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Archive for June, 2011

How Big Is Your World? Beyonce – “Run The World (Say Wut Remix)”


The real version of “Run The World (Girls)” jumped onto a trend already a tad out-dated (Afrojack’s still-awesome but well-worn shuffle by way of Diplo). Say Wut’s scrunched-up techno take fits into the general “WTF” feel of underground dance production right now, not six to twelve months ago. Screw vetting, Beyonce should just ask worker-bee regional innovators like Say Wut for some beats. Release this generous, obnoxious version! If the Baltimore club producer’s remix found its way onto the radio (outside of Baltimore that is, here it gets almost as much plays as the real version), it could really blow some minds. And while we’re at it, can Araabmuzik give her some of that Electronic Dream shit?

Anyways, pay special attention to just how well this new beat converses with Beyonce’s vocals from the original. This isn’t one of those remixes where your ears force it all to properly interact because hey man, Beyonce goes Bmore club! Cool! The beat here, all hard, crisps snares and squonking synths, calms down and then suddenly tightens up, switching up with the help of guttural “hey”s and the slightest tinge of good and proper though predictable dance-pop structure. The entire song is the awesome, rapid-fire part that drops after the build up. Now, when Beyonce goes “this beat is cray-zee,” you’re not gonna go, “really B? This beat?”

Have you listened to the new Beyonce? Maybe you even bought it. You should. That said, I’m tempted to brashly enter “redux” mode and suggest that this Say Wut version replace the original but no, 4 is much too subdued for something this buzzing and bold. The entire album is a slow burn up to “Run The World,” which doesn’t entirely work because the ender is an at-best okay song. Bonus track “Schoolin’ Life,” the kind of empowering anthem “Run The World” pretends to be, should end the album. Or if that’s cheating, 4 should begin on track two, “I Care,” and end with “1 + 1,” which would slowly rise out of the dance party wreckage of “Run The World” and leave you with some end-of-the-world, end-of-Watchmen love in the ruins feeling.

Written by Brandon

June 29th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

June Picks.


  • Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Bon Iver: Lush, unpredictable and flirting with uncool, this gut-level inscrutably sad record’s the best Microphones album since The Glow Pt. 2. If that makes any sense. The thing is this is being underrated.
  • AraabMuzik, Electronic Dream: Trance gets the Donuts treatment as this dude avoids hissing howling rap beats to make something that doesn’t even have a name yet. What post-dubstep would sound like if it weren’t so afraid of “bro-step.”
  • Clams Casino, Rainforest: Clammy Clams puts together a concept EP about how nature is dark and evil but still uncomfortably beautiful. How spot-on was that Aguirre: The Wrath Of God video, then? Ecstatic truth on wax.
  • Beyonce, 4: Straight adoring 80s shit here. An approximation of how those great Whitney Houston LPs feel. It’s all about the gradual slow-burn here, building up to the slightly disappointing “Run The World.” Still great though. Beyonce does chillwave.
  • Various Artists, Blow Your Head Vol. 2: Dave Nada Presents Moombahton: House with a hint of reggaeton slowed down and made for dancing with someone else. The hype makes me nervous, the music makes me happy. Munchi’s a genius. The rest still kills.

Written by Brandon

June 27th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Posted in 2011

Spin: “Inside the Mind of the Dirty South.”

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Ben Westhoff and I e-mailed back and forth about Southern hip-hop and some of the ideas in his recent book Dirty South which I really can’t recommend enough. Most of the people reading this probably “know” a lot of the stuff Ben’s talking about in the book, but he frames it around some really great, up-close journalist type profiles and asserts a lot of the things we on the blogosphere have been talking about. One really cool thing is how he uses lots of quotes from hip-hop bloggers (including myself, but also Noz a bunch of times, Doc Zeus and others) and well, that’s really ballsy but also necessary I think and well, not a lot of writers would’ve thought to include “us” as sources, you know? Go buy it assholes!

There was indeed a bit of defiance in Luke Campbell’s booty jams; he said that New York hip-hop’s four elements had little to do with folks down in South Florida. “We didn’t write on the walls in Miami, we booty-shaked,” he told me. In fact, the broadest stereotype of Southern rap is that it’s about appealing to your body, instead of your mind. Though I personally believe there’s defiance built into that philosophy, saying it’s political is probably a stretch. But, still, in those early days, I wouldn’t say there was a contrarian impulse — or even an attempt to give the people what they needed, rather than what they wanted. Perhaps that’s another definition of conscious rap…

Written by Brandon

June 25th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Spin, Spin column, the South

MIX: 10cc: Favorites from the Godley & Creme Years


10cc: Favorites from the Godley & Creme Years.

I created a monster. So someone, for some reason, requested a “10cc mix” on Tumblr. Unfortunately, the last 10cc album I’ve listened to is 1980’s Look Hear, which is probably further into their career than a lot of other people got, but doesn’t totally cover their whole discography up to 1983 whe they stop, so I figured I’d stick to the era when Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were still in the band. That gives me their first four albums to work with. There’s plenty of good stuff after those dudes leave in 1976 but this seemed like a good way of making this mix manageable and sincere.

The focus here was just on the songs I really like, so it’s not comprehensive at all and focuses on their ironic soft-rock ballads rather than their slightly-less-ironic-than-Zappa rockers. And quite a few hits are missing but you can go cop a “greatest hits” collection if you want that, but as the Bruce McCulloch once said, “greatest hits album are for housewives and little girls.” Oh yeah, of course, “I’m Not In Love” is included here because it is probably the best song ever made. It’s also used really well in the movie Deuce Bigalow. Anyways, enjoy.

  • “I’m Mandy, Fly Me”
  • “Somewhere In Hollywood”
  • “I’m Not In Love”
  • “Johnny Don’t Do It”
  • “How Dare You”
  • “Don’t Hang Up”
  • “Blackmail”
  • “The Worst Band In The World”
  • “Art For Arts Sake”
  • “Speed Kills”
  • “Clockwork Creep”
  • “Headline Hustler”
  • “Brand New Day”

Written by Brandon

June 24th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Posted in mix CD

Pitchfork: Cities Aviv – Digital Lows

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Best rap record no one’s talking or even really blogging about. This one’s particularly relevant given all the Memphis fetishism going on. Well, here’s a guy from Memphis who internalizes his hometown’s music history in interesting, never derivative ways. Imagine that! Download it here. Click below to read the review:

Cities Aviv begins “Fuckeverybodyhere” with a swaggering declaration: “I could say some chill shit, but fuck all that.” Given the song’s hazy production–Steely Dan’s “Midnight Cruiser” hammered into jagged boom-bap– the impulse to lapse into laconic stoner rap makes sense, but nothing plays out quite so predictably on Digital Lows.

And so, in a drunken RZA-like flow, the Memphis rapper narrates his heroic origin story (“Bluff City born with a mic in my palm, I came up out the womb spittin’ in the rarest of form”), hilariously big-ups himself (“In this 8-bit world I’m Bowser”), and mockingly croons the song’s shit-talk title. Even the usual hip-hop clichés are afforded specificity thanks to his expressive wit and precise determination not to use words in the same exact way as every other rapper. He describes the girls he’s pulling in by joking, “as a youngin’ jerkin’ off I could never picture this,” and refers to his haters as “voyeurs.”…

Written by Brandon

June 23rd, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Pitchfork

Pitchfork: AraabMuzik – “Streetz Tonight”

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Wrote about maybe the most beautiful AraabMuzik track on the new album. Have you purchased Electronic Dream yet?

Written by Brandon

June 22nd, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Pitchfork

How Big Is Your World? Ken Seeno – “Spirit Of 77″

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This year, Ken Seeno played on Ponytail’s Do Whatever You Want All The Time–the group’s saddest and best and probably last record. He also put out two excellent tapes: Invisible Surfer On An Invisible Wave and Open Window. The both of them mix cheeseball synth work with patient, Terry Riley-like meditative minimalism. Not too sophisticated–like not even reaching for the pleasant, somber grooves of komische–they hover around in this weird awesome netherworld between like, 80s movie make-out music and what I wanted all those Ashra releases I read about to sound like. So basically, both tapes are perfect. In the video above, Seeno performs his song “Spirt of 77″ from Open Window which seems like it must be a reference to Ashra’s “77 Slightly Delayed” only this has the potential to emotionally destroy with gut-level guitar emoting. There are interviews where Seeno praises the Allman Brothers and Fleetwood Mac. This also makes sense and is probably where this song’s heart comes from.

Written by Brandon

June 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm

MIX: Dilla Goes Electric.


Dilla Goes Electric Mix.

Because you asked for it. No really, you did! Probably setting a bad precedent here, taking mix requests via Tumblr’s “ask” feature, but last week, someone asked this: “can you make an ‘electric dilla’ mix?” And so, Joseph of No Gang Colors and I spent the weekend putting together this mix of electronic Dilla shit, which is presumably what the person when they asked for “electric dilla.”

We still called it Dilla Goes Electric though because it sounds cool and kinda like “Dylan goes electric,” you know? So here you go, an hour and some change of mostly instrumental electronic Dilla productions, and the SV remix of Daft Punk’s “Aerodynamic” which may or may not have been produced by Dilla (but probably was if this interview with Busy P of Ed Banger is considered trustworthy). Enjoy.

  • “B.B.E. (Big Booty Express)”
  • Q-Tip, “Go Hard”
  • Slum Village ft. MC Breed, “Do You”
  • “Shake It Down”
  • “Won’t Do”
  • “Da Factory”
  • “What Up”
  • Daft Punk, “Aerodynamic (Slum Village Remix)
  • “Safety Dance”
  • Royce Da 5′9”, “Let’s Grow”
  • “caDILLAc”
  • Ruff Draft Interlude”
  • Phat Kat, “Big Booties”
  • “Body Movin”
  • “Lightworks”
  • “Let’s Take It Back”
  • “King”
  • Da 1st Installment Beat 3″
  • “E=Mc2″
  • J. Dilla, “Trucks”
  • Busta Rhymes, “Make It Hurt”
  • “In The Night (Owl N Out) – While You Slept (I Crept)”
  • “Milk Money”
  • Slum Village, “Who Are We”
  • Da 1st Installment Beat 8″

Written by Brandon

June 21st, 2011 at 12:27 am

Posted in J-Dilla, mix CD

Fandor: “Fighting for The Right to Copy, Craig Baldwin’s Sonic Outlaws

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Sonic Outlaws, the Negativland movie, is now streaming on Fandor and I wrote about how it’s dissection of sampling, copyright infringement, and idiotic American copyright law is even more relevant 16 years after the movie came out. We’re all culture-jammers now.

“These guys are from England and who gives a shit?” Casey Kasem exhorts after flubbing the name of Irish rock group U2. That’s just one of the sounds—sampled, found, manipulated, re-composed—heard on Negativland’s U2 EP. Some others: the Saturday morning countdown host angrily yelling about a sad dedication to a dead dog right after “an uptempo fucking record,” random expletives from Kasem woven into the song’s instrumental bed, the familiar strains of U2′s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” picked apart, overlaid with video game sounds, and that longing-filled melody performed on budget synthesizers and a kazoo…

Written by Brandon

June 20th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Posted in Fandor

Spin: “In Defense Of Kanye West’s “Monster”

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This week’s column is about the new Kanye video and why in 2011, he’s gotta put that stupid, pretentious warning in front of it…

That’s a groaner for sure, but it’s also sincere. “Monster” actually is an “art piece,” and “as such,” it takes more explication than a rap video really should. Kanye, the self-aware, sensitive rapper has crafted a surreal response to hip-hop misogyny making the implicit violence of in-the-club videos, well, extremely explicit. Women tend to pose stoically in rap videos, so here they’re frozen (thanks to rigor mortis) and dolled up without agency. It’s a pitch-black comedy of rap-video excess and though it’s far too much of a primal purge to rise to the level of satire, it’s a knowing provocation. If Kanye were more mature and not still figuring all this stuff out, he’d create some kind of corrective; but he’s lost and awkwardly working his way through it, and as a result, the best he can do is vomit it up something even more horrifying…

Written by Brandon

June 18th, 2011 at 6:29 pm