Friday, March 27, 2009

Mixtape King

We've all had mixtapes before. Whether it was was sitting next to your tape player and recording your masterpiece from one tape to the next, one track at a time, or making a mix CD for someone special, we are all familiar with the mixtape.

Today, however, mixtapes are a way for new artists to get noticed and exposed. Want to hear something new? Check out any number of mixtapes out there. Steve Aoki put one out recently, LA Riots have done a few. The car company Scion has been releasing a series of mixtapes featuring up-and-coming artists. Check them out.

I recently came across the best mixtape I've heard in a while. Meet Theophilus London, king of mixtapes.

Labeled as soul, new wave and pop, London's mixtape is all over the place. Theophilus London's influences range from Michael Jackson, Prince, KraftWerk, The Smiths, Plaid and Quincy Jones. London is not just another rapper. His subject matter doesn't include gold watches, rims and other nonsense you hear in hip hop nowadays. (Really now, am I expected to believe these millionaire "rappers" who don't really rap are still dangerous thugs? Please.) Theophilus sings about love, anger, life, disapointment. Real life.

This album has got electro and soul influences left and right. The way they are incorporated is genius. Part of me doesn't want this guy to blow up. I want his music and my little secret, my secret stash of amazing music. If he does blow up though, all the best to him. He deserves it. This is fresh new music for a scene that's gotten a bit stale.
I love this mixtape so much I've included a lot of music for you guys. Download the mixtape.

This song is the intro to the album. I really wish Theophilus London was playing Coachella. Maybe next year.
Here's Theophilus London with Grey X Sage (Album Intro)

One of my favorite songs on the mixtape. Theophilus London - Aquamilitia.

Not on the mixtape but still great. Theophilus London - TNT

Click the tape below to download a zip file of Theophilus London's "This Charming Mixtape."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Loud Nights at Mute Fridays

Friday nights at Santa Ana's Proof Bar are home to booty shakin' and heavy dance beats with Club Mute.

Mute brings the Los Angeles nightclub vibe to life in Orange County. Ruling Orange County's Friday night club scene for over two years, Proof has made a name for itself, attracting big name talent as guest DJs.
Recently, I've been in contact with resident DJ Chris Santiago. Mute Fridays are run by Joseph Wilson, Ralph Milan and Chris Santiago. Santiago is a resident DJ for Mute on Friday nights as well as performing in other Mute97 related events. Recently, they had an event on the roof of the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles. Santiago also runs the Mute97 blog.

Santiago said his love for music is the reason why he participates with Mute.

"I love making people dance. I love finding common ground with perfect strangers through music and a dance floor. I fell in love with the DJ scene after my first rave back in the day. That night a DJ changed my life."

Download a live mix by DJ Chris Santiago at Mute.
(Right Click to Download)

Mute is held every Friday at Proof Bar in Santa Ana. Proof Bar is located at 215 N Broadway, Santa Ana.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DJ heaven

Holy crap. This is for all my DJ friends out there.

This is a crossfader with midi control. This thing is sick. You can now change notes while you're scratching, so no need to take your hand off the vinyl to mess with the pitch control. You can kill two birds with one stone and make some amazing music.

WARP Bloody vs. Aoki

Steve Aoki is the legendary DJ, producer and founder of Dim Mak Records. He was born in Miami but raised in the heart of party city - Newport Beach.

Aoki finalled teamed up with Bloody Beetroots from Europe, a DJ duo bringing back rock 'n' roll with an electro side.

Together they created WARP, a beautiful collaboration of music, and heavy beats, and they have an artistic video to top it off.

Just watching this video makes me want to ditch the homework and dance till the sun rises. Aoki and BB never fail to bring the party that lasts all night.

Fly, Eagle Fly

I just wanted to share this amazing video my friend Evan Sinclair made for Department of Eagles' song "No One Does it Like You" for an OCC film project.

Department of Eagles is Daniel Rossen (of Grizzly Bear fame) and Fred Nicolaus. They make catchy, mellow folk music that evokes a sunny, golden California of decades past.
I'd say it's a perfect companion to a day out at the beach, shuffling between your Beach Boys records.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Antony Hegarty brings disco back with Hercules and Love Affair

Hercules and Love Affair are here to prove disco isn't dead.

I'm definitely excited to see them at Coachella on April 18. Hercules and Love Affair's style is a fun mix of club and disco music.

The best thing about Hercules and Love Affair is the guest vocal work by Antony Hegarty. This project is such a departure for Hegarty, who heads Antony and the Johnsons as his full-time gig. Antony and the Johnsons' style is such a different approach to music, with Hegarty's voice soaring and crashing over minimalist music. It's almost intrusive listening to Hegarty's voice in Antony in the Johnsons. It's so personal and honest.

Antony and the Johnsons with "Hope There's Someone"

In Hercules and Love Affair however, Hegarty is the ringleader of dance. His voice oddly fits right at home with the uptempo disco tunes. Amazing.

Check them out Saturday, April 18, at Coachella. You won't be disappointed.

Here is Hercules and Love Affair with "Blind"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wait, you sing too?

The newest generation of actors-turned-singers has arrived. Long gone are the painful days of Bruce Willis' blues singing attempts or Keanu Reeves' grunge band Dogstar. Yes, Joaquin Pheonix is rapping now but I can't be sure how serious that is or if it is a giant hoax no one is in on.

Surprisingly, these new crossover artists actually do have talent.

First up, we've got Jason Schwartzman. Now I'm sure you've heard of Phantom Planet, his first band in which he played drums. Phantom Planet played the theme song to that terrible TV show "The OC." He's moved on from Phantom Planet
and started his own indie pop solo project called Coconut Records in 2006.

Coconut Records has release two records of catchy indie pop summer anthems, with Nighttiming in 2007 and Davy released this January.

Coconut Records is exactly what you'd expect from Jason Schwartzman. Quirky and fun, these songs are easy to get stuck in your head.

Here is Coconut Records with "West Coast"

Next, we've got darling sweetheart Zooey Deschanel.

After falling in love with her voice in the movie "Elf," I'm glad that she's exploring her musical abilities. Deschanel is the "She" in She & Him, an folky indie project she started with M. Ward.

She & Him's debut album "Volume One" was released in March 2008. The two met on the set of the film "The GoGetter" in which she had a role. After discovering similar tastes in music, the duo began to write songs together. Much of Volume One has an old timey folk take on indie pop music.

She & Him with "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?"

Finally, we've got Ryan Gosling.

You remember Gosling as the leading man in "The Notebook," "Lars and the Real Girl" and "Half Nelson" (which had an amazing soundtrack. Really great use of Broken Social Scene songs.) Who would have known that he would have musical talent too?

Gosling sings for a band named Dead Man's Bones. Gosling met bandmate Zach Shields while Gosling was dating his "Notebook" co-star, Rachel McAdams. The two bonded over an obsession with all things scary and creepy: ghosts, zombies and monsters. They began writing music together with the idea of a spooky concept album about the supernatural.

The most interesting aspect of this album, though, is the children's choir they recruited to help with the album. The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children's Choir, a Los Angeles based facility co-created by Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, serve as a creepy and catchy backbone to the music. They make the songs, in my opinion. Gosling and Shields are talented, but they are no match for the chills I get listening to the children's choir sing.

Watch the video, it was filmed live, and the children are all wearing Halloween costumes, which add an incredible creepy effect.

Dead Man's Bones with "In The Room Where You Sleep."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Twelves are coming, The Twelves are coming.

The Twelves is a DJ duo from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. João Miguel and Luciano Oliveira formed the group in 2006 and named it after a strange coincidence - they share the same birthday, the 12th of July, 1980.

The Twelves' style is a funky take on house and dance music. Where I see most DJs are relying on huge kick drum sounds and a heavy bass line ala Crookers, The Twelves brings a funky, disco influence to its music. It's just smooth. You can't help but dance and feel the grooves with this stuff.

Another amazing thing about The Twelves is its live improvisation. It's more than two turntables and a laptop. They group incorporates live keyboards and drum machines, and mashing up and remixing on the fly. Every night The Twelves play is a different take on these songs.

I feel like it's going back to the House music of old, similar to Daft Punk and songs by Alan Braxe. Lately, house music has been coming heavier and heavier, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some of my favorite groups are The Bloody Beetroots and Boys Noize which have their fair share of pounding beats and heavy basslines. Something about the smooth, funky feel of a disco-house song just gets to me though.

Here is a video of "When You Talk" by The Twelves.

The Twelves are playing Control club at the Avalon in Hollywood Friday night. Don't miss this, you won't be disappointed.

The Avalon is at 1735 Vine St., Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Blitz! Yeah Yeah Yeahs comeback

The absence of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has left music lovers with the sense of mystery.

Exploding with a new single "Zero," this infamous new york ultra-cool band returns with its third full-length album It's Blitz! dated for release April 13. With their third round, they have changed their sound a bit focusing on guitarish beeps, boops and synths.

The album has been described as the after party album to their previous albums but maybe their greatest work yet. The last song on the album, "Little Shadow" proves to work as a lullaby after party song while Karen O. serenades you with her gentle voice and closes the album with a sweet conclusion.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The GZA drops some knowledge on Detroit

I can't stress enough how incredible this is. Legendary Wu-Tang Clan member The GZA will be performing at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa tonight.

Seeing the Wu-Tang Clan (or any member of) has been a dream of mine forever. Ever since being introduced to the Wu-Tang many years ago by a friend, I've been a rabid fan. I consider everything put out by this legendary crew, even the solo albums, as hip-hop classics.

If you don't know, The GZA is one of the nine members of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan from Staten Island, New York. They made historic and different hip-hop that changed the path of where the genre was heading. At the time of their first major release, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the hip-hop world was entrenched in the G-Funk, West Coast style of hip-hop made famous by Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ice Cube and NWA.

Enter the Wu-Tang was vastly different than anything heard in the world of hip-hop, with eerie minimalist beats and plenty of references to kung fu and martial arts.

The Wu-Tang Clan are legendary, and I am beyond excited to see the GZA tonight. Here are some classic GZA and Wu-Tang tracks to enjoy. Be there tonight.

The GZA - Liquid Swords

The GZA - Duel Of The Iron Mic (Featuring Inspectah Killa & Masta Killa)

And this classic: Wu-Tang Clan - Triumph

Detroit Bar is located at 843 W 19th St, Costa Mesa.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Welcome to the 60's

I may be behind the cutting edge on this so please excuse me, but I'm loving the resurgence in musical stylings inspired by music from the 1960s.

I never thought I'd be comparing and trading musical tastes with my parents. Me, listen to 60s music? Never. That was their time, this is mine.

Lately though, I've grown a newfound appreciation for this classic era. Now, I couldn't imagine spending a day without James Brown telling me to get on the good foot, the Count Five documenting a psychotic reaction or the Beatles wanting to hold my hand. Soul and Garage have invaded my musical tastes and there is no escape.

Today, we've got some great tunes for you to discover and enjoy.
First up, we've got Dr. Dog with "From" off their album Fate.
This song sounds like a long-lost Beatles treasure. You hear hints of "Hey Jude" thrown in the mix of this haunting, surreal take on the classic and catchy Beatles sound. Although this band borrows from the style of The Band, The Beatles and the Beach Boys, their sound is all their own.

Next, we've got one of my personal favorites, New York post-garage band The Walkman with "In The New Year" off their 2008 release You & Me.
You'd have to be deaf to not notice vocalist Hamilton Leithouser's Dylan-esque vocals. This song evokes Bob Dylan in a spacey, atmospheric song. The blend of sparse drums, upright piano and vintage instruments give The Walkmen a unique and dreamlike sound.

Raphael Saadiq with "Sure Hope You Mean It" off his 2008 release The Way I See It.
I love this. This is Raphael Saadiq's take on classic 60s soul music. I can't get Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is" out of my head when I hear this song, in a good way. Not a copycat, but a variation on a common theme. This Grammy nominated album is Saadiq's take on classic 60s soul, after years of producing and singing contemporary R&B records.

I could mention the likes of Amy Winehouse and Duffy, but those 60s references are obvious. This list is to expose you to something (hopefully) new. Next time, I'll explore the return of disco (not a bad thing.)