Search results for 'erin pehlivan'

New Music Week (June 16th, 2010)

16 Jun

Drake
Thank Me Later
Young Money/Cash Money Records
Rating : 8.5/10

Every few years, I become obsessed with a single hip hop artist. I’ve loved Jay-Z copiously while Nas aided me through high school and Kanye marked my middle years in university. Now it’s Drake’s time to shine. I don’t know how it happened but I am a near-die-hard fan at this point. And now that the highly anticipated solo debut “Thank Me Later” has dropped, the whole world is watching Aubrey Drake Graham wondering if he’s going to be the next big obsession.

“Thank Me Later” is no “So Far Gone”. It’s not mind-blowing but it keeps Drake’s fans in check. This time, Drake discards the indie pop remixes and opts for smoother, sellable R&B accompanied by his signature low-drop voice. And damn, does it make girls melt like a vanilla Sprite float in 35 degree heat.

Outstanding tracks include “Show Me a Good Time”, “All Night” featuring Nicki Minaj, “Light Up” featuring Jay-Z and the unexpected “Karaoke”. Drake teams up with Kanye, Timbaland, Boi-1da and Noah “40” Shebib among others such as broseph Lil Wayne – who should often be left out of sweet little ditties like “Miss Me”; the grimy lyrics “Man, I swear my bitches do it ‘til they suck the brown off”, and “When she masturbate to me, that’s how she learn every song” leave a gross feeling in my stomach every time.

As for Drake, he is definitely known for his questionable, hit-or-miss lyrics. He gloats about his fame in every track: “My 15 minutes started one hour ago”, and “I got money in these jeans so they fit me kinda snug” are just the beginning of it.

Yet Drake boasts confusion in regards to his fame at times with a touch of emotional transparency and self-analysis:

“Because all this shit is new to me / I’m learning to behave / and still spending every dollar they encourage me to save / but I’m good / I know that niggas would kill for this lifestyle…”

“The other day Alyssa told me that she miss the old me / which made me question when I went missing, and when I start treating my friends different”.

It’s true when you hear critics commenting on Drake’s “existential angst”, anxieties, disappointments and paranoia, but his intimacy is sugar-coated with the crooning that got him so famous in the first place. But all this rapping about fame makes me wonder how the fire caught on so quickly. Did it take only one mixtape to set it off? What is the recipe to Drake’s fame? Whether or not this album impresses audiences, Drake has the ability to put together music that keeps fans and critics wondering where he’s headed next. And although this album isn’t much of a journey, he’s got enough going on to craft up some new adventures. Just please, no more lyrics about being super-famous.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan

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New Music Week (Tuesday May 18th, 2010)

18 May

LCD Soundsystem

This is Happening

DFA/Virgin

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

Interview : We Have Band

28 Apr

Manchester trio We Have Band are a band that you’ll be hearing more about as their popularity rises. Whether you simply want to dance or work your stuff on the runway, the music of We Have Band is edgy, filled with a lot of 80s synth, attitude and aesthetic. Members consist of Darren Bancroft, Dede W-P and Thomas W-P (Dede and Thomas are married). With comparisons to Hot Chip, Talking Heads, The Rapture, ESG, New Order, the Presets and a little bit of LCD Soundsystem, We Have Band offers a fresh perspective on disco-revival and dancing despite statements explaining that they aren’t doing anything “new” within the music scene.

Produced by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Interpol, Depeche Mode), it’s no wonder We Have Band is gaining success with their EP “WHB” released April 5th as well as their unexpected win at Glastonbury Festival’s 2009 Emerging Talent Contest. Recently, We Have Band launched their single “Honeytrap” from their forthcoming LP “WHB” due May 11. Dirtbag Journalism caught up with We Have Band to discuss some of the past, present and future ideals of the band.


Dirtbag Journalism
: How are you doing? Are you in Germany at the moment? Describe to our readers how the tour has been going so far.

We Have Band : We just arrived in Germany. Took the train from Paris to Leipzig where we’re playing tonight. It’s going to be a good one because we’re playing with JD from Le Tigre’s new band called MEN. We met on the road in Australia and it’s always nice to play with bands you know. The tour has been going great. We did the UK, then France and now it’s Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Italy before the festival season takes us back to all those places again and some new ones. We just heard we’re playing some South America shows at the end of May, so we can’t wait for that too. It’s quite different touring with the record out now in Europe. It’s cool that everyone knows the songs and they’re singing them back at us, feels more complete than it ever has done before.

DJ :What has the response to your music been from fans from different parts of England? How are Manchester or Liverpool and say, London’s crowds, different from each other?

WHB :London can be a tough crowd a lot of the time because they’re a bit spoiled for choice and you always get loads of industry people at the shows, but we’ve played in London so much that we kind of know what to expect. It’s a good challenge to get the room going. Things are bit wilder on the regional shows for sure. Dede is from Manchester, so it’s always special to play there. The crowds in Ireland and Scotland are crazy too. We just went up there and we were blown away by the response.

DJ : What can we expect from your “WHB” LP ?

The record is very varied in pace which is the thing that seems to be surprising people the most. The singles are inevitably going to be the most pop moments on the album because they work best for radio but there are a lot of different things going on throughout. We feel like that’s what an album should be, a chance to stretch your legs as a band. If everything sounded the same it would really bore us.

DJ : Why should people pay attention to WHB? What sets you apart from other similar “disco revival/dance rock” acts ?

WHB : We never set out to reinvent music and that’s not what we feel like we’re doing.  For us it’s not about setting apart from anyone else; it’s more about vision and integrity. Like any band or artist we’re unique in that its us creating an experience on record or live and we’re caring for it as three individuals who believe in what we’re doing. Then when you add each individual audience member or listener to that experience it’s even more unique.

DJ : How did you meet Gareth Jones?

WHB : We contacted Gareth directly about working with us and he listened to the tracks and liked them. We met and had coffee and talked a lot and we all felt really good about each other so we went ahead. He’s a great guy and he’s got such an amazing list of people he’s worked with before like Grizzly Bear and Interpol and Depeche Mode, so it was very cool to work with him.

DJ : I absolutely love your music videos. How would you describe the band’s aesthetic ? How did you come up with the concepts for the music videos “Oh”, “Divisive” and “You Came Out”? Are you channeling any particular artists through these videos?

WHB
: Thank you. The videos are supposed to be extensions of the songs so we’re just channeling different parts of ourselves really. They’ve all been true collaborations in that we’re very careful who we choose to do them and we think about the ideas offered very closely, but then we just totally let go and let the directors follow their vision. It’s always a bit of a surprise to us to see the final result. The aesthetic has been pretty DIY so far because that’s always made the most sense. We’re not opposed to something slicker, but it would have to feel right with the song.

DJ : Favourite tour moment and/or city? Least favourite tour moment and/or city?

WHB : Our little USA tour last year was really cool. SXSW festival in Texas was amazing and we always love being in New York and LA, so playing both those cities was cool. Moscow is a lot of fun too, total chaos in the best way. We really don’t have a least favourite city. Anywhere with bad sound is upsetting, so whenever we’ve had that it’s not a good moment.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan

New Music Tuesday ( March 9th, 2010)

9 Mar

Frightened Rabbit
The Winter of Mixed Drinks
FatCat Records

6.5/10
After reading so many top notch reviews and genuinely appreciating Frightened Rabbit’s music as a whole, I was expecting more from their latest album “The Winter of Mixed Drinks”. Their third album “Midnight Organ Flight” appears to be critically acclaimed, but these Scottish lads are far from being indie household names like their fellow countrymen and women of Camera Obscura, Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, Arab Strap and Sons & Daughters.

First of all, I can’t deal with Scott Hutchison’s voice. He is tortured; raspy, dreary and experienced, yet whiney. Add dreadfully emo lyrics into the bag and you’ve got a depressing Saturday night indoors. Despite this, the actual music composition has great potential with its rolling percussions and bass lines, comparable to Arcade Fire. Violins, pianos and some occasional brass instruments give the album a classy and timeless sound. The album is musically thought out well; its layers are complex and quite enjoyable to hear. But I can’t help but feel that the vocals really wring this album dry, especially some the harmonies which are as eloquent as a dog’s howl.

Second of all, where’s the Prozac? The songs are overall sad, gloomy and rainy but again it has its moments of sunny pop that shine through the clouds. It’s a Glaswegian story of solitude and growing up: “Swim until You Can’t See Land” is such an example, a song I can enjoy for its catchiness and rich harmonies. Traveling seems to be another theme of the album – the lyrics are very much about pushing yourself into situations knowing that you will be alone and lost. The message is clear: it’s okay to be comfortable with your loneliness. Listeners are finally woken up by the cheeriness of “Nothing like you”, an upbeat poppy song that is very Camera Obscura. A glimmer of hope within this album!

By the end of the journey, Frightened Rabbit has slightly grown on me, but it all sounds too familiar. If I am ever listening to Frightened Rabbit in my spare time, I’ll definitely be mixing a drink in homage to reclusiveness. Possibly while wearing an old plaid shirt. And hopefully, being rained on.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan

New Music Tuesday (March 2nd, 2010)

2 Mar

The Knife
Tomorrow in a Year
Rabid Records
7.5/10

The Knife is no longer on hiatus. Known for their darkly delicious dance tunes, mask-wearing tendencies and countless Swedish Grammy’s, the innovative risk-taking sibling duo are back with a double-disc album, “Tomorrow in a Year”. Truly digressing from pop sensibilities that Silent Shout brought to fans worldwide, the album illustrates perhaps a more “adaptive” and mysterious side of the Knife.

Disc #1 begins with digital bleeps and bloops, slowly evolving into an audio recording of geological epochs. Its quiet and experimental droning confuses Knife fans that came prepared to dance. But this isn’t a dance album, it’s the soundtrack for an opera based on Charles Darwin’s book “On the Origin of the Species” commissioned by a Danish performing arts group Hotel Pro Forma. An operatic voice (Kristina Wahlin) breaks through the finely crafted noise, introducing a human perspective to the album.

As a non-noise and non-opera fan, the album can be lacklustre but the concept is brilliant. Olof Dreijer traveled to the Amazon to collect field recordings for the album. The point is to hear Darwin’s experiences albeit jarring at times: from strange species discovered on Galapagos Islands to the chirping of various birds; from the calculated clutter of data in Darwin’s head to boats sailing to foreign lands. The mind wanders into deep places and history becomes exciting.

Finally, Disc #2 is unearthed. Haunting violins stream through “Annie’s Box”, an emotional track documenting Darwin’s letters to his daughter. The throbbing percussion of “Tumult” leads into “Colouring of Pigeons” which is the stand-out, 11-minute, repeat-friendly song where Karin’s vocals debut. At last, all elements on stage merge together into a mesmerizing rhythm accented by the Knife’s signature synth-xylophone sound. The following tracks, “Seeds” and “The Height of Summer” remind listeners that this really is a Knife album, as fragments of fossil records and tree diagrams make their way into the songs.

Confusing at first, “Tomorrow in a Year” deserves more than one listen simply for its challenging of conventional opera music. With hints of electro and noise, this album is ripe with imagination and memory. Olof Dreijer states in an interview, “It took me about a year to become emotionally moved by an opera singer and now I really [am]”. Perhaps we can learn to love this record after all. Why Hotel Pro Forma chose to collaborate with the Knife makes sense: it must have been natural selection.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan

Karin Dreijer Andersson’s Crimson Beauty

26 Jan

We received a tip last week from Too Rude Magasin founder Erin Pehlivan that one half of Swedish brother/sister duo, The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson was nominated for an award at the P3 Guld Public Radio Award show for Fever Ray. Two days ago, pictures surfaced of Karin rocking what could very well be one of many faces molded for Heidi Montag. This pictures are from the awards show, which we know have video footage of (courtesy of You Tube). Along with the melted face, Karin went up to accept the award for her Fever Ray side project in this gorgeous red top; with a vail covering her face. When she finally revealed herself, she would go on to give an acceptance speech that will go down in history as one of the best. I think this video says it all. Watch it!!!

Posted by : Max Mohenu