Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughts on Sound - 11-21-11

Painting by Alex Grey

It seems like I've barely unpacked from my trip to Paris (and speaking of which, I wrote a piece about The Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris for Igloo Magazine which you can see here) and it's almost time to pack my bag and head to Anna Maria Island for Thanksgiving with my fiance's family... With a few days back in Los Angeles to catch up on some client work and take a breather, I've had some time to collect my thoughts about some music-related items.

The new(ish) Wilco record it is fantastic. The Whole Love is to Wilco, what The Soft Bulletin is to The Flaming Lips. It is one of the most thoughtful, intricate and well produce records they have ever put out. In my opinion, it's the fault of Nels Cline!

The Cure is it in Los Angeles performing for 3 nights, starting tonight. For some reason this was not on my radar, which means either I am completely out of the loop, or I have completely lost interest in a 50-something year old man in makeup. My goth teenage self would be very disappointed.

My top 10 jams right now:

10. Wilco - The Whole Love
9. Gonjasufi - Nikels & Dimes
8. Sylvie Varta - Comme un garçon
7. Isotope 217 - Utonian Automatic
6. One Umbrella - Solve
5. Therefore - The Bomb Grant
4. Aavikko - History of Muysic
3. V/A - Pop Ambient 2010
2. V/A - Panama!3
1. Sepalcure - Sepalcure

architects and heroes: Throwback Monday - 11-21-11 - "Laisse Tomber Les Filles" - France Gall

France Gall (born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall on 9 October 1947 in Paris, France) is a popular French yé-yé singer. Gall was married to, and had a successful singing career in partnership with, French singer-songwriter Michel Berger.

The first airplay of France's first single "Ne sois pas si bête" ("Don't Be So Stupid"), occurred on her 16th birthday. It was released in November and became a hit. Serge Gainsbourg, whose career was faltering although he had released several albums and written songs for singers including Michèle Arnaud and Juliette Gréco, was asked by Bourgeois to write songs for Gall. Gainsbourg's "N'écoute pas les idoles" ("Don't listen to the idols") became Gall's second single; it reached the top of the French charts in March 1964 and stayed there for three weeks.

Taken from

Friday, November 18, 2011

Purple Crush go Meta-Narrative on "Welcome 2 The Underground" #occupypopmusic

Pop music has mutated so much over the past decade, that it sometimes feels like it has transcended the confines of it's once safe place in the back pockets of industry professionals, and has become an egalitarian tool for the digital masses. As the lines between producer and consumer continue to blur, independent artists that once would have been lost in the shuffle are becoming their own memes.

If there is a truism about independent, DIY artists, it's that in the face of music industry adversity, that they continue to forge ahead with a "fuck you" to the same industry that they wish to crack. With a few digital tools, a healthy dose of talent and some tenacity, there are artists emerging now that have circumvented conventional channels and have taken their music and art directly to the people.

Purple Crush has taken this route, and has meet with success and some major industry push back. The duo was tapped by Lady Gaga producer Rob Fusari to write songs for the pop superstar, putting in hundreds of hours of production time, and not getting paid one dime. Rolling Stone covered the story, as did a number of other major music magazines. In this David and Goliath scenario, Purple Crush responded by releasing one of their strongest records to date, Welcome 2 The Underground.

The first track on the record, "New Me" infuses dubstep and electric guitar into a track that sounds like Britney Spears smoked some medical marijuana and had a three-way Skrillex and Dr.Dre. Track 2, "Sweat" has kind of a throw-back 80's feel to it, at times sounding like Berlin, while "Loverboy" get the Kraftwerk treatment. Working over a hard 808 bass drum, driving at a DJ Screw pace, with Isla spitting like a true Brooklynite on "Basic Bitch." Track 6,"Kiss My Cheeks," is a stand-out track here, sounding like Joan Jett doing a fidget track, with an almost cheerleader chant quality that's infectious and a serious ear-worm. "New York City Bad Girl" and "The Original" see the PCs doing what they do best, which is belting out dance-floor electro-pop bangers.

As this pop music saga unfolds, it's important to keep in mind that at the end of the day Purple Crush have something that can't be replicated or stolen by anyone. Talent. As we witness the last gasps of the music industry, accompanied by last-ditch efforts to close Pandora's box, expect more of "big" industry players to start hammering away at smaller performers. It's okay, ultimately they will lose. Welcome (back) to the Underground.

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Welcome 2 The Underground by purplecrush

Monday, November 14, 2011

architects and heroes: Throwback Monday - 11-14-11 - "Fire" - 23 Skidoo

Formed in 1979 by Fritz Catlin, Johnny Turnbull and Sam Mills, and later augmented by Alex Turnbull and Tom Heslop, 23 Skidoo had interests in martial arts, Burundi and Kodo drumming, Fela Kuti, The Last Poets, William S. Burroughs, as well as the emerging confluence of industrial, post-punk and funk, heard in artists such as A Certain Ratio, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, The Pop Group and This Heat.

Their first 7", "Ethics" was released in 1980, followed by the "Last Words" 7", produced by Stephen Mallinder and Richard H. Kirk from Cabaret Voltaire. A Peel Session was recorded on September 16, 1981 that included Richard. Their debut album, Seven Songs, was released in 1982 and is said to evoke the claustrophobic humidity of an African forest. An experimental EP Tearing Up The Plans was produced without the Turnbull brothers, who were traveling in Indonesia. Guitarist Sam Mills and vocalist Tom Heslop left the band soon after, and with the arrival of slap-bassist David "Sketch" Martin following the break-up of Linx, the lineup remained the same until their disintegration in 2003.

Information from