The 10-track album, which includes the highlights “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate),”“Chocolate Souffle,”“Wet,” “Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss),” and “Thanking The Girls,” features contributions from singer/keyboardist Darrius Willrich, percussionist Carlos Niño, Knife Knights collaborator OCnotes, saxophonist Carlos Overall, and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes.
The New Yorker says of the album, “[Shabazz Palaces’] spontaneity and irreverence for rap conventions feel particularly urgent; these experiments are malleable and resistant to form at a time when declarative statements on the current era seem futile. Instead, the group continues bludgeoning musical complacency with songs as equivocal as inkblot tests. “This is high art / I tear the form apart,” Butler raps on “Chocolate Souffle.” He engages in a conversation—albeit an ambiguous one—with contemporary hip-hop on “Wet,” and dives headlong into a puddle of free jazz on “Reg Walks by the Looking Glass.” But the surprise is the uncharacteristically concrete “Thanking the Girls”—an ode to Butler’s daughters that unfolds over a static-filled, beautifully off-kilter.”
The Don of Diamond Dreams was recorded throughout 2019 and produced by Shabazz Palaces at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle, mixed and engineered by Erik Blood with mixing assistance from Andy Kravitz at Studio 4 Labs in Venice, California, and mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.
Purchases of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl with a silver swirl (while supplies last). All LP orders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart will also receive The Mushroom, a 90-page, 8x8 inch zine from the elusive author TTT, inspired by The Don of Diamond Dreams (the book will also be available for purchase at Shabazz Palaces live shows).
Meanwhile, fans who purchase LP through select independent retailers in the U.K. and Europe will receive the limited Loser edition on sky blue vinyl (also, while supplies last). There will also be a new T-shirt design available.
What people are saying about Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams: ”The Don of Diamond Dreams finds Butler’s effects-treated voice rippling through a prism of mutated funk and R&B that feels simultaneously sumptuous and deeply unconventional.” [8/10] UNCUT
“How many acts release five albums and how many out of that are still as current and relevant as on their debut? Not many. Shabazz Palaces have now joined a rare breed of artists. The Don Of Diamond Dreams is a glorious album that yields more and more with each listen. And listen you need to, because if you don’t you might miss something.” [8/10] - CLASH
“The Don of Diamond Dreams is the most fully realized Shabazz Palaces LP yet—from Butler’s new confidence in his own poetic authority to the way he and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire create hip-hop songs that never stop experimenting.” [“Album of the Day”] - Bandcamp
“Through this long journey through different states of consciousness and emotion, Shabazz Palaces continue to serve as the intrepid explorers through the eternal form known as music. The don of diamond dreams and gold stitched jeans continues to shine his light on the path for all of us to follow.” - KEXP
“The Don of Diamond Dreams is a brilliant, buoyant work of provocation and invocation from the rapper-writer-producer. Holy, wise, abstract, and contagious, Don is intergalactic hip-hop that burrows as deep down as it does fly high.” - FLOOD Magazine
”The Don of Diamond Dreams prove Shabazz Palaces to be such a fascinating and exciting project in the age of algorithms and formulae.” [“Album of the Week”] The Guardian
“One of contemporary hip hop’s original outsiders” [★★★★] - Q
“The Don of Diamond Dreams…feels warmer and more optimistic…[It] feels imbued with a sense that alternative realities – different ways of telling stories, different mythologies to reflect our true nature – are always within our reach, if only we’re able to fully embrace our own imaginations.” - The Quietus
“Shabazz Palaces have created another exquisite album” - DJ Mag
“Expanding beyond their already broadened horizons, Shabazz Palaces are seemingly unstoppable.” [8/10] - The Line of Best Fit
“On the 10 track project, the Seattle artists continue to showcase their technologically-intertwined take on the experimental realms of rap and hip-hop, spicing up their Afrofuturist aesthetic with melty basslines, eclectic percussion, psychedelic synth pads, and more.” - Hypebeast
“The 10-track project is another futuristic ride through Butler’s otherworldly mind.” - HipHopDX
“Shabazz are at their best when they channel all their ambition into a more tightly-packed album like this one.” [“Notable Releases of the Week”] - Brooklyn Vegan
“[Shabazz Palaces] remain immersed in surrealism, but their atmospheric oddity ends up a splendid fit for today’s hip-hop landscape.” - RIFF Magazine
“The Don’s way of pulling you in is to hypnotize you with far-out jazz pageantry and devotion before cutting you loose to wander through the brilliant, idiosyncratic landscapes they created – and they make it look effortless while doing it.” [★★★★] - Spectrum Culture
“Diamond Dreams is immersive and solidifies Shabazz Palaces’ stature as one of the few hip-hop projects to emerge in the 2010s and create a wholly distinctive genre unto itself. Its intergalactic textures don’t resemble earth, but that’s a welcome escape at a historic moment when earth doesn’t feel particularly inhabitable for humans.” [The Don of Diamond Dreams] - PASTE
“It’s a psychedelic groove, chopped and screwed in the fifth dimension.” [“Fast Learner”] - The FADER
“A woozy and echo-laden lurch that the group recorded with the excellently named Purple Tape Nate…It’s a cool piece of music, a starry-eyed vibe-out, and it’s a strong indicator for how the rest of the album might sound…The track draws stylistic connections between rumbling ’80s electro, broken-up Brainfeeder beat music, and circa-now astral Auto-Tuned drug rap.” [“Fast Learner”] - Stereogum
“Play this loud, really loud. The wooziness really starts to glow with the volume turned way up on headphones or big speakers. It’s great retrofuture background music, good for speeding down the highway in a DeLorean or selling drugs to a fax machine.” [“Fast Learner”] - Washington Square News
“The brilliantly abstract Seattle rap duo returns, with a deep bass intro that spaces out into a more expansive track as Nate’s Auto-Tune support vocals waft astrally, and a simple backbone of a hook threading it all together.” [“Fast Learner”] - City Pages
“With tinges of funk engrained in their intergalactic production, Ishmael Butler vocals stretch through space with a robotic feel.” [“Chocolate Souffle”] - Hot New Hip Hop
“[Shabazz Palaces] have managed to continue Butler’s relentless desire to reimagine what hip hop should and could sound like while boldly proving that they’re the heirs to the astral imaginations of Sun Ra, George Clinton, Octavia Butler and Alice Coltrane.” - Joy of Violent Movement
Y La Bamba has been many things, but at the heart of it is singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza’s inquisitive sense of self. They have been living in Mexico for the last year in between tours and wrote a body of work that has a lot to do with ancestral trauma. Spending time In Michoacan, Mexico as an adult has continued to be a strong guide. The writing that has come from the complexities of life and Latin American societies has brought a deeper sense of cultural identity. After releasing the 7-song EP Entre Los Dos, it was only natural to follow the flow of the next manifestation. “Mariposa De Coalcomán” is a song about the mothers in their bloodline, the many lineages that exist in spirit, in dreams, in the heart of the ancestral body. Developing new ways to communicate with the softness and anger of the past. “La Última Vez,” written and recorded in Oaxaca, Mexico, is a love song of boundaries and self-respect. It is clear that Mendoza has found a place to rest all thought and listen to the sound of feeling. Watch the official video for “La Última Vez” directed by Emily Krouse and shot in Los Angeles here(see also Rolling Stone April 13th news story).
Birthed from the intensely creative and genre-bending New York City DIY scene, L.O.T.I.O.N. Multinational Corporation has quickly become one of the most exciting bands of the underground, gaining notoriety for their unique brand of industrial cyberpunk and intense live shows. Masterminded by visual artist Alexander Heir, the group has gained recognition internationally for their fiercely political lyricism and striking visual aesthetic. Blending noisy electronics with live instrumentation, the band draws inspiration from the harsh minimal electronic music of Detroit, 90s rave culture, and the thrashing riffs of hardcore punk. Following their 2013 demo tape, L.O.T.I.O.N. Multinational Corporation released their debut LP, Digital Control And Man’s Obsolescence in 2015 via Toxic State Records. Their last LP World Wide W.E.B (2019) delved even further into the techno-dystopian universe, fusing elements of D-Beat and EBM. Watch L.O.T.I.O.N. Multinational Corporation’s official video for “Alphabrain” directed by Colin Devin Moore here.
Both singles will also be released as limited-edition 7”s only available to Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 5 subscribers. The series will also include singles by Father John Misty, Ohmme, Julia Jacklin, Clarke and the Himselfs, Guerilla Toss, Sumac, TEKE::TEKE, Redd Kross, and more. Subscribe here.
Washed Out’s Ernest Greene was one of many artists who found themselves in a state of limbo last month after the widespread cancellations of live performances and unexpected travel restrictions. In Greene’s case, the first effect was canceling a long-planned music video shoot in Italy, where he was set to collaborate with an international team of filmmakers.
In response, Greene took the opportunity to engage his fans, launching a collaborative creative project for the new Washed Out song “Too Late.” The result is a beautiful music video touching every corner of the globe that couldn’t have existed a month ago.
Photo by Blair Greene
I’d spent months planning a music video for a new song called “Too Late.” My inspiration was a Mediterranean sunset I saw late last year, and the plan was to shoot on the coast of Italy with a team of UK and European collaborators. As we got closer to the shoot date, word about the severity and the speed of the virus started becoming daily news, and it became clear it wasn’t going to happen the way we’d planned. We tried to move the shoot several times (to Malta, Croatia, Spain, and eventually the UK), and one after another, countries shut their borders. Seeing Italy hit so hard was especially difficult to see.
I put up an IG post asking for fans to help me come up with the raw footage I had in mind - those first few days, as I was going through photos of my trips and tours, the memories of traveling and experiences I’d had took on a new significance. I wanted the video to capture those same moments for other people in their lives, and give us all an excuse to remember what it’ll look like again when it passes.
I went in thinking if I got 100 clips, I’d have enough to make the video I wanted to make. 30 minutes in, I had the 100 clips, and a few days in, I had over 1,200 clips - from London, Bali, Okinawa, Ann Arbor, Dubrovnik and a few hundred other places around the world. It was pretty amazing for me to see the vids and pics flood in like they did.
I was blown away by the response, and I’m excited to share the project with everyone now. For me, it’s turned out to be a much needed reminder of how connected we can all be when we’ve never been more physically distanced from each other. I hope everyone that contributed and everyone that watches the video gets the joy from it I do.
I don’t know what the immediate future holds for Washed Out… I have a lot of new music in various states, and other projects I was looking forward to working on this summer. I don’t know when I’ll be able to tour again, or when any of the other new music will come out, but I’m staying optimistic about both….
- Ernest Greene
Washed Out’s “Too Late” is available now at all DSPs worldwide through Sub Pop. The track was produced and recorded by Ernest Greene and mixed by Ben H. Allen in Atlanta, Georgia.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “Keep Your Head Up,” is a spirited tune and a standout from their acclaimed A Tuba To Cuba documentary and soundtrack. The song was released in the spring of last year, with Cuban singer Eme Alfonso on the album version and in the official video. Later that summer, an update with rapper Pell was released for Penguin’s Original Tracks series and was performed on the streets of the artists’ hometown of New Orleans.
Last month as a Stay At Home order was declared in Louisiana, Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Ben Jaffe began performing ‘Keep Your Head Up” every evening from his New Orleans home (and filming it on Instagram Live) encouraging his fellow citizens to participate by opening windows, hanging on their porches, in their backyards, and decks to make musical sounds and rhythms with pots, pans, instruments, and their voices. A daily, uplifting, 5-minute break from everything, bringing people together by connecting families with their neighbors, community through sound, and through music.
Jaffe says of Pell’s contribution to “Keep Your Head Up,” “We couldn’t be more grateful to have a dear friend as talented and kind as Pell lend his spirit and voice to our song.”
Pell offers this, “This song is more important than ever in reminding us to enjoy every day, despite how much uncertainty and adversity this global tragedy has brought upon us. Stay safe, inside, and keep your head up high. Love.”
[Photo credit: Chris Swainston]
Late last week, the Preservation Hall Foundation launched the Legacy Emergency Relief Fund. The fund provides grants to the Hall’s Musical Collective to help with vital living expenses resulting from loss of work due to the Coronavirus.
Jaffe, who is also Preservation Hall Foundation’s creative director, had this to say, “The doors at Preservation Hall are closed for the foreseeable future and our 60-member Musical Collective is facing great uncertainty. We’re focusing all of our attention towards caring for our musicians in helping them weather the crisis.”
The Musical Collective performs over 1,500 concerts at Preservation Hall, serves over 30,000 students through numerous education and community engagement activities and performs globally at major music festivals, theatres and performing arts centers throughout the year.