December 26, 2007

10 Best Concerts of 2007

This year I found that I couldn't put together a proper list of albums that I liked. There's probably a correlation here between getting an iPod, but I think I also downloaded a lot less music this year. There were a whole lot of great shows that came through the Bay Area, so here are 10 of my favorites. There's not much importance to the ranking of these shows, except for two certain Frenchmen towering above everyone else...

1. Daft Punk, Greek Theater (Berkeley)

A show of inconceivable proportion. I've never seen a crowd lose its mind like this before. I've never lost my mind like this before. This is an already legendary tour, and with good reason.

Daft Punk - Television Rules the Nation / Crescendolls

2. Akron/Family, Enchanted Broccoli Forest (Stanford)

Akron/Family had the power to unite the frat boys and kinda-hippies of Stanford campus. Who knows how great a feat this really is, but the band rewarded the crowd with a high-energy, uncompromising set that ranged from blues to prog-rock to hip-hop.

Akron/Family - Ed is a Portal

3. Black Lips, Popscene

This had all the elements of the 90's punk show that I never went to: excessively loud guitars, distorted vocals and a lot of jumping around. The most fun show out of all. (that's because Daft Punk sublimates the category of fun)

Black Lips - Boomerang

4. The Field, Rx Gallery

Time to pour one out for the now-defunct Rx Gallery. This tiny venue had its off nights, but when The Field played it was packed with people ready to dance. This was definitely the best night I had there.

The Field - Everyday

5. Wu-Tang Clan, AT&T Park Parking lot for Rock the Bells

They had to play before dusk so Rage Against the Machine could go on last, but gave a great performance anyway. Ghostface Killah and Method Man were the brightest lights.

Wu-Tang Clan - Rushing Elephants

6. !!!, Mezzanine

Frontman Nic Offer wears a particular look on his face while he's on stage. It just says: "I know we kick ass." It's hard to argue with him, especially with a rowdy hometown (Sactown) crowd behind him. !!! turned Mezzanine out, which is no easy feat.

!!! - Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard (A True Story)

7. Plaid, NASA Ames Research Center for Yuri's Night (Mountain View)

It's pretty awesome to see anyone play in an airplane hangar over 18-foot tall speakers, let alone IDM royalty. Plaid's songs are headphone-friendly, but they make them a lot more danceable when they play live. They're coming back in January to Mezz...

Plaid - Tan Sau

8. T.I.T.S., Elbo Room

This was a severely hard-rocking show, bringing together metal, punk and post-rock. I can't see this SF band not blowing up once they get a chance to tour the country.

T.I.T.S. - Mystery

9. Liars, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

The Civic Auditorium is imposing, but Liars showed that they can translate their sound, and Angus Andrew's stage antics, to the big stage without flinching. Rock music would be a lot more boring without them.

Liars - A Visit From Drum

10. Giant Skyflower Band, Hemlock Tavern

Hypnotic waves of sound from these local guitar-worshippers made for one of the year's pleasant surprises - this sounded nothing like their record.

Giant Skyflower Band - The Archangel (Hurray for the Beast)

December 17, 2007

Taxin MCs like the internal revenue (Five Deez)

I ate at a Japanese restaurant this weekend where they were showing taped anime on TV. The sound was off so I couldn't really follow what was going on, but since these were shows grabbed from [adult swim] I got to see some of those great bumpers, which reminded me that they're what I miss most about cable TV. One of these bumpers was giving shoutouts to some of the music they'd been featuring. There were some recognizable names like Madlib, but then they flashed up Five Deez, a name I hadn't heard for a while.

Five Deez - Blue Light Special

This song was big for me sophomore year of high school after I heard it on KZSU. It's a pretty subdued song, the beat is very awesome. Some of the guys in Five Deez helped out with the music for Samurai Champloo, and it says here that they are working with a bunch of hip-hop artists in Japan. That's cool to see them doing well, I wonder if it would be possible for these local groups to get so big internationally if not for the internet.

December 11, 2007

We're famous yall

Google "gza birthday" and Hey! Student's the number one result. Sweet!

K back to work: here's a Justus Köhncke track off of the Pop Ambient 2006 compilation. Follow that link to view the soon-to-be-legendary HEY! STUDENT JUSTUS KÖHNCKE PRONOUNCIATION GUIDE. Capsule review: Most of Kompakt's catalog is meant for the dancefloor, but Pop Ambient practically lulls the listener to sleep. Put this track on and drift off...

Justus Köhncke & Heimermann - Albatros

December 10, 2007

"God Gave Us Life, Nigel" "Sure Did" (Half Man Half Biscuit)

Achtung Bono, HMHB's tenth and most recent (2005) album

British punk bands do not come more caustic than Half Man Half Biscuit! Lead singer Nigel Blackwell has bile to spare, and obscure British entertainers bear most of the brunt - "99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd" anyone? Of course this wouldn't even be worth listening to if the music wasn't good, which it is if you like the sound of Brits messing around with horrible recording equipment. (Which I do.)

HMHB's songs really are full of crazy British culture references but the band's website has a follow-along guide for the perplexed. Here's a direct link to the page explaining the two songs below, which come from the band's debut LP.

Half Man Half Biscuit - God Gave Us Life [Back in the D.H.S.S. LP, 1985]

Half Man Half Biscuit - Fuckin 'ell It's Fred Titmus [Back in the D.H.S.S. LP, 1985]

December 9, 2007


"Post-GWAR rape"

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing obscenity personified - GWAR. For those of you unschooled in this extraterrestrial rock piece, a brief background, taken directly from the band's website:

Eons ago, there existed an elite group of chaos warriors who ravaged the galaxy with a boundless hatred of all things alive. They were called the Scumdogs of the Universe, and they grew in might and fury, the greatest weapon in the arsenal of their cosmic Master. But they became too powerful, and too defiant, and for their cosmic crimes were banished to the most insignificant planet in the universe...the seething mudball known as Earth. Millions of years passed, and they slumbered, until the pollution of your world de-thawed these creatures from their ageless coma...and now they stride the Earth, living gods, dedicated to one goal, the destruction of the human race, and the eradication of existence itself! Wait- that’s two goals!

The day started just like any other day, completely oblivious to what I was about to witness. My friend Matt and I took a train from Grand Central NYC to New Haven, CT, where the band were to play the last show of their tour. The opening bands were your derivative heavy metal/thrash rock groups, and it was at this point I began to wonder if all this was worth it. Finally, at around 8:30 PM, GWAR came on stage, and they immediately began their assault. The music was never important, which is mindless thrash metal, but their performance, that was a different story. The only way to put it was that Matt and me were brutally raped by GWAR, visually, sonically and physically.

The following highly offensive events occurred, in no particular order:

1) The Pope dressed in Nazi garb was decapitated and sprayed blood all over the audience.

2) A figure with Hitler on one face and Jesus on the other was decapitated and sprayed blood all over the audience.

3) Don Vitto from "Jackass" shat a blue substance all over the audience (I particularly got a deadeye shot in the face), and was then disemboweled and sprayed blood all over the audience. He then gave birth to Bam Margera, who jizzed over the audience.

4) President Bush was decapitated. He sprayed blood everywhere also.

This was also my first real "moshing" concert. I got kicked in the head a couple times by body surfers that seemed to come out of nowhere, and traded elbows with people who got a bit too rough. Oh, and I had a sincere belief that I was going to die once the barricade between the band and audience broke.

Once the show ended, which was around an hour and 15 minutes later (but seemed like 30 years later), I didn't know what to think. I was drenched in an assortment of green, red and blue liquids, while my face was completely green. My body was bruised and spent, but I realized that what I had witnessed was a unique experience, one that defies definition and can only be given justice if seen. I was offended, for sure, but I knew that if one of the band members had a cuttlefish for a penis, than none of this could be taken seriously. GWAR raped me, for sure, but it was rape with meaning.

December 8, 2007

More Boom Bip

I saw Boom Bip at the Elbo Room in SF last night. It was a difficult show for him to pull off, there were two other guys with him on stage, and they were creating all the music live. It's a challenge for these electronic dudes to put on a good "live" show, because it would probably sound best if they just stood in front of a laptop and played their songs through the PA. Credit to Boom Bip for being a little more ambitious than that.

I can't say it was a smashing success, though. The crowd wasn't totally feeling it, and "Coogi Sweater," which should have brought the house down, was the worst sounding song of the night. Still, these two songs that I'm posting were great.

Boom Bip - The Pinks [Sacchrilege EP, 2007]

Boom Bip - The Move [Blue Eyed in the Red Room LP, 2005]

December 7, 2007

Alive 1997002 Alive [Daft Punk]

Pyramid of Life

Daft Punk. The electronic act even the indies can dig. Show up to any hipster party, and you're bound to hear "Harder Better Faster Stronger" or "Around the World" sandwiched between Animal Collective and Broken Social Scene. Daft Punk, simply put, make music for the masses. If you had the distinct pleasure of attending one of their shows this year, you would see that those in attendance were of all walks of life. Daft Punk's music, unlike most electronic acts, is so simple and pure, that it is able to transcend definition and become loved and enjoyed by all, because, hell, it gets your body moving. Efficiently created, their music perfectly blends well chosen samples to create bliss for your feet and soul.

So now Daft Punk have released "Alive 2007," which chronicles the extraordinary live tour they put on this year. I will be the first one to say that I think Daft Punk's predecessor live album "Alive 1997," is my favorite Daft Punk record after "Discovery" (which is one of my favorite records period), so, needless to say, I had high expectations for "Alive 2007."

Let me start out by saying that both live albums are different in their approach but are both defined by Daft Punk's gift of controlling crowds and generating momentum. "Alive 1997," which was made just when Daft Punk's career was taking off, is a 45 minute live album built from three tracks off "Homework:" "Da Funk," "Rollin' & Scratchin'" and "Alive." However, the tracks are manipulated to the point where they are beyond recognition, creating a unique 45 minute piece that stands out on its own. It's no wonder that "Alive 1997" is only one track; splitting it up would be a crime.

Flash forward, 10 years later. "Alive 2007" is different in its approach, drawing upon three albums worth of material to create another seamless piece of music, though the tracks are defined far more and the songs more recognizable. However, because Daft Punk's music is sample-based, it's quite easy to blend parts of tracks together, which is exactly what the group does for "Alive 2007." Much like "Alive 1997," Daft Punk have created a new piece of music with "Alive 1997," splicing and dicing parts of the many songs in the group's canon to create the ultimate Daft Punk mix.

So which one is better? Can't make that decision yet. I remember being floored at Daft Punk's concert in August in Brooklyn, blinded by the sonic and visual bliss that emanated from that omnipotent pyramid. However, while Alive 2007 is all glitz and high production, Alive 1997 is just flat out raw, and perfectly exemplifies the simple power of Daft Punk's music. So both records are great for their own reasons, but are meant to accomplish the same goal: to rock your body. And isn't that all we should ask in music?

Daft Punk - Around The World / Harder Better Faster Stronger [Alive 2007 LP, 2007]
Daft Punk - Face To Face / Short Circuit [Alive 2007 LP, 2007]


It can take quite a while to sort through piles of music, especially when they're buried on my computer in zip form. I'm glad I opened up this one, though - remixes of Aphex Twin by a guy named 100dBs. Aphex + Ultramagnetic MCs? Aphex + "Drop It Like It's Hot"? Doesn't get much better for me.

It might be totally gratuitous to link to this post again, but I already posted some Aphex jams a while back. If you like the "Drop It Like It's Hot" mashup, the original AFX tune ("Alberto Balsalm") is available there.

100dBs - Drop Alberto Like It's Hot

100dBs - Poppa Large In The US

December 6, 2007

Indie Rock Suckfest - Jamaican show

Desmond Dekker, 1985. I love this photo

Before my life as a globetrotting mp3 blogger I was a humble student at Northwestern University. I fell in with a group of vagabond DJs at the campus station, WNUR, who had a show called the "Indie Rock Suckfest." The name was not exactly of our choosing, as I shall presently explain. WNUR definitely had some good people, like Will Butler of Arcade Fire fame and Justin, but as I imagine happens with a good many college radio stations, there's a glut of people who were not just pretentious but mean. When one of my friends first signed up for the show, it was left unnamed on a master sheet in the station's office. As the story goes, a malicious WNURite scrawled the epithet "Indie Rock Suckfest" next to his name, and he kept it as a mark of insurgency against the WNUR power structure.

I promised one of the Hey! Student faithful a mix of Jamaican music, so I'm posting a selection from one of the best shows I was part of, an all-Jamaican show that aired October 13, 2004. Our slot was from 2-3:30am, so when we got three or so phone calls for this show, we were pretty stoked. (This was an improvement, by the way, from the decidedly unglamorous 3:30-5am slot.) The chunk I'm posting has some of the all-time greats represented, namely Desmond Dekker (leading off), Lee 'Scratch' Perry (second) and Jimmy Cliff (at the end).

Indie Rock Suckfest - Jamaican show (excerpt)

Hey! Student Cliffs Notes Vol 1


In which we "blog" about something "new"! Ghostface Killah's new album is out. Supreme Clientele [nb: 2000 Ghostface album] is in my head right this second so it's kind hard to fit more Ghost in there. Still, there are a couple of good tracks off of The Big Doe Rehab, which you'll find below.

This is an opportune time to mention The World According to Pretty Toney, Ghostface's new book. If you're intrigued by this in any way, I *highly* recommend watching this related video featuring Ghost on a throne offering words of wisdom.

Ghostface Killah - Yolanda's House [The Big Doe Rehab, 2007]

Ghostface Killah - Killa Lipstick [The Big Doe Rehab, 2007]

December 5, 2007

Faceless Music is Pure Music [Burial]

Dan has already expressed the importance and greatness of Aphex Twin. Apart from pioneering ambient techno, skittery beats and all around beautiful rythmic and melodic contrasting, Aphex Twin is well known for his anonymity. Rarely speaking to the press, living in bank vaults and occasionally showing up to play the odd live show, Richard D. James relishes his introverted personality. This allows Aphex's music to stand on its own, without his audience attaching the artist to the art. In a day where image is everything, and where "video killed the radio star," this is quite admirable. Another artist of great talent that has also chosen this path of anonymity is a man named Burial.

According to sources, only five individuals outside Burial's family knows he makes music, not only increasing the artist's mystique but, just like Aphex Twin, allowing listeners to purely focus on his music. Burial's music is a beautiful blend of two-step/garage and ambient techno, crafted using rudimentary electronic instruments. Heavy reverb, pitch-controlled vocals, and aching strings, all propelled by a steady two-step beat, Burial's music is haunting and beautiful all at once.

I've posted the track "Ghost Hardware" from Burial's latest album, Untrue, which is already on my list for top albums of 2007. In listening to Burial, I leave you with one very important thought: it's all about the music.
Burial - Ghost Hardware [Untrue LP, 2007]

I'm gonna go put on my rubber chicken suit (GTO's)


GTO's are weird girl-pop band from the late 60s. They were a kind of supergroup put together by Frank Zappa. I heard this song on Northwestern's station, I think, and couldn't get it out of my head for days. Finally I gave in and searched for "i'm in love with the oo oo man," and lo and behold - a post on WFMU's Beware of the Blog with mp3s for the whole album. Sweet!

GTO's - I'm In Love With the Ooo-Ooo Man [Permanent Damage, 1969]

December 3, 2007

Hey! Sister

Rae and Ghost

WOW it's been a long time since I posted. Well this one goes out to my sister, who recently had to spend close to two months at school without any music when her Mac died. How is that even possible? As a college student I didn't do anything but listen to music... come home from class, listen to music. Walk to class, listen to music. (Particular songs for varying lengths of walks) Get ready for a party, listen to music. Come back from a party, listen to music. Anyway, she dealt with it bravely, and when she came back for the holidays I hit her off with a whole bunch of CDs that I had ripped in glorious WAV format. However I neglected to pass along one album which would have really augmented her knowledge (which is what college is all about in theory) so I will do it right now over the internets:

Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx [1995]

This is a fundamental album in hip-hop, can't live without it. And she also asked for this:

Why? - Rubber Traits EP [2006]
removed per request

Why? put out the best indie rock record of 2006, Elephant Eyelash, and this EP has one of the better songs off of that album, "Rubber Traits," plus "Dumb Hummer" which is worth downloading this EP alone. OH YAH, MoveDigital is back, three cheers for VC funding yo!

November 18, 2007

Puppets get down

Puppetmastaz, yes really

Justin already introduced us to the latest Modeselektor album, but I feel that it is right and proper to drop another track off of Happy Birthday!. You'll note that there are actually two tracks here; "Dark Side of the Frog" is the intro to "Dark Side of the Sun," the banger in question. True soldiers will download both tracks and listen to them sequentially, so as to experience the full effect of how slamming this track is. Please comment if you've ever heard the words "bitch motherfucker" combined in a more righteous way.

Modeselektor - The Dark Side of the Frog [Happy Birthday! LP, 2007]

Modeselektor - The Dark Side of the Sun (feat. Puppetmastaz) [Happy Birthday! LP, 2007]

In the spirit of boastful rap, here's Count Bass D explaining why no one can touch him behind the boards. The knives are drawn very long. Count keeps an awesome website which you should visit if you like this song.

Count Bass D - Sifting Through Records [Ohio Players EP, 2004]

November 13, 2007

One very important thought


I'm pretty sure that in all my excitement to describe the pathetic nature of Movedigital's demise, I forget to make one thing clear: this means that you won't be able to download any files in earlier posts. Sucks, I know. Even I (in my infinite magnanimity) feel your pain (o humble readers) because this was a useful way to have some tunes available in "the cloud."

But we soldier on, as all noble causes must. This is a track I meant to post earlier but got too lazy. I'm pretty sure it's one of Big L's earliest appearances on record. It's from 1992. "LETHAL!!"

Showbiz & A.G. - Represent ft. Big L, Lord Finesse, DeShawn

No point exists (Akron/Family)

1/6 Akron/Family

What kind of band starts off a song with gentle guitar strumming and the words: "I wanna see the thing-in-itself/I don't wanna think no more/I wanna see the thing-in-itself/I don't wanna think no more/I wanna see the thing-in-itself/I don't wanna see nothing else/I wanna see the thing-in-itself/I don't wanna think no more"? Obviously a band made up of dudes who were paying at least half-attention in philosophy class. Coincidence that one of this band's new songs is called "Phenomena"?

Akron/Family are one of the most exciting bands out right now. Critics lumped them in at first with the "freak-folk"/"New Weird America" movement, but on their current tour they're busting out prog rock songs, folk songs, soul songs and (yes) 7 man posse-style rap songs, all held together with some well-rehearsed dynamics. It's very bloggish to get hyperbolic about bands but I really do think they're in the upper echelon of contemporary rock music.

Akron/Family - There's So Many Colors [Love is Simple, 2007]

Akron/Family - Phenomena [Love is Simple, 2007]

Akron/Family - Suchness [Akron/Family, 2005]

November 11, 2007

Finally finally

A Ponys

Some changes here at Hey! Student, as the service I was using to host my files (Movedigital) up and folded over the past week. They made some heart-wrenching pleas for cash on their blog, to the effect of "hey we need $40,000 in five days can ya help?" I would link to these posts, in which the word "courage" cropped up an inordinate number of times, but the blog went down with the rest of the ship. They created a Facebook group called "Save!," but it should really have been called The Saddest Facebook Group in the World, because last I checked it had about 8 members, and I'm pretty sure that three were the co-founders, meaning the rest were most likely their friends. So much for social networking eh?

So I guess 2004 was a pretty good year for rock. The one and only record by On!Air!Library! came out that year, and so did the first album by Chicago band The Ponys. Unlike some of their American contemporaries (this is when the Sufjan Stevens cult of influence was approaching its height), The Ponys were concerned mostly with straight-ahead rock. They sound way more like The Smashing Pumpkins, than, say, Pavement or any other indie touchstones.

I won't spoil it, but I really like the beginning of this album. The first track, "Let's Kill Ourselves," easily made it to the "Awesome Track 1s" show we did on the Indie Rock Suckfest (to my knowledge, still WNUR's longest-running Freeform program). Please enjoy Laced With Romance, hosted by the possibly temporary file service,

The Ponys - Laced With Romance, 2004

October 30, 2007


On!Air!Library! (photo Sean McCabe)

This is how easy it can be:

On!Air!Library! only put out one self-titled record before breaking up, but it has two songs that have stuck with me, and one in particular that I don't think I'll ever get tired of hearing. Who cares about the bio (well, ok, yes the girls are twins if you must know) when you can listen to "Bread"? This is everything that could have been right about early-2000s indie rock.


On!Air!Library! - Bread [On!Air!Library!, 2004]

On!Air!Library! - Faultered Ego [On!Air!Library!, 2004]

October 29, 2007

Whispers from Japan


Eddie Marcon is good music to post today, the first lightless gloomy day we've had for a while here in the Bay Area. This isn't sad music, though, it just seems to come from a lonely place.

Maybe that's because it sounds like these songs were recorded in a gigantic cave! The guitar and percussion bounces all around, but the centerpiece of these songs is Eddie's voice, which comes through loud and clear. Can you keep a straight face if I say that her voice is "haunting"? Well, I think it is, and whoever produced this record did awesome work because everything sounds great. It may have actually been the band themselves, since the CD says it was recorded at Eddie's house.

Apparently they have some pedigree in the Japanese psych scene. I don't know anything about that, but their label, Preservation, has a page with more of this info if you're interested. I heard about them from an article on Dusted profiling a bunch of interesting Japanese bands. Thanks Dusted!

Eddie Marcon - Blues [Shining on Graveposts, 2005]

Eddie Marcon - Mukau [Shining on Graveposts, 2005]

I couldn't find this album when I was in Japan (!), but you can pick it up online at Boomkat (£) or Miramoglu ($).

October 25, 2007

More Vibert

WOW, this is an absurdly good track featuring Kerrier District, Luke Vibert's disco alias. I don't know who Black Mustang is, but this one has extra hypnotic keyboard lines which sound very Vibertish. They didn't forget the cowbell here, either. It's off a compilation called Milky Disco that looks well worth picking up. I think I need to start checking out more of the Lo Recordings catalog, they put out Black Devil Disco Club which I should also post about...

Black Mustang vs Kerrier District - Mad as Hell

October 23, 2007

Two remixes

Girl Talk

Here are two very excellent remixes. Thanks to you, Girl Talk, for showing how Grizzly Bear could find its way into a club.

Grizzly Bear - Knife (Girl Talk remix)

Hot Chip - Over and Over (Maurice Fulton remix)

October 19, 2007

Archived: Boot Camp Clik

Here are two Boot Camp Clik tracks, plus a video. I know some people aren't huge fans of the rappers (I like them myself) but the beats are more or less undeniable. Just more mid 90's Golden Age NYC rap...

Black Moon - Buck Em Down (Vinyl Remix)

Heltah Skeltah - Leflah Leflah

October 18, 2007

Aphex Twin primer

Would it be possible to ever post too much Aphex Twin? Probably not. A certain homie expressed some doubts about him so hopefully this will go some way towards winning over the non believers. What the hell am I talking about, Aphex Twin is already one of the most successful cult musicians ever, no one else in modern music has been able to laugh so loud at the paying public than Richard D. James. The following things are true: a swank NYC club paid Aphex big bucks to play a gig and for his entire act he stood on stage and put a microphone in a blender; Aphex was commissioned to do a remix of Nine Inch Nails but never got around to it, so when the record company folks came round he grabbed a cassette he had lying around of kazoos and such, wrote 'Remix' on it and collected his check; he will sell his music to be used for any commercial purpose, except for advertising the British public health care service since they once screwed his parents over.

Well, enough mythologizing. This isn't even a primer, just the most recent AFX tracks I've had in my head. They're on the listenable side all things considered. That image is the cover of I Care Because You Do.

Aphex Twin - Alberto Balsam [I Care Because You Do LP, 1995]

Aphex Twin - Tha [Selected Ambient Works 95-92 LP, 1993]

October 17, 2007

Viva Viva Super Eagles

This is one of my favorite finds of the year. Luaka Bop's "Love's a Real Thing" compilation of West African fuzz-rock was one of my favorite albums for walking around when it came out, so I was excited to spot a disc by Super Eagles (who have a track on that comp) when I was at NYC's Other Music this winter. That store's hardly bigger than a closet but stocks some of the wildest records ever. Supply and demand, I guess.

This music is totally languid... it feels as if it was recorded on some Carribean island. Most of the songs are in the Gambian/Senegalese language Wolof, which sounds a lot like Spanish to me. The liner notes (available from RetroAfric's website) have a good story about how Super Eagles were the first band from Gambia to get electric guitars and amplifiers. They're worth reading if that's your kind of thing. I really enjoyed listening to this one all the way through, so here's a track I like and then the full album.

Super Eagles - Viva Super Eagles [Senegambian Sensation Comp, 2001]

Super Eagles - Senegambian Sensation

October 8, 2007

Dulcet Wreckage (Rainbo Video)

Blog favorite Rainbo Video produces video and music. There's a unified aesthetic (of editing and pacing) across these different media that's very fresh. I like this song a lot for when I want a jolt of pop to the face, and I look forward to seeing a lot more.

Rainbo Video - TT

October 5, 2007

Archived: Taking it West Coast

Cali Agents – Just When You Thought It Was Safe: Cali Agents is Rasco + Planet Asia. They hail from California, as you might expect. I post this track even after Planet Asia’s Fresno rap crew, Skool Yard, did one of the flat-out worst shows I’ve ever seen at the Metro back in 2002. They got the lights turned out on them multiple times, people were throwing bottles...

People Under the Stairs – San Francisco Knights: But then People Under The Stairs came out and rocked it. Live hip-hop when you’re working just with DJ + MCs can be a tough thing to pull off, you kinda need to get the crowd unreasonably excited for what they’re actually seeing, but People Under The Stairs did that. (For the record, Common is also really good.) This track is an all-time SF jam.

Del Tha Funky Homosapien – Corner Story: Del was the headliner of this show, the Cali Comm tour. By this point it was already 3am or something like that. I’m telling you, Skool Yard was painful. Anyway, Del sounded bad, and had zero stage presence, so we just thought he was sick. Seeing Hieroglyphics (Luke Vibert's fave) at this year’s Rock the Bells made me realize that Del’s voice just doesn’t sound that good live, and he actually has no stage presence. Del certainly makes up for it in the studio, though. Anyway I think we stuck it out that night, since we were young and sprightly. Now it's the 2k7 and I would have been long gone.

October 3, 2007

Mate of the bloke (Luke Vibert)

It’s easy to cast the major players of the 90’s Warp scene by type. There’s Aphex Twin, the merry prankster, also the most insane: the dude lives in the vault of a bank and drives tanks in his parent’s front yard in Cornwall. Squarepusher's the egomaniac Wunderkind: rightly or wrongly, he’s proclaimed himself “the supreme musical genius of my generation.” Then there’s Luke Vibert: the most level-headed of the three, at least in his public manifestations, he’s been chugging along putting out a whole slew of records without calling attention to himself. He’s used a number of different names and dabbled in a few different styles (the disco-heavy Kerrier District alias being my favorite) without ever venturing too far into one sound or another.

Does slow and steady win the race? Well, he’s already outlasted Aphex Twin – although I don’t believe that Aphex has really quit making music for good – and one imagines that when Squarepusher runs off into the woods to go bang on trees with long metal poles, Vibert will still be releasing something with a squiggly synth line and an absurd vocal sample. Here’s to you, Luke, you model of consistency!

Luke Vibert - Brain Rave [Chicago, Detroit, Redruth, 2007]

Kerrier District - Illogan [Kerrier District, 2004]

ps. nice hiero sticker

October 2, 2007

Euro-Cruuuuuunnnk!!! [Modeselektor]

Modeselektor have been churning out some of the more exciting techno and electronic music these days. Their debut album, “Hello Mom!,” was a collage of sound, piecing together differing styles of electronic music to create a well-varied but ultimately disjointed piece of music. Filled with IDM, glitch-hop and emotive techno, “Hello Mom!” was very enjoyable but never felt like a true album. Enter Modeselektor’s second work, “Happy Birthday!"

While the Phorks will disagree, “Happy Birthday!” is a cohesive body of work, sounding more interconnected than Modeselektor’s first album. The multiple electronic influences are still there, but they have ultimately been filtered through the group’s now more nurtured, unique “Euro-crunk” sound. Fusing the best elements of dirty techno with the grittiness of hip-hop, Modeselektor and their signature sound are defining themselves in an oversaturated European techno market. Much of this development has been nurtured on Modeselektor’s label, BPitch Control, which is well known in electronic circles as pumping out some of the grittiest, dirtiest and crunchiest electronic music in all the land, with standout artists such as Ellen Allien, Smash TV and the MFA. You can get further enlightened on Bpitch at my blog here (shameless plug!).

I have posted a couple of tracks from “Happy Birthday!” that define Modeselektor’s signature sound, “2000007” and “Let Your Love Grow Moderate.” “200007” is the successor to the excellent “Dancing Box” (also posted) from “Hello Mom!,” employing cut-up vocal work from rapper TTC. “Let Your Love Grow Moderate,” on the other hand, can be best classified as a “sensitive banger,” coupling a propulsive rhythm with emotive synths and Paul St. Hilaire’s tongue-twisting vocal work.

One final note: Thom Yorke is on the album. Cheers!

Dancing Box feat. TTC [Hello Mom! LP, 2005]

200007 feat. TTC [Happy Birthday! LP, 2007]
Let Your Love Grow Moderate feat. Paul St.Hilaire [Happy Birthday! LP, 2007]

This is a musical connection (King Tubby)

"The threads of life, they are robust!" Thus quoth a friend. Peter's recent comment on Justin's inaugural Hey! Student post made reference to King Tubby. As fate would have it, Justin once gifted me a King Tubby compilation for my birthday. So there you have it: empirical evidence that the threads of life are robust.

As Peter suggests, dub producers were ahead of the game at taking a track and twisting it into something entirely new. King Tubby made his name making b-sides to popular tracks, called "versions," in which he would strip out the vocals and throw everything else into an echo chamber of sound. The material conditions under which this music was made are impressive; here's a well-written history of dub, on a Geocities page no less!

The first two tracks here are "versions" that Tubby did for The Upsetters, Lee Perry's group. The last one is a track off of Tubby's most famous recording, Augustus Pablo's King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown. Pablo is the one rocking the melodica - clearly, Interpol have done their homework.

The Upsetters - Chapter 2 (French Connection) [King Tubby's In Fine Style Comp, 2004]

The Upsetters - Dub Organiser featuring Dillinger [King Tubby's In Fine Style Comp, 2004]

Augustus Pablo - King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown [King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown, 1976]

October 1, 2007

OMG BSP (British Sea Power)

Yes I am a British Sea Power fanboy. That's me in Japan, actually in an OMG Ozu fanboy pose, rocking a BSP t-shirt. They sent me (personally! kind of) a track off of their new album. You'll have to judge for yourself how awesome it is; I wasn't impressed at first but I found myself playing it over in my head yesterday and thought that it was Hey! Student worthy. If you don't read Pitchfork, or my shared items feed, you may not have known that their new album's going to be called Do You Like Rock Music?, so let me possibly be the first to inform you. Again, OMG!

Leaving aside the new track "Atom" I am still way down with this version of Múm's "Green Grass of Tunnel." It's not an easy cover to pull off and they've done it well. Pretty sure this was the b-side to the first single off of Open Season.

British Sea Power - Atom [Krankenhaus? EP, 2007]

British Sea Power - Green Grass of Tunnel [It All Ended On An Oily Stage single, 2005]

Múm - Green Grass of Tunnel [Finally We Are No One, 2002]

September 30, 2007

The Remix

Much discussion has been made of “the remix.” Commonplace as it is, the remix by some is not considered to be an art form, seemingly just an easy rehash of an original. Remixes can be, in their own right, sometimes better than original, or at the bear minimum accentuate those parts of the song that really get you. While some have certainly bastardized the remix (putting a cheesy euro-dance beat to a top 40 song is NOT a remix), others have done what they should do: make the song better.

Which brings me to the most influential and original remixer: Tom Moulton. Though not a DJ, Tom Moulton created the remix during the height of the 1970s disco scene, accentuating disco singles’ greatest aspects in order to keep the party going and groove locked. Before Moulton, disco music was relegated to songs that followed the standard pop formula, being short and punchy and ending in around 3 minutes. Tom Moulton changed this, remixing songs to a structure that laid the groundwork for dance music today. Moulton’s mixes saw songs as taffy, stretching and elongating them so that their crescendos built and built and climaxed just at the right moment, much like dance music functions today.

“A Tom Moulton Mix” is a compilation of Moulton’s greatest remixes. Packed with soulful disco and funk, the compilation illustrates the importance of Moulton’s mixes, containing remixed cuts from disco/funk stalwarts such as Isaac Hayes and Grace Jones. Rather than being 3 minutes in length, the cuts on “A Tom Moulton Mix” are on average 6 minutes, much like electronic music is today. Tom Moulton’s mixes don’t explode but burn slowly, with the musical components stretched and stretched until the groove is completely locked. One of the compilation’s cuts, Orlando Riva Sound's “Moonboots,” is a perfect example, a reverb-heavy track with an infectious wah-wah guitar loop and steady drumbeat, punctuated by sparse vocals.

Ultimately, what Moulton proved more than anything was that the remix does in fact have artistic and often very influential merit, recreating a song and often making it more palpable for a wider audience. The remix has come a long way today, meaning something different for everyone that does one. For certain dance music producers, a remix can sometimes just mean a simple addition or subtraction of a musical component. For others, such as Aphex Twin, the remix is a complete recreation, often lacking any trace to the original thereby becoming a brand new creation. Yet the ultimate goal of the remix is to make a piece of music public, allowing the music community to share and rethink it with their unique and individual visions in mind. This increases the exchange of ideas and thought between musicians, allowing greater creativity among the music community.

Moonboots - Orlando Riva Sound

More, More, More - Andrea True Connection

September 28, 2007


If I can be a good blogger I think I'll post some hip-hop tracks that I've got kicking around every Friday. I'm not going to try to give too much context about the artists themselves (I'll leave that to the "hip-hop academics"), but here's the story around the origin of the files I'll be posting... Junior year of high school I would listen to the consistently great hip-hop shows on KZSU. I got to hear MF DOOM in the year 2001! This was at the same time that mp3 was blowing up, so I'd scribble down the name of whatever tracks I liked and look for them on Napster. The great thing about Napster was that you'd search for someone and end up with all sorts of random tracks that they were on. So now I've got a small library of hip-hop tracks, which I'll start sharing here.

Freddie Foxxx aka Bumpy Knuckles - Part of My Life: This track is hard... I wouldn't mess with Freddie, on the mic or otherwise.

Jigmastas ft. Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli, Mr Complex & Shabaam Sahdeeq - Lyrical Fluctuation: Time to shed a tear for Rawkus. The fact that this sort of thing could be kicked out pretty casually says a lot.

September 27, 2007

LIVE REVIEW: Giant Skyflower Band, Hemlock Tavern, 9/20/07

Today we depart from Teutonic masters of techno and return to our other darlings here at Hey! Student -- California hippies! No, I kid actually, these guys aren't hippies, although you might think otherwise given that the band in question is called Giant Skyflower Band, and the title of one of the tracks I'm posting is "Rainbows and Dreams (With Worms Singing)." Even though for the most part I have nothing against real hippies, I'm happy to report that Giant Skyflower Band are beer-swilling folk just like you and I. ("But Dan, couldn't hippies drink beer too?" Quiet, you!)

Giant Skyflower Band are led by Skygreen Leopards impresario Glenn Donaldson, who plays guitar and sings. One other guitarist, a bassist and a drum machine fill out the lineup. This live setup was really effective, and I'll explain why. Like almost all new rock music that I enjoy, they drench their songs in waves of distortion. Playing along to a drum machine was a good choice, because it allowed enough space for the guitars and bass to play off of each other. The drum machine was never that prominent, so I'm glad they didn't have to coerce some dude into playing the drums with a sad face.

The tracks that I've posted from their album are quiet, but in concert the two guitars easily filled the room. GSB (as I shall call them) draw on the same sound that inspires the Black Lips and Sic Alps, slowed down to a pace that provokes head-nodding rather than pogoing. Here's an excellent video of the band that was shot at Hemlock Tavern a couple of months ago.

Giant Skyflower Band - Rainbows and Dreams (With Worms Singing) [Blood of the Sunworm LP, 2007]

Giant Skyflower Band - The Archangel (Hurray for the Beast) [Blood of the Sunworm LP, 2007]

September 26, 2007

More Kompakt (Supermayer)

I can't help myself. Supermayer is Michael Mayer and Superpitcher, two of the bigger acts on Kompakt. (Mayer did found the label...) I'm a huge fan of "Please Sunrise," which features some hypnotic keys/horn interplay, along with synths, duh. The remix of "Two of Us," which is actually taken from Kompakt Total 8, is the most danceable track on that album. Still, can anyone explain the cover art for the Supermayer album, pictured above? Lord knows I'm all for positive images of German culture, but it looks like MM is bugging out on roids, while Superpitcher just seems confused. Halp?

Supermayer - Please Sunrise [Save The World, 2007]

Supermayer - Saturndays [Save The World, 2007]

Supermayer - Two Of Us (Geiger Remix) [Kompakt Total 8, 2007]

September 25, 2007

Kompakt Total 8

Another fall, another Kompakt Total compilation for the masses. Although is it possible that Köln's finest have fallen out of favor with "the masses"? Indeed, according to this Dusted review of Total 8, a Phork-led "Kompakt backlash" is underway, although the meager 3 hits on evidence there suggest otherwise. Like the Dusted guy, I'm still way down.

There are less dancefloor-ready tracks this time around, but that's not to say the compilation isn't strong. The sound is a little slower to develop and a little darker. Here, Superpitcher = slow, Nightcats = dark. (Shouldn't that be Nachtkatzen?) These two songs come together with precision like a proper Kompakt jam should.

Superpitcher - Rainy Nights in Georgia [Kompakt Total 8, 2007]

Nightcats - Inside [Kompakt Total 8, 2007]

September 19, 2007

Before there was Gun Club, there was Gun Club (Gun Club, duh)

the gun club

Gun Club is the name of San Francisco's best club night, objectively speaking. But it's also the name of a great band from L.A. led by the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce. The tracks I'm sharing here are from a 1987 album, and for me the sound gets everything right about the 80's: focus on the singer, reverb all over the place, crazy guitar solos. I guess this is kind of like Echo and the Bunnymen if they played at a more frenetic pace. This is Gun Club's third album, so they'd mellowed out a bit from their earlier recordings. (Fire of Love, their first album, is worth checking out.)

The Gun Club - Bill Bailey [Mother Juno LP, 1987]

The Gun Club - Lupita Screams [Mother Juno LP, 1987]

September 17, 2007

I'm not gonna stop it (Planningtorock)

XLR8R magazine is useful for their capsule reviews, extraordinarily pretty ads and a mix CD that comes with every issue. It's a good value for $20 a year, and you can keep up with the latest hipster trends as reported to you direct from Haight Street Ess Eff. At any rate, the mix CDs are sometimes full of mediocre beats, but as I was snoozing through one of them when I heard some violins that reminded me of Aphex Twin, followed by an incantation: "Changes... all the pain in me... but I don't mind it... I need it." I was jolted awake, listened to the song over and it didn't lose anything. So Planningtorock is a keeper, despite the cringeworthy name. It makes me happy that someone wrote a song called "Think That Thought." If Brecht did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him?

Planningtorock - Changes [Planningtorock LP]

Planningtorock - Think That Thought [Planningtorock LP]

September 11, 2007

Why the Tussle show wasn't a waste (T.I.T.S.)

T.I.T.S. are a band from San Francisco that's never going to get played on the radio. I guess that's more rock for the rest of us, because they played one of the most epic sets I've seen in a long time, one of those shows where as soon as the band starts playing the sound just hits you. Elbo Room sounded great that night, until that clown from Tussle started mucking about I guess. T.I.T.S. take the best elements of the two "post-" movements (that would be "-rock" and "-punk"), keeping the one stylistic choice that unifies the two--PLAYING SUPER LOUD. Mogwai and Ikara Colt are two quick reference points, but at times it sounded like they'd picked up where Liars left off with They Were Wrong So We Drowned. I've only seen Liars in concert once, and it was on that tour. I was literally scared at that show, and T.I.T.S. have that same kind of wild energy going for them. (Unlike Liars, though, every member of the band is technically proficient at their instrument, especially the drummer.) Anyway their recorded stuff doesn't capture the sound of their live show, so check them out if you get a chance!

T.I.T.S. - Mystery

August 31, 2007

Tu volverás... sé que volverás (El Kinto)

el kinto

El Kinto are a band from the late 60's/early 70's that I wish were superstars in the Río de la Plata region. They should be lauded as conquering heroes of South American rock, for being dudes who knew how to handle the overpowering influence of their mostly British contemporaries. This is no joke, as few bands from Argentina these days overcome their OMG Rolling Stones = teh awesome phase. Maybe that's why it was left to Uruguay, that Canada of Argentina, to produce this group. Big ups to Miguel for the tip.

El Kinto - Suena Blanca Espuma

El Kinto - Voy Pensando

August 29, 2007

Don't care how you pay your bills (Boom Bip)

boom bip

With “Coogi Sweater,” Boom Bip puts one over on a great many maximalist producers of today. Check the spoken-sung guest vocals – take that, Justice and Simian Mobile Disco! And has anyone else in the game so blatantly referenced Lil Jon? His upcoming album isn’t going to sound like this, but on this evidence it’s clear that he could pursue a healthy side career producing dancefloor hits. This track is that good.

Boom Bip - Coogi Sweater [Sacchrilege EP]

August 28, 2007

LIVE REVIEW: Tussle, Elbo Room, 8/25/07

Tussle should put on an overpowering live show: a two-drum attack has always been he backbone of the group. Almost inconceivably, then, this San Francisco group put on an ineffectual concert at Elbo Room--that's home turf! Let's take a step back and go over why Tussle, on record at least, have been one of the most exciting bands of the 2000s.

Tussle's sound begins with drum and bass; a full three quarters of this band's humanpower is spent laying down steady grooves that can just as easily claim dub as disco for an influence. Spaced-out keyboard flourishes usually complement this sound, but sometimes spur it on. On the band's most recent release, Telescope Mind, there was a clear dialog between these "halves" of the band. This was true of the album as a whole: the keyboardist/effects guy was given room to experiment on a number of short interludes, which effectively balanced out the most percussive sound the band had produced yet.

This character was allowed to dominate Tussle's show--much to its detriment. He wore a morose look as he futzed around with an entire card table's worth of equipment splayed out before him. Among other assorted gizmos was a Korg KP2 Kaoss Pad and a Monome sequencer. Those are two very serious pieces of equipment, yet for someone with so much he managed to produce so little. Rare was the welcome musical contribution from this man, but his amp was usually turned up so loud that the drummers could barely be heard, even when they were wailing away at their kits! The band hardly played a recognizable song, as each one quickly devolved into keyboard wankery. Much in contrast to their recorded efforts, the two parts of the band seemed to be on very different wavelengths.

When I saw Tussle about a year and a half ago, the same thing happened, i.e. somber keyboard player turned up too loud. That time, the smirking bassist motioned for the sound man turn the dude down. (This request was granted.) Anyway, Tussle's got a new bass player now. Mope on, guys.

Tussle - Don't Stop [Don't Stop EP]

Tussle - Warning [Telescope Mind]

August 27, 2007

From Jerusalem to the missions of San Luis Obispo

the skygreen leopards

It's very easy to get lost in the world that The Skygreen Leopards create. This might be true of all psychedelic music, but here it's all about the songs of Glenn Donaldson. There's a strange brand of mysticism running through The Skygreen Leopards' catalog, which is probably best summed up by song title "Jesus Was Californian." You might end up in a cul-de-sac if you listen to the words too literally, but there's no need to exert yourself in this way; Donaldson is a very talented singer. He delivers the songs earnestly, like he's straining to direct these daydreamy songs towards reality.

The Skygreen Leopards - Belle of the Woodsman's Autumn Ball

August 24, 2007

Beats smooth enough to ride through like bobsleds

wu handswu hands

It's a Wu-Tang Clan double hit. I've liked this track for a long time, mostly because of GZA's verse, although RZA is surprisingly okay here ("I'm liable to mate your king with three rooks"). If any Wu completist out there already has this track, please pwn me in the comments. Otherwise, enjoy and I'll see you next week, when I aim to overtake Beatswatch in absolute post numbers. What happened to, dudes?

Tony Touch - The Abduction (ft. Wu-Tang Clan)

August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, GZA!

wu hands

I'm hardly in need of an excuse to post on the Wu-Tang Clan, what with today being the birthday of Gary Grice aka GZA, and especially because Wu came through SF last weekend and destroyed. (Those are Wu hands over there) I don't have any critical discourse to deliver about Wu-Tang's greatness, just check out this freestyle which was kicked on legendary KZSU show The Drum back in 1993. If you're not familiar with the Wu-Tang Clan, listen for GZA, he's the one who name drops George Burns.

I have to give a plug for The Drum, since it's been on the air forever playing hip-hop that's not wack. The link up there is for the podcast, so you're about two clicks away from getting a constant stream of good music in your iTunes podcast-enabled mp3 client of choice. If my word is not bond, here's a nice article about Kevvy Kev, the man behind The Drum. Listen for him sounding totally cool and composed on this track, despite being surrounded by the greatest crew of MCs ever assembled.

Wu-Tang Clan - Dope Freestyle [mp3]

August 21, 2007

Keith Tenniswood has one of my favorite names ever

It was hard to know what to make of Two Lone Swordsmen's last album, where after a steady career of electronic productions they proverbially "sold their turntables and bought guitars." Their cover of Gun Club's "Sex Beat" worked well, and a couple of other songs realized the industrial sound they were going for, but too many of the tracks were skippable. This is mostly because Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood got themselves into grooves that didn't have the snap to hold up to the repetitive song structure that they carried over from their electronic days.

This isn't the case with "Wrong Meeting II," a disc released on their own Rotters Golf Club label that's much better realized than "From The Double Gone Chapel." Even Weatherall's singing, which was more like a mumble on the last record, is much improved—although I still won't subject you to it. I like this track, "Shack 54," because apart from a bassline that's better than any off of "From The Double Gone Chapel," it's got an actual song structure! Two Lone Swordsmen have been around long enough to indulge themselves, but if they can keep this up this standard it will be unfair to say that they're "dabbling" with instruments. When does the show hit the road?

Two Lone Swordsmen - Shack 54 [mp3, direct download]

July 26, 2007


Hey! Student takes a two week break (at least) for vacation. Look for the site to start back up again soon enough, when I aim to include my own mp3 content without relying on other people to risk incurring the wrath of the RIAA for me.

In the meantime, here are a couple of songs. Just remember to keep it on the hush hush please:

Oneida - Doin' Business in Japan [mp3 via DivShare]

Eddie Marcon - Amime [mp3 via DivShare]

July 24, 2007

Sic Alps to wake you up

Hey it's Tuesday, are you slumped in front of your computer? Unless you power yourself by coffee (in which case I consider you a cheater at the game of life) you might want to listen to something like Sic Alps, a local band if you call SF home. Put headphones on, listen to this track just upwards of 200 times and it'll be Wednesday before you know it.

Sic Alps - Semi-Streets [via raven sings the blues]

This is kind of like The Black Lips if they were more into shoegaze and maybe didn't drink as much. Or to be more reductive, they're like the Black Lips of the West Coast. Can I googlemark that?

I found out Sic Alps through raven sings the blues, a blog that you should add to your feed reader of choice if you want to know what's what in the world of ex-centric (shoutout to JP) rock music.

July 18, 2007

Justice < Justus

"The noblest disco knight of modern times."

-Michael Mayer (it's true i found it online)

Here's a spectacular mix from Justus Kohncke on Beats in Space, Tim Sweeney's WNYU show. I'm linking directly to the mp3 which might be something of a faux paus, so hey everybody go and sign up for the Beats in Space podcast, boost those Feedburner stats!

Justus Kohncke mp3

Justus Kohncke stream (m3u)

The mix is about an hour long, it kicks off with an edit of "Get Down Tonight" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band and keeps building from there. The Beats in Space podcast, by the way, is well worth the 30 seconds it will take you to set up. Speaking of laziness, here's a couple of Justus quotes I found during an (actually enlightening) encounter with The Website That Shall Not Be Named But Will Probably End Up Getting Linked To All Over This Blog Anyway:

"A decent bridge can make the worst rubbish special."

"Since I was gay and loved disco music, it was kinda pre-programmed that my first experiences with house music and acid-- which I first heard in the late 80s, mainly through Düsseldorf's ruling clubs, Relaxx and Ratinger Hof-- completely mesmerized me."

Before we go, here's a Hey! Student exclusive, or so I hope: THE FIRST EVAR GUIDE TO HOW TO CORRECTLY PROUNOUNCE JUSTUS KOHNCKE'S NAME (the hits will roll right in - this is essential knowledge for any non-German hipster in training).

  • Justus: YOOST-us
  • Köhncke (umlaut = for the pedants): KERRR (as in "kernel")-nkuh

Now you know, go forth and spread the word.