James Singleton is seemingly fearless when it comes approaching all styles of music. Under his James Pants guise, he has dabbled in everything from new-age disco to '80s electro, ditched the drum set and made ambient, beat-less tracks, and remixed artists like Too $hort. Groovy soul from the 1960s was bound to follow, and here, Singleton gets ahold of a track by Howard Johnson and throws in his own electro-flavored twist. Johnson is probably best known for his work on the tuba and other instruments, as well as his collaborations with the likes of Charles Mingus, Hank Crawford, and Archie Shep. Singleton's remix turns this song into an anthem that would fit just as well in 1960s New York as Los Angeles in 2008. Photo by Darcy Caputo.
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A new 45" on Dublin, Ireland's All City imprint finds producer T-woc teaming up with legendary dub MCBrother Culture for this rumbling, bass-heavy track that bumps along at a pleasantly casual pace. One-half of Irish electronic music collective The Alphabet Set, T-woc also throws parties in Dublin and hosts a weekly radio show. Culture, meanwhile, has MCed for over 25 years and collaborated with many of dub, reggae, and dancehall's greats.
If you don't know Willie Isz yet, the duo's summer 2008 album on Lex Records should ensure you do by the time September rolls around. Under this guise, MC Jneiro Jarel (Shape of Broad Minds) and Goodie Mob frontman Khujo make experimental hip-hop and future soul infused with just the right amount of pop. Hip-hop blog Cocaine Blunts leaked this track, and now we can't listen to anything else.
The frantic assault of whistles and drums at the beginning of this track should tell one everything they need to know about this Baltimore-based trio's music. We recently profiled this band on our Top Ten, and our friends at Thrill Jockey were nice enough to give us a track to share with the masses. "Empty Legs" is from Thank You's recently released album, Terrible Two, and if guitar chords woven through drums, incomprehensible shouting, and strange electronic noises is your fare, this is one to download. Photo by Nate Dorr.
We don't know what OPOPO stands for, but the three members of this band sure do know how to make a slamming beat. Half punk rock, half dance music, "Clockstop" is a trip through heavy basslines, raw analog synths, and distorted vocals. The Canadian trio hasn't been on the scene very long, but with tracks like this, a recently released, self-titled EP, and a live performance rumored to be outrageous, these guys will be a known entity of indie music in just a short time.
A follow-up to the group's 2005 self-titled debut, The Biggest Piano in Town finds New York-based outfit Grand Pianoramax mixing funk, spoken word, and hip-hop together, with emphasis placed on, naturally, the piano. Group leader Leo Tardin has a knack for chord progressions on the keyboard, and on this track shows off his jazz chops while a crisp snare keeps beat in the background. For the album, Tardin brought on everyone from New York drummers Deantoni Parks and Adam Deitch to spoken word master Mike Ladd and Platinum Pied Pipers MC Invincible on board for guest appearances.
Having remixed Radiohead's In Rainbows and jumped through cease and desist hurdles to do so earlier this year, Oakland-based producer Amplive has made a name for himself turning rock numbers into bouncing hip-hop tunes. For his latest project, he looks to the indie-poppers in Of Montreal, pitting the group's "Fabrege Falls for Suggie" against MGMT's "Future Reflections." The result is some bizarre amalgamation of classic rock, hip-hop, and synth-pop that we're feeling here at XLR8R.
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