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b free daily: “Ponytail’s subdued thrills.”

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Wrote a little something about the new Ponytail record, Do Whatever You Want All The Time, which is also probably their best. If you didn’t like the other stuff, you might even like this one! My point of comparison would probably be No Age’s Everything In Between, just in terms of it changing up their sound ever-so-slightly but making it much more accessible and like, sticky? Dunno, lots I didn’t want to cram into this piece, but here, they really sound like formidable and grand. Think: Krautrock and Prog and all kinds of noisy but not exactly cool epic, experimental rock. Also, because there’s no other place for it: Big co-sign on Ken Seeno’s solo cassette work.

“Easy Peasy,” the first track on Do Whatever You Want All the Time, the latest from Baltimore spazz-rockers Ponytail, begins with some delightfully cheesy synthesizers. Then, rock ’n’ roll drums start to rumble and vocalist Molly Siegel starts to sing in her signature, wordless style. Finally, some guitars show up and a good and proper song is formed. Just at that moment, when all the disparate elements come together, Ponytail explode. Surf-rock riffs scream across the track, bold dance beats pulse and Siegel squeaks out the phrase “running out of time” over and over.

Musically, Ponytail recreate the boundless joy and bratty petulance of childhood. “Late For School,” from their 2008 sophomore release, Ice Cream Spiritual, is a slow-growing whirl of instruments and primal screams that are rocketed forward by a shout of “Oh no! I’m late for school!” Their 2006 debut album, Kamehameha, is named after a fighting move from the anime/manga “Dragonball Z.”…

Written by Brandon

April 12th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Posted in Baltimore, b free daily

b free daily: “Growing Up Club”

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If you’re in Baltimore, you can pick up today’s issue of b free daily and read my story on DJ Pierre, a Baltimore club producer I’ve written about on here a great deal over the past two years or so. He’s got a remix on that upcoming M.I.A mixtape, which is kinda crazy:

“I wanna keep club music alive,” intones Artaz Pierre Wilkins, better known as Baltimore club producer DJ Pierre, between bites of pizza at the Inner Harbor’s Gallery.

Still weary from a night of rocking-off at The Paradox, Baltimore’s premier club-music venue, Pierre politely backs up for a moment to add, “I don’t think club music’s dead — that’s just what’s in the air.”

If the supremely fast, repetitive style of Baltimore club first proved its existence to the wider world in the late 1990s, then the pulse of the city’s dance music has beat more faintly the past few years. 92Q’s club queen, DJ K-Swift, died in July 2008. Excitement that brewed over Baltimore club veteran DJ Class and his potential crossover hit “I’m The Ish” faded last year. There’s been a recent dearth of local club music in general.

At just 19 years old, Pierre responds to this dearth with a fury of fresh club music. He releases the occasional free download (it’s 2010 after all), but he’s best known for a stream of mix CDs, packed with his latest songs and some from his club producer peers. The forward-thinking club phenom has titled his latest mixtape, released this month, Volume 9: The Future. One of his tracks will appear on M.I.A.’s Vicky Leekx mixtape, set for release on New Year’s Eve…

Written by Brandon

December 29th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

b free daily: “The Surreal Eye”


If you’re in Baltimore, you can go pick up my cover story on Baltimore filmmaker Hilton Carter. His short film Moth plays at the Landmark Theatre tomorrow night. Hilton’s also directed a ton of music videos and commercials, most recently the Blaqstarr video for “Oh My Darling”.

Two years ago, Hilton Carter stood in Paris’ Louvre, transfixed by Paul Delaroche’s 1855 painting The Young Martyr.

No longer a glossy image in the art history texts he studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the massive painting was right there, ready to overwhelm and inspire this former Baltimore filmmaker.

“When I stood in front of that painting,” Carter explains on the phone from his L.A home, where he now lives, “I saw the painting for what it is. It hit me.” Delaroche’s painting, which depicts a dead girl eerily floating in the water surrounded by darkness, became the inspiration for “Moth,” Carter’s short film about a drug-addled L.A. girl who slowly sinks under the weight of her addictions and insecurities…

Written by Brandon

September 29th, 2010 at 5:05 pm