Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hip Radar - ASAP Rocky

In a continuing effort to convince you that this blog isn't mostly about hip hop.... let's talk about some hip hop. Skip this post if it's not your thing.

ASAP Rocky (what I can only assume is a slight pun on the rapper named Aesop Rock), is a rapper from New York City, uptown Harlem. He's been buzzing on most hip hop forums for having a really original style, by which I can only assume means that he doesn't try to sound exactly like Lil Wayne like 90% of the rappers these days.

Although he does share some similarities with Lil Wayne, most notably the consumption and rapping about cough syrup, in the same double cupped styrofoam cups.

In particular, the song that has been rising him to attention, "Purple Swag".
Note: This has nothing to do with the genre "purple" that we discussed in an earlier post. Here he's just noting that his favorite substances of abuse happen to be the color purple.

Which has everything you need in a rap video these days:

-Repeating the word "swag" ad nauseam.
-Talking about sexual and drug vices.
-A fairly attractive blonde lip syncing your lyrics while looking very uncomfortable in a pair of fronts.

Surprising that he took that route to notoriety, since some of his other songs aren't nearly as trite, including a song produced by none other than Clams Casino, who we visited earlier. Although it's weird that Purple Swag has taken off... I guess it just hit the sweet spot of being trite, having a girl acting gangsta, and being Lil Wayne without being Lil Wayne, so the hip hop hipsters (they exist) will jump on board, both ironically and unironically.

Sure, I'll blast it as mindless feel good party hip hop (as the beat is quite fire), but if I'm looking for something with more substance, I'll stick to wondering what the future of Earl Sweatshirt holds.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tweet Mania

Thanks to the people who followed me earlier and made me not feel like a complete social retard...

I'll be sure to start tweeting things that will make you wonder why you listened to me.

You're all followed back... everyone's getting followed back! You better not have a problem with that.


I Have A Personal Twitter

Yes I do... how special am I!? Sorry, this is a waste post asking you to follow me on twitter so I don't feel like I'm shouting into a crowd... you can skip it, I'll completely understand, I don't like twitter either. I'll have a real post up soon to make up for this, which is my first self-whoring post in my entire life... I feel dirty.

Well, I have about 19 followers on my twitter account... and one of them is a Romanian furniture maker (I'm not joking), and every other day a spam bot adds me, just to make me extra annoyed (always report them, don't know why they bother with me).

Anyway, I love sharing weird things and shouting incoherently (never spam though)... so if that's your cup of tea and you want to have weird and incoherent things in your tweet field or twitter board or twit stream or whatever the hell it is:

Follow me @CaptainGravy ... give me a shout with your blog name and I'll show you extra love.

And yes, I made that twitter before I knew there was an actual "magical musical" by that name... so... I don't think they can sue me, but whatever, honest mistake.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Artist on the Rise: Clams Casino

For the longest time, when you would mention Clams Casino, I (and most people) would think of clams on the halfshell, with breadcrumbs and bacon.

Well... those days are over, because New Jersey's Mike Volpe (another testament to the awesomeness of the name Mike) is here to erase all those greasy thoughts of delicious bacon right out of your mind.

He gained notoriety by producing beats for the rapper Lil B, and Lil B gained notoriety for being pretty much the worst rapper ever. If you haven't heard of Lil B and think I'm exaggerating, click here to experience how horrible he is, because there's no way I'm embedding a Lil B song on my blog, even ironically.

The legendary Volpe, in the flesh.

Anyway, it worked, and the supreme awesomeness of Volpe's beats more than cancelled out the absurdity of Lil B... in fact the beats are more popular than the versions with Lil B rambling over the top of them, and you'll frequently see "instrumental" involved in a lot of searches for Lil B songs.

Mike is also a really, really chill guy. On most of the songs by him uploaded to youtube, the highest rated comment is "i produced this thanks for uploading, peace"... by none other than Mike's own youtube account, which shares the name of his twitter accout, clammyclams, which will respond very graciously to questions and compliments.

Let's get to more tunes rather than me blabbing.

Regular, intelligent readers will be able to correctly identify the sound of this tune (hint: the color).

The instrumental that arguably made him famous.

These are only a small percentage of his amazing tunes... go to his youtube channel and listen to the rest.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Purple Sound

Today we're going to be talking about Purple. The color? No, hell no... in case you haven't noticed, this blog is mostly about music.

And husky puppies, but we've already cleared the air on that one.

Purple isn't really a genre, per se, but more of an aesthetic (/hipster). There are people that will box things into a purple sound genre, but really to me it's more of a feeling, like "wow that synth line has a purple sound to it".

Okay, I know that paragraph made me sound like a complete idiot, but humor me for a second, I didn't come up with the term.

Most purple tunes started out as a branch from dubstep in 2008, taking aspects of soul, funk, and even chiptunes. Basically, purple made me think that maybe 80's synths could be awesome again. When you hear a purple synth, you know it.

When you think of purple, there are actually very few names that have really made it their own. First and foremost, you have to think of Joker. His Kapsize EP could be considered the first major purple release, and since then he has consistently brought the style out of hiding and into your headphones. Have a click up there on his tune "Purple City", which also features Ginz, another one of the originators from Bristol.

The song directly above these letters is another classic purple song by the producer Guido. If I had to sum up the entire purple sound in two seconds, it would be the synth that comes in 28 seconds into the song. To me, there is nothing more purple than that moment.

On the wonkier side of purple, we have the legendary Rustie. How he even dreams up some of his beats I will never know, but I do know that there are very few producers on the same level of uniqueness without sounding like utter garbage. Have a listen (drops 43 seconds in):

Pretty wonky, eh? Really doesn't even sound that purple until the drop. Look into Rustie if you liked that track, he has many more tunes that will leave you scratching your head.

Back to the more soulful side of purple, and featuring one of the few Americans to get purple right, we have California's own Mimosa. While not all of his productions are purple (there are very few producers who would limit themselves like that), you have to admit that he hits the nail on the head when he tries:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Top 3 Best Things In The World, No Seriously

Hello all, while I'm busy writing my post about music and hipster stuff (which I promise will be just as terrible as all my other hipster posts), I thought I would do a quick update featuring the top three greatest things in the world.

Are you ready? You better be, because I'm not stopping for your slackness.

Here we go.

Number Three:

Drugs! No, i'm only joking. Back rubs. Yes, back rubs. Have you ever had one? No? Well I suggest you find the closest person to you and demand one. Why? Because they are just that good.

There is something about having your trapezius muscles squeezed and pressed by someone other than yourself that just makes you feel like you have nowhere else to be. Unfortunately, I rarely get back rubs. I'm aware that you can pay to receive them but it's so much better when a friend or lover does it.

Even more unfortunately, I am told that I give great back rubs, so I'm constantly being asked. Not that I really mind, but when you're dishing out Grade A back rubs your whole life with no reciprocation, your enthusiasm kind of dwindles. On to...

Number TWO:

This shit right here:

"Ew", you might be saying... "Nasty", you might retort.

"STFU and just eat it" is my reply.

"What is it", you might ask... Well folks, this here is chimichurri sauce, and it is amazing. It is a sauce that is garlic-y and delicious. It's from Argentina and they are geniuses for making it. Dip your bread in it, dip your fingers in it, dip your whole face into it and your face will suddenly become delicious. 

I am not responsible for you eating your own face if you follow that advice.

Put it on a steak, like the bottle suggests? It's like a thousand magical orgasms in your mouth.

Anyway, I'm hungry so it's on to...

Number.... ONE:

Oh geez, here we are, at number one in my best things list. And oh yes, it's a doozy. 

May I present to you....


Husky.... puppies. No, not hush puppies, husky puppies, the breed of dog while it's still really small.

This guy right here:

I don't care if you're a cat person, a dog person, an iguana person, or just a weirdo... if there's a husky puppy in front of you... you will pet it. It's unavoidable.

My girlfriend and I were walking along the beach this weekend, talking about how amazing husky puppies are, and by some sort of miracle... WE SAW A COUPLE WHO HAD A HUSKY PUPPY. It was a sign, we had to get one.

The best part? If you get a husky-corgi interbreed, the result is a husky that permanently stays in the shape of a corgi... how awesome is that!?

I know some of you would say "boobs" or "sex" or "dubstep" or "i hate this blog" or whatever you would list as number one, but I'm sorry, you're wrong. It's husky puppies.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Low End Theory Artist Preview: Teebs

First of all, I want to give a big shout and THANK YOU to all my followers/supporters/commenters. You guys are AMAZING, and I love reading your thoughts/reviews/rants/pictures/random coolness. I'm getting towards 200 now and it's really great to wake up and read all your thoughts and share my little hip gems with you.

ANYWAY, now that I've gotten that sappy little paragraph out of the way, let's talk about a feller who's going to entertain me and a few other fine folks at tonight's Low End Theory, Teebs.

Sometimes breaking your ankle is a bad thing. Well, actually breaking your ankle is always a bad thing. But sometimes when you're off your feet, you end up moving in with Flying Lotus and getting music lessons by one of LA's greatest producers.

Wait... what? Well that's exactly what happened to Teebs, and we're all a lot better off because of it. Bringing his dreamlike hip hop to the scene, Teebs joins the rank of some of LA's finest beatmakers, and after tonight we will see what he brings to the Airliner besides his awesome dreads.

I like Teebs because he doesn't mess around. His beats are always concise and neatly packaged, no fat to trim and no unnecessary spices.

Monday, July 25, 2011

LA Artist Feature - Warpaint

Happy Monday, guys and gals! Let's get this week started off right with a good ole artist feature.

*before you start reading this (if you even intend to), scroll down and start one of the songs, so you can listen to them as you read... it will save you some time... yay! multitasking!*

Today it's Warpaint, a band that wikipedia tells me is classified as "art rock".... which tells you basically nothing. Hmm, let's see... I would venture to classify them as "four ladies singing dreamily", or if I had to make up a hipster term, "sweet sludge dream pop"... which probably gives you a better idea than "art rock".

The band started out small in this big city, but their talent did not go unnoticed. I had heard of them and saw them at a small record store a couple of years ago, and then all of a sudden I saw they were playing Coachella, were featured by MTV (haha aww they still try to do music), the BBC, and their youtube channel has over a million hits.

Anyway, these tunes will complement your Monday morning exquisitely, especially if you're sleepy, and is much more approachable than the random hipster noise I've been throwing at you guys recently.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Witch House / Drag

Sooo happy Sunday everyone! Thought I'd throw my daily dose of hipster in your face by telling you all about the genre witch house, known to some as "drag".

If the name sounds sort of sinister to you, good! Your context senses are working just fine.

How does one make/define this genre? Well, for starters, you take the tempo and slooow it down. Pick any rhythm and make it a slug. Next, you take a classic drum machine used in old and new hip hop (like an 808 or a 909) and slap some of those crispy snares over it.

If the rhythm you picked isn't droning enough, add some dark synth lines over the top. To top it all off, throw some distorted and reverberated samples here and there (to fit in the groove the samples should be almost unrecognizable).

Throw all of those ingredients in a pot, set Ableton to 350 degrees and bake in the studio for three hours. After you emerge, you should have a sluggish masterpiece like these examples below:

Oh and make sure you pair it with creepy black and white footage when you upload it to youtube, for maximum impact.

For extra extra super duper hipster points, make sure you have a nickname for your band that consists of unicode characters:

Or other annoyingly hard to look up names:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

SoCal Artist Feature - Wavves

Since I promise this isn't a hip hop blog (it isn't), I decided to review a band that has been making waves (ha) just south of me in San Diego since 2008.

Wavves is noise pop, surf rock, indie rock blah blah whatever you want to call the semi-psychedelic beachy guitar tunes that they produce. I say beachy because it's hard not to picture the beach when I listen to them, but that might just be me.

I also think of a bunch of hipsters jumping around a dimly lit room in tight jeans holding cans of PBR and wearing sunglasses for no reason at all. But hey, sometimes hipster things can be clever, and I'll give Wavves a pass for being catchy.

So if you like hyper, lo-fi guitar rock, give Wavves a listen. If you don't like them, GOOD because I'm a hipster and no one is supposed to like them but me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

LA Artist Feature - SAMIYAM

Okay, so he's not technically from Los Angeles, per se, but this is where he's made a name for it, so it still counts.

... I said, it still counts, don't you shake your head at me.

Anywho, SAMIYAM is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then subsequently realized that LA was the place for him in 2006. In the space of five or so years, he's had a rocket-like rise into notoriety around this area, becoming one of the nom de jour of the resurrection of off-kilter instrumental hip-hop beats (this isn't a hip-hop blog, I swear).

And by off-kilter, I mean that listening to his tunes are the audio equivalent of stumbling home down the Venice Beach boardwalk after a long night of drinking (also in July, apparently):

Slightly wonky, and somewhat psychedelic, his beats really lend themselves to be remixed with vocals, but still sound great on their own.

Take the Tea Leaf Dancers mash of his tune "Escape" with Andreya Triana, for example:

Which only has 110 views on youtube, I might add... what's up with that? Oh well, different strokes, that's what I'm here for.

His latest release on Brainfeeder, "Sam Baker's Album", was released almost a month ago to this day, and it features his progressive wonky style all too well, most notably (for me) with the tune "Frosting Packets", which should definitely have you craving toaster pastries if you're a normal human being.

While this only has 280 views at the time of posting, the lower quality versions uploaded at the same time have upwards of 5,000 views... baffling. Is it just me or do you always seek out the best quality of music on youtube? I always migrate to 720p when it's available, what about you? If you've read this far, let me know in the comments. ps i love you if you've read this far.

He's one of those guys that you either love or hate, so I don't mind any flaming in the comments, speak your mind. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From The Shadows: Shabazz Palaces

I've heard people call them "the Nirvana of hip-hop", I've heard people call them "gimmicky trash", but one thing that the (fairly) new hip-hop group isn't is ordinary.

I mean, people lauded over the Black Eyed Peas when they first came about, and look where that got us, talking about bees and getting retarded. Selling out, if you will.

But Shabazz seems to be more than that. For starters, no one knows who the hell they really are. Even their frontman, Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, remained anonymous for the majority of Shabazz's emerging over the past two or so years. They don't even have a Myspace (which is interesting in more than one sense).

All signs are looking positive, and the only thing that you can expect from Shabazz in the future is something that you're not expecting.

Their latest offering, Black Up, features melodies and rhythms that flow in and out of each other seamlessly, and although I don't always agree with most reviews, I'll go ahead and recommend Shabazz to all those who are hip-hop inclined and interested in its future. Sup Pop has graciously offered a full album stream on their youtube, so you can preview it in it's entirety below:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Low End Theory Preview: Saturn Never Sleeps / MatthewDavid / Gaslamp Killer

Tonight in Lincoln Height's famous Low End Theory event, the masterful DJ Gaslamp Killer returns from his tour to bring the house down, and King Britt's collaboration with the singer Rucyl, known collectively as Saturn Never Sleeps.

Also making his return to LET is Los Angeles' own Matthewdavid, bringing his low-fi wonky tunes with him.

I'm excited to see King Britt live, and we know all too well what Gaslamp is capable of.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shlohmo's Toro y Moi Remix (and a kitten)

Here's a tune that I've been vibing on for awhile now, it's a remix of Toro y Moi's song "Fax Shadow", which is awesome by itself but Shlohmo takes it to a whole new level.

(drops @1:06)

and in case you hate my taste in music and swear under your breath at me for making you waste your time on songs that i like, here is something that you cannot possibly hate...

a scottish fold kitten playing with a box!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Women's World Cup, Sepak Takraw, and Some Tunes For Ya

In case you weren't aware, USA faced Japan yesterday in the Women's World Cup final match, and to say it was intense was an understatement, even if you hate soccer.

The match was goal-less until the sixty-ninth minute, when this little lady put America up by one:

Unfortunately that didn't last long, as Japan answered back with a goal of their own, forcing the game to end tied and going into extra time. A fierce header from Wambach puts USA up by one...

and then in the freaking 117th minute, Japan scores on a corner kick, puts the game at a tie, and then wins it on penalty kicks. Agh.

Anyway, if you don't like soccer, check out this badass sport, Sepak Takraw. You cannot deny that it is probably the best version of volleyball in the world.

Anyway, blah blah soccer blah, had to get that off of my chest. Here's some tunes for you:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

3D Sound and the Future of Music

I work as a studio and post-production audio engineer here in Los Angeles, and I spend a lot of my free time looking into new technology and acoustical tricks to enhancing your listening experience, whether it be in your car or in a theater.

One of the various techniques that has gotten a lot of my attention recently is binaural recording and 3D sound. Binaural is especially interesting because it provides an experience that surround sound cannot compare to. It's nothing new, but the studies are ongoing, both mine and my fellow acoustic researchers.

The trouble with it is that you pretty much have to be wearing headphones, or if you don't wear headphones then you pretty much have to be in the perfect spot in the room/car to have the effect. Naturally this poses some problems, but me and many others are working to put this effect into movies, and personally I will be using the technique in music studios.

Anyway, here's an example of what I'm talking about... Please put on headphones otherwise you will not get the full experience.

And please ignore the word "Holophonics", as it is just an Italian guy's attempt to patent binaural recording, and is very dubious in its wording.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Underground Beatsmith: Lukid

Today's featured artist is the beat maker known as Lukid from London. To find out that he is from London, i had to go to the darkest corner of the internet.... yes, myspace, because he doesn't tell you anywhere else. If you look up any information on him, you usually find the same manic-depressive sounding rant about not wanting to give a bio, and if you manage to find his facebook group page, you'll find a different, yet still self-loathing description of himself.

If you stumble across his tumblr, you'll find a rather acerbic "complete idiots guide to approaching me after a show", a tongue-in-cheek way of expressing his distaste for overzealous fans.

I'm not sure what his deal is, but I appreciate his honesty, and he makes some pretty awesome beats.

"Fall Apart"


This tune is actually called "Ski Fly", not "Sky Fly", but it's the highest quality version of the song.

Then there's this weird edit of his song "Chord", with Steven Seagal on the Arsenio Hall show:

And the haunting repetitiveness of "Makes":

And many, many more. If you like these then you should go to the suggestions panel of youtube and click through some of his other songs.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras Slowed Down Is Amazing.

I know this post has nothing to do with underground music or anything like that, but you'll have to forgive me because this is fantastically funny and creepy.

We all know how ridiculous that Toddlers and Tiaras show is, and it gets even more so when you slow it down:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shlohmo's "Shell of Light" Remix

In case you haven't heard, Bay Area producer Shlohmo has remixed an iconic Burial tune, "Shell of Light".

As with any Burial remix, opinions are sharply divided. Die-hard fans consider 99.9% of Burial remixes to be blasphemy, and honestly some of them *coughmtedencough* are.

With this tune, Shlo puts forward his interpretation of the ending of "Shell", which sort of bothers me because I personally think that the beginning of the song is highly underrated and beautiful. The remix will probably be more to your liking if you don't like Burial's atmospheric 2-step style, and prefer the dreamier side.

Here's the original by Burial (the part that gets remixed begins @3:25):

And Shlohmo's remix:
Shell of Light (Shlohmo Remix) - Burial by shlohmo

Love it or hate it, you have to give the guy credit for making such a controversial move. I think it greatly helped his career, because lovers and haters are still great publicity. WeDidIt is offering up the remix at no charge here, or you can download it at lower quality off of soundcloud.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DJing Like A Boss

Check out this Ableton Live megamix by Madeon, appropriately titled "Pop Culture", as he takes a whopping 39 pop/electronic songs and mashes them together into a 5 minute mix. Oh and did I mention that Madeon is only seventeen years old? Well if I also tell you he's from France, that will probably make more sense to you, since if there's any country that knows its electronic music, it's France. Anyway, enjoy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Low End Theory Preview: Kingdom / Taurus Scott

The lineup for this wednesday has been released, and it's very exciting!

One of the Night Slugs beasts Kingdom will be flying in to LA from Brooklyn, bringing his UK funky / 2 step grooves with him. This will be Low End Theory's second taste of Night Slugs, and the Airliner will be packed, I guarantee it (thankfully the security/line cutting business has been sorted!). Following up will be Taurus Scott (T Scott), who lives practically up the road from me!

Anyway, let's get to the previews:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Last NASA Space Shuttle Launch Video

Since I'm an astronomy nut and I haven't seen enough NASA love on the internet today, I'm going to post up the video of the final NASA space shuttle Atlantis launch:

Space shuttle launches are now privatized, and if you don't understand why that makes me mad, you should read this article about the "5 most horrifying things corporations are taking over". Really sad to see space exploration added to that list.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Low End Theory Shake Up? (Updated!)

 (So, if you were at Low End (or anywhere near the Airliner) last night, you may have noticed that the line to get in and the general crowd outside was slightly more.... hectic. I took some pictures but they're too dark to even see what's happening.

Basically the security staff is very sketchy and takes bribes and gives out favors, and this made more than one person upset.

I personally let it slide, but it seems Daddy Kev & co. aren't too keen on that atmosphere. So, it looks like they're looking to move to a larger location. They sat down with their Facebook family and had a discussion about where to move/what to do. Popular opinion is for the Echoplex (which is larger, but has pretty shitty audio in my opinion), and everywhere from the Staples Center (ha) to Lot613 (my personal vote).

There are also rumors of a possible decision to make the event 21+, which I personally think would help.

Anyway, cannot wait to see where the legendary event is headed!

It seems as if Low End is taking its first action by replacing all of the security for the event.

My Picks For The "LA Sound"

When people ask me to describe the "LA Sound", I often step back in shock. What an impossible question! If you look at it through popularity, you have to say that gigs like Miley Cyrus and Hispanic music would reign supreme.

But no, this is a bass/alternative blog, so by golly we're gonna focus on that beautiful "underground" movement that is the LA electronic scene. I think I've recovered from last night's Low End Theory enough to pick out my top 2, definitive "LA Sound" tracks.

Listen to them, damnit.