Despite the fact that they’ve had a long-held reputation for crafting decidedly left of center pop and adhering to doing things in their own way, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based pop act Little Dragon — Yukimi Nagano (vocals), Hakan […]
Although they’ve proudly boasted of their long-held reputation for crafting left of center pop and adhering to doing things in their own way, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based pop act Little Dragon, comprised of Yukimi Nagano (vocals), Hakan Wirenstarnd (keys), Fredrik Wallin (bass) and Erik Bodin (drums), have managed to achieve an enviable level of mainstream success and recognition: 2014’s full-length effort Nabuma Rubberband received a Grammy nomination and they’ve developed a reputation for being a highly sought-after collaborative unit, as they’ve worked with an impressive array of genre-defying, difficult to pigeon-hole artists and acts including BADBADNOTGOOD, Gorillaz, SBTRKT, Flying Lotus, Kaytranada, Big Boi, De La Soul, DJ Shadow, Tinashe, Mac Miller, Future, Raphael Saadiq, Faith Evans and many more.
The acclaimed Swedish pop act can trace their origins back to when they would meet up after school to jam and play A Tribe Called Quest and Alice Coltrane records and reportedly the band’s forthcoming album New Me, Same Us finds the band going back to the basics and falling back in love with their instruments while crafting some of what may arguably be the most focused material of their growing catalog. Interestingly, the material thematically touches upon transitions, longing and saying goodbye. And as a result, it may also be among the most reflective and thoughtful of their careers. “We are all on our own personal journeys, full of chance, yet still we stand united with stories we believe in, that make us who are we are.”
The album which was entirely self-produced and recorded at the acclaimed Swedish pop act’s home-built Gothenburg-based studio “has been the most collaborative for us yet, which might sound weird considering we’ve been making music together for all these years, but we worked hard at being honest, finding the courage to let go of our egos and be pieces of something bigger,” the members of Little Dragon explain in press notes. Centered around shimming synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, propulsive polyrhythm an infectious two-step inducing hook and Nagano’s soulful crooning, “Hold On,” Same Me, New Us‘ sultry first single manages to recall Fragile-era Cherrelle, with subtle house music flourishes.
The song as the band explains is a centered around a message about breaking away and moving on. It started out as a slick house track but transformed once Fred played the base through it and we all worked it together,” the band explains. “It became something raw and soulful. It’s a simple groove that makes us dance. We can’t wait to play it live because once we play it live it most certainly will change again.”
The acclaimed Swedish pop act will be embarking on a headlining international tour throughout the bulk of the Spring. The tour includes a two-night stand at Brooklyn Steel — April 17, 2020 and April 18, 2020. The April 18 show is already sold out. Check out the tour dates below.
Earlier this year, I wrote about Alekos “Kosie” Sryopoulous, an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has collaborated with the likes of Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller, JMSN, The Midnight, DUX, Stan Taylor, Vulfpeck, Cory Wong, DJ Williams, Tiffany Gouche, Sensae, Desi Valentine, Raquel Rodriguez, Ruslan Sirota, Madelyn Grant and others as a live and studio session player. In fact, the Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and producer was recently featured on Anderson .Paak’s “King James.”
Interestingly, as a producer and solo artist, Sryopoulous has begun to receive attention for a take on future funk that incorporates synths, woodwind and a mix of live and sampled drums that’s largely influenced by his deep and abiding love of jazz, funk, hip-hop and electronic music. Now, as you may recall “Struck Gold” was a lush and soulful track centered around arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of saxophone Amber Navran’s easygoing yet sultry vocals. While being one part Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing and one part 80s synth R&B, the song finds Syropolous and and Navran balancing between a loving homage to two-step inducing soul and contemporary pop.
Sryopoulous’ latest single, the swooning “Heavy Waters” is a lush and soulful track, bursting with several different musical ideas that’s centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, Whitney Myer‘s sultry vocals. As a result the song manages to sound as though it seamlessly draws from 90s pop, hip-hop-tinged R&B before ending with a tropical, yacht rock-like coda.
Alekos “Kosie” Sryopoulous is an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, who has collaborated with the likes of Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller, JMSN, The Midnight, DUX, Stan Taylor, Vulfpeck, Cory Wong, DJ Williams, Tiffany Gouche, Sensae, Desi Valentine, Raquel Rodriguez, Ruslan Sirota, Madelyn Grant and others as a live and studio session player. (In fact, the Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and producer was recently featured on Anderson .Paak’s “King James.“)
As a producer and solo artist, Sryopoulous has begun to receive attention for a take on future funk that incorporates synths, woodwind and a mix of live and sampled drums that’s largely influenced by his deep and abiding love of jazz, funk, hip-hop and electronic music. His latest single “Beauty Sleep” is a lush and soulful track centered around arpeggiated synths, warm blasts of saxophone, thumping beats and Amber Navran’s easygoing yet sultry vocals. And while being one part Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing and one part 80s synth R&B, the song finds Syropolous and and Navran balancing between a loving homage to two-step inducing soul and contemporary pop.
“The original beat for this song was made on my first iPhone 5 (imaschine) when I took a ferry to a Greek island of Chios to visit a colleague of mine,” the up-and-coming Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist and producer recalls in press notes. “I specifically remember Amber commenting on a post I made on Instagram in 2014 and I kept her in mind as a potential collaboration when the song took full form down the road.”
Norwegian-born musicians Øyind Blomstrøm (guitar) and Chris Holm (bass) have made a living touring with a number of bands and as a result, they’re frequently on the road. When Blømstrøm and Holm’s paths crossed for the umpteenth time in 2016, they began to realize their mutual dream of starting an instrumental-based band. Holm’s Bergen scene companion Kim Åge Furuhaug joined the band, completing the lineup of up-and-coming instrumental act Orions Belte.
With the release of their full-length, last year’s Mint, the Norwegian trio quickly established themselves for having a genre-defying, style-mashing sound that draws from 70s Nigerian rock, postcards from French Riviera, Formula one traces at Monza and the famous 1971 “Fight of the Century” between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Building upon a growing international profile, the act’s soon-to-be released Slim EP features a couple of inventive reworkings of songs they love — including Ghostface Killah and Milton Nascimento and a Robert Maxwell original that pays tribute to Norwegian beat group The Pussycats and to Mac Miller.
Slim‘s first single is a funky and shuffling take on Ghostface Killah’s “Cherchez La Ghost” centered around a shimmering 12 bar blues guitar line, thumping drumming and a sinuous bass line — and while the song recalls El Michels Affair’s critically applauded take on the Wu-Tang Clan, Orions Belte’s breezy arrangement hints at twangy, old-school honky tonk, 70s funk and soul while retaining the song’s melody and swagger.
OctFest 2018 Preview
Last year, Pitchfork, one of the premier music websites; October, a beer culture-centric website that aims to capture the spirit, ambition, making and drinking of the precious and beloved stuff through essays, travelogues and events; and Bon Appetit, the award-winning food lifestyle brand teamed up for what may arguably be one of the most unique festivals I’ve come across in some time: OctFest, a beer, music and food festival. 2018’s edition of OctFest, which will take place on Governor’s Island on September 8, 2018 and September 9, 2018 will feature a food lineup curated by Bon Appetit , a music lineup curated by Pitchfork that will include Vince Staples, The Flaming Lips and dozens of other music acts, 90+ craft breweries from all around the world – and with arguably some of the most gorgeous views of Manhattan you’ll see in your life.
So let’s talk a bit about each aspect of the festival, huh?
The food program is centered around a Food Village that will offer a number of New York-based quick-serve staples including the Mission Chinese Food, Roberta’s Pizza, Oddfellows Ice Cream Co, Sweet Chick, the STUF’D Truck, Cervo’s, Best Pizza, Oakland, CA-based KronnerBurger and many others preparing specialties to compliment the domestic and international craft beer being sampled. (Check out the full lineup below.)
Curated by Bon Appétit
Hank’s Juicy Beef
Los Viajeros Food Truck
Mission Chinese Food
Oddfellows Ice Cream Co.
OctFest will be hosting 90 breweries from 20 different countries, pouring more than 250 varieties of award-winning craft beer. Several breweries will be making their New York City debut, including Wicked Weed Brewing, DC Brau, Wedge Brewing Co, Four Peaks Brewing Co, Wild Beer Co., and Karbach Brewing, Co. (Check out the full lineup below.)
North America – West
10 Barrel Brewing Co. (Bend, OR)
Austin Eastciders (Austin, TX)
Breckenridge Brewery (Littleton, CO)
Elysian Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
FiftyFifty Brewing Company (Truckee, CA)
Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)
Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI)
Four Peaks Brewing Co. (Tempe, AZ)
Golden Road Brewing (Los Angeles, CA)
Goose Island Beer Co. (Chicago, IL)
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI)
Karbach Brewing Co. (Houston, TX)
Kona Brewing Company (Kailua-Kona, HI)
Live Oak (Austin, TX)
Monkless Belgian Ales (Bend, OR)
On Tour Brewing Company (Chicago, IL)
Rogue Ales (Newport, OR)
The Shop Beer Co. (Tempe, AZ)
Virtue Cider (Fennville, MI)
North America – East
Blue Point Brewing Company (Patchogue, NY)
Brasserie Archibald (Canada)
Braven Brewing Company (Brooklyn, NY)
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY)
Brickworks Cider (Canada)
Circa Brewing Co. (Brooklyn, NY)
Cisco Brewers (Nantucket, MA)
Collective Arts Brewing (Canada)
DC Brau (Washington, D.C.)
Devils Backbone Brewing Company (Roseland, VA)
Flying Dog Brewery (Frederick, MD)
Hanging Hills Brewing Company (Hartford, CT)
Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers (Framingham, MA)
Keegan Ales (Kingston, NY)
Lamplighter Brewing Co. (Cambridge, MA)
LIC Beer Project (Long Island City, NY)
Lord Hobo Brewing Company (Woburn, MA)
M.I.A. Beer Company (Doral, FL)
Microbrasserie Gainsbourg (Canada)
Mill Street Brewery (Canada)
Narragansett Brewing Company (Pawtucket, RI)
Sand City Brewing Co. (Northport, New York)
Springdale (Framingham, MA)
Stanley Park Brewing (Canada)
Sunday Beer Co. (Brooklyn, NY)
The Bronx Brewery (Bronx, NY)
Veza Sur Brewing Co. (Miami, FL)
Wicked Weed Brewing (Asheville, NC)
Zero Gravity Craft Brewery (Burlington, VT)
Aktien Brewery of Kaufbeuren (Germany)
Birra del Borgo (Italy)
Brasserie La Binchoise (Belgium)
Brouwerij Bosteels (Belgium)
Brouwerij DeKroon (Belgium)
Camden Town Brewery (UK)
Hertog Jan (Netherlands)
La Virgen (Spain)
Laugar Brewery (Spain)
Wild Beer Co (UK)
Bogota Beer Co (Colombia)
Cervecería Urbana (Mexico)
Cervecería Wendlandt (Mexico)
Cerveza Patagonia (Argentina)
Lohn Bier (Brazil)
Melas Beer (Colombia)
Nicaragua Craft Beer Co. (Nicaragua)
Asia, Africa, Oceania
Bira 91 (India)
4 Pines Brewing Company (Australia)
Balter Brewing Co (Australia)
Boxing Cat Brewery (China)
Cape Brewing Co. (South Africa)
Good George (New Zealand)
Newlands Spring Brewing Company (South Africa)
Pirate Life Brewing (Australia)
Playground Brewery (South Korea)
Taihu Brewery (Taiwan)
The Hand & Malt Brewery (South Korea)
While I’ll definitely have interest in the food and beer, my primary interest is the music and I’m looking most forward to catching sets from the following:
Saturday, September 8
Vince Staples: Staples is a 25 year-old, North Long Beach, CA-born and-based emcee and actor, who first rose to prominence as member of hip-hop collective Odd Future, which also featured Mike G, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler The Creator – and the collaborative Mac Miller-produced Stolen Youth mixtape. October 2014 saw the release of his solo debut EP, Hell Can Wait, which included attention grabbing singles “Hands Up” and “Blue Suede.”
Building upon a growing profile, Staples’ full-length debut 2015’s Summertime ’06 was released to critical applause – with Staples being featured as part of XXL’s 2015 Freshman Class. Staples’ critically acclaimed sophomore album, 2017’s Big Fish Theory found the acclaimed, young emcee expanding upon his sound as the album’s production incorporated avant-garde, dance and electronic influences. Additionally, Staples’ made a guest appearance on Gorillaz’s latest effort Humanz.
Staples is headlining Saturday night and I’m looking forward to hearing material off both Summertime ’06 and Big Fish Theory live.
BADBADNOTGOOD: Currently comprised of founding members Matthew Tavares (keys), Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with newest member Leland Whitty (saxophone), the Toronto, Ontario, Canada instrumental act BADBADNOTGOOD derive their name from an abandoned comedy TV project that Tavares was working on before the band formed – and whether as trio or a quartet, the band has developed a reputation for a sound and compositional approach that draws from hip-hop, electronica, jazz, prog rock; but they’re perhaps best known for their jazz-based interpretation of hip-hop tracks, which have allowed them to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Mick Jenkins, Ghostface Killah and others. Interestingly, the band can trace its origins to when the band’s founding trio bonding over a mutual love of hip-hop – in particular MF Doom and Odd Future.
As the story goes, the then-trio played a piece based on Odd Future’s music for a panel of their jazz performance instructors, who didn’t believe it had much musical value – but interestingly enough, after they released the track as “The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1,” the track caught the attention of Tyler The Creator, who helped the video go viral. The Canadian act followed that up with the 2011 release of their full-length debut BBNG, which featured interpretations of A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame and Odd Future. Building upon a growing profile, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD recorded a live jam session with Tyler The Creator in Sowinski’s basement, with videos from the session amassing more than a million views each.
2012’s sophomore effort BBNG2 was recorded over the course of a ten-hour studio session and featured Leland Whitty (saxophone) and Luan Phung (electric guitar) and featured their own original material, as well as renditions of sons by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Feist. That year, the band was the official Coachella Festival house band, backing Frank Ocean and Odd Future over the course of its two weekends.
2013 saw the release of III, which featured “Hedron,” a track that was also featured on the compilation album Late Night Tales: Bonobo; “CS60” and “Can’t Leave the Night,” which was released with the B-side “Sustain,” and they were involved on the soundtrack for The Man with the Iron Fists, assisting with the production and composition.
2015 saw the release of the band’s fourth, full-length album Sour Soul, and the album found them collaborating with Ghostface Killah – and interestingly, the album is more of a hip-hop album that nods at jazz. They ended the year with covers of a handful of holiday standards, including “Christmas Time Is Here” with Choir! Choir! Choir!
Leland Whitty joined the band as a full-time member in early 2016, and followed that up with producing “Hoarse” off Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length debut Doris and “GUV’NOR,” a remix, which appeared on JJ DOOM’s Keys to the Kuffs (Butter Edition). By the middle of that year, BADBADNOTGOOD released their fifth full-length album IV, an album that featured guest spots from Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Colin Stetson, Kaytranada, Mick Jenkins and Charlotte Day Wilson, and was named BBC Radio 6’s #1 album of the year.
Live the act, which also includes keyboardist James Hill can easily shift between jazz, acid jazz, jazz fusion, hip-hop, prog rock, advant-garde jazz, funk and rock with an effortless and seamless fashion – and seemingly at will. I saw them earlier this summer at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell and they are a must see.
Preoccupations: Now throughout the past handful of years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about Canadian post-punk act and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, and as you may recall, the band which is comprised of Matt Flegel (bass, vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar) initially formed under the highly controversial name Viet Cong – and as a result of their original name, the members of the band found themselves in the middle of a furious and frenzied debate around cultural appropriation and the usage of terms, names and symbols closely associated with historical groups and actions that evoke the horrors and brutality of despotism, fascism, war, genocide and so on. Ultimately, the band decided it was best to change their name before the release of their sophomore album, an effort that found each of the individual members of the band in unsteady and uncertain positions – at the time, each of the individual members of the band had relocated to different cities across North America, which forced the band to change their long-established creative process.
Unlike their previously recoded material, the band went into the writing sessions without having a central idea or theme to consider or help guide them along, essentially making the recording sessions a collective, blind leap of faith. Interestingly, the band’s sophomore, self-titled album wound up drawing from that mix of anxiety, despair and regret that creates sleepless nights. New Material, the band’s third full-length album was released earlier this year, and the album builds upon the Canadian post-punk act’s growing reputation for crafting dark and moody post-punk centered around themes of anxiety, uncertainty, futility, frustration, creation and destruction but as the band’s Matt Flegel says of the self-recorded album, the album is “an ode to depression. To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.” And while the material is dark, murky and deeply introspective, the members of Preoccupations have developed a reputation for having an intense and energetic live show, which reveals the material’s anthemic nature.
Sunday, September 9
The Flaming Lips: Currently comprised of founding members Wayne Coyne (guitar, vocals) and Michael Ivins (bass), with Steven Drozd, Derek Brown, Jake Ingalls, Matt Duckworth and Nicholas Ley, the Norman, OK-based psych rock/psych pop/indie rock act The Flaming Lips formed back in 1983 with Coyne (guitar), Coyne’s brother Mark (vocals), Ivins (bass) and Dave Kotska (drums). Interestingly, after Kotska joined the band, Richard English joined the band – and that year, they recorded the only full-length album with Mark Coyne, the band’s self-titled effort.
After Mark Coyne left the band, Wayne assumed vocal duties and the and released their 1986 full-length debut Hear It Is on Pink Dust Records, a psych rock imprint of Engima Records. With that initial lineup, the band released two more albums, 1987’s Oh My Gawd!!! and 1989’s Telepathic Surgery, which was originally planned to be a 30-minute sound collage. From that point on, the band has gone through a series of lineup changes – 1989’s Dave Fridmann-produced In a Priest Driven Ambulance featured Nathan Roberts (drums) and Mercury Rev’s Johnathan Donahue (guitar), and saw the band expanding upon their sound with further experimentation with tape loops and effects, as well as Coyne making a transition to vocal style inspired by Neil Young.
Back in 1990, the members of The Flaming Lips caught the attention of Warner Brothers Records and were promptly signed when an AR rep witnessed a show in which the band almost burned down the American Legion Hall in their hometown with the use of pyrotechnics. In 1991, the members of the band started recording their major label debut Hit to Death in the Future Head, which was delayed for nearly a year because of their use of a sample from Michael Kamen’s score from the major motion picture Brazil, which had a lengthy clearance process. After the recoding of the album, Donahue left the band to focus on his work with Mercury Rev and Roberts leaving the band, citing creative differences.
Ronald Jones and Steven Drozd joined the band and with that lineup they released Transmissions from the Satellite Heart, their only full-length album in which their longtime producer and collaborator Fridmann wasn’t involved; however, because of the success of album single “She Don’t Use Jelly,” the band was featured on Beverly Hills 90210, Late Show with David Letterman, Charmed and Beavis and Butthead. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a lengthy stint of touring opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Candlebox.
1995’s Clouds Taste Metallic was released to critical fanfare in 1995 although it didn’t achieve the same commercial success of its predecessor. In 1996, the band went through another lineup chance with the depature of Ronald Jones. The three remaining members of the band felt a growing dissatisfaction with stand rock music, led to the extremely experimental Zaireeka, a four CD album intended to be heard by playing all four CDs in four separate CD players simultaneously. Sonically, the material incorporated traditional musical elements, found sounds often manipulated by contemporary recording studio techniques and electronics.
And while their experimental efforts received, the band received mainstream success with 1999’s The Soft Bulletin, which meshed catchy melodies with synthetic strings, hypnotic and carefully manipulated beats, booming cymbals and weird but deeply philosophical lyrics. Critically, the album has been compared to The Beach Boys’ Pet Soundsas it featured the entire studio as an instrument to be manipulated. The Soft Bulletin’s critically applauded follow-up, 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots featured guest musician Yoshimi P-We and found the band incorporating the increasing use of electronics and computer manipulation – and the album is generally considered their first critical and commercially successful album after 20 years as a band; in fact, “Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)” won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, and the album was certified Gold in 2006. Since then the band has been considered one of those must-see acts, thanks in part to a show that has largely been described as a pure spectacle.
Nile Rodgers & Chic: Nile Rodgers is a New York-born and-based songwriter, guitarist, composer, arranger and producer, who is best known as a co-founding member of smash-hit disco act Chic and for his work as a producer and collaborator with the likes of Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Philip Bailey, Thompson Twins, Sheena Easton, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, Duran Duran, Madonna, INXS, Britney Spears, Spoons, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Avicii, Disclosure, Sam Smith, Pitbull, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Max Pezzali, Nervo, Laura Mvula, Sigala, Keith Urban, Christina Aguilera and George Michael among a growing list of artists.
Rodgers is arguably one of the more influential and important figures of pop music and dance music of the past 40+ years, and he’s had a role on some of the most beloved albums and singles, and I gotta admit I’m looking forward to hearing all of those old Chic songs live.
Yo La Tengo: Yo La Tengo is Spanish for “I have it” — referring to a female-gendered object or person, in which it would be “I’ve got her,” but the Hoboken, NJ-based indie rock band actually derive their name from an old baseball anecdote. During the New York Mets‘ inaugural season in 1962, centerfielder Richie Ashbury and Venezuelan-born shortstop Elio Chacon found themselves colliding in the outfield. As the story goes, whenever Ashbury went for a catch, he wold scream “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” but Chacon spoke Spanish and had a limited understanding of English. During a game later that year, Ashbury yelled “Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!” instead and saw Chacon backing off on the play, avoiding further collisions; however, left fielder Frank Thomas, who didn’t understand Spanish and missed the team meeting that proposed using “Yo la tengo!” to avoid outfield collisions, collided into Ashburn. After getting up from their collision Thomas reportedly asked Ashburn, “What the hell is a Yellow Tango?”
As far as the band, the New Jersey-based indie rock band, which is currently comprised of founding members Ira Kaplan (guitar, piano, vocals), and Georgia Hubley (drums, piano, vocals), along with James McNew (bass, vocals) can trace their origins back to 1984. When Kaplan and Hubley formed the band, they played an advertisement to recruit other musicians, who shared their mutual love of The Soft Boys, Mission of Burma and Arthur Lee and his band Love, and as a result, the band’s first lineup featured Kaplan, Hubley, Dave Schramm (lead guitar) and Dave Rick (bass) with whom they released their debut 7 inch “The River of Water,” which featured a cover of Arthur Lee’s “A House Is Not a Motel.” After the band recorded “Private Doberman” for the Coyote Records compilation Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon, the band went through a number of lineup changes before settling on their current lineup in 1992 — although the band’s original guitarist Dave Schramm joined the band during the sessions for their 14th record, Stuff Like That There.
Despite achieving limited mainstream success, Yo La Tengo have developed a reputation for being a critically applauded act while maintaining a devoted cult following, thanks in part to their live shows, which reveal an almost encyclopedic repertoire of covers — their SummerStage set last year began with a cover of Ace Frehely‘s “Back in the New York Groove“– and for their annual Hanukkah residency at Maxwell’s that featured a shit ton of covers and special guests, including their parents. Live, they manage to walk a tightrope between power and lush beauty, irony and sincerity within the turn of a phrase.
No Age: Comprised of Randy Randall (guitar) and Dean Allen Spunt (vocals, drums), the Los Angeles, CA-based noise rock duo No Age can trace their origins to the breakup of their previous band Wives, in which Spunt played bass and sang while Randall played guitar. The duo’s first official release was an extremely limited release collection of 5 vinyl singles and Eps that they released on 5 different labels on or around the same day – March 26, 2007. Designed by Brian Roettinger and the members of No Age, the back of each record’s sleeve was a different color and had a different letter that when put together spelled out the band’s name. Half of the songs on the singles and EPs wound up comprising their full-length debut Weirdo Rippers.
Since the release of Weirdo Rippers, Randall and Spunt have developed a reptaution for relentless touring, frequently playing shows at unusual locations – they once played a show at the Los Angeles River and they famously accompanied video artist Doug Aitken and Chloe Sevigny to Athens, Greece and Hydra Island, Greece to perform a multimedia piece “Black Mirror.” The performances took place on an old Greek barge at the Port of Piraeus, off the Island of Hydra and a final performance with the barge driven to the middle of the ocean. Additionally, they’ve found new and interesting ways to pair art around the release of their music – 2009’s Losing Feeling EP was released with a limited edition “Losing Feeling” companion zine; 2012’s “Collage Culture” 12 inch was a soundtrack to readings of excerpts of Aaron Rose, Mandy Kahn and Brian Roettinger’s Collage Culture, split in two channels – one side with readings from the book, the other side with No Age music written specifically for the release.
The acclaimed noise rock act is currently touring to support their latest effort Snares Like a Haircut, which was released earlier this year through Drag City Records.
Check out the full musical lineup below.
Saturday, September 8
Standing on the Corner
Sunday, September 9
The Flaming Lips
Nile Rodgers & CHIC
Yo La Tengo
Tickets are still available, please check out OctFest.co for information.
You can check out information and updates on the festival at Oct.co, and on Twitter by following @Pitchfork and @ReadOctober.
I’ll be covering the festival through my various social accounts, so feel free to check me out through the following:
Comprised of two childhood friends, who discovered that they had independently embark on electronic music careers while in college, the mysterious, Chicago-based electronic production and artist duo The White Panda have dominated the electronic music blogosphere with the release of five, critically applauded full-length albums — all of which have resulted in 35 #1 singles on Hype Machine, over 60 million SoundCloud streams and 25 million YouTube plays while being dubbed “the mash-up kings” by Vibe Magazine, and “a veritable party-mashup machine” by Entertainment Weekly. (At one point, The White Panda was one of SoundCloud’s top five most played artists — ever.)
Adding to an already immense and growing national profile, the duo has headlined several US tours, have played some of the country’s largest festivals including Lollapalooza, Firefly, Electric Zoo, and Bamboozle, and have opened for the likes of Flo Rida, Wale, Nelly, Twenty One Pilots, Dispatch, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, Mac Miller, Mike Posner, Benny Benassi, MGMT and others. And while working on their own original production work, the duo had also spent their time working on and releasing a number of remixes including a gigantic, festival rocking rework of Powers‘ “Beat of My Drum,” that I wrote about a couple of years ago. Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them; however, the Chicago-based duo have been rather prolific since then, including their latest single, a sultry, club-rocking and anthemic cover/re-work of The 1975‘s “Somebody Else,” that features a guest spot from Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Verite — and while being a bold, tweeter and woofer rocking rework, the cover manages to retain the atmospheric original’s ache and longing.
Currently comprised of founding members Ori Kaplan (saxophone), Tamir Muskat (production, percussion) and Tomer Yosef (vocals), the Tel Aviv, Israel-born, Brooklyn-based world, dance music trio Balkan Beat Box can trace its origins to Kaplan and Muskat meeting as teenagers in Brooklyn. As the story goes, both grew up immersed in music; Kaplan had been a klezmer clarinetists while Muskat was a drummer in a punk rock band — and the founding duo began collaborating together on a project, which would mesh the styles and sounds of Mediterranean and Balkan folk music with dub and thumping, club-banging hip-hop and dancehall beats. This is largely inspired by the fact that both Kaplan and Muskat had long felt that the traditional music they were long familiar with was a bit stodgy and outdated and didn’t adequately reflect the experiences of living in an increasingly globalized culture; however, fusing it traditional sounds with contemporary sounds was a way of bringing new relevance to old music, as well as a way of introducing old dance sounds to contemporary audiences. By 2006, Tomer Yosef was recruited as the group’s frontman and the lineup was completed.
And since their formation over a decade ago, the Brooklyn-based trio have maintained a long-held reputation not just for their wild genre mashing, deep digging in the crates grooves, but for a enormous club-banging beats paired with incendiary flows that call for riots and demonstrations in the streets and a for getting sweating on the dance floor — or perhaps suggesting that dance music and funk can fuel and inspire the next revolution. Interestingly throughout the course of five full-length albums, the trio have collaborated with a group of frequent and trusted collaborators and associates — and to add to a growing profile, the act has had their material sampled by Jason Derulo, Diplo, who used a sample for a Mac Miller song, had their music appear in FIFA ’17 and in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and have collaborated both as a unit and individually with platinum-ceritifed selling artist Asaf Avidan, Yemenite pop trio A-WA, Stargate and Fifth Harmony. But no matter what their work is rooted in a political urgency and authenticity; however, the band’s most recent effort Shout It Out finds the trio expanding upon their songwriting and creative process. As the members of the band explain in press notes when the members of the band gathered in the studio for the Shout It Out sessions, they played freely with collaborators for several days straight and then sampled what they felt was the best and boldest grooves, much like a DJ digging in the crates for the most interesting, weirdest material they could find. “A lot of weird things came out,” Kaplan exclaims in press notes. “We wold listen to jams and go ‘oh, here’s a moment, let’s sample it!” and they would build a track up from four bars or so.” And as Muskat explains of the material on the album “We are known to be that band to shout out things that bother us, but this time ew went inward and more personal. This album is us revealing who we are as people and what’s going on in our personal life.”
Shout It Out’s latest single “Chin Chin” has the trio pairing a slick, dance floor friendly production featuring looped klezmer-leaning, horn sample with stuttering drum programming, tweeter and woofer rattling 808 beats, distorted vocal samples and an enormous drop with Yosef rhyming about money — from the violent and desperate things people would do for it, the expensive and glittering possessions people buy with it. And in some way thematically and sonically, the song sounds as though it draws from M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” as it points out that money is what makes the world go around, while also reminding us that we live in a world in which people will sell themselves, their children, their children’s future’s for short term gain.
The recently released music video visually draws from crime movies like Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and hip-hop videos, and as a result, it further evokes the swaggering, stomping groove of the song.
Comprised of Mike Del Rio and Crista Ru, the Los Angeles and NYC-based electro pop duo Powers caught the attention of the blogosphere with the release of “Beat of My Drum” earlier this year. And […]