Saturday, March 5, 2011

Valomix 2011

Dead Air by Nabocough

Henry Jacobs - Dead Air
Years ago an old friend played this on his radio show on KDVS, and I only remembered it recently. An American born in Chicago, Henry Jacobs first appeared on the radio via XEW in Mexico in the 50s. He gained a cult following in the Bay Area while producing numerous “word jazz” pieces, experimenting with improvisational interviews, sound, and humor. In 1972 KQED aired Jacobs’ “The Fine Art of Goofing Off” of which “Dead Air” is clip—and I think probably one of the funniest things I’ve heard in my short life.

Swimming - Beat Beat of Your Heart Beat
Hailing from the “British Midlands” (wherever the hell that is) Swimming has officially released nothing to date and have no tour plans outside of the UK for this year. Nonetheless, the little that they have released make me think I’m either crazy or that this could be one of the big acts to look for in the coming decade. Their first single to be released in March, “Sun in the Island,” has huge hooks and confounds genres. They could also be the next The Who: “Want to go see Swimming?” “No thanks, I didn’t bring my speedo.” “No, I said, do you want to SEE Swimming?” “Is it Summer Olympics already?” “Uhh… actually, yes it is! Let’s go smoke pot with Michael Phelps!”

Crystal Fighters - At Home
Unlike the other bands with names also starting with “Crystal,” Crystal Fighters feature pop tunes with a sing-along chorus, especially this one, “At Home.” The group mesh folk and funk like you’ve never heard it before: yes, that means playing txalapartas—a percussive Basque instrument made of wood or stone, which mimics the sound of a horse trot—with big house beats.

Gorillaz - Empire Ants (Miami Horror remix)
The Gorillaz: you’ve heard of them right? Have you heard of Yukimi Nagano, the singer from Little Dragon? What about Miami Horror from Australia? Oh god, it’s too much to keep track of! Bottom line: Miami Horror continues to be that electro-pop producer slash DJ slash band underappreciated in America, but who nonetheless has proven himself once again with this remix of “Empire Ants.”

Alice Smith - Love Endeavor (Maurice Fulton remix)
I hadn’t heard of Alice Smith or Maurice Fulton before I heard this track, but it’s not surprising since Smith focuses more on jazz and R&B style singing and Fulton only seems to be coming to the fore now. The kick drums and bass line kill me! And I love how it builds up with Smith’s singing as the payoff.

Matias Aguayo - Rollerskate
Like Timbaland’s work with Justin Timberlake, Matias Aguayo substitutes the human voice for most of his instruments to amazing effects. His “Ay Ay Ay” released a couple of years ago was a huge departure from the genre he had hitherto clung to: minimalism. Still, for a song that sounds unlike anything I’ve ever heard, it’s surprising that we haven’t heard more of Aguayo.

Braids - Lemonade (Green Go remix)
It’s hard to place this remix of “Lemonade” by Braids. Green Go puts shoe gaze through the spinner and comes up this high hat driven song.

Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love (The Pinker Tones remix)
Yeah, you love this song, and if you don’t, we categorize you along with people who don’t like dolphins. But The Pinker Tones give “Genius of Love” a facelift and I think it works well.

Breakbot - Shades of Black
Riding the subway the other day, I found myself wishing Breakbot would at some point come stateward. Has he? If you haven’t heard of Breakbot, please research him! He’s French and he’s tied in with that group that used to be big, what’s their name—Justice? But Breakbot is still hard at work and—I swear to god—everything he touches turns to big fat ice cream cones.

Bag Raiders - Snake Charmer
Bag Raiders lend themselves to the amazing sounds coming out of Australia. Their latest endeavor, “Snake Charmer,” reminds me a bit of my favorite part of that Jay-Z song. The duo has made waves in Australia, but I guess they were having some trouble with customs when coming to the US. Don’t let this one go under the radar!

Gil Scott-Heron - I'll Take Care of U (Jamie XX remix)
Um, hello? Jamie Smith of the xx remixes the full album “I’m New Here” by Gil Scott-Heron? It’s being labeled as Jamie XX versus Gil Scott-Heron, which will be the biggest boxing match since Andy Warhol and Basquiat entered the ring. The album drops February 22 and might make some people be all like, “Radiohead who?”

I Never Dance - I Never Dance
It’s a song called “I Never Dance” by a dj called I Never Dance. With its you-can’t-help-but-thinking-she-failed-her-English-classes-in-high-school singer, its hooks which draw from the Italo Disco scene, and crescendos from the canon of indie dance, guess what? You will dance!

Trash 80 - Missing You
If you’re anything like me, you’re still a little cautious about getting into 8-bit music. Well, if you’re like me you also make the best pasta al pomodoro this side of the Milky Way, so congrats. Oh yeah, and also if you’re like me, Trash80’s “Missing You” pretty much changed your entire outlook on 8-bit altogether.

Dominant Legs - Clawing Out At the Walls (Altair Nouveau remix)
I’m a fan of slow cooking, and DFA-affiliated Altair Nouveau is a fan of slow funk. He puts this track by San Francisco based Dominant Legs in the crock pot and it’s tasty!

Minimal Elvis - Minimal Elvis
Minimal Elvis was released sometime last year, and, to my knowledge, the artist still remains unknown. He was last seen working also on a song called Maximal Michael. If you have any information as to the whereabouts of this human or computer, please contact us immediately. We need more!