Frontier Psychiatrist

Posts Tagged ‘Flying Lotus

Chicago_Wicker Park_Fall_Peter Lillis

Wicker Park in Autumn

Something clicked in October, and I found myself at eight shows in just 15 days, likely due to a mix of early onset Seasonal Affective Disorder and rise in tours before the end of the year. It’s a lot of music to consume, and while I’m still digesting it all, I’m already planning for more. Below are the eight shows I saw in the last two weeks. Below that are the nine shows I plan to see before the end of the month. Care to join?

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Ty Segall @ Pitchfork Festival 2012

Almost at the end of their second decade, Pitchfork Media has changed the way we find, listen, experience, and most importantly, talk about music. The largest force in the music industry of the last 20 years save file-sharing websites and Kanye West’s twitter account, Pitchfork is more consequential to the development of the independent scene than any previous media entity, Rolling Stone and associates included. For starters, there has never been a Rolling Stone Music Festival.

The Eighth Annual Pitchfork Music Festival was a weekend of exploration, a theme consistent with the mission of the site. We drifted through 29 shows at Chicago’s Union Park, led by the promise of indie pop, grunge revival, electronica, hip hop and all things “post-“, and while performances were largely inconsistent, the rewards were greater than the detractors.

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Um, woh.

July, July! What a wonderful (disgusting) month. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer as much as the next guy, just not when the weather feels more like a tailpipe than the warm sun. So I had to get out of dodge, i.e. Washington, and spend the weekend in the forever beautiful Jersey Shore. No, really. But I’m back in DC now and glad to share my half-year in review. Thanks to friends for introducing me to these songs in the first place.

Honorable Mention #1: Fruit Bats, “One on One”

When The Onion’s AV Club started their Undercover series, I was pumped. This Fruit Bats cover of the Hall and Oates classic is my favorite. Killer chest hair.

Honorable Mention #2: Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse (Feat. Julian Casablancas), “Little Girl”

This is only an Honorable Mention because the album, The Dark Night of the Soul, will be released July 12, though we have already heard and written about the greatness wrought by the late Mark Linkous, Brian Burton, and David Lynch. My favorite is this off-kilter pop gem by Julian Casablancas.

5. Drake (Feat. Jay-Z & Lil Wayne),”Light Up (Riker’s Remix)”

I have trouble accepting Weezy’s diarrhea-of-the-mouth delivery as funny let alone profound, but you got to give the man props for his killer verse on Drake and Jigga’s “Light Up.” The original, found on Drake’s Thank Me Later, stays intact, with Weezy’s Riker’s Island, one phone call verse slapped at the end, casting a shadow over Drake and Jay’s previous attempts. Wayne couldn’t be more raw on this track, but he is far more intelligible than usual here, possibly because of the lack of cough syrup on the rock. The never ending flossing still gets on my nerves a bit, but the references to being locked up let me take him more seriously. For another FP take on Drake, check out Frontier Funbunny’s review of Thank Me Later.

4. Deftones, “Rocket Skates”

Deftones catch way too much unwarranted flak, and people should step down and give them their due. “Rocket Skates”, the band’s first single since “Mein” in 2007, is a welcome return to form, complete with cryptic yet sensual and soaring vocals over two-ton guitars riffs. The story behind this year’s Diamond Eyes is a sad one. Chi Cheng, Deftones’ bassist, was injured in a car accident in California in 2008 and has since been in an unresponsive coma. Diamond Eyes is a tribute to their bandmate the way Deftones only know how: rocking, then weirding you out.

3. Flying Lotus, “Computer Face//Pure Being”

If Flying Lotus (Steven Ellison) is the Stanley Kubrick of instrumental hip-hop, Cosmogramma is his 2001. A master of invention, Flying Lotus shows the shape of beats to come, by chopping and bleeping his way to the final frontier. “Computer Face”, the first single from Cosmogramma, sums up his prowess, showcasing that one offbeat rhythm among waves of background synths and what sounds like the drumming of silverware.

2. Titus Andronicus, “The Battle of Hampton Roads”

I have already written extensively about the Titus Andronicus album, so here I’ll focus on one monster of a song. Among the most enjoyable 14 minute songs in history, “The Battle of Hampton Roads” throws the listener through every possible fit and subsequent lull The Monitor has to offer.  This behemoth endcap not only has guitar solos to make Steve Van Zandt perk up and a triumphant bagpipe interlude that recalls my Chicago south-side pride, but it offers an ultimate rest, the ideal ending for an album that rages so hard.

1. Kanye West (Feat. Dwele), “Power”

Kanyeeze, you did it again! “Power” continues on Kanye’s perpetual quest to push pop music forward, and for that, I  thank him. He’s angry, but pensive. He’s flossing, but self-loathing. These are all regular modes for West, but we’ve never heard them so delightfully jumbled. “Power” also includes the best sample of 2010 with King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.” Here’s his literally over the top performance at the BET Music Awards.

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Your yoga teacher may do the best Downward Dog this side of Park Slope. But can he (or she) make music like FP’s favorite yoga teacher Gonjasufi?

On his latest record, A Sufi and a Killer, Gonjasufi teams up with the Flying Lotus entourage for a medley of hip-hop, blues, and Indian music with equal parts haziness and fierceness. Gonja chants, growls, and slurs his way through 19 tracks, most of which are less than three minutes in length.  Often muffled behind distortion, his talk-rap style recalls both G. Love and M. Ward, or rather the bluesmen whom those first-initialed retro guys channel.  And when Gonjasufi sings, his voice cracks and warbles with shades of Cat Stevens and Billie Holiday.

Born Sumac Ecks, Gonjasufi has made music since the early 90s (his cousin is Ishmael ‘Butterfly’ Butler from Digable Planets). Appropriately, tracks such as “Change” seem like the reincarnation of Cypress Hill. Yet the music on A Sufi and a Killer digs deeper into the past, thanks to the production trio of Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus, and Mainframe.  The samples are heavy on minor-key guitar runs and organ swells once embraced by such psychedelic blues rockers as The Doors and The Animals. And the instrumental intro honors “Bharatanatyam,” one of India’s oldest classical dances.

Gonjasufi, Change

Gonjasufi, Klowds

In some ways, the record reflects Gonjasufi’s yoga practice and enthusiasm for non-Western culture, as in several songs with an Indian troupe of female background singers.  Lyrically, Gonja treads more universal ground. Tales of loneliness and love complement celebrations of life and the natural world.    And despite his name and the album title, Gonja makes few overt references to spirituality. One exception is “Sheep,” where he sings “you’re my shepherd, babe” and then wishes he were a sheep, not a lion, so he wouldn’t have to kill animals to eat. Sunday School never sounded so funky.

Gonjasufi, Sheep

While his famous cousin Butterfly has a new group, Shabazz Palaces, Gonjasufi has dreams of a future
collaboration with Jack White. Not that Mr. Raconteur Dead Weatherman needs another side project, but if he gets restless, we sure wouldn’t mind if he experimented with the Gonj.

A busy week in the indie music world has passed us by, with Colin Meloy of The Decemberists signing a deal to pen a children’s book series, Animal Collective disciple Ariel Pink announcing he would be making a guest appearance on a new science fiction television show, and bands Fucked Up and Stars debating how best to address the new Arizona immigration law.  Also, there was music:

*Hip-hop maverick producer/Alice Coltrane great nephew Flying Lotus will be releasing his new full-length Cosmogramma on May 4; this week, the entire record became available for live-stream via his MySpace site.  Check it out.  Included below is his much-discussed collaboration with Thom Yorke, “And The World Laughs With You:”

Flying Lotus – And The World Laughs With You (featuring Thom Yorke)

*Hearya.com released a live session by rising stars Surfer Blood earlier this week.  Awe-inspiring.  The full session can be heard at hearya.com; below is a performance of lead single “Swim” from their debut record Astro Coast:

Surfer Blood – “Swim” – HearYa Live Session 3/10/10 from HearYa.com on Vimeo.

*As reported on the FP Facebook and Twitter feeds earlier this week, The National performed a set for WNYC’s excellent series Soundcheck on Monday.  The entire performance can be heard on WNYC’s website.  WNYC is also streaming a full performance by Owen Pallett from Webster Hall that took place last Thursday.  And, not to be outdone, NPR is streaming full performances from last week by The XX and Hot Chip.

*Jack White side-project Dead Weather (how many side-projects does he have?) is streaming their new record Sea of Cowards today in unusual fashion.

*FP favorites Das Racist performing in this installation at the Whitney tonight.

*Finally, please enjoy the following gorgeous performance of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” by Regina Spektor.  Spektor recorded the cover to benefit the Doctors Without Borders Emergency Relief Fund; you can help the cause by purchasing the track here.  For much more similar music that we don’t have room to fit in the blog, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter, where we share new songs, videos, downloads, and music news daily.

Regina Spektor – No Surprises (Radiohead cover)


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Sons of Dionysus


A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.