Mere mortals like myself tend to be mesmerised by beatboxers at the best of times, but Los Angeles rapper Red takes it to a whole ‘nother level. This video, filmed when Red was homeless on the streets of LA, shows him in full G-Funk mode, mixing chest percussion, throat bass and insane natural vocoder action in what already ranks as one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
There’s a hint of a commercial tie-in as Red wears a “Just Do It” shirt while dropping rhymes about Nike, but it could as easily be coincidence. The numerous references to Warren G, G-Funk Records and Snoop Dogg, not so much so. Sit back and prepare to just… wow.
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.
I don’t really know anything about Sound Set aside from what their Facebook and my rudimentary French tells me, which is that they’re a Franco-German trio of DJs and producers with a passion for new wave, house and “The Swedish touch.”
Whatever their influences, they’ve zeroed in on the most important one of all – Butch Walker – and unleashed this beefy remix synced to the original track’s Kung Fu-themed video. Enjoy.
As part of my ongoing efforts to educate the masses about an archaic musical genre that nobody really liked in the first place, I’ll be highlighting some of the forgotten classics (i.e. all of them) of the hair metal era. Anybody who had harboured any lingering respect for me up to this point will soon see the error of his ways.
OK, I know I’m ever so slightly breaking my own rules by featuring a parody act, but given Steel Panther are more or less carrying the flag for ball-grabbing hair metal I feel it’s justified. Choosing a track for this edition of the series, I was put in the rather awkward position of not really knowing where to start: Steel Panther only have a handful of tracks and they’re more or less all equally awesome.
Steel Panther began life as Metal Skool, a semi-satirical glam metal covers band that set up residency in LA and regularly featured guest spots from the biggest names in rock, from Kelly Clarkson to Billy Ray Cyrus and all the way back to Kelly Clarkson again. All four members are fully paid-up veterans of the Sunset Strip – frontman Michael Starr was briefly a member of LA Guns and guitarist Satchel played with Rob Halford’s post-Priest project Fight – so they know their source material better than almost anybody.
Steel Panther’s first official album (second album proper) features 12 slices of ’80s rock magic closely modeled on the work of some of…
Blackened Eyes Staring
Better Off Dead
Flotsam and Jetsam have been around for nearly thirty years and have never truly received the attention that they deserve. Some of the blame could be placed on bad timing (Cuatro) or bad productions (When the Storm Comes Down and Dream of Death) – and their unwavering dedication to flying the thrash flag through the nineties probably had something to do with it too – but it doesn’t fully explain how this band has remained in the shadows all of these years. The real shame is that Flotsam and Jetsam seem to be…
Many of you will remember producer wait what’s, mashup project the notorious xx. The album quickly gained a ridiculous amount of attention from a variety of sources including The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Rolling Stone among others. Rather than sit back and live fat, wait what decided to ball out and follow up with a mixtape, this is real life, which features some hood tracks that gather source materials from modern indie (Sleigh Bells, Justice, LCD Soundsytem, etc.) and the annals of the late nineties rap (Black Rob, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz).
Color me confuzzled. Someone, apparently a Milwaukee group named Photon Wave Orchestra took Justin Bieber’s “U Smile” pumped up the reverb and slowed the song down 800%. The result is probably the best ambient track you’re going to hear all year, although the slowed down drums can get kind of annoying after a few minutes. Joke or not, what the track proves is, at its finest, ambient music takes all of the simplicity that makes pop music so accessible and lays it bare before us. It’s what Hammock does, it’s what Sigur Ros does, and apparently, in the second level of Christopher Nolan’s dreamworld, it’s what Justin Bieber does as well.
I post this slightly poor-quality recording of ‘Suspect Device’ from an Ulster Television broadcast in 1978 not because it’s a particularly good representation of the song – in fact, it does very little justice to one of the best punk songs ever written – but purely because it challenges the myth of what “punk,” in its earliest form, stood for.
Here we see a decent-sized crowd of disaffected Northern Irish youths kitted out in the usual punk clobber – ripped shirts, shredded jeans, leather jackets and even the odd dog collar – and seemingly united in their desire not to be seen showing any form of emotion. You’ll notice a trio of lads jumping around in euphoria towards the middle of the video – rest assured they were not representative of the crowd and were soon removed from the venue.
It’s worth considering the context in which bands like Stiff Like Fingers and the Undertones entered the music scene: groups like the Sex Pistols and the Clash may have been infuriated by the extent to which their mummies didn’t pay enough attention to them, but these groups of Catholic Irish teenagers experienced real hardship and oppression on a daily basis, and they made a conscious choice to break the mould by fighting back with their music rather than guns and improvised explosives.
The lasting legacy of these groups’ music was to unite thousands of middle class teens from across the religious divide would unite against a bitterly unfair regime –…
Just over seven miles away from my lovely abode, in the small community of Graniteville, New York (actually located in Staten Island) is where you will find the Public School 22 chorus. Behind the auditorium doors of PS22 are a group of 5th grade elementary school students that are belting some of my favorite songs by my favorite artists, such as Beach House, Phoenix, and Jay-Z. And while this is going on, all I can think about is how awful the songs were in my music class, headed by a music teacher who was likely older than my grandmother. We would sing the “Finger Song” and a tune that named all of the states in alphabetical order with their accompanying capitals. Ugh.
At any rate, the PS22 choir have been endorsed by a slew of celebrities ranging from Oprah to Matisyahu to B.J. Novak of The Office fame. In fact, their stardom has led this yearly changing choir to record and sing on Passion Pit’s Manners and have had performances recorded where the actual artist, like Matisyahu and Fleetwood Mac, either asks to join the choir, or asks the choir to join onstage during the songs that were covered. The passion and enthusiasm coming from each fifth grade class that have passed through Gregg Breinberg’s auditorium (more commonly known as Mr. B, of course) is unmatched. It’s inspiring, uplifting, and certainly worth the accolades that this choir has received, and hardly need celebrity endorsements to enjoy.
For the alternative/indie world, 2010 has been a banner year of excellence. From The National’s grandiloquent High Violet to The Tallest Man on Earth’s one-man powerhouse The Wild Hunt, 2010 has produced defining albums from well-known acts to stunning debut albums from artists who promise so much more in the future. In the sweeping praise that so many albums have garnered this year, it goes without saying that some things got left behind, some things that, in less impressive years, may have risen to the top of the blogosphere. This blog will attempt to bring to light some of the lesser-known highlights of 2010.
Daniel Bjarnason – Processions [Symphonic/Classical]
We begin in February with Daníel Bjarnason’s Processions, an album that I have praised for months now–from posting the opening movement “Sorrow conquers happiness” from his multi-tracked cello suite Bow to String to reviewing the album with high praise. Yet, I cannot give this album enough praise, standing in the same echelon of excellence as High Violet, The Wild Hunt, The Archandroid, and all of the other albums that we have heard over and over. The album dances between bombastic and aggressive to hauntingly minimal, as if Max Richter decided to borrow from Stravinsky instead of Glass. In addition to Bjarnason’s brilliant compositional skills, the performers on the album (including the Iceland Symphony Orchestra) are first-rate, an indication that Iceland’s music scene goes far beyond Sigur Rós and Björk, and it is not going away anytime soon. Posted here…
Ok, so who kidnapped Tera Melos? Not too long ago, the ever-rambunctious group release their debut album, which was filled with spastic riffs and wavering time signatures. Since then, their progression had been somewhat obvious, or at least not a complete transformation, like the one that you are about to hear. Perhaps they were influence by Idioms Vol. I in the sense that they enjoyed playing tracks that have defined structures and hooks. At any rate, in the coming months (September 7th to be exact), Tera Melos will release Patagonian Rats, and if “Frozen Zoo” is any indication of what is to come, Patagonian Rats will be a sonic-pop experience that will certainly show how far Tera Melos can push their experimental rock boundaries.
Even without Big Boi, who guests on Janelle Monae’s new single from her album The Archandroid, Monae performed a ridiculously awesome rendition of “Tightrope” last night on Letterman. The performance included costume changes, an awesomely synchronized guitar and bass duo, and incredible presence from Monae herself. Say what you will about her hairstyle, but she’s bold and ready to make a huge splash in the pop world.