Let me tell you some more about her. The party, a monthly affair in Los Angeles, originated as the extension of a drag queen into something greater than a ballroom persona, and has since become “L.A.’s undisputed mecca for HOUSE, DISCO, AND POLYSEXUAL HARD PARTYING” (from Rhonda’s website). Jerome LOL, a bastion of tasteful LA hipsterdom, cited it as his favorite party, and the event had that “buzzy” feeling in the runup. Unfortunately, the folks at Los Globos weren’t too pleased with my youthful vigor (like any good bacchanal, it is a 21+ event), and although Rhonda herself signaled me in, I was forced to slip in the side door and rush into the mass of hard partiers. I pushed through the mass of hard partiers grabbing their salvation smokes outside and rushed upstairs to catch Samo’s set.
The Potent Nihilism Of Sosa (December 17, 2012)
The sense of duty and virtue has been hammered out of the lives of millions of Americans because a seemingly hopeless existence does not allow for such things. The nihilism of Sosa is good for those who do not share it because, unfortunately, the rapper is venting an honest philosophy in a powerful way, and we need to know that our society is pushing certain members to feel and think in this manner. The crucial next step is whether Keith Cozart’s music ends up fighting against this nihilism or promoting it. Ultimately this is up to him, but we, as the writers and thinkers of America, have a responsibility to treat his music and his situation with the utmost respect, and that means criticizing the aspects of it that are making us worse off as a human race.
Purveyors: Car Crash Set (September 11, 2012)
Seattle’s Car Crash Set, helmed by man of many talents Will Creason aka Ill Cosby, eschews online promotion and allows the label’s reputation to function as its sole promotion tool. With releases from risers like Cedaa, Mike G and Mak and Pasteman, many of you are probably surprised you’ve never heard of C/C/S. The truth is that there aren’t many people outside of the Northwest who are familiar with Cosby and/or C/C/S.
Purveyors: Hush Hush Records (September 6, 2012)
There’s a certain sound that just seems tailored for late nights on public transportation. Watching the city lights flash by on the bus, or the awkward eye contact made with the one other soul on the subway. The sound encapsulates the empty spaces within the urban environment as much as it does the intimate nature of late night encounters. It’s designed to be listened to in headphones and usually in solitude. Alex Ruder, the man behind Hush Hush Records, calls it Night Bus.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: tUnE-yArDs (April 27, 2012)
tUnE-yArDs is the creatively-capitalized alias of musician Merril Garbus. (Hey, at least she didn’t leave out the vowels, right?) Hailing from Connecticut and currently based in Oakland, Garbus is full of surprises, musically and otherwise. She’s unlike anything we’ve ever heard before, and it works. Garbus possesses an incredibly powerful and unique voice, and this gift provides the pedestal on which she constructs her musical skyscraper. The vocals in her music have been compared to a cross between Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono. Her range is unbelievable, varying from a deep, almost masculine grumble to a high soprano wail; she can sound convincingly assertive, angry, carefree, peaceful, contemplative, and celebratory all in one album. Her influences are drawn from Afro-pop, funk, R&B and folk, but there’s something else there. Garbus throws in a stylistic dexterity that is irreproducible and astounding.
Low End Theory Brings Youthful Rebellion Full Circle (April 19, 2012)
If I could tell my 15 year old self I would witness El-P perform five feet from my face to a crowd of less than 100 people, I wouldn’t have believed it. The man hasn’t lost an ounce of charisma over the years. With the R.A.P. Music album with Killer Mike dropping May 15 and Producto’s newest solo venture,Cancer For Cure, set for a May 22 release date, it’s more than apparent he hasn’t lost the blue collar attitude that made Company Flow so great. Sure, Def Jux might be dead, but there is no doubt in mind that some 15 year old downloaded “The Full Retard” last week and is already digging into some Cool Calm Pete or Yakballz.
A Tale Of Two Singles: Are Major Labels Producing Better Hip Hop? (April 17, 2012)
Will Sony be dropping that new Action Bronson tape? One can dream. Will Warner be releasing the new Spaceghostpurrp LP? That’s laughable. More likely than not, we’ll be seeing more Future, Flo Rida and Tyga releases pimped to the masses via pop radio, Best Buy and Reebok. I’m just going to hold onto to this irregularity in the biz for the next few months before retreating back to hugging my old Stones Throw and Def Jux tapes.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Active Child (April 13, 2012)
Some of the most captivating music is made when artists seek to combine elements from a variety of styles, generating distinctive, unique subgenres all their own. Additionally, I am always fascinated by artists who draw from their own wide-ranging (if not traditionally related) talents, amalgamating their skills to create something entirely novel. It is no surprise, then, that I was instantly drawn to the music of Active Child, the production moniker of New Jersey native Pat Grossi.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Star Slinger (April 8, 2012)
It’s not easy to place Slinger’s sound (he calls it Booty LSD) as it falls somewhere at the intersection between hip hop and UK bass, taking cues from Chicago footwork and UK garage. It would be easy to clump him in with the maximalists of LuckyMe, but Slinger is influenced more by sample mavens The Avalanches and DJ Shadow.
Ballroom Dancing And Bass Music At Beat Cinema (April 5, 2012)
This is not your average club night, though. The crowd is slightly older than you would expect, and there is far more milling about and socializing than dirty dancing. In one perplexing moment, a middle-aged couple began ballroom dancing in the middle of Quarry’s set. With stuttering bass music blaring, the couple pulled off moves with aplomb as the younger crowd watched from afar with wry smiles. Like I said, this is a far stretch from your typical LA club.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Purity Ring (March 31, 2012)
Somehow both calm and insanely energetic at the same time, Purity Ring’s music is so complex it takes several listens before you feel you’ve heard all the layers in any one track. But the ear-pleasing intricacy of the group’s production style will make you want to listen over and over again.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list defining the mix. Instead, it should function as a brief and accessible look into some of the most talented artists coming out of Austin and a mere jumpstart into your appreciation of the scene.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Apparat (March 23, 2012)
Fast forward to 2012, Apparat is playing guitar and singing on stage. There’s a band behind him, yet unlike his previous tours, both as a solo artist and as Moderat, they are not manning analogue synths and keyboards, they are all playing acoustic instruments. The electronic sound is still there in some sense, more in the layering of the instrumentals than anything, but the music is more organic and takes place far from the sweltering clubs Ring made his home in for so many years.
In 2005, Brian Shimkovitz, a recent graduate of Indiana University and an ethnomusicology major, spent a year in Ghana on a Fulbright Scholarship. While in Ghana, Shimkovitz acquired a number of cassette tapes of local artists. On his return to his home in Brooklyn, Shimvokitz launched a blog to share the tapes with his friends. That blog, Awesome Tapes From Africa, is now one of the premier sources for “world” music on the web.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Beat Connection (March 8, 2012)
If you are a Seattle native, attend or attended the University of Washington, or have spent anytime at house parties in the University District, chances are you have seen Beat Connection play at least once in one form or another. The duo, originally made up of Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger, have been DJing and performing for around three years now and built an impressive level of notoriety in the Seattle music scene.
Intro To Austin Beat Scene + Exploded Drawing SXSW Compilation (March 7, 2012)
The Los Angeles beat music scene has a resonant notoriety surrounding it throughout the world. Anyone “in the know” has at least heard of the Flying Lotus’s, Daedelus’s and Gaslamp Kiler’s of the world and Low End Theory has become a household name as well. The scene churns out talented new artists from a multitude of different backgrounds like hotcakes. These artists are represented on labels like Brainfeeder, Alpha Pup and more and routinely play shows in Los Angeles and up and down the West Coast. The scene’s sound has permeated other genres and is only growing in popularity. It is no surprise then that similar scenes, centered around a regular or semi-regular gathering of heads, have began to pop up across the country over the last five years or so. One of the most engrossing of those scenes happens to be in Austin, Texas.
Sasquatch Artists Of The Week: Grynch and Sol (February 29, 2012)
Seattle has long been known for its tendency to foster some of the biggest musical talents of the past several decades. Maybe it’s the rain, maybe it’s the attitude, but something about the city seems to create artist after artist brimming with promise. That being said, Seattle has not always been known for its hip-hop, and this may be because Seattle’s rappers tend not to fit the mold of a nationwide hip-hop stereotype. Today, we focus on two such norm-defying hip-hop artists, both of whom will be gracing the Seattle-hip-hop-focused Maine Stage at Sasquatch: Grynch and Sol.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Little People (February 21, 2012)
Little People aka Laurent Clerc is a Swiss artist by way of London. Clerc is one of the few artists who have managed to stay under the radar, although he has built a following through untraditional means. Clerc released his first album in 2006, titled Mickey Mouse Operation, but has stayed relatively silent since its release. Rarely agreeing to participating in interviews (I only managed to unearth one) and only sporadically releasing material, Clerc has instead gained a following through listeners discovering his music on iTunes and internet-radio station Pandora. Since Mickey Mouse Operation‘s release, the album has steadily risen up the iTunes electronic charts and Clerc’s profile has risen accordingly.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Tycho (February 15, 2012)
Hansen began his musical career in 2002 with his release, The Science of Patterns EP, followed by his first full length, Sunrise Projector. Hansen is also an artist and is famous for his style in the design world. Hansen then released his next album Past is Prologue in 2006. Hansen didn’t release another album until 2011 with the release of his celebrated album, Dive. Tycho is signed to the Ghostly International label with labemates Com Truise, Gold Panda, and Dabrye. Tycho is known for his use of live instruments in his songs like the song below, Dive, features Zac Brown on guitar. He also creates morphing soundscapes that he layers flawlessly over chopping beats and wispy synths.
Live Review: Main Attrakionz and Jonwayne at Pomona College (February 14, 2012)
We planned on doing a video interview with Mondre and Squadda B of Main Attrakionz, and in fact, we did interview the Oakland “cloud rap” duo. We also forgot to turn on the mic. As a result, instead of a five minute interview with Mondre and Squadda, we have five silent minutes of me looking awkward and them looking inebriated.
Sasquatch Artist Of The Week: Com Truise ( February 7, 2012)
Com Truise aka Seth Haley. Haley was born and raised in upstate New York, resides in Princeton, New Jersey, and has been making electronic music for about a decade. Before identifying himself as Com Truise, Haley worked under the monikers Sarin Sunday, SYSTM and Airliner. He was a DJ, then dabbled in drum and bass, and now works within a genre he calls “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk.” Truise is a unique musician, because he truly doesn’t have an contemporaries that sound like, or work in the manner that he does.
Live Review: Tokimonsta At Low End Theory (January 26, 2012)
As the witching hour neared, Toki made her way through the crowd and took the stage to a massive outpouring of love. Again, I truly wish I had my camera to give you a taste of how much the crowd adores Toki, but alas I fucked up. Anyways, Toki took the stage to raucous applause, and proceeded to absolutely wreck the next 45 minutes. Toki started off slow with a few melodic originals and vocal tracks, taking a brief break at 12 for a rendition of “happy birthday,” before kicking the night into high gear. Toki is one of those DJ’s that is so skilled that she almost lulls you into a trance and then all of a sudden you realize you’re dancing your ass off. The peak of the set came when she dropped three of my absolute favorite tracks of 2011, A$AP Rocky’s “Bass,” The Weeknd’s “High For This,” and Hudson Mohawke’s “Thunder Bay” in succession. To say the least, I was enthralled. After a few cries of “Toki, will you marry me?” she hopped off stage and disappeared into the crowd.
My New Favorite Label (January 13, 2012)
Dropping Gems is a label and collective of artists based in the Northwest. Most artists in the collective fit under the broad bass music umbrella, but it would be silly to brand them all as such. Artists like Ghost Feet,Natasha Kmeto and DJAO create experimental electronic music with no particular genre limitations, or guidelines. Not only do these artists reside in my own backyard, but they bring a uniquely Northwest experience to the sound.
2012: Big Gigantic (January 9, 2012)
The Boulder, CO duo of Dominic Lalli (Production/Sax) and Jeremy Salken (Drums) first caught my attention in early 2011 after listening to their sophomore effort, A Place Behind The Moon. Taking traditional dubstep and drum and bass sounds (Dominic considers Flux Pavillion, Pendulum, and Bar 9 as influences) and infusing saxophone and live drums, the duo has managed to attract the wildly differing rave and jam band crowds in droves.
2012: Lunice (January 9, 2012)
In 2011, “swag” was defined by a number of artists, crews and labels, from A$AP Rocky toKreayshawn, but no one artist embodied the undeniable cool and youthful exuberance the term entails more than 23 year-old Montreal beatsmith Lunice Fermin Pierre II. Like so many other artists that have built large internet fan bases, Lunice first gained notoriety through a video highlighting not his music, but his pop-lockin’ ability. While Lunice has been making beats since 2006, it was not until recently that his glitchy, turn’t-up production style really began to develop. Citing influences ranging from the French tastemakers at Ed Banger to Detroit legend J Dilla, Lunice’s two most recent releases, the Stacker Uppa and One Hunned EP’s, both released by the legendary LuckyMecollective, have pushed the young Montréalaise into the upper-echelon of up-and-coming producers.
2012: Nacho Picasso (January 9, 2012)
It would be easy to dump Nacho Picasso on the ever-growing heap of nerd rappers with feelings, championed by Donald Glover, but whereas Glover’s music comes off as contrived, Nacho’s is effortless. It would also be easy to define him as an ignorant swag rapper in the vein of Lil B, but Nacho’s music is clever and relies less on gimmicks. The truth is that Nacho’s music is a synthesis of numerous internet rap personas. For The Glory embraces elements of Glover’s nerdy persona (“Marvel”), Lil B’s braggadocio (“100 G’s”), Drake’s introspection (“Bad Guy”), and Odd Future and ASAP MOB’s crew mentality (“Moor Gang”).