7 Questions in Heaven with KILLSTREAK

7 Questions Killstreak

My first introduction into the world of KILLSTREAK was at a secret santa party in December 2012. Our mutual friend Kait (hey gurl) had given me “Tony-he’s 19 and a rapper in a group called Killstreak.” Gifts were exchanged at the party, facebook friendships were forged, and new music was introduced, as KILLSTREAK had just released a song with local slam poet/hip hop artist Guante titled “Collateral Damage.”

 

I was really impressed with Tony’s lyrical content and youthful yet old soul passion and intelligence that bleeds from his music. Granted I was only 5 years older than him at the time, but still-it’s rare to meet a 19 year old (or any teen/20 something for that matter) with any kind of direction and certainty in their life, let alone confidence and drive for their art. It’s a powerful and unassuming vibe for real, and that’s what makes their music and performances so philosophically ballin’.

Tony and his KILLSTREAK partner/producer/pal, ICETEP, released their first full-length album this summer titled “Janus.” (You can read a solid review about it here and buy it here). They are definitely gonna be two guys to keep an eye on in the music scene over the next few years, together and independently. Check out what this Minneapolis hip-hop wunderkind duo has to say about the origin of their fantastic name, Yeezus, sex in college and Carly Rae Jepsen.

1. How long have you, Tony the Scribe and ICETEP, been making music individually? When did you realize you vibed musically, thus birthing Killstreak?

T: I’ve been rapping for about 6 or 7 years, although I’ve been making music my whole life. ICETEP started out playing the piano at age 5 and has been making beats for about 3 years. We first realized we meshed musically about 2 years ago when we were reintroduced by a mutual friend. At first we didn’t really like each other’s shit, but we grew together and gained a mutual respect. 2 years later, we have an album out and are best friends. It’s funny how things work out.

2. Killstreak is a rad name. I picture a quaint streak of blood on the floor after a methodical Dexter-like kill or something. What was the inspiration behind naming yourselves Killstreak? And what is a Janus?

I: For a long time we couldn’t decide on a group name, one day we were chatting and one of us suggested “KILLSTREAK” as a joke, because we both mutually decided that it was a dumb name for a rap group. Flash forward a couple of days and we both sort of independently decided it was the perfect name. It’s less like a streak of “quaint” blood and more of like that blood straight out of “The Shining” just a massive tidal wave. (T: It’s also a play on the nerdiness of our personalities, because it’s a video gaming term. We thought it fit us well to have something nerdy and intimidating) A “Janus” is the Roman god of Duality, Entryways, Beginnings and Entryways. It was a fitting name for the album though, because it represents a time in our lives where we both were changing from one artistic space to another, as well as representing the overt duality we intended for the general theme of the artistic content of the album.

3. There’s a lot of passion and thought in your lyrics, which is hella cool. What topic gets you fired up the most, to the point where you have to run home from a party/bar mitzvah/the middle of class and start writing immediately?

T: Disillusionment with society. Also, watching how people act when they want to have sex with other people, because a lot of people act really different when they really want to have sex with someone. And just interpersonal interaction in general– that kinda stuff is mad interesting to me; I’m a sociology major and a huge extrovert so I’m continually fascinated by how people interact in group settings.

4.You played a show in my bedroom last month. Do you plan on playing anymore bedroom shows, basement shows or house shows this summer (besides, you know, the shows you play in actual venues)? What are your thoughts on house shows vs venue shows?

37021_509896762399778_1647310655_n

I: Yo fam I love bedroom shows, I wish we could play more, but usually people have really small bedrooms, and I’m not about me and Tony being the third and fourth wheel of a good time. This summer we unfortunately do not have any underground shows on the horizon, but we do have a couple of legit shows that are still being organized. That being said, from the house parties I’ve played, in my experience I’d rather just play in an actual venue, because people go to shows at venues with the explicit purpose of (usually) seeing an artist or a band. It’s not like I don’t like hanging out with drunk people, but I feel venues have determined drunk people. We’ll probably end up playing lots of underground shows in the spring just because T has a house in nor cal, and I am about that life.

5. Main musical influences on your music and art, GO!

T: Kanye West, Doomtree, Linkin Park, Rustie, Flying Lotus, and giant robot anime. Bam.

6:  If you could collaborate with any artist outside of the hip-hop genre, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

969404_386920588092492_194545708_n1
I: I’d really love to do a whole album with Kanye West actually, I know a lot of people are divided over Yeezus, but I still really fucks with him both as a rapper and as a producer. I guess I’m more interested in just hanging out with him in the studio than anything, like seeing what his process is like and what not. If Kanye wasn’t available though, prolly Flocka. Dude goes IN when he’s in the studio. BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BOW BRRRRRRIIIIICCCCKKKKKKK SQQQUUUUUAAAADDDDDDDDDDD. (video context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvJDiZwGGd4)

7: Who’s your favorite guilty pleasure artist and/or what’s an embarrassing song you LOVE?

T: I love Party in The USA. And Call Me Maybe. Anybody who doesn’t like Carly Rae Jepsen can eat a bag of dicks. Straight up.
images-15

WHY: Why is Avril Lavigne still making music?

Avril Lavigne releases the least rock and roll song ever called “Rock and Roll”

avriL-avril-lavigne-19698389-1600-1200
SHE’S SO PUNK AND EDGY YOU GUYS.

Follow 20poorandfabulous on Twitter and Facebook

There are just so many questions surrounding the puzzling fact that Avril Lavigne is STILL GETTING PAID TO MAKE MUSIC. A modern day “Who killed Kennedy” of the pop music world if you will, except the exact opposite. Who the fuck is keeping her alive? And WHY GOD, WHYYYYYYYYYY?

I’ll admit I was totally into her song “Sk8er Boi” in middle school, cuz I remember taping it on a cassette tape from the radio and listening to and jumping around my room every night before bed. She totally fit into that anti-Britney/Christina/Jessica mold that was puking blonde highlights and belly button rings into everyone’s eyebalss in the early aughts. Avril made sense back then from a marketing standpoint: grab the attention of the girls who don’t look or act like Britney/Christina/Jessica and give them Avril because they don’t know who Blondie is yet. MONAYZ. Got it.

It is now 2013. And for the past probably 6-7 years of popular music, I am always SO CONFUSED as to why she is STILL releasing songs. Here are some thoughts:

GAHHHHHH. Everything grating in one picture. Image via justjared.com
GAHHHHHH. Everything grating in one picture: faux raybans, shaved sidehead, a fucking HAT. You make it too easy, Avril. Image via justjared.com
  • She’s engaged to Chad Kroeger from Nickelback. That’s pop culture relevant for a few LOLs. (I can’t even write that sentence without laughing a little bit. love is love, good for them, blah blah blah but still. THE most uncool pairing in the history of Canadian pop, right?!).
  • She signed some crazy awesome (for her) record deal back in 2001 that was crazy like 10 records or something.
  • Canada is secretly the most powerful pop music machine in the world (Avril, Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, CELINE DION)
  • God doesn’t hates us, he just doesn’t give a shit anymore.

Take a listen at her new Max Martin produced song called “Rock and Roll” below. It’s not horrible from a music standpoint because Max Martin is a pop music genius producer and can do no wrong. But Avril, really?! Still harpin’ on the faux punk “fuck the system, I’m rock and roll” pop canadian princess thing? WHY HASN’T ANYBODY TAUGHT HER WHAT IS COOL. She’s almost fucking 30. Drop the faux punk shit, plz. It’s so embarrassing! There are ways to still look edgy without pretending to be 17 and afflicted. Just ask Kelly Osbourne. Or (cringe) Pink. She manages to not look like a fucking idiot, puts on a fascinating pop trapeze show, and releases non-vomit inducing pop music. Or, you know, you can ask literally anyone who is 30, looks cool and isn’t Chad Kroeger.

Good grief.

7 Questions in Heaven with Celia Inside

7 Questions Celia Inside

Celia Inside (@celiainside) is an artist I met on Twitter. HELL YEAH TWITTER. We bonded over music, tv and HORRIBLE fucking dating stories. It’s cool to be out on the web and randomly stumble across people you vibe with. Sometimes the internet is great. Anyways, CI just released an EP called Remodel that is full of relationship deconstruction, electric guitar and really, very pretty vocals. (Download the EP for free here)

Check out what this very fresh artiste de Boston has to say (on the very first 7 Questions!) about breakups, the very solo recording process and loving Solange.

1. What was your main inspiration to record the Remodel EP? A break-up, a boring winter, an angel speaking to you in dreams?

There was definitely some post-breakup inspiration, but it was mixed with other stuff. I was going through a kind of perfect storm of huge life changes that happen in those first couple years after college. My friends were moving away and getting super busy with work, and I was busy too, but less well-adjusted about it, I think. So I pressed pause on everything, disappeared for a while, and turned my feelings about those challenging and confusing times into angsty songs! And then the title came about later — it was (and still is) the perfect one-word sentence/truth/tough love advice I need to hear. Remodel. Change, evolve; find a way to live your life that won’t make you miserable!

2)Which song is your baby, the one you love the most or that you feel the strongest connection with and why?

 

“Leaving Girls” is pretty near & dear to me, partly because it was the first song to really take shape both instrumentally and lyrically. There are a couple lines there that have really resonate with people, me included, and I like how the title/words leave lots of room for interpretation. I originally wrote it as a kind of friendship breakup song but it can really apply to anyone who is… leaving, I guess. Haha. I also like how dark and unpredictable it can be… along with the many layers going on between the harmonies and the spastic guitars and the synth. That’s my St. Vincent-wanna-be song.

3)The recording process: You recorded everything yourself (KUDOS bc that shit is HARD). Describe the last week of recording/mixing/mastering. Was there a lot of caffeine/alcohol/pot/sex/cuddles with puppies?

Haha — thanks, girl! Yeah, it wasn’t so fun at times. I couldn’t sleep because I was really stressed out, so I would just drink black tea and stay up super late tweaking this and that. I became super nocturnal — more-so than usual, haha. And yes, I definitely cuddled with my puppy on the reg! She’s so affectionate; bless her heart! She should get a producer credit.

4)Where do you see your music going in the future? Are there any new genres you’re exploring now that may influence your next record?

Ah, there is so much I want to do! On one hand, I’m into R&B in a big way. I grew up listening to so much hip-hop and R&B — it’s a part of me — and I definitely want to experiment more with making beats. I’d love to make an R&B mixtape and rap some on it. I used to rap a bit and I miss it a lot! Especially when I hear some inspired hip-hop. I also feel like a lot of people are loving “Stranger,” which is kind of my Mariah Carey/R&B experiment on Remodel. So yeah, definitely more of that hotness. 😉

On a totally different note, I’d like to rock a little harder; I want to see what I can come up with working with a more traditional set-up: guitar, bass, drums, and that’s it. I’m so amazed at what some bands can do with only three or even two people live. Hop Along and Wye Oak come to mind. When you see them play, you’re definitely going to rock out, but there’s so much genre-bending and style-blending going on with their music too. Those are both bands that make me cry while I bang my head!I’ve always been musically pulled in so many different directions. It makes perfect sense to me to make different albums in totally different styles (ala PJ Harvey or The Cardigans, who are both huge inspirations of mine).

5)You’re gearing up for some live shows in the Boston area (right?). How do you feel about performing these songs live? What is your live set up?

 

That’s the goal — to play live in Boston/New York/wherever I am in the near future. And I feel… conflicted. Because these songs obviously require some drums and synth and PEOPLE that I don’t currently have, yet I want to perform solo & acoustically, at least for a little while. Celia Inside is a veryyy new car and I need to put some miles on it before I, like, plan a cross-country road trip, you know? I’m still very new to performing. I actually just played an original song for the first time tonight at an open mic night! So I have some work to do on this front. But ask me again in a year! 🙂

6)If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Hmmm. So I thought about this for a while and came up with the BEST answer: Solange. When you talk about artists, truly original people doing new and incredible things creatively like only they can, Solange is at the top of that list. I’m so in awe of the True EP, partly because her last release (SoL-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams) was SO good and fresh and then she somehow managed to top that by like 100%. I love the choices she makes — vocally, lyrically, image and PR-wise, everything — and I just… feel her spirit (lol). Completely. She’s totally brilliant and down to earth and cool. So yes, in my dreams, I would collaborate with Solange and we’d become besties and Beyonce would get dinner with us occasionally and stuff.

7)What’s the most embarrassing artist/song you absolutely LOVE?

Haha. First, I want to note that I’m not easily embarrassed when it comes to this stuff! Like, I regularly go to bat for artists I adore that people are too cool for like Paramore and Danity Kane and whoever. With that said… Ashlee Simpson! When I listen now, her vocals can be ROUGH. Like, oh man. But I think there are some GREAT songs on those first two albums she did. “Unreachable” pops into my head to this day. That whole first album is money and then, on the second one, I LOVE “In Another Life,” “Dancing Alone,” “Say Goodbye”…. Omg, I forgot how solid they were! I think her team had a really cool sound going on. Ugh, I love it.

Listen: GRRRL PRTY “Wegula” is HOTTT

10157_414393305340041_598782794_n
Sophia Eris, Manchita and Lizzo from GRRRL PRTY Image via Facebook

This is the most bumpin’ tune I’ve heard come out of Minneapolis in a while! Can this be a summer jam on the radio stations? LOVE IT. Lizzo, Sophia Eris and Manchita, who are all local musico phenoms who constantly work on a BUNCH of different projects, comprise this new group amazingly titled GRRRL PRTY (vowels are SO last season). Their debut release is a single titled “Wegula”. I’m taking a stab in the dark and guessing ‘wegula” is a lil wordplay on people in bars/parking lots/literally anywhere trying to act superior or simply being a rude dude by claiming a “regular” status. If not, then they’ve added a word to the English language and we should be awaiting Webster Dictionary official status any day now.

Their video above is part of a series called “Lights and a Backdrop” (check out season 1 and season 2) ingeniously crafted by a production company called Evil Ice Cream Pictures. It’s a really cool series that has local musicians perform their tracks in front of-WHAT!- lights and a backdrop. It’s simple and a great way to showcase and spread the word about local talent. Cuz there’s a shit ton of local talent in MPLS/STP. Seriously. Everyone is in a band. It’s amazing.

In case you didn’t know, girl groups are fuckin IN in the MPLS scene. Lizzo and Sophia are also in an R&B girl trio called The Chalice with Claire de Lune. They’ve had a bunch of buzz and success this year. More power to the ladies. It’s refreshing! Plus girl groups were due for a pop culture resurgence anyways. There’s just something about a bunch of women tellin’ it like it is that gets everyone excited. Strong talent, strong opinions, strong style. FUCK. YEAH.

 

 

Listen: “Let Me Back In” by Rilo Kiley/my eternal love for RK

Image via twentyfourbit.com
Image via twentyfourbit.com

One of my favorite bands of all-time (probably my favorite but commitment is frightening) Rilo Kiley is releasing an archival collection of songs amazingly called Rkives. When news first broke of their new release, I and everyone else who keeps a close and hopeful eye on Jenny Lewis and the gang were wishing for a new record, despite quotes by lil rascal Blake Sennet that the band had broken up. I hadn’t experienced a musical break up of this sort since I heard on the radio, in the back of my moms Dodge Caravan, that Geri had left the Spice Girls. (I still remember laying down and crying in the backseat so my brother couldn’t tease me as much!)

With the release of Rkives, us megafans get an amazing rarities and a sort of documental view into the history of Rilo Kiley. Despite having all of their records now, I became aware of Rilo Kiley when they released their 3rd studio album More AdventurousIt was a holy shit musical, soul-reaching moment in life. I was 16, had just gotten my driver’s license (after 3 failed attempts but that’s another story) and was going through the general malaise involved in being 16. But there was something about this album, and the words that came out of Jenny’s mouth that I connected with. Sort of an “oh well, that’s life” attitude about most things. I’m not sure if it shaped a part of who I was or if I was attracted to the album because of who I was. Either way, it spoke to me.

Here is the official video for a song off of their new compilation titled “Let Me Back In”. I love seeing the old footage of them touring. Dolly Parton even makes a cameo! If you want, you can pre-order Rkives here!

Justin Timberlake’s ragtime “Sexyback” is fucking great

2690069-justin-timberlake-2013-suite-tie-617-409 JUSTIN TIMBERWEEK ON JIMMY FALLON RAGTIME “SEXYBACK”

Justin Timberlake is such a great performer. Everyone likes him so much. I’m just so proud of him for getting out of the rut it is to be in a defunct boy band. I mean, look at all the other boy bands of his era and before. Justin is the only really successful one with music, seeing as JC Chasez, with his holy-shit VOICE, kinda fucked his career over by writing/choosing terrible fucking songs.

I don’t even know what the fuck the boys of 98 Degrees are up to, and who cares. Nick Lachey just recorded some lullabys bc he had a kid with former MTV VJ Vanessa Manilo (who are his adult fans lol?! Seems like a decent chap but blegh, boring). And no one in the Backstreet Boys had any kind of a majorly successful solo career seeing as they are on tour with NKOTB and maybe some other people. THAT IS 10 MEN WHO SING. What a weird backstage probably.

Anyways, JT is awesome. I love his artistic self-worth (not putting out an album just because he could) and his dedication to performing, whether it’s on a stage singing or in his movie career. He’s a true performer and artist who is dedicated to authenticity, which is something you don’t see as much on the mainstream stage. Maybe his dedication to authentic music stems from his teens and early twenties in a boy band where everything was chosen for him by a bunch of gross, overweight suits in a tall, scary building somewhere.

JT, WE LOVE YOU. I can’t wait to see the rest of his Justin Timberweek performances on Jimmy Fallon. I’m holding out for “Like I Love You” cuz I really want him to do the dance from it. And bring back the stage from his first solo MTV performance in 2002. EEEEEP!! 2013 is so ballin’. It’s like 2003 all over again.

Download this track “In for the Kill” by Dennis

dennis, music, minneapolis
Shit’s gettin ice cold baby. Image via dennismpls.bandcamp.com

 

This is the music project I’ve been working on for a year! Here is the first single, “In for the Kill”. It’s about fucking someone who is empty and kinda dead inside. Which we’ve all probably dealt with. It’s a surprisingly protective feeling though. You just want to make them feel alive despite their own wishes not to be. (And then you get over it because ain’t nobody got time for that!)

Here is the link to the Dennis bandcamp page in case you want to hear the whole EP. Bedroom made electropop from the midwest. Get wild.

 

 

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE RELEASING NEW MUSIC, HOPE RESTORED TO HUMANITY

I am brimming with emotions. Image via collider.com
I am brimming with emotions. Image via collider.com

HOLY FUCKING SHIT ON A MOTHERBOARD. I can’t believe this is real. I can barely type fast enough. I’m so sososososo excited!!!!

Watch his explanation video here of why it took him so long to release a new album. Short version- he cares so much about music and  he wanted to wait until the feeling was right about it to release something. It’s a lot more poignant and heartfelt in the video. And kudos to his team and friends for not leaking ANY of this to the press beforehand. When he tweeted this cryptic message last night:

Set an alarm bitches. Image via twitter
Set an alarm bitches. Image via twitter

that’s only when everyone started to heavily assume it was new music. But, after 6 years of hoping for a new album from one of our most beloved performers, we finally got the reprieve we have been waiting for all these years.

I have so many emotions on this Thursday morning. There is hope again in a once bleak and scary world. There is love where there once was nothing. There is an end in sight to the years of darkness that surrounded us all. Our Prince of Pop has returned. Welcome Back Sir. We’ve missed you more than can be conveyed in words or screams or ritual killings.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE IS MUTHAFUCKIN’ BACK. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU UNIVERSE.