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


Lists: Bored at Work, Today's Top 5 Music Videos

Bored at work--why wait till you get home to goof off watching TV like Desperate Housewives, when you can sit back and watch a few crazy music videos at SFCritic?

5. Diplo: "Florida"

4. MSTRKFRT Ft. John Legend: "Heartbreaker"

3. Passion Pit: "The Reeling"

2.Major Lazer ft. Mr. Lexx and Santigold: "Hold The Line"

Major Lazer - Hold The Line (Feat. Mr Lexx and Santigold) from Mad Decent on Vimeo.

1. Beirut: "Concubine"

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Lists: Top 5 Cars Commercial's Songs

Top 5 NBA Rappers. EVER


Listen to What You're Missin': Madeline, Tupac, Atlas Sounds and Au Revoir Simone.

"Listen to What You're Missin'" takes you through four tracks of the week, giving you an updated look at new music. This week I have a special treat for you with: Madeline, Tupac, Atlas Sounds and Au Revoir Simone.

Madeline: "White Flag"

I first heard about Madeline at You Ain't No Picasso (YANP), where she received high marks. A lot of her songs have influences of folk, and country like Jenny Lewis. With her soft childlike voice sounding reminiscent of St. Vincent. Her new CD White Flag was released in March of 2009.

Tupac: "Let Them Thangs Go"

"Tupaclypse now, still down with the Underground, Boom Boom," goes Pac on "Let Them Thangs Go." Along with fourteen other unreleased tracks, this song is part of a zip file you can get here at The Diggers Union. The sample is a classic, and so is Tupac.

Atlas Sounds ft. Noah Lennox: "Walkabout"

A while back I reviewed Deerhunter, the psych pop rock group lead by singer Bradford James Cox. As Atlas Sounds, Bradford goes solo with his LP Logos. I haven't heard the album in its entirety yet, but if "Walkabout" with its heavily layered guitars, thick texture provided by the keys and tambourines is any indicator for the rest of the album then I'll strongly endorse taking a further listen.

Au Revoir Simone: "Grateful"

Imagine you just woke up, head heavy, exhausted from the anxieties of your daily life. Why leave the house when you can remain in your pajamas, sit on your couch, and let yourself digest the thoughts on your mind. As you sit there, on comes "Grateful," by the Brooklyn electronic female group Au Revoir Simon. The soft electronic music gracefully sways and shifts like the tide, as you can get easily lost in the melodies. "Who knows what we are here to do, I just take my time, and love these hours here with you," now isn't that just sweet?

If you liked these posts, check out these:

Listen to What You're Missin': DJ Mistu the Beat, Mourah, Clutchy Hopkins, and Wallpaper

Listen to What You're Missin': 88-Keys, Fever Ray, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and DJ Nujabes

Listen to What You're Missin': Terry Urban's Southerngold

Featured Artist: Wallpaper

Wallpaper: "Pool Party"

Amongst comedy musicians from the likes of Weird Al, to Lonely Island, comes Wallpaper a Bay Area nerd with a love for synthesizers, drum machines, and making you smile while you dance. "Booty Tweet," might bring smirks, but is exactly the catchy and simple style that is making Wallpaper's success. After winning a remix competition for Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead," Wallpaper's popularity continues to grow. Most of his songs seem glib, but there are messages to be heard. Wallpaper is comprised of producer Eric Frederick, and his alter ego, Ricky Reed, the selfish consumer and singer. In an interview with SF Station, Eric Frederick described the concept:

The project, in all aspects, has a lot of influences from George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. We definitely see ourselves in the lineage of that. But most of the inspiration for that character came from going to K-mart and seeing obnoxious people in line jib-jabbering on their Bluetooth while they buy flat screen TVs and don’t make conversation with anybody. Ricky embodies the excesses of society and how nasty consumerism is.

Here is another video by Wallpaper.
Wallpaper: "Evrytm We Do It (Maury RAC RMX)"

Evrytm We Do It RAC Maury RMX (Official Music Video) from wallpaper. on Vimeo.

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Featured Artist: Jay Electronica

Featured Artist: Chip Tha Ripper

Live Review: La Roux at Cafe Du Nord

There is no doubt La Roux plans to go in for the kill when she performs, but on Wednesday night at Café Du Nord she left the stage taking the hearts of just a few fans. With a brief set lasting only forty minutes long, the fans only got a taste. It was a “wam-bam-thank-you-mam” performance that while enjoyable in its brevity, appeared to be routine. The twenty year old star’s voice is impeccably strong, but as she embarks on her first US tour, she appears already out of gas.

Her music is piping with energy as techno-pop keys fizz over her glamorous voice. It was therefore surprising to see her perform stiffly; occasionally, tapping her feet as she remained stoic grasping the microphone for most of her set. Undoubtedly, during her performance of the UK top of the chart singles “Bulletproof,” and “In for the Kill,” the audience danced unfazed by her lack of stage presence. After extensive touring in the UK, it’s would not be surprising if she has grown tired of singing the same nine songs. While it’d be nice if she seemed more involved, if her current nine tracks are any indicator, La Roux has a promising career ahead.

The edgy, and gruff “Tigerlily,” was the first song of the night. Unlike “Bulletproof,” or “In for the Kill,” the vocals are more aggressive and less melodic, which makes for one of the darker songs on the album. She followed with “Quicksand,” a Prince sounding song about obsession, as she falls deeper into love while singing, “You’re the up setter / Stroking my hand / What’s my position? / I don’t understand.” At the end of the set La Roux played the bubbly melodic “Bulletproof,” which recently reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Charts, which was by far highlight of the night.

Sporting her firehouse red quiff, an illuminated gold sequined blazer with matching shoes, Elly Jackson has the image and talent to become an international star. La Roux is a contemporary clone of the Eurythmics. Like the Eurythmics, La Roux is mistaken as a solo project, when in reality the band is a duo of singer Elly Jackson and producer Benjamin Langmaid. Though Langmaid’s production with its heavy synthesizer and computerized effects is on surface easily comparable, there is also the comparison of both Annie Lenox and Elly Jackson androgynous image. Now the question is whether La Roux’s music will have as lasting a memory as the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams.”

It’s clear that Elly Jackson has to work on her stage presence, which she has admitted isn’t a 100%. The young singer seems to be awkwardly maturing on stage. As one fan yelled, “We love you La Roux,” she confidently responded, “It’s all for the attention, you don’t like me. I’m not your type.” While she might be awkward, her voice is unaffected. With only two keyboards and a drum machine, her vocals hold together the rhythm and energy of the performance

Though Café Du Nord declared the show sold out days before the performance, the small venue was anything but. It’s not surprising, as La Roux hasn’t even released her debut album in the states. Once her album is released, you can expect to see her headlining bigger venues. So prepare yourself for the 80s disco revival, and get familiar with the name, La Roux, you’ll be dancing to her tunes sooner than you know.

If you enjoyed this post, check out these:

Live Review: A-Trak is Intergalactic at the Independent on his 10,000LB Hamburger Tour

Discovery "LP" Album Review

Live Review: Rock's Promising New Bands, Glasvegas and Von Iva


Interview with Rebelution

A Bright Spot in the Foggy City
By David Johnson-Igra

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 885-0750

Since leaving San Francisco, Eric Rachmany went to receive a degree at the UC Santa Barbara, and now returns as the lead singer of Rebelution. With their debut album Courage to Grow, Rebelution jumped into the forefront as one of the most promising reggae groups, after being awarded by Itunes as the "Best Reggae Album of 2007." On August 5th they will be stopping on their Bright Side Tour at the Great American Music Hall, promoting the upcoming release of their second album Bright Side of Life. So SF Station called up Eric as he kicked back in Santa Barbara, before starting their national tour.

SF Station (SFS): Where’s your favorite place to perform when you come to San Francisco?

Eric Rachmany (ER): So far it’s been the Fillmore. Growing up in San Francisco that had always been my dream because of how legendary the place is.

SFS: State Radio opened for you at that show, on your current Bright Life Tour your performing with Iration, which has a very different sound. Was this a conscious change to move towards a more roots reggae sound?

ER: I think one of the cool parts about Rebelution is that people can match us up with a lot of different genres. Even though the foundation of our music is reggae, a lot people consider us genre bending because we can relate to hip hop and rock.

SFS: What are your must dos when you return to San Francisco?

ER: Probably the food. I definitely am going to Yummy Yummy, which is a Vietnamese spot by my house. I also have to get a Mission burrito.

SFS: How do you like touring?

ER: I love touring. It’s cool being busy everyday and waking up in a new town. Now that I get to tour for a living, I’m finally getting to do what I’ve always wanted.

SFS: What were your initial expectations for Courage to Grow?

ER: Before Courage to Grow, we had an EP with only five songs that we had made for our friends. Ultimately, the EP got played in Hawaii and hit the radio in a couple of spots. We never imagined even that would happen. Once Courage to Grow came out we felt pressure to do better than that. Now, we feel the same pressure to do better with Bright Side of Life.

SFS: Do you remember where you were when you found out Itunes awarded Courage to Grow “Best Reggae Album of 2007?”

ER: I was at home looking at Itunes because we had been consistently in the “Top 10: Reggae Downloads.” I just remember looking at it and being like “Wow,” with other names being Bob Marley and all his sons--it was honor to be up there with them.

SFS: Tell me about Bright Side of Life¸ the initial critiques I’ve heard said that the tempos are more varied, is this true? Were there any other things you wanted to go back and tweak after Courage to Grow?

ER: We had a lot more time with Bright Side of Life. On Courage to Grow we had maybe only twelve days, because that was all the money we had to record. Yeah, I definitely think that our songs are a progression of the band. There is a lot more variation, and even in future albums you’ll see us getting into different genres.

SFS: The new single out “Lazy Afternoon” is a pining love song, was there a particular woman in mind when you wrote this?

ER: Yeah, I was thinking about a girl I had been seeing for a long time. One of things about being on the road is it tough being away from all your friends and family. So when I was writing the song, I wasn’t trying to make it a sad, I was just thinking how nice it would be if I could be with that person.

SFS: A lot of your music is about staying positive, when you’re on the road or in situations how do you try and stay positive?

ER: I stay focused on the music. Bright Side of Life has message of encouragement and motivation and it’s not just for the fans, it’s for us too. When I’m in a low mood, I look at the music I wrote and it can pick me up.

Rebelution: "Safe and Sound"

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Hip Hop and Reggae, Notes about Toasting

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Lists: Top 5 NBA Rappers. EVER

We all know that NBA stars want to become rappers, particularly those in LA (Shaq, Ron Ron, Kobe, maybe even Mad Dog one day). Here are a list of the Top 5 NBA rappers.

1. Martin Gortat: Massey

2. Shaq disses Kobe "Kobe tell how my ass tastes"

3. Brian Mcknight "Hold Me" remix ft. Kobe Bryant

4.Tony Parker "Top of the Game" ft. Fabulous and French rapper Booba.

5. Chris Webber ft. Kurupt

If you liked this post, check out these posts:

Top 5 Car Commercial Songs

Breakfast at Sulimays review Common

Listen to What You're Missin': DJ Nujabes, 88-Key, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Fever Ray


Listen to What You're Missin: Mitsu the Beat, Mourah, Clutchy Hopkins, and Wallpaper

"Listen to What You're Missin'" takes you through four tracks of the week, giving you an updated look at new music. This week I have a special treat for you with: Mitsu the Beat, Mourah, Clutchy Hopkins, and Wallpaper.

DJ Mitsu the Beat feat. Maspyke: "Playin Wit Crime"

DJ Mitsu the Beat feat. Jose James: "Promise in Love"

DJ Mitsu the Beat has an ear for great American hip hop, which resonates in his own work. His style is soulful with a jazzy grittiness, with influences like Slum Village and J Dilla. I came across DJ Mitsu the Beat from a Spin Earth interview of him at his favorite bar in Sendai, Japan. The interview delves into his production process, as the Japanese producer explains how the cafe is his second home. On his new CD, A Word to the Wise, he collaborates with Elzhi, Maspyke, Kev Brown, Sa-Ra and more. I've selected two very different tracks from the album to show you his range. Enjoy.

Mourah: "Heavylightness"
In Portugal Mourah is old news, but in the US, has anyone ever heard of this electro DJ? The Swiss musician was signed in 2003 to an independent Portuguese label Nova Zona. His first release, From One Human Being to Another, was nominated for best national album at the Dance-Club Music Awards. For what it's worth, his style ranges from jazz influenced drum-n-bass, to ambient explorations with trip hop. This music is definitely complimented by the computer visualizations if you know what I'm getting at.

Clutchy Hopkins: "3:02"

I have just learned about Clutchy Hopkins, but the mystery of his real identity remains. Intrigued? Clutchy Hopkins, presumed Cut Chemist, maybe DJ Shadow, is a growing cult figure, not solely because of his mysterious persona, but also because of his music. Bomarr blog does a good job of explaining the mystique and style if you're interested in investigating further.

Das Racist: "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" (Wallpaper Remix)

The first I ever heard of Wallpaper was that "he eats hipsters alive," which was the title for a review of his show. The Bay Area group is comprised of producer Eric Frederick, and his alter ego Ricky Reeds as the vocalist. I'll tantalize you with that, but I'll explain more about Wallpaper in a feature coming later this week. Das Racist wrote what might be the most unbearable lyrics since "Who Let The Dogs Out." If you listen to the original track on repeat, you might shoot yourself, which is proof of Wallpaper's skills that he has transformed this song into an irresistible, "why the $### am I listening to this, but oh I LOVE it," type of song. Truly a love hate relationship, I dare you to listen to this.

If you enjoyed this song, then you should look at this video my buddy gave me in response.

Here are some past similar posts:

Listen to What You're Missin': DJ Nujabes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 88-Keys, and Fever Ray

Listen to What You're Missin': Terry Urban's Southergold Mixtape

Listen to What You're Missin': Michna, Charles Tree, Telepathe & Greg Laswell


Featured Artist: La Roux

La Roux: "Bulletproof"

La Roux, the UK based electro-pop singer, is the hottest thing to not yet set ablaze the US. Making limited stops in the US, her self-title debut was released in late June, yet her single "In for the Kill" has sold over 500,000 copies in the UK. Instead of calling herself "ginger," La Roux ("red") choose to name herself after her hair color. It's hard not to notice her 80s style, her frigid hair washed in hairspray, and electro 80s key progressions, but it's her voice that truly stands out. On "In For Kill" her voice is sultry, as she sings "I'm going in for the kill, I'm doing it for a thrill." If you haven't heard of her yet, you will soon.

La Roux: "In for the Kill"

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Live Review: A-Trak at the Indepedent on his 10,000LB Hamburger Tour

Last Thursday A-Trak took over the Independent in a strobe light storm as he stopped in San Francisco during his 10,000LB Hamburger tour. Maybe it’s the intergalactic back lights, or maybe A-Trak’s future seems so bright because he wears stunna shades at night. To date, A-Trak’s checklist looks like this: 1) Youngest DJ to ever to win the DMC tournament (Check) 2) Member of the infamous Invisibl Skratch Piklz (Check) 3) Tour with a megastar as Kanye West’s personal DJ (Check). With all this success you’d think A-Trak would just coast, but no--instead he chooses to prove himself in an entirely new genre of music. With his most recent mixes Infinity +1 and FabricLive.45, A-Trak surprised many fans of his hip hop by mixing with all types of electronic music. While Kanye’s 808 & Heartbreak album might seem like an experiment, A-Trak’s switch of musical genres could be termed genius. With the growing popularizing of revitalized soul, 70s disco, and 80s music into cool, A-Trak’s switch is not only strategic, it’s trend setting.

With auto-tune music slowly reaching its demise, a new progression of electro music is arising as a club favorite. Bands like MGMT, Passion Pit, The Knife, La Roux and Phoenix are some examples to name a few. Within this context enters A-Trak, a hip hop DJ now pushing himself into the forefront as the poster boy for this dance craze. Using his already new fame of being “Kanye’s DJ," A-Trak has placed himself into a growing popular scene. If Girl Talk is the king of mashups, A-Trak is the connoisseur of mish mashing.

“Are you guys ready, without further due, I am going to do whatever it is I do,” said A-Trak as he began his set. What he does is teach. His sets are like history lessons in electro dance music. His ability to seamlessly transition tracks enables him to blend so many genres and periods of music. Throughout the night A-Trak played classics, mixed them with obscure techno beats and created sonic combinations that on paper would appear wrong to the average reader. Some songs he played: Miami bass Tag Team’s “Whoomp (There it is),” Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You,” his recent Nike song “Say Whoa,” Method Man and Redman’s “Da Rockwilder,” and Daniel Papini’s “Church of Nonsense.” He has an incredible ear for what sounds compliment each other, as is evident on FabricLive.45 where within the mix he blends a Nigerian pop song with a Baltimore club hit.

Not only does A-Trak have good taste in music, but also in talent. Also featured on the tour is Treasure Fingers, signed to A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold label, began the night with thick Daft Punk funk flare. Treasure Fingers’ treasure chest was filled with energizing mixes of funk, disco, and the occasional hip hop beat. Treasure Fingers also served as the DJ for Theophilus London, whose performance was unimpressive though his dance moves were top notch. His fast rap over techno hip hop beats sounded at best like Dizzie Rascal’s new song with Armand Van Helden.

I mentioned lightheartedly the pricey stage lighting that A-Trak is touring with, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. The lights were amazing if only because they brought flashbacks of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There were approximately six light structures, each about six feet long, all angled differently but direct at the DJ booth. As A-Trak cut and stabbed the records back and forth, the lights would parallel his quick movements. Like bugs reacting to blue zap lights, during the show two fans tried to climb on stage just to be able to get closer to the lights, before quickly being pushed off by bouncers with A-Trak exclaiming on the microphone, “Yikes.”

Before getting lost in dance, I noticed to the left of the stage DJ Qbert, one of the founding members of The Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and described on Wikipedia as, “The Jimi Hendrix” of turntablists. I asked Qbert what he thought of A-Trak’s new style, which he responded “It’s not my cup of tea. I’m here to see his [DJ] skills.” Which is something special about A-Trak, even if you can’t enjoy the music you have to appreciate when he does--“whatever it is” that he does.

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A-Trak is Intergalatic

After seeing A-Trak last night, I'm still giddy to dance with lights flashing in the back of my mind to the tune of funky beats and floating synthesizers. Until the review, this will have to tide you over as an explanation.

Lineup Announced for Treasure Island Festival

Recently the lineup for the Treasure Island Festival in San Francisco was announced. The two day festival in October will be headlining some of the top indie acts. On Saturday MGMT will headline along with MSTRKRFT and Girl Talk; while Sunday will feature the Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, and Grizzly Bear to name a few. The SFCritic will be attending both days, press status, WOOP, and will be providing reviews and previews to the festival. Stay tuned.

Decemberist:"Sixteen Military Wives"

Girl Talk: "Play Your Part (pt. 1)"

MSTRKRFT ft. Nore "Bounce"


Featured Label: Numero Group

Amongst the growth of repackaged soul (Lee Fields & Sharon Jones) and revitalized reissues, is a record label doing its own thing: Numero Group. Numero Group is not a record label signing artists, it's a crate diggers' dream occupation of reissuing lost gems. I stumbled upon a write up of the label at Aquarium Drunkard, where they were highlighting a group called 24-Carat Black. At the Numero Group website they have a smattering of clips from their different reissues, with an extensive synopsis of the song, who sampled it, and about the performers.

If you like this article, check out these:

Featured Label: Warp Records

Featured Label: Tres Records


Creed "We're Gay Oh Yeah Assholio"

I won't say much more than that title besides, "Stroke It!"

A-Trak goes on 10,000LB Hamburger Tour

My first interview question for A-Trak on his 10,000LB Hamburger tour which stops in San Francisco tomorrow night, "Does everything revolve around food for you?" Better known as Kanye West's DJ, or the youngest turntabilist to win the DMC title (at age 15, he couldn't even drive!), A-Trak has a lot of new recipes he's cooking up. Recently collaborating with Armand Van Helden, with the assistance of his horse "Mustard," the duo worked together creating an old school house and techno record under the alias "Duck Sauce" (you getting all these food references?). First known for his hip hop skills, A-Trak's last two albums FabricLive.45 and Infinity +1 have solidified him as crate digger of all styles of techno and house.

Since Girl Talk, mashups have become a staple of DJ popularity, but A-Trak's mix are like cream spreads blended unbelievably smooth. The man can take anything from any type of genre, slap them together like green eggs and ham--yeah man, yeah and it will sound as good as a Dr. Seus poem. I'll be previewing his tour tomorrow, and will have a review for you shortly thereafter.

If you liked this post, check out these:

Review of Fischerspooner's Entertainment

Review of A-Trak's FabricLive.45

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Lists: Top 5 Car Commercial's Songs

So while on the one hand I have a friend calling me for Web 2.0 advice, the truth is--I know as much as you, and so when my "experienced" friend advised me to create more lists, well, I came up with this: The Top 5 Car Commercial's Songs.

5. Dirty Vegas: "Days Go By" for Mitsubishi Eclipse

When house music was reaching mainstream audiences, no longer just a raver's delight, this Dirty Vegas' song hit the tube. This was a summer hit for ages, and I still get dance jitters listening.

4. Sea Wolf: "You're Wolf" for Chevy Malibu

Truth is I'm a bunny to the wolf, they'll catch me every time. I'm a sucker for this song, and well, that's that.

3. Cat Powers: "Space Oddity" for Lincoln MKS

The syncopation of the video and the song is exceptional. Obviously Cat Powers is a talented artist, and who doesn't want to hear a David Bowie cover (unless at a karaoke bar).

2. Telepopmusik: "Breathe" for Mitsubishi Outlander

They might have had one other hit, but this commercial made them, and the song. You know it's a great combo, when five years later, I can still remember the images.

1. Nick Drake: "Pink Moon" for Volkswagen Jetta

This list wouldn't have existed had I not heard this commercial when I was a yee lil'one. Many critics would agree, only music snobs knew of Nick Drake prior to this, after the commercial used records stores displayed his albums in the front of the store.

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Ron Artest Pays Tribute to Michael Jackson

Recently signed to the Lakers, Ron Artest felt it was necessary to throw himself into the limelight (no he didn't punch anyone) with a tribute to Michael Jackson. This might be the worst song since Joaquin Phoenix began rapping. Nonetheless, Artest is also donning #37, further showing his affinity for the late great, as Thriller spent 37 weeks on top the charts. Oh Artest, you've wanted to be in LA so bad so you legitimatize your rap career like Kobe, and Shaq--except it's still not legit. Don't you know this? Check it out.

Ron Artest: "Michael Jackson"

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Listen to What You're Missin': Nujabes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 88-Keys, and Fever Ray

"Listen to What You're Missin'" takes you through four tracks of the week, giving you an updated look at what's good. This week I dug up some old gems and up and comers with: DJ Nujabes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 88-Keys, and Fever Ray.

DJ Nujabes: "Flowers"

Nujabes is a Japanese producer and DJ, better known as Jun Seba (his alias is anagram of his real name). As a producer he use jazz and soul typically implementing the piano. Nujabes rarely plays live sets, and is noted for his distance from the public, as is evident of from his abstract album covers. "Sea of Clouds" is a cool, soulful track that could be a called jazz minus the drum pattern. The track highlights the melting pot of hip hop, as it's not totally hip hop, jazz, or chill.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "Maps"

This track is by no means new (originally released in 2003). "Maps," off of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs debut album Fever to Tell received significant airplay--I just wasn't listening to the radio. With few lyrics lead singer Karen O softly sings "They don't love you like I love" and I hope that it's true. "Maps" is a softer track from the group's typically more up tempo and gruff garage rock.

88 Keys ft. Big Sean: "21 & Over"

88-Keys the New York producer, released The Case of Adam, a concept album which served as prequel to the release of The Death of Adam that told the story of Adam being murdered in Harlem loft apartment. On The Case of Adam, 88-Keys reuses on each track a production style, beginning the song with the original sample, then manipulating (chopping, speeding up, etc.) the sample into a hip hop beat. "21 & Over," features rapper Big Sean, a rising star, signed initially by Kanye, now on Def Island Jam. Big Sean has a few mixtapes out, but is his debut album is slotted to be out in 2009.

Fever Ray (Remixed by D Lissvik): "When I Grow Up"

Upon first listening to Fever Ray it's easy to hear the influence of her former group The Knife. Karin Dreijer swept the indie scene with her brother as Knife, and returned this year with her first solo-project. Her album has received mixed reviewed, but this remix by D Lissvik of her song "When I Grow Up," is by far better than the original. This album is dreary, heavy, and achy, but with D Lissvik's remix the guitar and flute lift the song into a nostalgic trip of youth similar to MGMT's "Kids."

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Listen to What You're Missin': Terry Urban's Southergold Mixtape

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Listen to What You're Missin': Immortal Technique, Mos Def, Grizzly Bear & Of Montreal


Inside and Out

I first came to heard "Inside and Out" on Feist's album Let it Die. The original song is by the Bee Gees. Both version are stellar, but I might actually say it--I like Feist's version more.

I'm just digging in my crates today. Tomorrow I'll have the "Listen to What You're Missin'."

Bee Gees: "Love You Inside and Out"

Feist: "Inside and Out"

If you liked this post, check these out:

Whitetown: "Your Woman"

Mr. Mister: "Broken Wings"

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Israeli Hip Hop: Cohen

For all those that said I should be a fan of Drake, or Asher Roth because I'm Jewish--please. I'm a fan of hip hop, Judaism is a lifestyle. When the two meet sometimes you get Beastie Boys, and that's fresh, and other times you get Paul Barman and that's just out there.

In Israel it felt like there is a strange coolness with finding old, obscure, and underground music. Most of the people I spoke with about music had great taste. A lot of the dive bars made a conscious effort to play unusual gems from the likes of The Clash to Nas.

One group I found that I liked: Cohen. Below is a video for one track I like, which because it's in Hebrew--it's just "one track I like"


Featured Artist: Jay Electronica

Writing a blog about Jay Electronica is to the say the least, behind the times. The hype in the blog sphere around Jay started at least two years ago. He has become a public figure on the internet through his girlfriend Erykah Badu's tweets, and his disappearing Myspace page "album" releases.

Here is a little about him from Wikipedia:
Jay Electronica (Je’Ri Allah) (b. circa 1977) is a rapper and producer known for his use of percussionless film soundtracks as a background for his abstract lyrical style, and his associations with Erykah Badu, Just Blaze and Nas. He produced the first track, "Queens Get the Money", on the 2008 Nas album Untitled. The unconventional nature of much of his music, and the lack of conventional release methods for that music, have since 2007 made him the object of much attention. He is perhaps best known for the piece of music Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge).

Jay Electronica: "Act 1: Eternal Sunshine"

That's hot.

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Wale ft. Lady Gaga "Chillin"

Featured Artist: Chip Tha Ripper, Cleveland's Other King


Discovery-New LP: Album Review

Label: XL Recordings
Rating: 3/5 Stars
By David Johnson-Igra

The overuse of auto-tune in popular music has led rap’s mogul Jay-Z to say “Enough”—but that hasn't fazed these Brooklyn hipsters. Discovery, the new indie pop duo comprised of Rostam Batmanglij (producer Vampire Weekend) and Wes Miles (vocalist of Ra Ra Riot) have created an album so overdone in auto-tune that Kanye West will probably ask for credit. Maybe I’m inferring too much, but it seems that Batmanglij is strategically using proven methods for pop success. His production with Vampire Weekend was compared to Paul Simon’s Graceland, considered by many as one of the most successful pop albums ever. With LP Batmanglij’s use of auto-tune feels like a ploy, as he continues using proven pop methods. Unfortunately, there aren’t many pop hits on this album to rave about.

For those fans of Vampire Weekend expecting to revel in a follow up style, they will be thoroughly disappointed. The album delves deep into electronic effects, immersing itself in the indie digital pop scene that is emerging as a blend of new wave, pop, and electro. Discovery will undoubtedly receive criticism for its overuse of auto-tune, which at times is rightfully deserved. However, it would be a hasty conclusion to write this album off entirely, because there are some gems.

“Can You Discover,” might be one of the first tracks where auto-tuned improved the song. The auto-tuned rendition of Ra Ra Riot’s “Can You Tell” sounds fuller, with the digital changes creating a UB40 sound. The auto-tune also seems to enhance Miles’ lyrics making them feel strangely more expressive. There is also “Orange Shirt,” a goofy electro hip hop pop song with drum patterns and synthesizers sounding familiar of Timbaland’s production for JT. Fortunately, Miles doesn’t brag about hos and bling, sounding more hipster nerdy with lyrics like, “In me I got a crush...I promise to leave before your mother wakes up in the morning.” The best song might be “So Insane,” where Batmanglij and Miles seem to master the balance between digital effects and creativity. Here the beat moves like a roller coaster, dragging then chugging along, before picking up as the rhythm and effects change with Mile’s singing about being in love.

Discovery: So Insane

As expected the biggest fault with the album is due to the overuse of auto-tune. On “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” featuring Angel Deradoorian from the Dirty Projectors, the production drowns out the tiny sounding voices of both Deradoorian and Miles. With their Jackson 5 cover of “I Want You Back,” Mile’s vocals sound washed with auto-tune, embellished in an overly synthesized and kitsch pop song. “Carby,” which features Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, plays like bare commercial techno with an absence of substance beyond digital rendering.

Discovery: I Want You Back

With LP there isn’t much to discover. The proven auto-tune again creates some tracks that are FM friendly. Meanwhile, the overuse of the tool has continued to create a regurgitated song. The hype building around this side-project will ultimately lead many listeners disappointed. Though with every pop hit there will be detractors, or haters, it’s important to remember that pop is meant for the populace, and creativity doesn’t mean complete originality.

Discovery: Can You Tell

Ra Ra Riot: Can You Tell

If you enjoyed this review, here are some other reviews:

Review of Vieux Farka Toure's album "Fondo"

Review of Fischerspooner's album "Entertainment"

Review of Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavillion"

Free Music at Reverb Nation

Click the photo to be redirected, or the link below.

So I get spam, and I get free music, and often the line differentiating is blurred, but Reverb Nation and Windows have teamed up to provided good ole spamless free music. The web page is divided into musical genres, with a listing of a ton of artists you probably never heard of--but hey, it's free--remember that. Take a look and enjoy:

Reverb Nation and Windows


Writing Off Journalism

I finally can't hold it back, after my experience with this magazine, I'm concerned about the future of journalism.

I recently was employed by a growing online magazine whose name I'll omit, but it's a large corporate enterprise that is structured similar to a pyramid scheme. Though there isn't an exchange of money to become a part of the magazine(There was a 'selective' application mind you), one is encouraged with money to get other bloggers to enroll. Not to rant, but this magazine is trying to consume all blogging under it's name, claiming to reimburse them by giving them a small portion of their traffic, or as Marx might put--complete alienation of their labor.

Is this the future of journalism? Take a look at this email they sent to me regarding their planned "summer recipes" submissions prior to July 4th. For the last two weeks I've been receiving emails encouraging me from my regional rep to submit recipes. I rarely give recipes to my friend, so no way is that happening. The company strategically wanted recipes anticipating the demand for people considering to BBQ. This company "employs" around 400,000 bloggers. That is a significant amount of internet space dedicated to the agenda of one businessman's prerogative.

"I hope everyone had a great long weekend. Our page numbers were through the roof over the holiday, bucking the trend of almost every other channel on $#$@^^&&. People were looking for great recipes and cooking advice and you guys wrote plenty. Great job. It’s the Tour de France: Let’s have your best tips on French wine, great French cheeses, meals and more. There are three weeks of action. If you are really clever, check out the action and see if you can match meals and wine to the locations of any of the stages. Please make sure you are staying on topic though.

If you were unaware it's time to GET READY for Tour de France. That means by some cheese and Bordeaux . Because bicycling=French=cheese. Or in simpler terms. Armstrong. Cheese. Armstrong. Cheese.

Rum Month: It’s in full swing. We have had front page promos for it yesterday and today. Once they go away, we’re on our own. So when you write about a get rum drink or recipe, be sure to add “Rum Month” as a category

Like mojitos weren't cool last year, and the year before.

If you liked this meltdown of sorts, look at my other criticism. Cheers.

She Got Her Own Thing: Ne-Yo and "Miss Independent"

Bitch Pop: The story of growing up with Meredith Brooks

Breakfast at Sulimays: Common Raps Common


Going Back to the 70s with Legs & Co

From Wikipedia

"Legs & Co. were a female dance troupe who were mainly associated with their appearances on the BBC television series Top of the Pops between 1976 and 1981.

The new dance troupe were formed as a hasty replacement for Ruby Flipper, a multi-racial and mixed-sex septet (later sextet and quintet) who took over dancing duties on Top of the Pops from the popular and long-running female dance group Pan's People in May 1976. The troupe were put together, and managed by, choreographer and founding member of Pan's People, Flick Colby, and fellow Pan's People dancer Ruth Pearson."

And look at them go. Go-go-go! Yeah. Pretty cool.

Oh and bring it! The original, oh yes, the almighy--Pans People.

Ladies, I hope you saw that hip twist, that was stellar.


Listen to What You're Missin: Terry Urban's Southerngold

The last time a mixtape has caused such a stir was The Grey Album, but Terry Urban's Southerngold isn't remixing the Bealtes. Southerngold is a mixtape inspired by Santigold's self-titled debut album, which like The Grey Album, Urban recycles the instrumentals and dubs his favorite southern rappers over the beat--hence, Southern-gold. So clever, so fresh, so clean.

Before Urban could upload the album, he received a cease and desist notice from Santigold's label, Downtown Records. Attached in the zip file for the mixtape, Urban included a note describing the situation, "I’m not selling this… I’m not making a dime… I’m encouraging everyone to BUY Santigold’s album… and I’m helping to expand her fan base to new markets." The irony as Urban points out, Downtown Record's biggest artist is Gnarls Barkley, comprised of Danger Mouse (responsible for the Grey Album) and Cee-Lo. Santigold recently responded to Urban in a Pitchfork interview stating, "Some kid just hit me up about this on MySpace. It was the first I ever heard about it. I've never heard anything about this DJ or this remix, and certainly did not send a cease and desist letter. I'm a supporter of mixtape culture and intend to get to the bottom of it."

The mixtape is pretty tight. If you're interested in grabbing it before it disappears off the internet, then check it out here. Below are samples of some of the tracks.

M.I.A. Artistes (Ft. Pitbull & Ying Yang Twins)

You'll Find a Way Player (Ft. Andre 3000 & Bun B)

Creating Kryptonite (Ft. Purple Ribbon All-Stars)

Hustlin With The Lights Out (Ft. Rick Ross)

If you liked this post, check these out:

Listen to What You're Missin': Michna, Charles Tree, Telepathe, & Greg Laswell

Listen to What You're Missin': Immortal Technique, Of Montreal, Mos Def, & Grizzly Bear

Solo Dance Mission: Crystal Castles, Mickey Factz, and Lil Wayne ft. Flying Lotus

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