June 28, 2008

New stuff: Лейдитрон е отлично

that's to grab extra bulgarian hits, don't you know

I worry some people might have the impression that Ladytron is a one-hit wonder, since "Seventeen" appeared in a commercial for American Eagle and stuff like that. Not the case! All of their albums have a few awesome songs, and here are two from their newest one. Why does hearing Bulgarian make me want to move?

I've contrived to miss them the last three times they've played San Francisco, but after listening to "Black Cat" many many times, I'm ready to drop everything to see them.

Ladytron - Black Cat [Velocifero LP, 2008]

Ladytron - Deep Blue [Velocifero LP, 2008]

Bonus track: "Black Cat" by Broadcast, which is also great.

Broadcast - Black Cat [Tender Buttons LP, 2005]

June 27, 2008

Bounce It


So, New Orleans Bounce. Taken from Diplo's write-up:

For those unfamiliar with Bounce: it is a fairly unique strain of club-oriented hip-hop that originated in New Orleans sometime around 1991. 20 years later, Bounce still dominates the urban club and block party scene in New Orleans with very little major label backing. The best club music seems almost always to thrive on calculated simplicity, and Bounce is no exception, relying on MC work that is based on simple call and response chants, straightforward rhyme schemes/patterns, and repetitive dance refrains.

In short: these songs are simple, but the Spank Rock-y vocal cutups, echos, cutesy artist names*, and big, big beats make sure they stay a lot of fun. See for yourself.

Kilo - Pop Dat Tattoo [Shake, Twerk and Wobble, 2008]

Gotty Boi Chris - Cut It Up [Bouncedown 6, 2008]

*One of the prominent Bounce rappers is named Peac-a-choo, ostensibly after the Pokemon.

Artist: The Avalanches

Avalanche Rock

In light of our recent deluge of posts on Steinski, Girl Talk, and The Field, you might have thought, "Hey! There are probably no sample-based artists left to talk about!" Well if you thought that, you were wrong.

Which brings us to the Avalanches, the brilliant Aussie DJ team who, in my humble opinion, rank among the best of the best of the samplers. It has been 8 long years since these 6 fellers proved their chops with the fantastic Since I Left You, but dangit if that album didn't contain 8 years worth of goodness to hold us over. Next to Endtroducing, it may well be the best all-sample album ever made.

Since then, they have left an adoring public with only tantalizing details of their next project:

We're sure you're gonna love it when it arrives ... One day when you least expect it, you'll wake up and the sample fairy will have left it under your pillow.

Argh. 8 years! Bring it on guys.

Anyway, until the new album arrives, I leave you with something almost as good, the Gimix. This mix was the precursor to Since I Left You...a lot of the same songs, with a bunch of interstitial stuff thrown in, including a fine Jimi Hendrix/Cyndi Lauper masheroo. It is, needless to say, great. Enjoyyy!

The Avalanches - Gimix

June 19, 2008

Beach House - Gila

Manohman, this song is the perfect summer stargazer jamm. Happy early 4th!

New Girl Talk

So, the new Girl Talk, Feed The Animals, came out this week. Before I review it, I want to make two things clear: 1) I loved loved loved his last album Night Ripper, and anything said about this record must be weighed against the fact that Mr. Gillis brought 40 minutes of sheer greatness into our lives but two years ago, and 2) I wrestled for a while with this post, because I don't like being a negative nelly, and this site is supposed to be a way for us to broadcast what we love, not what we don't.

That said, it's a bit of a disappointment.

The long and short of it is, whereas in Night Ripper he focused on the mash first and the sample second, in Animals, he tends to go for the immediate Pop Song Recognition Factor. For example, he'll put Lollipop over Under The Bridge, even if they don't go particularly well together, simply because he loves the idea of Lil' Wayne over RHCP. There are a lot of other examples (R. Kelly over Bizarre, Inc.! Whoa!!), but I shan't waste your time with them.

In sum, there are a lot of nice moments here (Shut The Club Down has a shockingly good Rod Stewart sample, for one, and Hands In The Air works fine), but unlike his work in Night Ripper, they just don't blend into a cohesive piece. Anyway, Here's hoping GT can learn from this lesson, pull up his britches, and get back on track for the next one. I know he has it in him.

Girl Talk - Hands In The Air [Feed The Animals, 2008]

June 17, 2008

AFX Coachella set [Aphex Twin]

One of my favorite 'artist images' ever; this is from AFX's official site at warprecords.com and has been up for years

The Aphex Twin fans in the picture above do not look like they are having a lot of fun. This image made me somewhat terrified to ever see Aphex Twin live, even if I had the chance. There are other stories floating out there, like how some fancy New York club paid him loads of money to play a gig, and he got up on stage and put a microphone in a blender for 20 minutes. Aphex is a true joker, but how would it feel to have the joke played on you? Not very pleasant I'd guess.

When I came across a recording of his set at this year's Coachella festival I figured it would be worth checking out, if only to see how brutal it might be. Turns out it's actually pretty listenable, especially for the first 25 minutes. Even after he starts bringing in harder drum and bass stuff it's still good, at least to my ears. (The first transition from soft to hard is rough, but it gets better.) He stars it off with Public Enemy and Run-DMC! Full respect, I'll definitely check Aphex out if I get the chance... not like I wouldn't have anyway though.

EDIT: I was way too restrained with my praise for this mix. It is AWESOME, best played loud, and will only get better the more you listen to it.

Aphex Twin - Coachella 2008

NSFW: Para estimular la espina dorsal [Calle 13]

I dunno if The Implex has found this blog, but either way this one goes out to him. This is not new music, but I've come around to Calle 13. Enjoy this for what it is.

You can't embed the actual music video, so here's a clip that some Argentine dude threw together. It's actually pretty funny, and not really that NSFW, but still.

June 11, 2008

Orville Redenbacher got the dopest microwave popcorn [Count Bass D]

he really said that on record

I haven't played with Amazon recommendations too much recently, but I'd like to give them a big shout out for turning me on to lots of good music in what I'd call the proto-Pitchfork era of the development of my musical taste. It was pretty cool to look up a CD I liked and then find some generally useful suggestions. I think this is how I found Count Bass D, who's been chronicled before on this blog.

Count is a very fundamental beatmaker, there's nothing fancy happening here but the sound is very smooth. Here are a couple of remixes that he did off of the Some Music Pt. 3 CD, which was a giveaway with his last album. Remix One is "Saga Of Dandy, The Devil & Day" by Ultramagnetic MC's, Remix Seven is "Country Grammar" by Nelly and of course it's not to be missed. It's worth noting that these are both really short tracks. I'm also posting a track from the album.

Count Bass D - Remix One [Ear Regardless (Some Music, Pt. 3), 2007]

Count Bass D - Remix Seven [Ear Regardless (Some Music, Pt. 3), 2007]

Count Bass D - Internationally Known [Act Your Waist Size LP, 2007]

June 7, 2008

Muxtape #2

Muxtape #2 has dropped.

Being as it's summer, we're diggin' back into time and gettin' funky with our collective bad self. Muxtape #2 is a collection of funk, soul and "mutant disco" jams from the 1970s and early 1980s, including works from Hey! Student staple Kid Creole and the Pointer Sisters, a couple of Tom Moulton productions, and much more.

Summer is back. Did you miss it? We sure did.

June 6, 2008

Further dicta from the patron saint [The Fall]

Mark E. Smith

The Fall are back again, with a new lineup. Surprise! Actually, this time I think that the wholesale band replacement wasn't due to an M.E.S. hissy fit. In 2006, Mark sacked the band in the middle of a U.S. tour - this was more of a hissy fit, and involved a banana getting thrown at the patron saint of this blog. Some Americans (the first Yanks since Brix) were drafted in immediately to finish out the tour. They ended up sticking around long enough to record Reformation T.L.C., but they wanted to go back to the bands they’d left behind. I'm a little bit sad because the drummer's name was Orpheo McCord, and that's just awesome.

So here's the latest Fall album, Imperial Wax Solvent. M.E.S. sounds as grouchy as ever, probably a little more actually. (There's an 11-minute song called '50 Year Old Man,' which should be pretty much self explanatory) 'Wolf Kidult Man' has more snarl to it than any Fall song of recent memory, the guitar line here is menacing. This is very hard stuff. The other song I’m posting off the album is 'Taurig,' a proto-electronic track that could sort of be mistaken for the work of a bedroom banger producer.

There's not much else to say. The Fall have never been about subtlety, and these two songs bludgeon the listener with the same groove over and over. I still can't get enough.

The Fall - Wolf Kidult Man [Imperial Wax Solvent LP, 2008]

The Fall - Taurig [Imperial Wax Solvent LP, 2008]

June 5, 2008

New Metronomy [Metronomy]

Please listen to the new single by Metronomy. I'm pretty sure it won't let you down, if you enjoy electronic music.

[via EDI'mT]

June 4, 2008

Original Pirated Material [Steinski]

"Okay children, what does it all mean?"

How did a white, Jewish ad agency professional single-handedly change the face of hip-hop? In 1982, Steve Stein, working for advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach, began experimenting and later formulating sample-based hip-hop along with partner in crime Douglas Di Franco, a sound engineer who did commercial work. Ultimately, using magnetic tape and razor blades, the two individuals, better and affectionately known as Double Dee And Steinski, created the landmark "Lesson 1 (the Payoff Mix)", a song entirely composed of samples. Apart from being a dope hip-hop song, the composition laid the groundwork for Steinki's subsequent mixes, which would be lessons in pop culture as much as killer party songs. Even after over two decades, Steinski's sound collages sound as fresh as ever, and have left an indelible impact on hip-hop and sample-based artists such as DJ Shadow, the Avalanches, Coldcut and De La Soul.

Unfortunately, as you probably guessed, it is completely unprofitable and downright unfeasible to try to clear the infinite amount of samples Steinski used in his songs, relegating "Lesson 1" and Steinski's subsequent works to clubs and bootleg recordings from radio broadcasts. Until now.

Illegal Art, home of another popular sample-based artist, Girl Talk, has done the improbable and released What Does It All Mean?, a compilation containing all of Steinski's released material. My advice: get it before the RIAA wakes up and realizes what the hell just happened.

Here's the original "Lesson 1 (Payoff Mix)":

Steinski and Double Dee - Lesson 1 (the Payoff Mix) [What Does It All Mean? LP, 2008]

A few of the numerous samples used in "Lesson 1" include Diana Ross's "Stop in the Name of Love", Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, Herbie Hancock's "Rockit", Culture Club's "I'll Tumble for Ya", Funky 4+1 "That's the Joint"and Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache".

In addition, for your listening pleasure check out "Voicemail (Sugar Hill Suite)", another sample-laden piece from Steinski that will get your body all in a quiver.

Steinski - Voicemail (Sugar Hill Suite) [What Does It All Mean? LP, 2008]

June 1, 2008

WTF?: Some more crazy Providence jams [Javelin]

One of the better youtube vids of recent memory

Providence, Rhode Island is a hotbed for hipsters, avant garde music acts and, so I hear, really awesome Chinese food. Actually I had the best hamachi of my life in Providence, AND you can listen to exclusive RISD tunes on this blog. I think there's more to come on that front, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Today's dosage of Providence culture is Javelin, a group of two dudes who cobble together songs with a really strong 80's aesthetic.

I'll go ahead and say that these two tracks are some of the most enjoyable I've heard lately - the keyboard line in this remix of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" is so head noddable. The second one is a helium rap song that addresses the ways of the mysterious KANGAROO and Japanese smash hit game SUDOKU. I don't think these tunes are created to last for very long, but judging by the attitude of the guys in their video above, I think they cultivate this tossed-off style.

Javelin - Shimmy Shimmy Ya

Javelin - Oh Centra

Live Review: Post-Modern Madness [Bang on a Can NYC Marathon]

The Winter Garden, Site of Bang on a Can's Annual NYC Music Marathon

In my most recent posts, I have expressed my deep respect and admiration for minimalist music. While I have already articulated my admiration for one of the greatest composers of our time, Steve Reich, there are several promising and forward-thinking artists today purporting minimalism and post-modern music. Enter music collective Bang on a Can and their essential annual marathon of avant-garde composition in New York City.

I originally heard about this great, free music event last year and had the distinct pleasure of seeing Steve Reich’s seminal composition, Music for Eighteen Musicians, performed during a transcendent sunrise. Immediately impacted by the event, I subsequently wrote a review on my personal blog and knew immediately that I would be a repeat attendee of the marathon. Both last year’s and this year’s marathons were held in the Winter Garden shopping center at the World Financial Center, which although ironic, has airtight acoustics that allows sound to reverberate and breathe beautifully.

This year’s 12-hour event, though not as lengthy and packed with as many artists as last year’s 27-hour affair, was equally impressive, beginning last night at 6 PM and culling a wonderful variety of electronic, classical and rock collectives from around the globe under one roof. Accompanied by my friend Hanly, I arrived at the Winter Garden at around 12:15 AM, in time to catch a beautiful Steve Reich piece Daniel Variations being performed by music collective Signal. The piece, written in 2006, uses the best elements of Steve Reich’s unique compositional style, filled with achingly beautiful strings, enchanting marimbas and xylophones and soaring vocalwork.

The next notable event was music collective Alarm Will Sound’s orchestral re-interpretation of the Beatle’s “Revolution #9” sound-collage off the their 1968 White Album. Though the piece didn’t quite sit with me, the performance was solid, with individual members doing a great job of both playing their instruments with precision and providing their own vocal interpretation of the multiple sampled voices in the original work.

Next was So Percussion’s performance of The So Called Laws of Nature, a piece composed by Bang on a Can founding member David Lang. A highlight of the night, the piece was performed at the marble stairwell at the back of the Winter Garden, with So Percussion performing each of the three movements at three different levels of stairwell. A video of the second movement is provided below for your viewing pleasure. As a side note, I have a bit of soft spot for So Percussion, as I engineered their live, on-radio performance of Steve Reich’s Drumming, the precursor of Music for 18 Musicians, at my college radio station, WNUR.

The next two highlights of the night came at 4 AM. First, Baltimore electronic musician and video collagist Dan Deacon presented us Ultimate Reality: Part III. The piece is a beautiful and, to put it bluntly, mind-blowingly trippy, mixing video and electronic/rock freakout, and was easily the craziest event of the night. Much of the music up until Dan Deacon was played at pleasant pace, so to hear the bombast of Deacon’s work was like a shot of caffeine directly to the vein. The video collage itself transformed and manipulated Arnold Schwarzenegger’s finest moments on screen and tie-died them with a wide array of colors. The best justice I can give to this part of the night is a brief clip of the performance below, which is still not enough to describe this absolute aural and visual onslaught.

The last events I saw for the night were Contact’s back-to-back performances of Allison Cameron’s 3rds, 4ths& 5ths and Brian Eno’s Discreet Music. Both pieces were absolutely beautiful and provided a striking dichotomy against Deacon’s performance. Like last year’s Music for 18 Musicians performance, Discreet Music was played against a rising sun, providing a transcendental backdrop to an already beautiful piece of ambient music. A video of the performance is below.

After Discreet Music, Hanly and I exited Winter Garden at around 6 AM in a trance-like state, greeted by a newly risen sun over the Hudson River. Seeing this musical event is an absolute must, and proves to be a truly unique and special experience. More than anything, the marathon creates a defined mood and setting to accompany the already surreal notion that your normal sleeping hours are being substituted by post-modern musical works played in a shopping center filled with all walks of life. Ultimately, the event proved to be as exceptional as last year’s, and is one of the NYC music community’s greatest public offerings. Let’s start planning for 2009.

Artist: Fleet Foxes

Seattle's Fleet Foxes are today's answer to 1970s Southen Harmony rock à la Allman Brothers. Their February EP, Sun Giant, is a gorgeous, rambling , and addictive example of uniquely American music, done as it's meant to be. Their self-titled debut is out this week.

Lay back and enjoy, friends.

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal [s/t, 2008]