May 6, 2010

Bloc Rockin' Beats

via Stereogum

If the new video for his ravey new track “Tenderoni” (produced by Spank Rock’s XXXChange) is any indication, Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke hopes to bring electro back with his solo project. (Man, that bassline brings me back… to Wiley’s ’08 jam “Wearing My Rolex” or Peaches’ “I Feel Cream.”)

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I’ve been a fan of Booka Shade since their second album, 2006′s Movements (I enjoyed 2004′s Memento and 2008′s The Sun and the Neon Light as well), and I was excited to learn that the arty German techno duo is continuing their biannual trend of new LPs with the forthcoming More!. Check out the music video for the new track “Bad Love” below:

’Sup also has a favorable review of Juan Maclean’s DJ Kicks, which is also on my ever-growing list of albums to get, along with…

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Crystal Castles
, Ratatat, and buzzy newcomers Sleigh Bells (above) all have new albums.

2010′s Crystal Castles improves on their (also self-titled) debut in nearly every way. The latest from the Toronto-based electro duo is reminiscent of the jump forward taken by Deerhunter between Cryptograms and Microcastle, or Fuck Buttons from Street Horrrsing to Tarot Sport. Like those acts, Crystal Castles have reconciled with their detractors instead of running from them. By staying true to themselves, they’ve created a more focused, propulsive, and satisfying follow-up.

–Ian Cohen, Pitchfork, April 29 2010

*I happen to love both of the sophomore albums mentioned in Cohen’s review.

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Bonus beats + pieces:
Aeroplane does the 500th Essential Mix.

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April 30, 2010

Theophilus London – I Want You Mixtape

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Indie hip-hop wunderkind Theophilus London has just released a new mixtape, entitled I Want You (download link below). As with his previous effort, This Charming Mixtape, the Brooklyn MC has crafted another superlistenable genre-bending pastiche to build hype from a forthcoming full-length.

Theophilus London on HB; Mediafire download via The Fader

http://www.hypebeast.com/image/2010/04/theophilus-london-mixtape-1.jpg

See also: Paul Lester, “the Guardian man,” on last year’s mixtape.

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April 28, 2010

More Music Crap

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Optimo flyers via RA (linked below)

Optimogeddon: a seven-hour Fin-de-Siècle blowout mix for your next seven-hour Fin-de-Siècle blowout. (I’ve only listened to Part 1 of 5 so far…)

On April 25th, the greatest club night in either Glasgow, the UK or the world (depending on who you ask) finishes. Optimo (Espacio), the brainchild of JD Twitch and JG Wilkes, arrived quietly at Glasgow’s Sub Club in 1997, and set about blowing the cobwebs off a stale, self-congratulatory Glasgow techno scene through a simple core philosophy: If it sounds good and makes people dance, play it.

Now, after 12-and-a-half years of sublime, genre-straddling, how-did-they-do-that acts of weekly musical witchcraft, combined with a zero-tolerance approach to “DJ culture”… it will all be over.

The Nights That Dreams Are Made Of: An Optimo Oral History, Resident Advisor

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GQ’s “Rock the Suit 2010” editorial anticipates forthcoming (/recently released) albums from a handful of indie superstars: MGMT (above), The National (below), The Walkmen, (surprisingly?) The Drums [previously], and David Byrne with collaborators St. Vincent and Santigold [previously] decked out in this season’s  (The notes about the designers read like Patrick Bateman’s internal narrative in Ellis’s American Psycho.)

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The National performed and discussed their fifth LP High Violet at WNYC’s Greene Space on Monday (I made it out there for the live session, but honestly, the webcast is just as good as being there). In a potentially lucrative promotional move, the new album was streaming in full alongside a recent NYT profile of the band (only “Bloodbuzz, Ohio” is available now).

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Chuck Klosterman asserts that Beck’s “Loser” is the defining song of the 90′s because it illustrates how MTV was instrumental to the mainstreamification of alternative culture in the pre-Internet era. (Incidentally, Vice, which recently declared that it wants to be the new MTV, was founded that very same year.) (Spin)

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[I'm a little late on this one, but] blogosphere darlings Pomplamoose put the Indie Pop Fun back in Viral YouTube Sensation… or something to that effect. (NPR)

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New Holy Ghost! track; they’re opening for labelmates LCD Soundsystem for the four upcoming New York dates during the latter band’s current world tour.

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Flying Lotus’s forthcoming Cosmogramma streaming on his MySpace.

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Mister Cee’s Guru tribute mix for Hot97. (RapRadar)

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Oh My Gaga.

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April 27, 2010

M.I.A. – Born Free

The video for M.I.A.’s “Born Free”—an ultraviolent, parabolic, hyperbolic crusade—stormed the buzzosphere over the weekend, hot on the heels of my most recent mu$ic post.

The song is a thrilling, aggressive, hardcore electric anthem and heavily samples “Ghost Rider” by Suicide (ca. 1977, buy MP3 here). As my friend Clayton wonders aloud, perhaps the lyrics “America America is killing its youth” in the Suicide song influenced the visuals in the M.I.A. video.

Boing Boing

Incendiary political statement or crass PR stunt? Either way, we’re a long way from the fun/intelligence dichotomy: the overly gritty dystopian realism strikes me as a slightly-too-desperate bid for artistic credibility, if not authenticity in itself. At best, the short film is visceral to the extent that it is powerful yet reductive; at worst, it blurs the line between senseless and pointless.

UPDATE: Animal on the reference points; Diplo on the production.

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April 23, 2010

Pop Mu$ic

Ke$ha made a minor PR spla$h in the blog ocean (a drop in the Photobucket?) with a mediocre-to-bad performance on $NL last week (I’ll spare you the clips, but you can find them here). Yet pop pundits from across the internets have come to her defen$e, speculating that the “not dumb” pop$tar/rapper will eventually command some kind long-term po$t-reinvention cult following. In other words, we can already fondly look back at the passable Uffie-meets-Gaga single “TiK ToK,” because $he’s charting a path back to Na$hville.

Fred Falke transforms the bubbly electro party jam into a disco-funk banger, which I like about as much as the original (i.e. I’ve heard worse):

» Ke$ha – TiK ToK (Fred Falke Remix Radio Edit) (3:55) – 6MB mp3 @ 208kbps

Ke$ha in Interview Magazine; via Buzzfeed

Ke$ha in Interview Magazine; via Buzzfeed

Of course, Ke$ha is almost willfully eclipsed by the mega-ego of Lady Gaga’s hair alone, to say nothing of the Celebrity Incarnate herself. Indeed, insofar as Stefanie Germanotta’s alter ego represents pop-cultural cynosure the world over, she is regarded as a symbol (or symptom) of postmodernity, the subject and object of an ever-growing body of meta-commentary… not to mention a shitload of YouTube covers. There’s the usual conspiracy theories and folk psychological drivel, not to mention the sort of cultural criticism that is slightly too smart for its own good, namely Mark Dery’s recent ‘rockist’ retort to Sasha Frere-Jones’ review of Gaga from a year ago. (My own analysis, below, is decidedly less clever.)

Dery’s dissection of Lady Gaga and her (purportedly) apocryphal brilliance is worth reading, though I should caution that it’s on the heavy side: in a brief riposte from the pro-Gaga camp,* one commenter characterizes [Lord] Dery’s essay as “ridiculous long, very smart, [and] very namedroppy.” As far as I can tell, it comes down to a matter of whether fun and intelligence are mutually exclusive.

Read the rest of this entry »

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April 16, 2010

Art vs Commerce

via Kottke

Parisian turntablists Birdy Nam Nam are obviously the missing link:

Plus: Re-enter Sandman – Smooth Jazz or Dance Pop, take your pick.

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April 13, 2010

HEALTH – We Are Water

NB: It’s pretty intense if you happening to be listening to it first thing in the morning… to say nothing of watching the damn thing.

Directed by Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric; via Stereogum

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April 8, 2010

Too Much, Too Much

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Pitchfork has just announced the final lineup for their wildly successful eponymous music festival, and it’s pretty much an indie kid’s dream come true: Liars, Wolf Parade, Major Lazer, Beach House, Why?, Big Boi, Robyn, and several other independent music luminaries will be playing across three days in Chicago come July, alongside previously-announced headliners Pavement, LCD Soundsystem and Modest Mouse… not to mention the likes of Broken Social Scene, Panda Bear, Raekwon, Titus Andronicus, Dâm-Funk, Sleigh Bells et al.

Prepped-out Malkmus

Prepped-out Malkmus

Liars stole the show in 2006—they’re easily one of my favorite live acts—and Stephen Malkmus was a highlight in 2007, but Pitchfork has really outdone themselves for the fifth time around. Honestly, the lineup is basically too stacked at this point (if the previous run-on paragraph is any indication), an extreme case of ‘festival oversaturation’: there’s simply no way that one would have the opportunity to see every single band he or she wanted to see.

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Liars' Angus Andrew shredding

Related: Liars, St. Vincent (also playing this festival this year) and ’fork fest veterans Os Mutantes covering INXS for Beck’s Record Club (Stereogum); Awesome interview with Angus from Liars (Motherboard); LCD Soundsystem dates for what may or may not be a final tour (BV).

Shameless self-promotion, because it’s been a while:

» The Purple Ribbon Allstars – Kryptokraft 400 (K Hessel’s On It) (3:42) – 6.6MB mp3 @ 246kbps

» Das Racist – Combination Pon de Floor and Wallpaper (K Hessel’s Mas Lazer Mashup) (3:27) – 7.9MB mp3 @ 320kbps

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April 1, 2010

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

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So somehow I missed this, but LCD Soundsystem has (sort of) released a new track from their forthcoming (and possibly last, as reported earlier) album. In addition to over an hour of new music from James Murphy & co., they’ve also come up with a name and album art to spite Stereogum’s crowdsourcing campaign.

Just as Sisterworld is the Liars’ L.A. album, This Is Happening represents the same for LCD, and the different roads from NYC to the City of Angels to illustrate just how far we’ve come from the dance-punk glory days of the early 00′s.

Of course, if the Pitchfork-approved single “Drunk Girls” (below) is any indication, I imagine that the one-time disco savior has crafted a radically different sound from the art-punk experimentalists: it’s a matter of timelessness vs. timeliness, respectively, insofar as rock music evolves through a dialectic* of the two principles.

But I digress: “Drunk Girls,” for your listening pleasure.

via Stereogum, which also posted a clip of another track on the forthcoming LP: “Pow Pow

In other album art news, D*Face × X*Tina: never would’ve seen it coming, but I can dig it. At least it sets a precendent for some kind of blockbuster Shepard Fairey / Lady Gaga collabo.

christina-bionic

*Yes I dropped a d-bomb. No, I don’t really know what it means, and I’m not proud of it.

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March 19, 2010

So Sentimental

» Phoenix – Lisztomania (Classixx Version) (5:04) – 12.4MB mp3 @ 320kbps

Classixx’s take on “Lisztomania” was easily one of my favorite remixes of 2009, but the PS22 chorus of Graniteville, Staten Island offers yet another take on the pop gem.

Via Opening Ceremony.

Like OK Go, the PS22 chorus comes pretty close to manufacturing viral videos (which technically may not be possible). They got some press in NYMag last summer and you’ve probably heard them on a couple tracks on Passion Pit’s debut LP Manners (video of the PS22 chorus in the studio).

It seems that they’re best known for their rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” and they’ve also covered the likes of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”… but they have yet to take on the ultimate hipster party jam: Lady Gaga vs. Journey – Don’t Stop Just Dance (6:16) – 14.5MB mp3 @ 320kbps

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