The 2014 Grammy Awards took place over the weekend, with big winners including Daft Punk and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. We were excited to see Grammy love given to Amoeba friends like La Santa Cecilia and The Civil Wars, while best alternative album went to Pitchfork and Rolling Stone's favorite album of 2013, Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires Of The City. A lot of people were talking about Imagine Dragons' performance with Kendrick Lamar, while our favorite has to be Beyonce's opening performance of "Drunk in Love" with her husband, Jay Z.
MS MR is the New York based indie-pop duo who craft excellent produced electronic-coated candy for your ears. If you have yet to hear what the Internet hype is about, then you are definitely missing out. MS MR hit the scene last year with their debut single, "Hurricane," a dark love story with plush vocals backed by deep drums and dreamy synths. The Internet loved it. Vocalist Lizzy Plapinger often draws comparisons to Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine for her "raspy" vocals. Not a bad comparison at all! With Max Hershenow at the producer helm, MS MR are quickly gaining props in high places from the likes of Jay-Z and Usher. Looks like pop stardom is not too far away.
Early this year, MS MR dropped their major label debut with Secondhand Rapture (Colombia Records). The entire album was produced and written by the dynamic duo, including the handling of the album's art direction and design. The release is chock full of what is quickly becoming MS MR's signature dream pop arrangements: layered synths, big tight programmed drums and lavishly polished vocals. The twelve song release makes for a very ear pleasing experience.
1) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)
2) Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)
3) Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Aftermath)
4) Rich Gang Rich Gang (Cash Money)
5) Dr Dre The Chronic (Interscope)
Among the latest top five chart entries at the Amoeba Hollywood store this week is the guest heavy Rich Gang compilation full-length that comes from from Young Money and Cash Money - aka rap supergroup the Rich Gang that was carefully assembled by Birdman. And it has been selling well since it arrived in the LA store on July 23rd ℅ Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records, and Republic Records. Young Money fans will already love it based on its contributors The album contains contributions from several label members as well as others - many others. Even as hip-hop features go (and there are a lot of artist albums inundated with guest feature spots) this album not only has numerous but they're a pretty diverse bunch too ranging from Limp Bizkit to Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes to Kendrick Lamar, Future to French Montana, Mystikal to Nicki Minaj, R. Kelly to Bow Wow and more. With that "more" including Flo Rida, Chris Brown, Yo Gotti and Meek Mill Rich Gang is a virtual who's who of contemporary rap. Radio and club DJs have already been bumping the lead single "Tapout" for a couple of months. That video is below along with videos from the other current Amoeba Hip-Hop Top Five Chart entries including from Kanye West (Yeezus), Kendrick Lamar (good kid, m.A.A.d city), and (return classic) Dr Dre's The Chronic. In place of something off of the ever popular new Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail is the artist's just unveiled Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film.
In addition to a rundown on free kayaking in New York City (video interview above and text overview down below) this 40th New York State of Mind Amoeblog weekly report from the Big Apple will take a look at some of the many events and concerts happening in New York City this mid July where the weather has been extremely hot and muggy of late. Considering that then a good place to be on these hot New York summer evenings is out in the park down by the river such as the Brooklyn Bridge Park where this week the fun summertime Syfy Movies with a View series, that kicked off last week and runs through late August on each Thursday night, continues tomorrow with a free sreening of the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon. There is also an opening short film, Catnip: Egress to Oblivion by Jason Willis, plus music spun by DJ Hahn Solo earlier in the evening to get the mood going as folks gather before dusk at the Brooklyn Heights district park. No cover. All ages. DJ starts spinning at 6:00pm and the movies begin at sundown. Bring a blanket and a picnic. More info here.
This week the annual Metropolitan Summer Opera Recital Series kicked off last night in Central Park and will continue over the next couple of weeks with a total of six concerts that will take place in each of the five boroughs. The second concert will be on Friday, July 19th at 7pm, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn where the recital will feature Erin Morley (soprano), Isabel Leonard (mezzo-soprano), Stephen Costello (tenor), and Bradley Moore (pianist). Next week the series will travel up to Crotona Park in the Bronx on Tuesday and over to Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island on Thursday where, on both dates, the performers will be Ying Fang (soprano), Mario Chang (tenor), Brandon Cedel (bass-baritone), and Bradley Moore (pianist). Free. All ages. For full details on these and the other upcoming Met Summer Recital Series visit the Metro Opera website. Also outdoors and free in New York City this week is Arriba! - the series of community dance parties with locally themed Latin music, that begins on Friday July 19th, on the High Line. More info. Large scale rock, rap, and pop concerts in NYC this week include the big Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z concert show at Yankee Stadium on Friday and Saturday (July 19 + 20th). Tickets range in price from $49 up to $279.50. More info here. On Monday and Tuesday (July 22nd and 23rd) friends of Amoeba Tegan and Sara perform at Hudson River Park's Pier 26. Tickets are $42.50.