Top Non-Illmatic Nas Songs


Illmatic is the best hip-hop album that’s been made so far. It’s Jordan. It’s Gretzky. It’s Ken Jennings. It’s Chipotle. It’s the best, not because everyone says it’s the best, although they do, but because to say otherwise would be really truly insane. It’s the best because nothing was better before and nothing has been better since – least of all the remainder of the Nas catalog.


HAIM – If I Could Change Your Mind (Cerrone Funk Mix)

CERRONE Marc 02-2009

Another HAIM remix? For realz, ATG?

I know what you’re thinking, folks, but hang tight and give that little triangle a click. This one’s been making the rounds on the interwebs for a reason: it’s helmed by legendary producer Cerrone. One imagines the french studio impresario, known for his massive successes in 1970s dance music, must have caught the Daft Punk performance at this year’s Grammys whilst flipping channels before exclaiming “Sacrebleu! Disco est revenu!” and making a mad dash for the beat lab, ready to spruce up a popular track with funky bass and ecstatic horns. And so he did, ladies and gentlemen — so he did. Truth be told, the original cut of this song is among my least favorite on HAIM’s excellent debut, but this mix? It burns, baby. Burns.

STREAM: Haim – “If I Could Change Your Mind (Cerrone Funk Mix)”

Chance The Rapper – Home Studio (Back Up In This Bitch)


Chance, you scamp. You benevolent, glorious scamp. Earlier this morning, the artist more commonly known as Chance The Rapper posted the following tweet…


Amtrac – Don’t Know (Ft. Posso)


Louisville’s finest deep house production vehicle, Amtrac, is pulling into the groove station hard on this fresh cut from the OWSLA records wunderkind, with a dime from dance music dynamos POSSO. If you’re like me, and random house cuts rarely grab your heart & soul on first listen, “Don’t Know” may prove a pleasant exception. Just peep the waveform graphic on the track for gosh sakes – it’s a joyfully rendered, perpetually oscillating amusement park of a song, keeping you entertained with its constant sonic ebbs and flows. Like kindred spirits Duck Sauce, Amtrac has a great ear for vocal chops and a knack for showing the listener just how much fun these trips can be when you have a capable conductor at the helm. This isn’t the northeast regional we’re talking about here, it’s the Acela. Stream “Don’t Know” below.

STREAM: Amtrac – “Don’t Know (Ft. POSSO)”

Introducing: Giant Fang


We’re playing catch up on UK pop purveyor Giant Fang’s mega-synth anthem “Golden Age,” released in the way-way back of fall 2013 to (undeservedly) little in the way of hubbub, fanfare, etc. That said, what a perfectly bleak and brumal day to discover this slow-burning ember of a pop song – defrosting the ears with glowing synths and thawing the soul with waves of sincerity and aspirational chutzpah. Warm down for what.

“We were the saviors / we were the sons of a golden age.”  The vibe here is nostalgic wistfulness, a rose-colored reminiscence of summers gone by. Musically speaking, early U2 meets now-ish The Naked and Famous seems like a fair assessment. Suffice it to say, if you prefer your British indie pop all sad and minimal and James Blake-y, this might not be your go-to cold-weather jam. But if you’re not content to spend the winter months shivering along to seasonally-appropriate sad bastard music, spark up your musical kindling with “Golden Age” below and harken back to the days of double-digit temperatures.

STREAM: Giant Fang – “Golden Age”

HAIM & Lorde – Strong Enough (Sheryl Crow Cover)

Behold, my early ballot musical time capsule entry for 2013. I’d be shocked if, in the next month or so, a cultural event came along to overtake this as the most telling, most significant, most indicative-of-the-pop-music-landscape moment of this calendar year.


Misun – Promise Me (The Hood Internet Remix)


To prep for our very own CMJ showcase – Wednesday, October 16th at Brooklyn Bowl – I’ve been revisiting my fave offerings from this heavily stacked evening’s ATG-approved lineup. Apparently, the boys from The Hood Internet have been doing the same thing – and they’ve come up with a breezy take on “Promise Me,” released earlier this year by self-described aquawave pop purveyors Misun. Who knew that a dash of hi hat-infused cool would fit this song like a glove?

Though I miss the punching syncopation of the original’s drums, I can’t help but wonder if this more tropical climate is the song’s natural habitat. Where the first edition sprints, the re-imagining struts; it’s okay to take it slow when you’ve got arresting vocals and a killer hook to show off. And here’s to going all-in on bleepy arpeggios. My name is Justin McCarthy, and I approve of bleepy arpeggios.

Stream it below, and obviously cop the download, and OBVIOUSLY come to ATG Presents: Hit Parade at Brooklyn Bowl on October 16th up in New York (where you work in the private sector and you get dat $$$ no matter what’s happening on C-SPAN). C’mon y’all, bowling! MARK IT EIGHT, DUDE.

STREAM: Misun – “Promise Me (The Hood Internet Remix)”

Hopscotch: Saturday

Jamaican Queens at Slim's

All Photos: Alex Anderson

Jamaican Queens

After a successful interview with the highly cool, immensely talented Jamaican Queens, we were treated to an intimate four-song set at a punk bar called Slim’s, a place so awesome that it became home-base for Alex and I over the course of the weekend. Jamaican Queen’s debut album, as ATGer Bryce Harper Rudow has expounded on, is a deeply moving artifact that seamlessly marries sweet, melodic folk/R&B with agitated, hard-hitting trap beats. Lyrically, it ranks among the best collections of recorded music I’ve heard this year. Live, they are a revelation. Flaming Lips fun meets Radiohead artistry. Figure out where they’re performing next, and go.

STREAM: Jamaican Queens – “Water”


Hopscotch: Friday

Local Natives Guitar Crowd

All Photos: Alex Anderson

Local Natives

Our first foray outside the confines of Raleigh City Plaza and the main stage of Hopscotch was a jaunt over to the pristine and elegant Duke Energy Center. Local Natives performed in Memorial Auditorium, a gorgeous and vast space (think Constitution Hall crossed with the Kennedy Center Opera House). If fans didn’t fill the place, they certainly made a dent, and it was definitely better attended than some opera performances I’ve seen. Local Natives traffic in the emotionally heightened, harmony-drenched indie rock of Fleet Foxes and the like – they have an epic sound, and the space was well-suited to it. This is a big-venue band that hasn’t quite made a big-venue record yet, but at festivals like Hopscotch where they can get close-to-top billing, they can get the right space for their style. Hats off to the festival curators on this one.

STREAM: Local Natives – “Heavy Feet”


Hopscotch: An Introduction


An hour into our drive to Raleigh, NC for the Hopscotch Music Festival, I confided in Alex, ATG photog and my partner on this weekend’s journey. “I’ve never been press before for anything. I’ve definitely never covered a music festival. I hope all this works out.” He confided in me, as well. “I’ve never been to Cracker Barrel,” he said, as we sped past a sign notifying us of our contiguity to an official Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. location. The weekend was off to a great start. There was a lot of trust here.