Cas One vs. Figure: Murder Media [Single]


Well, the day has almost finally come, Everyone. Tomorrow is Election Day. Fucking finally, right? We finally get to figure out which monster will soon be the figurehead of the United States of America. And I will be the 4 millionth person to say, this is a sad time. It really feels like a lose-lose situation, but there really isn’t anything we can do about it. We are defenseless against the actions of the people that rule us. But there is solace is one thing: some good ass art has come out of this whole debacle. So let’s talk about that!

For those who were not aware, the amazing independent hip hop label Strange Famous made the greatest decision of their existences earlier this year when the decided to sign on two of the greatest artists in Hip Hop, Cas One and Figure, together as Cas One vs. Figure. And last March, they released a beautiful lyrics video to their brilliant track “Murder Media” that I feel is so damn appropriate for this day. Seriously, I cannot think of a more appropriate song to represent this day that will always be a proverbial cum stain in our history. The world is in such a disarray that we absolutely NEED a track like “Murder Media”. And as you would expect from two of the greatest artists in the Hip Hop world, they created something absolutely beautiful.

So, when you are out there at the polls deciding the future of this nation, I hope this track is seething through your brain. Remember: “You’re only as strong as your motherfuckin’ cause”. So what is your cause? And how far are you willing to go? Vote how you will, but understand that our future is looking grim, and while it seems like there is nothing you can do about it, you can’t give up hope. I’m not telling you to vote. I don’t buy that bullshit claim that “if you don’t vote, you can’t say anything.” No, not voting is a statement in itself. And if you do vote, please understand the consequences of your actions. Feel whole-heartedly about the choice you make.

And more importantly, listen to good goddamn music! And by good music, I am definitely talking about Cas One vs. Figure. Check out this amazing video for “Murder Media”, and formulate your opinions accordingly.

Check out more great work from Cas One Vs. Figure at the Strange Famous Website.

Sleep: All Men Must Die, But You First [Album}


The man is back! Back with a god damned plan at that. Yes, the golden child of Cincinnati is back with a brand new album that will blow your mind. Our man Sleep brings back his old school meets new poetry sound on All Men Must Die, But You First. In a business that has become so saturated with absolutely garbage, it is such a breath of fresh air to hear an actual lyricist spit over eclectic and energetic beats. I say this with absolutely honesty, there is NOTHING to hate on this album. From the concept of the songs, to the delivery of Sleep’s signature flow, it’s an overall perfect album. My only complaint is that it’s not 437 tracks long, but obviously that would be unreasonable.

It’s almost impossible to pick out one singular track to highlight, as they whole album as a concept is absolutely incredible. But, if I really felt the need to showcase one singular track, it has to be “Church with Grandma”. What an honest and deeply touching song that speaks nothing but the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It’s a track that defies so many stereotypes as well. As of this writing, I honestly can not remember hearing another hip hop artists, a black hip hop artist anyway, speak so diligently about being a non-believer.

I sit here and try desperately to find some sort of simile to use to describe Sleep, but’s not really possible. His style is so specific. I will say that he is sort of like the Bill Burr of hip hop. Not that he is telling jokes (although, if you follow the cat on Facebook, you’d think he was a professional comic). It’s just his delivery of truly powerful and truthful statements that make him so incredible and at the level of talent that Burr is in the comedy world. And All Men Must Die is definitely his best work to date. After about 6 or 7 listens of this incredible album, I’m pretty god damned certain I can say with total honesty: Sleep is a force of nature that just cannot be stopped, and has a talent that could take him in any direction he may choose. Fact.


You can pick up the album HERE, on a pay what you want scale. Throw in some cash people! It’s worth a million bucks, so you can through in at least five.

Check out this video for “Ima Be Famous”:

Matt Costa [Interview]


If there is one singer/songwriter that I have always loved and respected just so damn much, it will always be Matt Costa. In the early 2000’s I was a huge fan of everything that Brushfire Records was putting out. I loved Jack Johnson, and if you check out Part 7 of our From The Vault series, we still defend Jack to this fucking day. I love many of their other artists, but I can say without a doubt that Matt Costa was always the best, and is still the best to come out of that line up.

And Matt has proven that he is a creative mastermind with his latest project doing the original soundtrack for the film Orange Sunshine, that is absolutely beautiful. It’s something completely different from what his fans might expect, but it is fucking brilliant and needs to be heard. It is absolutely brilliant, and must be heard. The album will be out on November 11th, and is a must hear. You are going to love this album, I can guarantee it.

So, with that, I am so happy to say that we got a few words from Matt, talking about how he got into the world of music, what keeps him going, and a bit about his work on Orange Sunshine. So please enjoy!


When did you first realize that music was meant to be the reason for your plain of existence?

When I was a kid I heard Jerry Lee Lewis playing piano. A little later my Dad showed me The Who’s Tommy and Cream’s Disraeli Gears, I wanted to live in those worlds; the sounds were so powerful. I wouldn’t say that those influences are obviously apparent in my music, but that was my first introduction to Rock and Roll as a very young kid. I didn’t start writing music till I was 19. Since then I keep going further down the rabbit hole.

When did you first have that “Holy Shit, I’m a working musician now”. Basically, when did you  realize your art was officially your world?

When I started being able to pay rent from money I made performing or selling records. My girlfriend at the time was working and going to school. We we where living in Sacramento. She would come home, after I had gone through about two pots of coffee, and I would be running around the house like a mad man singing melodies and running over to catch them on the piano with a tape recorder. I was also learning a lot of songs. Whatever songs I could get my hands on; preferably the older the better. She couldn’t handle it but my wife now can.

Can you please tell us a bit about Orange Sunshine? How did you become a
part of this project? And  what drew you to this story?

I received an Email from a mutual friend of the director his name was Klee, named after Paul Klee the Artist, but pronounced Clay. Because his name is Klee I always trust him. He explained that William Kirkley was making a documentary on the Brotherhood of Eternal Love called Orange Sunshine. The title was familiar to me and the story was a local one. I had read some stories about this group and their drug smuggling history. I currently live in Laguna Beach where the story took place. Klee connected me with William Kirkley. He asked me to write a few songs for the film, and shortly after I submitted those he asked if i would be interested in scoring.
While the sound is obviously a bit different than those just tuning back in from your days on Brushfire Records or your recent EP’s, that is obvious, there is also a strange essence to this amazing record that is undeniably appealing. But, what else was different for you in completing the music for this film? What were the main things you were looking to do differently on this record, and do you feel like you accomplished them?

I let the film dictate the moods. It was a different approach for me, with the exception of about 3 songs, there aren’t many with vocals. I let the film be the lead and that was refreshing.

And I must throw it out there, “Call My Name” is a brilliant single. Simply goddamned brilliant! Can  you tell us specifically what you were trying to convey in this beautiful
psychedelic doo top (as I would call it) track? Is there a personal reason this track exists?

Well thanks!! The song is a traditional sounding love song but untraditional in a sense that it is referencing enlightenment brought on with the Orange Sunshine LSD that was spread throughout the world. Its refrain “I Need Your Love” is a call out to the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. It appears for brief section when two of the characters get hitched. They start a conservative life in Orange County and quickly realize after taking LSD that they need more from life.


I read on your website that John Steinbeck was once a fellow dweller of your community. Did you find  that his essence still lived among the residents? Real question, would you
consider Steinbeck’s work to be a major influence on your own work?

The Cottage where Steinbeck wrote “The Pastures of Heaven” sits on top the steepest street in town. You wouldn’t know that one of the most Important literary figures in the 20th century lived here, there no placards and there aren’t any streets named after him. I do a radio show on Tuesday nights and the DJ before me has a screen saver of the western flyer; the boat Steinbeck traveled to the Sea of Cortez. Sometimes he will quote Steinbeck on his show or he and I will talk about our favorite scenes from his novels. My favorite Steinbeck book isn’t an official novel but “A Life in Letters,” where his personal trials and creative process are revealed. Steinbeck has definitely brought me closer to my home state California.

Your hit single “Mr. Pitiful” appeared in numerous films and trailers and yada yada yada. I know this  is all old news. But, I have to bring it up because our old friend and fellow TWS interviewee, John Hamburg, was the man behind the Paul Rudd fronted comedy I Love You Man, so I have to ask, how was it hearing your track set as the background to such a goofy, yet undeniably sweet, moment in comedic history?

Honestly I’ve never seen it, but I have seen all his other films and loved them. The one thing it did do is make my family believe I really made it as an entertainer.

What would you consider to be your greatest non-artistic influences?

My Wife, Family, and Friends.

I know you are currently on the Orange Sunshine kick at this time, but do you have any foresight into what will be next? What is the next thing we can look forward to hearing
from you?

I’m writing new record and looking forward to sharing it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My friend lost a tooth. It was one of his front teeth. He has long hair and
A beard and a big missing tooth gap. It’s a strong look. I love him.


You can catch Matt Costa on a few West Coast dates. Each night features a screening of the acclaimed film Orange Sunshine with a concert to follow by Matt Costa performing songs from and inspired by the film. A Virtual Reality Component is included taking you inside the minds of “The Brotherhood of Eternal Love”. Here are the dates for November:

November 15th – Los Angeles, CA @ The Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary

November 17th – San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s

November 20th – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon

November 21st – Portland, OR @ The Albert Rose

November 22nd – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s


IAN SWEET – Shapeshifter [Album]


Dear fine TWS readers, please forgive me, as this is my first outing back into the “album review” world in almost two years, but I feel like I have chosen a fine example of why I want to be back in this business. I have a new style of doing things, and I feel like this album is the perfect lift off for me to explore new grounds, and more importantly, new sounds (no, I will not be rhyming as a “thing”, that’s just a happy coincidence.

So, IAN SWEET. Wow. This is what has been happening since I have been away, huh? Nothing can make a hack music-blogger feel more insignificant than hearing something like this that  has been building into a bigger and better thing while I was busy battling the inner turmoils of mild depression and the demons digitally brought before me courtesy of an Xbox One. But, what a fucking joy to come back to! There is just so much to say about Jilian Medford, the mad woman behind this beautifully deranged project. She is obviously an amazing songwriter, singer, and all of those things she has been told in so many ways over the years. She was solo before this, so she knows she is amazing. There is no Pandora’s box being opened on that front. But, I have to bring up the fact that the entire sound of Shapeshifter is absolutely fucking fantastic! I am a lyrically based, singer/songwriter type fan in general, and it is hard to shift my ignorant ass from that form. But, I will be damned if this trio didn’t up and do it! I am in love!

Seriously, you get everything from this record! For poetry obsessed aborigines like me, you get some serious wordplay about battling depression enraged by terrible relationships and the overall tyranny of living amongst the mortal world from a woman who “just fucking gets it!”. But, for the Marc Maron-esque folks out there, you get some pretty intense yet organized guitar work, perfectly timed drums mixed into a beautiful rhythm that is undeniably catchy and obviously important for so many reasons.


There really isn’t a damn thing you couldn’t love about this album. I mean, they have an ode to Michael Jordan for shit’s sake! You get to wax philosophy about terrible past loves while enjoying basketball legends, skateboarding, and the inevitable idea that we may all die alone some day. What the hell else could you want? This is just about perfect, if we really had an idea about what perfect really meant. I don’t think any of us really do. But, I guarantee Shapeshifter is very very close.

Alright, thanks Everyone! Please let me know how this works for you. Not so much the album, because if that didn’t work for you, well, there is no fucking help for you. This is beautiful music. I’m being personal. Did I do okay? Am I alright? Whatever, listen to more IAN SWEET!

Learn more about IAN SWEET from Hardly Art, or find them on Facebook (we still do that, right?), and on Twitter (this is definitely a thing still, right?) Find them on Instagram however the hell you would do that. Also at their website.

Check out this video from IAN SWEET right here as well!