Even when the temperature dropped to an unseasonable 8 degrees celsius, Montreal still managed to be a warm, inviting host to XLR8R as we checked out the eighth annual installment of Pop Montreal. Every day between September 30 and October 4 saw a ridiculous amount of dance-offs, DJs, bands, and even DIY craft fairs to stumble upon—and only our broken French to guide us. Read more »
On the aptly named Tribute to the Sun, Luciano (a.k.a. Lucien Nicolet) fleshes out sub-tropical Latin and pan-African rhythms that have always shared a tonal palette with his darker Chicago- and Detroit-inspired productions. "Celestial" sounds like it reads, with a melody (courtesy of a vocal sample from Keren Ann's "Liberty") made in heaven, pushed even higher on the back of an ascending bassline. Read more »
Phillin' It: For years, Philadelphia has been shrugged off as New York's little brother—a place where displaced Brooklynites went in search of cheaper rents, bigger spaces, and a touch less 'tude. But what's emerged over the years is far more than simply a sixth borough. So for this year's special City Issue, we dug around the Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Chinatown, and every other little enclave we could find to bring you the best that Brotherly Love has to offer. Check back every few days for a new feature from the east coast's newest hotbed. Read more »
We sit in as Anticon's Doseone teaches his weekly freestyle class with some help from bandmate Jel.
Veteran freestyler Doseone has plenty of wisdom to dole out on cyphers, crutches, "getting open," and the world beyond Lil Wayne, but as we observed, the schooling is hardly one way. Dose, Jel, and fellow instructor Kev seem to be getting just as much from this circle of budding Oakland MCs (aged 12-18) as they're giving out. Be sure to watch out for 13-year-old Tyrone—he spits fire! Read more »
LA's Busdriver is one of the more hated MCs in the game, with his quirky spitting style and harsh words for other rappers' excesses and blandness. With battle star Nocando, "Least Favorite Rapper" finds Busdriver tackling these issues head on, tossing off insults to Lil' Wayne, New Boyz, and a load of other 'fashionable' hip-hop artists and trends. It makes sense, then, that MegMan of recently reunited experimental hip-hop troupe Anti-Pop Consortium has remixed the track, crafting a more electronic, synth-driven sound in place of the dusty hip-hop samples that ruled the original. With bits of weird squelch above significantly deeper kicks, MegMan has delivered a real treat with the help of the original's searing rhymes.
Though music aficionados have been calling disco edits the 'new electroclash' for a while now, they continue to proliferate like mushrooms, and despite the naysayers, some of the edits are quite tasty. Here, Portugal's Social Disco Club takes The Sarr Band's 1978 obscurity "Magic Mandrake," pumps up the cosmic synths, stretches the beat out significantly, and cuts much of the silliness out of the vocal parts, making the track infinitely more sexy. With releases on the venerable Bear Funk label and accolades from Pilooski and diskJokke, Social Disco Club is setting himself up to inherit the Idjut Boys' throne.
Belgium's excellently named The Brown Acid gets the remix treatment from Philly's king of street bass, Starkey, who transforms the electric soul-funk of the original into a monstrous, grimey tune, with bits of Baltimore club and stuttering dubstep thrown in for good measure. With source material so soulful, it would be hard to mess up a remix of "Try Humanity," and Starkey delivers, with lush, dark synth lines, a shimmer of juke, and bass so high in the mix that it pounds you.
Irish fidget-er Detboi contributed his Lil John-indebted track "Get Low" to the first compilation from Joshua 'Hervé' Harve's (one half of The Count & Sinden) Cheap Thrills label. The hyperactive rave-up has everything a song called "Get Low" should—wonky basslines, sporadic breakbeats, tweaked vocal loops, and an unflinching dedication to making you move. Cheap Thrills' massive, double-disc compilation, featuring tracks from Jack Beats, Fake Blood, Trevor Loveys, and more, is out now.
One part of Japan's Force of Nature follows in the footsteps of his collaborations with DJ Kent, crafting a piece of beardo house that would feel right at home in a Prins Thomas mix. With a mesmerizing bass loop, crisp organic percussion, and totally rad guitar lines, "Unfaithful" brings the cosmic synth parade while maintaining a cocky foot in guitar heaven. The slamming kicks make it perfect for the club, too, so be prepared to hear this playing at all the cool off-kilter disco parties you'll attend in the next few months.
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