December 21, 2010

My [Context] for Kanye

I think "old school" hip hop is so much sharper than a lot of music now. Soul on the sleeve, groove in the pocket.

Before Kanye came out swinging, there were these guys who knew the move.

Track List:

The Books - The Story of Hip-Hop
De La Soul - Jenifa (Taught Me)
The Roots - The Seed 2.0
Gang Starr - Rite Where U Stand
Dilated Peoples - Worst Comes to Worst
NaS - Get Down
De La Soul - Thru Ya City
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - They Reminisce Over You
Too Short ft. Eazy-E - Players Club
Mos Def - Ms. Fat Booty
The Roots - Guns are Drawn
Souls of Mischief - '93 'til Infinity
De La Soul - Eye Know
A Tribe Called Quest - Luck of Lucien
Q-Tip - What Lies Beneath
Slick Rick & OutKast - Street Talking
Jurassic 5 - If You Only Knew
Moka Only ft. MF Doom - More Soup
Hieroglyphics - Halo
GZA - Breaker Breaker
The Pharcyde - Knew U
Dead Prez - Mind Sex

September 20, 2010

Meet: Kotchy

Just gotta share this guy with you. He’s a heavy, heavy hitter. 

Kotchy is like the sound that is missing. Thick, rubbery beats that really just kill it. I like sticky bass, and Kotchy’s are caramel. 

Check out his remix of Empire of the Sun’s ‘We Are the People' & his song 'Sing What You Want.' Both are next level.

August 14, 2010

The Summer Shakedown

I'm about to throw a lot at you. Are you ready?

Summer should be something like this:


In other words, the bomb. These bands brought it the hardest in Summer Ten.

DELOREAN (Bowery Ballroom, July 13)

Wait. The energy. Are you kidding? And the beat? It's correct.

THE GOLDEN FILTER (Glasslands, August 13)
Photo credit: Abigail Wilke
She may be possessed, but holy god is she hot. Add two drummers to the mix and...

Sorry. I just died.

ECLECTIC METHOD (Webster Hall, August 6)

Dude. If you don't know about EM, your time has come. They're an audio-visual remix duo who are freaking pros. Pretty sure they're the future.

CARIBOU (Glasslands, July 16)

Photo credit: Abigail Wilkes

Math wiz gets down, boy. Got that dancefloor movin to the 10th power.

July 20, 2010

Greetings From Greenpoint

Alright, I've been bad. Busy busy blah blah blah. Without further ado, I present:

The Greetings from Greenpoint mixtape.

I made it just for you. Get your hands on these songs. Then listen. Then dance.

Greetings from Greenpoint

1. The Books- A Cold Freezin' Night
2. tUnE YarDs- I Really Taught Me to Watusi
3. Major Lazer & La Roux- Colourless Artibella
4. Delorean- Deli
5. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs- Garden
6. Ellie Goulding- Starry Eyed (Monsieur Adi remix)
7. Body Language- Sandwiches
8. Cut Copy- Where I'm Going
9. Father Figures- Hot Tea Part 1
10. The Roots, Joanna Newsom & S.T.S.- Right On
11. Caribou- Jamelia
12. Peter Bjorn & John- Let's Call It Off (Drake cover)
13. BreakBot- Baby I'm Yours ft. Irfane
14. Fever Ray- Seven (The Twelves remix)
15. Clock Opera- A Piece of String
16. Au Revoir Simone- Only You Can Make You Happy (PUNCHES remix)
17. Kaskade ft. Dragonette- Fire in Your New Shoes
18. LCD Soundsystem- You Wanted a Hit

June 8, 2010

Not even a ?uestion.

Well, if you didn’t know, I’ll tell you. ?uestlove… is the man. THE man. The one and only. The make-your-booty-shake man. The shake-it-don’t-break-it man. No, wait. Break it.

He’s been DJing at Brooklyn Bowl for a few months now, but I just got my act together last Thursday to go see him spin.

First of all… is he not the man? The fro, the tweets, the Jimmy, the Roots? He’s the man. Oh… and did I mention that he just totally RULES the drums? My idol.

And the music? My god. New, old, funky, sassy… he played it. From Calvin Harris and Chromeo to “Detroit post-Prince and Prince himself” (via @questlove). I’m not really sure what Detroit post-Prince is, but I'll die if I can't get my hands on some soon.

It's not even a question. Just go already. He's doin' his thing every Thursday through July.

                                 ?uestlove stencil found outside Brooklyn Bowl.

May 16, 2010

Penguin Prison

Let me be frank: I’m coming from a place where '80s music is the rule. David Byrne, Sting, Bernard Summer—these are my gods. The cheese, the catch, the quirk? I love it. So it goes without saying that I dig how indie music is sounding a lot like '80s pop these days. Shake-it-hard staples like LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, and Passion Pit have come crashing through the sound barrier, and the verdict is in: it’s cool to dance again.

Keeping the kids dancing like its 1982: NYC’s Penguin Prison. Holy hot pop this is good. Worth checking out are songs by Penguin Prison, remixes of Penguin Prison, and remixes by Penguin Prison. You can't go wrong. Unless you stand still.

Penguin Prison- A Funny Thing

May 14, 2010

Ring a Ling

Last Friday I was on my way home from a night out when I remembered that Sleigh Bells were playing at Coco 66, an awesome little venue right around the corner from my apartment. It was almost 1 AM and I figured I'd missed the show, and was sure it had sold out anyway, but I went nonetheless. And what did I find? Sleigh Bells, in full, sticky-icky action with M.I.A.

You can't see M.I.A. in that clip (well, you can't see much of anything... apologies), but she came on with Sleigh Bells at the end of their show to play "Ring Ring," one of my favorites, which samples Funkadelic's lickalicious song "Can You Get to That":

Aaaanyway, Sleigh Bells rule,* and they want to share their treats with you.

*As a side note, they also win the award for best lyric of the year ("Wonder what your boyfriend thinks about your braces"). I'm not really sure why it's so good, but it IS.

April 26, 2010

She's Got It.

                                                                                                          Yukimi Nagano 

Okay, so, Coachella.

You already know. Gorillaz: unbelievable. Thom Yorke: life-changing. Muse: epic (what? I know). Shreds like you wouldn’t believe. Yadda yadda yadda.

But I gotta harp on one woman, because she is rocking my world…

Yukimi Nagano, lead singer of Little Dragon.

I’ve seen Little Dragon twice now (at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 3/25/10, and then at Coachella), and both shows were un-real. With the exception of a couple songs (mostly from their first CD), the emphasis is on dance. The band creates incredible improvised dance spaces by letting each song ride out and become more fleshed out than its recorded version, never letting it get too long before morphing into another.

Now for Yukimi. 

First of all, the lady can move. You can't take your eyes off her; all you can do is just try to understand how her body gets the music like that. She’s fresh and spunky and she bugs out. She's so into it-- there was a moment during both shows where she grabbed a pair of sticks and pounded on one of the drummer's cymbals (a move that Oliver from The xx also pulls, with less effect). Here's a video of a dance break during "Looking Glass" at Coachella.

And here’s a Yukimi mixtape, which really shows off her versatility. I love how her sound changes between the Little Dragon material and the earlier jazz stuff.

April 12, 2010

Your New Favorite Band: Berzerkulosis

If you like gum, sock puppets, or slow-mo (or even if you don't... but why wouldn't you?), you'll love this video for "Big League Chew" by Brooklyn's hottest mock rap group*, Berzerkulosis.

Check out their other stuff too, which includes a song about fish that grow legs and crawl out of the ocean (AKA evolution).

You're welcome.

Berzerkulosis - "Big League Chew" from David Lombroso on Vimeo.

*Sorry Das Racist, but that Beastie Boys bullshit was whack.

April 9, 2010

Friday= Time to Get Mashed.

Coming from Cali, I've always waved the Tupac flag. Now that I live in Brooklyn, though, I gotta admit that I'm down with Biggie.

This mashup rules. Check out other stuff from wait what here.

juicy-r [the notorious b.i.g.'s juicy vs. the xx's vcr] - wait what (mashup) from wait what on Vimeo.

April 6, 2010

The xx at Webster Hall, 3/31

Seeing The xx last week reminded me why I didn’t like concerts as a kid. The sound was way off; I didn’t even want to sing along it was so quiet. And I was standing in front, next to a tower of speakers. They sounded better in my room.

Overall the evening was just pretty snoozy. Nosaj Thing from LA opened with a great set, but was followed by boring jj. I really wanted to like jj—I find their music interesting and some of the songs catchy, and I really dig the whole Lil’ Wayne thing, but... blah! You can’t just stand on stage at Webster Hall singing softly and hiding behind your hair. Even if you are Swedish. Even if you are projecting a video of an Italian soccer match behind you (what is this, a sports bar?).

The xx’s stage presence was just as unimpressive. They seemed more confident than when I saw them in October, but not better. Romy doesn’t have to do much to please; her voice is captivating. There were cheers whenever it got to her part of the song, every time (and let’s be real—hers are the best parts). Oliver was less loved. His vocals were uninspired, which made it feel like he was just killing time until Romy came back on. Plus he kept waving his guitar around like a wannabe guitar hero. Jamie, the band's unsung hero, was the most impressive, running between drums and keys, making everything happen. But that was hardly a surprise Jamie's responsible for some of the best remixes yet this year. He's got it worked.

I know that The xx’s music is subdued, but what makes it great is that each song really builds at the chorus. There was no build at Webster Hall. None at all. The whole performance was flat. And the worst part was, after a two-song encore (which the crowd didn't exactly demand), their version of Florence and the Machine’s “You Got the Love” began to play...... right as the lights went on and the band walked off the stage! It was background music, to leave to. I felt slapped.

Did I mention that no one danced? Maybe it's wrong of me to judge how good a show is by how many people dance. But isn't that what it's all about? Isn't there something wrong when you're at a show and you don't want to move?

March 24, 2010

3 Reasons You Will Fall in Love with Class Actress

Photo by Sarah Forbes Keough

1. THE MUSIC. Dreamy new wave synth pop, makes your heart melt like every day's a first date.

2. THE WOMAN. Body-rolling, sex-in-your-face, high-waisted hip swing lover.

3. THE SCENE. Kicked it with all the cool kids at SXSW.

March 23, 2010

Joanna Newsom- Have One on Me

Photo courtesy of Papermag                     

From "Easy," the album's first track, it's immediately obvious that Have One on Me is not like Joanna Newsom's other work; it's much easier on the ears. In other words, it's less weird.

 As the title suggests, Have One on Me is inviting-- it's Newsom's most accessible album yet. The added orchestration makes songs like "Good Intentions Paving Co." lush and catchy, while those with just harp or piano accompaniment ("Go Long," "Occident") remain simple (although simple is a relative term when it comes to Newsom) and charming. Her voice is sweeter, more refined. In general, things are a lot quieter than they were before. Prettier. Tamer.

 For some, this change will come as a betrayal. To the fans who revere Joanna for her off-the-beaten-track sound, Have One on Me may seem too processed, too easy. One review on iTunes likened listening to Newsom's last album, Ys, to "getting your milk straight from the cow. Ys was a nice fantasy package of the world in her head. This one just feels like pen to paper... nothing to wind around your finger." There is more thought on Have One on Me, for better or worse. It’s clearly carefully planned and more filtered, and at times there is a hesitation in Newsom's voice as if she's just become aware that she's performing for an audience.

But while Have One on Me is a deviation from her previous material, the album is a triumph. Each song is remarkably beautiful and captivating in a unique way. The album shows true progress for Newsom as an artist, and promise for what we can expect from her in the future.

Tonight NPR will be streaming Newsom’s concert live from Washington, D.C. Tune in here at 9 PM ET.

February 7, 2010

Thoughts on Joanna Newsom

Until very recently, listening to Joanna Newsom made me uncomfortable. I found her weird, unnerving. In the past couple weeks, due to her upcoming three-disc album, Have One on Me, and sold-out Town Hall performance in March, there has been a surge of hype surrounding Newsom. It got hard to keep her on mute; a second listen was in order.

Upon reconsideration, I remain unnerved. But this time I’m floored, and I’ve listened to the 11 songs I have of hers on repeat for the past three hours.

There’s something utterly unleashed about Joanna. I can’t decide if her lyrics are nonsensical or brilliant (“I have read the right books/To interpret your looks/You were knocking me down/With the palm of your eye”), and the wandering rhythms of the songs are often completely erratic. She quickly flips from cooing like a girl playing with her dolls to a soulful, world-weary songstress. The comparison to Bjork is inevitable.

In the world of 2010 alternative music, Joanna strikes a unique chord. Her weapon of choice, the harp (of which she is a master), is not a common instrument in contemporary music. But her approach is also rare; she is unafraid, unrestricted, unorthodox. She ignores conventional sounds and song structures and just runs. This is why her music can at first be discomfiting. But, without question, this is also the reason for her success, her rapture.