Thursday, December 29, 2011

Haters gonna hate.

"Haters gonna hate." 

Italians Do It Better will be forever sexy. There isn't anything anyone related to that label can put out that just isn't the sexiest thing you are going to hear all day. They are in business to make music to make whatever you are doing sound fucking hot. Are you running an errand in your car? Are you listening to some from Italians Do It Better? You just got 100 percent sexier. You sitting at your desk at your shitty job listening to a track from Italians Do It Better? Your shitty job just got 100 percent hotter.

Mike Simonetti is the head of Italians Do It Better (at least I think so). This is his first solo release (which I also believe is true).  Slow and steady does the trick here; some sultry vocals, some bass you could set your watch to, and nice retro synth parts. It's a big ol' slow boiled pot of awesome that's just simmering. Just simmering and being sweet. This is driving music late at night when your head is kind of foggy and all you want to do is stare out the window and watch the lights race by.

Also, what the fuck is the deal with the photo in this video. This photo is used more than any other photo on YouTube for electronic tracks. I know this for a fact because I just spent a year listening to music on YouTube and I see this photo at least once a week. Some fantasy artist is out there who created this photo who probably doesn't even know his work has become synonymous with electronic music on the internet. Somebody needs to write that person a check.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Teengirl Fantasy - Cheaters (John Talabot's Classic Vocal Refix)

"Don't fuck with me."

My love of all things John Talabot has already been clearly outlined around these parts. What has not been made as clear is how much I loved the Teengirl Fantasy album from last year. Specifically, how "Cheaters" was probably my favorite track of the 2010. Well thank god for the internet and thank god that Talabot took the time to take one of my favorite songs and make it even better. 

The hook to "Cheaters" was always the vocal parts. That was the most interesting and compelling thing in the track. The intensity of the vocalist is what really drove the song and Talabot seems to have understood that as well. Talabot takes just the vocals, fucks with them, and lays them on top of some quintessential Talabot beats - Sunshine-y chord structure, drum parts that seem to be made out of glitter, and a hard and fast groove. All of the production though is meant to highlight and magnify the vocal parts. They are amped up even more in this track as compared to the original and the effects added to them just puts it over the top. 

This isn't the first edit of "Cheaters", by a long shot, but it is the best one I have heard so far.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Teddy Pendergrass - The More I Want (Ron Hardy Edit)

 Teddy Pendergrass - The More I Want (Ron Hardy Edit) by smashmastersen

We are starting a new thing today were I periodically post pictures of extraordinary chickens. Get use to it. Also, feel free to submit you own pictures of extraordinary chickens, don't be shy.

Today I received a history lesson and that lesson was on Ron Hardy. I'm not going to talk about him as if I knew anything about him prior to this afternoon but what I learned was that he was one of the leading figures in the early Chicago house scene. This edit of Teddy P comes from some bootlegs of live sets he did in the late 80s. In other words, this isn't him playing a version he had produced in a studio beforehand, this is him producing the song live at the club. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Single-handedly the greatest thing I've heard all week. The brilliant combination of perfectly timed loops with levels being thrown all out of whack to create an entirely different and amazing dance track. My favorite part? At the four minute mark where everything drops out except for the bass and Teddy P's voice slowly builds back in.

People use to ask Michangelo how he could create a structure as beautiful as David. Legend has it he use to answer that he believed David was always in the block of granite, his job was simply to remove the extra rock to show him to the world.

Ron Hardy - a man with a chisel who saw every song as a block of granite.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A holiday song that is one day too late

  JD Twitch - Psylent Night by Juno Plus

Yes, I know, I am clearly a day late with this one. But I was too busy eating my body weight in ham to remember to put this up yesterday. So lets just pretend this is a holiday song for everyone.

This is the closest we are going to get to a Christmas song around these parts. Bells and choirs warped into an ambient mix of loops and waves that melt into a pulsing string part. It builds, it crashes, it washes away. For a holiday track, or not, this really is a stand out one and I don't think I will need it to be Christmas to continue to listen to it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bryan Ferry - Alphaville (Todd Terje Remix)

I'm in love.

 Alphaville - (Todd Terje Remix) by BryanFerry

Seriously, I'm in love with her, I'm in love with her anchor tattoo, I'm in love with the photo, and I'm in love with this song. Todd Terje seems to just bang out playful house edits that if were left in the hands of someone else would probably end horribly. I heard this 11 minute long beauty a couple of weeks ago and totally forgot I had it until yesterday. The feeling of coming across it was similar to the feeling I've had when I've found five dollars in my pocket.  It's the simply joys in live that matter

No more year end lists. I can't take it any more. I wasn't kidding yesterday, I really don't see the point. All I've learned is that there is no consensus number 1 this year and nor should there be. There is literally too much music out there for anyone to listen to. Just by the law of averages there is going to be something out there that is always better.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

10 things that didn't suck in 2011 mix

I've been working on year end lists now for like a week so I'm getting kind of tired of doing them. I'm not entirely certain what their purpose is except that Americans love lists as much as they love reality T.V. So, for that reason here is a list of the 10 things that didn't suck this year. There will be some more formal "favorite tracks of 2011" and the like later this week but right now this is what we are doing.

In no order....

 Eddie C - We Need We by elkoo

Couldn't get enough of Eddie C and all of his nu-disco glory. This track, "We Need We", is what was responsible for my obsession. Those chipmunk-like vocals, that cold hard pitched chord progression, that mean ass bass line - it was all way too much. It's not worth getting into a discussion of what is retro and what is not but I think it is fair to say that Eddie C is making some of the meanest and original disco tracks out there. They're funky, soulful, shimmering, and groove based. They are just impossible to stop listening to.

Don't get me wrong, "Here is your trance, now dance" is probably in my top ten this year but "Who wrote the rules of love" is what blew the doors off for me. Listen to those old 808 drums, those old school synths just rocking it in the back, and then there are the vocals which are just out of this world. If anyone had released just this track in 2011 I think that would be a successful year. Instead, Omar S releases this and an entire funking LP that was out of this world and a handful of other EPs and singles this year.

Oh what the hell, here it is too....

If I need one track to explain what 2011 was about it is probably this one. Which is odd, because this track, literally, sounds timeless. It could have been made at any point in the last 20 years and I would have been none the wiser. 10 mins of analog synth glory just bursting from every seem. The shit is what it is.

He kind of ripped the wheels off the car this year and then blew the whole thing up. He then took the pieces and put them back together and that was Instrumentals. It was a mind fuck.

Beats in Space

God bless every last hair on Tim Sweeney's head.

One of my top three LPs of 2011. I've always been a fan of Destroyer and his earlier output but Kaputt is his Ulysses. There are two parts to this Destroyer album; a song writer who can't be touched right now, and a man who has probably consumed just a little too much 70's/80's pop, and that isn't a bad thing. Don't give me any of this shit about Bon Iver and how he knows how to write a great song - Destroyer is the T.S. Elliot of music world right about now. I hear lines from these songs and I just don't understand why this album isn't being played everywhere all the times. And then there is the music. Jesus. Christ. This could have been an instrumental album and it probably would have still cracked my top 10. Perfect in every way possible.

His goal this year was to make everyone else look like clowns. I think he succeeded to a certain extent.

Also, if I was Drake I would be getting Knxwledge on the phone right this fucking minute. I'm liking his version of Drake more than I like Drake's version of Drake. He could learn a thing or two.

Looping State of Mind was in the top 5 albums this year as well. Every track was a banger and I'm only including this one only because I didn't want to post them all.

Lets talk about pizza. You know how sometimes pizza places offer pizza with a million toppings on them and shit in the crusts? And you know sometimes how you got your favorite pizza shop and your favorite pieces are the ones with just one or two toppings on them? That's what The Field is like. He is the motherfucker who makes the best fucking pepperoni pizza in town and that's it. He isn't going to make you a god damn pizza with arugula or pesto on it. It's going to be cheese, pepperoni and grease. And it's going to be the shit.

I want to get a truck with with bullhorns on the front and I want to drive around New Mexico. I want to smoke hand rolled cigarettes and I want it to only have a tape-deck and play tapes of The Band. I want to drive around little fucking towns no one has ever heard of in New Mexico and get drunk at bars with old people. And then I want to get in the truck and drive it up and down country roads through the hills. And think about all the shit I should have done. But it would be awesome because I would have a truck with bullhorns on the front.

The coolest thing I did this year? Go see Drive. Absolutely. Just thinking about the movie makes me feel cool and reminds me how cool the whole thing was. It was the apex of cool. I want to live in the movie. And yes, I want the fucking jacket. If you are red-blooded American male you want that fucking jacket. And I want to drive around town and this song be my personal soundtrack. The main reason the movie was so cool, the soundtrack. The original score was amazing and perfect but what pushed it over the top was the heavy dose of nu-disco from the Italians Do It Better crew.

Fuuuuuuuuckkkkkkkkk......I want to walk into a strip club and beat the shit out of gangster soooooooo bad. And this song would play the entire time. It would be awesome.

Ride your mechanical beast to heaven/Ride your beautiful bitch to the ultimate sin.

Numero uno album for me in 2011. It actually came out in late 2010 but fuck that. Best album in 2011 by leaps and bounds.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Respect Your Elders Part II

Based on these selections below it seems that 2011 was the year I fell in love with techo and electronic music from the 1990's and weird funk, boogie that needs to make a comeback.

Horribly late to the party, I know, but god damn I'm glad I got here at all.

The cover of this album is Bruce Lee. And right around 2:06 when the bass drops in is when I like to think Bruce Lee is up in heaven somewhere just laying a mother fucker on his back with a mighty kick to the sternum. 6 minutes of moody, angry Detroit techno from the mid 1990s. Disjointed synths that cut in and out like someone is almost afraid to touch them layered on top of a moaning organ rift that the whole thing is build off of. From top to bottom it is a thing of beauty. If this track was a machine it would be a giant Transformer with arms made out of Fords and Buicks and breathing fire. Detroit sounds like a pretty awesome place in 1993.

Speaking of Detroit in 1993....

One of the top five bass lines of the year? It just sort of slithers along and raps its self around you until you don't notice it and you got your head bouncing along to it. It's the hard liquor of bass lines, you don't know you are into it until its too late. Until its got you in its muggy little hands. You know those nights where you have been drinking and its getting late and you feel fine and then stand up and it hits you - you can feel your entire body just get drunk in the matter of two seconds. This is what this song is like. 

Also, there is a flute section come around minute 6. Make of that what you will. It's still bitching. 

Hands down the best vocal parts this year. No argument. I dare you to find a better female vocal part than the one in this track. You can't because it doesn't exist. 

We all owe the fine folks over at Stones Throw Records a debt of gratitude for releasing this gem earlier this year. Not only are the vocals pristine but that funky boogie beat is nothing to sneeze at either. It might be a wholesome song about a couple celebrating their anniversary but that is one dirty, slimy beat. That bass that drops right from the start, artists would pay damn good money to get that on their album these days. Kind of the shit. 

Yea, this song isn't going to be played out in the club anytime soon but that doesn't mean it isn't one of my five favorite songs of the year. Wolfgang Voigt, credited with this tune and multiple other gems, has devoted his life to making minimal electronic music that just pulls at you. Sometimes it is more epic sounding and grandiose like his work done under Gas. And then sometimes it is super fucking sexy like this tune. Seriously, if you were living in Germany in 1995 and you had this record you were probably banging all the time. All the time. Male or female. Doesn't matter.  This track has one goal in mind - it is to get sweaty super sexy people out of their clothes and wrestling in bed with each other. 

Blew my mind the first time I heard this. Seriously, where the hell has this been my entire life. I'm 29 years old and the first time I heard this was in October - something about society has failed for that to happen.

This song is all over the god damn place. It just sort of wonders back and forth without really giving a shit where it is going. It builds up like it is going to go for some huge grandiose thing and then it just collapses in on its self like a god damn black hole and starts off on a funky bass-line down another rabbits hole. 

The record label says 1991 on the cover which means this was made when people still had the option of using rotary dial phones. How the fuck is that possible? I don't get it. I thought they only had trash cans to bang on and guitars made out of wood boxes to play then. 

Or this is the sound of every computer in the world in 1991 loosing their collective minds over the nimrods programming them at the time. I like that idea better. 

Respect Your Elders Part I

That time before the ending of the something before the new something starts. Which means people who have too much time of their hands' get to make lists of things that don't really matter. I'm not immune to this disease.

Seeing how we will have some of the best tracks of 2011 coming up later this week we are going to start off with something different. We are going to pay our respects to our elders and recognize some of our favorite songs that were new to us this year but were released before 2000.

Basically, this is just an excuse to talk about all the amazing music we found that won't fit into the other year end lists. Part I today, Part II tomorrow. Enjoy.

LeVar Burton as the funk police and red cod pieces. That is really all you need to know about this tune. And also that it has one of the most unforgettable voices in the world. It sounds like he has replaced his vocal cords with live electrical wires and every time he sings they cross and sparks shoot out.

I know we have covered this before but it is clear that the the 1980's were the product of a place and time we will never see again. I don't know whether it was the drugs or the technology but people felt like they could get away with anything it seems. Good or bad they gave it a shot and sometimes you ended up with products like this video to "Word Up". A glorious cultural artifact that deserves it own place in a museum somewhere.

The dude's name is Farley Jackmaster Funk. How awesome is that. Seriously though, this is one of the missing links between disco and new-jack swing. It's amazing. He might have a ridiculous name but he knows what he is doing with a tune like this. Some funky ass shit.

Also, we need to just talk real quickly about the costume changes here. I don't think a man wearing bold, single color sequin shirts has ever played as large of a role in a video since this one.

One of the best or worst dancers of all time?

- Hey guys I got this awesome 4 minute long disco track. It's got a sweet groove, some nice string work, and a catchy hook.

-How about we do a bunch of drugs, take your 4 minute disco track and make it 12 mins long, add some more percussion and whispery vocal parts, and turn it into a monster of a disco track that will be played for the next thirty years by DJs all over the world.

-Done and done.

I don't think anyone can listen to this version of "My Sweet Lord" without wanting to sing along. It's just an amazing example of gosple mixed with some pop sensibilities and you end up with a god damn catchy tune. I mean the original was nothing to sneeze at but this one is a totally different animal. It's just got some bigger balls on it that's all. And they are swinging. Swinging hard.

Darkness isn't usually discussed when talking about reggae or dub but on "Flesh of my skin" by Keith Hudson it is hard to miss. Its a tense tune full of emotion that is trying to find it's way and when it does it is contained in the squeals of Hudson's garbled singing. Forgotten dub/reggae that sounds like it was made in someones basement with only one light bulb on. Pretty fantastic.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ital - Dub Me For Tonight (Saviour's Love Megamix)

I am just a horrible person in the morning. I can't help it. I wake up and I just normally want to punch whatever it is that made me wake up.

I can't be the only person with anger issues in the morning, can I?

I will put on a 100% Silk track any time any place.

This is a house track that is huge and falling apart at the same time. There is something tying this racket together but it is hard to hear at first. It slowly grows and grows into some sort of monster future house track that just makes sense at the end. It ends with it being about the vocal but most of the fun comes from everything that leads up to climax. The slow crawl up to the top of the roller coaster is why going down the other side is always so terrifying/fun. And then it all starts to melt away in a mess of neon synth swishes and appreggios until it just sort of whimpers out.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Julio Bashmore - Battle For Middle You

Top 25 hits, coming next week. Gonna make it happen. For shoooooooooooore.

I think the reason this song is so good is that its got some seriously banging bass going on. Throw some looping synths lines over top of it with a pretty great vocal sample and you got what the kids call a hit.

It's sort of retro, sort of not. I'm sure that dude over at the Bliss Blog would disagree with me but I don't really care what he things. This one is just kind of a straight up banger and I think we need to treat it that way.

And yea, we all need to get down. Agreed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mark Ernestus Meets the BBC

This one is as slick as a wet baby seal.

180 beat-per-minute African Shangann slowed down and stripped to its barest elements. Talk about locking in the groove; this one has the groove written on to it from the very start. A blunt bass sound paired with some weird percussion instruments and some seductive synth work.  This one has minimal written all over it. It's got that tension that keeps your ears tied to it but its got that groove that just makes your gut want this to go one forever.

This is the raw, minimal style of house music that someone has taken the sandpaper to. All the rough edges have been completely smoothed away in favor of a slick, elegant style. Any loose ends have been completely done away with at the expense of the groove. No bells and whistles on this track - instead everything is put in its exact, right place. It's the track for the obsessive compulsives out there.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Primordial - "Bloodied Yet Unbowed"

Fuck. And. Yes.

This shit makes me want to run through a god damn wall.

Irish metal. It makes sense really - I imagine the Irish have a lot of things they could be pissed off about. I want to have this guy's voice and just scream everything all day. Like the most mundane shit. Everything would be epic.

Things I love:

1. Metal band names
2. Metal band album titles
3. Metal band song titles
4. Metal band lyrics
5. Serious metal band album review (unlike this one)

I fucking love everything about metal music.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Damu - Don't Cry In My Bed

New rule of thumb - trying to fill a chorus in your colorful two-step track and you just don't know what to put there? Take a sample of Drake, saying pretty much anything, and shift the pitch. Can't go wrong. I promise. In this instance Damu got a slice of Drake paying homage to Dead Prez. If they were looking to earn some hipster brownie points they couldn't have done much better with that find.

Energy is something this tune clearly does not lack. It makes me want to be in a car in a busy city and drive fast done the highway. I think it's the neon association I have with this track. It's like a rainbow of neon reds, oranges, and greens. Seriously, by the end of this track it sounds like the song is simply going to explode with everything its got going on. Sometimes less is more and then sometimes more is just a lot more.

Thinking about it now, I think the title of this track might be a shot at Drake. If it is, well played. Well played indeed.

Ready For The World & Zapp

Ummmm, can't get enough. There is literally nothing I don't like about this video. I love their outfits, I love the choreographed dances, and I especially like it when the singer humps the air when he sings "uhh, uhh, uhh".

Does it get dangerously close to sounding like Prince when he was at the top of his game in the 80's? Yea, but I think that is part of the charm here. The influence is clear and that's fine because it is still a banger of a track. Gotta respect that beat and that weird syth hook.

I know I have posted this song before but it is that good. Honestly, I can't even begin to discus how much I love this track. Easily in my top five songs I have discovered in the last two years. There is no reason this song should work with all that is going on in it. Let's just start with the fact that it involves a vocorder and it doesn't suck. Seriously, as a culture I think we need to reexamine how we have decided to denigrate the vocorder because this track makes a strong argument for the fact that we were totally wrong in are assessment.

Lots of whistles and bleeps and blumps. Basically it is a song made out of onamonapias but still managed to keep it funky. I mean this thing has a nasty groove. Nasty, nasty groove.

I like to think this is a love song written from a computer's perspective about another computer in the 1980's.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!~~~~~

 Holy Other - Know Where (Andy Stott Remix) by TriAngleRecords

This one will make all the music dweebs on the internet wet themselves with joy. Combining three of the most talked about figures out there right now; Andy Stott, Holy Other, and TriAngle Records, this single is the hat trick of underground music this week.

This one sort of seems like a no brainer. Andy Stott who already traffics in dark, thumbing electronic music takes a crack at remixing Holy Other's dark, thumbing track "Know Where". You want to know why this remix works so well? Because as someone who has listened to a lot of both of these artists this year this tune could have been on either one of their albums. Holy Other's tune was already an off-kilter tune that sucked in all light near it. Stott's idea of a remix was to simply turn that darkness knob up a bit and polish the edges on this bad boy.

Dark is sort of a lazy way to describe this tune, it goes beyond that. Stott is a master at building an atmosphere in his tracks so that they create a specific time and place. You know you are listening to one of his tunes because you start to feel a little uneasy like someone is watching you. If you have ever come upon a group of people running in the opposite direction you are going and you have that split second decision - do I keep going the way I was going or do I turn and run away with these people? It's sort of like that. But in a good way.

Out now on a digital only release from TriAngle records.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Italian House Music & Cannibal Corpse

The world is a large scary place packed full of daunting tasks and pitfalls behind every corner. Everyday we rely upon millions of years of evolutionary history in our DNA to make sure we get through it alive. We run from task to task just trying to make sure we get out in time before someone or something fucks us. It should come as no surprise that no one makes it out in one piece.

I don't know, I've been listening to a lot of metal this week. The above comments might have something to do with that.

Speaking of getting fucked, the nightmare that is finals week is almost finished. That's what this track is about - its the light at the end of the tunnel. The soundtrack to the last mile in all of its Italian house style. One long piano loop for your brain to explode to. Its track like these that help you realize that it isn't as bad as Cannibal Corpse leads you to believe. There is nothing wrong with Cannibal Corpse of course, I mean, when you want to kill someone you don't really want to listen to house music.

Sun, warmth, beach, drinks. That is all this song makes me think about. It's like a gin'n tonic with a lemon twist in audio form. Not too harsh, not too soft, just the right about of boozy-ness to keep you going. It's the refreshing cocktail on the 90 degree day.

I would kill for a 90 degree day right. Kill. Que the Cannibal Corpse.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Carl Craig.

This is kind of the shit and also reminds how I really want someone to explain to me how they made this stuff in the early to mid 1990's. I feel like this would take forever. There was lyric in a song I remember that goes something like "it use to take them days to make Acid music now it takes them minutes". Which I always thought was funny because it was probably true. Making a 10 minute long remix like this one had to have been no easy feat. I imagine it involved a lot of tape and making sure you hit corresponding buttons at the exact same time so things sync-ed up.

This is kind of amazing though, it is so long that it is as if it has movements. Constant throughout are these classic techno-y snares, but there is also this nice warm upright bass sound that bounces along throughout. He is a nice mellow, not too techno-y, house track. Especially with these weird, cool synth sounds that weave across the track.

Also, I have to do the obligatory mention that Carl Craig is from Detroit. Also, the next time I go to Detroit I want to hear this shit from every street corner.

Soundtrack for my Time Traveling

I had a professor today ask me if I was dyslexic because of my writing. He tried couching it in terms of that he gives tough criticism, that's his deal. Which is really no better than if he had said "no offense" before asking me if I was dyslexic. Both instances are just attempts to get away with being a cock.

I also learned today that their are high-yield Time Traveling accounts that people open, deposit money into, the money accrues interest, and the account stays open until the human race learns how to time travel. Once this happens the account is emptied to pay for someone in the future to come back in time to rescue you and take you to the future. 

You can literally do anything for money these days.

I really like the name Legowelt and I REALLY like his Wikipedia page. Lets check out some of the highlights.

1. He describes his sound as, "a hybrid form of slam jack combined with deep Chicago house, romantic ghetto technofunk and EuroHorror Soundtrack." Your guess is as good as mine of what the hell that means.

2.Some aliases and side-projects he has are Catnip, The Chicago Shags, Gladio, Smackos, Smackulator, Squadra Blanco, Salamandos, Raheem Hershel and Venom 18. How awesome are these names. If making music doesn't work in the long run he should think about just coming up with band names and copyrighting them before anyone else can and then selling them to people. Or they all sound like they were made my a 14 year-old child. I can't decide.

3. And, of course, he looks like this. 

I actually have no idea if this is him. I just like to think it is.

Seriously though, I'm digging this track. It's kind of dark, kind of spooky. Builds and builds and never really goes anywhere, but that's O.K. really, I like where we are at. I'm going to ask that when they come to take me to the future that they play this song as we travel there. It seems appropriate.