Instant Hipster?
Want to be a hipster but not man enough to grow your own facial hair? Well never fear as the folks at Beard Beanie have (literally) got you covered with their extensive range of knitted beard hats. Now… we wonder if they do custom orders? We wouldn’t say no to an instant Andrew Weatherall… And would definitely be willing to pay double for ‘The Rubin’
See Portugal. The Man For FREE
FUCK. YES. Our BFFs Portugal. The Man are heading down under for an entire month to play a whole bunch of FREE* shows. Tell ALL your mates… yep, even your Evil Friends (never not finding an excuse to plug that record) and check for all the dates HERE. Get excited and primed for the action by watching this live footage of All Your Light (complete with Still D.R.E. breakdown and Ghostface Killah inspired Kilo outro) and Waves filmed on their recent co-headline tour across the US with Grouplove. *You can thank the legends at Corona Extra Australia for the whole FREE thing. **S!ck fan art up above courtesy of Tim Steenstra via PTM
6 Things You Should Know About Janelle Monáe
via Wired This concert hall is either too big or too small. The Warfield in San Francisco holds about 2,300 people, but its cavernous stage looks like it could all but swallow Janelle Monáe. And maybe it could, if her powerhouse voice and manic energy weren’t so outsized they threaten to blow the roof off the joint. Monáe isn’t actually on tour right now, but she’s been playing a lot of shows lately. Radio City Music Hall with Dave Chappelle. Atlanta with OutKast. Sesame Street with Big Bird and crew. In a few weeks she’ll bring her meticulously uniformed live act back to San Francisco for the Treasure Island Music Festival. Tonight, though, it’s a benefit for REDF, a California non-profit that helps create jobs for people who have been homeless, spent time in prison, struggled with mental health issues, or dropped out of school. The evening started as a fairly formal dinner affair, but Monáe has the crowd out of their coats and shawls before you can say “black tie optional.” This is what Monáe does best, next to writing and recording music. Her shows are flurries of excitement that speed through her hits, a few well-curated deep cuts, and even some frenetic covers (tonight’s selections include the Jackson 5 and “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince, who it’s worth noting is a fan of Monáe’s). She’ll end her set by walking into the crowd and standing on one of the benefit’s finely-appointed tables. The Electric Lady has pwned the room. The Electric Lady, for those who don’t know, is Monáe’s latest album. It’s also the most recent single from said album—an incredibly catchy summer jam with a similarly intoxicating video. It’s also also a huge part of her aesthetic. Electric Lady, like much of Monaé’s past work, is inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, as well as themes ranging from Afrofuturism to class oppression. But that’s just the beginning. Here are six other things you should know about Monáe. Her Androids Are Metaphors For a Lot of People If there’s one concept that comes up more than any other in Monáe’s songs, its androids. That is, after all, what an “electric lady” is. The hero of her Metropolis series (her two most recent albums and the Metropolis: Suite I EP) is a persecuted android named Cindi Mayweather sent from the future… who turns out to be a messiah to the people of a class-divided city. “When you talk about androids there are so many parallels between androids and African-Americans, androids and minorities, androids and gay people, androids and females,” Monáe says backstage following the REDF event. “We’re talking about those who are oftentimes discriminated against or treated as less-than, and I just thought it was such a world that hadn’t been talked about in that way and I wanted to be one of the first to do it.” Young Janelle Monáe Is Very Happy Adult Janelle Monáe Was on Sesame Street When she was in elementary school, young Janelle Monáe used to watch Sesame Street while she ate cereal and her mom combed her hair. So when the show asked her to guest-star on a recent episode, she had to say “yes.” “Sesame Street helped raise me,” she says. “So I just wanted to do something that my niece and nephew could be proud of. So I can get cool points from them. Also, just to say ‘thank you’ for raising me, you know?” As for the song she sang with Big Bird and company—”Power of Yet”—that hit home, too. “I’m excited and inspired by it, because I haven’t done everything that I want to do and that’s the great thing about life,” she says. “I think I’m in a good place in my life where people are only getting just a small percentage of just who I am and although I may not have reached all the goals that I want, there’s still a possibility.” Monáe Is Reading Creativity, Inc. (Stars, They’re Just Like Us!) The influence of science fiction like Lang’s film Metropolis is obvious in Monáe’s work. (The cover of her 2010 album The ArchAndroid shows her rendered in the image of the female android Maschinenmensch from the film.) But that’s just the beginning of the sci-fi seasoning in her music and style. “Films like Her, I loved that. The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil. I love him. That was a huge inspiration to me and my writing process,” Monáe says. “I love Octavia Butler. Isaac Asimov. Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World.” When she was younger, she used to watch The Twilight Zone with her grandmother and these days she’s reading Creativity, Inc., the book about creativity in the workplace by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull and (sometimes WIRED) writer Amy Wallace. She also really loved Snowpiercer. “I try to look outside of the music industry, so science fiction is a great way to tell a universal story in an unforgettable way,” Monáe says. Her Uniform Is a Political Statement, Not a Fashion One Call it The Janelle Monáe Look. Sometimes it’s riding pants and suspenders, sometimes it’s a tuxedo; almost always it’s black-and-white. She’s a Cover Girl and always looks #Flawless, but her look isn’t really about fashion. “I have been very vocal about why I wear black and white, why I wear a uniform—it’s to pay homage to the working class,” she says. “People like my mom, who had to leave school early because she was pregnant with me. She was a custodial worker. My dad was in prison and the first job—the only job—he could get was being a trash man. They raised me and for this organization to create jobs for high school dropouts, people who have been in prison or homeless, hits home for me.” She’s Not Working on a New Album … At Least Not Right Now During this summer’s Bonnaroo festival, where she performed, Monáe teased that she was working on a “new, cool creative project.” But when asked if she’s been writing any new music, she answers flatly “no.” “I’m not doing anything right now,” she says. “I’m just here at this event and taking a break.” Hm. Well, she did say her new project was “a big concept and you’re not going to see it coming.” So maybe it’s not an album at all? Monáe’s Song Of Summer Is… This summer has been dominated by female pop stars like Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé. Add Monáe to that list. Ask what her favorite jam of the summer was, and the answer is obvious: “I think it’s ‘Electric Lady’ by Janelle Monáe.” She doesn’t, however, have a karaoke jam of the summer. “I don’t really do karaoke,” she says. Bummer. By Angela Watercutter In other Ms Monáe inspired news… Above is a poor mans Janelle Monáe Zahra Newman who will be starring as Rosalind in As You Like It as part of the Bell Shakespeare 2015 season in Sydney… "Time travels at different speeds for different people" Clearly from the quote above ol’ mate Will saw her coming. Seriously though, we hope that they didn’t pay a costume designer for that get up… Still, might be worth going to check out - it’s happening in Feb-Mar 2015 at the Opera House.
There’s a serious spike in cool music themed tumblrs at the moment. It seems like every other day we’re stumbling across a new gem. The latest discovery comes courtesy of digital artist Ads Libitum and his MusiXploitation series (we think Wax-ploitation is a better name #justsayin). The project takes classic track and album titles from the likes of Kanye, Jay Z, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar & Amy Winehouse, Ads Libitum then flips them into blaxploitation inspired movie posters and the results are dynamite! We’ve included a bunch of our personal faves below but head over to his site for the full collection which is being added to on the regular.
DFA1979 x Wax Volcanic
There’s the blonde policewoman hand-beating a rioter in the alley behind the Beauty Bar at SXSW. There’s the dune-like mass of bodies—overpacked and seemingly in stasis—at Coachella’s main stage. There’s the moment Sebastian Grainger and Jesse F Keeler apologised after not speaking for five years. There’s no shortage of potent images from the disentombing of Death From Above 1979. But if a single central image had to be chosen, one that most comprehensively frames the resurrection of the band, it would have to be from the secret show they played in Toronto earlier this month. It was, similar to the unruly shows of the band’s provenance, in a parking lot. Except this time, the parking lot belonged to the Edward Day Gallery—located next to the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art— and had been hired for the show. Jesse F Keeler is the first to admit that things have changed since the band’s explosive self-exhuming in 2011. “Now we walk in the room with hundreds of thousands of kids behind us” Keeler says of DFA 1979’s more recent summits with industry. “Compare now to back in the day and it’s a whole new experience, it’s wonderful. I still don’t shower before those meetings though. On principal.” As he recounts stories of being applauded in boardrooms (true stories I’m assured) Keeler seems ignited with the kind of faith generated by unstoppable force—the force of the deathless. And it’s faith well founded. There’s a palpable excitement and disbelief surrounding DFA 1979’s return, an excitement that extends beyond the immediate ambit of DFA fans and deep into the furthest corners of the music industry. Amid the scrutiny and anticipation of their reformation, one question that hangs dense and steam-like over the reforged duo since Coachella 2011, which is: are they the true architects of their own resurrection or willingly caught up in the acute excitement of external parties? “Well I know it’s not the second thing for me…” Keeler yawns. “I really take a lot of enjoyment in disappointing people and being the guy at the party that makes the party end. I don’t know. I just see an excited crowd and I just wanna go out there and really hammer the shit out of them and still see if they like it when it’s over…” And DFA 1979 still seem to enjoy hammering the shit out of people. The Physical World has the same convulsive snarl and thunderous swagger that 2006’s You’re a Woman I’m a Machine was so famous for. There’s something almost compulsively kinetic about the album. From the opening shrieks of ‘Cheap Talk’ to the haunted strains of ‘The Physical World’, the album only draws breath during the smog-cloaked fabulism of ‘White is Red’. “The challenge is trying to capture the band on the recording like how it feels for us to play” Keeler winces.  “I don’t know if that’s ever really possible but I think we got closer this time…” But despite feeling closer to invoking their live sound on record, DFA 1979 made almost no radical changes to their approach. In much the same way as he did over a decade ago, Keeler wrote around 6 songs on bass and sketched out some drum ideas before sending them to Sebastian Grainger, who laid his own ideas on the demos. By the time they finally convened in the studio, Keeler and Grainger made sure they had nudged the bulk of their songs to near-completion. Neither member of DFA 1979, according to Keeler, likes to be in the studio without a plan. “It’s one thing to be under pressure” Keeler reasons “but this is going to outlive me [so] its gotta be right. I’m gonna put my name on it…and answer questions about it when people call me from Australia so I gotta make sure that I like it.” The only notable change to the process on The Physical World, was the incorporation of an external producer—in this case Dave Sardy, whose production credits list Oasis alongside Jay-Z, Johnny Cash and Marilyn Manson, among a profusion of other household names. By the time Keeler and Grainger had met Sardy, most of the album was completed, so he was used a pair of extra ears, to correct any structural glitches that had been cloaked by over-familiarity and left unchecked. “So we sort of met up and played him everything and as we’d go through songs he’d ask questions like: ‘what’s that part? Is that the chorus? It’s not? Why isn’t that part the chorus? It’s the best part’ So we were like ‘okay, maybe yeah’…” Whatever roles were occupied and differences carefully rebalanced, they undisputedly captured their old sound. And after a few listens, songs like ‘Crystal Ball’ and ‘Right On Frankstein’ become impossible to deny.  “If you imagine that the world of DFA is a circle” explains Keeler, “then what we wanted to do is kick that circle out and make it bigger but in every direction. Keep it a circle but push it out in every way… a little faster, a little heavier, a little more musical, a little poppier, a little softer.” Which is precisely what The Physical World sounds like. It’s not a distillation of the band’s core essence, but nor is it a wild departure. It’s simply a nudge outwards. But this raises irresistibly (despairingly) the question of growth. How might they have matured if they could have done it together rather than separately? There’s still the nagging sense that we could just be listening to a retreat to their old sound. Who knows, if they had remained and grown together, what they would sound like today? It’s a ludicrous line of logic, an irresistible one nonetheless. Let’s return once more to our central image—the carefully organised parking lot show outside the Canadian Museum of Modern Art. This image is far more than just an expression of how DFA 1979 have been concretely empowered by their absence. More compelling is its crystalline illustration of how the band is now perceived—less as a rock band and more as an apparition or monument of disbelief. And DFA 1979 know it. It’s what drove the ferocity of the small riot at SXSW and what is drawing fans moth-like to their shows in waves of awe. “The thing that me and Sebastian have spoken about a lot when we see people getting excited is: ‘do they know? Do they know what they’re excited about? I mean it’s been so long. They’re excited by an idea but they’re not actually excited about us because they couldn’t be, it’s anticipation built on something else…” But this, of course, makes it hard for the band. If people become absorbed by the mythology of DFA 1979, then they become instantly impossible to please. They must sound as unremittingly wild and new as they did upon first listen, simultaneously recapturing the youth and embracing the matured tastes of their fans. Which is basically impossible. Especially for two guys who just want to be in a rock band, which is “all [they] think of [them]selves as” implores Keeler. But in the end, there really is no pleasing everybody, and DFA 1979 have made a fairly easy peace with it all. Keeler, through his DJing with MSRKRFT saw, in the merciless pace of the dance music world, how audiences change. “People are always in a state of change, there’s no constant…I fully expect that there are fans that were around in the past who won’t like what we’re doing now, and there will be new fans that will only know this stuff now and look into the other records later on. That’s okay. Noone needs to pledge alligiance.” I happen to think DFA 1979 have made a pretty great album this year. And despite the hype, the history, the myth or the venue, it’s still no more than it claims to be—the consummate execution of a strikingly simple idea. “Once you’re up there, there’s the gear that I know and the guy that I’m in the band with…it’s cool that there’s people out there that seem to be enjoying it. But in the end,” Keeler says, “every stage ends up being the same.” FOR COOL ACCIDENTS Death From Above 1979’s loooooong overdue second record The Physical World is available now where all good music is sold | streamed
File This One Under -
'Things we didn't know we needed' or better yet 'Unknown Pleasures'
These Days...
After the less than impressive comeback/crossover raps of Kendrick Lamar’s i we’ve decided to pass on the title of our fave Black Hippy to Ab-Soul. Ab’s 3rd solo record These Days which dropped back in June was a solid offering with one of the best supporting casts of 2014 including guest spots from Black Hippy affiliates Kendrick & Schoolboy Q as well as Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Lupe Fiasco, Rick Ross & SZA. As good as the album is, it’s the just shy of 2 minutes title track hidden in the middle of the record (after Just Have Fun) that’s offered the most in terms of replay value. Ab-Soul’s hyperactive flow is the perfect compliment to the stripped back production and sing-song vibes provided by The O’My’s. We haven’t been shy about our love for Chance The Rapper around these parts and being that this sounds like something he’d serve up, that probably helps explain our love for it. Now on a similar stripped back tip, Ab-Soul has gone in over the top of the Jackson Browne tune that shares the same name of his record…. and when we say gone in over the top we literally mean he’s gone in over the top. He just lets JB’s These Days play in the background while he fills the gaps with reflective raps to create W.W.S.D… Maybe it’s due to the fact I’ve been watching way too much Nashville but if this is anything to go by I’m definitely down for a little country with my rap.
Spreading His Golden Message
I don’t know why some good records that come out are talked about more than others, but there is usually some media heat around “Americana” releases that far outweighs their sales potential. More often than not it’s a case of more column inches than sales. Again I’m not sure why this is… Maybe it is considered “worthy” music by critics. And sometimes it’s a bit of hyperbole, and sometimes there are hidden gems out there people. Whatever, I haven’t seen much about the new record by Hiss Golden Messenger Lateness of Dancers Which is a real shame as it’s a pretty good record. It’s as understated as anyone who’s heard him would expect, but still a big move from his first three home recording type records. Fuller and more complete musically. And a great mix of country, soul, blues, gospel and quality singer songwriting. I don’t know what it is about guys from hardcore bands that go country but the things seem to go together really well. Like country allows them an equal amount of honesty. Apart from being well worth 42 minutes of your time, this record is also something of a throwback to the 70s school of Dylan and the Band and none the worse for it. Straight away you feel like you are somewhere soaked in a little known 70s album you alone know about. The only disappointment being that it doesn’t feature the great single from earlier this year “Brother, Do You Know The Road? Which, with its Forever Young feel, seems like a blueprint for the whole album. The perfect soundtrack to a Coen Brothers film they haven’t made yet.  File Lateness of Dancers under outside additions to albums of 2014. -TH
Choice Cuts
Feature track
Jack Ü - Take Ü There (feat. Kiesza)
Feature video
Craft with Kit (Ep 1) starring GROUPLOVE