Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Choice Nugs: Skank

This post is about the dank band, Skank.  They have been putting out their good vibed reggae and mellow rock for over twenty years.  They were never my favorite band when I lived in Brazil but I seem to like them more and more.

Skank is from Belo Horizonte, which is Brazil’s third largest city.  Fortunately, when I listen to them, I often think about an epic journey that I took with Gator to BH.  However, Gator and I did not make the pilgrimage in honor of Skank.  We went to pay our radical friends a visit and we quickly discovered that BH is one of Brazil’s most fun and wild cities.  Our mates Thiago, Luiz, Matheus, Marcio and their amazing families showed us o melhor da cidade!  Our highlights included amazing family meals (a churrasco and an epic feijoada), epic Acai, enjoying um basiado na praca do papa, and a few over the top nights on the town.  My only regret is that we got our asses kicked playing footy at a local field.  I should have expected nothing less from Brazil.  Unfortunately, Skank’s music also reminds me of that fateful ass whooping.  Sometimes music can be bittersweet.

Obrigado Brasil!  Obrigado Amigos!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Guest Review: Hunting Club – “Mosaic”

About a week ago I saw that Hunting Club had a new album coming out. I immediately remembered that about two years ago Andrew Archer came out of nowhere with a great review of their debut album Plaid Album. I wondered how he was doing and promised myself that I would check out the album. A couple of days ago Andrew (now a recently published author! [check out the link below]) once again wrote me out of nowhere with a review of Hunting Club's new album Mosaic. Thanks again Andrew for another firey review! You're always welcome on these pages. 

"Musical Concoctions"

I attended a Hunting Club show in the spring of 2012 at “Cause” in Minneapolis (after party was at “Effect”). After covering most of “The Plaid Album,” the instruments leapt into an awakening new track. Front man and infinite hipster—Eric Pasi (known to wear sunglasses on cloudy days)—had previously shared the unnamed song with me via e-mail, so I had some vague familiarity to the track.

I’m not sure if “Double Vision” is a dance or the dance created is the song? The hairs on my arms and neck gathered while I felt my bodily atmosphere shift. The feeling it invokes is between the one you get during a captivating speech and the moment you found out Steve Jobs died; it sort of comes out of nowhere with an auditory hurl, but parasitically implants itself. This shock never gets old. If you don’t at least tap your foot to the jam I would consult a physician about potential paralysis or other pseudo-neurological condition (e.g. blurred or double vision):

how can you pretend it’s super-stition?

knowing what is next would beat you senseless

After the 5 to 6 audience members left the venue, I slalomed to the front of the stage to catch up with Eric;

“That new [Double Vision] track is hot. It’s gonna be your hit single...I’m telling you, the Current [radio station] is gonna be all over that shit, you wait n’ see.” 

Hunting Club’s sophomore album opens with “Magic Bullet.”  The feel is something like running while you are stoned.

Tracks like “Skyscraper” exhibit the band’s true talent for uniquely-crafted yet stylistic jams that even inspire the most talentless of Caucasians to dance. My journalist copy was initially titled “THC 1,” which I was told did not refer to the band’s extra-curricular activities[citation needed].

“White Lies” has that hypnotic or transient, gritty sound that is like tentacles to the senses. The listener is held and it conjures an image of a benevolent octopus slow dancing with someone.

There is an omniscient—or at the very least—arrogant thread to “Hollywood (who cares?).” The lyrics are a nonchalant series of incongruent polarities:

blind faith black flag
line up get trashed
i know everyone
forwards backwards

The recursive track is ripe with satire depicting a Hollywood culture enveloped in the superficial. This commentary reaches the depths of that type of social complacency:

live in magazine
culture and wet dream
you know everyone
inside and outside 

The album finishes strong with the anthem and declaration, “Nothing Lasts Forever” as well as “More Than Games,” which takes aim at the romantic quest with existential annotations:

Deep in the sky I’m empty

[...] Dying for your apathy

The chorus grows incrementally as the song evolves into a remarkable ballad rich with emotional countenance.

I still can’t understand any of the words in the final song, “Suburban Bear,” but the fucking title is awesome!

This idiosyncratic collection of songs is an exploration of the shallow state of America. Songs like “Skyscraper” might be hinting at the capitalist ethos in general;

Living well on paper,

Living well on borrowed time

Or maybe I’m projecting... #studentloans

The album’s musical diversity is a concoction of jazz, hip hop and indie-rock. Despite the eclectic blend, the prodigious writing, instrumentation and swagger has left the audience with a musical composite that is creatively uniform; a "Mosaic."

-Andrew James Archer, author of the new book “Pleading Insanity”-

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tom Thum-TedxSydney Beatboxing

Beatboxing videos are a dime a dozen and generally range from mundane Skrillex covers to more "artistic" takes on the classics. The main feature they share is that they get old quick, the novelty factor of "wow he's making all those noises himself!" generally wearing out after a minute or so.

Tom Thum, however, is the Gandalf of beatboxers and keeps the TEDxSydney audience enthralled throughout this almost 12 minute long video. Hailing from Brisbane, Tom's talk goes from seeming out of place on a Ted stage to being the perfect Ted talk as it both entertains while making you wonder, and all the while he pushes the limits of the art of beatboxing. Take a break from whatever you're doing this summer Wednesday and check out a guy doing something he is really really good at. After you're done, get inspired and work on whatever will get you on that stage someday!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Kanye West-The Samples

Now that the music community's fickle eye has moved passed Yeezus to Jay Z's MCHG, it's ironically the perfect time to take a clearer look at Kanye's newest album. Now that all the instant reactions have passed and the reviews have been posted, the noise has died down and the music has a little space to breathe. But, before I post my thoughts, I want to take a look back on what has been one of the highlights of Kanye's music since his first mixtape: his samples. No matter what you think of Kanye as an artist, you have to appreciate his ear for music which ranges from the souliest Motown to Bollywood ballads. From what I can tell (after an excessive amount of time searching) all of these mixtapes aren't presented ANYWHERE else together online so so here are mixtapes of all (except Late Registration which seemingly doesn't exist) the samples from all of Kanye's six albums and a bonus mixtape from his G.O.O.D. Friday series. Enjoy the incredible variety of tunes! A full Spotify playlist of all these is coming soon!

Late Registration (Impossible to find!)

808s and Heartbreak (Video Only)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

alt-J -Breezeblocks (Live in Glastonbury)

I had another post all ready to go but it'll wait till tomorrow. alt-J just posted this video on their Facebook account and it put a big smile on my face. Performing at last week's Glastonbury festival, this show really seems to be the capstone on a tumultuous 18 months that has seen the band go from being virtual unknowns to attracting a crowd of tens of thousands at the biggest festival in Europe. I love seeing videos like these: although they have toured extensively you can tell that this is still special for them and their lead singer slips a "we made it" smile in at about the 1:40 mark. I wish nothing but the best for them and only hope that their taking time amongst the nonstop touring to work on their sophomore album (and it seems as though they are!).