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JoeMc on 07/28/2010 at 12:00PM

Eddie Morton: From Wearing Blue to Singing It

Although pop music these days is as sexually frank as it ever has been (sometimes boringly so), there was a time when singers had to be more creative in expressing adult themes in their music. This was the heyday of the double entendre, when the great trick was to mask your dirty talk in otherwise innocent scenarios that the hipsters would recognize but that the Guy Lombardo fans might miss.

When most people think of these kinds of songs from pop music's past, what generally comes to mind are old blues songs from the 30s: "Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon" (made famous by Charlie Pickett); "Bed Spring Poker" (the Mississippi Sheiks); "Ain't Got Nobody to Grind My Coffee" (Clara Smith, among others). Or, they might think of later R&B songs that continued the trend in the 40s and 50s: "Big Ten Inch Record" (Bull Moose Jackson) "Let Me Play with Your Poodle" (Lightnin' Hopkins) "I Like My Baby's Pudding" (Wynonie Harris) and so on. But double entendre wasn't the exclusive province of blues singers, as today's selection makes clear.

Vaudeville performers from the early days of the 20th Century recognized that a little bit of naughtiness attracted the paying customers, and the songs written for them by the songwriters of the day took this into account. Songwriting and publishing giant Harry Von Tilzer penned this little number with Andrew Sterling in 1912 that toys with the phrase "getting it" in two slang uses that persist to this day. Eddie Morton, a former Philadelphia policeman turned Broadway songster, waxed it: a former boy in blue getting a little bluer!


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elizalomas on 07/27/2010 at 04:41PM

Keep it Local

Bucharest

There is no doubt that we all appreciate the importance in supporting local and national music scenes. The difficulty more often lies in keeping on top of scenes elsewhere that aren't given enough limelight.

In the case of Romania's burgeoning electronic music scene, proximity to the country may be an issue for most us in the rest of the world. Luckily for us, the Romanian net label Local Records is rectifying this issue by distributing some of their best artists' tracks for download on the FMA.

Showering us with new genres and interesting sounds, this label is propelling artists on the top of their game. Anything you may have heard about Romanian scene will be attached to this label (think Cosmin TRG and The Model). We will all be wishing they were a little more local.

From the selection, listen to Minus- a Red Bull Music Academy graduate who creates wistful Dub, improvises groovy bass and masters heavenly synth-pop.

For an introduction to Balaeric Dub, listen to the transcendental Bogdan, who has provided us with an hour long live mix of sandy beach smooth and crystal water cool.

To get an overview of it all, do the easy thing and download the Local Records Buzz!Ro 2010 compilation.

Find out more: Local Records website

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herr_professor on 07/27/2010 at 11:46AM

On The Occasion of a Special Day for an Old Friend.

Chin up, old friend.

Twenty-one years ago, the lowly Nintendo Game Boy was introduced here in the U.S.A. Who amongst us could've guessed (except perhaps Gunpei Yokoi) the intense personal and social impact the little handheld would have on the world, especially that of the chip music community. Arguably the single most popular chip music device, the lowly DMG-01 is certainly not the BEST sounding device you can compose music on, but its combination of amazing software, small foot print and easy portability are largely the same reasons it remains to this day the best selling handheld game console ever.

The fact that a Game Boy, not unlike a well-worn paperback novel, allows you curl up, any time and any place, and allow yourself to be completely isolated in your own world as an artist is another asset, and an creative experience that is still hard to find in a world of netbooks, iPads, and smartphones.

I had have two personal revelatory moments with the old DMG. The first was in late 1990, when I realized the Game Boy was escape from a messed up home-life, an indifferent and uncaring world, and again almost ten years later, when I realized the old time-killer was capable of becoming the means which I could express myself as an artist. It became a shared conversational tool that I have used since to make friendships with like minded people all over the world. surely my life may have been quite different if Mr. Yokoi had decided to, say, taking up birdwatching instead.

By this point, most of you are crying "WHERE IS THE MUSIC PETER?", well hold your horses, cause I have a good one for you. One of the few artists I have failed to see perform their music live is perhaps one of the Game Boy's greatest masters. His name is Lo-Bat, and his seminal release is quite appropriately named Game Boy.

The album, which contains a very unique style of Game Boy programing that is Lo-bat's hallmark was the subject of a controversy in the chipmusic scene a few years back when noted Blogrock Dance act Crystal Castles was accused of sampling this EP without the artists permission. Lo-bat was a ver early and staunch supporter of Creative Commons, and most of his material is available online for free, but the chip scene has always been a bit defensive after a series of similar incident featuring artists as diverse as Timbaland and Frankmusik.

Whatever your opinions on the case, do yourself a favor and spend this Saturday rocking this EP a little extra loud with your favorite alcoholic beverage (or perhaps join us in NYC for a little party). Be careful dudes, and see you in seven.

Lo-Bat - "Twinkle" (03:47)
Lo-Bat - "Twinkle" (03:47)
Lo-Bat - "Bibibi" (02:28)
Lo-Bat - "Bibibi" (02:28)
Lo-Bat - "Tizzy" (04:04)
Lo-Bat - "Tizzy" (04:04)
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chip music, lo-bat
elizalomas on 07/26/2010 at 04:00PM

Bad Panda Records' Eclectic Contribution

Taking note of the successful role of "bears" in the music industry (Panda Bear, Polar Bear, Bearsuit), it seems as though a record label named Bad Panda are already off to a good start. Working as a net-label, they release a song for free-download every Monday under a creative commons license.

Browse through their eclectic collection and take note of the following:

'Gonna Make it Thru' this Year' by Great Lake Swimmers is compelling folk built around the evocatively melancholic vocals of Tony Dekker. The band are known to record in desolote churches and rural hideaways, which lends their music an organic reverb and live intimacy. They excel in capturing the europhic expanse of their Canadian upbringing in gentle folk music.

Contrastingly, 'Pissing About' (Golau Glau's hyper hyper re-mash) by worriedaboutsatan is next generation electronic music. Golau Glau have slowed the original track and added an atmospheric sub-bass. They alienate the echos of unknown creatures, submerging us in a place of future dystopia.

On a different theme altogether, 'Balancing Act' by The Underscore Orkestra, blends swing-jazz with a touch of balkan gypsy folk. Too many genres to comprehend? They blend them seamlessly and brilliantly.

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mwalker on 07/26/2010 at 02:00PM

Backbreakerneckbrace

Image courtesy of Backbreakerneckbrace

Based on name alone, Backbreakerneckbrace already seem a worthy candidate for the effective execution of a grand finale. Based on their refined tendencies towards sensorial- liquefaction, Backbreakerneckbrace confirm their more than capable ability to bring ISSUE’s 5th annual Floating Points Festival to a dizzying, heaving-sigh-of-exhausted-satisfaction-inducing close. Utilizing the festival’s signature Stephan Moore-designed 15-channel Hemisphere speaker system, the group will present a number of new video animations and premiere a grid-based improvisation: Forcefields, Masks, Walls, Flow Patterns.

Comprised of the wife/husband duo of Dawn & Mike Haleta, Backbreakerneckbrace works in shades of throbbing static and electrical storm chaos. Spasmic shards of white noise erupt from pressure-cracks that line the walls of tunnels containing and channeling the seductive throb of beautifully sculpted drones and the crackling flames of tamed digital bonfires. Dawn constructs mesmerizing visual counterpoints to the aural overload, developing organically patterned images that alternately mirror, foreshadow, and comment on the movements of the sound – creating a symbiotic feedback-loop of influence and yielding a cohesive fusion of the optical and auditory senses.

Check the videos and audio below for a small-screen taste of the full-body experience that awaits on Friday. Also, for those unable to attend this week, Backbreakerneckbrace will appear at ISSUE in 2011 for a new world premiere as part of our Emerging Artists Commission series.

 

508Wall from backbreakerneckbrace on Vimeo.

Cycle412 from backbreakerneckbrace on Vimeo.

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jason on 07/26/2010 at 09:00AM

Astor Bell 1st Anniversary remix

To celebrate their first anniversary, the Stockholm-based electronic label Astor Bell released a batch of source files from their first 12 releases and asked the world to remix them.

Anniversary 1 collects the label's favorite submissions, and makes for a great listen on its own; a great range of IDM and minimal techno sounds and a nice overview of the label's sound as reinterpreted by listeners (and a few of the label's artists, too, like Giuseppe, Socket Science and Bubble Shield).

One of my favorite Astor Bell releases -- Bassid by 1st Dude (pictured)-- is not represented on this remix collection, so I'll just encourage you to check it out with a few tracks below.

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macedonia on 07/24/2010 at 12:02PM

Bonobo Live at KEXP: This One's A "Keeper"...

Bonobo at KEXP April 25, 2010. Photography by Jill Rachel.

Simon Green has recorded several albums under the name Bonobo, but none that have been as well received as his latest full-length, Black Sands.  He's at his most symphonic with this one, the swell of strings and the arrangement of chopped-up jazz drum solos adding to the cinematic feel of the release.  Much has been made of his collaborations with the sole vocalist on the album, the captivating Andreya Triana.  It's easy to see why once you hear "The Keeper."  It's a bittersweet and melancholy tune, one that's dressed with xylophone riffs, rhythm guitar, and a languid hip-hop backbeat in its original version.

Stripped down to Triana's amazing vocals and some guitar work, this live version from the KEXP studios is a special one, indeed.  Even without the extra elements featured on the album, this song still delivers and exceeds the emotion felt in the original.  Make sure to check out the video featuring the album version of the song after the jump...


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elizalomas on 07/23/2010 at 06:00PM

The Wonders of Phantogram Re-investigated

Mouthful of Diamonds was put up on the FMA way back in 2009 via a KEXP live session. I was urged to route them out again after they did a warm up summer show on Governors Island, N.Y, last weekend.

Their sound perfectly reflects a setting of blissed-out tropics overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Surreal synthesisers and swirling guitars are complimented by the unusual blend of hip-hop electronics and female vocals, entracing the audience to let loose during sunset hours.

This boy/girl two-piece are leading the way in organic sounds with metropolitan influence, and this track will haunt you gloriously throughout the imminent humid days.

Find out more from their label: Ghostly International

 

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mwalker on 07/23/2010 at 09:00AM

Nat Baldwin: Most Valuable Player

Dipping a few months back into our archive, I’m thrilled to be able to share the complete recording of the wonderful Nat Baldwin's solo set from May 22nd set at ISSUE (a bill he shared with the also-great Woody Sullender). Beyond being one my favorite songwriters to come around in the last decade (ignoring the somewhat strange arbitrariness of cataloguing albums based on calendar years, his Most Valuable Player album would have almost certainly taken the spot as my favorite album of 08, if I made such lists…which I do), Baldwin also wields his contrabass like an inextricable extension of his own body. At times, the connection between self and instrument feels so intimate and natural that concepts like ‘virtuoso’ feel irrelevant and platitudinous – like saying someone has a virtuosic ability to see with their eyes or walk down the street. As a result, evocations of Arthur Russell are rather difficult to avoid – indeed, Baldwin closed the set with a gorgeous take on Russell’s classic “A Little Lost” – but it’s more of a kindred spirit-type connection; Baldwin has certainly developed a wholly unique voice of his own.

Also like Russell, Baldwin manages to instill his haunting and effortlessly approachable tunes with an inseparable and organic layer of continuous experimentation that, rather than call attention to itself, pushes and propels the songs forward with a subtle but unmistakable tension – injecting the compositions with an alluring honesty and grounded vulnerability. The brief but viscerally emotional sections of free improvisation that commence and bifurcate the set (obligatory mention of his tenure as a pupil of Anthony Braxton) coalesce seamlessly into his structured songs, which in turn flow, one into the next, over a gentle cascade of perpetual motion eighth notes. Conventional demarcations of regular time are not so much evaded as made unnoticeable, and the elastic vocal melodies stream over the tops of the imperceptible bar-lines with an elegant freedom of movement. Time maintains a steady and immediate presence in the music yet the annoying but often difficult-to-avoid human tendency to insert artificial divisions remains refreshingly absent. Lovely stuff, for sure.

If you're looking for him around town, check his August 21 show at the Silent Barn with Dead Western, Skeletons, Little Women, and Nine 11 Thesaurus.

 

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jason on 07/22/2010 at 09:00AM

"Like Motown With Lasers": Robot Koch 101 [Planet Terror]

"Like motown with lasers" is how Robot Koch describes his style of brainfeeding electronic hip-hop. The Berlin-based producer keeps busy with his Robots Don't Sleep label and global dance trio Jahcoozi (also featuring Sri-Lankan/British MC Sasha Perera and the Israeli born Oren Gerlitz). Meanwhile, he's worked with everyone from Mochipet to Comfort Fit to Diplo & Switch's Major Lazer.

For a swift introduction, we've just added the Planet Terror Records release Robot Koch 101. Two tracks -- the slow-building "101" and the slow-burning "Day Like This".

Speaking of Planet Terror, their latest release is the killer Terra Firma compilation, showcasing a range of dubbed-out electronic hip-hop stylings. Here's one of my favorites from the comp, Mikuś "Alkali"

Further reading
>> Robot Koch interview w/ Generation Bass earlier this year
>> Robots Don't Sleep / Robot Koch's vast discography

Robot Koch - "101" (06:02)
Robot Koch - "101" (06:02)
Mikuś - "Alkali" (04:41)
Mikuś - "Alkali" (04:41)
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