“Trying to keep up with all the rotating members of Snarky Puppy is a lot like trying to keep up with all the new flavors of Pringles — there’s too many to keep track of, and no matter what variety you get you’re guaranteed to have a rumble in your ass.”
“Justin Stanton would flip between the keys and the trumpet like a stoner jumps between nachos and a Snickers bar — bringing a unique flavor to each but acting like either one was the defining piece of his existence.”
Read the full review HERE at State of Mind Music, and definitely jump on seeing these cats the first chance you get. Here’s footage of them a week prior at the BK Bowl.
The first weekend of Coachella just happened, and it’s really a massive blessing that there’s 3 different Youtube channels streaming video from the fest all weekend long. It’s really a testament to the physical of-the-moment power of live music that it gives you such a different sensation when you’re watching it live. I don’t really have any desire to watch recorded footage of any new Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, but I had a blast watching it stream live from the comfort of my home last night. Likewise, anybody who watched the live stream of Phoenix‘s set Saturday night felt the same holy-shit rush that the crowd there did when R. Kelly came out for the mash-up encore of “1901″ and “Ignition Remix.” Unfortunately Coachella has removed the video footage so you can’t watch the awesome smirk on lead singer Thomas Mars‘ face when he’s getting ready to sing along the chorus to “Ignition.” Shit was pretty flippin’ dope though, and you can listen to a great clear version HERE.
Regardless of all the great performances over the weekend though, the biggest new of the weekend was the 90 second video preview of the new Daft Punk single that aired on the jumbo-trons before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ set. This morning fan-shot video of the clip is nearing a combined 2 million views, with one shot nearly at a million all by itself. Yep, that’s right… a low quality iPhone recording of a video screen playing a 90 second snippet, and people have watched it nearly 2 million times. You think people are excited about the new record coming out or what? But here’s the thing I’m not afraid to admit – that 90 second clip is probably the freshest shit I’ve heard in a year. The French robots have made a record composed of all their own instrumentation, highlighted by Nile Rodgers from Chic on guitar and a range of guest vocalists including Panda Bear and Pharrell. What’s ironic is that there is this whole massive EDM craze happening right now, where pilled-up kids sweat their asses off to fairly soulless and incredibly redundant beats, and many people consider Daft Punk the fathers of this new craze. But this new track sounds about as far away from Deadmau5 as Beethoven does from N.W.A. This is a return to the power of the groove, and it portends to be a phenomenal blessing to the world of current music. The life-force of the their new record, Random Access Memories, due out in a month, has the potential to completely flip the game. Even Pretty Lights is about to release an album composed of new in-studio instrumentation, and it feels like we’re on the tip of people demanding more humanity from their dance-beats. And of course that demand should be spear-headed by two dudes who play in robot masks. These motherfuckers just raised the bar with a 90 second video, and that is some tuned-to-the-beat power that possibly no other artist could produce right now. I predict the record to be so breathtaking that it makes James Murphy reunite LCD Soundsystem by the end of the year. Watch the clip below, and go HERE to listen to what could potentially be the full track – either that or somebody made an amazingly tight home-mix of the song. It does seem like it only contains parts from the 90 seconds, but it’s hard to tell – either way, get ready to hear this groove coming from everywhere throughout 2013.
The multi-spectrummed Detroit wonder boys known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. announced today that their new EP, Patterns, will be released April 16th, and have debuted the first single off of it – “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On the Dancefloor.) Can I first say that I’m really enjoying this new wave of bands announcing the release of their new record only a couple weeks before it comes out? It’s so much better than a band saying they’re going to release their new record on a specific date in 5 months – like you would really need that kind of preparatory hype and you’ll be marking off the days on your calender until the thing drops. Anyway, I placed DEJJ’s debut record, It’s a Corporate World, as my album of the year in 2011. I thought it was a fairly genius conglomeration of neo-folk music interspersed with modern digital sound and head-nodding dance grooves. So my first instinct upon hearing this new track is that it falls far deeper into the land of dance-pop than they ever came close to gravitating to before. Sure it starts with a solid minute of odd faux-acoustic build up, but if I had heard the core of it on the radio, I would have presumed it was another one of these brand new bands who are trying to sound like old MGMT. There’s no doubt that it’s catchy, but it seems to be reaching out to a less critical demographic than those that their initial intricacies took hold of before. I suppose there is a touch of irony to the song, and I suppose that everybody needs a song that the 17 year-old girls in day-glo headbands want to dance to, but it doesn’t really reach the high bar of expectations I had for their sophomore record. Hopefully this single is merely a tool to draw new fans into hearing their music, and the rest of the EP will branch off more stylistically than this, but we’ll have to wait a few weeks to see. Til then, give it a spin…
Ever since Yacht Rock rekindled all of ours’ fascination with the smooth jams of the late 70′s and 80′s, a multitude of bands have tried to make a modernized version of the sound. Side-note: if you haven’t yet watched the Yacht Rock 12-part Mocumentary Series, then stop what you’re doing and go watch it right now. They just re-released it in Hi-Def even. Anyway, I’d say a solid 99.2% of the bands that try to embody this sound in the modern era just all-out totally fail. There’s a reason all those Hall & Oates grooves and Kenny Loggins hits are so amazing, and the key factor is that there’s no sense of irony in them. Thirty years ago, the musical world was a different place, and you were able to completely lose yourself in your own absurdity. It was a time when critical reaction was not on your mind – you could just make music that felt fucking great. Side-note #2: Steely Dan has, still does, and will always blow massive doo-doo rod. But moving on… today’s artists think that there’s something funny and ironic about making smooth music. They’re like the kids born in the 90′s who go see Chromeo, and they show up in day-glo leggings and headbands because they think it’s some kind of 80′s mockery music. They can’t just accept that the tunes are good, and that they should just dance like normal people – instead of pretending they’re doing a skit at their 3rd grade variety show. There is one modern artist however, that is able to fully realize the simpler moments of the smooth groove – Benny Sings.
The main reason Benny Sings is able to abandon all sense of irony is that he is Dutch. Plain and simple. If you’re from the Netherlands, then you’re born with an inherent sense of comical naivety – which sucks if you want to be a stand-up comic, but which is amazing if you want to kick out some smooth-ass jams. I’ve only recently stumbled upon the majesty of Benny Sings, and now I’m basking in all his glory. He;s still bigger in Asia and Europe than he is over here, but the dude is a fucking gem. I really can’ t believe this video for “For Your Love” has under 2,000 views! Dig in…
Last night was the premiere/farewell showing of the documentary following LCD Soundsystem‘s final show last April at Madison Square Garden. I attended the 3-set, 4-hour marathon performance last year and still get goose-bumps recalling the dance party, the bittersweet pleasure permeating the arena, and the magical sense of knowing I was taking part in a piece of modern musical history. What a bummer that this movie didn’t resurrect those sensations for me – yep, on a scale of 1-10, ranking it with other great concert films, I give it a 5.8.
First off, the concert footage is amazing. The elevated camera angles, the close-ups, and the shared glimpses of momentary wonder from band members are amazing. As is the sound mix. But the emotion is so blatant pouring off of everyone on the stage that the rest of the movie’s non-stage shots fail to live up to its level of compassion. Surely once the full concert is released on DVD along with this doc, the actual concert film will receive exponentially more viewings than its art-house sibling.
It seems like all the right footage is there – following James Murphy around the day before and after the show, and having crucial interview questions from the amazing Chuck Klosterman interspersed defines the whole movie. The thing is that Murphy doesn’t really have the magical, self-defining answers himself to put the whole thing into the necessary perspective we’re all looking for. The dichotomous existence between his rock-star self and the normal dude he strives to be is questioned but never really understood. And what sucks is that it seems if presented from the right perspective all those answers and the clear storyline are there. But instead, the movie tries to crawl into James Murphy’s brain, which at the time of filming was incredibly confused and lost. Thus the film itself tends to get jumbled in obscure transitions from the stage to Murphy’s apartment. The result is that you begin to feel just as uncertain about what’s actually happening as Murphy is, and while it’s a great act of imposing empathy on the viewer, I think it would have been a lot more interesting to really try to define the story from an outsider’s perspective. Essentially, they should have just let Klosterman produce the film.
The most compelling part of the film comes when Klosterman asks Murphy what he believes his greatest failure to be, as Klosterman claims it is an act’s greatest failure that truly defines them. Murphy is quick to reply that potentially quitting will be his biggest failure, while Chuck quickly jumps back at him saying, “No, I think your ability to stop being self-conscious of yourself is your biggest failure.” And he’s exactly right…music, and rock music, and dance music is all about existing in the moment. Sure, some fabulous things have happened from some incredibly intelligent rock stars making some brash decisions about their existence, but real passionate music comes from a place where you don’t give a fuck how history and the media sees you. It’s almost like James Murphy was so concerned about doing things the ‘right’ and the ‘righteous’ way that the very act of concern stopped being the ‘right’ and ‘righteous’ thing to do. I think the movie could have benefited hugely by including a couple brief fan interviews and quotes. For a band that was always about the intertwined unity and experience of itself and its fans, the movie is far too strictly presented from the top down. So it gives you a great sense of the sorrow and confusion ripping through Murphy, but it give little sense of the all-out wonder which the concert itself was. Perhaps the music so speaks for itself that we’ll have to wait for the full concert release for that wonder to be seen. Literally at times you want to scream “Shut Up and Play the Hits” at the screen, but unfortunately that’s not what the film is about. I suppose it is a great portrait of one man’s inability to live in the present, and his obsession with how the future will look back at him. However, a good concert film it is not. Still, it should be required viewing for anyone and everyone even slightly involved with the music business today, but wait until the full concert is released before you schedule any martini fueled dance-party viewing sessions.
Here’s the link to my full review of the concert from last year:
Here’s the preview:
So April 2nd marks the one year anniversary of the final LCD Soundsystem show at Madison Square Garden – a seminal event in modern music history – proof that you can still arise, own hearts and change other people’s lives, then say goodbye all within a decade. It’s honestly a sign that longevity has nothing to do with passion and to what degree you can really affect people. It only ever needs to be one song, or one moment – music has that phenomenal ability to completely change your entire view or self and reality in one instant. And that shit happens all the time. Anyway, it was one of the top 5 shows of my life and I’m dying to see this fucking movie. The anniversary seems like as good a time as any to drop it, but as yet – nothing. They did just release the clip above though, which only increased my salivation. Here’s the trailer below. And here’s my full review of the gig at State of Mind.
Time to once again readjust you collaboration flow-charts people. What happens when you take 3 of the most prolific musicians of the past few decades and throw em’ in a room together? Well, you get a shit load of new music, that’s what. So Damon Albarn of Gorillaz and Blur had another supergroup a few years back called The Good, The Bad, and The Queen – composed of Paul Simonon from The Clash on bass, the guitarist from The Verve, and the legendary Tony Allen on drums of Fela Kuti fame. That band only lasted one album and did little to utilize the power of Allen. It did lead to Simonon becoming an actual member of Gorillaz though, and left Albarn probably thinking, “Fuck, now what cool shit can I do with Tony Allen?” Well the answer to what cool shit you can do with anybody can always be answered by, “Throw Flea on bass.” And thus was created Rocket Juice and the Moon, a name apparently taken after a Nigerian artist did the album artwork and labeled it as such.
To briefly tangent, I do still believe that Damon Albarn is completely haunted every day by the fact that he will never have the dark admiration of his fellow Brits in the same way that Thom Yorke does, and thus is constantly trying to do something to impress or at least match him. Thus, after Yorke formed his side project Atoms for Peace with Flea on bass, Albarn probably felt a need to steal the thunder and make his own British side-act with the same L.A. bassist.
Anyway, Tony Allen and Flea play like they have been waiting for each other their whole lives. I’m sure the two of them could close their eyes and play a funky afro-beat groove for a solid week and a half straight. The group has only played live once, which was last October at the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland – I didn’t know the Emerald Isle was such a bustling beacon for the world of modern funk frontiers, but I’m just a stupid Yank. You can stream most of the cuts from that set at their site www.rocketjuiceandthemoon.com. Like most Albarn works, the music has both its’ gentler sides and raw attack-funk moments – but all pre-listens point to the March 27th official album release as being a must-hear beast for 2012. Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble provide the quasi-Sun-Ra psychedelic power lines, and listening to a few cuts, one can only imagine what a dance party this could and should be. The first album leak streaming above “Hey, Shooter” features Erykah Badu and is a friggin’ banger. Below is live video for “Poison” – the other end of the spectrum of what this band is – a delicate, drifting Gorillaz-esque tune. It’s great, and so are a lot of these other tunes featuring guest MC’s, but I’m hoping the album focuses on the afro-funk thunder. Unfortunately, Red hot Chili Peppers have just set a 17-month long tour or something, so it’s highly unlikely that anybody will be seeing this band anytime soon. But rest assured, if you get the chance – jump on it.
It always seems weird when artists make songs as parts of projects for large companies, but there seems to be a different edge whenever sneakers are involved. I guess people can just really get behind shit they put on their feet – regardless of what sweat-shops they may arise from. James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem made the brilliant album, 45:33 for Nike in 2007. There was that uber-dreamy ad/song that Karen O and Spike Jonze did for Adidas in 2006. And now Converse joins the cool-kids team by presenting this new 3 artists/1 song collaboration. James Murphy returns to a new sneaker squad here – providing vocals on this new Gorillaz track that also has Outkast’s Andre 3000 throwing in a verse or two. It’s a ridiculously impressive lineup actually – people are always waiting on the next Gorillaz track, people have been waiting years for the next Outkast album, and everybody’s clambering to get their hands on whatever Murphy is going to do post-LCD. Released today, “Do Ya Thing” is great but holds very litter surprises. There’s a weird off-kilter hip-funk that permeates all three of these artists and their collaboration feels incredibly natural – so natural in fact, that if you didn’t know who it was you’d probably describe it as a “Gorillaz-type song with a dude singing like James Murphy and a guy rapping like Andre 3000.” I mean, I guess that’s what you want right? It’s not like anybody expected the track to be an instrumental 3-piece on vibraphones or anything – I just wanted a little bit more. The highlight is definitely the outro, where the hilariously poignant line is repeated ad nauseam; “Can we get an Outkast album now?” Seriously though – maybe have Murphy or Damon Albarn produce it – shit would be hot! There is a video for this tune coming out next week as well as an extended 12 minute cut, so maybe the surprises are yet to come. And of course it is fantastic that Murphy’s alter ego in the Gorillaz universe seems to be a karate bamboon – I’m not sure why, but it makes complete sense. Check out a youtube of the song below or download it free HERE. And here’s that sweet Adidas ad if you forgot how fucking awesome it is.
UPDATE: 2.29.12 The official video has been released, and while it is epically cool, it’s still missing everything that makes the extended track so hot. But yeah, dig it – computer animation for raging party folk.
Not the smoothest exit we all could hope for, but there’s no doubt the girl could fucking sing. I always thought she physically had one of the most enormous mouths in the history of man kind – and somehow didn’t look like a complete freak with that attribute. Remember this – early 90′s patriotism and all?
Now Major Lazer really isn’t my kind of scene. The reggea-ton dub-step shit just ain’t how I flow. But there’s something I respect about Major Lazer – I think it’s the fact that they seem like they’re completely insane. Some of their weird sample-phazers are rather hilarious if you ask me, and they seem to succeed at what they’re doing by not taking themselves so seriously as some their peers do. Hell, they had Eric Wareheim of my beloved Tim and Eric make their video for the odd-ass “Pon the Dance-floor” tune. But last week, they released the video for “Original Don” and I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the dopest things I’ve ever seen. Coming in late in the year to beat out Tyler the Creator’s “Yonkers” for video of the year if you ask me. I don’t want to know who the people are in this video, I don’t want to know where they are, or if this is something they do for an actual living. The one thing I do know is that this is always what I imagined the homes were like of those chicks in 7th grade shop-class who made ashtrays with Pantera written on the side. Watch it below.