As both a music journalist and a musician, Martin Clark walks on both sides of a sometimes tenuous line. While the writer blogs and pens articles for the occasional magazine (including this feature for XLR8R), the musician assumes the name Blackdown and produces some dark and heavy dubstep with Dusk. Rather than sounding like the work of a musician who sometimes writes, Blackdown's tracks seem informed by the wealth of knowledge he has collected while documenting the shady ins and outs of London's grime and dubstep scenes. Case in point: Margins Music, the album from Dusk & Blackdown, conceptually visits the fractured, culturally isolated districts of London, making observations that could be attributed to journalists and musicians alike. "Focus" features some epic, moody synth and rhythm work from Dusk, making for a single worth writing about. Wyatt Williams
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In a match made for a white-powder-coated heaven, Sebastian Tellier has teamed with Dov Charney to sell the Sexuality album exclusively in American Apparel retail stores. Perhaps this combination is a little hard to grasp, so allow me to elaborate: the playboy French artist Tellier has struck a deal with the uber-sleazy playboy CEO Charney to sell an album about sex and working out at a retail store of clothes for, uh, sex and working out. We're still trying to figure out how this pairing came about. Do they have the same dealer in Paris? Is there some sort magic phone made of solid gold that deals like this are made on? Either way, this Donovan remix is making us itchy to get in some florescent spandex and find a CEO to blow for money. Wyatt Williams
Luca Venezia is ready to rattle your skull. Working under the Drop The Lime alias and spinning at the Trouble and Bass monthly party in NYC, Venezia works the low end through a mish-mash of genres connected by bone-crushing bass lines. Lucky for bass heads outside of Gotham, he's taking his epic dubstep and breakcore mixes on a long road of tour dates across North America, along with a few stops on the other side of the Atlantic. "I Love New York" comes from his upcoming EP for Trouble & Bass, Like Thunder. Wyatt Williams
Oakland-based Subtle aren't just releasing the third album of an epic trilogy, they're also putting finishing touches on a universe of their own creation. Since 2004's A New White, Anticon co-founder Doseone has been writing a mythic, complex tale of heroes and ghosts, folly and fantasy. The six person group has had their own journey of heartbreak and adversity; multi-instrumentalist Dax was paralyzed from the chest down in a car crash during their first tour and a later van robbery in Italy took $15,000 worth of equipment. Thanks to the generous support of fans and ceaseless passion, they've weathered these set backs and continue to persevere. "Unlikely Rock Shock" comes from ExitingARM, a pop record that is as grounded in melody as it is in fantasy. Wyatt Williams
Nigerian-born, London-based MC Afrikan Simba has made quite a name for himself in the U.K., having recorded with the likes of Jah Warrior and Zion Train and being one of the main voices on Voice of Africa Radio, the first licensed African station in that country. "Alternative Power" shows off his lyrical flow and appears on Jahtari's first-ever label compilation, Jahtarian Dubbers Vol 1.
One can't really call The Saturday Knights a rap group. Yes, there are lyrical stories delivered by group members Tilson and Barfly, and DJ Suspense has programmed some fairly sharp beats, but Mingle their latest album, is more classic rock than golden-era hip-hop, or perhaps just an amalgamation of the two. Where else would you find soulsters The Dap Kings on the same release as Kim Thayil, the guitarist for early '90s grunge outfit Soundgarden? Add Nirvana producer Jack Endino playing drums on a song and well, we're not really sure what to call this release, so peep this track and decide for yourself. Photo by Hilary Harris.
A-Trak's contribution to the Nike Run series is one of our current favorites here at the XLR8R office, so we thought we'd share the love with our readers by offering a little clip from the 45-minute track. The New York-based producer and turntable master showed off his electro-house chips for this project, but he didn't forget his hip-hop roots. Both styles, plus more, have been mashed together for this disc, and if you haven't grabbed your cross-trainers by the end of this, you're a hopeless cause.
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