Sneak preview

If you haven't grabbed the Alleys mix, get it now -- new soul / funk / hip-hop mix for December will take its place within the next couple of days. Here's a taste.

Sabu Martinez - "My Christina"

Jackin' for beats

I haven't had the best impression of Joakim -- his new remix of Annie is pretty blah, and "Teenage Kiss" was fluff compared to the unreal "Transe" by Volga Select on the flip. This remix is cool, though, he loosens up DJ T's "A Guy Called Jack" to the point where I could imagine Missy rhyming over the beginning of it. (Maybe because I just got done listening to that JDH and Dave P set where they mix "Lose Control" into the Tiga remix of "Washing Up" ... )

DJ T - "A Guy Called Jack (Joakim Remix)"

Out on Get Physical.


Brazil vs. Belgium

When the dueling Brazilian post-punk compilations were released this summer I opted for The Sexual Life of the Savages over Nao Wave, but this new 12" of remixes and edits on Germany's Man Recordings label makes me think I made the wrong call. Maybe I need both. Here, Belgium's Glimmers turn "Agentes" into dark electro that could fit on the Serie Noire compilations.

Agentss - "Agentes (Glimmers Slowdance Remix)"

More than you paid for

Free mixes on the web:

Beats in Space hosts Carl Craig and Darshan Jesrani.

Optimo lounges in Martin Denny mode.

DJ Eleven goes south with Houston Rocks It.

Heatwave brings the dancehall / pop / reggaeton fire.

JDH and Dave P rock the Tribeca Grand.


I'd like to take you out tonight

Missed em at CMJ and when they opened for the Hold Steady last month at Webster Hall, so I'm psyched that Blood on the Wall are playing the Knitting Factory on 12/15 before going on an East Coast tour with fellow travelers from The Social Registry. Along with Animal Collective's Feels, BOTW's Awesomer is my favorite rock record of the year.

Blood on the Wall - "You Are a Mess"

Ice tray up in my mouth

Shocker of the year is that I've still got The Peoples Champ in heavy rotation -- but screw it (heh), I can't get enough Paul Wall. Fifteen tracks deep where the filler usually hides, out jumps one of the best songs on the album:

Paul Wall - "Big Ballin'"


Hard to believe the Skatt Bros. were marketed as a "straight version of the Village People" -- a gay disco version of the Stranglers would be more like it. Their biggest hit, "Walk the Night," popped up on Optimo's Psyche Out and now gets the bootleg treatment on the second volume of the Dark Side of Disco comps. Check it out, in 1979 disco could be punk as fuck.

Skatt Bros. - "Walk the Night"

Heavy axe

Any self-respecting crate-digger knows how often the music of producer and arranger David Axelrod has been sampled, from Shadow's "Midnight in a Perfect World" to Mos Def's "Hip Hop" and Dr. Dre's "Next Episode." While his albums have been widely reissued, no release puts as much essential Axelrod in one place as The Edge: David Axelrod at Capitol Records 1966-1970, a new Blue Note compilation curated by Eothen "Egon" Alapatt from Stones Throw. The comp's title track -- performed, remarkably, by the actor David McCallum -- captures Axelrod's signature sound:

David McCallum - "The Edge"

Also worth a search is the solid and relatively slept-on Axelrod album that Mo'Wax released in 2001, after DJ Shadow and others persuaded Axelrod to return to work on some incomplete tracks originally laid down in 1968. This song eventually was named in honor of Dre and Diamond D, two producers who along with Shadow sparked the resurgence of interest in Axelrod's music.

David Axelrod - "The Dr. and the Diamond"

(See also: Soul Sides has a recent post about The Edge.)



Not many producers can repeatedly switch their styles without getting in over their heads or seeming like a dilettante, but Denmark's Anders Trentemoller has managed, shifting from deep house on Naked Music to pounding electro remixes like Yoshimoto's "Du What You Du" and Unai's "Oh You and I." His latest guise can be heard in the slightly psychedelic, queasy minimalism of "Sunstroke" on Germany's Poker Flat label, home of the unwieldy box set.

Trentemoller - "Sunstroke"


Gobble gobble

Best Thanksgiving song ever?

William DeVaughn - "Be Thankful for What You Got"


Look, we've seen this kind of thing before

Contest: To be the band whose reputation among me and my friends furthest exceeds that band's real-world* prestige and/or sales. Winner: Destroyer by a mile. So as we scour the Merge message boards for the tracklist to Destroyer's Rubies (out Feb. 21), here's something to hold over the faithful -- an acoustic version of "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras," which later appeared in all its vocal-harmonized glory on the New Pornographers' Twin Cinema. This version was on a split 7" with Black Mountain, part of a "Quiet Weather Singles Series" that Spirit of Orr is now selling as a four-pack.

* (i.e. not music-critic-world, nor indie-blog-world)

Destroyer - "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras"


The black, dice-uhh

The DFA remix is still the king, but for me this Luomo remix has become the sleeper hit of Black Dice's "Smiling Off" remix record -- surprising since I thought Luomo's much-hyped Present Lover pretty much sounded like the soundtrack to gaunt models getting wasted instead of a redemption of the cliches of said soundtrack. This track retains very little of the original, from Black Dice's Broken Ear Record, but the grittier source material serves to ground Luomo's breathy style in something more substantial. Out on DFA / Astralwerks.

Black Dice - "Smiling Off (Luomo Remix)"

Re-up, re-up

Instead of an "original" post today, I'm doing a reissue. I've only been checking out mp3 blogs for the past year or so, but I found so much great stuff that it inspired me to start my own -- so here are my top five finds from my five favorite sites. Grab 'em if you missed 'em the first time.

Flower Travellin' Band - "Satori Pt. II" (20 Jazz Funk Greats)

Edwin Birdsong - "Cola Bottle Baby" (Bumrocks.com)

Love Is All - "Felt Tip Hip Kids" (Fluxblog)

Three 6 Mafia ft. 8-Ball & MJG and Young Buck - "Stay Fly" (Lemon-Red)

Joe Bataan - "Call My Name" (Soul Sides)


Cosmic spinoff

As an addendum to the Kreucht & Fleucht post below, here's a couple more tracks in that vein. The first one, "Zig Zag Feeling," I picked up accidentally when I thought I was getting Steve Barnes' "Cosmic Sandwich" -- on the label it's credited to "Cosmic Sandwich Produced by Steve Barnes." These guys and their aliases .... Anyway, compared with the other "Cosmic Sandwich" this track has fewer of the k-house signifiers (except it's really long) .... it's a nice chunk of Moroder-revival space disco a la Lindstrom. Out on My Best Friend.

Cosmic Sandwich - "Zig Zag Feeling"

This next one is Dominik Eulberg's wigged-out remix of DJ Hell, with some awesome organic-sounding percussion and insane soundwaves washing through to obliterate everything. On Hell's International Deejay Gigolo label.

DJ Hell - "Follow You (Dominik Eulberg Remix)"


Dollar bin diving #1

As a great man once said, "This is not something new!!! This is something ollllllldddd .... and dir-tayyyyyyyyyyyy." I don't hit the thrift stores and cheap-o bins as much as I used to when I lived in Virginia (better pickins than NYC), but every so often I wade into the land of the discounted and discarded. Here's the results of recent expeditions -- some well-known, some obscure, some kinda cheesy, but all of 'em cheap.

MCL (Micro Chip League) - "New York"

Late-eighties industrial on the Front 242 tip, with bizarre "scary" vocals delivering a Big Apple public relations message. ("Be a part of it! Feel the heart of it! New York, New York, New York!")

Iron Butterfly - "Soul Experience"

My friend Brian first played me "Soul Experience" after he heard it on a Peanut Butter Wolf mix, so I swiped a copy from my dad's old records (he had doubles - ?!?). Later I heard Rob Swift start a DJ set with it. Finally I found another one at the thrift store and picked it up so I could mess with that opening breakbeat .... too bad I suck at juggling.

John Kongos - "He's Gonna Step On You Again"

Yikes, how can I not have heard this before? Loved the Happy Mondays version and didn't even realize it was a cover (hey, I was just a young'n at the time). The original from 1971 sounds like the Madchester "Step On" played by T. Rex, i.e., really fucking good. To top it all off, the drums are a loop of African tribal percussion -- the Guinness Book lists it as the first record to ever use a sample.

Leprechaun - "Loc-It-Up"

I grabbed this strictly because the title of the B side ("Party Freaks") looked promising, but it's too slow-tempoed and '80s-cheesy even for me. Luckily the A side turned out to be a groovy R&B disco jam.

UTFO - "Bite It"

Most know these guys for "Roxanne, Roxanne" and "The Real Roxanne" (source of 90% of Missy Elliott's rhyme style), but this track from the same album strikes me as surprisingly next level for its time. Check out the crunching apple, those rising organ notes, and Kangol's freaky flow.

Tear the roof off

About 2 a.m. last night in a Brooklyn warehouse filled with at least a thousand people, Steinski dropped this monster cover of "Expressway to Your Heart" .... the floor went so nuts they had to switch to reggae a few songs later to give everyone a breather. Crazy fun night.

Margo Thunder - "Expressway to Your Heart"
Double Dee & Steinski - "Lesson 3: History of Hip-Hop"


Crawling & flying

The great techno column that Philip Sherburne writes for Pitchfork has lately been charting a new strain of psychedelic house music, dubbed "ketamine house" for the woozy and disorienting walls of sound that spiral through tracks produced by the likes of Dominik Eulberg (above) and James Holden. The second disc of the new compilation Kreucht & Fleucht, mixed by Eulberg, is the best document of the new sound:

Steve Barnes - "Cosmic Sandwich (Dominik Eulberg Remix)"
Andre Kraml - "Safari (Holden Remix)"

The first disc, Kreucht, is less shock-of-the-new but it still sports a few great tunes, including the ominous Mathew Jonson track from Kompakt's Speicher series and John Tejada's "Paranoia," a sequel of sorts to the massive "Sweat (On the Walls)."

Mathew Jonson & the Mole - "Dirt Road and a Boat From Soundwave"
John Tejada - "Paranoia"

Kreucht & Fleucht is out on Mischwald.


Love from above

Two remixes from the dance/rock interzone: DFA's extended take on "DARE," the Shaun Ryder cut from Gorillaz' Demon Days, and the Erol Alkan re-edit of "Romantic Rights" by the other DFA, Vice rockers Death From Above 1979. The Gorillaz mix is in the vein of DFA's earlier U.N.K.L.E. remix, "In a State" -- the beginning just adds beefed-up drums to the original version, but halfway through it spins off into an extended digital freakout. Not sure if the "DARE" remixes have been released officially, I've only seen them on a white-label (there's also a Soulwax mix). The Alkan loops a vocal line and adds hysteria-inducing sirens for a great intro; the track is included on the DFA79 remix record, Romance Bloody Romance, which comes out next Tuesday.

Gorillaz - "DARE (DFA Remix)"
Death From Above 1979 - "Romantic Rights (Erol Alkan's Love From Below Re-Edit)"


Bonus beats - Quick Mix Vol. 1

Since the site is brand-new I want to clear the decks of some tracks from the past few months before they feel too out-of-date. This mix is just five songs, about 25 minutes, and to me it has a wistful end-of-summer vibe mainly because of the !!! song, a great Magnetic Fields cover. Between "Take Ecstasy With Me" and "Strange Powers," which I tracked down after hearing it in Jonathan Caouette's strange and sad autobiographical film Tarnation, I've been on a serious Mag. Fields kick lately. The rest of the tracks on the mix straddle a line between machine music and organic grooves.

Quick Mix Vol. 1


1. !!! - "Take Ecstasy With Me"
2. Osborne - "Afrika"
3. Henrik Schwarz - "Leave My Head Alone Brain (Mix 2)"
4. Simian Mobile Disco - "The Count"
5. Black Leotard Front - "Casual Friday (Inst.)"


Bury the needle

"Fireball is five ladies with a mutual love for psychedelic, prog, garage and all things heavy," sez their label, High Roller Society records. "In the red" doesn't even begin to describe it -- Fireball's new EP, Blessed Be, will make your speakers sound flat-out fucked. But ya know, some people are into that kind of thing. And I am one of those people. Without Jennifer Black's vocals slicing through the sludge this might be a mess ... and I wish the lead guitar were a wah-pedal face-melt blastoff instead of a beginner's two-finger stumble ... but that slide-whistle solo is toooo crazy. Limited vinyl can be found at places like Forced Exposure and Fusetron.

Fireball - "Arsonist"


Hitting the sweet spot

What do I know about Yura Yura Teikoku? Not much, and almost all of it comes from this page at Mesh-Key Records, a New York label that acquired some of this Japanese band's out-of-print vinyl and brought it to the States. (It's also where I swiped that great photo above.) Yura Yura played their first-ever shows in the United States last month. I saw them at Northsix in Brooklyn and it was great, although not as out-there mindblowing as their live CD from 2003, NA.MA.SHI.BI.RE.NA.MA.ME.MA.I (somehow I have a feeling that title doesn't translate well). Their main sound is Nuggets-type rock like dozens of other bands from Japan and everywhere else, but they add massive walls of feedback and psychedelic weirdness, as if a band from the late sixties time-traveled forward to learn about Sonic Youth and Radiohead, then went back to the garage.

Yura Yura Teikoku - "Trespassing"
Yura Yura Teikoku - "Unchain Your Heart"

I grabbed their new album, Sweet Spot (Sony Japan), at the show. Like the concert itself, it seems to have less of a wig-out factor than their old stuff, opting for a cleaner garage sound and more mellow psych touches.

Yura Yura Teikoku - "Robot Deshita"

If you dig this stuff you can buy or download more at Mesh-Key.


Hypnotic robotic

Why is Missy Elliott the unofficial mash-up queen? Every new single of hers in the past three years has spawned version after version, some of them fun, most of them awful. I guess it's all Richard X's fault -- the original Girls on Top records (including "Warm Bitch," i.e. "She's a Bitch" over the Normals' "Warm Leatherette") were so great that imitators can't stop trying to remake them, with increasingly diminishing returns.

When I grabbed this 12" I thought it was a legit house remix of Missy's "Lose Control," but it turns out it's a mash with the M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade electro-house hit "Body Language," from the excellent DJ mix of the same name on the German label Get Physical. (Bonus confusion: I thought M.A.N.D.Y. and Booka Shade were the same guys! So schizo.) The full vocal version is too over the top, but the dub adds a perfect dose of Miss E. to an already sick track.

Missy Elliott & M.A.N.D.Y. - "Lose Body Control (Get Down & Dirty Dub)"


Mix of the month - Alleys of Your Mind

Making mixes is my favorite hobby, every month (or so) I'm planning to post one up. This first installment I did over the summer to give to friends, basically trying to smoosh a bunch of post-punk, hip-hop and old-school electronic bizness into one big ball. At the time I was really feeling Tim Sweeney's RVNG MX3 and the way it jumped from Tones on Tail to Radiohead to Grace Jones while still keeping the same groove, so I wanted to throw in as many genres as possible.

Alleys of Your Mind


1. Words From Brother Dave
2. Mark-Almond - "The City (Taxi to Brooklyn)"
3. Stephen Mallinder - "Del Sol"
4. Neu - "Negativland"
5. Flying Lizards - "Her Story"
6. LCD Soundsystem - "Yr City's a Sucker"
7. Just-Ice - "Cold Gettin' Dumb"
8. Big Daddy Kane - "Long Live the Kane"

9. How + Why - ? (black label)
10. Laser Cowboys - "Ultrawarp (Chase Mix)"
11. Laid Back - "White Horse"
12. Jonzun Crew - "Space Is the Place (Inst.)"
13. ESG - "Moody (Spaced Out)"
14. Black Devil Disco Club - "H Friend"
15. Liquid Liquid - "Flextone (Twitch's Optimo Edit)"
16. Frank de Wulf - "Magic Orchestra"

17. New Order - "Confusion (808 State Acid Mix)"
18. Hashim - "Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)"
19. Cybotron - "Alleys of Your Mind"
20. Essit Muzique - "Essit Muzique 1 (Coral + Smagghe's Kill the DJ Edit)"
21. Out Hud - "One Life to Leave (A Requiem)"
22. Tricky Disco - "Tricky Disco"
23. Audion - "The Pong"
24. Hugo Montenegro - "Theme From 'Valley of the Dolls'"

You can tell everybody this is our song

Turntablelab has been killing it lately with the mutant disco, it's like a new Cloud One reissue pops up there every two days. This new 12" on Rong that I picked up there last week is from 2005, not 1979, but it sure sounds like something Metro Area found under Patrick Adams' couch cushions.

Lee Douglas - "Our Song"

Vigor, vim, vitality and punch

So, Tortoise and Bonnie "Prince" Billy walk into a bar ...

It almost sounds like a punchline, that these guys got together to record an album of cover songs including Elton John's "Daniel" and Springsteen's "Thunder Road." (It's called The Bold and the Brave, supposedly due out in January.) But damn, this cover of Devo is pretty good. The original is super-stiff discoid minimalism; the new version sounds like they got the song drunk and made Bonnie Prince sing into an echoplex. Chicago-Louisville axis 4eva.

Devo - "That's Pep!"
Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Tortoise - "That's Pep!"


Set it off

Hey, is this thing on

Check, one two