10 -12 MAY2013
“Rhythm is what makes a good Afrobeat record,” says Gabriel Roth, Daptone Records co-founder, producer and connoisseur of all things funky. “Not just the rhythm section, but the rhythm of the horns, the rhythm of the vocals, the rhythm of the keyboards, everybody’s rhythm. It’s not just being about being right o r wrong in your rhythm, or being good at it, but it’s about feeling something the same way, swinging the same way, anticipating things the same way, and hitting things the same way — everybody hearing music the same way, and being able to turn all those instruments into one voice.
“Antibalas is the only band that can do that, right now. That’s why they’re still at the front of the scene, after all these years.” Fourteen years after their first gig, and five since the release of their last album, 2007’s Security, Antibalas — Afrobeat’s premier second-wave ensemble — are back with their fifth full-length release. Simply titled Antibalas, the album is both a blazing reaffirmation of the NYC band’s collective musical strengths, a nd a hard-hitting continuation of their funkified excursions into what Antibalas founder and baritone saxophonist Martín Perna calls “our vault of esoteric sounds and knowledge.” “We kicked around a couple of different titles,” Perna explains, “but we could all agree on Antibalas. We’re always who we have been, and this is what we are and what we’re about, without any frills. If you’ve never heard any of our albums before, this is the one to listen to.” “Musically, it’s our best playing as a band,” says trumpeter Jordan McLean. “We’re having more fun together, we’re all breathing in sync, the structures of the compositions and the overall sound are tighter, and the band is sounding better than ever.” Recorded over a two-week period at Daptone’s House of Soul Studios in Brooklyn with Roth at the helm, Anti balas is the firstAntibalas full-length to be released on Daptone, which — given Antibalas’ deep- and long-running ties to the label — brings things kind of full-circle for the band. Antibalas has shared past and present members with several outfits in the Daptone stable (such as Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band and The Budos Band), while Roth was an original member of the band, and produced the first three A ntibalas albums. “Making this record was like going back and playing basketball with all your high school buddies, or something,” says Roth. The “family reunion” feeling on Antibalas is further bolstered by the return of original guitarist Luke O’Malley, who contributed “Dirty Money,” the album’s effervescent opening track. “Luke O’Malley has an amazing sense of music,” says tenor saxophonist Stuart Bogie, “and ‘Dirty Money’ is a perfect example of that. But he’s also such a hilarious and inspiring person, who leads with just kind of a blind energy into everything he does. He’s very much a reason why everyone in that room is there.” “We’ve woven ourselves together musically, but also personally,” says Perna. “It’s a community that has existed as Antibalas for 14 years now, and if you go back to when Gabe and Luke and I started making music together, it goes back to ’94.” According to Perna, a little-known but tasty morsel of music trivia is the fact that TV on the Radio, the Dap-Kings and Antibalas all began in the same apartment — a decrepit old factory loft at 132 Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg. “Gabe, Tunde Adebimpe and I were all living there at the time Antibalas was getting started. The Dap -Kings were called the Soul Providers at the time; that was just getting off the ground. Tunde just finished at NYU and was doing animation stuff at the time, and we would mess around on the cassette four-track and make little songs. And then Dave Sitek moved into the loft, and he and Tunde started making music. So this little liminal space was so fertile with friendship and creative imagination, and this shared sense of struggle that was manifested in three musical groups that have made a pretty strong impact on America in different ways.”
Originally conceived by Perna as a cross between the NYC Latin funk grooves of Eddie Palmieri, Harvey Averne and Mandrill and the Afrobeat jams of the late Fela Kuti, the music of Antibalas gradually shifted towards the Fela side of the equation. “As we got deeper into Afrobeat, we realized that we were juggling a lot of things, and kind of need to have only one thing on our plate,” Perna recounts. “At the time, there was not a lot of interest in Afrobeat, or in Fela, per se,” adds Roth. “Because of that, a lot of people looked at Antibalas as pioneers in this second wave of Afrobeat that kind of blossomed around the world. There are great Afrobeat bands now in Brazil, in Chicago, in England, in a lot of places, and I think a lot of those bands looked to Antibalas, alongside Fela, as one of their real inspirations.” Through their concerts, tours and recordings, Antibalas have helped re-popularize the classic Afrobeat sound, in the process earning the admiration of a wide array of respected musicians, including everyone from Questlove and David Byrne to Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Much in demand as collaborators, they’ve performed as a band in the studio and on stage with such artists as Medeski Martin & Wood, The Roots, Public Enemy, Paul Simon, Amadou and Mariam , and Fela’s son Femi Kuti, to name a few. In 2007, following the release of the band’s last album, Security, Antibalas’ Afrobeat expertise led to the involvement of several band members — including trombonist Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean, who respectively served as Musical Director and Assistant Musical Director — in Fela!, Bill T. Jones’ musical based on the life of Fela Kuti, which eventually went on to a successful Broadway run, earning eleven Tony Award nominations and three wins. But Fela! wasn’t the only thing keeping Antibalas busy between Security and sessions for the new album; in addition to playing about 50 shows a year across the globe as Antibalas, the band’s members have individually recorded and/or performed with TV on the Radio, Iron and Wine, Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, The Roots, Angelique Kidjo (whose 2007 album Djin Djin earned the Antibalas Horns a Grammy Award), Ornette Coleman, David Byrne, Miike Snow, St. Vincent, Gomez, Wale, Spoon, The Black Keys, Imogen Heap, Lee Fields, Melvin Gibbs and The Budos Band, as well as devoted ample time to their (and each other’s) side projects like Ocote Soul Sounds, Superhuman Happiness, Piano Music & Song Trio, Chico Mann, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Sugar Minott and Fu-Arkist-Ra. “During these past five years, with all the side projects, it was still all of us playing together, just not in Antibalas,” Perna explains. “We were all still locking in t ogether, building friendships, building the musical trust, and building the sort of ESP that happens when musicians play together f or a long time. It wasn’t like, ‘See you in five years!’ We’re not reuniting per se, because we were never disunited; we were just all busy with other hustles.” That heightened musical ESP is deliciously tangible on Antibalas, much of which was recorded live in the studio to one-inch 8-track tape. “There’s very little in the way of overdubs,” reveals Roth. “A little bit of background vocals, maybe a punch here on a solo or a guitar part, but for the most part it was live. I’d done the early Antibalas records on 16-track, but this record I did on 8track, which I was able to do because the band is playing better than ever. I could mix people together, and not worry about how I was going to take ‘em apart and fix ‘em later, because these guys are the baddest in the business, and they were swinging from the beginning.”
Tracks like “The Rat Catcher,” “Him Belly No Go Sweet,” “Alágbède” and “Ibeji” capture the band’s fiery telepathy and unrelen ting sense of groove, while also showcasing their most concisely focused attack yet. From the deft rumble of the new rhythm section (drummer Miles Arntzen and bassist Nikhil Yerawadekar) to the leonine growl of longtime frontman Amayo, the band sounds more locked in and self-assured than ever. “What makes us tick, and what makes any band a band, is a shared collective idea about what the sound is,” says McLean, “and then of course on an individual level, it’s what each person brings to the band to give the band its defining sound. We have a shared idea of Afrobeat and Fela’s m usic, but we also have these 10 or 12 individuals who are also bringing their own heartbeat and their own perspective and their own experiences as individuals, and bringing that together to make Antibalas.” “We love this Afrobeat, it’s important to us, it’s not appreciated enough — and making it is a transformative process in so many different ways,” says Perna. “Unlike most music that’s really ego driven and centered around one person or cult of personality, all of us have had to learn to function with really specified roles — everyone becomes a drummer, in a certain sense. Our parts may be played on melodic instruments, but they’re part of this huge interlocking net that holds up the music.” “What’s interesting about Antibalas is that it really is a multi -headed beast,” adds Bogie. “The last song on the album is “’Sare Kon Kon,’ and it’s a song that has a kinetic energy that’s j ust racing and racing the whole time. To paraphrase the lyrics, it’s like, ‘We’re running, we’re running, we don’t know where we’re going, but everybody’s running.’ That kind of encapsulates the rushing anarchy that keeps the band together. It’s the idea that we’re all kind of on this train, and there’s no director, no enginee r, no brake; everybody just has to run, and go or not go. “It’s kind of mysterious,” he continues. “Antibalas is really a band that is bigger than any of its members. I believe that it is one of the most genuine anarchies that I have ever seen in a band. I think that’s what’s most interesting and different about the band. But I think it’s the essence of the music, and our love for it, that really brings us together.”
"Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss " is the debut rap release from New York based self descrbied "Acid Punk Rapper" Mykki Blanco. "This mixtape is a reflection of the lifestyle that my peers and I are living right now, this moment where it feels as if global club culture is connected again, New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Rio, the international underground has come together for an all night party that never ends and "Cosmic Angel" is the soundtrack. "DJ DJ Prime Club Minister, Play My Track Cuz The Beat Is Sinister" raps Blanco acting as town crier of the club crowning the DJ ruler of the night, Blanco's raps, national nightlife anthems. Rave culture, Hip hop culture, Trip Hop and Riot Grrl, these are the elements of what Cosmic Angel are made of and Mykki Blanco swerves with ease in and out of each genre with his/her artful lyricism, agressive delivery and the showmanship that has made Blanco a stand out entertainer.
Cosmic Angel is my way of welcoming the world into my reality, the weirdos, the freaks, alternative black american culture. Sexuality figures in last, were talking street life, night life and under the flashing strobe light or the soft glow of the moon everyone and anyone is a Cosmic Angel.
"Wavvy"is a song for the international party people, a track that people all over the world can relate to. "We make love to the night, in the back of the club yeah we feeling alright", it's a universal message delivered over the sonic digital bells, heavy bass and synth brought to you by super producer on the rise Brenmar. Wavvy is also Blanco's message to the world about how seriously he/she takes the role of entertainer and how far and how hard he/she will work to prove it to anyone who questions his/her talents, " I'm the Motherfucking Rookie Of the Year" says Blanco confidently before breaking full speed into lyrical warrior mode. " I came into this game to show the world my creative vision and let my freak flag fly...I just so happen to be a ferocious rapper, I would have never said "Blanco is the Truth" if I didn't mean it.
Bouquet is a Californian four-piece music band. Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs: vocals Aaron Olson: guitar and vocals Thomas Filardo: guitar and vocals David Pené: drums
Greetings Dear Ones, We, as Celebration, have felt the continual growth of web culture's need for barrier-free exchange. We also feel that the traditional methods of releasing music have put too much distance between us. As we see it, the current music business model is crumbling. We believe their methods waste resources and time in a "print for market world" that no longer
makes sense. The birth of the MP3 has dreamt the death of the CD format, and so all across the board, CD sales have dropped. What has given way is something so magical and evolutionary, music has grown, that we have only begun to understand the cultural impact of this sharing. So, past the piles of broken CD cases and badly scratched polycarbonate rainbow discs, there lies a fantastic world of freedom --freedom to share instantly with little or no impact on the environment, in a seemingly infinite, eternal and virtually cost free universe of the world wide web. This is our emancipation. Without the need for manufacturing CDs and the danse macabre of the promotional corporate machine, we can be free to release our music when and how we want --no waiting. We know nothing of the marketing world and don't care about the vampires any more. Our plan and experiment is to post new songs monthly, as we create and record them. Under the creative commons attribution non-commercial share alike license. all of our new music will be free to download on our new website launching this Spring Equinox, March 21st 2009. When we have enough music for an album, we will release it on vinyl for those who want to have something to hold. As artists we can only stand for our music, our art, our creation. So here it is laid bare. Some may say we are fools. If we be fools, then let us be the Fool of the tarot. The Fool card of the tarot represents a leap of faith, a leap into the unknown, a trust in the adventure of chance. It is in this spirit that we are unvailing a multidimensional, interactive musical Tarot deck, on our new website. We are constructing an experimental place to experience and share our musical vision with you. We strongly encourage you to blog, podcast, email and share links to our music and our site with others. We will post stems in the near future for remixing. If we like your remix, we will post it on our site. This experiment is funded solely by us and those of you who choose to be a part of making the music available. We've added a donation box to the site in hopes that you, our audience, can help support the artist's right to autonomy. Thank you! So with a leap of faith and fortune, we turn the fate of our future to you. We look forward to the time and moment when we share our music with you --it is our greatest joy. Love,
Formed in 2003 in São Paulo by a group of friends with an unquenchable thirst for good times and indulgence in all things pop and art, CSS rose to notoriety with the help of a thriving creative community, underground club scene and a little thing called the internet. Pulling together their numerous talents, the band drew legions of international followers entranced by a universally accessible, albeit original and off the wall, look and style. The first South American band to be signed to the label, their debut album Cansei de Ser Sexy (Portuguese for “Tired of Being Sexy” – something Beyoncé Knowles once said she was) was released on Sub Pop in July of 2006. Danceable electro/rock songs littered with pop culture and sexual references translated with ease from the virtual online to live audiences, making CSS one of the most in-demand live shows from Europe to Japan. The band found themselves on the road with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Klaxons, Ladytron, and Diplo on an unending world tour. The constant touring kept the spotlight fixed on the band and their popularity steadily g rowing. Early on, The New York Times described CSS as, “a gleeful throwback to early -1980s art-school pop,” on whose debut album, “smart, insubordinate fun reigns…” The Guardian pegged them as, “an unlikely, brilliantly wrong f usion of Tom Tom Club, dance culture and the Fall.” Under the
Radar commented on Cansei de Ser Sexy, “CSS’s debut is the real deal: eleven cuts of infectiously syncopated, tuneful post -punk that just may be the summer’s perfect soundtrack.” Soon, vocalist Lovefoxx showed up at #3 on NME’s 2007 “Cool List.” And, in late 2007 the band’s “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex” was used in a worldwide iPod Touch ad, driving t he song, nearly a yearand-a-half after its release, to become the highest charting single by a Brazilian band in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In November of 2007, the band began to craft their follow-up album, Donkey, in their São Paulo studio. Produced in Brazil by the band’s own Adriano Cintra and mixed in Los Angeles by Mark “Spike” Stent (whose credits include Madonna, Bjork, Massive Attack, U2, M.I.A., and Arcade Fire), Donkey is tough, street-ready, and recreates the frenetic energy of their live shows. And really, with CSS the live show is the thing. Equal parts dance party, urban circus, and out-and-out chaos, the band’s unaffected, unbridled joy in performance is for real and for you. The new album’s 11 tracks, honed to sharp perfection, shine bright and sacrifice none of the aggressive, unpretentious edge their aud iences around the world have come to love. This summer it’s time to ride the Donkey!
CSS are: Adriano Cintra: Bass, vocals, backing vocals Ana Rezende dos Anjos: Keyboards and guitar Carolina Parra: Guitar, keyboard and backing vocals Lovefoxxx: Vocals Luiza Sá: Guitar, cowbell and keyboard
DARK DARK DARK
Who Needs Who, the new album by Dark Dark Dark, is a stirring and rich body of songs that sees the band breaking ground, and settling into the strengths of a quintet that has worked incredibly hard, both on the road and in their personal lives. The band's commitment to their music has proven to be a double-edged sword. The first single, Tell Me, finds Dark Dark Dark setting a new tone for avant-garde pop. The beat is up, the drums and bass propel the song, and Nona Marie Invie’s voice soars betw een impassioned yearning and a resigned, empowered hope that reveals wisdom. Most of the material on Who Needs Who was written by Invie in Minneapolis, and arranged by the band on tour and in New Orleans, where acclaimed engineer Tom Herbers joined them to
record. The recordings are as dynamic as their schedules, the places they choose to work, and their friendships. In some ways, it is a wonder they exist at all.
It’s no minor detail that Nona and Marshall LaCount, Dark Dark Dark's co -founder and producer, were in a serious relationship that ended in early 2011, with a year solid of touring commitments ahead of them. On “Meet In The Dark”, Nona sings, “You want everything to stay the same, and then things change, but I’ll nev er get tired of singing these songs, no I’ll never get tired of singing these songs.” Despite increased tensions and heated arguments, the band showed immense patience and commitment to the music a nd their friendships. Ultimately, a five month hiatus at the end of 2011 and early 2012 allowed the band to heal, reflect and refocus. When the band reconvened in New Orleans for rehearsals, the initial awkwardness gave way to the creation of some of their most beautiful, revealing work to date.
"Many of these songs are about understanding an d accepting the nuances of my emotions. The obvious parts and the dark parts. There are times when it’s important to quit fan tasizing and face the truth about what is happening,” says Invie. Who Needs Who is ultimately refreshing and rewarding, and marks t he beginning of a bold and promising chapter for Dark Dark Dark.
Since their last full length, 2010’s Wild Go, the band has toured extensively in the US and Europe, enjoying sold out shows, national radio appearances, and support dates for bands like The National and Low. They’ve had TV placements on Grey’s Anatomy, Parks and Recreation, and American Idol, and their appearance on the UK’s Live From Abbey Road was a highlight of the season. Dark Dark Dark will have a full US tour to support the release of Who Needs Who, followed by shows in Australia and Europe.
Who Needs Who is released October 2nd, 2012 on Supply & Demand Music in the US, October 1st on Melodic in the UK and Europe.
Death Grips is an experimental hip hop band from Sacramento, California, formed in 2010. The group consists of vocalist Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett and production from Zach Hill and Andy "Flatlander" Morin. Death Grips live performance setup consists of Burnett on vocals, Hill on drums, and Andy Morin on keyboards/sampler. The band's music has been described as combining punk rock, hip hop and noise. They released the mixtape Exmilitary in April 2011, and in 2012 they released two studio albums, The Money Store in April and No Love Deep Web in October. Their releases have received acclaim from music critics, including the former placing 9th in Pitchfork's Best 50 Albums of 2012.
Death Grips was formed in Sacramento, California on December 21, 2010, by Zach Hill and Stefan Burnett, who lived on the same street as Hill. Burnett had previously studied art at Hampton University in Virginia and had been involved in a "very experimental rap" project with his brother.
On the first day of their formation they recorded their first song, "Full Moon (Death Classic)". It was released on March 8, 2011 together with a video and a free self-titled EP which featured "Full Moon" together with seven other songs. On April 26, 2011, Death Grips released a free mixtape entitled Exmilitary, which later became widely perceived as their debut album, containing five tracks from the EP and eight new cuts.
Throughout the spring and early summer in 2011, Death Grips played small live shows while Exmilitary was spreading steadily throughout the Internet. It received several favorable ratings from music critics, with NBCNewYork.com calling it "an intense, dark listen". During this time the band members were largely elusive, the only known member being Hill.
On February 27, 2012, Death Grips signed with Epic Records, under the recommendation of Epic's then-executive vice president of marketing Angelica Cob-Baehler, and announced the release of two albums in 2012. The first album, The Money Store, was released on April 24 and features the songs "Blackjack", "Get Got" and "Fever (Aye Aye)". Music videos have been released for all three, as well as the track "Lost Boys" alone with no video accompaniment
In May the band scheduled a thirty-show international tour to support The Money Store, but shortly afterward cancelled it so they could complete their second album of 2012, which angered many fans and their label. They spent the next four months recording their next album, No Love Deep Web, in Sacramento. During this period the band also remixed two Björk songs, "Sacrifice" and "Thunderbolt", as part of the Biophilia Remix Series after receiving an artist-to-artist note of support and released two songs; "@deathgripz", an unreleased track from The Money Store named after their Twitter account as part of the Adult Swim Singles Program 2012 was released on September 10, and on September 29 the track "True Vulture Bare" was leaked and made known on YouTube. A video for this track, entitled "True Vulture", was released on October 17 featuring animation from Galen Pehrson. This project was created for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
On October 1, the band self-released their sophomore effort via a website which they linked to from Twitter and Soundcloud, and various filesharing services including BitTorrent. This was apparently an effort to bypass the fact that their record label was unwilling to release the album until 2013. The band was dropped by Epic Records on November 1 due to the issues surrounding this incident, including the release of private emails on Facebook.
DE LA SOUL
At the time of its 1989 release, De La Soul's debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, was hailed as the future of hip-hop. With its colorful, neo-psychedelic collage of samples and styles, plus the Long Island trio's low-key, clever rhymes and goofy humor, the album sounded like nothing else in hip-hop. Where most of their contemporaries drew directly from old-school rap, funk, or Public Enemy's dense sonic barrage, De La Soul were gentler and more eclectic, taking in not only funk and soul, but also pop, jazz, reggae, and psychedelia. Though their style initially earned both critical raves and strong sales, De La Soul found it hard to sustain their commercial momentum in the '90s as their alternative rap was sidetracked by the popularity of considerably harder-edged gangsta rap.
De La Soul formed while the trio -- Posdnuos (born Kelvin Mercer, August 17, 1969), Trugoy the Dove (born David Jude Jolicoeur, September 21, 1968), and Pasemaster Mase (born Vincent Mason, March 27, 1970) -- were attending high school in the late '80s. The stage names of all of the members derived from in-jokes: Posdnuos was an inversion of Mercer's DJ name, SoundSop; Trugoy was an inversion of Jolicoeur's favorite food, yogurt. De La Soul's demo tape, "Plug Tunin'," came to the attention of Prince Paul, the leader and producer of the New York rap outfit Stetsasonic. Prince Paul played the tape to several colleagues and helped the trio land a contract with Tommy Boy Records.
Prince Paul produced De La Soul's debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, which was released in the spring of 1989. Several critics and observers labeled the group as a neo-hippie band because the record praised peace and love as well as proclaiming the dawning of "the D.A.I.S.Y. age" (Da Inner Sound, Y'all). Though the trio was uncomfortable with the hippie label, there was no denying that the humor and eclecticism presented an alternative to the hardcore rap that dominated hip-hop. De La Soul quickly were perceived as the leaders of a contingent of New Yorkbased alternative rappers which also included A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, the Jungle Brothers, and Monie Love; all of these artists dubbed themselves the Native Tongues posse.
For a while, it looked as if De La Soul and the Native Tongues posse would eclipse hardcore hip-hop in terms of popularity. "Me, Myself and I" became a Top 40 pop hit in the U.S. (number one R&B), while the album reached number 24 (number one R&B) and went gold. At the end of the year, 3 Feet High and Rising topped many best-of-the-year lists, including The Village Voice's. With all of the acclaim came some unwanted attention, most notably in the form of a lawsuit by the Turtles. De La Soul had sampled the Turtles' "You Showed Me" and layered it with a French lesson on a track on 3 Feet High called "Transmitting Live From Mars," without getting the permission of the '60s pop group. The Turtles won the case, and the decision not only had substantial impact on De La Soul, but on rap in general. Following the suit, all samples had to be legally cleared before an album could be released. Not only did this have the end result of rap reverting back to instrumentation, thereby altering how the artists worked, it also meant that several albums in the pipeline had to be delayed in order for samples to clear. One of those was De La Soul's second album, De La Soul Is Dead.
When De La Soul Is Dead was finally released in the spring of 1991, it received decidedly mixed reviews, and its darker, more introspective tone didn't attract as big an audience as its lighter predecessor. The album peaked at number 26 pop on the U.S. charts, number 24 R&B, and spawned only one minor hit, the number 22 R&B single "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)." De La Soul worked hard on their third album, finally releasing the record in late 1 993. The result, entitled Buhloone Mindstate, was harder and funkier than either of its predecessors, yet it didn't succumb to gangsta rap. Though it received strong reviews, the album quickly fell off the charts after peaking at number 40, and only "Breakadawn" broke the R&B Top 40. The same fate greeted the trio's fourth album, Stakes Is High. Released in the summer of 1996, the record was well reviewed, yet it didn't find a large audience and quickly disappeared from the charts.
Four years later, De La Soul initiated what promised to be a three-album series with the release of Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump; though reviews were mixed, it was greeted warmly by record buyers, debuting in the Top Ten. The second title in the series, AOI: Bionix, even featured a video hit with "Baby Phat," but Tommy Boy and the trio decided to end their relationship soon after. De La Soul subsequently signed their AOI label to Sanctuary Urban (run by Beyoncé's father, Mathew Knowles) and released The Grind Date in October 2004. Two years later the group issued Impossible Mission: TV Series, Pt. 1, a collection of new and some previously unreleased material.
(text by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide)
Patterning his persona and logo after the Marvel Comics super villain Dr. Doom, the man behind MF (Metal Face) Doom's iron mask is actually Daniel Dumile, aka Zevlove X, a member of former Big Apple hip-hoppers K.M.D. First featured on the 3rd Bass single "The Gas Face," the London-born, Long Island-raised Zev made his debut with K.M.D. a couple of years later, along with his younger brother and musical partner, DJ Sub-Roc. The 1991 album Mr. Hood, released on Elektra Records, was part of a short-lived trend of Islamic Five Percent Nation hip-hop outings, along with efforts by groups like Poor Righteous Teachers and K.M.D.'s labelmates Brand Nubian. However, Sub-Roc was fatally injured in 1993 when he was struck by a car, and when Zev and K.M.D. returned the next year, it was with the even more serious and militant Bl_ck B_st_rds, an album whose cover art alone (featuring a Little Black Sambo-ish cartoon character being hanged) spelled the end of the group's contract with Elektra. With the album in limbo, Zev went underground for five years, "recovering from his wounds" and swearing revenge "against the industry that so badly deformed him," according to his official bio, a reworking of Dr. Doom's origin. Meanwhile, Bl_ck B_st_rds was heavily bootlegged and Zev Love's legend grew, but few knew at first that the rapper who began showing up at the Nuyorican Poets Café in 1998, freestyling with a stocking covering his face, was actually Zev. The imaginative MC finally ended the mystery in 1999, resurfacing in his new identity as MF Doom and making up for lost time with a critically praised new album, Operation: Doomsday, on the indie label Fondle 'Em Records. The following year saw the long-awaited official release of Bl_ck B_st_rds (complete with Sambo-style cover art), as well as several singles and an EP with fellow rhymer MF Grimm. In 2001, SubVerse re-released Operation: Doomsday and Bl_ck B_st_rds.
A wealth of bootlegs, compilation appearances, mixtapes, and instrumental albums (the beloved-by-DJs Special Herbs series) surfaced over the years, but no follow-up full-length arrived until Doom introduced his alter ego, Viktor Vaughan, in 2003 with Vaudeville Villain. His team-up with the multi-talented Madlib became Madvillain and their April 2004 release, Madvillainy, drew rave reviews. Four months later, Venomous Villain marked the return of Viktor Vaughan with the second MF Doom album, MM...Food?, appearing in November the same year. The formerly promoonly Live from Planet X got its aboveground release in March of 2005, with Special Herbs, Vols. 9-10 following in July. Before issuing his next full-length album, 2009's Born Like This, the rapper
shortened his pseudonym to DOOM and collaborated with Ghostface and Raekwon, both of whom appeared on the album. By the end of the year he released Unexpected Guests, a compilation focusing on his guest features that appeared elsewhere. The live album Expektoration followed in 2010.
- Allmusic Guide
For 15 years, Oakland's Adam "Doseone" Drucker has been spearheading the unfound sound, lassoing it, and wrestling it to the ground. Through hard work and hand craft, the rapper/producer/poet has built up a body of work of both striking quality and impressive quantity, rising through the ranks of '90s battle rap to become a celebrated solo artist and collaborator. Whether crushing genre through flagship projects like Themselves, cLOUDDEAD, and Subtle, or carving out his own brand of strange pop via self-produced albums like G Is For Deep, the Anticon cofounder remains endlessly inspired and utterly fearless. Though born in Napa, Idaho, Dose honed his mile-a-minute wit and rapidly expanding imagination while splitting time between his parents' respective homes in New York and New Jersey. He relocated to Philly in his late teens, and then attended college in Cincinnati. There, he made it to the final round of the annual Scribble Jam competition, battling a then unknown Eminem, but the experience left him wanting something more. A year later, in 1998, he got it. At school, he'd begun experimenting with a pair of locals calling themselves WHY? and Odd Nosdam. Their freewheeling Greenthink group would morph into the much lauded psych-hop of cLOUDDEAD.
Meanwhile, a series of fortuitous tape trades resulted in the landmark collaborative project, Deep Puddle Dynamics, which brought together several soon-to-be titans of the indie rap world (Dose, Sole, Alias, Jel, DJ Abilities, Atmosphere) and inspired the growing family of musicians to start their own label, Anticon. In the process, Dose discovered his beat-making better half in Jeffrey "Jel" Logan and their partnership was unveiled with 1999's seminal Themselves debut, Them. As their collective star began to rise in the hip-hop underground, the crew moved west, to Oakland, to mine out a place of their own.
Happy coincidence would introduce Dose to Dax Pierson, the Berkeley-based keyboardist whose vision inspired the creation of the Subtle sextet. Taking pages from Can and This Heat, they'd shape their otherworldly, rap-addled post-rock from extended improvised jams, and go on to create a triptych of LPs whose vivid and expansive sound was matched by Dose's lyrics —an ornate set of characters and concepts embodying a mythology equal parts Buckminster Fuller, Dylan Thomas, and The Neverending Story. Similarly, the transatlantic 13&God was born, comprising
Themselves and German plinkerpopists the Notwist.
As the dynamic voice of all of these and a live performer with a flair for the theatrical, Dose has gone on to collaborate with everyone from avant-rock mogul Mike Patton and TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe (collectively the Nevermen), to Watchmen author Alan Moore and members of Mogwai (the Unearthing LP box set). Meanwhile, his solo output has run the gamut from left field rap (Hemispheres) to spoken poetry (Soft Skulls) to books of illustrated verse (The Pelt). Experiments with animation have led to a cartoon called Mars Safari, a potential series produced by Cartoon Network. Working closely with creator Ghostshrip (Adventure Time), Dose is doing voices, music and sound effects in the funniest of company: Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Hunger Force), Steve Little (East Bound & Down) and Carl Jones (Boondocks).
DRAGONS OF ZYNTH
DOZ's story is one of an ethereal scope. The DOZ world is a philo-visual landscape where matters of the heart swim in colorful pools of love and fire. Bronx born and raised in Cleveland, OH the band is fronted by twins, Aku and Akwetey O.T. Having trained classically since the age of 5, Aku and his twin only most recently began playing together. The twins forged their musical knowledge to new territory studying music theory and performance with legendary Jazz saxophonist/flutist Yusef Lateef. Later travels to Africa and South America gave the young men new lenses with which to hone their craft. Bronx born and raised in Cleveland, OH the band is fronted by twins, Aku and Akwetey O.T. Having trained classically since the age of 5, Aku and his twin only most recently began playing together. The twins forged their musical knowledge to new territory studying music theory and performance with legendary saxophonist/flutist Yusef Lateef. Later travels to Ghana and South America (respectively) gave the young men new lenses with which to hone their craft.
The two began unearthing their own songs engaging Lateef's "auto-physio-psychic" understanding of music, carving new sounds out of rhythms and melodies at once familiar and 'far out'. It wasn’t until 2007’s “War Lover” that the twins worked together for the first time on record. It seems that the twins are indeed in good company. Chicago n ative Bizza (Drums) joined the band in 07’. Having been State -Champion drummer at the age of 7 Bizza is an accomplished musician in his own right. Bizza's lock-jawed rhythms have formed the core of DOZ's future promise. Fleshing out the band is the newest addition to Dragons. The graceful stylings of bassist Fon Lin Nyeu (Knife Skills/Chica Vas) have cemented Dragons as a unified force.
In the past 2 years DOZ's performances have bolstered a truly majestic sound that now has now gone global, with press and fans alike coming out of the woodwork. Following the debut release of Coronation Thieves, the Dragons soared high scoring gigs with Modest Mouse, mystic upstarts TV on the Radio,Saul Williams, and Television. DOZ spent the entirety of 2009 staving off the cold ,taking in the sun and writing their next gems. Let’s hope the seeds have ripened. If ever there were a live show to see right now, these incendiary Dragons fit the bill.
To simply say that El-P is serious about his music would be an understatem ent. Upon first listen to “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead,” its readily apparent that this record is a magnum opus 4 years in the making – represents a culmination of profound musical, personal, and political experiences reaching their tumultuous climax. This record is about the struggle faced by those living in a rapidly changing society, El himself calling this his post-traumatic stress album where he attempts to capture the political by representing the internal. Evoking vocals and production aesthetics so viscerally indicative of the current era, El-P has outdone himself yet again, effectively mastering his brand of cutting-edge head-nodders and pushing forward a genre that has long held him as an undisputed kingpin. “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” embodies e verything that is El-P: a groundbreaking artist, virtuosic producer, profound lyricist, label founder, A&R maverick and underground icon reacting to the malignant societal changes occurring today a very serious matter indeed. This record is an urgent document, a collective representation of a critical individual crossing their personal Rubicon, assessing the dismal reality inherent, and deciding to forge on despite the cost. With appearances by Trent Reznor, The Mars Volta, Cat Power, Aesop Rock, Cage, Matt Sweeney, Tame One, and others, this is an album poised to extend a genre into a new realm of artistic expression. NYC-native El-P has been a major force in independent music for more than a decade. Setting off his career at age 17 with the release of the first Company Flow 12-inch “Juvenile Techniques” been blazing trails ever since, introducing some of the most cutting-edge and important hip-hop music of this era. As founder, producer and main MC of indie heroes Company Flow, El-P quickly made a name for himself with fearlessly visionary production, profound lyricism and an uncompromising ethic. The group’s seminal 1997 debut a lbum Funcrusher Plus, was an underground smash (150,000+ units sold), celebrated by fans and journalists worldwide, earning the “classic” status now widely accorded it, and a major factor in the rise of indie hip -hop. In the process, it put the now legendary Rawkus Records on the music map, a label El-P would soon choose to depart from, shocking nearly everyone around him. But the man had a plan. Launching Definitive Jux in 2000, El-P finally had the vehicle to carry his vision forward. He’s spent the past 6 years building what is now the pre -eminent indie hip hop label in the business, having given rise to some of genre’s brightest lights, including Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Rjd2 and Cannibal Ox. His own debut album, the tour de force Fantastic Damage, was released in 2002 to a maelstrom of worldwide critical-acclaim, going on to become one of the years best-selling indie hip hop albums. Since then, El Producto has had his hands full, producing, co-producing,
executive producing and A&R’ing several projects including Mr. Lif’s “Mo’ Mega •,” the Def Jux debut of underground hero Cage, Murs, C-Rayz Walz, and The Perceptionists. In 2004, El-P produced the lauded alt-jazz album High Water (Thirsty Ear) with free jazz lions Matthew Shipp, William Parker and Daniel Carter; scored the acclaimed feature film Bomb the System (Palm Pictures) and compiled assorted remixes, b-sides and special tracks for his own Collecting the Kid full length. Most recently he’s remixed tracks for Beck, Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta, TV on the Radio, Charlie Parker, Head Automatica, Blackalicious, Hot Hot Heat and Syd Matters, plus traded verses with Ghostface Killah on his own soon-to-be classic remix of Prefuse 73’s “Hideyaface.”• He also appeared on Handsome Boy Modeling School’s White People album, alongside Chino of the Deftones, and will soon be remi xing a song for the new Cat Power album. The list of artists and musicians who count themselves as El-P fans is a long and luminous one, including the likes of Radiohead, The Beastie Boys, Elvis Costello, RZA, The Black Keys, Chuck D., Yo La Tengo, Autechre, DJ Shadow, ?uest Love, Primal Scream and many more. El-P’s music is regularly licensed for feature films, video games and television, and he is producing music for both the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim TV. He will be touring the world in 2007 in support of his new album. Critical praise for El-P’s last release; Fantastic Damage: “El-P is his own man: an urban-futurist producer and hard-spitting MC with an engorged heart and a high-speed chip on his shoulder. Count me in. grade= A” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY “This serious minded M.C. does damage- he comes out swinging wildly, but Fantastic Damage has plenty of knock out force. El-P is a trailblazer in the hip-hop underground. Fantastic Damage, the rapper’s new solo album, on his own Definitive Jux label, rolls over contemporary pop and rap like a bulldozer.” - ROLLING STONE “A genius full-length record, Fantastic Damage.” – VICE
DANIEL HIGGS (LUNGFISH)
Daniel Arcus Incus Ululat Higgs is a musician and artist from Baltimore, Maryland on whose behalf superlatives are destined t o fail. It’s not that his artistic output – spanning three decades, numerous albums, books of poetry and collections of drawings – simply eludes classification, it defies it. Often we hear that a true work of art is meant to speak for itself, and with the work of Daniel Higgs the maxim rings truer than ever. His art is of the cosmos, we on Earth merely lucky that it happens to be confined to our atmosphere, in our lifetime. Higgs is known primarily for his work as the sole lyricist and frontman of the band Lungfish, a four-piece dedicated to charting, in this listener’s estimation, nothing short of the evolution of all species, known and unknown. That the band has undertaken this pursuit in the guise of a humble rock outfit, in the absence of any public relations fanfare, metanarrative, or manifesto has been enough to endear them to tens of thousands. They are enshrined as one of America’s last true folk bands, and Higgs anointed a s a patron saint to artistic purity. In recent years, Higgs has released a number of solo outings that can only be described as the ultimate in isolation, worlds away from the hypnotic, communal rock of his band. On Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot, Higgs weaves meditative, casually ruptured drones using acoustic and electric guitar, upright pianos, banjo and jew’s harp, recorded entirely at home on cassette recorder. He pairs the music with a series of paintings that call to mind religious iconography passed through the disfiguring surrealism of Miro.
Higgs has wedded his music and his visual art into a singular being, meant to be encountered as a conjuring force similar to that of the tarot experience. The yggdrasil is the great tree of Norse myth that connects all worlds of cosmology. Passing into Christian folklore, the tree is said to connect heaven and earth. In his relentless pursuit of the indivisible, Higgs travels up and down this spine and hatches a new transubstantiation of sound and image into life-form.
Hard times and broken hearts often make for the best music. Juggs front man Kareem Bunton has seen his share of sorrow as well as triumph and this is evident in the music he writes. Difficult themes are often approached with humor and slick word play dating back to the inception of the blues. African Americans call this type of story telling “signifiying”, a mix of song, autobi ographical tales, and African and Christian parables intertwined to amuse , terrify , or inspire an audience. Raised in Kentucky the self proclaimed “music nerd” describes his music as landing in between Mudhoney and Muddy Waters with a bit of Funkadelic and the Temptations thrown in for color. The Juggs are loud, fast, psychedelic, and muscular. But more importantly they are soulful, like make you weep or get somebody pregnant soulful. Quit your job and hit the road soulful, lose your mind and find it again soulful. As a band they are truthful and sincere in their intentions. They want to rock with you, no strings attached.
Mr.Bunton started the band in 2008 after returning from a tour with rapper El-P. A side man for many years the road had taken it’s toll on his spirit and his family life, it was time for the big man to sit down for a while. While resting he wrote a batch of songs that would become The African Queen EP(2010). Brutal and to the point the semiautobiographical record documents a recent divorce, long drinking binge, and a rocky southern childhood. With some minor label interest and glowing reviews Kareem transitioned from sideman to front man and began to write more songs and a rock band was born.
The Juggs current line up consists of vocalist/percussionist Sister Konstance Patton, finger picking shredder George Devoe, bassist Charles Becker, and the explosive Vic Borocas driving
the trap kit. Their newest release “The Midnight Shine” was produced by Mick Collins of Dirtbombs/Gories fame and recorded at the Converse Rubbertracks studio in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Look out for the latest from the Juggs in the spring of 2013.
Mexican Summer is pleased to announce the release of LIGHT ASYLUM's self-titled debut LP, out May 1, 2012. The 'Shallow Tears' single and 'Genesis' b-side is available now on 12-inch vinyl on Mexican Summer. LIGHT ASYLUM. The debut full-length album by LIGHT ASYLUM has been a long time coming, but not without rabid anticipation. As their self-released 'In Tension EP' circulated and resonated with leagues of new listeners worldwide, the reputation of duo Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello has steadily sweltered via their intense live show, collaborations, and remixes. LIGHT ASYLUM marks Funchess' and Coviello's return to the recorded fray with renewed intent, emotion and visceral energy, all to powerful effect. Described as "able to hypnotize and hold an audience in a state of bondage." Funchess has sealed a reverent status through her vocal breadth and captivating expression. Having shared recordings with the likes of Teengirl Fantasy, Telepathe, TV On The Radio, !!!, and Ford & Lopatin, the multi-instrumentalist's vocal talents stay in steady demand. LIGHT ASYLUM cementsFunchess' reputation as a singular voice. From the guttural intonations and militaristic drills to the melancholic leading melodies and operatic tenor, Funchess' range remains wide but balanced and carefully controlled.
Having spent years touring and performing as synth pop project The Dreamies, Coviello channels a different strand of influence and completes the LIGHT ASYLUM sound alongside Funchess. The result is an uncompromising, rugged mixture of coldwave, EBM and electro-industrial structured through pop of the toughest sensibilities. A LIGHT
ASYLUM production straddles underground electronic club music and radio song culture - part introverted, aggressive vehicles, part bright, jubilant fanfares - passages of carefully devised harmony and melody bloom between stabs of driving keyboards and drum machines. LIGHT ASYLUM is a collection of ten songs that are contemplative and starkly necessary. From the heated synth punk of 'IPC', 'Pope Will Roll' and 'At Will' to the cinematic modesty of earnest love songs like 'Angel Tongue', 'Shallow Tears' and 'A Certain Person'; the basement-found emotions of 'Hour Fortress' and'Sins of the Flesh' to the melodic dramas of 'Heart of Dust' and'End of Days', LIGHT ASYLUM have achieved an exhilarating, genuine and important moment. "There is an undeniable, classic heft to LIGHT ASYLUM." The Fader
"She [Shannon Funchess] manages to route her sinewy vocal through the cold-blooded seething of Ian Curtis the deadpan drawl of Grace Jones and the full-tilt intensity of Henry Rollins circa Damaged." Pitchfork
"LIGHT ASYLUM is catchy but raw, music you can lose yourself in." T Magazine
LONE WOLF AND CUB
Lone Wolf & Cub are a drum, vocal and trapeze duo. Lone Wolf, Ryan Sawyer, plays the drums and sings. Cub, Suzanne Rogaleski, does aerial acrobatics, sings, and plays drums from the trapeze. The duet of Lone Wolf & Cub is a sound and movement improvisational performance. In keeping with both its' circus and punk rok roots it can only be seen to be believed. Enjoy.
Twin brothers Josh and Jesse Hasko apply their near psychic proclivities to create spatial and hauntingly psychedelic songs that embody and transcend typical genres. Inspired by the scorching desert landscape, altered states, and the nightmare of post-modern America, North America plays a tactile and hypnotic rock with chiaroscuro qualities in a world that is their own. Crystalline guitar lines and feverish drum beats synthesize into unpredictable territories, sometimes even to the brothers. The New York natives recorded their latest album Blown Out (2011) in a New Mexican adobe, channeling the extraterrestrial forces and spirit energies that they smudged out and summoned at the same time. While North America's music can be intense, beautiful, and danceable; (the duo has been described as Desert Crystal Psych Rock, Dance Punk, Face Melt?, among everything else) each song is a relatable emotional story that embraces darkness, hypocrisy, and ultimately; joy. North America will be performing live on 1.3333% of planet Earth in 2013.
Kyp Malone’s much anticipated solo project Rain Machine is set to be released September 22 on Anti -records. The provocative album art, created by Malone himself, is an appropriate indicator of the unique and defiantly personal music within. Rain Machine features ten unflinchingly original and emotional songs mixing elements of modern jazz, blue-grass and blistering guitar driven rock into a refreshing new sound. As singer and guitarist for celebrated band TV on the Radio, Malone proved himself both a captivating and delightfully unpredictable musical force. On Rain Machine, he shows himself a singer and a lyricist of startl ing talents. Malone recently described Rain Machine as “a nearly full spectrum of frequencies audible to the human ear, a ref lection of a variety of emotions and situations real and imagined - some rhythm some rhyme.” In most instances such a statement cou ld be dismissed as nothing more than playful hyperbole. This is not one of those times. Rain Machine is the sound of an extraordinary artist emerging into his own.
Black Up is the new sonic move from Shabazz Palaces. Like rich velvet hijabs or gold threaded abayas. Luxury as understood by the modest. Shabazz Palaces. If Bedouins herded beats instead of goats and settled in Seattle instead of the Atlas Mountains, this would be their album. Forward thinkers but nostalgic for a sparer time when ancient astronomers only recognized five planets. Hip hop. Black light uses electromagnetic radiation to eradicate microorganisms, but shabazz didn’t come to kill a s ound, just to shine their own incandescent lamp on this. Hear. Hard and clear. Fifty thousand years in the making. Honorable. —palaceer pink gators. Produced by Knife Knights.plcrs at Gunbeat Serenade Studio in Outplace Palacelands. It was recorded and mixed in Lixx-alog by Blood.
Spank Rock never wanted to be a rapper. All of his heroes are badass guitar-fondling queers who sing songs about incest, aliens, faith and love, but rap was his fate. Naeem Juwan came of age in West Baltimore during the Enlightenment of hip hop, and his bizarre hometown deranged his perception of life for good. It was the summer of 1993, and he was only twelve when Naeem first saw local superhero drag queen MC Miss Tony perform at his best friend’s Bat Mitzvah. She performed two of her Baltimore club hits, "Pull Ya Gunz Out" and "Whassup Whassup," and the preteens freaked out and sang along. How could he have known that the memory of this performance would come to dominate his subconscious and reveal itself a decade later as one of his most predominant influences? After permanently relocating to sister slum Philadelphia, Spank Rock released his debut album, YoYoYoYoYo (2006), on U.K. label Big Dada, and it became a cult classic. Produced byXXXChange, YoYoYoYoYo deconstructed the genre and created a new world of possibilities for hip hop. The duo became known as international indie rap trailblazers (profane good-fornothing tramps) with a fearless drive for creative exploration and a diverse list of influences.
Spank Rock's music reeks of freedom. His concept EP Bangers & Cash (2008), produced by fledgling pop producer Benny Blanco, paid homage to freedom fighter Uncle Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew. His self-released sophomore LP, Everything Is Boring And Everyone Is A Fucking Liar (2011), plays like Spank Rock’s initiation into superhero clan The Invisibles. Teleporting from Philly noise rock (“DTF DADT”), to German techno (“#1 Hit”), to New Orleans sissy bounce (“Nasty ft. Big Freedia”), swinging from the bawdy to the brazenly political, the album confirms Spank Rock’s commitment to creating music that is experimental, soulful and wild.
The new full-length from Brooklyn duo Talibam! Previously known for their avant-jazz, experimental rock leanings, 'Puff Up the Volume' sees Talibam! turning their considerable talents towards an album of synth-pop-infused, comedy-soaked 'No School' Rap. Having collectively been in bands with members of Battles, TV on the Radio and Grizzly Bear, Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea have joined 'Brooklyn's Finest' and made an album of hook riddled pop star bombast. 'Puff Up the Volume', is Talibam!'s '#NO SCHOOL' Rap debut They like to say "if you went to rap school you wasted your money". This epic record is chock-full of party anthems and raw emotional verse, solidifying the duo as a skilled production team. Talibam!'s 'Puff Up the Volume' represents the outcome of poetic circumstance. Drummer Kevin Shea's big toe was crushed during a gong accident in 2009 forcing him to play bass drum with his left foot for the rest of a tour and the subsequent recording session engineered by Dirty Projector's touring sound engineer Etienne Foyer in Paris.
The circumstance 'liberated' Talibam! From their previous ethos with drummer Kevin Shea bumping a BIG BEAT flavour along side Matt Mottel's spicy Mini Moog mastery.
''Puff Up the Volume' will enter your head and stay there. The craft in songwriting, the focus on synth tone, the forceful funk of the drums and the verbal 'epuffianies' spit by Kevin Shea and Matt Mottel make this album a contender for 'album of the year.' Each song is a gold nugget ready for mass appeal.
Get ready to breathe DEEP and 'PUFF UP THE VOLUME'
THEE OH SEES
We all know the type: Prolific bands who commit every loose thought, stray idea and 90-second song fragment to tape. Bands who pay no attention to little inconveniences like "release cycles" or "self-editing," and instead decide that quantity equals quality, creating a discography more labyrinthine, imposing and - ultimately - exhausting than the cast of creatures in a sci-fi novel. Here is why none of that applies to Thee Oh Sees. Because each of the dozen-plus albums they've released since 2004 are possess a distinct personality and represents a different point along the path of John Dwyer's slow transformation from auteur of woozy bare-bones four-track psychedelia to goggle-eyed garage rock marauder backed at long last by a band that both shares and stokes his singular vision. Because drop a needle on any record and - to their great credit - it takes several songs before you're convinced it's Thee Oh Sees. The seasick hundred-bottles-of-rum shanty "What the Driven Drink," from 2007's delirious Sucks Blood exists in a different galaxy than the rollercoastering "Chem-Farmer" from last year's Carrion Crawler/The Dream; the doomy doo-wop of "Blood on the Deck" hardly seems like the product of the same band who delivered the yelping "Ruby Go Home" in 2009. And the band who made last year's engrossing Putrifiers II seems like a distant cousin to the band delivering Floating Coffin -- arguably the most varied and textured Oh Sees record to date.
"These songs occur in the mindset of a world that's perpetually war-ridden," Dwyer explains. "Overall, it's pretty dark, and much heavier than our other albums." You can hear that sense of foreboding in "Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster," which churns and sloshes like an ocean of ink, Dwyer's ghostly falsetto an eerie contrast with the song's sub-basement groove. "That one's a song about war," Dwyer explains, "It's like people take less notice of those horrors anymore. Dark goings-on are so ever present that they can just wash over you every day."
Chalk some of the band's cunning chameleonic ability to Dwyer's 20-year resume. The driving force behind such beloved and sonically disparate bands as Coachwhips and Pink and Brown, Dwyer's increased fidelity to Thee Oh Sees and only Thee Oh Sees is evidence of a newfound sense of purpose and focus. Where once Dwyer used to funnel his divergent artistic ideas through a host of different channels, lately he's been finding ways to make all of those impulses function within the framework of Thee Oh Sees -- who have in turn grown closer and tighter and sharper with each eye-popping, jaw-dropping live show. As Dwyer puts it: "The family that plays together stays together."
That sense of unity is palpable throughout Floating Coffin. "Strawberries 1 + 2" is a blinding flash of sound, the band first locking tight into a frenetic, palpitating rhythm then downshifting suddenly into a loose, hypnotic drone. "I could have made the second half of this song last for hours," Dwyer says. "This is another song that's wary of the outside world, about humans staring down technology." "Tunnel Time" opens with a short-circuiting synth sound before diving into haywire blast-furnace punk rock made more manic by Dwyer's split-second hollers and howls. The skeleton waltz of "Minotaur," which opens with Dwyer sighing, "Oil slick in my dinner," gradually gives way to a distinct sense of optimism. "That one's relatively less ominous," Dwyer explains. "It's about dream-hunting - being the person you feel you were meant to be." That sense of release is summed up in a single lyric, which shows up just after a squad of swooping strings provides an impromptu serenade: "Stay home today - go to the beach instead."
It's moments like those that underscore just how unique this band is - each new layer of their persona that's revealed only hints at the thousands that still remain. Floating Coffin is the next chapter in the story of Thee Oh Sees, the one where they fix their fury against the onrushing night. It's another blistering demonstration of Thee Oh Sees greatest trick: they're the only prolific band who doesn't put out records often enough.
Tinariwen are poet-guitarists and soul rebels from the Southern Sahara desert. Their music expresses the aspirations of their people, the Kel Tamashek or 'Touareg' of the southern Sahara desert. The guitar is their weapon. Simplicity is Freedom. Ibrahim AG ALHABIB aka 'Abaraybone' Hassan AG TOUHAMI aka 'Aharr', aka 'Abin Abin' Abdallah AG ALHOUSSEYNI aka 'Catastrophe' Eyadou AG LECHE Said AG AYAD Abdallah AG LAMIDA aka 'Intidao' Elaga AG HAMID Wonou WALET SIDATI
Born March 28, 1987, American violinist, singer, songwriter, & producer, violinist began studying music at 10 years old. Has worked with the likes of Grizzly Bear, TV ON THE RADIO, BAT FOR LASHES, & Lianne La Havas. Currently living in London. Senior Editor of Love is the Magazine. New single out next week. Keep eyes and ears open for what's next.
TV ON THE RADIO
EIGHT THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE TEN SONGS ON THE NEW TV ON THERADIO ALBUM, NINE TYPES OF LIGHT(THIRTEEN SONGS IF YOU BUY THE DELUXE EDITION) 1. This TV On The Radio album, Nine Types of Light (Interscope),is a lush and beautiful album that stands apart from the group's previous work. If their other albums had shades of dystopia and distress, this album, sung by Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone, is filled with songs about longing and love."I like love songs. There's nothing particularly interesting going on with me in my life to bear this work. I like the forms of love songs, the poetry." Kyp adds that though there might be more "positivity" on this album, it wasn't an overall conceit they set out to do. "We've attempted to work on themes before but they fall apart very quickly. More organic versions arise because we're sharing time or space or communication." Though Nine Types of Light will sound like an album full of love songs, often the true meaning of thesongs lie deeper. On "You," Tunde sings a haunted refrain; you're the only one I have ever loved. The sincerity of his voice sells the idea of absolute adoration. But Tunde explains, "It's a song about the feeling you get sometimes when you're expressing how much you care about someone but resorting to these beautiful sounding lies. You're the only one I ever loved? It's a terrible thing to say to someone because it's most likely not true." 2. Nine Types of Light is the fourth album from TV on the Radio. You will want to refer to it as the "fourth proper studio album" from TV On The Radio; those albums were preceded by an EP, Young Liars, and an 18-track handmade CD called OK Calculator, that is considered more like a demo tape (because it was "released" by being hidden in random sofa cushions of New York coffee shops). Enhancing nearly every aspect of their Shortlist Prize-winning Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain was released to crazy universal acclaim. Rolling Stone said “It might be the most oddly beautiful, psychedelic and ambitious album of the year,” with The New York Times agreeing: “It's more experimental yet catchier, more introspective yet more assertive, by turns gloomier and funnier, and above all richer in both sou ndand implication. ‘Return to Cookie Mountain’ is simply one of this year's best albums.” Nine Types of Light is the follow-up tothe band's gorgeous, glorious 2008 release, Dear Science, and proved to be its breakout release. It was namedalbum of the year by Rolling Stone, Spin,Pitchfork, Entertainment Weekly andMTV; and touring behind the album, the group sold out a year's worth oflive shows across the world. This, however, did not prevent everyone
fromreferring to TV On The Radio as a Brooklyn band. That is not a bad thing. Thegroup – Tunde Adebimpe, Kyp Malone, DaveSitek, Jaleel Bunton, Gerard Smith – are indeed from Brooklyn. 3. But sometimes it's ok to leave. The band recorded Nine Types of Light in Los Angeles, the first time they have recorded outside of Brooklyn. In 2010, the group's multi-instrumentalist, producer and sometimes beat-boxer, Dave Sitek, moved to Los Angeles because that's where the money he wanted a change of scenery. Nine Types of Light was recorded at his home studio. The experience of recording away from the friendly confines of Greenpoint and Williamsburg wasn't such a pleasant one, however,but not because of any reactionary dislike of LA that sometimes comes from New Yorkers. "I actually like Los Angeles a lot," says Jaleel. "Butif there's a bohemian part of the city, a place that can be a creativesanctuary, we were staying in a place that was the opposite."
"It was in a high-end mall down the street from Rodeo Drive,and a few blocks from the Modern Institute of Plastic Surgery," says Tunde. "And they were doing construction on our floor the whole time we were there. It wasn't so much squalor as it was…if I were a door -to-doorsalesman, it's where I would kill myself." Nine Types of Light was written and recorded in about three months – slightly quicker than they've recorded any previous album.
4. TV On The Radio do not write traditional pop songs. Often, theychange direction two or three times in one song. Distorted guitars, saunteringand reverberating bass, TVOTR tunes are just-barely containing an explosive amount ofenergy underneath itself – and that tension is nothing less than thrilling. It has become somewhat of a signature of the band, particularly matched with Tunde's serene and poetic vocals. On this album, the group takes an admittedly simpler approach to some of their songs. "Will Do," starts out with wind chimes before giving away to that trademark buzz, with Tunde singing about the yearning for his ungovernable, unrequited love of another. "I thinkthe songs on this album, to me, maybe sound simpler," Tunde says."But it just might be that we have gotten better at what we do." Other songs on Nine Types Of Light include more up-tempo post-rock jams like "No Future Shock"(vocals by Kyp) and the '80s-rap-beat "Caffeinated Consciousness,"which sounds like it was influenced by Big Audio Dynamite. 5. Nine Types of Light might sound like a peculiar name for an album. Perhaps a reference to a core scientific principle on the refraction of sunlight. Or a grand ideology of film or photography techniques. But the album title actually isn't a reference to anything specific, the band says. It holds no cryptic meaning. "It's something that kept circling around in my head," Tunde says. "It struck me as odd that that phrase, when you keep it to just nine types of light, it's excluding a billion other types of light. I like how it's a little slippery." Thus, no one should ask Tunde to actually list the nine types of light he isreferring to.
6. There is a cycle that a band goes through with each release that involves recording an album, releasing it and then touring behind it. For a group with a loyal and growing fan-base like TV On The Radio, that cycle can last about two years, which is an awful lot of time to spend with people in a highly-creative environment. This is what happened after Dear Science. "After the last show (for Dear Science), I just wanted to do anything that wasn't this, "Tunde explains. "It was such an intense experience – not bad or good necessarily, just intense. I spent a lot of time after that
writing and drawing pictures." Says Gerard Smith, "It allows us to do the other things we want to do, or to just decompress, and then come back to the band with some focus. We don't ever want to feel like we have to do this, that it's a job, necessarily."
7. As celebrated and wonderful as TV On The Radio is, the entity is not enough to contain the entire creative thirst of its members, and the band's five members accomplished in the time between albums. Tunde and Gerard wrote and composed music for "The Lottery," a documentary that looks at public education through the eyes of Harlem's Success Academy annual intake lottery. Tunde also worked on a series of short films that he says may or may not ever see the light of day. He, of course, also starred in the Oscar-nominated film, Rachel Getting Married. Gerard spent time making music on his own, producing new music from the NYC-based Midnight Masses. Jaleel spent the period in between records moving out from behind the drums to playing guitar again, his first instrument. He also played in the blues and gospel band, Reverend Vince Anderson & His Love Choir ("One of my favorite gigs ever," he says), and continued to periodically tend bar at legendary Lower East Side bar, Max Fish.
Dave Sitek released his own solo album under the name, Maximum Balloon (DGC/Interscope), which featured friends like Karen O, Theophilus London and David Byrne. He played with, collaborated with and produced artists like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wale and Holly Miranda. Recently he announced he would be producing and playing bass on the new album from Jane's Addiction. Kyp released his solo album under the name Rain Machine, and embarked on a coupleof brief tours, including a recent one with his friend from San Francisco,singer-songwriter, Jolie Holland. One would think the last thing they'd want to do during a break would be more recording and touring, but Kyp felt differently. He says, "I feel like every concentrated experience of making a record, touring a record, and playing with different people, dealing withdifferent social dynamics potentially increases my musicianship and how I understand music." 8. TV On The Radio plan an extensive tour beginning just before therelease of Nine Types of Light. Theywill headline Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 13, the day after thealbum's release.
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA
As Unknown Mortal Orchestra, New Zealand by-way-of Portland songwriter and guitarist Ruban Nielson marries psychedelia with sharp Soul touchstones. Timeless pop hooks are produced with a soft buzzsaw edge so that the effect is akin to Stevie Wonder producing Plastic Ono Band into Nuggets-like gems. It's a one-two punch that has caught the ear of hip-hop community heavyweights (?uestlove, El-P, Big Boi) and indie-world heroes (Liars, Toro Y Moi). With bassist Jacob Portrait and drummer Greg Rogrove, Unknown Mortal Orchestra is preparing a full-length for Jagjaguwar in early 2013.
Who I am and what I do seems to vary by mod, mood, and mode of expression. I write. I act. I perform. Most of the labels that are projected onto me are seldom how I would choose to refer to myself. Yet, regardless of how much I might dodge classification, the one label that I tote freely is that of being an artist. And it is the art of self expression that has heightened my experience on this planet and fueled my understanding of love, compassion, and humanity. Poet. I write poetry because it is the clearest and most direct expression of how I think. I take pride in being called a poet mostly because it feels like an ordination. I did not grow up thinking of myself as a poet, so it is an honor to be considered one. So far, I’ve written four books that fall under the category of poetry. Fo r me, they chronicle my growth as an artist, friend, lover, father, son, and individual. My goal has never truly been to become an amazing poet, rather I have worked at becoming more expressive, thoughtful, and harmoniously balanced, and courageous enough to live my life as a poem. My writings simply chronicle my journey and vision. They are the residue of the work that I’m doing on myself. Music. I write music because I have found that I cannot rely on other artists, or the music industry to provide the release that I need from a days work, a night out, to inspire a mood, a movement, or simply explore the unsaid in ways that are important to me. I’ve sought to become self sufficient. In music I think of myself as an explorer participating in the construction of the soundscape of the new world that is being hatched out of our dreams, hope and visions of peace and harmony… that don’t necesarily mean my shit is soft though… Performance. Acting, my first love as an artist, has allowed me insight into the nature of humanity. The many roles I have played, especially in theatre, exposed me to aspects of my own character before I even lived through enough experience to discover traits within myself. Through acting, I found an excuse to study everything from my own breathing habits, to the beats within a passage or
poem, to the unexplored regions of my imagination. It taught me how to observe the distinction between someone who walks and leads with their head or chin versus someone who leads with their gut or groin. It grounded me in my voice and on stage and has helped me develop as a thinker and person
Through it all I would say that performance is my favorite medium as an artist. Yet, I have become very particular about the material I perform, thus, I create. Most of my training as an artist is in the field of acting which makes sense considering that all the other stuff often just feels like a role I’m playing. Here are some credentials and schools I’ve attended: HB Studios, NYC The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NYC Morehouse College, ATL, GA. BA in Philosophy and Drama NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, NYC. MFA Acting These are some awards I’ve won: Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival (Slam) Camera D’Or at Cannes Film Festival (Slam) Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion Blah. Blah. Blah… Anyway, thanks for being here. Saul
Nipping at the ragged heels of their eagerly devoured Sod in the Seed EP, WHY? at last unleash their fifth long-player, a meticulous work of morbid fascination and offbeat romanticism dubbed Mumps, etc. Though there is a mysterious sickness (perhaps of the mind) that lurks about these thirteen songs, one might also imagine the title as describing the musically swole state of these three Midwestern men as they bring their sound into glisteningly buff focus. Yoni Wolf, brother Josiah and Doug McDiarmid are in the pocket, the unbreakable rock core at the center of a
spinning ball of sonic kaleidoscopie. And all the things we love about them are still true: the grinning sun-warped choruses, that jangly Western lope, those confessionals cut with wry wit and crude details, set dancing down the odd knots of complex poetic daisy chains. It's just that ... well, all of it sounds better than ever this time around.
Part of that is due to how Mumps, etc. was made. Far from their native Cincinnati, the fellas spent a month and a half in the Denton, Texas based studio, The Echo Lab. They showed up with a pile of demos suspected to be nearly done—some five years in the making—but their aspirations evolved in the shadow of the great University of North Texas music school. Reaching out to a professor therein, they wrangled an ace crew of green-and-white gunslingers to exact their wild schemes: a string quartet, an eight-person choir, woodwinds, horns. The whole set was recorded to two-inch tape (no loops), produced by the Wolf brothers, and mixed in Atlanta by Graham Marsh (Cee Lo Green, Katy Perry) with Yoni. Thus every song pops exactly as it should, smearing genre with pointed intent until the end result became an articulated work of unusual artistry and catchiness—a WHY? record, naturally.
We're not here to tell you what to like; the highlights are many. There's the opener "Jonathan's Hope," rattling forth over a pile of cooing ladies and crunching percussion, its measured optimism leveled at the songs that follow. There's "Waterlines," which folds idyllic harps figures into a darkly shimmering beat while Yoni drops backwards brags—"Rocking soccer socks with sandals like, 'Yeah, bro.'"—and dissects his public persona. "White English" bounces over some kind of mutant mariachi dub, a continuation of the coiled grooves WHY? devised for Serengeti's Family & Friends (2011). "Thirst" bends Mumps' spare chamber-pop into a desert-worthy drawl, bullwhips cracking and spurs jingling under a tale about black cowboys and failing faith. And "Kevin's Cancer"—written for an afflicted fan—hits upon a moment of WHY?-style clarity: "I know with no uncertainty, that I'm uncertain and I don't know."
Still, we are fairly certain that "Paper Hearts" is something extra special. Offering but a single two-and-a-half minute verse, the song is gorgeously detailed and surprisingly uncoded, unspooling as it goes a gut-wrenching end to an important relationship, and shining harsh light on a narrator who often likes to hide his truths in acts of on-album villainy. ("Bitter Thoughts," featuring Liz Wolf, being a perfect example.) So when Mumps, etc. ends one track later, with Yoni promising providence over his own death while pizzicato strings brighten the closing corners, we understand both the sad futility and the unabashed hope wrapped up in that statement. And, along with the taut arrangements and imaginative musicianship, it's that skewed but forever winking eye on the human condition that keeps us wrapped up in WHY?
“I suppose it's never enough / you get what you want, then you want what was / but I’d rather worry about my existential crisis / laying on a beach where the sun sets the nicest” – “Get That” !!! will release their new album THR!!!ER on April 29, 2013 on Warp Records. It is the fifth full-length from the sonically adventurous sextet and its third for Warp. THR!!!ER finds the band
reconciling its love for building playlists from disparate dance singles with its continued devotion to the cohesive album format. Famous for its off the hinges live shows and relentless touring schedule, this time the group focused itself on lyrics and tighter song structures. To help !!! on this mission, the majority of THR!!!ER was recorded with Jim Eno, the drummer in Spoon and one of key forces behind the boards for the lauded indie rock band.
Coming into THR!!!ER, the members of !!! knew that this was an album where they almost had to reintroduce themselves, showing a developed and impactful take on how they present their sound. “It’s the kind of the record that feels like more of everything,” says vocalist Nic Offer. “It’s more immediate, it’s more honest a bout our lives. There was a real focus in this band. We knew the lyrics had to be better, the choruses had to be better, it had to be more original. We went for everything. Everything was pushed.”
Well, friends told her this and friends told her that/ But friends don’t choose what echoes in your head — “When The Water’s Cold”
!!! began the process for making THR!!!ER when Offer visited Jim Eno’s Austin studio during South by Southwest in 2011 with a few hours before their plane was supposed to leave. Eventually the whole band returned for several sessions in the spring and summer of 2012. !!! and Spoon are longtime fans of each other, and guitarist Mario Andreoni explains, they were attracted to working with Jim because, “We all had a healthy respect for the sound, space, and vibe of Spoon's LP's and Jim forced us to e conomize...the playing...the structure...lyrics. Everything had to have a purpose and hold attention.”
Like many people, Jim was a fan of !!!’s live show, but he felt that they too often tried to capture these performances in th e studio. Instead of trying to chase this feeling, Jim encouraged them to create a different type of excitement by using weirder sounds, inventing new dynamics within each song and introducing unexpe cted changes. “They had this working flow that was a little rigid and I wanted to break them out of it,” says Jim. “Those guys can play, and if you can play, you might as well just play your instruments and record it.” In the end, !!! say it was Jim’s input that provided the cohesion that THR!!!ER needed.
!!! is a bicoastal band with over a decade of history. Offer, keyboardist Daniel Gorman, and new bassist Rafael Cohen (formerly of El Guapo and Supersystem) all live in Brooklyn, drummer Paul Quattrone resides in Pittsburgh, keyboardist Allan Wilson remain lives in Portland, Oregon, while Andreoni remains in Sacramento, where the group was formed. Understandably this situation isn’t the easiest for creating new music. “In the past we just put albums together any way that works,” says Andreoni, “That usually meant a lot of jamming on loose ideas. For THR!!!ER, !!! went into the studio with everything written and a strong sense of each song’s shape.”
This advanced preparation is reflected in THR!!!ER’s catchier choruses, bulletproof structure and masterful twists. “One Girl/One Boy” is pure dancefloor candy built over subversive sounds, while “Get That Rhythm” (produced by Simian Mobile Disco’s Jas Shaw) rides the bassline to a much darker corner of the club. Centerpiece “Slyde”—produced by the band and Patrick Ford—is a tribute to cut-and-paste classics in an era when sampling is prohibitively expensive, so !!! devised all the imagined samples themselves. Rough-edged album closer “Station (Meet Me At The)” might be the most menacing song the group has ever released, and they execute the switchblade attitude naturally.
Though Offer handles most of the vocals on THR!!!ER, other voices populate the album. Cohen handles the moody and percussive “Fine, Fine, Fine,” and the roster of contributing female
singers include fellow Sacramento-to-New York transplant Teresa Eggers, Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom and Austin studio pro Sonia Moore (who did the yea yeahs on MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit”).
Says Offer, “We’ve never tried to make the same record twice, we might have accidentally, but we’ve always tried to push on. For this one it felt like we definitely shoved off from the shore.”
“If you've seen one cathedral / then baby you've seen 'em all” / I asked her what they were like / she told me they were tall / she said “if there's a god and he's a heard one prayer / then baby, he's heard 'em all” – “Except Death”
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