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Remix: Isa GT’s “Pa Las Mamasitas” gets the Chris Video treatment

5 Sep

Chris Video

Miami DJ Chris Video took a stab at Isa GT’s “Pa Las Mamasitas” and came up with an addictive piece of strobing dancehall cohesion. Video took the original, a jaunty conga girl rap, and transformed it into a coked-up, layered wave of lights, sexuality and depravity. Video’s re-production of the song transforms Isa GT’s cute girl voice into a sexy, icy confidence, maybe if M.I.A. hailed from Medillin. 

Isa GT – Pa Las Mamasitas (Chris Video Remix) by Chris Video

Check out Chris Video’s other projects: BFGF is a lusty, stripped down electropop project. SoothsayersS is an experimental trip rock deal, like a lo-fi Gorillaz.

Live: Dean Wareham Plays Galaxie 500 + Crystal Stilts

21 Aug

Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500 songs (backed by the Dean & Britta band)

At the 140-year-old Trocadero Theatre in Phila., PA, where minstrel, vaudeville and burlesque shows once did the trick, Dean Wareham played Galaxie 500 songs. Just after 10 p.m., Wareham, the 47-year-old dreampop hero, walked on stage with his beer, his bass-playing wife Britta and the rest of the band. With no preamble, Wareham and co. rode right on in to “Flowers,” the first track off of their 1988 debut Today.

Wareham’s voice is as haunting and inviting as it was over 20 years ago, and his guitar work alone is worth the price of admission. One of the benefits of seeing Wareham up close is getting a look at his expressive non-expression, where the muscles in his face are relieved of duty, eyelids refusing to come down, as he loses himself in each song. All the while cranking out gorgeous solos.

Wareham told a story about dropping acid a while back with friends, taking their socks and shoes off to dip their feet in the water. “I thought my toes were talking to me,” Wareham said in deadpan. And Wareham begat “Decomposing Trees.”

“Blue Thunder” is the classic car song. Wareham explained that he named his old blue ride after the feature film of the same name, starring Malcolm McDowell and Roy Scheider. Britta chimed in saying she had a green one, to which Wareham replied, “Green Thunder doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?”

If you are a fan of Galaxie 500, Luna or Dean & Britta, this is a must-see show.

Setlist from 8/20/10 @ The Trocadero

Crystal Stilts

Crystal Stilts opened for Dean Wareham with a perfect 30-minute set of their layered pop sound. Crystal Stilts get misbranded often as a lo-fi outfit because of their jangle. Seeing Wavves and Beach Fossils, despite some similar influences, is a completely different experience than seeing Crystal Stilts. Frontman Brad Hargett sounds exactly like Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. The critics who note their New Zealand (The Clean, The Saints, Wareham, The Bats and especially The Chills) influence got it right. The funny think about the NZ influence, known as the Dunedin Sound, is its roots in early garage and punk pioneers Velvet Underground and The Stooges while incorporating the perfect pop craft of The Beatles. Like those bands before them, The Stilts have no tricks. They just have the equation down pat: write great pop songs and know how to make it dirty.

WAVVES’ King of the Beach: Free Stream on Fat Possum

1 Jul

Click Nasty Nate and be swept away to the new album’s free stream courtesy of Fat Possum.

“You’re never gonna stop me,” sings Nathan Williams on the opening track, clearing up any misgivings of just who the King of the Beach really is.

Despite WAVVES’ rapid rise to underground stardom with Wavvves and his subsequent insipid fall from grace, Williams comes charging back with an unapologetic string of songs confronting what went down in 2009. It is peaceful, playful, snarky, compelling, mature and an instant classic.

When Williams sings “I’d apologize, but it wouldn’t mean shit,” he is speaking to both himself and those who turned their backs. One can’t help but notice the peace he has come to in charging those demons. There is a clarity amongst the fuzz, without replacing the fuzz.

Just as important as Williams’ mental state is the craftsmanship and maturity of the music. Those artists who embrace the lo-fi culture have easy beginnings, but jutting the boredom of the fuzz and simplicity and emerging with fresh sound is difficult and often the downfall of a lo-fi superstar. Just as Williams confronted his doubters, he jammed a riflebutt right in the genre’s chest and produced a classic with well-crafted pop that doesn’t have to fight through the fuzz, but is given the right to live alongside of it.


Fri-Aug-06    Chicago, IL  Lollapalooza
Sat-Aug-07    Chicago, IL  Empty Bottle Lollapalooza afterparty *
Thu-Aug-12    San Diego, CA Museum of Contemporary A
Fri-Aug-13    Pomona, CA    The Glass House #
Sat-Aug-14    Portland, OR    Berbati’s Pan
Mon-Aug-16    Santa Barbara, CA    Soho
Tue-Aug-17    Santa Cruz, CA    Crepe Place
Wed-Aug-18    San Francisco, CA    Rickshaw Stop
Wed-Aug-25    Seattle, WA    Neumos
Thu-Aug-26    Vancouver, BC    Biltmore
Fri-Aug-27    Victoria, BC    Sugar
Mon-Aug-30    Sacramento, CA    Sol Collective
Tue-Aug-31    Visalia, CA    Howie and Sons Pizza

* = w/ Harlem, Fergus and Geronimo
# = w/ The Cool Kids

King of the Beach
(Fat Possum)
Physical Street date: Aug. 3, 2010

King Of The Beach
Super Soaker
When Will You Come?
Post Acid
Take On The World
Baseball Cards
Convertible Balloon
Green Eyes
Mickey Mouse
Linus Spacehead
Baby Say Goodbye

May releases: Harvey Milk, Andy Bell (Erasure), Beach Fossils

14 May

The month of May is living up to its fertile standards, giving way to tons of new releases. The month has already delivered:

Forgiveness Rock Record from Broken Social Scene, Your Future Out Clutter from the Fall, Together from the New Pornographers, Heaven is Whenever from the Hold Steady, Love is Strange from Jackson Browne & David Lindley, The Latin from Holy Fuck, High Violet from the National, Treats from Sleigh Bells, At Echo Lake from Woods and One Word, One Love from Michael Bolton (still reading?).

Almost as exciting as LCD Soundsystem’s This is Happening (due out May 18), is the return of Harvey Milk to the studio. Reuniting in 2006 after an eight-year hiatus, A Small Turn of Human Kindness (also due out May 18) is their second full-length since and sixth overall.

Harvey Milk gets its dirge on

Human Kindness is sure to excite the critical mass once again with this output, channeling their natural inner Chrome. Harvey Milk sets the spacious, metallic tone immediately, building walls of guitar so Creston Spiers can scale them. It’s definitely meant to be listened to straight through as one piece of music, one very ominous play. If you’re patient enough, you’ll be rewarded with a metal lullaby. Click here for the free stream at NPR’s First Listen:

Harvey Milk’s A Small Turn of Human Kindness

LCD Soundsystem’s release will be covered by the internet’s internet so we’ll skip our thoughts. Here is the limited-time free stream:

LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening

It’s worth noting that Andy Bell (of Erasure fame) will be releasing a solo album. The album was due out May 18, but has been pushed to June 7. From the small samples that have been released it’s more of the same synthpop with harder techno beats. Erasure has a massive gay demographic that will soak up anything Clarke and Bell release. If it isn’t evident by the sound, then it is by Bell’s headlining European Gay Ski Week 2010. Nothing, however, will replace Erasure as being the best online game theme song:

Erasure's "Always" makes you feel like a unicorn

Out May 25th is Beach Fossils’ eponymous LP. Anytime a new lo-fi act gains some notoriety, the “has it been beaten to death” debate begins, and that’s exactly what happened with The Beach Fossils. Despite already being compared to No Age, Wavves, Vivian Girls and (somehow) Mika Miko, Beach Fossils’ guitar chops are clearly on another level. The lo-fi sound is obvious, but it isn’t grating or contrived. There is even a twee-pop sweetness reminiscent of Galaxie 500 and Beat Happening. The sweet melodies are buried, but not No Age-buried. There is a clear distinction between No Age’s art-noise/no wave philosophies and Beach Fossils’ crafted fuzz (Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros meets Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet). These guys found a way not to be pigeonholed by their methods.

Beach Fossils self-titled LP out May 25th


Micah Hinson and the Opera Circuit

6 May

Micah Hinson

In the baritonic vein of Bill Callahan, Tom Waits, David Berman and Lou Reed, Micah Hinson is charged as another in a short line of confessional sentimentalists with a woodworker-like grasp of crafting songs.

I am always eager to listen to an artist who comes recommended from spectral ends. For instance, Hinson’s name came up while reading about Yo La Tengo and again while reading about Lambchop (his most glaring comp). I’m regrettably late to the game on Hinson since he’s been releasing music since 2004.

Hinson, apparently of cult status for better or worse, released Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit in 2006.

Hinson opens the album with the sweet sounding and downtrodden “Seems Almost Impossible” and reminds me of what outlaw country might sound like with a no-wave influence (no, I never really wondered). The structure of the song, despite lyrically being a traditional folk song, creates an ocean of sonic space and the air of a dream. Like Berman before him, his broken dreams and heart are salvageable.

Just when you give in to the Richard Hawley-like pace of song one, Hinson comes out of nowhere with “Diggin’ A Grave,” a fun-as-all-hell backwoods gypsy chant confronting death with no reservations. “Diggin’ a grave in the moonlight/Diggin’ a grave where we lay/Hoping the sun won’t ever come up/There’ll be no compromise again.” It’s got a Faustian feel and a violin to boot. Don’t listen to this song if you’re trying to avoid bad things. Or do.

Hinson again switches gears to his version of an anthemic summersong  “Jackeyed.” Like George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” Hinson reminds us, hopefully, that that includes the bad things. It’s telling that Hinson, despite being sincerely optimisic, must remind himself and those around him that things will be better, struggles will be worthwhile, but life sucks at the moment.

The true color and character of Hinson’s voice arrives immediately on the next song, “It’s Been So Long.” Although it’s unclear who Hinson is addressing, the recurring stanza resurrects Tim Hardin’s “Black Sheep Boy.” Hinson: “It’s been so long/Since I’ve seen you home/Open hands and teeth and hearts/And dreams I never can compete.” Hardin: “Here I am back home again/I am here to rest/All they ask is where I’ve been/Knowing I’ve been West.” The same sadness, same ne’er-do-well quality, the same impossibilities.

“She Don’t Own Me” is a gorgeous piece of music. Musically, the song switches pace and even genre multiple times before Hinson even starts singing. First a speed-pickin’ bluegrass number that abruptly transitions to a Neil Young-like guitar strum, which finally turns into the sweeping sounds of coming to terms with parting ways.

The very first note of the last song of the album, despite being uncompromisingly heartbreaking, is that rare sound that actually informs the listener. It puts you in an appropriate place. “Don’t Leave Me Now” is a lament about a vague place in life, a bold topic to write about. A lot of material – both good and bad – is written about life’s ups – love, sex, parties, etc. – and downs – heartbreak, addiction, war, etc.. Little, however, is written of the middling stages and the unknown because of the difficulty of articulating such a place in song. Not a good place, not a bad place. This is Hinson welcoming you to his life in media res, the in-between.