July 12, 2010

Summer in Brooklyn

Animal; cf. What? by my boy Kombo

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June 24, 2010

Assorted Videos

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June 9, 2010

Music in Video Form

Frankly, I was disappointed with the squirmy PG-13 implied violence / homoerotica (not to mention the gimmicky bowlcuts) of “Alejandro”—especially because I thoroughly enjoyed “Telephone”—though Gaga is clearly (and perhaps commendably) going for broke on the Madonna ‘gay-man-in-a-woman’s-body’ schtick.

Perhaps I was unimpressed with Gaga’s latest S&Meh-tinged (as they say on Brooklyn Vegan) effort because I’d recently seen the entirety of the Cremaster cycle for the first time, over the past two weeks at the IFC Center. (Despite the datedness of the special effects, the scope of Matthew Barney’s vision can only be described as epic, and I have yet to fully digest the visual language of the five-part arc, much less form an opinion about it.)

Of course, the comparison is patently unfair to both artists, and, to Gaga’s credit, “Bad Romance” is easily one on my favorite music videos of all time. Now, let’s see if Klaus Biesenbach can get them together for some kind of blockbuster collaboration…

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via Pitchfork

It’s tempting to peg the video as a metaphor for the album—drifting along, lacking ambition yet not unpleasant—but I haven’t listened to LP4 quite enough to pass judgment. Also, interview with Mike Stroud (½ of Ratatat) on Nowness.

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I liked the video from the start, but it’s taken a few views to get into the song itself.

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More jams:

Japandroids – Younger Us (Pfork) (A little too pop-punky on first listen…)

Yeasayer – O.N.E. (Clancy & Build Remix) (’Sup)

Crystal Castles Suffocation (Memory Tapes Remix) (Pfork)

Kid Cudi [vs. LCD Soundsystem] – All Talk (ft. Chip Tha Ripper & Christian Bale)

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June 7, 2010

Unsorted Links

UPDATE: Rearranged with respect to the next post; trust me, it’s better for everyone this way.


Richard Barnes - Murmur 8, December 14 2005

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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 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 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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March 12, 2010

Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé – Telephone

While I like Lady Gaga for what she is—flawlessly executed surreal pop performance art—I can’t say that I follow her every move. However, the new video for “Telephone” is epic.

We had an amazing time working together on her video and it just kind of works out because we both like women.

–Lady Gaga on MTV.com

(OMG wouldn’t it be, like, AWSM if Gags and B were besties in real life?)

Vulture talks fashion and costumes in a scene-by-scene breakdown (I personally thought the leopard catsuit was unflattering and uninspired, but the rest of the dress was great). Kottke notes the unabashed product placement. Videogum hates.

I also have some half-baked analysis about celebrity, pop culture re(up?)cycling, etc.:

Lady Gaga may be our Madonna, Warhol or Bowie, but (I’m not sure if this will come off as cheesy, pretentious or just plain ignorant) these comparisons are moot insofar as my generation inherits the legacy of Madonna, Warhol and Bowie as much as Ms. Germanotta herself. The fact that she exists in the present confirms that she is, in fact, none of the above, and I think it’s safe to assume that the next generation will have their very own Lady Gaga. They will have their own Banksy, Animal Collective, Tarantino, David Chang, etc., and we will claim to have seen it all before. But they won’t have Lady Gaga the way that we have her now. (She is, after all, a social media genius.)

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March 9, 2010

A Longer Music Post

As promised, a longer music post. First, three new(ish) takes on left(ish)-field pop:

After a couple weeks of typical major-label build, Gorillaz’s somewhat hyped Plastic Beach was released stateside today. Even though I’ve only listened to it twice through, I already like it more than Albarn & co.’s much-lauded previous efforts: the disparate styles are more complementary than ever, guest vocalists are on point and nothing really feels like filler.


No sophomore slump for Yeasayer: Odd Blood might be reduced to freak-folk meets new wave, a characterization that captures the odd listenability of the album, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a surprisingly refreshing (sanguine, even) take on psych-pop. Although I would say that certain songs are slightly stronger than the album as a whole, I still find myself listening to the whole thing when I want to hear 40 minutes of solid indie pop.

I’m struggling a bit more to place Hot Chip’s One Life Stand: I’m not sure whether it is their poppiest album or their danciest one, or maybe both or neither. It’s arguably their most soulful and certainly their most mature recording to date, a noticeable departure from the floor-ready hits of previous efforts: while The Warning always struck me as a singles album and Made in the Dark slowly grew on me without ever quite blowing me away, One Life Stand is by far their most coherent album. Similarly, I’m not sure if the new record makes sense of their Bugged Out Mix from last spring or if the DJ mix manages to make sense of the new album. (I should add that I rather like the mix despite its scattershot approach.)

I suppose the bizarro thug-funk of their semi-underground debut Coming On Strong, which came closest to transcending irony altogether, ought to affirm Hot Chip’s history of 45-degree turns from album to album, though I’d say that the fact that they manage to remain unpredictable is a testament to their brilliance as songwriters.


If the minimal techno influence remains latent in Hot Chip, Bpitch & Kompakt acolytes might enjoy Pantha du Prince’s Black Noise. I can’t say that I’m always up on the whole genre, but I will say that Black Noise has replaced B6′s Post-Haze—one of my favorite albums, techno or otherwise, from last year—as my go-to electro chill-out album of choice. (Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of him, he’s big in Shanghai (snap!) and he deserves a full post, which he may still get at some point.)

Similar but quite different: Kieran Hebden continues to craft some of the most accessible experimental music as Four Tet with his latest excellent electro-folk LP, There Is Love in You. It’s a warmer, more cerebral chill-out for sure, though the album’s strength lies largely in understatement.


Just different: Surfer Blood is alright, but they end up sounding just like Pavement, Built to Spill or Weezer as soon as someone points out that they sound just like Pavement, Built to Spill or Weezer. I like the 90′s shit and even the 90′s revival shit as much as the next Pitchfork-reader—Cymbals Eat Guitars and Japandroids were two more favorites from ’09; No Age can do no wrong—but Astrocoast just strikes me as artless in every sense of the word. Then again, if it’s nothing more than rock ‘n’ roll for and by kids, and there’s nothing more to it.

As far as (slightly) older stuff goes, I thought that the first highly-anticipated second album of the year, Vampire Weekend’s Contra, was good enough to warrant regular listening for a month or two, while I just couldn’t get into Spoon’s umpteenth LP despite semi-regular listening. The-Dream, Gucci Mane and Zomby also happened to dominate my listening history from January and February; I’ve been backlogged with older albums for a while now.

Other than that, I should probably listen to the new Beach House album more, it’s pretty good as far as I can tell. It might be hard to top my recent dubstep tip or to bump 36 Chambers (my current throwback obsession) from my top played, but new albums from Joanna Newsom, Liars, Ted Leo and Titus Andronicus might just do the trick.

So that’s my take on Pitchfork’s Best New Music (guilty as charged?).


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March 2, 2010

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass

OK Go’s latest highly share-able music video features the Chicago power-poppers showing off their latest trick: a Rube Goldberg device. They’re best known for the video with the treadmills and maybe the one with the dancing, though (music snob alert) I discovered them before they blew up—I would rock “Get Over It” on the drive to and from high school (Discman + tape deck converter FTW). Good times. I also remember building Rube Goldberg machines in middle school. Also good times.

Wired has more on the making of the video, while OK Go themselves have posted a four-part making-of on YouTube. Honda’s “The Cog” commercial is an obvious pop-culture reference point:

Although the Muybridge-inspired video for the first single from their new album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, “WTF,” wasn’t quite as big a hit as their earlier work, suffice it to say that the boys certainly know how to craft a video of the viral variety.

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