Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Top-Five Favorite Hooks We've Written.

Please forgive the self-centered topic.

We recorded a new song today, actually the first time we've recorded a song for another purpose other than putting it on an album -- more on that later, hopefully. Ha. And with this particular song, I am super excited about the hook that Sentence and I wrote. I was realizing, while we were recording, that writing hooks is maybe my favorite part of songwriting. And I think we are good at it. Never mind the fact that we have gotten a few reviews that do not agree with me. When people have a problem with our hooks, they universally claim they are too simple -- but I've always thought that was sort of the point?

I digress.

I wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite hip-hop hooks, but it's 2,000 degrees in my apartment right now and it's too hard for me to choose when there are so many I love. I figure this blog was always meant to open a dialogue between us and whoever is interested in what we are up to, so hopefully people will chime in with hooks from other people that they love.

Without further ado, here are my five favorite hooks that we have written.

5. Funk Terrorist

Funk Terrorist was the first song Sentence and I wrote together, way before we ever thought we would be in a group together. Now, admittedly the song is silly -- any song would be, when its entire premise is based around the word "Smackassistan." That's true, by the way. Walking around one day, I started laughing thinking about "Smackassistan." And so we wrote an entire song expounding on that. BAM.

Regardless, the song has always killed live. Especially on tour, we would gauge how well our set went over by the volume of the "Ohhhhh's." It's fun.

Judge for yourself:

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/funk-terrorist">Funk Terrorist by Metermaids</a>


4. The Inside

Originally, on our album "Nightlife," Sentence and I were both going to have solo songs. So Sentence wrote The Inside. I didn't end up with a solo song on the album. All of a sudden I'm feeling kind of slighted. Kidding, kidding, kidding. I remember when we were writing the hook, wanting to accentuate the bass hits -- so if you listen, you can hear that Sentence's part is rythmically (how the fuck do you spell that word) echoing the bass. That's what. The inside. Of your heart. Looks like. When he recorded it, it sounded cool. But it also didn't sound like a completed hook. So originally Sentence had me echo what he had said in the gaps. Then I tried it with a little melody too, and we decided that we liked it best. I still love the hook, and I think you'd be hard-pressed, in the hip-hop world, to find a hook that sounds like this one.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/the-inside">The Inside by Metermaids</a>

3. Shades Off

When we first took this song home as a rough mix, I think as a collective none of us were sure what to make of the hook. Everyone really liked the music, and the verses, but the hook just seemed kind of weird. Then one night, driving around, it clicked for me. And I loved it. Hahaha. I can love the music I make and not seem like a complete egomaniac, right? Anyway -- it's just so simple. And fun to scream. Take your shades off. HEY! Let me see your eyes. Also, Sentence and I joke around about how pretty much every single hook we've ever written is a direct command. This song has also always gone over really well live. I think the highlight, for me, was having a thousand people at Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival scream the "Hey's!" back at us last summer.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/shades-off-feat-jared-paul">Shades Off (Feat. Jared Paul) by Metermaids</a>

2. Don't Sleep

I actually get my revenge on Sentence here. Because while he can take sole credit for the hook on The Inside, this one was all me (because the EP this is on was recorded before Sentence and I were Metermaids, together). This song was written after me, and one of my best friends (and OG Metermaids-family-member) Matt Miller spent a humid summer night with one of our friends in breathtaking New Brunswick, New Jersey. At the end of the night, the two of us ended up crashing on couches. But there was no sleep to be had in the AC-less, sweltering humidity. So we ended up just talking for almost the entire night. And it ended up being a really nice memory for me. No Romo. I won't speak for Matt. Anyway, that was the sentiment behind the song. Hey! Don't go to sleep! We can do anything you want. Stay up with me. A funny moment for Matt and I that ended up being recorded and thrown onto television shows and all over the place. Considering that Matt and I started Metermaids together, there's some sentimentality involved too -- but I also just really like the hook.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/dont-sleep">Don't Sleep by Metermaids</a>

1. Planes Down

I could write a long explanation for this hook like I have for the others. But come on, yo. Tell me this shit isn't fun. We've closed every show with this song since we wrote it. Because seeing mad people with finger pistols in the air, screaming "Bang!" at the top of their lungs, is an incredible sight.

<a href="http://music.metermaidsnyc.com/track/planes-down">Planes Down by Metermaids</a>

Honorable mention goes to Matchbooks, considering that me and my baby have one of the lines from that hook tattooed on us, but that's not so much of a hook as it is a desperate plea to the universe. Haha.

Hopefully some other people will add some of their favorite hip-hop hooks to this, so it's not all about us.

Holler!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Old Times

Taking a quick break from promoting our new mixtape...We went and saw our friend Sage Francis rock Webster Hall a few days ago here in NYC and it was pretty epic. I've see Sage play live a handful of times and we've played with him before, but this was probably the best I've ever seen him. Live band, swim trunks, Prayers for Atheists chilling, and an all-audience hug at the end. It was amazing.

I was just reminded of the Life is Easy DVD he put out a few years ago and I wanted to put up a clip that reminds me how much I love hip hop and music in general. This clip was recorded at my house when I lived in Denver a LONG time ago. This was when I produced a track that Sage and Slug rapped on that later appeared on Sage's Sick of Waiting Tables mixtape. It just reminded me about how I got into this music stuff and what it all meant to me. Music was the only thing I had going for me and this was one of the dudes I really looked up and respected sledding on my homie in my front yard. Shit was wild. This clip is actually just a clip of a clip - in the actual DVD he sleds on my boy AES, not just a cardboard box. Just wanted to share this little piece of nostalgia...

Sentence

Breaking Down "Hello" Part 1.

When we released "Smash Smash Bang" last summer, I went through and broke down the songs on the EP one by one. I did it mostly for myself, so I could have a record of all the little details that slip once too much time has passed.

It got a surprisingly good response from people, so Sentence and I decided to do it for our mixtape as well.

"Girls and Music"

I am a knee-jerk-hype-hater. I remember being at South by Southwest a few years ago walking around with Sentence, during the crazy-hype-tornado that was Vampire Weekend's first album. We saw a Vampire Weekend poster somewhere, and both admitted that even though we hadn't heard a note of their music, we hated them somehow. Not a very mature reaction, for sure. And, actually, once the hype had died down and I listened to Vampire Weekend, I liked it. I ain't too proud to admit when I'm wrong. It's often.

I felt the same way about Animal Collective when Merriweather Post Pavilion came out. But at some point during my insomniac Youtube video watching marathons, I stumbled across their video for "My Girls."



And I really, really liked it. Once again, my knee-jerk reaction was completely off-base.

From the jump, in making this mixtape, I was pushing Matt (who did all of the remixing) to take a crack at this song. For whatever reason he didn't get to it. Finally, after we had most of the project done, he took a shot at it. And it sounded fantastic to us. One of the great things about remix projects is that you get to accentuate your favorite parts of one of your favorite songs. In this case, it's the "Wooooo!" Which we obviously accentuated even more on the hook.

I don't like to get into what a song is about. Suffice to say, almost every song Sentence and I have done in recent memory is somewhere about the struggle we have gone through trying to poke our heads above water in this business we call music. The hook was originally different -- more of a nod to my favorite song of last year (I think I have posted this video 10 times in this blog, but I don't care):



We changed the hook in the end, but I kept my shout to Republic of Loose in my verse. Because I wanted them to know I love them, somehow, some way. Ha.

Here are the lyrics:

Sentence --

Bring 'em in, pack out the place
Everything, everyone stays
Stowaways, runaways, strays
We all get in here today
Hands up and pledging allegiance
Plaster the tracks with your secrets
Packing up all of the pieces
Blast it back out through the speakers
Don't gotta worry about logic
'Bout what you hold in your pockets
Or if you're playing or folding
If you fly coach or fly cockpit
It's love and it's hate and it's pleasure
It's dumb and it's taking forever
It's numbness, it's pain, and it's pressure
Fuck, it's the greatest thing ever
Finger pistol, gun to the moon
Stick 'em up like nothing to lose
Wolf pack status, you can run with the crew
Till the sun comes up and the knuckles are bruised
On time when the break beat hits
Keep it cool like a AC switch
No sweat like, hey man shit
Nothing that a fresh coat of paint can't fix
Glossy black flying V
Classic, bring out the big drums
Show 'em who you're trying to be
Couple lightning bolts and a name on the kick drum
Four to the floor, now put it down
Give me some of that high-rent Brooklyn sound
Take a deep breath, look around
Nothing like some bad things to feel good about

Girls and music.
Keep my coming back.

Swell --

Shouts to the Republic of Loose. Now finna come and dust of these shoes. Act like we've got nothing to prove. Why? Because we've got nothing to do. Everybody here's already famous. Walking the streets you can just feel it. Little kids stay destined for greatness. Everything you touch is the realest. So we're back here like never before. And we're back here like never again. Sleep like we're going to work. And we work like we're making pretend. And we talk like we're making a friend. Smile while we're shaking the hands. And we blink like we're facing the end. And we jump like we're taking a chance. Baby we could have the life that we wanted. I'll make it all so easy. Paying the bills every month. No grinding teeth while we're sleeping. Taking cabs when we're going out drinking. No more fucking around with the train. You could have the clothes that you wanted. No more paying for shit with change. Little bit of wine got me fearless. I was born to be up on stage. Trust if the people could hear it they would remember the name. And the legacy's four to a track. One puts the door to your back. Two puts the dirt on your shoes. Three and four got you back here for more.

Girls and music.
Keep me coming back.

Here is what our version sounds (and looks) like:



And remember, this mixtape is absolutely free, and available HERE!

Much more coming.

Holler!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Show Tomorrow Night With Prayers for Atheists and People With Teeth.



Yes yes ya'll.

So it's perfect timing, following the release of the "Hello" mixtape (which you can get for free HERE!) (and also thanks for the massive amount of support it's gotten!), that we get to rock a show tomorrow night with some great bands.

We will be playing with Prayers For Atheists, our good friends and Strange Famous Records representers, and People With Teeth, the young, dope rapscallions from right here in New York.

This throw-down is being held at Bushwick Music Studios, which is at 319 Scholes Street in beautiful Brooklyn, NY.

You can check out the Facebook invite HERE!

Anyway, thanks again to everyone who continues to support us -- if you come out tomorrow night we will hug you in person.

Holler.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Hello" Dropped Today!

So, our "Hello" mixtape dropped today. We couldn't be more excited about it.

It's 8 new songs (and one re-remix) over remixes to some of our favorite indie-rock songs, mixed by the legendary DJ Rob Swift.

It includes our remix of Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks," which we retitled "Yellow Tape," which recently hit #4 on the Hype Machine, which was a nice little career moment for us.

It is available for free HERE! in both the DJ Rob Swift version and the individual track version.

We hope you dig it -- and if you do, all we ask is that you tell a friend.

More to come.

Holler!



DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE:















OR DOWNLOAD ALL THE INDIVIDUAL TRACKS, NOT AS MIXTAPE:








LISTEN TO THE TRACKS:










Friday, June 18, 2010

"Yellow Tape" #4 on Hype Machine Charts.

As of my typing this, roughly 5:20 on Friday evening, our song "Yellow Tape" has hit #4 on the Hype Machine Charts. It's got 80 minutes left -- so check it quick if you wanna see it. Haha.

Check it HERE!

We wanted to thank everyone who downloaded the song, everyone who tweeted about it, everyone who "loved" it on Hype Machine. Like I've said repeatedly, it was a big build up to releasing this mixtape, which we are very proud of, and it's incredibly humbling to get a response to the 2nd single like this.

We also obviously want to thank DJ Rob Swift for taking this mixtape and adding his flavor and expertise to it -- not only is the end-result something that everyone in our family is excited about, but it is also a life-long dream Sentence and I can check off our bucket-list. Ha. If you had told me when I was 16 that I would be releasing a mixtape mixed by Rob Swift I would have peed my pants. How hip hop is that?

Did everyone see that US World Cup game? One of the most exciting games I have ever seen. And we were robbed, goddammit. In my head that final score is still 3-2. Also, like I was telling my brother before the game, Donovan is one of those players that lives up to his hype -- his first goal was just outrageous, and his ball to set up the second goal was clinical. Fucking amazing.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Holler!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Video for "Yellow Tape."

So we learned with our previous mash-up project, the critically-acclaimed Nightlife in Illinoise mash-up with did with Sufjan Stevens' album "Illinoise," we very much enjoy putting together mash-up videos to go along with our songs. Maybe we just have a deep-rooted desire to get our pants sued off.

Regardless.

Sentence and I made a video for every cut on the mixtape, which we will be releasing gradually after the mixtape officially drops. These are nothing fancy -- just fun little visuals that are a good time to put together. And being that we are both ferocious music-video heads, it only seems right to put visuals to our own stuff, even if we don't have the budget for visually stunning, mind-blowing music videos.

"Yellow Tape" is currently blowing the fuck up, which is so exciting for us (and we couldn't be more appreciative of everyone who has downloaded, tweeted, re-tweeted, Facebooked, told their friends, etc), so the time seemed right to drop this gem on the world.

The video for this particular song was put together by Sentence, and it might be my favorite out of the bunch. It's like "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys, only real. Haha. You'll see what I mean.



Also, if you haven't before, and are feeling generous with your time and affection, "Yellow Tape" is currently charting on both the normal and Twitter charts on Hype Machine -- the link is HERE!
if you feel like helping us out.

I am also going to re-post the download link:



So much love for everyone, and so much more to come.

Holler!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yellow Tape Y'all.

The second single off of our Hello Mixtape mixed by DJ Rob Swift leaked today. It's called "Yellow Tape," and it's a remix of Grizzly Bear's song "Two Weeks," which is another song we enjoy greatly.

Once again the interwebs have been kind to us -- we are thankful to the blogs that have posted about it, the people who have downloaded it, and those who have tweeted, and retweeted, etc. It means a lot to us.

It was extra exciting to see "Yellow Tape" holding down the front page of Hype Machine for a couple of hours today, and getting a lot of love.

Check out the link HERE!

If you are kind enough to visit that page, and tweet about the song, it will continue its rise up the Hype Machine Charts, which we would be eternally grateful for. I will also personally thank you with the most romantic tweet-reply you could ever imagine. How's that for incentive?

Also remember that the song is for free, and if you are interested you can download it and share it with whomever you think might dig it as well.

At this very instant there is no download widget on this blog, but soon enough our fearless leader Matt Stine (the brains behind this whole operation) will make this widget appear, as if magically, and you will be free to download to your heart's content.

It will probably appear right below this line:




Much more to come, friends. Much more to come.

Holler!

It Was Well Worth It.

It's been a crazy few months. Not just for me, but for just about everyone I'm close to. Lots of upheaval, lots of wishing for change, lots of not being ready for the change the universe eventually offers us.

The winter months of this year might have been the most difficult of my life, for a number of reasons I don't feel the need to get into. Ironically, I had originally planned to document that time in particular -- the time leading up to the release of all of this new music. I stopped myself from writing when I realized how cyclical my emotions were, and how ultimately I was writing to whine. I know my thoughts well enough to know that they don't need to be documented in that way. Or shared. Or remembered.

Personally, I feel like I've gotten over the hump. I feel like the seeds of good karma I planted back in the tougher months have started to sprout, started to flower a little. Time will tell, naturally.

And I've been feeling extraordinarily appreciative recently. Appreciative of my baby, of my family. Appreciative of my friends. Appreciative of some of my heroes who have taken the time to help, taken the time to listen, etc.

We, Metermaids, have a bunch of things to be excited about right now. We are releasing music that we worked very hard on, music that we took our time to release. We have been looking forward to this for a while now. It feels good. I'm sleeping much better recenty, which is always nice.

I don't know what the point of this particular blog is. I feel ok again. I hope you feel ok again too.

I could have just posted this Sage Francis song at the beginning of this blog and it would have explained what I'm feeling right now much more eloquently. But I'm a rapper. And I like to hear (see) myself speak (write).

More (good) news coming soon. More music, more videos, more shows, more summer, more not being cold when you wake up.

Holler.

Sage Francis -- Best of Times.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Video We Made for Girls and Music.

So we went ahead and made a music video for our song "Girls and Music," a remix of Animal Collective's "My Girls."

It's not the most spectacular video in the world, but we really like it, and it was a lot of fun to make. Two borrowed Flip Cams, two bicycles, the joy of doing things yourself, and zero dollars. BAM!

Watch us find each other on bikes, through the dirty streets of Bushwick. Not so easy to do in one continuous take, huh? Holler at your no-budget inventiveness.

These flip cams are insanely dope, by the by.

Sentence gets the most props here for rigging the cameras to the bicycles, as well as figuring out how to do split-screen on iMovie. Shooting the video took about an hour. Editing it? Much, much more than that. Shouts to Steve Jobs. Everything's so easy on a Mac, right? Nahhhhhhhh.

Anyway, here it is. We hope you like it.



Pass it around!

Holler.

Girls and Music, Without Cuts.

So the version of "Girls and Music" without any juggling or cuts has leaked as well, and I would feel silly if I didn't share it with you.

It's getting up on more and more blogs but you can check it out right HERE:






Download it, share it on your Facebook Wall, and then tweet about it. Thanks!

More coming.

Holler.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hello.

So, the word is out. The Hello Mixtape, mixed by the legendary Rob Swift, is dropping on June 22nd.

In the meantime the first single from the project, a remix of Animal Collective's "My Girls," which we rechristened "Girls and Music" (how clever are we?!), has leaked out on to the interwebs. It's getting a great response. And we're very happy about that.

I won't re-post all of the blogs that have shown us some love. But I will link two here, because I like to play favorites.

Check out Hip Hop Linguistics HERE!

Check out Prefix Mag HERE!

We will have more and more goodies to give to everyone before the mixtape officially drops. So keep in touch.

We are officially back in the saddle here. We hope you enjoy everything.

Holler.