Archive | May, 2010

New Music Week (Tuesday May 18th, 2010)

18 May

LCD Soundsystem

This is Happening


Rating: 8.5/10

“This is Happening” sounds a lot like a typical LCD Soundsystem album meant for dancing. The electricity of the music and the eccentricity of James Murphy are repetitive yet mind-numbingly fun. Expect classic booty-shaking drum beats (“Pow Pow Pow”), 9-minute mood swings and a lot of New Order references.

The album starts off with a little mysterious down-tempo “Dance Yrself Clean”, until Murphy hits the three-minute mark. Cue electro jamming with that little haggard Murphy spark that moves against the throbbing crotch of a signature LCD Soundsystem jam. As the Vietnamese say, “Same Same but Different”: that’s what this album is; similar in production, but different in feeling and emotion.

The single “Drunk Girls” is questionable for its lyrical substance a la commercial hip hop (see: “Drunk n Hot Girls” by Kanye West). “One Touch”, on the other hand, records an elevating conversation between members of Devo and the Chemical Brothers at a French dance party. Could this be the beginning of a new rave era? Or is Murphy coming out with his own version of a post-punk apocalypse? Whether it’s a beginning or an end, I don’t know, but it fits in fine with the self-titled “LCD Soundsystem” and “Sound of Silver”.

Murphy records distance between people: “One touch is never enough”, he drones introspectively. “I can change, if it will help you fall in love with me”, he croons as he seems to examine his past mistakes. These tracks represent emotional detachment which may fit in with Murphy’s reports of this being the final LCD Soundsystem album. But when a song like “Somebody’s Calling Me” comes out, I just want more, more, more. The song is out of tune like a Shaggs song, like David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits having a doped out conversation in a hazy, melting room filled with clowns.

“You wanted a hit”, Murphy goes on, “but maybe we don’t do hits”. Murphy’s middle finger to the music industry signifies his move away from LCD Soundsystem, bitterly aware, ripe with irony – think John Lurie in Stranger than Paradise.

The album has a repeatable quality perfect for house parties entangled with punk and kraut lovers, Bowie admirers and creeping electro beats a la the Knife. It’s a feel-good album, suitable for day or night. It’s easy to find something beautiful and great in this album. The genius is all in the details.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan


Dirtbag Debut : Thieves Like Us -Forget Me Not

17 May

Forget Me Not(via Stereogum)

The Swedish duo Thieves Like Us are back with another amazing video. Guns, bad mustaches, and kidnapping, what more do you want ?

Posted by : Max Mohenu

Teairra Mari Covers Drake

17 May

22 year old R&B diva Teairra Mari has been all over the blogs, all over twitter, and pretty much all over the place. The former princess of Roca Fella Records is definitely not taking any chances with the release of her new record, At That Point, which comes out on June 29th. This girl has been taking any chance she can to promote this thing and it’s getting to a point where whether you love her or hate her; she’s doing what she needs to do keep the momentum going. After having her single, Sponsor was banned from B.E.T for supposedly selling the idea that young women should prostitute themselves; Teairra has already shot a promo for her next video/single with Nicki Minaj titled Automatic and she’s shot the video for the title track, At That Point. Earlier today, a video of a bikini clad Teairra Mari surfaced on the internet. In the video, the R&B singer does a cover of Toronto rapper Drake’s money single, Over. The video can be seen below :

The funny thing is this isn’t the first promo video she’s done(or maybe it’s not funny or surprising). In late April she did a cover of Usher’s Hey Daddy. That video can be found here :

With all this promo; let’s hope Teairra delivers a good finished product.

Posted by : Max Mohenu

Interview : Grahm Zilla

17 May

Renowned for his involvement in Thunderheist, Toronto-based producer, DJ and musician Grahm Zilla has helped bring long-overdue attention to a genre previously neglected by North American listeners.  Not one to step back and stop creating, Zilla has recently embarked on his own solo endeavour in the wake of Thunderheist’s hiatus, remixing under the moniker Nautiluss and garnering acclaim for his first remix, Edu K, which perfectly showcases his unique, accessible and multi-dimensional  bass and beat-heavy vibe.  Supported by friends, fans and colleagues, Zilla has earned praise from artists like Sinden, Nacho Lovers and Egyptrixx (who he’ll be performing alongside on May 22) as well as good friend Jessica Gentile who makes up the other half of Zilla’s additional collaborative project, Bassanovva.  Dirtbag Journalism had a chance to speak with the artist about the importance of solo projects, the impact of Thunderheist and why suddenly electronically influenced music has returned to the limelight.

Dirtbag Journalism:  Why do you think it’s important for musical groups to take a step back and focus on their solo projects?

Grahm Zilla:  I don’t know that it’s necessary for all groups to do that, but in my case, it was a necessary move.  Before Thunderheist, I was only making music as a hobby while I held down a soul-sucking day job.  I was relatively green as a producer/songwriter, so I’ve never really put out music that was 100% my own.  Now I have the experience to actually make things sound the way I wanted them to five years ago, and thanks to Thunderheist, I’d like to believe that people will at least check it out because of the work I’ve already done.

DJ:  Do you approach your solo work differently than you did when you were focusing on Thunderheist?

GZ:  Absolutely.  In fact, in the past three months, I’ve completely changed how I make music altogether.  A lot of my early stuff was written in hotels or airplanes, so I was always reliant on my laptop and software – which is fine and everything, but these days I’m really into not staring at a computer screen all the time.  Also, I’m horribly addicted to the Internet.  And for that reason, everything is dedicated outboard including drums and effects, and I barely look at the computer until it’s time to do arrangements.  It gives me sonic consistency even if I change the tempos.  Also, it’s very tactile which rules in this day and age of visual experiences.

I’ve also been recording rough vocal ideas to come back to later when I end up working with singer friends or work up the courage to actually sing myself.  The first few Nautiluss remixes were done this way.

DJ:  How has your experience in Thunderheist influenced your DJing and solo work?

GZ:  As far as DJing is concerned, Thunderheist got me playing outside of my hometown for the first time.  It’s one thing to DJ for a crowd that you know, but take yourself out of that situation and it can be a really harsh reality check.  Different cities – let alone different countries – can have drastically different taste, and so it taught me to be way more flexible depending on the crowd I’m playing for.  I still believe that as a DJ, your job is to make sure that people attending have a good time, and a lot of that time it means reading the crowd and going with what works.  Obviously it’s important to try to educate them to new stuff, but there’s a very fine line.  I think once you get to be a headlining DJ, this constraint is removed because people are going there to see you – but I’m not there yet.

As far as production goes, I’ve learned that there are certain types of music that work in a club environment, and others that are better off at home.  The good news is that I’m really into both of those paths – I don’t want to limit myself to either category because that would just be boring.  I like making people dance, but I also like to make people think.  I think that the pressure for me to repeat another Jerk It became pretty big with Thunderheist, so I’m actually really stoked to be doing weird shit again and not worrying about whether it will be a hit or not.

DJ:  Do you find there’s a distinct electronic – using the term in a very broad sense – scene prevalent in Toronto?

GZ:  I don’t really go out that much in Toronto, so I can’t really tell you whether that’s true or not.  But I think that a scene is growing naturally as more and more of our local producers get international recognition (Nacho Lovers, Azari and III, Egyptrixx, etc.) to the point where these guys are starting to pack mid-size venues.  All I know is that I feel like things are sort of coming to a convergence point right now.  It’s a good time to be here, and I think the local crowds are feeling it, too.  One example are the Faktory after parties where people tend to come out and leave the stereotypical Toronto indifference at the door, actually have a good time and – gasp! – dance.  Or they’re just really high and/or drunk.  Either way, I will say that my best two DJ experiences in Toronto were at those parties.

DJ:  Why do you think people are increasingly gravitating towards electronically influenced music?  What do you think has pushed it further into the “mainstream” spectrum?

GZ:  Well first, we need to distinguish that we are talking about North America and not overseas, because they are entirely different beasts.

I think it’s more accurate to say a resurgence has occurred because if you think about it, the 80’s were ALL electronic instruments.  Then the 90’s happened, and well, we all know how ugly that got.  And now it’s become cool again due to the influence of people like Daft Punk on American mainstream artists.

But then in general, I’d like to think that it’s because electronic instruments allow for infinitely more innovation than traditional instruments.  You can only make a guitar/bass/drum kit sound so different.  Sure, there are bands that run crazy effects on their stuff, but that’s definitely not the norm.  I actually find it amazing that indie rock bands are generally so reluctant to get some electronics involved.  Most of the time when I watch them play, I’m usually left feeling like something is missing.  Look at The XX.  If it wasn’t for Jamie XX, they would just be a rock band.  A good one, mind you, but a rock band nonetheless.  Synths are the XX-factor.

DJ:  Do you consider electronic or dubstep to be this era’s innovative sound?

GZ:  I mean, there’s definitely some innovation that’s coming from that genre, but I think most people’s perception of dubstep is limited to a certain strain of it.  You know, the wobble bass – aka wubstep – has become pretty mainstream and has comically become the new “jock jam”.  If you look deeper, there’s definitely more interesting stuff out there, like Zomby, Joy Orbison and Sbtrkt that take more experimental approaches to it, and take it to other places entirely.

To be honest, I’m excited about the hybrids that are coming out that ignore the traditional genre boundaries.  The music coming out on labels like Night Slugs and Grizzly – Sinden’s new label – are kind of what I’m talking about.  Speaking of which, I just so happen to have some music coming out on Grizzly this summer under the name Bassanovva with my friend, Jubilee!

Grahm Zilla will be playing May 22nd at The Social with Egyptrixx and Lucie Tic ( PA and DJ Set)

Posted by : Anne T Donahue

Interview : Rafter

17 May

Someone once told Rafter Roberts: If you ever have an opportunity to dance, you should dance. And not only has he taken that advice in stride (“I’ve not once regretted choosing to shake my body. Seriously.”), but last month his fourth full-length release on Asthmatic Kitty, Animal Feelings, aspires to spread that mantra to the masses.

Animal Feelings’ ornately produced dance beats tied with upbeat lyrical musings took about three years to complete and was recorded in three different studios (two owned by Roberts for recording music, TV jingles, and radio work) and Roberts’ San Diego home. It’s his most pop album yet, with more of an “album” feel than his other work, which, according to Roberts (who has produced for Sufjan Stevens and Fiery Furnaces), was more about experiments in studio-created “art constructions” than anything else.

“This [album] feels like it’s full of good, solid songs that stand-alone successfully,” he said.
And one of those songs is, “Paper,” whose chorus exclaims, “You motherfuckers! Motherfuckers! Where did you go?” Although he says his cursing is always playful and never mean-spirited, Roberts skips any of his songs with profanities when “jamming out in the car” with his four-year-old son, Rulian, whom he named.

“It’s a call to greatness to have a unique name,” said Roberts.

After all, his counter-culture parents did name him Rafter because he was conceived in a loft and subsequently raised him in a northern California commune in the woods until he was about 13. There were cabins and tree-houses for sleeping, as well as a geodesic dome for the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and living rooms. No electricity, TV, or recorded music was to be found.

“I guess the only thing people tend to assume is that there was some sort of religious or philosophical basis behind it, when in reality it was just a bunch of friends who decided to get away from the cities of the world and make a different sort of life together,” said Roberts.

Before turning to music for creative expression, he was very much a painter and sculptor inspired by angst.

“I had a hard time appreciating human culture for a long time,” he said. “I was pretty freaked out by all the violence and strangeness of life. Still am, but I’m more accepting now.”

And Roberts has been disillusioned a few more times since. After a bad break up years ago, he tagged along with a friend active in the World Worker’s Party (WWP) who had been invited to volunteer in New York City. Upon his arrival in the Big Apple, Roberts mostly acted as a cook for the WWP, but also took classes and helped with demonstrations. He doesn’t believe he is a communist, but still feels fundamental conflicts with capitalism.

A self-proclaimed “soul rebel for life,” Roberts aspires to one day be a grandfather and, of course, to make more albums.

“I think that over the years, I just get better and better,” said Roberts. “I’m not going to let myself get set in a rut, and I’m going to keep learning and challenging myself.”

Posted by : Melissa Kim

Dirtbag Debut : Le Sexoflex – Poop On Your Face

10 May

Poop On Your Face

Le Sexoflex is crude, nasty, sexy, and just plain ridiculous. Check them out and maybe you’ll like them.

Posted by : Max Mohenu

Pop Montreal 2010 First Headliners Announced

10 May

You may want to clear your schedule for the week of September 29th to October 3rd because the 2010 Pop Montreal is looking very promising. We just received word on the first headliners for this years festival. So far here is who you can expect to see :

-Lengendary post-punk band, The Swans will make their return to the stage after 14 years

-Canadian cult singer, Mary Margret O Hary

-Composer(has worked with Beach Boys and Joanna Newsom) Van Dyke Parks

Whoa! The fucking Swans! Well if that’s not enough, here’s what the rest is looking like :


-Bear In Heaven


-Twin Sister

-Baby Dee


And more……..

Deadline for bands is May 21st. We need to get some fresh face Canadian bands on that bill(ie.  Dentata, Dinosaur Bones, Little Girls, Memoryhouse)

Posted by : Max Mohenu