Saturday, 22 November 2014

Video of the Day: 'Gagarin' by Public Service Broadcasting

The lead track from PSB's new album 'The Race For Space' is a gloriously funky, brass-laden tribute to Yuri Gagarin. It comes with this amazingly enjoyable video, which is a brilliant idea excellently executed. I can't wait to see J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth knocking these moves out of the park on their Spring tour next year.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Recommended music: 'Indigo Child' by Raury

Raury

If you've heard of Raury at all then it may well be from his stand out appearance on SNTRKT's 'Wonder Where We Land'. His vocals on 'Higher' really kick that album into orbit, and on this Indigo Child project he shows that he's got even more up his sleeve. The precociously and prodigiously talented teenager (he's only 18 FFS) has put together an abum/mixtape/whatever that you can download for free but which people really should be paying for, such is the brilliance of the songs on here. It's got the style, the ambition, and more importantly the quality of Frank Ocean's releases.

From the straight-up surefire pop hit of 'Superfly' (featuring the equally young and talented Vancouver Sleep Clinic) to the more complex tracks like the massive 'Seven Suns' he shows that he can pretty much own any type of song he takes on. I can't work out whether his use of 80s-style rock guitar on 'Armor' and 'Seven Suns' is supposed to be ironic or a loving tribute to that era of sound and production, but either way it's ablast of fresh air into what has sometimes become a depressingly formulaic genre.

Over the course of 13 tracks he sings, he raps, he struts, and he argues with his mom (although I reckon she comes out on top with her "I'm your fucken mom, I look out for things too" comment).

Have a listen below and then head to the Indigo Child project to find out more.


Track of the Day: 'Medication Meditation (feat. Krayzie Bone)' by Flying Lotus

Taken from the updated version of Grand Theft Auto 5, which features a massive new soundtrack, this is a bit less jazzy than the stuff on FlyLo's recent 'You're Dead', although it follows a similar format to the Kendrick Lamar-featuring 'Never Catch Me', ending with an instrumental portion.



PS I saw a cryptic comment on the internet the other day that implied that the imaginary FlyLo FM from GTA V might actually become a real thing - let's hope so!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Recommended music: 'Stateless' by Dirty Beaches

Stateless cover art

So the last ever album from Alex Hungtai under his Dirty Beaches alias has arrived, and it provides the name with a fitting send off. Over 40 minutes and four instrumental tracks he nails that feeling of being in permanent motion, of constantly travelling but never arriving. At times it's slightly unsettling, at others soothing and calming, but overall it just feels like a really honest piece of work. I'm not sure how he's managed it without words, but a get a sense that he's really baring his soul on this release, that he's opening up and saying "this is what it's like to be me sometimes". And there's also a strong sense of bringing things to a close and moving on, with the final track title - 'Time Washes Away Everything' - in tune with that vibe.

I have a huge respect and admiration for Alex (ok, I'm a bit of a fanboy) and I'm really pleased that I got to see him in the summer in London before he retired the Dirty beaches name. Fortunately he's still going to be releasing music and I'm sure whatever comes from him in 2015 will be worth hearing.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Build Me A World - a new arts collective


A bit of a departure for this blog, but I wanted to write about this arts & media non-profit organisation as I like what they're doing and what they stand for. I love this kind of grass-roots movement, the sort of thing that, although it sounds clichéd, is 'by the people, for the people' - I really think that, whatever your beliefs, you can use your behaviour to make things better for you and those around you. I know the guys are trying to spread the word from their base in Chattanooga, Tennessee, so I asked co-founder Russ McGee (a.k.a. rapper Genesis The Greykid) a few questions about the organisation.

DJC: Who came up with the idea for the project

GTK: Chris Woodhull and I both meshed some ideas together which became the brainchild of Build Me A World; multi-media / fine arts collective developing poets, artists and designers...creating new stories and cultivating a movement of art activism in the black community:

  • Connecting professional poets, film-makers and creatives to our collective
  • Providing opportunities of positive self-expression through art and possible employment
  • Building collaborative spaces for creative encounter
What's been the hardest part of setting it up so far?

Building up the proper awareness of the movement. It's getting some traction, but it really takes time...it's all built on relationships. There's no best practice dealing with culture, there's some great examples, but every community is different.

And what's been the biggest success?

There's a lot of things that are important to our work. So there's not really one big success, it's a bunch of little gears that play a major role in making this work.

Have you found that being involved has helped your own creativity?

Absolutely. We're both artists ourselves...both writers, poets, creatives. Working with the young, the old, the tires, the afflicted, they're all growing. You can't be a part of growth without growing yourself. We grow from the stories around us, the experience, the honest energy that bounces off the walls of the studio.

What would you say is your ultimate goal for the project?

To play a vital role in the narrative of the black community...it's time to create new stories.

How can people get involved / help you out if they want to?

Spread the word, follow us on twitter , facebook and our website Build Me A World 


So you heard him, go check it out and give them your support. And if you're thinking "I live hundreds of miles away, I wish there was something like this in my town" then maybe you should set your own up...


Track of the Day: 'Movement I, II & III' by Lapalux

Movement I, II & III

This has been around a month or so now but that's no reason not to give it the space it deserves on here. The three parts of this 7 minute opus will lift your spirits on this damp and grey afternoon, as the aptly-titled 'Movement' washes you ashore in a new land. Like one of those Venusian, Utopian planets on the old Star Trek programmes, populated with nubile females and never-ending banquets, it will transport you to another reality.

As the only British act on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label you might think there'd be a lot of pressure on Essex boy Stuart Howard, but if there is he certainly hasn't succumbed to it.




Saturday, 15 November 2014

Recommended music: 'Run The Jewels 2' by Run The Jewels

"Mix the mind of Brad Jordan and Chuck D and find me / 
I spit with the diction of Malcolm or say a Bun B"
- Killer Mike, 'Jeopardy'


A big step forward from their first album, this release sees Killer Mike and El-P sure to hit the big time. Already being tipped by some as the rap album of the year, it's a rabble-rousing call for social equality masquerading as knockabout hip-hop album. In some ways it's probably too nuanced; I'm sure plenty of misogynists will be singing the "Dick in her mouth all day" chorus of 'Love Again (Akinyele Back)' without grasping its description of mutually respectful relationships. And unless you're a huge fan of the word 'vagina' then Jaime Meline's verses may start to grate after a while (to summarise - he likes vaginas. A lot. Although I guess it makes a change from lazy'pussy' references).

They've followed the same release methodology as last time - you can download the record for free if you want to, or you can stump up the cash for a physical copy on CD or vinyl, along with some natty t-shirts. And you really should, because this kind of quality hip-hop is worth much more of your money than some of the other watered-down shit out there. Seriously, don't be a fuckboy, put your hand in your pocket and spend a few dollars or pounds on this, you won't regret it.

Not for nothing, but I met the boys in the Rough Trade shop in New York a couple of weeks ago and they were two of the most genuine people I've met in the music business, happy to shoot the breeze with everyone.

DJ Cull vs Run The Jewels, Brooklyn 10/29/14
So, listen to the whole thing below and then splash some cash on it.



You can download the album for free here.