Monthly Archives: January 2016

Run The Jewels’ “Meowpurrdy” video might melt your brain

Run The Jewels new video for “Meowpurrdy” will make your hair stand on end.

“Meowpurrdy” is the opener for Run The Jewels’ cat-remix, Run The Jewels 2, which is still a guilty pleasure months after its release.

The video features internet sensation Lil Bub (below), a cat with special needs whose tongue hangs out a lot, and was made with help from Adult Swim.

Lil-Bub RTJ

Sure, the cats start off the video with some innocent dancing, but they soon sprout extra teeth, which are really like fangs, and multiply into deformed feline mutations with uneven eyes and fat tongues. I don’t think the video was supposed to remind people of The Human Centipede, but there you go.

You’ve been warned.

 

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Not even going to try and describe what’s going on here.

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Filed under Hip-Hop, Rap, Remix, Uncategorized, VIdeos

Hear Bibio’s stained-glass view of life in “Feeling”

Bibio (Stephen Wilkinson) is streaming two new songs before his seventh album, “A Mineral Love,” drops April 1 on Warp Records.

Wilkinson’s song “Feeling” takes on a distinct ’70s feel with the opening saxophone notes, but funky guitar hoists a hefty pile of soul onto Wilkinson’s wide-ranging vocals. Bibio smartly blends even more layers of genres into “Feeling,” through swirling experimental synth notes and new-R&B feel. Wilkinson directed the dizzying, psychedelic video.

Bibio shared his thoughts on the new album, emphasizing his love for making records and using influences that reach back to the ’60s. Wilkinson also says A Mineral Love is meant to celebrate “human insecurities” and his need for “variety.” Wilkinson, who taught himself how to write music and play instruments, says the entire album is free of samples, although he wants it to have that “sampled” sound.

He ends his note by saying his music is “just a view through my stained-glass telescope.”

“This album celebrates the sacred and precious struggles of human insecurities through many windows of familiar musical forms. It’s also a celebration of my love of the craft of record making, drawing influences from many sources across all decades from the late sixties to the present. All these referential forms have a twist, some are more full on cocktails.

The album as a whole is an unashamed expression of my fondness of, and need for, variety. The juxtapositions between tracks are well considered and I’m comfortable with them – this is how I enjoy music. This is not a purist record, it is not trying to authentically recreate a specific time or genre but rather use familiar forms as a common language to communicate new ideas and new messages. I want to sing about struggle and tragedy with warmth, sympathy and respect. I want sadness to have bittersweet hope. 

The whole album was made from scratch with no samples from other records. I partly want it to sound like sampled records, but by crafting every single detail myself and colouring it to have familiar textures that resonates people’s forgotten memories. I enjoy the challenge of writing songs that reference the unique qualities and colours of music from different eras. It’s all guesswork though, I have no real reliable knowledge of why certain records sound the way they do, I taught myself how to play instruments, write music and produce. This album is my personal, filtered take on those forms and qualities. Some tracks are influenced by records I listen to often and some from ghosts of memories of things I heard while growing up, like ’70s/’80s American TV themes or ’90s dance. Sometimes a filtered and tinted memory of a period is a more exciting source of inspiration than close study and mimicry.

 I feel this album is built more from those memories and an exposure to music of many styles rather than close analytical study of any particular one. I think that’s why it all sounds like me, regardless of the deliberate references and nods to artists and records of the past. It is after all just a view through my stained-glass telescope.”

Watch the video for “Feeling” below:

No less impressive is Bibio’s warbly and jazz-influenced song “Petals.” It sounds entirely different from “Feeling,” which may indicate the variety of sounds Wilkinson is seeking on A Mineral Love.

A MINERAL LOVE TRACKLIST:
01. Petals
02. A Mineral Love
03. Raxeira
04. Town & Country
05. Feeling
06. The Way You Talk (Featuring Gotye)
07. With The Thought Of Us
08. Why So Serious? (Featuring Olivier St. Louis)
09. C’est La Vie
10. Wren Tails
11. Gasoline & Mirrors (Featuring Wax Stag)
12. Saint Thomas
13. Light Up The Sky

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Filed under Electronic, New Music, New R&B, Psychedelic, Uncategorized, VIdeos

Get a bead on Boston’s Barbazons, Vundabar, Palehound, others

Being up here in New Hampshire, I can’t always get down to Boston to hear new music. But local cable show Boston Chronicle dedicated its entire episode (1/22/16) tonight to Boston music. It touched on the Converse Rubber Tracks Studio in the North End, local vinyl pressing sites and mentioned bands like Vundabar and Bad Rabbits. I heard about a couple other Boston bands that deserve mention here too. They’re not necessarily new, but definitely noteworthy. I’m always hungry to hear new bands and thankful when I do, so it’s all good.

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(Boston, MA, 03/20/13) Fredua Boakye lead singer of Bad Rabbits rocks out during City Councilor John R. Connolly’s kickoff campaign for Boston mayor at the Omni Parker House Hotel on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Staff Photo by Matt Stone

Palehound is the project of singer/songwriter/guitarist Ellen Kempner, a Boston native, and now Yonkers transplant. The short bio I found states she started writing songs at 10, and she’s been influenced by Elliott Smith, Kim Deal and Angel Olsen. Her album Dry Food was released in August 2015.

Listen to Palehound’s performance of “Psychospeak” at Audiotree Live:


The Barbazons
, from Cambridge/Allston, were mentioned more briefly; this may be because their garage punk style might not go down as easy for the early-evening television crowd. For about five years they were called the Fagettes and owned up to that mistake, but thankfully did not change their music, which is unapologetic clash rock. Their newest album Avec Plaisir, was out last year.

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Find the Barbazons on Bandcamp.

Listen to Vundabar below:

 

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Filed under Boston music scene, Local music, Uncategorized

Cathedral organist brings David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ to the sacred masses

Nicholas Freestone, an organ scholar at St. Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire, England, decided to play David Bowie’s “Life On Mars.”

The video has since gone viral, receiving more than 1.7 million views on Facebook, and Freestone responded.

“I’m the organist playing this – it’s rather humbling to read your comments. Thanks everyone for sharing! x”

St. Albans is the oldest place of continuous worship in England, so it’s fitting that one of rock’s most revered artists has been honored on hallowed ground, with one of his most stellar songs.

See more links at the Telegraph.

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Filed under Art rock, artpunk, British rock, Glam Rock, Rock, Space rock, Uncategorized

Hear electro-dance trio Rufus Du Sol’s “Say A Prayer For Me”

Odesza’s Foreign Family Collective label is set to release its sixth work — and its first full-length album — from Rufus Du Sol, a trio from Australia. It will be Rufus Du Sol’s second album. Bloom will be out Jan. 22.

Listen to their hopeful, modern electro-dance song “Say A Prayer For Me.” Rufus Du Sol, comprising keyboardist Jon George, guitarist and vocalist Tyrone Lindqvist and drummer James Hunt recently won an Aria for Best Dance Release in their native country and are making the next step in their career here in the States.

Odesza hooked up with Rufus Du Sol in 2014, supporting them on their Australian tour. Odesza’s Harrison Mills explains the synergy:

“When an opportunity arose to work with Rufus Du Sol on releasing a track through a our label Foreign Family Collective, we sprung at the idea. They sent us the album to check out and we were blown away. Up until this point, FFC had only released singles. After hearing Bloom in its entirety, we knew we had to break that mold and put out the complete album. It’s one of the best albums we’ve come across in the last decade.”

 

BLOOM TRACKLIST:
1. Brighter
2. Like An Animal
3. Say A Prayer For Me
4. You Were Right
5. Be With You
6. Daylight
7. Hypnotised
8. Tell Me
9. Until The Sun Needs To Rise
10. Lose My Head
11. Innerbloom

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Filed under Dance-Synth, Electro-dance, Electronic, Indie electronic, Uncategorized

Download Tacocat’s “I Hate the Weekend”

Tacocat’s song “I Hate the Weekend” is for all those who have drivers that peel out on their street as soon as it hits 9 p.m. on a Friday. (That might just be personal experience), but Tacocat’s new tune about the two most loved/hated days of the week is bright and quick and has an extremely likeable chorus.

“At the end of every week/ you’re screaming in our streets,” goes one line, and it’s the most fun song about hating the weekend that you’re gonna get.

Tacocat’s new album, Lost Time, will be out on Hardly Art on April 1, fittingly.

Download “I Hate the Weekend” for free on Soundcloud.

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Filed under Garage Punk, New Music, Uncategorized

What David Bowie means to me

I wrote these few notes on David Bowie at 2:30 a.m., after I found out the news that the longtime rock legend had died.
There’s nothing I can really say that isn’t going to be said or felt by every Bowie fan, but I just wanted to offer some thoughts about his impact on the world of music.

David Bowie color

Bowie was one of the first things I wrote about for this blog. His name or influence would pop up every now and then in stories, whenever art, music, culture and life collided or intersected. I wrote about his exhibit at London’s V & A in 2013 — where his unique fashions and music memorabilia paid a visit — and that time he invited everyone to check out his book list. When he tweeted to the astronaut Chris Hadfield after Hadfield performed “Space Oddity” in space, confirmed he knows how to stay relevant in every decade he’s lived through. David Bowie’s been everywhere, but always on his own terms.

The body of work he’s left us is immeasurable.
By not bowing to industry pressure and not compromising his sound or views, he’s created his own style of music, his own “coolness,” that no other artist has ever been able to duplicate.

I was lucky enough to see David Bowie at Lollapalooza in the early ’90s, performing with Nine Inch Nails. From what I recall, Bowie’s performance at Mansfield in Boston was a surprise — the crowd wasn’t expecting him. I admit I didn’t know a lot about Bowie at the time — I was too sheltered in my tiny worldview of music and didn’t understand his huge impact early on.

David Bowie

But that night, seeing him from a hundred rows back, solitary, standing still, the Thin White Duke in a long black coat, you knew with one look that he was in a class by himself, that you were in the presence of rock royalty. He commanded the crowd. It’s one of those concert memories that stays with you.

Whether it was the Jareth the Goblin King, Aladdin Sane or Ziggy Stardust, or whether you have strong feelings about the quality of “Modern Love,” Bowie owned whatever persona he embodied at that time. He stood by every decision he made, including his choice to have Blackstar be his farewell.

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David Bowie arrives at the 11th annual Webby Awards at Chipriani Wall Street on June 5, 2007, in New York City.

So if you haven’t heard his music before or don’t know much about him, there’s a really good chance you’ll find a song in his catalog that you can relate to or reminisce about.

David-Bowie-vert Wartermark

That’s what made him great — his ability to reach across the aisle toward any genre he felt an attraction to. No one can really fill that void, but he’s left behind an amazing collection of music that we can turn to, to stay in touch with the weird in all of us.

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Filed under Art, Art rock, Artpop, Electro-pop, Experimental, Glam Rock, Photography, Pop, Rock, Space rock, Uncategorized

Play beats like a pro with a virtual Roland TR-909 drum machine

There’s a Roland TR 909 virtual drum machine floating around on the internet, but it can be hard to track down.

Its address is html909.com, a name that doesn’t sound anything like “drum” or “roland.” I found it through @reaktorplayer on Twitter:

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On the “HTML-909 Rhythm Composer” you can click on any part of the drum machine you want, selecting bass and snare drum, hi-hat, hand-claps, crashes and rides, for 16 slots. Once you select those, you can pick the tempo and pattern, then save your creation or trash it. I’m still figuring it all out, and my creations are a bunch of gibberish, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun just to mess around with.

The Roland TR 909 drum machine is pretty revered and it’s been used by artists like Aphex Twin, Phil Collins, Moby, 808 State, Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, RZA and Daft Punk.

Some have gone so far as to create a giant physical machine for really large people.

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The virtual drum machine was created by Teemu Kallio, a software developer from Finland who lives in Berlin.

The virtual Roland drum machine was just one of his projects, and he describes it aptly: “The Roland drum machine is a legendary drum machine from the 1980s and one could say it’s a keystone of techno music. I decided to make a replica of it using HTML 5 and audio API.”

His bio shows no indication he’d ever create a kick-ass drum machine, proof that musical inspiration and creativity can be found anywhere:

I’ve graduated from University of Helsinki at 2010 where I studied Computer Science and Mathematics. I’ve been working over 7 years in IT industry and last 4 years I’ve been building web and mobile applications with HTML5 technologies.

Thank you, Teemu, for giving us the power to be our own Phil Collins.

Thanks to @reaktorplayer too.

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Filed under Demos, Drumming, How Music is Made, Music News, Sound, Techno, Uncategorized, Virtual drum machine

Hear early Jack White in raucous song “Itchy”

Jack-White 2 star tabernacle2

Third Man Records will release music from Jack White’s early, early days, with pre-White Stripes bands Two Star Tabernacle.

Third Man has released a live cut of Two Star Tabernacle’s “Itchy” on Jan. 16, 1998 at the legendary Gold Dollar in Detroit, where the White Stripes got their start.

Jack White is introduced as “Jackson White” before they launch into a rollicking country punk banger that’s purely got White’s name all over it. The first line is even about how he wishes TV was black and white again — those colors an early indicator of what would drive his most famous band.

Jack White 2 star tabernacle“Somebody better break my fingers” he repeats, and gets more harried and unraveled as the drums go off the chain. The song would have fit in nicely with the Stripes’ first album, right next door to “The Big Three Killed My Baby.”

 

“Itchy” is part of Third Man Records’ latest Vault package — for $60 you can get that, plus music from Jack White and the Bricks, (which included Brendan Benson, who later joined the Raconteurs), and music from The Go, a Sub Pop band that Jack White played briefly with. The package will be available until Jan. 31.

Read more on the Vault package at thirdmanrecords.com.

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Filed under Blues, Blues Rock, Garage Punk, Punk, Two Star Tabernacle, Uncategorized, White Stripes

Stream Hinds’ ‘Leave Me Alone’ before you buy it

Garage-rock band Hinds, hailing from Madrid, today released one of the most hotly anticipated albums (so far) of 2016 — Leave Me Alone.

It’s streaming now on NPR, for your listening pleasure. FYI: NPR points out that hind is another word for a female red deer.

Their sound is a bit like ’60s harmony Britpop or laid-back surf-pop, which then turns right around and slaps you with some harsh punk reality.

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/461281114/461904325

In their press release, the band explained how they expected a perhaps sunnier album and were rather taken aback when that’s not what came out.

“Feelings are more balanced, like in life. So suddenly we had a more sober – or even sad – album than we expected. Please don’t think we’ve turned into depressive people or something, we’ve always been humans, it’s just we’re now showing it to you.”

Hinds are on the lo-fi side but with amped-up passion, authenticity and sheer confidence. Leave Me Alone, their full-length debut, contains demos and a cover of The Headcoats’ “Davey Crockett” for Record Store Day. Hinds have already released the singles “Garden” and “San Diego.”

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Hinds is on Mom + Pop/ Lucky Number. Read more details at NPR.

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Filed under Garage Pop, Garage Punk, Garage rock, Lo-Fi, New Music, Streaming, Surf-rock, Uncategorized