Hello! and welcome the year 2014! We are almost 2 weeks into the new year and so far It’s pretty similar to 2013 so far except for probably a bit colder. I’m sure you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution but that’s okay, so has everybody else. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short time of existing it’s to always keep your resolutions within the realm of reason. That’s why in 2014 I pledge to listen to good music, eat, and sleep more (probably). Time permitting, I also hope to write a bit more but we will see as the first three will probably take the lion’s share of my time.
My newest obsession in 2014 is the Norwegian electronic producer Cashmere Cat. His latest single ‘With Me’ came out a month ago and I’ve been listening to it on repeat for the last week. I’d like to compare it to Dubstep but I feel like that would cheapen it; mostly because there is only one bass’centric’ breakdown, and the rest are synth. however I think there are some stylistic similarities. The largest being the balance between grainy lo-fi breaks and the sweeter melody.
What really endears me to this song is the timing. Cashmere Cat is loose and playful with it. At first it might seem like everything is just a bit ‘off,’ but I think the reality is a purposeful experimentation. I think the most obvious and best example of this is right off the bat when he drops the very first crunchy synth riff. When listening closely you can hear the bells start to lag behind. 99% I think that this would come off as a rookie mistake. Cashmere Cat somehow makes it work and makes it work well.
If you want more from this artist be sure to check out his last EP Mirror Maru as well as his guest set on Diplo & Friends BBCR1.
Remixes don’t get much funkier than this. What So Not is a duo out of Sydney Australia (Down Undah! Shrimp on the Bahbie! Fostahs!) and they’ve been dropping some funky as fuck remixes. I first heard of them back when they released their remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Get Free.’ I may have posted about it before but I’m posting it again because seriously, it’s just that sick. Any ways, you can keep up with these guys via their soundcloud. I recommend you do because these guys are dropping some of my favorite remixes of late.
Happy Halloween everyone! Hope your weekend was full of drinking, slutty girls, and a diabetic amount of candy. Tonight is the ‘official’ Halloween’s eve, which sounds like a great excuse to extend your weekend stupor well into the work week. To help you out with that one of my favorite groups, Beats Antique, is dropping by the Turner Hall. I believe this is their third time playing in Milwaukee and their second time at the Turner Hall. They always put on a hell of show because that’s kind of what they’re all about.
This tour is on the heels of the release of their fourth studio album ‘Contraption Vol. 2.’ As the follow up to their 2011 release ‘Elektrafone’ they’ve taken slightly different direction with the new album. One thing I noticed is a general move away from the punchy electronic sound. They still use plenty of electronica but it is much more complimentary on Contraption Vol II unlike previous albums in which it sometimes ‘stole the show’ per say. Overall there’s a much chiller vibe with their new album. I think there is also a larger use of vocals than usual and in the song ‘Crooked Muse’ we’re treated to a collaboration between Beats Antique and the female vocalist Lynx. It’s a great album and it should be a great show; hope to see you there.
You heard me right, Django Django. Hailing from the amazing city of London, this group has been showing up on playlists ever since they started. Formed in 2008, this group shows similarities to the folk/electronic band The Beta Band, the rock instrumental combo The Venture, and Hot Chip. Default, one of the most common settings on your electronic devices, is actually one of their better songs. I first was introduced to this group from a European friend, and although it’s not for a quiet Sunday afternoon, it’s something I’ve been enjoying ever since.
Let me translate for you. The group’s name is Den Svenska Björnstammen or The Swedish Bear Population in English and they are from, you guessed it, Sweden. This group is a pop/techno group of 7 and was first brought to my attention on the Fool’s Gold soundtrack. No, we’re not talking about the Mathew McConaughey/Kate Hudson flick from 2008, we’re talking about the snowboarding movie from Europe’s Isenseven crew. The song which appeared, Svalkar Vinden or Wind Chills, gives you the sensation of doing something together with your best friends, while holding up to its genre classification of pop/techno and having some sort of indie feel. I recommend you check out all their songs, but if you’re going to settle for one, go for this.
Wisco’s own Bon Iver gets the Zeds Dead remix treatment. Supposedly the guys from Zeds Dead remixed this tune awhile ago and just happened to find it recently. It’s a weird concept to just ‘lose’ a song but I guess when your cranking out hits like Zeds Dead it happens.
Would you like to expand your musical horizons? Want to hear what’s playing on the other side of the pond? Well, we’re going to do just that. To diversify your listening experience, we’re expanding our reach to the great city of Madrid, Spain. Wait what? Yep, that’s right, Cream City Music now has a presence in the capital of the Iberian Peninsula. In future posts you will hear about the popular music that the disco-goers are jiving to, bands that were born and raised in bull country, and other international groups that are on every European’s playlist.
To kick off this introduction, let’s start with the fiery passionate and romantic sounds of……JUST KIDDING! We’re going to take a look at a song called ‘Loca People’. Any of you who have visited Spain in the past know that the locals know how to get down and sometimes it gets a bit wild. To some over here it’s quite silly, but this techno piece perfectly summarizes the young traveler’s first impression of the country’s night life and people. The techno song, by Spain’s own Sak Noel, reached number 1 status on October 2, 2011 in the UK, a feat last accomplished by a Spanish artist in 2002. So all in all what can we say about this one? Johnny, la gente está muy loca.
For the next song we’re going mainstream with the Northern Ireland trio Two Door Cinema Club. You may have heard of them, and they’re one of the more popular bands over here. After skipping class to work on their music, the group’s first EP was released in January 2009 to positive reviews and good feedback from the music blogs. Their music is something you can dance to or just have playing in your room to liven things up a bit. The song we have here is called What You Know and it gets me goin’ whenever I hear it. Jacobo, a local Spaniard and musician, said about the band, “You can listen to them everywhere since their combination of indie rock and dance music is appropriate for everyone… Even in a low beat song, you can’t stop dancing and all the songs explode at the end… It’s [a great] marriage of dance and indie music.”
So ladies and gentleman, it’s time to start kickin’ it to this.
So one of my all time favorite bands, The Helio Sequence, just released their new album. It’s been so long since their last album ‘Keep Your Eyes Ahead’ I had started to think they had become lost in obscurity. Which is surprisingly the same thing I felt when ‘Keep Your Eyes Ahead’ came out. It’s weird but they seem to release an album every four years. Seriously, their discography goes, Negotiations (2012), Keep Your Eyes Ahead (2008), Love and Distance (2004), Young Effectuals (2001), Com Plex (2000). Like fucking clockwork; must be circadian rhythms or something, I don’t know.
Any ways, Negotiations sounds pretty good. It’s also getting a lot of attention. I used to think of The Helio Sequence as my own well kept secret, but that’s not the case any more. I had to do a double take when I heard their single ‘October’ on the radio recently. Over the years I’ve watched them grow out of their Lo-Fi electronic roots and into a much more melodic neo-americana group. But I like it, and it has definitely been an organic transition. But before I start rambling you should know that they’re coming to Milwaukee this November. They will be dropping by the Shank Hall on the 9th and its going to be fantastic.
Only through sheer force of will have I limited myself in posting this many songs… I really like the Helio Sequence.
The Helio Sequence – October – Negotiations (2012)
The Helio Sequence – When the Shadow Falls – Negotiations (2012)
The Helio Sequence – Hallelujah – Keep Your Eyes Ahead (2008)
The Helio Sequence – S.O.S. – Love and Distance (2004)
The Helio Sequence – Let It Fall Apart – Love and a Distance (2004)
So I’ve been watching a lot of the Skins UK TV series and that show is fucking awesome. If this were a blog about TV shows then I would talk about how Skins UK is the shit and how Chris from seasons one and two is the shitr and how Jal is a total fox. But since it’s a music blog I suppose I’ll talk about how Skins feature a surprisingly awesome selection of music. I’m barely on Season 2 but they’ve already featured some pretty dope artists including this guy and Crystal Castles.
If you’ve seen the show they you might know that the opening credits is the work of Fat Segal. Well he also makes other music. a couple of months ago he released his ‘Clutch’ EP. It’s a bit different from the Skins opening but if you listen to the original song that the skins opening theme was cut from, you can hear some of the same DnB influences. His Clutch EP, like a lot of his music, jumps back and forth between dreamy ambient states and frantic meshes of DnB and glitch.
World music has floated into a lot of great indie bands–Yeasayer, Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance–but it’s far from being the dominating sound on airwaves and blogs alike. The Brooklyn based electro duo, Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm, bring the drums and keys to Tanlines’ first full release Mixed Emotions and an itch to dance unlike anything–except maybe cat hair (which doesn’t really invoke dancing so much, just itching).
Tanlines harken back to what Prince was doing, blending topics that may be sad, dyer, innately un-“body moving” and making them ache with toe taps and bouts of lip synching in the mirror.
“Not the Same” swells a piano, then at the 1:00 mark, the keys turn to warm synths and strings, continuing with the distended beat, returning to “Not the same/ I’m not the same” for most of its 4:34 length. Only to to find resolve in the track’s last exiting exhale, and Emm singing “Tell everyone we ever change/Tell everyone we are not the same.”
There is no doubt that “Real Life” takes the cake for catchiest, most turtle-to-rabbit track, hitting the drum pads and tropical steel samples to syrupy results. Mixed Emotions is at once immediate and slow burning; cohesive but morphing, and the whole time daring you not to dance.
Now that Earl Sweatshirt is back from his rehab/exile in Samoa, and with a new head on his shoulder–he recently tweeted that “Everyone with 666 or KTA or some sort of stupid hashtag like ‘hey look im crazy’ in their bio might be pretty bummed [about the next record]”–it’s clear, on this genius collaboration with Flying Lotus and the Tyler the Creator-sounding Captain Murphy duo, that he’s not about rapping stories of rape or murder so much anymore. This is further shown on the Frank Ocean Channel Orange guest appearance, proving he’s still got that indefinable flow, executed with ease, and lyrical content anew isn’t stopping him. As always, though, the lyrics are fresh and full of wit, double entendres, and enough internal rhymes to make a man (or woman) melt, “Hardly not, gnarly tots, nollie pops/Use a bit, it got me; then she buzzin’ like a walkie talk” But what really makes this song work is the hazy atmosphere, record pops, and crystal ting of the vibraphone, so much so that Flying Lotus could have let this beat stand alone and we’d still be talking about it.