Monday, December 31, 2007

NYE with the Grateful Dead

"It's Eric Clapton!"

No one has ever done New Years Eve better than the Grateful Dead. Don't believe me, peep this video from the Dead's 1985 New Years show in Oakland. Not only do they have Father Time parading around the arena on a giant cake, but Ken Kesey and the great Father Guido Sarducci provide a timeless, albeit a bit strange, commentary. See you in the midnight hour!

Have a Grateful New Years!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Blog Fresh/Bobka/ Hissing Fauna

"We Just Wanna Emote Til Were Dead"

Of Montreal's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? became one of my favorite albums due to its indelible irony. How can one deny something so good that seems so wrong? You can't. It's in that spirit, albeit in jest, that Kevin Barnes master work with Of Montreal came to do be. It makes sense that a record documenting Barnes "divorce from himself" and his transformation into the mythical "Georgie Peach" (as well as his schizo divorce from wife/Of Montreal bass player Nina Twin) would break from the band's sugary lysergic mold, however it seems counterintuitive that the band romps over forlorn, depress fest lyrics to reinvent itself as the funkiest white disco band in the world. And there in lies it's magic. At every corner you are faced with Barnes lyrical struggle. "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger" is a champagne bubbling synthetic pop gem which finds Barnes "on the verge of a total breakdown while living in Norway." Georgie Fruit is most biting during the 11 minute transformation funk of "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" and the absurdist "She's a Rejector", where he crows both "Eva I'm Sorry But You Will Never Have Me/ To Me Your Just Some Faggy Girl/ And I Need A Lover with Soul Power" and "There's the Girl that Left Me Bitter/ Want to Pay Some other Girl to Just Walk Up To Her And Hit Her." It's alot funner than it sounds, I swear.

You can hear bits of Hissing Fauna... along with a laundry list of the best albums of the year on this weeks Blog Fresh Radio, which dissects the Blog Fresh posse's favorite records of the year. Definitely worth a look and a listen.

Also be sure to peep the righteous video for "Gronlandic Edit" below, as well as Kevin Barnes Year End Top 10 list, which he composed for P4K:
1. Caribou: Andorra
2. Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity
3. M.I.A.: Kala
4. Robert Wyatt: Comicopera
5. Liars: Liars
6. MGMT: Oracular Spectacular
7. Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
8. Panda Bear: Person Pitch
9. Fiery Furnaces: Widow City
10. A Hawk and a Hacksaw: A Hawk and a Hacksaw and the Hun Hangar Ensemble

Buy Of Montreal's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Listen to Blog Fresh Radio

"Nihilists With Good Imaginations"

classick?: Black Devil

The complete lack of verifiable information about Black Devil adds an element of mystery to their music that automatically makes them intriguing, and has even led some to question whether they exist at all. As the story goes, French duo Bernard Fevre and Jackie Giordano quietly released the Disco Club EP in 1978 under the Black Devil guise before quickly fading away. The record was a highly respected, hard-to-find artifact that was years ahead of its time in terms of musical style and technique: pulsating, bongo-infused, arpeggiating spacey disco with a slightly darker edge, recorded without the aid of computers.

Fast forward to 2004, when Rephlex records (which is co-owned by Richard D. James) re-issued the mythical EP as a series of 12" vinyls, apparently inspiring Fevre to end his 25+ year hiatus and head back into the studio; Black Devil released 28 After in late 2006, followed by a remixed version of the album entitled Black Devil In Dub shortly thereafter.

If you think the story sounds a little too patchy to be believed, well, you are not alone. There is mounting speculation among fans that Black Devil is nothing more than yet another prank by Richard D. James himself. The stylistic similarities between Black Devil and James' work (Aphex Twin, AFX, etc.) are hard to ignore, as are the mysterious backstory and coincidental 're-issue' by Rephlex. Although it is difficult to say one way or the other whether James was simply heavily influenced by Black Devil, or is in fact the diabolical mastermind behind it all, it has no effect on the music itself, which the BBC described as a "fitting soundtrack to filling a yacht with supermodels and heading out to St. Tropez." Check it out for yourself.

"On Just Foot" from 28 After

"I Regret the Flower Power" from Black Devil In Dub

Black Devil MySpace
Richard D. James wiki

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

64 Kid Remix


Merry Christmas from your friends at The Bobka. Enjoy this novelty remix of the infamous "Nintendo 64 kid" home video while opening your presents and sippin' on some egg nog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Brunch: These Are Powerful Hours

"Artisanal Power Hour Mixes for the Discriminating Binge Drinker"

"When you have a seemingly unquenchable thirst for alcohol and music, combined with a short attention span, there really is nothing like a well-curated, well-sequenced power hour mix to kick drive a weekend." So say the folks over at, and by the looks of it, they are not kidding.

Offering a vast variety of mixes for download -- ranging from Prince to Tom Petty to Timbaland to Hall & Oates -- TAPH has you covered for all of your Power Hour needs. And they recently posted a Christmas edition to help make all of those family parties a little bit more tolerable (and sloppy). Just make sure you take your shoes off before passing out, unlike the dude pictured above.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The 8bits of Christmas

Digitized Holiday Classics

What better way to recycle those old video game systems collecting dust in your basement than to turn them into bonafide musical instruments? That's what the 8bitpeoples have done, a collective of artists who modify old consoles in order to create crudely digital and highly innovative music. And now they have turned their skills to re-interpreting some of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time.

Check out Bit Shifter's rendition of "Let It Snow" on a GameBoy, and Nullsleep's NES-created "Silent Night" below. You can download the entire album (and many others) for FREE at the 8bitpeoples website. Sounds like a good Christmas present to me.

Bit Shifter - Let It Snow
Nullsleep - Silent Night

To get a better idea of what the 8bit scene is all about, check out this trailer from last year's Blip Festival.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

nu musick: Metro Area

Nostalgic, booty-shakin' disco/house

Jersey native Morgan Geist and colleague Darshan Jesrani are better known as Metro Area and they recently released their seventh 12" on Geist's Environ label. Their latest effort isn't much of a stylistic departure (aside from the vocals) from their past work, and that is a very good thing: The duo are known for their 'new-school disco' sound, which incorporates the sleekest elements of the old days and mixes it with house and electro influences to give the music a freshness and punch that will slay any dancefloor.

Speaking of which, Metro Area will be spinning a hometown show at Brooklyn's own Studio B on January 4, so be sure to ask for a pair of dancin' shoes this Christmas. Check out a live set of theirs below to get a taste. You can purchase Metro Area 7 (and their other releases) at "all fine physical and digital music outlets."

Metro Area - Live at 10 Days Off (July 10, 2003)
Metro Area MySpace

Deck the Halls, Bitch: Not Your Dad's Christmas Mix

"Santa Got a DWI"

Last night a good friend said "I really wish that I knew Santa was real." I agree. Many of these Christmas gems were uncovered at the Big Rock Candy Mountain, an incredible resource specializing in "both kinds of music: Country and Western. A little trash, a little junk, a little grease, a little truckin." An hour of oddly unique and drunk tunes, this mix has everything from Santa doing the Mambo, to "Christmas in Vegas" and even Christmas in Prison. Not to mention it's much easier on the ears than those infamous Very Special Christmas mixes. In the spirit of Christmas, we present you with:

Chocolate Bobka Presents...Deck the Halls, Bitch
The Polyphonic Spree- Carol of the Bells
Sufjan Stevens- Come on! Let's Boogie to the Elf Dance
The Ramones- Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)
The Kinks- Father Christmas
Robbers on High Street- Seasons Greetings
Sherwin Linton- Santa got a DWI
Loretta Lynn- Country Christmas
Robert Earl Keen- Merry Christmas from the Family
Big John Greer- We Wanna See Santa Do The Mambo
Holly Golightly- Christmas trees on fire
Elvis Pressley- Santa Clause is back in town
Hank Thompson- I'd like to have an elephant for Christmas
The Sonics- Santa Clause
Mae West- Put the Loot in the Boot, Santa
Johnny Cash- Blue Christmas
Loretta Lynn- To Heck With Ole Santa Clause
Casper and the Cookies- Kiss me beneath the Christmas tree
Dale Watson- Christmas in Vegas
Sufjan Stevens- Put the lights on the tree
Ferlin Husky- In Santa's bag
Seasick Steve & the Level Devils- Xmas prison blues
the dbs- Christmas time
Brenda Lee- I'm gonna lasso Santa
The Pogues- Fairytale of New York

Chocolate Bobka Presents...Deck the Halls, Bitch {download}

Monday, December 17, 2007

classick albums: Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating In Space

"Sometimes Have My Breakfast Right Off of A Mirror"

When Spiritualized released Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space in 1997 it came packaged like prescription medication. This came as no surprise to long time fans of J. Spaceman (aka Jason Pierce) who founded Spiritualized after his group the Spacemen 3 disbanded. Founded on the idea that they would "take drugs to make music to take drugs to," Spiritualized mesmerized audiences with a reverberated blend of hypno-psych music that still feels druggier than any existing chemical cocktail.

It has been widely rumored that J. Spaceman wrote the record after the disillusionment of his relationship with girlfriend, and Spiritualized bass player, Kate Radley, who had secretly married Richard Ashcroft of the Verve. While Spaceman has denied this, it's hard to believe as much of the album is steeped in disenchanted heart break and self destruction. The liner notes read like medication, covering active ingredients, recommended dose, possible side effects and answers to questions like "What should I do if symptoms persist? (ans: try alternative medicines 'Laze Guided Melodies' and 'Pure Phase' available without a prescription)" and "What is Spiritualized used for? (ans: Spiritualized is used to treat the heart and soul.)"

Musically Ladies and Gentleman... is 70 minutes of reverberated guitar drones, massive horn swells, epic orchestrations and ethereal madness. An ominous voice welcomes you, announcing that, yes, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space," as if you had just woke up on a psychedelic voyage to the Moon. The next part of your journey arrives in the form of Spaceman's aching vocal, "All I Want In Life Is A Little Bit of Love to Take the Pain Away/ Getting Strong Today/ I Try and Step Each Day" before backing vocals whisper lines from the Elvis' "Only Fools Rush In" ("Wise men say/ Only fools rush in/ Only fools rush in/ But I, I cant help/ I cant help falling/ Falling in love with you").

The strung out orchestrations of "Broken Heart" feels like what I imagine it must be like to float in the celestial darkness, while the 8 minute "I Think I'm In Love" blends harmonica shivers with trembling bass and the druggiest lyrics this side of Surrealistic Pillow ("Cool cos I'm wired and I'm out of my mind/Warms the dope running down my spine... Free as the warmth in the air that I breathe/ Even freer than dmt... Love in the middle of the afternoon/ Just me, my spike in my arm and my spoon").

Side effects of Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space include, but are not limited to "delirium, a sense of intoxication, visual and auditory hallucinations, euphoria, fever, cold sweats, slurred speach, numbness of the extremities, lack of coordination, stupor, memory loss, bloodshot eyes, mental detachment, paranoid psychosis, temporary paralysis, jerky eye movement, imbalance, sense of well being, purposeless movement, lethargy, dizziness, visual disturbances, palpitations, disorientation, confusion, personality change, arrhythmia and changes in sexual desire," all of which can be experienced in the albums 17 minute opus "Cop Shoot Cop."

While there is an overwhelming amount of paraphernalia makes it's way into Ladies and Gentleman... it's most striking feature is its universal sense of heart broken self-destruction, of which J. Spaceman is seasoned veteran. Luckily for his own heart he got help, chronicled on Let it Come Down and Amazing Grace.

Spiritualized- Ladies and Gentlemen we Are Floating In Outer Space
Spiritualized- All of My Thoughts
Spiritualized- Home of the Brave

"Broken Heart" Live on the Jools Holland Show


nu musick: epo-555

"Our Destination Lies Beneath the Pillow"

Fans of indie pop are surely familiar with the rising scenes in Sweden, Norway and Finland. While Scandanavia is a sure fire hot bed for all things indie, it should be no surprise that their neighbors to the south, the Danes, have quite an affinity for well honed melodies, night time synths and a general indie aesthetic. Copenhagen's epo-555 are the epitome of slow burning mood-tronica. Melting the jangly distorted jams of Yo La Tengo with Sigur Ros-esque tapes loops and the sexy femme fatale darkness of Goldfrapp, epo-555 is pure insomniac bliss. At moments they remind me of fellow Dane's Mew, other times Hot Chip. With that said, be the first on your block to tell all your friends about the dark psych pop coming out of Copenhagen.

epo-555- Grisslapan
epo-555- Harry Mambourg


Sunday, December 16, 2007

nu musick: Burial

"Once Upon A Time There Was You"

Excerpt from a Burial interview with The Wire .

"I spend a lot of time wandering around London, I always have. Sometimes it’s because I’ve got somewhere to go, sometimes it’s because I haven't got anywhere to go. So I’d be wandering endlessly, getting in places. Being on your own listening to headphones is not a million miles away from being in a club surrounded by people, you let it in, you’re more open to it. Sometimes you get that feeling like a ghost touched your heart, like someone walks with you.

"It's about being on a night bus, or with your mates, walking home across your city on your own late at night, or being in a situation with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or coming back from a club, or putting tunes on an falling asleep. If your well into tunes, your life starts to weave around them.

Buy Burial Untrue

Warning: Must listen to with dope headphones
Burial- Archangel
Burial- Raver

Friday, December 14, 2007

nu musik: Track n Field

Connoisieurs of SOUND

Considering how much we love Swedish music, it was only a matter of time before we started border-hopping to the neighboring Scandinavian countries in search of the freshest new sounds. Well, we didn't have to travel very far.

Track n Field are from Helsinki and they claim to have created "the most diverse sound establishment coming out of Finland." The duo is comprised of Roberto Rodriguez and Jukka Kaartinen, both industry veterans with experience in production and DJing. Track n Field's sound is the natural amalgamation of their influences and experiences, infusing downtempo, house, electro, and breakbeat in the hopes of creating music that works just as well in the club as it does on a pair of headphones. I think their music sounds like Simian Mobile Disco on a whole bunch of valium.

Head over to the group's MySpace to hear some tunes (my favorite at the moment is "Iso Maha"). You can purchase their debut album Marathon from Beatport or the iTunes store.

Track n Field MySpace

Thursday, December 13, 2007

gifts: DFA Radio Mixes

"Does Acid Make Me Gay?"

It's no secret that we love the DFA. From the balls-to-the-wall production, to the hypnotic remixes, the DJ sets and all the wonderful artists they've introduced us to over the years (Rapture, Hot Chip, Still Going), it's safe to say that these guys know what's up.

So it should be no surprise that tomorrow night 2/3 of the Bobka crew will make the trip to middle of nowhere Brooklyn for the annual DFA holiday party at Studio B. The last time the DFA threw a party at Studio B was on Halloween. Unfortunately, we were still hurtin' from Dan Deacon's madness the night before. But when the DFA Radio Mix Series posted Tim & Tim's DJ set from Halloween, we vowed never to miss another DFA party. Fortunatly for us, the cats over at the DFA are very generous and they love sharing their lengthy, head spinnin' mixes. They do this by way of the DFA Radio Mix Series which has been consistently sharing mixes from the DFA crew since 2005. If you're ever feeling a bit sick of dancing to "Murder on the Dancefloor" in the mirror, then check out the link below and download some of the DFA goodness. We really like the Murphy sets from Winter 2005, but everything is money.

DFA Radio Mixes

Bullion- Pet Sounds: In The Key of Dee

"I Remember How You Used To Say/ It's Fantastic"

To be perfectly honest I can't believe we haven't posted about this yet, but hey, we're busy doing other stuff like..uh.. Ok there is no "real" reason we haven't sung the praise of Bullion's sample magic, Pet Sounds: In The Key of Dee. As you can tell from the lovely photoshopped album art, this mix pits the effervescent harmonies and orchestrated acid pop of the Beach Boy's Pet Sounds against samples from the late, great J. Dilla's monstrous catalog (RIP). The mastermind behind the ingenious pairing is Acton, England's Bullion, who refuses to let people label ...In the Key of Dee as a mash up. You see, while Bullion has blended samples from Pet Sounds and the Dilla ouevre, he didn't borrow any of Dilla's drums. And the drums on this mix are a thing of beauty. They feel like drums; tight and smooth like ?uestlove and thick like B-More bangers. Making great use of the massive Pet Sounds box set, Bullion boils Brian Wilson's sonic masterpiece into 24:38 of head bobbing hip-hop, cooled out with the Beach Boy's trademark So-Cal surf style. Not just an incredible mix, but also a damn good reminder that no one should be without the Beach Boy's classic and a sampling of Dilla's greatest hits. Download a .zip file of Pet Sounds: In the Key of D down below. As a bonus there's also a link to a tight mix Bullion did for the british website Shhhh, Mixed Up In Love, which features everyone from A Tribe Called Quest to Arthur Russell to J. Davey and, of course, J. Dilla.

Bullion-Pet Sounds: In the Key of Dee
Bullion-Mixed Up In Love

The Bobkast #7: Winter's Night Drive

"I See The Sun Disappear"

Chocolate Bobka Presents...The Bobkast #7: Winter's Night Drive. A narcotic blend of insomniac drone, this mix was inspired by blunted late night drives down snow covered streets and is an attempt at blurring the lines between indie pop, sleek Italo disco, cavernous dubstep, luminary space rock, soulful hip hop and eerie folk. The glue is a psych aesthetic that permeates every track and covers this mix in a stoney haze.

Sleep driving is a habitual act insomniacs practice which transports the restless from the confines of sleeplessness into a calming world of nothingness. In the darkness of the open road one finds himself alone in desolate isolation, post-apocalyptic contemplation. "Is this the end? Am I the only one left? Shall I keep driving? Streetlights flicker and highlight the tar-colored streets, transforming the yellow lines from a mere divider into a bonafide path into the unknown. You follow the yellow lines.

The Bobkast #7: Winter's Night Drive
1. The Chromatics- Telephone Call
2. The Chromatics- Night Drive
3. Bat For Lashes- Whats a Girl to Do
4. Mazzy Star- Fade Into You
5. Bodies of Water- Everybody Hurts
6. The Archivist- Street Light Om
7. Kevin Drew- Big Love
8. Bullion- I Guess I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
9. Burial- Archangel
10. Panda Bear- Ponytail
11. Au Revoir Simone- The Winter Song
12. Beirut- My Night with the Prostitute in Marseilles
13. The Magnetic Fields- When The Open Road is Closing In
14. Joy Division- Love Will Tear us Apart Again (Permanent Mix)
15. Spacemen 3- Walking with Jesus
16. Club 8- Everything Goes
17. Micah P. Hinson & The Opera Circuit- Seems Almost Impossible

The Bobkast #7: Winter's Night Drive {direct link; right click to save}

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

last night: Yo La Tengo & Friends

"First Gear, It's All Rright"

We knew going to see Yo La Tengo during their semi-annual Hanukkah run at Maxwell's would be fun, but not even the most optimistic person in the world would've predicted what a blast last night was. Pre-show I read that Monday nights special guest opener was going to be The New Pornographers. "Shut up!" And when we entered Maxwell's cozy interior it was written in bold on the door. "w/ The New Pornographers." So we had that going for us. Which was nice. Needless to say the Porno's (minus Dan Bejar and Neko Case) were tight, rocking out "My Rights Versus Yours", "Twin Cinemas" and other gems from their fine catalog. While AC Newman kept the power pop alive, I couldn't help but get lost starring at keyboardist and singer Kathryn Calder. The young ivory tickler, who sings many of Neko's parts, was dead on and boy is she a sight for sore eyes. Which reminds me that I really need to pick up her band the Immaculate Machine's latest record ASAP.

While Todd Barry was in the house again, Monday night's mid-show comedy act was Peanut Butter, who came on and did the most bizarre set of beleaguered torture humor I've ever heard. Some of it was unbearable. However, his Mandy Patinkin jokes were pure bliss.

As if that wasn't enough, we still had an entire set of Yo La Tengo to go. Needless to say they crushed it, getting droney and doing the fuzzy Yo La jam-shit and then breaking down into effervescent pop gems like "Mr. Tough" and "Beanbag Chair", both from 2006's wonderful I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. I forgot to mention how stunning Georgia sounded on "I Feel Like Going Home", which is surely my second favorite Georgia song behind "My Little Corner of the World." To finish off the night the band brought on Roy A. Loney, singer of the legendary cult band the Flaming Groovies.

From 12/9/07 at Maxwell's. Night 6 of Hanukkah.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mort's Best of 2007

"Say Hello to My Little List"

The 3 Best Electronic Releases of 2007 (That You May Not Have Heard About)
GUI BORATTO - Chromophobia [Kompakt]
Brazilian-born Gui Boratto created a trancey tech-house record that is big on rhythmic inventiveness and is characterized by his ability to connect seemingly disjointed sound loops into a warm, cohesive whole.

PANTHA DU PRINCE - This Bliss [Dial]
Pantha Du Prince's second LP is an extension of the sound he explored on his first disc: deep house with a narcotic and melancholy edge, with flourishes of beauty seeming to arise out of nowhere. This album begs for a pair of headphones and your undivided attention.

THE FIELD - From Here We Go Sublime [Kompakt]
The Field masterfully uses tightly looped samples to create layers of complex sound. The music is a propulsive, ambient drone that simultaneously moves forward while existing in a state of suspended animation.

_ _ _
Honorable Mention
KILN - Dusker
Apparat - Walls
_ _ _
Best Concert
Daft Punk in Brooklyn
French robots atop a neon pyramid... 'nuff said (click the link above to watch some incredible videos)
_ _ _
Best Video
Escort - "All Through the Night"

Muppet disco!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Brunch: The Lefsetz Letter

Anecdotal Music Industry Newsletter

Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the 'The Lefsetz Letter'. Lefsetz is known for his real talk as he addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself. If you are even moderately interested in the state of the industry, you NEED to check out Mr. Lefsetz's insights. Mixing humor with the cold, hard truth, the Lefsetz letter is a captivating take on the current state of the industry. Visit his website to read his thoughts online, or go HERE to have them sent directly to your inbox.

Friday, December 7, 2007

we saw: Omega Love

"Take me to your garden of hopes and dreams"

Pittsburgh-based Omega Love describes their sound as "loungecore," and after seeing them last night at John and Peter's, I would have to agree that this is an apt description. Funky, head-bobbin' rhythms mixed with jazzy chord progression and techno-inspired flourishes provide the foundation for sultry lyrics sung by the endearing Jocelyn Gelsler. Imagine the Brazilian Girls mixed with Soulive and the New Deal.

While the music was great, it was agreed that the band was missing the style and stage presence to go along with their sound that would truly set them apart and lead to big things. But who knows, perhaps Omega Love enjoys playing smaller venues as opposed to big, boomy rooms. They definitely are a band that seems more at home in intimate surroundings - their laid back Nu-Jazz sound evokes a comfortable wine bar feel rather than a beer-fueled concrete club. So break out the merlot, light a few candles, check out some tracks below, and peep some tourdates.

Omega Love- Diabolical Genius
Omega Love- The Show (live)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

McG's Favorite Songs of 2k7

"And Take Ya Money!"

For me the summer of 2007 will always be remembered as the three months I spent riding my bike to work throwing my arms in the air like I was firing a sawed off shotgun (Thanks M.I.A). While "Paper Planes" made me nostalgic for Wreckx N Effects, there were certainly some other jams that got me moving, thinking, sleeping and laughing. Here are some of my favorite songs of 2007, many of which we never had chance to write about. But hey, who needs to read when you can just listen. Hasta manana.

Favorite Songs of 2007
Les Savy Fav- Pots & Pans
Grovesnor- Nitemoves
Yeasayer- Sunrise
Beck- Timebomb
Grizzly Bear- He Hit Me
Beirut- Nantes
Taken By Trees- Taken to Young (Tough Alliance Remix)
The Bee's- Left Foot Stepdown
Georgie James- Need Your Needs
Shout Out Louds- You Are Dreaming
Sally Shapiro- He Keeps Me Alive
Muscles- Hey Muscles I Love You
Bishop Allen- Rain
Cat Power- Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
Bodies of Water- Everybody Hurts
Animal Collective- For Reverand Green

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

McG's Best of 2007

"And the Beat Goes On..."

2007. Hmmm, what can I say? Well it was a damn good year for new music and it all started in 2006 with early leaks from The Shins, Of Montreal and LCD Soundsystem, albums which still resonate a year later, which says a lot given our fickle ADD blog-fueled music scene. 2007 will surely be remembered as the year indie went mainstream, with Neon Bible and Wincing the Night Away debuting at #2 on the Billboard charts and Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank popping in at #1, something I never would have dreamed of listening to "Wild Pack of Family Dogs" in high school. Which goes to show people aren't stupid, when they hear something good they immediately gravitate towards it (ie. Feist).

The year was dominated by French electro (Daft Punk, Justice, Ed Banger Records), Swedish Indie Pop (Jens Lekman, Shout Out Louds, Taken By Trees), the Italo-Disco revival (Glass Candy, The Chromatics, Italians Do It Better Records and Sally Shapiro) and, once again, Brian Wilson's LSD influenced hypnotics and harmonies (Panda Bear, Miracle Fortress).

The blog world blew up the Black Kids, helped Columbia grad's Vampire Weekend score a deal with XL on the strength of a Blue CD-R (and one of the most beautiful 7" singles I've ever seen). Not to mention The Explorers Club getting picked up by Secretly Canadian/JagJaguwar cousin Dead Oceans and Grand Archives, project of former Band of Horses member Mat Brooke, inking with Sub Pop. On those signings alone 2008 is shaping up to be just as action packed as '07, giving us no time to sleep. With that said here are my lists, I hope you enjoy and have a kick ass rest of 2007. Check back tomorrow when I'll have a stocking stuff (aka .zip file) of all the years best songs to keep you sane for the rest of the year.

Artist of the Year
James Murphy/LCD Soundsystem- Not only did President Murphy hit us with the colossal Sound of Silver but 2007 also saw the proper release of his Nike/iTunes collabo, the heart pounding 45:33, which gave birth to one of the best songs of 2007, "Someone Great." ("I'm wishing we could talk about it..."). Murph could've rested on his laurels and just toured with the Arcade Fire and !!!, but no he kept releasing compelling material under the LCD moniker, including the All My Friends EP with covers by Franz Ferdinand and John Cale as well as A Bundle of Stuff EP which features remixes by Soulwax and Carl Craig, among others... And then he & LCD drummer Pat Mahoney went and put together the funkiest, finger pointing collection of head hunting disco I've ever heard. As best said through Chic "I feel your love coming on, like the calm before the storm, your love is out to get me."

Favorite Albums of 2007 (in no order)

Glass Candy- B/E/A/T/B/O/X
Vampire Weekend- Blue CD-R

Favorite Mix (Non Fabric/DJ-Kicks/Radio 1 Essential Mix)
Bullion- Pet Sounds: In the Key of D

Best Podcast
Mad Decent- Can't Forget Dilla

DJ/Producer/Remixer of the Year
XXXchange (of Spank Rock)- Bjork- Earth Intruders remix; Thom Yorke- The Eraser remix; Kid Sister- Control; Kid Sister- Let Me Bang; Spank Rock Fabric.Live 36

Best Demo (three way tie)
Grand Archives
Black Kids
The Explorers Club

Best Concert
Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem @ Red Rocks

Best DJ Set
James Murphy @ Hiro Ballroom, CMJ week

Bands I Wish I Had More Time to Absorb
The Acorn

under the covers: Gustav Holst

English born composer Gustav Holst is best known for his orchestral masterpiece The Planets. Holst, of Latvian and Russian decent, walked this planet from 1874-1934. Holst's catalog of compositions, totaling nearly 200, includes suites, operas, ballets, hymns, and concertos.

Sometimes referred to as "The English 'Rite of Spring'" (a reference to Stravinsky's most famous ballet), The Planets was written by Holst between 1914 and 1916 and is broken down into 7 parts, each one corresponding to a different extra-terrestrial planet (Pluto's short tenure didn't begin for another 15 years).

Holst intended the Planets to act as a series of 'mood pictures':

Mars – Independent, Ambitious, Headstrong
Venus – Awakens Affection and Emotion
Mercury – The ‘Winged Messenger of the Gods’, Resourceful, Adaptable
Jupiter – Brings Abundance, Perseverance

Fast forward 60 years:

In late 1975, Japanese synthesizer pioneer Isao Tomita began reworking Holst's Planets as an electronic suite. Released the following year, the album, aptly named The Tomita Planets, is practically a note-for-note reconstruction of Holst's original work utilizing state-of-the-art synthesizers and electronic manipulations. The impressive part about Tomita's version is that not much of the original suite is compromised in his re-workings. Even so, Tomita is still able to add freshness and imagination.

Isao Tomita - Jupiter - The Bringer of Jollity [from The Tomita Planets]
Gustav Holst - Jupiter - The Bringer of Jollity[from 1981's Berliner Philharmonic; Conductor: Herbert von Karajan]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pimp C (1973-2007)

Details are sparse, but as of early this afternoon reports that Houston hip-hop legend Pimp C was found dead in his hotel bed in Los Angeles. Pimp C is best known as one half of UGK, a group he founded with best friend Bun B in 1987.

Pimp C was released from prison less than two years ago after serving 4 years for failing to complete community service after being convicted of aggravated assault. Following his release, Pimp C hit the studio and crafted 2007's Underground Kings, a remarkable 2-CD album that stays surprisingly fresh despite it's length; one of my top ten favorite albums of 2007 and a visceral part of our inaugural Hip-Hop Review.

UGK enjoyed significant success at this year's BET Hip-Hop Awards where their single "International Players Anthem" (feat Outkast) won Best Collaboration as well as Video of the Year (click here for the video).

Those who think they're unfamiliar with Pimp C have undoubtedly heard him on tracks like Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'", T.I.'s "Front Back", Three 6 Mafia's "Sippin' On Some Syrup" and countless other tracks by artists including Chamilionaire, Too-$hort, Project Pat, Ludacris, Masta-P, and Dizzee Rascal.

Check out some more somber tunes from 2007's Underground Kings below:
UGK - Gravy
UGK - Swisha and Dosha

Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo

"Try to Squeeze a Drop of Blood from a Sugarcube"

Hanukkah starts today and there's no better way to celebrate the eight crazy nights than by spending them with Jersey's finest Yo La Tengo at Maxwells in Hoboken. In what's become a somewhat yearly event Ira, Georgia and James will ring in every night with a different set of music, a different opener and gladly give to a different charity. Unfortunately, if you don't already have tickets you're probably going to have to spend each night with Aunt Ethel and her Matza balls. We'll be at night 7, next Monday December 10th. In recognition of Yo La's metaphoric gelt, check out there video for "Sugarcube", which features members of Mr. Show, including David Cross, and is probably the best music video ever. And yes, we know we say that alot.

Monday, December 3, 2007

coming soon: My Robot Friend

"I let you get inside my heart but you just pass me by"

A colleague asked me the other day, "Where can I get my robot fix now that Daft Punk is done touring?" Well my dear androphiles (made up word?), NYC's own My Robot Friend is here to the rescue (or will be at least, in early-mid 2008). My Robot Friend, aka Howard Rigberg (aka Howard Robot), is near completion on Robot High School, his follow-up to 2006's Dial 0, which featured a cover of Blondie's classic "Rapture" (video found here) as well as the suburb "One More Try" featurng Antony of Antony and the Johnsons (audio below).

According to the official website, My Robot Friend has 8 tracks already in the bag, including the title song "Robot High School" (video below) and tracks like "The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane." My Robot Friend is known for his live shows, where he "performs in an elaborate, personally designed light-up suit while interacting with illuminated objects, wireless video cameras, pyrotechnics, and other odd home-made props." The suit includes a penis that shoots out flames of course.

For music video fans the video for "Robot High School" (below) is a must.

For all things robot check out:
My Robot Friend Official Web Site
Robot High School official website
Myspace Page

My Robot Friend - One More Try (feat Antony) [from 2006's Dial 0]

New Ghostface!

"Tony Starks in the Building"

Warning: This post will be make alot more sense if you peep Mr. Killah's list of names:Ghost Face Killer, Ghostface Killer, Ghostface Killah, Ghostface, Ghost, Tony Starks, Ironman, Ghost Deni, Pretty Toney, P Tone, Paisley Fontaine, Tony Bosley, Clyde Smith, Theodore Deini, Talk of New York Tony, Captain America, Starkey Love and Wally Champ

Damn straight new Ghostface. Hell, it's been nearly a year since Pretty Tone dropped More Fish, a compilation of outtakes and extras from the mind numbing insta-classick Fishscale. This time Tone hits us with The Big Doe Rehab, featuring cameos from a slew of the Wu (Meth, Raekwon, U-God, Masta Killa & Cappadonna), as well as production by The Hitmen, Anthony Acid and Baby Grand. While Wally Clark doesn't sound as hungry as say on Supreme Clientele, and the beats aren't as ripe as the MF Doom, Dilla, Just Blaze bangers unleashed on Fishscale, I'd still take Paisley Fontaine over any rapper any day (Exception: Lil Weezy). Shit, we all know Ironman's "rhymes is like garlic." Peep the bonus cuts from The Big Doe Rehab below, as well as a priceless video of Starkey Love auctioning off one of his prized fitted hats. One.

Ghostface Killah- Killa Lipstick(w/ Method Man & Masta Killa)
Ghostface Killah- Slow Down (w/ Chrisette Michelle)


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday Brunch: The Numero Group

"Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame on You"

Founded by three record obsessives in 2003, the Numero Group specializes in releasing obscure soul, lost folk and forgotten disco from around the globe. The concept is simple: salvage lost recordings and release them to the public to general adoration. The label "offers an aesthetic. A shelf of Numero discs feels less like a 'record collection' and more like a library. The library to date is a mix of thrift shop soul, skinny tie pop, Belizean funk, and hillbilly gospel."

This year alone the Group released the baroque pop of English chanteuse Catherine Howe, a lost gem which disappeared before hitting shelves in 1971, a Cult Cargo release Grand Bahama Goombay and four albums worth of Eccentric Soul compilations rediscovering the lost soul of Miami's Deep City, Chicago's Twinight label, unlikely soul capital Columbus, Ohio's Prix records and The ABC's of Kid Soul: Home Schooled, a collection of funky adolescent groove from the early 70's.

While 2007 has surely been a banner year for the Numero Group, one of their best releases is the first in their Cult Cargo series, which explores what happens to blue eyed American soul when it gets in the hands of outsiders. Cult Cargo: The Belize City Boil Up is a heady stew of Caribbean soul infused with reggae rhythms and disco beats. Two of my favorite artists from this compilation are Lord Rhaburn and The Harmonettes, who bring some of the hottest funk the Caribbean has ever seen. Once again soulful disco reggae, get on it.

Lord Rhaburn- Disco Connection
Lord Rhaburn- More Love Reggae
The Harmonettes- Can't Go Halfway
The Harmonettes- Shame Shame Shame