2014 has already been no joke. 2012’s powerhouse Nick Waterhouse is on the brink of a new record about to tear up my charts. The dapper California rhythm & blues maestro is definitely the composer of one of my most anticipated records. To tide my appetite over for his hip swinging, smokin’ numbers, Nick unleashed a two-sided single, “This Is A Game b/w It No. 3”.
“This Is a Game” is meant to move to. Not tap a foot move. Scratch circles in the floor move. Immense sax, conga breakdowns, Nick’s ride the waves guitar play and that throwback sound all packaged into one of ’14’s best singles so far…
Someone with influence can cause me to do some uncharacteristic-like phenomena. It’s Saturday morning, the weather is right, the go-to let’s set this weekend off right vibe is upbeat. Party anthems perhaps. Instead, I start rockin’ a soundtrack. Specifically, Saturday Night Fever. The antecedent? Greg Kot, the go-to Chicago rock critic for the Chicago Tribune.
In his “Will Daft Punk Teach the Grammys How to Dance?” article, he drops historical science on dance music being recognized by the Grammys. Noting how influential sounds like Chicago house and Detroit techno didn’t even make a ripple on the Grammy’s radar. It’s a concise, yet fairly comprehensive look on how for decades this yearly ceremony straight up snubbed dance music, electronica to my generation, EDM to today’s. Kot notes how “best dance recording” didn’t come into play until ’98. It took until 2005 for “best dance/electronica album” to hit the masses. Like Kot, and I’d guess many others, we are hoping that Daft Punk shows this antiquated awards show a 2-step…
Anything starting with a garage-sale sounding Casio rhythm holds potential. A mixture of the mambo meets salsa preset makes my two-step pick up its tempo. Fancy footwork is inevitable. Jens Lekman unleashes his sing-speak as he battles everyone’s most formidable nemesis: themselves!
It’s a verbal knife fight packaged with hip-shaking sunshine-like rhythms. Enough back and forth banter to make you realize every time Mr. Lekman argues with himself, the victorious one is the listener…
As soon as he heard the finished track, he said, “People are gonna be talking about this twenty years from now.”
Really, how frequently are you sitting around contemplating the cultural shift early 90s hip-hop videos caused? Frequently? Me, not so much, unfortunately. Thanks to Longform.org — an essential non-fiction jumping off point — I stumbled on an oral history of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” video featuring commentary from the MC, the legendary visionary Rick Rubin, and the video’s director, Adam Bernstein.
The video with its 50 foot yellow/gold ass, blatant sexual innuendo, and enough tail to even make white boys shout paved the way for racier, in-your-face videos. And oh, it let the masses know that a waif isn’t sexy. Nor will ever be.
It’s 2000. Mahaffey is doing his prolific composing and unleashing of sweet pop simplicity laced with tales of G-I-R-L-S. Back then, I only dug the beat and didn’t really give a damn about the lyrics, initially. With time, its meaning crept in; then sank in and registered. Maybe even spoke deeply enough to compare his message to my life. But at 21 and still wanting to live, I couldn’t start to fathom a song about a girl wanting nothing but a nuptial. With me. But later, 13 years to be exact, the script has been flipped. This is no longer the same song I’d loop over and over again in the infancy of my 20s.
Third decade has arrived. I’ve begun to stretch into it, become acquainted with what it means and what it could bring. Matt’s ode to girls waiting for the man to step up now speaks volumes. Its message has now become parallel with my life.
Selfafornia, where “Waiting” originates from, follows up Breakfast With Girls, the heavily layered grandiose masterpiece. BWG proclaims texture. Has endless moments of experimentation with countless sounds, tweaks, beats, etc. “Waiting” isn’t as deep, texturally speaking. Voice, keys, and a beat care of Matt’s drums. But its message is profound: She’s waiting….
Your favorite band unleashes a new record, it’s essential you add it to your collection. Let’s take it a step further: your go-to act, sElf, puts out a re-issue of their debut, Subliminal Plastic Motives, with its original, intended sound — on wax no less — and pledge to also play that record live in its entirety, your attendance is a non-negotiable. Matt upped the ante more when he decided to play the capital of the world: New York City.
January 10, 2014 at the Gramercy Theatre sElf not only will play Subliminal Plastic Motives but also unleash the LP on vinyl. According to Mahaffey’s Facebook, we’re in for a real treat:
peeping out the sElf – Subliminal Plastic Motives test pressing today. FYI, the album was mastered by Bob Ludwig close to 10 times originally for the compact disc. the final result being, to my ears, very harsh, tinny, & compressed. this was no fault of Bob’s, as he was under direct orders to make it sound like a smiley face rock EQ…..but i’ve always loathed the CD version. the vinyl, however, is cut from his VERY FIRST mastering, & it is phenomenal. i am hearing this record for the first time. you guys are in for a treat!
As the years press on, my show count seems to dwindle. But whatever, when they’re of this top-notch caliber — so early on in the year — does it matter if I’m barely dipping into double digits?