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!