Archive for August, 2012
Crowd participation at concerts has always been a tense subject for me. I love Phish, and they have an onslaught of interactive things I don’t really do…a 3-beat clap during “Stash,” the vocal chanting of “Wilson”, the dumb Hood ad-lib in “Harry Hood”, the “Meatstick”… but ironically the band used to base a solid portion of its live performances on secret signals that fans could perform in syncopation so that newbies would have no clue what’s going on. I may sound like a pretentious fuck, but I seem to only like crowd participation if the majority of the crowd isn’t doing it. I know, that sounds stupid but that’s who I am. I will, however, do the wave whenever possible.
Anywho, the biggest flip in the game for me was the first time I saw Dan Deacon perform about 5 years ago. The man forces crowd participation and you’re a total jack-ass if you deny it. So leave it up to the Baltimore Wonder-Mind to come up with the next logical advance in crowd participation – digital smartphone apps! Bum, bum buuuuuum… Now this is a massive expansion on the brief notion that Coldplay put into rotation this year – where they gave everyone in attendance wristbands to wear, and those wristbands then all shined like black-lights when a certain light was cast upon the crowd. So instead of holding up a lighter, or an iPhone, you just put your wrist in the air and you can see the masses swaying in motion together. Neato. Deacon has gone light-years further though, and created an actual app for smartphones that directly links to Deacon’s equipment at the show. Thus, it’s OK if there’s shitty reception or no WiFi at a certain club, because Deacon’s own gear will be the source of the digital info going to the phones. The phones themselves then emit both light and sound in time with the music he is producing, thus the fans are literally becoming part of the show. Basically he’s completely taken the horrible scenario of being at a rock concert where the entire crowd is playing with their phones, and he’s turned it into one of the flyest, and most innovative things to happen to the live concert experience since Gwar started shooting semen on their fans. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Dan Deacon is a genius and a blessing. I can’t wait to try this live – this might be the first thing that really pushed me into getting a new phone. Check it out…
I first had the thought last month when I went to see my buddy play with his highly successful pop-rock band at the Oregon Zoo…Do the animals really like this pumped-out fem-rock? More specifically, what about the elephants which dwell directly at the back of the concert lawn? It was still fairly loud back there, and those fellas got some big fucking ears which I presume can hear really well. Actually, I did my research and they can hear incredibly well – even to the point of some sub-sonic level. Look, here’s a picture I don’t understand but will make me look fancy to people just quickly scanning this post:
Either way, the elephants in Portland’s zoo didn’t really look like they were digging my buddy’s band too much, although the zookeeper said they were swaying a little bit when Jimmy Cliff played earlier in the Summer. So you know, maybe you could make some massive iPod which the elephants could use to shuffle through some different genres since forcing specific music upon them doesn’t really seem to make them shine too much. I mean hell, it’s not like they’re Beluga Whales or anything, which everybody knows only listen to mariachi music.
But honestly, the real reason of this post was to talk about this insane new footage of scientists pumping Cypress Hill through the membrane of a Longfin Inshore Squid. Why are they doing it? Because a squid’s body has a chameleon like reaction to electrical stimuli, thus it creates a light show almost at par with Pink Floyd night at your local planetarium.
It’s hard to tell whether they’re using a squid that’s alive or dead, but I feel like these guys have no qualms in pumping B-Real’s stoned out nasal raps through the flesh of a still-living creature. I mean, they definitely didn’t care about ripping the leg off of a cockroach so that they could make it dance to the Beastie Boys. (Skip to 1:06)
By now you’re saying, OK King, cool footage, what’s your point? Well it seems quite obvious to me…my point is that music, of all forms, is THE dominating force in nature. We should mount a stage to the back of a giant bulldozer upon which AC/DC will shred their greatest hits while the massive, metallic beast rampages over the old growth forests of the Pacific NorthWest…or not. No, actually… the real point is that life and humans and animals and all of nature operate upon these cycles of circadian rhythms. And music is merely segments of these natural patterns which we have recycled and positioned in order to manipulate the present patterns and states of being which flow within us. So when you go to that amazing concert screaming to your friends that it was so epic that it changed your life, you have to realize that at a fundamental level, it truly has. You have opened yourself to a new relay of patterned segments outside of the daily rotation that your body becomes accustomed to. It quivers you…it shapes you…it reforms you. This is why it is not only a matter of your own health, but it is your due responsibility as a human being to acknowledge when you are seeing really shitty music. You must not be afraid to walk away from the retched beat-deprived DJ just because your Molly-laced friend is dancing your ass off. Don’t go with the crowd, don’t be afraid to not succumb to the masses. There is great honor in being the elephant that walks indoors.
So if you’re not from down South or a devout scavenger of all music that NPR finds new-worthy, then you may perchance have missed out on THE jam of the summer – “Hot Cheetos and Takis.” The Maryland kids known as the Y.N. Richkids totally own the junk-food hip-hop world these days with this jam that apparently some of them are unaware the world even knows about. As they begin to near 2 Million hits on youtube though, it’s quite clear people are paying attention. The track has reminded me what an avid fan I am of non-commercial songs that big up a specific food product line – true tales of product devotion if you will. I’ve put the Richkids at #3 on my Top 6 list of All-Time Non-Solicited Corporate Food Songs – here’s the whole run-down:
#6 “Oh My Dayum” – Daym Drops
So this fella loves to record himself doing reviews of shitty fast-food. The Five-Guys Burger sent him over-the-top in ecstasy though, and those geniusGregory Brothers from Auto-Tune the News turned it into the smoothest homage to melted cheese of all time. Summer 2012 has really been a prolific year for this genre.
#5 “Rock n’ Roll McDonalds” – Wesley Willis
The schizophrenic wonder man-child of lyrical innocence, Mr. Willis created hundreds of tunes over the same beat and chord changes. And while he has left this Earthly realm, we will be forever blessed with his magical music, especially this one honoring the Satan-Clown. My go-to track of W.W. is the follow up to this one, “I’m Slimming Down” but that has no place on this list.
#4 “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” – Das Racist
At one point in time this track probably would have topped my list, but then I became aware of just how incredibly fucking amazing Das Racist is, and this song that kicked off their careers has fallen wayside to the rest of their dope-ass tracks. Still, I’ve got a solid 14 runs of this tracked on my iPod – probably 12 more than most people were able to handle. Shit is hot though!
#3 “Hot Cheetos and Takis”
Despite listening to this song 10 times over the weekend, I still have no desire to try my first Taki, and I fear about what pain will be unleashed on my ass after devouring a bag of Hot Cheetos. But hot-damn, that dark Southern Crunk beat is off the chain! This crew has everything though – the raspy kid that sounds like MCA after a few blunts, the happy fat kid in a wife-beater, the stuffed-up kid who sounds like Q-Tip, and even the uber-hyped little guy with a high voice. This is some real deal thugged out corner-store shit. Pretty undeniable.
#2 “Eat It” – Weird Al Yankovich
How can you leave out a legend? I’ve literally been saying the first line of this song at least once a month since it came out in 1984 – “How come you’re always such a fussy young man? Don’t want no Capn’ Crunch, don’t want no Raisin Bran.”
#1 “Where’d Da Cheese Go” – Ween
Now sure this tune was originally written for Pizza Hut’s stuffed-crust ad-campaign, but it was viciously rejected by the Hut and thus deserves inclusion on this list. When placed together with Part 2 of the song, also known as “Bitch, Where Da Motherfuckin’ Cheese At,” you have a truly magical piece of art. This was an easy pick for my number one.
Despite being the home of their psychedelic forefathers‚ California has always seemed like a crapshoot when it comes to quality Phish concerts. I tend to chalk it up to the Bay-area audience‚ who either from a collective subpar knowledge of the band’s catalogue‚ remnants of post-Dead-Head angst‚ or dub-step induced non-existent attention spans‚ has the most superficial appreciation for the VT boys than any other part of the country. Now I’m not saying that everyone needs to understand the existential wonder of quality Tom Marshall lyrics‚ but the majority of the SF crowd this weekend strictly was looking for and expecting a simple beat to dance to. I suppose that’s not really a desire to fault anyone on‚ but it’d sure be nice if they could at least stop yapping during the ballads. And no‚ these aren’t simply the complaints of a jaded vet — the level of constant crowd conversation can be truly overwhelming at times‚ and it seems obvious that the band too feels that dis-conjunct energy. Shit got weird this weekend. Never in my 17 years of seeing this band have I ever experienced such massive highs juxtaposed with such disastrous lows‚ but let’s just say it made for one hell of a ride in San Francisco. Read the full rundown HERE.
If you missed the boat 2 years ago when Ariel Pink finally blew up and dropped many a critics’ Album of the Year with Before Today, don’t be too hard on yourself. At the time, it almost seemed too hip for its own good, and those smooth retro jams seemed slightly insincere at first listen to some folk. But now’s the time to go back and catch up, because if not, you’re falling behind on his latest release Mature Themes. Summing up his vibe perfectly in the latest Spin, Ariel claims that “I knew that I was doing something that sounded like the trace of a memory you can’t place.” To me it sounds like music from some parallel universe where 70′s yacht rock made a perfect transition into 80′s pop music – like if Michael McDonald had managed to still stay relevant.
Despite the jumbled ego that he can’t help but emit constantly, Pink really is crafting genius smooth-pop that transcends any and all genre-era constraints. Try to hate it, but the shit is just fucking fly as all hell. This new video for “Only in My Dreams” isn’t ground-breaking by any means, but it continues the low-fi dreamscape which he so embodies. Presumably shot on VHS, and not really following any interesting plot-line, the video is as relaxed and casual as his music – as it should be. He wants some girl, but it’s not really working out – that’s it. Track is great though, so is the album, and the video makes you want to go dig out your too-tight Vaurnet t-shirt and short-shorts, grab a 4-pack of Bartles and James and head for the community pool. Dig it.
Grimes – she’s so hot right now. There’s always been more than that Will Ferrel reference that’s made me somehow associate Grimes with Hansel from Zoolander though. It has something to do with the fact of how blurry her boundary lines are – with Visions playing in the background, your fat uncle drinking a Budweiser in his tighty-whiteys could sit side-by-side with twin Korean siblings performing S+M on one another. Everything goes, and her latest self-directed video for “Genesis” only furthers the vision of that absurd universe. There’s no way I’m gonna watch this video as much as I did the one for “Oblivion”, despite this being my favorite cut on the album. Maybe it has to do with the weird lazy-eye of the pink-haired space ninja at 5:09. Who knows? Either way, home-girl is staying on top of the game.
It sucks to dis-hype any music by saying it sounds so particularly like anything else, but there’s no doubt that this 21 year old kid from England is the greatest champion of mid-90′s indie rock and shoegaze since My Bloody Valentine started a reunion tour. As I say in the interview – When I first heard Yuck’s debut LP last year, it wasn’t so much that is sounded like I was listening to Pavement as much as it felt like I was. Here’s a snippet but read the whole interview HERE at State of Mind.
Well, we wrote and recorded the music in… a timeframe. And I listen to music, well, I feel young with music. I think I was 17 when I started to really listen to records and discover labels. For me and Max, we still need to listen to, like, the most important bands — ones we’ve never heard before. So we go through massive phases with bands where we get really, really into something. And there are bands or artists that we always go back to, but sometimes when people ask that it’s quite confusing. Some bands Max likes a lot more than me, but I completely understand when people compare us to the 90s because I find that a lot of my favorite music comes from that time.
When Matisyahu first cut his hair and realized that being a Hassidic Jew and a rap/reggae star make as much sense as being a quadriplegic figure skater, I was one of the first people to call complete bullshit on his entire career. He could have come back with an amazing album that would have made people like me have to shut the fuck up, but instead he made hands-down the worst piece of tripe that will be released all year. Completely horrendous. Read the full review HERE at MV Remix.
Freshly shaven and free of his Hasidic tag line, Spark Seeker finds a Matisyahu who is desperately trying to reinvent himself. By pulling a reverse Snoop Lion move and turning away from the religious nature of his music, we should have been left with nothing but the reggae laced jam-grooves that got thousands of stoned frat-boys hooked on Matisyahu in the first place. Instead, his reinvention digs even deeper and we’re left with over-produced dance-pop that presents the once Chassidic reggae superstar as nothing but a broken shadow of himself… …It was definitely a suspect move to bring in Kool Kojak as a producer. Completely oblivious to the rhythmic structure of roots-reggae, Kojak crafts nothing here but pop-driven dancehall that would be much more suited to the work he’s done with Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry. With a heavy reliance on overly auto-tuned hooks, simplified lyrics, and a serious urge to appeal to 13 year-olds, the question is whether Matisyahu is big enough to just completely flip the switch on the majority of his fans. Sure it worked for the Black Eyed Peas, but is a massive sell-out really the spiritual path he claims his instincts are pulling him towards?…
For the past few days, the dark Lord himself, Tom Waits, has been delivering quasi-cryptic messages hinting at something big being released today. Nope, it wasn’t tour-dates. And yep, Ozzie is a pussy compared to Waits. Either way, it turns out to just be a new music video for the tune “Hell Broke Luce” off of last year’s Bad As Me. I suppose the word ‘just’ isn’t really apropos since the guy doesn’t really churn out music videos all that often, and since this one is really bad ass.
Featuring Waits towing some sort of levitating house through a dust-bowl world, it’s the kind of hell where the grim reaper is that old guy on the cover of Zeppelin IV. I think the idea is that the house is someone’s soul, and that Tom himself is Mr. Grim carting off someone’s soul to shitsville. Sometimes a sepia filter on your lens is all you need to make shit really scary. And you gotta give it up to the man for being one of the only artists out there to get legitimately scarier as he gets older. Most dark icons turn to a fluffy acceptance in their aging years, but Waits seems far more dangerous as he comes round the corner into his 60′s. It’s good – we could all use a little more danger in our lives.
So Brooklyn groove-freaksters Yeasayer have been prepping for the August 20th release of their highly anticipated 3rd album, Fragrant World. Today they announced that they got word their album was about to be leaked, and it really seems like it’s not their intention. I still have yet to fathom how this process actually works… I mean, you got your band and the dudes making your record…obviously one of them must have leaked it, right? It’s not like the pizza boy grabbed the master tapes off some shelf – hell, there’s a good chance that physical masters don’t even exist for this album. Can hackers hack right through to a studio’s computer now? Seriously, how the hell does that shit work? Either way, to thwart the invisible hands that are threatening to take the artistic control and power out of the band’s own hands, today Yeasayer announced PSCYVOTV – standing for PREEMPTIVE SELF-COMMISSIONED YEASAYER VORSTELLUNG or TRACK VISUALIZER.
Essentially, the band made 11 quasi-videos for each song on the album, hid them throughout the internet, and now pledges to only leave them up until 8Pm EST this Friday, August 3rd. So basically they’ve put the whole album out there, but in a really hard to access formula, and set to videos that will sound really shitty if someone tries to make mp3s out of them. So you know, you rock your book-faces and your twitter-bombs and these things pop up I guess.
My only question is of when this idea actually came into play. Did they throw this shit together all last night in a quick attempt to take control of their own music, or was this some planned out thing? If it was a sudden move, then I applaud them. If it was planned, then I applaud them for making me think it’s a sudden move. Either way, I’m not that great with secret internet shit so I’ve only found a few. Here’s one – I can’t even tell what the track is called, and I suppose this video will disappear in 53 hours but here it is… I love it actually, super trippy ambient for the 1st half, and then the subtle digi-tribal beat kicks in. It sounds like Yeasayer for sure, but it’s also massively fresh and unique for them. And unlike the new Animal Collective tracks, this shit sounds like nothing Ive ever heard before. Dig it, I’m definitely on board.