Pitchfork: At various points in your career, it seems like you could’ve started working with people within the rap establishment but you never did it. Any particular reason?
Slug: I don’t want this to sound weird, but I don’t want to make music with people I don’t know, so fuck that. I don’t want to end up being that guy on a song with some guy who, later in life, beats the shit out of his wife or kicks puppies or something.
Hip hop with priorities other than getting like 30 chainz or pursuing a career in skateboarding. Huh. Go figure.
Just one more reason why Atmosphere will always be one of the best underground rap groups in history. Because even with their moderate amount of mainstream success, they are still underground. Their sound may be shifting following the addition of a live band a few years ago and as Slug himself inches closer to 40, but I’d rather a group mature and change than outright sell-out or jump on some dork squad trend. Anyway, here’s another good reason though, just in case you aren’t familiar…
This is like the least newsworthy blog posting in the history of irrelevant blogging, but as a newly-single guy in his late twenties who drinks way too much, I find myself relating to Slug’s words more now than even when I first fell under Atmosphere’s spell as a guy who just moved to Chicago in his early twenties and drank way too much.
Fuckin’ with this shit this morning.
Never interrupt a man when he’s in the middle of a really funky groove.
That’s an old one from his highly recommendable 2010 EP, Death Gate. However, The Gaslamp Killer’s new album, Breaththrough, is due September 17th, so, get excited and shit, if you’re into this shit. Which is probably a very small percentage of you. Nonetheless, Brainfeeder describes it as such:
Suggestively sinister, the Gaslamp Killer’s latest release is a glimpse of the artist’s contorted sonic landscape, a frightening world of chattering evil and chills that bite into the spine.
And who can’t get down with a demonically cackling nightmare world or chills that gnaw at your spinal column? I mean, come on! What do you do with your free time?
For the past few days, all eyes have been on the holographic reincarnation of Tupac Shakur… hell, maybe even Tupac’s eyes were on the holographic reincarnation of Tupac Shakur from his secret hideout somewhere. All novelty aside, I prefer to focus on more futuristic scenarios… yes, even more futuristic than holograms, which aren’t really all that futuristic anyway, considering they’ve existed almost exclusively in McDonald’s Happy Meals since around the time The Grimace still had four arms.
Centuries from now, imagine a primitive society, emerging from the ashen doom of this era, stumbles upon a recording of The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Juicy,” and takes particular note of the lyric, “Time to get paid, blow up like the world trade.” Lacking the proper historical records, they assume he was a prophet, and base an entire religious structure around the larger-than-life rap legend. Sound crazy?
Hey, stranger things have happened. It’s basically how, like, a lot of the Bible was misinterpreted over the course of human history. But you don’t want to hear all that. Anyway, if a futuristic cult has to spend the next age of humanity worshiping something it might as well be one of the very few rap songs that has managed to ascend far past its genre. Indeed, “Juicy” is now enjoying its legacy in overpriced nightclubs full of Armani Exchange-clad morons, every single weekend, all throughout NYC’s douchiest neighborhoods. As far as hip hop songs that can unite a huge variety of kind-of-annoying people go, it might even beat “Hey Ya.”
Good morning, folks. Can we all just breathe collective a sigh of relief since, at last, our day has come. And by “our day,” I mean Friday, of course. One day to rule them all, one day to find them, one day to bring them all, and in the darkness get belligerently drunk and pass out on the floor somewhere.
That said, I’ve been working my knuckles to the bone all week, so I’m taking the day off. Taking the day off, and taking off, to be more precise.
See you when I land, fellow space cadets.
That’s the thing about curbs… they’re free, they’re everywhere, and they’re funner than a 10-million-dollar rollercoaster. — Julien Stranger
I feel morally obligated to post the latest episode from Jeff Grosso’s Love Letters to Skateboarding, as I too am in love with the slappy grind. And, to be honest, I wasn’t even really sure of their origins, so this was a welcome bit of edutainment. I kind of figured that slappies had existed for about as long as skateboarding itself had, particularly considering you don’t even really need to know how to ollie to grind a painted curb. As Eric Koston once astutely noted, “Slappies… it’s 95% attitude, you know, 5% ability.” Nonetheless, it took our skateboarding forefathers a few years to figure out the mysterious inner workings of the slappy grind as they were too preoccupied with vert and short shorts in neon colors for a while there. But once they came to their senses and stumbled upon - quite literally, at first - the glory of curb skating, the floodgates were open. Not unlike opening Pandora’s Box, all manner of grind, slide, and combination of the two came pouring out, some wondrous, some terrifying, but skateboarding as a whole is better off for it.
[image via Chrome Ball]
It’s the one spot that will always be around, and the one you’re hardly ever going to get kicked out of. Sure, curbs might not be as impressive as a concrete bowl complex or elaborate street plaza, but at the end of the day, they’re probably just as fun to skate, plus you don’t have to wait in line to do so. Not to mention, scooter kids haven’t figured out how to take advantage of the world’s extreme overpopulation of curbs yet, and that might just be the best part of all.
A silly tribute to one of my favorite Queen songs, “Death on Two Legs” —
Of course, the image would seem rather dumb if you didn’t happen to know the song I’m talking about. But fear not! I’m a pretty all-inclusive kind of cat, so…
While you bask in the glory that is Freddy Mercury’s angelic voice, I’ve just gotta say, I’m really psyched the weekend is upon us. I never thought these words would come out of my mouth — “happy [insert day of the week that isn’t Saturday or Sunday]” — under any circumstance, but… seriously everyone, happy Friday. No, you know what? Happy fucking Friday.
Oops, wrong DOOM. One sec…
There we go.
Seemed like an appropriate jam to rock on the eve of this particular New Year’s Eve — after all, it is the eve of the eve of the supposed pre-Columbian Mesoamerican end times.
Born like this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
— Charles Bukowski
“Dinosauria, We” is a scary ass portent… er, poem.
I’ve been taking a bit of a tour through old favorite albums lately, and I was just pretty much knocked out all over again by this one. Metal Fingers living up to his namesake (I mean, not the “metal fingers” part, the “doom” part, you know?)
Little known fact: Michael Jackson wrote “Do the Bartman,” and I can’t decide if that’s kind of amazing, or kind of disturbing.
“So move your body, if you’ve got the notion, front to back in a rock-like motion.”
Well, it’s the Friday of Labor Day Long Weekend, aka summer’s official death rattle, and I would rather be
A. asleep, B. smoking marijuana, C. half-napping, half-stoned on the couch, sometimes dozing off, sometimes thinking about how cool it would be if I had Wolverine’s healing factor, D. all of the above, instead of sitting here writing a music review 80% of you probably won’t care about. Nevertheless, I’ve been listening to the following two albums so compulsively for the past couple weeks it would be truly negligent not to say anything.
Ever since I let Wugazi’s 13 Chambers into my life, I have not known peace. The album mashes up Wu-Tang classics with Fugazi instrumentals and it has invaded my mind most completely. This is one of those projects that was either going to end in disaster or reveal some kind of visionary, calculated genius, and fortunately for us, the latter won out. I share it with you now, not simply because it is good, but because these are some of the most infectious remixes I’ve ever heard. So infectious that not only can I not stop listening to the album, but I also feel compelled to spread the contagion far and wide. Watch out Matt Damon, if Gwyneth Paltrow gets a hold of this, homegirl’s going to be catching seizures all over the mo’fuckin’ house.
Picking a single track to post was no small task. It felt like having to choose between Doritos and Cheetos, as if only one classic, fake-cheese-dust-covered snack would be allowed to continue to exist in this world… the future of the world’s munchable consumption hanging in your hands. No one should have to make such a choice. I’m quite serious when I say that every one of these 13 tracks is expertly crafted, the mixes elevating the source material — the Wu-Tang Clan’s aggressive, uncompromising vocals and Fugazi’s raw, unrelenting riffs don’t work together merely on a hooky level like, say, mashing up Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” with… well… pretty much anything. Rather, the samples inform and compliment each other perfectly, coalescing like individual Voltron robots, seemingly designed to one day unite and create something terrifying and awesome.Wugazi - Ghetto Afterthought
The best part? The whole album’s available for free right here. Do not sleep on this. Pretty much no need to listen to anything ever again… except for this next album of course…
Since we’re on the topic of Wu-Tang mashup albums, I would be remiss if I failed to include Max Tannone’s innovative Ghostfunk, which pairs my favorite Clansman, Ghostface Killa, with African funk, soul and some psychedelic rock. It’s not nearly as hardcore as Wugazi for fairly obvious reasons, but it might be a good aural cleanser to put on afterward, if you’re still salivating for some of Starky Love’s unmistakable rhymes.
Max Tannone is the guy behind the relatively seminal Jaydiohead, along with the fantastic Mos Dub. While Ghostfunk is likely his most experimental project to date, it works surprisingly well and definitely sounds fresh, thanks to his considerable skill when it comes to combing for obscure samples and bastardizing classic songs.Ghostfunk - The Same Girl
Tonally, it’s incredibly different than anything on Wugazi, and really, most original Ghostface tracks I can think of, despite his reliance on R&B influences post Wu-Tang. Indeed, Ghostfunk takes Ghostface’s usual soulful production to an entirely new level. Considering the dichotomy between the laid back, funky grooves and Ghost’s typically raspy, demanding delivery, it’s impressive how the final product does not find its individual samples at odds at all. Instead, the building blocks here work together to form something natural and remarkably chill. Most of all, it sounds like something new, and in today’s music industry, particularly mainstream hip-hop, that’s a rare artifact to be prized.
Another must-have for any fan of Wu-Tang or progressive mashups in general, and maestro Max Tannone makes it easy for you by offering it for free. Now what are you waiting for? Load up that fucking iWhatever and enjoy your last true summer weekend with some of the best music I’ve listened to this season.
Historically, I’ve proven to be a pretty unapologetic mash-up sympathizer. Maybe that makes me a monster, an enemy of human culture, just another vulture picking at the ruins of our society. I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t care. These ruins taste delicious, as 17-year-old wunderkind Madeon deftly illustrates with this decidedly monster-mash, a dizzying mix of 39 samples that coalesce to form an entirely new song.
I’ve listened to
a lot far too many mash-ups in the past few years, and this is still really fresh. There’s true value in the genre when you can break down songs to this level, making individual samples hardly recognizable and burying them within a larger, original piece. As if simply starting hipster dance parties all over the globe wasn’t valuable enough
Kids these days… they may be socially inept, but they’re sure good at computery shit! At least we can still communicate with the power of song, right? Even if “song” has come to mean “a series of repeating bloops, blips, aahs, and oohs, culled from a multi-colored pop culture soup, combined to form something resembling what was once considered ‘music.’” Ah well, maybe we’ll appreciate it once we all have robot ears.
Anyway, here’s the complete (and completely staggering) alphabetical list of source material:
Alphabeat - Boyfriend / Alphabeat - Fascination / Bag Raiders - Shooting Stars / Black Eyed Peas - Gotta Feeling / Britney Spears - …Baby One More Time / Capsule - Can I Have A Word / Chromeo - Momma’s Boy / Coldplay - Viva La Vida / Daft Punk - Aerodynamic / Daft Punk - Around The World / Deadmau5 - Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix) / Deadmau5 - Right This Second / Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed / ELO - Mr. Blue Sky / Girls Aloud - Biology / Gorillaz - Dare / Gossip - Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix) / Gwen Stefani - What You Waitin For (Jacques Lu Cont Mix) / Housse de Racket - Oh Yeah / Justice - DVNO / Justice - Phantom Part II / Katy Perry - One Of The Boys / Ke$ha - Take It Off / Kylie Minogue - Wow / Lady Gaga - Alejandro / Linkin Park - Crawling / Madonna - Hung Up / Martin Solveig ft. Dragonette - Boys and Girls / Michael Jackson - Billie Jean / Nero - Me and You / One Republic - All The Right Moves (Danger Remix) / One-T - Magic Key / Ratatat - Shempi / Solange - I Decided (Freemasons Remix) / Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You / The Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star / The Killers - Losing Touch / The Who - Baba O’Riley (SebastiAn Remix) / Yelle - Que Veux Tu (Madeon Remix)
I don’t even know about half of those songs, so maybe that’s adding to the novelty factor of Madeo’s symphony. Or maybe I’m just getting old and losing touch with pop music since I haven’t been hanging around that many high school dances ever since that restraining order thing came in the mail.
As a well-established fan of both The Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze, it would seem negligent of me to not post their latest collaborative effort, the long-form music video/ short film / incredibly self-indulgent action figure romp for “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” off their new full length, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2.
An 11 minute video for a 4 minute song that can barely be heard most of the time? Sounds like the current state of the music industry to me.
It doesn’t quite hit the peak that the video for “Sabatoge” did, but I don’t think anybody, including Spike Jonze, was expecting that. And really, “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” kind of barely qualifies as a music video at all, but it sure is entertaining anyway. Would it be less entertaining if I wasn’t currently stoned and hadn’t spent countless hours as a child watching Thunderbirds? Probably. But I don’t want to get all caught up with technicalities. Ultimately, it comes down to this: the video has both the Dead Snow Nazi zombies and a Yeti. So, really, let’s not get greedy here.