Monthly Archives: February 2012

Introducing- We Are Knights “Tears”

Coming out of the most beautiful city (Paris of course. Those summer nights in Europe were amazing) in the world is the electronic French trio Jean-Marc Battalier (guitar programing, keyboard, backing vocals),Guilhem Hatt (Lead vocals, bass, programming, keyboard), and Gaelle Malandrone (keyboard, backing vocals). Together they form We Are Knights, a band that should definitely be on your radar for upcoming music this year. Thanks to the low-fi sound and washed out vocals, the song has an absolutely cosmopolitan vibe to it, appropriate to listen to when the individual finds himself just amazed at the bustling pace of the city life.

Now I don’t wish to come off as ignorant, but I am always pleasantly surprised when I hear international bands sing in English  as opposed to their native tongue, and I am curious to know the decision making process that led to this choice. Nevertheless, as I listen to the other songs by this band (“Turn Around You” for instance), I can’t help but come off as impressed by the skill and practice required to master both languages. Makes me wonder too. Not that Americans are really limited in comparison to other folks around the world….but…oh forget it, let’s just enjoy the music for what it is: A chilled out electronic sound that fits perfectly with the urban world today.

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MP3: We Are Knights – Tears

W E  A R E  K N I G H T S


Tongue Tied-Grouplove: A Comparison Between the Original and Gigamesh

Tongue Tied by Grouplove. The song is pretty damn solid. Poppy and upbeat, the song sounds pretty damn happy. But giving the song a close listen and you’ll realize that the lyrics really contrast the sound of the song. The lyrics are actually pretty damn depressing! IF you listen to the song carefully, as it goes on, the sound changes and you’ll realize that the tone actually gets more serious just as the lyrics get so as well. The chorus of the song a little something like this:
“Take me to your best friend’s house
I loved you then and I love you now
Oh yeah
Don’t take me tongue tied
Don’t wave no goodbye
Don’t… “

You can see that the singer is actually talking about being sad after a relationship has ended and that he wants to get back to that time where he and his signficant other were. A time of relaxation and where he loved her-and continues to do so.

Now I don’t want to get big into the meaning of the song but rather the sound of it. Grouplove makes a great pop song and their sound reminds me a lot of Matt & Kim. I definitely enjoy the track and they have a hit with this one here, but I have to apologize to them. Their version of the song is not the best.

I would like to bring to your focus to an artist by the name of Gigamesh. A remix-god, he’s held the top spot on popular website Hypem, which is a site that brings you all the new, freshest music out there, several times. And that is no easy achievement. Coming at you with his on spin on “Tongue Tied”, I would just like to express my love for the song. This remix absolutely KILLS the original song. Several times. Now I am not disrespecting Grouplove’s original song, because I think it is good, just not as good as what Gigamesh has made. With all due respect to Grouplove however, there’s no way this awesome remix couldn’t have been made with Grouplove making the great track, I like to think of it as Gigamesh making a great song into a super-fantastic song. Now earlier I said that “Tongue Tied” was an upbeat song. Gigamesh definitely kicks it up a notch. I love what he has done, making this track something that sounds funky (in a good way of course), you can head bob to, and hell, even dance a little stupidly to. When listening to Gigamesh’s spin, lyrics are second class compared to the song. The beats are just so damn good. The lyrics are still important though because with this upbeat tune, every time the chorus rolls around, I just want to sing a long really freaking loud. Asides from Gigamesh’s ability to turn an upbeat song into something even more upbeat is very very impressive, but the thing I like most with his work on the song definitely has to be the girl’s singing portion. In the original song, there is no real lead in to the girl’s part and it is kinda slow. Gigamesh? Hot damn. He leads us into it, building the song up really high before a crash of sound. One short snippet of silence later and then you hear the girl counting in. Boom, right into her part, that thing Gigamesh has done is absolutely blissful. Easily my favorite part of the song.

Overall, the song is fantastic. Whether it is Grouplove’s original or Gigamesh’s remix, both provide a nice upbeat song that definitely invokes my yearning for that summer feeling. I like both versions but in my opinion Gigamesh has made the song absolutely golden. Respect to both artists because both have created something awesome. Give both versions a listen and decide for yourself which version you like better!

Grouplove-Tongue Tied

Gigamesh’s Spin: (You can download it by clicking the down arrow!)

Grouplove’s Facebook page. Like ’em!

Gigamesh’s Facebook page. Like him! 


Nacho Picasso at Neumos – Live Review

 

Neumos as the setting for a breakthrough show is not unheard of – the first Shabazz Palaces performance took place at the Capitol Hill venue regularly associated with indie shows for local as well as national touring acts. Tonight may have bear witness to something similar. Yes, in many ways comparing Nacho Picasso to Shabazz Palaces is inaccurate, even blasphemous. The two artists are not similar, with approaches to the same genre of music that stand in stark contrast to one another. In one corner is Ishmael Butler and his revolutionary vision for hip hop as the ultimate expression of and tool for black empowerment. In the other is Nacho, Seattle’s own oddball stoner with punchlines ranging from comic book puns to Full House references, all accompanied by bombastic mainstream-ready beats from Seattle by way of San Francisco production duo Blue Sky Black Death. I was not at the Shabazz show, but I imagine that the crowd looked much different from the one that nearly filled Neumos tonight. Shabazz are heady, hip, Sub Pop and Pitchfork endorsed. That crowd, I assume, was excited but high brow, arms crossed, heads nodding in approval. Tonight’s was rowdy, careless, and extremely blunted. A haze of smoke filled the room and Nacho claimed that he was “high enough to make up for anyone who’s sober”. That didn’t hinder him and hypeman Jarv Dee from exuding each ounce of showmanship possible. Nacho delivered his lines with aplomb as Dee reinforced his rhymes and coaxed the crowd into a tizzy. Nacho looked and felt like a star ready to reach new ears and new rooms. Big rooms. Rooms in every city around the country. He has the demeanor, the hooks, and the production to be the biggest singular voice to emerge from the Seattle scene on a national mainstream scale since Sir Mix A Lot. If tonight’s audience is any indication, he is as likely to gain fans from airplay on KEXP as he is on KUBE. What tonight’s crowd proves is the crossover appeal of the MC with the cartoon handle. Here’s to Nacho, here’s to all of the kids jamming out tonight, here’s to a Seattle MC who can put the city on the map in completely new circles.


Richie Cunning-Pure Imagination

Wow. Just wow. That’s all I can say about this song. Casually introduced to me by a friend, I gave it a listen, not sure what to expect. I was a bit tentative on listening because rap isn’t big for me. But man, giving this track a full listen and I was absolutely hooked. Richie Cunning = Brilliance. This song, called “Pure Imagination” is golden. The song is so damn good. Respect to Mr. Cunning on laying down killer lyrics on a great beat.
Coming out of San Francisco, Richie Cunning doesn’t seem to be very well known outside his hometown. But I say that with caution because, there is no way for me to know whether that is true or not. Maybe it’s because he seems to surround himself in a shrewd of mystery. I really don’t know anything about him. Hell even the bio on his website says:
In this world, there is a man that you will not find in any history books or credit reports. He cannot be seen with the human eye at “the mall” or “the club”. He is known only as Richie Cunning and there are very few people that even know of his existence.
That’s it. That’s as much as I know about him. There’s more in the bio about the circumstances of a situation, but it seems like the surroundings of some average person. Is that who Richie Cunning is? I have no freaking clue. I’m not sure if he is trying to just making himself out as just an average joe and similar to everyone else, but he’s not doing very well at it. IF you’re making awesome music, I don’t think you can fit in with everyone else. Serious respect to Mr. Cunning.
Now I want to focus on his track, “Pure Imagination”. This song is sooooo damn good. The song starts out very interesting. Coming in with with the conversation between a boy and his father, this is what it says:
-“Do I have talent Dad?”
“Of course you have talent. You have all the talent in the world.”
-“Can I be a baseball player?”
“You can be anything you wanna be. Remember the saddest thing in life is wasting talent. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t do the right thing, then nothing happens. But when you do right, guess what? Good things happen, you hear me?”
Now that right there is absolutely brilliant. Leading with that sets the stage for the listener to infer that this could’ve happened to Richie. It seems like he had thought about what this man said to his son and took it to heart and utilized the talent he had for rapping and finally put it to use. Good thing too. The man speaks the truth. Richie really has crazy talent. His lyrics are laid down on a really chill beat that you can rock to, but that is second class compared to the lyrics. Holy hell, as I listen to the song, I can just imagine Mr. Cunning giving everything that he has into the song. His lyrics speak true and I feel like I can actually understand the struggles that he goes through. The song follows the basic idea of Richie losing his way and not sure of what is going on before realizing that he needs to step up and express everything and try to make his dream come true. Listen to the song and just let the lyrics wash over you and you will see how crafty he was to put that excerpt in the front of his song. Just awesome.
I cannot praise this song enough. I feel the passion that Richie has put into this song and I just love that. The dark and somber tone of the song that switches into something more wistful and feel good mixed with the great lyrics makes something just magical and poetic. Please give this song a listen and I can say it will not disappoint. Richie Cunning? I bow to you. Keep going.
Just in case you missed the song link from above:
Also, check out his Facebook and website!

“Rio” – Hey Marseilles

Hey Marseilles is a Seattle act that deserves recognition beyond the inner sanctum of the Northwest. Made up of seven members who could easily pass for guest stars on Portlandia with the number of eclectic instruments they play (mandolin, accordion, viola, I-shit-you-not drumbourine), these chill guys make some catchy indie-folk-pop.

I once saw the full band live at Bumbershoot, and they were fittingly fantastic, though at the time I had no idea who they were. About a year ago, I went with fellow bloggers Vincent and Kevin to the Seattle Art Museum to check out an exhibit for free at SAM’s Teen Night Out. Lo and behold, the cellist from Hey Marseilles, Samuel Anderson, provided live underscore for the viewing of such gorgeous art. I was so sucked in by the music, I couldn’t look around; Vincent, Kevin and I sat for a few moments in silence, just taking it in. Sadly, not many others appreciated his incredible talent and talked over him. It was quite upsetting to see a talented musician hung out to dry like that.

Founded in 2006 by two students at the University of Washington who liked to jam out at GasWorks Park (where a few friends and I used to jam out as well), the membership quickly grew to seven people with the amount of instruments outnumbering the players.

Their song “Rio” exemplifies this diverse approach to music. Their arrangements are refined and detailed, never throwing in too much at once but never far from full. They incorporate latin-tinged beats with an infectious clap-filled opening, a perfect trumpet solo and neat string arrangements. The use of a nylon-string guitar (or a soundalike) is a nice touch as well.

In “Rio”, the lyricism is bright, but never sappy. They know what reality is; what they present is an optimistically realistic view of the world.

My favorite lyrics have to occur in the second verse, when the singer apparently speaks to a platonic female (or male) friend, lovelorn and lonely. He’s speaking to the single population, and it’s relatable:

Love is a hazard in lower Manhattan
You cannot escape, and mustn’t be saddened
By men who abandon your eyes for another
There are always Brazilian boys to discover

Set your sights straight now
Don’t forget pain
Drink ’til tomorrow becomes yesterday
Think of the shorelines you have yet to see
Men who will hold you with eyes you believe

It’s a beautiful sentiment, expressed beautifully. How often do you see “Manhattan” rhymed with “saddened”? “Don’t forget pain”, but “drink ’til tomorrow becomes yesterday”? Brilliant. It’s real, but hopeful. Sad, but optimistic. It gets better. As Mel Brooks once wrote, you’ll find your happiness in Rio.

If anyone was ever in a bad romantic mood, I’d play them this song first.

Right-click to download: Download: ‘Rio’ (MP3)


2 New Odd Future Releases?

LA collective Odd Future is back with some new releases…finally. Admittedly, I had sort of fallen out of the hype surrounding OF for the time being. As was posted, Earl came back and released a new song but quite frankly, it wasn’t all that great. But we’re not here to talk about Earl. The two new releases come from the other prominent members of the group. Suffice it to say that both of them have me excited for whatever’s coming next from OF.

The first comes from self-proclaimed stoner-loner, Domo Genesis.

I won’t be the first to say that Wiz Khalifa is annoying as hell. I think the majority of my fellow bloggers here would agree. Personal opinions aside, I love this song. The pan-flute sounding instrumental feels like a pirate story, but instead of pirates, you’re on a ship with Wiz Khalifa and Domo Genesis… and tons of pot. (Pirates of the Caribbean: At Joint’s End? Curse of the Black&Mild? Dead Man’s Stash?) Neither Domo’s nor Wiz’s verses are amazing here, but they’re solid. It’s a fun stonery song with a good feeling to it, and that’s plenty reason to listen to it for me. It’s good to see Domo branching out too, as OF’s “Most Improved” in my opinion, he’s definitely deserving of some more spotlight attention. Him and Wiz sort of have a Jay and Silent Bob, destined-to-be-partners feeling.

Do I smell a skit for Loiter Squad?

Next comes the first song and video released from the upcoming Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 (Releasing on Mar. 20th… Go pre-order it)

Hilarious video to go with a strangely catchy song. At first I was very “meh” about it and wasn’t real excited but the more I listen to it the better it gets. I think what threw me off at first was the weird instrumental they have going here. It’s definitely got the sound of Tyler’s production. Regardless, all three verses are perfect. Hodgy’s got a sassy rambling sound going on, Domo’s just spilling words out of his mouth a la Lil B (#rarebasedswag), and Tyler’s got a slam poetry flow to match up with the beat of the song. OF definitely knows what they’re doing and if this is what the OF Tape Vol. 2 is gonna be like than sign me up.

Lastly, in other Odd Future news, they’re selling tickets for their upcoming tour right now. So if that catches your interest go check it out at oddfuture.com/golfwang


Wild Belle – “Keep You”

Wild Belle

Coming straight out of Chicago is Wild Belle, a duo consisting of Natalie Berman (vocals) and Elliot Bergman  (sax, keyboard). The subject of the song is nothing new – girl wonders why the man she loves doesn’t treat her better but there is an entrancing, bewitching quality to this music that will keep you coming back. Listening to the mixed elements of ska and reggae with dreamy synth-pop vibes leaves me with only one conclusion: Repeat status. Apparently, their influences include Etta James, Tom Tom Club, Delroy Wilson, OutKast and Eurythmics, so there are some clues, and they recently performed in Chicago alongside  Class Actress and Chairlift  where their set ranged from funk and reggae to blues and old-school R&B, so there’s a few more. Meet the next Lana Del Rey like blog buzz cult.

(Facebook) (Bandcamp)