Produced by his older brother and industry go-to beat man, the late James Yancey (known to everyone outside the fam as J Dilla), Illa J’s first official offerings incorporates some of his big bro’s last. Preceding the November 4 release of his debut album, Yancey Boys, L.A.-based Illa J (John Yancey) puts forth his debut single in collaboration with fellow Detroit native Guilty Simpson. With his casually melodic delivery, Illa “shakes haterz like dice.” Likewise, Guilty Simpson steps in to bear witness to Illa J’s fresh talent, while showing a little love to the 313. Lulu McAllister. Photo by Pete Ambrose.
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Having just released its self-titled debut album earlier this month, Lemonade is now offering a bevy of reworkings from fellow Bay Area cohorts like Lazer Sword, Ghosts on Tape, and C.L.A.W.S. on a remixtape. Ambient dub duo Shades (Tim Saputo and Richard Toomer), who are finally going public with their recordings, contribute a shoegaze version of “Blissout.” The song opens with dream synths rolling in like a rising fog, haunted by distant echoes of Lemonade vocalist Callan Clendenin’s softened voice. A third of the way into the song, delicate chords begin to ripple across the distilled composition. The song breathes and transforms slowly in soft focus until it fades into a gentle crackle. If the original song wasn’t blissful enough, it is now. Lulu McAllister
Spanish-born Javier Barrero has performed in a thrash-punk-pop band and crafted soundtracks for pornos and short films. Here, we find him as muto, the alter ego to his other alias, Logical Disorder. On “You Know,” rhythm thumps dully into a crisp snare beat and crinkling electronic accents in the background. Then, currents of candied synths drive in and a new wave tremolo paints across the infectious multi-layered instrumental. The song inhales, pulling back for a bridge and then rebuilds, sighing blissfully with rising vapors of nuanced pop. Lulu McAllister
Known for creating genre-skewing, head-noddng beats, Denver-based Ca¢heflowe recently released his latest EP, Cache, Stacks & Queues. The experimental dubstep/glitch-hop offering features collaborations with Machinedrum, Starkey, and, on this track, the Flobots’ Brer Rabbit. “Flowebot feat. Brer Rabbit” boasts a heavy dub beat and grimy synth line that plods along beneath intermittent playful clinks and hollowed droplets. Brer Rabbit’s stern vocal delivery complements the weightier side of this roomy composition. Lulu McAllister
Belleruche members Kathrin deBoer, Ricky Fabulous, and DJ Modest describe their sound as “Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Christian and Cut Chemist stuck in a dusty, second-hand record store with rum and a sampler.” The band recently released a highly-anticipated sophomore album, The Express. On the first single, “Anything You Want (Not That),” buzzy bass cushions a catchy soul melody that percolates down through the Motown beat and funky piano line. This arrangement saunters alongside deBoer’s grainy, coquettish vocals and only a bluesy solo from Fabulous on his 40-year-old acoustic guitar cuts through DJ Modest’s turntabled groove. Lulu McAllister
News of The Whip's album getting a U.S. release date a couple weeks ago thrilled those of us who've been playing tracks like "Divebomb" and "Trash" for the last couple years, hoping to see a full album eventually come Stateside. That day will arrive in early 2009, with X Marks Destination, and the aforementioned "Trash" is the lead track on the album. In this writer's opinion, the Mancunian quartet puts most of the rave-rockers currently crowding up the blogosphere to shame. Check out the spooky video too.
Combining electro with more traditional cumbia and champeta sounds from their native Colombia, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Bogota duo Monareta is part of the growing wave of artists pushing the boundaries of exactly what constitutes "Latin" music. Taken from their latest album, Picotero, "Me Voy Pa'l Mar" features a pulsing beat, crunchy electronic flourishes, and a sultry female vocal (en Español, of course). What results is a song that could easily get hips swinging on both sides of the equator.
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