Pre-orders from SFRstore are available here.
Features By Pigeon John, Xperience, Ceschi and Onry Ozzborn!
Pre-orders from SFRstore are available here.
Features By Pigeon John, Xperience, Ceschi and Onry Ozzborn!
Proud to announce that I’m the guest meteorapologist on Juice Rap News. These guys have been on my radar for a while now. In fact, I think I was initially tipped off to them when a fan pointed out that they dropped a line from my Makeshift Patriot song in one of their videos. As it turns out, they record and film everything in Melbourne, Australia. When they found out I was playing there last December they hit me up to work out this feature. We had to rush like mad to make it all work out, but I’m really glad that we did it. Great folks. My part starts around the 4:50 mark, but the whole video is worth checking out. Clever/funny/smart stuff all around.
Video directed & edited by Jay Brown. Treatment written by Sage Francis. Cinematography by Joe Radano & Jim Collins. After effects by Paul Mihailoff. Additional Footage by Todd Burgess. Actors in order of appearance: Sage Francis, dilly dilly, Isaiah Brown, Erik Moody and Mike Aberle. Music produced by Reanimator. Scratches by Buddy Peace.
Among many things, this song and video touch upon the subject of PTSD. The lyrics and visuals were inspired by the discussions I’ve had with many vets over years. There are many organizations and resources that are available to vets who are struggling with civilian life, but not everyone feels comfortable reaching out for help. Some people might not even know that they need help until it’s too late. Just so that the information is out there, for anyone who may need it, the Veterans Crisis Line can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or via text to 838255. The Crisis Line website: http://veteranscrisisline.net/
SICK TO D(EAT)H is a 75 minute mixtape that drops on Dec 12th, 2013 exclusively through Strange Famous Records. It will not be available in any other store. MP3, CD, Cassette Tape, Shirt + Hoodie package deals are AVAILABLE HERE.
Before I give a the full breakdown of what’s on this mixtape and why, I’d like to announce that there will be new Sage Francis album (title withheld for now) in June of 2014. A world tour is currently being booked for that time period as well, which will officially end what became a 4 year hiatus for me. I have some explaining to do on that front, and I will soon enough, but as I’ve basically lived a hermit lifestyle since 2010 I’d like to express how excited I am to get these wheels spinning again. This “on the road again” lifestyle will begin with my Australian tour the day this mixtape drops.
“BLUE” is produced by Reanimator.
As we approach the end of 2013, close to 15 years after I first started the “Sick of” mixtape series, it appears that everything has come full circle with me. When I released my first mixtape in 1999, it was done out of financial necessity. I was without a label, without funding, and I was sitting on a bunch of recorded material that no one could hear except for the small number of people who lived within the broadcast range of RI college radio. The MP3/download “revolution” hadn’t kicked off just yet and, quite frankly, I needed to subsidize my career somehow. As far as I know, no other emcees released their own mixtapes before this point. I make that (somewhat lofty) claim reluctantly as it’s entirely possible that other rappers were releasing mixtapes at the time, but none that I am aware of. It was essentially a medium for DJ’s who would put together mixes of interesting, exclusive, new and/or obscure songs from various artists. This made me wonder why I wasn’t doing the same for myself. The recordings I was sitting on couldn’t constitute an official album, but I saw value in the material as a whole. I was sitting on a collection of home recordings, live recordings, radio freestyles, 12″ singles, etc…The sound quality varied greatly from track to track, but the content was there. I decided to group all of these straggler tracks together and give them a home on “Sick of Waiting.” This, in essence, is the “bootleg” origin of Strange Famous Records. Which brings us to the present…
Here I am sitting on a pile of recorded material that I can’t really call an album, but the archivist in me is really happy to give it an official home with SICK TO D(EAT)H. The sound quality varies from song to song due to the different equipment and formats used from 1994 to 2013. From the remixes to the demos to the live recordings and the soundbites, I packed as much as I could into 75 minutes while tying it all together with a turntable ribbon. If you’ve followed every commercial release of mine, then you’ll notice that some of these songs are alternate versions of official album cuts. You’ll also notice that the demos contain additional lyrics or bonus verses while the music is entirely different from the official album versions. If you follow every update I make on social networks, which is nearly impossible, then you’ve heard some of the other material such as the “Ubuntu (Water into Wine)” song –that is the first song I recorded since the release of Li(f)e in 2010 and it set me back into motion as far as writing and recording goes. Every track on this compilation mix comes with an interesting bit of history, including the brand new ones, and this is all explained below.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this mixtape in one form or another. Big salute to Pat Jensen for the artwork, design and layout. Another salute to Storm Davis for helping keep SFR afloat despite how rough the waters have gotten for indies lately. All the emcees, musicians and producers who are mentioned in the track listing deserve shouts as well because they rule, so check out their music and buy their albums if you can. Lastly, thank you all for sticking with the kid all these years. Now let the Epic Beard Men usher you into the new mixtape with this free download: “You Can’t Win” (feat. B. Dolan, prod. by Buddy Peace)
Sage Francis – SICK TO D(EAT)H, 2013
01 - STD INTRO - (2005, beat & cuts by Kool DJ E.Q.)
Back when I had a radio show on WRIU 90.3, the opening theme to my show was “Death of Hip Hop” by Kool DJ E.Q. off of the “Return of the DJ” album. Still one of my favorite DJ pieces. I can’t remember how we got in touch with one another, or when he sent me this beat with scratches on it, but I’m guessing it was around 2005. I stumbled across it recently and realized it had never been used so I added a few relevant vocal samples to it for the sake of the mixtape intro.
02 - GIMME DAT - (2008, beat by Buck 65)
I believe we released this as a “Clip of the Week” at SFR in 2008 and then it disappeared from the internet. The beat Buck did for this is insane. It’s a barrage of percussion that, for whatever reason, made me want to list off a bunch of “stuff” that I want. I tied it together with a chorus I jacked from The Dead Milkmen: “Everybody’s got nice stuff but me.” With their blessing I might add, which is awesome because they’ve always been my favorite punk rock group. Thanks, Dead Milkmen!
03 - ZERO Demo - (2009 “I was Zero” demo, beat by Buck 65)
The backing music on “I Was Zero” from my Li(f)e album is almost entirely different from this demo version except for the bass line. There are also additional lyrics on this version. The demo has a more playful feel than the album version, which I think is necessary for the chorus to really work the way I intended. I go back and forth between the two though depending on my mood. The outro of this song is a recording of Jackson from Grand Buffet from our Fuck Clear Channel Tour in 2004. I didn’t credit him on the track list because he has red hair.
04 - BLUE - (2013, beat by Reanimator, cuts by Buddy Peace)
I strongly debated whether I should save this for the official LP, but in the end I decided its tone probably wouldn’t match the overall feel of what I’m going for on it. Alas, I’m really proud of this track and I’m always excited to work with Reanimator. A bulk of these lyrics were inspired by a vet who I sat next to on a plane many years ago. His story about transitioning back into civilian life after all the war he had seen really got me thinking about…well…our culture of violence. I’ll leave it at that for now.
05 - SLOW D(EAT)H Demo - (2009 “Slow Man” demo, beat by Buck 65)
This is entirely different music than the version of “Slow Man” from the Li(f)e album and it includes an additional verse. This one provides more punch where as the Li(f)e version takes a more laid back approach. My falsetto is nothing short of exceptional on the chorus. I can only hit those notes when there’s a full moon.
06 - THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD TO ME - (2013, beat by Prolyphic)
Prolyphic (who just released an album with Buddy Peace called Working Man) is mainly known for his emcee skills. He makes some monster beats though and this is one of them. It’s very uptempo and full of movement. Every single line in this song rhymes with “dead to me.” Because…these are things to do in Denver when you’re dead to me. It’s a good list of suggestions.
07 - VIVA LA VINYL - (2013, beat by Reanimator, violin by Jolie Holland, cuts by Buddy Peace)
I had been sitting on this Reanimator beat since 2004 or so. I’ve always loved it but I could never think of the perfect way to use it. In fact, while I was recording some songs with Jolie Holland Human the Death Dance, I asked her to play violin over the music. I loved it, but I still couldn’t find my place in it. While I was rapping up this mixtape I decided to give it a shot and it has turned into one of my favorite tracks as of late. It’s incredibly chilled out and I basically get to tell the tale of a guy who’s not making the smoothest of transitions into the MP3 world. Buddy Peace was able to put together some scratch magic on the fly. The vocal sample on the end was suggested by Kathleen from Circle Takes the Square. As you’ll notice, it provides the perfect segue to the next song.
08 - YOU CAN’T WIN - (2013, feat. B. Dolan, beat by Buddy Peace. EPIC BEARD MEN!)
When B. Dolan and I formed the Epic Beard Men, we wanted it to be the kind of thing where we could make fun hip-hop songs and just wild out. A lot of our solo material tends to be about depressing shit, so it’s good to have the option to do stuff that’s more traditional and reminiscent of the kind of hip-hop we grew up on. I’d say it’s a mix between the Beasties, Run DMC, NWA and the Native Tongues. If that makes any sense. This is only the second official song we’ve done as EBM, both tracks produced by Buddy Peace, and it ended up being 10 minutes long. We actually got into a serious argument about how to end the song which could have ended our bearded union if Buddy Peace didn’t step in and demand that we not shout out every single city we’ve ever played at the end of the song. “Just some of the places…just some,” he said. Many thanks to Dan Sawyer for letting us record in his studio.
09 - BREAKING 2BAD - (2013, feat. B. Dolan, beat by Buddy Peace. EPIC BEARD MEN!)
This is a remix Buddy Peace did of the first official EBM song, 2Bad. Every sample except for the drums comes from the “Breaking Bad” TV show. B. Dolan’s not even a fan of that show (he thinks the final season of Dexter was awesome…pffff) so if you have any criticism about how we sampled a bit of television magic then direct it my way.
10 - LET EM COME REDUX - (2012, Scroobius Pip, Metermaids, Cecil Otter. Beat by Cecil Otter)
The original version of this song is on Scroobius Pip’s solo album, “Distraction Pieces.” This redux is a complete overhaul of the OG, from music to lyrics to guest spots. Cecil Otter put the beat together, I recorded a new verse, the Metermaids hopped on the track and Cecil Otter capped everything off with an additional verse.
11 - DARK ARTS ABRIDGED - (2011, “Art of Darkness” demo edit. Beat by MC Lars.)
People who are familiar with MC Lars probably heard the full version of this song on his Indie Rocket Science album. His version clocks in at 5:30 where as mine is 3 minutes long. Because he’s not on it. I KNOCKED HIM OUT THE BOX! Wait…haha..no disrespeck. Let me explain. This demo version is what I originally recorded before anything else was added or switched and I fell in love with it. On the album version, the string samples had to be removed, the sing-sung chorus was replaced with chopped vocals, and the verses were broken up with Lars’ sections intertwining with my sections. You’re more than welcome to enjoy and/or prefer the official album version, but I’m glad I get to share the demo version too. I found it to be a good pairing with the song that comes next, especially with the Bill Hicks snippet used at the end.
12 - REHAB Demo - (2006, beat by Paul Fava)
“Going Back to Rehab” is the last song on my Human the Death Dance album. It is brooding with a very slow built. The demo version, however, is uptempo and hits hard straight out the gate. Paul Fava gave me this beat in 2004 or so and I believe we released this as SFR “Clip of the Week” in 2005. That was the last people heard of it though until now.
13 - HIGH STEP Demo - (2006, beat by Eaters)
It’s interesting how the tone of music can give a whole new feel, and maybe even understanding, to lyrics. This beat by Eaters (UK) is creepy and dark. The album version, which was produced by Ant, is more energetic and in your face. It was strange hearing this version after so many years and realizing that, “hey…I like this song a lot. Fuck everyone who thought it was just about football.” Haha. The second half of this song is the recording of a sexist pastor who doesn’t apologize for standing where God stands. Take a number, slob.
14 - THE PASTOR SLEEPS FINE (interlude)
Reanimator gave me these horns ages ago and I wasn’t able to make proper use of them until now. The pastor sleeps fine, guys.
15 - ORIGIN TO DESCENT - (2013, beat by Buddy Peace)
You may possibly hear the second verse from this song pop up elsewhere at some point. In 2011 someone approached me about doing a song with Kool G Rap. He’s a childhood idol of mine so I jumped a the opportunity. I recorded my verse and then I heard his verse. And then the person who approached me hopped on the song as well and then it turned into a whole other thing. Well, Buddy Peace remixed the version with just me and KGR which I preferred over the beat they were using. Since I haven’t heard back from them in a couple years, and since I don’t want to use KGR’s vocals without his permission, I decided to just record an additional verse release this as an entirely new song. I think Buddy was getting a bit restless about this beat not being used, so I’m glad I have an excuse to release it now.
16 - TREE OF KNOWLEDGE (spoken word, 1999)
This is a live recording of me performing a piece called “Tree of Knowledge” at the Century Lounge (Providence, RI) during the beginning of an AOI show. A version of this piece exists with a beat but I think the spoken word version has a great touch. The music I placed behind it was kind of a happy accident and I was surprised by how well it fit with just a bit of editing. The outro of this track has a snippet from a Bill MacMillan poem. He’s great.
17 - THERE IS A BETTER WAY - (Lord Grunge on vocals & guitar)
Lord Grunge (Grand Buffet) sent me a preview of his rock and roll album which comes out next year. This is the intro to his album. I snatched it and sang over it in an attempt to recreate the harmony sessions we’d often have in the tour van. That’s that. It’s mine now. Eh. It’s actually his…it’s a short catchy tune and he was nice enough to let me use it.
18 - UBUNTU (WATER INTO WINE) - (2012, beat by Adam248 & Sage)
For information about this song and the kids who are featured on it, please visit www.tinyurl.com/SageFrancisUBUNTU
19 - DON’T THINK Vs. REBEL YELLOW - (2013, No Bird Sing / Cecil Otter. Mash up by Bearpuncher Prime)
SFR recently released No Bird Sing’s “Definition Sickness” album. “Don’t Think” (feat. yours truly) was the first single and we held a remix contest. Bearpuncher Prime came through with this mash-up where he placed our vocals over Cecil Otter’s instrumental for “Rebel Yellow” and I love it. Works perfectly. It’s a Minneapolis love-fest in here.
20 - BABY STAYS (LIVE ON BBC) - (2010, guitars by Worgie and Yila)
When I was visiting the UK in 2010 I was asked to be a guest on Lauren Laverne’s show BBC Radio 6. She asked if I could perform some songs live and recommended that I play with live instruments. Well…I didn’t have a band with me. I scrambled around to see if I could find someone to play guitar for me and that’s when Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip put me in touch with Worgie and Yila. Without more than an hour to prepare, we stepped into the studio and this is the result. I’m really happy with it. Apparently the UK was into it as well because this was the only time my name trended on Twitter. I did it, mom! I’ve arrived!
21 - I DON’T KNOW (feat. Atmosphere, 2003 demo)
This song somehow fell through the cracks when I recorded “Stuck” and “Cigarette Breaks” with Atmosphere back in 2003. It was never recorded in a professional studio and the demo recording only existed on 4 track tape. I had to convert it to CD so it’s definitely got some sound issues. It’s a fun track though and it’s about time this saw same daylight.
22 - KID PROFIT FREESTYLE OUTTAKES (1994 bedroom cypher)
I don’t want to say this guy’s real name because he’ll kill me for including these snippets. I miss those old days though. Freestyling in the bedroom about absolutely nothing at all and recording it…why? Because one day I’d have a mixtape called Sick to D(eat)h.
23 - LIFE IS AN STD - (1996 demo)
This song appeared on my very first demo tape in 1996. I didn’t have anyone making beats for me at the time, so I rapped over this Killarmy instrumental which samples the theme song from The Incredible Hulk TV show. I went on to record a studio version of this song with AOI a couple years later, but I prefer the rawness of this one. My ideology has changed a lot over the years, so it’s funny to hear myself dropping pseudo-religious references in a serious way. That’s kind of why I like including older material on mixtapes though. Shows evolution. Or devolution. Depends on your perspective.
24 - YEARS Demo - (2009, “16 Years” demo, beat by Kurtis SP)
The album version of 16 Years did not follow the demo version at all. The music is entirely different. I don’t even think there’s any percussion on the album version. As Kurtis SP’s name suggests, he uses an SP 1200 to make beats which makes drums crunchy and awesome. I love both versions of this song, but this one is a great alternative. There’s even a bit of a chorus happening there. I figured that the theme, feel and content of this demo would be a perfect ending to the 75 minute journey.
While standing at the merch booth at my show in Pasadena, I was griping to my friend Hugo about how I’d be missing the final episode of Breaking Bad due to my long flight home the following day. Moments later a cast member introduced herself to me and asked for pictures. Uhhhhhhh yeah. Cripes almighty. Much love to Emily Rios (AKA Andrea from BB.) Having her at my show killed any and all gripes I could possibly have. I damn near shit myself. She was going on and on about my music and all I could think was, “Oh my God, are you serious right now? Todd did you SO DIRTY in the second to last episode!” haha. Thanks to this surprise guest appearance at my show, I’m not even mad that Walt Jr’s crutches were not kicked out by the final episode even though that’s something I’ve been predicting (hoping for) for the past two seasons. Due to being so giddy, I forget to mention to her that I have a song with B. Dolan (remixed by Buddy Peace) called “Breaking 2Bad”.
All in all, ’twas a very good night. California is always so good to me. Thanks weirdos.
What kind of name is Joeypresents and who the hell is this character anyway? Well…whoever he is and wherever he’s from, Mr. Joeypresents is officially the WINNER of the “Don’t Think” remix contest. CONGRATS, Sir Joeypresents!
Choosing a winner was not easy for us. There were over 70 remix entries and many of them were strong contenders for the #1 spot. After much deliberation, No Bird Sing and Sage Francis decided that Joeypresents’ overall composition, mix and musicality earned him the blue ribbon. There are many honorable mentions to be sure, but a special shout out goes to Dilly Dilly as she was the only producer who made it into everyone’s “top 3″ list. What ultimately kept Dilly away from the top slot may have been the sound/EQ of the mix, but what we most enjoy about it is the original vocals she added to the project. There were in fact a few people who probably could have probably won this contest with a better overall mix. We can’t be too nit-picky as we understand there was a relatively short amount of time for people to bang this remix out, but having a better EQ and overall mix should be kept in mind for future contests.
In addition to the official SFR winner, we had announced that the person who receives the most votes at www.tinyurl.com/DontThinkRemixContest would win the “popular vote” trophy. That honor goes to Moxe of Spain who not only put an electro/danceclub twist to the song but must have put on a hell of a campaign as he got more than double the votes of anyone else. Joeypresents didn’t receive a single public vote, which I find interesting to note. Haha. Funny how that works out. Alas, big ups to Moxe for being able to rally so many fans.
Lastly, we want to reiterate how agonizing this whole process. There’s a ton of talent out there, people from many different states and countries who deserve recognition for their work, so we’re going to leave these remixes up unless it is requested by the producer to take them down. Additionally, feel free to put the music up on your own youtube and soundcloud pages. Thank you all for helping us lose sleep this weekend.
Oh, wait, can’t forget why we decided to do this remix contest in the first place…
No Bird Sing’s “Definition Sickness” album drops on November 12th. Pre-sale deals are at www.tinyurl.com/DefinitionSickness
Below are the names of the 70 remixers in chronological order. I’ve included my brief notes on each remix in italics. Each person deserves more attention I’m sure, but there’s only so much time in the day. If anyone feels they were slighted or overlooked, please forgive me. At the end of the day, taste is pretty much subjective. I expect other people to weigh in with their own opinions and maybe they’ll hear something that I didn’t.
*Adriatic – (electronic/ambient/glitchy. Doesn’t really do all that much musically but it’s a good chilled vibe throughout.)
*Aiden Butterworth Kenny – (Sparse overall, which isn’t a bad thing really. There’s no particular part of this remix that hits me in a special way, but I do like how it has a perverted monastery thing happening throughout.)
**Animus Maximus – This is the kind of remix that sounds like it was crafted bit-by-bit to the vocals. Almost to the point where if someone unaware of the original may think that this is the original song. I love the change-ups and attention to detail here. My only criticism, if I have to provide one, is that I’m not in love with the sound of the drums. But I don’t hate them either. This here is definitely a top 5 remix for me.
*Antioch – Technically sound but for some reason it feels to me that the music doesn’t really follow the flow of the words too well. Not sure how to explain it, but I think too many things were stuffed into the sonics. I do like the drums even though I typically lean more toward breakbeats.
*Auxiliary Phoenix (Ireland) – Starts off interestingly enough, but ultimately leaves me wanting more stuff to happen.
*Beatfn – The synth line that repeats non-stop throughout the whole remix becomes a bit annoying to me. Strange how that never changes or drops out.
*Bearpuncher Prime – Clever mashup. He said: “I wanted to keep the mashup a strictly SFR/Minneapolis affair, so I used the instrumental for Cecil Otter’s Rebel Yellow…”
*Bec Ars (Romania) – I’m not sure if it’s the drum pattern or the overall busy nature of the music, but it feels like too much is happening throughout this whole remix. That said, I really love the horns and I like how special attention was paid to change-ups throughout the song. It just never seems to settle in comfortably.
*Big Balou – Another remix where the main music loop goes non-stop throughout the song. Starts off really strong though.
*B Sendio – Some cool tricky stuff happening with the vocals and music but that only happens in the beginning. The stock synth sounds and the drums sounds leave more to be desired.
*Chris Salter – Acoustic guitar remix. I’m quite partial to this type of music, and I love the approach, however this music seems to falter a bit during the chorus. I think it’s good there are no drums on this remix as I think it helps the vocals open up and breathe…that’s refreshing. However, the chorus is the only part of this song where the vocals take on a melody of sorts, and the guitar line in this remix seems to be clashing with our melody. If you can call it that.
*Classy Badger – The mood feels right. The lack of variety in sound or change-ups in drums unfortunately weighs heavy on this remix by the end.
**Cool Poindexter (Australia) – I love all the ways that this remix hits. So many interesting elements here. My one and only criticism is that the synth in the chorus might be too overpowering. It might be just right though. This is a top 5 remix for me no doubt.
*Cubbiebear – Cubbiebear comes hard with this remix, per usual. Pulsating music stabs and punchy drums. I was hoping for something crazy to happen during the chorus, but that may have been an unfair expectation. I think the way the music drops out through much of the second verse works well. Can’t help but feel like more could have been done, but overall the punchiness of this remix secures it as a top 10 for me.
*Dahbu – This drumstep remix is definitely one of the most unique entries we received. It’s so repetitive that it went from being annoying to enjoyable for me. I don’t even mind that the only vocals he used are from Joe’s first verse. I kind of like that actually.
*Dan Guinski (Brazil) – I’m really into this remix. It works in a lot of ways. The snare drum reminds me a bit too much of “Ace of Bass” but this remix was clearly crafted to the vocals where as a lot of the other remixes pay much less attention to the nuances of the vocals & song structure.
*David DuBois – There are some interesting things happening with the synth line, but the vocals are buried through most of this remix which I think hurts the remix overall.
**Dilly Dilly – This was the first remix that got me truly excited. I like the new feel and how she sang the chorus. A most unique entry and a personal favorite.
**DJ High-r “Cosmin Andrei Remix” – Has a smooth, laid back feel. The music switches up during the second verse but not the drums. The 4 bar loops throughout the song become a bit too repetitive, but still a nice feel overall.
*DJ Iron Gut – Grimy synth with good movement. Definite head-nod factor happening here. Cool acapella fuckery and vocal samples.
*DJ Spells – The synths border on cheesy, but I have a sinister soft spot for this type of sound. Everything has been sped up for this remix which is fine, but I do wish that vocals didn’t have that “sped-up” sound to them. I find it’s best to tweak the vocals in a way where they sound normal even if they’re faster in tempo. The major downfall of this remix is how the vocals fall offbeat a bit during the second verse. Love the scratches at the end.
*Doc Godfrey – Feels a bit too plain overall, but that might be due to how sparse the drum track is. I enjoy the tricks that are happening with the vocals and music.
*Dynamo414 remix (Sweden) – Good change ups in the music and overall enjoyable, but the drums feel a bit stiff as they never change in pattern. I think some drum variations could have elevated this remix quite a bit.
*Ecid – This is another synth-heavy remix which seems to be popular with this remix contest more than others we’ve done in the past. However, I think the true strength of this remix is in the sound of the percussion and the pattern that is used.
*El Sistema 407 (Chile) – I really like the upbeat feel that this remix gives off. The music drowns out the vocals a bit too much in certain sections, but overall this is a definitely an interesting feel-good version of “Don’t Think.”
*Evolution M.S. (Brussels) – This remix kind of has a weird 80′s r&b pop twist to it. Not hatin’.
*Goldensrap (Turkey) – I can’t tell if the sped-up vocal sample that repeats throughout this remix is its greatest strength or weakness. Ultimately I’ve decided that it just feels like not enough is happening in this remix to consider it as a top contender, but I enjoy it the way I enjoy scratching an itch until I pull my skin off.
*Grandfather’s Axe – This is a definite head nodder. Love the sound of the drums on this remix although they I think they should have a louder presence in the mix. In fact, the overall mix of levels might be my only criticism of this remix.
*Jae Havoc – I really like the music used on this remix but I think it’s too loud overall. Just by a smidgen though. The drum pattern is interesting and works well with the vocals.
**Jesse Blankenship – Funk style and walks with a badass limp. Top contender.
*Joeypresents – This music reminds me of when I attended dance clubs in the early 90′s. Not sure why. I envision big goofy hats and farmer jeans with one strap down. It’s a good memory despite how that description may come across.
*Knooper – This remix starts off so strong that I was feeling like it might be the winner hands-down. The upbeat drum pattrn, the punchiness, the underlaying music, the way it transitioned into the first chorus…all amazing. I found it a bit strange how Joe’s verse was a cut a bit short but I figured those vocals would appear toward the end of the remix or something. They didn’t. In fact, my verse was repeated a second time at the ending. I think that section could have benefited from switching from Joe’s lines to my lines if there was a desire to extend the track. My opinion anyway. My excitement faded a bit, but not entirely, when the oscillating bass appeared in the second verse. At that point it leaned more toward a dubstep/drumstep sound when I was originally hoping it would branch off into some more badass rock sounds. I still dig it. Different strokes and all. Certainly one of the best sounding remixes we received.
*K-Zom (France) – This remix is pretty mean overall. The drums snap and the low-end synth along with the high end melody hits just right.
*Lars Rosenblad (Sweden) – There’s not enough melody or depth to the music for this remix to hold my attention for very long.
*Leae – All the sounds in this remix are “original” according to Laea, so that’s cool. Interesting glitch tricks and after-effects happening with the vocals. There seems to be some compression issues happening with the vocals during the “snap” sounds, which is the only percussive element of the verses and they appear through most of the song.
*Liam Brennan – Minimalistic with an interesting drum pattern to boot. I like it in all its simplicity. It works in this instance.
*magOwl – He submitted two remixes and, although both of them were really good, this is the one I think would catch most people’s ears. The sample captures the perfect mood and I especially love how the sample used in the chorus works perfectly with the vocals.
*Mainframe Bird “Glitch Hop Remix” – Sped up and glitchy. Not my taste per se, but it’s interesting for me to imagine a song like this being played in a club.
*Manic – Dark synthful bliss from some 80′s horror/fantasy flick. Love this style.
*Matthew John Jamieson – This has a nice melancholy feel to it. The pattern of the percussion is interesting but doesn’t always seem to mesh well with the vocal rhythms. Really nice remix overall.
**Mild Maynyrd- I wasn’t sure if I’d like this remix by the way it started, but then it quickly grew on me and as the music developed it completely drew me in. Very unique feel.
*Missun – Distorted guitars and, what sounds like, live drumming. If live instruments are involved in this remix then it’s a bit of a letdown that there aren’t more change-ups throughout. A chord change here and there could definitely give this remix the dynamics it needs. Nice piano breakdown at the end.
*Moxe (Spain) – Electronic club mix. Not really sure what genre this is but I think it works pretty well. Doesn’t seem to be crafted to the vocals though.
**Mr Bomb Camp – This one hits. It goes many places. My only criticism really is that I wish the strings were actual strings instead of synth strings. Why didn’t he hire an orchestra for our remix contest?
*Oscar Motus (France) – Feels a bit too stale for me overall, it does have its interesting moments though. Just wish it had some more sonic spice.
*Pers One – The main music loop may be too repetitive but I find it to be really hypnotic. Other edits within the remix are a bit iffy in execution and the drums are flat, but I do enjoy this remix overall.
*Peter Hall – This remix is technically sound. But hearing a remix like this after listening to so many others, I fear it doesn’t do enough to hold my attention.
*RST – There is a serious compression issue happening with this final mixdown which is unfortunate since the music and beat sound like they work really well with the vocals. You’ll notice that the overall volume dips up and down rapidly throughout the song and that’s definitely distracting. It’s too bad more attention wasn’t paid to that aspect of this remix before it was exported because it definitely has promise.
*Rudius Max – The way this remix kicks off reminded me that I was hoping to hear more people do interesting tricks with the vocals and, specifically, the chorus. So this started off with a lot of promise for me but then it didn’t really keep my attention in the same way as the remix continued. It seems to be stuck in the same note that is presented right after the intro.
*Sai-Copie (France) – I love the old school flavor of this remix. The use of 808 drums and the repetition of the “Don’t Think” vocals throughout this remix makes it unique enough to set it apart from the rest in a good way.
*SaltforAmy vs. MikeNasty – A good remix overall, but it doesn’t hit me in any special way. I like the way the drums hit, but by the end of the song they sound a bit grating due to a lack of change-ups. It’s tough to tell on just a couple listens, but I think the drums might overpower whatever mood the music is bringing to the plate.
*Sam Hertogs – This remix isn’t going to change the world, or this remix contest even, but this style of beat kind of borders on a trap sound and it’s the first time I’ve heard myself over that kind of beat in a way where I was like, “Hmmm…I can see that. I get it.” So props for that.
*Scott Chambers – I like it. Reminds me of a drunken purple elephant.
*Serg Gonzalez – I like the composition of this remix. It sounds like it was all played live. I also love how he played around with the vocals a bit throughout the course of the song. My main criticism has to do with the sound of the drums as I think they sound too flat. This might be a result of them being live drums but I don’t know for sure. My minor criticism is that the vocals sound like they were placed a tiny sliver ahead of where they’re supposed to be.
**Skobie Won – I love the feel and the change ups. Lots of attention paid and considerable work went into this remix.
*Soundsmith the Programmer – The vocals are drowned out a bit by the music which is unfortunate because if all levels were evened out this would definitely be one of the top remixes for me.
*Stray Side – The drums are my favorite part of this remix, and the music works well too. But the lack of dynamics in the music is where this remix might ultimately fall short. I like the feel the music really works though.
*Supabuldozer – Really good movement happening in the music in a way where it works well with the vocals. I love piano though so I might biased. I like the way the music changes at the end.
*The Backroom – I like the sample used and the various sounds within it. I think my biggest criticism of this remix might be the lack of change-ups throughout the song, especially during the chorus. The 8 bar loop is definitely cool, but I think it needs a companion loop to help switch up the feel from time to time.
*ThinNXx – Dark synth stylee. I’m easy to please when it comes to this sound.
*Tiger Lightning – This is a sped up version of the song. Glad that the vocals don’t have the sped up sound to them, but it still feels rushed overall. Not sure this is the best sound for the song, but it is technically sound. Everything fits into place the way it should.
*Trey Clegg – Horrorcore style. Simple but effective. Some cool vocal effects and I like how the music switches in the chorus.
*Tommy Cryptic – Electronic drums and synths hitting just right here. I like where the drums drop out and switch up, but the music seems to lack in dynamic. I enjoy this remix a lot though despite that.
*The_Applefish (France) – My main gripe with this remix is that the vocals were placed a tiny bit ahead of where they should be, so every so often they sound offbeat.
*TymonsBass – This remix borrows a lot from the original song, but you’ll quickly notice the unique qualities of what Tommy has to offer as the song goes on. It has a lot to do with glitches, vocal effects and electronica trickery. An interesting listen.
*Vinyl Richie – Clearly a lot of work went into crafting this remix, but I think the use of stock sounds might give it too much of a cheesy feel.
*VoluT – I believe this is the first “Don’t Think” remix I’ve heard with some swing to it. It’s unique in a few ways actually. For some reason the music isn’t totally drawing me in, and that might be because it never hits a solid groove, but I certainly appreciate the overall execution.
*White Guilt (UK) – Mr. White Guilt takes this into “Teenage Love” territory and it’s got me swooning. “Don’t, don’t, don’t hurt me again.”
*Wiwa (UK) – I asked him to raise the vocals in the first version he sent and they still seem to get buried during parts of the verse. It also seems like the vocals fall off beat from time to time, but it’s a pretty cool sounding remix overall.
*Yoo Seph – Sounds like live music which is cool, but I’m not sure it hits me in any special way. It’s another remix that might mainly be suffering from the stock sounding synths.
Strange Famous Records and No Bird Sing retain all rights to the “Don’t Think” acapella. If you remix this song, you can offer it to your fans as a stream or download (though we’d prefer if you waited until the contest is over,) but you are not allowed to monetize or sell the remix.
FREE DOWNLOAD OF “DON’T THINK” AVAILABLE HERE:
I would personally like to welcome No Bird Sing to the Strange Famous family! They’re a special crew for sure. Their new album, Definition Sickness, drops worldwide on Nov 12, 2013 on SFR.
3 exclusive pre-sale package deals are available here: www.tinyurl.com/DefinitionSickness
Stand outs in the indie-rap haven of Minnesota, No Bird Sing combines the talents of emcee Joe Horton, drummer/producer Graham O’Brien, and guitarist/producer Robert Mulrennan. With “Definition Sickness”, the trio has maintained the integrity of their live-band roots while exploring a more produced sound that ranges from stark minimalism to lush expansiveness.
“”My gut is telling me [Don't Think] is one of the best rap songs of 2013.” – URB
We’re all pretty big fans of Breaking Bad here at Strange Famous Records, so Buddy Peace put together this “2Bad” remix using bits from the show. I recorded the original version of 2Bad with B. Dolan under the “Epic Beard Men” moniker for his House of Bees, Volume 2 mixtape.
You can download “Breaking 2Bad” for FREE at: www.soundcloud.com/strangefamousrecords/breaking-2bad
In other news, Buddy Peace & Prolyphic will be joining dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip on their UK tour this October. In potentially bad news (for people in the UK without tickets) all of the shows have already sold out. But here are the dates are here. Special pre-orders for the upcoming DanVsPip album, “Repent Replenish Repeat” can be made here: www.tinyurl.com/RepentReplenishRepeat
The original release of the Sage Francis x Inkymole "Personal Journal" hand-sewn Notebooks marked the conclusion of SFR's year-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of Sage’s ‘Personal Journals’ LP. Creator Inkymole has crafted one last batch, including BRAND NEW COLORS! Check them out here.