Normally, this blog is used to focus on friends and peers that live in and/or have direct connections to the Central Texas area, as my roots are deeply set there, but I do have a few strong ties to artists and camps outside of the boundaries of Texas. One of these strong ties would be my friendship and recent labelmate status with Ceschi, the founder of Fake Four Inc., not to mention a lyrical giant and songwriting virtuoso. I would speak on This Guitar Was Stolen Along With Years Of Our Lives, his recent “pay what you will” release, but the better path would be to listen to it for yourself, and if it speaks to you on any level, then click on the album cover above and read the digital liner notes on the Bandcamp page, as the personal context provided only serves to make the experience of this album that much more visceral. Definitely take advantage of this being a “pay what you will download”, but be sure to support if you can, or just stream it on you favorite streaming service. Share it around. Let others be healed by the power of powerful music.
Engulfed in the Marvelous Decay, the upcoming Chris Conde release from Fake Four Inc., drops this upcoming Sunday, and with Conde doing the work in terms of promotional rollout, it makes sense that his third (and seemingly final prerelease) single would feature a guest appearance from the always stellar and compelling Fake Four label-head and foundational artist Ceschi. Over a very somber and spacious beat, Conde and Ceschi open up their minds and hearts about attempting to stay motivated and creative in a world that gives us reasons to believe otherwise. The Summer of Our Discontent could soundtrack these bleak and uncertain times we’ve been navigating through lately, so if you feel like you could use a sonic remedy, check out the video, leave a like and a comment, and spread it around for all to take in.
from the digital desk ofFake Four, Inc.andMikal kHill :
“Two Weeks Notice was originally proposed by Tribe One (Niles Gray) in 2015 in the same way most of my duo projects have started… we were doing shows together constantly and started hyping each other’s sets and eventually decided we should just create a project that way. Niles is known for taking an incredibly long time to write, once spending literally 16 hours agonizingly rewriting the same 4 bars at my kitchen table, but we managed to create our first album in two weeks, while simultaneously booking the tour. Ceschi asked us to create a Freecember release a few years ago and we had already been working on two LPs off and on since 2015 so we knew we had more than enough material. Once again, though, we found ourselves scrapping everything we had in advance and ground out 6 new tracks on the spot for our first Christmas-Day release as a duo. I think the result is an EP to speaks to our isolation in the age of COVID-19, our lives as fathers and husbands and also as two emcees still at the top of their game, over some of my best production. Thanks for listening.”
Moodie Black, a standout group from the Fake Four roster full of massive talent, has always been observant of what other boundary-pushing artists are doing, especially polarizing artists like Kanye West. K has always envisioned her band being as relevant as Ye, while offering a balancing set of opinions, ambitions and skill sets to offset that of the Chicago-based ‘mad genius’. You can imagine, then, that Ye‘s embracing of MAGA, Donald Trump and the Right in general has been fuel for the Moodie Black creative fire. Add to the fact that Fake Four label head (and incredible artist in his own right) Ceschi stopped by the studio to commit a hook to the inspiration, and the result is Ye Death, an observation on living in the madness we do now and feeling like a kite off the string, which is probably very much how Ye feels now (in light of recent reports that he feels ‘used’ by the same political machine he wholeheartedly embraced, and all within the span of about 2 months). K and company always have something deeply introspective and relevant to say about what’s rocking the societal boat, and this is just another notch in the belt. Definitely check it out.
The concept of seasons being signal markers for human change and growth is not a new one… film, music and literature have all explored this story arc. Ceschi, however, is known for his ability to tell a vivid tale, and over Sixo production, Christmas Past plays like the masterpiece it is. The video only further drives home the emotions exploding from the song with it’s colorful and engaging elements. Beautifully heavy.
One of the best things about being involved in the independent music scene is watching mutual friends combine to make big steps on big projects. Heir Max has been a friend and someone I have shared a number of stages with for quite a while. Sixo and I have crossed paths on occasion, and we share a number of mutual friends. The two of them have combined under the label Fake Four (the indie juggernaut run by my friend Ceschi) to form Alligator Food, a no-nonsense combination of hard beats and hard rhymes. On some six degrees of separation action, my friend Grace Park left her songbird presence on one of the tracks for this EP. The guys from Alligator Food were even nice enough to put together a lo-fi mindscramble of a video for G.O.Y.A., the lead single.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m sure… Ceschi is easily the most wholly unique entity in hip-hop on any level. The guy can rap on the level of cats like Bone Thugs, where replication of his style is not easy, and yet, with a guitar in hand, he becomes one of the most compelling modern day singer/songwriters this side of Iron & Wine. This live footage from a recent Los Angeles show at Redwood Bar Downtown (beautifully shot and put together by Adam Boren Bennet) is further proof, so dive on in!
Ceschi, the mind behind Fake Four Records, is currently in Europe touring. Interesting things always seem to occur in his life, and this snippet is another one of those golden moments that, lucky for us, was caught on film. All Dogs Go To Heaven is a perfect demonstration of his musical ability and sensibilities, as well as the ability of his writing to cut right through the bone to where it hits you in a very honest way. Dig it, share it, and support his movement.
You never know when an artist is going to zone out and channel some realness for you on stage… that’s the beauty of when a passionate artist like Ceschi is given the chance to spill his soul in front of a crowd. At this past SXSW, he performed Beauty For Bosses off of the recently released Broken Bone Ballads, an album I am very much looking forward to taking in. Mad props to Fake Four for keeping things unflinchingly real in this world of falsification.