/*Google*/ /*Hosting*/ May 2009 | SFCritic Music Blog


Dark is Cool

In the last year, two stellar albums have arrived both entitled "Dark..." Crazy man! No I'm not using drugs, it's okay Mom, it's just a trip. Earlier in the year, Dark Was The Night was released on behalf of the Red Hot Chili Peppers foundation. The list of artists featured could make any music geek drool: The National, Feist, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire and Spoon. Truly, if you haven't listened to that album you should. Recently several of the featured artists played at the Radio City Music Hall in NY, and below I've attached some clips from their performance.

Soon to be released is Dark Night of the Soul, a collaboration of Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. Currently, NPR's music blog is allowing the entire album to be streamed. There are several featured artists on this album as well: James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch, and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils. Click here to link to the NPR stream.

Three Great Artists Together For One Performance

While on tour with NIN, Street Sweeper Social Club, the new band composed of Boots Riley and Tom Morello, got Trent Reznor to join them for a cover of MC5's "Kick Out Jam." While I might not be such a fan of this individual song, it's amazing to see a lineup of three contemporary pillars of rock and hip hop music playing together. If you didn't know, Boots Riley is the front man from political hip hop group The Coup; while Tom Morello is a Grammy Award wining guitarists formerly a member of Rage Against The Machine. Check out the video below:

Also check out:

Come Test Me! I Bring Justice: Justice "Stress"

Justice Remixes U2

Wu-Tang Forever Fool! Raekwon's new music video for "New Wu"


Song Of The Day - St. Vincent "Actor Out of Work"

You’d be foolish to think Annie Clark is just a pretty face—because she’s also the brilliance behind the emerging band St. Vincent. Clark’s music is reflective of her unique taste, or as she describes, “I love the notion that something can be whimsical, delightful, but also disgusting,”—as her music can shift from love-wooing-coos to haunting marches of social criticism. With Actor, Clark’s imagination ties dreams with realities, as she began creating the album while watching her favorite movies -- Badlands, Pierrot le Fou, The Wizard of Oz, Stardust Memories, Sleeping Beauty. With each track reflecting like individual film scores, the unimaginable of comparing Snow White with Woody Allen, become imaginable.

If “Marry Me,” reflected the sweet and loving side of Annie Clark, “Actor Out of Work” is how she might sound pissed off and confused. Typical of St. Vincent, her lyrics are full metaphors, denouncing the subject as a cheat, a liar, and a supplement. When listening only to the tones, her voice is soft and melodic and as she sing “woo hoo,” the song almost seems loving, but then in comes the dissonant saw synthesizers backed by haunting choral sounds, changing the structure of the song entirely. St. Vincent is a dynamic musician, and multi-instrumentalist, and “Actor Out of Work” highlights the the clash of noise and feelings that is so uniquely St. Vincent.

Want more SOTD?

Charles Tree: "It's The"

Peter King : "Shango"

The Sounds: "No One Sleeps While I'm Awake"


Solo Dance Mission

Our mission was to make the crowd dance, rambunctious enough for the house to shake, and contained enough so the cops never came. The latter came true, but the dancing never occurred. All the effort that it took, setting up the dance floor, organizing a playlist, pretending to be cool DJs, in the end seemed tedious. So in this blog, I'm here to highlight some of the amazing tracks we discovered which were never really heard that night that I have pasted for you to enjoy.

Crystal Castles vs. Health - "Crimewave"
Crystal Castles is part of the electroclash movement featuring new wave dance with an emphasis on style over dancing. This track was remixed by Health, an up and coming rock band with emphasis of crazy drum patterns and synths.

Lil Wayne - "A Milli" Flying Lotus Robo Tussin Remix

Flying Lotus is an LA funk/electro producer that is creating a universe of music entirely unique to itself. With Lil Wayne's "A Milli," Flying Lotus breaks down the classic bass line, and implements a futuristic twist, which is needless to say, HOT!

Mickey Factz- "Super Duper Supra" Remixed Prince 85

"I like supers daddy," repeats the hooks on this 808 drum line. The song hits like old school hip hop remixes, with repeating lyrics and pushing high hats; but stands fresh with a saw sythn.

Other Mixtape Weeks:

Featuring: Phoenix, Jay Z, Camron, Micky Factz

Featuring: Grizzly Bear, Of Montreal, Immortal Technique, Mos Def


Common Raps Common, No Message Says Old Woman

Breakfast at Sulimays is a web video series featuring three old folks sitting around a cup of Joe in Philly talking indie music and hip hop. Starring Ann, Joe, and Bill, the trio review artists from Dan Deacon to Common. On this featured clip, Ann talks about Common's "Universal Mind Control," off his new album Universal Mind Control. After seeming into the song, with her sing-a-long "boomdippitydip dip," she cans Common for rapping about nothing. "Usually when they rap, they rap about what's going on, but on this 'Universal Mind Control' they are just mishmoshing," says Ann.

Later in the clip, Bill falls for Bon Iver's "Blood Bank." Ann calls it really "emotional." Oh old folks!

More about Common:

Common teams up with Jonas Brothers

Generation Y, Hear My Cry!

I hope this video gives you a little laugh, in an ironic--oh shit, yeah, well fuck--kind of way, if that made much sense. It's hard to get a job. It's hard to pursue your dreams. Just laugh with the times. Enjoy:

Found this funny, here some other clips:

Breakfast at Sulimays: Common raps Common

The Streets: "He's Behind You, He's Got Swine Flu"

Bitch Pop: The Story of Pubescent Teens And Bitching

Metric - Fantasies

The Canadian new wave rock band has just released the official music video for "Sick Muse," off their new album Fantasies. On "Sick Muse," vocalist Emily Haines puts up a cold shoulder, and warns us all to watch out. This is not a love song, as Haines scorns on the hook "Everybody everybody wants to fall in love, everybody everybody wants to play the lead!"

Metric has a dynamic sound, which crosses into indie rock like Santigold, and then experiments with other styles. On their first album, Grow Up And Blow Away , on the album titled track, the song infuses electronic rock with somber-R&B with dark lyrics "if this is the life why does it feel so good to die today...blue turning gray / grow up and blow away."

This may not be the happiest of bands, but they create some good music.

Take a listen:

Fantasies : "Sick Muse"

Grow Up And Blow Away - "Grow Up And Blow Away"

Other Featured Artists
Damu The Fudgemunk

Chip Tha Ripper


Featured Artist: Damu The Fudgemunk

He goes by Damu The Fudgemunk--and that's cool enough to get my approval. The hip hop producer is a beat master, cutting jazz samples over loose kicks, like really smooth New York productionists. I first got into Damu when I saw his live performances in Washington Square Park. The clip is ill, as Damu works the MPC pad like it's a style of improvised jazz. Then I listened to Overtime EP which is filled with east coast sampling. On one track from Overtime EP he flips a James Brown sample and it's just crazy. Crazy.

In 2008, Damu with MC Insight formed Y Society, which in my opinion was one of the better debut hip hop albums of '08. Insight is a creative lyricist who doesn't take himself gangsta serious.

Below is a taste of all the music I referenced, as well as a link to a free download of Damu's Overtime EP


Damu The Fudgemunk in Washington Square Park

From Overtime EP "Soul Brother Number 3"

Y Society - (Live) "Same Beat"

Download HERE : Damu The Fudgemunk "Overtime" EP


The History of the Boombox

NPR recently did a story chronicling the history of the boombox. As you may remember, I'm obsessed with boomboxes. The documentary is ten minute longs, and it features greats like Grandmaster Flash discussing the importance of the mixtape/boombox. Enjoy:

Review of Fischerspooner: Entertainment

Fischerspooner: Entertainment
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Label: FS Studios
Rating: 2.5/5
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY8D4U0NSfQ

As one of pioneer groups of the electroclash movement, Fischerspooner’s Entertainment suggests the band has surpassed its prime. The term “electroclash” was spawned in 2001 emphasizing the incorporation of art with music in a new wave style. This is important because while Fischerspooner, comprised of Carey Spooner and Warren Fischer, would claim their music is not dance music, it is the dance friendly songs on Entertainment which stand out.

“If they were to die, it would change our view of the moon forever,” said Gene Franz, the former NASA flight director for Apollo 13. The sample introduces the song “Supply & Demand,” and is one of the album’s artistic motifs as it is referenced in other tracks as well. Fischer follows with the hook, “I’ve got the supplies, you’ve got demands, I’ve got the sense you can’t really understand.” As a critique of capitalist expansion or whatever, Fischer is correct—you can’t really understand. While “Supply & Demand,” is one of best songs on the album, with an upbeat tempo juxtaposed with a morbid sample and cynical lyrics, the artistic content is lost in translation dissolving into an antithesis--a simple dance song.

With lyrics like “this is the end of something” (“Door Train Home”), “currency can only do so much” (“Money Can’t Dance”), “it’s no one’s fault but our own” (“Infidels of World Unite”), Fisher sounds sophomorically repressed writing lambasting political poetry. Spooner’s supporting vocals are unsatisfying fillers between Fisher’s whining. On a few of tracks, notably “Door Train Home,” “Supply & Demand,” and “The Best Revenge,” the drum patterns, growling synthesizers, or occasional samples (horns, keys etc.) makeup for the lacking vocals or lyrics, generating pop friendly dance songs.

Since 2001 many groups have successfully joined, propelled and redefined the electroclash sound, from Hot Chip to Crystal Castles, thereby setting a bar for further artists to exceed or match, which was non-existent during Fischerspooner’s rise. While Fischerspooner was once considered new age, with Entertainment they sound trivial. As this album dies at the hand of critics, it will not change most people’s views of Fischerspooner, a band regarded as anathema, loved by some, and hated by others.


Day N Nite, I listen to Kid Cudi

Every once in a while an artist gets big on the radio and is actually talented--and this time it's Cleveland rapper Kid Cudi. It happens as often as siting shooting stars, so when the opportunity occurs to tout such a musician it becomes obligatory. Kid Cudi's "Day 'N Nite," has propelled him to the top of the Billboard charts, but that's not his only good song. Cudi has conscious lyrics that are equally dance friendly as they're are interesting. His style is unique, as he reaches an audience similar to Lupe Fiasco, both skater and hip hop. Below is his hit "Day N Nite," his club banger "Embrace the Martian," his mixtape single sampling Band of Horses called "Prayer," and a rare freestyle called "'09 Freestyle." Enjoy:

Day N Nite - KiD CuDi

The Streets: Swine Flu Attacks Musicians!

On The Streets new video he sings "He's behind you, he's got swine flu!" a humorous critique of the recent Swine Flu epidemic. The zombie horror film inspired music video is as over the top as the epidemic. I thought you might enjoy a little laughter on something that is GRAVELY serious! ha. Take a look:

Enjoyed this clip? Here are some others:

Generation Y, Hear My Cry

Breakfast at Sulimays: Common Raps Common

Bitch Pop: The Story of Pubescent Teens And Bitching


Dizzie Rascal- "Bonkers"

Hip hop can't stop, won't stop--it just keeps on changing. Dizzie Rascal is just another MC jumping on the bandwagon of hip hop's immersion with house music. I'm not bashing it, Kanye's "Stronger, Harder, Faster" remixing of Daft Punk's original song is a great example of how the two can merge successfully. From Dizzie's new album Tongue 'N Cheek this is "Bonkers," a track mixed by none other than house DJ extraordinaire Armand Van Helden. Enjoy:

If you liked this, check out:

N.A.S.A.'s New Album

Quite Nyce & Raydar Ellis: "Love Is"

Asher Roth: "I Love College"


Passion Pit Remixes Strike Again!

Recently on tour with Passion Pit, Calvin Harris created a remix of their song "The Reeling." He posted the song on Myspace, only after realizing he might need to do some clearance--oops. So enjoy while it still up "illegally."


Leak from Mos Def's New Album: The Ecstatic

This is "Casa Bey" off Mos Def's soon to be released album Ecstatic. Enjoy:

In recent shows Mos Def has performed new songs from his upcoming album, The Ecstatic. Crowds have heard tracks produced by Madlib and Oh No (rapper) (Madlib’s younger brother). Other confirmed tracks on the album are "Auditorium" Featuring Slick Rick, Produced by Madlib, "Super Magic" Produced by Oh No and "Twilight Speedball" Produced By Chad Hugo & Mos Def. Aside from collaborations with Slick Rick and Black Thought, the new album is slated to feature guest appearances from Jay Electronica[2], as well as production by Mr. Flash and the late J. Dilla [3]. The first single off the album is 'Life In Marvelous Times', the second single is 'Quiet Dog', and the third single is 'Casa Bey'. The song 'Casa Bey' was recently made into an official music video that was released via Mos Def's Myspace page.

Kid 606 Mr. Wobbles: THE VIDEO EXCLUSIVE

Not long ago I featured a song by Kid 606 entitled "Mr. Wobble's Nightmare." Here is the hilarious and trippy music video that was recently released. Enjoy, and have a nice weekend.

Fleet Foxes "Mykonos" Video

For those avid followers of music, I'd be surprised if you hadn't heard of Fleet Foxes. Yes-I realize that is somewhat antagonistic, but really--they we're as up and coming popular as Vampire Weekend, and how could you not heard of Vampire Weekend! Really, I'll fight about it. =) Either way, take a look at this video of Fleet Foxes song "Mykonos."

Review of A-Trak -FabricLive.45: Kanye's DJ Extradordinaire

Released by Fabric Records 4/13/09


With one look at A-Trak’s resume -- Kanye’s DJ, youngest to win the DMC Title, former member of Invisibl Skratch Piklz and The Allies -- it’s easy to say he’s one of the top DJs in the world. On FabricLive.45 he beat matches, scratches, and mixes to such perfection that he blends so many genres like nu-disco, electro-house and Detroit techno into a subtle eclectic remix of a remix of a remix.

He describes the album “as a DJ mix", which is fitting as it’s hard to imagine listening to the clubland album without trying to get down and dance. Yet this raises an important issue with a mixtape, why should one spend money on a mix versus seeing a live set? A good argument might revolve around this framework: the DJ’s skills as turntablist, his breadth of musical knowledge as a crate digger, his ability to alter and gauge the listener’s involvement so as not to become tedious or dull, and most importantly, mixing these aspects seamlessly. FabricLive.45 has its flaws, but A-Trak is too skilled and musically knowledgeable to create a dud.

From the starting gate with A-Trak’s Nike mix with “Say Whoa", the album slaps you with a heavy 4x4 beat. Never losing momentum most of the songs are less than three minutes only slowing down around the eighteenth track with Aeroplane’s remix of Friendly Fire’s “Paris". The transitions vary, sometimes indiscernible as A-Trak’s beat matching is smoother than R. Kelly’s “Bump ‘N Grind".

Yeah -- I took it back, but so does A-Trak, as he jumps through house and techno tracks from differing decades, creating what can be only called mishmash. A highlight of the album is DJ Observer & Daniel Heathcliff’s remix of Robbie River’s “Move Move” with Daniele Papini’s “Church of Nonsense", which transitions with gruff bass lines perpetuated by cow bells, reviving the familiar club hit into an edgy and energizing banger.

Yet it’s this mishmash which gets A-Trak into trouble. With the recent trend of rave and indie rock mergence in club mixing, there is an emphasis on blending the familiar with the unfamiliar, which can easily alienate the average listener. No critique can be had with A-Trak’s DJ abilities. My qualm is with his song selection. From track five to eight, A-Trak mixes a Nigerian pop remix, a Baltimore club hit, with house techno, which feels out of place sandwiched between heavier hitting bass lines like Detroit techno and a grungy DJ Zinc beat. In sum, FabricLive.45 is an overindulgent sample of A-Traks skills and knowledge, which makes for an album more digestible for music enthusiasts rather than average club goers.

Below are other CD Reviews:

Fischerspooner Entertainment

Empire of the Sun Walking on a Dream


Diggin' Back To High School

White Town's "Your Woman," was an auspicious 90s rock song with a feeling of angst, confusion and self-indulgent. When I first heard this track, I had no idea it was a man singing to another man. Either way, this was one of the catchier one hit wonders that I thought I'd bring back for you to enjoy.

Lady I Love You, And You

Lee Fields “Ladies”
SOTD 5.6.09

Along with the soul revival which has featured artists like Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse is Lee Fields, literally a revivalist, after beginning his career in the soul heydays of the 70s. “Ladies” is new-soul with an undertone of hip hop flip-flop drums pushing the soul prerequisites: funky guitar riff, subtle harping violin, and a piping trumpet hook. On “Ladies,” Field is a love machine singing to any and every lady possible with lyrics like “when you pass me by/ you’re like candy to my eyes / you’re sugar you’re spice you’re everything nice.” When people say is hip hop dead, they’re asking about that soul. “Ladies” is a test, no hip hop isn’t dead, it has just lost its roots.

Also, here is Field's rehearsing the track.

Want more SOTD, here you go:
Peter King : "Shango"
Kid 606: "Mr. Wobbles Nightmare"
Charles Tree: "It's The"


Free, Yes Free

Del the Funky Homosapien's new album is here and free. Grab it if you want.



Where to get my news?

Did you ever think the newspaper would be an obsolete joke like the 8-track? As I aspire to be a journalist it’s disconcerting to watch as newspapers continue to fold, and magazines get slimmer. Let’s not blame the recession, but compare these mediums to be just another 8-track-- a thing of the past. The million dollar question, quite literally, what will fill the void?

I wouldn’t call myself computer savvy, but competent. I understand basic computer language though I can’t write programs, but if this is any indication—I do know shortcuts on the keyboard, yes I know that sets me apart.

I’ll keep this brief, because I’ve said this before, this blog will not become my internal monologue on display—that’s just cruel to the readers. As I’ve mulled over the possible replacements for future journalism I’ve considered these groups: social network sites (Facebook, Myspace, etc.), personal blogs (SFCritic), online media sites (Pitchforkmedia.com), media aggregators (Hypemachine, Mog) and news conglomerations (BBC, Fox, etc.).

I’d say social network sites are too expansive, needing to be ciphered and filtered. The same criticism is applicable to personal blogs, but I don’t even know how people choose a blog anyhow. Online media sites seem like niche magazines, they’re overly bias or subjectively focused on certain genres or topics. I’m intrigued by media aggregates like Hypemachine, Digg, or Mog, which rank articles based on popularity—who doesn’t want to be the cool kid? Finally conglomerations—well they’re the one’s struggling so they’re not the answer.

So as the SFCritic, the computer savy broke journalist that I am, let me help those needing assistance in finding music beyond me. Take a look at these websites:



I Poke Her Face

"Poker face" by Lady Gaga has become a ubiquitous pop hit, and this became a fact when she performed the song on American Idol--AND YOU KNOW THIS! Just playin'. In response Kid Cudi, Kanye West and Common have responded with "Poke Her Face." Oh--this makes me reminisce to TLC's "Scrubs" followed by Sporty Thieves response "No Pigeons." Let this post be a toast to the verbal banter of sexes--and to those days of "your momma" when one-up'in was still cool, and wasn't considered verbal harassment in the work place. Peace, have a good weekend.

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