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Monthly Archives: February 2012

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The Interstellar Elevators, a CT-based band, started in the 2009 as a bona fide band of brothers. The jazzy-funk group is made up of six high school seniors who have traveled as far as California to perform. Incredible, eh? The boys were finalists in the nationwide/famous contest School Jam USA this past year (sponsored by NAMM, the largest music tradeshow in the country) and although they didn’t go home with a huge victory, they sure-as-hell came close. 

The sextet describes their music to be jazzy-funk/hip-hop. The creator of the band is Billy Rodriguez-Lopez, the acclaimed MC, guitarist, turntablist, songwriter and lyricist. In ‘09 when the band first emerged, Billy intended for the group to be a more pop-oriented group, but undergoing metamorphosis, Billy and The Interstellar Elevators quickly fashioned what I like to call, jazzy-hop. Good friend and band-member, Vincent Simboli, said that Billy has described his songwriting is inspired by “the city of Philly, plastic Poland Spring Water Bottle Caps, The Cohen Brothers, Talib Kweli” and a hint of “Dr. Seuss.” 

The Interstellar Elevators have carefully collaborated an assorted set of instruments to create the perfect meld and balance between jazz and hip-hop. With friend of mine, Vincent Simboli on percussion and keys, Campbell McClintock on the guitar and keys, Jake Strauss on bass, Stefan Rehr on drums, and Austin Alianiello on the sax, the boys distinctly combine their unique talents into one melodic marvel. Some of the band’s greatest influences are Philly’s neo-soul band, _The Roots, Brooklyn rappers Black Star, and Queens hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest. 

The band kind-of recently released their EP, Paper on Plastic in September of 2011, and is now available for the small fee of $5 on Bandcamp. 

All in all, The Interstellar Elevators are a good listen and will not at all leave you disappointed. So, if you’d like to know what English indie-rock band, Arctic Monkeys, or LA based band, Rage Against the Machine would sound like if they adapted white-boy-hip-hop, give The Interstellar Elevators a shot. 

Personal favorite: “Better Reasons”

Find the Interstellar Elevators Bandcamp page here:

http://theinterstellarelevators.bandcamp.com/album/paper-on-plastic-ep

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Madeon is an up and coming house producer from Nantes, France, and earlier today he dropped his latest single “Icarus.” Having his sound likened to the Progressive House gods Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, Madeon is guaranteed to do big things. “Icarus” reminds me of a completely toned down Skrillex track, glitchy and chopped up its most easy-going form.

Oh and by the way, this kid is just 17 years old.

Beach House

Sub-Pop Records recently announced that signed band, Beach House will be releasing their new album, Bloom, this May. In February of 2011 I saw the duo, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, play their last on-tour concert in DC–close to where is home for the Baltimore based dream-pop group. At the end of the show that night, Victoria and Alex shared the nostalgic memories they’ve had in the Maryland/DC area.  As the crowd tried to reminisce and reflect on the band’s journey, Victoria and Alex broke out some bad news. The two said that Teen Dream would be the last of their music for a while. Following up with “why’s” and “how long’s” the two said a “while” defined a few years. Exactly 363 days later, the band allegedly announces their new album, Bloom to be released on May 15th! Who knew?

With a defined ten track record, Beach House is finally ready to follow up with their 2010 album, Teen Dream. Of the ten tracks on Bloom, “Wild” and “Other People” have been performed live at past shows. Although the album has not been officially confirmed yet, we’re all hoping to hear more from the atmospheric/champer-pop band. I know I can’t wait.

Here’s the supposed tracklist:

01. Myth
02. Wild
03. Lazuli
04. Other People
05. The Hours
06. Troublemaker
07. New Year
08. Wishes
09. On the Sea
10. Irene

and “Other People” played live at Sasquatch 2011.

Shlohmo is Henry Laufer, a 21 year old electronic music producer from LA. Shlohmo has had a heavy buzz around the Internet for his ability to combine the warmth and ambiance of artists like Boards of Canada and seamlessly layer downtempo, glitchy, and pitchy, post-dubstep-esque beats. Coming off the very impressive full length Bad Vibes last year, Shlohmo gives us our first taste of what’s to come from him in 2012 with his Vacation EP.

Vacation flaunts Shlohmo’s ever-evolving production skills. The lead-off track “The Way U Do” is overflowing with Laufer’s genius. The beat alone make this a standout track, but what really brings it over the top is the vocal sample that Shlohmo lays down mid-way through the track, adding reverb and distortion to emulate the sound of a guitar or synthesiser solo. It is a feat that really shouldn’t work as well as it does, but that just goes to show Shlohmo’s talent. The two tracks to follow deserve equal praise and recognition.

Shlohmo recently released a number of remixes by various artists to coincide with Vacation. After seeing my man-crush Nicolas Jaar’s name on the track list, I knew I needed to give this EP a good honest listen. Jaar’s remix of the third track “Rained The Whole Time” embraces the many talents of each producer and really makes this EP something special. Turning a track into a moodier, yet more danceable tune is something that no one has learned to master quite like Nicolas Jaar. One can distinguish the similarities between this track and Nico’s recent releases Don’t Break My Love and Darkside, and still recognize the themes and feeling of the original track. Its like a well pulled off culinary fusion dish, delicious.

One of the many beauties of the Internet and modern music culture is the ability to find a talent like Shlohmo at such a young age. We, as listeners, truly get to watch the artist mature and develop through their respective careers. It is jaw-dropping to see how far Shlohmo’s talent and production have come after just a few years. With the likes of Mount Kimbie, Nicolas Jaar, and James Blake, Shlohmo is part of a new line of amazingly young electronic producers taking traditional “laptop music” to new, unforeseen heights.

I greatly encourage giving this thing a listen (its only 3 tracks).
I’m really loving everything about it, except for the fact that it leaves me wanting more.
EP rating: 8.5

Grimes is the artistic outlet and moniker of Montrealer Claire Boucher. As blueprints, we like to call Montreal our creative home and source of inspiration, with that said, Grimes holds a very special place in our hearts. From the moment we first saw Grimes in concert, over a year ago, we knew that this girl was going places. Her beats, her melodies, her artistic aura, her voice(s), this girl had it all. It was no surprise that a few months later she caught the notice of major music blogs and paved her way to what seemed to be sure Internet stardom. Grimes still had much to prove, however, thriving almost entirely off her catchy-as-hell single “Venessa.” It is with out a doubt safe to say the Grimes has proved herself worthy of the praise with her most recent release Visions.

Visions starts off where Grimes left off with “Vanessa” at the incredibly catchy and rich pop tune “Genesis.” The subsequent track “Oblivion” begins the album’s journey into a moodier and darker space that Grimes has explored thoroughly in her previous albums Geidi Primes and Halafaxa. While the mood of the work takes a dramatic change, the quality and intelligence of the record continues to prosper. “Vowels = space and time” perfectly showcases Grimes’ vocal range and sampling talent, while tracks like “Skin” and “know the way” clearly express Grimes’ vision of a melancholic beauty.

Grimes really brings out all of her weapons towards the end of the record with “Nightmusic.” The track begins with a sliced up sample of what sounds like a baroque cantata, which immediately drops into a synth-laden pop beat. Grimes’ vocals float and wisp over the track, as more and more synths are layered upon one another. After reaching a nearly chaotic climax, the song reverts back to its simple pop beat, and ultimately melds into a new rework of the cantata, fading away into emptiness.

In its simplest form, Visions is a pop album. In reality, it is so much more than that. 80s and 90s dance and synth pop, along with euro-house, Asian folk, and experimental noise rock, show strong influence in this work.Visions is coequally garnished with hints of trance, RnB, goth, and even chamber music. From that description, one may think that this album has no structure, when in retrospect it is Grimes’ most cohesive, honest, and confident work to date.

One phrase description of Visions: Your darkest and most beautiful fantasy.
Album Rating: