December 19, 2008

A Best of 2008 list

2008 was a pretty good year for music overall. I wish I'd dived a bit deeper into new stuff, but I have a good feeling about next year.

Favorite albums

Lindstrom - Where I Go You Go Too (absurdly good)
Deerhunter - Microcastle
Kassin + 2 - Futurismo (don't sleep on this one)
Ladytron - Velocifero
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Primary Colours (would have written a huge fawning post about this band, they are the best-sounding punk rock band of the year)
Vivian Girls - s/t
Aphex Twin - Coachella 2008 set
Don Cavalli - Cryland
Beach House - Devotion
British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?

Biggest disappointment

Brightblack Morning Light - Motion to Rejoin (I'm worried that BBML might have caught lightning in a bottle in 2006 and huffed too many fumes afterwards)

Reason for hope in 2009

The Skygreen Leopards - Gorgeous Johnny

Most entertaining sports clip

Manny Ramirez

December 14, 2008

Live Review: 8-Bit Breakbeats and Heartbeats [Blipfest 2008]

This past Sunday I went to the 2nd annual chiptune festival Blipfest, nestled in the newly opened Bell House in Park Slope, Brooklyn. What is chiptune, you ask? Though I have heard of it in passing conversation, chiptune is an entire movement of artists that uses videogame systems of the 1980s, such as the Gameboy and NES, as musical instruments. Regardless of the type of music you play, be it electronic, punk or classical, as long as you utilize an archaic 8-bit gaming device as your central instrument, you are a chiptune musician.

Me, my cousin and a friend of his arrived at the Bellhouse at around 10 PM, just in time to see the next act perform, Anamanaguchi. Based in NYC, the group played a high energy setlist where 8-bit sounds brawled with live guitars, bass and drums, all the while psychedelic 8-bit visuals played in the background. I was able to snap a picture, albeit blurry one, of Anamanaguchi:

The next act we saw, USK, was a real treat. From Japan, this 8-bit madman hooked up four Gameboys to a mixer and began to play high-intensity breakcore. While the music itself was fascinating, USK was even more so. Clothed for a mid-90s warehouse rave, USK jumped and danced with reckless abandon, exhibiting a hyperactivity on par with the 8-bit music he squeezed out of his tiny mixer. At one point in the show, one of his Gameboys went dead, prompting the audience to sigh in discontent. However, as a nod to early videogaming, USK pulled out the Gameboy's cartridge, blew in it, plugged it back in, and continued playing his setlist of excitable 8-bit dance music. The crowd laughed as a result, remembering how early videogaming was defined by such an action. I snagged a picture of USK in action, though it's tough for it to do this crazed man any justice:

To our pleasant surprise, USK was then joined by Anamanaguchi. What followed was an all-out chiptune ravefest filled with body surfing, headbanging and just plain insanity:

While chiptune is undeniably gimmicky and nostalgic in a certain sense, it also is damn enjoyable to listen to. Being able to blast someone to the past as well as squeeze melodies from such a limited instrument is an impressive act for any music genre to accomplish. I will certainly be back for next year's event.

December 8, 2008

The W

Wilburn explains the family tree of Ol' Dirty Bastard.

I had to get an Onion plug in eventually.

Staten Island Historians Piece Together Genealogy Of Wu-Tang Clan

December 4, 2008

Chill Kompakt [Triola]

I've been listening to a lot of Triola lately. (It's an alias of Jörg Burger, aka The Modernist) His song "In Lourdes" has been lulling me to sleep for the past 5 months or so, and now I can't stop listening to the one-track album "Im Fünftonraum." This is some older-style Kompakt stuff, it sounds a bit like KaitO but there are parts of it that could also work on Michael Mayer's Immer 1 mix.

A translation for our non-Kompakt nerd audience!: this is very "warm" ambient techno, with lots of "small"-sounding synthesizers. Sometimes there's a soft bass drum too. So it's ideal for personal or headphone listening, definitely not something to play in the club.

My tip: if you download the album, be sure to make it at least 10 minutes in, that's when the best song starts.

Triola - In Lourdes [Pop Ambient 2008, 2008]
Triola - Im Fünftonraum, 2004

December 3, 2008

New tracks from [Rainbo Video]


I hope some more people start to pay attention to what Rainbo Video is up to. RV used to do high BPM breakcore stuff, but on the latest tracks that he's released he almost sounds like The Field at times, moving into a more ambient sound. Still, I am guessing that his main motivation for making music is to make people move. "To Rule the Floor" should do just that, it's a really uptempo track with a very appropriate Lil Jon sample.

Please check this out, it's brand new music that needs to be heard dammit.

Check out a couple of tracks here, or download a pack of five zipped mp3 files directly from this link.

Rainbo Video - To Rule the Floor
Rainbo Video - Tapes For Live Performance

December 2, 2008

Teh best new band [S.C.U.M.]

teh lead singggerrr

S.C.U.M. is the most exciting new band I have heard this year. This is a bunch of teenagers from London combining a bunch of dark rock sounds. They sound a bit like their sisters in acronym T.I.T.S. but with a bit more commitment to a rock beat. Either way, both bands have definitely absorbed the Liars catalog...

Who knows what will happen with them in the future, but either way they should be pretty happy to have put out such a solid single. These two songs are very very good.

Big ups to Andrew Weatherall for putting this on his first "Double Gone Radio" mix, which is also awesome.

S.C.U.M. - Visions Arise
S.C.U.M. - Second Sea

Note: mp3s are bad quality because I grabbed them from their myspace.

December 1, 2008

"Italy" by [Akron/Family]

Akron/Family have now taken on so many different styles that it's easy to forget where they started. "Italy" is the song that made me wake up and really take notice of them. It's really good, but also 8 minutes long, so settle in before you listen.

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