Saturday, January 29, 2011

Adele Meets Jamie XX

Adele's new single "Rolling In The Deep" is pretty powerful on it's own, but when Jamie from the XX got his hands on it, he made some serious magic (download here, seriously, you'll thank me).

Do you remember that amazing XX remix of Florence & The Machine's "You Got The Love?"  This kind of reminds of that.  The original song is remarkable as is, but the XX transform it into something entirely new and completely their own.  I can only imagine Jamie is inspired by strong female voices as he plucks them out of their original state, rhythmically cutting, pasting, detuning and reimagining them into a new world surrounded by snappy clean beats and textures.  The XX remixes feel more like offerings to the original pieces as they manage to highlight the raw emotional core of the song.

Considering the XX remixes I have already heard and loved, I can't wait to get my hands on Jamie's upcoming rework of Gil Scott Heron's critically acclaimed I'm New Here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pajama Jeans - The New Snuggie?

In this modern day and age, we all must envoke the power of multitasking.  Last night I discovered a brilliant...dare I say Nobel Prize worthy invention.  Pajama Jeans.  Now I can finally feel the comfort of pajamas while engaging in social activities.

In lieu of actual shut-eye, I shall simply wear my PJ-J's and listen to the soulful stylings of one of my latest sonic comforts, Transfer.  The song..."Get Some Rest."  


Get Some Rest from Julio Quintana on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh Earl...

Maybe I'm behind the ball on this one, but oh my.  Earl, you are one sassy hip hopper.  Despite how disturbed and offended I think I should be, your beats are so fresh.  I can't stop listening to this song...oh, and the video.

Sure he's got some anger issues, but he's only 17, and youth angst is to be expected.  (It's rumored that Earl Sweatshirt is currently "doing time" in boot camp, where his mom sent him after hearing his music). Once you get beyond the shock factor, there is actually some wicked production on this album.  Very old school meets new school, but totally non-formulaic.  Check out Luper.

If you're as intrigued as I am and want to hear more, you can download the album for yourself:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cut Copy - Zonoscope

After a decade of making music together, Cut Copy have branded their own unique form of new wave, post punk dance jams. Zonoscope, the third official studio album from the Australian electropop group, features a remarkable depiction of New York City engulfed by a waterfall courtesy of the late Tsunehisa Kimura.  This exploration of the surreal embodies the 11 stand-alone tracks that make up their latest release.

Zonoscope feels like a spiritual journey.  Built around tribal beats, sweeping synths, and hypnotic vocal repetitions, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the soundscape of this album.  Each track is so intricate and laden with unexpected sounds that leave you wondering what you just heard.  The songs are unformulaic, flowing effortlessly as they rock you to a mesmerizing pulse.   Add to that a hint of space rock psychedelia thanks, in part, to renowned mixer Ben Allen (Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion) and you have a work that feels almost philosophical.

Highlights from Zonoscope include the first official single “Take Me Over,” which envelops a message about seizing the day in 80’s new wave, Blondie-esque guitar licks and bouncy synths.

“Where I’m Going” is another favorite.  One of the more rock-based songs, it seems to encompass the message of this album: “It’s my dream and it’s yours if you want it too.  It’s a journey; it’s yours if you want it.”

Yes, this is a dance album, but it’s not so much a neon glittering glowstick dance party.  It feels more personal, like a close your eyes and dance in your room when no one’s watching album.  I, for one, have tried the latter, and highly recommend it.

You can look forward to Zonoscope’s release February 8th on Modular. 

Tennis - Not The Kind With Rackets

If you need a holiday, but can’t get away, listening to Tennis is the next best thing.  Husband and wife duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley had a simple plan.  Buy a boat, and go sailing.  After a 7-month excursion along the Atlantic coast they took their experiences on the open sea and put them into song, creating their debut full length, Cape Dory (named after their sailboat). 

Reminiscent of Best Coast or Dum Dum Girls, the songs are 60’s retro, and nostalgic for a more innocent time.  Moore’s breezy & candy sweet vocals float above Riley’s jangly guitar and lo-fi production.   The melodies are catchy and the lyrics are wistful:  “We’ve been gone for so very long that we’ve forgotten where we are from.”  There is a sincerity and charm in the simplicity of their concept.  Cape Dory is a buoyant and carefree journey; and lucky for us, we’re invited.

“Marathon,” their first single, is effervescent & oh so catchy.  There’s no way to walk away without humming the melody.

 Another favorite is “Take Me Somewhere,” a song that coaxes us to bob and sway and drift away.

Cape Dory will be released January 18th on Fat Possum Records.

Middle Brother - Troubadour - December 20, 2010

Hipsters, frat boys, and music nerds alike gathered this stormy Monday night at the Troubadour for an epic evening of music.  KCRW presented Middle Brother and friends in a holiday benefit concert for Invisible Children (  Middle Brother is the newly formed folk rock super group made up of John McCauley (Deer Tick), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), and Matt Vasquez (Delta Spirit).  While all was rain and gloom outside, the theater buzzed with warmth and excitement for the amazing line-up of artists and the promise of a truly special night of music.

The show began with a beautiful acoustic set from John McCauley.  All that man needs is a guitar, a beer, and a story to tell.  Blake Mills came next with a set that I only wish could have lasted longer.  When Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith joined him onstage I could hear a collective gasp from the crowd, reminiscing about the days of Simon Dawes (the band that later became Dawes following Blake’s departure in 2007). We were then transported into a mist of folky psychrock thanks to Guards reverb/delay heavy vocals and smoke machines. Soon Mountain Man graced the stage with some much-appreciated femininity and flawless harmonies that could coax a butterfly out of her cocoon.  And to top it off, Cass McCombs bestowed a surprisingly attentive audience with an understated set of indie gaze goodness.

Finally, Middle Brother took the stage for their 2nd ever show.  From the moment the first note rang out you could feel something special, almost cosmic in the air.  When these three tremendous songwriters join forces the result is effortless, honest, and charmingly rough around the edges.  The music is reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, & Nash, or Big Star (but less clean cut) with both sweeping ballads and rowdy refrains. Lyrically they each had a story to tell of lost love, hopes for glory, and, of course, general debauchery.   Onstage, their chemistry is endearing, all of them shining equally as they harmonized between John’s growl, Taylor’s tender strain and Matt’s weathered and wise vocals, brewing a recipe for raw perfection.  The highlight of the evening was a song called “Theatre,” a ballad for the lonely songwriter that evolved and swelled into a climactic peak, Matt’s vocals ringing into the theater with a passion and soulfulness that hung in the air long after the song had ended.  They rounded out their set with an encore performance of “Portland,” a very fitting Replacements Cover.

Clearly, the stars and planets were aligned this evening, saluting the bands with a lunar eclipse at the end of the night.  This was absolutely one of my favorite shows in 2010, and I’ll be the first in line for Middle Brothers’ album when it comes out March 1st.