Vinyl Records would like to present to you a new collaboration between It is rain in my Face’s Matt Jones and current Vinyl Records President as well as ArnHao member Andrew Hamlet. Stemming from a mutual respect, the two decided to work together this semester and quickly composed five pieces in less than three weeks. Watch the video below to listen to the group’s first single “Pat Pat.” It accompanies a textural slideshow by Matt Jones.
And for those of you not familiar with either It is rain in my Face or ArnHao, click the links below.
Arguably the most prolific student artist at UNC, Lexicon has released two albums, three music videos, and five mixtapes since he started as freshman in 2008. Now a junior, Lexicon will drop his new EP Almost There this Friday and has a new album, entitled My Time, in the works for a late December release. Here’s a recap of his work since this summer (click to link over).
As part of the Pinhook’s monthly local label showcase, Vinyl Records will be presenting some its favorite UNC student bands. Come out and enjoy these great talents.
Los Naturales: The brainchild of DVD, Montgomery, and Dowdy, these guys will dirty up your Saturday night.
It is Rain in my Face: Stage name of UNC student visual artist Matt Jones, It is Rain in my Face was recently featured in Performer Magazine as “Trance-inducing Chillwave” and “Bubbly bass lines and lithe sine wave doodles.”
Jacquelyn Lee: Jacki will open the show with her brand of insidiously caustic singer-songwriter lyrics and subtly aggressive finger picking.
Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Def Jam Records (July 5, 2010)
- Andrew Hamlet
When Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, one half of the six-time Grammy Award-winning duo Outkast, announced his plans to release a solo record in 2007, both critics and fans were shocked. How could Big Boi release anything worth listening to without collaborating with the seemingly more creative and eccentric Andre 3000? Outkast’s own label, Jive Records, even had their doubts, ultimately leading to a refusal to release the album (Def Jam picked up the record). Even more, Jive legally prevented Big Boi from featuring his partner in crime on the record. From both an aesthetic and business perspective, it appeared as though Big Boi had been set up for failure.
Well…If Andre 3000 is solely responsible for the success of Outkast, it appears Big Boi has been taking good notes over the past fifteen years. On Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam), Patton comes out swinging, resolute to prove to everyone, including himself, that he can create masterpieces without the help of Andre 3000. And even without Mr. 3000, Sir Lucious Leftfoot features everything we love about the Outkast catalogue. This album has Stankonia’s P-Funk psychedelia, Aquemini’s genre-bending selection of sounds, and Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik’s expert use of 808s and classic soul samples. Big Boi has effectively maintained Outkast’s reputation for forward-thinking, artistically inclined Hip Hop without the input of Andre 3000.
Big Boi did not produce this work without collaboration, however; Sir Lucious Leftfoot features twelve producers and thirteen other artists. In fact, this album reads like a “who’s who” of Southern Hip Hop. Big Boi contracted beats from the likes of Lil’ Jon, Scott Storch, Knightheet, and longtime Dungeon Family collaborators Organized Noize, and the verses feature raps from none other than T.I., B.O.B., Yelawolf, and Gucci Mane. The artists are not limited to rappers, though; Sir Lucious Leftfoot showcases vocals from Janelle Monae, Jamie Foxx, Sleepy Brown, and Vonnegutt.
Big Boi has always been credited (one of his few accolades) for using his characteristically double time flow to turn seemingly unconventional tracks into instant hits, and he continues his legacy on Sir Lucious Leftfoot. On “General Patton,” Antwan raps over an operatic sample taken from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Vieni, o guerriero vindice.” The massive choral-chant sets the stage for an epic battle, and Big Boi challenges anyone that questions his place in the Pantheon of Hip Hop. Big Boi not only seeks to defend his own dominance but also his region’s. As an ambassador for the South, Big Boi asserts his homeland’s place in the history of American music when he opens the track “Get the South’s dick out your mouth!”
Thematically, the sense of place recurs throughout Sir Lucious Leftfoot. Big Boi wants the listener to know he is a proud Southerner that has grown up in Atlanta, Georgia (he is originally from Savannah, Georgia). On “Tangerine,” Big Boi evokes the South through allusions to the region’s food; he coolly asks his woman to “Shake it like some Texas Pete droppin’ on your collard greens.” And in true rapper fashion, Patton gives shout outs to specific places that have had an influence on his life. In “You Ain’t No DJ,” Big Boi rapidly spits off the Atlanta neighborhoods “Decatur, East Point, College Park, [and] SWATS,” and even references East Point’s “Campbellton Road” when rapping about a plan to avoid a roadblock.
The most humorous reference to place occurs during a skit between “You Ain’t No DJ” and “Hustle Blood.” The dialogue takes place between a man named Henry and a woman named Keisha. Henry contacts Keisha on a less than subtle booty-call. When Keisha learns that Henry lives in Duluth, a suburb outside Atlanta’s perimeter Interstate 285, she exclaims she will not come see Henry unless he will pay for her tank of gas. As she says, “There ain’t nothing outside 285 but a bunch of trees…not ah.” It would not be too outlandish to assume Big Boi has experienced a similar situation trying to convince his old neighborhood friends to come meet him in the golf course riddled suburbs north of Interstate 285. Additionally and perhaps most importantly, this comedic skit allows Big Boi to tacitly acknowledge he has moved on up and out of his East Point neighborhood to relocate to the more affluent suburbs of Atlanta.
And like any other commercial Hip Hop record, sex and promiscuity permeate these fifteen tracks. However, Big Boi not only includes this requisite material but also embellishes it to the point of sounding like a sex-crazed maniac. As Pitchfork’s Tom Breihan states, “[Patton sounds] like a fired-up eleven year old goofing off in the back of some sort of prodigy-level English Class.” This content is presented both implicitly and explicitly. Resembling Guy B Johnson’s thoughts on double meanings in Blues music (i.e., African American songs), Big Boi employs mundane, everyday language to conjure up sexual topics. He refers to the female breasts and buttocks as “Tangerines” and he not so cleverly describes the ecstasy of climax when he states, “Put that venom up in em’ until I leave them with the shakes.” As for the explicit content, it appears as though Big Boi has a thing for female bodily fluid. At least three separate songs feature verses concerning “Making her drip,” “Keep[ing] her soakin wet to the touch,” and “Think[ing] she is cummin.” And if saturating the lyrical content with promiscuity was not enough, the beat in “Hustle Blood” centers itself around samples of both male and female moans of pleasure. Needless to say, Sir Lucious Leftfoot reeks of sex.
Big Boi has done practically everything in his power with this album to convince the public of his ability to hold his own. And honestly, one would have to be deaf not to hear this. Sure, the work of Patton and 3000, collectively, transformed Atlanta, the once home of the 1923 Okeh Recording sessions, into a major commercial center for Hip Hop music. But Sir Lucious Leftfoot continues to solidify Big Boi’s role as the vanguard of Southern Hip Hop, and in the process, reinforces Atlanta’s legacy for producing some of the greatest talent in the genre. Now, the real question is with Big Boi’s demonstrated success on this record, will he return to collaborate with Andre 3000, or is this the beginning of the end for Outkast? Recent reports from both individuals state there is no intention to break the all-star group apart, but with a now solid track record for putting out ambitious, successful records on his own, will Big Boi wait around? We will have to wait and see…Either way, though, we can count on the future record to, once again, both change the genre and leave the public in awe.
This article appears in the Fall 2010 issue of UNC’s Endeavors Magazine. Thanks again Alex Raines; you have done a wonderful job elucidating the history of Vinyl Records up until this point.
In high school Tripp Gobble would drive an hour from Louisburg, North Carolina, to hear his favorite bands at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. When he arrived at Carolina in 2006, Gobble immersed himself in the local music scene, where he befriended some musicians. One was Al Mask, a pianist minoring in music, and after returning from a summer spent playing and recording and performing at the Berklee College of Music, he had an idea for Gobble. Mask wanted to start an organization to help students produce their own music, because he knew firsthand just how hard it was. Gobble was in.
Gobble admits he isn’t much of a musician. “I’ve never been incredibly skilled at any instrument, outside of the trombone in middle school,” he jokes. But he had always wanted to be more than just a music fan. Gobble took Mask’s idea — to help student bands financially — and thought, “What if we started a label with an entire network of support around these musicians and helped them build a professional portfolio?”
Of course, neither Gobble nor Mask knew anything about starting a record label. They turned to mentors in the music department and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise for guidance, developing a business plan that they entered in the Carolina Challenge, UNC’s venture capital competition. They didn’t win that competition, but they revised their proposal and won a $25,000 grant from the Carolina Entrepreneurial Institute’s Innovations Fund in the spring of 2008. Vinyl Records was born.
In March, Vinyl Records released The Study of Animal Magicality by My Boy Rascal. It’s a great example of what Vinyl Records can do for an up-and-coming musician. Singer-songwriter Colby Ramsay (the band name is an anagram of his name) came to Carolina from the mountains of British Columbia. Ramsay had worked for Vinyl Records as a graphic designer and videographer in the label’s first year, but he resigned his position so that he could try to be signed as an artist. (Vinyl Records does not sign any of its own staff, though many are musicians.) He won the most votes with his performance in the February Faceoff in 2009. As soon as he was signed, Ramsay felt the effect of the heightened publicity. “It opened up a lot of performing opportunities for campus events,” he says. “People knew about me.” But the biggest impact came when Ramsay stepped into the recording studio.
The Study of Animal Magicality was the first album recorded in Vinyl Records’ new studio space in the basement of Hill Hall. The studio allows artists to record for free whenever and for however long they like. For My Boy Rascal, it took the entire fall semester, working at least five days a week — some days until four in the morning. “We made the basement of Hill Hall our home,” says Hamlet, who produced the album. “I think if we had known what we were doing, it wouldn’t have taken as long. But we were really trying to feel the songs out.”
That process is critical for most new artists, but it takes more time than a bigger label or studio is willing to spend on an untested band. “When you listen to what Colby came in with,” Gobble says, “it was good. But Andrew and Colby worked a lot of hours on putting that record together and bringing it to the best that it could be in terms of all the different musical elements working together. I think it became a lot bigger and bolder and made a much stronger statement.”
Ramsay agrees. “You can’t really even compare — it’s amazing how far my music has come.” That’s mostly thanks to Hamlet, who helped push Ramsay’s music beyond its one-guy-and-his-guitar character. Hamlet played electric guitar on the album and brought in drummers, bass players, and other musicians. Ramsay did lead vocals, guitar, and keyboards; filled out his arrangements with his friends in Tar Heel Voices on backup vocals; and even brought in a string quartet for three of the tracks. All of these resources are well beyond the means of the typical student band, and the difference in the end product is huge. “People don’t understand the work that goes into an album,” Hamlet says. “A song is a three-minute experience for them.” But it can take months or even years to record.
When recording was finished, the process wasn’t over. Hamlet and Ramsay sent off the album to be mastered and manufactured. This is the other major financial hurdle for emerging artists, and accounts for most of the ongoing expenses at Vinyl Records. Despite the label’s name, most albums from Vinyl Records are released as CDs and are also available on iTunes. Lake Inferior was the one exception when it decided to release its second album as a ten-inch vinyl record (though it does come with digital downloads for those without a record player).
“These days, music is almost becoming public domain,” Hamlet says. Labels will have to change their business models to survive. It’s easier than ever for artists to self-produce: bands can record on their laptops and post the songs on the internet for anyone to hear, and fans can decide for themselves which artists to support. But with a lower threshold for producing music, artists can have a hard time being heard above the noise.
That’s where Vinyl Records comes in. It raises the profile of the artists, helps them develop their sound, and produces a professional, refined album that stands out in a crowded field. “I see the current major label model as something that can’t work,” Gobble says. “But the small label will always exist, and so will the idea of branding, legitimizing, and helping define an artist.”
Gobble graduated in May, after passing the presidency of Vinyl Records to Hamlet in January to give him time to settle into the role. “Andrew’s been one of the most dedicated people in the organization since he came in,” Gobble says, “so it made sense that he would take the reins of the organization. People trusted him.” In turn, Hamlet will hand over the reins in January 2011 to Reed Turchi, the current vice president. They’ve already signed two new artists for the fall: hip-hop artist Sikz Pointz and indie-folk-jazz band Group Mentality.
Gobble is somewhat amazed by the success Vinyl Records has achieved so far. It’s sold over a thousand records, and its last showcase drew yet another capacity crowd and nearly two thousand votes. “People actually know the name of the label behind the artist,” Gobble says, “which in the broader world rarely happens.” Lake Inferior is playing up and down the East Coast, and Lafcadio Shot Back has also enjoyed post-graduation success. Ramsay of My Boy Rascal is hoping to build off of The Study of Animal Magicality to launch a career in music, possibly combined with producing video and multimedia projects.
Many of the staff also want their experience with Vinyl Records to lead to a career playing or producing music. Hamlet interned with Merge Records last year and this summer worked with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which puts on the Grammy Awards. Gobble has founded a record label in Raleigh called Denmark Records. He’s not sure how long he will stay with this new label — but he thinks Vinyl Records has the potential for longevity. “It creates a sense of community that is probably more direct than any label outside of a university setting could do. It becomes a gateway, a music incubator helping the artists grow as musicians. But it’s also helping those who are involved in the business side or the production side to build their portfolio with experience in the music industry.”
So we asked our staff to list their favorite fifteen albums. Here’s what they came up with:
atmosphere – overcast
the cool kids – the bake sale
crystal castles – crystal castles (2010)
daitro – laisser vivre les squelettes
the dead weather – horehound
eyedea and abilities – by the throat
gonjasufi – a sufi and a killer
heatmiser – mic city sons
local h – as good as dead
mickey avalon – mickey avalon
minus the bear – menos el oso
nirvana – nevermind
steve aoki – pillowface and his airplane chronicles
the strokes – room on fire
a tribe called quest – the anthology
Live At Leeds- The Who
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band- The Beatles
Dark Side Of The Moon- Pink Floyd
Sigh No More- Mumford & Sons
OK Computer- Radiohead
Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky- OK GO
Unplugged in New York- Nirvana
Raising Sand- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Costello Music- The Fratellis
Are You Experienced?- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Blur: The Best Of – Blur
Viva La Vida- Coldplay
Myth Takes- !!!
Miike Snow- Miike Snow
In Time- R.E.M.
Police – Every Breath You Take
Third Eye Blind – A Collection
Doobie Brothers – The Captain and Me
Wayne – The Carter III
Aesop Rock – Labor Days
E-603 – Torn Up
Boston – Boston
Cake – Pressure Chief
The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale
Goo Goo Dolls – Gutter Flower
Green Day – Dookie
Jay-Z – Vol 2. Hard Knock Life
John Butler Trio – Grand National
Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium
Master of Puppets – Metallica
Ashes of the Wake – Lamb of God
Ghost Reveries – Opeth
Powerslave – Iron Maiden
Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
Number of the Beast – Iron Maiden
Watershed – Opeth
Sacrament – Lamb of God
Constellations – August Burns Red
Images and Words – Dream Theater
Moving Pictures – Rush
Piece of Mind – Iron Maiden
Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses
Hybrid Theory – Linkin Park
Cowboys From Hell – Pantera
Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Beatles – Revolver
Talking Heads – Remain in the Light
Arcade Fire – Funeral
The Band – The Band (1969)
Broken Social Scene – You Forgot it in People
New Order – Singles
Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico
Daft Punk – Homework
Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
U2 – Joshua Tree
Outkast – Aquemini
Radiohead- Kid A
It is Rain in my Face – Bread and Silver Water
Van Morrison – Moondance
Eminem – Recovery
Jimi Hendrix – Axis Bold as Love
Kid Kudi – Man on the Moon
Jeremy Fisher – Goodbye Blue Monday
Spin Doctors – Pocket Full of Kryptonite
Crosby Stills and Nash – Deja Vu
Simplified – Smile
Shwayze – Shwayze
Slackstring – Slackstring
Slightly Stoopid – Everything you Need
Thomas Cunningham – Swell
State Radio – Us Against the Crown
Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed
Allman Brothers – Eat a Peach
Strangeways, Here We Come – The Smiths
Songs of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen
Milk-Eyed Mender – Joanna Newsom
Cut – The Slits
The Blue Album – Weezer
Addicted to Bad Ideas – The Wprld/Inferno Friendship Society
The Mysterious Production of Eggs – Andrew Bird
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain – Pavement
The Man Who Invented Soul – Sam Cooke
Quintent du Hot Club de France – Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli
Surfer Rosa – The Pixies
The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale
Reservoir – Fanfarlo
Wooden Arms – Patrick Watson
Little Creatures – Talking Heads
Pavement – Wowee Zowee
Wilco – Summer Teeth
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
Arcade Fire – Funeral
Panda Bear – Person Pitch
Kanye West – Late Registration
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Sunset Rubdown – Random Spirit Lover
Paul Simon – Graceland
Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury
The Microphones – The Glow pt. 2
Built To Spill – Perfect From Now On
No Age – Nouns
Moving Pictures – Rush
2112 – Rush
A Farewell to Kings - Rush
Houses of the Holy – Zeppelin
LZ IV – Zeppelin
Scenes from a Memory – Dream Theater
The Human Equation – Ayreon
Wake Pig – Three
The End is Begun – Three
Deloused in the Comatorium – The Mars Volta
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 – Coheed and Cambria
Ghost Reveries – Opeth
Blackwater Park – Opeth
Snow – Spock’s Beard
The Odyssey – Symphony X
Portraits of past – 0101010101
Envy – A Dead Sinking Story
Fugazi – 13 Songs
Sam Cooke – Night Beat
Talk Talk – Laughing Stock
Slint – Spiderland
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
Converge – Jane Doe
Boris – Feedbacker
Sunn O))) – Black One
John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman – S/T
Nat King Cole – The Very Thought of You
Bill Evans Trio – Live at the Village Vanguard (1961)
Saetia – A Retrospective
American Football – S/T
So that’s what we listen to. What are your fifteen favorite albums?
Vinyl Records is excited to announce both Group Mentality and Sikz Pointz will be performing at Fall Fest 2010. Group Mentality will go on at 9:30 pm, and Sikz Pointz is set to perform at 1:15 am. Both performances will take place on the South Road stage. We will be providing on the spot coverage from our twitter, so be sure to tune in. Don’t miss this!
If you will be in the Atlanta area on August 14th, be sure to swing by The Drunken Unicorn. Vinyl alumnus Lake Inferior will be sharing the stage with Athens’ very own Gift Horse and Kuroma. If those names don’t ring a bell, Gift Horse headlined the renowned Athfest 2010 this summer, and Kuroma will be opening for MGMT along the southern leg of their tour this fall….enough said, right? See you there!
What have you been up to this summer? Well Vinyl Records’ Sikz Pointz has been working hard in the studio on his summer mixtape Productive Procrastination: Year In Review. Featuring collaborations with fellow UNC artists JSWISS and Optimus Rhymes, Productive Procrastination leads you through nine sample-filled tracks with each referencing ”Golden Age” NY hip-hop in its own unique way. Our favorite is I – 95; check it out here.
“From the Tar Heel to the Empire State”
Download his newest batch of echo-chambered breezy jams at vrprsnts.com beginning TOMORROW (Dec 1)
Its really good.