Growing up in Philadelphia spoiled me with rap. Hip-Hop is such a competitive industry and supremely versatile. The current, friendly, mainstream hip-hop scene is lame and produces too much lackluster stuff which would never fly in my hometown. “Local” mediocrity doesn’t apply to Philly’s lyricism. In fact, many new trends and sounds were played out in Illy Philly quite a while ago; the city is often ahead of its time. This tape is comprised of 8 gems from 8 different camps with 8 different styles. Notice many “notable” names are not included. This is the underground stuff, the good stuff. Review and Mixtape by Teddy Pendergrass
By Teddy Pendergrass
In continuation of my thoughts that Philly indeed birthed some of the most talented emcees of this generation (read more here), I’d like to rant on the current state of hip-hop in the 215. In all honesty, I find myself critiquing every rap song I hear, and interestingly enough, I always seem to lose myself into dozens and dozens of track replays from unsigned Philly rappers. Why do I get so bored with most emcees world wide, but can’t get enough of people that you never heard of? I’d guess it has something to do with my theory on mainstream v. independent rap. That popping artists rarely have the passion to match lyricists who are still at the bottom.
Mont Brown – ARF EP
Astronauts Really Fly (aka ARF) is Jay-Z’s undiscovered, competition. If you listen to all Mont Brown’s songs it has everything you could ask for from hip-hop and more. “Reachin” from the ARF EP is an extraordinary example. I can see the Philly ladies and gents alike playing this song loudly from their car stereos. Mont is definitely putting his heart into rap. I remember I saw a review for Danny Brown before he was this big. Anthony Fantano said Danny really figured it out with XXX, showcasing the importance of passionate and honest lyrics. Mont Brown is doing this but too many seem to be sleeping on it. Pace-O Beats’ small part in “Reachin,” is flawless. It’s pop music, man. What more do you want? Astronauts Really Fly could go on tour with Bruno Mars easy. Bruno Mars should sign Mont Brown for more “street” hits.
Philadelphia has a second force to be reckoned with as well. I’d like to introduce you to The Bakery Boys. This crew is for real, and some necessary competition for the dominant Odd Future. Bouts always make the game more interesting, right? Let’s review some Baked projects.
The Bakery Boys – FourEver EP
The title cut off the FourEver EP feels like old Roots but more raw, un-cut. “B-A-K-E-D.“ The Bakery Boys have crazy flow and team chemistry. The last verse is the most unique from Diabolicool (more reviewed on him below). Listen to his words closely; it’s pretty jarring but pure awesomeness. The track “Love Lost” shows range. It’s reminiscent of early 90’s fly rap, style and fun. The emcees like the chicks and can describe their infatuation ever so smoothly. Great tune.
“4:20” is slow, baking music. I admire how the Bakery Boys know to offer multiple sounds. And their flow has yet to become tiresome. The instrumental is amazing. While the Nate Dogg sample is probably my least favorite part, of the tape, it doesn’t stop me from listening again. Closing track “Salute” hits hard with some Cali rhythm. Rappers, definitely, have influence and youth in Philly have always loved California. The hook is a standout. Young hooliganism is ever present with The Bakery Boys and it’s captivating. I also love that nothing about these guys’ music forces the “Philly sound” stereotype.
I feel this EP really captures the mind-state of young street life. It’s not so violent but it’s real. It’s crazy ironic that rappers in their 30s are lying about what they’re really involved with, and the rappers in their teens are genuine and honest. This tape is pure quality. It’s my second favorite of 2013. Philly’s really holding it down as the initial track on my list is from Mont Brown. Variety man, that’s all it’s about in music and both these Philly camps have that down.
Diabolicool – Terrible EP
In introduction to this last review, Diabolicool is super strange. But his unique style is precisely what makes the Baked kids fierce competition. It’s important to not only be able to give the listeners what they want, but to also offer things they have never experienced before… things that may take some time to get used to.
Diabolicool x EARDRUM – Uh Oh
“Uh Oh (Intro)” let’s you adjust to the weird, otherly personality of Diabolicool and the gritty EARDRUM production style just right. Listen closely to connect with his lyricism or you’re not going to like him. “I’m the coolest cat like a snow leopard.”
Diabolicool x EARDRUM – Terrible
“Terrible” is an engaging psychological set-up. I like his creepy vibe that you can also bounce to. Remember Mobb Deep’s haunting beats? This is the new era of that, clearly. He’s got flow man. The transitions are classic. This is very impressive.
Diabolicool x EARDRUM – Big Bad Bastard
Now onto “Big Bad Bastard.” Diabolicool is confident in his style and skills. It’s super lyrical rap music. The album has introspect/intellect. Realize EARDRUM is the featured producer and capable of anthems.
Diabolicool x EARDRUM – Doctor Strange
“Doctor Strange” showcases Diabolicool’s alienated attitude. There is tons of humor in this track. “Ejected sperm on a fucking perm.” He doesn’t want to be taken too seriously over this spacey instrumental.
Diabolicool x EARDRUM – Freddy
“FREDDY” is horrific, with the incredible and only EP feature. I see aggression towards the enemy. They have hard shit, for the streets, which is huge in Philly. Diabolicool is so weird with this third eye shit (and everything else) but I can’t get enough of it. “I’m on fire like Richard Pryor.” Blah Blah Blah Favorite. <3
Diabolicool x EARDRUM – Looney Tunes
“Looney Tunes” is like old Obie Trice but not really. I love jokey hip-hop. And Diabolicool is fucking looney, “busting nuts in loose cunts.”
Diabolicool x EARDRUM – Try Me
“Try Me” is the perfect close. While The Bakery Boys really have the boom bap rap down pact. Everyone likes that stuff. “Knock, Knock.”
So yeah, maybe you think this guy is ripping another movement but I honestly don’t feel that way. Lots of kids, these days, have pride in their bazaar behavior. Just because more than one person is odd doesn’t mean he/she is ripping the other. It’s just an indicator of how much times have changed. This tape gets two thumbs up and is my third favorite body of work in the last few months. Philly all day, son.
In conclusion, While they’re certainly rough around the edges, you can see incredible potential with The Bakery Boys. Comedy, youth, versatility, honesty, originality and rebellion are needed, in the rap game, and that’s exactly what they offer. Astronauts Really Fly, on the other hand, represents crossover music. Top 40 needs Mont Brown and Pace-O on their radar. It’s so good that hopefully it’ll “pop” soon. It has to.
The following tracks are random but it’ll let any doubters know that The Bakery Boys have a host of material that’ll get your head bopping.
Keep Fresh Alive – Jave x Tires
“Jave x Tires” is so trill. Oowops and tube socks are included in this freestyle that makes you disregard its originator. Lil Jave talks about life’s decisions with a natural smirk. The true skater lifestyle should add some more attention.
“Represent” lets leader TJ Atoms display his excellent storytelling ability over some more golden-era nostalgia.
Music surrounds us, all day every day, and with the amount of music being released, it’s easy to miss great tracks. We’ve put together a selection of songs that have been in the audiosphere for a few years now, but seemingly haven’t garnered the attention that they deserved. So whether or not you’ve already heard these songs or overlooked them, they are well worth the listen. By Desiree Autobee
*Tracks and year(s) released are as follows.
Best Youth – Honey Trap (2011) Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps – Calliope (2011) Future Trends – How Can I Be (2010) Donora – Boom Boom (2011) Ra Ra Rasputin – Forward (2011) Clive Tanaka Y Su Orquestra – Neu Chicago (2011) NewVillager – Cocoon House (2011) 1,2,3 – Work (2011) Jonathan Johansson – Redan Glomda (2011) Motopony – God Damn Girl (2010) Burning Hotels – Beard (2011) Discovery – Swing Tree (2009) Summer Camp – I Want You (2011) Brite Futures – Too Young To Kill (2011) Summer Heart – Please Stay (2011) The Death Set – Can You Seen Straight (2011) Wild Beasts – All The King’s Men (2009) Nathaniel Rateliff – Shroud (2010) Teenage Bad Girl – X Girl (2011) ANR – It’s Around You (2011)
By Teddy Pendergrass.
I come across so much music. I’m not a self-described hipster who hates anything mainstream. But I do notice that a lot of indie labeled stuff is shitting on what the media is forcing us to watch and listen to. This article addresses a variety of tracks to see which side is better in the club genre House, Mainstream or Independent? Let’s let a few random small fan base soundcloud discoveries, count as something “Independent”. And we’ll let some recent top ranking Beatport House tracks represent the “Mainstream”. Here’s our commentary on the topic, and chime-in with your thoughts in the comments section below!
John Monkman – Follow Me feat. Liz Cass (Original Mix)
John Monkman has 208 followers on Twitter. So I’m putting him on the indie side. The funk intro is great in “Follow Me.” The vocals are smooth and classy. The waves surely hook you in. Liz Cass is a good choice for singer. The bass waves are groovy. “Heeewwwwhuhuhuuuuuu” is so tingling. I like “Follow Me” but it’s missing something that says SUPER STAR. If Monkman doesn’t sell out, some more money/shine could bring this title to fruition.
Blondish – Distant Lover feat. Thomas Gandey (Original Mix)
Blondish is mentioned a lot by Pete Tong. They’re semi-mainstream I guess. “Distant Lover” has a nice trance, Egyptian groove. It’s missing that special something to take it to the next level though. Blondish for sure knows that vocals are back in. However Thomas Gandey’s singing goes in circles rather than a straight line. Instead, I’d prefer to be kept off-guard with the lyrics and/or switch-up the beat somewhere in these 7+ minutes.
Teenage Mutants – Out Of Time (Finnebassen Remix)
This track is so stunning… at first. The track should have just been 3 minutes long and then ended. Contrary to popular belief, good House is not just all about a hot beat and vocals. You have to make every minute have key differences that necessitate the songs length. Finnebassen is quasi mainstream, he should know better than to be this repetitive.
Enzo Saccone’s 2013 Deep House Set
This is literally the best mix that I have heard since DJ Tiesto’s In Search of Sunrise 7: Asia, which is extremely mainstream. And Enzo Saccone is the most “underground” artist on this list! While his artwork is so, “yeah, I did this myself,” the music is so “yeah, I did this myself and awesomely at that.” Saccone is actually taking risks. It’s so unique and refreshing. The best type of music exudes said qualities.
Criminal Vibes – Song 2 (Club Mix)
Is a memorable sample what makes this track win? I’ll defer to you – the readers. Does it really have anything special to it? Echoes? Waves of synth? For me, it’s boring.
Gary Caos – Soul Power ’74 (Sax Power 2K13)
Another sample that sounds familiar. But where is the innovation? I like this more than “Song 2” but I still am getting my yawn-on. Build-ups are not supposed to feel like a task for the listener. It’s supposed to be the hook before the hook. I’ll pass.
My Digital Enemy – My Lips (My Digital Enemy Remix)
This is the third best release currently rated on Beatport. The top tracks all have the same primary characteristic: trendy sample. Get some exciting stuff if you’re going to sample guys. It’s a turn off otherwise, for me at least.
Raw Silk - Do It To The Music (Federico Scavo Remix)
Ok, this sample is more engaging. “Do It To The Music” is definitely the best track, on the Beatport list, that I’m referring to. The track has the quality master feel. Nevertheless this track has no replay value for me. The song is too repetitive and not sexy enough. I hate saxophone use in club music. The fact that Enzo Saccone can pull it off, and this guy on Ultra Records can’t, is mind-boggling.
While some lack the expensive tools, many independent artists seem to have the real passion and drive. Both independent and mainstream house scenes seem to be failing at gaining my full on support. But I’m picky. I base the win completely on Enzo Saccone. He not only made me listen along for 40 minutes (so rare), but he used a sax right, which I thought was impossible. Keep an eye on this one.
B3SCI has teamed up with the good peeps at Danger Village to drop this exclusive mix of their choice Spring 2013 worthy jams. Owner Beth Martinez curates the mix track by track below. Hibernation doesn’t stand a chance.
1) holychild “Best Friends”
This song sets the tone perfectly for what I want to come across in this mix. For spring we’re looking to brighter, organic sounds threaded through with good feelings of friendship and laughter. Shifting away from the electronic-heavy vibes of the last mix, this song feels like all things lovely and light while still twisting in the confrontational vocal edge.
2) Denai Moore “Gone”
In February I put a British songstress, Laura Mvula, on the mix. Denai Moore comes from the same city, and this stripped down rendition of this ballad reveals how stringently gorgeous her vocals are without embellishment. I obviously love high-produced material, but nothing goes straight to your heart like these soulful vocals.
3) Rainy Milo “This Thing of Ours”
We can’t stop listening to Rainy Milo. The tone of her voice is lovely and this song is excellent.
4) Autre Ne Veut “Counting”
One of my favorite bands I saw at SXSW and one of my favorite albums of the year so far.
5) Jagwar Ma “The Throw”
Convoluted textures and excellent progression. Somehow Jagwar Ma is the only Australian band on this mix.
6) Freedom Fry “Friends and Enemies”
A breezy song about Frenemies. I love how Freedom Fry is able to make intelligent songwriting sound simple.
7) Mystery Skulls “Ghost”
If you want to get pumped up for anything, put this song on. Pay attention to this guy.
8) Mikael Cronin “Weight”
It’s a melodic and bombastic cocktail. I wish more rock bands were able to write songs like these.
9) Shelter Point “Braille”
Shelter Point makes delicately ardent music. The alien sounds in this song keep making me think my phone is ringing.
10) Shlomo ft HTDW “Don’t Say No”
I love everything about How to Dress Well and this Shlomo collab is so fab. Tom Krell’s vocals lead well into the next artist…
11) Justin Timberlake “Mirrors”
This is probably the most adult-contempo song I’ve ever truly loved. It feels like such a progression in his career, and lyrically I think it’s a very mature assessment of the evolution of a “grown-up” relationship. It feels like a true love song to me, which is always my favorite thing.
12) Sigur Ros “Brennistein”
I’m loving the weightier sound of this song. Leave it to Sigur Ros to make “heavy” sound “gorgeous.”
13) Phospherescent “Song For Zula”
I love how this song encapsulates the feeling of entrapment that comes with being broken in love. The epic lyrics here feel so out of place in modern pop music, it made me realize we don’t see many oathey songs these days. When did epic songwriting go the way of Homer?
14) Cloud Boat – “Youthern”
Been loving everything out of the Cloud Boat camp lately.
15) Active Child “Evening Ceremony”
Stunning church-wave at its finest.
16) Beach House “Troublemaker”
Like Real Estate, Beach House is a paradigm of a band that has the ability to continue refining their craft while retaining their singular sound. “Troublemaker” is a song I’ve had on repeat- the airier sounds fit well with spring’s breezes.
Danger Village (Official)
Deep House and UK Funky typically have vocals. Yet, many listeners now favor club tracks with no words. The oft-overlooked style is the theme of this mixtape. And, it may just make your shy Valentine do the nasty. By Teddy Pendergrass
Grab the mix here (V-Day Only)
Dennis Ferrer – Hey Hey (Club Mix)
Ramtin K – Freedom (Mory Yacel Remix)
Cloud 9 – Do You Want Me Baby (Dusky Remix)
Maya Jane Coles – The High Life
Mario Basanov Feat. Miss Bee – Just Think About
Tripzone and Ramtin K – Empty Space
Thyladomid & Adriatique – The L Way feat. B.P Johnson
Fish Go Deep, Tracy K – The Cure and The Cause (Dennis Ferrer Remix)
Black Coffee feat. Bucie – Turn Me On
Pete Tong – Dawn ft. S.Y.F. (Blondish Remix)
Skanky – Breach
Our cuz Ryan is back with his heatin/coolin best-of-the-month mix B3DECJAMMIES. Expect coolbombs from Chad Valley, Blue Hawaii, and Mikky Ekko as well as crunchy heaters from Black Moth Super Rainbow and Clinic. Listen HERE on Spotify.
01. Chad Valley – Evening Surrender (Feat. El Perro Del Mar) 02. The Weeknd – Valerie 03. Flight Facilities – Clair De Lune (Feat. Christine Hoberg) 04. Mikky Ekko – Pull Me Down 05. Autre Ne Veut – Counting 06. Egyptian Hip Hop – SYH 07. Blue Hawaii – In Two 08. Blue Hawaii – In Two II 09. Main Attrakionz – Cloud Body (Feat. Grown Folk) 10. Crystal Castles – Pale Flesh 11. Tops – Double Vision 12. Chad Valley – Fall 4 U (Feat. Glasser) 13. Dirty Projectors – About to Die 14. Sweet Valley – Bros Beyond 15. Nutso – Blowing Up (Feat. Shabaam Sahdeeq & Royal Flush) 16. Major Lazer – Jah No Partial (Feat. Flux Pavilion) 17. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Gangs in the Garden 18. Arca – Brokeup 19. Doldrums – She is the Wave (Feat. Guy Dallas) 20. Clinic – King Kong
Los Angeles based music blog, BitCandy, has ventured through the breakneck blogosphere to bring B3SCI readers a selection of indie songs and sweet treats to soundtrack this fall season.
The Fall Indie Sampler 2012 mix features twelve shiny new artists that worked in conjunction with BitCandy to bring you this free compilation, which you can snatch up on the BitCandy home page. Check out the full track listing below, and don’t forget to buy these artists’ music if ya dig the free download!
Ghosts – On An On IO Echo – When The Lillies Die Kids Without Instruments – Stardust Yes Yes (Michael Ersing) – Ocean! Ocean! Yagya – Tears Will Fall The Hood Internet – Five Seconds Don’t Care Wolf Larsen – If I Be Wrong Jonti – Hornets Nest JMSN – Girl (I Used To Know) [Mimosa Remix] Freedom Fry – Earthquake Night Sequels – We Ignite No Ceremony /// – FEELSOLOW
*Whether you want to listen to free radio or check out our Curator’s latest finds, you are guaranteed a rewarding, and most importantly, crap-free experience at BitCandy. Also, if you enjoyed this (and we hope you did), feel free to also snatch up BitCandy’s Summer Indie Sampler 2012 from back in May!
Our family Ryan Santos is back like chiropract with his latest monthly mix for b3sci. The November mix goes in both cool and hot w a top line of variety of the best coolers and heaters of October ’12 including tracks from Solange, Paul Banks, Lower Dens and Zodiac featuring Jesse Boykins III.
Playlist on SPOTIFY: B3NOVEMBAJAMMIES
Tracklist: 01. Zodiac – Come (Feat. Jesse Boykins III) 02. Daphni – Yes, I Know 03. Solange – Losing You 04. Boys Noize – Got It (Feat. Snoop) 05. How to Destroy Angels – Keep It Together 06. Mr. MFN eXquire – Telephuck (Feat. Gucci Mane) 07. Kendrick Lamar – m.A.A.d city (Feat. MC Eiht) 08. Tyga – Do My Dance (Feat. 2 Chainz) 09. Paul Banks – The Base 10. Gap Dream – Generator 11. Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards 12. Blackbird Blackbird – All 13. Ducktails – The Flower Lane 14. Lower Dens – Truss Me 15. Rhye – The Fall 16. Lana Del Rey – Ride
It’s that time of year again that B3SCI hooks-up you mad scientists with some seriously cray tricks and treats for your speakers of choice. We invite you to cram your Halloween playlists with this spooky heap of fright-night favorites and freshly minted bangers! Get down to the monster jams below and let’s celebrate everyones favorite time of year for scantily clad gatherings, inebriated celebration and mischievous spelunking.
James Brown – The Bells
MJ – Thriller (Futurewife Remix)
2Pac – Dunwich (Feat. Nas) (Prod. Cookin Soul And DJ Whoo Kid)
The Orwells – Halloween All Year
The Mallard – Ants
PAPERCUTZ – Where Beasts Die (Sweater Beats Remix)
Project 46 – Jigsaw (Project 46 Rework)
The Raveonettes – Evil L.A. Girls
The Cramps – Surfin Dead
Modest Mouse – Sleep Walk (Santo & Johnny Cover)
The Fresh & Onlys – I Would Not Know the Devil
Child’s Play – Theme (ETC!ETC! Rework)
Bananaconda – The Monster Mash
James Brown – The Bells MJ – Thriller (Futurewife Remix) 2Pac – Dunwich (Feat. Nas) (Prod. Cookin Soul And DJ Whoo Kid) Suicide – Ghost Rider The Orwells – Halloween All Year The Mallard – Ants PAPERCUTZ – Where Beasts Die (Sweater Beats Remix) Project 46 – Jigsaw (Project 46 Rework) Ghost Ark & Zaika – Darkness Falls The Cramps – Surfin’ Dead The Fresh & Onlys – I Would Not Know the Devil The Raveonettes – Attack of the Ghost Riders Modest Mouse – Sleep Walk (Santo & Johnny Cover) Dirty Beaches – Lone Runner Child’s Play – Theme (ETC!ETC! Rework) 2pac and Eazy E – Halloween Bananaconda – The Monster Mash Those Darlins – Summer’s Dead Tea Cozies – Muchos Dracula Psychic Blood – Strain Cults – The Curse The Raveonettes – Evil L.A. Girls Radiohead – The Amazing Sounds Of Orgy Oasis – Headshrinker Candice Gordon – Cannibal Love
*Download the full mixtape HERE
Also, check out past Halloween mixes here.
Our dude & b3 gang affiliate Ryan Santos delivers the first in his monthly B3 Jammies series with tracks from Moons, Jessie Ware, Ca$h Out & more. Tracklist and spotify link below.
Link: B3OCTOJAMMIES on Spotify
Tracklist: 01. Moons – Waves At Night 02. How to Dress Well – Say My Name or Whatever 03. MS MR – Hurricane 04. Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments 05. Taken by Treees – Dreams (Dub Version) 06. Snoop Lion – La La La 07. Consequence – How You Gon Be Broke in the Rap Game 08. Ca$h Out – Big Booty 09. Tito Lopez – Homesick 10. Freddie Gibbs – Kush Cloud (Feat. Krayzie Bone) 11. Sun City – High (Shazam Remix) 12. Grizzly Bear – The Hunt 13. Miguel – Pussy Is Mine
Barny Carter has been producing some of our favorite night records of the year with the ambient “Park” and his remix of Sleepwalkers’ “Rear Window”. The 22 year-old multi-instrumentalist out of Bristol, who is piano technician by day and musician by night, fuses home-made samples, cut-up beats and atmospheric synths for his own climate of sound. Having already earned notoriety from the likes of the BBC, the young Carter is making many lists as one to watch. His debut EP titled Still Life drops on August 28th via DryCry Records. Get an exclusive sneak peak at it below!
Barny Carter (Pre-order Still Life here)
Safely returned to the mid-August L.A. swelter, we took to the airwaves of Virgin Mobile Live on Friday to recap last weekend’s Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco. The beautiful cloudy chill of Golden Gate Park played gracious host to an immaculate lineup of artists from all eras and most genres past, present, and future. Check out our recap below featuring music from some of our favorite Outside Lands artists as well as an interview we did backstage on Saturday with New York band Caveman.
Little Stevie Wonder – Fingertips (Part 2) [extended edit] Tame Impala – Lucidity MICS UP: Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls Portugal. The Man – So American Birdy – People Help the People (Cherry Ghost Cover) Foo Fighters – Big Me MICS UP: *Bruce Rave w/ Raves Fave *Bloc Party – Team A Neil Young & Crazy Horse – My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) Caveman – Thankful INTERVIEW w/ Caveman backstage at Outside Lands, SF 2012 Big Boi & Theophilus London – She Said OK (Feat. & Tre Luce) [Clean]
Click here for more coverage on Outside Lands 2012.
Outside Lands (Official)
A few more that get the black circle treatment @ B3HQ this weekend:
The Tallest Man On Earth – Criminals (INFO)
Eleni Mandell – Magic Summertime (INFO)
We won’t front, the last month or so has been a bit hella crazy at B3SCI HQ. It’s the good crazy though, like growing pains or maybe some sort of music blog puberty (or something like that). And just because there’s been so much music on the plate, here’s a collection of tracks (new and from the vault) finding some steady play through our speakers as of late.
B3SCI took to the streets of Austin in March for the 25th annual South by Southwest. We braved/raged through the musical flurry of performances, ridiculous entourages, grid-locked streets, fantastic rumors and more while covering some of the world’s top breaking talent. Below are some choice highlights from our experience (during festival highlights here), including our most recent Virgin Mobile Live broadcast featuring tunes from festival acts as well interviews with Fast Years, Tashaki Miyaki, PAPA and Saint Motel tracked on the streets of SX.
Full set list here.
WEDNESDAY March 14, 2012 _______________________________
Millennial music-host royalty Carson Daly kicked off Wednesday evening at his Last Call showcase with punked-out pop rockers Roll the Tanks. After a flattering introduction from Daly himself, Roll the Tanks and their Never Mind the Bollocks-informed post 90s-fueled power-pop set a familiar tone. Some songs had a definite Weezer-type approach, in a cheeky sort of way, and when combined with the energy of decades worth of nostalgic punk, and for that the band made some new fans. Sans some technical difficulties, the band powered through a well versed set of savvy- for-commercial-voltage rock music.
SOFI is a contemporary pop artist. A type that might foreshadow a new wave of SXSW popular artists. Sophie brought her brand of Lady Gaga electro-heavy pop to Parish on 6th street with a strut. It was a spectacle of dancers, poles, lights, a mic, and some backing tracks. That about covers it, a few timely electro pop songs and a hot stage show that clearly attracted some die-hard fans. The bass-driven atmosphere worked so well that I wondered about the possible scheduling conflicts with the Winter Music Confrence just a Gulf of Mexico away.
The Knocks knocked it. The NYC duo finessed their gadgetry with a heaviness and energy that translated directly into a hall of moving bodies, a/k/a a serious party. In today’s Sea of electronic noise these dudes can mix in something like the B-52s with a freshness that doesn’t sound self conscious. The Knocks’ show works because of the duo’s dynamic urgency in performance.
Take a quick glimpse at Friends. If your hipster radar isn’t freaking out at this band then get it’s battery checked. When Friends rhythmic and tropically based glam-pop grace the stage you should be ready to see a fashion show along with your concert. Not unlike everything that is endearing about novelty disco, the band’s minimal sound is an urban jungle. Lead vocalist Samantha Urbani jumps into the crowd like it’s her loft party. Once this band dials in there’s no stopping the impending Studio 54. Friends’ catalogue can be spotty at times but they do have some songs that stick; like it’s that sort of abstract, new wave-flavored stick that can only come from deep record collection gold like the Thompson Twins.
Pond fucking rock. I walked into the band’s first set of SXSW and was shocked at what I saw; definitely something to see. The Perth band (worth noting, come from some Tame Impala blood) are one of the most charismatic bands I’ve seen in a minute. From fixing his hair on stage, the swinging of microphones, the sneering, the dinosaur-raptor like convulsions… front dude Nick Allbrook has a strong comfortability on stage to say the least. A sort of stage presence that walks the line of over-the-top and sheer genius. Pond’s sound encompasses a striking blend in qualities of classic rock. When the band’s ambitiousness and stoner, punk, and classic rock influiences congregate, the resulting product is a high level brand of rock and roll. POND leave an impression, enough of one that lead us to three more gigs throughout SXSW this year. More to come.
What kind of artist is Gary Clark Jr.? Is he a AAA radio staple still looking for that crossover hit? Is he the blues guy on your favorite festival circuit? or his he that guy that you and your dad can both rock out to? (Clapton fans were looking at you.) He’s probably a little bit of all the above. Gary Clark Jr. has the talent regardless of any label to be slapped on him. . His more popular songs like “Don’t Owe You a Thang” and “Bright Lights” stole the set at a song level but it was the sheer charisma of young G.C. that stole the show. Take Gary Clark featured on a guitar solo, take him featured as a vocalist.. our word, take him anyway that you can get him.
THURSDAY March 15, 2012 ____________________________
In the everdeep sea of soul pop legends, Lee Fields is a pearl. Coming to and from in a career of ups and downs, twists and turns, this man is still at his best. Dressed from what seems a Ross’ out of rural Nebraska, Little J.B. adeptly worked his crowds. He’s a pro. “I still got it” he sings from “…the new CD” (Faithful Man – get it) and he’s not kidding. Fields’ band, The Expression add an energy that other artists Field’s age wouldn’t be able to keep up with. Late in the set, ‘On a whim’ Fields directed his faithful band into an unrehearsed performance of their new song “Hanging On” from ‘the new CD’ (Faithful Man – get it). While getting down to the funky soul tones of Lee Fields, it was pretty hard to not notice that the dude loves singing to the ladies. Lee closed the set with “Faithful Man” which is the title track from the the CD. After letting fly his blood curdling screams of infidelity, Fields came back for a rare mid-day SXSW encore by audience demand.
BRETON performed their first set on US soil at Lat 30 during SXSW, the perfect venue for those ‘different’ sounding brits (to of course American ears), and as expected, were greeted with mixed reactions (playing both for and against their favor depending on how you like to look at it). The projects team delivered a set of electro pop that’s all their own. There’s a youthful energy in the band’s near Vans-tour style presence. With a new skool approach to pop instrumentation, Breton are likely to introduce electronic music to a few youngins or two. With BRETON’s remix work already catching fire, this band seems to have the right formula as was further evident in what we heard original material-wise.
In scurrying to make an interview we missed a set from Moonlight Bride but in the process we were pleased to stumble on a great set from Merge Recordings act Love Language. The band’s soothing middle of the road pop rock brought me back to the days of bands like The Stills. Love Language seemed to play because they live for it.
Athens, AL based four piece Alabama Shakes were definitely a band to see on most everyones list during SXSW. The good news is that the band played like 8-10 sets so that you couldn’t miss them. Regardless, frontgal Brittany Howard puts it all out on the table. Even after all the hype, all the Lefsetz, all the usual ‘ha-bub’, you still can’t take your eyes and ears off of Alabama Shakes. This is a band clearly eager to explore the depths of their musical creativity. With newer songs in the dylan’esque transition Beatles style and less of the swamp tinted pentatonic rock (which many have come to love from them), Alabama Shakes still at their heart have a soulful swagger. They are aiming for the top, which is what separates them from much of the hype. A career is about longevity. For now, Alabama Shakes are destined for festival billing but whether or not Alabama Shakes will deliver further (say an iconic album for the books) remains to be seen. Only the strong survive.
Tashaki Miyaki are a band with little to be known about. IS there something wrong with a band wanting the music to be what everything is all about? Isn’t that the way it should be? Adding a bass player helps with the live show of some generous covers appreciation. The band’s downtempo sound (which might sound familiar to some) is a signature stamp. Songwise – Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers… the singing-drummer duo has an appreciation for the singles era. An era where an artist’s tastes could be appreciated in a less time intensive fashion. Kinda ironic how the attention spans of music fans in the 50′s have never rang more true today. Tashaki Miyaki’s shoe gaze and wash of Lucy’s vocal coos and Rocky’s fuzzed guitar is a winner combination for us. Lucy sings and plays like its all she knows, beautiful consonant octaves at the third or fifth.
The shameless and expressive musical rantings of Dirty Beaches. I don’t know how Alex Zhang Hungtai can replicate the emotions performance after performance that he pours into each of his live shows, but I am always grateful for the chance to experience it. There is difficulty in always finding the pocket dealing with a more abstract/impulsive sound palette; but this dude is dialed in.
Colleen Green makes timeless strung out chic pop. The simplicity of her songs is a heavy contrast to the reflective themes that she conjures up in powerful doses. The short set of tracks was rocked at a full capacity; a bit of her pedal, a bit of Happy birfday Jeff! and a bit of moody power chord pop; perfect for this off beaten path Hotel Vegas venue.
K Dot had control of the house from moment one as he rolled through an energetic albeit brief set, comprised mainly of highlights from his much lauded Section.80 mixtape. There was a heaviness and rasp in Lamar’s voice that revealed a bit of fatigue (The guy has been literally all over Austin the past few days) but there was no let up in performance quality as the L.A. rapper 100% knocked it out.
22 year-old American-Chilean musician Nicolas Jaar kept the lights down low for his headlining slot at Central Presbyterian Church for Pitchfork’s party. Reading the room, the trio brought experimental electronic jazzish composition to a packed room of enthusiasts looking for an intimate experience outside of the chaos down on 6th street. Saxophone, laptops, strings, drums, no instrumental territory was off limits. Atmospheric in all of it’s aspects, lush, strings, electro, world beats, Jaar’s music generates a big sound both controlled and intellectual.
FRIDAY March 16, 2012 _____________________________
Ed Sheeran kicked off Friday morning SXSW 2k12 with something fierce. Armed with only his guitar, the UK dude tore it up at the Filter mag party.
It was at the same venue that I ran into Tristen last year at SXSW. How could those hauntingly beautiful tones not draw us back in? Her’s is a brand of poetic folk rock that touches every music lover’s inner country music. Tristen’s voice, in performance, floats as if were made for neo-trad pop. Tristen are a band comfortable in their own skin. Big.
Good old classic rock that’s not afraid to let its roots shine through. When shredding and belting vox out like American Royalty, we mean US Royalty… we mean dubbaya.
PAPA sound great. PAPA were tight, in the pocket, on their soul. And for their fourth show of the day the band were dialed in to the frequency of the circus of Austin around them. Mid-set frontman Darren Weiss even did handstands. (seriously is was pretty fucking hilarious). He said, “it does taste like chicken” and proceeded to lay down more of the soul-informed rock vibes from the band’s A Good Woman Is Hard to Find EP, and also offering some hints towards what to expect from a forthcoming new album release.
HAIM drew second looks at the Virgin Mobile Live house early Friday evening. The 3:1 lady lead collective sounded big. Crossover type big. Like advert campaign big. It will be interesting to see how and if this group will develop. It wasn’t that any of the musicianship on display was anything that would blow your mind, it was more the profound feel the band convey that drew us in. We will be watching what happens next with HAIM in 2012.
Fast Years are like the Motley Crew of jangle pop. Four cool looking dudes with a great feel for pop-informed rock music. While the fog machine (and LASERS) inside the Fire House was a bit over the top (almost choked then blinded us to death), the band still seemed to manage it. It was guitarist Mikah’s birthday and it was clear the partying on stage during set was no doubt part of the day’s celebration. With a nice collection of songs in the can, the group can look forward to hitting the road and honing their set for the masses.
Willy Mason is a good answer to AAA rock-leaning fans of artists like Noel Gallagher. Mason’s a sure bet expert collection of folk and classic rock songwriting was on display throughout the entire performance; each song telling a better tale than the last. Mason rocked the church with his fantastic band and his make-shift 19th century player-kick drum; a novelty on site but it actually added a musical depth to the mix.
Another band with a lot of hype leading in to SXSW were Daughter. Daughter have a uniquely intimate style to their songwriting. Lead singer Elen Tonra brings you into her vulnerable world with lyrics sung like they can only be said through song. Guitarist Igor Haefeli put on display one of the most beautiful/tasteful exhibitions of guitar work I’ve seen in years with such a mature sense of instinct and control. Should Daughter continue down a road of great songship, legions of fans await.
Michael Kiwanuka brings gospel-informed writing back to the mainstream of crossover songwriter pop. Like Jack Johnson, Michael Kiwanuka can pick up a guitar and potently tell a quiet story to masses of media-bombarded music consumers. Presences like his make for timeless moments and hit records. Kiwanuka is a budding talent with likely incredible things on his horizon.
Strolling back to my hotel room Friday night, I heard a gnarly version of The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love” echo through the streets. Fuck it I’m at SXSW. I followed my ears and (surprise!) I found Dinosaur Jr. rocking the 80′s classic. Not much to say about Dinosaur Jr. except it’s the only thing that could have picked me up at 2am. The trio play like they just discovered rocking out with each other in their garage yesterday. _________________________________
SATURDAY March 16, 2012 _________________________________
I ran into Michael Kiwanuka watching The War on Drugs. He seemed captivated by the band. Can you blame him? The War on Drugs are easily one of the next great American folk rock legacies. Frontman Adam Grundencial delivers dylan’esque rambles with brilliance. Guitar riffs played an important role in the songs as well; vocal and instrumental melodies met with a rootsful backing.
By the time we caught our third set of Pond I was convinced to have some conclusion. Especially after catching a second set in a venue better suited to host MMA on Pay-Per-View, and awful sound. Frontman Nick Allbrook took to the crowd in an early St. Patties Day jabber something like, “Busting is it? We’re Pond from Brixton. I’m Irish…” as they slammed into their blues rock, Led Zeppelin like wall of sound. The upstair patio at Maggie Mae’s took notice. Pond had the right amount of tameness this time, like their appearance at Hype Hotel two days earlier, and about 40% more tame than the ‘cage-match’ show the day before. With each set tactically different than the last, and this one being 20 some minutes in length, Pond held a captive audience. The band brought the pace back for “Broke My Cool”, a classic rock like ballad that showcased Allbrook’s voice more so than his personality; at moments Jagger-like in its’ tone-deffness. Perth’s Pond, have character. Some of the most character I’ve seen in a rock band in a minute. Add the Tame Impala backstory and a hearty new album, and we’ve got a band that might have us at fan status.
Bob Mould tore in to a complete performance of Sugar’s Copper Blue at the MOG party at Mohawk. Again he proved the album’s a classic, Sugar was epic, he’s a genius. Mould’s attitude and deamenor simply reads something like ‘fuck it’. The trio on stage killed the songs like they just wrote them yesterday. There’s something to admire about musicians that never loose the sight for and passion in their roots.
Clock Opera are a good reference point for contemporary indie pop rock bands. The five piece out of London put on a solid set of, mostly air-tight, rhythmically driven songs, and dis-enfrachised lyrics with non-traditional melodies and structures that you can’t get out of your head. Plus the band occasionally rock out on household kitchen ware! The crowd partied at the Nialler 9 showcase with an uptempo set of Clock Opera songs from their previous EP’s as well as their forthcoming Ways to Forget debut LP release.
This was a punk rock show. Posers take note. Provocatively genuine microphone gestures, moshers who mosh like it’s a profession, shit breaking on stage. The Bay area band ripped through an arsenal of material including cuts from their latest Matador release, Zoo. See this band but stand in the back.
O^2 bring out the inner garage rock in everyone. The muddied abrasive, but still melodic, guitars frame songs with lyrics that live forever (when audible.. which is kind of the point). In fact it inspired me so much that I was compelled to buy one of the band’s cassette tapes (yes, that’s right a cassette tape). This Toronto trio will rip your head off it you’re not ready for them. The music, as energetic as it was loud, was played HARD with a washy mix of heavily fuzzed guitars. The band’s song structure is simple and on the punkier side of garage music. “Handlebars” stood out as a favorite with it’s British-y sneer and kowabunga cool vibes.
Forest Fire are a band waiting for that big moment. With an almost Monkees quirkiness to them, the band must be on deck for the next Austin Powers movie. Plus lead singer Mark Thresher clearly knows a good parka when he sees one (James Brown would probably give it an 8.5)! Following the stage after Ceremony could not have been a good feeling for this band who might as well had been playing hippy rock in a field of daffodils. Still good pop is good pop music, and where stage experience lacked the, band made up for in melody and pure song.
After what seemed a soundtrack from hell, the Velvet Teen launched into their much anticipated set. The jagged chords of “Radiapathy” would soon lead the crowd’s delight. A new track presumably from their forthcoming 6 years in waiting LP was mainly rhythmic and had no guitar. In fine Velvet Teen fashion, a departure from anything expected next out of the band. Judah Nagler got the crowd into it “come on Austin”! but there wasn’t much selling needed to be done.
One of the most hyped acts at SXSW this year seemed to be Django Django. Lat 30 was packed to catch a glimpse of these popular new wave revivalists. The London collective rocked a new school DEVO type vibe. And like DEVO, in our opinion, DD either strike out or hit a homerun with what they are doing. Django Django are the type of band that relies on a penchant for strong tunes and consistency and have a successful career waiting where a boppy aesthetic makes for pleasant listening. It will be interesting to follow what 2012 (and potential music licensing, these are tunes that scream advert placement) will have in store for them.
The Manchester based beatsmith D/R/U/G/S filled in for Maverick Sabre who unfortunately couldn’t make it to Austin. While musically a major departure from the originally scheduled act, D/R/U/G/S took the stage, cast on left-arm and ready to deliver an electro induced set of dancey mayhem. Synced with his custom visuals, the DJ rocked through a set of intricate sound layers and manipulation. The music was great and his freshly minted remix on Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” stood a set highlight
We love you, Betty.
Tracklist: 01. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – A Fork in the Road 02. The Friends of Distinction – Going In Circles 03. Helene Smith – True Love Don’t Grow On Trees 04. The Temprees – Dedicated To the One I Love 05. The Lost Generation – The Sly, Slick & The Wicked 06. Jimmy Coleman – Cloudy Days 07. The Emotions – When Tomorrow Comes 08. Delfonics – Hey Love
Our new show hit VML on Friday and features our favorite jams from recent weeks. Check b3sci radio Fridays and Saturdays on Virgin Mobile Live at 12pm pac/ 3pm east. Get at a stream of this week’s show below:
Intro Theme Park – Two Hours The Drums – Days (Trentemoller Mix) mic up: Shlohmo – Wen Uuu (Teebs Mix)(edit) Surrender – Hurry (Lovin’ is Crazy)(feat. Jhameel) Tyga – King And Queens (Feat. Wale And Nas)(Clean Edit) mic up: Rave’s Fave Howler – I Told You Once Jake Bugg – Trouble Town Deadmau5 – Get In The October Cart, Pig (New Version) mic up: Nero – Must Be The Feeling (Brookes Brothers Remix)(edit) Jessie Ware – Running (Prod. Julio Bashmore) Moonlight Bride – Diego
Release date: Feb 24, 2012
Click for b3radio archives.
Our first mix of 2012 hit VML yesterday! The show features some choice jams plus a phone-in with Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs who chatted with Chris Gedos about writing, the band, Zeppelin, and more. Get it below:
Intro Fast Years – Young Heart mic up: Yuna – Live Your Life Schoolboy Q – Hands On The Wheel (feat. A$ap Rocky)  mic up: Bruce Rave with Rave’s Fave of the Week The 2 Bears – Work The War On Drugs – Brothers mic up: Chris Gedos phone-in interview with Adam from The War On Drugs The War On Drugs – Baby Missiles The Record Company – Born Unnamed
Release date: Feb 10, 2012
Click for b3radio archives.
Although we’ve come to the end of the road, still Adele we can’t let you go. We’ve reached 2011′s closing hour and now it is time: b3sci presents it’s Top 50 Albums of 2011. No one’s even come close to having the year Adele’s had. The most albums sold in a single year since 2004, two of the biggest singles of the year, etc, a truly international breakthrough both commercially and critically on a level we haven’t seen in a long time. Adele, our girl, the crown is yours. 21 is b3sci’s Album of the year.
So where the fuck is Adele on many of these respected-indie-press-dude best of lists? That period between Nov 2010 when “Rolling in the Deep” first broke and the lead up to the album’s release in late January, Adele ruled the blogosphere, the fold was united. Then “RITD” got overplayed to the point of absurdity, your mom bought the record, probably your grandma bought it too; those bros that listen to Foo Fighters and Deadmau5 started bumping “Someone Like You” out their trunk. Soon, the “wrong people” liked 21 and Adele’s brief moment atop the indiesphere was over. Right.
Thanks for reading this year, y’all. We’ve got some big plans for 2012. Stay tuned. Much love.