New York

Debut Album: Nick Hakim – Green Twins (2017/05/19) / New Track ‘Bet She Looks Like You ‘

:: Whoop Whoop!


Nick Hakim will release his debut full-length album Green Twins via ATO Records on May 19, and the release will be preceded by a North American & European tour. The anticipated album follows his breakthrough Where Will We Go, Pt. I & II EPs that were self-released on his Earseed Records and praised by the New York Times, NPR Music and more. Green Twins is an experimental step forward with emotional heft gleaned from his experiences in the years since. Intimate first single, “Bet She Looks Like You,” was recorded mostly in the New York-based singer-songwriter’s home bedroom, and was one of the first songs that saw Hakim embrace his new experimental way of songwriting and recording.

Each track on the album peels back a particular aspect of his life. He notes that, “a lot of it is what I was thinking in the moment, very specific songs… many of them are like self-portraits.“ He says of Green Twins, “I also felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs.” The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”

The story of Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York City, Philadelphia and London, and built on them with engineers including Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering, production), keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Sarlo notes that, “for other artists, a demo serves as a potential shape the song could form into. But for Nick, demos are more like creating a temple: a sanctuary that now we have to go into and somehow clean, furnish, and get ready for other people to experience the sermon in.”

Hakim’s debut comes as the culmination of years chiseling his skills as a musician. Hailing from Washington, D.C., he grew up in a musical household—his older brother introduced him to bands like Bad Brains and Nirvana, and his parents exposed him to Nueva canción—while he set out on his own to discover the DC music scene. He didn’t take an interest in learning an instrument until high school, when he taught himself to play the keys. After graduation, he moved to Boston to continue his study of music. In the time since moving to Brooklyn and setting to work for three years on Green Twins, he embraced the live circuit, both as a solo musician and with his band, whom he’s brought together from within his community in Boston and New York.

With Green Twins, Hakim plans to tour through the beginning of the year (see tour dates below), and hopes that folks will connect with the songs he’s written. “I think everybody feels insecure about certain things and everybody has lost people dear to them. I think I’m writing about common things that people feel,” he says. “I think I’m very grateful for anybody that’s listening or wants to be a part of my little world that I’ve created through song.” [Press Release via Bandcamp]

Cover Art:

Artist: Nick Hakim
Title of Debut Album: Green Twins
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Label: ATO Records

Track Listing:
1. Green Twins
2. Bet She Looks Like You
3. Roller Skates
4. Needy Bees
6. Cuffed
7. Miss Chew (feat. Jesse & Forever)
8. Farmissplease
9. Those Days (feat. Onyx Collective)
10. Slowly
11. The Want
12. JP

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Apr 19 The Dome – London, UK (Sold Out)
Apr 20 Le Pop Up du Label – Paris, FR
Apr 21 Brussels, BE – Chez PIAS
Apr 22 Studio 672 – Cologne, DE
Apr 23 Bitterzoet – Amsterdam, NL
Apr 25 Berghain Kantine – Berlin, DE
May 11 The Drake Hotel – Toronto, ON
May 12 Bar Le Ritz PBD – Montréal, QC
May 13 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
May 14 Iron Horse Music Hall – Northampton, MA
May 17 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
May 20 Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
Nov 7 The Lantern – Bristol
Nov 8 KOKO – London, UK
Nov 9 The Deaf Institute – Manchester, UK
Nov 10 King Tut’s – Glasgow, UK
Nov 11 Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK

Follow ‘Nick Hakim’ on:
Facebook | Soundcloud | TwitterBandcamp

More ‘Nick Hakim’ on Music Pickings:
2014, Oct 27 – Listen: Where Will We Go, Pt. 1 + Pt. 2 [Full Album Streams]



New Album: Sinkane – Life & Livin’ It (2017/02/17)

:: You know what time it is? Disco time!


Sinkane music — every note of it — comes straight out of a generosity of spirit. Never has that spirit been on more vivid display than on the uplifting new album Life & Livin’ It. This is feel-good music for trying times, celebrating what makes life good without ignoring what makes it hard.

By the time they finished touring for their acclaimed Mean Love album in late 2015, Ahmed Gallab and the band had spread the gospel of Sinkane to the world, playing 166 shows in 20 countries. During the same period, he had also led The Atomic Bomb Band — the highly celebrated 15-piece outfit that played the music of elusive Nigerian electro-funk maestro William Onyeabor. The band included David Byrne, Damon Albarn, members of Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Jamie Lidell and legendary jazz musicians Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd, and they played all over the planet, including making their TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “Those 14 months really changed my life,” Ahmed says. “Not only did I learn how to put on a bigger show, but all that touring brought Sinkane closer as a band.”

As Ahmed got into writing Life & Livin’ It, he had a clear goal; to conjure the ups and downs of a universal experience, and have fun while doing it. “I would listen to my favorite records, like Funkadelic’s America Eats Its Young, and realize how great they made me feel. That carefree, light and fun feeling I was getting while writing this record is what I want everyone to feel when they listen to it.”

Ahmed soon brought the band in to help with the material, testing the songs at a four-show residency of sold-out shows at Union Pool in Brooklyn where the audience’s reception fed the creative process. They toured throughout the summer before setting up shop at Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas. Once again produced by Ahmed with lyrics and help from longtime collaborator Greg Lofaro, the album draws from the best elements of Sinkane’s previous records: the slinky funk and soul grooves are there, so are the sparkling melodies with roots in sub-Saharan Africa. With basic tracking played together live, the fun and immediacy of Sinkane’s live show is a central feeling of the recordings. The four members of Sinkane – bassist Ish Montgomery, drummer Jason Trammell, guitarist Jonny Lam and Ahmed – sang and played additional parts on every song, with Trammell contributing lyrics to “Theme from Life & Livin’ It,” and Lam helping with arrangements. Jas Walton and Jordan MacLean of Daptone recording artists Antibalas contributed horns.

Ahmed’s primary intention was to make music that is joyous, but also socially conscious when you scratch beneath the surface. The songs “U’Huh” and “Theme from Life & Livin’ It” conjure up the simple pleasures of hanging with friends, but there are heavier vibes in there. Ahmed says, “I remember listening to Bob Marley as a child. Dancing with my family in our living room and then my mother telling me what issues he was addressing, and that it was important to remember those things while listening. It made the music even better because it became about something more.”

“Favorite Song” came about from Ahmed’s experiences DJ’ing in New York. “As a DJ you’re always paying attention to the collective energy in the club. When you play a song that everyone knows, everybody is connected, lost in the music.” That song, along with “U’Huh”, has lyrics sung in Arabic, Ahmed’s native tongue. “Kulu shi tamaam!” means “everything is great!” while “ya zol ya zain!” is a Sudanese term of endearment meaning “my beautiful friend.” “It’s really easy to understand the tone of those words,” Ahmed adds. “They just feel good, you don’t have to know what they mean. It’s kind of like listening to Caetano Veloso or Jorge Ben — you don’t have to know Portuguese to feel what they’re saying.”

True to its name, Life & Livin’ It is an album about all kinds of experiences. When Ahmed Gallab sings, he sounds unafraid yet vulnerable. But while he once sang of feeling like he was on the planet Mars, Ahmed is now firmly grounded on Earth. He’s no longer searching for his home — he has created a home for himself. There’s a party there, and Life & Livin’ It is playing on the stereo. You are invited. [Press release by ]

Cover Art:
Life & Livin' It - SINKANE

Artist: Sinkane
Title of Album: Life & Livin’ It
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Label: City Slang

Track Listing:
1. Deadweight
2. U’Huh
3. Favorite Song
4. Fire 5. Telephone
6. Passenger
7. Theme From Life & Livin’ It
8. Won’t Follow
9. The Way

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Feb 15 // Space Gallery // Portland, ME, US
Feb 16 // Great Scott // Allston, MA, US
Feb 17 // The Bowery Ballroom // New York, NY, US
Feb 18 // Black Cat // Washington, DC, US
>> The full touring schedule is available here

Follow ‘Sinkane’ on:
Official Website | FacebookBandcamp


New Track: Gabriel Garzón-Montano – Sour Mango

:: Hauntingly beautiful.

Official audio of Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s “Sour Mango” from his forthcoming LP, Jardín (available January 27, 2017 on Stones Throw Records).


Cover Art:

Artist: Gabriel Garzón-Montano
Title of Single: Sour Mango
Release Date: November 02, 2016
Label: Stones Throw Records

Follow ‘Gabriel Garzón’ on:
Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Bandcamp


More ‘Gabriel Garzón’ on Music Pickings:
2015, Nov 29 – Listen: Montano Keep On Running
2014, May 10 – Debut EP: Bishouné: Alma del Huila [Full Album Stream]



New Album: A Tribe Called Quest – We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service​ (2016/11/11)

:: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Cover Art:

Artist: A Tribe Called Quest
Title of Album: We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service
Release Date: November 11, 2016
Label: Epic

1 The Space Program 5:41
2 We The People… 2:52
3 Whateva Will Be 2:53
4 Solid Wall Of Sound 3:43
5 Dis Generation 3:34
6 Kids… 3:48
7 Melatonin 4:45
8 Enough!! 3:21
9 Mobius 2:52
10 Black Spasmodic 3:04
11 The Killing Season 2:44
12 Lost Somebody 4:19
13 Movin Backwards 4:42
14 Conrad Tokyo 3:32
15 Ego 3:18
16 The Donald

Official Website | Facebook


New Album: Blood Orange – Freetown Sound (2016/08/19) / New Track ‘Augustine’

:: Thank You!


The linup: Dev Hynes

Cover Art:

Artist: Blood Orange
Title of Album: Freetown Sound
Release Date: August 19, 2016
Label: Domino Records (Goodtogo)

1. By ourselves
2. Augustine
3. Chance 4. Best to you
5. With him
6. E.v.p.
7. Love ya
8. But you
9. Desire
10. Hands up
11. Hadron collider
12. Squash squash
13. Juicy 1-4 14. Better than me
15. Thank you
16. I know
17. Better numb

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Aug 05 // Bar Open // Fitzroy, Australia
Aug 24 // The Theatre at Ace Hotel // Los Angeles, CA
Aug 25 // The Theatre at Ace Hotel // Los Angeles, CA
Aug 27 // Greek Theatre-U.C. Berkeley // Berkeley, CA
>> The full touring schedule is available here.

Follow ‘Blood Orange’ on:
Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud


More ‘Blood Orange’ on Music Pickings:
2013, Nov 24 – New Album: Cupid Deluxe (2013/11/12)



New Album: We Are Scientists – Helter Seltzer

:: We missed you guys!


Cover Art:

Artist: We Are Scientists
Title of Album: Helter Seltzer
Release Date: Jun 03, 2016
Label: 100% Records

1. Buckle
2. In My Head
3. Too Late
4. Hold On
5. We Need A Word
6. Want For Nothing
7. Classic Love
8. Waiting For You
9. Headlights
10. Forgiveness

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Tue 14 Jun // Hafenklang // Hamburg, Germany
Fri 08 Jul // The Bartlett // Spokane, WA, US
Sat 09 Jul We Are Scientists Crocodile Cafe // Seattle, WA, US
Sun 10 Jul // The Cobalt // Vancouver, BC, Canada
Mony 11 Jul // Doug Fir Lounge // Portland, OR, US
Wed 13 Jul // The Chapel // San Francisco, CA, US
>> The full touring schedule is available here.

Follow ‘We Are Scientists’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud


More ‘We Are Scientists’ on Music Pickings:
2013, Oct 17 − New EP: Business Casual (2013/10/14) [Full EP Stream]


New Album: Anohni – HOPELESSNESS (2016/05/06) / Track ‘Hopelessness’

:: Yes.


ANOHNI, the singer of Antony and the Johnsons, announces the release of her new album, HOPELESSNESS, out May 6th on Rough Trade.

A collaboration with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke, HOPELESSNESS is a dance record with soulful vocals and lyrics addressing subjects including surveillance, drone warfare and ecocide. The album seeks to disrupt assumptions about popular music through the collision of electronic sound and highly politicized lyrics. [Press Release]

Cover Art:

Artist: Anohni
Title of Album: HOPELESSNESS
Release Day: May 06, 2016
Label: Rough Trade Records

1. Drone Bombe Me
2. 4 Degrees
3. Watch Me
4. Execution
5. I Don´t Love You Anymore
6. Obama
7. Violent Men
8. Why Did You Seperate Me From The Earth
9. Crisis
10. Hopelessness
11. Marrow

Follow ‘Anohni’ on:
Official Website | Facebook