October 13, 2010

Stepdad’s “My Leather, My Fur, My Nails” is a wacky 8-bit anthem packaged and ready for pop domination.  The Grand Rapids trio takes electro-pop to the extreme, backing infectious but biting lyrics with some fuzzy, light-hearted synths pulled straight out of Kirby’s Dreamland.  The band recently released a visual treatment for the jam, rivaling MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” as the most delightfully trippy video ever.  If Windows ’98 stayed out in the desert for a few more days after Burning Man, you’d get the mesmerizing video posted above.  If you like what you hear, don’t forget to download the band’s Ordinaire EP for just a buck here.

MP3: Stepdad – “My Leather, My Fur, My Nails”



October 8, 2010

Brooklynites often get a bad rap. I know this because I lived in Brooklyn for 3 years and consistently got bad raps from old friends. I lived in Greenpoint and witnessed New York Magazine’s so-called Sonic Boom in the fall of 2009. It really wasn’t so much of an explosion, as it was friends casually hanging out with each other and making music. When one friend’s band would get signed to a label, they would do everything they could to help get their college buddy, roommate or significant other signed along with them. TV On The Radio took Grizzly Bear out on tour, Chairlift lent guest vocals to Das Racist songs and a founding member of Amazing Baby left to become the full-time drummer in MGMT. Out of this incestuous madness, Suckers was born.

The group honed their skills around NYC staples such as Mercury Lounge, Brooklyn Bowl and Glasslands Gallery until Frenchkiss Records ultimately scooped them up. On Wednesday night Suckers returned to DC to play the 9:30 Club, supporting Menomena. At one point, Suckers lead singer Quinn Walker mentioned that he ‘really felt like they’d worked their way up’ in DC. It’s true. Their first time playing DC, about a year ago, they played at 200 capacity DC9 and the last time they came through they were supporting Local Natives at the 400 capacity Rock N Roll Hotel this past May. This time around, playing in the much larger 9:30 Club, the band played most of the tracks off of their only full-length album Wild Smile to a close-to-capacity room.

They started out on a strong note, with heavy percussion and layered samples through a drum pad. The group hit a snag three songs into their set during “Black Sheep” when it seemed that the bottom fell out of their sound. That was the result of a broken pedal on the bass drum and a guitar that had gone out of tune. After fixing the bass pedal and tuning another guitar it took a few more songs for the band to get back into the groove. Once in that groove, they stayed there for the remainder of the set. During the 45 minute performance they breezed through “A Mind I Knew”, “You Can Keep Me Runnin’ Around” and some serious whistling during crowd favorite “Roman Candles”.

The band has the daunting task of recreating an album with a very big sound on record during their live show each night. They were able to get close by using a ton of percussion, electronic waves, trumpet and at one point calling out a member of opening band Tu Fawning with a trombone as well. Overall it was an engaging set. Suckers pair the musical noise factor well with Quinn Walkers somewhat silly, yet sincere vocal tone.  The band has come a long way since the days of rocking face paint and mega-chains in Williamsburg galleries, but there is still room to push the envelope on the live show.

All Photos by the very awesome Eric Uhlir. More after the jump.

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I’m Never Growing Up

May 9, 2009


Pardon the interruption, but I’m in Paris right now. First time in the most beautiful city in the world, and it’s everything I imagined and then some. I’ll be getting back to the writing come Monday, but until then, check this ridiculous hip-hop sample of MGMT’s “Kids”, courtesy of Philly-based Chiddy Bang. Normally, I’d reject anything from Philadelphia on the basis of my DC-centric ego, but goddam if the sample isn’t fucking hot. Granted, the verses leave something to be desired (Really? A Svetlana from Real World reference? Really?), but who cares.

Unfortunately, I must give credit to Derek of Neon Gold for the find, who always gets to things before I do, and thusly makes me look like a copy-cat. Damnit.

MP3: Chiddy Bang – “Kids”



Claire’s Column: Puppies and Such

November 6, 2008


Initially when I sat down to write this post, I was unsure of what to write. The election is over and the Redskins have a bye week, my two favorite topics are somewhat irrelevant. As I tried to think of what I could write about I realized that I have yet to come up with a real format for my “weekly” posts. So naturally instead of coming up with something relevant and interesting to write about, I decided to write about the weather.

It has been rainy here in Connecticut the past few days and despite the wonderful election results, I have been in a pretty bad mood. Well…that was until I came across quite possibly the most brilliant website of all time. Whenever I feel sad, lonely or stressed, I just click this link and I am okay. You’re welcome. (Ed Note: I have been watching that live puppy feed for literally 28 hours straight. They’re Shiba Inus, and they’re my new life).

Why do puppies have the power to lift my mood, you might ask? Well, they are softer, cuter and more interactive than any other living creatures. Their cries aren’t annoying or loud, rather they’re endearing and comforting. Their idiosyncrasies are more than entertaining, they are educational. We can all learn from their simple outlook on life. They spend their days sleeping, cuddling and play fighting on constant minutely rotations. One minute they’re climbing on top of one another and the next they’re sleeping. Watching puppies learn and grow by the minute is not only fulfilling but allows me to truly understand why God put us on this earth…to watch puppies.

When I do not have puppies to watch, I ease my rainy day mood with music. Recently I came across a song that does the job perfectly. Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” has been getting a lot of circulation recently and for good reason. It reminds me of a combination of MGMT and The Strokes. Zack prefers the Van She remix while I prefer the original but if you haven’t already, both are worth downloading.

MP3: Empire of the Sun – “Walking on a Dream”

Alright, I have to get back to watching puppies and writing about Chinese economic progress. Until next week,

Two New Remixes Courtesy of Soulwax and Streetlab

October 16, 2008

First up, let’s talk about Soulwax. The electro-rock-and-remix outfit from Belgium have been making their own sweet sweet music for over a decade, but are definitely most well-known for their top-notch remixes of club bangers like Justice’s “Phantom Pt. II” or Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”, and understandably so. In a genre where remixes are hastily tossed together by adding a simple bassline and a few synths, it takes patience and a sensitive ear to make a remake that truly stands out. No templates, no trance remixes, no reggaeton-style bass patterns. Unique, reinventive takes on everything from dance-rock (LCD Soundsystem) to pop (Robbie Williams) to classic rock (Rolling Stones) is what Soulwax majors in. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to fall in love with their latest, an ear-catching remix of MGMT’s oft-remixed “Kids”. Check the remix below, and head on over to Pretty Much Amazing (a blog that’s…well…pretty much amazing) and download a recent set that Soulwax performed for the BBC about a month ago.

NOTE: These are YSI links. I’ll replace the YSI with zshare when the zshare gets its shit together later today

MP3: MGMT – “Kids (Soulwax Remix)”

Pick up the BBC Essential Mix HERE.

Elsewhere, for those who enjoy classic rock with a new twist, check out Streetlab’s block-is-too-hot remix of CCR’s classic “Fortunate Son”. Much like their incredible remix of “Gimme Shelter”, the DJ duo from Brooklyn update an American staple, reviving a song that needs no revival (get, cause it’s Creedence Clearwater Revival…revival…get it?) but rather a supplement that lends dance-rock accessibility to the legendary track. More news on these guys (including their debut EP) coming in the next few days.

MP3: Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Fortunate Son (Streetlab Remix)”

Dance boogie dance,

And on the Seventh Day, Justice Remixed MGMT, and it was Glorious

June 28, 2008

Just listen to Justice’s take on MGMT’s “Electric Feel”, off of the 7″ single, and bask in the wonder that is Justice. Seriously, I wont even bother with a write-up. Listen.

MP3: MGMT – “Electric Feel (Justice Remix)”


PS: Sorry about the lack of posting. I just started my summer job and have been working 10 hour days, with no energy or time to listen to jams. I did, however, get my campers to listen to Bob Sinclar and Rune’s “Calabria”, which is pretty awesome.