A taxman tribute, our 420 playlist, DJ Spooky's #PrivateJam and more in the music we tweeted this week
Grace Jones: Me! I Disconnect From You
Model turned new wave R&B diva, Grace Jones remains on heavy rotation at clubs around the world, but for many its her covers that stand out most. Jones reinterprets songs with a certain refined soulfulness that gives even the most familiar track a new allure. Her previously unreleased take on Tubeway Army's "Me! I Disconnect From You" is Jones in her element, injecting her brand of assertive vocals over a stripped-down dub backing. To celebrate Record Store Day, the track will be available on vinyl for the first time from Island Records through an expanded reissue of her 1981 LP Nightclubbing.
Junior Parker: Taxman
Tuesday, 15 April was Tax Day in the States, and depending on where residents fall on the country's economic scale, some received a small chunk of change in return for year-long investment while others had to give up some hard-earned cash. To punctuate the dubious occasion, we gave a listen to Junior Parker's slowed down, soulful rendition of The Beatles' "Taxman," which reminds us that while we may not always know what it's for, just be thankful he doesn't take it all because in reality, he can come for it any time he wants it. And file those extensions because if you don't want to pay, you'll just pay some more.
For this week's #PrivateJam, DJ Spooky—the man who exemplifies the idea of the disc jockey as artist and creator of new music—cited Prince's epic seven-minute jam "Controversy" as the song he'd be "really embarrassed to be caught doing air guitar to." He says, "I remember when Purple Rain and stuff like that came through. I always felt it was reaalllly slick and pop. When I was a kid, I liked more independent and underground music like Fugazi or Minor Threat and Bad Brains, and didn't like pop that much. But there's something about Prince…" There's no better guitar legend to air guitar to, we'd say.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of Nas' (aka Nasir Jones) seminal debut album Illmatic, which remains equally relevant today. The record—permeated with thoughtful and poetic lyrics, performed in Nas' trademark gravelly and passionate voice—is often credited with bringing East Coast hip-hop back into the raw fold and paving the way for the likes of the Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z. One listen to "NY State of Mind" and it's clear why the Queensbridge artist became a hip-hop icon—his first recordings have the refined clarity and lyrical range of a songwriting veteran. The anniversary coincides with both special vinyl releases for Record Store Day and commemorative documentary "Time is Illmatic," which kicked off this year's TriBeCa Film Festival.
Cool Hunting's 24 Songs for 4/20
Today marks the annual cannabis lover's holiday, fondly known as 420. To celebrate, we've selected 24 tunes that are sure to put you in a festive mood whether you're a casual toker or a self-declared pothead—or (questionably) neither of these. With legalization sweeping much of the United States and acceptance among most of the modern world, there's even more reason to roll up a fatty and enjoy the positive vibes put forth by musicians across all genres. So crumble some herb and take a hit from the bong or burn one down—just be sure to pass the dutchie to the left-hand side.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we'll include a musician or notable fan's personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam.