This week we recommend some new school hip-hop, some metal-come Americana and way old school rock for downloading (legally, of course) or streaming to your iPod, iPad, iPhone or other personal media device.
"Black Acura" by Pac Div and Mac Miller
This southern California trio put the rhymes first and foremost. Beats and hooks are secondary. The important element of Pac Div is flow and Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller fits right in. Somehow the group seems to come off as laidback and forceful. After five years of mixtapes, the group started releasing albums with 2011’s “The DiV.” This single is from the 2012 major-label effort, “GMB,” but Pac Div manages to keep away from an overproduced sound and holds on to a raw, underground delivery.
"Wasted Years" by Ryan Adams
If you watch Showtime's “Californication,” you know that this season has been a retro look at classic rock as the main character Hank Moody attempts to team-up with a washed-up rock star to write a rock opera. That’s a lot of rock – but this song, from a “Californication” compilation, is Adams’ acoustic take on Iron Maiden’s metal opus of the ‘80s. The burning fretwork of the original has turned into a driving acoustic riff accentuating the dour lyrics. And the only accompaniment of Adams’ acoustic work is his alt-country vocals which replace the soaring pipes of Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. It’s a nice switch and just as powerful pared down.
"Doom and Gloom" by The Rolling Stones
The first time in seven years the core members of the Rolling Stones came together in a studio to make new music. The song was recorded as one of two new additions in the band’s recent 50-year retrospective. It is also used in the soundtrack for “A Good Day to Die Hard.” The cool thing is, it doesn’t sound like a patch-job on some old unheard Stones demo and it doesn’t sound like they’re trying to be something they’re not. It has swagger and grit and sounds like The Rolling Stones being The Rolling Stones.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge