Don't Start A Band N° 2

Remixes ought to serve a purpose of utility. When an artist requests another artist to remix his or her song, he or she is hoping for -- ideally -- a reinterpretation of his or her work that adds a fresh spin to the tune. A Swedish pop single might be freshened up or dumbed down for dance floor grittiness; an industrial rock anthem might be funked up for a highfalutin vinyl crowd; a hardcore electronic jam might be softened for easy iPod indulgence. Again, this is the ideal and rarely the reality ... in fact, good remixers have been few and far between since the art's modern dawn in the late-1960s. (Early remixes tended to be of Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae tracks.)

It's obvious to all that a good remix -- one that is appealing in that it either (a) adds a new layer of enjoyment to the original song or it (b) adds a new level of functionality to the cut -- is unusual, but unfortunately, the Internet age has made such an edit even more unordinary. BBBD's personal thought is that it's simply too easy to pump a remix out. Remixes can be too offhandedly constructed sans stems and knowhow today, and that's not necessarily a good thing. A pair of drunken teens thinks it'll be cool to drop a "banger" on the Web, so they break into their parents' liquor cabinet, take a few swigs of Beefeater, and get to it on their pirated copy of Ableton; a couple of turntablists looking for credibility knuckle one out in their basement "studio" and blast their massive list of blog contacts with a "Please Post" pity request the next morning.

Have we forgotten what a remix ought to be? They're not intentioned to be publicists' cheap-and-easy way of further promoting their mediocre unsigned act and they're certainly not the only way one can make the leap from Adult Contemporary radio to the JBL's of dance clubs (we're looking at you, Feist). BBBD will be bold and say that remixes ought to only be made upon request by either the artist or the remixer and approved before leaking to online journalists.

Want to hear some terrible remixes and edits? Go here and attempt to sit through the homepage's MP3s without puking. Or maybe go to this respected Web taste-maker and sift through their finds without being befuddled as to why so many (a) choose to spell their names with "z"'s in lieu of "s"'s, (b) think that the longer the moniker they select, the better, and (c) believe neon hues to be the only way to grab a reader's attention. Originality, folks -- you can do it if you put your mind to it! (Or maybe, as Ice Cube would advise, if you put your back into it.)

Below are a few spectacular remixes (no, the art's not completely gone down the toilet, and yes, BBBD loves some boss remixes here and there). These tracks are lasting in that they pose themselves to be authentic and original songs, not half-assed attempts at 2008's crummy version of drum and bass. First and foremost, they seek out and successfully find character unto themselves ... they don't sound like a trashy mess of bass and low-res sequenced drum beats or a confused jumble of guitar warbles, synth ditties, and vocodered half-baked sonic experiments. Learn from them.

Want to tell us differently? Go for it! We beg you -- try and explain to us why we're so, so wrong. We've resolved to stop downloading every remix we get and/or see in our RSS reader, though, that is for sure.

Ladyhawke - Paris Is Burning (Alex Gopher Remix)

Justice - Phantom Pt. 2 (Soulwax Remix)

Cobra Dukes - Airtight (Aeroplane Remix)

HEALTH - Triceratops (CFCF Remix)

Arrow!!! - Does (Breakbot Remix)

Yukari Fresh - Lost and Found (Hideki Kaji Remix)

Shout Out Louds - Impossible (Possible Version by Studio)

the Concretes - Keep Yours (Pacific! Remix)

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Watch N° 1

It's obvious to regular readers of BBBD and first-time newbies that this blog is undergoing a massive overhaul and reinvisioning of itself. Today, we present you a new column, Watch, that tries to make sense of the music hype machine. (So now we've three core columns: Watch, Reverse, and Don't Start A Band ... more features will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.)

Music buzzwords pop up with extraordinary regularity -- like daffodils in Summer -- to the benefit of no one in particular. It's of no use to call Sonic Youth an "experimental No Wave drone- and/or noise-rock ensemble" unless you're Jack Black in High Fidelity or an especially compulsive CD store clerk who doesn't trust computers' ability to search for and find inventory. If we push aside our stack of Pitchforkmedia record reviews, click out of our Of Montreal Flickr photo set tab, and disregard the constant blogger feedback (which, in all honesty, sounds more like bickering that any sort of constructive writing), we'll remember that music is there to be enjoyed and -- first and foremost -- listened to.

Not everyone realizes this, though, and perhaps the people most likely to succumb to overly complex genre classifications and musical stylistic breakdowns are the musicians themselves. Once an old style is deemed cool again (the grunge of the 1990s, the trip-hop of the same era, the shoegaze of the 1980s, the old school punk of the 1970s, the garage of the 1960s), a few bands lead the way and respectfully reintroduce us to or remind us of the greatness of our musical forefathers. Then an uncanny number of hangers-on, copy-cats, and wannabes looking to make a buck hop onto the bandwagon, and voilà, we've hit critical mass!

Italo-disco is this year's buzzword, and we couldn't be sicker of it. First, let's figure out exactly what the heck Italo-disco is and then second, let's pull some goodies from the massive heaps of crap we've not got ourselves boogieing to in that super-embarrasing and definitely not ironic-in-a-funny-way Saturday Night Fever manner.

When one hears or says "disco" one immediately thinks of the early-1970s right on up until about 1977. No other duration of time was hit so hard by the sleazy guitar riffs and husky bassline funk jams of disco originators like the Blackbyrds, George McCrae, and the Sunshine Band. Europeans had the bright idea of perpetuating the genre (yay posterity!) for some odd reason in the early-1980s, and, to gloss over way too much history, Italo-disco was born. (OK, maybe it was the late-1970s, but who cares? The term itself comes from a 1983 megamix called Italo Boot Mix, so depending on how technical one wants to get, Italo-disco wasn't even brought into this world until a few years into Reagan's first term.) The style is markedly different from straight-up disco, though, in that it is noticeably (1) spacier, (2) synth-heavy, and (3) infested with vocoder choruses. Talk about something that didn't age well! A handful of producers including Cerrone, Giorgio Moroder, and Didier Marouani sort of set the bar for Italo-disco tracks, and honestly, that's all the world needed.

Because of the style's aesthetically clean, dancey, and genuinely fun appeal (but not for its heinous associated fashion and way, way too gimmicky videography style!), though, the movement has stayed alive in some way, shape, or form for the past couple of decades. There's nothing uniquely wrong with that. But really, we don't need the tradition of [anything]-disco to mount any higher, and a respectful laying to peace of the genre would make everyone happy. If we can't all agree on that, at least let's nix the sucky second wavers while we can.

A few people are doing some justice to the Italian-only-in-name music ... so, yea of little faith, don't lose all hope quite yet! BBBD's absolute favorites of the past few years have been Professor Genius, Padded Cell, Studio, Chromatics, Glass Candy, and Justin Miller. On a good day, we might throw Arthur Russell into the mix as he both helped start and revive the scene when he was still with us.

If you've not heard Professor Genius' extraterrestrial Space-/Italo-disco mix for This Is Not An Exit, grab it now! Padded Cell is coming back in a major way, adding fresh elements of kraut-rock to the otherwise staleing disco resurgence. Studio has a new the-Cure-cum-dub-outfit compilation of remix tracks coming out entitled Yearbook 2, and that's bound to be an absolute pleasure. Justin Miller (and all of the D.F.A. posse, for that matter) has been blowing our socks off with his mixes. If you weren't one of those lucky devils who actually got to attend the D.F.A.-DJ'd Dance Part in early-March, at least download the four-hour mix that MoMA was kind enough to make available. Your brain will be melted. BBBD always would like to endorse DC Recordings' forthcoming Death Before Distemper compilation at this point.

Now ... on to the bad stuff; the side of the Italo-disco rebirth that we wish never happened. When people try to specifically make money off a idiotic trend, you know you're in a bad place, and that's exactly what Strut Records did with its shot-in-the-dark, shameful release, Disco Italia: Essential Italo Disco Classics. Do not buy the disc! Strut Records -- bafflingly -- came out with a thirteen-track compilation that supposedly elevates the decaying Italo-disco style, but winds up only making it look and sound really, really stupid and bland. Five Letters' "hit" (?), "Tha Kee Tha Tha" is an embarrassing love song that makes my libido all but disappear. Easy Going's "Do It Again" ought to appear in Austin Powers Pumps Up the 1980s! ... or maybe used as the backing track to a cute "My Baby Can Dance!" video on YouTube. And whoever Firefly was, he deserves to spontaneously combust. Not kidding.

But enough with the Strut Records release. There are limitless groups today trying to compose their own Italo-disco hits ... and failing miserably. Hacks. I Guess I'm Floating's Hot Pick for 2009 is, confoundingly, Century's "Apachwalk." Just because they're labelmates with Studio and from Europe -- which always gets an artist way more Cool Cred than being from the States -- doesn't mean they're any better than these fools. (On a side note, this author's father showed him the "Apache" video while at home for the holidays several years ago ... and frankly, it never deserved to even leave the meme he discovered it in.)

While this first attempt at figuring out the trends that we immerse ourselves in is by no means complete -- and no future column will claim holistic knowledge, either -- it ought to stir you up a little. Just be conscious of what you're being fed by the hype machine you've inadvertently subscribed to. Until next time ... a little Arthur Russell (dudes -- if you think Hercules & Love Affair or Antony & the Johnsons came up with that vocal style ... think again).

Arthur Russell - In the Light of the Miracle

Lola - Wax the Van

Loose Joints - Pop Your Funk

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Reverse N° 1

BBBD has always been a blog focusing most of its time to the new, the current, the hip. Keeping up with the modern is only half of the fun of listening to music, though; revering the old, the past, and the seminal is just as important -- if not more so -- as hailing the up-to-date, though, and BBBD has been deficient in remembering what once was. We proudly present you Reverse, a new column that highlights the music of before from all corners of the globe. With N° 1, we look at some older Japanese groups you all may not be terribly familiar with.

Japanese pop music -- on all levels -- has been too neatly categorized and grouped for comfort. As we all know, musical scenes, eras, and loose communities serve as a good way to make sense of the tradition of music, but not a whole lot more. Few artists -- and certainly barely any of the authentic, sincere, and respectful ones -- begin making music of a certain variety to conveniently fit into a specific genre. Such is the case with the much discussed and revered Shibuya-kei movement of the early- to mid-1990s. While Pizzicato Five, Cornelius, Fantastic Plastic Machine, and a handful of others certainly share similarities with each other, the short-lived Shibuya-kei episode of Japanese music was more complex and detailed than we're led to believe.


The Shibuya-kei period of outrageous musical creativity was not confined solely to and rooted only in a rebirthing of the post-punk guitar-pop of the Postcard Records outfits and a rediscovery of the 1960s lounge pop. Indeed, there was a segment of creators who could more aptly be tied to the twee styles of the late-1980s ... the early bedroom pop artists and lo-fi folks of the C-86 crew. Citrus was one such band. (Néojaponisme has a great interview with Emori Takeaki -- Citrus' frontman and brain -- online now that's very worth reading through.) Their tunes are eternally rooted in the spastic early days of punk (and ridiculous and goofy crap of 1980s Boredoms), hyperactive, neon-lit streets of Shibuya, and the modest production qualities of say, Mt. Eerie. A bizarre and utterly compelling mix to say the least.

The more ignorant of us perpetually assume that Japanese composers merely ape other musical varieties. Everything is derivative of something else -- and clearly so -- and never completely unique unto itself. Listen to any of Citrus' songs, though, and you'll find it difficult to pinpoint their sound. The band sprouted in 1993 and dissolved in 2000/1 and truly served only as a predecessor to today's Japanese pop rather than another imitator that hopped on one of many fashionable musical bandwagons.

The below two songs are quite possibly BBBD's favorite Citrus cuts. "Colo Colo Meets the Stripes" represents one of Trattoria Records' crowning achievements -- a world of tense and angsty guitar-driven punk with an oddly soothing lightness and eccentricity that only a Tokyo band can deliver -- and one of the Shibuya-kei era's most significant works. Not one band in the scene today would admit to not knowing this track and it's undeniably just as important in terms of setting the stage for future generations of musicians as Y.M.O. was for electronic music or Plastics was for Japan's retort to American New Wave. Rock out.

Citrus - Colo Colo Meets the Stripes (from Bend It! Japan '98)

Citrus - Your Building (from Wispy, No Mercy)


When discussing Japan's infatuation with clean, crisp guitar-pop a la Aztec Camera and Orange Juice, Keigo Oyamada's (AKA Cornelius and the founder of Trattoria Records) outfit, Flipper's Guitar, is usually the one and only seminal group namedroped. A true shame as there were, obviously, many, many more equally exciting bands that ran in the same direction and with the same crowd and were just as intriguing. Kaji Hideki's pre-solo endeavor sextet, Bridge, is BBBD's favorite non-Flipper's Guitar ensemble.

There's not a tremendous amount of information floating around the Internet concerning Bridge, but the early 1990s band was very, very cool -- trust. The band served as the connector, in many ways, between the distinctly foreign in quality of Flipper's Guitar and specifically Burt Bacharach-esque of Pizzicato Five. Strangely, Bridge sounds like one of the most Japanese products of the Shibuya-kei movement. Mami Otomo sings in the way that any other J-Pop vocalist circa 1980 - 1990 would've, and in terms of production, Bridge sounds sparkling and shiny in a karaoke arrangement manner as opposed to a post-punk sanitary sort of way. That being said, Bridge was most definitely influenced by the sounds of Western countries -- Hideki now lives in both Tokyo and London, for example -- but erred more on the aesthetics of easy-listening J-Pop. Bridge -- which disbanded in 1995 -- brought plenty into the equation (Latin rhythms, loungey horn and string arrangements, easy-listening guitar melodies), but rarely pushed the envelope or forced native Japanese listeners to reexamine their musical preferences and likes. Listen and you'll understand.

Bridge - Watermelon Bikini (from Paper Bikini Ya-Ya)

Bridge - Pool Side Music (from Preppy Kicks

Kaji Hideki

After Bridge's 1995 breakup, Kaji Hideki traded in his bass for a guitar (or rather, added to his repertoire everything else one needs to make an de facto one-man band) and released an EP, Muscat, the following year. Hideki is very interesting for one reason in particular: he crystallized Japan's indie-pop obsession with Sweden, and never turned back. Instead of drawing primarily from the Sounds of Scotland, 1980, Hideki pulled specifically from the awesomeness that was Swedish pop, 1995. It wasn't hip to be in love with Sweden back then -- certainly not like it is today -- and the fact that Hideki brought that country's music up to a new level of admiration while simultaneously constructing his entirely unique sound is the simple and fair reason to appreciate the forty-one-year-old.

Hideki fully realized his aesthetic in the late-1990s, though, so listen to the below tracks and note the development, progression. Stunning. "You Can Work It Out" may be one of the most uplifting songs ever written. He's a new LP out now called Towns and Streets that BBBD would kill to hear ...

Kaji Hideki - Eggstone (from Mini Skirt)

Kaji Hideki - Peanuts (from Tea)

Kaji Hideki - You Can Work It Out (from Bend It! Japan '98)

Salon Music

In BBBD's humble opinion, Salon Music is/was Boris before Boris. The duo has been recording music with some regularity since 1981 with the single, "Hunting On Paris," never settling on one specific sound or approach to creating songs. Now, they resemble more of a kraut-rock outfit with disco-infused beats and spacey arrangements, but they used to subscribe more to the shoegaze sound and at one point settled for more straightforward J-Pop in the Shibuya-kei tradition.

They moved to Trattoria Records in the 1990s, tying them to the Shibuya-kei sound by contract and affiliation, but not by much else. The pair were first noticed by Western journalists, critics, and labels, further cementing their place in the international scene rather than in the Japanese indie movements they lived through. Regardless, Salon Music is a dense and worthy addition to the body of music Japan has produced. Listen to a couple songs from two very different and distinct LPs below. Hopefully they'll come out with something new soon!

Salon Music - I Could Love (from Chew It In A Bite)

Salon Music - Disko Eskimo (from New World Record

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Don't Start A Band N° 1

BBBD is in a state or turmoil.
The world has become more complex for your favorite blogger: he neither wants to quit not exert more time into writing daily posts; he wants to pursue other things but utilize the freedom that BBBD gives. A conundrum has arisen, and solving it seems unlikely.

We can no longer churn out daily posts that hail the Hot New Thing -- such artists are few and far between, anyway, and not the stuff of frequently-updated blogs such as this one -- and we no longer want to compete with the other names out there. BBBD is content knowing it's been around, that it maintains a voice, and that it is still of at least some relevance.

That being said, expect to see plenty of articles on this website, but perhaps with diminished regularity. Today, we commence an experimental column of sorts: "Don't Start A Band." That's right, BBBD is prescribing abstinence. We're tired of the tirade of press releases, are afraid that every conceivable band name has been registered on MySpace, and are annoyed with our own desire to keep churning out write-ups for God knows why. With "Don't Start A Band N° 1," we indirectly outline the reasons why one shouldn't create a band (one-man or otherwise) through a brief look at more worthy artists. This is all we need. Sorry.

The Kills

The early 2000s were huge, and this doesn't need to be reiterated. Others had revived genres and styles before, but no previous generation of young musicians had done it so self-consciously. BBBD personally holds that this occurred because wannabe hip acts realized their fathers were actually listening to some pretty friggin' sexy music, played by pretty sexy kids, in pretty sexy and gritty clubs. Conversely, it's hard to imagine a twenty-something admiring Elvis in all his blandness in 1975 and thinking, "Wow -- I could totally reappropriate the King's sound, aesthetic, and fashion for my own, more current needs and desires." For a myriad reasons, 1975 - 1985 was an exceedingly appealing era to the younger musicians of the late-1990s and early-2000s who grew up on hip records by the likes of the Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and so on. This was before the massive reissue trend put the CD market into a deathlock. Teenagers were listening to music that wasn't necessarily grounded in an era -- "In Between Days" still makes any somewhat emotional person fall prey to tears -- and certainly detached from prudishness, uptight behaviors, and constriction. The Beatles may have churned out some stunning pop tunes, but do you know what really has left them eternally ingrained in our psyches? Their fedoras, two-button, skinny cut blazers, narrow, leather-soled shoes, and knit ties. That and their rabble-rouser behavior ... who else could compete with their immediately gratifying nature? No one.

But we're digressing here. At the beginning of this millennium, kids growing up on the post-punk of the 1970s/1980s reservedly acknowledged that their parental units were actually attached to a pretty damn cool musical epoch, one that deserved to -- no needed to -- be revived. Hence the post-punk revival (or post-post-punk if you're especially dim). (Now we're bringing back "original" rock 'n roll, the stuff that finally snapped people out it and got them rejecting the crud that was on the radio ... after this Black Lips-fronted phase ends, though, what will we have? A revival of the 21st century's post-punk? Let's hope Devendra Banhart isn't in the equation, whatever it may be. Square.)

The Strokes, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Futureheads, and, of course, the Kills were at the forefront of this reincarnation of post-punk ... and we are forever indebted. Now those of us too young to have actually bought a vinyl record but old enough to remember the bad days of 1990s pop can happily live through both the modern and the trendily old both. That's the whole appeal of post-modernism, right? Keep recycling, reinterpreting, reading ... and never become unaware. As long as we understand what we're getting ourselves into, we're all set. The Kills, unlike the other aforementioned outfits, perpetuated their existence by pushing forward this whole post-punk revival trend. "Warm Leatherette" may be a tremendous piece of industrial post-punk music history, but it serves as a gimmick to many; that crap Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner put together as Electronic was only intended to be a goofy side-project that neither moved the early U.K. electronic movement forward nor compelled many folks to actually listen; likewise, we're starting to believe that perhaps the Strokes (and like bands -- there are thousands ... use your imagination) didn't actually want to stick around, but rather hop into the scene at an opportune moment and profit off our collective interest in the post-punk of yesteryear. The Kills have plodded through the eight or so years since the dawn of postpunk revival and have kept their charisma and core principles intact. The Kills are a band to aspire towards, but few can do what they've accomplished. Plus, Jamie dates Kate Moss. Dream on, Brit-poppers. Tie your shoes and go home.

It's 2008: the Strokes have yet to return, Interpol has yet to impress us like they did with "P.D.A.," and Jack White has yet to shed the pounds. Hack DJs clutter out clubs pretending to be the voices of a generation, but have no idea what the hell their generation is, who don't give a rat's, and haven't an iota of a clue as to how to become relevant. Let's just mosh in the meantime, right? Next time you consider checking out Le Castle Vania or Steve Aoki or Guns 'n Bombs, resolve to staying home and watching Jeopardy at 3 AM. It's better than walking into a club, immersing yourself in the noise and confusion, and fooling yourself into thinking it's music. Until a duo like the Kills comes along again -- and the Old Guard of 2001 is replaced by a New Guard -- we've nothing. Don't Start A Band until you've something to say.

the Kills - Fuck the People

the Kills - Murdermile

the Kills - M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U.

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

Metronomy and Black Kids Remix My Beloved Lykke Li

Not only did BBBD discover Lykke Li Stateside, but we've persistently been her biggest fans. Our review of her live show at the El Rey in L.A. sort of cements that sentiment.

Anyway. London-via-Brighton's Metronomy (an outfit we were on at the very beginning) and Black Kids have remixed my beloved Lykke Li's "I'm Good, I'm Gone," with quite promising results. Black Kids' interpretation involves more atmospheric flourishes, heavy post-punk bass lines, and dancier guitar hooks, but reverently maintains the original vocals for the most part. It sounds sort of like what would happen if Lykke Li formed a rock band ... with Damon Albarn, maybe. Metronomy's remix is, as usual, quirkier and more electronically-driven ... and a little eerier. The three-piece has dropped in lots of spooky synth ditties and light funky riffs. Sort of a toss up between these two, so ... check 'em out for yourself!

Lykke Li - I'm Good, I'm Gone (Metronomy Remix)

Lykke Li - I'm Good, I'm Gone (Black Kids Remix)

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Twin Crystals

Surprise, surprise: S.L.U. has yet another rad release on its hands by the name of Twin Crystals. The Vancouver trio rose from the ashes of Channels 3X4, but doesn't sound a whole lot like the Johnny Jewel-produced group. Twin Crystals draws heavily from the grunge of the 1990s, the gritty industrial aesthetics of the early-1980s (think Throbbing Gristle), and, on occasion, the off-kilter shouting-not-singing of Mark E. Smith.

And, behind the curtain of noise and distortion, there's an art-punk vibe as well ... something edging close on, say, Liars. Twin Crystals screech about crackheads and darkness, anger and resentment, though, distinctly setting them apart from ... just about anyone else.

The band's just released the "Two Girls" 7", so grab that up, but the 10" for "No Clinics" is gone forever. So here's a tune from that release. Bang your head hard ... if that doesn't render your brain numb, the music eventually will.

Twin Crystals - With or Without You

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Lykke Li & El Perro del Mar @ the El Rey, 05.19.08

We don't tend to write about live shows anymore, but ... Lykke Li (MySpace) is simply too goo to be passed up and, additionally, not written about. The Swedish chanteuse finally graced the States with her soulful voice on a smallish tour in support of El Perro del Mar (MySpace). It was really good.

Let's first get the photos out of the way, here, as you all really need to see them in order to understand what a phenomenal performance last night's show was. Here's the Flickr set. You can also flip through the shots in the media player widget after the jump.

The show was opened by Anna Ternheim (MySpace), an exciting folksy solo act out of Stockholm. She sounded a bit like Thom Yorke doing solo stuff as a woman in the vein of Swedish folk. Got it?

Lykke Li was the second act for the night and boy did she blow L.A.'s socks off. The shortish vocalist has some chops, that's for sure, and belted song after song out. Starting with some of the slower material from the long-player and U.S. EP, Lykke Li enchanted the near-capacity crowd. The way she moves on stage is mesmerizing ... sort of like a combination of hip-hop backup dancer moves and the choreographed steps of the Shirelles or something. Each and every song had a live vitality and vigor to it that doesn't shine through as much as it should on the studio material ... bass lines dipped and dived out of the sonic waves led by Lykke Li and her solid, slightly hyperactive drummer; keyboard melodies fleshed out the minimalistic lyricism; the reverb of the cavernous El Rey furthermore expanded the sound. This is what Lykke Li needs: a large hall to air her sound out in ... a place that can boast the gal's bold vocal talent.

El Perro del Mar picked up where Lykke Li left off. Mostly pulling from her debut album, her set was more vivid and energetic than one would expect it to be. While both Lykke Li and del Mar are, doubtless, penners of rather sad songs, they express the tunes with a vim and vam that's exciting and all the more emotive. Be sure to check out any or all of the artists when they come through your town (hopefully they'll be back soon)! A jaw-dropper is in store for you ...

Lykke Li - Little Bit (Live)

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Exclusive Kitsuné Mix by Streetlife DJs (P. II)

Alright folks, we've got something awesome for ya here! Kitsuné Records has been kind enough to provide BBBD and Anthem Online with a new, exclusive Streetlife DJs (MySpace) mix.

Pick up the London duo's recorded material (the latest being a "Gunn Crime" single) at the Kitsuné Online Record Store!

As you may notice, the below mix is only Part II. To get the first half, bounce on over to Anthem Online. Cross-marketing, people ...

A tracklist can be found after the jump!

Streetlife DJs - Kitsuné April Mix (P. II)

Buy it at Insound!

01. Streetlife Sessions Intro..................................................................................CDR
02. DJ Sneak - Let Me Show You The Way To Go........................................Henry Street
03. STA - Sex.........................................................................................Marine Parade
04. Polyester - J'aimes Regarder Les Mecs...................................................At The Villa
05. Self Preservtion Society - All Stops Out...................................................Strongroom
06. Alter Ego - Why Not........................................................................Klang Elektronik
07. Alex Metric - In Your Machine.............................................................Marine Parade
08. Alex Gopher - Aurora...............................................................................Go 4 Music
09. Thee Madcatt Courtship - My Fellow Boppers...................................................FFRR
10. The Whip - Trash (Crookers)...............................................................Southern Fried
11. S'Express - Stupid Little Girls (J-Bag)............................................................Kitsune
12. 10 Rapid - Sonic Weapon..........................................................................Neon Flux
13. Dusty Kid - Talake (Ocelot).................................................................Southern Fried
14. Zombie Nation - Peace & Greed (Yuksek)..........................................................UKW
15. Basement Jaxx - Fly Life...............................................................................Multiply

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

Cazals Video, "Somebody Somewhere"

I tend to not post music videos on BBBD simply because they're too many of 'em out there, and who am I to select a couple out of the hundreds floating around in the vast Internet?

That being said, Cazals' (MySpace) latest music video for "Somebody Somewhere" is stunning and certainly deserves all the attention it can get. Not only is the song a great the-Jam-meets-the-Strokes sort of garage-rock pop cut, but it also features one of the cutest and coolest animations I've seen in a while (by French street artist André), and, duh, a beautiful French chick, dancing up and down the streets of Paris with such gleeful finesse. Love it, love it.

We're also drawing the Kitsuné Records video to your attention because we've a surprise waiting for you that'll drop in a few ... Kitsuné-themed, of course.

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

The Kabeedies

Imagine the Cure producing Good Shoes with some new Lily Allen-type chick subbing in on vocals and you'll have a rough approximation of how ridiculously awesome the Kabeedies are.

U.K. bands may come a dime a dozen, but every once in a while, one of those groups is a gem that's just been unfortunately overlooked or shoved to the side. The Kabeedies seems to be one such band. The Norwich quartet has been pumping out hooky singles for a while now with little exposure (and certainly none in the States) even though they're undeniably catchier and more talented than the bulk of British acts.

"Lovers Ought To" is literally one of the best pop tunes BBBD has heard in a while ... it's abrupt, straightforward, and accented by a wonderful dose of unique vocal talent, angular guitar riffs, and slightly off-kilter drum patterns. The Kabeedies are charming in that way ... they outwardly appear completely coherent and solid yet subliminally convey a sort of scatterbrained aesthetic that's exciting and ... perfect.

So there's the BBBD endorsement. In a major way. Enjoy a couple tunes below and be sure to hit up the MySpace page for more jams and purchase information.

the Kabeedies - Lovers Ought To

the Kabeedies - Sideburns

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Tokyo Fun Party, Digiki, and SoccerBoy

I'm thinking this post might be better suited as three separate blurbs, but since all three subjects are closely related and interdependent, putting together one mega piece is better than splitting it up.

Okay. Here we go.

Tokyo Fun Party is a Tokyo-based record label owned and operated by a pretty intriguing international crew of DJs and musicians. SoccerBoy (AKA Takashi Otagiri) started the company and quickly brought on Paris-born, Tokyo-dwelling Digiki (MySpace) to do A&R and generally kill it at the T.F.P. club nights (Juliana).

Digiki is truly a jack of all trades. The guy co-founded 101 Tokyo when he wasn't compiling his stellar Polypunk mix series, recording his own material, DJ'ing parties, and collaborating with a myriad other artists. Now, Digiki's got a whole pile of new material out, with another batch on the horizon.

Dense Music is, for the most part, a collection of remixes of tunes off the last LP, Beat Vacation. Two singles have been released so far ("Draftpunk" and "Pancakes"). Below are mixed samples of each single. You can find way more information on both (including just how to buy the things) over here.

Back to SoccerBoy, though. This guy has been tearing it up in Tokyo for a good while now, injecting an Ed Banger dose of grittiness and brashness to the otherwise hyper-melodious and bubblegummy dance scene in Japan. His stuff is a mix of everything under the sun ... a little Diplo rhythmic fun tossed around, a little Girl Talk mashing dropped in, a little Justice-esque rager sprinkled about. He can't stay still. Check out a mix he put together below as well as two remixes he did (so, so good). You can catch more remixes here and more mixes here. Now you totally want to go to Tokyo, right?

Digiki - Draftpunk Teaser (Mixed by SoccerBoy)

Digiki - Pancakes Teaser (Mixed by SoccerBoy)

Dead Kennedys - Kill the Poor (SoccerBoy Otagiremix)

the Velvet Underground - Waiting for the Man (SoccerBoy Otagiremix)

SoccerBoy - Sucker Bombaclaat Vol. 1.1

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

Bakers at Dawn

Nebraska's CD-R indie label, Series Two has added a new artist to its roster, and, as usual, made a wonderful selection! Bakers at Dawn (AKA Marcus Sjoland) hails from Malmö and sounds sort of like Elliott Smith or Nick Drake ... done Swedish style.

The singer/songwriter has released a CD-R album on the twee/lo-fi label, Canarie Records and now has a new album out on Series Two entitled Best of Bakers at Dawn (he's only been around for three years or so and is already releasing retrospective compilations of sorts ... must be a prolific guy).

The below MP3s are pretty low quality, unfortunately, so just sample 'em and buy the full-length over at Series Two Records' MySpace page. It's hot and sunny in L.A., but this slow, melodious, and contemplative music seems somehow fitting. It brings peace and harmony to the cacophony outside.

Bakers at Dawn - Hopeful

Bakers at Dawn - Endless

Bakers at Dawn - Tomorrow

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


The Alligators

Typically, my memories of growing up in Cleveland is all the connection I need to the Midwest (or thereabouts -- I still think Cleveland is more akin to a coastal city than say, Boise). I stick to the coasts, as terrible as that sounds. While there are certainly good bands sprouting in the pastures and prairies of Nebraska, Idaho, North Dakato, and all surrounding States, that stuff doesn't appeal to me as much as a Baltimore group does. And, to make another terribly generalized statement, most of the Midwest's musical offerings are the U.S. version of a British pub band or the 1970s bar band transplanted to a modern age. Bland beyond conception.

That being said ... Provo, Utah's Alligators have really caught my ear. I'm a little stunned, but not afraid to admit my adoration for this quintet (I believe it's a quintet ... they have experienced a confusing number of lineup shuffles).

The Alligators are a pretty standard pop-punk indie band, but with a multitude of twists. The keyboards add a Metric-like post-punk edge; the female vocals soften the blow of spiky guitar hooks and heavy, straightforward bass lines; dueling guitars bring a complexity and layeredness that is rare.

But what would one expect from such a dynamic crew? The members met in a [high school?] film class, formed the Alligators, split because of work, a trip to Japan, and more school, but eventually found themselves all back in ... Utah and picked right back up where they left off. Check out a couple tracks below. Get more on the MySpace page.

the Alligators - Touch

the Alligators - I'm Dungeons, You're Dragons

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

Future Sound, Pink Skull, Littl'ans

This week's Internet installment of Anthem's Future Sound is pretty stunning. The five bands profiled include Pink Skull, the Littl'ans, Abe Vigoda, the Answering Machine, and Blonde Acid Cult. A varied and compelling shortlist, to say the least!

I conducted the Littl'ans interview ... that was thrilling. Blonde Acid Cult was also a pleasure to talk to. Be sure to check out the whole story! There's plenty of content not worth missing.

Pink Skull - El Topo

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Padded Cell, "Faces Of the Forest"

I vividly remember first hearing two particular artists at some underground Turntable Lab-esque record boutique in the heart of Shibuya a few years back: Whitey and Padded Cell. As it always is in such a shop, there's a certain thrill that comes along with vinyl sampling ... pulling a 7" or 12" from it's sleeve, approaching a polished and well-kept turntable, flipping the disc on it, putting the headphone on, tweaking the bass, middle, and treble, and, finally, listening to the organic sound waves only a wax recording can produce. A sublime moment.

I wish I could hear Padded Cell's new stuff in such a fashion, but alas, my gear isn't up to snuff. I'm confined to sample the cuts on a mediocre pair of speakers sans the glamor of a posh Tokyo record distro. That being said, the new material is spectacular, and there will be a time that I hear this stuff in a more proper and reverential manner.

But what is the "new stuff" exactly? The London disco/funk/psychedelic/post-punk duo has a new dark, brooding, and spacey LP coming out on Monday, May 19 on DC Recordings. The label's been kind enough to make a pretty cool e-card for the forthcoming Night Must Fall full-length, so if the below freebie ("Faces Of the Forest") ain't enough to hold you over until the album's release, hop on over there and check out more material! The record is going to be great ... quite possibly their best yet.

Padded Cell - Faces Of the Forest

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Cazals Remixed by Blamma! Blamma!

BBBD has long been a fan of London's Blamma! Blamma!, and while everyone seems to be giving the duo props these days, we can't resist this time 'round as their remix of Cazals' (MySpace) "Somebody, Somewhere" is just too good to pass up.

Blamma! Blamma! warned me to be careful with this one as "it bites," and that it definitely does. A driven, energetic remix that chugs along at a rapid, robotic pace from the very beginning to the end. Nicely filtered vocals, bouncy synth lines, and noisy beats suit the original's aesthetic well. Check it out below. (Blamma! Blamma! gets extra points for making the longest remix title in history.)

Cazals - Somebody, Somewhere (Blamma! Blamma! Somebody Stop Me Mix)

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

Lykke Li + El Perro del Mar

Whoever dreamed up the paring of Lykke Li (MySpace) and El Perro del Mar (MySpace) was ... a genius. (It's might've just been record label politics, but in all sincerity, putting the two Swedish chanteuses on the same bill is a phenomenal idea.)

The artists represent the two main cities in Sweden (Ms. Li hails from Stockholm while El Perro del Mar comes from the slightly less trendy Gothenburg); they both are reviving soul music in their own way; they both slyly dig their way into your heart with their minimalist yet rhythmic and funky style and aesthetic; they both will leave you wanting more. Like a well curated museum exhibition, the Lykke vs. del Mar U.S. tour is moving in how the two singers contrast each other. Lykke is in your face and unabashedly pushes the envelope -- you'll succumb to her wacky dances and melt to her bold vocal talent -- while El Perro del Mar is more subdued and delicate, sublimely merging the old soul of the 1960s with the lo-fi indie-pop of Swedish compatriots like Jens Lekman. The back-to-back sets will stun you ... the similarities with connect the two while the differences accent the other's talents, fortes, and unique qualities.

BBBD is proud to say that it was one of the first Stateside blogs to show love for Lykke Li (thanks to a tip from the wonderful T. Cederteg, and we urge you all to check out a show. This is a rare and exciting opportunity! Check out the widget after the jump to get the scoop on shows and all that good stuff.

Lykke Li - Dance, Dance, Dance

Lykke Li - Everybody But Me (diskJokke Remix)

El Perro del Mar - Somebody's Baby

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

BBBD Muxtape No. 4

Since BBBD's founding in 2004, we've debuted a number of new "columns," "features," podcasts, and the like ... none of which really seemed to work. (Yeah, believe it or not, there was a BBBD "radio program"; likewise, we attempted a myriad weekly round-ups and plenty of other nice-try-maybe-next-time regulars.)

We're practically guaranteeing that our Muxtape series will remain constant, though.

Check it out! We've just put together BBBD Muxtape No. 4! The eight-track mix features Zongamin, Annie, new Munk, Human Highway, Golden Bug, and all the other greats you've been itching to tune into! Enjoy, loyal readers.

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Magic Johnson

I just got off a pretty major Kills trip today, so Portland's Magic Johnson is definitely workin' it for me right about now.

While the duo's lineup is slightly different than the above mentioned group's -- "tag team drum/guitar duo Ana and Mando" bring the noise -- they've definitely a comparable aesthetic. With more shouting, D.I.Y. punk, and brash, lo-fi noise stirred into the mix. These two are connected to the Smell in L.A., mind. In fact, their latest 7" EP, Telenovelas (they sing in Spanish!), was released on the Smell's in-house label, olFactory Records (I've said it before, but man that's a great name). Six bucks for six songs!? What would you rather purchase? A lame $.99 iTunes track or a ragin' wax-embedded powerhouse garage jam? The latter, of course!

Plus, Magic Johnson counts Mika Miko and New Bloods as friends ... so they can't be all that bad (if you're feeling like judging a book by it's cover today). Check out a couple songs below. Face melting.

Magic Johnson - Querida

Magic Johnson - La Casa

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


M.A.N.D.Y. & Justin Miller Interview @ La Fiesta de Fiestas, 2008

M.A.N.D.Y. & Justin Miller Interview @ Anthem Party, 2008 from Anthem Magazine on Vimeo.
I briefly interviewed Justin Miller (D.F.A.) and M.A.N.D.Y. at our Anthem Coachella party, La Fiesta de Fiestas and the resultant video documenting the "round table" discussion is finally up! We had some stellar DJ's pass through out event, so it was hard to not take advantage! Other artists included Para One, Surkin, the Ed Banger crew, Boys Noize, Claude VonStrok, and a handful of others.

Check the M.A.N.D.Y./Justin Miller video out at the source! There's more L.F.D.F. love to be found here as well.

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


Future Sound, Holy Ghost!

I interviewed Holy Ghost! (not to mention a handful of others) for Anthem Magazine's Future Sound feature, our version of Bands to Watch 2008.

Calling it an "interview" isn't completely accurate: Nicholas and I emailed back and forth for a few weeks until we got bored of it. I published the raw discourse and dubbed it a Q&A. Hopefully, it offers a unique and compelling look at the DFA-signed duo.

Check it out!

One of my favorite bits:

On that note, could you tell me a little about the MoMA opening party that you DJ'd at along with a bunch of other DFA folks? How did that get arranged and how did you feel about the gig? Were you purely the musical entertainment for the night or was a symbiotic dynamic between DFA and the museum there as well?

More broadly, what do you like about DJ'ing? What don't you like? And ... have we reached a sort of "critical mass" of DJ's? Are there simply too many out there?

As I understand it the MoMA approached Jon at DFA. The label has done a few events at P.S.1 in the past so it made sense I guess. As far as any underlining symbolism or connection between DFA and the Color Chart exhibition, I don't know. I suppose you could say something about a common pop aesthetic but you could also call be pretentious for saying so. What else? Oh, the light boxes on either side of the DJ booth were ours. They were made by Marcus Lambkin (AKA Shit Robot) for LCD's "Movement" video and have been collecting dust in the DFA offices so, given the theme of the show, Tim thought it'd be fun to bring them and play them with a drum machine (they're controlled by MIDI). I loved that people thought they were part of the exhibition.

All in all, it was a great night and I think everyone had a blast. I did for sure, but unfortunately I think we were the weakest part of the night. Tim and Tim's set was amazing and watching people freak out when they dropped James Brown was an all time highlight for sure.

Holy Ghost! - Hold On

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!


The Morning Paper

The Morning Paper (MySpace) drips with so much reverb, guitar feedback, echoey vocals, and thick string arrangements that it's sometimes a little difficult to find the hook or melody in their tunes! That being said, the songs -- whether hyper melodious or not -- wrap you up tight like a warm blanket, a sensation that most groups can't replicate, no matter how hard they try.

The Swedish trio's hyper-ambient, shoegaze is really appealing -- don't get me wrong! The song below -- "Fingers Crossed" -- is like what would happen if the Tough Alliance did Cocteau Twins covers and then rerecorded them as though they were in Slowdive. The Morning Paper selectively pulls shoegaze and dream pop influences from all across the board, but melds it all into one modern and catchy entity that I can't get enough of.

Order their new EP -- It's Getting Clearer -- right here!

the Morning Paper - Fingers Crossed

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , , , , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!

Ming Dynasty

If you're looking for some heavier blues-leaning rock jams to settle you in this wonderful Tuesday morning, look no further: Ming Dynasty (MySpace) is all you need.

The New York City quartet was founded by Eric Miranda (of the Plums, which was apparently endorsed by Ryan Adams) and Ming Chan (hence the "Ming" in the name ... I was hoping it was in reference to the actual era of Chinese imperial rule, but alas). Ming hails from Taiwan, but sings like a American-born (or thoroughly naturalized) vocalist. The tunes sound sort of like a more gung-ho Piexies or smoother Breeders with some over blues elements and grassroots influences thrown into the mix for a charmingly old-fashioned underlying vibe.

Keep an eye out for the debut Yellow Tiger LP. It'll bombard its way into your summer, anyway, so better get prepared!

Ming Dynasty - Yellow Tiger

Ming Dynasty - American Dream

Ming Dynasty - Rice Field

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!



It's unusual to see a BBBD post on a Los Angeles band, which is truly a shame since ... we're based in the City of Angels! Frankly, there just ain't a whole lot of great groups coming out of L.A.; they all come to us!

In the opinion of this blog, Princeton (MySpace) has broken this trend, though. The Eagle Rock trio sounds just about as preppy as their name implies, but they're by no means a rip-off of, say, Vampire Weekend. Instead, these three compose lo-fi guitar-pop tunes that could be easily described as Swedish pop or confused with The Boy Least Likely To. Or maybe Field Mice. And they're definitely just as intellectual as their moniker makes them out to be:
Each composition on the [Bloomsbury EP] is lyrically focused upon a member of the influential Bloomsbury intellectual collective that existed in London during the early 20th century. Lyrical portraits of Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes are each presented in a different musical framework with lush orchestral arrangements that draw from a collage of influences -- Serge Gainsbourg’s Gainsbourg Percussions, The Kinks’ Something Else, Jorge Ben’s Forca Bruta and Jean Claude Vannier’s L'enfant La Mouche Et Les Allumettes to name a few.
Interestingly, the 60s-beach-pop-cum-smart-twee is fronted by twin brothers! Very unusual! That, and their penchant for luscious string arrangements and fun, light mandolin lines makes them a unique and distinct outfit.

Check out a couple songs from Bloomsbury and buy the EP here!

Princeton - Eminent Victorians

Princeton - Leonard Woolf

Buy it at Insound!

Labels: , ,

delicious digg google newsvine Technorati
Read more!