In a blurry night of boozing, dancing, and probably sleeping in public, I was robbed two weeks back here in Madrid. I woke up at 4pm after a "rough" night to no phone or wallet. Even worse, the fucker took my only operational headphones. This put a dent in my music listening to say the least - new music crept out of the shitty speakers on my laptop, but it just wasn't the same. I bought a knife and then today I ponied up the cash for a new pair of earbuds with "RESONANT BASS" screaming across the label. To celebrate, enjoy these groovy tunes. Steve Angello - Tivoli (Original Mix) (YSI) Will Bailey - Hustlin and Scratchin (Gigi Barocco Remix) (YSI)
I'm going to admit it. I've been dragged into the Chillwave obsession. It's gotten a shit from critics saying it's just a fad. Only time will tell if this is true. I don't know what it is but I've gotten really into shoegaze lately, so I guess that helps explain it. I feel like the genre covers a lot of ground, so get ready for a big swash across the glo-fi spectrum. These are a collection of stand-outs. My favorites are the Librarian turned Sampling Rocker; Washed Out and Small Black a tiny band from Long Island. The rest are great. Definitely give it a listen.
I don't know whether its my recent string of arrests or my general anger towards race relations and life in the hood, but I've been listening to a lot of rap recently. Many new albums have surfaced recently showcasing some of the best work we've heard from already established artists.
Raekwon's latest, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, has gone through hell just trying to get released. Finished possibly as early as 2005, the album has gone through various record labels, name changes, and producers. Despite all of the drama involved, the final product was worth the wait. With tight production from RZA, J Dilla, y Dr. Dre, clever lyrics about life at the top of the mob, and various Wu-Tang members throwing in verses, the album hits hard on all ends. Listening straight through, I cannot say that there is a bad track. While I am posting these two RZA productions, I insist that you give the album an entire listen. Raekwon - Black Mozart (feat. RZA & Inspectah Deck) (YSI) Raekwon - New Wu (feat. Ghostface Killah & Method Man) (YSI)
Of the albums in this post, I'm having the most trouble with Q-Tip's Kamaal the Abstract. While The Renaissance sits high on my list of best rap albums this decade, this effort strives for a rap-over-jazz feel rather than just jazz beats. For the most part, the songs are a bit boring. Considering how well Tribe crafted beautiful verses over Jazz beats, I'm surprised I don't like this album more than I do. Regardless, "Even if it is so" is definitely the most interesting track and worth a listen. Q-Tip - Even if it is so (YSI)
Finally, one of the most surprisingly delicious songs in this post comes from none other than former Outkast member Big Boi. A SMOOTH jam, this one deserves some attention. I can imagine this gaining a lot of traction in the mainstream in coming months. Big Boi - Shine Blockas feat. Gucci Mane (YSI)
Denver, Colorado's Nathaniel Rateliff is the singer-songwriter behind both Born in the Flood and The Wheel. The Wheel's debut album, Desire and Dissolving Men is an impressive collection worthy of its attention. Rateliff boasts some very capable assistance from his string duo, but it's Rateliff who strums, plinks, and beats (lightly) on six different instruments on the record. And, as I've heard, it's "his high, emotive tenor and his charcoal sketches of human frailty that shine."
Slow is the ultimate getting sensitive song of this Autumn. I think its his best track off the album, and I expect the burgeoning generation of altbros to play this track for their own little Lux Lisbons. The Wheel is a great effort and I'm excited to see what Rateliff comes up with in the future. Enjoy.
Yukimi Nagano is the half-Japanese/half-Swedish vocalist of both Koop and her own side project; Little Dragon. Born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden to a Japanese father and American mother, Yukimi says, "I grew up listening to American folk because of my Mom, but I've always had an affinity for R'n'B."
Gothenburg, Sweden is best known as the home of such indie greats as Soundtrack of Our Lives, José González and Jens Lekman, not to mention the infamous black metal scene. Little Dragon throws its hat into the ring, competing skillfully in such a demanding market. Little Dragon is composed of Nagano and her close high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrick Källgren (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards).
You might know Yukimi best from her work with Sweden's electronica-jazz band Koop, and both Yukimi and Erik play live with José González.
Blinking Pigs' driving drum beat and Yukimi's vocals make this song as amazing as it is. Definitely my favorite off their self-titled album. Twice is a solid track, great for getting sensitive. Her powerful voice pushes it through even the darkest foggy evening. Summer Sun plays a completely different game, showing her talents in the area of modern jazz. Also great for getting sensitive on the sunniest of Summer days.
If you enjoyed our post on the Love Language, then Edward Sharpe (front-man of Ima Robot) and his new gang, The Magnetic Zeros are right up your alley. Their debut album, Up From Below, has similarly been compared to the folk side of the Beatles, merging in the primordial soup of Laurel Canyon's hippy-dippy heyday. But it's the large size of the band (approx. 11 musicians) that gives it both a cheerful and heartfelt sing-along feel, with the edgy bite of low-fi soundtracking. Makes you feel like you were there - even though you can't quite put your finger on what was 'there' to begin with.
My brother turned me on to this group. Their lyrics have really grown on me while traveling. Perhaps it's all too aplicable: I'm posting one track called "Home," and another called "40 Day Dream." Perhaps if you're on the move, you'll find your head here as well. Enjoy.
This past week I was fortunate enough to catch London, England's Fanfarlo at the Hollywood Troubadour on their brief US tour with indie darlings, the Love Language. Fanfarlo was formed in 2006 by Swedish musician Simon Balthazar and consists of Amos Memon, Cathy Lucas, Justin Finch, and Leon Beckenham. Their debut album, Reservoir, was recorded in October/November 2008 at Tarquin Studios, in Connecticut, so you can imagine the impressive meshing of sounds and influences that make this band.
To really understand Fanfarlo, it's important to note that Reservoir was produced by Peter Katis, who maybe better known for producing the latest albums from The National, Interpol, and Tokyo Police Club. The album was released in February 2009. In March 2009, Fanfarlo began touring with Snow Patrol to promote their debut. They've got a great sound that lends itself to easy listening especially as Fall creeps upon us. If you can imagine an English blend of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and the National with a more wholesome feel.
Their live show was inspiring. The intimacy of the Troubadour lent itself perfectly to the personal and down-homey feel this band produces. I have to admit that I have huge crush on the band's violin, keys, mandolin, glock, and saw player, Cathy Lucas, which probably skews my perspective on the show, but as I looked around the venue it was plan to see that Simon Balthazar had every chicken in the room drooling with his shoegaze style and youthful innocence as well. In short, they played a great set with a solid encore and I can't wait to see them again on their UK tour later next month. If you're interested, I highly recommend checking out their Live Set on Black Cab Sessions.
The time has finally come for the mau5 to finally deliver his much-anticipated 2nd (or 3rd) official release. Set to come out October 5th, For Lack of a Better Name includes many tracks that have already been leaked in one form or another online. Many were already selling on Beatport. After a first listen, this CD completely differs from Random Album Title. To begin with, RAT (whether intentional or not, this is very clever) is a nearly perfect electronic album. The listener follows carefully crafted ups and downs that span through progressive, deep, and electro house genres. This album spans genres, but rather abruptly. Honestly, this is more convenient to the listener, but is not quite as rewarding. The first half is for partying, the second for headphones. While I don't love "bot" or "word problems," the end of the album is simply beautiful. "Strobe" comes out of nowhere to close the album in a simple and ethereal way. I think the exposure to many of these tracks before they came out ruined the excitement for me a bit. In all fairness, when I first heard each song, the same joy swept over my face knowing that the mau5 had done it again. The three that I hadn't heard have had the same effect. For any fan of electronic music, this album is a must, must get. Mr. Zimmerman is so technically proficient that almost any music he makes will at least sound good. Each track on each song is so perfectly interlaced that if all else fails, he can at least have a future in production. I'm posting the first and last songs on the album to give an idea of how far-reaching it is. They are also two of the more interesting Deadmau5 releases, with live drums on the former and a 4 minute plus build up on the on latter.
For the following semester, I will be living abroad in Madrid. I have only been here for a few days, and already have gotten myself sick from the crazy lifestyle. I started off in Ibiza, where we saw, among others, Steve Angello. The man has talent and loves what he does, occasionally more into the music than the crowd. Although we saw Angello at Pacha, our favorite club was Space and the most impressive was definitely Privilege. With a 10,000 person capacity, it is truly the largest club in the world. The DJ is suspended over a swimming pool while dozens of dancers strip onstage in front of a giant navy ship. Here is a classic disco-era house hit featuring one-time Swedish House Mafia member Eric Prydz.
Although he was missing in action on this certain night at Pacha Ibiza, Sebastian Ingrosso is firmly a member of the clan. Regardless, Angello ended up playing this, his remix of the overly-remixed "Kids," that somehow manages to bring out yet another entirely new side to the song. Sebastian Ingrosso - Kidsos (YSI)
After the success of Bob Marley, Island Records went looking for the next great import. They settled their sights on the not so settled, radical superhuman named Fela Kuti. The word maverick is in the first sentence of his wikipedia page, which doesn't even do him justice because there isn't a picture.
His funeral was the largest public congregation in Nigeria. Ever. He spent his life in and out of jail, openly fighting the corruption of the Nigerian military government. He married 27 women on the same day. He makes his rock and roll contemporaries look like the Brady Bunch. But most important to this particular discussion, his music kills.
He wails on the sax and sings and plays all kinds of traditional instruments. Funky Afro-beat guitar shreds through like a drum riff. I'm posting the A-side of his 1975 album, Expensive Shit.
Of course, it was the Professor who turned us on to him. He wrote a book on Fela, which is really more of a journal he wrote over a couple months while staying with the musician. He went over to Nigeria to film a movie and jam with Fela, but the government raided while he was there and took his passport. Issued beatings.
The fusion of the electric guitar into Highlife bred a whole new beast of short, funky riffs that support the poly-rhythms of the music. The poly-rhythmic structure is a natural result of incorporating so many individual drums. One drum line will start with a simple 4/4 rhythm, then the next is layered over, except in 3/4 time -- a waltz. The product is a revolving 6/8 you can recognize in each of these songs.
This particular picture is of a band run by John Collins, guitarist, producer, and chair of the Music Department at the University of Ghana. He shreds. Many of these short samples that I am posting were originally recorded by the Professor or his contemporaries. For the past 40 years, he's been collecting indigenous and popular music from all over West Africa; it is impossible to tell the story of modern music in Ghana without including John Collins.
He is also my music teacher.
Here are a couple examples of more modern Highlife. Some are rather low-fi, considering a number of these tracks were recorded with a traveling studio van. There is a shockingly soulful tribal jam, from the Ashanti region. The opening sounds like train tracks, but they're just sticks on wood blocks. Enjoy:
The fusion of traditional African rhythms with Westernized brass and melodies is the core of Highlife music. Its capital is Ghana. It originated on the coast and spread through West Africa, via the vehicle of colonialism. It uses the poly-rhythmic tribal beats, which just roll like a wheel (as opposed to the more punctuated phrasing of western rhythms). The music has been around and evolved for the better part of a century - through the jazz age, and electronification, and war.
This is the first of a series of posts relating to Highlife music. Unfortunately, due to very funny restrictions here (in Ghana), a lot of the following tracks are abbreviated. However, I hope they still give you an idea of the spirit out here. Enjoy.
First, I'm posting a couple catchy examples of the early Highlife. For anybody looking for good hooks or vocal samples - this is an absolute gold mine. These are the pioneers of the music, laying the foundations:
September 5th, 2009 Los Angeles, CA was graced with FYF Fest or more colorfully refered to as Fuck Yeah Fest Fest, and it was just that. This year was the festival's fifth run and its first attempt at turning a three-day festival into a one-day three staged outdoor fest. This year the festival was dedicated to saving California's State Parks, which face almost complete closures due to the Golden State's enormous budget deficit. At 20 dollars a ticket into No-Fi Heaven; its a pretty sweet deal. Groups of note included: the Black Lips, No Age, Wavves, Dan Deacon, Times New Viking, Tim and Eric, the Thermals, Fucked Up, Mika Miko, Japanther and others.
To be honest, I was really disappointed with No Age live. The problem with no-fi live is that its near impossible to replicate the amount of production and layering that goes into their albums. That being said they played mostly off their newest album, Nouns. I've seen them earlier this summer at the Hollywood Palladium to similar disappointment and was really hoping the festival atmosphere would be enough to really bring out their live act. FYF was no different. Best example: No Age ended their set with Eraser (their biggest single), which at face value sounds awesome but not when it was performed solo by drummer Dean Spunt playing over a recording of his bandmate who had just left the stage earlier. For a band that tries to play the whole post-punk, "We're from the Smell" they sure do a lot of complaining (most notably about the lack of vegan options while on tour in Japan). Don't get me wrong they produce good stuff, I'm just reeling from a strong dose of reality.
The Black Lips on the other hand, killed it. They're known for their live shows and
I can see why. Their stage antics have gotten them kicked out of venues around the world, including one case where they had to flee India to avoid arrest after having too much nudity on Indian national television. FYF was no different. The show was highlighted by rhythm guitarist Cole Alexander making-out with fellow band mates then proceeding to vomit throughout the show only to cover it up with cardboard and finish singing the chorus. The band played mostly from their most recent album, 200 Million Thousand but hit all the needed highlights from their older albums.
Dr. Dog is a psychedelic rock band from Philadelphia. The current lineup consists of Toby Leaman (bass), Scott McMicken (lead guitar), Frank McElroy (rhythm guitar), Zach Miller (keyboard), and Juston Stens (drums). Their earlier recordings show influence of the lo-fi sound and pop sensibilities of indie rock bands of the 1990s, such as Guided By Voices and Pavement. Recent albums have featured more polished production, which is nice if that's your thing.
Ain't It Strange comes off their third full length album entitled "We All Belong." Dr. Dog has this meandering style of song composition that leads the listener to never quite know what will come next. A song that starts up with pure doowop could finish with Beatles-Let It Be-esque rock. A great combination if that's what you love, which I do. Oh No is a solid track off "Easy Beat" that I would highly recommend. Also a must to check out is their new single, which is an Amazing cover of Architecture in Helsinki's Heart it Races. In this day in age its refreshing to see a band like Dr. Dog come along. Enjoy.
Whether to work out or to get pumped up before going out, electro music is very useful to have in your library. In anticipation of my going to the beautiful beaches of Ibiza, I am posting a few tracks sure to prepare you for a great night out. These are a bit intense, so they are more for headphone listening or car stereos. Grab a good sound system (think subwoofer) and enjoy.
The new XX album has been gaining traction and winning over naysayers who think their music is too simple. Well, this mashup, shown to me by a friend, brings out every part of their music. This is one of the better songs that I have heard recently. Thanks to Quix v. Elliot for making this amazing mix. Enjoy.
In a very fortunate series of events, Bennett and I were able to go to Outside Lands in San Fransisco for free. Walking around the area, two women drove by to simply give up their three day passes. We were staying at Stanford and had to get back, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity, especially considering TV on the Radio was about to go on. I'm a big fan of their new CD, but resisted posted because all of the songs were already out there in the blogging world. The Brooklyn band was great onstage, made only better by the perfect weather. Tunde thrashed about with so much energy that the crowd had to get involved. While the mixing was a bit off (one sax was significantly louder than anything else onstage), the songwriting shone through. I've included two of my favorite tracks from the new album.
Washington, D.C.'s The Evens consists of Ian MacKaye and his domestic partner Amy Farina, formerly of The Warmers, and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Ian MacKaye is best known as the frontman of the influential hardcore punk band Minor Threat, the post-hardcore bands Embrace and Fugazi. The Evens released their self-titled album in early 2005, breaking a three-year silence by MacKaye.
Blessed Not Lucky and Mt. Pleasant Isn't both come off of the Evens' debut self-titled album. For those wanting to hear MacKaye revisiting his harder Minor Threat/Fugazi past, you're in for a big surprise. Together with Farina, MacKaye shows us his softer side, while still maintaining his punk activist roots. Blessed Not Lucky is my favorite off the album, which makes more for a relaxing late night jam than a punk anthem of his past. Mt. Pleasant Isn't in my mind is the best example of MacKaye's ironic activist lyrics, but I'll let you be the judge. Enjoy,
I apologize to everyone who has been checking in only to find the same old posts each day. We have been off on summer in various corners of the globe. Personally, I just returned from Bangladesh and haven't had Internet access for weeks. Now that I am back (and have had a week to catch up a bit), I am ready to give you some good new tracks. These two I've had for a while, and in searching my head for what to post, I realized how unfortunate it is that these hadn't been put up. Sydney Blu has two amazing tracks. "Give it up for me" has one of the hardest hitting basslines I've heard in a while. I think the original is even better than Deadmau's interpretation. Also from Toronto, Blu has shown some promise. Most importantly, though, Sydney Blu is a chick. Enjoy. Sydney Blu - Give it up for me (original mix) (YSI) Sydney Blu - Give it up for me (Deadmau5 remix) (YSI) Sydney Blu - Senses of the Mind (original mix) (YSI)
Beck gets the award for maintaining the best artist's website for these two amazing programs that he has come up with:
1) An interview series, in which his first two guests have been Tom Waits and Will Ferrell. 2) A program called the Record Club where Beck and his buds (including Devendra Banhart, and the guy from Little Joy) chose one album to cover from first song to last in a single jam session. The first album they covered? The Velvet Underground and Nico. Then the master-stroke: release it all one track at a time to keep people coming back.
Verrrry smart, Beck. These things are newsworthy (and numerous) events, causing Beck's name to pop up everywhere on heavily trafficked pulpits like Pitchfork. The kind of publicity that would cost SERIOUS bucks from the Label (which hardly pays for anything anymore).
Interesting as far as the music business is concerned. He's building his site into a virtual variety show -- and it's at little cost to the artist. Hit-makers have hit-maker friends. Call them up -- and record it. Jam with them -- and record it. I would not be surprised to see other musicians jumping on the band wagon. No pun intended. Aknowledged, nonetheless. Here he is, at Pitchfork, talking about the Jam series: http://pitchfork.com/features/interviews/7675-interview-beck/
Double Dagger is from the best place in the Mid-Atlantic Chesapeake Region of the Eastern United States: Baltimore, MD. Its like Ocean City, MD but without the Ocean, Casinos, and a boardwalk but it's like tots a city. Their sound especially in Lie/Truth is a mix between Butthole Surfers with their breakdown speaking evolving into rock and the punk feel of Fugazi from the "Repeator" era in 1990, which is insanely awesome.
Word on the street is that Double Dagger offers a "precarious mix of art-punk DIY aestheticism, hardcore political and social commentary and straight-up pop hooks.” I'm glad the pop hooks are straight up at least, otherwise I'd be worried.
Last Tuesday night I traveled to Echo Park to see Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, Bobb Bruno, and their drum machine's first ever show at the Echo Curio. Best Coast oozes California fuzz post punk distortion. The show was tiny, but offered an intimate glance into this fledgeling band, endearing those around on the similar vain of Mirah's live cut rendering of "Dancing in the Dark."
Definitely check out "The Sun Was High (So Was I)" Its catchy simplicity makes it a great song for lying out in the summer sun. "In my Room" is good too but definitely check these guys out.
On the off chance that either Bethany or Bobb read this post, please please please get a real drummer, at least for your live shows. Not to go all "the drum machine killed music" but don't you have a friend that could knock around on the drums for an hour? It's not like the drum pattern was complicated by any means. Anyway great effort on the part of Bethany for putting this all together and we look forward to seeing what they will produce in the future.
Sorry to everyone much more up to date on the music scene than I have been recently, but I think these two songs are worth posting anyway. Radiohead is king, as usual, so an improved reworking of one of their tracks is always worth mentioning. This adds a piano rhythm here and a beautiful sax there from Dave Brubeck's "Take Five," really beefing up the quality of the song. The second is a Passion Pit reworking of a great Ra Ra Riot song that starts ethereally and builds from there. Enjoy.
Sorry to everyone who has been checking the site, only to notice our lack of posting for pretty much the last month. With a writer in Cyprus and the other two just trying to finish up finals, we were all pretty busy. But as this is our 100th post, I would like to thank everyone for reading and getting some new music. I have two songs definitely worthy of the occasion, both sure to get the blood flowing and lead to a great night out. Sebastian Leger and Chris Lake are two of the best out there, having been featured on Stereo/Paste many times before. Sebastian Leger & Chris Lake - Word (Original Mix) (YSI)
Little Joy is a Brazilian/American rock band formed in 2007 by Los Hermanos singer/guitarist Rodrigo Amarante and The Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti. Amarante and Moretti met in 2006, at a festival in Lisbon where they decided to collaborate on a new project. In 2007, Amarante travelled to Los Angeles to collaborate with Devendra Banhart on Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon album.
The band then moved into a house in Echo Park to write more original music and record some demos. The band named themselves after a cocktail lounge not far from their house. Their self-titled debut album was recorded with the help of producer Noah Georgeson. It was released by Rough Trade Records on November 4, 2008. I've had the album for a while but it wasn't until know that I really have gotten into it and Pitchfork calls the album a perfect barbecue album, so you know it has to be good.
The Soft Pack formerly known as the Muslims is a foursome from San Diego and have recently moved their home base to Los Angeles. Their sound is an awesome blend of the 1990's the Stone Roses, the Strokes, and even a bit of early Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Shortly after coming to life, the band was forced to change its name to The Soft Pack in an effort to avoid the intolerant jabs at live shows. Extinction has an awesome music video directed by Russ Finkelstein & Matt Lamkin:
Its whimsical nature brings reflections on their similarity to the Violent Femmes. Bright side and Right and Wrong are both solid tracks from their first post-self titled EP called "The Muslims" Definitely look for this band to be doing big things this year.
Bridging the gap between my love for indie and house music, I feel like I haven't been listening to enough Electro lately. Considering how highly I hold live acts such as MSTRKRFT and Justice, I figured it was about time for some new favorites. Enjoy.
While this single is in fact off of Eminem's new Relapse album, the true news here is the return of Dre on the mic. I really do not like Eminem's new songs, especially his voice he is using in his raps. The song is pretty good though, with a good beat to nod your head to. I'm getting a bit tired of Eminem's pop culture references. Every time I hear Dre's voice come on, though, the song just feels right. Eminem - Old Time's Sake Feat. Dr. Dre (YSI)
Just in case you guys hadn't heard it, hear is the new the Field single. His last CD is one of my most consistently played, as it fits for almost any mood I'm in. This new single picks up where he left off, but adds some more live drum instrumentation. It is pretty standard - nothing special, but at least in the same style I have grown to appreciate.
Beck's debut album, One Foot in the Grave (1994) was re-released with a bonus disc of material by K. Records this week. Double album available in vinyl, also. This was before he was hooked up with a hip-hop producer to cut the single "Loser" later that year. Think of it as the Oh Me Oh My... of Beck's career - a collection of demo's basically.
Just because it's sort of related, I wanted to add this beautiful clip from an otherwise awful movie. It's a cool effect, how they introduce the fighters as if they were characters in an N64 game. It reminds me of 1080. Anyway, the song in the background is "1000 Pesos" -- by Beck.
Bellingham, Washington's Ben Gibbard and his boys from Death Cab for Cutie have recently released their fifth EP entitled "The Open Door" on Atlantic Records. The EP is a companion piece to their last LP "Narrow Stairs," which was released nine months before. The five song EP consists of four abandoned tracks from Narrow Stairs and adds one ukulele demo called "Talking Bird." The Open Door basically takes over where Narrow Stairs left off. Its release is coming in support of Death Cab's last tour promoting its last LP before they head back to the studio. My Mirror Speaks is pretty standard Death Cab fare that seems straight from Narrow Stairs aside from its title lyrics. Loyal Lover gives the standard formula a more my bloody valentine feel with its distortion. I know its not going to get people up and dancing but is always a good bet when getting sensitive.
Considering how much progressive I have been listening to recently, I decided to just put a few of my favorites of the last few weeks together into a post. For me at least, this is the kind of music you can listen to wake you up in the mornings, have on while you do work or put on after a night out to keep a calmer vibe.
While wandering cyberspace and such, I came across this really creative video. As far as I can tell, the artist's name is Pogo - another musician from Perth - who composed this beat taking 90% of its sounds from the 1951 classic Alice in Wonderland. The result is actually a pretty cool song, but the gem is this video that accompanies. It's tough to make out the remixed lyrics, but this could be close:
We choose to love all our trouble. (x4)
There is a long way to love that I have to travel. (x4)
There is a long way to love but you are trouble. (x4)
But I ... still love... still love... still love...
I have two one-hit wonders for you guys to check out. These two bands are pretty horrible but they both have one fucking awesome song to cling to. Maybe I'm being way too "metal" because I think their sounds are whimpy, but they both need to assert themselves more. I think that's the same reason I never got into Of Montreal.
The xx are a fucking amazing band from South West London. They have just released their first single called "Crystalised" on Young Turks Records. Its pretty good but Teardrops and Blood Red Moon are sure winners. I know some people have preferences for female vocalists and if you don't already the xx will certainly convert you. Definitely check these guys out they are worth at least a listen. I'm calling it early that these guys will definitely go somewhere big.
Atlanta, Georgia's "flower punk band" The Black Lips have somehow just released their fifth studio album amid nonstop touring called "200 Million Thousand" on Vice Records. You guys both know the Black Lips for their crazy stage antics and a preference for playing in exotic and dangerous locations including tours in Israel, Jordan, Tijuana, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Their new album is pretty decent and I'd recommend getting it if you haven't yet. Short Fuse is their single from the album and its pretty standard Lips. Starting Over is my favorite off the album. The music video for Short Fuse is absolutely insane and worth a watch if you're not prone to seizures. Official Video Link from Vice Records.
In 2003 Chris and Thomas arrived in Los Angeles, California. The duo’s live debut was on 11/18/03, opening up at the Hotel Café for Alexi Murdoch. They're first full length debut Land Of Sea (2006) was recorded with renowned producer/engineer Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, U2, Tom Waits). The recording didn't get much play until KCRW in Los Angeles picked them up. Broken Chair is great for its harmonies and catchy guitar riffs and vocals.
Italian disco-house duo Starchaser create dreamscape house music. The DJ duo consists of Thomas Schwartz and Fausto Fanizza. Thomas Schwartz is quite the accomplished DJ in his own right. “Twighlight on Mars,” is an appropriate title considering the name of the group. The song fits in the beautiful genre of progressive house that Deadmau5 has brought into the spotlight recently. With echoing piano synths repeating in the background, there are really a few individual tracks in the song. The production quality perfectly meshes the very similar sounds into an enveloping groove. The constant one-two (bass-snare) drumbeat allows the listener to lose him or herself in the beat. With clear references to the disco wave of the 70s, the song sounds, in a sense, timeless.
The Mafia is a pretty intimidating group of DJs. Their story isn't exciting (Axwell met Ingrosso drinking, who later introduced him to Angello), but their music definitely is. Eric Prydz (Pryda) used to be in the group, but according to the group's slogan (Made in Sweden), he was kicked out when he moved to London. They were the first act I saw at Ultra this year, and they started the show off incredibly well. This song in particular blew the crowd away. Hearing it again brings back memories and puts a huge smile on my face.
Surf City is a young quartet from New Zealand. They used to be called "Kill Surf City," but there's an unfortunate band in England with the tag, so now the Jesus & Mary Chain reference isn't as obvious at first sight, though sonically, it remains. But the band makes good on their citations of the Zombies, Sonic Youth, and Animal Collective, among others, as influences. All that said, the guys have a very promising, impressively assured self-titled 6-song EP that was released on Arch Hill Records in 2008. Dickshakers Union is an impressive uptempo song, which got me into this EP. Canned Food which follows it on the album has an awesome bass line in the beginning to keep up the energy from Dickshakers. This band is meant to be listened to loud so, do so.
The Love Language is Stuart McLamb, Jordan McLamb, Junis Beefmonth, Missy Thangs, Joshua Pope, Kate Thompson, and Thomas Simpson.
Raleigh North Carolina's 7-Man lo-fi indie rock band The Love Language. Vocalist Stu McLamb's songwriting is pretty notable. Some people have compared them with Animal Collective but I really just don't see it that plainly. Their first album, The Love Language, was released mid-March on Bladen County Records. I have high hopes for this band but we'll see how it'll end up.
Lalita is their most popular song and I can see why with it's catchy chorus and I love the lo-fi recording. Sparxxx is pretty good too. It' s guitar seems a little belle and sebastian like especially with the bells behind them. Providence: Good
Adam K and Soha are members of the increasingly popular progressive house genre. They are common collaborators who crafts perfect after hours music. With a steady beat, the music won't put you to sleep, but the encompassing sounds is much more relaxing and conducive to chilling.
Their main single is "Twilight," a straightforward track within the genre. With the steady synth beat that has now become famous because of the Deadmau5 remixes, the song is perfect for those after the party moments when you get back home. Even better, the song was remixed by the mouse himself, for an even smoother groove. Adam K & Soha - Twilight (Deadmau5 Remix) (YSI)
Benny's CD Rock and Rave was the perfect CD for just that - raving. With incredibly intense screeching noises and fast tempos, the CD was meant to get you pumped up. One track on the CD "Come Fly Away" was a standout primarily because of the beautiful vocals of Channing. Adam K took these vocals and put them into a better context, creating one of the most memorable songs I have heard in a while. Benny Benassi - Come Fly Away (Adam K & Soha Remix) (YSI) ****
After listening to It's Blitz! a few more times, I am less disappointed. They have changed their style completely, and that is hard for avid fans of the band. But that is not to say that their new sound isn't well crafted or their songs not great in their own right. Furthermore, when you start playing with pop melodies, you can always get remixed by MSTRKRFT. The opening track off the album has done just that, transforming my least favorite song on the album into another distinctive MSTRKRFT jam.
I know this is a little bit different from our most recent fare but having met my good friend in DC for some serious getting sensitive music and minor theft, I had to post this band. Anyway Blind Pilot is the duo of Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski from Portland. Last year the band embarked on a West Coast tour, traveling and hauling all their equipment with them on their bikes. In order to create their first full length album, the duo spent three months living and recording in a warehouse in Astoria, OR. Their first record, "Three Round and a Sound" was released on Expunged Records in June '08. This album is pretty solid.
The Story I Heard is pretty impressive. One Red Thread is good too. It's chorus of "Man oh Man...you can do what you want" is the perfect way to describe the feelings of this album; of love and the feeling of loss that comes with it. I feel like (and I think Knight would agree with me) the drums should come in much heavier on "what you want" of the chorus. I added Go on and say it because its getting a lot of blog buzz, but to be honest these bees are buzzing up the wrong song. Let me know what you think.
Having just gotten back from the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, I felt the need to post a good "late night" playlist. The concert was amazing - every DJ I saw exceeded my expectations. Swedish House Mafia was the perfect introduction, and finally getting to see Guetta was so much fun. Above & Beyond, Booka Shade, MSTRKRFT, and Deadmau5 were all perfect in their sets on Saturday. I was upset I couldn't go to Coachella this year, but definately happy I decided to head down to Miami. Regardless, I hope you guys enjoy the playlist. With or without festival-sized speakers, these tracks will get people dancing.
In 2007, Swiss duo Low Motion Disco put out their first album, "Keep it Slow," featuring tracks called "Love Love Love" as well as "The Low Murder is Out Tonight." Despite all this funny naming (obviously English isn't their first language) their amazing "remix" of the Five Stairsteps' "Things are Gonna Get Easier" made Pitchfork's list of 100 best tracks of 2008. My brother sent it to me a couple days ago, and I'm currently hooked. They pack a lot of souuul, especially for a couple Swiss dudes. Original sounds and cool vibe. Their songs (with much success) have been remixed by LSB, Sebastian Tellier, Aeroplane, etc. These are my favorites:
Low Motion Disco - "Things are Gonna Get Easier" [ysi]
Low Motion Disco - "The Low Murder is Out Tonight" [ysi]
This last Summer, San Fransico based Sic Alps, released their second full length album, U.S. EZ on Siltbreeze records (also home of the Yips, and Times New Viking). This noise rock indie band from the same kabal as No Age and Wavves (who are playing this week (3/26) in B-More at Zodiac btw). Sic Alps doesn't do that good of a job separating itself from its subgenre's buddies but Matt Hartman and Mike Donovan's Gelly Roll Gum Drop and Bathman really stand out from their most recent album. To be honest Gelly Roll G.D. got me through my flight to B-more. Pitchfork calls it a "fruity, Beatles-like shuffle" which means it has to be delicious.
I hope you enjoyed the pregame playlist. For the party, there has to be a beat to get everyone dancing a bit. Since I'm going to have more than one of these, I figured I would start with the classics - the euro club hits. These are not new by any means, but they will never go out of style. Play these at a party and dancing will be sure to ensue. Only half of these are hits, the rest are just some personal favorites.
In anticipation of the Ultra Music Festival (check out the website to get an idea of just how good the lineup is), I will be posting a series of playlists for a good night out. To start this series, just as one would start the night, I will begin with a pregame playlist. This hour or so of music is perfect to have on in the background as you and your friends prepare for the night. There is nothing too dancey, but it is all fast paced and will definately get you excited to go out. Stay tuned for the Party Playlist, Late Night Playlist, and After Hours Playlist to come.