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166 posts tagged with music by filthy light thief.
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Victor Gama: exploring musical terra incognita with unique instruments

Victor Gama is a self-taught composer and musician who has expanded his process of composing music for himself and others to perform into creating new or modified instruments, and is also involved with traveling to hard to access regions of Angola and recording local music, as documented on his website Tsikaya: Músicos do Interior. You can read an outstanding interview of Victor with Ned Sublette for Afropop, or read more on his creation of instruments as part of his creative process, or you can experience his performances on YouTube and his music on Soundcloud. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 22, 2014 - 0 comments

A look back at the funky, psychedelic, soulful 70s in Nigeria

According to the Daptone Gold compilation liner notes (auto-playing music, click on "Biography"to read the notes), written by Pitchfork contributor Douglas Wolk, "the world capital of soul" has moved from the US ("between Memphis and Detroit, with occasional stopovers in New Orleans, Cincinnati and elsewhere") in the 1960, to Lagos in the 1970s, then it went into hiding, finally reappearing in Brooklyn, with Daptone Records. Let's go back - why Lagos in the 1970s? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 18, 2014 - 10 comments

808state​:psycho​ecstatic​tranceenducing​groove​riding​techno​funk​alogical​sound

808 State is an English electronic group that formed in 1987, and take their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and their shared state of mind. As a trio, they produced their iconic track, Pacific, which fused influences of house music, jazz fusion and exotica. The group changed membership a bit over the years, but one way or another 808 State have released six albums* to date, and a number of singles, EPs, and promotional discs. 808state.com has a ton of information, including an extensive visual discography, a list of other productions and remixes, and over a gig of demos, live tracks, and other non-album audio to download. Given the group's 27 year-long history, there's a lot more to see and hear. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 7, 2014 - 29 comments

Pocketknife and Cousin Cole - Tambourine Dreams and beyond

Six and a half years ago, the duo of Pocketknife (Skooby Laposky) and Cousin Cole (aka Cousin Culo) released handful of remixes, edits and re-works, compiled under the name Tambourine Dream (Discogs) on their joint Flagrant Fowl label. The label only lasted a few years, and it seems the duo are now operating alone. Cole/Culo is still solidly in remix/rework territory, with self-selected highlights including the moombahton "So Emotional" & volume 2 mixtape/EPs he made with Phi Unit, while Laposky has ventured into a few tributes to Arthur Russell (Russell, previously), in the form of a mix of Russell's tracks, and releasing a recently discovered track (which he remixed as Pocketknife) on his label, Wilde Calm Records, where he also released an album of "piano not piano" house music created solely with a prepared piano and raw drum programming, under the name Boonlorm.
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 2, 2014 - 4 comments

Cromagnon’s only album: a jumble of sounds, shouts, and one actual song

Depending on one's point of view, Orgasm (later reissued as Cave Rock) is either a ridiculously self-indulgent artifact of the '60s counterculture or an underground gem that was way ahead of its time -- and it's probably a little bit of both. The basic idea behind Cromagnon, an obscure East Coast group led by vocalists Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot, was psychedelic rock combined with the sticks and stones of prehistoric cavemen, as well as with traces of folk-rock; it's a bizarre concept, certainly, but at times, it works. You can hear the whole crazy album on YouTube, or stick with the most song-like track (featuring bagpipes, tribal beats and some sort of scream-singing), Caledonia, seen here with an unofficial video. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 26, 2014 - 6 comments

What in the hell is country funk? Here are 33 tracks for reference

Here's a song I didn't know existed until summer 2007, when Lemon Jelly's Fred Deakin released an impeccably curated three-CD mix (full 4 hours on Mixcloud). Halfway through the first disc, the music slipped into an easy, loping groove, sunburned and hungover, and a regretful voice offered Otis Blackwell's lonesome lyric: "You know I can be found/ Sitting home all alone …" [Billy Swan's version of "Don't Be Cruel" is] a beautiful record, though, and utterly different from Elvis's 1956 recording. And it opens a fantastic collection of country funk songs, collected and remastered by Zach Cowie of Light in the Attic Records. More sounds below the break. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 20, 2014 - 26 comments

The CD Case: like discovering that Hollywood is financed by VHS hoarders

The Case for CDs -- as CD sales continue to plummet, Grantland's Steven Hyden takes a "glass-half-full perspective" on those numbers, discusses format nostalgia, and the five types of albums that justify the continued existence of CDs. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 17, 2014 - 98 comments

Virtual tip jars and tours: digital-age music outreach and fan support

There are numerous ways that bands reach out to potential and current fans, and you can add a few more to the list with Noisetrade, Stageit and Concert Window. Noisetrade allows artists and bands to give away music, like a few tracks and covers from Dr. Dog and Saint Rich, to the whole First Album Live from They Might Be Giants, and now e/audio books, too, in trade for an email address and zip code. If you prefer live music, Stageit and Concert Window allow fans to watch unrecorded, streaming shows from bands anywhere in the world, for whatever price fans see fit. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 9, 2014 - 4 comments

Butter Ya'self - Gettin' hot and heavy in the oven like a casserole

Butter Ya'Self (Vimeo; YouTube) is "basically ... the story of Drake and Lil’ Wayne [as told with an anthropomorphic banana, hot dog bun, and stick of butter]. ButterKrust is 100% based on Wayne – Nana Splits isn’t based on anyone real but his relationship to ButterKrust is based on Drake’s relationship to Lil’ Wayne. The most important thing I wanted to express in this video is the relationship between them, how tight they are and how much Nana Splits looks up to ButterKrust." That's the story from Julian Petschek, who is studying at The California Institute of the Arts. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 5, 2014 - 2 comments

Free, streaming Detroit (style) hip-hop from DJ House Shoes and friends

While the name Michael “House Shoes” Buchanan remains unknown to most, he's been involved with the Detroit hip-hop community since '94, producing some beats for an (unreleased) EP by Elzhi in 1998, plus a few other projects in the 1990s, but he really started making noise in the 2000s, finally releasing his own album, Let It Go, in 2012, which he then offered as a free download in 2013. All the while, he's continued to act as "Detroit's Hip-Hop Ambassador to the World," promoting other up-and-coming acts through various channels, including his on-going series, "The Gift," in which he promotes new artists. [NOTE: NSFW lyrics throughout the music] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 1, 2014 - 4 comments

Music to Make You Move: Syncopation, Body-Movement and Pleasure

What is it about "Happy" by Pharrell Williams that makes you want to move? Why can't we sit still when we hear Ray Charles perform "I've Got a Woman"? Michael Jackson had it, and so did Stevie Wonder. "It," in this case, is syncopation, the gaps in the rhythm that your brain wants to fill in, as reported in the article Syncopation, Body-Movement and Pleasure in Groove Music (full article online).
posted by filthy light thief on May 30, 2014 - 70 comments

Grime Int'l: a few of the current grime musicians from around the world

Grime is an electronic music style that is largely regional, associated most strongly with the Bow/E3 district of London (prime example: Wiley - "Bow E3"), but in recent years, grime has grown in style and station, moving out from London and expanding to Canada, Australia, Japan and beyond. (NOTE: audio is likely to be NSFW to some degree) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 24, 2014 - 17 comments

Valentina Lisitsa: the Bieber of Classical music goes minimal

Valentina Lisitsa is a classical pianist who credits her current fame to YouTube, where she has uploaded more than 200 videos of her performances. Were it not for the popularity of these videos (Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3 - 7 million views; Beethoven "Für Elise" - 4 million; Liszt "La Campanella" - 3 million), she would be, in her own words, "totally dead" in "the age of child prodigies". Her newest work is not a thousand notes a minute as featured in some of her popular videos, but more minimal, as heard in "The Heart Asks Pleasure First," the first track from her album (Soundcloud snippet preview of all tracks) of music by minimalist composer Michael Nyman. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 8, 2014 - 12 comments

Christian Zander's abstract generative art

Christian Zander may have a commercial design background, he has a significant amount of work in a more abstract, generative style, as seen in his House and Bike blog posts, and strewn among his work portfolio. He has also worked with animations, both live (Kiss Kiss Kiss - "Ponte 25") and recorded (Kenton Slash Demon - "Ore" / I Got You On Tape - "Run From The Rain").
posted by filthy light thief on May 6, 2014 - 2 comments

The Prodigy, still raving after 20 years

Twenty years after originally forming, the English electronic/ rave/ big beat group The Prodigy were back on tour for their fifth studio album, Invaders Must Die. On July 24, 2010, the "40-somethings bounce around a stage like men half their age, owning festival-sized audiences" like rising dance stars wish they could. The performance was recorded and released the next year, and you can see the hour plus of World's On Fire in full on Vimeo. (NOTE: NSFW lyrics) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 29, 2014 - 67 comments

Calvin and Hobbes in motion - sorry Bill, they had to move

Animator Adam Brown took two Calvin and Hobbes comics as keyframes and animated the pair in motion, with some sound: dancing in the forest (Vimeo; YouTube; GIF without the background) and a fireside tiger attack (Vimeo; GIF). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 14, 2014 - 51 comments

Turning back time & space with the orchestral pop music of The Long Lost

Five years ago, Alfred Weisberg-Roberts, aka Alfred Darlington (more widely known as Daedelus) finally released an album with his wife, Laura Darlington, under the group name The Long Lost. And it's beautiful, light and airy orchestral pop that owes a greater debt to Caetano Veloso than Coldcut, the style of music that might not out of place being played live in a knitting shop, which could seem a bit strange for a group releasing their music on Ninja Tune. For further fond words, The Gaslamp Killer considered their album one of his top picks for 2009, and here's a nice interview with Alfred and Laura. But we're really here for the music, so here's their self-titled album, streaming on Grooveshark. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 11, 2014 - 4 comments

Four live sets from Antony and (some of) the Johnsons, with orchestras

Antony and the Johnsons (Wikipedia) - live at Carre with the Metropole Orchestra (2009); live at St. Luke's with London Symphony Orchestra (2005) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 7, 2014 - 4 comments

Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti and Son Lux are: Sisyphus

"s/s/s started to sound like the Nazi Schutzstaffel with a lisp so we had to change it. We wanted a word with three S’s and Sisyphus felt like a capable anti-hero—endless struggle, the human plague, the existential condition. We are all working towards nothing. Also, the apparent futility of this collaboration—a black rapper from Chicago, a white singer-songwriter from Detroit, and an arty producer with cool glasses, though I dunno where Ryan’s from, Cleveland? We have so little in common but we have deep love for each other and we are pushing that stone together." That's Sufjan Stevens, talking about his collaboration with the rapper Serengeti (David Cohn), and singer/producer Son Lux (Ryan Lott), who released their Beak & Claw EP last year as s/s/s (Bandcamp), and have recently released their debut album as Sisyphus (Bandcamp). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 24, 2014 - 30 comments

Domu - Return of the Rogue, and rise of Sector 12/12

Four year, four months after Dominic Stanton, aka Domu (among other stage names), retired from the music industry, he has returned. Under the Weather (Bandcamp) is a three-track EP, spanning an updated take on his his trademark heavy breaks, a slightly housier direction, and lush hip-hop inspired instrumental. It was released on the new Sector 12/12 label, which earlier released another 3 track EP, Past Twelve, from Infest aka Robbert Peperkamp.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 19, 2014 - 1 comment

Six Degrees Records: a world of sound, streaming online

Six Degrees Records is a record label based in San Francisco that represents a range of "world music" sounds. You can dig into their discography through official mixes from the label or the usual array of samplers on Soundcloud, or listen to a ton of complete albums from 17 artists and groups on Bandcamp, from Malian guitarist and singer Vieux Farka Touré to the man who made the label, Karsh Kale, who is considered one of the pioneering figures in defining the Asian Underground genre, to the Brazilian singer/songwriter, Céu and the Iranian singer and musician, Azam Ali. If this is all too overwhelming, just grab the free 10-track sampler.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 7, 2014 - 8 comments

Quincy Jones And Bill Cosby: The Original Jam Sessions, and remixes

Later this year will mark the 45th anniversary of Bill Cosby's first self-titled sitcom, The Bill Cosby Show. Ten years ago, the original jam sessions were released, which are notable for the "various collection of notables who steal the show with contributions at various points." Pianist Les McCann, sax man Ernie Watts, and guitarist Arthur Adams get things going on "Groovy Gravy," Tom Scott shows some legit chops on "Toe Jam," while Jimmy Smith offers sampling of his Hammond B3 on the interlude "Jimmy Cookin' On Top." If seeing Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby get top billing confused you, the album credits reference their roles, which are not front-and-center, except for some vocal improv by Cosby on "Hikky-Burr." You can hear more tracks on Grooveshark, and if you're into more of that modern dance remixery, you might (also) enjoy The New Mixes, Vol. 1, which can also be sampled on Grooveshark.
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 24, 2014 - 10 comments

808 State, interpreted through steel drums, and a brass band

Last year, English conceptual artist Jeremy Deller went to Trinidad to have "Pacific State", the English dance anthem by 808 State, reworked on steel drums. He gave the project to Michelle Huggins-Watts and the Valley Harps steel pan drum group to see where they'd take it. Here is the result. Before that, he also brought a similar idea to the Williams Fairey Brass Band, and they re-arranged 808 State's "Pacific 202" (original version, for comparison).
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 15, 2014 - 16 comments

Dubbel Dutch: "I think we need more [musical] schizophrenics"

Marc Glasser started making electronic music when he was a teenager, and now produces music under the name Dubbel Dutch and releasing it most often on the eclectic Mixpak label, whose general sound often leans towards weird takes on reggae riddims. But as Glasser mentioned in a 2010 interview, he has been "opening up to music from everywhere. Cumbia, dancehall, kuduro, South African house, Dutch bubbling, Bmore club, Chicago juke and footwork*, old skool jungle and hardcore, garage, UK Funky and all that mingles with, or shares influences with, these sounds." What does this "schizophrenic" collage of musical styles sound like? Start with Self Help Riddims and the title track video, Self Help Riddim, then go from there. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 1, 2014 - 7 comments

The northern soul and R&B sounds of Lenis Guess, straight outta Norfolk

Lenis Guess was one of the pioneers in the Norfolk recording scene. This self-taught vocalist and musician was cranking out records from his 35th Street studio in Norfolk for many artists, including his own and himself. This, producer, singer, musician, performer was at the forefront of the Norfolk sound. With songs like,I was Born to Be A Drummer,“ his funk band, The 35th Street Gang, were mainstays of the 70s in and around the Hampton Roads area. Lenis himself had hits like,I Keep Coming Back for More,” andWorking for My Baby.” [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 24, 2014 - 4 comments

Beat This: producers making a beat, from nothing to done, in 10 minutes

Don't Watch That TV is a rabbit hole of fun and weird videos, mostly focused on urban/ dance/ electronic music, sorted into 20 different "channels" or programs. To make this timesink more manageable, I'd like to bring your attention to their Beat This channel, wherein producers are challenged to create a new beat, from scratch, in 10 minutes. The first mix is from a young producer who goes by Swindle, and he pulls off a pretty nice track in the time allotted, joking he should do all his tracks in ten minutes. But if that doesn't catch your fancy, and all those producers names don't mean anything to you, may I present Kieren Hebden, aka Four Tet, making a beat with nothing but MJ's Thriller album as the source material, sampling and distorting it into something weird and new. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 17, 2014 - 8 comments

Richard Pryor: that clown can really sing the blues

Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966. The performance is also available on YouTube with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 5, 2014 - 14 comments

Jacco Gardner's Cabinet of Curiosities: psych-baroque-pop

Here's a little something old to bring in the new year: Jacco Gardner and his debut solo album, Cabinet of Curiosities (Grooveshark streaming tracks; full album on YouTube). Why? Because it's a delicious platter of ornate, lushly orchestrated, psych-inflected "soft rock" or "baroque pop" and if you didn't know better, you might guess it was made in the 1960s, not in 2012. The album was created almost solely by Gardner, who played all the instruments except the drums. For live shows, the 25 year old multi-instrumentalist had to enlist more help, as you can see in this live set from Lowlands, and two more, from Ancienne Belgique and at International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 31, 2013 - 14 comments

The Roots of Orchis: post-rock, downtempo, and a bit of turntablism

The Roots of Orchis (Facebook page) don't seem to be active much these days, but sometimes it's nice to look back. Their peak was probably their 2002 album, Some Things Plural (Bandcamp), which blends the mellow post-rock styles of Tortoise with the downtempo, instrumental hip-hop grooves of early era DJ Shadow. For example, the first track "develops into a smooth post-rocking instrumental with a dusty groove that never imagines itself any more pimped out than it is." For another fantastic blend of relaxed instruments and subtle turntablism, check out their take on Björk's Possibly Maybe, from the Read: Interpreting Björk compilation. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 27, 2013 - 5 comments

Bing Crosby at Christmas: "Right or wrong, I sing either way."

Bing Crosby is something of the unofficial "classic voice of the Christmas season," but his most popular piece in recent years is the unlikely duet from 1977, the same year he passed away. The Washington Post provides the odd story of holiday harmony, how David Bowie joined Crosby at the piano for their duet, "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy". If you like the classics, here's some Bing over the years: a fan-made abbreviation of Frank Sinatra's Christmas Show from 1957, Bing sings "White Christmas" in 1961, Bing & Kathryn Crosby take you on a trip to "Christmas Island" from his 1971 Crosby family special, and from his final Christmas special, Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas, Bing and Twiggy singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." If you'd like a full period piece, here's an all-star 1958 USO Christmas show (program history and overview). If that's all a bit too sweet for you, let Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, June Carter-Cash, Jessi Colter, John Carter-Cash, and more regale you in the Christmas On The Road TV Special (1984).
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 15, 2013 - 32 comments

20 years of Essential mixes: a kaleidoscope of sounds

For younger fans of electronic music, the Essential Mix archive* is a time capsule that allows them to listen to sets that took place before they were born; for others, it’s a treasure chest of musical memories that allows them to re-visit the glory days. And what better way to celebrate 20 years than with a party? Rather than the usual broadcast from Tong’s studio, fans had the opportunity to join in on the fun at the Manchester Warehouse Project, with an absolutely stellar line-up pitting veterans of the scene back-to-back with rising stars. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 14, 2013 - 34 comments

For if we don't find the next whiskey-bar, I tell you we must die!

"Oh, show us the way, to the next whiskey-bar. Oh, don't ask why, oh, don't ask why." And so opens the Alabama Song (Google books preview) by Bertholt Brecht and Brecht's close collaborator, Elisabeth Hauptmann (Gbp), first published in 1927. Brecht set it to music and performed it on stages all over Berlin, but the better known version was scored by classical composer Kurt Weill, who was impressed with Brecht’s poetry and wanted to break away from the constraints of his previous work. It was this version, first performed by Lotte Lenya, that was made famous by The Doors and their use of a Marxophone (Wikipedia). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 13, 2013 - 24 comments

The next Shakira, strong female Latin musicians to take the mantle

"Shakira aside, the female presence is a little light. Why are there no more big female acts in Latin music right now? I look at my charts, and there's very few female names.... you have a lot of these pretty, sexy young women, who women now are identifying less and less with. I really wish that were different." That's a quote from Leila Cobo, executive director of Latin Content & Programming for Billboard, that opened an NPR piece that countered with a few names to watch, featuring input from Latin Alternative co-host Ernesto Lechner. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 30, 2013 - 10 comments

Uproot Andy's Worldwide Tings, music to make you say Que Bajo

Spice up your day with Uproot Andy's mixes and remixes of various African/Latin sounds, made for Que Bajo, an Monthly Tropical Bass Party in New York City. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 28, 2013 - 5 comments

Death Grips: Government Plates, third aggro/weirdo rap album for free

May 2011: Death Grips appears out of nowhere, releases Ex Military, a free mixtape of noisy, distorted aggro-rap (full album stream on YouTube).
April 2012: Death Grips signs with Epic, releases The Money Store, their first proper album of art-rap/ tech-beat/ psycho-rap/ whatever (YT album stream).
October 2012: Death Grips leak their second album, No Love Deep Web, defying Epic, and sever ties to the label.
July 2013: Death Grips signs to Capitol/Harvest under their own Thirdworlds imprint.
November 2013: Death Grips suddenly drops their 3rd album, Government Plates, for free to download and stream from various sources.
(It's best to consider all audio NSFW) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 14, 2013 - 28 comments

Nightmare Before Christmas: known throughout England, France, Italy ...

If you've like Jack, the Pumpkin King, and you've grown so tired of the same old thing, you know all the songs from the The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack (YT Playlist), and you're done with the covers in the 2006 reissue bonus CD (featuring Fiona Apple, Fall Out Boy, She Wants Revenge and Panic! at the Disco) and the 2008 cover album, Nightmare Revisited (YT Playlist), why not check out the official translated versions? There's L'Étrange Noël de Monsieur Jack, Pesadilla Antes De Navidad, and ナイトメアー·ビフォア·クリスマス, to name a few versions. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 13, 2013 - 12 comments

The sad, melodic, and sometimes beat-driven music of Dexter Tortoriello

Dexter Tortoriello makes various forms of sad music. The most prolific persona is Houses, which is a duo with his girlfriend Megan Messina, which Tortoriello thinks of in terms of "old Elephant 6 recordings," though it's been classified with the chillwave craze of the recent years, escapist songs are understated in mood and minimalist in structure. Then there's his solo project, Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross, named for the centuries-old secret occult sect Golden Dawn and the symbol of Rosicrucianism, built with intensely sculpted collection of skittering electronics and delicate acoustic textures, ... marked by heavy beats and synthesizer pads. You can hear tracks from both projects on Soundcloud (Houses; Dawn Golden) and YouTube (Houses official channel, and a playlist for A Quiet Darkness, the newest Houses album).
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 2, 2013 - 5 comments

Reggie Watts on death metal, specifically Exhumed's album Necrocracy

"I talk about death in my comedy because it is something real, but also something that we don't necessarily like to talk about. That's why death metal talks about it too. Death metal is about when death is occurring, or has occurred, and all the mythology that exists beyond that: demons and zombies and hell. And lots of decomposition. And the music is fascinated with that because it's a fascinating topic: we all think about this stuff. Then the sound of the music matches what the content is: It just wouldn't sound right to have that kind of music paired with lyrics about, say, going to your favorite coffee shop and seeing a cute girl. That just wouldn't work. Although, come to think of it, that would be funny to hear." Reggie Watts is an internationally renowned vocalist/ beatboxer/ musician/ comedian, and an aficionado of death metal, as seen in his review of Exhumed's album, Necrocracy (streaming on Bandcamp)
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 1, 2013 - 13 comments

THEESatisfaction: psychedelic space-soul jazz-rap from Seattle

THEESatisfaction is Catherine Harris-White (Cat) and Stasia Irons (Stasi), the spacey future-rap duo from Seattle who (kind of) got their break from the like-minded Shabazz Palaces, a collective lead by Ishmael Butler, aka Palaceer Lazaro. Shabazz Palaces was signed to the Seattle label Sup Pop in 2010, and they released Black Up (YT, official album stream), with THEESatisfaction featured as guest vocalists. From that appearance, Sub Pop signed the duo, and released their album, awE naturalE (YT, official album stream) last year. If that's not enough psychedelic space-soul jazz-rap, then check out their Bandcamp page, which is the source of their rambling collection of genres, and contains their releases from 2008 through the present. And if that's not enough ... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 16, 2013 - 10 comments

Elvis Costello and the Roots: 'There's no such thing as too funky'

Ahmir Thompson, aka ?uestlove from The Roots, and their producer, Steven Mandel, are secret "Elvis freaks." One of their early discussions about agreeing to their gig on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon was the possibility about playing with Elvis. The Roots took the job, and Elvis has now played on the show five times. From these collaborations, the seeds of something bigger grew, and that came to a very funky (and political) fruition with Wise Up Ghost, embedded as streaming tracks in this Guardian review, and available in a single stream from a fan on YouTube. If you'd like to hear more about how the "remixing" of some prior Costello pieces (Pills and Soap, National Ramson, and Hurry Down Doomsday, to name a few songs), Costello and Thompson spent about 40 minutes with NPR's World Cafe, or you can read their interview with the Guardian.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 9, 2013 - 38 comments

Mazzy Star: It's True, We're Still Together (and we have a new album)

Mazzy Star are best known for their hazy, shoegazer album So Tonight I Might See (Grooveshark stream), which contained the single Fade Into You (YouTube). That album was released in 1993, and went platinum in 1995, providing an odd counter-point to the popular grunge sounds of the day. As a band, they made three albums in the 1990s, though neither hit the peak of their sophomore album. They disbanded (as far as the public was concerned*) in 1997, though there were a series of reunion tours in 2000. Eleven years later, they released a new single, Common Burn b/w Lay Myself Down, and the group toured in 2012. This week, they release their fourth album, Seasons of Your Day, and they aren't any cheerier (in responding to interview questions). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 22, 2013 - 30 comments

Chelsea Wolfe, moody drone-folk to gloomy, cinematic post-rock

If you've been tracking gloomy music from witch house sounds to doomy black metal stuff, you might have heard the name Chelsea Wolfe, who contributed to a hazy Halloween-all-year sounding 2-Pac/Notorious B.I.G. mixtape thing and covered Black Spell of Destruction, which was originally by Burzum. There was also her cover of The Modern Age, from the tribute compilation to The Strokes Is This It (prev). Then there are her two past albums: first The Grime And The Glow, which employed lo-fi 8-track tape hiss to add a haunted ambiance, then Apokalypsis, "moody drone-folk" likened to the sounds of PJ Harvey and Scout Niblett. If that catches your interest, great. But may I suggest skip ahead to the current album, Pain is Beauty, "emotionally exhausting in equally mad and enjoyable ways," in which the "permanent Halloween costume" of prior albums is cast aside, and "we get a better sense of her talent and spirit."
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 18, 2013 - 12 comments

The 1960s experimental collaborations of Raymond Scott and Jim Henson

"Gentlemen: I have a story that may be of interest to you. It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now well known as a sequencer. I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first conceived and built the sequencer." This is the opening to an undated, unaddressed letter, found in Raymond Scott's personal papers (yes, the same fellow whose kooky soundtracks scored everything from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Ren & Stimpy, The Simpson, and Animaniacs). You can read the rest of Scott's letter, along with Bob Moog's recollections of visiting Raymond's electronics laboratory in the mid-1950s. Or you could jump ahead to the mid-1960s, when Jim Henson was in his late 20s to early 30s, and he was working on a variety of odd projects after a successful run with Sam and Friends, but before he it it big with Sesame Street. It was at this point that he teamed up with Scott on a few short, experimental films. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 12, 2013 - 11 comments

The music of Keats Collective: future funk / glo-fi / spacebop

Dear music lover and inquisitive individual, have you wondered what the funk of the future might sound like? You have (not)? Well, you're in luck! The good people at Keats//Collective show you a glimpse of what could possibly be future funk, available in a handful of solo albums and four compilations of what they classify as electronic / chillwave / disco / future funk / glo-fi / spacebop. But you really should stop reading and just take a listen to ... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 4, 2013 - 16 comments

80 years of electronic music, heard in a selection of 55 tracks by Bleep

A bit over a year ago, Warp Record's digital music shop, Bleep.com, presented their guide to recorded* electronic music, spanning from 1930 to 2010 (also as a Facebook timeline, which apparently kicked the whole thing off). The overview of recorded electronic music was presented as a selection of 55 tracks, almost five and a half hours in full. Part of this presentation was a (now expired) promotional deal to purchase the collection of songs as a lot, but you can still read about each piece of music on Bleep and hear 49 of the tracks in a playlist on Grooveshark. There's more to hear and read below the fold. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 31, 2013 - 26 comments

Midnight Music from TOKiMONSTA

Jennifer Lee makes music under the name TOKiMONSTA. The Los Angeles born-and-raised musician started out in beat-battles, then released some remixes that got broader recognition in a style clearly inspired by older hip-hop and trip-hop. She got her start releasing her music through her friend, Flying Lotus, but has only released one EP for his Brainfeeder label. Her discography includes two proper albums, a handful of EPs and singles, plus various appearances on compilations, never sticking with a single label for any length of time. Her style started with 1990s hip-hop and trip-hop, branched out into IDM and "grittier" styles, and her new album, Half Shadows, was said to range from "delightfully weird" for the collaboration with Kool Keith, to "lush, hypnotic" for the track with Andreya Triana. The album also features a collaboration with MNDR (possibly NSFW skimpy clothing scene in intro) and with Gavin Turek. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 23, 2013 - 11 comments

C.J. Boyd's 11 mixtapes online - For Only You and Everyone

C.J. Boyd is a wandering bassist improvisor/composer who has found time to make 11 "multimedia mixtapes" for his Obsolete Media label-mates, and you can stream or purchase (for a price of your choosing) more than 16 hours of enjoyable, experimental music, featuring a ton of artists.
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 13, 2013 - 4 comments

El Gusto of Algeria: the band's back together, after decades apart

It all started with a mirror in the Casbah. Well, it re-started with that mirror, when Safinez Bousbia, who is of Algerian descent but had never visited the country, went to visit with a friend from Ireland. Bousbia commented on the artistry of a mirror. Mohamed Ferkioui, the shopkeeper and artist, told her that he also made music, but had lost contact with his former friends and band-mates, but he had so many memories and items from that past period of his life. As he showed them to Bousbia, she decided she wanted to get the band back together. Her short stay extended into a few years, and she documented the reunion of friends and the playing of a traditional Algerian music style called chaabi, which is a mix of North African polyrhythms, Andalusian classical music, jazz, flamenco and French cabaret. The result was El Gusto (auto-playing music). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 11, 2013 - 5 comments

"If I told you the words, you wouldn't believe them anyway." -- R. Berry

Louie Louie is a song with a curious history. Inspired by (and/or partially copied from) El Loco Cha Cha by Rene Touzet and Havana Moon by Chuck Berry (YouTube), the original song by Richard Berry and The Pharaohs (YT) is a mix of calypso, cha-cha, and rhythm & blues. The next version was by Rockin' Robin Roberts & The Wailers (YT), which added a certain rock and roll swagger that will sound more familiar to most folks. But the vocals are all wrong, as they're too sharp, too easy to understand. The Kingsmen made the version everyone was talking about, with concerns of obscene lyrics getting the FBI involved (choice excerpts on The Smoking Gun). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 30, 2013 - 50 comments

Corey Feldman - Ascension Millennium

Corey Feldman is probably most widely recognized as a child star of the 1980s, but since then he has branched out into music. Yet with two group albums and two solo albums, his only music video appearances have been cameos (Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" [Funny or Die] and Mac Miller's "S.D.S." [YouTube]). That is, until now: "Ascension Millennium" (YT) is the first song off his forthcoming album, and it's "a musical journey through his 'Feldmansion' in this Day in the Life Adventure," complete with an appearance from his pal Sean Astin from "The Goonies" and tributes to Michael Jackson. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 16, 2013 - 58 comments

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