∆ (Alt-J) Warp Time and Space Rock Out At Webster Hall in NYC

This past Friday (March 23) British band ∆ (Alt-J) played at Webster Hall, their first of two sold out shows in NYC this weekend.

The show was opened by the sprightly electronic sounds of Hundred Waters, an indie-pop five-piece who signed to Skrillex’s OWSLA label last year. They set the mood for the evening with light, free-flowing ethereal tones and sharp vocals. Despite the seeming shapelessness of their music, their pastorally influenced performance was solid and synergetic, providing appropriate and comforting coos from their female vocalists in preparation for a wholly masculine main act.

Close to 9:30 p.m., Alt-J’s four backlit silhouettes took the stage to warm applause from the full-bodied audience, launching directly into their album, An Awesome Wave, with its first track "Intro." The audience was intimate and unadulterated, without the energetic conflicts between self proclaimed purists and alleged band-wagoners.

By "Something Good" (four songs in), it was made clear that we were there for good reason; their vocals had been accurately captured in their recordings and did not once stray from their careful curating. With modest interaction with the audience, the band were serenely shaped against warmly colored lights and An Awesome Wave’s album cover art, which served as their backdrop.

The deep bass charged behind "Fitzpleasure" in contrast with scattered bars of layered acapella harmonies illuminated their unique musical import as an electronic renascence, venturing into a medieval folk essence that never existed in American history. In conjunction with their cryptic lyrics and eclectic melodies, the set was a trip through time and space, subtly encased in an hour’s timeframe.

Though the set was shorter than hoped for, the audience was appeased with an encore that included "Handmade," which does not appear on their album. The four-piece’s staggering vocals held their weight against the intricate synergy of their instruments through tropical melodies, tribal beats and blues guitar riffs to create a sound so whole and natural that it resonated with the cracks in their backdrop’s landscape.

Their cryptic lyrics and languid tones vibrated melodically through "Bloodflood," while their harried hooks paired with glowing harmonies throughout were played with inspired intensity and were sung more sweetly than lullabies.

For those who were unable to get tickets to their show this month, there's still an opportunity to see them at NYC’s Governor’s Ball in June. Don’t forget to get your tickets here.

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After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

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Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

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— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"

 

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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.

 

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Jay-Z Sells Half Stake Of 'Ace Of Spades' To Moët Hennessy In New Partnership

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“I’m proud to welcome the Arnault family into ours through this partnership that began with Alexandre Arnault and continued with his father Bernard Arnault and Philippe Schaus, at my home in Los Angeles," said Carter in a press release. "It is a partnership that has felt familiar the entire time. We are confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.”

Moët Hennessy's president and CEO, Philippe Schaus shared how his company has been a long-admirer of Armand de Brignac's success in the champagne and wine categories.

“Often referred to as 'Ace of Spades,' Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs. Today, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with them and believe that the combination of our Champagne experience and international network coupled with Shawn 'JAY-Z' Carter’s vision, the strength of the Armand de Brignac brand and quality of its range of prestige cuvées will allow us to take the business to new heights across the world.”

Watch Jay-Z's sitdown interview with CNBC's Squawk Box (which aired shortly after the published announcement) where he talks about how the deal came to fruition and his growth since entering the wine and spirits space after boycotting the champagne line, Cristal back in 2006.

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