Friday, December 4, 2009

In the process of compiling my top 10 of 2009

To be perfectly honest, I had reservations about this record. But, they were personal reasons and not very objective. This is simply an amazing record.

<a href="">Crystal Cobra by</a>

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Greetings from the edge of the world

It's full-throttle holiday action here at camp A&H, and there's much news to report. The Summer of Flux (the collaboration between Stephen R. and Aaron Mobley) E.P. "Radio Anthems for the Newly Disenfranchised" has just came back from being mastered by 12k Mastering (run by the amazingly talented Taylor Deupree) and is slated as our first release in January 2010. There are samples of the tracks on The Summer of Flux Myspace page and the track listing is as follows:

1. Something
2. Now, all is ever
3. Love letter to Oklahoma (Part 2)
4. Smoke variations
5. I like even more now that you've started to fade from memory
6. The Golden Dragon cries for justice
7. Radical Math
8. Love letter to Oklahoma (Part 1)
9. Magical Dracula powers

The release will be on CD and digital, and there is a short film in the works that will be a companion to the film as well. More details on the album release, and subsequent DVD release in the next few weeks.

And in other news...

DJ Stephen R., yours truly, is busy producing the second installment of the Create Fixate podcast, which will be up and running by Monday. For those who simply cannot wait to hear the latest installment, then click here to check out the very first podcast every produced for C:F by our camp.

Zygote lives!

The dorment left-of-center electronic music project of Stephen R., Zygote is about to be reborn. There are plans in the works for a new mixtape, "Architects & Heroes Vol. 3: Zygote the mixtape" which will highlight unreleased material from the past decade that is slated for release on the label in Feb of 2010. Also, there is a new addition to Zygote, on vocals is Lindsey Gray Todd. There is new material in the works now which will be part of a new Zygote release in early spring.

For more Zygote information, go here:
Review of Zygote 7" split
Zygote @Pegasus News
Zygote at Discogs

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 Summer Rewind, or the Feel Good Hit of the Fall

Summer of 2009 has been quite a roller-coaster ride. From those of you dialed-in to the A&H camp's output, you know we've maintained radio silence for the past few months. We've been on summer sabbatical, but that's not to say we've been lazy. The summer of 2009 has been filled with our first party in Los Angeles, attending live shows, the continuation of our Packin' Heat night DJ nights and the production of the Create:Fixate podcast. We lost some exceptionally talented artists in the Summer of 2009, but there was more celebration of the work these artists left us during their time here on earth. Let's keep on living, shall we?

We had our very first (and, by all accounts, chaotic) party here in Los Angeles.

There were live performances by Mochipet and [a]pendics.shuffle, some killer DJ sets from Sodapop from Anticon and Oro11 from Bersa Discos. And the behind the scenes business? Damn. Here's some evidence. Shit's real son. But, that was our July opener...

Live and direct...

This summer there were so many shows, DJ gigs and after parties that it's hard to nail down what was best, but these were some stand-outs:

1. Black Moth Super Rainbow at the Troubadour
I first heard Tobacco and company on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, and thought that they were amazing. Like a cross between Boards of Canada and early Flaming Lips. I honestly thought they were more creatures of the studio, rather than a full band who could hold it down. I was wrong. They were fantastic live, and toward the end of the show, none other than Mike Watt jumped on stage to perform with them.

2. Flying Lotus / Daedelus destroy LA party at the Henry Fonda Theater in L.A.
So, it's safe to say that these guys started in L.A., but now have the whole fucking world in their sites. Putting together a sick and diverse line-up of talent for this show, this scene is at the tipping point. Anchored by the weekly Low End Theory club and by the extended music family that is the Brainfeeder Crew, this scene has really blown up to epic proportions in the past few years. Boosted by International DJs, connecting with a global cast of characters and releasing some of the most amazing bass-driven electronic music to come out of America, I can't wait to see what's next for these guys.

3. Flaming Lips at the Greek Theater
This is my hometown band. I first saw them play when I was 13 at the Student Union at the University of Oklahoma. The fact that these guys are now festival headliners, creating amazing music AND maintaining relevance in a scene where bands are on-and-off of the radar in a blink of an eye after being together for 25 years is proof that staying true to your vision over time can make you a star.

Oh yeah, their live show is like going to the circus.

4. Santigold & Femi Kuti at Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl. This was my first trip to this historic Los Angeles venue. I wasn't expecting such "sit-down" venue. While the space is beautiful, I thought is wasn't really suited for the bass-hyped, blog-friendly, "friend of Diplo," internet sensation Santigold...but I was wrong. Raphael Saadiq (who say's there's not life after the 80's? Since this dude fronted Tony! Toni! Toné! and has now reinvented himself as a 60's soul dude in 2009...right on man) opened the show, which was great, but it was still daylight out, so it was the vibe was kind of flat. As the sun dropped behind the Hollywood Hills, Santigold simply burned the place down. At one point, I looked around and the entire audience at the venue was on it's feet. Lights out.

Femi was rad too. I mean, come on...he's Femi Kuti, you know?

5. Telefon Tel Aviv at Spaceland
With the death of Charles Wesley Cooper, the founder of the band, there was much speculation about what would happen to Telefon Tel Aviv. Having listened to all of their records, but having never seen them live, I'm not sure I have the best perspective on "what was" versus "what is." What I can say, is that was one of the best "electronic" music gigs I've seen in a while.

So many sounds push themselves into my ear...

Always the consummate DJ, I'm constantly listening to new stuff. A twitter link here, a burned CD there, some crazy kid in skinny jeans at the burrito place in Echo Park talking some new garage band...I'm always hunting for noise. Here is what caught my ears this summer.

1. Cex - Bataille Royale
This is like some crazy hybrid strain of pot that is shipped in from outer space. The once snot nose, shit-talking, former IDM list "it" guy, grew-up, retreated to Baltimore and has emerged with this. It's an AMAZING take on Baltimore club music, spliced with a mutant strain of electronic music (pioneered more by Jonah Sharp, FAX records and Tetsu Inoue than Squarepusher) that takes it, and pardon the cliche, "to next." It's truly ambient club music, and really a stand-out record.

2. Furious Stylz
This new bass freak-out business by Telephone Jim Jesus, from the Anticon camp, and SkyRider Riddim, has been in wide rotation on the ipod. This stuff is highly addictive, and a new twist on dub, bass, low-end and um...dub. Highly recommended.

3. The Race
I just saw the race open up for Telefon Tel Aviv. A great live/electronic act, that somehow minds the gap between Joy Division, Aphex Twin and Big Audio Dynamite.

4. Bersa Discos
With their distribution deal with Turntable Lab, these guys just keep on rockin'! Stay tuned... these guys keep bringing the Nu-Cumbia heat.

Hat's off to loss...

There were too many talented people that died this summer. There's been too much talk of Michael Jackson's death, so I'll keep this short. Since I personally don't think MJ released anything worth listening to since 1984 (U2 hasn't either, and again, that my personal opinion so please keep the hate mail to a minimum), I'll leave it at this. He was an amazing artist and performer, and he died too early. And then there was DJ AM. So many kind and eloquent words have been said about him and his passing, that I don't think I could do justice by adding more. As a DJ and producer, I was inspired by the man. I listened to his DJ sets, and studied how he operated. Diplo said it best, "Listen up. All u have when u pass away is the relationships u left behind.. AM was still friends to everyone he met. And the king of us djs." Well said. You will be missed.

Thanks Summer of 2009, you were awesome. Call me sometime.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Day After-Party...

Now that the dust has settled, the wounds have scabbed over, the sound system has been dismantled and bill has been tallied (and trust me, quite a bill it is...I'm still paying it), we can look back 5 days ago with some semblance of fond memory. I'd like to thank Mochipet, Kenneth ([a]pendics.shuffle), Bryan (sorry for the bump, I've got something for you in return) Oro11 and Shaun/Sodapop for being suburb talent. Also, I'd like to thank Dublab, Tomas at Grow Your Own Media, Jenn Tran and the talent wrangler crew , Pam, Michael/Smex (dude, you're a lifesaver), Mattbot and of course the crew at the Silver Echo Gallery.

Instead of waxing on about the evening, I'll let the pictures do the talking.


(Mochipet & Stephen R.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A&H Presents: Mochipet, [a]pendics.shuffle, Boom Bip, Sodapop, Oro11 & New Berlin

Get your tickets now:

Saturday July 25th, Architects and Heroes presents a night of mind-blowing sound. This is our first jump-off in LA, and we're pulling out all of the stops. This one-off, after-hours event will be at the Silver Echo Gallery, and will host some of the most amazing musicians and DJs in the game. There will be a beer & wine bar, video art and other surprises.

The line-up will be as follows:


[a]pendics.shuffle (Live)

Boom Bip

Oro11 (Bersa Discos)

SODAPOP (Anticon)

NEW BERLIN (Teleport Door)

DJ STEPHEN R. (Architects and Heroes)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sounds for Art

After a mind-blowing performance by Black Moth Super Rainbow on Friday at the Troubadour, the A&H crew (Stephen R. and New Berlin) were asked to DJ at the Kopeikin Gallery during the art walk on Melrose.

Check out the pictures here.

After the gig, we headed to the Silver Echo Gallery's party to check out a few bands and get the opportunity to meet some of the elusive street artists from the area.




Friday, May 22, 2009

Sprung out west

The past month has been a bit of a blur here at camp A&H. It's seems like we've barely had the opportunity to catch our breath from Coachella 09 before the next wave of Spring activity hit, but this is a good thing! First off, we've started a new night with Teleport Door's resident DJ and New Media guru Anthony Mauzy (aka New Berlin) called Packin Heat. The night will focus on Dub, Afrofunk, Latin, Throwback Hip-Hop and 3rd World Electro beats.We'll be spinning on the First and Third Wednesdays at the amazing Mandrake Bar, in the heart of Culver City's gallery district.

Photos from Packin Heat - 1
Packin Heat

We're also teaming with New Berlin for a one-off event this Saturday night at the Verdugo Bar called SPACE/BASS. We'll be stocked up with mixtapes and have a few surprises in store for the evening, so if you're in LA, come and spend part of your Memorial Day Weekend with us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Architects & Heroes Vol. 2 - The Chronicles of Low Frequency

Happy Earth Day kids. Download the new DJ Stephen R. mixtape, then go recycle some stuff!

DOWNLOAD HERE (right-click and save)

1 - Intro
2 - Harmonic 313 - Cyclotron C64 Sid
3 - Michna - Italian visitors
4 - Flying Lotus - Bad Actors
5 - Harmonic 313 - Word Problems
6 - Neil Landstr umm - Shit Daddy Bass (with Carlton Killawatt)
7 - Disr upt – Echobombing
8 - Tayo Meets Acid Rockers Uptown - Dread Cowboy
9 - Buraka Som Sistema & Skream – Blipstream
10 - South Rakkas Crew - Mad Again Club Edit
11 - Daleduro - Bombon Asesino
12 - Jahtari Riddim Force – Depth Charge
13 - Bastard Jazz – Twiddle
14 - Goldfinga – Stress
15 - DJ Stephen R - How Meh Kill Dracula?
16 - Pete Murder Tone - Paper Tiger
17 - Baris Manco - Gönül Dagi
18 - Jeff Parker – Get Dressed
19 - Shoes - Oh! One Calcutta Thing
20 - Greenwood Rhythm Coalition - Secret Stash

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coachella 2009

Living in LA, it's hard not to be inundated with the hype about Coachella. It's everywhere from all of the "alternative" weekly papers, to local "indie" radio (ok, that's just KCRW now) to all of the blogs based here, it's hard to escape the gravity of the festival. Now, I've been to my fair share of big-ass music festivals, and while they are a fun way to burn a weekend, for me it's not the best way to experience live music. With that being said, this year's Coachella was a very nice surprise.

With only Saturday to take in as much as I could, I hit the Palm Desert on a mission to soak up as much music as I could in the 11 hours I had. At my last count, I saw 20 bands. This is what stood out from the chaos.

TV on the Radio

Photo credit: LA Times

Since "Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes," TVOTR has consistently climbed the ranks in the independent music world, much like earlier contemporaries Depeche Mode and the Cure. Like these two bands, TVOTR has cultivated a fan-base from city-to-city proving that their live performances are as powerful as their studio offerings. Their Cochella performance, on the main stage, was fantastic.

Performing "Staring at the Sun" as the sun was setting was perfect. Not even a hint of irony there.


Photo credit: Mike Orlosky

There have been some mixed reviews about MIA's performance on the main stage, replacing Amy Winehouse, who clearly went MIA herself. I've seen MIA 3 times now, and with each performance her stage show becomes more and more elaborate. Her performance included a dance troupe, a LCD video back drop that U2 might use and a DJ who's constant use of the airhorn gave the performance about as much street-cred as you can have performing in front of 20,000 people.

Chemical Brothers

My inner teenage raver couldn't help checking out the CB's at the dance tent. It's strange to see thousands of folks watching concert style what should be a dance party, but the energy couldn't be denied. After 15+ years of banging out the dance hits, the Brothers show no sign of stopping.

Bob Mould

Photo from

Now, to go a little further back in the way-back machine, I stopped in to see the Bob Mould Band. Now, Husker Du is an old-school punk favorite of mine. Going on 30+ years of making music, Bob has done more than his fair share. Starting Husker Du, forming the band Sugar, and even making dance music, it's fair to say that he's left his mark.

Unfortunately, unlike musicians his age that seem to evolve and try new things (think Wayne Coyne of the Flamming Lips), Bob has stuck with the 3 cord template that propelled him in the first place. His performance was solid and energetic, but nothing new.

Kode 9

Photo Credit: Matthew Trentacoste

I can't say enough good things about Kode 9. Kode 9, aka Steve Goodman, is founder of the Hyperdub Label, has a Ph.D in philosophy and lectures in addition to producing and performing. His set was in the "dome" area, which on this 2nd night of the festival was being hosted by the Pure Filth Sound System, who have one of the most incredible sound set ups I've ever seen.

Kode 9 is on my top 10 performers and producers for 2009, not doubt.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

For those of you not familiar with Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, it's kind of difficult to explain without hearing. Imagine 1970's radio, twisted through the filter of effects, with a healthy dose of pure freak-out noise pop. (See, I told you it would be difficult.)

As a live show, I wasn't sure what to expect. So much of what makes APHG so interesting is figuring out just how in the world the songs were recorded. It's either very low-fi (and recorded in the 1970's) or so over-processed that it could never be reproduced live. Or so I thought...

The live performance was great. Ariel Pink looked every bit the junkie that you'd expect him to, and the band played every weird note like it was a recording session. The only difference between the live performance and the records was the fact that the live version sounded better!

If you're not familiar, just check this out:

Drop The Lime

Luca Venezia, aka Drop The Lime and Curses!, has been a force in the underground dance community of NYC for more than a few years now. Starting out as a Breakcore producer and DJ (you can here a snipet of his earlier material here), DTL has steadily evolved into a performer who now commands the main room at the party. Along with his Trouble & Bass crew in NYC, he's helped push 4-to-the floor bass music to it's logical extreme. He'll be performing with a live band this year, touring with Fisherspooner.

His Coachella DJ set was sick! He played at 2:30 in the afternoon, and somehow managed to get 10,000 folks on their feet and dancing with hands up. So, what's new Luca?

Other highlights:

  • Surkin day-rave business...
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Folks not realizing who "Perry Ferrel" was when introduced by the Thievery Corporation
  • The Liars
  • Superchunk being as awesome as ever
  • Falling asleep while the Killers were playing

    Until next year...
  • Friday, March 27, 2009

    Juan MacLean mix on XLR8R

    DFA Poster Boy and space disco genius dropped a new mix on XLR8R's web site. It's got some fantastic stuff on it.

    Check it out here

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Tormenta Tropical x DJ/Rupture 03.13.09 in LA

    Bersa Discos is holding it down, making the jump to LA with their Tormenta Tropical party. They've been holding it down in San Francisco for a while now, being named party of the year by the SF Guardian. Last month I went to this, and a very casual Diplo, DJ Switch and Danger Mouse were in the building. Come see what this is all about....

    Tonight's guests are DJ/RUPTURE and Lengua.

    Cop a mix...
    Bersa Discos Cumbia Mix for Fader Magazine

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    7 Questions with Tomas Palermo

    1. For those that don't know your background, tell us a little bit about yourself.

    I'm a Bay Area native who grew up skateboarding in the late-80s, going to lots of all-ages shows, underground clubs and house parties. I was friends with a few mobile DJs in high school, and also did radio shows at my high school on 10 watt FM station. I began spinning punk, dirge, avant garde rock, reggae, dub and soul. Anything from The Jam, Joy Division or Subhumans to Steel Pulse, Johnny Clarke, Scientist, Wailing Souls and Black Uhuru. I went to college in LA where I became heavily involved in their radio station, KXLU. I did daytime shifts and the reggae show on Saturdays for 7 years.

    I co-founded and played drums in a noise band called Slug (Magnatone, PCP Records) from 1988–2005. I started doing music writing and journalism and was the original reggae columnist for Urb Magazine. I was also DJing a lot of clubs at the time, playing reggae, rare groove jazz-funk, hip-hop and electronic music. I started three main club nights in LA in the 1990s, Umoja Jazz & Ragga Lounge with DJ Daz and Culture D, an after-hours night called Goa Dub with DJ Jun and B-Side with Daz, Cokni O'Dire, Cut Chemist and more. Daz, Jun, Culture D, Cokni and I founded the Umoja Hi-Fi Sound System in 1993 as an umbrella organization for all our DJ activities.

    In 1996 I moved back to the Bay Area, and worked in several SF record stores before becoming editor at XLR8R Magazine in 1999. I edited at XLR8R until 2005, and then went to SF State for a teaching credential. Since 2007 I've been working as an editor at Wiretap Magazine, doing freelance writing for, Earplug, SF Bay Guardian and others, as well as continuing to DJ, and do music consulting. I also coach high school running coach. I enjoy running 5K races.

    2. What's your involvement with Voltage Music? What is the label currently up to?

    XLR8R founder/publisher Andrew Smith and I co-founded Voltage Music in 1999/2000. We released 10 vinyl singles between 2000 - 2005. Then the label went on hiatus while I was in school and broke. These days its just myself running things. In 2009 I relaunched the label as a digital outlet with distribution from INgrooves and released our first compilation, Dub For The Dancefloor: Voltage Remixed and Unreleased. It came out January 20 and is doing pretty well.

    Our next release should be out by May. It's a five song EP by the Toronto dub producer Earlyworm. He sounds like Twilight Circus or King Tubby. The EP has remixes by SF's Kush Arora and Roommate (Babylon System). The focus of the label will continue to be "Dub For The Dancefloor" -- including all forms of dub, downtempo, dubstep, broken and abstract electronic grooves. Look for the t-shirts and stickers and possibly a CD version of the comp this summer.

    3. How about Umoja Soundsystem? What's going on with the crew in 09?

    In 2008 we had a very successful 15-year anniversary at Surya Dub at Club Six in San Francisco. It was the first time all the founding members had played together in the Bay Area. These days Daz, Jun and Culture D live in LA, Cokni O' Dire lives in Dallas, a newer member, Stevie G lives in Bali, and DJ B-Love and I live in SF. So we do occasional satellite nights in different cities under the Umoja banner. In LA, we have a series of parties called Uprock, and in SF I organize various nights -- two or three a year.

    We also started a podcast series in 2009 that features new installments monthly from various members. It's amazing to still be DJing with people I began with, and still respect. It's a pretty eclectic, amazing crew of DJs -- Culture D is a dancehall master, Jun is into disco-edits, rare techno, house and avant garde dance, Stevie G plays dance classics and deep house, Daz has unparalled soul, funk, hip-hop and reggae knowledge, Cokni is deep with his hip-hop and dancehall, and I play a little bit of everything, including dubstep, broken beat, reggae, global beats and soul.

    4. Many know your involment with XLR8R over the years. Are you still working with them in any capacity?

    Thankfully yes. I love that crew. In fact, Andrew and I got drunk at a Fader/Diesel party a few weekends back. Then last Thursday he was a guest at my roots reggae monthly, Roadblock at Koko Cocktails. I contribute to the mag occasionally, but mostly for -- news bits and reviews. Due to the economic downturn, they've had to scale back a bit, but I'm always in the loop. I'm also contributing to an arts weekly called SF Bay Guardian in SF.

    5. What's next for you?

    I'm going to continue to DJ and write and coach running. I should have a new single on Voltage from my production alias, Dub I.D. -- that's another whole can of worms, the Dub I.D./Double Identity alias. But regardless, I hope to release a bunch of music in 2009 on Voltage, mostly singles and EPs. I'll be presenting a scholarly paper with Ron Nachmann (a.k.a. Shockman from Voltage Music) on Lovers Rock at this year's EMP in Seattle. Recently, I've been doing more music consulting for artists and clubs. I've consulted for Souls of Rap Folks, Fiyawata and an LA band called Holloys -- they're wicked, look out for their serious tribal indie album.

    6. How can people find out more about what you're up to?

    My blog, ForwardEver and my label Voltage Music are the best ways to find out my current runnings. I update those regularly. On the blog there's a sign-up link for my monthly email update called "Gigz N Thangz" -- that's a good way to stay connected. I also post mixes to a Podomatic page. The other day I realized how many profiles and online things I'm trying to manage -- including an Imeem page, True Skool page etc... Way too many!

    7. What's your top 10 right now?

    This is a very abbreviated list of the many things I'm musically obsessed with at the moment. A true list would probably have to be a Top 100... But for the sake of space:

    Baijie – That's Life (Truck Back)
    Untold – Dante (Hotflush)
    Mavado – So Blessed (VP)
    Ramadanman – Humber (Applepips)
    Amit Shoham – Sufi Life -Ivan-I & Jason Howell Dub (Tarantic)
    The Dynamics – Bring It Up (Big Single)
    Marcio Local – Samba Sem Nenhum Problema (Luaka Bop)
    Vybz Kartel – Life Sweet (Eastern Block)
    M-Swift – Play It On The Floor (Jazzmin)
    V.I.V.E.K. – Groove On (uneleased)

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    Bizzart - Future Stars and Small Wonders

    When you think of the state of pop music; of the brain-dead swagger of mainstream hip-hop, the formulaic repetition of "indie" rock and the hundreds of zombie-like dance-rock clones, it's hard to imagine that there are people out there making records that are truly original and truly off the script. Arthur Arellanes III (A.K.A Bizzart) has been steadily evolving a sound that takes hip hop, experimental, dub, video game noise and strings to sculpt a pop landscape that is whole unique.

    Sometimes dark with abstract and grotesque angles, sometimes a dream-like collage, weaving personal story lines and keen observation into a synthesis of influences, the whole of the record is more than the sum of it's parts. Listening to the record, it would be easy to fall into the cliche of talking about "going on a journey" through someone's head. From the rough, almost industrial feel of "Android Hearts", or the piano-driven spoken word piece "Changing Stars",(a song that could almost be mistaken for Radiohead) that evolves into an electro-glitch and string workout, with jazz-like breaks in the middle... the genre-hopping sensibility is only over-shadowed by Arthur's ability to maintain a signature sound throughout the experience.

    "Hookers And Bling" take a dead-shot on hip-hop's misogyny and materialism, "Back To My Planet" and "My Sister's in Jail" have moments that sound as much like Sufjan Stephens, as they have a truly optimistic feel. All of the tracks, from the indie sounding "Tuesday" to the dub infused "Future Girls" to the almost ballad elements of "Marthur", there's no fear of flipping the script on this one. While each on of the tracks can stand alone, Future Stars and Small Wonders is something that must be digested as a whole to really appreciate. It's kind of like seeing a stereogram for the first time. Like seeing something that rises out of ether.

    You can find more information on the record at Joyful Noise Recordings.

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    7 Questions with Jimmy Tamborello

    The proliferation Jimmy Tamborello is well documented. From his work as Dntel, James Figurine, Figurine and the cross-over success of Postal Service, Jimmy's talent and work ethic have propelled him to the forefront of the independent music scene. With Dntel being signed to Subpop, his James Figurine releases on Plug Research, his regular radio program on Dublab and countless other creative projects, Jimmy Tamborello continues the process of refining his forward-looking art and pushing himself forward.

    Architects and Heroes had the opportunity to catch up with Jimmy, and here's the result.

    1. How did you get started producing music? Who were some of your influences?

    When I was in 7th or 8th grade my dad bought some home studio equipment (he played sax and flute as a hobby and was interested in recording his own songs). After school, my friends and I started using the equipment and making songs and creating bands just for fun. I was just becoming a big fan of music and it was exciting to realize I had the tools to make my own. I think my parents bought me my first sampler a few years later and my interest kept growing from there. Early on my biggest influences were 80s techno pop like new order and the pet shop boys and then a little later it was a lot of industrial music, especially skinny puppy.

    2. You've recorded under a number of pseudonyms and in a number of collaborative projects. Has this be a conscious decision? Do you like having a number of different outlets to try different things musically?

    From the start with my friends in high school it was part of the game to come up with band names and characters, so that probably influenced my tendency to keep coming up with new projects and new names all the time. But also I’m interested in making a lot of different kinds of music and I’d feel bad if someone who enjoyed Figurine’s techno pop bought the new Figurine album and it was all noise…

    Oh and also I end up working with different configurations of friends so that also leads to different band names even though most of them could barely be considered bands.

    (*A side note from A+H, I've got the Antihouse record that came out on Visible Records, and still listen to it. Honestly, I've only recently realized it was you who produced it.)

    That’s crazy! I feel like that’s the first time I’ve heard of anybody actually having that besides me and david and our families. -J

    3. What projects do you currently have in the works?

    I’ve been doing a bunch of cover songs under the James Figurine moniker and posting one a month on my website for people to download for free. It’s been a good way to keep busy and mess around with different production ideas without having to worry about the hard part (writing songs and lyrics especially). The January post will be the last cover post and I think I’m going to clean up the 10 tracks I’ve collected and turn it into a low-key release.

    I’ve also been slowly working on a dntel related project but it’s too early to go into details. And still coming up with Postal Service ideas, hopefully this year Ben and I will get some time to work on some songs.

    3. How about your Dublab show? How do you program for that?

    The dublab radio show ( is really fun. My show’s called Dying Songs and it’s a really random selection of music I’ve discovered in the week or two before I record a show, plus some old favorites thrown in. on Tuesdays dublab streams live but usually it’s a prerecorded stream of a bunch of different djs’ shows. You can also access archives of the djs’ older shows. I usually record maybe 1 or 2 hour-long shows per month.

    5. Are there any artists you'd like to work with?

    There are tons of artists that I love but I’m trying to get away from working with a lot of different singers. I really don’t do well with strangers so I’d love to become even more self-contained. I wish I was more comfortable with my voice and my lyrics, I’m trying to work on that, but in the meantime I’m trying to do projects with fewer people involved. Like the new dntel related project will probably just be one singer who’s a friend singing all the vocal tracks instead of having a different vocalist on each track.

    6. Are you currently playing out any live/dj shows?

    Just barely. I always end up djing at bars and shows, usually because Dublab is involved in a lot of stuff going on around LA. But I never know usually until a week or two before an event. And I’m hoping in 2009 I can come up with some sort of live show, really just to have an excuse to do some traveling. It’s been a while since I’ve played a show that I was really proud of, so I have to figure out some new way to present my music live.

    7. What's your top 5 right now?

    Animal Collective – merriweather post pavilion

    Moondog – H’art Songs

    Psychic Ills – Mirror Eye

    Barbara Morgenstern – BM

    Nite Jewel – My CD

    Sten – The Essence

    More information:

    Jimmy Tamborello Selects - Dying Songs for XLR8R

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Pitchfork Gets on My Level

    It's looks like Pitchfork FINALLY gave some digital ink to Zomby, and reviewed "Where Were U in 92?," while we here at Architects and Heroes pinned this as one of top 10 of 2008. This doesn't happen that often, so when it does, I gloat about it a bit.

    Thanks for catching up to me Pitchfork!

    Zomby record review in Pitchfork

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    The Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton found dead at 60

    (From AP News) ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Punk guitarist Ron Asheton of The Stooges has been found dead in his Ann Arbor home. He was 60.

    City police Sgt. Brad Hill says there were no signs of foul play, and the death appeared to be of natural causes.

    Hill says officers discovered Asheton early Tuesday after they were called to his home around midnight by an associate who hadn't heard from him in several days.

    Asheton was an original member of The Stooges, the influential protopunk band founded in Ann Arbor in 1967. Asheton's brother, Scott, was the band's drummer.

    Asheton's distorted guitar was a hallmark of the Iggy Pop-led group's late-1960s and early-1970s sound. He was named the 29th greatest guitarist of all time in 2003 by Rolling Stone.

    Ron Asheton, Stooges guitarist found dead, CNN

    Saturday, January 3, 2009

    Land of a Thousand Rappers - Vol 2: WARHOL BUCK$

    From the land of conceptual hip-hop and power point presentation performance art comes the latest installment of the Slo-Ro (aka Michael Kaufmann, A&R for Asthmatic Kitty) curated Land of a Thousand Rappers. Without a full background on exactly what this project is, it could be a bit confusing, so I'll just give you the 30,000 foot view. It's an amazing abstract hip-hop project, with an amazing back story.

    Dig around, you'll find more information than you ever imagined. Download the Land of a Thousand Rappers - Vol 2: WARHOL BUCK$

    11. QUEEN OF WAR

    7 Questions with Everything, Now!

    A+H: For those who don't know about Everything, Now! could you give us a little background?

    EN: My name is Jon. I sing and write the songs for the most part. Everything, Now! started when I moved to Indiana in 2002, lived in a college town called Muncie, wrote a bunch of songs, and started looking for friends to help me make the music in a live setting. We've recorded five albums, frequently evolved, and toured all over the United States since then. Our newest album, Spatially Severed, is the first in a trilogy about amorphous space creatures called Partlies and Veries, whose constant power struggles are only perceivable to humans as sound waves. They sound a lot like music.

    A+H: What is "Space Gospel"?

    EN: It's an easy way to classify our current sound without using too many words. We've gotten to a place where we really want our music to lift people up, to affirm life and to seek a higher power, like one of America's greatest creations, gospel music. But the "space" side is meant to imply the psychedelic, the unknown and mysterious, the far out, the notion that we're not just making music, we're attempting to channel messages from deep space, far beyond our galaxy. That's where God is right? That's where ideas come from? Deep Space?

    A+H: It seems like there are a few bands and labels that share a kind of common vision with you. Danielson and Sufjan Stevens are a few that come to mind. Is it fair to say there's a network of "Space Gospel" artists that are working together?

    EN: If there's a network, I don't really know anything about it. We'd love to find other "Space Gospel" bands!

    While I respect both in different ways, I think Danielson and Sufjan are coming from more of a Christian indie rock perspective. That's not really our thing. Currently all members of the band get down with Jesus, but we're completely open to any interpretation of what that means. When I think of musicians that are coming from a similar place as us message-wise, I think of Sun Ra, Sly and the Family Stone, post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys, maybe even Al Green, just stuff that's about love and universal harmony and totally reaching a higher level.

    A+H: The art work on the Prequels and Parallels EP is interesting. Could you talk about it?

    EN: Sure, it's from a series of collages that I did about the idea of being severed throughout space. I wanted the album art images for Spatially Severed to represent the beings that inhabit the songs, and I ended up with a lot of leftover pictures. I thought the Prequels and Parallels cover was a great reflection of Love, a married couple uniting two as one, being held by the hands of God in a beautiful sunset, hanging just above a compelling landscape of darkness...

    A+H: What's coming up for you guys in 2009?

    EN: Touring and promotion! We expected a lot of critics to sleep on the album at first, because we've never had great luck in that arena, so our plan is just to really push the music out there to get it into the hands and ears of the people. I think the press will catch up, but first and foremost, we're seeing it as our sacred duty to deliver this music to people everywhere next year!

    A+H: How about live performances? Are you guys on tour?

    EN: We just finished a great tour doing a few shows with Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos. We also hit the southeast and did a few gigs in the Wisconsin/Chicago area, but we're taking a break for a few weeks. We'll be back out on the road in typical relentless fashion starting in February.

    A+H: What's your top 10 music list right now?

    1. Marmoset "Record in Red"

    2. Yo La Tengo "Summer Sun"

    3. Allman Brothers Band "self titled"

    4. Duke Ellington (early stuff)

    5. Chuck Berry (everything)

    6. STAX! (let's all start the memphis soul revival!)

    7. Grateful Dead "American Beauty"

    8. Cecil Taylor Quartet "Looking Ahead"

    9. David Bowie "Low"

    10. The Numero Group's Tragar/Note label 2-disc comp