Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tres – Break Your Body Down

Tres – Break Your Body Down.mp3

Like something that wandered off the soundtrack to a style-over-substance ’80s flick (say, The Hunger, perhaps), composed entirely of Nagel prints, chrome and neon highlights. Cooler than a thousand Simon Le Bons laid end-to-end and as self-aware as a rogue AI, Tres combine the uber-deadpan vocals of Yaz with uber-charming ESL enunciation. The lyrics don’t add up to anything, but everyone’s looking too good to care. Welcome (back) to the decade when surface area meant more than mass.

I’d point you to more Tres but details on the group are nearly non-existent. Lastfm’s best guess is “Swedish minimal electronics act.” This definitely fits the style and explains the just-off pronunciation. Here’s where I got ahold of this track if you’re curious. The Mediafire link on that page is still active and gets you the whole compilation. Additional info from the source says this track was an unreleased demo. “Unreleased” would seem to define the Tres catalog as they only released one 7″ single during their career of indeterminate length.

All hail the internet, provider of obscurities.



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Filed under Remixes

Sonic Collision Mk. 3 featuring DJ Doc Rok

Washington, DC native DJ Doc Rok is one of only a handful of mashup producers whose most-recognized output is in the form of full albums.  Following (inadvertently) in the footsteps of Dangermouse (whose Grey Album crafted an unlikely partnership between the Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album), Doc Rok first full-length mashup album, American Zeppelin, took a fistful of Led Zeppelin samples and made them play nice with Jay-Z’s American Gangster.  (Full album download here.)

DJ Doc Rok – Ignorant Shit.mp3

Speaking of ignant shit, Doc Rok has put together a rather spectacular selection of the lowest common denominator rap, featuring the sort of lyrics that make concerned parents fear for the future of America, normally in the form of letters to their Congressional representatives. Every track here is the sort of thing pointed at by the self-appointed guardians of culture as examples of What Is Wrong With Hip-Hop Today. For everyone else, it’s just a fuckload of stupid fun.

Doc Rok’s next project, The Biggie Hendrix Experience, takes two artists who went down during their prime, both of whom would be surprised to learn just how much dying increases your productivity. Jimi and Biggie have released somewhere in the area of 300 albums since their death, which puts them in Tupac’s neck of the graveyard, but still leaves them a few albums short of The Fall (est. albums – 377).  (Full download available here.)

DJ Doc Rok – Party & Bullshit vs. Foxy Lady.mp3

All this leads up to what is Doc Rok’s most masterful work yet. Take 50 Cent’s laidback low-key thugging, add some choice instrumental and vocal loops from back in the day (like possibly your parents’ day — the ’50s and ’60s), mix well and chill for an undetermined length of time. Serves party of 4. Fun for ages 7 to 70!**  [Full download available here.]

**(Theoretically. Mr. Cent’s affinity for ribald, sexually frank discussions, quite-a-bit-more-than-occasional swearing and offhand violence will most likely lop quite a few years off both ends of that spectrum. I mean, the kids will dance to it but everyone around them will be horrified and cover the kids’ ears/write letters to their Congressmen.)

Because I love you (mostly platonically, but sometimes more than that when you’re passed out) and I love this album, I’m going to give you TWO tracks to sample just in case the previous mastermixes haven’t fully grabbed your ears.

This is track that first grabbed mine:

DJ Doc Rok – P.I.M.P.mp3

And here’s the one that constantly repeats in my head (and mp3 player):

DJ Doc Rok – Rowdy Rowdy.mp3

Doc Rok isn’t solely a mashup artist, though. He’s got a long string of remixes to his name (check out his Soundcloud page for most of them) and crafts his own beats, one of which was recently used in an SNL sketch (beat kicks in at Ben Stiller’s entrance):



Filed under Remixes

The Triumphant Return of Whitey

Those of you who followed us over from The Other Blog are well aware of my affinity for Whitey’s blend of electronics and slightly-left-of-center rock. While lots of bands may sound like electr0-rock, no one sounds like Whitey.

Great news. Whitey. Is. Back.

And he’s brought tons of music. Setting up shop at Bandcamp, Whitey is re-releasing his previous albums with tons of bonus tracks. While re-releases aren’t a rarity in this world of bonus packaging and posthumous triple-deluxe-editions of whatever rapper/singer/pop tart happened to find themselves on the wrong end of the dead pool, this set of re-releases is actually worth checking out.

At long last, Whitey has released Great Shakes (in two volumes), his previously-scrapped album that was presumed dead and buried shortly after some enterprising piece of shit ran off with the goods and leaked it all over the internet. For those of us who aren’t this particular POS, this is great news. For the first time in EVER, we can pick up the legendary “lost” album and in return for our money, get the nice warm feeling of making things right while also getting a shit-hot collection of kickass tracks.

Whitey’s most recent album (Canned Laughter) is due for an extended re-release as well at some point in the near future. If all of the eye-grabbing pictures and ear-grabbing tunes haven’t persuaded you to throw some money in Whitey’s direction, perhaps some choice quotes from this rather wordy gentleman will give you the extra verbal shove you shouldn’t really need.

“Liars, Vipers, Jokes and Fakes” rides a blissful island rhythm into dark waters, filled with every evil in the world, perpetuated by those who have the power to change things. Everyone else just gets to pay for it. “Send Out the Clowns” attacks the same subject matter with a different metaphor and even brings along some more tortured calliope tones for good measure.

– Heavy Rotation 38: Representing Whitey Edition

Speaking of fucking great, here’s yet another fucking great track from Whitey. Just another day at work for the master, combining an a distorted electro loop that defines the word “crunchy” with some great drumwork and a great set of cynical lyrics directed at all those people who insist on showing their uniqueness by doing what everyone else is doing.

Review of Individuals

Starts rather low key with Whitey’s subdued singing, a little organ and some sparse handclaps. It proceeds along in a rather orderly but catchy fashion until around the 2:50 mark, when the floor drops out (and into a faux-fade) only to be replaced with a whoosh and a banging return to the original beat…Various electronics join the commotion and the tempo shifts as does the tone of the song, going from a plaintive to pissed off (protagonist to antagonist). Stick around for the whole thing.

Review of Stay on the Outside

Fucking Whitey. How does he do it? Let me just state something right out front:

This the best fucking thing I have heard in a long time.

That is not to cast aspersion (nifty word, huh?) on anything else I’ve heard recently. I have heard a ton of great music lately. A ton.

Review of Made of Night

Consider yourself fully informed. Now get the hell out of here and get yourself some Whitey. I’m purchasing the whole lot next Friday* and will be bashing people about the head with the new stuff for weeks thereafter.

*Sorry, Whitey. It would be earlier but blogging is still paying in round numbers and I’ve got a limited supply of gas/food/hooker/comic book money to throw around until payday, but rest assured, that money is as good as in the bank. (Except that it isn’t yet, hence the waiting.)



Filed under Electronica, Rock

The Isotopes: Punk Rock Baseball Club

The Isotopes don’t have a huge catalog, only a handful of EPs.  They sing short punk songs about baseball. Typically, themed novelty acts offer mild entertainment for those with an interest in their niche, but the Isotopes at times offer a bit more. They are the musical equivalent of a collegiate command and control type pitcher drafted outside the second round who occasionally flashes plus velocity and hints at being something more than originally projected.

Take The Ballad of Rey Ordonez as an example. Ordonez was an interesting, imperfect player who defected from Cuba when their national team was playing an exhibition in Buffalo, New York. Ordonez stole away from his minders, hopped and fence and got into a waiting red Cadillac. A brilliant defensive shortstop and human highlight reel afield, Ordonez was a woeful hitter even when judged by the lesser expectations placed on up-the-middle defenders. Spectators were simultaneously wowed by his fantastic glove work and frustrated by his struggles at the plate. The Isotopes song focuses on how that push and pull affected Ordonez as he wore out his welcome in New York and tried to find regular work with another Major League club. It surely is a song about a baseball player, but listeners need not be interested in baseball to take an interest in a flawed and somewhat tragic figure like Ordonez.

I left my kid behind
And I left my wife alone
Hopped a cyclone fence
Into Buffalo
And I don’t wanna talk about it

Now I’m making highlights
Like nobody’s ever seen
But if the team ain’t winning
They take it out on me
And I don’t wanna talk about it

‘Cause I’m the Cuban Missile baby
But I just can’t get no respect
Because I can’t find a way to connect
They walk the pitcher when I’m on deck
And I’m the Cuban Missile child
But I can’t find no one to relate
Because I’m still batting .188
Oh man I just ain’t no good at the… (plate)

Now my career is tanking
And my contract is up for sale
But I can’t go back home
Or they’ll put me in jail
And I don’t wanna talk about it

‘Cause I’m the Cuban Missile baby
But I just can’t get no respect
Because I can’t find a way to connect
They walk the pitcher when I’m on deck
And I’m the Cuban Missile child
But I can’t find no one to relate
Because I’m still batting .188
Oh man I just ain’t no good at the… (plate)

I’m hated in New York now
And Tampa didn’t work out
No love in old Chicago
No luck in San Diego
More bad news in Seattle
And Havana is so far away now
(Havana’s so far away…)

Other tracks of note are the Curse of Jim Eisenreich, about the former Major League outfielder who walked away from professional baseball for two years in the middle of his career after being misdiagnosed, then properly diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, Goodnight Havana, a song specifically about Cuban defection that draws on the experience of Cuban players like Orlando Hernandez who have crossed the 90 miles of open ocean between Cuba and Florida on makeshift rafts, the informative Infield Fly and the instructional Around the Horn.

With Opening Day a couple weeks away, it’s an opportune time to give the Isotopes a listen.

-Mohammed Chang

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Veda Rays – All Your Pretty Fates

I know I’m prone to bashing noisy monstrosities upside your collective heads, thanks to my musical proclivities. My apologies in arrears and also a bit in advance as I’m sure that my tastes will still remain what I like to term “sonically adventurous” and what others term “annoying” and “not really ‘music,’ is it?” So, take it while you can get it. Here’s some actual hook-heavy, poppish stuff.

The Veda Rays – All Your Pretty Fates.mp3

About as congenial a song as you can get while running down all the ways you can’t (or won’t) save someone from themselves. The Veda Rays soar on hooks that’ll embed themselves so deep in your brain you’ll need open head surgery just to remove them. But why would you want to? The vocals are crystal clear (something I don’t often find in my collection of listenables) and verge on anthemic. The kind of lyrics you sing out loud while driving or belt out in the shower, living the life of an almost-pop star vicariously through your own voice. The power of pop with all your street cred still intact.



Filed under Pop

Sonic Collision Mk. 2 (feat. Fissunix and Joneses)

Fissunix – Like a G666.mp3 (Far East Movement vs. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club).mp3

Finally, someone has taken one of the most annoying singles ever released and done bad (good) things to it. With the addition of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s leathered-up rock squall and some tasty fuzzed-up basslines that would make Daniel Ash proud, Fissunix has turned Like a G6 into the best song Ozzy Osbourne’s written in years. Now, instead of wanting to kick the ass of whoever’s humming Far East Movement’s inescapable hit, you’ll instead find your own ass being kicked by a jauntily evil tune that’s nearly as inescapable in its own filthy way.

Joneses – Intergalactic Brotherhood (Beastie Boys vs. Cassius).mp3

The Joneses decide to take a break from keeping ahead of the rest of us in order to toughen up Los Hermanos Beastie with Cassius’ moody (and disorienting) French house. We decide to take a break from hatin’ on them and nod our heads to the modified beat.


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Filed under Remixes

DJ Tool: (Former) DJ CLT’s Weapons of Choice V.1 – The Biggest Beats

Once upon a time (1997-2001, to be precise), I was a DJ. Before we all get swept away imagining my jet-setting lifestyle (or wedding/bar mitzvah-ing lifestyle), let me clarify.

I was a DJ at one of the top (and certainly the top, for a couple of those years) nightspots in a midwestern town of 50,000. And this wasn’t one of those influential midwestern hotspots with a small cadre of buzzworthy bands erupting from below the placid surface. This was a rather unremarkable western South Dakota town that lay directly at the intersection of “bucolic” and “touristy.”

Putting yourself into my (always) white hi-tops doesn’t seem nearly as “jetsetting” or even “interesting” as it did merely sentences ago. In fact, the whole medium-fish-in-a-draining-pond scenario makes you kind of want to nip around back and do yourself in. And if it doesn’t, let me drop a little more cultural science on you to further set the scene.

There is an Air Force base in town. What little variety in color and ethnicity there is stems from the import of races more prevalent elsewhere in the nation. The locals are heavily dependent on country music. At least, the older locals are. The younger ones are heavily dependent on hip hop, as are nearly all white kids estranged from urban areas. So, the college crowd, sprinkled with some fake ID’ed high schoolers would want to hear nothing but hip hop, occasionally mixing it up with something atrociously “rockish,” like Creed, Godsmack or Limp Bizkit.

The older crowd would say delightful things like “Play some Bee Gees” or “Do you have some AC/DC?” or even (this was more prevalent at the second, more rock-oriented bar I worked at briefly) “When are you going to stop playing this nigger music?” Whee. Good times. (Still thinking there’s a huge upside here that vastly outweighs nipping around back and offing yourself? There is, to a point, and I’ll be getting to it.)

So, I stepped into the DJ booth after a few months of fucking around with it during my nights off and immediately marvelled at the fact that no one wanted to hear anything from my favorite bands (Love & Rockets, the Pixies, Skinny Puppy) and were only interested in listening to an instant replay of their Top 40 radio. I adjusted rather quickly to this not-shocking-at-all fact and swiftly became “The DJ” at the club. The clubgoers liked the fact that I played a ton of requests and I liked the fact that I got free drinks and pretty decent hourly wage to play music.

But being a DJ means you’re also the sort of guy who will sink an entire $10 into the jukebox (and this is back where 25-50 cents a play was the norm) just to have some control over your drinking environment. And as I discovered new music, I quickly foisted it on the customers. They still wanted Top 40 hits, heavily laced with hip hop and the occasional growly rock track (when not insisting in an offensive manner that I completely flip the ratio) and I, being the sort of jukebox-jacker I was, snuck in some not-on-the-incredibly-outdated-radar tracks. And to my surprise (and completely ego-swelling pleasure), some of these tracks took off and became heavily-requested numbers of their own.

FURTHER FRAMING: Heyday of Big Beat. Supposed “techno takeover” of America imminent. Complete lack of “rave music” history with most of the local crowd.

STAY WITH ME. (I appreciate the fact that we are 600 words in and I haven’t even started with the music. Apologies all around.)

Here’s where the breakthrough began. On some sort of prepackaged Top 40 hits CD was the following hidden gem. Bouncy, Latin, fun and completely unlike everything else on it (like say, C’Mon ‘N Ride It, a track which those of us trapped at the club by employment swiftly grew to hate with an unhealthy passion). Whoever the fuck the Mighty Dub Katz were, they certainly threw one hell of a self-contained party, one which sounded completely unlike the Steppenwolf track of the same name.

Mighty Dub Katz – Magic Carpet Ride (Ulti-Mix).mp3

This took off. And why not? How could you argue with that groove or the good-natured electrofunk? Research was needed because if these Mighty Dub Katz had anything else out there, I wanted it.

The results came in: the Mighty Dub Katz were in fact one man, Brighton DJ and producer, Norman Cook. But what else had this Norman Cook recorded? Seemed to be somewhat of a dead-end (this was pre-everyone-has-an-internet-at-their-house — keep in mind this is South Dakota and in 1997 there were still quite a few rotary phones in use) until it was discovered that Cook had just released an album under the name Fatboy Slim. Better Living Through Chemistry was played to death by me, not that any particular tune became a minor “this club only” hit, but it was an enjoyable way to start amping up the night before giving way to the normal Top 40 fare.

On the other hand, some older rave tracks caught my ear, went into the decks and caught other ears. One, an early track by Moby (released under the name Voodoo Child) became a frequent request, thanks to its piano breakdowns and drug slang that no one on this side of the pond really understood. (It’s ‘X” over here for some reason, despite the fact there’s no “x” in “ecstasy” [unless you let suddenly cuddly rap stars spell it.])

Voodoo Child – Next Is the E

Only a half-decade past its release and it lives and breathes in South Dakota. There’s probably an extended riff in there that David Foster Wallace would handle with aplomb*. Another tool in my DJ kit also called ‘1992’ home, a speedy primal techno track that stood out from the pack of other speedy primal techno tracks with its inclusion of a ridiculously speedy looped metal riff.

*”Aplomb” meaning “shitloads of footnotes.”

Eskimos & Egypt – Welcome to the Future.mp3

Along the way, I discovered the Chemical Brothers, starting with Dig Your Own Hole and working my way backward to their debut, Exit Planet Dust. Block Rockin’ Beats was the obvious selection, but I found that Song to the Siren’s opening bursts of warped female vox was made for interjecting into whatever tune was already playing, priming the pump for the bizarre breakdown that led to some pumping 4-on-4 action.

Chemical Brothers – Song to the Siren.mp3

Between the ChemBro’s second album and Fatboy Slim’s blistering party-in-a-CD You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby, it certainly seemed possible that America would become a raver’s paradise, much like the British Empire, which had already racked up over a decade’s worth of experience by 1999. Fatboy Slim’s album in particular was the ultimate gateway drug, with attitude on loan from decadent rock stars and acidic touches on loan from Mr. Slim’s 10+ years in the dance music business.

The Rockafeller Skank was big. Praise You was bigger. But the secret weapon was Praise You’s b-side, a huge shit-eating-grin of a track, all wack loops and dirty vocal samples. Not quite as dirty as In Heaven, but you didn’t have to double up on any entendres once the looped vocal kicked in (which was immediately):

Pumpin and bumpin and thumpin and bumpin

Fatboy Slim – Sho Nuff.mp3

The man was also directly responsible for this under-the-nonexistent-Midwestern-radar localized-to-one-club-only hit, possibly the first time in South Dakota’s history that Indian music (by real Indians, rather than just misnamed ones) had been heard at club-music volume. While the original single was pleasant enough, Slim’s bigger beats and chopped-up lyrical loops kicked its pleasant ass all over the dancefloor. And then there’s the breakdown, a faux call-and-response that namedrops everyone from the titular Asha Bhosle to French rock star Jacques Dutronc to Trojan Records.

Cornershop – Brimful of Asha (Norman Cook Original Extended Remix).mp3

But it wasn’t just CLT’s house o’ big beats. Harder, faster stuff made an appearance as well. Like every other DJ on the proverbial block, trancier stuff got airtime, as well as a variety of oddball, never-should-have-made-it tracks that took off for whatever reason (most likely due to the Top 40ish caning they received from the resident DJ). We’ll get to that in some future posts, but until then, here’s a taste of one of the directions we’re headed, courtesy of Yves Deruyter (who himself made his way into my ears courtesy of a hellaciously great mix album by Danny “12-hour-set” Tenaglia.)

Yves Deruyter – Feel Free.mp3



Filed under Commentary, Electronica, Remixes, Rock