Adam Yauch – co-founder of the Beastie Boys

On Friday I was both upset and shocked to hear that founding member and bass player of The Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch aka MCA had finally lost his battle with cancer. He was such a great talent.  Not only the music he created as one of the original Beastie boys but also the films and videos he produced.

In 1986 The Beastie Boys burst onto the scene with their hip hop / rock crossover hit single, (You Gotta) Fight For The Right (To Party).  At the time they were seen by many as a novelty band.  Three white kids hit the UK as part of the Def Jam tour with the tabloid press writing column inches of bad behaviour and a rock n roll attitude. The debut album, Licensed To Ill followed.  But with no follow-up hit single, the press moved on to other things, and the Beastie Boys slipped quietly out of the spotlight.

(You Gotta) Fight For The Right (To Party)’ from License To Ill
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBShN8qT4lk&ob=av2e

By 1989, they had left New York and Rick Rubin’s Def Jam Records for Los Angeles and a major label deal with Capitol Records.  They released their second album, Paul’s Boutique to critical acclaim and showed a maturity in their music.  But it was not a commercial success and the label stopped promoting the album. Over the years, Paul’s Boutique has gained popularity and in 2003, the album was ranked number 156 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Shake Your Rump’ from Paul’s Boutique
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BptQHAW2T5M&ob=av3e

In 1992 Capitol Records released The Beastie Boys third studio album, Check Your Head including the singles, So Whatcha Want, Pass The Mic, Jimmy James and Gratitude. The album saw the band playing their own instruments for the first time on record since their early garage EPs; and in doing so successfully blended their hip hop and funk with their more edgy punk / thrash roots.

Jimmy James’ from Check Your Head
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw5i7TPkYfI

In 1994 The Beastie Boys released their seminal album, Ill Communication.  In January 2011 I wrote an article for Buzzin Music giving it the praise and status it deserved as a classic album. http://www.buzzinmusic.co.uk/classic-albums-ill-communication-by-beastie-boys-1994/3714

Ill communication epitomised several qualities that The Beastie Boys had above any other artist including their ability to produce a collection of tracks covering such varied genres as hip hop, rock, lounge and hardcore thrash.  Unlike any other album I have heard, Ill Communication works perfectly with tracks like Sure Shot (hip hop), Heart Attack Man (hardcore punk), the lounge jazz of Root Down, and the awesome hard rock of Sabotage sitting comfortably and working together as a brilliant album that pulls you from pillar to post. Unlike other bands that are great at one genre and dabble in another (see The Clash for rock-styled reggae or Rage Against The Machine for heavy-rock flavoured rap) the Beasties are seriously good at every genre they play; and above all they appear to be having fun and never take themselves too seriously.

Sure Shot’ from Ill Communication
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhqyZeUlE8U&ob=av3e

Heart Attack Man’ from Ill Communication
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvFcMu-AvZs

Hello Nasty was released in 1998 and won two Grammy Awards in 1999 for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rap Performance for Intergalactic. The album received critical acclaim, included great singles Body Movin’ and Intergalactic and introduced DMC champion MixMaster Mike to the group’s line-up with the classic track, Three MC’s and One DJ.

Intergalactic’ from Hello Nasty
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qORYO0atB6g&ob=av2e

With To The 5 Boroughs The Beastie Boys paid homage to their beloved New York City.  The album was released in 2004 and included the wonderful Ch-Check It Out but in all honesty, I thought it was nothing more ‘okay’ but not ground-breaking.  That’s the problem when you raise the bar so high!

Below is a recording of The Beastie Boys appearing on the David Letterman Show performing Ch-Check It Out, singing live as they walk from the New York subway, along the streets and into the studio.

Ch-Check It Out’ from To The 5 Boroughs
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i1iGa96GYM

The Beastie Boys eighth and regrettably last studio album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, and was released in 2011. From it came the excellent single, Make Some Noise, complete with another brilliant and funny video brimming with cameo appearances and starring Elijah Wood, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Jack Black & Will Ferrell as The Beastie Boys themselves.

A 30-minute version of the video was written and directed by MCA and entitled Fight for Your Right Revisited was released the following day to commemorate the 25th anniversary of “You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!

More than any other artist The Beastie Boys were able to merge a variety of styles by sampling the likes of Bad Brains, The Dead Boys, James Brown, Johnny Smith & Led Zeppelin among countless others, to produce a body of work that has often been copied but never equalled.

For anyone reading this who don’t quite get how good The Beastie Boys were, check this live show out from 1999; and for any budding young bands out there…. this is how to start a show!

The Beastie Boys Live in Glasgow 1999
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJYfOGb3sKw

Adam Yauch (MCA) R.I.P.

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Theatre Royal & Kids Unique – new single & UK dates

February 27th sees the launch of Rochester based record label The Preservation Society Presents vinyl singles club series. Vol. 1 is a split 7″ featuring Theatre RoyalKatherine’s Sleeping‘ and Kids UniqueSeymour Evil‘.

This February sees the launch of a new monthly 7” vinyl singles club by Rochester based independent label The Preservation Society Presents. Each month two artists will showcase exclusive recordings on a soon to be very collectable split 7” vinyl, limited to just 250 copies. Possibly uniquely for any record label in the UK, each vinyl is cut in real time on the record companies premises and then hand stamped by the bands.

To kick off this exciting series of releases are two very different artists, psyche-pop four piece Theatre Royal (‘head for the melodic jugular’- Artrocker) and lyrical hip hop quartet Kids Unique. Separated at birth by genre, both artists are brought together on this exclusive vinyl only release by a shared world-view, one that places an emphasis on hooks and melody, no matter what form the back beat takes.

Katherine’s Sleeping’ is the first new material in 2012 from Medway’s Theatre Royal. This cold slab of alternative, guitar-driven pop will be an exclusive vinyl only pre-cursor to a slew of brand new singles and a 2nd album to be released later this year.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt1IuwhVYdA

The other half of this idiosyncratic split 7” release is ‘Seymour Evil’ the debut single from hotly tipped hip-hop outfit Kids Unique, taken from their debut album ‘Assortments’.

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Whilst ‘Seymour Evil’ is casually confrontational and charmingly cock-sure, ‘Katherine’s Sleeping’ is alienation and confusion rising to a quietly anthemic chorus. The release will be supported by both acts playing a string of co-headlining dates across London & Kent.

Theatre Royal / Kids Unique UK Dates:
February 23rd – Margate, The Bracket
February 24th – Rochester, The Nags Head (Theatre Royal only)
February 25th – Folkestone, The Bar Below
February 28th – London, The Buffalo Bar

The limited edition AA-side 7” Vinyl single (250 copies only) of Theatre Royal – ‘Katherine’s Sleeping’ / Kids Unique – ‘Seymour Evil’ is released on February 27th 2012 on the Medway-based The Preservation Society label.

For more information visit www.thepreservationsocietypresents.com.

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Plan B to return to Hip Hop for his third album

The British rapper turned soul singer Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew, born in October 1983  is better known as Ben Drew aka Plan B.  He released his critically acclaimed debut Hip Hop album, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words in 2006. But it was his second album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, a concept soul album, that has propelled Plan B to the commercial success and accolades he is now receiving.

The Defamation of Strickland Banks told the story of fictional soul singer Strickland Banks who ends up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. For his next album, The Ballad Of Belmarsh, Ben Drew will go back to his Hip Hop roots and will chronicle his alter-ego’s ordeal in the eponymous prison.

Plan B is not just a musician and has tried his hand at acting appearing in 2008′s Adulthood and the Michael Caine vehicle featuring Harry Brown in 2009. He is currently amidst a popular tour of the summer festivals including Glastonbury and Wireless Festival in Hyde Park. But in the Autumn he will return to acting when he plays George Carter alongside Ray Winston in a remake of the 1970’s British film, The Sweeney.

He has also directed one short film and a music video for Pieces, his collaboration with Chase and Status.

Hear the music the way the artist with HP. In the video below, HP/Intel with beats audio presents Plan B who reveals the process behind recording She Said, the standout track from his Defamation Of Strickland Banks album.  The film uses 3D sound and is best enjoyed with headphones.

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Fight For Your Right Revisited – a film by Adam Yauch

Mike D (Michael Diamond), MCA (Adam Yauch), and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) AKA The Beastie Boys are played by the likes of Seth Rogan, Elijah Wood, Will Ferrell and Jack Black in the promo video for their current single, ‘Make Some Noise‘.

The video is an edited version of a 30 minute short film wiritten and directed by Adam Yauch called ‘Fight For Your Right Revisited’.  The film includes cameo appearances from a wealth of Hollywood stars including Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Steenburgen, Chloe Sevigny, Ann Archer and the band themselves.

The film pays homage to The Beastie Boys first hit single, ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)

The film includes a brilliant dance off between the ‘real’ Beastie Boys from the present and the ‘real’ Beastie Boys of the future in a very amusing ‘dance off’ with some hilarious results.

The Beastie BoysFight For Your Right Revisited film will be screened in the Film & Music Arena at Latitude Festival 2011.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evA-R9OS-Vo

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Stanley Odd release new EP ‘Pure AntiHero Material’ + video ‘The Oddyssey’

A successful 2010 for Stanley Odd saw the six piece Scottish hip hop band release their debut album Oddio, headline the 2009 to 2010 Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party to 15,000 people and play the T Break Stage at the T Festival to a capacity audience.

To kick off 2011 Stanley Odd have released their wonderful brand new five track EP Pure AntiHero Material, the first of three such extended plays scheduled for release through the rest of the year.

Rap man Solareye said; “We are really excited about the release of the new EP. Doing three EPs over the year means that every new EP is a way of letting fans know where we’re at and what’s been going on with us since the last one. At the end of the year, the 3 separate EPs will make one complete collection on the musings of Stanley Odd through 2011. It also gives us an excuse to go on tour 3 times this year!”

The lead track, The Oddyssey is an update on personal and global news events over the last year, that has a brilliant accompanying video where front man Solareye plays the part of  a news reader.

It can be a strain to make out the lyrics for anyone south of the border, but it is worth taken the effort, the songs reflect the social observations of the band, blessed with wit and a character all of their own, but the stories they tell are universal and will resonate with everyone.

The added beauty of Veronika Elektronika’s wonderful vocal breaks thrown into the mix on most of these tracks, makes the EP all the more palatable and well worth seeking out.

Stanley Odd – The Oddyssey

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uLPR7POznw

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