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New Song from Beck “I Won’t Be Long”

07/02/2013

Quietly, Beck released yesterday, “I Won’t Be Long,” a new single for vinyl lovers. A limited edition 12″ is now available for pre-order (July 8th release) exclusively via beckiwontbelong.com and features the original track with a special 14:49 extended mix. Like Beck’s recent single release “Defriended,” this is just a taste of what’s to come from Beck’s two upcoming albums–but won’t be included on either of them.

Free Blackbird Blackbird Performance Tonight

06/21/2013

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One of our favorite San Francisco producers and DJs, Blackbird Blackbird, will be playing at Swig Bar tonight for a promotional event put on by Flavorpill and Reyka vodka. Like any promotional event, there’s schwag to enjoy, and by schwag we mean: free vodka. So if you’re a fan of Fridays, great music and free alcohol–well, this sounds like a good time for you. The event is celebrating summer solstice day (have you noticed how light it’s been at 9pm recently?!), and is a perfect fit given Blackbird’s recent track “Summer’s Almost Here.”

To RSVP: click here
Time :: 6-9PM Reyka complimentary cocktails
Location :: Swig @ 561 Geary St

Kanye to Yeezus: The Art of Political Rap

06/20/2013

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Maybe this version of Yeezus’ album cover failed because it was too overt. Kanye killing his old persona. The affable teddy bear that gave us “Gold Digger,” “Diamonds from Sierra Leone,” and “Jesus Walks”–is he really dead? At a recent listening party for his new album, Kanye exclaimed “West was my slave name, Yeezus is my god name.” Before you’re aghast, let me direct you to how Matthew Perpetua understands a statement like this:

West’s comments are only off base if you deny that he’s an important and influential artist, or believe that it’s wrong for anyone to speak about their achievements without watering it down with humility, or be honest about their loftiest goals as an artist.

I see this as Kanye stepping beyond the braggadocio of hip hop towards performance art. He’s cultivating controversy to drive discussion. Let’s not be coy: this is both a racial and religious statement that goes beyond the larger than life Scarface-dream that rappers uphold. With Yeezus, Kanye is not only redefining himself but attempting to make Americans rethink our understanding, perceptions and stereotypes of hip hop, and thereby African Americans’ most mainstream culture.

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Oh! Tiger Mountain Roars on New EP

06/17/2013

During live appearances, Oh! Tiger Mountain, the alias of the captivating French songwriter Mathieu Poulain, will often don and perform behind a tiger mask. Poulain’s decision to hide himself comes off as particularly bizarre in light of his new EP, New Religion, out next week on Microphone Recordings. The five-song EP finds Poulain singing in a more powerful and assured voice than on his 2011 LP Sings Suzie, bringing to mind such stately crooners as Leonard Cohen, the National’s Matt Berninger and the Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser. Furthermore, tracks like “New Religion” and “He’s Not Alone Anymore” demonstrate Poulain’s heightened sense of structure; the off-kilter carnivaleque vibe that pops up on Sings Suzie has been tightened down a bit in favor of a subtler, more controlled sound.

Which isn’t to say that New Religion isn’t full of playfulness. Surf-rock guitar noodling sneaks in alongside Buddy Holly-era backup singing, and the mix makes everything sound bright and airy. Part of what makes Oh! Tiger Mountain so memorable is the juxtaposition of Poulain’s deep, gravelly voice, intoning cryptic lines like “I must have fallen asleep someplace / between a bride and a commercial break” with whimsical jangly guitar lines and syrupy synths. Poulain never enters into gimmick territory, however; his songs are downright intriguing in their odd mix of styles.

Earlier this year French superstars Phoenix took another surf-rock enthusiast, Mac DeMarco, on the road with them. Maybe next time they’ll shoot for someone from their own neck of the woods. Because if they do, Oh! Tiger Mountain will be sure to turn some heads.

Watch Fyfe’s Video for “Conversation” and Listen to Solace EP

06/17/2013

Everyday, everyday people, struggle to get by. “Come on feet don’t fail me now…” We wander through life with nothing more than a hope that we have a direction. “All this time I didn’t know who I was meant to be.” Questions swirl around us like unshakeable gnats that arrive at dusk. “I would lay my head down till sense has been found.”

These uncertainties arise  like motifs in Fyfe’s debut EP, Solace. It’s easy to imagine Fyfe (Paul Dixon) walking down empty streets at night caught within the web of his thoughts. While young at the age of 23, Dixon made his formal debut as David Lyre, but struggled with his label about distribution. His new EP, which you can stream below, is all that is currently available. Lyrically, on Solace, Fyfe seems to be searching for questions about himself and life. Sonically, his high pitched vocals rise above the dark hitting tones on “Conversations” (featured above), but brisky move across the bubbly synths on “St. Tropez”  garnering him comparisons to Miike Snow.

Watch Washed Out’s “It All Feels Right”

06/11/2013

I remember when I was fourteen: I hadn’t a care in the world. It was summer. Days began when I awoke and ended when my eyes teared up from staring at a computer screen or television late into the night. I would spend my summers across the street with my neighbor. In the mornings our parents would go to work, leaving us alone to our own devices. We’d create obstacle courses out of deflated gym balls, wrestle in the backyard pool until our hands shriveled, and bike through the neighborhood with no destination. We didn’t care.

I remember most the heat. On the hottest days the asphalt would burn the soles of my feet, and if I stayed out too long my skin would eventually feel pricked by the sun’s rays; but still, we laid in the grass–letting time and the cloud drift by.

It’s time like those, or even as I reflect, that seem to resonate most with Washed Out’s newest single “It All Feels Right” from their upcoming album, Paracosm, which is scheduled for release on August 13th.  You can pre-order it now.

Quadron at Stern Grove Music Festival

06/10/2013

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When I was growing up in the Bay Area, KMEL and Wild 107.7 (at the time) used to play “real” hip hop and R&B. If you’re like me, reading “real” is either puzzling or imbues a guttural reaction of “oh please, spare me the comparison of what hip hop is now.” Don’t worry–I’ll spare you the extended analysis, but I will say this: in the early 90s (my youth) mainstream hip hop and R&B were only starting to be commercialized, so the packaging of dance hip hop like Flo-Rida, T Payne, etc. hadn’t consumed the market because it was just a facet–not a genre. It wasn’t until 1996 that the Grammy even had an award for hip hop.

This is all an exasperated way of evoking the feelings that arise from me as I listen to Quadron. Lead by Danish singer, Coco O, who’s sultry, cool tone can easily shift from aching heartbreak to sullied “you did me wrong” tracks reminds me of the 90s R&B of a young Brandy, Monica and Carl Thomas. Tracks like “Sea Salt” and “Neverland” are minimalist in nature, letting Coco O’s voice shine, drawing comparisons to the formerly mentioned artists and showing its roots in the Quiet Storm that built the modern version.

Quadron will be playing at the Stern Grove festival 2013 on June 23rd, if I were you, I wouldn’t miss it.

Trails & Ways – “Como Te Vas”

06/07/2013

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“Como Te Vas” is the new single from Bay Area based, Trails and Ways, who we’re enamored with. Like the group’s previous work, the single is a dreamy pop tune with international undertones. In the press release, the group explained the inspiration for the song comes bandmate, Emma Oppens’ last days in Spain, remembering “cold-water dives from jagged rocks, a coastline in the grip of early summer, and a lover asking ‘Como te vas?’ (‘How are you leaving?’)–until the question becomes its own answer: ‘This is how you’re going.’”

The group plays The Independent tonight (quite a feat given they only have an EP out), and then hit the road. Check out the photo for the full list of tour dates.

New Beck Song “Defriended” – SOTD

06/04/2013

Fresh off the heels of his new album(s) announcement, Beck has shared a new track with Rolling Stone titled “Defriended.”

It’s been nearly five years since Modern Guilt was released, and we are ripe with anticipation to see what this enigmatic artist can conjure up next. What we do know is this track will not be featured on either of the two forthcoming LPs, and that one of the albums will be purely acoustic, while the other will serve as the proper follow-up to his 2008 release.

We’re in love with this new non-acoustic cut that seems to resonate with many of today’s most visited genres – we’ll let you decide for yourself how you feel about it.

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