MP3: The Willowz – “Repetition”

The Willowz will release their new album, Everyone, via Dim Mak/Downtown on October 6th. Here’s a little sample of what’s to come – I’ll be damned if that’s not Jack White on vocals (it’s not). Listen to “Repetition” here.

MP3: Kid Sister – “Right Hand Hi”

Off her eternally delayed debut album, Ultraviolet, Kid Sister has a new track available for download. “Right Hand Hi” combines feel good rave waves with stuttering Chicago house and and a hip-hop spine. It works.

MP3: DD/MM/YYYY – “Digital Haircut”

Herky-jerky post-punk via Toronto’s DD/MM/YYYY for you this morning – listen to “Digital Haircut,” a track off their forthcoming album, Black Square, out on Impose Records on September 15th. Remember the ’90s? They do, in a good way. Tour dates:

07/31 Montreal, QC – Le National / Osheaga *
08/07 Toronto, ONT – Theatre Centre / Summerworks *
08/16 Brooklyn, NY – The Jelly NYC Pool Parties $
08/27 Bowling Green, OH – Howards H Club %
08/29 Detroit, MI PJ’s – Lager House %
08/30 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop %
09/10 Brooklyn, NY – Don Pedro’s
09/20 Minneapolis, – MN 7th St. Entry #
09/22 Chicago, IL – Subterranean #
09/23 Pontiac, MI – The Pike Room #
09/24 Rochester, NY – Bug Jar #
09/26 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge #
09/27 Cambridge, MA – TT the Bear’s #
09/28 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie #
09/29 Washington, DC – DC9 #
09/30 Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 #
10/01 Atlanta, GA Star – Community Bar #
10/02 Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder #
10/03 Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub #
10/05 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon #
10/06 Austin, TX – Red 7 #
10/10 Los Angeles, CA – Knitting Factory #
10/11 San Diego, CA – Casbah #
10/13 Visalia, CA – Cellar Door #
10/14 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill #
10/16 Portland, OR – Rotture #
10/17 Seattle, WA – The Vera Project #

* = w/ Think About Life
$ = w/ Del, Prince Paul, Gravy Train!!!
% = w/ Child Bite
# = w/ These Arms Are Snakes


MP3: Statik Selektah – “Critically Acclaimed”

Feel that baritone sax reach deep into your gut, boosted by some crisp sampled drums and old soul snippets? Has Lil’ Fame ever sounded so nice? Think Saigon and Sean Price can do dope? The answer to all of these questions should be “yes,” and if it isn’t, you haven’t listened to Statik Selektah’s “Critically Acclaimed.” New album, 100 Proof (The Hangover), out this fall.

Contest: Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival/Ableton Remix Competition

The Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival takes place on Saturday, August 8th. In conjunction with it, the festival and Ableton are co-sponsoring a remix contest… I’ll let them explain it:

“The remix contest will feature Flashmen’s latest track, ‘The Night Rolls On,’ and begins today. One winner will be handpicked by Flashmen and Ableton and receive an Ableton prize pack along with placement on the ‘As The Night Rolls On’ single, released in October by Crushed Records on Beatport, iTunes, etc. The winner will be announced at the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival where their track will be played live and they will receive a pair of VIP badges. Visit the BEMF site for more info. All entries must be sent to by August 7th for consideration. The stems of the track can be found here.”

BEMF Flyer

MP3: Poison Pen – “Facebreaker”

Some morning MP3 belligerence for you… Poison Pen’s “Facebreaker” – download here. This song is off of his forthcoming album, The Money Shot, due August 4th via Gold Dust. Apparently, PP wants to break your face before ejaculating on it. I didn’t say it, he did.

Update: Chromeo – DJ-Kicks

As I posted a few weeks ago, Chromeo will release the latest installment in K7‘s DJ-Kicks series in the near future. Today, the tracklist was released. Check it out:

1. Kano: “Ikeya-Seki”
2. Pierre Perpall: “J’aime Danser Avec Toi”
3. Toba: “Moving Up”
4. France Joli: “Gonna Get Over You”
5. Donna Allen: “Serious”
6. Lovelock: “Maybe Tonight”
7. Chateau Marmont: “Solar Antapex” rework
8. Val Young: “Seduction”
9. Soupir: “Larmes de Métal”
10. Lifelike: “Sequencer”
11. Carmen: “Time to Move”
12. Shotgun: “Don’t You Wanna Make Love”
13. Cheri: “Murphy’s Law”!
14. Leo Sayer: “Easy to Love”
15. Shazam: “Luckier”
16. Chromeo: “I Can’t Tell You Why”
17. Diane Tell: “Tes Yeux”
18. The Alan Parsons Project: “Pipeline”

Chromeo - DJ-Kicks

Pickles: Summer Pickles

Summertime pickling is underway.

Kosher spears ready to ferment.


Hot water processing.

Crock pickles.

See you in a month, pickles.

MP3: Nurses – “Technicolor”

Another MP3 for you this morning, this one from Nurses, whose album, Apple’s Acre, will be out on Dead Oceans next week. Listen to “Technicolor” here, a swirling, twee, slow-core, psychedelic ditty which is really none of those things.

Nurses - Apple's Acre

MP3: A Sunny Day in Glasgow – “Ashes Grammar/Ashes Math”

Off their forthcoming sophomore album, Ashes Grammar, A Sunny Day in Glasgow have made a new MP3 available, “Ashes Grammer/Ashes Math,” available for download here. This is pretty, ethereal pop, in the Belle and Sebastian vein, but distinctly of their own creation. The album comes out on September 15th via Mis Ojos Discos.

MP3: Greymachine – “Vultures Descend”

Greymachine plays some heavy shit. I mean, really heavy. The project, a collaboration between members of Jesu, including mastermind Justin Broadrick, and other like-minded purveyors of bog metal, will release its debut album, Disconnected, on Hydra Head this August 4th. Listen to the track “Vultures Descend” here – and seriously, if you use your built-in computer speakers, the distortion will overwhelm.

Review: Beastie Boys – Ill Communication (Deluxe Edition) (Capitol)

The Beastie’s 1994 classic, Ill Communication, has been reissued as a remastered “deluxe” edition, complete with a bonus disc of remixes and B-sides. Dated? Sure. But it still sounds good. Read my review below:

The Beastie Boys classic 1994 release, Ill Communication, was indisputably a milestone for the group. After the frenzied sample-fest of 1989’s Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head introduced the world to a new and improved Beastie Boys in 1992. Although hip-hop remained the binding force, MCA, Adrock, and Mike D proudly showcased their punk-rock roots by playing and sampling their own instruments on most of the tracks, simultaneously exploring funk and lounge. Ill Communication, now in full re-mastered glory, continued this trend, with hardcore rave-ups like “Heart Attack Man” buttressed up against Buddhist mediations like “Bodhisattva Vow” and the happy-go-lucky hip-hop of “Get It Together” (featuring Q-Tip at his carefree finest). And let us not forget that this was the album which spawned one of their biggest hits to date, the ‘70s-punk-funked “Sabotage,” and its MTV-dominating video directed by Spike Jonze.

Sure, it all sounds a bit dated now, but I can remember how much this album excited me at the time. The Beasties were masters at splicing genres without ever sounding cheesy (well, most of the time), something not many hip-hop groups can do these days. Mario Caldato’s production work fused the futuristic-for-their-time sounds the band was exploring with a lo-fi, almost DIY aesthetic. Everything was coated with distortion – vocals, bass, even drums were blown out the house. Yet songs like “Root Down” and “Alright Hear This” were crisp, clean visions of NYC/LA rap music that were executed brilliantly.

The bonus disc contains some worthy remixes, including The Prunes’ dark, 1990s version of “Root Down” and their European B-Boy mix of “Sure Shot.” Also included are several live tracks – most notably a killer version of Check Your Head’s “The Maestro.” “Mullet Head,” previously available on the Clueless soundtrack (and credited by some as bringing the concept of the mullet to the masses – thanks, Beasties), is another standout. The inevitable question posed by any reissue is if the album stands the test of time. In Ill Communication’s case, the answer is yes.

Review: Bjork – Voltaic (Nonesuch)

Bjork’s new album, Voltaic, a live CD/DVD combo, is sonically and visually spectacular. I know her last record, Volta, wasn’t in many people’s top-ten lists, but give those songs, as well as her entire catalogue, a fresh listen in this live setting. Read my review below.

Watching the DVD portion of Bjork’s new live album, Voltaic, it’s fun to imagine her aging into a bizarro-world version of Etta James. As a pop singer, Bjork arguably matches James’ tunefulness and iconography, and the two women are both masters of a unique version of show-woman-ship. But age takes its toll. At a live appearance at the Hollywood Bowl last year, James was randy, possibly drunk, and though she remained seated, exuberant in her performance for one so, shall we say, seasoned. Her singing was also as close as possible to pitch perfect. On Voltaic, Bjork, of course, matches James’ mellifluousness, but she injects her show with energy and color – literally, from the stage lighting to the vibrant bird costumes to her manic dancing – unmatched in today’s pop performances. Bjork is only in her early forties, after all, while James is in her seventies. Still, one can imagine Bjork continuing on for another 40 years to become the elder stateswoman of abstract electronic pop music, giving her live show everything until all she can do is sit on a chair, possibly drunk, and entertain.

Bjork’s live ensemble recreates songs from throughout her entire catalogue with creativity and rigor. From newer, dancier numbers like “Wanderlust” and “Declare Independence” to the orchestral majesty of “Joga” to classics like “Army of Me,” Bjork and her merry band of drums, horns, backup singers, and electronic musicians manage to bring an almost improvisational feeling while still nearly matching the albums note-for-note. Synthetic and organic are matched effortlessly, as programmed beats and electronic creations one may have never seen used on stage before blend seamlessly with voice, percussion, and brass.

One can purchase Voltaic in a variety of forms – audio CD only, CD and DVD, or several CDs and DVDs along with some vinyl. I would recommend at least getting a version with one DVD since the live footage is so excitingly shot. This is also another chance for the Volta naysayers to give Bjork’s most recent album another shot. Perhaps hearing some of these songs rendered live will change opinions, perhaps not. But the overall quality of Voltaic’s sound is a prime example of how a live album should be produced, reason enough to listen to this album. Here’s looking forward to many more years of Bjork.

World Beard and Mustache Championships

This past Memorial Day, I attended the World Beard and Mustache Championships in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s hard to sum up how incredibly bizarre and fun this experience was in just a few words, so let me direct you to my article for Blurt, which you can read here. Lots of pics to peruse as well. Enjoy.


New Release: Owen – New Leaves (Polyvinyl, 9/22)

It’s been a few years since Mike Kinsella has released an album under the auspices of Owen. Sure, you may miss American Football like I do, but, with Owen, Mike has done his best to bring singer-songwriter emo to the masses as only a Kinsella can. He’ll also be performing with a full band for the first time at his record release shows.


The tracklist:

1. New Leaves
2. Good Friends, Bad Habits
3. A Trenchant Critique
4. Never Been Born
5. Amnesia and Me
6. Brown Hair in a Bird’s Nest
7. Too Scared to Move
8. The Only Child of Aergia
9. Ugly on the Inside
10. Curtain Call

And tour dates:

9/16 Urbana, IL – Canopy Club (Pygmalion Festival)
9/18 Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen (early show with Bob Nanna)
9/18 Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen (late show with Davey von Bohlen)

Listen to “Good Friends, Bad Habits” here.