Thursday, February 28, 2008
Joanne Robertson - Grasscat
Myspace | Textile Records
We Got It For Cheap Volume 3 is so balla. It could be anyone that takes some beats from recent months (or even years ago - omg!), lays some new raps over, packages and releases it for free, but in this case it happens to be Malice and Pusha-T, arguably the two dopest MCs going around (seriously fuck Atmosphere and that conscious rap, we want gangsta). And damn son are we lucky for it, ‘cause the best songs of the past couple years have come from these guys. And those that haven't come from Clipse, have been snapped up and worked on as part of the We Got It For Cheap tapes. This one got serious bounce. Again.
The beats speak for themselves: the duo takes on totes bangers like “Roc Boys” and “Dey Know”, do work on Kanye’s “Good Morning”, and even flip Funkmaster Flex’s old beat off The Tunnel, “Real G’s.” Inevitably, they torch it. Anyone familiar with Clipse word-play won’t be disappointed, nor will those happy with their traditional subject matter: they’re playing keys like Ray Charles, got more powder than Maybelline, are supplying the ghetto and got their face etched in a brick. It’s amazing that, after about 5 albums, they still haven’t run out of ways to rap almost exclusively about coke, even if they claim on this album that they're not part of the coke rap thing: sometimes they also rap about guns. And other times various things they’ve bought.
I fucking love it.
Skits are kept to a relative minimum, which we can all be thankful for, and the ones that are there include the decrying of a “tree-huggin-ass bitch” which everyone can enjoy. Ab-liva and Sandman, the other two members of the Re-Up Gang, feature throughout and spit some fire - each has a solo track, both of which are bumpin’. We Got It For Cheap Volume 3 isn’t going to topple Hell Hath No Fury, but it’s a stone reminder of how incredibly good Clipse are.
Clipse - Roc Boys
Myspace | Website
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
"Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd. (OTCBB: DKAM), a leading owner, developer and marketer of premium beverages, today announced a new beverage venture in association with Grammy Award-winning producer and artist, Dr. Dre. Drinks Americas and Dr. Dre have formed a partnership to identify, develop, and market premium non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. The partnership's first premium beverages will be a super premium cognac selection, followed by a unique new to market sparkling vodka (which is now being crafted). Drinks Americas and Dr. Dre also plan to enter the growing imported premium tequila category. [CNN]"
Clearly, all I'm ever drinking from now on is super premium cognac. Not so keen on the sparkling vodka idea. It sounds like another "because I can" rapper moment (cf. spinners, grills, Bling H2O).
Monday, February 25, 2008
So I'm guessing you, like me until a very short while ago, won't have the tiniest clue about Justice of the Unicorns. They don't even, at the time of writing, have a Wikipedia listing. I bet BW has a Wikipedia listing (and if we don't, the Wiki-slut Alex will have created one before you finish reading this post!).
Justice of the Unicorns must be hyper-cool because they hail from Puerto Rico Town in Brooklyn, NYC. In parts Neil Young and Eddie Vedder (particularly his solo work), Jack White/White Stripes, Yeasayer, Ween, lo-fi, psychdelic etc etc you get the picture. They have sensational cover art (above) and fucking excellent tunes.
Apparently Angels with Uzis is their second full length album - The Pill that Killed Hendrix was their first (you can listen to a couple of the tracks on their website). There's a nice tie-in between the two albums. In the track Fake Gold, from their latest release, they sing about seeing Tupac and Biggie chatting to Hendrix at a Taco Bell on their way to the Pearly Gates ruing that they'll never get high again. Tell me you don't like that story line??
There's no point in me singling out highlights because the whole album is tremendous. A couple of weeks ago, writing about British Sea Power's Do You Like Rock Music?, I expressed my concern that I might have been a bit forward with my claim that BSP's brilliant work was going to be hard to outdo. BW folk, I think my concern has been vindicated. This year has kicked off sensationally with BSP, Vampire Weekend and now Justice of the Unicorn! These guys are going to have a big 2008.
Justice of the Unicorns - The Dragon's Claw: Chapter I
MySpace | Website
Saturday, February 23, 2008
So look at the picture. They're Texan. Actually. But it's 'cause they're from Austin, which is basically like Newtown on steroids, with tonnes of great freaks and a massive student population and more bars on a single street than Australia has in total. I was there for a month and got more music up in my junk than you'd get anywhere else in a year. PINETOP fucking PERKINS walked into a bar* on a Monday night and played 5 songs. This is a 93 year old guy who was the pianist for Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Homeslice still smokes like a chimney. I lit his Malboro 100 for him. Amazing.
Anyway that's Austin. It's difficult to illustrate just how the weird creativity grooves with the blues foundation of the city, but the result is things like Ghostland Observatory. Mostly they build on these kinda cheesy dance beats, adding prototypical nasal-shout indie vocals, with an 80's strut and lean. It's a frappe of drums, electronic beeps and whistles, punky riffs, and an upbeat attitude that they like to describe as BALLSY. On their myspace, influences include Jerry Lee Lewis, David Bowie, Daft Punk, Green Velvet and The Clash - if you can imagine that at all at once you'll have a fairly good idea. Whatever, they're super fun. In my favourite way: the run-around-like-a-kid way.
* Nuno's on 6th St. The house band Jo Hell and the Red Roosters were so incredibly balla we were begging them to tour Australia.
Ghostland Observatory - Piano Man
Myspace | Trashmymoped Recordings
original song+ super catchy hooks + innate sense of fun x infinity = Twelves Remix
and it ALWAYS WORKS. Judging by the internet they're already massive so cross fingers for a tour soon. They'll probably play somewhere mini like Oxford Arts Factory which will be totes rad so I'll see you then.
Yelle - Ce Jeu (The Twelves Remix)
M.I.A - Boyz (The Twelves Remix)
Myspace | Contact
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I call them that, because all I could see of James Ford and James Anthony Shaw was their shadows hunched over their turn tables, facing one another. Simian Mobile Disco played an electric set, including most tracks from their latest latest album 'Attack Decay Sustain'. Even after drawing each track out for at least eight minutes, they left the crowd wanting more. They seriously exceeded my expectations. But maybe it was the spectacular aura of the club - Le Showcase. Built in the original port of Les Champs-Elysées, under a bridge on La Seine, it felt majestic yet had that (literally) underground vibe similar to Oxford Art Factory. Nevertheless, I can tell it's going to be my favorite club this year. After being told by Parisian friends about how picky they are about letting people in and waiting in a line in minus degree weather for at least an hour, I was also quite astonished by the crowd inside. Expecting the usual lame electro pop crowd that's so standard in Sydney at gigs, I was very surprised to see more 'people' than 'posers'.
Simian Mobile Disco - I Believe
The barman during 'Its the Beat' -
A video of one of the intensely drawn out tracks-
On a more personal note, the next day I came across this song (yes I know it is old!) whilst listening to a podcast. It seemed to express all my sentiments and left me feeling very happy. It also happens to mention Le Showcase...
Friendly Fires - Paris
Myspace | Website
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Aussie hip hop (or Skiphop as my mates call it) is in a good place at the moment. The Hilltop Hoods are blowing up overseas, and last year we had great albums from Urthboy, The Tounge and Pegz as well as showings from a slew of new acts bubbling just under the surface. One of theses acts who look set to break through is Chasm, a Sydney producer who has been on the grind for many years and recently had a large hand in the Astronomy Class album 'Exit Strategy' as well as number of other Elephant Traks releases. 'Beyond the Beat Tape' is his debut album on Obese. It is just that - beats fleshed out and expanded with verses from many of Australia's finest MC's including Urthboy, Pegz, Muph and Hau.
Chasm is a purely analogue producer who draws the majority of his inspiration from the boom-bap East Coast sound of the mid-90's. This sound is explored throughout the sixteen tracks from the afro-beat of 'Let the beat go' to the summery soul of 'The Niceness'. Chasm has stated that he felt the sound of the album fitted best on Obese and I have to agree, the record has a strong brash quality which is common through most Obese releases. The MC's themselves also pull out some of their best verses working their signature styles to fit the themes of industry, love, support and competition that are explored. Of particular note are the verses of the often underrated Hau, who also shone on the latest Resin Dogs release, and Ozi Batla.
All this considered, there is a certain flatness to this LP. It is almost as if Chasm is too smart for his own good. Collecting a group of proven MC's and pushing a certain sound somehow makes the record lack in texture. While this may be Chasm's understated style I find it works against the album as a whole, stopping you from reaching for the repeat button.
3 1/2 Stars
Chasm - The Niceness (featuring Ozi Batla & Vida Sunshyne)
Myspace | Website
This is just one of those videos that makes me smile. A bunch of great musicians getting together and enjoying what they do. The crowd seems to be loving it as well, rowdy fuckers.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Well known in music circles, multi-instrumentalist and composer Jon Brion has been killing it for many years with his quirky sounds and pop sensibilities. He is best known for adding his genius to other peoples music and films, having scored the soundtracks for films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Punch Drunk Love and I Heart Huckabees and produced albums for artists like Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann and Kanye West.
I dare say his instrumental touches on virtually every track of Kanye's album 'Late Registration' put that album over the top. Similarly his soundtracks add depth and feeling to the films they are put to. He has a real knack for recreating the nostalgia of the 'good old days' of pop music. This rare song as a performing artist from the 'Punch, Drunk, Love' soundtrack showcases his songwriting talents perfectly.
If you're ever in L.A. you can catch him at his weekly residences at the improvisation club Largos (or see the man in action on several instruments here) otherwise we'll just have to wait eagerly for his next golden collaboration.
Jon Brion - Here We Go
With Good Vibrations in Sydney imminent there is one DJ I am looking forward too above all others, High Contrast aka Lincoln Barrett - and its all because of his latest Utah Saints remix (found below).
While he has already blown me away with three amazing albums and countless other cross genre remixes, there is just something about the combination of early 90's rave nostalgia and Barrett's sense of the euphoric that makes me grin like a fool as those cheesy synths kick in. Enjoy.
Utah Saints - Something Good (High Contrast Remix)
Website | Myspace
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
My intention was to have my take on Do You Like Rock Music? up in mid- to late December so that you could all read about it before it landed on shelves in mid-January. But this is where I have to admit to a level of ignorance that may render me not worthy of your reading on: this is the first time I had heard of British Sea Power. So, I did my research and listened to their two previous long players.
Their first album is The Decline of British Sea Power (Rough Trade, 2003) and it is fucking brilliant, and highly acclaimed, hence my embarrassment. If you haven't listened to this album you must! Their second LP, Open Season (Rough Trade, 2005), was pretty rubbish.
Now we come to their third and latest album, Do You Like Rock Music?, and this has straight up cemented in a position of my best albums of 2008 and there's still 10-and-a-bit months of tremendous music still to arrive!
It's hard to avoid the common comparison of BSP's music with that of Bowie. From the outset of the album the Brighton-based four piece will excite you. This is an album that is clearly written as an album, not the "singles with filler please" format we of the iTunes era are more accustomed to. Despite several highlights this is one of those rare albums you will listen the entire way through almost everytime.UPDATE: Clearly Pitchfork don't quite agree with me, giving the album a rating of U.2, whatever that means...
British Sea Power - Waving Flags
MySpace | Website
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
No, no this isn't a post on the origins of television the medium but rather Television the band. Founded in the mid 70's in New York, Television are a post punk band with an influential sound which can be heard in later acts such as The Strokes, The Rapture and Talking Heads.
While coming from a jamming background the band stripped back the noodling and excess to create a raw garage sound with twisting and compelling guitar melodies and hooks. With Tom Verlaine's woozy vocals layered over this twitchy sound a distinct feeling of atmosphere bleeds through.
Marquee Moon, their debut, and standout, album displays all these qualities to the fullest. I have included the opener from the album below (See No Evil) but I urge you to hunt down the album in full, especially for the spacious extended numbers, Torn Curtain and the title track.
It should be noted that when grunge and garage rock resurfaced in the early 90's Television reformed and issued an album of new material. Strangely, even in such a climate, they could never cut through to mainstream acclaim. Acclaim or not they are still a kick ass guitar rock band and their mark can be seen on much of modern rock today.
See No Evil - Television
Wiki | AllMusic
Monday, February 11, 2008
(And yeah, the whole being-Indonesian-mods thing is pretty cool too.)
White Shoes & The Couples Company - Senandung Maaf
Myspace | Website
*Dude at Rue Bebelons in Melbourne. He offers free beer if you pick his nationality. Now you can go there and cheat.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
So I had a listen to the new Kelley Stoltz album for our friends over at Kluster magazine. The album materialised in stores at the beginning of last week and it is one I recommend you at least listen to to see what you think, as I explain below:
"Kelley Stoltz brings us his latest batch of upbeat lo-fi with the new release Circular Sounds. This follow-up to the San Franciscan's 2006 long-player Below the Branches provides the perfect soundtrack for a glorious summery Sunday afternoon. Highlights include the high rotation first single 'Your Reverie' (just try getting this chorus out of your head!), the melancholy 'Something More' and the '60s pop of 'To Speak to the Girl'. If you don't get it on the first listen, spin it again because it's a real grower."Stoltz's last album, Below the Branches, had only one high rotation song that I can recall, despite it being a fairly solid work. This song is 'Ever Thought of Coming Back', and is a perfect illustration of Stoltz's Beach Boys influenced pop and pointed to the direction that Circular Sounds has taken.
The other recommendation to come out of this post is a shameless plug: do yourself a favour and head on over to Kluster, have a read through their latest fashion issue (and the previous two issues if you haven't read them) and if you like what you read and see then sign up as a subscriber!
Kelley Stoltz - Ever Thought of Coming Back
MySpace | Website
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I am proud to be BW's first female and first French correspondent. Living in France means I have access to lots of juicy media first. Like a certain jingle which I have had, quite happily, stuck in my head for several weeks now. A song, which when I sung it to a certain Australian 'music nazi' friend, he could not identify (which I was truly amazed hear!).
It's featured in the new Macbook Air ad of course! Which I am certain will do to French/Israeli singer songwriter Yael Naim's career what it did for Feist, or "Feeeest" as the French pronounce it. Naim is absolutely massive over here in her new adopted home of Paris, but I fail to see why. After hearing her sing live with a full backing band on French talk show 'Le Grand Journal', I was sadly disappointed.
I noticed Yael Naim's album neatly tucked away in Fnac, so I'm sure it will hit shelves in Australia (and more promotional ads) soon - especially if its sell-out on Amazon is any indication...
Yael Naim - New Soul
Myspace | Website
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
To celebrate it's 10th release, Phunkfiction records has served up a tasty selection of 20 tracks for all you Drum and Bass connoisseurs out there. This double cd release features some heavy names in the game such as Eveson & Lomax as well as some hot up-and-comers like Decon and the Berlin based duo Dub Tao. It's difficult to pick out a single track out of the bunch as the 'must have' but there are certainly some note-worthy titles in here. Eat Phunk! begins with the lovely "Virus Meadow" from DC & Decon which will make your ears prick up the second you hear the seductive keys rolling out your stereo. Adam Form's "Soul Be Glad" is also one definitely worthy of the repeat button with it's chopped vocals and swirling bass-line. Donnie Dubson's (there he is again) feel good "Summer Came" is a stand out on the second disc and is one of the best sounding productions out of the list.
While this compile may not be worthy of the gods, it is palatable none the less and will definitely please anyone looking to expand their liquid collection. 3.5 stars
DC & Decon - Virus Meadow
Adam Form - Soul Be Glad
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Kitsune is not new to the blogosphere (I call it that cause Marge calls it that) but its always an event when they drop another of their Masion (french for 'house') compilations. Due to the sheer volume of hot fire around these days they are now up to number 5 in the series. It is filled with the same selection of eletro/indie sounds the label is famous for though this volume does lean a little heavily on remixes.
The standout for us here at BW is a neck snapping new joint from french touch legend Alan Braxe. Moving away from his filtered disco sound this new track borrows heavily from Timbaland with a little random glitch thrown in for good measure. Its tracks/compilations like this that make me think 'masion' still has life in it yet. Check it out below.
Alan Braxe - Addicted
Myspace | Website
Friday, February 1, 2008
Foals - Ballons
But it kinda seems like this happened:
SoCal Punk walks into a bar and meets up with his mate The Pogues. They discuss making music together - it makes sense. Then Dancefloor Beat shows up and he's like "get me involved." SoCal Punk and The Pogues are like "we can deal: I mean, that whole '/' thing is going on now and the kids love it. It's fun." So they have some beers and see Electronic Beeps And Whistles ('EBW' to her friends) is over there playing pool with Catchy Hooks, and everyone's drunk now so they go "hey, come join our band!" and EBW and Catchy Hooks are all "fuck it. It's a Tuesday. What else are we gonna do?" So they have like a thousand more beers and go home and have music sex, and then 9 months later (music has a similar gestation period to humans) out pops little Team Robespierre and all five parents are like "what the fuck have we created? Quick, put it in a sweaty bar and let the kids go wild."
Team Robespierre - Ha Ha Ha
Myspace | Website
Anyway so then Team Robespierre has this friend (in real life and on Myspace) called 'BIG A little a' and he goes "hey you know how you make music and junk? Well Czechoslovakia this" and suddenly BOOMWHAT'SGOINGONTHISISINTENSE comes out of him and all his friends are like 'woah.' And Aa is like "yep. Pretty fucking good huh?" (And also wouldn't let me find any mp3's to share)
Aa (BIG A little a) - Thirteen [Video]
Myspace | Website
With a name like Genghis Tron, you should get some of an idea of what this band is about pretty quickly. Terror, brutality and early eighties Disney sci-fi. So do you, like me, think Enter Shikari were one of the stand out bands of this year’s Big Day Out? Do you miss the sheer aggressiveness of Atari Teenage Riot? Or maybe you have found yourself wondering what an L.C.D Soundsystem collaboration with Dillinger Escape Plan might sound like? Well maybe Genghis Tron are just what you’ve been looking for. Like Converge with drum machines and syth lines, Genghis Tron aren’t your average sounding purveyors of East Coast hardcore. And although their press release might wank on about their music evoking a “vivid emotional responses from panic to relief, hope to despair, and just about everything in between.” I can honestly say my response was more a desire to jump around like a maddened lunatic with a maniacal grin plastered across my face. Their new album Board Up The House is out Feb 25.
Genghis Tron - Chapels
Myspace | Official Website