We swear this isn't an ironic listening. We love Beyoncé and 4. OK, we might unironically skip straight to track 5, 'Party', produced by Kanye West and with rap by Andre3000, because we ain't no stay-home-mums that need all those ballads about being broken hearted and finding the right person. But, after that, the album turns into a beautiful compilation of classic r'n'b, soul and a bit of sweat-inducing booty tracks - not too many though - that sound surprisingly courageous considering the actual state of pop music. And for that, we bow down and hail Queen B. P.S. Get the deluxe version, for those extra couple of amazing tracks.
The name of this label has been interpreted in many ways; from 'bass-seekey' to 'base-ike', but the correct way describes exactly what this label is about: BASIC. Bassike delivers easily breezily cut staples with an interesting little twist that keeps them from being your run of the mill. For those that live in climates like that of Australia (where Bassike hails from) or Brazil, you'll know how easy it is to make fashion faux pas when the weather gets hot and the prospect of wearing anything but a bathing suit becomes slightly unappealing; Bassike is all and everything you need.
Before watching HBO's Game of Thrones, I assumed the series would tend a bit more towards the blood-dripping Danish movie Valhalla Rising rather than fairy-tale stories a lá 'Lord of the Rings'; and for that I didn't really like the series at the beginning. But slowly, I found myself submitting to tales of bad kings, midget juggernauts, savage warriors and... dragons. And that happened probably because there aren't exactly good guys and bad guys here, like there are in Tolkien stories - and that is, of course, a simplification of his work. Another reason I relented to this series is because of the intriguing political backstage element that leads to the ever-happening dance of thrones. Oh, and did I mention the gratuitous nekkid-ness?
Of the slew of new spots having opened up in Sydney in the last six months, The Norfolk on Cleveland St in Surry Hills has been one fated with success. Owned by some of the same kids that have brought The Flinders back to life (and currently, it's incredibly quick onset of 'The Norms'), you'll undoubtedly find The Norfolk rammed with all kinds, vying for a bite, a beer and a spot in the garden out back. The aim of the game is to cultivate Aussie pub culture at it's best; and it's doing a pretty decent job so far - if only you could get a table!
Super Sad True Love Story is the third book from the writer of the best selling Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart. Incidentally, I read him name dropped in Flavorpill's Ultimate Hipster Reading list and in the same sentence as James Franco (they're buds, apaprently) just before I finished his latest offering. Don't let any of that put you off, or take away any of the sad scary brilliance of Super Sad True Love Story; written from the perspective of one 39 year old Lenny Abramov, son of Russian immigrants and in love with the impossibly cute and cruel Eunice Park. A satire that cuts to the bone, Super Sad True Love Story is exactly it's title. And it's good.
Tuesday // August 30, 2011 at 11:38 // filed under Music
Seems as if The Golden Filter are on the tease once more, having just dropped this tidbit into the ol' inbox entitled 'Syndromes' without much explanation, in their usual stealthy style. Eerie, a bit haunting and a little operatic, we'll be waiting to see what this all actually culminates into...
Tuesday // August 30, 2011 at 11:08 // filed under Music
What a combination! Big Boi (accompanied by a full band including horns, DJ and hypeman) and Theophilus London (accompanied by guitar dude, bland blonde DJ girl, and Cousin Brian - hi Brian) are currently touring Australia; Big Boi in the country for the third time in about twelve months, and Theophilus on his virgin Australian excursion (PLEASE GO SPOON A KOALA AND SEND US PICS). Big Boi was headlining The Enmore Theatre last Saturday night with Theophilus in support. Both excellent entertainers, these two were an interesting comparison in genres of onstage cool.
HIYA // Big Boi & Theo
Though Big Boi and
Theophilus London each own a very different kind of charisma, both have amazing stage presence. Big Boi wears his swag as
casually as he dons and doffs the hats of his multi-mad-skills as a
rapper, songwriter and producer (as well as registered pitbull breeder). He does the
same with his various musical alter egos, slipping between different versions of himself like it ain't no thang. Because it
Secure in the comfort that his audience loves him, Big Boi's swagger
is deliciously easy. He doesn't have to prove anything; as opposed to
say, his younger and highly ambitious tour companion, Theophilus London.
Yet Big Boi invests no less in his engagement with the audience than
Theophilus on the other hand is less easy going, and comes out with a powerful idea of who he is and how he wants us to perceive him. Contrary to what he sings along with Sara Quin on his single 'Why Even Try', Theophilus DOES think he's special. And you know what? He actually is.
Here's a video of Theophilus featuring Cousin Brian - who is in fact, Theophilus' cousin, Brian - dropping a preview of a new track from his next mixtape that samples 'Big Spender' in a big way. THIS TRACK WAS SO BANGIN' THAT IT TOTALLY DISTORTED THE SOUND ON THE RECORDING WHEN THE BASS IS KICKING. Which is most part of the track (sorray). Seriously. Don't say I didn't warn you:
Many rugs were cut. Plenty of deuces were thrown. Lord have mercy, this was the most fun gig I've been to all year.
Monday // August 29, 2011 at 16:58 // filed under Music
Photography by Rafael Kent
I gave you plenty of warning about how ridonkulous Boss in Drama can be, but I'm afraid those may have not prepared you enough for his debut video. That shiny boy dances, acts (I mean, how many of those faces could you reproduce?), sings, produces and give us lots and lots to talk about with the over-the-top 'I Don't Want Money Tonight', a song which in his words "is about a man whore who falls in love and is going to give what he knows best for free, only for one night". So enjoy while you can, bitches, he is free only for tonight!
Boss in Drama - I Don't Want Money Tonight
The song is like Justin Timberlake decided to take a modern spin at RuPaul's 'Supermodel (You Better Work)' with a bossa nova hint, but keeping in mind that he needs to make it be a club song as much as he needs it to be a ballad. Yes, that good.
So good that the master of disco music Nile Rodgers replied in a DM to a friend that asked his opinion about the song with a more than welcome "Nice song - very good production". Mr Nile, for those who don't know, has produced music for David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran and many others.
By the way, my favorite part of the clip is the moment in which he leaves his girl band behind and walks in the cover of his album, which you can see below in all of its glory and gold.
Photo: Antonio Wolff / Styling: Ganzaro / Art: Pedro Allevato
His debut album Pure Gold is going to be released on the of September via Vigilante.
Monday // August 29, 2011 at 15:21 // filed under Music
"This is, like, what pop wants me to be"
Who would have thought that the weakest track from Marina and the Diamonds, you know, the one where she tries to hide her wish to become a huge popstar behind a new persona, could bring so much joy in the remixes? I confess that I thought the How To Dress Well edit was more an experimentation rather than an actual attempt to make music, but this Blood Orange is spectacular.
All those David Guetta synths are gone and what is left is that weird voice of Marina, which is interlaced with Dev Hynes hyper-reverbed vocals, 4x4 house beats and a big piano. This melancholic 80s vibe suits the song so well, that if I were Marina I'd throw the new album in the garbage and ask Dev to work his magic on all her songs - although she may need to remember that this new album won't be appreciated by her new bff Katy Perry. Actually, she shouldn't do this, since this is what Solange is doing and we are shaking with anticipation for this.
Directed by Anna Lomax of Jiggery Pokery once more and Jamie Brown, the video for 'Peculiar' is hardly revolutionary. Quintessentially quirky and indie lite in the style of that DIY hipster London breed, the concept is a little tired. It is though, admittedly endearing, with it's non-sensical scenario accessorised by a certain kind of low-budget charm, and is nonetheless quite adorably pulled off by the dynamic duo that is Peter and Johnny.I guess I just can't help liking Men Like Them who make Music (and yerrr, videos) Like They Do.
Wednesday // August 24, 2011 at 12:26 // filed under Music
HIYA // Marina
HIYA // Tom 'How To Dress' Krell
You may have noticed around the traps that Marina and the Diamonds is back; having released two new tracks and videos one after the other without missing a beat in between. The first entitled 'Fear and Loathing' and the second, 'Radioactive'.
In the aftermath of the eventual non-event that was her debut album, The Family Jewels, Marina was quite open in expressing
her disappointment following her first round in trying to break the
charts. I'm mixing metaphors here when I say that despite going into the
ring with what seemed to be all the necessary support and prep,
Marina's Diamonds just weren't sharp enough to cut into the main. It was almost as if she was a welterweight boxer all gussied up and going into a WWF ring - with neither side landing any punches that meant anything. And there's nothing worse than a mismatched fight.
But not one to let that first, confused round keep her down, girl channelled all of that and put it into song, y'alls: Marina has come out into round two punching more or less in her division. She's got a mega team in her corner, most prominently super heavyweight Norwegian duo Stargate pulling productions dutes (having credits with Rihanna, Ne-yo, Beyoncé, Shakira, Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown amongst others). Check the first single (and Part 1) 'Fear and Loathing'; which apparently depicts Marina's latest persona, Electra Heart, embodying 'the lies, illusions and death of an American Dream':
Fear and Loathing by Marina and the Diamonds
Image wise, she's let go of the ambitious, glamourous,
wanna be diva (as she quite literally spells out for us in the video above) that she was previously trying to squeeze into a laboriously over-thought and ill fitting Katy Perry-esque landscape (though she's kept the LA thin and the boobie-licious aspects). Now, we find her embracing the
alt/pop melodrama that her voice was made for. In doing so, she's actually become
less theatrical, somewhat less contrived, paradoxically more pop in her sound, and ironically, more genuine...Or so it
seems to me, anyway.
And for this, I'm digging the
new flavours of her new stuff; though not nearly as much as I love How To
Dress Well's polishing of Marina and her Diamonds.
But first, have a listen to Marina's Part 2, entitled 'Radioactive'.
Radioactive by Marina and the Diamonds
I love How To Dress Well. Even more with this re-work that taps a little bit of that Rihanna 'What's My Name' steez. It's brilliant. Listen:
Wednesday // August 24, 2011 at 11:25 // filed under Music
HIYA // Peter and Johnny
Man Like Me are at it again. What we once assumed to be yet another bit of quirky pyrite in the ever flashing pan of London's music scene, Man Like Me have once more delivered an utterly infectious and distinctly MLM tune in 'Peculiar'. We've been waiting since this time last year for Camden Town codgers Johnny Langer and Peter Duffy to step out in their trademark Reebok classics with a follow up to 2010's excellent 'Lovestruck' (which was out almost exactly a year ago now).
We were also half expecting for them to, I dunno, get huge or something; but it seems they might just be too cool for that. It's the only explanation I can think of that could make sense with the fact that they haven't had more exposure. 'Peculiar' thrums with the spirit of carnival; full of brass, spunk, that idiosyncratic lilt and smile-inducing abandon that is pure Man Like Me.
Wednesday // August 24, 2011 at 10:33 // filed under Music
Look. I don't go out of my way to follow Lady Gaga. I'm not a fan, no matter how I may or may not respect her (which, yes, I do, in my own little way). I haven't heard any of her albums in their entirety, nor do I follow her fashions, or what her sister is rumoured to be doing with them, and I don't run for youtube when her videos drop. She is though, obviously difficult to avoid; being the pop culture phenomenon that she is (and all that said, I'm feeeeling the Versace vibe she is channelling lately. More because I can't help but love that Donatella and her ridonkness). So it's not at all difficult to know what she's up to, even if I don't actively go in search of news for her.
So when a band as brilliant asWild Beasts cleverly saddle the Lady Gaga fame monster for their own agenda, I can't help but applaud as rapturously as I did when I saw them live just last month. Even more brilliant is that they came up with a beautiful remix to raise awareness of the ways that people can get involved and support
independent labels that lost stock in the Pias UK warehouse fire in an unfortunate case of collateral damage during the UK 'riots'.
Frontman Hayden Thorpetold the Guardian that "The unlikeness of this match was perhaps what compelled us to take
it on. Gaga in many ways is the epitome of what we are not. She is the
butcher to our butter knife. The essential thrill is always to keep
eluding what is expected of us and what we expect of ourselves."
Yoü And I (Wild Beasts Remix) by Lady Gaga
If you wanna find out how to donate to PIAS and their associated labels, or even just to know a little more about the situation, go HERE.
Speaking of PIAS and their associated labels, other news, PIAS have just signed a deal with Wichita Recordings for the world excluding North America. According to PIAS:
"The first Wichita
releases through [PIAS] will be the new albums by Mariachi El Bronx and
Peggy Sue both scheduled for the 12th of September followed later in
the year by albums from Wild Flag, Los Campesinos and Spectrals and an
EP by Bloc Party’s Kele. 2012 will see new albums from First Aid Kit,
The Cribs and Simian Mobile Disco."