DJ Sprinkles - Midtown 120 Blues

DJ Sprinkles (Terre Thaemlitz) is a seriously polemical person for someone really into deep house. I completely agree that Madonna co-opted and reified 80's latino and black gender transversality for the idiot masses, but what, exactly, does it have to do with the deep house of today? It's a considerably less vital argument these days, fighting the mainstream machine. Dance music need not even address the mainstream which can't even attempt to track trends and capitalize, and a certain cadre of new dance finds itself aping and twisting mainstream approaches from a position of obscurity. Mainstream is no longer uncool, because it is no longer a relevant distinction. In comparison to Madonna's New York of the 80's, it strikes a pale ghostly shadow. But over repeated listens, the album's intent becomes less a corrective from an old master (Thaemlitz was one of the major DJ's in the gay and transgender club scene in NY in the 80's and 90's and was a major presence in the emergence of deep house) than an elegy for a forgotten, and brutalized source. Listen on the gorgeous "house music is conrollable desire you can own", this is super personal, darkened dance music that also springs from this revisionist motive. As she/he reinterprets older music, lush pads and aimless, floating beats, vocal snippets misheard, vinyl crackle, the DNA of deep house, she retrofits it with a softer, less heterogenous approach. In "Grand Central Pt 2", house is skeletonized into crickets and panning chords, subway rattle, the distant booms of a club, a sad voice over testimonial on watching a performer in drag getting "knocked around" while everyone laughs. It's the saddest portrait of the sad underbelly of clubs and the culture of performance. So, music that is now being subjugated to a kind of retro fetishizing all of sudden has a historicized document from someone who can claim to have been there, seen the excesses and the victims, and is now reporting back with wistful remorse. It's all a bit self serious to those who might have never considered deep house a home, or care to understand the outsider origin of most dance music genres, but for those who were there, or can imagine the landscape she's coming from, it's a very elegant, touching record.

DJ Sprinkles - House Music Is Controllable Desire You Can Own

DJ Sprinkles - Midtown 120 Intro

DJ Sprinkles - Grand Central Pt 2 (72 hrs. By Rail From Missouri)

Friday Finds 7

...better than a milkshake.

The Units - High Pressure Days (Rory Phillips Remix)
Nancy Sinatra - Sugar Town
Black Meteoric Star - Dawn
Blaqstarr - Naked Body Baby...
Dixie Dee and the Rhythm Rockers - Maxine
Subway - Hal
Sonny and the Sunsets - Strange Love
Ish - Don't Stop
Dirty Projectors - Two Doves
The Natural Yoghurt Band - Soft Cheese
DJ Quik & Kurupt - 9x Outta 10
Gregg Kowalsky - Tape Chants VI-VII (excerpt)
Fiery Furnaces - The End is Near
Generationals - When They Fight They Fight

Download the zip here

New album out from Japan's all girl trio Nisennenmondai called 'Destination Tokyo'. Noisey, motorik, pointillistic, and plagued by an excessive interest in Germans.

Nisennenmondai - Disco

Nisennenmondai - Destination Tokyo

Pictureplane is like the rated R version of Passion Pit. This is indie dance through and through, techno signposts on buzzy DIY production, moaning obliquity, faux tribalism (where necessary), anti hook simplicity, and so on. But Denver's Pictureplane (full length out on Lovepump United ) has a harsher, more carnal take on things than Passion Pit. We're not just talking about extra distortion (practically a prerequisite for Lovepump), but something more dangerous in the whole chemical makeup. Passion Pit's lead Michael Angelakos sounds like a 5 year old girl who just got given a full My Little Pony set. It's all coming up roses for Passion Pit, they're barely out of college and they're fucking signed to Frenchkiss. A year ago they were playing shitty bars and parties in Allston, and goofing off. There's something so smugly benign about bands that started at college. They're cute, and of the moment, but it's all a game to them, like turning in papers. At some point they're gonna pack up and go back to grad school, get a house in the burbs...
I don't know what Pictureplane's Travis Egedy's story is, but I know that he's got something innately empathetic about his voice that he needs to get more serious about employing. He's not a singer, you can tell that much, but he needs to sing louder and with more confidence, and get some lessons on holding that tune (I sound really dorky right now but I'm dead serious). This makes his voice a liability in a way, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It lends tension even as it makes it more approachable. Also, here's an idea, let's drop the whole off-the-cuff, lyrics as fashionable accessories, and actually write down something that has an ability to communicate an idea. Doesn't have to be a story, or a message, or even all the coherent, but let's at least string some words together to form an idea. The words "day glowwed", pretty much only lyrics from the track of the same name, are a nice image for this style of burnt out house, but really they're completely devoid of meaning. The best "song" he's got here is "Wearing a Nothing Cloak". It's the most fleshed out structurally, and has the most individual voice. But "Day Glowwed" is certainly the track that's got the biggest appeal for this scene. Hit this stuff up now, it's only this vulnerable for a short time before we watch this kid grow up and do something awesome.

Pictureplane - Day Glowwed

Pictureplane - Wearing a Nothing Cloak

Pictureplane - Future Step

Pictureplane - Flashion (You Designed My Mind)

Doesn't Avey Tare from Animal Collective (seen here at Bonnaroo this weekend) totally look like Andy Samberg from SNL??

Avey Tare

Andy Samberg

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. The Strange Dreams of Paul White. This guy (not this guy) is pressing things so ridunkulously forward in this burgeoning wonky/aquacrunk/thunk/j dilla world view scene. With everybody from Flylo to Bullion getting more and lavish with their beat structure, crossrhythms, 4 against 3 against 7, 20 different timbres, etc. Paul White (like the great Dilla) knows how to keep it sly and simple. Most of his beats are straight boom clap and his best play off only one other element. His crate digging taste runs in much the same territory as his peers; sci-fi and horrorscapes, misremembered soul, funk, kungfu folk, but he also taps into less trod stock; spanish folk pickers ("Surfing of the Coast of Mexico" - also probably the oddest and least realized cut on here), what sounds like a middle eastern (is it indian?) car commercial paired with the swingle singers ("Alien Nature"), sadsack britpop ("One Eye Open" which comes out sounding a lot like a Gorrilaz cut). What's nice is that unlike Onra, Bullion, Mike Slott and company, Paul White's sketches don't come out sounding all the same, which might be the first time an album of a thousand sketches (this one has 21) doesn't end up boring the shit out of me after about 5 songs regardless of whether they all last less than 2 minutes (nothing here goes over 4, and most are less than 2). I don't know whether it's laziness on the part of these other producers for having their presets so locked up, or that they're striving soo hard to establish a recognizable voice that they develop a kind of automatism where they don't even notice they're just repeating the same behavior over and over again. There are some misses for sure (how could there not be with three albums worth of ideas?). "Sea Life" substitutes excessive vinyl crackle for anything resembling a musical idea, it really just doesn't say anything at all. "Cheese Special and a Draw" is a bit too kitschy with its use of a Michael McDonald copycat (a man who is truly incomparable), and needs some reverb on that accordion sample. Sadly this is the kind of track that might get licensed, or played out in the chill room at some engorged dumdum club in hollywood. "One Eye Open" could be a toss-off instrumental from a bad dirty south rapper trying to get edgy by including electric guitar (does this ever work for anybody except UGK and Outkast??).
But some of these tracks are just fucking gorgeous. For anybody who has ever toiled through the wee hours and understands what kind of hypnosis art can be, how this type of wakeful sleep can be supremely lucid but totally useless, check out the dull anthemic wheez of "Can't Sleep Make Music". "Sugar Free Airlines" is as limber as a linebacker doing ballet. "The Magic Tunetop" is the meanest robocrunk this side of Delta City. "Waiting For Time" is probably the best single on the record. It's got a matter-of-fact oriental bass thump (kinda reminds me of the Beatnuts), a luxurious wash of sleigh bells, and the easiest, smartest use of vocals of the record. If he wanted to go pop, Paul White could easily follow this track and push Caribou straight out of the marketplace. I'm not yet tired of these records, but I could've seen it happening sometime in the near future if it wasn't for Paul White. He's set the stage for some seriously interesting ventures. Now all that needs to be done is to take just one of his ideas and go fucking nuts. Here's two of my favorites.

Paul White - Sugar Free Airlines

Paul White - Can't Sleep Make Music

Found a couple new Teengirl Fantasy tracks. These guys are seriously out of their mind. "Hoop Dreams" features some remixed to shit Motown "Shimmy shimmy", replete with the blast beats and anesthetizing nintendo-isms of a psychotic, ADHD 5 year old. "Thieves" is more traditional (read; a little less interesting) gamer indie techno, the 606 blazing through clacks, clicks, crunches and ear canals alike, a wonky bass line, and an arpeggiated spy movie chordal structure.

Teengirl Fantasy - Hoop Dreams

Teengirl Fantasy - Thieves

Friday Finds 6
No time for descriptions this week. You'll have to just make weird and false guesses based on their names and track titles. For example: "Es - Ennen oli huonommin", ...Norwegian funk/cooking show themesong/inuit throat singing. I will say there seems to be a lot of brass bands. Hm.

Mixed Practice - Jonestown (feat. Stiz)
Lightning Dust - I Knew
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Paradise
NYC Peech Boys - Come On, Come On (Don't Say Maybe) (Larry Levan Mix)
Es - Ennen oli huonommin
Mike Bones - What I Have Left
Yacht - Psychic City (Voodoo City)
Dirty Beaches - Low Rider
Ghostape - I Feeel Your Soul
Mor Thiam - Ayo Ayo Ne Ne
Silver Apples - Program
Hugh Masekela - Sipho
Phoenix - Love Like a Sunset Pt. II

Download the zip here

Drake - a nice Kanye style R&B man comes out with the first true blooded summer jam "Best I Ever Had". Then R Kelly gets his hands on it, sexxxes everything up a bit and slaps it on his new mixtape (download here). Boom. Summer Jam #1.

Best I Ever Had (Remix)

Them Use Them, a one man project of Ben Sadler out of Birmingham (UK), have a record I got interested in through the strength of their lead off track "Able" from the album 'Gravity You Lucky Lucky Boy', an album whose music was supposedly "conceived as tributes to animal astronauts of the 1950’s and 60’s". I managed to get a CD shipped to me from First Fold Records, which looks to be basically a couple friends and associates putting out variously downtempo, shoegazey, or post dancey electronica. In Them Use Them's case, in the spirit of his artistic statement above, he seems to be using a bunch of found sound from spaceships, satellites, and other types of mechanical detritus. He's most often running these samples through a kind of granular synthesis, whereby a sampled sound is splintered into microscopic iterations called 'grains', the layering process of various grains produces a type of sonic cloud, a wall, which results in the type of fuzzy, polluted texture you'll hear throughout 'Gravity You Lucky Lucky Boy'. At the end of this process Them Use Them usually straps on a listless breakbeat and lets the sketch kind of peter out. I have no issue with sketches, nor do I take issue with his process, but I do have a problem with the way in which a totally evocative post apocalyptic space age texture will be painfully grounded in sleezed out jazzy 90's downtempo. Here we are, listening to the end of the world through deteriorated satellite transmissions a then suddenly we're listening to Portishead circa '93 (which is a great time to get into Portishead, don't get me wrong, but this is '09). Part of the problem is the production on the drums, he gets it right by over-compressing and bitcrunching on "Able", but too many times throughout the album the beats are shoved in the back of the mix sounding like he stuck a mic right in front of the kit and put that shit straight on the track without producing it at all. There's nothing more sobering when you've got your head in outer space than the thought of some schlubby british dude in a drum tracking room. Some of my favorite tracks on the album have no drums at all. Check out the gorgeous "Laika", the claustrophic "Baker", or even the stutter stop of "Enos" which intimidates as it seduces, even though it has a faint chordal allegiance to downtempo. I'd like to hear "Enos" at twice the speed, or if not "Enos" than just something! on the record that boasts a BPM faster than 100. Space monkeys are just as spastic are real monkeys, just cause they're zero gravity doesn't mean they're comatose. Of the rest of the tracks that have beats, "Chernushka" and "Sam" are stand outs. "Chernushka" takes a while to get going, putting you through a minute of chipmunked space chatter before coalescing into an brassy, detuned anthem. But the denouement of the sketch drifts back into digijazz and I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. "Sam" is the most effervescent of the tracks with beats. Here's a helicopter blade on top of electrical storm accompanied by just a snare hit (still underproduced). The record shows a ton of promise, but it's too unambitious even for a guy who trying to make sketches. It makes the whole enterprise of trying to make a record about space animals sound just silly when you've made a record that's only half serious. Either make it really kitschy and hilarious, or take the highest road possible. The record seems to hover in between the two, but even in space, languorous space, bodies of mass are in motion and travel with directionality.







Free Energy is a band from Philly who just got signed to DFA. It's a bit a departure for DFA largely because this is pretty far from electronic dance music and there aren't even any synths involved. But if you think about some of rockier directions of LCD Soundsystem's last record, particularly "New York I love You" I don't think it's such a huge surprise. James Murphy has a penchant for anthems, particularly those late night burners you revel in when the third keg shows up, and the party is getting revived. There's only one track available right now from Free Energy's forthcoming DFA release. "Dream City" is a sort of instant classic cruiser tune, that is, until Mitsubishi or some other co-opting force gets ahold of it, but for now; apply liberally to all moments of medium fun and nostalgia. True, the singer comes off a little bit prude for my tastes (he needs to grow a little on his chest and slam a few thousand beers), but that 70's generic guitar tone, the fender rhodes, the gorgeous sax solo towards the end of the track (straight outta Lou Reed no?) really yuck up a warm feelin don't it?

Dream City