Jun 27, 2012
If you haven't been keeping up on our Facebook event for tonight's edition of 13 Months of Sunshine, you're missing out on a crop of videos that illustrate the rich, rad and righteous offerings that will be brought to you by this month's formidable lineup of African sounds DJs - DJ Dullah (an African hip-hop/reggae DJ from Sierra Leone!), DJ Peace Pipe (from Brainstorm), DJ Sahelsounds (of the excellent African music blog of the same name), DJ Cuica (of Mississippi Records), and DJ Spencer D (of Operative and sound guy extraordinaire). Peep these gems of senses-throttling, head-bobbing songs that may pop up tonight, and join us starting at 9 at our free dance fête!
Posted by V
Delicate Steve and Janka Nabay in the studio
Jun 24, 2012
We've shown you the sunny blast of our Saturday, June 30 guest, Delicate Steve, or perhaps he requires no introduction because of his label imprint, Luaka Bop, and it's association with outré-pop giant David Byrne. It's sure to make a splash at this week's show with locals Adventures with Might - a double bill of rocking rapture in sound, and DJ E*Rock on hand to keep the night moving along ecstatically.
Luaka Bop pops up our midst again with the appearance of Sierra Leone legend Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang for our next edition of 13 Months of Sunshine on July 18. It's a special edition considering the live element and the caliber of our company. Nabay is the "undisputed king of bubu" - the wild, fever-struck music of Sierra Leone that's characterized by the sounds of bamboo flutes and metal pipes. Originally used as ceremonial music, it also found footing in the Muslim community for use as a popular religious processionals. Nabay was the first musician to record Bubu music and updated the form with electronic elements. The steady rhythm of a drum machine kick and the buzz of synths cut through the otherwise breezy music to make an altogether new hybrid of joyful noise.
Check out some footage that combines the forces of Delicate Steve's and Janka Nabay's respective camps of talented musicians in a studio session at Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn. It delves into the bright, coastal vibes of Delicate Steve's sound, and plays well with Nabay's merry vocal revelries.
Posted by V
OMAHA FOLK LEGEND RETURNS
Jun 23, 2012
When a man with a slight warble to his voice sings with an acoustic guitar, it's hard to escape a few inevitable descriptors, chief among them being "folk," "intimate," and "Bob Dylan." Simon Joyner's quasi-barebones folk and melancholy yet resigned lyrics remind me of mis-60s Dylan ("Desolation Row," "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," "Tangled Up in Blue") or Leonard Cohen ("Suzanne," "So Long, Marianne"). Indeed, "Out Into the Snow," from Joyner's A Collection of Tracks from the Team Love Library exhibits a mastery both in structure and content of a genre once dominated by those east coast poets. Yet this is the problem with trying to describe someone as alluring and breathtaking as Joyner: comparisons and analogies get twisted not because his music is difficult to classify but precisely because it's so familiar and honest, a difficulty Joyner-worshipper Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) has battled with throughout his career.
Someone like Simon Joyner is not seeking to reinvent anything; rather, he uses the most basic (and therefore the most difficult) tool in self-expression: directness. And the effect is mesmerizing. And if you don't trust me, how about this: Beck listed a Joyner album in his top 10 for Rolling Stone once. Oh, and ultra-famed/worshipped British DJ John M*****f****** Peel, whose endorsement of a band's single could virtually ensure their success, played Joyner's album The Cowardly Traveller Pays His Toll in its entirety on air.
Simon Joyner joins us on July 8th as part of a rare tour promoting his new album Ghosts. You can stream "Out Into the Snow" below.
Posted by MA
Fear Not for Man in the Mirror
Jun 20, 2012
A couple years ago, local musician Ben Darwish took on the daunting task of marrying two controversial, inimitable and universally grooveable artists - Fela Kuti and Michael Jackson. Originally performed at PICA's fertile ground for boundary blurring Time-Based Art Festival, the ensemble that Darwish assembled pulls from various local talents weave together the instantaneously recognizeable melodies from Jackson's rich repertoire with the magnetic, rythmic pull of Afrobeat. We caught up with Ben Darwish for some insight on the event, the inspiration he draws from, and more:
What was the inspiration for the event?
At the time I thought of it, I was really getting into Fela and Afrobeat in general. I was listening to the bonus tracks from MJ's Off The Wall and there's a rehearsal take of "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough". It was really raw and percussive, just like the Fela I had been listening to. It seemed like a perfect match.
What can we expect for this performance in contrast with the previous TBA event?
A much more polished show. We've added a couple more tunes, changed some arrangements, and put a lot more rehearsal time into it. We have a new lineup as well featuring Aniana Hough and Toni Hill on vocals.
What elements from Michael and Fela do you feel influence your own music?
Melodies and groove. Both their music is so melodic. Since I can't imagine myself as refined as MJ, I look to Fela for the more raw energy to draw from.
Are there any surprises/hurdles you or your co-performers encountered in the process of preparing for this show?
Our bari player, Mary Sue Tobin got in a car accident on the way to our last rehearsal. Fortunately, she is OK. It's nearly impossible to organize a 10-piece band without at least one thing happening.
You can catch An Afrobeat Tribute to Michael Jaskson, featuring Commotion, Excellent Gentleman and DJ Hanukkah Miracle this Saturday, June 23. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and Stranger Tickets.
Posted by V
Into the New World
Jun 17, 2012
So maybe you slept on the rise of the Korean wave. The import ot Korean soap operas to your local international channel. The explosion of Korean horror and action films on the international scene (think Audition, A Tale of Two Sisters, Oldboy). The ever far-reaching growth of Korean pop in all it's indulgent glory, even to the point that Pitchfork takes notice. It's here. It's all around you.
Okay, not really, but Hallyu - the new wave of South Korean pop culture - is certainly interesting and at its best, exhilirating. We're trying it on for size at Holocene this Friday with a Korean (and Japanese) pop night for your dancing feet.
Saccharine, sensational, and somewhat baffling to outsider eyes, the world of Korean pop is like a time-warped mirror on our overwrought boy band and Spice Girl era selves. We're looking at others look at us, circa 1995, and they're retransmitting it with a hyperreal twist. And that vision is grand. Stylized videos are heavily indebted to Missy Elliot landscapes and Lil' Kim costume changes. The production is super slick. The recent rise of groups like Girls' Generation (who performed on David Letterman last year) and Big Bang (who won a 2011 MTV Europe Award for the hefty title of Best Worldwide Act) have forged partnerships with other musicians across the pond, turning out results like the over-the-top "Knock Out" a bravado-spitting collaboration between super producer Diplo and Big Bang's breakout members GD&TOP (pictured above).
One of our esteemed K-pop experts, DJ vVv, queued up some videos for us to get a glimpse at the trajectory of the art form. We've got an array with vintage vids from an earlier crop of Korean popsters like the SWV-channeling Boby Vox and their bad boy counterparts Shinhwa, to the newer digs of the explosive TVXQ! and the too-cute Wonder Girls, who work hard get their Tiffany mall tour on.
Join us on Friday, June 22 for HAPPY LIFE SOLUTION: J-POP & K-POP Dance Party. We'll be mining the crates and hard drives of our set of DJs Solomon, Hojo, vVv, and Initial P for some international gems. Free before 10!
Posted by V
Jun 13, 2012
Tomorrow, we're thrilled to welcome back the spectral R&B of How to Dress Well, aka Chicago's Tom Krell. Krell blends dissonant electronic soundscapes and simple piano loops with his distinctive falsetto croon. R&B has certainly become very much in vogue in the last few years, just in time for Krell to find an extremely receptive national audience for his music. Yet Krell's work is unparalleled in its haunting force, its sheer emotional intensity paired with a radical surrealism. This music exists in a nostalgia-drenched netherzone between fantasy and reality, inducing a narcotized confusion as though you're just waking up from a fever dream.
The last time Krell played Holocene (about a year and a half ago), we were talking Sade one moment and Nietzsche's aphorisms the next. Krell is a phD student in Philosophy, and he's very comfortable occupying two distinct worlds: the sensual/mystic and the rational/lucid.
In a recent chat with Interview Magazine, Krell discussed his approach to pop versus philosophy:
"One of the things music allows me to do that philosophy doesn't is explore the ways in which the trite shit is hella true. My friend died, and all I could think to say for six months was the most trite bullshit. But it was these trite phrases that were tapping into the core of my missing him and pain and happiness at having known him. One of the reasons I don't like to talk about philosophy and music in the same breath is that, for me at least, pop melody and pop song structures and stuff let me be trite and not feel like I'm not being articulate enough or not taking things seriously enough, like taking seriously the meaning of trite statements.
It's hard to intellectualize one's position, but most of the time I'm walking around like, "Ugh, I don't know what I want, I don't know what I need, who am I?" [laughs] And I'm not thinking like, "Oh, of course I'm always separated from myself because of the constitution of the human subject and the belatedness and the essential delay of generational transmission." I'm like, "No, fuck, I'm horny, I'm lonely, ugh." [laughs] I don't know.
My one thing with the record is that I wanted to make something alien that wasn't alienating. And I think that the last thing I want is to dedicate my life to something which renders me further and further from being at home in my life—progressively more alienated and separate from myself."
In his "alien but not alienating" art, Krell offers up an undiluted emotional expression. It can be universally felt, even as it entirely evades categorization or rationalization. Feel the purity of this sweet heartache on his new track "Ocean Floor for Everything", from his forthcoming LP Total Loss, out this fall:
Illustration by RAH
Posted by GA
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