funk

A NIGHT OF CHOCOLATE AND CHEVAL
July 28, 2016 6:50 pm

When walking into any small time club, you can expect some loud popular music while waiting for a band to go up on stage to have fun and play some cool tunes. But last night at U Street Music Hall in Washington DC, a small club turned into a musical hot box.

20427_620380401430800_4122135562059143816_nStarting the night with some cool DJ work from local artist Dirty Chocolate, he pumped out some of his own music while playing club hits with elegantly twisted remixes. From metropolitan city Gaithersburg, Maryland, he taught himself how to make music while going deep into the internet. From humble beginnings (graduating the same high school that I did) to sick clubs, Emmanuel Osemene has a strong future ahead of him. I had a minute to chat with him about his experiences with music after the show:

I’ve always been a huge fan of music…I love discovering music and finding people who push boundaries. It’s cool to see talented people use their imagination to make music better. You wouldn’t hear it in my music but Pharrel, Timberland, Daft Punk, Juicy J, Kanye West, Justice, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and Tame Impala have been some of my biggest influences.

After him, the crowd turned around to the main stage and there were so many switchboards and keyboards that I honestly had no idea what to expect. Then the band started to play and I was immediately blown away as the four of them played musical hacky sack, taking turns on solos and bits of the song while perfectly supporting each other.

Their name is Club Cheval, they live in Paris, France are in the states for a bit to tour. Theyed play song after song of fantastic electronic sound and mixing with a superb drummer in the back who ended the show with the gnarliest drum bit I had ever heard. I had a chance to talk to Panteros666 (the drummer) right after their set list.

Tell us about yourselves…

We live in Paris, but we we are from a little city called Lille…We have a lot of influences there from Britian and Belgium so we have that kind of culture where we just mix everything together.

Where do you get you unique sound from?

Literally everywhere. We don’t put any genres on any pedestal and have no hierarchy with our music. We listen to stuff like Hip-Hop, Balie Funk from Brazil, Slow Jam and experimental stuff. I’m into trance and lots of other stuff. Each one of us has our own certain sound and we like to mix it to create something different. It doesn’t really work well in France though, so that’s why we’re here, we can relate better with the people. Sometime we are just too powerful for them and that’s probably why we are bigger here.

How did you guys meet?

To cut a long story short, we were all doing our high level studies which actually including political sciences, sound engineering and other areas. But we got together in our small city and were really obsessed with making a new breed of electronic music. We did well in our little city and then moved to Paris and met a lot of people and now were here playing music.

It was amazing how humble and relaxed Dirty Chocolate and Club Cheval were. It was a fantastic show, great start and great end with happily ringing ears all the way home. Check out more Dirty Chocolate here and Club Cheval’s tour dates here and new album here.

LIANNE LA HAVAS: SOOTHING THE SOUL
June 24, 2016 3:13 pm

Lianne La Havas is a bright soul based out of London, England. Born to a Greek father and Jamaican mother, La Havas is the embodiment of the new England. Multi-cultural, worldly, and absolutely lovely, La Havas is methodically carving out her own space in the aural atmosphere.

Her album’s Is Your Love Big Enough from 2012 and follow-up Blood in 2015 both sit in that tender spot involving love, passion, and soul. La Havas operates where great artists like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu first strode, crooning and layering smooth neo-soul with jazz and funk.

With two full length albums in three years, moving from background vocals with Paloma Faith to touring with artists like Bon Iver and Coldplay, La Havas is killing it at 26. She had a song on Alt-J’s latest and greatest hit 2014 album This Is All Yours, where her silken voice meshes perfectly with his in between soft acoustic guitar. Is Your Love Big Enough won iTunes Best of 2012 Album of the Year, boosting La Havas’ musical profile and allowing her to take bigger risks on Blood.

Recorded in Jamaica during a coming-home trip the singer went on with her mother, Blood’s title alludes to the cultural influences her heritage contributes. The album, which would end up being mixed at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in New York City, showcases La Havas’s strength in growing into her true self. Moving temporarily from the intimate acoustics she curated on her first album, La Havas experiments with bigger sounds and words. From brash brass, funky bass, and homeland reggae, the album swings hard behind La Havas’s direction.

The first four tracks off Blood give a good impression of the art La Havas creates. “Unstoppable,” her hit solo, is a smooth, swinging tune full of energy. The second, “Green and Gold,” references her Jamaican heritage and reflects the comfort La Havas has relishing in her own journey. The third, “What You Don’t Do,” was quickly made clear by La Havas in an interview to not have been written by her. It’s definitely loud and fun, not exactly the vibe La Havas usually cherishes, but still a great summertime song you can blast full tilt. Last, “Tokyo” brings on the funk, returning to rainy-day, soul-aching, heart-wrenching croonings. Her sweet and broken voice is almost cruel to listen to, reverberating between the ears of the listener with no help in sight.

In February 2016, La Havas released the EP Blood Solo, a bare-bones acoustic version of her album Blood. It seems as if La Havas can’t resist lighting some candles, grabbing her guitar, some dear friends, and melting hearts. Sounding heart-broken, La Havas enchants the listener deeply and purely over time, drawing those in with siren-like seduction.

From initially being discovered in 2008 on MySpace, to touring around the world and making her sound known, Lianne La Havas is a unique and inspiring individual. Currently touring in 2016 with Coldplay, keep your eyes peeled and your hearts open.

THERE’S SUCH A THING AS NOSAJ THING
November 25, 2015 8:28 am

The West Coast’s hip-hop cannon has had an undeniably pervasive imprint on modern underground music. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.  The G-Funk of Dr. Dre’s Death Row counterpoints with the esoteric heady vibes of Madlib’s Stones Throw. ‘Glitch-Hop’ is the latest  flavor of LA’s eclectic beat-driven stew: a cathartic fusion of bop jazz, funk, disco, and sci-fi theatrics converge seamlessly via laptop sampling tools.

LA-native Nosaj Thing is the intergalactic space capsule by which Jason Chung vacuum-sucks you through your earphones and warp drives you into deep space. Nosaj Thing crafts sharp-edged jolts from the conclaves of empty pockets that fill the corners of your room. He has produced tracks for Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, and Chance The Rapper. He’s remixed an even wider bandwidth of artists including: Portishead, Little Boots, and The XX.

However, This dark matter auteur’s best work is found locked within his full-length records. his palate of sounds is highly varied: Drift was released via Alpha Pup Records in 2009—a label that is also closely related to fellow glitch-hop-innovator Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder henchmen. Drift has been described as a domestic standout of the early dubstep wave; a breathing document of disjointed hiss, cracks, snaps, fluctuations, and bass warbles highly reminiscent of Burial’s Untrue. Home via Innovative Leisure/Timetable continued down the same vein but featured a handful of guests: Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino contributed vocals on “Eclipse/Blue” and fellow J Dilla acolyte Toro Y Moi jumped in on “Try“.  Nosaj Thing’s most recent outing, Fated, came out this past May, again on Innovative Leisure / Timetable, and featured slightly softened edges and layers of dark ambient noise and deep throbbing bass that encapsulate you in a black hole of blissful noise–notable tracks include “Cold Stared” (below) which features Chicago up-and-comer Chance the Rapper.

Fair warning: don a pair of decent pair of earphones and there is high risk of being sucked into Chung’s infectious headspace: it’s a deep rabbit hole to jump into on a whim, but this is music that exists for the audiophile junkies and crate-diggers searching for something completely new and out-worldly. Bon Voyage.

FREE EVENTS IN BROOKLYN FEATURING SUNDAY SOUNDS
November 24, 2015 8:19 am

Sundays don’t have to be reserved for watching football, doing laundry and nursing your pre-Monday blues. Enter Sunday Sounds: a FREE bi-weekly concert series held at 61 Local in the heart of one of Brooklyn’s coziest neighborhoods, Cobble Hill.

61 Local is a fabulous gastropub with delicious food, craft beers and a welcoming communal vibe. The location also boasts an intimate yet beautiful DIY event space right upstairs from the main dining area. Every other Sunday, this event space is home to Sunday Sounds.

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Photo by Phillis Kwentoh & Jo Chiang

Sunday Sounds was started as a joint venture between producer/musician Jessica Best and Dave Liatti, the owner of 61 Local. Best had been working at 61 local as a part of their food service team. Frustrated after playing a number of shows at the various loud local bars, Jessica partnered with Dave to, as she says, “develop the ideal creative space for performance – a place that is intimate, focused on listening, and really fostering a community between performers and audience.”

Each event is carefully curated by Jessica to showcase up-and-coming musicians in a space where audiences can listen to and discover new music. Past acts have included: Singer-Songwriter Henry Hall, Soul-Rock four-tet Trot Fox, Improvisational Drummer Walker Adams, Vocalist Elysse, Experimental Extraordinaire Jake Sherman, and Indie-Electro darlings Overcoats. Sunday Sounds has also played host to a number of special events including Art Girl Army’s fall kick off. Each event is cohesive yet eclectic, making for an excellent way to mix it up and discover new music for free without sitting on your couch surfing Spotify.

As for the purpose of it all, Jessica says her goal is “for the space to be a meeting place for musicians and audiences – for people to want to come out because they know they’ll make some sort of connection.” Fostering a connection between artist and community through kick-ass music, now that sounds like an ethos us BEASTS can get behind!

If you are interested in playing at future events hosted by Sunday Sounds at 61 Local, please email Jessica Best at jessbestmusic@gmail.com.

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Art Outside; The Festival Awaits
October 15, 2015 9:43 am

The festivities are about to begin! Art Outside is next weekend folks, October 22nd-25th. A four day camping festival just one hour outside of Austin. This festival includes music, performances, visual art and workshops to stimulate all of your senses. This is the 11th year and it is not cooling down! Well, the weather will be but nothing else! The fest has a close intimate feeling with guests and artists, and that’s something you just don’t get at other festivals here in ATX.

There are 4 stages with 83 sets starting Thursday and isn’t stopping till Sunday at midnight. The acts vary from electronic to rock n’ roll, folk to DJ sets to live performance art . Lettuce, Holding Space, Bonobo DJ set, Sangre Del Sol, Elephant Revival, Transcontinental Trip, Greensky Bluegrass, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Rising Appalachia and Papasido are just a few to start with! The list just doesn’t stop on the amazing acts that are about to happen. AOS fest has an amazing schedule set with music going on every day and every night till sunrise.

Live art is in the making all day. You can watch artists create their master pieces from start to finish as the weekend rolls through. The artists are set up all throughout the festival grounds surrounding stages, under trees and vending set up with pieces ready! You have the chance to meet artists personally and see their passion and creativity from hand to canvas. Featured Guests Artists include Michael & Violet Divine, Randal Roberts & Morgan Mandela, DELA, Zach Johnson, Andy Reed, Kengo, Ian Spencer, Bild, Norm4eva , Molly Gardner and Olive Love are going to be in the gallery with more TBA! Art Installations will be covering Apache Pass fest grounds by Christina Sporrong, Shrines, Christian Ristow, The Wooden Nickel Carnival, James Peterson and Michael Christian.

THERE IS A DIDGERIDOO WORKSHOP. How cool is that?! Who doesn’t want to learn the didgeridoo?! Just the name of it is something to spark interest. There is also acro yoga, essential oil mixing, permaculture 101 and a galactic portrait art class w/ DELA and more. There has been some talk of “laughing concentration circles” too. Hmmm.

You can think of it as “Austins’ Burning Man” without the harsh weather conditions. The festival is stimulating and interactive, there are so many things going on to see, do and experience. The music, art, food, workshops, interactive art pieces, camping, and vending are all kid-friendly and totally catered to the people and the artists. Those are just a few of the things to anticipate the experience of true expression.  TICKETS STILL ON SALE. Who knows what else is going to happen that they haven’t told us, —> hinting to you AOS! Can’t wait!!

Mexico City Blondes Give Me Watery Dreams
October 6, 2015 11:09 pm

By pairing dream-like melodies with trip-hop vocals, Mexico City Blondes are bringing something new to the table.

Allie Thompson and Greg Doscher, who met in Santa Barbara decided to make music together after discovering they shared a lot of the same favorite bands. Growing up listening to folk music led Thompson to start playing guitar and write her own songs. Doscher, formerly of Tripdavon, was intrigued by Thompson’s voice and wanted to try something new.

In the summer of 2014, the pair released their first amazing single, “Fade” under the name Mexico City Blondes. Despite not being signed to a label, MCB peaked at number one on Hype Machine’s Most Popular chart twice that summer, a well-deserved merit.

Following the success of “Fade,” Thompson and Doscher decided to hire a live band to tour with, as well as assist with writing and recording new material (as if they needed the help). All of these extra hands on deck came in handy. Last month on Sept 15, their self-titled debut EP was released, which included singles such as “Colors”, “Shot the Moon” and “Watery Dreams” (my personal favorite). These singles have an eerie, sexy  sound that hypnotizes you into a state of ethereal funk.

MCB’s signature lush sound and slow, sultry vocals have attracted an almost cult-like following, with “Fade” drawing approximately 550,000 plays on their official SoundCloud page.

Mexico City Blondes’ debut album is anticipated to drop later this year.