Friday Free For All: Chromatics, GZA, Cashmere Cat + DJ Mustard

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Chromatics – “Just Like You”

‘ last album, Kill For Love, was my pick for album of the year in 2012, so I have been in full-blown fanboy anticipation mode ever since their follow-up record — Dear Tommy — was announced in December.
Yesterday, we finally got a taste of the new album with the release of the first single, “Just Like You”.


“Just Like You” picks up on the dark and sexy vibes of its predecessor.

It’s the first of several free new tracks that Chromatics producer Johnny Jewel will be leaking out on a weekly basis via his soundcloud page ahead of Dear Tommy‘s official release in March.

It should also be noted that since that last time we covered the goings on at Mr. Jewel’s soundcloud in October
, there have been a ton of new uploads worth checking out and downloading.

I’ve been giving this gorgeous, previously unreleased 12″ version of Chromatics’ “Hands In The Dark” a bunch of spins on my show lately:

You’ll also find the Jewel-composed theme to Ryan Gosling‘s forthcoming feature, Lost River, here.
Cashmere Cat & DJ Mustard – “Ice Rink”
Nobody dominated mainstream music in 2014 like DJ Mustard.

If you spent any time to the right of KCRW on the commercial radio end of the dial, chances are you’re familiar with the producer’s work even if you don’t know it. From Big Sean‘s “I Don’t Fuck With You” to Tinashe‘s “2 On” DJ Mustard‘s ratchet sound was ubiquitous and his signature “Mustard on that beat, hoe” was probably the most oft-repeated phrase in music in 2014 (I’m not being hyperbolic, either. Check out MTV’s roundup of his productions from last year — the dude was PROLIFIC).

Last week we got treated to an unexpected collaboration between DJ Mustard and white-hot Norwegian producer, Cashmere Cat, in what amounts to a collision of underground/mainstream heavyweights of seismic proportions.

“Ice Rink” definitely skews more toward the Cashmere Cat side of the musical spectrum, but Mustard’s fingerprints can also be heard throughout.
According to Cashmere Cat’s soundcloud page, “Ice Rink” is the first of several beats he and Mustard worked on together last year. Hopefully that means more is on the way…
GZA – “The Mexican”

Okay, okay – I know last year’s Wu-Tang album, A Better Tomorrow, didn’t live up to expectations (and I’m being diplomatic by phrasing it that way), but the album wasn’t necessarily reflective of the individual members’ skills.

At the end of the month we’ll get a hotly anticipated album by Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD, and later this year we’ll (hopefully) get to hear the follow up to GZA‘s 2008 album, Pro Tools.

On Wednesday, GZA dropped a promising new track called “The Mexican”.

The track is named after and built on a sample of the classic b-boy staple “The Mexican” by Babe Ruth  and features contributions from Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, Hanni El Khatib, Ruban Nielson from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and an uncredited female singer who sounds an awful lot like Santigold (wink, wink).

I love the way GZA sounds over crunchy, dark Liquid Swords-type beats, but I can totally get down with this new party vibe, too.