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Sound Check's Blog – May 2017 Archive (36)

Immerse yourself in the electrifying world of KOKOKO! #SoundCheck

Holy shit. Congolese performance collective KOKOKO! is electrifying. Though their only published media online is a single promo video, the band introduces themselves so perfectly, emerging fully formed from each frame. They take DIY to new heights, fashioning the tools for electronic music out of found objects and Congolese instruments. “Survival fuels creativity,” one member explains in the video. This is more than survival. This is genius.…


Added by Sound Check on May 31, 2017 at 12:11pm — No Comments

Non-binary & unapologetic: rapper Ash León tackles misogynoir, homophobia, transphobia & hypermasculinity

Memphis-born Ash León is a non-binary Hip-Hop artist currently based in New York. León blends activism with a quirky and flowery aesthetic, giving a new face and sound to conscious rap that does not rely on outdated ideas of hypermasculinity. The artist tells AFROPUNK: "When I close my eyes and think about who I am, I don't really see gender". "It's statements like that, my peers call me an 'Alien' for. They say I fell from another planet, but the reality is that I feel…


Added by Sound Check on May 31, 2017 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

Lauryn Hill and Nas are going on tour together

Giving more reason to believe speculations that he is putting the finishing touches on his upcoming album, Nas is gearing fans up with the announcement of a national tour alongside "If I Ruled The World" collaborator and close friend Lauryn Hill. As reported by Billboard, select tour stops will also feature comedian Hannibal Buress and reggae star… Continue

Added by Sound Check on May 30, 2017 at 2:58pm — 1 Comment

Alternative rock/soul band Blame The Youth challenges ideas about the taboo in debut EP "The Hourglass"

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Blame The Youth is a new band with a star on the rise. Made up entirely of musicians of color, the quartet is all about breaking down boundaries, including boundaries of genre. Naming Erykah Badu, Haitus Kaiyote, The Contortionist, Animals as Leaders and James Blake among their influences, Blame The Youth describes themselves as "an eclectic mix of alternative and soulful sounds with a little rock and jazz," but their distinctive sound can't…


Added by Sound Check on May 26, 2017 at 4:30pm — No Comments

PREMIERE: London-based rapper Louis VI cuts through the bullsh*t in laid back "More Water"

Following his debut EP Lonely Road Of The Dreamer, which boldly took up questions of mental health and identity to critical acclaim, London-based hip-hop artist Louis VI's latest single "More Water" serves as an interlude to the next chapter, his upcoming second EP. The inspiring track about making it through with the weight of the world on your shoulders uses water as a metaphor to highlight the necessity of people of color rinsing off the trauma from all of the…


Added by Sound Check on May 26, 2017 at 2:20pm — No Comments

SZA finally announces the release date for her debut album 'Ctrl'

AFROPUNK veteran SZA made fans lose their minds last night when she dropped a RZA-narrated video teasing the release of her hugely anticipated new album ‘CTRL‘. The follow up to SZA’s stellar 2014 album, ‘Z’, ‘CTRL’—out June 9 via Top Dawg Entertainment—comes after more than a year in the making. Three of the album's tracks, “Love Galore,” “Drew Barrymore,” and my favorite “twoAM” (a reworking of Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR’s “Come and See Me” have already been released and if…


Added by Sound Check on May 25, 2017 at 11:30am — No Comments

VIDEO PREMIERE: Aaron Neville joins Mavis Staples for electrifying performance of Civil Rights anthem "Respect Yourself"

On June 2nd, Blackbird Presents will release "Mavis Staples: I’ll Take You There – An All-Star Concert Celebration" on CD/DVD. The special event featured on the album took place at Chicago's Auditorium Theater, with performances from Bonnie Raitt, Greg Allman, Jeff Tweedy, Win Butler and more. It also includes exclusive interviews with many of the participating artists, and explores Staples’ cultural and musical impact.

Just ahead of its release, we've got an…


Added by Sound Check on May 25, 2017 at 11:15am — No Comments

NEW MUSIC: Chicago-Based Crust-Punk Band Red Moon Rising Creates A Requiem For Humanity On 'Dream Walker' #SoundCheck

In the late anthropocene era, we seem to be doing our damndest as a species to make sure if we can't live on this planet, no-one else gets to either. With planet-wide destruction on their minds, Chicago-based blackened crust band Red Moon Rising's latest EP stares deep into the abyss. Moments of genuine sadness break up the full-on aural assault.

The vocals are mixed more like foreboding omens than lyrics. And throughout a narration chimes in to warn of our…


Added by Sound Check on May 24, 2017 at 6:25pm — No Comments

VIDEO PREMIERE: Neo-soul singer Omar & late legend Leon Ware groove one last time in touching video for "Gave My Heart"

Stevie Wonder once said of the neo-soul singer, “When I grow up, I wanna be like Omar!” Omar himself grew up learning from and emulating the recently departed legend Leon Ware, who was one of his biggest influences. Omar's most recent album, Love in Beats, features many special guests, but none quite as special as Ware, who allowed Omar to use elements of his classic tune "Rockin' You Eternally" for the song "Gave My Heart" and also contributed additional vocals.…


Added by Sound Check on May 24, 2017 at 1:30pm — No Comments

NEW MUSIC: Industrial hip-hop band Death Grips are working on a new album, reveal 22-minute apocalyptic track

As fans eagerly anticipate a follow up to Sacramento-based Death Grips' Bottomless Pit dropped last year, the industrial hip-hop/punk band just shared a new extended track to hold them over. Confirming that they are also working on a new album, Death Grips released “Steroids (Crouching Tiger Hidden Gabber Megamix)” in a short Facebook post yesterday:…


Added by Sound Check on May 23, 2017 at 11:44am — No Comments

VIDEO PREMIERE: R&B singer Leandra McNair shares nostalgic, DIY visual for 90s vibe single, ‘U I Wanna C’

R&B singer Leandra McNair channels 90s vibes in her brand new music video, ‘U I Wanna C’. An infectious, listenable single in its own right, c harkens back to 90s DIY visuals in strangely nostalgic ways, reminiscent of the opening credits of decade-defining shows like ‘Moesha’ and ‘Felicity’. Dressed in chunky jewelry and red lipstick, ‘U I Wanna C’ follows a day in Leandra McNair shoes as she takes in the city and daydreams about that someone special.

"'U I…

Added by Sound Check on May 23, 2017 at 11:40am — No Comments

UK soul singer Rukhsana Merrise drops an anti-capitalist anthem with her high-energy single "Money"

Born and raised in West London, singer-songwriter Rukhsana Merrise's folk, hip hop and soul influences are clear, but fused into her own sound that is truly unique. The artist's single "Money" combines her distinctively powerful voice with a textured but stripped back acoustic production for a timely political message. The track opens with the lyrics: "I find we try to figure it out / Even when in doubt / The truth be told in time / Can't save / Earning minimum wage /…


Added by Sound Check on May 22, 2017 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Jersey-based alternative hip-hop artist IZM opens up about sexual abuse in moving track "Give Me Strength"

IZM (Anthony Peterson) is an alternative hip-hop and spoken word artist whose mission is to provide healing for the Black LGBTQ community. "Give Me Strength", a stand out track from his third album Rhyme Therapy Vol. 1: DESTROY due later this year, is a bold and stirring take on the pain of sexual abuse the artist endured in his younger years. IZM hopes the song to be a spark that lights the fire to free other Black men from similar demons.

"As a black…


Added by Sound Check on May 19, 2017 at 6:20pm — No Comments

NEW MUSIC: Chillwave R&B Artist KWAYE Drops Stellar 2nd Single, “Little Ones”

With a classic R&B vibe tinged with The Cure, Kwaye's only released 2 singles so far, but both of them are head turners. His latest is the retro “Little Ones,” a song whose dense production and massive hook foreground a powerfully hopeful song about innocence and the nature of prejudice. Kwaye explains to Pigeons and Planes. "We are not born with prejudice—it is learned. Little Ones encapsulates the binding nature of prejudice, and the boundless freedom expressed in the…


Added by Sound Check on May 19, 2017 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Black rockers mourn the death of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell

Sad day for the music world as we woke to news of Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell’s death.

Since learning of Cornell's passing, Black musicians and bands around the world have issued statements of condolences. The Black Rock Coalition highlighted…


Added by Sound Check on May 18, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

NEW MUSIC: Georgia-based rock band African Americana are right on time with their killer summer jam, “Sugarcane” #SoundCheck

Taking a detour from their usual witch house and glitchier leanings, Macon, GA based African Americana's “Sugarcane” is a killer summer garage rock jam. The band keeps the synths lurking in the edges as texture beneath singer / guitarist Tommy $uperior's ode to “ice cubes and sugarcane / cause I know it gets hot in summer.” The track ends in a hazy wash of synths, for the best of both sides of the band. African Americana's stated mission is to “reclaim the white colonial…


Added by Sound Check on May 17, 2017 at 4:27pm — No Comments

NEW MUSIC: Post-Hardcore Rapper B L A C K I E (all caps, with spaces) Finds New Universes of Noise On His Exhilarating 'Remains' #SoundCheck

Like plate tectonics smashing continents together, B L A C K I E 's latest LP Remains is an unstoppable force, sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes overwhelming, but always awe-inspiring. B L A C K I E 's music is often described as “noise rap” but the tinges of punk rock, post-hardcore, industrial, and even minimalism that color his music belie the oversimplification of the term “noise rap.” Be clear: there's nothing simple about Remains.



Added by Sound Check on May 15, 2017 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Amp Fiddler, Leron Thomas, Nia Andrews & more rocked New Orleans in concert series

As the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is a city that has had the privilege of influencing music of all genres in some way. With deep rooted African, French, Spanish and Caribbean cultural footprints, it is arguably the most culturally rich city in the United States.

Since 1970, the city has hosted its New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (affectionately known as “Jazz Fest”) which has now turned into the city’s most attended festival, attracting over 400,000…


Added by Sound Check on May 15, 2017 at 3:53pm — No Comments

NEW MUSIC: Ambient Hip-Hop Producer Jus And The Great Georgia Anne Muldrow Celebrate “Black Power” On Anthemic New Single #SoundCheck

Melbourne-based artist Jus brings on Georgia Anne Muldrow and the crew at Soulvember Records to continue their unstoppable hot streak with their latest single “Black Power.” With contributions from Declaime, Roman Lee Norfleet, and Rob Milton, Georgia Anne Muldrow's hook ties it all together. The song celebrates black power over an irresistible groove, and that bassline, man. This is the anthem for 2017. This is an anthem for all time.



Added by Sound Check on May 15, 2017 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

NEW MUSIC: Brandy joins hip-hop star Sir The Baptist for a powerful tribute to domestic violence victims in "Deliver Me"

Some music you hear in your spirit, and Chicago rapper Sir the Baptist (William James Stokes)'s latest single, "Deliver Me", is one of those rare and powerful experiences. Eliciting the help of "vocal bible" and rumored girlfriend Brandy,…


Added by Sound Check on May 15, 2017 at 1:30pm — No Comments

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