Archive for February, 2009


Chew Fu Wants You to…

do this tonight.

Chew Fu knows a little something, something about amping you up. I got into this party starter not all that long ago. The man likes to bang dirty electro with an obvious liking for hip-hop. My present collection as of late is lacking with beat oriented music. Not anymore.  So far, his re-fixes have all been burners. The mix below is one constant head bang and body juke.

Start your weekend early by snagging the mix here. The party looks a little something like this…

“FUCK TONIGHT” Tracklist;

1.J-CAST & Chew Fu-ONLY(NIN refix cover)
2.T.I. & Busta -Hurt(Chew Fu “Tokyo Fix”)
3.Fabolous -i usually don..t(Chew Fu “Fuck tonight” fix)
4.Grandmaster Flash & 50 cent-The Message(Chew Fu DJ Tool)
5.Ruffneck-everybody b somebody(Chew Fu fix)
6.Soundgarden vs Chew Fu-Black Hole Sun(128 BPM refix)
7.POPOV & Chew Fu-Da Man Of My City
8.Doug E Fresh & Chew Fu-Do it like this(Chew Fu Beta fix)
9.Master SHortie-Dead End(Chew Fu Fix)
10.Loonies & Sean paul-i Got Five On It(Chew Fu conga fix)
11.Jill Scott & ref. King – Golden (Chew Fu Fix)
12.The Streets – Get Out Of My House(Chew Fu H=H fix)
13.p.diddy & Keyshia Cole -Last Night(Chew Fu Fix)
14.Kanye West feat.TONEDEFF-Love Lockdown(Chew Fu Small room fix)
15.J-CAST -Single Ladies(Beyonce cover)


Not the Airport Line!

No, don’t worry. This line is manned by The Week That Was, a quartet outta Newcastle, England. They write brilliant, light-hearted pop music you can relax to. The arrangements appear simple, yet are packed full of ideas with the spirit to hit you in all the right ways – with sweeping melodies, delicately chosen strings, thumping drums, a vibraphone, amongst other toys, and all in a manner that isn’t composed for a certain niche of music aficionados. This sample below and everything else off last year’s stunner, would appeal to any serious or casual fan of melodic guitar pop. Really, it can’t get much more digestible than this.

Their 2008 s/t album consists of only eight tracks. Usually this brevity would irk me, but when all tracks are nearly flawless, I can only press repeat and experience these colorful and exquisite numbers over and over again.

Chicago gets them before SXSW does! Will you sleep?

The Week That Was :: The Airport Line


Saturday Night Fever!

After listening to Hercules & Love Affair‘s self-titled debut, some people claimed to turn gay. What? If instantly danceable music with an obvious disco homage is reason to turn, shit. Hercules bring melodies galore; soulful deliveries on each song; and layers of rich sound throughout. Their “Blind” song instantly hooked me, and from there, I began to become a believer in the revival of this groove heavy sound: disco –where it was just about making people feel good and move. Plus, the DFA are behind these numbers.

What sparked this revival-post of last year’s sound was Pitchfork’s excellent 21 minute live set from the entourage of beat makers. I regret to this day deciding to not attend their show last year at the Metro. After viewing their rooftop throw down, I just kicked myself again. But this time, even harder.

And if you missed it, “Blind” in re-fix form from Chicago house legend Frankie Knuckles.

Hercules & Love Affair :: Blind (Frankie Knuckles remix)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And part two – the bouncy and playful motif – of this rooftop party and intimate set: Hercules’ Theme


(You Are) So Damn Excellent…


That’s Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem fame – or the vocalist on Soulwax’s ubiquitous club track, “NY Excuse” that still pops up when you step out for the evening. Now she’s guesting all over an album. On Juan Maclean‘s sophomore record, The Future Will Come, you’ll be hard-pressed to hit a track where Nancy’s vocals don’t grace the spacey house tracks. Unbeknownst to me, and maybe you too, the 12 plus minute (Remember Freak Out/Starry Eyes) epic, disco meets house burner “Happy House” closes this record, but it’s not new – no, it’s been circulating for over a year’s time and Nancy is all over it. How did we miss this, MiS? Maybe it was disregarding Juan Maclean after not falling hard for his debut album Less Than Human. I actually walked out of his NYE gig at the Empty Bottle a few years back because I thought better things were happening elsewhere. In my defense, I went to see the opening act: Spank Rock. Still, how the hell did a year go by and this wasn’t spun regularly around these parts?

Regardless of my asleep at the wheel slip-up, this track yearns to set the soundsystem a blaze. “Happy House” opens with a bounce similar to a Hot Chip number – with rapid-fire bass, a conga-like beat and enough energy to make you move. The groove throughout is a few note piano strike. With Whang on vocals and Juan spinning the dials, you are in for one hell of a ride from the initial shake until the explosive finale.

Juan Maclean :: Happy House (M4A)

Or take a ride on his Myspace.

The Future Will Come will see a lot of play from me. If LCD’s Sound of Silver was re-worked by Human League, it might sound like this. Recommended.


Leak Already!

Not everyone enjoyed my phrasing for The Boy Least Likely To – but regardless of descriptions, this forthcoming album holds potential and “Every Goliath Has Its David” further proves this. After hearing this track again, this duo really remind me of the English 90’s act Midget.  Just fun, youthful-like tracks.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pop Not Worth Missing, Modern Skirts

I have tried to follow the Modern Skirts since I left Athens, GA in 2004.  I had enjoyed the Skirts’ debut album, 2005’s Catalogue of Generous Men, though the band still sounded young and only laying the foundation for something much more.  So, I was relieved when I learned from the first comment of this post that despite All-Music Guide making me think I had missed this release by a year (it indicates January 20, 2008), this album was released on Inauguration Day, 2009.  Thanks to being prominently displayed in my recent trip to Denver’s stellar indie music emporium, Twist & Shout Records, I had only missed it by a few weeks.  I picked it up, and boy and I’m glad I did.  I can’t imagine it not being in my Top 10 at year’s end.

All of Us in Our Night straddles the line between 60s and 70s styled-pop that is nearly Top 40 in its effervescent sunny tunes–if not for its use of occasionally off-kilter notes and unique instrumentation.  Today was sunny and in the mid 60s in Denver, and as I was heading down Colfax after lunch, I had a huge smile on my face listening to the triumphant “Radio Breaks,” with it piano-driven pop sheen mixed with clarinet, trumpet, and trombone.  The next track, “Yugo,” I thought must not be as good, yet it managed to be equally sublime.  When a chorus can feature the lines “I’ve known so many girls that just tear my heart in two/they only remind me of you” and yet inspire sing-along smiling fondness–it’s too catchy for me not to blog.  “Motocade,” features the production of R.E.M’.’s Mike Mills and, of course, no production by Mills would be complete without his trademark backing vocals.

I hope this self-released album finds its audience, because there is certainly one out there for pop this perfectly crafted. I won’t allow a typo to make me even think I missed the next release though.   At least I can write with certainty, no matter the temperature outside, spring has come a little early to Denver.

Streaming Audio:

Modern Skirts, “Radio Breaks”

Modern Skirts, “Yugo”

Modern Skirts, “Motocade”

Modern Skirts – Soft Pedals SOM Video from Modern Skirts on Vimeo.


The Pakastani Princess Brings Us Two Suns!


Sometimes my shallowness helps me to discover new music.  Back in ’07, there was a rather attractive Pakastani born, yet U.K. bred songstress in a video with bikes.  I watched the video solely to catch more of her in action.  And by action, I mean her peddling a bike – this dark, chamber pop songwriter is Natasha Khan, or better known as Bat for Lashes.  Besides being easy on the eyes and knowing her way around a two-wheeler, she concocts haunting, minimalist songs you can lose yourself in. As always, with female composers, the usual comparisons are quickly thrown out: Sinead O’Connor, Bjork, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, amongst other females.  None of those are far off.  Natasha transcends those predecessors of hers though and brings fresh elements to the table. On Fur and Gold, she opted for keys and light strings to accompany most songs, but on her forthcoming record, Two Suns, she ups her game with percussion to build suspense and vocals that soar over each stirring arrangement.

Besides “Glass” and “Siren Song” from her forthcoming LP, you can sample a live rendition of “Moon and Moon” – which is Tori Amosesque.  Live though, I don’t think Amos opts for female harmonies.

If Bat for Lashes’ previous LP didn’t put Natasha on the map, then when Two Suns is unleashed in April, you are bound to hear a lot more from this talented multi-instrumentalist. Incredible comes to mind…

Bat for Lashes :: Glass

Bat for Lashes :: Siren Song


Una Mas Trio Bringin’ Latin Swing!

What I’m offering is something I envision spinning at a swanky and hip dinner party amongst thirtysomethings.  The music isn’t the forefront of the evening, but it’s there to accentuate the wit and intellectual conversation being had by the uppity guests. On the flipside though, if Una Mas Trio, a jazzy meets Latin infused duo out of Braunschweig, Germany were to be performing at a club, the dance floor would be a blaze. There wouldn’t be an individual not moving their hips to the gypsy like beats and salsa-like rhythms.  These two individuals came together because of their passion for the following:

we both share a true love for 60ies Funk and Soul, 50ies and 60ies Latin – and the mothership of it all: Jazz!

Even if you’re not hosting any dinner parties or live in Deutschland, where you could witness these party starters, anyone with a passion to move can enjoy “Clear As Water”.

Una Mas Trio :: Clear As Water (Mo’Horizons Restyle)


Tuesday’s Alright (For Pop Virtuosos)






Top 5 of 2008

Sometimes I’m surprised I remember how to log into WordPress.  Thanks to Dave for more than making up for my absence, as usual.  He’s rockin’ it.  Here’s the second half of my Top 10 albums of the year, at long last.  As if you were still waiting…..

5. TSee full size imagehe Hold Steady, Stay Positive

Unlike many, I make a strong differentiation between rock and pop.  It might be arbitrary, but it works in my mind.  I happen to think Spoon and The Hold Steady are the best two American rock bands.  They play believable rock.  One reason R.E.M.’s latest was Top 15, and not Top 10 for me this year is because I didn’t buy it as a rock album, and that’s what R.E.M. tried to sell it as….they’re not a rock band without Bill Berry.  I had dismissed The Hold Stead early on, thinking they were another overblown indie pop band from Brooklyn.  Instead, as Stay Positive once again demonstrates, they rock out, drink too much, and are ridiculously talented at putting together a good tune.  The beginning of the title track, is nearly as good as anything was for me in 2008: “i’ve got a lot of old friends that’re getting back in touch/and it’s a pretty good feeling yea it feels pretty good/i get a lot of double takes when im coming round the corners/and its mostly pretty nice its mostly pretty alright.”  Particularly moving?  No, not really lyrically.  But it sure makes me want want to jump out of this chair and kick over my computer!

4. Amsterdam, Arm in Arm

One of my most anticipated releases in several years, after their debut album simply blew me away and I managed to catch them several times in England.  Amsterdam walks a fine line–trying to be an emotional, at times Celtic rock band in the tradition of The Waterboys while also being, at heart, a pop band from Liverpool.  At times it doesn’t completely work, and the album veers too closely into a Top 40 morass.  At others time, in “Home”–they do the Celtic rock thing as well as it can possibly be done.  In “Lament,” they do the pop thing nearly as well.  I could ask for them to change, but it’s really part of the band’s charm.  They can play the famous Borderline in London one week, and the Liverpool Philamonic the next.  Arm in Arm, as I’ve commented before, is overall a brilliant piece of songcraft.  I hope they release another “Double LP,” in a split personality sense, soon…very soon.

Continue reading ‘Top 5 of 2008’

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February 2009