Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Who knew that Jarvis Cocker had made a collab dance track? Not me, but I'm glad I heard about it as it's quite good. Jarv's voice is well suited to loungey crooning -- he could be a good Bryan Ferry if he tried a bit harder. His collaborators here are a French duo called Discodeine. I'm just hoping Jarv tries more of this kind of thing:

While I'm at it I'll put up some other dancey tunes I've heard and liked, some recent and one from a while back. First up is the recent Gorillaz single that wasn't on Plastic Beach, in case you missed it:

If you're in the mood, you can look up the official video for 'Doncamatic' and reflect on how much of a difference to the listening experience it makes to be able to see the artist -- perhaps just listening is better? I had similar feelings after watching a DVD about Belle and Sebastian -- I liked them better when I couldn't picture them. Same goes for the XX -- hard to take seriously when you realise they're almost still pimply teenagers. Perhaps Gorillaz had it right when they stuck to just being cartoons (though their guest artists have always seemed to appear as themselves). Ok, moving on, next is a remix of a Caribou track. I posted about Caribou not too long ago; this is a remix of the track Sun by UK-based artist Midland. It's quite tasty:

Last up is a song by Metronomy, who I heard a couple of years ago. I was reminded of them again while looking up Discodeine so here's a track by them. I've included the video here as I found it to be rather charming (it doesn't hurt that it features England with mostly nice weather):

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Mike Skinner Conundrum

The two videos below summarise what I think is the Mike Skinner conundrum. The first vid is the new official vid for what'll be the first single off the next Streets album, Computers and Blues. The second vid is something Skinner apparently threw together on a whim with collaborator Robert Harvey (see if you can guess what band he used to be in). To my ears and eyes, the first song and vid are kind of not-very-good -- the music isn't too great and the vid is just a Pop Video, and a pretty low concept one at that (this is on first listen and view). The other song and vid, though, is, I think, much better -- some funny lyrics, a pleasant tune, and some nice wintery imagery. It probably cost a tenth of the official single's video but it's much nicer to look at. Granted I've heard the song more than once so that repeat listening effect might play a part, but I just find the track to be much more likable. Anyway, so the conundrum is that Skinner can make some great tracks when he does it very fast and they are seemingly throwaway, while the stuff that gets worked on for ages and then sits around waiting to be released doesn't seem as good. I think a new release model is needed here, but sadly most of the tracks he puts on his blog aren't downloadable. He does deride the way release schedules work himself and perhaps this is one of the reasons he's saying that the next Streets album will be the last? If you can put out new tunes every day quite easily it must be annoying to put 12 together for an album and then let them get stale for months before they're out.

PS Just listened to 'Going Through Hell' again and it's already growing on me, but still think it has a slightly over-produced sound

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

High Tech Soul

Although it's not really very well made - some of it seems quite choppy and unprofessional, as a music nerd from the Detroit area, I was pretty much blown away by this one hour documentary from 2006 (you can watch the whole thing online HERE). First of, props go to my sister who recommended it to me. The rest of my thoughts are gonna go in bullet points:
  • This thing has got some MAD beats! I like the original dark, menacing, dirty underground sound of Detroit techno.
  • Can't help but feel some love for Detroit after watching this. I like the attitude of the place and the other-worldliness that you don't get in normal cities with tourists such as DC where I'm at now. There's definitely something REAL about Detroit. You don't end up there or go there if you're a faker.
  • It's funny how Detroit techno made its first big moves in the music world in London, another place where I've lived. I never really appreciated that connection when I first moved to America. The popularity of techno music in London forever changed the music scene not just in the UK, but in the whole of Europe. The techno scene in Berlin looks wicked - I'd love to check that out one day.
  • Have to check out some music from the pioneers of techno - Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick May.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dentro De Mi Corazon

I'm changing it up on this blog by putting up this track in Spanish. I'm doing another backtrack again because I first heard this song quite some time ago. It's remixed by my man Jay Dabhi, a terrific producer and DJ from Queens who is also one of the regulars at my masjid. God knows how many times I've asked Jay annoying questions about dj'ing and producing...heh.

Check it out! Its a really fun house tune, and I especially love the last 2 minutes.

Moises Modesto & Tommie Nibbs feat. Tha Heights - Dentro De Mi Corazon (Jay Dabhi Club Mix) by jaydabhi

The White Streets

Coupla things. First is a comment after reading this article. To summarise, Jack White runs Third Man records; Third Man releases limited edition stuff by the White Stripes and other bands Jack White is involved in; usually that stuff is a weird vinyl version of an already existing record; now instead of selling at a normal price and letting people flip the records on ebay, Third Man is selling directly through ebay itself and keeping all the extra money. Fans are moaning that it's not fair but I think it's totally legit -- musicians need to make money and White argues that by selling through ebay it's the artist getting the extra cash rather than some random flipper. The music itself is available in other formats for cheap/free, so it's not like fans can't access the actual tunes -- they just can't get the special versions without shelling out extra. And why not? Hasn't it always been that way any way -- limited and special editions cost more but you don't have to buy them. When bands are only making money now from concerts and merchandise I think a strategy like this is actually very clever -- leverage your fame to make some extra money and thus an income. It's better than having your tunes in an advert.

In other news, Mike Skinner is blogging again and this blog is the best one I've come across in a long time. It's updated pretty much every day and he's usually responding to an actual person off twitter, or he's giving us his thoughts on creativity, boredom, fame, etc. Posts are usually accompanied by music or really good imagery -- all the music is coupled to a freshly made video. The tunes are very good which makes me wonder why his last couple of albums have been a bit crap? Sadly they don't seem to be downloadable. There are podcasts which I haven't checked out yet, perhaps the songs are included in those. There's a link to a blog that's supposedly by the Streets' manager, Ted Mayhem, which is also worth a read. He's already influenced my choice of TV to purchase... Skinner only start blogging again in October so if you hurry you can catch up on all his posts without it being too much of a hassle!

Monday, November 29, 2010

They're new here

Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie from the XX have collab'ed on a remix album of Scott-Heron's recent 'I'm New Here' disc. First single out will be 'NY is Killing Me' which is up on the duo's website to be checked out. It's kind of dubsteppy, with some pleasant bleeps and samples throughout but not really mind-blowing. See what you think.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Cut Copy

Been a fan since seeing them live a couple of years ago. Their recorded sounds are a nice blend of 80's synth-pop and indie, while live they turn into an amazing pop-dance monster! Here's a track off their next album, Zonoscope, which is due in Feb of next year.

Cut Copy - "Take Me Over" (Radio Edit) Premiere by modularpeople

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

chase and status

watch the vid
track is "eastern jam" by chase and status - LONDON duo! :-D

fierce dubstep, paris b-girls and devdas - my fave dance bit is around 3:34 - check out the camera movement! I need to do something like that.

This other track is also doing my head in. I like this tune a lot more actually.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Myspace files: Warpaint

First off, my apologies. There was supposed to be a Live Double Whammy! Part 2 but I never got around to it. I was going to write about seeing James a couple of weeks ago; I'll just summarise by saying it was a great show, full of hits I'd forgotten existed, and Tim Booth's dancing was amazing.

So, on to Warpaint. As usual when it comes to the Myspace files, my knowledge of the band is minimal. I heard them on Jarvis Cocker's radio show this past weekend and liked what I heard enough to look them up. They're apparently based in LA. To me, their melodies are almost like a lo-fi Interpol, while the vocals remind me of Hope Sandoval (other than when they're being grunted out). Not bad really -- after listening to them a bit more on Myspace I'm not as taken with them as I was after one listen of a track on the radio, but I think they're still worth mentioning and checking out. Oh, and I think the track I heard on the Jarvis show was 'Undertow', which is also up on Myspace. Jarv said they reminded him of Fleetwood Mac; see what you think.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Live Double Whammy! Part One: Virgin Freefest

Well, I've been off for a long time but hopefully this long-ish post will make up for my absence. Had a music filled couple of days which I think are worth sharing.

First up was the Virgin Mobile Free Fest this past Saturday in Columbia, MD. This has become somewhat of a mid-Atlantic institution and I think this was the second time they did it for free. A surprisingly indie-leaning line-up was spread out over three stages, with a good amount of dance acts thrown in too. Oh yeah, and Ludacris was there.

Merriweather Post Pavillion, which is where the fest took place, is a pretty good outdoor venue, close to lots of roads and even rail. Needless to say, the event was packed (did I mention it was free?), and nice sunny weather only helped. Age-wise, the crowd was a mix -- I'd say it leaned towards the younger, but there were people in their 30's (cos how many kids listen to Pavement?), some young parents, and even older folks with their teenage kids. Not sure how I feel about that -- I'd like to be a cool young parent, but do I want to expose my little 'uns to the smoke, sun, dust, and extremely loud noise? Probably not. And if my kids are teenagers they should really be making their own way to these things. Young people nowadays! More on that later.

So the place was packed, and it was very hot. That meant some shade action for me, so I went over to check out Neon Indian in the "dance forest" -- a shaded area near the edge of the grounds that was actually full of trees. The nice thing about being slightly older, and being me I suppose, is that I no longer feel the need to be up front where the action is. I spent a lot of the time watching acts from the comfort of a beach mat in the shade where the sound was good but not ear-damagingly loud. Had time for a chat here and there too. Neon Indian was decent, some good tracks, but not enough to really grab my attention. Next up was DC's own Thievery Corporation on one of the main stages. I listened to them mostly lying down and thoroughly enjoyed the experience -- a multicultural dance music band like Thievery, with influences from all over the shop, really defines the festival experience for me. I started feeling the vibe while listening to their global rhythms.

I then checked out the cheeky funky sounds of Chromeo back in the dance forest. I enjoyed their fun take on 80s' electro influenced dance music; they reminded of Daft Punk without the pretension. Pavement were up on the main stage next. I don't know their music very well but got quite into the indie guitar sounds and lo-fi aesthetic. I took a half an hour break to see Sleigh Bells (started off good, but felt overly pummeled half way through -- noise for the sake of it, toughness for the show of it?) and then went back for more. After that was a haphazard attempt at securing lawn space while everyone bar me and one other person went to check out MIA. I wasn't too bothered cos I'd seen her after Kala came out and I think she's annoying now, especially after that infamous NYT article. So, lawn space hopefully secured, I instead headed once again to the Dance Forest to see Modeselektor. Their furious techno was under-appreciated since they were on at the same time as MIA but I loved it and got down properly for the first time that night (mostly cos I was by myself). Half an hour of Ashraf shape-throwing ensued.

Last act of the night on any stage were LCD Soundsystem. An odd choice of headliner, one would think, since really how many people are into them? But they attracted a big crowd who seemed to know their stuff. I wasn't sure about them myself to be honest. Up until recently I had a low opinion of LCD: they were an over-rated indie version of dance; James Murphy was involved with DFA, the home of crappy punk-funk; he was also fat and annoying. I checked out 'Sound of Silver' and was thoroughly unimpressed by it, despite the glowing reviews. But then I read about their most recent album, and how it was their last, and started to rethink (and to stop being a hater). Plus, I've grown older and started asking myself the same questions as Murphy seems to have (am I a bit past it for all this? Am I relevant or cool? What's the point to any of this anyway??). Lastly, my brother said they were great live, and that definitely proved to be true. They were another highlight of an overall great day of music, and 'Losing my Edge' brought a big smile to my face as it closed the night out. I will definitely be giving LCD another go, as well as picking up some Pavement.

Now for the fest experience overall. I haven't been to too many big festivals, and not a single overnight one. The ones I have been to have generally been underwhelming, but I think there are multiple factors that go into that -- any music event held at RFK stadium is going to seem a bit crap no matter what happens, and HFStival half a decade ago was no exception. I enjoyed this one quite a lot but I can't imagine ever wanting to go a festival and stay there for more than a day -- the dirt and heat and discomfort are tolerable when we're talking hours, but extending that to days and adding tents, portaloos, and no showering to the mix sounds like a recipe for misery to me. So you can keep yer Glastonbury! Another festival downer is the sheer amount of drugs in the mix, whether it be alcohol, weed, or tobacco. I felt smokier after the freefest than I have in a long time; it was basically as bad as indoor concerts used to be when smoking was still allowed (if you live somewhere where indoor smoking is still allowed, sorry. Now go wash your clothes and take a shower, cos you stink). And then there's the kids. A festival like this being free is a pretty great thing, but I realised that it's only free because it presents corporations with a captive audience and a massive marketing opportunity. The middle section of the festival site was entirely devoted to corporations, their wares, and their crappy free giveaways. And people lined up for that junk! Not only that but they seemed happy to be getting even more for nothing, even if it was rubbish. Ok, some of the giveaways were actually useful, like the beachmats Virgin were handing out if you recycled something. But the bright green Toyota bandanas people got and then actually wore? The State Farm backpacks?? NO, NO, NO! C'mon, the kids! When I was younger "selling out" was still a real concept; now it seems that having your music in an advert is an aspiration -- that or on the soundtrack to some shitty mainstream teevee show. But that kind of selling out is really just one part of the larger commodification of what used to be youth culture by large multinational corporations and The Man. Yes, I sound like a bit of an old punk at this point, but it's true! Kids should be taking full of advantage of corporate stupidity by enjoying the music and ignoring the marketing but they don't seem to be clued-in enough, or to even care that they're really only seen as consumers. Rant, rant, rant; I could go on, but I don't see the point. I had a good time, the line-up was good, the setting was good, and I only got one piece of free crud -- the aforementioned Toyota bandana, soaked in ice water, and used to wipe the sweaty scuzz off the back of my neck before being discarded. Why can't young people think like me, eh?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

El Iqaa

Let's see if we can get this music blog started up again. I hope so!

Over the last couple months or so I haven't really discovered any new artists to listen to. Well I might have found a new band just this past Friday, but they haven't released an album yet, so I'll put them on hold for now.

So I'm gonna go back to my collection. Allow me to introduce to you, if you haven't heard of him already, to El Iqaa, aka as Olivetones the visual artist, aka Joe Namy, a Lebanese-American who is an artist in many forms. He is part of Other: Arab Artists Collective.

I discovered his recordings, called "Detroit Beirut" around 2007/2008 and was re-listening to them yesterday. He has quite a few gems - many of which might be good for a film, hmm...

You can actually download the whole album right here, give it a listen. My faves are 'July War', 'While They Were Sleeping', 'Zeina', 'Al Arabiya', 'Olds 98', and 'Floating On a Nod' - there are about 28 tracks!

Joe also has a radio show called Electric Kahraba on WNYC, and I definitely need to go back to listening to it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Myspace files: Aeroplane

Randomly heard about this act recently so checked out their Myspace and am chalking them up as a great discovery! They're from Belgium and make some really great uplifting dance tunes. The Myspace tracks are all remixes but they've started putting out their own work now (I say they though I'm pretty sure it's a solo act now) and you can hear 'We Can't Fly' if you download the Essential Mix they've done (link's on Myspace and on their Facebook page). Any act that can make Robbie Williams sound good is definitely talented so check out Aeroplane and do a little boogie!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Feel the bass

I have a feeling F&F are going to like this one.

I've been listening to this track for ages and only now just realized I should post it up. It's called 'Broken' by Martyn via the UK - you can tell because it totally has that London sound. Its from about 3 years ago.

This tune is amazing - it is enchanting and exhilarating. Let it take you in:

This song almost makes me want to put my speakers next to my windows and blast the tune, like this man right here in 'La Haine'.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One Love Festival 2010

One Love delivers yet again. Found out about this festival last year during my first summer in Istanbul. It was alright back then with M83, Starsailor, and best of all, Tricky. This year we almost didn't go. We were being lazy yesterday and got to the venue very late. No matter though, we got there just in time for who we actually wanted to see - Fischerspooner and Groove Armada.

Mannn this was tight! As soon as Fischerspooner came on you knew it was gonna be wicked. They're so extravagant with costume changes, dancers, and visuals. I know that's gay, and they're DEFINITELY gay, but I'm telling you, it worked. The atmosphere was brilliant, you couldn't help but be caught up in it and dance your ass off. Their sound is electroclash/electropop, basically good-sounding 80's music with hard beats. Their look is Lady GaGa turned up to 10 with originality and comedy. The singer was bloody hilarious! At the end of their set he tried to surf the crowd all the way to the back and then the front again but the Istanbul crowd didn't know what he was on about and it took three attempts for him to get it done.

It would be very difficult for Groove Armada to top that but they came close with the first few numbers of their headline slot. Live, Groove Armada were basically a rock band which also managed to combine electronic music. The best thing about them were their singers though. SaintSaviour in particular was a revelation. She was so into what she was doing. Every beat was choreographed with a dance move. The band weren't bad either. At one point one of them brought out a trumpet for Groove Armada's first hit, "At the River" which was pretty cool. Overall, One Love Istanbul is so good I'm considering coming back for it next year from America. And check out some Fischerspooner. If they manage to recreate their live sound on record their albums must be awesome.

Rating: 11/10

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Therapy? Troublegum

Feraz reminded me of these boys recently and whilst looking them up on youtube I realised how great this album was and how many good tracks there were on it. I bought this on tape when I was about 14 or 15 cos I liked a couple of singles off it and I had a coupon to get it cheaper than normal. The tracks I initially liked where 'Trigger Inside' and 'Nowhere', which were the first singles I heard off it. As a disaffected teenager in the Welsh valleys I felt like the songs spoke to me; plus they were good to play loud and Therapy? were definitely making the kind of music that parents frowned upon. They'd pop up on Radio 1 every now and then. Thinking about it now, it's quite amazing how much time I had to listen to the radio back then. Anyway, once I got the album and listened to it repeatedly more and more of it seemed pretty damn good. Below is a selection. Back then 'Knives' was of course the highlight, but I'd say all the tracks have held up pretty well over time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I know that Fahad wrote about the Gorillaz album a few weeks ago. I've been listening to it and had to share this track called "Empire Ants". It really is one of the most amazing and beautiful songs I've ever heard. Its just on a whole different level. Damon Albarn, please make more music like this!

Have a listen, and wonder, what does this song make you think of?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Myspace files: Caribou

Been hearing quite a lot about Caribou, who's just put out a new album and got some good reviews. He's coming to DC next week with former Myspace-filer Toro y Moi, so what better way to get a taste for his tunes than to check out his Myspace? I like what I've heard and I think I'll see if I can Craigslist some tickets. Overall the sound is dancey and quite close to straight up house. Sung vocals and a lo-fi aspect give things a more indie vibe but thankfully it doesn't stray into annoying DFA/punk-funk territory (though there is a prominent cowbell-like sound on 'Odessa'). Reminds me more of early dance in a pleasing way, with vocals that have some 80's and New Wave overtones, though the track 'Sun' is pretty much straight up dance with just one repeating vocal sample. New album 'Swim" seems like it's the fifth one put out by the Canadian -- catch him on tour and you can get a tour-only release.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Deadboy - If U Want Me

Another kind of already old track that I'm only now getting round to telling you about. Been hearing this on quite a few mixes and think it's well worth putting up. It's by another young Londoner, goes by the name of Deadboy, and it's another infectious and dancey track. Loving this sound right now, not sure what genre it goes by (UK bass? Funky? Dubstep? House? 2-step?) as I was never good with genres, but this sound seems to be all over the place at the moment, at least it is if you check out mixes on FACT and XLR8R. Check out those sites for some good and regular new mixes. Another place I've been getting some good recommendations is over at the AVClub's monthly Beat Connection blog. Anyway, back to Deadboy:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Joy Orbison - You heard it here last

Actually, if one of your main sources of music info is this blog you probably haven't heard of him at all. Well, let me fill you in, or at least tell you about one of his singles. Joy Orbison is a relatively new musician out of London who's put out some tracks and gotten a lot of attention. He combines the europhic sounds of early rave and jungle with some more 2-steppy stuff; some would say he's dubstep, I'm not so sure myself. His first single is the one I bought last month, 'Hyph Mngo' b/w 'Wet Look'. Both tracks use isolated vocal samples to infuse some warmth, along with analogue synth sounds and a danceable BPM. 'Hyph Mngo' pretty much put Joy on the map and I'm amongst the many who are looking forward to a full-length from him.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mash it up

I think these tracks actually work in a weird, or not-so-weird, way:

But I think this is my favourite mash-up of all time:

And come on you can't beat this:
"The shoes on my feet
I've bought it
The clothes I'm wearing
I've bought it
The rock I'm rockin'
I've bought it
'Cause I depend on me
If I wanted the watch you're wearin'
I'll buy it
The house I live in
I've bought it
The car I'm driving
I've bought it
I depend on me"


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Watch 'Music of Resistance'

Chandrasonic from my all-time favourite group, Asian Dub Foundation, aka ADF, hosted a series called 'Music of Resistance' on Al Jazeera. It's a great series about how music can be used for social change. There are episodes featuring musicians from around the world; I've chosen to highlight the episode I feel most connected to.

This episode is about the formation of ADF. I've always thought that their music, especially their first album Facts and Fictions, was amazing and revolutionary. Watch it to see some of the band members talk about their music, the history of racism and fascism in East London, and where the anti-racism movement is today in the UK.

Sidenote: If I saw members of ADF walking around on the street, I would be very, very excited.

Listen to 'Fortress Europe'!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Listen to a legend

The tables have turned and my brothers have told me off for not writing in the blog. I'm not sure where this month has gone, to be honest.

Moving on - here's a departure from my usual posts on house music. I know next to nothing about Arabic music, especially classical Arabic music. What do I know is, is that Um Kulthum is a legend, and for much reason. Her voice has POWER.

This is one of her most famous songs, "Inta Omri". I first started listening to this a few months ago, and was reminded of the song again when I heard it in the background, in a scene in this film.

This song is really quite amazing and no wonder it's so popular and famous, and there have been numerous covers of it. There's so much emotion and melody in the music and in her voice.

The tune is quite lengthy with numerous transitions, so here it is posted in parts from a live recording, which I love, and I wish I had it on vinyl:

Part 1 - I love the sad-sounding guitar in this bit

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6 - love this bit too

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Myspace files: Pendulum/the Ruby Suns/Toro Y Moi

I think I'll do this every now and then. So many bands release new music and then come to town that often the only way I have to decide if they're worth seeing is by checking out their Myspace pages and the tracks on there. After that my decisions are made!

All I knew about Pendulum before this morning is they were supposedly good Australian Drum n Bass. Maybe I'm thinking of another band though; I just checked out Pendulum and their sound veers between the Prodigy, Linkin Park, and terrible terrible metal backed with Drum n Bass beats. They've somehow impressed Zane Lowe, but I'm struggling to see the appeal. Maybe it would help if I was 15. Here's their Myspace, see what you think. As for me, I'm taking them off the "to check-out and possibly download" list.

The Ruby Suns are better. They're from New Zealand and make some nice sunny pop with international influences (particularly Polynesian). Really puts me in a spring and summer mood! If they were slightly dancier they'd be even better (check out the synth stabs on 'Cranberry') but as is they seem like a great band to hear outdoors on a hot evening.

Toro Y Moi is one bloke who's now based in South Carolina, though I think he's from New York or Philly originally. Not sure why he's gone down to SC, though sunshine and beaches may have something to do with it. I first came across him when he popped up on the DC events page at Resident Advisor. Had to check him out then but turns out he also isn't all that dancey. He does use more electronics though, producing a reverb soaked sound that has shades of 80's pop, soul, and even 60's-ish surf rock in it.

I may check out the Ruby Suns and Toro y Moi later this month as they're both playing a cheap show at the Black Cat. I'll let you all know how that goes if it happens.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Local Natives - Airplanes

I've been listening to new music for the first time in years and I'm happy to say that I like what I've been hearing. It's encouraging to know that there's still plenty of good music being made by youngsters rather than thinking that it died out in the late 90s. Funnily enough, a lot of the stuff that I like is American! Why don't I hear this stuff in America? Local Natives came out with their debut album "Gorilla Manor" last year and this is one of their singles off've it. Love the lyrics, particularly towards the end. Not sure how lasting this band'll be but mind you, virtually all of the bands that I got into in the 90s have gone now or are making much less music and what they do make is crap anyway. Don't expect this lot to be around in five years time but so what? Enjoy it while it's still fresh.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Alright, I'm going to put a bunch of random stuff on here now which I see flying about London or when I listen to 6 Music in the morning. First up is Deadmau5. I saw Deadmau5 posters all over the underground when I first got to London last autumn. I had no idea who he was and only realized he was a person until I looked at the Deadmau5 Wikipedia entry just now. Anyway he's a DJ, from Canada, and EVERYTHING that I've heard of his has been sweet as hell up until this point. Just type in Deadmau5 into YouTube, for example:


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Groove Armada - Paper Romance

I've never really thought much of Groove Armada, I heard their singles "Superstylin" and "I See You Baby" at the beginning of the last decade and didn't really pay much attention to them after that, until now. If you've never heard this song before I guarantee that you'll like it on a first listen. It's infectious, uplifting - it practically forces you to have a good time. Never mind that it's a straight up rip-off of the brilliant MGMT...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

Gorillaz are back with a new album out next week. It's another concept piece and I have to say I'm a little surprised -- I thought they'd called it quits after some big shows in Las Vegas were billed as their last ever. But here they are, and they'll be playing Coachella next month too. The new album, 'Plastic Beach', can be heard in full here. I've given it a listen and I'm pretty pleased, there are some very nice tracks and some cool collaborations (half the Clash, Bobby Womack, Little Dragon, and Mark E. Smith are some of the stand-outs). Might even be worth a vinyl purchase in fact. Hear it yourself and let us know what you think. If you're a bit ADD you can hear a mix of all the tracks at the Gorillaz Youtube site, and watch some other vids and things too -- vid for the first single should be up tomorrow.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Viva la house! Franck Roger - I'm Waiting

This is the sort of stuff that I love.

Check out this very very tasty and sexy track. Turn the volume up and jam to this. Franck Roger is a Parisian producer, this track is from June 2009.

They took down the track from losetube. Damn man, damn the corporations. Oh well you can listen to some other tunes from F.R. right here.

Another edit:
I found the track here! Listen to it, it's so good.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tindersticks - Falling Down a Mountain

Tindersticks were a band that were always on the periphery for me -- an indie band that didn't seem to go away but not a band I really paid a lot of attention to. I copied their CD's when I came across them, liked what I heard, but never really become a proper fan. That was until their last album, 'the Hungry Saw' came out. I ended up seeing them live in support of it and was entranced; it remains one of the best shows I've been to and 'the Hungry Saw' is a staple on my record player (yup, I liked it so much I bought it on vinyl). They released 'Hungry Saw' after a five year break in which it looked like they were finished. Instead the break did them good and they got creative again, resulting in a new album just out, 'Falling Down a Mountain'. From first listen it's clear that the band are still excited about working again -- the tunes carry an enthusiastic vibe, as does the overall disc, and most of them are even kind of upbeat, which is pretty weird for the famously morose Tindersticks. It's good, though there are some tracks that grate, particularly 'Peanuts', and to me the album as a whole doesn't feel as cohesive as 'Hungry Saw' did. It could be that I'll love the songs more if I get to hear them live, but I don't think this album will become as special to me. In some ways it almost seems like an established pattern has been repeated but to slightly lesser effect -- here's an instrumental, here's a latin-tinged fast track, here's some soul -- but after doing some reading it seems that that is standard Tindersticks fare. Can't really fault them for doing what they do best after having been around since the 90's. You can take a listen to the whole album here; I hope they'll tour on the back of it, but playing the new one in it's entirety, as they did for 'Hungry Saw', probably isn't necessary.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I present to you...

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, India's national treasure:


"Meri Pant Bhi Sexy" from Dulaara.

This is obviously a knock-off of Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy", which is actually one of the first songs I remember hearing when I was little. And you can blame Feraz for that.

This post is a tribute to the evening I spent with the siblings Manisha and Madhav where we spent hours watching Bollywood videos from 90s'. We do indeed miss those days.

Monday, February 8, 2010

MUTINY: Asians Storm British Music

I would LOVE to see this film! This is the music I've grown up on.

"Combining music documentary and social documentary, MUTINY: Asians Storm British Music charts the meteoric rise of Asian music in 1990s Britain, as well as the decades of cultural cross-pollination and political struggle that led up to that historic moment. Shot independently on digital video over the course of seven years, MUTINY features Asian Dub Foundation, Talvin Singh, Fun^Da^Mental and a host of other British musicians of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi descent, presenting these artists and their music at extreme close range.
Through its dynamic mix of live performances, candid interviews and seldom-seen archival footage, MUTINY presents the story of a generation that grew up in the 1970s and 80s, defining itself in an environment of racial violence while drawing strength from both British street culture and South Asian roots. The artists who emerged from this generation became some of the greatest innovators in British music, mixing the influences of their parents' cultures with electronica, hip-hop, reggae and punk and producing unique and powerful new sounds.
MUTINY follows these musicians from their early forays in music and activism through their negotiation of record deals and press attention during the "Asian Underground" hype of the mid 1990s, to dealing with the loss of industry backing by the end of the decade. MUTINY'S artists are undeterred, pushing forward with their music and laying the foundation for the next generation. Outspoken and uncompromising, they remain in command throughout this fast-paced and uplifting feature.
With: Anjali, Asian Dub Foundation, Black Star Liner, Fun^Da^Mental, Hustlers HC, Invasian, Joi, Kaliphz, DJ Ritu, Talvin Singh, State of Bengal, and more."

I've just found out about this film and I'm totally geeked. Haven't been able to find a trailer online though. I need to get my hands on this film.

Check out this banging track by Anjali called "Stinging Sitars". I know it was in a phone advert a couple of years ago...erm, yeah. But I love the surfer music with the sitar man.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


M.A.N.D.Y. were dj'ing at the Muse last week, a fairly new DC lounge/club, and were joined by the UK's Matt Tolfrey (actually it was only half of M.A.N.D.Y., the half known as Phillip Jung). They were there to help celebrate the one year anniversary of the Clinic night, one of the few parties in DC that attracts world-class DJ's that I know of. This night was nicely packed and everyone seemed to have a great time. I went over there right after checking out the film 'Berlin Calling' that was playing as part of a German film festival here. That was a nice way to prep for the night as it's about a German techno DJ who starts losing his mind cos of drugs. The film stars real-life DJ Paul Kalkbrenner, who also did the brilliant soundtrack. Walking down the street to see M.A.N.D.Y. (from Berlin) was a nice way to follow-up from the film (although no drugs or losing of the mind were involved for me, don't worry). I had a hands-in-the-air moment when 'Township Funk' came on towards the end of the night. I first heard it a couple of years back when it was getting a lot of buzz and was apparently big in people's setlists. Since then DJ Mujava doesn't seem to have been up to much at all, which is a shame, but this track still kills! Check out some vids below.

The interesting vid for Township Funk:

A great M.A.N.D.Y. remix, has me itching to scour the web for mp3s:

And a scene from Berlin Calling -- check out the dance move! Here, DJ Ickarus runs away from the mental hospital:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

IMAN at the Apollo

Last night IMAN at the Apollo took place. This event had about a dozen performers, and sold out days in advance.

IMAN is Inner City Muslim Action Network and they're based out of Chicago. I first heard of IMAN when I went to their summer festival, "Takin' It to the Streets" in 2003. I was 16. Since then, IMAN has grown and evolved, and well, I'm not 16 anymore.

I have the feeling that last night is going to be seen as a landmark event for Muslims in America - IMAN sold out the Apollo, which seats 1,500, and it was Muslims putting Muslim artists on stage. The place was full of positive and invigorating energy.

Early on, like the dork I am, I watched the DJs Kid Dragon and Raichous prepare for their DJ set, and wished I could do what they can. Then I realized I should probably do what I was supposed to.

As a backstage volunteer I didn't really get to see the show except from the sidelines from time to time, but at the end I went into the audience area to watch Mos Def perform. I definitely didn't mind though as it was such an interesting experience to be a volunteer for such a huge event, especially to be a stage runner, as my role was to basically stand backstage, fetch artists or make sure they were on call for their turn, and also act as security.

The hugeness of the event isn't just that it was at the Apollo and that it sold out, but the many number of acts in the show. The stakes were definitely high backstage as all the acts had to be assembled, prepped, ready to go, and on time. Its a miracle really that all the IMAN staff, volunteers, and Apollo staff were able to pull it all off - because there were so many performers! I definitely think there were too many, but it worked out in the end.

So my experience of last night was from backstage, and I got to see first-hand what it takes to put such chaos into an orderly event. Artists would be eating, praying, or listening to their headphones minutes or seconds before they went on stage and started belting out their songs. It takes time, stamina, and talent to do that. There were so many people behind the curtain, so much activity going on, and each artist had to manage their way across and then told to walk into the limelight.

There were babies crying, artists eating sandwiches, hosts dancing, groupies, security men whistling...I definitely took it all in and am grateful I got to see the other side of the show.

Now, finally, here are some songs from a few of the artists who performed last night. Enjoy!

This is "Rise Up" by Alex Schein

The Reminders are a husband-wife duo and are tons of fun to watch live.

Outlandish were also present and performed three tunes, including this one "Kom Igen." There was no dupatta present. I was hoping they'd do "Guantanamo", but they didn't.

And of course Mos Def was the last act. He wore jeans and a jean jacket and tried to shuffle like James Brown. It was a lovable performance, and he performed this classic of his:

PS this is a pretty good review of the event.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ame - Excelsior

Hey guys and gals,
sorry for the long hiatus. Its been a pretty crazy month over here in NYC.

But this song is very soothing and I listen to it when I get home and all I want to do is sit or fall asleep. I discovered this tune via Gilles Peterson back in 2006 or so. Gilles is playing in Brooklyn on the 29th by the way!!! Which I'm very excited about.

Anyway, this song isn't really on the radar but its such a good tune, so I'm giving it some exposure here. This is "Excelsior" by the duo Ame.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron

I was listening to Radio 6 the other day when Gil Scott-Heron's new single came on, "Me and the Devil." The impact was immediate: it caught me, put its hands around my neck, and then tried to throttle the living crap out of me. This isn't some song which sounds okay on a first listen and then may gradually grow on you over time. This song grabs you by the balls. Now I had no idea who the composer was, just that he was supposedly the "Godfather of Rap." So I did a little research. "Me and the Devil" is from Scott-Heron's first album in over fifteen years. He's been in and out of prison since 2001 for various drug-related charges, most of them for possession of cocaine. He's been making music since 1969, his biggest hit to date being "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" from 1971. He's now 60 years old. Well if this new single is a good representation of the album that's to come, the game most certainly isn't up yet for Mr. Scott-Heron. Phenomenal.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"I'm pretty bad"

Couldn't find a direct streaming link unfortunately but check out this tune right here. It's "Bad" by Kode9, one of the foremost dubstep producers and label owner of Hyperdub, a dubstep label. This tune just really does my head in - I think its great how he fused dubstep and house together and came up with this.

This is a set by Kode9 from a few years ago - its one of my favourite dubstep mixes. I had this on repeat while in college and would unknowingly try to imitate the beats via beatboxing - I'd only realize what I was doing when I noticed my friend laughing at me.

For those confused on what dubstep is, its a new musical movement of the last decade. I disagree with Fahad on the notion that no new musical movements or genres emerged in the 2000s' - there was, and is dubstep. This is a good briefer on dubstep and features some great dubstep tracks (listen to the Burial and Benga links.) I consider myself lucky to have been in London in 06/07 just when dubstep was beginning to get more notice.

Yeah! Thoughts?