You may recognize Ruffins from his recurring role on HBO’s Treme, but you should really know him first for his trumpet. Ruffins plays the brassy, sing-songey, “play it from the bottom of your heart” style that is the trademark of NOLA’s great trumpeters, including most obviously Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima. And like the many great New Orleans musicians before him, Ruffins celebrates the city’s heritage in every note he blows and word he sings. We Partyin’ Traditional Style releases next Tuesday, 28 May, via Basin Street Records, and features a plethora of NOLA faves, including “Careless Love”, “Jeepers Creepers”, the Armstrong classic “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South”, and of course, this track “When the Saints Go Marching In” that we proudly premiere for you today.
Don’t let anyone steer you wrong. Despite the fact that it’s an excellent album, Kendrick Lamar’s breakout LP good kid, m.A.A.d city was not the best rap record released last year. That distinction goes to the unexpected and sublime team-up between Dungeon Family-associated rapper Killer Mike and rapper/producer/former Def Jux label head El-P, the El-P produced Killer Mike album R.A.P. Music. Though they only rapped on one track together on that record, the project was a standout chiefly for their remarkable (and somewhat unlikely) chemistry. For that reason, it’s impossible to not be excited about their newest collaboration, a duo called Run the Jewels that features the two sharing rapping duties (and El-P wielding some typically monster production, naturally). First full song leak from the album “Get It” (a snippet of a song called “Banana Clipper was released a few weeks previous) shows the two in vicious quotable mode (El: “My name is Jaime Meline / I’m not chasing the green, I’m taking it”, Mike: “Mike’ll fuck a rapper’s life up like Monique did to Precious”) and they relentlessly try to one-up one another while sounding like two friends genuinely happy to be working together. They trade bars in classic style, and it’s rare to hear two modern rappers work so well together—so much the better, then, that Fool’s Gold will be releasing the group’s full-length LP for free this summer.
It seems like Polish grindcore lifers Suffering Mind are releasing something as often as other bands practice, whether it be a split, EP, or the occasional LP (the band love odd formats, as they have currently released a record in every size from two to eight inches). What makes this acceptable is that virtually everything they release is of such a high quality that the chance to get new Suffering Mind is tough to pass up. Their sound incorporates bits of grindcore, crust punk and death metal and influences from Assück, Discordance Axis, Phobia as well as a host of others. It also includes a liberal dash of mid-paced death-doom that features prominently here, spiking the blasting passages with a heavy, Repulsion-gone-doom reek before returning to the track’s frantic pace, complete with vocalist Radek’s blistered-throat high screams. This forthcoming split 7” with Canadian mincecore heroes Archagathus is an excellent place to pick up in the swift stream of Suffering Mind releases.
Brandon Biondo has been making superb new wave and art pop-indebted indie rock for years with Coolrunnings to little fanfare, but his newest band, Shy Boys (with co-vocalist and bassist Nicole McMinn) might be enough to break him out to a larger audience. The latest original to be leaked from the project, “Something” is a pristine slow-burner that follows the formula of much of Coolrunnings’ mid-paced material. What sets it apart, however, is McMinn and Biondo’s sad, longing dual vocal interplay and the big, crisp (though still suitably underground-sounding) instrumentation. There’s such feeling to the track that its repetition of “This is love / This is not love” sounds like the duo is wrestling with those sentiments as they’re singing them. Shy people everywhere (boys, girls or otherwise) should pay close attention to this one.