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Balam Acab: Alec Koone travels back home to craft his first album.

At first glance, Balam Acab may seem like a standard, flash-in-the-pan bedroom producer. The artist named Alec Koone was signed to label of the moment (some might say label of the year) Tri Angle last year based merely on a few tracks posted to his Myspace; his supernatural beat music saturated just about all of the internet's tastemaking websites instantaneously, thanks in part to his unwitting connections to the so-called "witch house" genre; and the hype surrounding Balam Acab threatened to burst after he received nods from actress Ellen Page in Entertainment Weekly and his music was used to soundtrack a L'Oréal commercial featuring Beyoncé. But a closer inspection of this young musician—not to mention a single spin of his gorgeous debut LP, Wander / Wonder—shows Koone isn't a one trick pony. He's no dilettante, destined to fizzle underneath the pressure of early fame and fandom. On the contrary, he's a knowledgable and relatively seasoned artist, one who is full of contradictions. Read more » 

Download: Napolian "Olympia"

First Listen

Somewhere amongst the Hype Williamses, the Laurel Halos, and the D'Eons of the esoteric, lo-fi beat-pop realm is a guy from LA named Ian Evans, making strange, boogie-flavored instrumentals with an ear for spacey atmospheres under the moniker Napolian. From Evans' recently released split-LP with Texan producer Computer Dreams, aptly titled Napolian/Computer Dreams (pictured above), "Olympia" is a two-parter with its first half boasting a soulfully anthemic-yet-understated sound, and the second sort of flying off the deep end into Casio-SK-1 land. Check out the rest of this interesting record here

Average: 8.2 (57 votes)
 
 

Review: Azari & III Azari & III

Label: Loose Lips

If you look at it on a map, it almost makes sense: the cities of Chicago, Detroit, and Toronto form a kind of Midwestern house music Bermuda triangle. Though the first two on that list are classically linked as a would-be fertile crescent for electronic dance music, Toronto has, in recent years, proven itself to be just as innovative as its American neighbors. One product of this new, inventive spirit is house production outfit Azari & III. The four-piece group has been making waves in dance music circles since "Hungry for the Power," its first 12", came out in 2009 on Cosmo Vitelli's I'm a Cliché imprint, and the Permanent Vacation follow-up, "Reckless with Your Love," made an even larger impact. Now, two years after its initial string of releases, Azari & III has finally dropped its long-planned, self-titled debut LP. Read more » 

  • Filed under: review
  • 08/29/2011

Download: Keep Shelly in Athens "Our Own Dream"

One of the more adventurous outfits to fall under the admittedly wide-ranging genre tag that is "chillwave," Keep Shelly in Athens has a new 12" EP up its sleeve, and has shared this, the release's title track, to help spread the word. Having just as much in common with the dark, hip-hop influenced meanderings often found on the Tri Angle imprint as it does with the pair's past more Baleric-tinged endeavors, "Our Own Dream" seems to be a much more harrowing affair then we're used to hearing from the Grecian duo. But above the song's slow-brewing, ominous core there are still plenty of blissful melodies and heavenly pads to be found—albeit with a slightly darker tint—which is certainly not something we're going to start complaining about. (via Pitchfork

Average: 8.1 (55 votes)
 
 

Download: Blood Diamonds "Move the Stars"

The consistently on-point folks over at the Transparent label/blog recently dropped another tasty 7" single (if you recall, we were quite taken by Disclosure's contribution to the imprint a few months back), this time tapping burgeoning Canadian Blood Diamonds for two tracks of lush, blissful pop. Here we have the b-side, "Move the Stars," a tune which is almost trance-inducing with its propulsive, repetitive rhythms and small army of gloriously re-pitched and reverb-washed vocals. But buried beneath the fuzzy core is a delicate, emotive song, one which pushes up through the haze with a handful of glistening melodies that render the track quite irresistible. 

Average: 8 (61 votes)
 
 

Shlohmo Drops FACT Mix, Prepares for North American Tour

Following on the heels of his freshly released Bad Vibes LP, California beatsmith Shlohmo has dropped a diverse, syrupy mix for FACT's ongoing mix series. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 08/26/2011

Listen to Albert Swarm's 'Held' EP

Exclusive

We don't like to make a habit of posting streaming audio from relatively unknown artists, but we think you'll agree that Finnish producer Albert Swarm isn't your average newcomer. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 08/26/2011

Check Out Oneman's 'Skanking Session' for Notting Hill Carnival

London grime specialist and 502 Recordings label head Oneman is among the throngs of UK residents getting ready for this weekend's Notting Hill Carnival, albeit in a completely different way than most. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 08/26/2011

Mule Musiq to Release Collaborative Album From Koss, Minilogue, and Sebastian Mullaert

Japanese minimal techno outpost Mule Musiq has quite the endeavor set to be unveiled at the tail end of 2011, a seven-track collaborative "jam" LP by producers Koss, Minilogue, and Sebastian Mullaert. Read more » 

  • Filed under: news
  • 08/26/2011

XLR8R's Ultimate Burning Man Survival Guide

Next Monday, the annual Burning Man festival kicks off in the middle of the Nevada desert. Free spirits and playa warriors from around the globe have already begun to descend on Black Rock City, but we here at XLR8R wanted to weigh in before the festivities got started. After scouring the web, checking out the various camps, and perusing the litany of party lineups, we've put together this can't-miss guide on how best to revel in the majesty and magic of Burning Man. Read more » 

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