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Review: Chicago Underground Duo Boca Negra

The post-rock family tree inevitably leads to the Chicago Underground collective. At the heart of that group are Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor, who, despite their endless "rock" credits, are secretly an avant-garde free-jazz duo in the Ornette Coleman model. With Boca Negra, they pilot bare-bones drums, brass, and marimbas straight into the unorthodox tunings and slippery structures of Coleman's harmolodics, even covering his "Broken Shadows" to make the intent clear. Read more » 

Amon Tobin and Eskmo Present Eskamon, Announce Single

Two of the Bay Area's most forward-thinking producers of all sorts of experimental electronic sounds, Amon Tobin and Eskmo, have joined their genre-pushing forces under the collaborative moniker Eskamon. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 04/06/2010

Download: Club 8 "Western Hospitality (Pallers Remix)"

First Listen
Label: Labrador

While Sweden's Club 8 are among the most popular independent acts in their native country, their profile overseas has been virtually non-existent. Their sixth full-length, The People's Record, promises to change that circumstance, what with its pop hooks and indebtedness to world musics. Here, countrymen Pallers take the slick Afrobeat of "Western Hospitality" and transform it into a synth-drenched, dubby excursion. Maintaining the guitar melodies of the original through lovely buzzing synth parts, the duo have crafted a piece that fans of Tanlines and Lemonade will certainly appreciate. 

Average: 7.4 (31 votes)
 
 

Download: To Rococo Rot "Horses"

Label: Domino

Veteran German knob twiddlers To Rococo Rot are at it again. On June 29, the trio is releasing its seventh album, entitled Speculation. Recorded in the rural studio of legendary Krautrock outfit Faust, it's sure to find the fellows continuing to blur the lines between acoustic and electronic instrumentation and taking plenty of cues from their German forefathers such as Neu!, Harmonia, and Cluster. "Horses" is the first offering from the new record, and the serene track features a bubbling synth intermingling with light percussion and pastoral melodies. These days it seems like anyone with a budget bedroom setup can crank out a mellow tune and slap the "chill" label on it, but To Rococo Rot is still showing us how the pros like to get down. 

Average: 7.2 (42 votes)
 
 

Review: Ellen Allien Watergate 05

Label: Watergate

Ellen Allien and Berlin clubbing institution Watergate have had a long relationship, so it's disappointing that her entry in their mix series is such a dud. Watergate 05 may begin in familiar territory—the icy, emotive techno of DJ Yellow and John Tejada have typically been her bread and butter—but soon we're thrown into everything from wobbly bass to bongo-laden micro-house to second-rate electro. The mixing is jarring, the pacing erratic. Read more » 

Watch Aloe Blacc's "I Need a Dollar" Video



Check it: The new vid for Aloe Blacc's soulful slice, "I Need a Dollar," directed by Kahlil Joseph. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 04/05/2010

Enter the Natalie Storm Remix Contest

The dancehall-meets-funky club fire that is Sticky and Natalie Storm's "Look Pon Me" has finally been given the go-ahead for remixes, and Mixpak has opened it up a contest to all willing producers. Check out the official rules and download the acapella here. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 04/05/2010

Download: Jneiro Jarel "Black Blocks (ElectroSonicFreeRoboticS)"

Jneiro Jarel has produced under as many monikers as Kool Keith, and luckily, his output shines as brightly as Black Elvis'. On "Black Blocks," Jarel channels something of Electronic Warfare-era Underground Resistance, utilizing a foreboding bass throb, high frequency distorted industrial loops, and guitar harmonies to create a piece of dark electronic funk that is just begging for a DJ Assault rework. With deep, pitch-shifted vocals intoning throughout, there's also a political side to "Black Blocks" that is unmistakably influenced by Mike Banks. While the rest of the Android Love Mayhem EP isn't as indebted to Detroit's best production crew, its tones and sonic palette waver somewhere between FlyLo and Nomadico, which is definitely a good thing for our ears. 

Average: 7.7 (38 votes)
 
 

Download: Pollyn "Can't Get Into It (Altair Nouveau Remix)"

Label: Music!

The clanking trip-hop beat that leads in the original version of Pollyn's "Can't Get Into It" is traded out for a steady and straightforward house beat on Altair Nouveau's remix. In fact, the only element left intact on DFA producer Brandon Mitchell's rework is the ethereal vocal delivery of singer Genevieve Artadi. Altair's arsenal of vintage synth tones and space-boogie grooves provide the instrumental background instead, and transform "Can't Get Into It" into a dancefloor number you'd have to be deaf not to get into. 

Average: 8 (58 votes)
 
 

Review: Lali Puna/Javelin/High Places
Our Inventions/No Más/High Places vs. Mankind

Being an electronic pop act is a lot harder than it used to be.

It wasn't that long ago that lo-fi electronic pop was all the rage with the indie set—remember when The Postal Service was blowing everyone's mind in 2003? Whether cobbled together by a lone soldier in his bedroom, or assembled with old synths, some spare instrumentation, and often sparer musical ability, the music was ostensibly indie pop, owing a lot more to C86 and twee than it did Detroit techno or Chicago house. Now that 2010 has rolled around, the indie pendulum continues to swing back and forth between laptop producers and more traditional guitar-based instrumentation, but the simple act of being a DIY electronic act is no longer revolutionary. As such, new albums from High Places and Javelin, not to mention genre veterans Lali Puna, have a tougher hill to climb than their counterparts of a decade prior. Read more » 

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