again

Purity Ring - Begin Again

Purity Ring - Obedear

Purity Ring - Obedear

Purity Ring - Bodyache

Purity Ring - Bodyache

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