Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Greatest Band to Ever Come out of Lubbock

There's really nothing to say about this band except the first time I saw them, they made me wish I had been born and raised in Texas. I immediately wanted to hoist a state flag, buy a cowboy hat and gargle whiskey. I'm not kidding about this. I stumbled upon them at a place called "Hole in the Wall" on the UT Austin Drag and have since seen them 3 more times. They are simultaneously hysterically funny and sentimental Americana. Country music has never been so filthy.

There is truly nothing like the Beaumonts, who, contrary to what you might think from their name, are actually from Lubbock, Texas. Highlights include "Big Fake Boobs," "Let's Get Drunk," "Burn 'Em Down," and "Mayonnaise." As great as these tracks sound, the band simply must be experienced live.

Sample lyrics: " dick is so short that I piss on my balls, And my belly looks like it belongs on Santa Claus, I might be hideous baby, don't be so smug, 'cause I got money for drugs."

"She don't mind taking out her teeth and giving me some gum, Double A, R.P. I'm in love."

Enjoy it right here. If you like it enough, buy it and give these fellas the money they deserve.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cold Act Ill with Classixx

Classixx are a couple of remix ninjas from LA that are blowing up just about every spot there is to blow up lately. Case in point: their remix of YACHT's "Psychic City" was included on the "How To Make It In America" soundtrack and is now exponentially more popular than the original track. Remixes for Phoenix, Major Lazer, Mayer Hawthorne and others followed, each rivaling if not outshining its source material. All in all it's pretty incredible - with exactly 3 original songs to their name, Classixx are everywhere.

What makes a Classixx remix so amazing is that they don't adopt the style of the song at all, they bring that song into their world. So while other DJs are content rearranging a band's furniture, they're in the backyard torching the whole damn house. Their older tracks (like "Cold Act Ill" above) owe a lot to French house in general and Justice in particular, but their more recent remixes have located a mellow vibe all their own. It's a style I can only describe as California 80s noir - like driving down the coast at night, palm trees and the Pacific hanging in the air. Quickly becoming "the Classixx sound", it's like drugs for your ears, man.

Below are 10 tracks for your listening enjoyment - be sure to wait for the Major Lazer glass bottom dub, one of the sexiest joints you'll ever hear and one of my top remixes of all time.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Real King

Guess what kiddies: Grandpa's back with more good time oldies. Today I bring you the real King. Forget that King of Pop crap (R.I.P. Michael [from your father's abuse and your lawsuit hush $]); this is the only King that matters. Most people our age fail to understand why, for example, Bob Dylan said the first time he heard Elvis' music was like "busting out of jail." As someone who's been to Graceland three times, (No...seriously, that's true.) I feel somewhat of a responsibility to educate, so I shall try my hardest.

In early December of 1968, NBC aired the now infamous Elvis "Comeback Special." Out of the spotlight for a while due to military service (where he first encountered amphetamines), a long courtship and eventual marriage to Priscilla, the art of the Hollywood movie-record tie-in, and a newfound affinity for and immersion in gospel music, Elvis reemerged in primetime for a carefully orchestrated return to form that drew 42% of the television viewing audience. The concert signified a changing of the guard in popular music. No longer content to milk it, Elvis desperately sought the relevancy he had lost, remarking to his producer that he'd "never sing another song that I don't believe in" and was "never going to make another movie that I don't believe in." Elvis the Hollywood puppet was no more. Elvis, always a staunch, God-fearing Christian, was tired of appeasement. He wanted to scare the straights, but he wanted to do so on his own terms.

As a clarification, Elvis was vehemently anti-drug. President Nixon, in a desperate attempt to improve his image among the nation's youth, posed for a photograph with Elvis and made him "Federal Agent At Large for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs," a specially created position. In Elvis' mind, there was nothing "druglike" at all about the doctor-prescribed painkillers and doctor-approved pharmaceuticals he regularly abused. By contrast, Elvis was extremely upset at the suggestion by some that he was partially responsible for 1960's drug culture as a result of his influence on some of its most popular acts. This has been suggested by many as the single biggest reason why Elvis got it together for this concert. And thank God he did.

About a year after the show, Elvis returned to a Memphis recording studio and created this album, From Elvis in Memphis, regarded by many as his seminal masterpiece. It contains well-known Elvis tunes like "In the Ghetto" (the original hip-hop chorus?,) "Suspicious Minds," and the somber, eloquent ballad "Long Black Limousine." As a nod to the changes in popular music which had occurred since Elvis last attempted to make relevant popular music, the album also includes a wistful take on The Beatles' "Hey Jude," which just might bring a tear to your eye. Simply put, I cannot recommend this album enough. Check it out and you'll see why Rolling Stone ranked it as the #190 Greatest Album of All Time. Most importantly, you'll see why the King will live on forever...

Friday, April 30, 2010

Funk it out

Once again, the weather has turned. Which of course means I'm listening to soul music, it's like a tic. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have released a killer album on that old standby for delicious music, Daptone. I used to feel she was something of a novelty act, sounds like music you like from a time you like to imagine, but not something I'd sit down and listen to. Live act, awesome, albums not so much. Her latest is about as gritty and pure as soul gets. Try to listen to this and not FEEL it. The title track and Better Things To Do are absolute is the rest of it.


Second up, Erykah Badu. I was a huge fan of Baduizm and her earlier stuff, but I got a little lost with the outer-space, aliens stuff she got into around the millenium. That's not to say it was bad, just not my cup of tea -- very dense, very out there. Well she married the two in her latest effort and it's so effortlessly listenable, I have run through it a few times in the last week. She's still talking about aliens, but she's also talking about the real world and real life...which is a relief. It's smooth, it's full, it will actually make you pause and run those lines over in your head a few times and the music just rolls you along. Very much worth a listen.

The whole shebang

Friday, April 16, 2010

Workin It

Happy Friday errbody, hope you've all been killing your respective games this week. I've uploaded my work mix to 8tracks for you all to enjoy - just a bunch of jazzy beats to zone out to. What do you rock out to 9-5?

1. J Dilla - Donuts (Intro)
2. Damu the Fudgemunk - Colorful Storms (Ruff Instro)
3. Flying Lotus - Massage Situation
4. DJ Cam - Gangsta Shit
5. Dela - Stakes Is High
6. Samon Kawamura - U Nu
7. Four Tet - This Unfolds
8. Jel - All Day Breakfast
9. Nicolay - Light It Up
10. DJ Alibi - Tenth Round
11. Freddie Joachim - She Reminds Me
12. Sorcerer - Jump Rope
13. The Field - A Paw In My Face
14. J Ralph - One Million Miles Away
15. 40 Winks - Highwaves
16. Madlib - Two for Pay Jay
17. Rip One - In The Sky
18. Pete Rock - A Little Soul
19. 40 Winks - It's Here
20. J Boogie - Oceanic Lullaby
21. DJ Soulscape - Height 423
22. Quantic - Archipelago
23. Madlib - Slim's Return
24. Diplo - Sarah
25. St. Germain - Sure Thing
26. Waajeed - Starz
27. J Dilla - Mash
28. Lone - Sea Spray
29. Muneshine - Intergalactic
30. Johnny Alpha - Modern Women's Short Stories
31. Sound Providers - Autumn Evening Breeze
32. Quantic - Prelude to Happening
33. Mojib - Whimsical Lifestyle
34. Dimlite - Count Your Sunrises

Monday, April 5, 2010

Javelin- No Mas

Just picked up this album from Javelin entitled No Mas. These two cousins from Brooklyn have had a busy year opening for Yaesayer, rocking out with Mos Def and getting their debut album out. Just like the cover art to their album, these songs are mostly a fun cut and paste job of light hearted obscure samplings. While this album is laced with great move your feet to the beat summer tunes- I kinda wish this there was more of a flow between songs- a la The Avalanches album, Since I left You. That being the case-there are some ups and downs from song to song. Standouts for me have to be the dreamy Moscow 1980 & 60's Motownish Tell Me, What Will it Be. Give it a whirl, take it for a ride, tell me what you think...

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Some of you may remember a particularly intoxicating tune on Justice's Cross album a few years back, The ppaarrttyy, featuring some chanting/rapping/singing by a deadpan, take-no-shit chick. That chick was Uffie. Word on the street is Ke$ha copied her whole shtick from Uffie, who has a sort of fuck you attitude crossed with some hot beats -- basically Peaches updated for a new generation (not that Peaches needs much of an update). There's no good explanation as to why you want to keep listening to her, she's not a great lyricist and she knows it, but dammit this song is awesome.

And if you haven't heard Sleigh Bells yet, check it.

On the One = Off the chain

A San Diego Jazz/ Funk/Rock outfit. Obviously disciples of the Greyboy boogaloo style, but the drummer is all his own brand of crazyfuckinawesome. And the bass player gets down on Bootsys basic funk style with some serious style of his own. I won't go comparing the sax player to Karl Denson, but I'm sure this dude has spent enough time listening to KD to hold his own in a face off.

This show was recorded in early 07 I think. All in all, this show/record is A LOT of fun.

On the One - Live

Sunday, March 28, 2010

8Tracks and Bangers 2.0

Hey internet fam, I wanted to introduce you all to 8Tracks, a great way for us to share new music. 8Tracks is an incredibly simple site that lets you create and swap playlists of 8 or more songs. Using a loophole in copyright law (similar to Pandora), it turns these playlists into miniature internet radio stations that you can stream over and over again. Building a playlist takes 5 minutes tops - just upload the songs or search for them on 8Tracks (you can use any song that's on there already), and drag and drop them in. There are still a few dumb Pandora-like rights restrictions - you can't see the songs in the playlist until you play them, you can only skip a handful of times, and the playlist only goes in order the first time through - but that aside it's become my favorite way to find new tunes.

To get the ball rolling I've thrown together a mix of the top stuff off of my IPod for your enjoyment, and you can find me on 8Tracks here. I also recommend checking out this chick and this chick while you're at it. Let's get a little audience participation going - what are your top jams?

1. Gotye - Learnalilgivinanlovin
2. Wu-Tang Clan vs. The Beatles - Cutting It Up
3. Electric Wire Hustle - They Don't Want
4. Francis & The Lights - Night Watchman
5. Tanlines - Real Life
6. Small Black - Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix)
7. MillionYoung - Chlorophyl
8. White Hinderland - Icarus
9. Toro Y Moi - Imprint After
10. The Hood Internet - Save Me Concubine (Ghostface Killah vs. Beirut)
11. Bibio - Bones & Skulls
12. Bonobo - All In Forms
13. Delorean - Stay Close
14. Beach House - Norway
15. The Black Seeds - Love Is A Radiation
16. Plantlife - Your Love
17. Raashan Ahmad - If I
18. DJ Deckstream - Can You Let Me Know (feat. Lupe Fiasco and Verbal)
19. Blu - Since
20. Fashawn - Stars
21. Spiro - The Sky Is A Blue Bowl

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Can Go For That!

From J.D. Ryznar showcasing them in several episodes of the web series Yacht Rock to Chromeo becoming best friends and performing with Daryl Hall, to others dressing up as them for Halloween, Hall & Oates have become indie idols over the past several years. Given the fact that their music is catchy, danceable, and oh so smooth it's perfectly understandable and in my opinion very well deserved. If you disagree go back and listen to She's Gone and I Can't Go for That or better yet just ask Method Man what he thinks. This past week, their indie stardom was elevated even higher when The Bird and The Bee released their new album, "Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates." While more mellow and not nearly as dancey as the originals this album is definitely worth a listen for any self proclaimed fan of the Philadelphia duo. Enjoy!

Dragons- BFI

Once upon a time in the halcyon days of 1970 in the Land of Southern California, lived three brothers whose passion for the Beatles, surfing, and the psychedelic movement lead them to create one of the oddest, most totally radical tripped out albums of the 1970's. Combining elements of rock n roll, jazz, and funk the album was titled BFI (Blue Forces Intelligence). Unfortunately this album was so weird and different that record labels, having never heard something like this before, decided to shelve it. The brothers, who were now going by the name The Dragons, were so dismayed that they decided to disband and go their own ways. BFI would never be released.

Fast forward 37 years to an English DJ (DJ Food of Ninja Tune's) digging through some crates in a record store. He stumbles across a piece of buried treasure- a soundtrack to an old 70's surf movie which just happens to feature The Dragons "Food for My Soul." Completely blown away by the fresh and innovative sounds coming through his speakers he decides he must track down the artists who forged this tune and learn their ways. Eventually DJ Food manages not only to locate one of the long lost brothers but also the original mix tapes. After listening to the mix tapes in their entirety, DJ Food realizes that this is just too good and decides to releases the tapes on the Ninja Tune label for the masses to hear. At long last the brothers achieved their dream and BFI was released to critical acclaim. A joyous cry erupted all over the musical world and everyone lived happily ever after.

All story telling aside- this is one dope album. Listening to it one hears elements of Frank Zappa, The Doors, and Air, not to mention some really bizarre sound effects (babies crying, Japanese rhythms, funk vocals!). Oh yeah and that sweet sweet organ player, who lays down the nastiest of grooves throughout each song...he went on to become the Captain....totally nuts, I know.

Disclaimer: It should be noted that the above song is probably the most "normal" one on the album.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Besnard Lakes

This married duo from Quebec has made one very impressive record. Their third to date, surrounded by musicians, but the brainchild of this couple and it comes on big. Big sounds, big production, big ambitions. It sits somewhere between indie rock and shoegaze. They have that big wall of sound thing going on, full productions and My Bloody Valentine style ear-assault. But it's a little more reserved, more melodic, with some space for the listener to settle in and get comfortable. My problem with shoegaze is often that it's so intense and overwhelming that I can only deal with about two songs before I need a few minutes of total silence. This album really paces itself more -- they don't overwhelm you, it brings you along as opposed to just knocking you over. Not to mention the music really is just superb -- the vocals are beautiful and finely tuned, the songs intricate and compelling. As soon as it starts, you want to hear more, always a good sign.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Earful

A few tracks to enjoy this week.

Yeasayer "ONE" By: Radical Friend from ODDBLOOD on Vimeo.

Incidentally, all three of these albums are well worth a full listen.

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Toro y Moi - Causers of This

The Morning Benders - Big Echo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sound Opinions

I've been listening to an excellent podcast for some time now and wanted to throw it some love up here. Sound Opinions is a weekly public radio show based in Chicago, hosted by the pop music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times (Jim DeRogatis) and the rock critic for the Tribune (Greg Kot). They get some outstanding guest performances (Dodos, Phoenix, Grizzly Bear, Kid Sister), but some of the best shows are when they delve into some random genre or facet of music. I don't necessarily always agree with their reviews, but the show never fails to intrigue and entertain.

More car time has given me the chance to catch up on some old episodes, and they had Black Francis/Frank Black of the Pixies on to discuss Doolittle a few weeks back. It was absolutely fantastic -- I've never heard Black interviewed before, so maybe he's that garrulous and effusive all the time, but I sort of doubt it. The interview truly provided a fascinating look into the mind of the man and how the whole thing came together. Most hilarious moment: when Black bitched about festival fans bouncing an inflatable shark at one of their shows and he stopped the performance to confiscate the thing. should listen to it, the podcast is free and awesome.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Every now and then I get the special urge to leave the synths and turntables so often heard in todays music behind, crank the speakers up to 11 and do jump kicks off my couch. Fueled by the surf and sunshine of Southern California, The Soft Pack's debut album fulfills just this fever. With only 10 songs and a total listening time of 32 minutes this is a garage rock sprint from start to finish.

The also do a pretty good deadpan cover of Phoenix's "Fence's"

Thursday, March 11, 2010


So I definitely ripped this straight from Pitchfork's best new tracks. But dammit it's so good I had to make sure you all got a taste. The band is Cults, a less than unknown band, a barely formed band, with a 7" and three songs to their catalog. The best of the three, bar none, is Go Outside, a jangly, effervescent breath of a song rich with texture and vocals. The xylophone makes you feel like you're 6 again, playing with the playskool band kit in the grass, but the lyrics are decidedly adult. It's also the warmest and loveliest melody I could ever want to accompany the spring awakening. Some of those best new tracks are hit or miss and often the rest of the album doesn't deliver, but this one hits you like a cool breeze. Most Wanted is worth a full listen as well.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meet The Locals

It's probably a sign of the times that one of the most significant cultural moments of 2010 centers around a 17 year old chick from Berlin. That's author Helene Hegemann, whos bestselling book caused an uproar in Germany because it plagiarizes not just sentences but whole pages from a lesser known novel. What's really interesting, though, has been the country's complete non-response to the scandal: the book was a finalist for the prestigious Leipzig Book Fair prize despite Hegemann admitting to the plagiary. Her response "there's no such thing as originality anymore, just authenticity", with its implied shrug, neatly sums up the attitude of our whole generation.

Authenticity also seems like the right place to begin talking about a band that calls themselves Local Natives. That shrug of a name, paired with the fact that this is a rustic folk outfit from the backwoods of suburban L.A., had me prepared for the worst. And with an aesthetic that so clearly apes several other bands (Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, and Yeasayer, just for starters), these dudes sure know how to paint themselves into a musical corner. In fact, the affectations are so prominent - the 3 part harmonies, the jittery percussion, the thick reverb, even a goddamn Talking Heads cover - that it's not hard to imagine Local Natives as something spit out by an indie rock hitmaking algorithm. The influences aren't even disguised or rearranged - the pages have just been ripped out whole.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the hipster gristmill. Though the Natives' style still got immediately saddled with the lazy labels we've come to expect ("west coast Grizzly Bear", "Andrew Bird-inspired"), the songs themselves were embraced. Which is why it's interesting to contrast these guys against, say, Band of Horses, who were cruxified not even 3 years ago for the same creation-by-constellation. And like "Cease to Begin", when you take "Gorilla Manor" as its own world its a pretty fascinating place to be. This is a band that refuses the idea of a lead singer, who's first single was written by their drummer, and who look as comfortable banging on the side of a storage shed as they do in the studio. And their 12 uniformly radiant songs, emerging fully-formed yet warmly ragged, might just be the perfect spring album. This is shit to bloom with guys - enjoy it all.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Before These Crowded Shows

This post is primarily for Bubba, Panda, Bary and Rachel (assuming any of ya'll read this blog.) I'm certain alot of you will be unhappy with it, but, you know, I'm sorry. I promise I'll be back in a few days with something a bit more relevant to my usual role with the Bangers...

Anyways, this is a soundboard February 2nd, 1993 recording of the Dave Matthews Band performing a hometown show in Charlottesville, VA at Trax. The band included a full-time keyboardist at this point. If you've ever been a fan of DMB in any capacity, I urge you to download this and give it a listen. It will definitely surprise you. The band is unpolished to the point of unrecognizability but it's not tough to see how things would quickly escalate from an opening slot on the H.O.R.D.E. tour to teenage high-schoolers insisting on a first-name basis. ("How many times have you seen Dave?")

Highlights include a solo acoustic version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," a bitchin' "Halloween," an actually-meant-something "Dancing Nancies," and the since-nonexistent final keyboard outro to "Two Step" that's eerily reminiscent of the breakdown in Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain." Hopefully it makes somebody's day...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Office Dance Party

Everyone was struggling in the office today after a pretty demanding weekend, so we bumped these tunes to pump us up for the rest of the afternoon. It worked:

New Edition-Cool It Now. So fly. So Fresh. Plus that kid in the orange can dunk.

George Benson - Give me the night
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George Benson-Give Me the Night. This guy is so silky smooth it's absurd. I mean the dude can play guitar and rollerskate backwards, all while delivering the sweetness.

Mary Jane Girls-Candyman. My love for this group is endless...well at least on a Saturday nights it is. It's impossible not to move your feet to their songs. See also: In My House & All Night Long

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Outlandos D'Amour

I think one of the most fun things that comes with being a fan of music is rediscovering an album that you haven't listened to in ages and being reminded just how amazing it sounded when you first heard it. This happened to me this past week when The Police's debut album, Outlandos D'Amour, came on randomly and I was immediately reminded of it's brilliance. Fueled by the punk scene of the late 70's and combined with a heavy dose of reggae and early 80's new wave, this has got to be one of the all time best debut albums by a band.

The first three songs on this album are just such an infectiousness powerhouse of rock that it's impossible not to overstate their greatness. Stewart Copeland's hard pounding punkish drumming sets the tone from opening notes of Next to You and doesn't let up until the closing of Masoko Tanga. So Lonely is a perfect composition, once again showcasing Copeland's drumming skills, Sting's lyrical ability and a sick guitar solo by Andy Summers. Roxanne, though used and abused over the years by radio stations everywhere, still has to considered a classic rock n roll tune by critics and fans alike. This album also provides a wonderful juxtaposition musically and lyrically combining groovy up tempo beats with songs about heartbreak, suicide, and sex with blow up dolls- making this the happiest sad album I have ever heard.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Born in Illinois, and currently hailing from the rural California town of Ojai, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, you'd think this chick was raised in deep south on a steady diet of Bonnie Rait, PBR's, and Marlboro reds. Her voice is both bristly and beautiful- which she commands perfectly as she belts out songs about heartbreak, moonshine, the Midwest, and the mighty Mississippi (everything you could possible want on a good country/folk album).

Her debut album Why You Running was recorded mostly in Nashville late last year with Jacquire King (Kings of Leon), and is incredibly intoxicating- much the same way that Dylan's Nashvile Skyline is. As I said earlier, it's rough yet alluring, and kinda makes you want to ride off into the sunset in some beat up Ford pickup with your lady by your side and a 6 pack of bud heavy's. Enjoy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Them Clever Vultures

My first thought = supergroups usually don't work out. My second thought = I don't care, this has to be good.

and it is. Definitely got a very QOTSA feel, b/c I don't think Josh Homme knows any other style of music. But thats a good thing if you're a Queens fan, which I am. However, there are also some knock out riffs along the way that just fuckin slay. JP Jones even hits the electric keys on a couple songs which really brings in the Zeppelin vibe.

A lot of people are probably hating on this cause its not exactly pioneering, but if you're at all a fan of clever, dark and just straight up driving rock, this album is full throttle. Don't judge it too quickly, I think you'll be sorry.

Them Crooked Vultures

Pretty, Indeed

This dude calls himself Pretty Lights which is a pretty appropriate name given his shit sounds a lot like a fireworks show at a strobe light factory giving out e-bombs at the door. All in all, he takes a lot from the Blockhead canon of trip hoptronica, but really his sound is a lot busier overall. He also very adroitly blends the hip hop, electronic, and trance elements into a pretty smooth confluence.

You can download all of his albums on the website, and they all have worthwhile cuts. His latest, passing by behind your eyes, is probably my favorite, its very heavy on the blues and funk foundation and even throws in some siiiick Biggie samples. Some tracks are slower than others, but this dude has a great ear and is in my humble opinion extremely talented. You can catch him opening for Sound tribe this spring if you get a chance.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Four Tet before and after

Most of you out there have probably never heard of Four Tet, and that needs to remedied immediately because he is, without exaggeration, one of the most influential/kickass musicians of the 2000's. I've been pounding the new Four Tet album this week, and its totally unique awesomeness made me go back and rediscover his back catalogue, which has held up incredibly well over time. Let's take a quick tour through Tet country:

Kieran Hebden dropped his first solo LP as Four Tet in 1999, on the back of his success with his band Fridge. If "Dialogue" sounds unadventurous now, it's only because it's style has been bitten so thoroughly. So when I say that it's a little Caribou, a whole lot of Blockhead, and a dash of Dangermouse, understand that it's most likely the other way around. With it's jazzy undertones and meticulous study of sound, "Dialogue" is a good introduction to the Four Tet vibe - it's music that demands headphones and rewards close attention. Here's my favorite cut off the album, Chiron:

With "Pause" in 2001 and then "Rounds" in 2003, Hebden moved further and further away from hip-hop and towards a new sound that eventually became labeled as folktronica (a genre he more or less created). What these albums revealed was a love of found sound that borders on obsession - not just musical instruments, either, but any kind of noise. The song featured in the video above, with it's backbeat formed by the haunting wheeze of a breathing machine, is just one example. The way a guitar string is plucked, the way a record crackles in the background, the way a snare drum rattles after it's hit - everything matters. In Four Tet's world, every note is it's own melody. It feels ridiculous to type that, but it's true.

Seriously, I could mancrush on this dude for days - his ability to bridge the acoustic/digital divide, his incredible collabs with Burial and Steve Reich, his personality and attitude, embodied by the fact that on his new album he includes a track that's just a recording of his godson's heartbeat, as a gift. But instead of that, you should go listen. Listen to "Parks" and "She Move She", preferably on a train and preferably late at night. Listen to "Sing" and "This Unfolds" off the new album and notice how his style can evolve without ever really changing. Listen to it all, and then relisten again and again, because this is one of the few musicians who's worth it every single time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

La Blogotheque

Fleet Foxes - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

I have found yet another way to kill hours on the internet. It's amazing what people can do. La Blogotheque, a French website that brings together bands for random, small, intimate performances and films them with a stunning visual style. The Fleet Foxes vid above is one of the better ones, part of their Take Away Shows series - bands performing in public, unplanned venues. Phoenix did a walking/bus tour of Paris for a few songs. Bon Iver pulled off something similar. They put Vampire Weekend, acoustic version, in front of a small, packed crowd - what they call a Pocket Party. The site has been around for a while, and they have just about everyone you might care about (or at least that I do) doing something awesome.

There are a few reasons why I have grown to love this site. One - reimagining how these bands are supposed to sound is absolutely fantastic. You get a little glimpse into how this particular group of people started laying down the bones of a song - how it all sounded before they got into a studio with synths, amps, multiple takes and tracks. It also let's you feel the music in a much more immediate way. You get to see the emotion up close, experience the joy these musicians have when they play without the one-layer remove of the recording. Not to mention you get to see these guys hear their own music in a completely new way, and sometimes it catches them off guard. And of course, it's just really well done. Go waste some time.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


With Mardi Gras right around the corner, and the Saints headed to the Super Bowl next Sunday, I felt like posting a couple albums from way down south in New Orleans..

Crippled from a childhood encounter with an ambulance, missing one eye (stories vary), drug addicted, alcoholic, black and gay in the deep South - James Booker had anything but an easy life. That being said he managed to become one of the most revered piano players in a town that has produced some of the greatest piano players ever to walk the earth. These sessions were recorded in 1976 in Hamburg, Germany where Booker was hiding out at the time (apparently he had some issues back home in the states having ripped off Apple Records for front cash on a project which never materialized).

James Booker - The Piano Prince

Here's a fonky little out of print rarity. It features Mac Rebennack ("You all know the Dr- Dr. John, Mr Mac Rebennack") in fine form w/ the Meters as his backing band and was produced by Mr. Allen Toussaint.

Dr. John - Desatively Bonnaroo

"Everything I do is funky like Lee Dorsey." -Mike D

This album is Dorsey's master work; Allen Toussaint wrote and arranged most of the songs, and the Meters play back up to Dorsey. Go ahead now and download this baby so you can start getting your soul thang on right away.

Lee Dorsey - Yes We Can

Thursday, January 28, 2010

PCH Late Night Illin'

Heard this first track late last night on KCRW. It's smooth, soulful, and ideal for after hour soirees (It is Marvin Gaye afterall). When Marvin comes in around that 4 minute mark it's perfection. It was then followed by this upbeat, funky fresh jam:

Gots to give it up to KCRW for always playing the best late night sessions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chicks Who Rock (really)

I have been listening to this album - Know Better Learn Faster by Thao with the Get Down Stay Down (awesome name) - for a couple of months and I can't really put my finger on why I like it so much. First, the lead singer (Thao - pictured above), is a chick who sounds more like she would jump kick off the couch and shred a solo than most female leads. Equal parts Karen O and Shan Michaels. Second, this is pretty straight forward rock - catchy hooks, 4/4 beats, not too showy, but rocking enough to make you want to stomp around. It's also got a little surfer edge - mostly influenced by the choice of guitar, but despite some pretty typical sad sack song themes (love and lack thereof, breakups etc.), these tunes are indisputably upbeat.

Body, Easy and When We Swam are winners, the title track ain't bad either.

Second - Ida Marie's Fortress 'round My Heart. I haven't heard a song title this bad since Janis: "I like you so much better when you're naked." Get it girl. Very Patti Smith. She manages to walk the line between really turning up the pace and energy and devolving into maniacal chaos (a common problem I find with faster, edgier rock albums) - it's all very controlled and her voice still sounds awesome the whole way through (shrieking included). I mean she starts a song with, "Whiskey please, I need some whiskey please," but her voice belongs more to the Smiths than Joplin. Good stuff.

Stella, Morning Light, and Oh My God are good additions to the aforementioned tune.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Ruby Suns-Sea Lion

If Paul Simon, New Order, and Panda Bear got together and made an album with Brian Wilson as the producer it might sound something like this. From California by way of New Zealand, The Ruby Suns bring a lot to the table on their 2008 sophmore album, Sea Lion. This is kaleidoscopic pop music at its best with so many ideas buzzing around to form this warm dreamy juxaposition. With elements ranging from afro-pop (Tane Mahuta), 80s synth rock (Kenya Dig It?), all the way up to dream pop (It's Mwangi in Front of Me) Sea Lion is sure to take you on a global psychedelic journey in sound. Sit back, pretend it's summertime (it is in New Zealand) and just listen to There Are Birds straight through to Kenya Dig It? for an evocative sampling of what this band has to offer. Keep you eyes peeled for their follow up album, Fight Softly, to hit the market in March.

Who flipped it better featuring CFCF

Here's another gold star for the internet: Mike Silver was just another 21-year old Canadian dude a year ago when he decided to enter a Crystal Castles remix contest. He won the contest, and his retro-synth style got him further remix work from hipster elite like HEALTH and The Teenagers. Fast forward a year, and this virtual unknown drops an LP of straight 80's heat not seen since Doc retired the Delorean.

CFCF is on that same lo-fi balearic tip that everyone else on Pitchfork is, but he does it so, so much better. He has real patience, and it makes all the difference. To hear what I mean, check out "Invitation To Love", my favorite joint off of his album:

How badly do you want to be Hasselhoff in Nightrider right now? It's MURDAH

Now listen to Quiet Village's "Pillow Talk", who constructs a track using the exact same sample:

No contest right?


Where's Hip hop Goin? Its Chicagoan.

Contemporary hip hop takes the most flak for lacking one thing my man F. Stokes will never be accused of missing : authenticity. From the opening slam to the final note, this debut effort is saturated with gritty rhymes and heavy hearted reflection. It doesn't hurt that DJ Lazerbeak brings the HEAT on every track while Stokes unloads his arsenal of stories.

Chi town stand up - this man is representin like a champ.

F. Stokes - Death of a Handsome Bride

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Those Smart Guys

Much has been written about Vampire Weekend - they appropriate sounds, rip off Paul Simon, revel in pretension, right conscientiously incongruous lyrics, and on and on. I did not really want to like this album that much - I liked the debut, but can't say I found it earth shattering. Sure African polyrhythms are new to indie rock, but they're not NEW. That said, they've really done something a little different on this album. Yeah, they're still writing about upper class lifestyles that sound completely ridiculous over music better suited to South Africa. But they mellowed the whole thing out...a lot.

They produced this album in California and it shows. There is sunshine all over this record. The songs are a beat slower, the snare taps fewer and further apart, more synth, and the vocals get a bit dreamier. Beats are more pulsating and lo-fi than some of the heavy, jerky, syncopation on the debut. They let themselves loose a little - particularly on the final two tracks, where it's like they take the songs for a walk and let them wander off the leash, but it works, you're with them every step. There are a few songs which recall the first album's pace and intensity - namely the single, Cousins - but it's a whole new groove here. They're adding strings, harpsichords, backup just sounds like they had fun making this. And I like it. Dammit.

Diplomat's Son is the jam. Taxi Cab is pretty sparkling as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


An Australian website has leaked unofficial tour dates for the upcoming Daft Punk TRON Legacy tour. If these dates turn out to be true it would mean that Daft Punk would play Yankee Stadium on August 15th. After a little investigative research, the Yankees would be playing away against the Kansas City Royals that weekend making the stadium open for business. Might be a good idea now to book airfare if you need to, because The House that Daft Punk built is sure to be bumping.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Daily Grooves

Homegrown tunes from SF - Chido

OK, I've been lookin for some feedback on my own shit, and I figured what better venue than to throw it up here amongst the critics extraordinaire. Some of you I know quite well, others not at all, but either way, I'm interested to hear what you guys think. We're a three piece gig called Chido - which loosely means "sweet" or "cool" in spanish (real original huh?) - and I won't really get into any self-criticism b/c I'm pretty sure nobody cares what I think about my own music. I will say the sound quality is mostly poor though. Funds are low, time is short and well, you get what you get sometimes. Anyway, let me know what impressions you get, good or bad, if you dig it, hate it, want to rip your ears off when you listen, etc. whatever it is, no worries.

There's really not a good genre label for this stuff, other than prog rock, or experimental, but it definitely revolves around rock the most - give it a go if you've got some time. It may take a few minutes to download cause I didn't send it in Mp3 format - it just doesn't sound as good when its too compressed.

yours truly on the drums


Friday, January 15, 2010

One and Done Feel-Good 90's Pop-Rock

All you kids be posting some of that ill new shit: droppin' the dope flow like an elderly urethra after a diuretic. I'm a make this plain and true for ya'll. I know very little to nothing about this band, Sonichrome. I think this is the only album they ever released: it's called Breathe the Daylight.

I bought it around the time it came out after a recommendation via the guy at The Wall (anyone remember those stores? Lifetime guarantees on CDs?). It's 1990's alternative pop-rock not unlike that of now-forgotten Buzz Bin stalwarts like the Gin Blossoms or Soul Asylum. Lyrically, it's very sharp, hooky and at times even dark; think Elvis Costello listening to Nirvana's MTV Unplugged. I've loved this album from the second I first heard it.

Standout tracks include "Honey Please," "Saloman" and "Summertime Love Affair." Amazon.Com says it came out in 1998. That explains this review: "...Sonichrome proves themselves to be one of the best new bands I have heard since Marcy Playground...." Aside from that comical delight, I highly suggest everyone take a listen. Its pop sensibilities are extremely well-honed and improve with each successive listening. I think it's out of print too, so enjoy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

C'est Supercool

New video from Air. This makes me think that these guys would be perfect for the next Bond theme song. So French, So Air, so chouette.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All Good in the Hood

The Hood Internet are two Chicago DJs who mix rap and R&B acapellas over pop songs, producing epic party mixes and ridic live shows.

What's that smartass? You liked them better when they were a dude from Baltimore and called Girl Talk? Let me splain something to you:

1. Unlike Girl Talk, the Hood dudes don't have a need to drop Big Pop Culture References to show how clever they are. In fact, they often drop lesser known stuff like Royksopp and Beirut - whatever sounds good, basically. The gully-rapper-over-naive-80s-track gimmick was played out the third time I heard it. It's 2010 - aren't we tired of irony yet?

2. Their mashups are also whole songs, not that 30 second teaser B.S. like Girl Talk pulled

To show you what I mean, here's the Hood's new mixtape, released just before Christmas:

The Hood Internet - The Mixtape Volume Four by hoodinternet

Peep the whole tracklist here. Some of my favorites:

David Banner vs. Fujiya and Miyagi - one of the best mixtape openers ever, if not the best

Lil Wayne vs. Royksopp @ 6:00 - you are not prepared for how good this sounds

Ghostface Killah vs. Beirut @ 58.30 - no words

Download the whole thing at their site, where you can find many other dope mixes. And for those of you in the Chitown area, hit up their Facebook page to stay up on shows - I can only imagine how hard they must bring it live

Monday, January 11, 2010

Billie Holiday + palm-thatched hut in 1940's Waikiki + Hipster Jazz Renaissance = Leftover Cuties

Imagine yourself being thrust back into the 1940's, deep into the bowells of New York, in some underground jazz club. The air is ripe with the smell of smoke, booze is flowing freely, and the sounds of a warm sultry voice cut through the hazy hallway in which you're standing. Is that Etta James singing? Maybe Ella Fitzgerald? Woah-where the hell am I?!?

This is exactly what went through my head last Saturday night while at a house party in Venice, California. The voice was Shirli McAllen, lead singer of Leftover Cuties, and like the sirens call to Odysseus, it was hard not to fall immediately in love with her. Dressed stylishly, as if just coming from Gatsby's house, McAllen and her band are the complete package. Backing her is a blend of ukulele, harmonica, whistle, bass, and light percussion. All of their tunes are rather dreamy, and come across as free spirited jam sessions. Think Amy Winehouse but more jazzy.

They just released a new EP called "Game Called Life." Go buy it, but be forewarned: their deep, yet playful sound is like a drug and in this case everybody will get stoned.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

In the year 2000, people were just getting over the whole Y2K thing, Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP changed the rap world, and Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator' was the best thing EVER.

But there was something else that happened in in that year that I'm guessing Banger's readers will remember as clearly as I do.... I was sitting in study hall during first period (it was perfect - I never had to be in school on time), and this kid introduced me to a hip hop duo called Reflection Eternal. The classic horns of 'Move Somethin', the collabo with Mos on 'This Means You', and the Lennox Lewis soundbite on 'Down For the Count' all separately changed the way I listened to music (especially in my car).

Well, fast forward to 2010. It's been a decade, and we're finally getting the sequel: 'Revolutions Per Minute'. It hasn't been released yet (due out in Februar/March), but they have dropped a mixtape called The RE:union. It's got 30 tracks, including tons of new stuff, unreleased joints, and re-released 'Train of Thought' jams make for a beautiful mixtape to keep you warm this winter.

I'm obviously biased, BUT, the best track is definitely Just Begun. Talib, Jay Electronica, J. Cole, & Mos Def (in that order) come in and terrorize this amazing beat.

Treat yourselves...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

That Fly Shit

You have probably heard about Blakroc by now - an impressive collaboration between the Black Keys, Damon Dash, and a slew of hip hop artists. Mos Def, Jim Jones, Rza, Raekwon, Noe and others provide the vocals over some truly bluesed out Black Keys tunes. Some songs are better than others, but Raekwon absolutely murders this track. It's two and a half minutes of straight free flow rhyming, no chorus, no refrain.