A lot has changed on the musical landscape in the past 10 years, and a good deal of that evolution stemmed from The Postal Service’s album Give Up in 2003. If Kid A had taught skeptical folks like myself that the oncoming digital wonder-age of music was something that even true rock-loyalists could embrace, then Give Up was the next step in finding beauty in the modern era’s potential. Taking the emo lyricism of Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard and mixing it with glitchy electronica sounded like a total nightmare on paper, but it meshed in a way that none of us were really expecting. Hell, I can’t even remember or imagine what being sad on a plane felt like before I had “Recycled Air” to play on repeat. But seriously, if all you know of the band is the intro to “Such Great Heights” from the UPS commercials, then do yourself a favor and get on the tip before people figure out how lame you are.
Anyway, aside from announcing a few tour dates, Gibbard and co-collaborator Jimmy Tamborello have announced that they’ll be reissuing Give Up with a whole lot of bonus shit the first week of April. If, like me, you obsessively bought every EP they ever put out just so you could get the one or two bonus songs on each disc, then this reissue will be fairly old hat to you. There are two new tracks – “A Tattered Line of String” and “Turn Around,” but everything else has been released before. So of everything that’s been there before, here are my Top 3 must-hear tracks from all the B-side and EP albums.
“There’s Never Enough Time” – This is one of my favorite tracks of theirs, and I fucking love it when Gibbard’s guitar kicks in halfway through.
“Such Great Heights” – Iron and Wine cover – I’ve never been a big fan of Samuel Beam, but I think I love his take on the hit even more than the original.
“We Will Become Silhouettes’ – The Shins cover – James Mercer totally reworked the song and made it his own here. Dope, fun shit.
In one of those awesomely profound WTF moments, the legendary DJ and producer DJ Shadow was actually kicked off of the tables at a headlining gig of his in Miami on Friday night. Even though the absurdly obnoxious Miami Mansion Nightclub had not only booked Shadow for the gig but had highly promoted him as the main attraction, whoever the snooty, coke-dripping fuck who runs the place is decided that Shadow’s music was “too future” for their 3 AM Friday night crowd – yes, his set started at 3 in the morning. I guess when a DJ is playing such amazing music that the crowd is actually focused on his set, it becomes a lot harder for the club to push $8 Heinekens. “Hey Tony, turn this crap off and plug in my iPhone so we can hear this sweet dub-step remix of “Gangnam Style.”" Honestly though, if this isn’t one of the most depressing signs of the end of the modern DJ, then I don’t know what is. I’m sure when he was bringing his turntables into the club that night, most of the bouncers there were like “Whoa, those are the craziest laptops I’ve ever seen.” Truly the club has no right or reason to call itself a music venue, and to be honest I don’t think it’s something they claim to be – but I mean, look at the venue – if I was a DJ it definitely seems like a hot room to rock. However, it doesn’t look like like the normal nor ideal place to be in the audience and watching a DJ perform. Shadow’s been pretty vocal on his Twitter feed about it. Today he posted “Obviously I should have never been booked there in the first place. Square peg in a round hole, etc.”
But to his awesome credit, he also posted this – “I don’t care if I get kicked out of every rich kid club on the planet. I will never sacrifice my integrity as a DJ…ever.” And this just a moment ago: “Ironically it was drum and bass that broke the camel’s back! Note to self…play more drum and bass!!!”
With all the latest news of DeadMaus basically saying he’s only in the DJ game for the money, and along with the whole other string of button-pushers out there, it’s great that there’s still a DJ that you can believe in and who’s actually standing up for himself and his music. I’ve had mad respect for Shadow ever since Entroducing… blew everybody’s minds in 1996, and now my love for the man has only gone light-years higher. Here’s a really shaky video of him getting kicked off the tables, as well as my favorite and the biggest and darkest track off that debut album, “Building Steam With a Grain of Salt.”
You know how when you listen to a Girl Talk album, you say: “Oh, that shit sounds really fucking cool, but I feel like I could have done that on my little sister’s laptop”? Well the electro-wizard known as Dan Deacon has basically taken mash-ups to a whole new realm on his latest “mix” tape – this is the kind of thing where you say: “Oh shit, this sounds fucking nuts and I have no clue what’s actually happening.” Perhaps motivated by his brilliant sonic-success of this summer’s attack on the Carly Rae Jespen hit “Call Me Maybe Acapella 147 Times Exponentially Layered,” Deacon has just released a 5 track mix known as Wish Book Volume I. Hopefully the volume 1 part refers to more on the way, because nobody else is doing this stuff and we need to get as freaky as possible as we move into 2013. I know I was definitely not waiting for “Gangnam Style” to be mixed up with Grimes‘ “Oblivion” – but it takes a bold leap into the unknown. Take a listen below, and download the whole mix from Soundcloud HERE.
Here’s Deacons’ full rundown:
Hope you enjoy. Wish Book Volume 1 was made with music made by (in order of appearance): grimes+psy+beach house+skrillex+diplo+nicky da b+dirty projectors+lil wayne+nicki minaj+oneohtrix point never+tune yards+animal collective+rod stewart+the strokes+wiz khalifa+beyoncé+lcd sound system+death grips+ludacris+rihanna+the beatles+roy orbison+silver apples+katy perry+69 boyz+gary glitter+james brown+lmafo+black dice+the ronettes+r. kelly+black eyed peas+lenny kravitz+the misfits+2 chains+daftpunk+led zeppelin+the notorious b.i.g.+devo+lightning bolt+unknown artist recorded in jaipur, india+marvin gaye+radiohead+rage against the machine+salt n peppa+brian eno+madonna
Lorn’s latest is one of those albums that Lester Bangs would have hated, but that all the music-writers that were inspired by him will love. It doesn’t go as deep into the possibilty of modern elctronic production as Flying Lotus does, but it still branches into territory that is somehow still uncharted. Definitely worth a slight embrace. Read the full review HERE at MV Remix.
Did you ever wish that the soundtrack to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a solid backbeat to it? Well there seems to be just as much inspiration from an illegal slaughterhouse as there is from Daft Punk on Ask the Dust, the first release on the Ninja Tune label from Milwaukee artist Lorn. It may be easy to lump all electronic dance music together these days, but this is definitely not the album that will be inspiring the wearing of candy-necklaces anytime soon. Embracing a far more sinister presence than that of his peers, Lorn crafts a 45-minute unified piece that forces the listener to embody the warming darkness of their subconscious as they crush the dance-floor. Don’t be afraid though, Ask the Dust is wholeheartedly beautiful…
With most of my favorite bands I reach a point where my level of dedication wanes to some degree. But there are still 2 bands out there that I want to hear every possible note and song I can from – Dr. Dog and Radiohead. And with Radiohead kicking off their U.S. tour the other night in Miami, I’ve been watching crappy video after crappy video trying to find some good footage of the two new tunes they debuted. But holy fucking shit, it is completely bonkers how much some of these people are talking at this show. These tickets sell out instantly and they’re kind of expensive – you obviously have to go through some degree of effort to get into the concert. So why the fuck are you gonna ramble on about complete bullshit while you’re there? Just so you can tell your friends you saw Radiohead? Well guess what, you didn’t see Radiohead – you stood in the same building while the band played and you acted like an obnoxious asshole. Sweet, make sure you save that ticket stub. Seriously, I’m going to see them play April 9th in Seattle, and I am very not afraid to tell people to shut up directly to their faces. Let alone if they’re cramping my space on the general admission floor. You’re not at some dive bar watching your cousin Joey play AC/DC covers – you’re at a friggin’ musical event. You ever watch The Song Remains the Same and whenever they show the crowd, they’re just standing in utter silence and amazement at what Led Zeppelin is doing before them? Well, if you’re not dancing, then you should be doing the same exact thing at Radiohead. This music is amazing, and complex, and memorizing. But so many people have been dumbed down by piles of shitty music, and are so oblivious to what the art and magic and power of music is all about, that they can’t distinguish one of the greatest bands of all time from Pauly D playing the new Britney cut off his iPod. Don’t be afraid to give in people! Don’t be afraid to lose yourself in music! Who gives a flying fuck if one of your friends takes a weird picture of you dancing and puts it on facebook? At least the world will be able to see you’re not a fucking android.
Anyway, here’s 3 videos from Sunday in Miami. The first is “Meeting in the Aisle” off the Airbag/How Am I Driving EP – they released the song in 1998, but have never played it live til now. It’s one of my favorite deep cuts from the band, and an epic part of this new rhythm-heavy setlist they’re rolling with.
Next we have “Identikit” – this new one drifts over a repeating drum fill and has the potential to be huge.The video is a little shaky at times, but at least you can’t hear anybody yapping.
Lastly is the other new one, “Cut a Hole.” It’s slow and has that dramatic movie soundtrack feel – definitely seems like a Johnny Greenwood tune. There’s some gabbers on this one, but not so bad.
I know, 2 posts in a row about guys named Panda but whatever. Panda Bear(aka Noah Lennox), one of the key elements of Animal Collective is actually much more or a revolutionary force on his own than with his band-mates. Sure, AC is great, but they can be a little intense sometimes and not really crafters of fall-back albums to listen to regularly once you’ve gotten the idea. Noah solo though, melts this total Brian Wilson drift-off mentality with a new glitchy layering that is all-at-once beautiful, intense and soothing. 2007′s Person Pitch was one of my top 10 albums of the 20′Oughts, and is essential listening for a true understanding of where modern music has turned and is going. Tomboy isn’t quite as breathtaking, but it’s still amazing. Here’s a clip and link of my full album review, as well as a clip of Panda Bear performing one of my faves off the album “Last Night at The Jetty.” The video sucks, but the audio is amazing – there’s better videos to actually see how it pulls it all off live – basically runs a beat trackwhile he plays his guitar on crazy reverb wobble and runs the echo on his vocals to full overdrive.
”This quasi-organic‚ half-digitized self-layering pattern shouldn’t work anywhere near as well as he makes it‚ but again‚ that’s all part of the allure — embrace the escape. If you listen really closely to the ending growth-pocket of “Bracelet‚” there’s a moment where you completely forget who you are. Tomboy calls for the listener to lose themselves‚ and Lennox has proven again that you’re safe to do so in his hands.” http://www.stateofmindmusic.com/entry/1285/Panda-Bear—Tomboy/
London producer, performer, and electro-wizard, Gold Panda has just released a free new track to download off his website at www.iamgoldpanda.com. If you’re not aware of Gold Panda, I’d put him at the top of the modern organic-electro scene along with Caribou, Atlas Sound and Four Tet. Maybe Flying Lotus too, as well as some other wielders of the modern knightly sword. And by that previous odd descriptive moniker which can lean in several directions, I refer to the fact that he makes music that while entirely electronic is very projective of human emotion. He uses a beat-sampler as more of an instrument than a loop-tool at times, but more importantly there’s just an overwhelming natural sense coming off of him – much more of an artist and musician than others he gets lumped in with.
This new track, “MBP” is a little intimidating if it’s your first glimpse of the man. Jetsons-era wind-chimes fall into a fairly intense overlay of scattered xylophone licks before it moves into a meditative bug-zapper kind of thing. GP’s tunes fall into 3 categories: the ambient drift, the glitchy late-night dance beat, and the future molding sound-pattern attack. “MBP” falls more into the 3rd category. Last year’s Lucky Shiner was his first full length album, and easily made my top 10 list last year. This year’s Companion is a collection of all the EP releases from the year or so before the album, and it’s proof that he has been on point from the get-go. His music is magic, and most of the time incredibly beautiful in a more absurd way than you’ve ever heard beauty in anyone before. If this free track intrigues you, get Lucky Shiner, then Companion, then wait like the rest of us for the next LP hopefully due out near the end of the year. Here’s a cut of the much more reserved track “Fifth Ave” which is a perfect audio grab of the solitude of New York City in a steady dark rain.
Looks like July 1stish, Radiohead should be broadcasting their upcoming “In The Basement” session. The BBC program hosted by Radiohead wizard-producer Nigel Godrich usually makes it to the digi-matrix-verse pretty quick. If you never saw their performance for In Rainbows, then go find it now and realize why this King of Limbs session is gonna be so epic. It’s on official DVD or you can find the whole thing on youtube. www.fromthebasement.tv And oh yeah, they just released this cut from the taping of the new song “Staircase.” It’s warm, and dark, and pulsing in a way like an alien seed in your sternum. Portishead drummer, Clive Deamer is on double-drums…killer.
So like any obediant child of the piper’s call, I adhere to most paths that Radiohead’s Thom Yorke leads me down. Thus with the release of last month’s 2 tracks by Burial and Four Tet with Thom Yorke, I was eager and primed for the embrace despite not really having a clue who Burial or Four Tet really were. Regardless, the 12 inch/digital apparition 2-for of “Ego” and “Mirror” are fucking money, straight on the dime, sounding a lot like the glitchy/ambient beat assault from Yorke’s Eraser. I highly recommend seeking them out in whatever fashion people seek out digital copies of vinyl releases. Seem to be alot of valid links out there, but I’m not gonna be the guy who right now accidentally redirects you to the Mozart virus circa 1992. Either way, here’s a youtube stream below.
Anywho, in breaking down who’s doing what on the tracks, I realized that Yorke’s just singing, Burial drops the bass heavy drum lines, while Four Tet adds the dreamy textures: ie. piano fills, and radiant bubble expansions. It subsequently occured to me that I had heard Four Tet’s name before, (like quartet I think, not like forte’) as he had done a remix of Radiohead’s “Scatterbrain” on their amazing secret album Com Lag. Get it, it’s magical. So that led me to say, what the fuck…I’ll head down to the record shop and pick up Four Tet’s album from last year, There is Love in You. And hell, it’s friggin’ awesome. It’s electronic, glitchy, intelligent with eerie samples, awesome transitions between different interwoven textures – dreamy shit you can either melt into you couch with or dance your post-groove shimmy with 2 inches off the ground. The opening track, “Angel Echoes” should grab you in the first 45 seconds…if not, turn back you heartless old fogie.
If you’re looking for a modern purveyor of warm, organic, electronic sound, the fine English bloke known to his friends as Kieran Hebden, and his sometimes truly beautiful project, Four Tet is a great place to both start and end. If you dig deep, his older stuff can be a little too melancholy in the ambient, and a touch too drab to hold you, but right now the kid has a finger on the trigger so start from the present and move backward. I’ve included another video of him truly crafting music last year in London. Definitely worth the seek and embrace. www.fourtet.net
I had a grand epiphany recently when I realized there was a whole outlet of interpersonal music geekness that I was neglecting – the digital mailing list. Sure, a decade or so, writing your email address on some band’s list usually just meant you got a list of tour-dates every few months. But this is 2011 baby! Shit’s happening, and bands these days love to hook up their list folk with sweet things. I’ve gotten some dope downloads from Yeasayer and Akron Family among others as of late. But the biggest satisfaction came this morning when Radiohead sent everyone on their list copies of the two new tracks they only released in the UK last Saturday.
“The Butcher” is a glitched out, somewhat dark but steady charger. It was recorded during The King of Limbs, but it has even more of a stand-alone sound than other tracks on that album, and subsequently they couldn’t make it fit into the equation. Killer track though, and I would love to hear it grab full hold of its’ spookiness in a live setting.
“Supercollider” was started during the Limbs sessions but just finished up a few weeks back. They had been playing a rough take on this track for the past few years, but it was essentially just Yorke on the piano as I anticipated this cut to be. Rather, this is a much more lofty and synth driven track with a steady drum/fake-bass beat rolling throughout. It’s beautiful, very moon-landing kind of vibe. Definitely a must-have.
The most satisfying part? The fact that I went into my local record shop on Record Store Day, and the random bitchy chick working there looked at me like a complete ignorant asshole when I asked if they had the new Radiohead. Sure I had my release-date-countries mixed up, but still she thought I was an idiot, and seemed really pissed off when I told her that I obviously already had a copy of The King of Limbs and she needed to take that off my bill. I hope she loves Radiohead and subsequently can’t ever listen to these tracks without aching in the guilt of knowing that the asshole kid was right on Record Store Day. Eat it homegirl, I’m gonna listen to these songs 10 times each today.