The Simpsons Musical Guests

The Simpsons has been on the air for over 25 years, so it is no wonder that they have had many musical guests drop by Springfield. Having announced that Pharrell Williams will be the next to join this long list soon, we compiled our favourite appearances by musicians in the show:

  • Ramones

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All 4 of the original Ramones line up appeared in episode about Mr. Burns’ coveted bear, Bobo.

  • Johnny Cash

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Johnny Cash starred as Homer’s Spirit Guide through a chilli induced bad trip.

  • Paul McCartney

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Before making his name by doing features with Kanye West, Paul McCartney starred in this season 7 episode about Lisa becoming a vegetarian.

  • Cypress Hill

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They were not the only guests in the famous Lollapalooza episode (Peter Frampton, The Smashing Pumpkins) but Cypress Hill’s duet with the London Symphony Orchestra for Insane in the Brain is what is most memorable.

  • Michael Jackson

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This early episode still has people guessing if it was really the King of Pop playing a mental patient. Even though he was uncredited, it sounds like an awful like him for it to be a fake.

-Ross Logan

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Joey Bada$$ – B4.DA.$$

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Joey Bada$$ is one of the artists who has been at the forefront of a new wave of rappers influenced by the Golden Age of hip hop in the late 80s to mid-90s. Born in Brooklyn in 1995, he was immediately immersed into the culture through his parents who were both huge fans. It is no wonder that this album is a reflection of this era. However, his ear for good production and unique voice and flow allow him to maintain his own identity in a constantly moving and expanding genre.

While he may have only 2 mixtapes under his belt, B4.DA.$$ has set an incredibly high standard for the rest of Joey’s career. He showcases his talents not just as a rapper but as a vocalist and songwriter throughout. On ‘Hazeus View’ he gives his vocal chords a stretch and proves that insightful rhyming is not the only weapon he has in his arsenal. He knows how to write and deliver a captivating hook, without it feeling forced in for radio play. Even the most commercially accessible track, the Maverick Sabre-assisted ‘On & On’, does not question the authenticity of the hip hop on the album. It only adds to the large variety of sounds that are represented throughout, all under the Bada$$ banner.

Fans of his well-crafted wordplay need not to worry also. Each track makes a case for Joey being one of the best lyricists of our generation. His ability to switch up his flow line to line is second to none and is never more evident than on the DJ Premier-produced ‘Paper Trails’. He proves that he is wise beyond his years on the album’s highlight ‘Christ Conscious’ and explores his Jamaican roots on ‘Belly of the Beast’, with help from Chronixx.

Everything about B4.DA.$$ feels carefully thought out, from the skits, to the production to the track order. It is refreshing to see a new artist take details like this into consideration. It results in a project that is more whole and consistent than that of many of his peers. Featured artists are scarce, only highlighting his rightfully placed confidence in his work.

The truth is that this does not sound like a debut album at any point. It is a young MC, who sounds like a seasoned rap veteran, showing us exactly what he is capable of. While expectations were high, they have been massively exceeded. It is not just an introduction to Joey through masterfully crafted hip hop songs, it feels like the start of something that will only continue to get bigger and badder as the years go on.

5/5

 

-Ross Logan

Best of: Podcasts

Podcasting is slowly becoming one of the biggest forms of new media available at the moment. It has all the benefits of radio, with less language and time restrictions. It gives the presenter a chance to talk to their guest on a face to face level, while not having to worry about plugging their most recent products. What results is a more authentic representation of the guest as a person. It is safe to that if any of your favourite artists, film makers, writers etc. have been featured on a good podcast, then you will more than likely hear some information about them that wouldn’t be shared anywhere else. Here is a list of my favorite podcasts in no particular order:

  • Scroobius Pip’s Distraction Pieces Podcast

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This is a podcast that has only been on the go since October and has 13 episodes currently available. In each episode, Scroobius Pip chats to guest for somewhere between 60-90 minutes. He has had such a large and varied array of guests, ranging from Russell Brand, to Watchmen author Alan Moore, to Killer Mike, one half of Run The Jewels. Many good episodes also come from Pip exploring the likes of fullfact.org with it’s creators, or One Million Lovely Letters with Jodi Ann Bickely.

Best episode: Simon Pegg

  • The Champs

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Hosted by Chappelle Show creator Neal Brennan and comedian Moshe Kasher, the Champs features the two hosts sitting down with a different celebrity each episode. That means there are plenty of rappers featured including Action Bronson, Big Daddy Kane & Freddie Gibbs to name a few. The most interesting episodes come from Neal and Moshe sitting down with fellow comedians, such as Chris Rock or Charlie Murphy to share stories and writing techniques.

Best episode: Charlie Murphy

  • Jay & Silent Bob Get Old

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“Every saga has a middle age and this is what happens when Jay & Silent Bob get old”. Part of Kevin Smith’s massive Smodcast universe, this one is unique to our list as they do not follow a presenter/guest format. Instead Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, better known as Jay & Silent Bob, recount their tales of making movies and being friends since the early 90’s. It also works as a weekly intervention for Mewes, who has had some previous drug problems, that he explains in detail in the first few episodes. It is a podcast that can be heart breaking at times and hilarious at others.

Best episode: #3 With or Without Mewes

  • NPR: Microphone Check

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Hosted by Ali Shaeed Muhammed, one-third of A Tribe Called Quest, and Frannie Kelly, an editor at NPR, Microphone Check deals with guests specific to hip hop, mostly artists who have just released an album. They have the opportunity to discuss the album in-depth right around the time of its release with the two knowledgeable hosts. The most interesting episodes come when they host panels to discuss certain topics, such as the Stories of Notorious B.I.G and Inside the XXL Freshman Cover.

Best episode: Eight Million Stories ‘Hip Hop in 1993’

  • Juan Epstein

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This podcast is hosted by two of the hardest working radio DJs around at the moment, Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds. Both hosts are oozing with charisma while on air, but this gives them the opportunity to sit down with each other and discuss hip hop in a relaxed setting. They often spend the opening segment catching up with each other, inside and outside of the radio universe and then they interview a guest for the rest of the recording. Many artists hold the utmost respect for the two, so it can often result in interesting interviews.

Best episode: Chris Rock & Questlove from the Roots

-Ross Logan

Street Ceol TV

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Street Ceol TV is an Irish music channel on YouTube that does a great job in showcasing the talent of many artists. Not tied down to one genre, they promote good music regardless of sound or image. They wish to work with independent musicians and give them the opportunity to record and produce new music, as well as promote gigs, music etc. There really is something for everyone on their YouTube channel (link below) with live recordings of local rock, acoustic, hip hop acts and many more. Check out their video of Jesse Heffernan’s track, ‘Juniprsmoke’ now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_xuANKuCHk

They are currently expanding their brand and launching a website at the beginning of February. They will have all their current videos posted on it and will also provide links if you wish to hear more from an artist or to contact them. It is a great service they are providing that is sure to help the music scene in Ireland to expand. In the meantime check out their YouTube page and follow them on Twitter and Facebook to help support independent music.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/StreetCeolTV

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/StreetCeolTV

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StreetCeolTVie

– Ross Logan

High Elders – Forest Of Pencils

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High Elders are an experimental hip hop duo comprised of Gentle Jones, an underground emcee from Delaware USA, and Auxiliary Phoenix, a producer from Carlow, Ireland. Living on opposite sides of the world has clearly not hindered their ability to create a musical rapport. Both of their individual styles combine to create an interesting and unique sound that is also capable of being quite accessible at times.

Gentle Jones sounds like a cross between Aesop Rock and Primus frontman Les Claypool, with his cryptic, intelligent rhyming and zany voice. His alternative flow is a near perfect match for the intriguingly bizarre production, which draws influences from many different genres. The varied sound is still firmly rooted in hip hop, with masterful cuts and scratching throughout, most notably on ‘Top Cat’ & ‘Rappers Are Jerks’.

There are a few stages when the album can verge on mediocre (‘Mean World’, ‘Dreams with Mephistopheles’). However, it still remains unpredictable as the vocal delivery and beats are vastly different track to track. The low points on the album are overshadowed by the likes of the brilliantly chaotic ‘City vs. the Soil’ and the glitchy and haunting ‘Ethernet’. Each song only testifies to both artists’ flexibility and natural ability to craft a unique project.

Stream & download the album here: littlelrecords.bandcamp.com/album/forest-of-pencils

3/5

-Ross Logan

MuRli – Surface Tension EP

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MuRli is an African/Irish emcee, often associated with God Knows & MynameisjOhn, a Limerick based act whose excellent album Rusangano/Family resulted in a lot of exposure for the group and support slots for Run the Jewels, Snoop Dogg and others. MuRli’s latest seven track EP,  Surface Tension, allows the spotlight to shine on him and gives him the chance to showcase hid vivid storytelling, unique wordplay and a flow that can be incredibly varied at times. He has all the elements essential to being a true emcee and potential by the bucket load.

Opening track, ‘Both Sides’ sets the tone for the EP with bass-heavy and stomping production from MynameisjOhn. He is responsible for half of the beats on the project, the other half coming from Naive Ted. Both producers do a perfect job in encapsulating the many different sounds and influences of MuRli, while still maintaining the same tone throughout every track. ‘Champagne and Chinchillas’ particularly manages to portray the positive message of MuRli through the floating, smile-inducing production by Naive Ted.

What sets MuRli apart from many other emcees is his wealth of experience that he has to draw inspiration from when writing verses. It results in a more interesting listen than your average rap album. His overall attitude and positive outlook on life is admirable. He does not just tell us of the world’s problems, but offers solutions when doing so also. Surface Tension presents the listener with a refreshing take on hip hop that is near impossible to fault at times. Along with God Knows & MynameisjOhn, he can count himself as one of the few artists who is trying something new and succeeding in the process. The fact that they are Irish is just the icing on the cake.

4/5

Stream & download the EP here: https://t.co/I9WHRIcmAZ

-Ross Logan

Smoke DZA Interview

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Smoke DZA is set to embark on his first ever European tour this month and we got to catch up with the Harlem rapper to ask him about his experiences attending and performing gigs. For a full list of tour dates see below.

-What was the first concert you ever attended?

“The first concert I went to was a New Edition Concert at the Apollo, very random hahaha but I was there.”

-What is the best hip hop show you’ve seen and why? 

“That’s such a hard question to answer. I’ve been to so many great hip hop shows but I can honestly say the best hip hop shows for me are the ones that I actually was apart of & learned from; watching Wiz, Big K.R.I.T, Currensy, and Method Man live every night how they worked the crowd and make people engage in their set I was able to take bits from each of them and apply to my own show so those guys shows are the best hip hop shows to me.”

-Do you like to smoke during shows?

“During, After, Before its a Marathon hahaha”

-Do you take time out to interact with fans while touring?

“Always! My fans mean everything to me touring and outside of touring. I give everyone their moment if you love me I love you. I appreciate the fact that my fans grow with me.”

-Even though you have been doing shows for a while now, do you still get nervous before you go on?

“Yup. It’s natural tho I’m nervous before I’m out there because I’m very hard on myself about making sure my set is tight but once I’m out there it’s gametime.”

-What is the best show you’ve ever played?

“I’ve had so many great shows but one of my best shows was at Sob’s performing with Ski Beatz and the live band was amazing. The crowd and myself thoroughly enjoyed it.”

-What is the worst show you’ve ever played and why?

“One of the worst shows I ever played was some random part of Ohio the promoters were Z-class, the venue was shit and I had to almost throw this bastard through a wall to get paid. There you have it. Haha”

-Is this your first time to headline shows in certain parts of Europe?

“Yes! I’m very excited about this. I get to touch my fans in Europe embrace their culture and bring them into my world. It’s gonna be fun.”

-Does touring become tedious after extended periods of time?

“Definitely. Being away from my wife and kids and my family sucks but it’s all worth it in the quest of being great.”

-What is the best thing about performing in front of a crowd?

“Being able to entertain them and leaving with new fans that maybe wasn’t familiar with you.”

-What is your favourite song to perform?

“City Of Dreams.”

26 January Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

27 January The Jazz Cafe, London, UK

28 January La Bellevilloise, Paris, France

31 January Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld – Cbe Köln, Cologne, Germany

01 February Yip Yab, Munich, Germany

04 February B72, Vienna, Austria

05 February Prince Charles, Berlin, Germany

10 February The Sugar Club, Dublin, Ireland

12 February Stereolux, Nantes, France (with Blackalicious)

by Ross Logan