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Actor-Rapper-Comedian? Rapper-Actor-Comedian? Whatever order you place them in, rapping is no stint on the side for Community’s Troy Barnes. With three albums under his belt all released all for free, the upcoming album Camp (due for release 15th November) marks his first commercial full-length release.  Earlier in 2011 came the simply titled EP which alone probably justified a blind purchase of Camp. But for the content hungry comes some delicious early previews of the upcoming Camp.

Heartbeat (radio rip) by Childish Gambino
Bonfire by Childish Gambino

The album can be streamed in full over at NPR for free.

As part of the second wave of French House, Justice were pretty big in 2007 with their debut album (Cross). The reception to early releases from upcoming album Audio, Video, Disco (due for release October 25th) has been mixed. Clear though is the change in direction signaled with the upcoming album, with rock elements present on Cross being drawn out and put centre stage. Out now are three more tunes in which this new direction can be seen clearly.

The new direction taken by Justice is reminiscent of drum and bass act Pendulum’s transition in sound from Hold Your Colour to In Silico. For Pendulum the move proved to work out commercially, but saw a lukewarm reception critically, so how will the turn in sound fare for Justice? Well here are three tracks for you to be the judge of.

Justice – Canon

Justice – Helix

Justice – Newlands


Radiohead released their eighth studio album to some fanfare earlier in 2011. Forthcoming is TKOL RMX 1234567, an two-CD remix album of content from The King of Limbs.

The pitfalls of remix albums are not that difficult to determine. Whether from artists rushing a remix to earn a quick buck and get their name seen, or from limitations and hurried timetables enforced; almost always remix albums come out inconsistent in their quality.

Suited to the remix treatment or not, Radiohead have at least turned the album over to a superb collection of electronic artists. With remixes by Caribou, Jamie xx, Four Tet, Jacques Greene, and Shed, the artists featured are both talented and well versed in the field of remixes. Featured below is a remix of Bloom by Blawan off the album, a fair departure away from the sound of the original.

It is fairly easy to see that Alex Smith matches his peers within Detroit in terms of talent and quality of his output. That says a lot given the rich musical legacy of Detroit. His output of late hasn’t dropped off the standards set by 2005’s Just Ask the Lonely. On its own, Here’s Your Trance, Now Dance! can attest to that.

Though one can keep pretty close tabs on artists’ releases these days, sometimes a very pleasant surprise comes about unexpected. High School Graffiti is one of these pleasant surprises, with five cool little tunes. My Naffew Randy is one especially worth checking out. So hurry up and grab this EP for free here, and remember your please and thank yous.

Attach whatever tags please you, but Kashiwa Daisuke’s Program Music I stands as one of the previous decade’s must haves. A clear feature of tracks like Stella, April #02 and Write Once, Run Melos are their seeming limitless bounds, free running through magnificent and sprawling soundscapes. Yet his latest upcoming album, 88, marks an attempt to express himself utilizing the keys of a piano. Though talented as a composer, the shift towards minimalist instrumentation is likely to factor heavily into the album’s outcome. Early signs are, well, let us just leave that to Kashiwa himself to show.

London Elektricity’s latest album Yikes! received pretty decent feedback upon release. But the music world moves fast, and Drum and Bass fans will now be gearing up for the Yikes! remix album, due later in July. With big names from the Hospital Records label like B-Complex, Danny Byrd and Logistics making an appearance, hopefully there’ll be something as stunning as Apex’s remix of Just One Second, High Contrast’s version of Remember, or his own acoustic version of Elektricity Will Keep Me Warm with Elsa Esmeralda.

A remix by the very promising Med School recruit Lung certainly offers one reason why the album is likely a must have for fans of Drum and Bass. The remix even receiving the praise of the Colminator himself via his twitter feed. For those wanting more previews, check out the album’s page on the Hospital Record’s website.

The 2008 film Berlin Calling wasn’t exactly a huge hit in the west, yet as actor and composer for the film, Paul Kalkbrenner achieved quite substantial popularity in Germany. Sure some such as Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman and others around the Berlin scene may have as much talent; but comparing to his status and fame would be very difficult. Kalkbrenner’s work on Berlin Calling should not be trivialised because of its popularity. Sky and Sand still connects so easily and with such minimal effort, in a way that many in his field wouldn’t have a handle on. Tracks other than the single such as Azure likewise are in persistent motion, with minimal brush strokes conveying such beautiful imagery.

Sure it was always going to be difficult to follow up on Berlin Calling given its popularity, but Icke Wieder certainly delivers on the sounds that have served Kalkbrenner well in the past. Picking a highlight from the album is difficult, with Sagte der Bär, Kleines Bubu and Der Breuzen among others worthy of a mention. Yet Kruppzeug provides a nice characterization of Kalkbrenner’s sound, very much of Berlin, and very much minimalist. The song builds carefully, a pattering beat moving persistently across a simple melody. Though moving towards an end, Kalkbrenner’s minimalist narratives prove the most rewarding experience.

For the full review of Icke Wieder

Those who knew of Lady GaGa before she got big with The Fame were certainly witness to a musician and songwriter with much potential. Sure her debut single Just Dance may have benefitted from the guest appearance of Akon, but by the time the single Poker Face was released, there were no doubts that Lady GaGa was going to become one of the biggest names in the pop world. One hit wonder she definitely is not.

The Fame Monster was a rather fitting sequel. Not surprising given that it was originally planned as additional content on a re-release of The Fame. Yet despite two very solid releases, the barometer is signalling some rough weather ahead with the release of the forthcoming album Born This Way.

So the big question to ask is why the worry? Yes the face and body attachments she has been wearing lately are weird, but GaGa has never really been one to build her fame on looking attractive, and this isn’t exactly the first video we have seen in which her appearance has been rather bizarre.  Yes you would actually have to be one of her most loyal monsters to actually like the music video for Born This Way. Perhaps from a creative standpoint it is great that she has abandoned the generic approach of many other pop music videos. But from a commercial standpoint, it is hard to imagine it attracting more fans than it scares away. Even using a…

Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron’s return to the studio in 2010 produced an album nearly as interesting as the struggles and addiction that kept him away for so long. In We’re New Here we see Heron’s latest album remixed and rethought in a contemporary fashion. Far from glossing up Heron’s gritty vocals; artist Jamie xx rethinks Heron’s material in ways totally unsuited to his rambling. Yet as with his treatment of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep, we see Jamie xx casing Heron’s vocals in a new electronic surrounding that makes no bones about departing entirely from the original. NY Is Killing Me throws such rough punches, the dark dubstep bass the perfect companion to rather mirthless lyrics. It is the wide range of ways in which the album compliments and contrasts its source that makes Jamie xx’s rethink so compelling.

For a full review of We’re New Here by Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx, please check out Deviant’s review here.

Gold Panda has made available his entire debut album Lucky Shiner for streaming. The album delivers on all the promise shown in singles such as Quitter’s Raga and You, carving out an enticing array of songs.



Lucky Shiner is available for purchase digitally at Ghostly International, with the physical copy releasing October 12th.

While most portable music devices these days are definitely capable of supplying quite reasonable sound quality, the earphones packaged with the device often are very much lacking. In particular, the earphones supplied with ipods & iphones are lamented in the audiophile world, and even upgrading to a low-range pair of headphones can dramatically improve the listening experience. This should not be taken as an authoritative guide, but just simply an outline of what key factors to be aware of when purchasing headphones for your ipod.

Does price matter?

In short, yes. The price of ear or headphones is generally very indicative of their sound quality. Yet as the price escalates, the marginal difference in sound quality decreases. In other words the difference between a $300 and a $400 set of headphones will not be discernable for the typical listener. In particular at higher price ranges, there is no gain for portable listening devices. Furthermore with electronic audio files, the quality and bitrate of the file will have a significant impact on the listening experience, and more expensive headphone models will tend to highlight the flaws of the file.

Another caveat is that brand is often more important than price. If you opt for the right brand, even at low prices you’re likely getting bang for your buck.

What brand then?

There are a number of quality brands out there. In general try to stray away from the Japanese giants Sony, Phillips & Panasonic. For open headphones Grado have an outstanding…

May not be fresh content anymore, but sounds like this cannot go unposted. Recorded at his Echoplex gig on the 15th of May, this sick version of Galaxy in Janaki by Flying Lotus will undoubtedly ruin the album version for you. Nevertheless it proves to be yet another reason to check out Cosmogramma for those few poor souls yet to do so.

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