Posts tagged ‘dance’

Boozin’ in the Hudson

rock out with your torch out, in tha Hudson

rock out with your torch out, in tha Hudson

So as my Graduation weekend wrapped up to a close, I found myself stuck in traffic outside the Lincoln Tunnel to New York City. This is especially torturous because we all know that by the time you get to Lincoln Tunnel, you already have ants in your pants to just be in NYC already, but this time was worse than others, for I was going to ride a boat around the Hudson. A booze cruise, if you will. Not just an ordinary one, but one in which my new favorite band Passion Pit would be playing.

were sad cause were missing our legs

we're sad cause we're missing our legs

Passion Pit has a chronic toxicity to their music. The kind you find yourself listening to over and over again because its Spring, getting to be summer, and everyone is losing their heads and their pants with excitement for a multitude of reasons. Whether its continuing being an undergrad with ill intentions of drinking away your summer, a graduate like myself who has a degree that says I know what I’m doing when I have no clue at all, or just someone who knows summer in Philadelphia is a hell of a lot more fun than the winter. Anyway, I’m at an exciting point in my life, and this music echoes that excitement for me. Chunk of Change, their LP, has been on repeat in my apartment since the end of April. The story behind the LP is that the singer/keyboardist Michael Angelakos originally recorded a set of songs for his then girlfriend. I wish someone made this album for me. Lucky lady.

The boat was rockin’ and rollin’ to some of their new songs off their soon to be released record, Manners. The first single, The Reeling, was recently thrown up onto YouTube, with a great collage style and rapid cuts that mimics the quick beats and rapis synthisizing of this band. Obviously, I’m friggin’ crazy about this band. Also, the guys who made the video seemed to be a pretty awesome group of dancers on the front of the boat.

So if you read this, a year from now, you can say you were listening to them before they were huge. They are also starting a long, long tour, you can check for dates here. A little bird told me theres an August date for Philadelphia.

-posted by samsquared

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May 20, 2009 at 10:47 PM Leave a comment

I Got Dance in My Pants

This is a magical dancing man. He will probably annoy you. His name is Mike Long, and I am pretty sure he is my soul mate. Turns out we have a lot in common. Dancing, design, fun, colorful sneakers, sweet shades and beards. I don’t have a beard, but if I was a dude I imagine I would have a really sweet beard like his. Also, he’s from Canada, and I’ve always liked Canada, unlike most of American. Anyway, he danced everyday for a year, and he pretty much still dances a lot. Its not something you can stop once you’ve started. This video features Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, who are an excellent band if you are not familiar. Let me tell you a story:

Amy Winehouse was an okay singer. Amy Winehouse had a shitty band and was never going to be famous although she looked just like she should be famous because she was very alt looking. Then she got really lucky because Mark Ronson was all up on the Dap Kings and got them to play her album. Everyone wins, because they all get paid. Except we lose, because we have to know who Amy Winehouse is and what a trainwreck she consistently is. Sharon Jones plays with the Dap Kings and she doesn’t do piles of heroin, not surpsingly, not many people know who she is. She also has moves.

make it rain!

make it rain!

Some of you may have also seen this dancin’ machine, who is a MFA student in Yale’s Design School. This guy has a much more electro-tronic taste, and is very Bootylicious. Now while Mr. Kim has a pretty awesome fashion sense, I still prefer the Beard and sunglasses look. I’m obsessed with sunglasses, here are some suggestions for your summer purchase:

note: do not wear at night.

note: do not wear at night.

I also may or may not have been in and out of the country lately. This would explain my abcense in the internetz and my blog. This also goes to show you can’t count on Russ to run a blog on his own. Anyway, I scored some sweet 45s because I like funny record covers, and now I will share some amazing songs with you.

Grenadine Heart, MMM!

Grenadine Heart, MMM!

I can’t embed this great one by Week’s & Co, but trust me when I say, this video is worth it. I promise silver boots, and disgusting choreography.

It may seem a bit harsh, but this picture does Imagination no justice to the one on the 45 I have. I guess a white Grand Piano just really gets these guys in the mood for seductive faces and crawling, and they are just not that into squats.

can you imagine, gold garters?

can you imagine, gold garters?

Happy Monday!

-posted by samsquared

March 23, 2009 at 8:25 PM Leave a comment

Clap your hands say meh

Earlier this month I dropped my remaining vacation days a 5-day jaunt in Brooklyn during which I attended the Blip Festival, an event whose praises I cannot sing loud or long enough. But as my hearing returned to full capacity, so did my sense of reality and perspective over what had just taken place.

I’ve listened to electronic music nearly all my life and grew up on Nintendo. The mental library of earthly sounds I’ve accumulated over the years contains it’s fair share of lo-fi bloops, bleeps, snaps and peeps. Nonetheless, this was essentially my first experience with the artists and music that define what some would call the chip music or chiptunes scene, a music genre that seems to define itself more by hardware and production aesthetic than by the nature of the music. That is to say that over the course of the festival we were treated to a variety music – pop, rock, hip-hop, reggae, house, ebm/futurepop, idm, breakcore, industrial and every grey area in between – that was apparently all under the umbrella of chiptune.

bloop bloop bleep bleep

That’s Glomag, and yes, that is indeed a Nintendo Game Boy in his hands. The original big honking Game Boy at that, and it’s fitted with one of those screen-brightening and -enlarging doodads. Chip music essentially involves repurposing archaic computer hardware into instruments. Most commonly, this means game consoles, and this in turn most commonly means the Nintendo Game Boy. Of the 40-some-odd artists at Blip, I’d estimate about 95% of them used the Game Boy in some form, and about 75% used it as the sole instrument in their ensemble. A lot of these guys had pretty tricked out Game Boys, like two-tone cases with custom-installed back-lit screens. Once in a while you’d see someone using a Game Boy SP or PSP and you knew they were totally style-fakers. In any event, though photos of the previous two festivals led me to believe we’d see some, there was no truly inventive use of hardware a la James Houston‘s Big Ideas:

In days of yore, electronic musicians often used keyboards, live drums and/or guitars, turntables, theramins, effects pedals, and a bevy of other instruments that involve some sort of physical exertion and performance in their live acts. Those days are largely gone; today, most electronic shows involve some laptop button-pushing, knob-tweaking, fader-flicking and not much more.

So creep with me, if you will, and imagine standing in a crowd of unkempt 20-somethings staring at another unkempt 20-something on stage, garishly dressed, hunched over with Game Boy in hand, queuing tracks and adjusting parameters, intermittently taking a break to fist-pump, thrash about, or gesture awkwardly in some other manner to express his excitement and passion for the music he’s not quite actually playing. It is a very arresting experience to say the least.

I have a back-up NES so I can spike one when I lose.

Believe it or not, there was some dancing, some awkward spastic nerd dancing. And if the music is good and the crowd is good and the dancing is good, then, performance be damned, it’s still a good time. But as you might imagine there was a large contingent just sort of standing there, barely nodding their heads like you do when you don’t want to seem not into the show. What up with that? What were these guys doing at the bloop bleep show? I mean, they’re not partying, not drinking, not molesting women and surely not appreciating the skill of the performance. I’m sure some might take exception, but as a former DJ and musician, a player of video games and a one-time-owner of a Game Boy, I can proclaim with confidence that it’s not that difficult to do and not at all impressive to behold.

What ever happened to showmanship? Say what you will about misogynistic epic metal, but Manowar knew how to put on a fucking show. Guitars would be played in every position imaginable: over the head, behind the back, between the legs, shared betwixt two people. I saw their bassist solo for like 10 goddamn minutes and then proceed to break those absurdly thick strings with his bare hands, one by one. Even if you weren’t that into the music or interested in slamming your fragile body into a crowd of strangers, you still had to be impressed with Manowar. Virtuosity, showmanship, leather codpieces. There is no substitute:

Showmanship is not to be confused with spectacle. One of the better acts at Blip, a duo from Barcelona called Meneo, was sheer spectacle. Don’t misunderstand, they were awesome and everyone had a blast, but their set was all about on-stage antics that involved wrestling, nudity, toilet paper and hiding microphones in various locations inside pants. The guy on the Game Boy came up to me, snatched the ear plugs from my ears and ate them. They didn’t bring that keytar, just leggings and unrestrained Dadaist energy. But for the people in the audience who weren’t that into the music, weren’t dancing and weren’t drinking, they had to have been outrageously uncomfortable during that set.

The other component to Blip, and to most live music of any genre these days, is the visual display that accompanies the performance. It was in this aspect that Blip seemed really appealing when I first heard of it but also fell the most flat in actuality. Last year, the fest had several projection screens and this video screen with ridiculously oversized pixels which produced a look that was really complimentary to the music. Geneva’s Mapping Festival uses all kinds of inventive displays each year – note the translucent curtains for floating projections. The Copenhagen Mikrodisko takes an even more lo-fi approach that still has a wonderful aesthetic. So you can imagine my disappointment when this year’s Blip had a single projection screen behind the stage and nothing more. Granted, the set-up is only as good as the VJs and animators who show their work. Some of the musicians, namely Meneo, Anamanaguchi, and m-.-n did their own visuals or had animators do stuff just for them, which were usually pretty good, and a couple of the guys in the small line-up of VJs that worked with the rest of the acts were okay, but a lot of the time the screen just looked like it was displaying a broken VCR.

Until now, I didn’t realize this was, you know, a thing, chip music, as in deserving of its own scene and word and all. As far as I know, lo-fi electronic video game-ish sounds have been used in music for quite a while but perhaps more sparingly than in this case. This album got a lot of good press when it dropped almost two years ago, but think about how superfluous it is to have bloop-bleep computer music covered by musicians using even more bloopy-bleepy computers. Don’t get me wrong, I heart Kraftwerk. And I like these 8 bit guys. They put on a decent show. I would just maybe take issue with the claim, as they make in 2 Player Productions’ chiptune documentary Reformat The Planet, which was screened at Blip and apparently got a nod at SXSW, that they’re doing something entirely new and revolutionary when what they’re really up to is more or less bizarre bordering on Luddite. This is more a critique of the film and not the musicians, but it seems as if the filmmakers focused on the contemporary NYC scene not because they’re trying to illustrate via microcosm but simply because that’s where they are and that’s who their friends are so that’s who they have access to. They treat Blip as just that – an isolated event – and don’t really touch on the international scene or put chiptunes in the context of the history of electronic music. I would take up that crusade but that’s not really my job or the point of Redikulus. My job is just to draw attention to silly shit, and I believe my work here is done.

– posted by RussellMania3000

December 31, 2008 at 5:34 PM 2 comments

Public Conversation

the people's bus

I’ll start a conversation with just about anyone. Most strangers seem to know this about me, because they readily start conversations with me. Often times, the friends I am with just sit back and watch, as though they were a studio audience. This particular time, my friend had lost her voice the day before. Had she wanted to talk, it was virtually impossible to hear her, much less have the ability to interrupt the shitstorm that is a conversation with me. On a Friday night, this man stumbled onto the bus, and made eye contact with us. Luckily for him, the seat directly in front of us was free for him to lounge on, and he took it by force.

With lazy eyelids bouncing up and down with the wheels of the bus, he looked at us.

“Whasssss your name?”

“My name? My name’s Sam.”

“Sam. Sam.” He takes a swig of his black plastic bag.

“How you doin’ Sam?”

“Oh, I’m good. How are you?”

“Good. I’m real good.”

“What’s your name? I didn’t get your name.”

“Say, are you wearing make-up, Sam?”

“Yes.”

“You know who you look like, you look like the Joker!”

“Maybe that’s because I am. You enjoying the public bar?”

“Oh yeah, this the 800. The 800 bar. The Old E 800 bar.” This is accompanied by him pointing out each word on his can of beer in the plastic bag.

“You still didn’t tell me your name. What’s your name?”

“Jesus. You can call me Jesus.”

“Oh so you’re Jesus? You’re the second coming?” He nodded to assure me. I addressed the rest of the people on the bus. “Did you hear that? We have the new Jesus here with us! The new Jesus!”

“You’re funny, Sam. Why doesn’t your friend talk, Sam? Hey, Ashley! Why don’t you talk? Ashley! Say, what’s your friend’s name? Why don’t she talk?”

“Actually, herĀ  name is Ashley.” It was not.

“Nahhhhhh, you joshin’ me. You’re kiddin’.”

“I am not, I can’t believe you guessed it right.” Ashley was laughing too hard to defend herself and had no voice, so of course I ran with it.

“I can’t believe I guessed her name! That shit’s crazy. So what you ladies doing tonight, Sam? Where you going? I don’t even know where I’m going. I don’t know where my stop is…”

“Maybe going dancing, we’ll see.”

“Oh! You like to dance? What you like to dance to? Do you know how to PB&J?”

“Wha? Peanut Butter Jelly Time! Peanut Butter Jelly Time!” I keep chanting this, getting louder, and singing to everyone, while the new Jesus starts rapping.

“Now tic-tac-toe, oh yeah, tic-tac-toe, ya got it, Where he at? There he go!
Peanut Butter Jelly with a baseballĀ  bat.”

Needless to say, it was time for me to leave. I left my poor friend Ashley with the new Jesus. Maybe she would be the next Mary Magdalane, who knew. Only Friday night would tell. Jesus later pressed his cell phone to Ashley’s face, requesting she enter my number to his phone. Ashley of course, declined, but without first thinking maybe she should give Jesus my number, just for leaving her alone with him.

-posted by samsquared

December 18, 2008 at 4:06 PM Leave a comment


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